Tuesday, July 27, 2010

salad with avocado & artichoke

Hey everyone :)
Right now, I'm in Minneapolis, on another summer trip visiting friends and having adventures :) I'll be back at home in less than a week, so get ready for a flood of posts. But at the moment, it's 2 am on my last night in Minnesota, and I can't fall asleep! I thought I'd at least be productive.. and catch up on a post :)

Here's a photo of the salad I had right before leaving for the megabus. If you don't know about megabus yet, you should. And sorry if it doesn't go to your town - but I made it from Columbia, MO to Chicago to Minneapolis and all the way back for $60. Yeah, I know.

The salad!
Greens (I used a mix of spinach and lettuce)
1/2 avocado, chopped (per person)
3-4 artichoke hearts, quartered (per person)
some wisps of red onion

The dressing!
olive oil + balsamic vinegar, and maybe a little pinch of salt.

enjoy :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

chocolate orange ice cream ~ avec le sel

Wowza. This ice cream was amazing. This recipe serves 4 happy sized portions.

You'll need:
1 can whole coconut milk
1/3 cup honey (or vegan sweetener)
1 frozen banana, chopped helps
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp orange extract (I didn't have oranges.. but I'm sure orange zest would be amazing here)
scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 handful of your favorite/allergy friendly chocolate chips

In a blender or food processor, start by mixing the coconut milk with the honey. Then add the banana, the coco powder, orange extract, and salt. Blend away. Lastly, add the chocolate chips - but allow them to stay a little chunky.

Pour this mixture into a pre-frozen ice cream maker and follow the directions. Eat right away, or store to continue setting in the freezer.

Let me know how it goes! Enjoy :)

jews don't go camping, but I tried (a swordfish kabob recipe)

I just went on a camping trip.. just a short 2 night-er, and only a 3 hour car ride away. Lets just say, it didn't go like we planned. First we couldn't find our campsite.. and drove around lost for an hour (in the pouring rain). By the time we found it, it was getting dark, and had just stopped pouring, so we had to set up in a dark drizzle. I was prepared for a gourmet camping experience, so there was a lot of food prep to be done - well, it wasn't actually a lot for what I'm used to, but it felt like it because I was outside of my comfort zone/kitchen.

On the second day we woke up to sunshine, and we set up a hammock, which was pretty much exactly how I imagine heaven. We went fishing, and fed the fish instead of ourselves.. then went for a walk in a different part of the campground. Across the bridge came wandering toward me a little gray kitten.. and then another.. and then another! Some one had just dumped them there, I even saw the shady white van drive away. :( We had to take them with us, or they'd be tasty little owl snacks, so back to our campsite we went.

Then the temperature dropped.. and the rain started coming down again. We tried to stick it out - eating our roasted veggies under a little covering.. but the rain started coming at us from all directions, so we snatched up the kittens and all sat in the car playing rummikub for an hour. When it looked like it would never stop pre-tornado style pouring (which of course it did soon after), we left for a motel. We hid the kittens in the bathtub for the night, and got as many phone numbers for animal shelters in the area. Turns out kittens get dumped all the time in those parts, and no one wanted any. :(

The next day, we cleaned up our poor post-storm camp site, and took the kittens with us all the way home. I set them up in a tent in the shade on my downstairs neighbor's front porch, and tried to keep them happy for two more days. Then thanks to craigslist, I found a family with two little girls, who happily took them off my hands. I must say, that I miss them a little bit, but it's nice to have my life back, with one less responsibility. Ready for the photos? Keep scrolling down for the mouthwatering swordfish kabob recipe.

Swordfish kabob recipe:
I'm not sure is swordfish is one of those sustainable, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified, kinds of fish.. But incase it's not - I don't eat it that often. Maybe once a year. But now that I know how deliscious this is.. it may be hard to wait another year. Anyone know about swordfish? Is it ok? Ok. Here's the recipe already.

2 tbsp honey
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 lbs swordfish steaks
cherry, or mini pear tomatoes
1 bell pepper, color of your choosing, seeded and cut into 1" squares
1 small red onion, cut into 1" chunks
as many mushrooms as your want (don't be shy)
olive oil (or oil blend - of coconut, olive, and sesame) for brushing over kabobs
salt and pepper
long wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes (or metal skewers)

Prep fire or preheat gas grill. Mix the honey and wine in a bowl. Cut the fish into 1.5" cubes and add to the bowl, turn, coat, and let stand at room temp for 20 minutes. (Make sure to soak the wooden skewers at this time too).

