Monday, April 30, 2012

Miso Lemon Tahini Sauce

When it comes down to it... It's all about the sauce.

Think about your favorite condiment.  Go ahead.

Something you could smother on anything and everything...

Ketchup, mayonnaise, hot sauce, mustard... the list goes on and on...

I tend to reach for a nice oil, be it olive, flax, toasted sesame or a nut oil, like walnut or pumpkin seed to drizzle over my food.  Sprinkle some flaky salt (smoked or otherwise) on top and I'm a happy camper.

But... then there are times when I want something with a little more oomph. 

Something I can use as a creamy salad dressing, use as a dipping sauce for steamed vegetables, crudites, or falafel.

Thank sweet baby Jesus for miso lemon tahini sauce.

Tahini makes up the base of this dressing. Tahini is a paste made out of ground sesame seeds and is high in B vitamins and calcium. Add in some raw garlic (immune boosting, anti-inflammatory and anti- bacterial), lemon juice (alkalizing, high in vitamin C) and miso (beneficial bacteria) and you have a pretty dang healthy condiment.

Miso Lemon Tahini Sauce

1/2 c. tahini
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 T. mellow white miso
1/4 t. sea salt
3-4 T. water

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  Use more water for a thinner dressing or less water for a dipping sauce.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Black Sesame Otsu

At first glance this dish looks a bit like noodles tossed with black sand with a plop of caviar on top.

Fortunately, the taste makes up for the appearance.. unless, you know, sand and caviar are your thing..

I came across this dish on 101 cookbooks, and was a bit skeptical at first. Black sesame seed paste tossed with soba noodles sounded a little bland to me, but I had everything on hand so I decided to give it a go. 

So. Freaking. Delicious..

Black sesame seeds are toasted in a pan 'till fragrant (along with some sunflower seeds) ground up, then tossed with some mirin, sesame oil, tamari, rice vinegar, a touch of sugar and a pinch of chili flakes for heat. Tossed with buckwheat soba noodles and some fresh herbs, this Asian inspired one dish meal is perfect for those nights where you need something quick and healthy in your belly before you collapse from low blood sugar.

I usually turn to this dish when the fridge is barren and there is not a vegetable in sight (other than a bunch of limp celery that somehow got lost behind a six pack of beer). 
However, this dish is great with some pan fried tempeh or tofu, some lightly steamed vegetables, a handful of kale or even some shelled edamame.

Black Sesame Otsu (serves 2-4)
Adapted from 101 cookbooks

2 t. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. black sesame seeds
1 1/2 T. tamari
1 1/2 T. organic sugar
2 t. mirin
2 T. brown rice vinegar
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
12 oz. buckwheat soba noodles
1/3 c. scallions, sliced
1/2 c. cilantro leaves
2 c. kale, thinly sliced (opt)
1/2 T. flax oil (opt)

Toast the sunflower seeds in a pan over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so, constantly tossing in the pan. Remove from the heat when you smell a hint of toasted sesame. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until you achieve a coarse sand like texture.  Place sesame seed mixture in a large bowl. Stir in the tamari, sugar, brown rice vinegar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the soba and cook according to the package instructions, until tender. Drain, reserving some of the noodle cooking water, and rinse under cold water.
Reserve a heaping tablespoon of sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/4 c. of the hot noodle water.
In a large bowl, combine the soba noodles, half of the scallions and cilantro and the sesame seed paste and toss gently to combine. If you are adding tofu, tempeh or any other vegetables do so at this point. (In this case I massaged 2 c. thinly sliced kale with some flax oil and added it to the noodles).
Serve topped with a dollop of the sesame seed mixture and the remaining scallions and cilantro.

Monday, April 16, 2012


These aren't your typical oatcakes.

Why do I know this?

'Cause I like to look up random facts on wikipedia, so when someone asks me a question on some far fetched subject I will inevitably know the answer.

One day I will be a finalist on jeapordy. Just you wait..

So apparently the Scottish, English, and Canadians all have there own version of a propa' oatcake. 

Some oatcakes are more cracker like or chewy, whereas others are more resemblant of a pancake.

This one here is neither cracker like or chewy and sure as hell doesn't look or taste like a pancake.

Although they look like mini muffins, they are more like a dense biscuit or a cookie.. A cookie biscuit!

My friend/co-worker Renee featured these on her awesome blog, Nourish Your Roots via a recipe from Supernatural Everyday's mastermind Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks.  Both of these ladies got it going on, so I figured if THEY liked them, I would as well.

Packed with oats, whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed, maple syrup, coconut oil and a little organic sugar, and some eggs these are perfect for a quick snack or breakfast on the go.. and because they are so dense, they keep you full for hours.

