Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a grain, often mistaken for containing gluten due to its name, buckwheat. In fact, buckwheat is not a wheat at all, which come from grass plants like other cereal grains. Buckwheat is a flowering, broadleaf annual related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. The buckwheat we consume are seeds from that plant. It’s packed with a variety of nutrients necessary if you’re on a vegan/vegetarian diet. Medical News Today states one cup of cooked buckwheat groats contains:

  • 5.68 g protein
  • 1.04 g  fat
  • 33.5 g carbohydrate
  • 4.5 g fiber
  • 148 milligrams (mg) potassium
  • 118 mg phosphorous
  • 86 mg magnesium
  • 12 mg calcium
  • 1.34 mg iron

If you’d like to learn more about buckwheat or how to grow your own crop, check out Grow Journey.

HOW TO COOK BUCKWHEAT GROATS

  • 1 cup organic raw buckwheat
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 TSP sea salt
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley (Curley or flat leaf)

Croatian Style Radishes

I was recently on an adventure in Croatia and visited a park that had been on my must-see list for about 20 years. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world that i have ever seen! It is Croatia’s first and largest national park of the country’s seven parks. The park was instated into the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage List in 1979.

We booked AirBnB accommodations in a village about five minutes away and was famished by the time we had arrived after a day of sightseeing along the way. We asked around about dining options and the restaurant at Plitvice National Park was decidedly a fantastic choice! My dinner consisted of fine local Croatian offerings: white wine, grilled trout, salad topped with finely shaved pickled red cabbage, and stewed carrots and green beans, served with a basket of a dense but amazingly moist bread with sir (pronounced seer) cheese.  The stewed carrots were soft and buttery, seasoned to perfection. I have no earthly idea how the chef cooked that dish, but this is my take on it—with a Lulu twist of course! Enjoy! 🙂

On another note, like the unknown wine region of Switzerland (YES, there is one, and it’s gorgeous!), Croatia does not export their wines! You must enjoy their creations there and buy some to bring home.

Croatian Words

While you’re reading this post and possibly going to attempt this recipe, you should try to learn some basic Croatian food words. It’s one of the most difficult languages I’ve ever had to learn for my travels, but it’s quite challenging but fun! I learned that the language uses few  vowels in their words. Instead, the uses of accent marks over some letters create some of the sounds that would otherwise have been created with vowels. Quite minimalist! 🙂

  • molim = please/you’re welcome
  • Dubro Jutro = good morning!
  • hvala = thank you
  • kruh = bread
  • sir = cheese
  • butter = maslac
  • radish = rotkvica
  • mrvka = carrot
  • salata = salad
  • grilled fish = riba na zaru
  • trout = pastrva
  • wine = vino
  • coffee = kava; coffee with milk = kava s mlijekom
  • water = voda

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 bunches organic red radishes ~ ends and tops (leave 1/4 of the green stems) removed, radishes cut into halves or quarters
  • 1 cup organic baby carrots ~ cut into sections of two or three
  • 1 pint sunflower sprouts
  • Splash of white wine ~ I used chardonnay
  • Sea salt ~ to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper ~ to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a stainless steel pot, heat the butter on medium heat until melted. Add the carrots, sauté for a few minutes then allow to cook for about 3 minutes, covered.
  2. Turn up the heat slightly and add a splash of white wine. Immediately add radishes and cook for about 5 minutes, covered. Be sure to stir occasionally so that nothing burns. Add more butter and/or wine if needed. Your root veggies should be soft and tender.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve over a bed of sunflower sprouts. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a sprout.

Jicama Mango Salsa Fresca

Jicama Mango Salsa Fresca

My mama used to give me chilled slices of jicama when I was a kid. Back then, I used to pronounce it “jee-ka-muh”—only as an adult did I learn that I had been butchering this sweet juicy tuber’s name. I had no idea it was a latin name, thus should be pronounced “hick-uh-muh.”

