Friday, August 28, 2009

Savory Smoothies
Lunch or dinner calls for a more grown up version of the standard green smoothie. With a new Blendtec gracing my counter, I've become an absolute smoothie fanatic this week.

Fruit and greens in the morning, blender soups at lunch, fruit ices and iced fruit drinks in the afternoon, you name it, I'm trying it!

Encouraged by the 3HP motor which whispers, "give me your strong and your fibrous - I'll purée them in seconds", I decided to make a savory smoothie for lunch today. With the popular conventional vegetable juice in mind—you know the one that touts 8 veggies—I proceeded to gather fresh produce onto the cutting board.

I actually had 9 items, but I won't count the lone beet green I tossed in on a whim!

This gorgeous green glassful contained eight savory veggies:

yellow squash
sweet onion
beet greens

Precise quantities aren't important with something like this. Use what's on hand, fill up the blender jar, add a little filtered water to get things going, if necessary, and whirl away.

If you're not using a high powered blender, start with the softer veggies and water and purée a bit at a time, adding the greens last. It's a filling lunch - fast prep - and a powerhouse of nutrition.

The blender was a gift to myself. Once I tried it, I wondered why I'd waited so long.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Avocado Soup
Nothing beats the creaminess and sensuous mouth feel of a rich, ripe, fatty avocado, especially when making a raw food soup.

Pushing the window on a green smoothie, I combined directions for a simple Avocado Chipotle Bisque, courtesy of Ani Phyo, published in the Summer issue of Get Fresh magazine, with a heaping helping of dark green romaine leaves.

The result? A thick, creamy richly spiced bowl of refreshing bisque, without a drop of dairy.
A real stick-to-your ribs live food lunch.

To serve 4 (or two very hungry people):

2 medium avocados, diced (2 cups)
1 TBS olive oil, hemp oil, or avocado oil
1/4 cup lime juice
2 TBS white miso paste
1 1/2 Tsp minced fresh rosemary or 2/3tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup diced orange or yellow bell pepper

Blend all bisque ingredients with 3 1/2 cups of water until smooth. Divide among 4 bowls and top each serving with 2 Tbs diced tomatoes and 2 Tbs diced bell pepper.

I added 6 big dark leaves of romaine to the mix and found I loved the thick, creamy texture. Eating my green smoothie in a bowl with a spoon provided a satisfying lunch experience.
I divided the ingredient list in half to make two generous bowls of soup. A thinner soup or a drinkable green smoothie needs just a little more water to achieve the desired consistency.

Ani mentions in her headnotes that a pinch of sea salt can be used in place of the miso and that the bisque will keep for one day in the fridge.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stuffed Marinated Mushrooms

I follow Kevin and AnnMarie Gianni's Renegade Health Show each week. It's a great way to gain additional knowledge and insight into the raw food lifestyle by being exposed to many diverse platforms that make up the raw food community. Kevin shares his quest for the healthiest lifestyle through entertaining and insightful interviews with many prominent, health conscious leaders. It's a casual armchair learning experience.

While Kevin and AnnMarie tour the country in their green* motor home, affectionately called, the Kale Whale, we travel vicariously, catching glimpses of the countryside as well as keeping up with what's happening in the raw food world.

Hats off and thanks, Kev and AnnMarie, for delivering a great show daily— come rain or shine; ice or snow!
* I believe the motor home runs on vegetable oil.

Recently, the Giannis visited with Shivie from Team Raw. Shivie graciously shared her recipe for Stuffed Marinated Mushrooms. The walnut/sunflower seed pâté really appealed to me. I was determined to give this a go at the first opportunity. You can watch Shivie make this dish on YouTube, but I'll post the recipe. It's an impressive dish to make for company or an easy dish to bring to a potluck dinner. Or you can do as I did, make a smaller portion to treat yourself. I used 10 mushroom caps to Shivie's suggested 20 and cut down on the portions for the filling accordingly.

I just had to dabble with adding a little sundried tomato and a generous pinch of cayenne to the pâté. That really made it sing! The filling is a marvelous addition to a raw food repertoire. Use it on crackers or as a dip with crudites, as a layer in a nori roll. Endless possibilities, yummy flavor and it's bursting with nutrients.