Oatcakes (makes 12)
Slightly adapted from Nourish Your Roots via Supernatural Everyday by Heidi Swanson
3 c. rolled oats
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. sea salt
1/4 c. flax seed
2/3 c. coconut oil
3/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. cane sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 325 with a rack in the top third of oven. Grease a standard 12 c. muffin pan with coconut oil Combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and flax seeds in a large mixing bowl.
In a medium saucepan over low heat combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and sugar and slowly melt together. stir just until the coconut oil melts and sugar has dissolved, but don't let mixture get too hot. You don't want to cook the eggs on contact in the next step.
Pour coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir a bit with a fork, add the eggs and stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough. Spoon dough into muffin cups, nearly filling them.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden. Remove pan from he oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cakes and tip them out onto a cooling rack. serve warm or at room temp.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

White Bean and Tuna Salad with Radicchio and Parsley Vinaigrette

It all started with an $11 jar of tuna...

Because I'm classy like that.

I've also been known to drink a 40 oz. out of a paper bag on the train, so I guess I ain't THAT classy... I'm just smart.

Spending that much on a jar of tuna was a bit of a splurge (especially when I only got two servings out of it), but it was sooo well worth it. It's hard to find a good quality canned tuna packed in extra virgin olive oil, so when some was recommended to me by my gay boyfriend/food aficionado I HAD to have it.

I decided to make a salad, 'cause that's what you do when you buy expensive jarred tuna.

I looked on bon appetit for some inspiration and found an amazing recipe for what is now my new favorite salad.

Bonus: It's super healthy (aka not topped with lots of cheese and homemade croutons, like my typical salads) and can be thrown together for a quick dinner.  Radicchio, cannelini beans, arugula, celery and tuna are tossed with a delicious parsley vinagrette.
That's it!
Pair it with a glass, uhhh I mean bottle of cheap white wine and you are good. to. go.

Expensive tuna... cheap wine.

Yup, that's how I roll.

White Bean and Tuna Salad with Radicchio and Parsley Vinaigrette (serves 2-3 as a main, 4-6 as a side)
slightly adapted from bonappetit

Parsley Vinaigrette:

2 c. packed flat leaf parsley (stems and leaves)
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 T. champagne vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

White Bean and Tuna Salad with Radicchio

2 medium heads radicchio, cored, leaves coarsley torn
6 oz. baby arugula
2 15 oz. cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 1/2 c. cooked beans)
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on an extreme diagonal
1 1/2 c. good quality olive oil packed tuna broken into chunks
sprouts or pea shoots (optional)

To make the parsley vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until wellcombined.
Place radicchio and arugula in a large bowl and drizzle with enough parsley vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large serving platter (or individual plates). Using the same bowl, toss 3-4 T. parsley vinaigrette with the cannelini beans and celery. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the beans mixture on top of the arugula and radicchio. Top the salad with the tuna and drizzle on more vinaigrette. Pile on some sprouts or pea shoots if you've got 'em.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Super Freaking Healthy Grain Bowl

Miso-lemon-tahini sauce?
Kale... massaged with FLAX oil?

I mean, really.. can you get any healthier than this??

Probably not.. unless you live off of wheatgrass, sprouts and bee pollen.. but then again, if you do, you might have issues. 

I had a couple glasses of wine beforehand.. it's all about balance..

I've been eating pretty darn healthy lately. You know.. lots of avocado, fruit, greens, sprouted and cultured foods and MORE avocados.  This meal was no exception.

Grain bowls are the way to go: Grain+ vegetables+ protein+ sauce+ add on's.

This time around I chopped up some kale, mixed it with a splash of flax oil and a pinch of salt and mixed it with my hands until tender. Then, I topped it with some cooked quinoa, shredded carrots, saurkraut, tamari almonds, lemon-miso-tahini sauce and some peashoots.  My bowl weighed roughly five pounds and I ATE. IT. ALL.

You can get really creative here based on what's seasonal and readily available.

The healthy grain bowl template:

First, pick a grain:

Rice (brown, forbidden rice, wild rice etc..)

Next pick some vegetables:

greens (kale, spinach, collards, chard)
carrots (raw or cooked)
beets (raw or cooked)
cooked sweet potato
green beans
snow peas
bell peppers

Get your protein on:

lentils or beans

Add some sauce:

lemon tahini sauce
peanut sauce
guacamole or smashed avocado
flax/olive or other nut oil

Throw in some add on's (aka fun stuff)

fresh herbs
cultured vegetables
pickled vegetables
nuts and seeds
hot sauce
sea vegetables

See where I'm going here?

You can keep your grain bowl as simple as you want (steamed vegetables and rice with some peanut sauce) or if you're feeling creative, you can make something a bit more elaborate (chopped kale, cooked millet, corn and black bean salsa, avocado, fresh lime, pumpkin seeds and sprouts)

Now go buy a big ass bowl and start filling it with some healthy goodies.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Raw Pesto Pizza with Tapenade and Cashew Ricotta

Ok.. let's be real, this isn't a pizza.