If you follow my blog, then you may already know that I don’t like to drone on and on about my boring life. Instead, I like to share the interesting facts about ingredients for each recipe, be it nutritional value, how the produce got its name, etc. 

Jicama (Pachyrhizus Erosus), also called Mexican turnip, Chinese turnip, is a native Mexican vine that belongs to the legume family! Each vine can climb as high as 14-20 feet tall with gorgeous flowers of white or blue, and the edible tuberous tap roots are what we eat. However, everything else on the plant above ground is toxic, so take precaution if you decide to grow this in your garden. The leaves, stems, flowers, and seed pods all contain rotenone, a colorless, odorless broad spectrum insecticide/pesticide that naturally occurs in some plants, such as the jicama. It takes roughly 9 months from seed to harvest.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium jicama (about 1 pound) ~ diced
  • 2 small Ataúlfo mangos ~ diced
  • 1 medium shallot ~ finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano ~ finely diced
  • 1 cup organic cilantro leaves ~ chopped
  • juice of 3 medium limes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly ground sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare all your ingredients. Combine all the ingredient in a large mixing bowl and gently mix with a spatula.
  2. Serve chilled with fish tacos, topped on salads, or with chips. Enjoy! 🙂

Haricot Vert Tofu Crumble

Haricot Vert Tofu Crumble

If you are a huge green bean monster, you will fall in love with haricot vert and never look back. Haricot vert is French for “green bean” (Haricot=bean; vert=green) and the variety is slender and far more tender than the American variety you see in the grocery store. This recipe makes enough for two entrées or a splendid side dish for your next dinner party.

Allumette vs. Batonnet vs. Julienne vs. Matchstick

There is not a strong difference between these four techniques of cutting vegetables into thin even strips, but each technique varies in measurements. This helps the vegetables cook evenly and also delivers a nice presentation to the dish. (Measurements below are courtesy of The Spruce, one of my favorite websites.)

  • allumette measures 1/4 inch × 1/4 inch × 2 1/2 to 3 inches; sometimes referred to as the “matchstick cut”
  • batonnet measures 1/2 inch × 1/2 inch × 2 1/2 to 3 inches; “rectagular stick,” like a fat French fry
  • fine julienne measures 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 2 inches
  • julienne measures 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 1/2 inches; it is the allumette, cut once more, lengthwise

NOTES

Always try to use organic ingredients when possible. The grocery bill can add up quickly and not all produce are covered in harmful pesticides. As a general rule, I follow the Dirty Dozen, Clean 15 list.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound package Haricot Vert
  • 1 medium carrot ~ julienned
  • 5 garlic cloves ~ thin slices
  • 1/2-1 block organic tofu, firm ~ all liquid pressed out, crumbled into desired size (see how-to notes in instructions)
  • white wine (I use chardonnay)
  • cooking oil
  • veggie seasoning ~ to taste
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • black pepper ~ to taste
  • red pepper flakes ~ optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Remove all the liquid from the tofu block by hand-squeezing or weighing down the tofu with a heavy object on top. Sometimes I use a mortar (“bowl” part of the mortar-and-pestle combo). Crumble to desired size and set aside.
  2. In a large stainless steel pan, heat some oil on medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic slices until aromatic and golden-brown. Add the beans and carrots and cook the beans for about 5 minutes. Add more oil if needed.
  3. Splash a little wine into the pan and quickly cover with a lid. The wine creates steam, which helps cook the beans. Check the beans periodically. When the veggies are cooked to the desired texture, add sea salt, black pepper and other spices that you desire. Gently mix in the crumbled tofu with a spatula.
  4. Serve hot, garnish with red pepper flakes.

