Natalia is living a life of pure pleasure through clean food and green style. She’s the chef behind Glowing Temple, a resource for live food inspiration and creation. Natalia aims to inspire you to create a life you love, enjoy the journey and eat well along the way.
I love the delicate nature of micro greens and every time I get my hands on them, I’m always so impressed with their depth of flavor. Despite their daintiness, they pack a huge flavor punch! Locally, I get a mix of red mustard, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, red cabbage, amaranth, celery and radish. Actually, what I’m finding is labeled “exotic tiny greens”, so I think they are a bit more mature than your average micro green, but who’s counting? This week, I was thrilled to find them for my book photo shoot. They make the loveliest garnishes on savory dishes.
In the summer, I’ve always been all about salads. Even before raw food, fresh salads in the summer just made sense. It’s hot out and you want to keep your kitchen and your body cool. The only problem with summer salads at the moment is that in Florida, all of my beloved organic famers are on vacation! Well, probably not vacation, but it’s too hot to grow and they’re prepping for their next season. It is a tough transition to go from huge baskets of dirt cheap, freshly picked produce to the limp, shipped from who knows where, sitting there for who knows how long, offerings as my local health food store. Oh, it’s almost painful. I do the best I can, picking through and finding what looks the freshest. This week, the fennel was looking nice and I had apples from my co-op share. With the micro greens I had left after my photo shoot, I was inspired to toss this together. It’s a really nice, fresh change from my normal daily lettuce or kale-based salads.
When it comes to healthy living, I’m all or nothing. I love raw food, because it keeps me on track and feeling in control. Right before I even knew what this lifestyle was all about, I was a super junk food eating vegan. Like full on dinners of potato chips because, well, they tasted good and they were fairly natural, meat & dairy free. But healthy? Let’s get real. Overnight I decided raw was the way for me and haven’t looked back. Most importantly, I pushed through the transition and pumped my body full of as many greens as I could handle until I craved them as I once craved chips.
My lifestyle is rooted in pleasure—but not the kind of fleeting pleasure a bag of chips used to give me. This is a flow of pleasure. I love to go to the farmer’s market and hand pick every veggie, sniff the herbs and taste the ripe fruits. I adore creating in my kitchen. A little of this and a little of that = magic. As a life long foodie, you know I love to eat and indulge in all of the pleasures of gourmet raw food. But the most pleasure for me? I feel amazing. I don’t get sick, like ever. I’m completely blissed out. It’s deeply empowering.
Here in Florida, we are blessed to be at the height of our Farmers Market season. My Saturday ritual involves getting up as early as possible (but never early enough) and heading downtown to visit my favorite organic farmers. Every week I vow to arrive earlier when I hear that I missed out on the strawberries or the last of the Lacinato kale. But come Saturday, sleep always wins. When I finally make it to my favorite booth, I’m always on the hunt for something exotic. Sometimes I can find rare tropical fruits (more often in the summer) and unique citrus varieties. Last week I scored the last of the pink tangelos and WOW–what a treat.
This week I was late. Kale, a major staple for me–gone. So I fumbled around trying to figure out what else to get. I’m a total list maker. I have to be, while shopping for me, my hubby and a handful of clients. Though, in keeping with fresh and seasonal ingredients, my favorite list entry is often “stuff for salad”. Walking around the booth, it was impossible to miss the gorgeous display of Romanesco (a broccoli & cauliflower relative). This is seriously the most beautiful food I have ever seen. It’s bright, lime green and full of spiraling florets. Even better, as much as I love broccoli and cauliflower, Romanesco is a bit more subtle in flavor. I grabbed a perfect looking piece, a ton of fresh herbs and knew I was in for a treat this week. This salad is so light, delicious and absolutely full of fresh herby flavor. If you can’t get your hands on Romanesco, feel free to substitute broccoli or cauliflower.
Oh my goodness, it is time to breathe. I spent the last 6 weeks working 15 hours a day without a taking a single day off and completed the greatest accomplishment of my life thus far…my book.Pure Pleasures: Luscious Live Food Recipes from the Glowing Temple Kitchen (link http://www.glowingtemple.com/purepleasures.php) is published! Wow, that feels good.
So now I’m trying to get back into some sort of “normal” rhythm, whatever that means. There’s actual dinners rather than downing a quick smoothie and yes, I’ve taken a few hours off here and there for time at the beach and visits with friends. Though, I’m having trouble not working because I guess I really created some pretty deep habits. It’s amazing how quickly something truly begins to feel natural. So I’m still up until midnight every night, but now it’s more with promotion rather than production and there’s a lot less pressure if I feel I need to put something off until tomorrow.
These last 6 weeks focused on design, writing and editing, so I’ve really been missing being able to get in the kitchen and create. Like really create. You know, something delicious, beautiful and gourmet, not just tossing together a salad. Now that I’m back to breathing, it’s time to play a little and here’s my first post-book creation that I wanted to share.
I embrace the change of the seasons, no matter how subtle it may be in my current climate (Florida). Yes, it’s still in the 80’s here, brightly sunny and gorgeous.
Autumn is my favorite time of year, when I can turn off my air conditioner and open the windows, welcoming in a light fresh, breeze. I grew up in New England, so no matter what I am experiencing for weather, autumn is a time for apples, apples and more apples. The problem is, I despise the organic apple varieties that are readily available to me. I guess I’m an apple snob. I don’t like the huge, overly sweet, super hard apples like Gala and Fuji that I can always find. I’m a McIntosh girl, loving that they are slightly tart, and easier to bite & chew. Of course, they’re ridiculously hard to find organically, especially in Florida! Even when the fall apples, in their little white tote bags, arrive on the shelves, I never expect to find anything organic, because I’ve never seen them. So this year, I did a double take when I saw organic McIntosh apples at my local Whole Foods. I filled a bag to the top wondering if I would ever see them again! With these McIntosh apples back in my life, I’m so enjoying an apple a day…and making sure I have enough left over to create!
I’m a McIntosh girl, loving that they are slightly tart, and easier to bite & chew.
As the holidays draw near, I’m always thinking of sweets I can share with friends and family. Though I’m normally a rich, creamy, chocolaty dessert lover, this cranberry apple pie blew me away. Tart cranberries and my favorite McIntosh apples are spiced and sweetened, sitting atop a ginger cookie crust. Top it off with a sweet and spicy cinnamon swirl ice cream and you have entered autumn dessert heaven.