Rosemary Radishes

The market is full of beautiful radishes this week, I wanted to do something other than just add them to a salad. Rinsed and quartered I tossed them with extra virgin olive oil, rosemary black pepper infused cider vinegar, and garnished with a little fresh rosemary and black pepper. It turned out to be an excellent side dish! What do you do with your radishes?

Release your Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Sweet Summer Corn Salad

The first corn of the season has hit our local market! Grilled corn is one of my favorites, it’s easy and very versatile. Here’s a great corn salad that’s easy to make and sure to impress your guests!

Layered Corn Salad
8-10 ears of corn
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch radishes
1 container frozen New Mexico green chilies, defrosted
1/2 purple onion
1/2 small sized jicama

Shuck the corn and drizzle olive oil on it, season it with freshly ground black pepper. Repeat this on all sides to get good coverage. Grill the corn over medium high heat, turning it as needed. I stay at the grill with the corn, it cooks quickly. Remove the corn and let it cool while you clean and chop the onion, radishes, and cilantro. When you can handle to corn, cut it off of the ears. Layer your ingredients in a clear serving bowl, or simply toss them together. Don’t drain too much of the liquid from the chilies, it makes a great sauce in the salad. Peel and grate the jicama, toss it with olive oil, black pepper, and ground cumin, then use it to top the salad.

You can easily make this salad into a meal by adding layers of black beans. Other great additions to consider: salsa, tomatoes, green onions, grated cheddar cheese, crumbled feta, quinoa, or farro.

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Slightly Sweet – Lemon and Matcha Pudding

Here’s another dessert that is not over the top sweet. In fact this one contains silken tofu so not only does it satisfy a sweet craving, it will satisfy appetite!

Lemon and Matcha Tofu Pudding
(makes 4 servings)
1 package silken tofu
3-4 Tbs powdered sugar, divided
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs almond milk
2-3 tsp matcha tea powder
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
honey to taste

Drain the tofu and place half of it in a blender. Dissolve the matcha and one tablespoon of the powdered sugar in the almond milk. Once both are dissolved add the mixture to the blender. Blend until it smooth, scraping down the sides. Once the mixture is smooth either put it in your serving dishes or place it aside. Rinse the blender parts. Place the other half of the tofu in the blender. Combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the lemon juice. Add this mixture, the vanilla, and the lemon zest to the blender. Blend until smooth.

With one tablespoon of sugar in the matcha batch it is not going to be very sweet. Since I like the flavors of honey and matcha together, I like to drizzle a little honey over each matcha layer. The two colors make for a great presentation, layer them into clear serving dishes and garnish. They are ready to eat right away, or refrigerate for later. I think they are a little better if they sit for an hour. Not all silken tofu is the same consistency. This is a very forgiving recipe. If you want it sweeter, and more sugar or honey, if you don’t like a thick pudding add a little more almond milk. Then sit back and enjoy this dessert that isn’t overwhelming you with sugar!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Fresh Sauerkraut – Hit or Miss?

It’s another Hit!

The Coatimundi in Costa Rica may not like it but I do! There are several brands and several flavors available. This is a spicy flavor with carrots and jalapeños. We have enjoyed it on rubens with Swiss cheese, smokey tempeh, and homemade 1,000 Island dressing, but it also makes a great addition to packed lunches!

Lacto fermented foods are thought to be a great addition for our diets. They contain probiotics and several vitamins, with a high fiber, low calorie delivery.

Read your labels carefully. Foods fermented this way can be very high in sodium. Also, watch for flavorings, there’s just no reason to add ‘flavor’, natural, or unnatural, to a food that is so perfect in its raw state. Look for theme in the refrigerator section of delis and produce departments. Most food markets have one or two varieties available. We enjoy the Saverne brand, their website contains some information about the farmers and recipes.

Be daring, try some Saverne raw kaut and Release YOUR Bonus Vivant and Savor Your Life!

 

*no coatimundi were actually exposed to sauerkraut for this posting.