Edamame Super Greens Sauté

Edamame Super Geens Sauté

Edamame are young soy beans that have been harvested before they have ripened or hardened. You can purchase them shelled, still in the pod, fresh at the farmer’s market or frozen. I have never seen my local grocery stores carry them fresh. I like to keep a package or two in my freezer. They are great additions to chicken salad, quinoa, vegetarian chili, pasta dishes, veggie soups, or miso soup. Or if you are adventurous, you can make an edamame hummus dish, in lieu of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Each cup of hulled edamame yields approximately 17 grams of protein!


NOTES

Always try to use organic ingredients when possible. The grocery bill can add up quickly and not all produce are covered in harmful pesticides. As a general rule, I follow the Dirty Dozen, Clean 15 list.

Super greens are leafy greens packed with vitamins, nutrients, and sometimes, iron.  Some of the popular ones are kale (curly or “dinosaur” aka lacinato), beet greens, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, radish greens, mustard greens, and watercress.


Ingredients

  • cooking oil
  • 1 large shallot ~ thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic ~ thinly sliced
  • 1 package frozen organic edamame ~ thawed and well drained
  • 2 bunchs of any organic “super greens” (see notes section above; I like to use lacinato and Swiss chard) ~ tough stems removed, chopped
  • 2-3 small organic carrots ~ skin left on, cut into 1/4 inch discs
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • pinch sugar ~ to taste
  • fresh black pepper ~ to taste
  • cooked red or tri-colored organic quinoa (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large stainless steel pan, heat some oil on medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic and shallots until aromatic and golden-brown. Add carrots and cook until mostly tender (about 5 minutes). Add in edamae and cook for a few minutes to warm them. Add a litte water to the pan if the ingredients start to stick.
  2.  Add greens and quickly sauté until the greens are wilted, or tender if you prefer. Season to taste.
  3. Serve with red or tri-colored quinoa.

Beets and Feta Salad

Anyone out there love beets as much as I do? During winter I was a fixated on these royal beauties. I made borscht twice and this salad twice. It may be a bit late in the year for those that garden like myself, but luckily there’s probably a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s near you! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 medium beetroots ~ scrubbed clean
  • 2 garlic cloves ~ peeled and minced (optional)
  • 2 tbs organic parsley ~ leaves only, minced
  • 4 sprigs scallions ~ green only, chopped
  • 3 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 organic feta ~ cut into desired chunks (add more if you prefer)
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper ~ to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil ~ optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil the beets on medium-high heat for about 45 minutes. (The beets are cooked when a knife can be easily pierced through.) you can peel these, but I always leave the skins on. It’s good fiber and packed with nutrients! 🙂
  2. Strain the water. Allow beets to cool. Cut into chunks of desired size.
  3. In large mixing bowl, add lemon juice, garlic, parsley, scallions, and season to taste. Gently whisk. Add the chunks of beets and feta cheese. Gently fold with a spatula.
  4. Chill about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and scallions. ENJOY!

OTHER NEWS

If gardening is a hobby for you as it is for me, you are most likely a seed-saver. If not, it’s never to late to start! It’s a fun way to involve the kiddos, too! You can start by printing your own vintage-design seed packets, now available on my Easy shop. These are 100% original illustrations and designs made by yours truly. The back of each packet also includes a  companion planting list for that veggie/fruit,  along with a chef’s tip (when applicable) . Beetroot, eggplants, marigolds, radishes, and tomatoes are currently in the shop. I’m working on carrots, peas, cucumbers, basil, just to name a few.

Enjoy and Happy Gardening! 🙂

Cucumber and Cauliflower Salad

luluesque_cucumber-and-cauliflower-salad

If you are swimming in cucumbers from your summer garden, then you’re in luck! All my plants died in the scorching heat. 😦 For you lucky prolific gardeners out there, this is a great summer salad recipe to help use all those fresh cucumbers!

