Cauliflower Summer Salad with Crispy Walnuts

lunch kit week 3 Cauliflower Summer Salad with Crispy Walnuts

HAPPY LONGEST DAY! Cauliflower Summer Salad travels well and is a good addition to picnics or camping trips.

This salad reminds me of an old favorite couscous (or bulgur wheat) salad. This salad does not use any grains and is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS or a modified Paleo Diet.

Crispy Walnuts

1-2c organic walnuts, coarsely chopped
1T organic coconut oil
1tsp sea salt
In a cast-iron frying pan, melt some coconut oil over a medium heat. Add the walnuts and sea salt and stir while they toast. Don’t overcook. Remove from heat and store in the fridge for snacks or as a topping for salads.

Cauliflower Summer Salad

2-3c Cauliflower Side Dish, chilled
1/2 organic long cucumber, sliced
1/2c garden parley or lovage, chopped
4-6 garden radishes, sliced (optional)
2-3T garden chives, chopped finely (optional)
1/2c organic crispy walnuts, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
This salad is good with any fresh vegetables from the garden. Don’t be limited by the normal. Use your imagination and enjoy! In a large bowl, mix the Cauliflower Side. Dish with the vegetables and walnuts. Add sea salt and pepper, if needed.

Walnut Chocolate Toffee

walnut chocolate toffee Walnut Chocolate Toffee

Walnuts are one of the few nuts that can compete against the strong flavors in bitter chocolate. The dark chocolate contrasts nicely with this sweet, buttery dessert. This hard candy sits on top of the nut layer giving it a crunchy walnut bottom.

This recipe reminds me of Almond Roca without the almonds. The recipe would also be very nice with almonds instead of walnuts.

Nut Layer
1c organic walnuts, finely chopped
3T organic butter
1/2tsp sea salt

Candy Topping
1/4c organic butter
1/4c local honey
1/2tsp sea salt
1T organic cream
1T organic vanilla extract
1/4c organic 70% dark chocolate, pieces

In a cast iron frying pan warm the butter and sea salt. Add the finely chopped walnuts and stir for 6-8 minutes while the nuts brown. Line a 8″x8″ glass baking tray with wax paper. (Butter the wax paper if you make a soft, chewy candy to avoid sticking.) Press the nuts down into the tray. Put the tray into the fridge to continue cooling while making the candy topping.

Making toffee is a bit of a science and a bit of an art. Some people use the cooking time or temperature to decide if the toffee is ready. Others use the color of the toffee is tell what level of softness or hardness has been achieved. Another method is to drop a small amount of toffee into a bowl of cold water and test the firmness of the toffee between the thumb and forefinger. I find using the cooking time, the color of the toffee and the water test (when in doubt) works best for me.

In a sauce pan, warm butter, honey and sea salt and bring to a boil. Stir all the time and boil for 3-5 minutes. A longer boiling time will result in a harder candy. Remove the candy from the heat and add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well. Be careful, the hot mixture will foam up. Put the chocolate pieces into a 1c Pyrex measuring cup. Place the measuring cup into a sauce pan partly filled with water. Gently warm the sauce pan over low heat until the chocolate pieces are just melted.

Remove the tray of nuts from the fridge and spoon the hot candy topping onto the nut base. If the candy is soft it will melt into the nuts. If the candy is hard it will sit on top of the nut layer. Let this layer cool before adding the melted chocolate to the top of the candy. Spoon on the chocolate with a wavy motion to achieve an interesting pattern. Let the candy cool before removing from the tray. Remove the candy from the tray by grabbing onto the sides of the wax paper. Place the candy on a flat surface for cutting or breaking into pieces. Some of the nuts may not stick to the candy. These nuts can be reused to make more candy.

PLEASE NOTE: Adding more cream results in a consistency of caramel. Adding less cream, or none at all, will result in more of a brittle-like texture.

walnut chocolate toffee 2 Walnut Chocolate Toffee

When the toffee has cooled add the chocolate topping. With a teaspoon use a wavy motion to achieve an interesting pattern.

walnut chocolate toffee 3 Walnut Chocolate Toffee

This candy has been cooked for a shorter period of time resulting in a soft, chewy candy that melts into the nut layer. If you are going for a soft chewy candy, butter the wax paper to avoid sticking.

