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!

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Forager Nuts & Vanilla – Hit or Miss?

Miss – ‘missed it by a mile’ as they say

Even though I try to limit my consumption of packaged products, there are a few that I’m partial to. One of my favorite grab and go snacks is a bottle of cold pressed greens – no fruit, just cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, etc. I like to try different brands so I looked at Forager. Unfortunately the only green drinks I saw contained fruit juice. So then I wondered how their shakes would be.

The ingredients looked pretty good: cashews, almonds and oats scented with cinnamon and ground vanilla beans, dates . But I guess this is a case of ‘just because they could, doesn’t mean they should’. There is something wrong about the texture of this beverage, it’s like chalk. And I’m not sure where they went wrong with cinnamon and vanilla but the flavor seems unbalanced.

Forager has a large vegan product line. Because I believe in the type of products they create, I will try them again, but it won’t be one of their shakes. Forager Nuts & Vanilla – a MISS.

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!

Stuffed Rainbow

Stuffed Rainbow Peppers
This is one of those recipes that you throw together, based more on what you have, instead of specific measurements. Since all colors of bell peppers were on sale, I decided to stuff them. I cut the tops off of each pepper and scooped out the ribs and seeds. Then I layered (starting at the bottom):
Cooked spaghetti squash
Pasta sauce
A sauteed mixture of tofu sausage, farro, onions, and smoked jalaepños
more Pasta sauce.

I grated a little mozzarella cheese on each one, replaced the top, added a little more cheese and baked them in a glass dish with a little pasta sauce in the bottom.

They were almost to pretty to eat, but they didn’t last long. The farro and tofu sausage made them very filling and super flavorful! So when bell peppers go on sale, don’t be afraid to stuff ’em with whatever you have in the refrigerator!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Snappy Quinoa

This week I was in the mood for the crisp, refreshing texture of sugar snap peas. My grocer only had a very large bag available so I had to come up with a few ways to enjoy them. Before I switched to a plant based diet, I used to enjoy fresh green beans with a sprinkle of bacon. Here’s a vegetarian version of something similar,  but served over quinoa it becomes a complete meal.

Snappy Quinoa
For the Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to the package instructions
1/4 cup chopped New Mexico green chilies
5-6 roasted garlic cloves, chopped
After the quinoa is cooked, add freshly ground black pepper, garlic and the chilies, stir well.

For the sugar snap peas
4 cups of sugar snap peas
1/2 cup onion, chopped
4-5 Tbsp salad dressing (blue cheese, vinaigrette, ranch, etc)
2 slices smokey tempeh, cut into small pieces

Rinse the snap peas and remove the stems. Cut them in halves or thirds, depending on their size. Drop them into a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process. Let them dry in a strainer or on a towel. I like them with a very short blanch, they remain crispy but they don’t quite taste raw. If you prefer them raw then skip this stop. Toss the sugar snap peas with everything else and serve them over the quinoa.

You can serve this as a complete meal at lunch, or serve a smaller portion as a side dish. Both the sugar snap peas and the Quinoa are great on their own, so if you run out of one before the other you won’t be at a loss.

Release YOUR Bonus Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Eggplant Lasagna Fan

Here is an easy, impressive vegetarian dinner, Eggplant Lasagna Fan.

Eggplant Lasagna Fan
1 eggplant
1 container ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated,
4-8 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 jar tomato pasta sauce

Combine the grated cheeses. Slice the eggplant into thin strips without cutting through the top of the stem end, set it aside. Add some freshly ground black pepper, and about a third of the grated cheese to the ricotta and set it aside. Spoon some of the pasta sauce into the bottom of a baking pan. If you want to make your sauce from scratch, check out this great red sauce recipe from Chef Ray. Place the eggplant on top of the sauce and push it down to push the slices apart a bit. Spoon the ricotta mixture between all of the slices. Spoon a little sauce between each layer, then sprinkle grated cheese between each layer. Top the eggplant with the remaining sauce and grated cheese, and s sprinkle of fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, parsley, etc) for color. I like to run my finger down the edge of each slice to make sure the eggplant skin will show. Bake it at 350 degrees until it’s heated through and the cheese begins to brown. The duration will depend on the size of your eggplant, mine took about 35 minutes.

To serve the eggplant cut the top off of it to release the layers.

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

 

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!