I’ve been alternating between kale salad (my go to!) and spring mix salad, and am frankly bored. I wanted to do something different. I was inspired by Food Network’s recipe, but decided to spruce up my salad with some cauliflower. I  have never seen this combination and I love cauliflower—why not? 🙂 This easy salad was a hit with friends and family. I love that it adds a nice fresh punch of crunch, hydration, flavor, and fiber to any main course!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 English cucumber ~ ends removed, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 small head organic cauliflower ~ cut or broken into small bite-sized florets
  • 1 medium shallot ~ thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea-salt
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill)
  • microgreens ~ I used a spicy mix
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large colander, toss the cucumber, cauliflower, and shallots with the sea salt and let it sit and drain for 20 minutes.
  2. Gently press the liquid out of the vegetables. Rinse well with cold water and drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and sugar and stir well. Add the cucumber-cauliflower mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Gently stir in the fresh/dried dill.
  5. Garnish with fresh microgreens and freshly ground black pepper. Serve chilled.

Slow-Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms

luluesque_slow-cooked shiitake mushrooms-1

Shiitake mushrooms are an edible mushroom with medicinal properties. They are mainly in Asian cuisine and are  very fragrant. They are the 2nd most popular mushroom in the world, right after the standard white button mushroom!
 
Dried shiitake mushrooms have more flavor and aroma than their fresh counterparts. Dried shiitakes are rehydrated  by letting them soak in water for several hours or overnight. The water is then strained and used to flavor dishes and soup stocks like dashi. The stems can be added to soup stocks for added flavoring, but are typically discarded afterwards because they are too chewy.
I find shiitakes intimidating to use in recipes, but was so pleasantly surprised to find that a Japanese recipe I recently tried was simple and fuss-free! They provide a vegetarian meal with some satisfying substance, thanks to the “meaty” texture. 🙂
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 large shallot ~ peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2″ ginger ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, julienned
  • 2 cups dry shiitake mushrooms ~ see prepping instructions below
  • 1 medium organic carrot ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1/2 cup shiitake liquid ~ strained
  • 4 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ optional
  • chopped cilantro ~ optional
HOW TO REHYDRATE REHYDRATE SHIITAKE 
  1. Place the dried shiitakes in a large bowl or cooking pot. Cover the shiitakes with filtered water (1:2 ratio; 1 cup dried shiitakes to 2 cups  water) and set it aside on the kitchen counter. Place a lid or plate over the bowl as the mushrooms can get a little “aromatic.” Let the mushrooms soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Squeeze all the liquid from the mushrooms. Cut the stems from the mushroom. Cut the shiitakes in half or to desired size for you recipe.
  3. Strain the liquid and reserve it in an airtight jar for later use. This liquid should keep for about 5 days, stored in the refrigerator.
luluesque_slow-cooked shiitake mushrooms-2
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Stir the shiitake liquid, evaporated cane sugar, and shoyu in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Very lightly brown the shallots and ginger. Add the carrots and cook them halfway.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the prepared shiitakes and sauté them until they are mostly brown. Add more oil as needed to avoid sticking.
  4. Pour in the mixture from step #1. Gently stir contents. Bring the liquid to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and let the liquid to simmer until mostly evaporated.
  5. Turn off the heat, remove pan from the stovetop, and add the sesame oil. Stir all the contents. Gently fold in the snow peas.
  6. Serve with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles (my favorite!) and garnish with black pepper and cilantro.

Lavender Culinary Recipes

Lemon-Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 T butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp dried lavender buds. Ground
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cup confectioners sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix cheese, butter and sugar in a food processor or mixer. Add other ingredients until smooth. Can be spread or piped onto cupcakes or cakes.

*recipe source*


Lemon Lavender Greek Yogurt Pound Cake

A recipe for incredibly moist Greek yogurt pound cake with tart lemon and flowery lavender.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces, weight) 2% Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. dried lavender

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one 9×5 (or two 5.75×3 mini) loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt, to the creamed butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat on low just until blended. Gently stir in the lavender.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

*recipe source*


Lavender Honey Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp lavender honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Cap, tighten the lid and shake well. Serve at room temperature.

*recipe source*