Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun with strawberries

We just can't get enough of those Rutiz Farms strawberries. Our latest creations are vegan buckwheat strawberry pancakes, strawberry-lemon balm muffins, and I tried to recreate my favorite cocktail that the SLO restaurant Novo used to serve. Check it out!

Strawberry-Basil Cooler
1/3 cup crushed strawberries
6 basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) vodka
1 teaspoon agave syrup or simple syrup (or taste)
sparkling water
Crush the strawberries and basil leaves together with a pestle, fork, or spoon. The strawberries should still be chunky. Pour into a tall glass. Stir in the the vodka and sweetener. Fill the glass almost full with ice cubes. Pour sparkling water over to fill the glass. Stir well. Taste and adjust sweetener if necessary.
Serves 1

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sprouted Tofu

There has been some controversy on the benefits of eating soy because soybeans contain phytic acid, which keeps your body from absorbing the minerals like calcium and iron. Sprouting the beans, however, decreases the phytic acid. So when I saw sprouted tofu at Trader Joe's, I was excited to try it. It actually tastes and works just like regular tofu so it will work for any tofu recipe you have. I made this tofu vegetable scramble and it was delicious.

Tofu-Veggie Scramble
This easy scramble is delicious not only for breakfast but also for a quick lunch or dinner. It’s great filling for a breakfast burrito too.

Olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 yukon gold potato, diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
8 ounces sprouted (or regular) tofu
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon water
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a skillet, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and place over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook a couple of minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic, potato, and broccoli. Cover pan and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Crumble the tofu and spread over the vegetables. Add the thyme, tumeric, and water and cook and stir until everything is combined and the tofu is heated through. Season to taste with the sea salt and black pepper.

Serves 2 to 4

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vegan desserts with no added sweeteners

After my appearance on KCBX yesterday, I received many requests for these cookies from my cookbook Simply Natural Baby Food. They are sweetened only with bananas and raisins, and have been very popular at my book signings.

Banana-Oatmeal Cookies
These moist cookies contain no sweeteners, butter, eggs, or wheat.

2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup safflower or other flavorless oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Grind oats and almonds to a coarse powder in food processor or blender. Pour them into a large mixing bowl. Stir in baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.In separate bowl or in food processor, beat together bananas, oil, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add banana mixture and raisins to oat mixture. Mix well. Drop cookie dough by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown.

Makes 3 dozen

Variation: You can also replace the raisins with chocolate chips if desired (you can get grain-sweetened chips from Sunspire).

And here is a sorbet from Lick It! Creamy Dream Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love made without sweeteners.

Blueberry-Banana Sorbet
Makes 1 quart
No sweeteners are used in this delicious sorbet—it’s all fruit!

3 bananas
1 cup blueberries
1 cup unsweetened apple juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. If the mixture is cold, it may be frozen immediately; otherwise, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

And the roastathon continues. Here's today's creation:

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
This is fancy enough to serve for company, but easy enough to cook for a weekday meal. Cut regular carrots into 1-inch slices, but if they are fat farmers’ market carrots like I got in my CSA box this week, cut them into 1/2-inch slices.

4 cups sliced (1-inch) carrots
1 head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
1 white onion, peeled and cut into wedges
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 cups walnuts
5 cups water (divided)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or lemon thyme
2 teaspoons light miso (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, toss carrots, cauliflower, onion, and garlic in enough olive oil to coat. Place on a large baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, or until carrots and caultiflower are tender. Stir and turn vegetables once or twice so they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Remove peel from garlic.
You will need to blend the soup in two batches. Place walnuts and 3 cups water in blender and blend until smooth. Add about half the thyme, miso, and vegetables and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium pan. Put the remaining 2 cups water, thyme, miso, and vegetables to the blender. Blend until smooth. Add to pan and stir together. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Heat to desired temperature.

Serves 6

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Vegan Pizza

So I promised you last week, I'd show you the vegan pizzas I made with all of those roasted veggies.

First I made two different sauces -- a red sauce from the roasted tomatoes and garlic and a white sauce from white beans, herbs, and roasted garlic. I had a couple of packages of flat breads and my family and I made a bunch of different combinations. Our favorites:

- Margarita Pizza with the white sauce, fresh basil, fresh sliced tomatoes and topped it with toasted walnuts.

- Grilled Corn and Onion Pizza made with the roasted tomato sauce, fresh thyme leaves and the grilled veggies

- Roasted Eggplant and Pinenut pizza - I don’t know whether I like this better with the white sauce or red sauce--they were both amazing.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Rutiz Farms CSA Box

Thanks to my wonderful CSA -- Rutiz Farms . . . look at all the wonderful meals we had this weekend made from food in Friday's CSA box.

Roasted potatoes, beets, cauliflower and broccoli; strawberry-blueberry pancakes (using the multi-grain pancake mix from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook); Minestrone Soup; and to relax a lovely cup of lemon-balm tea made from leaves of my new lemon balm plant!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Local Olive Oil and more

After tasting the olive oil at Global Gardens in Los Olivos, CA, I joined their "club" so I can get a basket 4 times a year with their own olive oil, vinegar, and other products. Here's a video featuring what I got in my first one . . . and what I did with it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

10 Scary Reasons to Avoid GMOs (or at least require labeling)

This is from the Organic Consumers Organization newsletter--10 Scary Reasons to Avoid GMOs (based on this article):

#1 Monsanto's Bt-toxin, in its Bt-producing GMO corn and cotton (used in food in the form of cottonseed oil), was found by Canadian doctors in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of the umbilical blood of their babies.

#2 The authors of the Canadian study conclude that the women and their babies were exposed to Monsanto's GMO Bt-toxin through a "normal" non-organic Canadian diet, including non-organic (so-called "natural" and "conventional") meat, egg, and dairy products from animals fed Bt corn.

#3 Monsanto's GMO "Bt" corn and cotton plants are engineered to produce a insecticide in every cell of the plant that kills insects by breaking open their stomachs.

#4 Mice fed Monsanto's Bt corn had elevated levels of immune system substances that are also higher in humans who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, allergies, Lou Gehrig's disease, autoimmune disease, and colitis.

#5 Young mice in the same study had elevated T-cells, which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases.

#6 Monsanto's GMO Bt-toxin has properties of known allergens - it actually fails the World Health Organization's allergen screening tests.

#7 Monsanto's GMO Bt-toxin has been found to bind with the small intestines in mice and with intestinal tissue in rhesus monkeys.

#8 In addition to its GMO "Bt" crops which are engineered to produce insecticide, Monsanto also produces GMO "RoundUp Ready" crops, engineered with a bacterial DNA that allows it to survive otherwise deadly doses of its herbicide RoundUp.

#9 In the only human feeding study ever published on GMOs, Monsanto's GMO "RoundUp Ready" soybeans were found to transfer Monsanto's "RoundUp Ready" DNA to the bacteria living inside human intestines.

#10 According to Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology, the transfer of Monsanto's GMO Bt DNA to human digestive bacteria could create a "living pesticide factory" that could be responsible for the "increase in gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and childhood learning disorders - since 1996 when Bt crops came on the market."

If you are concerned, there are ways to take action here.