Sunday, April 26, 2009

Great Green Juice

Despite all my recent postings of cooked foods, I haven't forsaken raw green juices.

Being 'high raw' is not the same as being 100% raw. Being 100% raw is an admirable goal, but the steps along the way need to be gradual and most importantly, sustainable. Adding green smoothies and green juices is a great way to speed us along the road to vibrant health and better eating habits as we gradually free ourselves from food addictions, bad habits and poor food choices that are prevalent in the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Most of my green drinks are smoothies, some fruit with dark leafy greens blended in a high-powered blender. But I do include freshly made juices regularly. A combination of carrot and apple juiced together makes a great mid-afternoon sweet snack. And the green lemonade recipe provided by Natalia Rose in The Raw Food Detox Diet® book is a favorite that I turn to over and over.

Now that I've been making green drinks for almost 2 years, I do experiment a bit. Most times successfully, occasionally the results are not so good. This morning I took an assortment of fresh greens from the fridge that I thought would make a nutritious breakfast and taste good, too. Since it turned out to be a winner, I thought I'd better write down what and how much went into the juicer.
Swamp Water #9
1 heart of romaine
2-3 kale leaves
6 " piece of hot house cuke (or 1 reg cucumber)
generous handful of sunflower sprouts
1 green apple
1 lemon (peel and all)
1" piece of fresh ginger

Juicing adds dimension, variety and a multitude of nutrients to our daily diet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lentil Burgers
Dehydrated lentil burgers add a new dimension to raw food. While technically still raw, as they haven't been heated over 118° degrees, the crunchy texture provides a satisfying mouth feel.

I followed the easy recipe in Nomi Shannon's Raw Gourmet, which is a simple combination of soaked lentils and sunflower seeds, grated carrots and aromatics. The lentil burgers can be dehydrated by machine or placed in the sun or even 'cooked' in a slightly warm oven.

Fresh and slightly warm from the dehydrator, I had the patty 'taco style'. Red leaf lettuce served as the wrap, enfolding some crumbled lentil patty and fresh salsa.

One large ripe juicy diced tomato, half a diced sweet onion, a minced jalapeño pepper, with a pinch of sea salt and juice from half a lime and minced cilantro to taste, turns out an easy bowl of salsa fresca. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled to serve more.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Raw Broccoli Salad
Years ago, I often ordered the broccoli salad at Antonio's in Maitland. It was a wonderful crunchy taste treat, punctuated with bits of pancetta, pine nuts, raisins and laced with a sweet, slightly tangy dressing. Looking at the overabundance of broccoli in the fridge, I decided to attempt putting together a healthier version of that old favorite.

I chopped a couple of spears of broccoli, half a small sweet onion, tossed in some raisins and pine nuts and then dressed the mix with, what's quickly become a favorite dressing, Satay Sauce from Angela Elliot in her Alive in 5 book. It's a zesty combination of citrus, tahini, miso, and nutritional yeast, made even zestier with the addition of cayenne. This turned out to be a perfect sauce for the broccoli salad.

I highly recommend adding Alive in 5 to your cookbook shelves. Even if you aren't 'really into raw', the dressings, sauces and smoothie ideas will give a giant lift to your everyday meal preparations. It's a reasonably priced, soft back book with clear, concise directions and lovely color images of many of the featured dishes. I borrowed it from the library, initially. When I realized how many of the recipes appealed to me, I quickly bought my own copy from

Here's the plated salad with a sliced Florida tomato.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Meal in a Bowl
More beans and greens. The combinations are endless. Here we have some tiny, tasty, slightly sweet Tepary beans from Rancho Gordo mixed with collard greens, sweet onion and a bit of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. The liquid is the pot liquor from cooking the greens.

The Tepary beans were fine to eat on their own. In fact, I kept sampling forkful after forkful before combining them with the collards. I used Steve Sando's simple, foolproof, long, slow cooking method.(Check out his website or better yet, get his wonderful book, Heirloom Beans.)

Start with a bit of sautéed mirapoix (diced carrot, celery, onion) add the soaked beans and their soaking water, then after letting them cook for five minutes at a rolling boil, turn the burner down low enough to maintain a gentle simmer, and keep the water level just above the beans until they're tender. Then salt to taste.

The collard greens were cooked the day before with yellow onion, a couple of cloves of garlic and just enough veggie broth to let them simmer nicely until fork tender and still green. I reheated them with all their liquid, a minced chipotle and about a teaspoon of the accompanying adobo sauce, adding the beans and any remaining pot liquid from cooking them. Simmer gently to reheat and allow all the flavors to marry. Taste for seasoning.

