Over the Salt

Mindful choices for healthy and low sodium cooking


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Tipsy Tarts

TipsyTartsRiaLoader2014

Tipsy Tarts – Photo by Ria Loader 2014

 

Tipsy tarts are a treat for the holidays. Laced with rum and brandy and sweetened with honey, the fruit steeps for a week in the refrigerator.

I tend to avoid cherries and nuts in my holiday fruit mix and instead use a more European combination of raisins, apricots and dates. I start with soaking chopped dates in boiling water with molasses overnight and then add the other fruit until the bowl is half full. Add half a cup each of a decent brandy and a dark rum. This time I included dark agave syrup, and a jar of local honey. Covered with plastic and put it in the fridge, stirring every day for a week. The fruit soaked up the grog and became sticky and delicious.

Spooned the resulting mix into tiny pie tarts (you can make your own or buy them pre-made – there are even gluten free varieties available).

I added a cup of the mix to a date cake and made delicious holiday cake as well.

Enjoy!


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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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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


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Refreshing summer salads II: fresh fruit salad

RedWhiteBlueSalad-RiaLoader

Red white and blue fruit salad – Image by Ria Loader

The past few weekends have included a trip to the local farmer’s markets, both in the U District in Seattle, and the new Shoreline Farmer’s Market at City Hall. The fresh produce has been delicious – tomatoes, tiny potatoes, greens and fresh fruit. This week I’ve been making fruit salad as part of dinner. It’s a good combination with a protein, and with creamy gouda on the side, it feels like dinner and dessert at the same time.

Red, white and blue

For 4th July, I made a red, white and blue salad using berries and nectarines.

1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
3 medium sized white flesh nectarines
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
crystalized lemon (1/4 teaspoon)

Chop the nectarines in 1/2 inch chunks, wash and combine the berries. No salt in the recipe at all. You can feel free to substitute the agave nectar for something else, sugar free vanilla syrup works, or honey if you like it better. The lemon adds a brightness of flavor to the raspberries. You could also use lemon juice.


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Refreshing summer salads I: pineapple and peppermint

Pineapple and peppermint salad

Pineapple and peppermint salad by Ria

Pineapple and peppermint salad by Ria

This refreshing salad is a delicious sweet treat for the summer and accompanies most vegetarian or fish dishes well.

  • Core a fresh pineapple and cut into small chunks / wedges
  • Pick some mint from the garden (about a cup) and chop it roughly
  • Combine in a glass bowl
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving

Thanks to my sister for the recipe. Especially for the suggestion of using chocolate mint on occasion rather than peppermint. Nom.

Variations

  • Try adding a quarter cup of finely chopped red onion for a bit of bite
  • Love ginger? This one is great with a little fresh rasped ginger root (not too much, just a taste)


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Golden comfort food

Potatoes

Potatoes with Onion Relish and corn

 

One of my favorite comfort dishes is tiny potatoes pan fried in a wok with herbs, accompanied by fresh-made onion relish. For a 3 pound bag of golden potatoes, I use only one stick of butter. It takes only ten minutes to chop everything, and twenty minutes to fry up the potatoes and then the onions. Drain the potatoes in paper towels in a bowl while you fry the onions at the end.

Ingredients
3 lbs of potatoes – golden baby potatoes
Herbs – Herbs of Provence, or fresh rosemary from the garden
Butter – no salt, a swirl of olive oil to stop the butter from burning
A teaspoon of olive oil
Greek yoghurt with honey (optional finishing ingredient to smooth out the flavors)

Pan
A non-stick wok, stir with a wooden spoon

Heat – High

Onion relish
Use the left-over browned butter in the bottom of the wok
Add chopped onions at high heat, stir constantly
A cup of raisons
Chocolate balsamic vinegar (regular white balsamic otherwise)
Two tablespoons brown sugar
Tiny chopped tomatoes
Finish off with a dollop of honey yoghurt

It is a dish with no salt, and the sweet and sour onion relish is perfect with it. Better than going out to a restaurant any day.