We had the stuffed mushrooms for lunch served on a bed of shredded salad—a combination of romaine, red cabbage and sweet onion—dressed with a little olive oil and a bit of sweet zinfandel vinegar. The crisp sweet and sour, colorful salad was a great foil for the rich, nutty, brown stuffed caps.

Stuffed Marinated Mushrooms
- adapted from Shivie of the Raw Team

20 Crimini mushrooms, stems removed and saved for filling.

2 tsp tamari
2 tsp lemon juice

Clean mushrooms and add them to marinade in a bowl with a cover. Marinate for 20 minutes or up to overnight. (The longer they are exposed to the acid from the marinade the more they will soften.)


1 cup mushroom stems
1 1/2 cups soaked sunflower seeds
1/2 cup soaked walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

(I added 2 big pieces of soaked sundried tomatoes and 1/8 tsp of cayenne) jw

Place all ingredients in a food processor with an S blade. Process until filling is well combined and has a smooth consistency. (I found I had to add some liquid. I used a bit of the soaking water from the sundried tomatoes to achieve the right consistency) jw

Brazil Nut Parmesan
1 cup Brazil nuts
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until fluffy. (Be careful not to over-process.) jw

I didn't make the Brazil Nut Parmesan to sprinkle on top of the mushrooms. But it certainly would be an elegant finishing touch.

Check out the Renegade Health Show and Team Raw for more ideas and great information.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Raw Tomato Soup
The summer issue of Get Fresh magazine features some wonderful blender soups, courtesy of Ani Phyo.
Armed with an abundance of perfectly ripe, organic, Campari tomatoes, and after a busy day of running around in the Florida heat and humidity, supper time last night seemed the perfect time to give the Essence of Tomato Soup a try.

I'm a big proponent of quick and easy, few ingredients, simple prep type meals. But this tomato soup exceeds all those stipulations by a mile! This easily could qualify as another five minute meal! Actually, after the minute of so of dicing, then blending, I stood there thinking, "is that it?" wondering if I'd forgotten something.

4 cups diced, ripe tomatoes, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. agave nectar (I used 1 tsp)
1/2 cup basil, sliced into strips (chiffonade)
2 cups water
Blend 3 cups tomatoes, oil, agave nectar, and 2 cups water in blender until smooth.
Pour soup into 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 cup Diced tomatoes and 2 Tbs. basil.

With a fresh batch of spicy kale chips, fresh from the dehydrator, I couldn't resist having a few as zingy accompaniment along with a ruby red glass of mellow Malbec.

So simple; so good!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rainbow Salad
Using a variety of deep colors on our plates is an easy guide to ensuring we're getting a wide variety of nutrients. This luncheon salad provides a mix of leafy greens, seeds, a bit of cruciferous, a sprinkle of sea vegetables, legumes, aromatics, as well as a sweet touch. With the dressing, a total of 10 ingredients. Make your salads a meal unto themselves. You're only limited by your imagination and the contents of the refrigerator!

I used small amounts of everything — this was lunch for one. Increase amounts to meet your needs. Salads don't require precise measurements or specific ingredients. Try to include dark leafy greens, aromatics, a vegetable or two, a starch, a bit of sea vegetables and either nuts or seeds. Not only is this a delicious plateful, it's filled with vitamins, minerals, protein and phytonutrients. But the bottom line is, it tastes wonderful.

Rainbow Salad
4 dark Romaine leaves
3 1/4" slices of red cabbage, chopped
1/4 large, sweet red bell pepper, slivered
2 thin slices of vidalia onion - or to taste
1/4 cup chick peas
4-5 sliced baby portabella mushrooms
2 TBS sunflower seeds
1 TBS golden raisins
Generous sprinkle of dulse and kelp flakes
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar (or lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
Toss it all together and enjoy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Banana — Bok Choy Smoothie

Wow, is this a neat taste treat!

With a fridge full of fresh greens, I almost had to go 'eeney, meany, miney moe' to choose which crisp, big, dark leafy green would have the place of honor in my morning smoothie.

