Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dan's Plan Gluten-Free Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes Side Vegetarian

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

As summer dawns, it’s also peak watermelon season! Try this easy sweet side salad for your next BBQ or picnic. Refreshing and unique, just like the friends you are celebrating with.

Serves 6

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Dan's Plan Gluten-Free Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes Side Vegan Vegetarian

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Having some delicious golden potatoes on hand for a spontaneous dinner is always nice. After harvesting branches of rosemary from West Marin, I have plenty of the dried herb too. I prepared this basic starchy side to accompany some grilled meat and love not only it’s flavor, but it’s simplicity.

Serves 4

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Dan's Plan Events Projects

Urban Vermiculture

Vermiculture, or worm composting, allows you to compost your food waste rapidly, while producing high quality compost and fertilizing liquid. Best of all, it’s self-contained and nearly odorless: perfect for city living!

I have a long history with worm composting. My mother became a certified master composter and taught it in her Montessori classrooms since I was a toddler. We had at least one bin in our backyard at all times, eating our household’s food waste and also supplying all of our friends and neighbors with starter kits for their own vermiculture projects. And as a housewarming gift when we bought a home in San Francisco, my father made a custom redwood bin that stands beautifully in our tiny backyard. Although I must admit there was a time in my teenage life that I was a tad bit embarrassed by my family’s obsession with worm composting, both before and after that brief period, I was proud of this resourceful method that I learned. I recently found a book I made about vermiculture for a grade school assignment, complete with photographs of my best friend and me introducing our worm bin, the worms inside and the things they composted:

Perhaps the reasoning for vermiculture is a bit simplified in this piece, but it’s benefits are still apparent: less waste, more compost, healthier gardens.

Starting a Bin

Starting your own bin is simple. All you need are a few materials, some of which can be as basic as a store-bought plastic tub or as fancy as a custom-built redwood box. There are several great online resources for information on worm composting and storefronts with related products. I’ll share the basics here, but feel free to do some research on your own too:

Tree Hugger

Drought Smart Plants

Wood Worm Farms

Far Out Flora

Ingredients

  • worm bin (many sites sell these in various materials, some with multiple levels that make it easier to harvest the castings and juice, however you can also use a simple plastic tub or a wooden box with a tight-fitting lid)
  • 5 inch layer of shredded black and white newspaper
  • 10 inch layer of cocoa hulls, straw or shredded leaves
  • 1 quart of starter worms (most often one of two species rarely found in soil and adapted to the special conditions in rotting vegetation, compost and manure piles: Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or Red Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus).)
  • water to moisten worm bedding

Preparation

  1. Lay down the mulch layer of hulls, straw or leaves.
  2. Lay down shredded newspaper layer.
  3. Wet entire bed until damp and let drain for a couple of hours.
  4. Sprinkle starter worms (and any material they are in) on top of the layers and let them wiggle about in their new home.
  5. I waited a couple of days for them to get acclimated until I added my first bucket of food scraps.
  6. You will want to make sure the bedding material stays damp, but not soaked, until the food scraps begin to take up more area.
  7. Eventually, you will see worm castings and other organisms living harmoniously in the bin.
  8. At this point, I usually uncover a couple of inches of material from one side of the bin, empty my food scraps into that trough, then cover them back up.
  9. In a few months, you should have a thriving community and can probably even fill a quart-sized container for a friend or neighbor who wants to start a bin of their own.
  10. As needed, scoop some of the rich castings from the bin (avoiding the worms that wiggle away from the light when the bin is open) and use in your garden. You may also collect the liquid from the bin for the same purpose, (many store-bought varieties offer convenient spouts and shelf-like levels for easy collection).
Dan's Plan Gluten-Free Main Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut w/ Oyster Mushrooms & Coconut Rice

This meal was pieced together by various ingredients I picked up on a shopping trip to Rainbow Grocery the other day: bright green shelled pistachios, lovely green garlic bulbs and delicate oyster mushroom clusters, along with a staple, canned coconut milk. I had to find my fish elsewhere, yet I thought to myself how nicely these things would all go together. Crusting the fish adds a twist to the standard texture and the green garlic lightly flavors the mushrooms. Coconut is always a welcomed ingredient with my starches.

Serves 4

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Breakfast Dan's Plan Gluten-Free Paleo Perfect Health Diet Projects Recipes Vegetarian

Raw Milk Yogurt

I’ve always dreamed about making my own yogurt, but was a bit intimidated by the process. Cultures for Health offers a wealth of knowledge about the topic and also sells the supplies needed. I saw a few friends trying it out and was inspired to finally take the plunge, especially since I had just brought home two huge jars of raw milk from a friend’s farm in West Marin. Give it a try yourself; with these online resources and how-to-videos, you’ll feel at ease. I referred to their Raw Milk Yogurt Recipe this time, however I plan on testing out the other variations soon.

Makes 7 Individual Serving Jars

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Dan's Plan Dessert Gluten-Free Paleo Perfect Health Diet Raw Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Cherry Macadamia Cookies

This raw cookie recipe uses nutritious macadamia nuts with dried sweet and tart cherries, coconut and a touch of nutmeg.

Makes 5 Dozen

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Dan's Plan Gluten-Free Paleo Perfect Health Diet Raw Recipes Side Vegan Vegetarian

Cucumber-Dill Salad

Be cool as a cucumber with this very basic recipe that turns out a nice spring salad in a snap.

Serves 4

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Dan's Plan Dessert Gluten-Free Recipes Vegetarian

Skillet Apple Crumble

Fruit pies and tarts are my absolute favorite desert (and weakness). With this simple, gluten-free apple version, you can throw one together in a flash, either when you are expecting guests for dessert or are just in the mood for a sweet(ish) treat.

Serves 6

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Dan's Plan

Shaking Beef over Broccoli & Rice

Shaking beef was always a scrumptious mystery to me, until my friend Jane informed me that it’s quite aptly named after the movement needed to release the meat from the pan while cooking. Here I’ve simplified the usual marinade and served it over steamed rice and broccoli. Now get your shake on!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs tenderloin (filet mignon), cut into 1-inch strips
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup mild olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 crowns broccoli, divided into medium pieces & steamed
  • 2 cups white rice, steamed

Preparation

  1. In glass container with a tight-fitting lid, place meat, garlic, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, Chinese Five Spice and salt & pepper.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and no more than 12 hours.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, wine, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt & pepper.
  4. Into a wok or large skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and once smoking, add meat in one layer.
  5. Sear until brown crust forms, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip to brown other side, another 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the vinegar mixture and shake the pan to release beef, stirring if necessary.
  7. Add butter and continue shaking to melt and stir.
  8. Plate rice and broccoli, then top with beef and garnish with green onion.
Dan's Plan Gluten-Free Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes Side Vegetarian

Chipotle Slaw

With BBQ season popping up, here’s a twist on classic slaw that has just the right amount of spice and creaminess. Adapted from a Sunset magazine recipe and dedicated to my fellow slaw-lover, Paul (you know who you are)! Give it a try; it’s especially delicious paired with ribs or a roast chicken.

Serves 6

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