Potato Cakes with Bacon and Smoked Salmon + A Giveaway

Potato Cakes with Bacon and Smoked Salmon | ourfourforks.com | #glutenfree #paleo #dairyfree #recipe

“To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.”

– Wendell Berry

I met Diana Rodgers after an e-mail exchange about producing short films about food. Having just moved to New England, I travelled to her farm last spring, 25 miles outside of Boston, not knowing what to expect. What I found was a quintessential New England farm straight from a storybook; dogs running about, chickens grazing, kids coming and going. Clark Farm, run by Diana and her husband Andrew, is a real food paradise.

I had the pleasure of producing the trailer for Diana’s new book, the Homegrown Paleo Cookbook. It was during this filming that I learned more about Diana’s mission in life; to educate people about the positive effects of sustainably grown and raised food, not only on our bodies, but on the world.

 

 

As she mentions in the trailer, this book is for everyone interested in eating healthy food, not just those with a farm or following a paleo diet. Vegans, vegetarians, people living in the city or the suburbs can benefit from the information in this book. Not only is it a cookbook, full of seasonal recipes, but it is also a guide to eating well and producing great food. Beekeeping, starting a small garden, nutrition, choosing the best meat at the grocery store: it’s all covered.

There are so many amazing recipes in this cookbook (all gluten free and beautifully photographed by Heidi Murphy of White Loft Studio), it was difficult to choose which one to share here. I decided on Diana’s potato cakes with bacon and smoked salmon and I’m glad I did. They were delicious.

Homegrown Paleo Cookbook | Diana Rodgers | #paleo #glutenfree | http://www.ourfourforks.com/potato-cakes

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Butternut Squash Pot Pie

Butternut Squash Pot Pie | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

I didn’t intend to make this butternut squash pot pie.  A couple weeks ago, right in the middle of third (or fourth) blizzard, Josh was stuck in Baltimore and I was alone in the apartment in need of a project. I wanted to make pie crust – a gluten free and vegan pie crust – and after some searching, I came across this recipe. The pie crust called for vegan butter and vegan shortening, neither of which I usually buy, but included recipes to make both from scratch. Made with a coconut oil base and without weird ingredients, I decided to give both the butter and shortening recipes a try.  The butter surprisingly tasted similar to real butter and the shortening looked convincing, so I continued on to the pie crust. The recipe calls for regular wheat flour, but I used gluten free all-purpose, cup for cup. I was skeptical of the reviews that said the pie crust was “flaky, tender and buttery” and that the dough “rolls like a dream,” but the science was explained and I decided to give it a shot.

As those of you who are gluten free and/or vegan know, many things that claim to “taste like the real thing” are lying. But this pie crust is legit. Roasted butternut squash goes with anything in my book (as seen here, here, and here), and leeks make anything taste comforting to me. The filling for this butternut squash pot pie is extremely forgiving. If you’re vegan, simply substitute the chicken and bacon with chickpeas (as noted in the recipe), more vegetables or even tofu. If you eat meat, other types would be great here too (ground beef, chicken breast, pork – just remember to buy pastured, organic when possible). Leeks, cranberries, sage and thyme give this pot pie a distinctly wintry flavor that will go well with whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand, so feel free to experiment.

Butternut Squash Pot Pie | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

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Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

I try to get all of my grocery shopping done on Friday night on my way home from work. I love grocery shopping, but if I don’t try to squeeze it in between 5pm and dinner my first glass of wine on a Friday, it takes up too much of my Saturday or Sunday. I hem and haw over what to cook for lunch and dinner for week, what to make for the blog, furiously flipping through cookbooks, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Cooks Illustrated, Pinterest and by the time I’m out the door, half of Saturday is gone and I’m starving.

Friday night grocery shopping doesn’t necessarily mean my decision making is easier, but it forces me to commit ahead of my old schedule. Last week, I decided to buy ingredients for a “Chinese salad” because 1. more salads and 2. Chinese New Year. The new South End Whole Foods has TWO AISLES of bulk bins and when I spotted bulk black rice (aka forbidden rice), I had a salad vision and went with it.

Orange and Almond Black Rice Salad with soy ginger vinaigrette is full of flavor and texture. If you’re like me and need a break from all the heavy winter foods, this salad will be satisfying. It’s filling, but full of light and crunchy veggies, like cabbage, snap peas and scallions. Isabel has been encouraging me to make these sesame clusters for a while now, and I regret not having made them sooner. Along with the roasted almonds, the sesame clusters give the salad another dimension, making it heartier and more filling than most, perfect as a main dish.

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

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Crispy Baked Polenta with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Crispy Baked Polenta with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto | ourfourforks.com

It’s weird – I love cornbread, corn muffins, corn tortillas, corn bread stuffing, but I’ve never been into polenta. It’s not that I disliked it – I just didn’t have the urge to make it, order it or eat it. But my polenta perspective shifted recently when I ordered short ribs and polenta at friend’s birthday dinner and liked the polenta as much as the beef. This week, I saw a recipe for smoked porter-braised beef short ribs with polenta in Food and Wine (via the women at Food52) and made it immediately (with gluten free beer). And it was as good as it looks.

 

As a new polenta fan, I ventured into my cookbook library to find some polenta recipes I had previously skimmed over. Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, an old favorite, inspired me to bake and “bread” the polenta after letting it set, which is what I’ve done here. Crispy baked polenta with sun dried tomato pesto it full of flavor, texture and seasonality. It’s warm and comforting, but the little pop of basil gives a nod to warmer months to come.

 

Crispy Baked Polenta with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto | ourfourforks.com

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Winter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce

Winter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce | ourfourforks.com

January is when winter truly starts for me. The excitement of the holidays and warm weather vacations mask the cold of November and December pretty well. January in Boston – especially after spending some time in the Bahamas – is when real winter sets in.

 

I felt like I dove headfirst into January this week – right off the airplane into 20-degree weather and into the work week. Since it’s January I, like most people, would like to eat a little lighter and healthier than I have over the past couple of months but sometimes being slammed back into real life makes that seem difficult to do.

 

Instead of order from our neighborhood Tasty Burger, I decided to use of some healthy ingredients I had stored away and make enchiladas with pumpkin enchilada sauce. Using pumpkin purée and salsa from my pantry and vegetables and corn tortillas from my freezer, I was able to make a comforting, healthy and delicious meal to last a few nights – and avoid a tired, hungry, after-work trip to the grocery store.

 

Pumpkin enchilada sauce is vegan, gluten free and full of Mexican flavor with the seasonal creaminess of pumpkin. To fill the enchiladas, I roasted some vegetables I cubed and froze from my CSA – butternut squash, beets and parsnips– but any veggies will work here. Frozen corn, chopped kale, broccoli– get as elaborate or keep it as simple as you want. I always keep small 100% corn tortillas in the freezer for quick gluten free meals, but brown rice tortillas would also be good.

 

Winter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce | ourfourforks.comWinter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce | ourfourforks.com

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