Soba Noodles with Green Beans and Peanut (Almond) Sauce

I've posted this meal in the past. It remains a favorite. Love the crisp green beans playing off the tender buckwheat noodles and sliced shallots. Each component of the dish bathed in healthy almond sauce (which tastes just like peanut sauce). Crushed or sliced raw almonds sprinkled over the top adds to the overall taste and eye appeal.

This is perfect served at room temperature when first made. But is fine, straight from the fridge, if made ahead of time or served as leftovers.

More simple fare. Healthy eating that's easy on the food budget.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Radishes and Greens

I chose lovely large red radishes and crisp green leaf lettuce, organic and locally grown, as the main elements for my lunch when I shopped at Whole Foods on Saturday morning.

I remembered Patricia Wells telling about students using fresh radishes as the main component in an open faced sandwich in her book, Vegetable Harvest. The idea really appealed to me.

My take on the radish sandwich was a bit of a leap in improvisation from the description in the book, but it's the concept that counts, right?

The combination of sliced radishes layered over a schmear of goat cheese, sprinkled with sea salt and lemon zest and then topped with fresh, mixed sprouts was a novel topping to a crusty baguette. Dark, dense, moist slices of rye or pumpernickel would have been more in keeping with the printed recipe.

I added a few radish greens and a couple of radishes cut into match sticks to some of the green leaf lettuce, and dressed the salad with a dash of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

It was a great lunch revolving around 4 large radishes and 4 leaves of lettuce!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cooking for One Can Be Fun

Most days, breakfast is a thick, rich, green smoothie and lunch will be a big tossed salad or raw veggies with dip, often veggie sushi. Dinner time is when I indulge in cooked vegetables, grains and occasionally cheese. I limit dairy and gluten but a little now and then can be very satisfying.

I enjoy trying different ways to prepare good old stand-bys like various dark leafy greens, broccoli and asparagus. The image above was inspired by Chef Clifford Pleau at Seasons 52. The monthly newsletters from the restaurant chain include a video with Chef Pleau showing how to prepare the featured recipe or treatment. In March, the highlight was grilled broccoli with caramelized lemon.
The dinner above included a helping of caponata (eggplant relish), slices of whole wheat baguette with lemon infused olive oil and crushed mixed nuts for dipping and a mellow glass of an Argentinian Malbec.

Sesame Topped Broccoli and Soba Noodles
Broccoli sautéed with garlic and ginger, a bit of tamari and a dash of mirin, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, then topped with sesame seeds makes a wonderful sauce for soba noodles.
This was simply a quick sauté of sliced shallots, minced garlic, minced ginger and broccoli. Peel the stem, then slice and start with the aromatics. Add the florets at the end to keep them green and crisp.
Cooking the soba noodles (organic buckwheat) is as simple as boiling water. Bring water to a boil, add noodles being careful pot does not boil over, time for 3 - 4 minutes, drain and rinse with cool water. Once the broccoli reaches the desired tenderness, add a tablespoon of mirin (rice wine) and a splash of tamari, and a few drops of toasted sesame oil. Toss it all and plate it over the soba noodles, then give the dish a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Asparagus Melt

On an evening when the taste buds were crying for something ooey-gooey and salty, I made an open-faced roasted red pepper and asparagus sandwich. Using two slices of toasted artisan bread filled with pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, I steamed/sautéed the asparagus and a couple of large pieces of red cubanella pepper in a little olive oil and a little water.

Steam/sauté is a favorite one pot way to quickly prepare most vegetables. A little oil, a little water, a few crisp vegetables in a pot with a lid. Add everything including seasonings to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and turn down heat to medium. Steam for 4-5 minutes depending on the hardness of the vegetable. Pierce with the tip of a paring knife to determine doneness. Remove lid and let the water evaporate, tossing the vegetables in the remaining oil and letting it all sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Don't overcook. The desired result is a bright green glistening crisp/tender vegetable.

Heat oven to 350° while preparing the asparagus and red pepper. Toast bread, place on baking sheet. Spread each slice with a bit of spicy dark mustard, then cover with a piece of red pepper, then place asparagus on top. Grate a bit of cheese for the topping. I used Monterrey/Jack as that's what I had on hand. Gruyere or Swiss would be a nice choice, too. Slide baking sheet into hot oven for 5-6 minutes or until cheese has melted and is a bit brown in places.

Here are three simple, inexpensive, healthy alternatives to a trip through the drive-in lane at a fast food place. And above all else, each is a real taste treat.