Look who won!

For a rich, creamy drink, I've found using a combination of fresh and frozen bananas along with a little water, makes a great base for a green smoothie. Not too sweet, yet sweet enough to offset the sharper taste of dark leafy greens.

For a 12 oz drink, I used:
One large fresh banana
One frozen banana
8 oz of filtered water
3 - 4 large leaves from the top of a bunch of bok choy
(save the crisp white bottoms to toss in a salad)

Simple and satisfying !

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Smoothie In A Bowl / Salad In A Smoothie?
For breakfast I had a fruit, berries, and greens smoothie. It was light, delicious, quick and easy.

1 cup filtered water
1 cup blueberries
1 ripe, juicy mango
4 large, dark Romaine leaves
All blended until thick and smooth.
When I opened the fridge at lunch time, I was inspired to use the same basic components to make a big bowl of salad with a couple of additions.

6 dark outer leaves of Romaine
4 lighter inner crispy leaves
1 cup of blueberries
1 diced ripe, juicy mango
2 thin slices of sweet Vidalia onion
Tbs sunflower seeds
1 Tbs raisins
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
As I crunched my way through this refreshing fruit-based salad, I thought how simple it would be to convert salads to a whole new range of interesting smoothies and smoothies to a vast variety of salads.
A little imagination can turn raw food mealtimes into an adventure. One that not only provides super nutrition, but has a three-fold benefit:
• Enhances our creativity.
• Offers great mealtime diversity.
• Encourages us to use what's on hand.

As I write this, my taste buds tingle thinking about adding a frozen banana to the smoothie and a sliced, fresh banana to the salad. Ah! Endless possibilities . . . let your imagination run rampart!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

I've been vying with the snails for first dibs on the basil leaves lately. I won out this week. The little pot on the patio sported lovely big green basil leaves just begging to be plucked and put to good use. A quick whirl in my mini-processor produced a generous portion of vibrant green sauce to coat the zucchini pasta.

I have a simple Oxo julienne peeler—a $6 investment—that works perfectly for making fettuccine type shards of cukes, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, daikon, any long hard vegetable. No need to invest in a fancy spiral cutter, this works perfectly.

I soak the strands of raw veggie in lightly salted water for upwards of an hour, if time permits. It helps to soften them and make them more spaghetti-like. But soaking isn't absolutely necessary.

I've found that squeezing the veggie pieces dry, in a clean kitchen towel after draining them, helps the sauce adhere and prevents watering it down.

I made a simple pesto:

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 cup fresh basil leaves

3 cloves garlic

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 Tbs white miso

1/4 olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

Whirl it all to a lovely bright green paste in the food processor. Thin with a bit more lemon juice, if needed.

I garnished the dish with a diced tomato that had been sprinkled with lemon zest and 4-5 minced calamata olives. Then topped it all off with some crumbled, spicy kale chips. The kale chips are a great snack and a super addition to add zing to a meal - a tale for another day!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mango—Avocado Rolls
Browsing through the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, I ran across a great recipe for a rice paper wrap. The VT version calls for vegan cream cheese and a couple of other ingredients that I don't use or didn't have on hand. But I did have half an avocado left from lunch, a big ripe juicy mango on the counter and a fresh batch of mixed sprouts. And, of course, a package of rice paper wrappers. Within minutes, I had minced some sweet onion, a little bit of jalepeño, a slice of red bell pepper, diced the avocado, and mixed it all together with the juice from half a lime along with a little lime zest. An improvised guacamole that was just a slight variation from the Vegetarian Times instructions.

Rice paper wrappers are softened with a brief dunk in warm water and then a 30 second rest on the work surface. Once ready, I layered on a generous portion of the avocado mixture, then slices of mango, finishing with a heaping of mixed sprouts.

The wrap is a simple burrito wrap. Lifting the bottom portion of the wrap over the filling, then folding in each side and rolling up to complete. A little practice and it's a snap.

The portions given above were just enough for the three rolls as shown. Another good example of using leftovers or what's at hand. Inexpensive, simple, but absolutely delicious.