Living the WELL Life

Dairy-Free For All - by Christina Pirello

Friday, June 11, 2010

June is National Dairy Month and I can’t help but cringe every time I see the “Got Milk” ads and hear nutritionists talk about the health “benefits” of milk and other dairy products.  Research shows that dairy is hazardous to our health.  If milk is so great for us why is 75% of the world population estimated to be lactose intolerant?  In addition to digestive issues, dairy consumption has also been linked to acne, allergies, Type I diabetes, and even cancer!  You heard me, cancer. 

So instead of stocking your fridge with milk and cheese be sure to check out your grocery store for the ingredients below.  Celebrate a healthier tomorrow with a dairy-free dinner menu!  Be well! 

Cream of Mushroom Soup 
Fettuccini Alfredo
Savory Root Vegetable Cobbler with Chive Biscuits 
Greens-Filled Ravioli
Vanilla Flan

Cream of Mushroom Soup
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
Sea salt
1 pound fresh button mushrooms, diced
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, soaked until tender, diced
5 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
3 cups Mushroom Stock (see below)
3 cups unsweetened soymilk
4 tablespoons mirin or white wine
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
4 button mushrooms, caps only
2-3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced, for garnish

Mushroom Stock:
1 onion, cut lengthwise into thin slices
8 or 9 cups spring or filtered water
Several green onions or a small leek, cleaned and diced
2 or 3 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked until tender and thinly sliced
Sea salt
2 cups button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 carrot, diced
2 bay leaves
2 fresh parsley springs

To make the mushroom stock, combine onion and about 1/2 cup of the water in a soup pot over low heat and simmer 1-2 minutes. Add green onions and shitakes and soaking water with a pinch of salt and simmer 15 minutes. Add the remaining water and other ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered over low heat about 1 hour. Strain the stock, pressing as much liquid as possible from the vegetables before discarding them.

Place 4 tablespoons oil, garlic and onion in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, a pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring to create a thick paste, like a roux. Whisk in stock, soymilk and wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the soup returns to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid lumping. Remove a small amount of hot broth and puree miso until smooth. Stir into soup and simmer 3-4 minutes more.
While the miso simmers in the soup, slice the remaining mushrooms and heat the remaining oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms until golden, about 3 minutes. Serve the soup garnished with sautéed mushrooms and minced parsley. Makes 6-7 servings.

Fettucini Alfredo
The sauce:
1 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon sweet white miso
2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 tablespoon rice syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Spring or filtered water
1 8 oz. package fettuccine

To make this sauce, place nuts and miso in a food processor. Slowly add all the liquid ingredients, except water, until well-blended.  Add water in small amounts to adjust the consistency. It should be a gently sweet, mild taste. Transfer to a saucepan and warm gently for about 1 minute, just to cook the miso and oil, but not enough to turn the vinegar bitter.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook fettuccine al dente. Drain; do not rinse pasta. Toss immediately with sauce and serve.

NOTE: Sometimes, I finish off this sauce with a small amount of fresh lemon juice squeezed over the whole dish just prior to putting it on the table.

Savory Root Vegetable Cobbler with Chive Biscuits
Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
Sea salt
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 small winter squash, seeded, diced
2 small turnips, diced
2 carrots, diced
1, 2 ounce package dried porcini mushrooms, soaked until tender, diced, reserving soaking liquid
8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until tender, diced, reserving soaking liquid
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup Pearl Original Soymilk
1 cup frozen petite peas
3-4 fresh chives, finely minced
1-2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour

Chive biscuits
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup finely minced fresh chives
6 tablespoons avocado or light olive oil
Pearl Original Soymilk

For the filling, place a small amount oil, onion and garlic in a deep pot and turn heat to medium.  When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions begin to color, 4-5 minutes.  Add celery, squash, turnips and carrots, a pinch of salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add porcini and shiitake, their soaking liquid and cumin.  Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking until vegetables are almost cooked, 10-15 minutes.  Add soymilk, season to taste with salt, stir in peas and cook for 5 minutes more.  Stir in chives and flour, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  Divide mixture evenly among 6, 2-cup soufflé cups or baking dishes. Set aside while preparing the topping.

For the biscuits, combine flour, baking powder, sea salt and chives in a mixing bowl.  Cut in olive oil with a fork to create a crumbly texture.  Slowly add soymilk to create a soft dough, but not sticky. 
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until it holds, 1-2 minutes.  Divide dough into 6 equal pieces and pat each one into a round just slightly smaller than the soufflé dishes.  Place a biscuit on top of each soufflé dish, allowing some filling to show around the edges.  Place dishes on a large baking sheet and bake until filling is bubbling and topping is golden, 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 6 servings.

Greens-Filled Ravioli
Extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
2 yellow onion, diced
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Scant pinch nutmeg
Sea salt
1 cup pine nuts, ground into a course meal
1 small bunch kale, rinsed well, finely minced
4-5 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, finely minced
1 recipe ravioli dough (recipe follows)
Juice of 2 lemon
2-3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced

Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onions in a deep skillet and turn heat to medium.  When the onions begin to sizzle, add red pepper flakes, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in ground pine nuts and kale, season lightly with salt and sauté until the kale wilts, about 4 minutes.  Stir in basil and sauté for 30 seconds more.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool. 

When the filling is completely cooled, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle, about 6 to 24 inches.  Space spoons of filling along the dough about an inch apart, along one side of the rectangle.  Brush the edges and in between the filling with water and fold the dough over the filling, creating a long thin cylinder.  Press the dough together between the filling.  Using a pasta cutter, cut the ravioli.  Using your fingers or a fork, press the dough together around the four edges, sealing the ravioli. 

To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil and drop fresh ravioli into the water.  Cook over medium high until the ravioli float to the top of the water.  Drain well.  Transfer the ravioli to a serving platter and drizzle generously with a fruity olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and fresh lemon juice.  Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.  Makes 2-4 servings.  

Ravioli Dough
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill semolina flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm spring or filtered water

Vanilla Flan

1/2 cups Pearl Creamy Vanilla or Tropical Delight Soymilk
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, pulp removed
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons agar flakes
1 tablespoon kudzu, dissolved in small amount cold water

5 tablespoons barley malt
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Place soymilk, rice syrup, lemon zest, vanilla pulp, salt and agar in a saucepan and place over low heat.  Cook, stirring, frequently, until agar dissolves about 20 minutes.  Stir in dissolved kudzu, stirring until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.  Spoon mixture into 4-5 lightly oiled 5-6 ounce custard cups or ramekins.  Set aside for 20 minutes.  Place in refrigerator until firmly set, within an hour.

To serve, invert ramekins onto individual serving plates.  Make the glaze by combining barley malt, rice syrup and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a high boil, foaming.  Remove from heat, whisk in lemon juice and cool for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk to loosen and spoon over each flan.  Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves or seasonal berries.  Makes 4-5 servings.


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