Then drain the fish. To make the kabobs, alternate threading the tomatoes, peppers, onion, mushrooms, and fish. Brush the threaded kabob with oil, then top with salt and pepper.

Place kabobs on grill, over direct heat and cook.. turning occasionally, until the fish is opaque all the way through. Enjoy!!

kale, a light lunch

So, I just got back from a camping trip.. oops. These are out of order. I'll post something from this past the weekend next. Anyway - so I didn't have food in the fridge yet.. because I'd just been out of town, so I visited my little potted herb garden, where I have some kale growing. I snipped some for lunch and sautéed it in this oil blend (equal parts coconut, sesame, and olive oil) with garlic and red onions. Yum!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

friends+farm+feast - and 2 recipes

I totally shouldn't be blogging right now. Sorry other jobs of mine.. this.. is important.
Here are some photos from a trip out to my friend Paul's farm. We feasted, of course, on salmon with fennel and apple salsa, watermelon, basil cucumber and tomato salad, and on Paul's home made pickles. They are my favorite pickles ever. Better than Bubbies, and better than the ones at the Carnegie Hall Deli in NYC.

1. freshly picked cucumbers and tomatoes
2. salad made from fresh cucumber, tomato, and basil.. with a little oil salt and pepper.
3. salmon with fennel and apple salsa
4. here's the recipe: (thank you Williams-Sonoma fish cookbook)

For the salsa:
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped, fronds reserved for garnish
1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

For the fish:
4 salmon fillets (or 1.5 lbs of salmon)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp honey (they say sugar.. but they're so silly)
1/4 cup bbq sauce.. (I use a super organic and healthy brand.. or you can make your own)
2 tbsp fennel seeds plus extra for garnish

Step 1. Make salsa by combining all salsa ingredients. Cover and set aside.

Step 2. Prep fire in charcoal grill or preheat gas grill. Score the skin side with 2 shallow crisscross cuts. In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup lemon juice, honey, and bbq sauce. Add salmon, turn to coat, and let stand for only 10 minutes.

Step 3. Just before cooking salmon, through 2 tbsp of fennel seeds onto the coals. Lift salmon from marinade (and save the drips and the left over marinade!) Lay salmon on the grill over direct heat and cook until browned on 1st side (~5 minutes). Using a wide metal spatula, turn and cook on the 2nd side until opaque throughout (~3 minutes longer).

Step 4. Spoon salsa onto individual plates or serving platter. Lay fish on salsa. In a small sauce pan, boil reserved marinade for 2 minutes. Pour over salmon, garnish with fennel seeds and fronds, and serve.

Back to the photos:
5. One of the shelters on Paul's farm
6. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

unholy doughnuts

These vegan, gluten free, and healthy (size and ingredient-wise) little doughnut bites are a combination of the Whole Life Nutrition's ginger cookies with Elana's Pantry's chocolate frosting. They really taste like little doughnuts! (not as fluffy as the regular bars as I recall, but more dense - like the old fashion ones)

The cookie/doughnut base. Oven! 350.

15 medjool dates, pitted (soaked for 15 minutes in boiling water)
1/4 cup date soaking water
6 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey.. I used maple syrup this time)
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
few pinches of salt

Place the dates into a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Soak for 15 minutes.
Drain (and save the water) and place soaked dates into a food processor and add the coconut oil, soaking water, syrup, and vanilla. Process until smooth.

Mix the dry ingredients in a different bowl and whisk together. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and process until just combined.

Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (optional). It helps to have a small bowl of water to wet your hands with as you make the balls, because the batter is quite sticky! Then use your hands or a bottom of a cup to flatten each cookie.

Bake for 11-14 mintues. (Whole Life Nutrition said it makes 16 cookies, but I made small cookies, and I got 30 out of it.)

Ready for the frosting!? This is what really makes it a doughnut and not just a cookie.

1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used enjoy life's chocolate chips)
1/2 cup grape seed oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt

In a small saucepan, over very low heat, melt chocolate and oil. Then stir in the honey vanilla and salt. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to chill and thicken. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy. Now.. frost things!

Enjoy! (and refrigerate) If you're like me - this will be your first doughnut in a long long time.