Slightly Sweet- Sad Apple Cookies

Have you ever abused an apple? You know, carried it around in your lunch bag or backpack for a few days. Well luckily apples have much flavor and nutrition to give, even after taking such abuse! Here’s a simple cookie recipe to use those ugly apples. This will make a batch of 5-6 slightly sweet cookies. They will satisfy your craving for a fresh baked dessert without going over the top with sugar.

Slightly Sweet- Sad Apple Cookies
1 apple grated, any variety
4-6 Tbs almond milk, divided (or your preferred milk product)
1 Tbs melted margarine or coconut oil
1 Tbs coconut sugar (or your preferred sweetener)
1 tsp flax egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
Stir the above ingredients together in a medium bowl. Start with just 4 tablespoons of the milk.

Once it’s all combined, stir in:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Continue to stir. If you can’t stir the flour in, add a little more milk until you have a wet cookie dough consistency. Using a spoon, plop the dough into 5 or 6 globs on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

I like to use flax eggs for binding in these small batch recipes because it’s easy to divide. To make a flax egg, stir 1 tablespoon of ground flax into 3 tablespoons of water and stir. Let it sit until it get’s gooey.

Since there are no eggs in the recipe you can pull the cookies while they are still a little gooey in the center. If they really aren’t sweet enough for you try a little sprinkle of sugar, that way the sweet will hit your taste buds on the first bite.

To learn more about my struggles with sugar, or to share your own sugar stories, visit the ‘Sugar Addiction‘ page.

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

 

Kale Sesame!

One of my favorite lunch spots serves a great kale salad. But sometimes I don’t want to wait for the next time I go out to lunch to get my kale fix. Here’s my version of this light and delicious kale salad.

Kale Sesame!
One bunch of kale rinsed and roughly chopped. My favorite is the dino kale or lacianto, but any variety of kale will work. I often mix in other greens like collards or rainbow chard.
Several garlic cloves, minced
Toasted sesame oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Sesame seeds
Red pepper flake

Bring a large pot of water to boil, toss the kale and garlic in when it boils and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Drain the kale and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process. Continue to drain it until it’s is dry – you can speed this process by draining it on paper towels or squeezing it. Put it in a large bowl, and drizzle the kale with a combination of toasted sesame oil and olive oil. You can use all sesame oil if the flavor isn’t to strong for you. Serve the salad with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and red pepper flake.

Because of kale’s nutritional content, this super light salad will fill you up! Serve it as a side dish to just about anything, or make a meal of it!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Garden Chive Hummus

Here’s a great springtime hummus recipe, especially if you have chives in your garden. Spinach could be substituted for the chives if you’d like a milder version.

Garden Chive Hummus
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (or the equivalent quantity of home cooked)
1 cup fresh chives, snipped into 1″ pieces
3-4 Tbs lemon juice
4-8 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp tahini
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
freshly ground black pepper
salt

Put everything but the olive oil and salt in a food processor. With the processor running drizzle the olive oil into the mixture. Stop the processor, scrape down the sides and check the seasoning, add salt and adjust seasoning as desired. Continue processing the hummus until it reaches the desired consistency. Tahini is not a must, if you don’t like it leave it out. You can also reduce the olive oil and increase the lemon or use a little water in its place. If you find raw garlic to pungent, try granulated (dry) garlic or oven roasted garlic cloves for a more mellow flavor.

Serve the hummus room temperate or cold, with a variety of crackers and vegetables. I like to drizzle a little Tenisian olive oil on it and top it with a little freshly ground black pepper and pumpkin seeds. This recipe also makes an excellent sandwich spread! Slather it on bread and try topping it with sliced tomatoes and avocados.

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Skinny Pop – Hit or Miss?

HIT!

Skinny Pop Black Pepper and Sea Salt is our #1 go to snack for munching. A packaged popcorn can’t get much cleaner than (non-gmo) popcorn, sunflower oil, sea salt and black pepper. It’s truly a guilt free snack. Black Pepper is our favorite but the other flavors are very tasty too especially, White Cheddar and Jalapeño (not hot). Earlier this year there was a limited edition with Hatch New Mexico Green Chiles, which was pretty good. The Dusted Dark Chocolate flavor is really satisfying sometimes. It has a great chocolate flavor without being very sweet.

