Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Faux Tuna and Nectarine Salsa

I love when the new issue of Vegetarian Times pops through the mail slot. The beautiful pictures, recipes, tips, are just oh so inspiring. The current issue highlights perfect meals to be enjoyed in this hot summer weather. I found the Sea Salad by Bliss Raw Cafe owner Dee Pissaro and a nectarine salsa the perfect hot weather lunch.  

Sea Salad (Mock Tuna Salad) by Dee Pissaro
serves 4

-1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seeds - soaked for 4 + hours
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4  cup chopped celery
-2 tbsp. finely chopped sweet pickles (I substituted the best relish in the world from oak grove farms)
-2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
-2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
-1 1/2 tbsp dulse flakes
-1 tbsp lemon juice

Drain sunflower seeds, and pulse with oil and salt in food processor until chunky paste forms. Transfer to bowl. Stir remaining ingredients into mixture. 

I put this on whole grain sprouted bread with dijon mustard, avocado, and fresh collards from our garden. It was the best sammy I've had in a long time!! 

For the Nectarine salsa I chopped up 4 nectarines, handful of cilantro, juice from one lime, 2 hot peppers from our garden, and half of a red onion. Then I baked a sprouted tortilla for chips. 


Monday, June 21, 2010

Cucumber Gazpacho

Is anything more satisfying on a hot summer day then a nice cold cup of gazpacho? Especially when the right vegetables (cucumber!) and herbs (mint and basil) are used to truly capture the essence of the season.
This gazpacho has absolutely no tomatoes, but instead is extremely simple and uses only cucumber, herbs, and toasted pecans. I learned from chef and author of Lucid Food, Louisa Shafia, that "fat carries flavor", so with that said if you feel that 1/4 cup of toasted pecans isn't enough, go ahead and add more! I think that garnishing each bowl with the pecans and fresh mint would be perfect. 

Cucumber Gazpacho 
serves 2

-2 cucumbers 
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-juice from half of a large lemon
-handful of chopped fresh basil and mint leaves 
-1/3 cup toasted pecans (some for garnish)
-salt to taste

In a blender, blend the cucumbers (you can peel them and seed them if you wish, but remember all the nutrients are in the seeds! and if you have a high speed blender no one will ever know), balsamic, lemon juice and herbs. While blending, lightly toast your pecans by either toaster oven or broil in the conventional oven for just a couple of minutes. When the gazpacho has reached a nice smooth consistency go ahead and add in 1/4 cup of the pecans and blend for a few more minutes. Taste. I probably added a tsp of salt, but of coarse add more salt or pecans to taste. Garnish with the left over toasted pecans and fresh mint leaves. 


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Simple Sushi

Ahh Sushi. One of my all time favorite "date" dinners. And for a long time I thought that it was just that ... a decadent meal only to be enjoyed once in a while where we spent oodles of cash because only japanese sushi masters were capable of creating these beautiful foreign wraps.

But boy was I wrong. Sushi is wonderfully cheap and simple when you do it yourself, and can still be a great "date" dinner enjoyed in the comfort of your own home with a nice Reed's Ginger Brew on the side.
My sushi roll included: short grain brown rice, cucumber, carrot, avocado, and a really great spicy peanut sauce. Plus, extra bonus, rolling sushi is super fun! I especially enjoyed cutting it; run your knife under hot water and the slices will come out perfect.

Here's the recipe for the Spicy Peanut Sauce I used:

-1 cup shelled peanuts
-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot
-2 tsp cayenne
-handful of basil (our plants our boooming!)

This adds a nice flavor and kick to the roll.


Saturday, June 12, 2010


I've only had one dream where I drank a beer and stuffed crisp warm french fries in my face and that's as close as I've come to "cheating" on my cleanse. Feels pretty great. This is the first weekend I actually went out and just ordered seltzer and OJ (sans the vodka please :) At the diner we went to this morning there was even an option for quinoa porridge sweetened with agave and fresh fruit ... perfect!
However, the cleanse (no caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars or flours) wouldn't be going so great had I not borrowed "RAWvolution" by Matt Amsden.

This book is rawsome! The recipes are easy, mostly fast (some require the ole' 32 hr dehydrator act) and delicious! The layout is simple and pictures elegant. Big recipe keys are found in the right hand corner of every page that let you know what you're getting yourself into by simple codes as easy as 1, 2, and 3 (1 easy recipe doesn't take a lot of steps and time to 3 multiple steps, and usually requires some drying time) to icons of what tools you'll be using (juicer, high speed blender, dehydrator...). His soups are amazing, and I haven't tried the famous onion bread yet but I can't wait until I do!!

