Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Squash and Root Vegetable Tian

Check out this recipe and more on the new site!

This is one of the most beautiful dishes out there.  Seriously.  If you are looking for an impressive dish to make, look no further.  A vegetable tian is essentially a layered casserole, but tian sounds much more elegant, so let's go with that.  The variety of vegetables you use makes a rainbow of colors an the layering process creates eye-pleasing patterns.  And the best part's really easy.  Minimum effort, maximum results.

For this tian I used a mixture of summer squashes and winter root vegetables.  But play around with mixing the vegetables up.  This recipe is more about the method.  You can alter the ingredients to suit your tastes or to use seasonal produce.  When picking vegetables, look for ones with a similar diameter.  It will create a more uniform pattern.

Being winter, the superstar of this recipe is the beet.  I included both red and golden beets because they make the dish rich in color.  Beets get this intense color from phytonutrient pigments called betalains.  Betalains have major anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They are also packed with Vitamin C, folate, and a slew of other vitamins and minerals.

Beets can be especially helpful with detoxing because the betalain pigments trigger excretion of toxins.  The betalains decrease significantly when cooked so make sure to include raw beets in your diet as well.  Juicing can be an easy way to get these powerful nutrients raw.  And don't forget to use the beet greens.  They are loaded with nourishing health-boosters too!


1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large yellow squash
1 large zucchini
2 red beets
2 golden beets
1 potato
1 tsp himalayan or celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
2 ounces gruyere, shredded (optional, but if you're not vegan it's worth it)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sauté shallot,onion, and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat until soft and translucent.  When ready, spread evenly across the bottom of a 10x10 (or similar) casserole dish.

Slice remaining vegetables into 1/4 inch circles.  Alternating colors, arrange vegetables in the casserole dish, stacking them at an angle.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices.  Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Check the vegetables with a fork to make sure they are tender (especially the root vegetables).  If not, bake a few more minutes.  If they are tender, top with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Turmeric Hot Cocoa & Maple Marshmallows

Check out this recipe and more on the new site!

This season I have seen tons of delightful posts of homemade marshmallows that look beautiful, pillowy, and delicious.  I wanted to make some to add to my cocoa but found that they are essentially refined sugar and corn syrup.  Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I decided to see if there was a way to make them with a healthier sweetener.  I thought honey would be too intense and so I decided to experiment with maple.  The results were a huge success: Fluffy caramel colored marshmallows that melt beautifully into cocoa.

I am by no means a marshmallow expert, so I took most of my cues from Martha Stewart as far as the how-to and simply switched the ingredients to be more "Naked Figgy." I also did use some refined sugar (organic powdered sugar) in making these because the marshmallows need to be rolled in something powdery to keep them from being too sticky.  If you want to completely avoid the sugar, try rolling them in cinnamon or cacao.

Adding turmeric to my cocoa is one of my favorite winter treats.  Its flavorful and full of superfoods.  For more info on the health benefits of turmeric check out my Turmeric and Fig Shake.  For more info on the benefits of maca look at my Raw Avocado Tart recipe.  The cocoa mix makes a great little gift in a small mason jar.  Pair it with some homemade marshmallows for a last minute gift.

Turmeric Hot Cocoa:

2 1/2 tbsp raw cacao
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp maca powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a jar.  Heat 1 cup of milk or plant milk and whisk in 2 teaspoons cocoa mix.  Sweeten with maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar to taste.

Maple Marshmallows:

3 packets gelatin
1 cup cold water (split into two half cups)
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp organic vanilla extract
oil for brushing
organic powdered sugar for coating

Pour gelatin into standing mixer and add 1/2 cup of water.  Let this sit for at least 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, put maple syrup, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan on medium-high heat.  Martha Stewart says to heat until syrup reaches 238 degrees.  I do not have a candy thermometer so I just heated it for 9 minutes.

At a low speed, begin pouring hot syrup into the stand mixer.  Be careful because it will burn if it splashes on you.  Slowly turn the mixer up to high and leave it mixing for 12 minutes, adding vanilla extract in the last minute. At this point the mixture should look like marshmallow fluff and will come off of a spoon in ribbons.

During the twelve minutes, line a baking dish with parchment paper and brush the paper with oil.  When the marshmallow mixture is ready, pour it into the dish and allow it to firm up for about 4 hours.

When the marshmallows are firm, turn them out of the dish and onto a sheet of parchment paper coated with powdered sugar.  Coat a knife with oil and slice the marshmallows into 1.5 inch cubes.  Toss each marshmallow in the powdered sugar to coat.

Store marshmallows in an airtight container for 3-4 days.  Homemade marshmallows do not stand up to flames well so use caution when roasting because they melt fast.  I still managed to brown them a bit though.  Enjoy!

Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!