Sunday, January 25, 2015

Millet with Pesto, Peas, Spinach & Golden Onions

Millet with Pesto, Peas, Spinach & Golden Onions
Serves 3
This looks like a long list of things to do but not so, it all comes together rather quickly and here’s why. While the millet is cooking pesto is made and the onions sauted. The remainder ingredients are tossed in when plated – so deliciously worth it.  I’ve made this twice in the last week - that’s how much I enjoy it.
What I love about having the millet instead of using pasta is the light feeling after eating it. I don’t feel bloated and weighed down – so light it would make a great lunch as well. Not to mention, millet has protein and becomes a complete protein with the addition of peas, also a protein. The pesto is just delicious mixed in and the browned onions add sweetness. The parsley and spinach give it freshness.
Enjoy and let me know how you like it.

Fluffy Millet
1 cup millet rinsed
2 tsp Coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
Water – see below for measurement
Generous pinch sea salt

Note: I used to not like making millet because it turned out mushy every time and always stuck to the pan with liquid still sitting on top, but now I love it and it always turns out fluffy.
Adding oil with millet prevents sticking and foaming while cooking – crucial step I have found out.

Fluffy Millet Method
Add oil to small pot and let it melt, add the rinsed millet pinch of sea salt and stir for one to two minutes, add water so it’s ½ inch above the grain and bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. If you have a glass top you can see when done when water is absorbed. When done remove from heat and fluff the grain gently with a fork,( it may not look fluffy yet but it will,) continue to cover for an additional 20 minutes NO HEAT, it continues to cook and becomes more fluffy – very important step.

Walnut Pesto with Basil
Makes 1 cup
¾ cup toasted walnuts
2 cups basil
1 cup chopped kale or arugula even better
1 large clove garlic minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ - ½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional

Method for Pesto
Pulse toasted walnuts in food processor until crumbly, add remainder ingredients and blend until creamy and well combined.  The pesto will be on the thick side because of little oil used. I really wouldn't add anymore with this particular recipe.

Additional Ingredients
1 large onion chopped
1 tbsp Coconut oil or evoo
Pinch sea salt
Sprinkle cracked red pepper
1 cup frozen peas - defrosted
2 cups spinach chopped – set aside
Handful curly parsley chopped – set aside
Black pepper

Method for Onions
While grain is cooking sauté the onion in oil, sea salt and cracked red pepper on medium heat until it looks golden brown about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside

Add the warm millet to large bowl and toss with ½ the pesto and mix very well to combine, add more pesto if needed, you may not want to use it all, now add the cooked onions, chopped spinach, peas, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve in bowls and top with fresh chopped parsley.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

No Bake Chocolate Brownie with Smoked Paprika

No Bake Brownie with Smoked Paprika and Chili Topped with Melted Chocolate
I’m  loving smoked paprika right now! I’m using it in so many of my comfort food meals lately, but the paprika has got to be good. I didn’t realize how good smoked paprika was until I purchased some in bulk from my local health food store. Talk about the amazing aroma, it gets me so excited and really inspires me. In fact, forgetting I had it sitting on the shelf above my kitchen table, I’d walk by it and mention to my husband that I smell the wood burning stove, which by the way is in the country and when I made the statement I was in the city. Looking up at the shelf there was my smoked paprika, that’s how fragrant it is! Wasn’t sure how chocolate and smoked paprika would pair together but I figured it just might and it does! In this recipe it’s not subtle, I really use it!

For the chocolate layer topping I chose to melt a chocolate bar rather than use cocoa powder and coconut oil, I love the creamy texture. And, before you think melting chocolate is too difficult you will discover otherwise – too simple - just as simple as melting coconut oil

I used some pitted prunes hear because I know it pairs well with chocolate. However, if you prefer not to try the prunes use more dates. But, the prunes are a nice touch.

The below recipe is a small batch using a glass Pyrex loaf pan, try this before doubling the recipe, but if you double you may not want to double the paprika, and I don’t think you will need to double the chocolate ganache since there will be left over.

Brownie Ingredients
makes about 16 - 1 inch squares - they are rich so small works well here
1 cup raw walnuts
½ cup raw cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
¼ tsp chili powder
¾ tsp really good smoked paprika
13 soft Medjool dates pitted and chopped  - soak them if necessary and be sure to drain
½ cup prunes chopped – or additional dates
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ cup more walnuts chopped and keep to the side

Method for Brownie
Pulse the walnuts in food processor until crumbly, add the cocoa, sea salt, paprika and chili and pulse until combined. With motor running add the vanilla extract, medjool dates and prunes a little at a time through the feed until it’s all well combined and crumbly. The dough should stick together when pressed between fingers – transfer this to a bowl or plate and add ¼ cup chopped walnuts and incorporate it into the dough.
Line a bread pan with parchment paper and press the brownie mixture evenly with back of spoon – don’t refrigerate yet.

