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Archive for May, 2011

Cauliflower melds really well with briny Mediterranean foods like olives and capers.  Making this chunky-style pasta topper is a great way to integrate another cruciferous vegetable into your diet.    I like to serve it over olive oil-dressed spaghetti squash.

Oh and…save those tender outer green leaves that cradle the caulifower!  They’re full of great phytonutrients because they, unlike the cauliflower, were exposed to the sun while the plant grew.  Use them in your salad or garnish the plate with them for a little nibble on the side.  [Ever wonder why cauliflower is white?  No need to produce pigment-rich anti-oxidants if you’re already protected from the elements!]

 

Spicy Cauliflower with Olives

Ingredients:

1 small head cauliflower [@ 3.5 cups florets]

1 large onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1-28oz can chopped tomatoes

½ cup capers, rinsed

~24 black olives [Whichever kind you prefer, I used Botija olives because I had them on hand.]

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 T dried oregano

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried red pepper flakes

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 dried Turkish bay leaves

2 cups water or vegetable stock

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil, for sautéing the vegetables

Directions:

Sauté the onions, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, thyme, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes over medium heat in a drizzle of olive oil until the vegetables have softened.

Add the cauliflower florets, tomatoes, capers, olives, bay leaves and water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender and the water volume has reduced by at least half.  Season with salt and pepper.

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One of my favorite Indian dishes is daal.  There are so many variants of daal that this “dish” could fill a cookbook.  I made this version after picking up a jar of tamarind paste and daydreaming about what to do with it.  The tartness of the tamarind is a wonderful surprise that is mellowed and smoothed by the canela.  Though black beans are traditionally used in latin dishes, they worked really well with these Asian flavors.

Tamarind Daal

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced

2 cups dried black beans

1-1/2 cup yellow split peas

1-15 oz can sweet potato purée

1-15 oz can coconut milk

1-2 T tamarind paste [I used Neera’s]

1 large cinnamon stick [I used a stick of Mexican cinnamon called canela]

2 star anise pods

~ 2 quarts vegetable stock [to cook the black beans]

Coconut oil for sautéing the onions and garlic

Optional garnishes:  fresh cilantro, non-dairy yogurt [So Delicious plain yogurt is our choice], cinnamon nibs, shredded coconut.

Directions:

Soak beans overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Place in a large pot and cover with vegetable stock by a couple inches.  Add the star anise and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Add the split peas and continue cooking until the beans and peas are tender.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sauté the onions, ginger and garlic in a spoonful of coconut oil until softened.  Using a whisk, mix the sweet potato purée, coconut milk and tamarind together until the mixture is homogenous.  Add into the pan with the onions.  Cook covered on a low simmer for ten minutes.  [Taste for seasoning and if you want to add more tamarind to make the sauce tarter, now is the time to add it in.]

Once tender, drain the beans and remove the star anise and cinnamon.

Transfer the beans to an oven-safe dish and stir in the sauce mixture.  [If you need to extend the sauce, add in some vegetable stock or water.]

Bake at 350°F until bubbly.

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Hummus is a true comfort food in our house.  We love to make wraps with it or use it as a healthy and filling vegetable dip.  This version is sweeter than traditional hummus because of the roasted carrots, but it’s fabulous, especially for youngsters who tend to have a sweeter tooth.  It’s also a great way to tuck the goodness of a vegetable into a dish where you’d least expect one to be lurking!

 

Roasted Carrot Hummus

[Makes ~4 cups]

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked garbanzo beans

3 cups carrots, roasted [Cut into large chunks and toss with olive oil.  Roast at 400°F for 45 minutes.]

½ cup roasted tahini

¼ cup olive oil

juice of two large lemons, zest of one

1 ½ T cumin

½ tsp coriander

½ tsp sweet paprika

4 cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth.  [You can adjust the thickness of the hummus by adding in water to thin it out if desired.]

Serve garnished with sesame seeds and a dusting of paprika.

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To my mind, kale is the rock star of all greens.  I integrate it into at least one meal a day and sometimes it’s as easy as simply stuffing a handful of it into our morning green smoothies.  Most times though I try and keep it intact in shape and form and celebrate its texture and flavor through both raw and cooked means.  I think it’s important to incorporate an abundance of raw foods into our diets, along with the cooked,  in order to provide the widest possible variety of nutrients so that we may not simply live but that we may thrive.    

 

Mediterranean Kale Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch Lacinato/dinosaur kale, sliced into thin ribbons

¼ cup pine nuts [toasting optional]

¼ cup Kalamata olives, sliced

6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and cut into slivers

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

¼ cup olive oil [I actually use an omega 3-6-9 blend  for most raw dishes and/or salads that contains olive oil]

2 T fresh lemon juice and zest of one lemon

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Sea salt

Directions:

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag and marinate at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.  The longer it’s allowed to marinate, the softer the texture of the kale will be.

Bring to room temperature before serving.

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This soup will play with your tongue in an amazing way.  The raw tahini [still rich in calcium because the seeds were unhulled] is an integral component that adds a luxuriant richness to the broth.  It has become one of my favorite soups to make because of  its compelling  flavors, wonderful texture and, importantly, because it’s so easy to make.  It literally takes 5 minutes to whip up this soup broth.  I know that come summer, when we’re out hiking and biking all day long, this raw soup broth will be a lifesaver when it comes to time and a meal that we’ll look forward to often.

Silken Tahini Miso Soup 

This soup broth can be kept raw if unheated and enjoyed at room temperature or cold.

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

½ cup light miso [I use South River miso products because they’re beyond fantastic.]

¼ cup raw tahini [Artisana makes an outstanding raw tahini.]

¼ cup soaked almonds [Soak for at least 4 hours in filtered water; overnight is fine.]

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 ½ T nama shoyu

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 lemongrass stalk

½ inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove

1 cup baby spinach leaves

½ cup zucchini, diced

½ cup carrot, diced

½ cup diced red bell pepper, diced

*sprouted wild rice, optional [Simply soak wild rice overnight in filtered water and then drain.  Place into a nut milk bag and rinse twice daily for 5 days.]

Directions:

Place the soaked almonds, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, red pepper flakes and garlic into a blender along with 4 cups of filtered water.  Blend until smooth.  Strain through a nut milk bag or fine cheesecloth into a pot large enough to accommodate the soup.

Whisk in the raw tahini, miso and nama shoyu until homogenous.

[At this point, you have a lovely raw, silken and incredibly flavorful soup.  If you dig completely raw vegetables, then simply add the diced vegetables and serve as is.  I prefer to have some of  the vegetables quickly blanched to give the carrots a slightly softer texture and to remove the raw squashy flavor of the zucchini.]

Into a pot of simmering water add the diced carrots.  Set the timer for 2 minutes.  At the one minute mark, add in the diced zucchini.  Drain and place into a bowl of ice water to quench the cooking.  You want the vegetables to maintain their crispness and not continue to cook.

Into each of two bowls, place ½ cup of spinach leaves, ½ of the diced red bell pepper and ½ of the blanched vegetables.  Pour half of the soup [warmed on the stove top or room temperature to maintain the raw state] over the vegetables and serve immediately.

As an optional ingredient, you can add in some sprouted wild rice for a nice textural contrast while still keeping it raw.

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