You can read more about Skinny Pop (including ingredients for every flavor) on their website, www.skinnypop.com

Crunchies Beets – Hit or Miss?

HIT – For Several Reasons

Freeze dried beets area available in several brands. I have enjoyed all that I have sampled. Some are lightly salted, which does play nicely off of the natural sweetness of the beet, and some are plain. I prefer the plain ones. They are seriously crunchy and satisfying. At about 100 calories a bag, I don’t even have to share!

A great food is something you eat because you enjoy it, but at the same time you reap nutritional benefits like: fiber, potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Iron, and Magnesium. If beets don’t appeal to you then try them with hummus or salsa. These natural ‘chips’ will hold up to even the thickest dips!

I like to keep a bag with me when I have to run errands – they won’t spoil in the car and they don’t crush easily.

Whenever you’re selecting a freeze dried snack, check you label to make sure the only ingredient is beets (there’s no need for preservatives or additions), and to make sure you know how much sodium there is in the salted variety.

Crunchies Freeze Dried Beets a definite HIT!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

 

Muse Style Madras Curry

How do you feel about eggplant? I love it, but I’m starting to think that it’s a a love it or hate type of food. For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s baked, grilled, mashed, cubed, sliced, or pureed, I’ll eat and love it. Long ago a vegetarian friend of mine described it as ‘comfort food’. Even if you aren’t as crazy about it as we are, you may still find it enjoyable. This is a simple method for making a spicy dinner of miniature eggplants and tofu. You can easily adjust the recipe to accommodate full size eggplants. If your Madras is hot add a side salad, or sliced cucumbers, to help balance the heat.

Curried Eggplants with Tofu

Slit the ends of mini eggplants, going both directions, up to the stem but leaving the stem in tact, and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with Hot Madras Curry Powder (recipe follows). Toss to evenly distribute the spices. As you place them on a baking sheet, or tray to take them to the grill, stuff each one of them with a dried red chili, a cherry tomato, or anything else to help keep them slightly open. If any of them look dry on the inside then drizzle a little more olive oil into the opening. Save the bowl you tossed them in, you’ll use the drippings for the tofu. Smoke, roast, or grill them, at a medium low temperature until they soften to your preference.

For the curried tofu, start with a brick of extra firm tofu. Drain and dry it, and then slice it into 1/2″ slices. Rub each slice around in the bottom of the eggplant tossing bowl until it’s covered on all sides with the olive oil and madras curry powder mixture. Add more of both to the bowl if you need more. At this point you can heat the tofu and serve it, or let it set for a while to incorporate more flavor. Heat the tofu on a grill or bake in in the oven to heat it. If you heat it on the stove in a hot skillet, you would probably end up with a lovely golden crust. I was afraid that the hot chilies would release too much capsicum into the air.

For a smokey version of this dinner, both the eggplant and tofu can be cooked in a smoker. Slice the leftovers for a great addition to garden salads.

 

Tasteful Muse Madras Curry is a hot curry, cut back on the chilies if you want a milder batch. Make sure you have good ventilation while making this recipe. The spices will become very fragrant as they toast, and the chilies can be very strong. The recipe can be easily doubled, or tripled and it can be stored for a long time.Visit an ethnic market for the best availability and prices on whole spices.

Tasteful Muse Hot Madras Curry Powder

4 tbsp Coriander Seeds
2 tsp Cardamom Seeds
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
4 inch Cinnamon Stick
6 Dried Red Chilies
10 Fresh or Dried Curry Leaves
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tbsp Ground Turmeric

Heat a heavy cast iron pan over medium low heat. Toast everything but the turmeric, ginger and curry leaves, for a few minutes, just until it begins to brown. Add the curry leaves and stir, letting it brown for just a little longer. Remove the spices from the pan to let them cool. After it cools, grind small batches in a a clean coffee grinder to grind everything into a fine mix.  Place the finished batches in a larger mixing bowl. Once everything is finely ground and add the ground turmeric and ginger and stir until it’s well blended. Store the curry in an airtight container in your spice cupboard.