Bastrawnabernary smoothie pop

Guess who helped me come up with that name for this banana strawberry popsicle?
My cousin and I ate these for breakfast! What? Popsicles for breakfast! Yes.

1-2 bananas
1-2 cups of strawberries
1/2 cup of whole coconut milk

into popsicle molds or dixie cups with popsicle sticks

then enjoy!

more spring rolls! in the summer... + mint dipping sauce

My 10 year old cousin and I had a sleep over last night.. and we cooked and ate and cooked and ate.. we counted the number of times I had to clean a sink full of dishes. seven. Here's one of the things we made - amazing spring rolls with mint dipping sauce. We ate so many of them that we each got a belly ache, and couldn't even think about making dessert. They were that good.

This meal is as entertaining as going to one of those fancy restaurants where they cook right in front of you.. Everything is hands on, and all age friendly. It even caters to people with different food allergies because you can have different bowls filled with separate ingredients for people to try. I hope you try these - or make your own version of these healthy spring rolls :)

First we prepared all our different fillings:
-grated carrots, onion, and zucchini with little broccoli trees - all sautéed (in Mary's Oil Blend
) which is equal parts coconut, olive, and sesame oil) with garlic and fresh ginger
-sautéed slices of mushrooms (in Mary's Oil Blend)
-lettuce, chopped
-green onions, chopped
-rice or mung bean noodles
for these, soak in hot water for 3 minutes, then rinse and strain
-rice paper

Here's a super helpful video on how to roll spring rolls like a pro.

For the mint dipping sauce, mix:
1/4 cup mint leaves, ribboned or chopped
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
3 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of 1 lemon)
1 tsp honey


coconut aminos

It was 11pm and I had a craving for something salty.. luckily my hand pulled broccoli out of the fridge before I had time to think of something less healthy to munch. So I steamed the broccoli and enjoyed it with my new condiment - coconut aminos!

It tastes like soy sauce, but less salty, and it's not made from soy - but from the sap of the coconut tree! Click here to learn all about it. You can probably find some at your local health food store :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

sesame halvah (candies)

"Halvah (also known as halwa, halva, halava, helva, etc.) is a broad term used to describe desserts made with a base of flour or nut butter, such as sesame tahini, and sometimes including vegetables (such as carrots) or nuts. It is eaten in India, Central and West Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, and of course, in Israel and in Jewish delis throughout the United States. Each culture has its own halvah, united only by name--which derives from the Arabic word for "sweet"--and the fact that each is a sweetened candy or dessert, often an ancient and beloved recipe."
-Elisheva Margulies

Here's an easy recipe. And by easy, I mean really easy. You might already have everything you need.

1 cup sesame seeds (I used some black sesame seeds too)
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp honey (raw)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (or just another 1/2 tsp of vanilla)

Mix all the ingredients except the seeds, then mix the seeds in.
Squish the sticky mix into a small container lined with wax paper. You can make the candies as thick or thin as you like. I recommend somewhere between 1/2 to 1 inch. So - I used a small 6" x 6" tupperware, and the candies were about 1/2" thick.
Chill, then cut, and serve and enjoy :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

what's in the fridge salad + some awesome dressing

For lunch today, I ate this salad. It was made up of whatever I had in the fridge.. of course it helps if you keep healthy and fresh and delicious food in your home. Always.

Salad greens - lettuce, kale, arugula, and swiss chard
Carrot - shredded
Artichoke heart - pulled apart
Red onion - thinly sliced
Cucumber - seeded and diced
Walnuts - chopped

For the dressing.. There are two steps to this if you don't already have Mary's Oil Blend.
Mary's oil blend is a combination of coconut, sesame, and olive oils (in equal parts). The idea comes from Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon's book Eat Fat Lose Fat which stresses that coconut oil be a part of one's diet everyday. So! First, I made a big batch of this oil - with 1 cup of each of the 3 oils. Then I made Sally Fallon's herb dressing: (minus the mustard, because I'm actually allergic to that too..)

1/2 cup Mary's Oil Blend
2 tbsp + 1 tsp raw wine vinegar
1 tbsp flax oil.
(1 tsp Dijon style mustard - if you must)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, basil, and some rosemary)

Because there's flax oil in this, I recommend storing it in the fridge. Enjoy!