Now make the chocolate ganache!

Melted Chocolate - or Ganache
2 oz 70 % organic chocolate chopped
¼ cup non dairy milk
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
teeny pinch sea salt

Method for Melted Chocolate 
Add the chopped chocolate to a small stainless steel bowl, helps to melt the chocolate
Heat the milk until bubbly and add it to the chopped chocolate, let it sit 45 seconds without stirring, then stir. When it’s all melted add a pinch of sea salt and paprika and stir well, place in the fridge for only 3 minutes to cool and thicken – should still be spreadable.

Now lift the parchment paper with brownie onto a counter or cutting board, pour the chocolate ganache on top of brownie and spread with the back of a spoon. When done lift the brownie still on the parchment paper and place on a plate, do not add back to bread pan or it will mess up the ganache. Place in the freezer to firm for one hour – cut into small squares and store covered in refrigerator do not stack them or they will stick together.


Or try a raw version using coconut oil and cocoa which you can find in a simple search online.

If you try this please leave your comments here would love to know how you liked it!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice

Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice
Yesterday afternoon, Jeff and I arrived to our house in the country. We haven’t been here since the holiday spending less time among the beautiful quiet isolation because the weather is a bit harsher, and setting a little lonelier than the city.  When I arrived, I was welcomed to an icy walkway and icy temperatures, clearly not wearing the appropriate grip shoes needed to get from car to front door with all my belongings.  The temperature inside the house read a cool 56 degrees, nothing that a thick sweater and fluffy slippers can’t temporarily comfort until Jeff fires up the wood burning stove. Providing further warmth, I curled up on the couch with my dog Alice snuggly beside me having found a cozy nook in the folded part of my legs. 

Deciding what comfort food to make for dinner, I stumbled upon a pretty bowl of minestrone soup with pasta peeking up from the tomato broth, a nice tease and change from the curries and chili I usually make.  So I gathered the vegetables I wanted to use and looked in the pantry for pasta realizing I had none as typically used in minestrone. However, I always have grain and settled on brown rice - so glad I did. The lighter choice seemed to be less filling and digest better, not to mention, make a lovely presentation when served. But don’t get me wrong a little macaroni would have been good too. 

*Note: this soup thickens up the next day if left over.

* Note about fire roasted tomatoes.

I use organic canned ones and noticed some brands have a thicker sauce than others, in that case since I use ones that are less thick, I will crush them in a blender for more of a tomato sauce still leaving bits of tomato not totally pureed – this will taste better in your soup, so try not to ignore this step. 

Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice
Feeds 4

One medium sweet onion chopped
Sprinkle cracked red pepper
3 cloves garlic minced
3 medium carrots sliced into rounds
1 large potato peeled and cubed – soak in water to prevent browning until ready to use
1 tbsp dry oregano crushed between fingers
1 tbsp dry thyme crushed between fingers
28oz can fire roasted tomatoes 
14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes 
4 cups veggie broth -  not too salty
Large handful green beans cut into thirds – bite size
14 oz cannellini beans rinsed
Kale sliced into ribbons
Sea Salt

 1. Cook 1 cup of brown rice separately and not in the soup otherwise the rice will absorb too much of the broth, and I like the presentation of the rice served on top which can be mixed in by the person eating it.

Note about rice – after it’s cooked fluff with fork and keep covered for additional 10-15 minutes it will get fluffier

2. In a large pot sauté the onions with sprinkle of cracked red pepper for 4 minutes in extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, I use coconut, and it doesn’t take like coconut. Add the garlic and carrots and stir one minute, drain the potatoes from the water and add to the pot along with the thyme and oregano and toss one minute. Add both cans of the tomatoes and stir one minute, add the veggie broth and ½ teaspoon sea salt, if needed, and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 14 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, not mushy, then add the green beans, and cannellini beans and simmer 3-4 more minutes until green beans are tender but still crunchy – not soft.  Taste again and season with more salt if needed. Don’t add the kale yet.

