Vitamins in the "Rough"

You have probably heard the expression “diamond in the rough.” Well, what about “vitamins in your rubbish pile?” That is exactly what you have when you throw away your radish tops. I know, I know, it is probably an automatic reflex to just break those greens off and toss them away. It’s cool, if you are okay with tossing a significant source of calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, vitamin A, C, K and other nutrients into the trash. Not only are radish greens edible, they are the most nutritious part of the plant! It is worth the effort to find a good source of fresh radishes with live, abundant greens. Here is just one example of an easy way to utilize fresh radish greens. The slightly bitter bite of the radish and the fresh, sweet mango are like two peas in the pod…sorry I couldn’t resist the cliche!

radish greens & rice noodles with fresh mango

1 bunch fresh radish tops
2 cloves garlic, slivered
2 Chinese scallions, sliced on the bias
1/4 cup fresh thai basil or traditional basil, julienned
Half a fresh mango, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Half a package King Soba organic brown rice vermicelli
1 bunch broccolini, cut into manageable pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned Read More

keeping it whole all week

Sometimes weekdays can be tricky for preparing fresh whole food dinners. This probably isn’t news to most readers. But then, sometimes, those rushed days, when all you have are some bits and pieces of vegetables and random bags of beans and grains, end up producing the most memorable dinners. Is it the low expectation going into the meal? I honestly don’t know. All I know is this recent throw together came out great! So I had to share.

spinach & cauliflower bhaji

2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicy)

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vegan yogurt under my nose

Lately I have been thinking this a lot: “A tzadziki would go great with this dish.” But I hadn’t found a great, vegan plain yogurt. Although some will argue that dairy yogurt is good for you, if you are avoiding dairy, or keeping vegan, a dairy yogurt just won’t do. Then the other day I was headed to one of my local grocery stores, but coming from a completely different direction than usual. Surprise! I rode my bicycle right into the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market. I couldn’t get from one end of the market to the other without completely spending all of my cash. Then I found a vegan nut cheese maker called Blode Kuh. And there before my eyes was a sample cup filled with cashew yogurt. Yum and yay, because not only was the yogurt fantastic, the cheese maker accepted my credit card on his “square” thing. Gotta love technology! This recipe is devoted to the people at Blode Kuh! Thank you for your awesome yogurt!!

chickpea & wild mushroom cakes with basil-mint tzadziki

For the cakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups shiitake, crimini, or other flavorful mushroom, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomato, julienned
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast Read More

say summer, squash blossoms

Nothing says “summer” like fresh squash blossoms, well except for maybe fresh vine tomatoes, or figs fresh off the tree…um…you get my point..don’t you? I picked up some beautiful ones the other day at the Farmer’s Market. Admittedly, it was pretty hard not to reach for the enchilada cheese when I was dreaming about what to stuff these with. It took a few passes by the cheese aisle, but I managed. And so these delicious, healthy-ish little vegan guys were born.

zucchini blossoms stuffed with macadamia ricotta

1 dozen or more fresh zucchini blossoms
2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked in water for an hour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup water
Healthy cooking oil
1 cup almond milk
1 cup potato starch (or corn starch) Read More

father's day in the raw

Happy Father’s Day! How about giving your dad something he probably has never had? This raw, portobello mushroom burger is pretty hard to pass up and could end up being the best gift you could give someone…the gift of better health. Warning, this “burger” is addictive and can be a transformational experience! Keep in mind that in order to keep this in it’s raw state, it is actually dehydrated, and takes 3-4 hours to prepare. But the actual active time to prepare is short, maybe just 15 minutes. If this sounds too weird to you, keep an open mind, because the end result is a juicy, dense, flavorful burger that can stand up to any beef burger.

“raw” portobello burger with basil cashew cheese

Makes two vegan burgers

For the Burger:
2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed but left intact
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. organic tamari (can substitute liquid amines)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Sea salt & pepper to taste

For the Cheese:
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for a couple hours) Read More

you say "leaf" I say "pad"

Whatever you call it, that ubiquitous cactus that is probably hanging out in more back yards than many of us realize, is packed with superfood nutrition. The leaf or “pad” of the nopale is believed to support many aspects of health and well being such as weight loss, blood purification, maintaining blood sugar balance, and more. My personal philosophy is that nature designed the nopale to provide good, somewhat complete nutrition in climates where growing and cultivating food, and finding an abundant water source may be a challenge. In any case, I feel extremely lucky to have two nopale trees in my food garden. They are going crazy right now producing more nopales than we can keep up with. In the spirit of water conservation, food sustainability, and good health, why not explore how many accessible nopales are growing in your world? Here is a simple, very traditional egg recipe for enjoying fresh nopales from your garden. Be sure to cut the nopale when the leaf is still young and the thorns are still soft to the touch. Once the thorns have become wooody and hard, the nopale leaf is too mature for culinary enjoyment. You can cut nopales, clean, and cut into “nopalitos,” basically cleaned and cut up nopales, and store them in an air tight bag or container for up to a week or two.

