Sunday, February 11, 2007

Healthy as a Horse - WHB

Maybe this is something familiar to many. As a food stuff for people, I mean.

It was not to me. At least, when I saw this stuff, I am sure I had never eaten any before.

Although that is surprising, it being the third on the list of most important crops in the US, as well as the rest of the world. Right behind corn and soybeans.

And healthy.

Bursting with vitamins, fiber, all sorts of useful things.

But it is mostly fed to the horses. As fodder. Being known to most as hay.

But the tender sprouts of this hay – alfalfa sprouts – are surprisingly tender.

So, as I was buying my weekly supply of sage, thyme, rosemary, arugula, and what all, I asked about the unfamiliar herb next to the thyme.

Alfalfa. Said the farmer’s market herb guy. What do you do with that, asked both TeenGirl and myself, in unison. She having been mildly infected with my fascination with all things new disease.

No idea, replied the herb guy. Some lady keeps asking if we have alfalfa, so I finally brought some. No idea what to do with it.

Well, that was already more than enough. If someone else was already in on the secret, we had to find out about this as well. So we grabbed a small bundle.

Turns out, of course, that this is nothing new or unusual. Maybe not high profile like other sprouts, and uncommon in mainstream markets, but not unheard of.

So off I went on the internet, looking for ways to take best advantage of my newly found alfalfa.

Fresh in flavor, a bit grassy, as you might expect from a sprout. A tad more in the direction of eating your fresh lawn clippings than a bean sprout. In fact, if you close your eyes while munching on a few alfalfa sprouts, the images of humid summer days with giant clouds floating in a painfully blue sky over the endless fields of my youth come rushing back. A few aspirin and a cup of strong coffee eventually took care of this problem.

But not a bad flavor. Different, for sure. But, maybe in the right combination, a pleasant flavor.

I found several recipes that combined the alfalfa sprouts with carrots. With the naturally sweet carrots complementing the alfalfa flavor somehow, and decided to base things on that.

A simple salad, based on grated carrots and alfalfa sprouts, napped around a somewhat overripe Haas avocado combined the carrot sweetness, the avocado creaminess, and the alfalfa freshness and crunch nicely.

Sticking with the low-fat theme, I made a dressing out of pureed almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, tamari, and wasabi powder. Which I whipped in the food processor with some warm water until a sort of almond mayonnaise resulted. Despite its super thick and creamy texture, this stuff is very low fat, has no cholesterol, and packs a wonderful punch with the wasabi and soy flavors layered o top of the lemon.

This week, we created Alfalfa and Carrot Salad with Avocado and Almond Wasabi Mayonnaise. For , sponsored this week by Kalyn herself, of .

A sprinkle of sliced almonds and wasabi powder on top, and a delicious appetizer was on the way to the table.

Print Recipe

Alfalfa and Carrot Salad with Avocado and Almond Wasabi Mayonnaise
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 2 as an appetizer

1 ripe avocado, cut in half, peel and pit removed, drizzled in lemon juice
1 large carrot
a bunch alfalfa sprouts
Almond Wasabi Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
almond slivers, for garnish
wasabi powder, for garnish

Slice the avocado halves into slices lengthwise. Reserve.

Grate the carrot as finely as possible, and pat with paper towels to dry.

Roughly chop the alfalfa sprouts.

Toss the grated carrots and alfalfa sprouts together, and arrange on a small salad plate. Place the avocado slices decoratively on the plate. Thin the almond wasabi mayonnaise with some warm water as necessary, whisking to combine, and spoon some of the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle with a few almond slivers, and a sprinkle of wasabi powder. Serve. Enjoy!

Almond Wasabi Mayonnaise
Recipe by surfindaave

110 grams (4 ounces) raw almonds (I used slivered, and left the skins on)
1 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp tamari or shoyu soy sauce
1-2 tsp wasabi powder, to taste
warm water as necessary

In a food processor, grind the almonds to a powder. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, rice vinegar, wasabi powder, and soy sauce, and puree, scraping down the sides, and. adding just enough warm water to create a mayonnaise-like consistency to the sauce. Let the sauce sit for 10 minutes. Add additional wasabi powder if desired, and add additional warm water, whisking to combine, if the dressing gets too thick (the almonds will continue to absorb water for a while).

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