Over the Salt

Mindful choices for healthy and low sodium cooking


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Sweet and savory onion jam with apricots, golden raisons, chocolate

 

I love the unexpected in cooking adventures, those times when you make something with whatever is on hand. Inspiration and serendipity go hand in hand. Today we had some spare chopped onions left over from making a pie filling. When I checked to see what else we had, the ingredients added up to the right mix for onion jam. Sweet and sour onion jam is very much like chutney. It is something I tend to make frequently as it keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. It can be used on sandwiches, added to other dishes or used as a garnish for other dishes.

Equipment

Skillet
Wooden spoon
Butter knife
Chopping Knife
Glass jar with lid
Measuring cups and spoons

Turn oven to grill and preheat

Ingredients

1/2 stick of no-salt butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup golden raisons
2 tablespoons baslamic reduction with blackcurrants
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup apricot sauce
(or jam if that’s what you have)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon herbs of provence
1/2 teaspoon garam marsala

Making

Put skillet or saucepan on high
Melt the butter and fry the chopped onions
Put in a double handful of golden raisons, which is about a cup
(feel free to use dark raisons, mixed raisons, tiny thompson raisons)
Add spices and stir regularly
Add the brown sugar and continue stirring
Next add the vinegar and the chocolate chips
Add fruit sauce and stir into the bubbling mix
Turn the stove off and allow it to cool down

Spread on flatbread with shredded cheese
(we like sharp cheddar or asiago)
Grill until cheese is melted

Serving

Serve with fruit in season and creme fraiche

 


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Coconut Ice treats

2016-05-11 14.01.08.jpgI was visiting in Australia recently and tasted a childhood treat, Coconut Ice. My sister, Colleen, helped me track down a version of coconut ice from Darryl Lea, the confectionary company. When I got back to Seattle, I wanted some more, so I hunted down recipes online.

The American version of  coconut ice is made with condensed milk, confectioners sugar and finely shredded coconut. I tried it out, but ultimately took it to work to share with work mates It wasn’t to my taste. The milk gave it a different flavor and it wasn’t quite right.

Next, I tried out a couple of Australian and British recipes, settling on a version made with Coconut oil (copha), coconut (shredded), confectioners sugar, vanilla and egg whites. This made a smooth, delicious recipe that set up in the refrigerator. It lasted about a month after making, which I think shows quite a bit of restraint. I only ate it occasionally, and I di remember to share.

Warning: Not a health food. Eat sparingly as a treat.

Recipe

(with conversions done from metric)

1/2 cup coconut oil

Half cup of coconut finely shredded

A cup of confectioners sugar (sifted)

2 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

red or yellow food dye

Instructions

Combine the dry ingredients, add vanilla and egg whites

Add the coconut oil (if solid, melt it to butter consistency)

It needs to be stiff enough to hold together (like playdough) but not too hard

Divide in two. Add the food dye to one portion.

Put the white part down first into a food storage container (about an inch thick), then the colored mixture on top. Refrigerate for an hour. Lasts in the refrigerator for a month.

Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 mins before serving

Enjoy!

 


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Making fluffy scones

2016-04-16 18.27.09I’ve been playing around with the recipe for the past couple of months. Lately, what I’m making is more like fluffy biscuits than scones. They’re light, tall, and more like muffins than those hard flat rock-like things. I’ve been adding eggs, fruit and juice, sometimes leftover jam (well I never eat the last third of a jar of jam, so may as well do something with it) and various spices.

Basic recipe

  • 3 cups flour
    (or gluten free substitute – don’t forget to add xanthan gum if you go this route)
  • 2/3 of a cup of sugar-like substance
    (baking sugar, brown sugar, date sugar, xylitol)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • lemon crystals
    (makes all the flavors better)
  • 1/2 cup liquid of some kind
    (milk, juice, rice milk)

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Put parchment paper on the cookie tray

Preparation

  • The key is to avoid overworking the dough
    Combine the dry ingredients and any fruit
    Melt the butter, pour it in and squish it around with your hands to coat all the flour and make crumbles
  • Add the eggs and whatever liquid you’re using
  • Add more flour if you need to just adhere all the ingredients into a ball of dough
  • Flatten on a flour coated board
  • Cut out with a cookie cutter
  • Handle as little as possible
  • Arrange on the tray and put in oven on a top shelf for 19 minutes

Variations

  • Blueberry + White Chocolate
    Add a pint of blueberries and a cup of white chocolate chips to the dry mix
  • Peach and Orange/Ginger
    Add a cup of diced peaches + ginger / orange powder (teaspoon)
  • Curry Cheddar
    Add 2 cups shredded cheese + teaspoon curry powder to dry mix
  • Dried Fruit
    Add a cup of dried fruit (diced apricot, raisons, apples etc) to dry mix

2014-10-25 16.39.32.jpg

 


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Fall mushroom hot pot

This weekend, we picked up some fresh mushrooms to make a delicious one-pot savory dish to serve with rice.

