Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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Whoa. Summer is coming to a close and I haven't even shared one of my favorite summer dishes. One reason I haven't posted this is that I've been distracted by weather. I'll have plenty of time to work on the site when it's cold outside and I'm trapped indoors. Right? But another reason is this nagging idea of perfection. Sometimes I fall into a spiral of thinking that I should wait until I have higher quality photos, create more complex recipes, or find some other excuse not to post a recipe. And what happens when I think like that is nothing. I stop creating and I stop sharing. It's time to overcome that idea of perfection and share with you all a recipe that is not elegant and complex, but simple and beautiful. And the pictures may be low quality iPhone shots, but the important thing is to keep creating, keep sharing, and stop being so hard on myself. I feel better already.
This recipe is incredibly simple to make, yet crazy delicious. Whenever I make this, people ask for the recipe or beg me to make it again. And while it's still summer, I am trying to take advantage of eating these delicious seasonal foods while I can.
The star of this recipe is fresh raw corn. I have always loved the taste of raw corn. It is sweet and juicy and not nearly as starchy as cooked corn. I especially love putting it on vegetarian tacos. Such great texture and flavor!
But there is one major concern when it comes to corn: GMO's. Almost all corn sold in the United States is genetically modified. And currently there is no requirement that GMO products be labelled. But there is hope for those of us who would rather trust Mother Nature than corporately funded scientists to grow our food. Organic standards do not allow GMO's and some stores label their corn as non-GMO. Consider your power as a consumer: every purchase you make is a vote in favor of or against GMO's. Which way are you voting?
I found some beautiful red corn and mixed colors of cherry tomatoes that made for a beautiful rainbow of a dish. But the yellow corn and red tomatoes taste just as good, so don't sweat it if you can't find red corn. Just make sure you get non-GMO corn and get cooking before the summer vegetable season is over!
2 ears of corn (non-GMO-we've talked about this)
1 avocado, diced
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 tsp each)
1. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and place in a bowl with avocado, tomatoes, and walnuts.
2. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper and stir.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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I'm finally coming up for air. This summer has been a whirlwind. Between a luxurious beach trip, the first ever Naked Fig Dinner Party, a new nutrition client, and my regular cooking gig, I've been super busy. All this has been incredibly chaotic (albeit fulfilling and fun), and so it feels really blissful to sit peacefully by the river while I write this.
The Naked Fig Dinner Party was truly a blast. It was such an honor to share what I love to do with such a wonderful group of people. We dined outside, enjoying great food, wine, and amazing company. Inside, the talented Madeline Moore transformed the house into an art gallery for guests to view and purchase her work. Needless to say, we took home quite a few beautiful pieces. Overall, the event was a huge success and I can't wait to throw another one!
The best part of the dinner was definitely the dessert - a raw cherry pistachio tart served with whipped coconut cream and stewed cherries. I cannot begin to describe how delicious this was. You could just take my word for it, but if I were you, I'd make this one. Seriously.
This dessert tastes so indulgent, yet it doesn't have any refined sugar or flour. And it is gluten and dairy free too! Instead it is packed with fruits and nuts. Aside from being delicious and the epitome of Summer, cherries have anti-inflammatory properties. And both cherries and pistachios are antioxidant rich foods. Because the cake is raw, all the nutrition is intact. That means that this amazing dessert may help boost your immune system as well as your mood!
Raw Cherry Pistachio Tart
2/3 cup raw shelled pistachios*
1/2 cup raw walnuts
2/3 cup dates, chopped
1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
*It can be hard to find raw pistachios. If you can't find them, it is ok to use roasted. Or if you really want it to be raw, use raw walnuts or pecans.
2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)
2 tbsp water
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup raw honey
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup pitted cherries
1 cup pitted cherries, sliced
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1. Put all crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse. If the crust sticks together in your hands it is perfect. If not, add water or honey one tbsp at a time until desired texture is achieved.
2. Line a 9" spring form pan with plastic wrap. Press crust mixture into the bottom of the pan making as even a layer as possible. Put pan in the refrigerator while you work on the filling. Rinse the food processor.
3. Put all the filling ingredients except for the cherries into the food processor and mix until smooth. This may take longer than you expect, but just keep blending until creamy.
