This is my first holiday season as a vegan healthy eater and I have to admit that my family is in shock. Especially my mom. She’s been calling almost every day to ask what to prepare for the family dinner and when I say just veggies and fruits she seems ready to cry…
Don’t get me wrong, my mom is the master chef of the family, her meals are always so stunning that my brother spent a couple of years convincing her to open an restaurant. But they are not healthy at all and absolutely no vegan like. The negotiations continued a whole week and although I can think up of a lot of her specialty meals made the vegan way with a little adaptation, the idea of changing her dishes is not something she is very fond of. I believe no one will be.
In the end we made an agreement – I will spend Christmas day with her and prepare the meals we all will eat. The salad I chose to make is a mix of an appetizer and a salad, which goes great with a glass of red wine. Really does tastes amazing. Especially the base, a must have for your holiday dinner parties. You can actually use the base and cover it with any salad you want, in my case a green one with some added Christmas spirit by the red grapefruit. Enjoy!
This is my first holiday eating “G” and I was wondering, how do you handle your relatives and family dinners. Do you make your own foods or do eat whatever the rest of the family is having? Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
I wonder, will you secretly judge me if I admit to you that I don’t really like pie? Every year I’m reminded of my pie-oriented “skeleton in the oven,” thanks to all the holiday festivities. You can usually spot me fighting a cringe, as one pie after the next is passed before me, and I have to spontaneously compose a new, polite way to decline.
I can’t help it — I don’t like traditional pastry crust (boring), I don’t like perfectly good fruits smothered in some sugar goo, and I’m terribly sorry, but that pretty lattice pattern adorning the top isn’t going to do anything to get me more excited. Luckily there is, however, one exception to my no-pie rule: pumpkin pie.
I really get amped over a good pumpkin pie. (To be honest, I invariably get amped over a good pumpkin “anything.”) But as much my love is genuine, I can’t help but feel our favorite orange globes have enjoyed a little too much pop-star-style dependence in the winter squash world. Pumpkins continually overshadow a vast, deliciously endowed, and diverse spectrum of beautiful winter squash, time and time again in recipes.
I can’t help it — I don’t like traditional pastry crust (boring)
But not this year.
I don’t know who decides the “chic food trends,” but nonetheless this has really been the year of winter squash. These different “pumpkin cousins” have been the new darlings of farmer’s markets and chefs alike, and I am all too happy to participate in the fun. I have so many favorites: delicata, butternut, acorn, and for making pies, the undeniable winner in my book is kabocha squash — aka the “Japanese Pumpkin.”
With a pumpkin-esque shape, and bright beautiful orange flesh, kabocha appears to be very similar to a traditional pumpkin, with the exception of its dark green exterior skin. Where it really trumps other pumpkins though, is in its flavor. Kabocha is one of the most inherently flavorful squashes of all — which makes it ideal for a pie! What I love most about it though, is that it enables using a fraction of the amount of sweetener compared to a traditional pie recipe . . . and in this case that sweetener is healthy molasses-like yacon syrup. Together, these ingredients ensure that this pumpkin pie is not only superbly tasty, but that it also has something to truly be thankful for: health! Now that’s my kinda pie. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Sicilian Pasta with Eggplant, Basil and Soy Cheese. This classic meal tastes great in any season. We were happy to use our own eggplants from the garden, just rather sad that we don’t have more, but looking forward to next spring when we begin again to grow this wonderful vegetable.
Serves 2 people
For the Ingredients:
1 large handful spaghetti pasta (enough for 2 people)
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.
This is V here: It’s Monday and starting today and ending today we will post a new salad every Monday. And now on to Alice’s recipe:
Fast, super-easy, hearty and full of flavors, this is the perfect salad for the late-summer, early-fall season. Refreshing and satisfying, colorful and elegant, this fruit and vegetable salad works amazingly well as a light lunch but you can certainly serve it at a dinner party, just make sure you prepare it right before serving time as the vegetables -and fruits- can get too soggy. The main components of this dish are typical summer fruits -such as fresh white peaches, figs and raspberries- that are usually eaten on their own or in a fruit salad. Here, I combine them with green beans, rocket and fresh herbs -thyme and chives- and the result is a tasty, sweet and sour salad which is a great feast of tastes and textures, beautiful to look at but also good for your health.