huevos con nopalitos

Makes 2 servings
1 large or 2 small nopale pads
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed but still intact
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 eggs Read More

spiced-up grilling simplicity

I love cooking outdoors! One of the highlights of my summer has always been firing up my electric smoker, or using my Texas barrel as a “wood oven.” I have cooked just about everything imaginable outdoors, from pizza to smoked peaches. Grilling, smoking, and barbecuing doesn’t have to be reserved for meat. There are a lot of plant foods that do extremely well on the grill. This recipe for grilled eggplant is my favorite way to just grab an eggplant from my garden and quickly turn it into a featured grill item. If you can mix a few spices together, you can easily prepare this dish. The buttery flavor from the natural oils of the roasted eggplant along with tomato and the tahini is heaven when eaten! You can even prepare this on your stovetop griddle or in a grill pan.

moroccan spiced eggplant & tomato with tahini

Serves 2-4
2 large Japanese eggplant
2 tomatoes
Olive oil for brushing
Prepared tahini
Salt to taste
Moroccan Spice:
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. coriander Read More

a healthy dose of sweetness

This recipe and image has been sitting in my drafts folder for a couple months. I am currently on a 5 day bicycle ride to raise money for climate ride. When I am riding my bicycle for five days straight, my body craves clean, usable nutrition without a lot of hard to digest stuff. This protein bar recipe came to mind so I thought it is time to finally post it for you all. And, I thought it would be a fun for you to try on the weekend because these bars store great for a week long go to snack. By the way, if you are curious about Climate Ride, you can learn more and make a donation here:

vegan lemony power bars

2 1/4 cups vegan protein powder
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
1 1/2 cup pure agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Zest from 2 lemons
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 16-oz. jar pure chunky almond  butter (salted brings out the flavor better)
3 cups hempseed granola (available at Trader Joe’s)
Sunflower seeds for garnish

Warm the almond butter and agave in a bowl together. Mix together with all the remaining ingredients except for the granola. Work in the cereal until it is all mixed well. Press into a 9″x11″ dish. Sprinkle generously the sunflower seeds over the top of the mixture. Press the seeds into the mixture so they don’t fall off the top. Refrigerate the mixture until firm. Cut into squares and enjoy immediately or store for later. These store well at room temperature for up to a week, and freeze well also.

root systems we love!

I love the artichoke roots that have taken hold in my food garden! Every year, a glorious new artichoke plant pops out and produces delicious artichokes right on schedule. They have become one of the highlights of spring in at our house. Artichoke roots go dormant in late summer early fall, but then wake up in early winter to start producing the plant, and spring is usually harvest time for artichokes. Many people scratch their heads at artichokes, either because they only know how to boil them, or maybe they just don’t think its worth the work required to finally get to the delicious heart of the artichoke. To me it is all worth the work, but just in case, here is a super easy way to prepare fresh artichokes, that incorporates roasted garlic. I recommend trying this accompanied by something you can spread the edible meat of the artichoke, along with the roasted garlic onto, like a baguette or a toasted flatbread. Don’t let spring pass without trying this once! It is a nice alternative to the traditional boiling method. I like to leave two or three artichokes on the plant each year because they eventually blossom into a beautiful flower. And they look as beautiful as they taste!

garlic stuffed roasted artichoke

4 medium artichokes
2 lemons, cut in half
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
12 or more cloves of garlic, peeled
12 sprigs fresh thyme Read More

calling a noodle a noodle…maybe

With gluten free this, avoid that, and whatever else we are adding to the “avoid list” lately, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of calling something what it actually isn’t. For example, a “cauliflower” is commonly being called a “steak,” and no one seems to mind at all. Are we finally losing it as a society? Well, I guess, keeping it all in perspective, it’s cool to get creative with naming some healthy substitutes. It’s just a word anyway, right? I just want whatever I am eating to satiate and hit the spot on whatever my mind and my appetite have conspired to enjoy together. Whenever that happens to be cold tomato basil noodles, this recipe does the trick. For the sake of avoiding the faux food naming pattern, we’re going to call these babies “zoodles”. Whatever you do call it, get ready for “yummy” sounding words and noises when you serve it. Oh, and it’s raw too!

tuscan cold zoodles with tomato, basil & garlic

Makes 2 small servings
1 medium-large zucchini
1 large roma tomato
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup loose pack basil, divided in half, one half whole-leaf, the other half julienned
1 tbsp. lemon
1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts Read More