Here's a recipe of his that is just delightful!  I made this egg-less egg salad to make sammies for lunch, but ended up eating half of it as dip with cucumbers right after it finished blending it was that good!

Egg-Less Egg Salad
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
-2 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
-1 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts or cashews
-1/3 cup chopped scallions
-1/3 cup chopped celery
-1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

In a high-speed blender, combine the water, lemon juice, turmeric, garlic, sea salt, and nuts and blend until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the contents of the blender with the scallions, celery, and bell peppers. Mix well and serve. 

Thank you Matt!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blueberry Walnut Black Bean Burgers (or Pate!)

Got a case of the Monday Blues ... me too! Only my blues are nutritious and delicious.
These burgers are of coarse banging .... but the best part ... if you don't want to take the time to cook them (ya know sometimes 5 extra minutes is just too long) then you have an amazing Dip/Pate. I actually like this recipe better as just a dip ... however ... it's not very eye appealing ... maybe if I lined the top with blueberries??

Blueberry Walnut Black Bean Burgers

-2 pieces sprouted whole grain bread of your choice ...
-1/3 cup blueberries
-1 tbsp. mustard
-1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp. liquid smoke
-2 cloves garlic
-3 tbsp. ground flax seed
-2 cups walnuts - ground
-1 16 oz. can of Black Beans

In a food processor pulse the bread into crumbs, when nice and crumbly remove and put into a mixing bowl.
Place the remaining ingredients sans the black beans and walnuts into the food processor and blend thoroughly. Pour that mixture in with the bread crumbs. Add black beans to the mixture and mash with a potato masher, then one cup at a time mix in the walnuts.
Form into patties and either grill (on tin-foil), bake or pan-fry.
I choose the pan fry method. I cooked each burger for about 5 minutes on each side, until they looked nice and burger-like.

...looks just like burgers!

I didn't even dress them ... just ate them as is... soo good, with a little relish ... all you need.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home-made Hummus

Hummus - nothing beats it. Especially during these hot summer days.
My "go to" meal has been hummus and tabouli. Such a perfect hot weather duo. Wrapped up in collards and topped with a couple of olives ... heaven.

This meal has also been perfect during my "cleanse" - a sort of detox - nothing too extreme - but for 28 days no processed foods, no alcohol, no caffeine. Today is day 2 and so far so good. I was dealing with a slight head-ache last night and when I woke, but that's it.
Today for breakfast I had a green smoothie with pineapple, kale, banana, ginger, ice, and flax along with a half of avocado.
Lunch was a sprouted whole grain tortilla with home-made red pepper hummus (recipe below - sooo awesome) and the other avocado half, hand-full of cashews, and a weird blueberry dip I was experimenting with ... it tasted like a smoothie. Back to the drawing board for that one.
Dinner was tabouli on greens with some more hummus, and let me tell you - I am stuffed. Drinking my seltzer it feels just great. But don't worry, that is the only meal by meal account you will get :)

On to the Recipes!

So home-made hummus is awesome for a number of reasons -

1. most kitchens have the ingredients stocked, so really the only thing you may have to bust open your wallet for is, say, a red pepper, or a can of chickpeas (.89), and it makes sooo much hummus - a much better value.

2. if you look on the ingredients of packaged hummus some can be tricky and throw in soy or corn oil, even sugar!

3. the nutrition label of processed hummus scares me - the sodium content is usually doubled that of the calories (sodium in a product should never exceed the calories per serving) and even the calories from fat is way over the recommended daily intake (which is 20%). Yes granted beans and olive oil and tahini are fatty, you control the amount of salt and olive oil you put in - the sodium is really what gets me personally ...

4. Why waist the packaging? and resources that go into packaging?

The best way to go is buying dry chickpeas in bulk and then taking it from there - however, with my lack of time I still opt for the can --- oh one day.

Anabell's Reliable Roasted-Red Pepper Hummus

-1 16 oz can chickpeas
-1/2 cup tahini
-1/4 cup water
-juice from 1/2 a lemon
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic
-dash of salt
-1 red pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Put the red pepper on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until the outside skin is slightly blackened. In the meantime, Bring a small sauce pan to a boil and put in your drained, rinsed chickpeas from the can. Boil for about 3 - 5 minutes, this tenders up the chickpeas and makes for a nice and smooth hummus. In a food processor blend all ingredients. I wait and put the red pepper in until last (only because I'm waiting for it to roast!). When your pepper is done, rinse under cold water and peel off the outside skin and take out the seeds and stem. Throw it in, and ENJOY!!

Perfect for a lunch or snack :) 

Getting ready for tabouli! Above is red onion, cucumber, tomato, dill, cilantro, basil, and lemon juice... just missing the bulgar! YUM!