I’ve had an extensive relationship with tea since I can remember. Not just the substance of tea, but more specifically the actual event of a tea. Thanks to my chic and antique-obsessed mother, we had a collection of old handmade teacups, vintage silver and dainty tea platters. Almost every special occasion was some extensive tea party with scones, quiche, sandwiches, etc. I have the best memories of these teas, and how far back in my life I had enjoyed them.
Even for my birthday 2 years ago, I had a tea party with my sister and mother while Nina Simone blasted in the background and gluten-free scones were aplenty. The tradition has not yet died in my family. So, when I first found Alexis of Teaspoons and Petals I was enriched with her delicious tea combinations, knowledge and quaintness. She is like the saint of twitter, posting things like, “Crisp fall air is streaming in through the windows. warming up with a cup of delicate, sweet sencha.” She makes me dream of rustic cabins, tea cups and fabulous tea blends. She is a talented writer (and consultant), so it’s nothing to her to create a complete tea-centric atmosphere just from a mere 140 characters (or less). Not to mention her unbelievably adorable Haiku Teacups combined with lyrics of Jazz Era vocalists. I’m a huge huge huge fan of singers like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Mamie Smith, Ida Cox, Dinah, etc. I almost died when I saw these adorable cups with lyrics from my favorite women. Her site includes her unique simple syrup blends, like Lavender Blossom. I can’t say enough about her, but needless to say, I have a huge crush.
I was so honored when she contacted me for an interview. Talking about tea with a tea goddess?! OF course. The interview and recipe were featured on her site last week, with the sweetest write-up. I did not deserve anything she said about me. I was so happy to collaborate with her, and I know we will continue to do so in the future.
Ever since making our savoury avocado truffles, we’ve been thinking about creating a dessert version of this much loved dish. Here is a quick and simple way to prepare an elegant and challenging dessert.
The “truffles” are filled with a light chocolate mousse and coated with cacao nibs and ground pistachios. The silky flavours of avocado and chocolate are complemented by the textural, crunchy coat.
Late summer and early fall in the produce isle means grapes, all kinds of them. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying grapes for about two months now, making Muscadine grape juice almost daily and obsessing over a heavenly fig, grape, and cinnamon shake (let us know if you’d like the recipe).
Concord grapes are a special treat. They contain seeds, which nowadays seems rare and exciting. Most grapes sold in the States are seedless – a true shame considering the myriad health benefits of grape seeds. The Concord grape sorbet, besides completing the dish with beautiful jewel tones, adds a nice amount of sweetness to the mild tastes of the truffle and bitter notes of the cacao nibs. The sorbet tastes a bit like grape jelly and serves as an exciting companion that pleases both eyes and palate.
If you’re looking for a high-brow, party-savvy appetizer recipe made from affordable low-brow, healthy ingredients, my Fiesta Balls are for you. In a flash you can turn a boring can of white beans, some veggie accents and spices into creative, eye-catching balls that can easily be served at your next VIP’s-only dinner party.
The presentation is simple and chic. Each lightly fried ball is placed on a large half-circle tomato slice. Then dusted with a hint of cayenne, paprika, pepper or your fave warming spice or zesty herb. Add a spicy salsa or harissa spread on the side or drizzled over top. Your guests will be raving “These balls are amazeballs!”
The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to your hearts delight. Hate corn? Use mushrooms. Hate mushrooms? Use spinach. Hate spinach? Use olives. The veggie accent is totally up to you. Spices too. You can make these balls as hot and spicy as you’d like. So whip out a low brow can of cannellini beans and brush off your serving tray. These balls are ready for their silver platter debut. Here is my originol recipe for Fiesta Bean Balls. Recipe variations follow below.
If you would ask me, what my favourite food is at this particular moment, my answer would most definitely be figs. Despite being able to enjoy dry figs all year around, there is nothing like enjoying fresh ones, which nature produces at the end of a summer. They are magnificent produce due to their sweet taste with a soft pulp and fine peel. Crunchy seeds just melts in your mouth and are perfect completion of a texture. To choose the figs with high amount of antioxidants, pick the ripe figs with a nice, fresh aroma.
They totally remind me of my childhood, as back in the days my father would go and pick the freshest figs from the farmers market and I would fight with my brother who would get them first. If my mother got a hold of them, before me and my brother ate them all, she would prepare a delicious almond and fig pie. This time it was my turn, so I prepared one my way and brought her my version of traditional almond and fig pie, which we both enjoyed dearly.
