I wanted to make a whole grain pizza, which by the way, I never have done successfully before. So, I decided to go straight to the source. The man! One of the most popular Italian chefs in the world… Mr. Mario Batali. And of course viola, he hooked me up and oh yeah, it turned out oh so yummy.
I’m giving full props to the man because I just substituted spelt flour for the all purpose he uses. The consistency of your crust will depend on how thick or thin you wanna shape it. The thicker you go the more bread like it will actually be.
Life has been quite hectic around here lately. I’m sure you know what I mean, we get caught up in the whirlwind of time and soon enough it’s been entirely too long since our last post. I often find myself missing this little nook in the world-wide web and sharing all that’s delicious and healthy with you, Golubka’s lovely readers.
This time it’s a simple savoury meal, one that we find ourselves coming back to this winter due to its satisfying, earthy flavours. Falafel and tabouleh. My love affair with falafel started years ago, when my Middle Eastern cuisine loving husband took me out for a falafel pocket with tabouleh, hot peppers and yogurt sauce. I was, of course, hooked. Since then I’ve made my own falafel the traditional way and, more recently, this much healthier and very delicious version.
As for Paloma, she is often the first one to wipe her plate clean, busily switching between eating with a fork, spoon, and her hands. We often have to remind her to chew her food. She takes after her parents. We’ll be back with more elaborate meals soon, as well as a few stories. But for now, I hope you enjoy this flavourful meal and have a tranquil weekend.
The other day, we were taking a walk on the beach and recollecting our many summers spent on the Black Sea shore. Sochi (where the 2014 winter Olympics will be held) was where we usually stayed with family, in a charming old house. Whole days were spent on the beach, bathing in the gentle water and soaking up the sun, completely content. Summer in Sochi is truly magical, with warm windless days, chilly evenings, fireflies, and water temperatures that are refreshing yet welcoming. And that is where we got our yearly dose of figs. In our hometown, figs were a rarity – expensive and shipped from afar. But Sochi was a different story. Come the “velvet season”, at the end of August, and the many fig trees in the streets and backyards exhibited the plump fruit. For some unknown reason, the locals did not care for them. So we became fruit thieves in neighbor’s yards, justified by the fact that the figs would go to waste without our rescue. It’s a known fact that the less the time between harvesting and eating, the better the flavour. And freshly picked, those figs tasted like honey, and their sweetness lingered on our lips all season long.
The other true jewel of those times in Sochi was hazelnut. Hazelnut trees were abundant and beautiful with their trios of ready to pick nuts hidden in green cocoons. We would take bags of freshly harvested hazelnuts to the beach and crack the nuts with smooth sea rocks. They made for an unforgettably tasty snack. Folk medicine is rich with tales of the nut’s healing powers. In fact, one such remedy calls for the mixture of figs and hazelnuts to be taken at the end of the meal to aid digestion.
Now that figs have come into season, we decided to build this pizza around them with the addition of hazelnuts, caramelized onion, and basil sauce.
When I was in Italy over the summer I had lemon pasta for the first time and was in heaven. You see, lemons are one of my most favorite fruits. I use them probably everyday, but I never had it in a pasta before! YUM! A lovely brightness to add to your winter meal…
I came across this recipe many years ago in some foodie magazine and thought I’d try it as a side dish for a winter holiday brunch I was making for a friend. I changed a few things and added a few things and it was a huge hit! Huge. And, yes, it goes perfectly with a nice big green salad and an organic egg omelet.
The early autumn continues to bring us gorgeous watermelons and heirloom tomatoes in southern California. The perfect ingredients to create a soup that is as tasty as it is healing. Perfect if you’re on a raw food cleanse. It’s very high in cancer preventing lycopene and the flavor is simply fantastic. I taught this at my Brooklyn Kitchen classes and everyone raved about how much they loved it. If you’re cleansing you can skip the sea salt and if you want a richer soup add a tablespoon or two of good quality extra virgin olive oil to the base.
Serves about 6 to 8
For the Base
4 cups watermelon, chopped
1 small red heirloom or Roma tomato, seeded, chopped
This is not one of my typical nice and easy recipes, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t help myself and spend half of my day in the kitchen trying to recreate something I ate a couple of days ago. To be more precise, these should be the infamous mini bites with cashew, vegetables and portobello mushrooms as stated on the menu of the Food Forum list. They were part of our free lunch menu, created by the Chefs of Menu magazine and tasted so good that I ignored my natural sense of shame, got back to the table and asked for one more :)
The main problem with preparing the bites at home was that I had absolutely no idea what’s in them except for the obvious part – vegetables and mushrooms. So I decided to trust my palate and cooked them combining most of my favorite vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, aubergines, carrots, garlic, red peppers and baby spinach. A feast for all the senses with the added portobello mushrooms, cashews, ginger and powdered indian pecans.