(All of the oils I use are expeller or cold pressed, as well as organic.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

dinner tonight

1. Peach guacamole + rice chips, salmon burger + tomato and red onion, on arugula and other salad greens, and some perfectly ripe, you-can-smell-it-through-the-rind-cantaloupe.
-The Guac = 2 avocados, 1 tomato - seeded and diced, 1/2 yellow onion - diced, a few cloves of garlic - minced, fresh cilantro - chopped, lime and lemon juice, salt
-The Salmon burger (is store bought! AH! shoot me. It wasn't very good.. I learned my lesson.. I was just so curious!)

2. Mushrooms + olive oil + rosemary + garlic, all in some foil and put on the grill :) yummy

3. Local strawberries + dark dark chocolate.

venison jerky

If taking the 12 hour course, passing the test, and getting my hunter's license didn't confirm that I have truly made the move in both body and mind from Los Angeles to Columbia, Missouri - making deer jerky did.

If you're lucky enough to obtain some venison from a friend's, or your own hunting trip, then I recommend turning some of it into jerky. You can use an oven, but I have a dehydrator - so I'm spoiled.

There are endless variations of jerky recipes online - so have fun doing your own research. Because this was my first time making it, I went with simple ingredients. Here's what I ended up with:

1-2 lbs of venison steaks, cut into strips about 1/4"-1/2" thick
1 tbsp worchestire sauce (yes.. there is some soy sauce as well as a little sugar in here :( I'll make my own next time)
1/3 cup coconut aminos (basically a non-soy soy-tasting-sauce made from the sap of the coconut tree - and it's really yummy. Go to your local health food store and buy it!)
1/3 cup yellow onion, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or a bunch of minced garlic)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Mix up the marinade, then soak the steak strips and leave them in the fridge for around 12 hours. (I had mine in a bowl, and really pushed the meat down, so they were covered in the marinade, then I put ziploc bags full of water on top, to make sure no air would get to it - not sure if this part is necessary.. but I'm just telling you what I did.)

When you take the meat out of the fridge dry the strips (Yes, I used paper towels for this part - but at least they are made from 100% recycled paper.. anyway). The place them in your dehydrator - and make sure there's plenty of space between the strips. I think I left mine for about 12 hours.. I like my jerky a little chewy - but do what you like. Enjoy!

restaurant review - the farmhouse

The Farmhouse is an amazing new place in the River Market neighborhood, in Kansas City.. I really recommend trying it out. They are all about in season produce from local farmers, and they have a big patio. This is important to me, which I have probably mentioned before.

In the photos:
Our salad, made of:
roasted beets, blue cheese (on the side), walnuts, spring herbs, fried capers, farmer greens, lemon-thyme vinaigrette

Matthew's dinner: (even though it doesn't fit in with the rest of the blog, nor my diet.. I can still appreciate how beautiful it is and how good it must have tasted.)
Cheese plate:
Green Dirt Farm’s bossa, prairie tome, wooly rind and sheep’s milk) cherry mostarda, syrup, seasonal fruit, house-made crackers

And my dinner: 360 day aged hanger steak with salsa verde, and sautéed summer veggies. To die for. Simply. Amazing.

i stopped to pick flowers on the way home, and it made all the difference.

Don't you think?

mint cucumber salad

I misunderstood my friend on the phone, I thought he said that he had a mint flavored cucumber. I was so excited for him to bring it over for dinner.. then he showed up with fresh mint, and a cucumber. It made more sense, and a delicious salad - but it wasn't was I was expecting.

This salad was simple and yummy for a hot summer night.
Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
red onions, thinly sliced
fresh mint, chopped
And for a dressing we just used olive oil with a little salt and pepper
(but you can also use apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, or yogurt)

Also - how cute is the little guy on that homegrown broccoli? You really can't beat homegrown broccoli.

popsicle obsession

It all started because I live in an attic in Missouri, and it's July. Well, it was June when the obsession began, but that's beside the point. For some reason I just had a light bulb moment about how cool popsicles were and how creative one can be when making them. I know it's nothing new - but I had fun for a few days of only thinking about my future popsicle plans.

Lately I've been making popsicles in dixie cups with popsicle sticks, but I'm sure future posts will involve much more creative popsicle molds.

The popsicles you see in the picture are my super healthy and delicious "fudgesicle," "cantaloupe cream," and "lavender blackberry." I'll put up recipes next time - but for now, I just wanted you to get excited.