Although pesto and tapenade can be found on a traditional pizza, the rest of the ingredients don't really bare any resemblance. The crust is made from buckwheat and flax, brazil nuts stand in for parmesan, and blended cashews make a creamy cheese substitute. 

I love pizza as much as the next person, especially when it's topped with shaved asparagus, butternut squash, or corn and zucchini. I've been cutting way back on my dairy and cheese consumption, so I figured this would be a tasty stand in.  Sure, I could have just piled a ton of vegetables on a pizza crust sans cheese but I wanted to do something a little different...

I've been on a bit of a raw food kick lately.. maybe it's the warmer(ish) weather, or the need to do a little internal spring cleaning, or the fact that summer is on it's way and I'm not sure if my ass is going to fit into my bikini.

I made some buckwheat and flax crackers the other day and decided to use some as a "pizza" crust base inspired by a raw pizza I used to make when I worked at Cafe Gratitude.

So... I whipped up a batch of tapenade using some kalamata olives, capers, garlic, parsley and a little olive oil. Then I made my go-to pesto consisting of spinach, basil, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and a little lemon. 

The restaurant made a delicious brazil nut parmesan which I used to sprinkle on everything.. just brazil nuts, a little garlic and a pinch of salt in the food processor. 10 seconds. Done.

For the cheese, I soaked some cashews for about 4 hours and blended them with a squeeze lemon and some salt thinning it out with a little water.

First I spread the crackers with a bit of the cashew cheese, followed by the tapenade and then the pesto. Then I added a generous sprinkle of the brazil nut parm and a handful of pea shoots.


Raw Food done right.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Buckwheat Flax Crackers

A cracker that's 100% raw, super healthy and DOESN'T taste like cardboard...


Why, yes..

Very possible, indeed...

Sprouted Buckwheat makes up the bulk of these tasty little nibbles. Flax seed, carrot pulp (leftover from juicing), some olive oil and spices give these crackers great flavor and pack a huge nutritional punch.

Buckwheat is a gluten free grain (despite the name) containing eight essential amino acids. It is known to balance the mood due the high amounts of the amino acid, tryptophan and is also high in calcium, iron and vitamins B and E. It's alkalizing (unlike most grains that contain gluten) and is a slow releasing carbohydrate, giving you long lasting energy and if eaten regularly, can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Sprouted buckwheat is packed with live enzymes and vital nutrients, pimpin' up the nutritional benefits of this healthy little grain.

Wanna sprout some buckwheat? Let's get started...

Place 1 1/2 c. buckwheat into a large bowl or sprouting jar.
Add 2-3 times the amount of cool water and give it a stir.
Soak for 6 hours.
Drain in a fine mesh strainer and rinse REALLY well. Buckwheat becomes gelatinous when soaked, so don't be alarmed if it seems slimy, just make sure your grains are rinsed thouroughly.
Place in a large mesh strainer (or colander) and cover with a piece of cheesecloth. Rinse and drain your buckwheat every 4 hours (I usually do this three times). 8-12 hours after your final rinse, you should start to see little tails. Give one more final rinse and your buckwheat is ready to use. 

Buckwheat Flax Crackers

1 1/2 c. raw buckwheat groats
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1 1/2 c. carrot pulp
2 t. sea salt
1 1/2 T. Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T. extra virgin olive oil

Soak and sprout buckwheat according to the directions above. Place buckwheat, flaxseed, carrot pulp, sea salt, Italian seasoning, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add half of the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remainaing mixture. Stir the mixture thoroughly. With a rubber spatula, spread the mixture onto teflex sheets, about 1/4" thick (I got three trays worth). Score the crackers into desired shapes with a butter knife. You could do basic squares or triangles, or make larger shapes to use a a raw pizza cracker base. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 hours, then transfer to mesh trays. Dehydrate an additional 10 hours, or until crackers are crispy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Coconut Curried Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup

Two weeks ago it was in the mid 80's... and now it ain't. 

I want to eat salad, and peaches and drink sangria and mojitos on the front stoop gawking at the crazies on my block.

I want to sit in the park for hours, sipping on a mason jar filled with iced tea.. eating cherries, reading and soaking up the sun.

I want to go swimming in a lake and dig my feet into a sandy beach.


Instead, I sit inside, curled up under a blanket eating soup and toasted buttered baguette.

Where the hell is summer??

Luckily, this soup is awesome and will make you feel good until you can comfortably dance in the streets in your bikini.

Boom, Boom, Pow....

Coconut Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup (serves 2-4)

1 1/2 T. coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c . carrot, peeled and chopped
2 c. sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2" piece ginger, peeled and chopped
6 c. vegetable broth
1 c. red lentils
2/3 c. coconut milk
1/2 T. curry powder
1/8 t. cayenne
3/4 t. sea salt
black pepper, to taste
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add the sweet potato and carrot, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cayenne and cook for another minute or two. Add the lentils and vegetable broth. Cover and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender and the lentils soften, about 20-25 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until creamy. Stir in the coconut milk, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve hot.