Add a handful of chopped fresh kale to the bottom of a bowl, and add the soup on top, the kale will wilt from the heat.  If you have a little dessert cup add some rice to it and press, this will create a pretty mold. Now turn it over on top of the bowl of soup.  Add fresh parsley and cracked black pepper.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cauliflower Celery Root Soup with Basil and Mustard

cauliflower soup

Cauliflower Celery Root Soup with Basil and Mustard 
It’s always this time of year when I’m at my busiest with photography shooting weddings, fashion week, beauty launches and family sessions, and with that comes a lot of editing. I obsess about it usually starting at the computer 7:30 am until 4:30 with walks in between with Alice my firecracker of a dog. I notice dark circles begin to develop under the eyes especially doing this 7 days a week from September till the end of October, which are the craziest months for me. On top of that, I have a goal to shift my life in a new direction, and without getting into detail at this time I’ve been making small steps to hopefully get me there, it’s both frightening and exciting.  For now, life gets a little quieter with more time in country and the kitchen, looking forward to the upcoming months and the changing seasons.

So, I’m finally able to make some time to post a soup I’m absolutely in love with. At this time of year I look at the variety of root vegetables such as parsnip, turnip, and typically pass them up, not sure why, but this time I picked a very large celery root and decided to try a creamy soup with cauliflower. I’ve had it twice in the past month and both my husband and I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s simple and creamy with just a few ingredients that brighten the flavors. It’s a thick soup, if you like it thinner add more veggie broth ¼ cup at a time after it’s pureed until you reach a consistency you like. I like to have this soup with a side of kale salad topped with grapes and pistachio, a sandwich is also great.
I think next time I’ll try a parsnip soup!

1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
Cauliflower ½ head sliced
Large celery root peeled and cubed
1 tsp mustard seeds ground
¼ tsp red pepper flakes or 1/8 for less heat
½ tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup coconut milk beverage I used So Delicious or soy milk
¼ cup fresh basil chopped


Sauté the onion for 4 minutes, add the garlic, cauliflower, celery root, mustard seeds and stir for 2 minutes, add the veggie broth, milk and basil, bring to a low boil then turn down the heat and simmer covered until the veggies are fork tender about 10 minutes more if needed. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until creamy, transfer back to the pot and season with more sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spicy Tempeh Bolognese Sauce

vegetarian tomato sauce tempeh

vegetarian tomato sauce tempeh

Spicy Tempeh Bolognese Sauce
Saying goodbye to summer saddens me, this means putting away the flip flops, no more sleeveless shirts and laying on the hammock, nor picking mint from my garden, and taking warm sunshine walks in the country.  I’ll miss the abundance of fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s markets, and the casual encounters in town. Cold weather hunkers me down but it also inspires lots of cooking and my favorite is comfort food, I love it year around, and this brings me to pasta. I wanted something spicy, garlicky, meaty and hearty, without the meat of course, so I came up with this Bolognese style using ground tempeh, wine and fennel powder, all crucial to texture and flavor. For those of you who enjoyed or enjoy meat-based pastas, this alternative is exceptionally wonderful and packed with protein. Serve this to your meat eating friends and I promise they’ll never know the difference, it’s definitely a new favorite here at home and hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Note: Be sure to steam the tempeh first it removes the bitterness.
For the tomatoes, you can use fresh and roast them or canned works great. For the canned, I crush them in a blender since the ones I purchase tend to be chopped instead, crushing makes a better sauce.

Pasta Sauce
1 package tempeh steamed 15 minutes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cracked red pepper plus more
½ large onion chopped
3 large cloves garlic minced
8 oz mushrooms chopped into bits
32 0z can fire roasted tomatoes - crushed
3 tbsp tomato paste
1cup water
1//4 cup red wine
1 heaping tablespoon dry oregano crush with fingers
2 tsp ground fennel powder

package spaghetti  1 pound cooked al dante’ - use brown rice pasta for gluten free

1. Chop the steamed tempeh and mushrooms into small  bits either by hand with a knife or in food processor and set aside.

2. Combine the tomato paste and 1 cup water and set aside

3. Add oil to a medium pot, or large wide pan on medium heat, add the onion, garlic, salt, oregano, and cracked red pepper and sauté for 4 minutes, add the crushed tomatoes and stir 1 minute, add the tomato paste with water and red wine and stir, add the fennel powder, tempeh, mushrooms and stir well, let simmer covered 20-30 minutes to combine the flavors.

Top over your favorite pasta, and optional chopped fresh basil and hearty fresh bread.