Walnut Choco Bar

walnut chocolate bar Walnut Choco Bar

Walnuts are one of the few nuts that can compete against dark chocolate.

This is a sweet and chewy bar with a strong chocolate overtone. Walnuts are one of the few nuts that can compete with the flavor of dark chocolate. Use at least a 70% chocolate for the best results.

2c organic walnuts
1/4c organic sunflower seeds
3T organic butter
3T local honey
1 pastured whole egg
pinch sea salt
1tsp lemon peel, freshly grate
1/4c 70% organic dark chocolate pieces
In a food processor, lightly chop the walnuts and sunflower seeds. Mix in the butter, honey, egg, lemon peel and sea salt. When everything is combined add the dark chocolate pieces. Spread and press down the dough onto a buttered, 8″x8″ glass baking tray. Bake at 325F for 20 minutes. Cut the bars into 16 or 32 pieces. Cool the bars in the fridge before serving.

Cauliflower Side Dish

curry cauliflower rice Cauliflower Side Dish

It’s easy to dress up this cauliflower dish with some fresh grated turmeric and peas making it a great base for curry.

This side dish is sometimes called cauliflower rice or cauliflower couscous. I have no idea where this recipe originates. It popped up in the Paleo Community as a substitute for rice or couscous. It’s great for people that cannot tolerate rice or grains or just want to increase their vegetable intake.

1 cauliflower head, finely chopped
1tsp sea salt
1tsp peppercorn, freshly ground
1/3c extra virgin olive oil or raw sesame oil
Cut the cauliflower into pieces. In a food processor, finely chop the cauliflower into rice sized pieces. Doing small loads makes the chopping go easier. Spread the finely chopped cauliflower onto a glass baking tray. Stir in the spices and oil. Mix well. The olive oil is better for western dishes and the sesame oil is better for eastern dishes. Cook at 300F for 40 minutes but stir every 20 minutes to avoid burning. The dish can be eaten hot as a rice substitute or cold in salads like couscous.

cauliflower rice 2 Cauliflower Side Dish

In a food processor, chop the cauliflower into rice sized pieces.

cauliflower rice 3 Cauliflower Side Dish

Spread the finely chopped cauliflower on a glass baking tray. Add the spices and oil before baking.

Turmeric Cauliflower and Peas

1-2T raw sesame oil
1-2c Cauliflower Side Dish
1tsp turmeric, freshly grated
1/4c frozen peas
In a fry pan warm the sesame oil. When hot, warm up the Cauliflower Side Dish and stir well. Add the turmeric and peas and stir everything while the peas unfreeze. The turmeric will turn the cauliflower yellow as it warms up. The dish is a great as a base for curry.

cauliflower rice 1 Cauliflower Side Dish

Cauliflower Side Dish can be eaten hot or cold. It’s a substitute for rice or couscous. It’s a good base for adding spices or vegetables.

Seasonal Foods: Cellar Beet Borscht

root vegetable soup Seasonal Foods: Cellar Beet Borscht

Now is the time to finish off any root vegetables that may be hiding in the root cellar.

The piles of snow are disappearing around Kamloops. The nights are still cold. I’m starting to see early signs of spring in the large groups of birds that stop and frenetically feed at the GO BOX Permaculture Project before moving on to the northern breeding grounds. I’m starting to hear the morning chirping of the birds and the beginning of green grass struggling to grow on south facing slopes. Now is the time to finish off any foods that are still sitting in the root cellar. Soon the first of the early spring greens will be coming up in the cold frames. Tasty weeds such as dandelion and chickweed will bless our table.

2-3T organic butter or pastured lard
1 large cellar onion, chopped
1-2 stalks organic celery, chopped
1tsp organic caraway seeds, freshly ground (optional)
1 organic bay leaf
1tsp sea salt
1tsp organic dill weed
1-2 medium cellar carrots, chopped
2-3 large cellar beets, chopped
6-8 frozen garden Roma tomatoes, skins removed
3-4c homemade bone broth
Saute the onions, celery, carrots, sea salt and spices in the butter or lard until soft. Add the beets, bone broth and frozen tomatoes. As the tomatoes unfreeze it’s easy to remove their skins, if desired. Cover and simmer the stew until the beets are tender. Serve with kimchi or sauerkraut. Some people like borscht with sour cream or yogurt or even a tablespoon of cider vinegar or master tonic.