Except for the divine food the Forum was also rich in interesting lectors and visitors, a bunch of raw chefs, vegans, Ayurveda specialists, nutritionists, all kinds of healthy foodists and some misguided adventurers like my paraglider instructor. The best place to meet “one of your kind” and share ideas. Like the girl who offered to sell me earrings made of small jars filled with flaxseeds… really cute. Or a vegan canadian woman working for the bulgarian Cru restaurant. People like “uncle Mitko” who decided to start a biodynamic agriculture farm at the age of 55 and working in it for 15 years now! That man looked better at 70 then most 50 years old you can meet on the street. A marvelous event, which I wish will happen more often from now on, because the 400 seats theater was sold out well in advance and lots of people couldn’t attend. Great job, Gorichka, for the Food forum!
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die” – a graffiti quote seen in Belgrade from one of the Food Forum lectors, Yana Petkova.
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.
Last week we discovered GreenChef Chloe on VegNews and we posted her 4th of July dessert video. This week, we bring you her Vegan Avocado Pesto Pasta video (recipe link). This is a pretty simple and quick recipe, even I could imagine whipping this one up for dinner or lunch. Which means, I will be making this for sure in the next few days. If the recipes are too complicated, I tend to wait for a visiting greenchef to make them for me. I know, I am a very spoiled dark monkie.
Enjoy the video… and go checkout VegNews Magazine, they gave us an award a few years back. Best site to read at night, or something like that. No, I don’t know what that means either. Maybe we are too dark to be read during the day. Also, take a few minutes to see more recipes by Chef Chloe on her site, chefchloeblog.weebly.com
Golden and Green Cannelloni with Sun-Dried Tomato–Ginger Marinara, Mint-Basil Pistachio Pesto, Green Zebra Tomatoes, and Pine Nut and Black Truffle “Ricotta” (raw, vegan) Recipe by GreenChef Matthew Kenney
The first raw food dish (or at least, the first successful raw food dish) that I ever created was a green zebra tomato lasagna that I designed for my first raw food menu. There was never a single evening that it wasn’t the best-selling dish on the menu, which lies in the fact that it offers familiar flavors in a unique form. Raw food can often be intimidating, especially for those who have never tried it, and the components of this dish resemble a welcoming gesture—tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta, tomatoes. They work together, we’ve all tried them, and the dish is full flavored.
Beans and greens. Mmmm. One of the simplest, best tasting meals ever. And since I’m currently operating with three, count’em three stictches in my right thumb, my dinners this week have been dishes without a whole lot of chopping involved.
I’ve made lots of similar dishes in the past, but I’ve always used canned beans, since the thought of using dried beans always seemed like so much work to me. Then I came across this cookbook called ‘Super Natural Cooking’ by Heidi Swanson. In it not only is there a fabulous recipes for beans and green, but Heidi also mentions a company called Rancho Gordo that specializes in heirloom beans. I decided to order a few different kind of beans (there are so many amazing varieties) and am now totally obsessed over their giant Cannellini beans. Oh, and they are ‘kitty approved’ as well… :)
Yes, dried beans are a little more work, but with just a little planning ahead, it’s really not that difficult and sooo worth the extra effort. All you have to do is soak them in water before going to bed and then some time the next day, cook them up which takes about an hour to an hour in a half. In fact, you can find out all sorts of helpful tips and recipes at the Rancho Gordo website.
I am in Cali, where the farmers market is booming with an abundant variety of amazing tomatoes. And, because of that, I always always seem to buy more than I can eat cause they all look so beautiful!!! So, if I don’t eat my luscious ripe tomatoes right away, I put them in the fridge to stay fresh but…ummmm…note to self: don’t forget about them!!! Huh. I know. My beautiful boxes of ripe golden red cherry tomatoes got pushed to the back of the fridge where I couldn’t see them clearly. Oh and I also found a bag of hot red chili’s from the farmer market too…hmmm….what to make…what to make…ohhhh, I know… a spicy Arrabiata Pasta sauce!!!!
Since coming back to the states from my Italian food adventures, I have been completely inspired to cook many incredible Italian dishes I experienced. Ahem…let me be specific…my newfound love for PASTA!!! Whole grain pasta, that is. I made the homemade pasta we learned at The Awaiting Table cooking school but it didn’t come out as perfectly as it did when we made it there, in Italy. Maybe it has something to do the all those wonderful minerals in the water…who knows…hopefully one of these days I will perfect it. It’s not that mine tasted bad, it’s just that it came out a bit thicker and chewier…in the meantime I am joyfully exploring the world of organic dry Italian pasta. Right now, I’m diggin’ Rustichella d’Abruzzo rigate di farro. It’s made from 100% farro flour, which is an unhybridized form of wheat that closely resembles spelt so any of you wheat sensitive peeps should find this ancient grain A-OK.
It’s a glorious end of summer kind of day with that wee bit of crispness of Fall in the gentle breeze, perfecto for an outdoor Italian pasta lunch! Yes, I was thinking the same thing; a special “friend” and some Italian wine is a must too! Either way, enjoy yaself!!! Ciao ciao….
About the photos, I know… I should have taken photos before we started eating. Next time I promise.