4. Pour about 2/3 of the filling on to the crust layer. Use a spatula to spread and create an even layer.
5. Add cherries to the remaining 1/3 of the filling in the food processor and blend until smooth (and bright pink/purple!). Pour all of the filling on top of the first filling layer and use spatula to make the layer even and smooth.
6. Place in the freezer until solid, about 2-3 hours. Move to the refrigerator about 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
1. Put sliced cherries and coconut palm sugar in a saucepan on medium heat. Stirring frequently, cook until all the juices are released and cherries are tender.
Slice the cake and top with whipped coconut cream and stewed cherries.
You can find a how-to on whipped coconut cream in the Raw Avocado Tart recipe.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
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Last week my friend Alice asked me what I eat when I don't feel like cooking, haven't planned a recipe, or when the refrigerator is looking sparse. Great question! On my journey toward a more natural slow food diet I used to eat really well until I hit speed bumps. If I was really tired, didn't feel well, or simply wasn't inspired, I turned to takeout and processed foods. I'd know that somewhere in the pantry I'd find a bag of zero-nutrition crackers with a scary-long shelf-life. After eating I'd have even less energy than I had before.
Once I got to a point where I was buying almost no processed foods, eating like that simply stopped being an option. Now when I don't feel up to cooking, the choices for foods I can grab and eat are fruits, veggies, or nuts. And I often find that after a handful of cashews or an apple my energy comes back enough to prepare something substantial.
But I'm not always in the mood for twig-and-berries kinds of snacks, so I try to plan ahead for times when cooking isn't going to happen. When I make a meal with a grain (quinoa, farro, rice, etc.), I make a double batch of the grains to keep on hand in the fridge. And if I make soup, I always make more than I need so that I can refrigerate or freeze some. My freezer is always stocked with fruit for smoothies and I love to make flourless seed and nut breads and keep them in the freezer as well.
I also try to come up with recipes that don't require a trip to the market. It is actually like a fun game to challenge myself to make a complete meal with ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes it is hard to let go of the idea that if I just had one more ingredient it would be perfect. But I can stand to learn to be more flexible.
Kohlrabi is all over the farmers' markets around here right now. If you've never tried it, its appearance can be intimidating. They can be purple or green and look like something out of a sci-fi movie. But for their dramatic appearance the flavor is actually simple, sweet, and mild. They have sort of a cabbage-turnip flavor to them. Kohlrabi is low in calories but high in fiber and Vitamin C. Eat them raw or try roasting them. Delicious either way!
This recipe is a great way to make a meal when you think you've got nothing to eat. You can use almost any combination of fresh vegetables and they always seem to taste good. I got sunflower sprouts, fresh basil, and kohlrabi at the local farmers' market. If I made these at a different time of year I'd just swap out for whatever vegetables happen to be in season. If you can't find kohlrabi for this recipe substitute carrots, cabbage, turnips, or radishes. That's the beauty of this recipe. It is super flexible.
Summer Basil Rolls
Makes 8 rolls. If you don't feel like slicing the beets and kohlrabi, you can save some time and work by running them through the food processor.
8 sheets of rice paper
8 large basil leaves (use lots of small leaves if you don't have large ones)
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1 beet, julienned
1 kohlrabi, julienned
1/2 cup snow peas, julienned
1 avocado, sliced
1. Fill a wide shallow bowl or a deep plate with warm water. Submerge a sheet of rice paper for about 20 seconds. Remove rice paper and lay flat on work surface.
2. Sprinkle rice paper with a spoonful of sesame seeds.
3. Thinking of rice paper as a clock, lay a large basil leaf on the paper from 11 to 6. Put a little of each vegetable evenly on top of the basil leaf.
4. From the left side (6 on a clock), fold the paper just enough to cover the filling. If you've ever folded a burrito, this is the same strategy.
5. From the top (12:00) fold the rice paper down about 1.5-2 inches. Do the same from the bottom (6:00).
6. Starting from the left (9:00), roll the rice paper all the way across.
7. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.
After all that folding I am usually too excited about eating to make an elaborate dipping sauce. I usually just use tamari sauce with a few drops of chili oil and maybe some raw almond butter whisked in. But get creative with it! Miso, tahini, lemongrass, and garlic all make great ingredients for sauces. Or use the orange peanut dipping sauce recipe from the Baked Vegetable Pockets.