whiteMushrooms2

Ingredients

3 large cups white mushrooms, sliced
silken tofu, rough chopped
thyme, pepper
garlic, 2 teaspoons
Worcestershire sauce 1/4 cup
lime and lemon juice
coconut milk
olive oil

Cooking

Sautee the mushrooms in olive oil and garlic
Add lemon, lime and Worcestershire sauce
Stir in coconut milk and simmer with thyme
Add chopped tofu
Add pepper to taste
Serve with rice and orange wedges for color


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Quick easy pancake crepes

These are not really pancakes, nor yet crepes, but fall somewhere in between as ‘pancrepes’. The main difference is in the consistency of the batter and the number of eggs. I also serve these as sweet rather than salty. Most recipes call for salt, which I leave out altogether, or call for both baking soda and baking powder. I just use a teaspoon of baking powder for the whole mix, bringing the whole down to a fraction of the salt found at restaurants. You can leave the egg out if you like – I like the flavor it adds. Same for the whipping cream. You can use just milk, or milk and water to make a thinner recipe.

Pancake crepes 'pancrepes' with maple syrup and lemon

Pancake crepes ‘pancrepes’ with maple syrup and lemon

Ingredients

2 cups of flour 1/3 cup of baking sugar (fine) 1 cup milk 1/3 cup whipping cream 1 egg 1 teaspoon baking powder Butter for the pan Maple syrup and ‘true lemon’ crystals or lemon juice

Preparation

Sift flour and baking powder a couple of times to combine Combine with the sugar Make a well Pour milk into the well, mixing the dry into the wet to avoid lumps Keep pouring the milk in a little at a time until all combined. Reserve some milk. Pour in the cream and mix in with a fork or knife Add the rest of the milk (you can add more to make the mix thinner if you like) Rest the mixture in the refrigerator for half an hour or so before cooking Put it into a container with a spout so you can pour it Heat a non stick skillet until a drop of water sizzles Add a little butter to coat the pan Keep the butter handy to coat the spatula Pour small circle into the pan and tilt the pan around to make the circle larger (4-5″) When first bubbles form (count 15) turn it over (count 15) Makes around 25 ‘pancrepes’ 5 minutes to mix the batter | wait half an hour | 15 minutes cooking time (you can make the batter the evening before and cook these up for breakfast) Put remainder into a container and microwave for 15 seconds for each plate of 3 Makes an easy stand-by snack if you are busy around the house


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Wild catch coho salmon

It is that lovely time of year when Coho salmon is fresh-caught and available in the local market, along with fresh local greens. Refrigerated, but not frozen, the salmon bakes up in just twenty minutes for a medium rare salmon steak. This is my second week enjoying it with a light salad and smashed yellow potatoes. Seasonal and delicious, both wins.

Medium rare coho salmon over potatoes with green salad. Photo by Ria Loader

Medium rare coho salmon over potatoes with green salad. Photo by Ria Loader

Ingredients

Salmon
Butter lettuce
Tiny tomatoes, halved
White baslamic infused with peaches and citrus
Yellow potatoes, steamed, mashed

Cooking

Oven at 350 degrees
Salmon steak with lemon zest, mango puree and pepper
Bake for 15-20 minutes

Rough slice butter lettuce
Slice tomatoes in half
Drizzle with white baslamic infused with peach / citrus
(white baslamic will do okay. Add some zest to taste)

I added a scone sliced in half as I had made those the previous day

Coho salmon, fresh scone and greens - Photo Ria Loader

Coho salmon, fresh scone and greens – Photo Ria Loader


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30 minute scones

Scones or biscuits

Scones photo by Ria Loader September 2014

My sister taught me this recipe when she was here over the summer. In Australia we call these ‘scones’ and in America, these are often called ‘biscuits’. It’s a quick recipe that relies on the ‘shortness’ of the pastry by way of butter. In this case, it is low salt, and low sugar, but not low in fat, just so you know. The buttery taste is the point, in this case. Something that satisfies the craving for fat, but without blowing out the salt requirement. Giving in to cravings occasionally is a good way to stick to the low-salt diet.

Ingredients

2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons flour for coating the final mix
1/2 cup baking sugar (or splenda, xylitol, date sugar, your choice)
1 egg (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (or substitute)
1 stick of butter

Optional

Chopped dates, apricots, sultanas, raisons

Method

Combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, fruit
Soften the butter and combine by hand until it makes ‘crumbles’
Make a well in the middle
Add the milk (Colleen says the milk should be 1/3 up the well so vary accordingly. I just pour it by eye)
Combine by hand until it sticks together
(yes, you can add extra flour or milk to make it sticky but maleable but do not overwork it)
Form into a rough square about an inch thick
Cut with a knife into 12-16 pieces
Rough form with palms and put onto parchment covered baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart
Put into pre-heated oven at 400 degrees farenheight for 18-22 minutes until golden
Done when they spring back
Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Eat within 3 days or freeze to enjoy later

Visual Stages - photo by Ria

Visual Stages – photo by Ria overthesalt.com