Life is full of un-expected surprises. Some are good, some seem like they maybe bad and then there are those moments or events which just change everything. Well, that last one seems to keep happening to me again and again lately. First I found new dog love, when I rescued Basil my wonder boy from the Long Beach Harbor Shelter. Then without even knowing I was open to a relationship, someone new enters my life and shows me what true happiness looks like. And now, being inspired by her love for making recipes and some encouragement, I too caught the recipe making bug. I know, shocking, right. I bet everyone out there thought I was already making recipes a long long time ago, since I am the guy who runs greenchefs, right? Well, it is sad to say, I somehow thought it was beyond me. I admired all the GreenChefs and loved having them in the studio and I loved eating their creations, but I really never thought I would be any good at it. That is crazy thinking! The whole point of GreenChefs is to inspire everyone to get their asses into the kitchen to make good for you, amazing tasting dishes! Now I am proof that really anyone, I mean anyone can make these recipes and they will blow you away.
Now this week I have been left alone to fend for myself and I am happy to report, I am now on my 4th recipe, if you count this Cashew Cheese, and the Kale Chips with the Cashew Cheese on them as separate recipes. Yes, four down and 1000’s to go. I am now addicted and very very full. I may go from Mighty to Plumpy at this rate. Wow, especially with this cheese recipe. Oh man, I am in love. I have been a vegan for a long long time and cheese of any kind hasn’t really been on the menu, so this has been a treat. I discovered this Spicy Cashew Cheese recipe when my friend Juli Novonty sent me a care package of her Kookie Karma Kookies and some of her new products which included a bag of Spicy Cheese Kale Chips.. mmmm so good. When I decided to make a cheese sauce for a pasta dinner, I reached out to Juli and she hooked me up with the complete recipe, which I promptly posted for you guys on GreenChefs a few days ago.
Why am I posting about the Cashew Cheese again, just a few days later? Well, while I was elbow deep in making this Cheese in my Blendtec’s I started feeling my inner amateur GreenChef coming out and I decided to alter the recipe just a bit to bring out some additional flavors and to kick the spice level to something a Texan would think is hot. Well, not HOT but mmm spicy. My big additions are the garlic, dried chili flakes, and the fresh red chili peppers. And I used some of the water from the nut soaking to smooth the cheese out into more of a sauce I think. I have never seen Juli make this, so she may add some water too. Anyways.. WOW, I love it. I can’t stop eating it, which is a good thing, since I made a double batch. I made the pasta and I did Kale Chips, which I will post next week. And yes I ate them all (3 large heads of Kale). So good. Okay if you love rich, spicy, creamy, so good it will make your toes curl, this is a recipe for you and I know what I am talking about, remember, I have tried all the dishes by the visiting GreenChefs and this gives all those recipes a run for their money. If I can say so myself. Enjoy!
I’ve been busy lately eating kale chips. I’m so in love with dehydrated kale these days. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE just plain old raw kale marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. But, dehydrated kale chips are great for crunch and of course a quick salt fix.
Nutritional Yeast is another one of my favorite things when it comes to making raw cheese-like comfort foods. In the world of raw foods nutritional yeast is added to dishes in order to give them a rich “cheesy” flavor. To do this I usually mix lemon, sea salt and nutritional yeast (water if making a cheese sauce). Normally I will also add a red bell pepper and cashews. Then this mixture goes into a Vitamix or a Cuisinart until smooth.
Nutritional Yeast can also be added to a “cracker” recipe in order to give it a cheesy flavor as well.
Nutritional Yeast is not to be confused with Brewer’s Yeast. Both are great sources of B12 (important for Vegans) but Brewer’s Yeast doesn’t give the cheesy flavor that Nutritional Yeast does.
So be sure not to confuse the two.
Another trick to making raw comfort foods is adding heat like jalapenos and/or ginger and/or garlic. This can give off the illusion that the dish is actually cooked or “hot”. It’s a great option when making soups and pates. Or when it’s cold outside. You can actually work up a sweat from combining all of the above spicy items.
Lately, I’ve had quite a few flops in the kitchen. Which is why, I was super stoked when I came up with this dish and it actually tasted as good as I hoped.
Since I have issues with purchasing more corn than I (or a family of 5) needs, I wanted to find a way, other than corn relish, to make good use of it. For some reason, corn cakes immediately popped into my head and I decided to roll with it. I had most of the ingredients on hand, so to the kitchen I went…
I was in love with all the colors in the corn cakes… Isn’t raw food pretty!? Enjoy!