You will never make hummus again. Well, maybe you will but I promise you will make this recipe more! It’s one of my all time favorites. So full of flavor and so satisfying. Toast some whole grain bread or pita and you’ve got a wonderful appetizer for your holiday dinner parties.
Photographer V Blak
The oven at my BF house sucks. I think I have expressed this unfortunately dilemma before. So when it comes to baking, I cross my fingers and hope it comes out alright due to the uneven heat distribution. That said, these cookies came out of the oven completely flat…blended all together like one big pancake. I almost tossed them…that is until I tasted them…Mmmm. So if the same thing should happen to you, don’t fret. They are still very tasty and the pics came out so good I may have accidentally created the new flat square cookie craze… :)
A perfect way to use your very soft ripe avocados, not to mention a deliciously spicy way to eat them! Pour this raw dressing over just about anything you like really. You will be very happy you did… Perfect for salads, steamed vegetables, grains, seaweed, baked potatoes, beans…Mmmm Mmmm
Oh and if you happen to be one of those people who hate cilantro (I cry at even the thought of hating cilantro. I am a huge lover of the herb) use a combo of mostly parsley some basil, and a few leaves of mint.
Now, here’s a cooking mystery that I’ve been trying to solve. The original fig bar recipe calls for coconut oil in the “dough” part instead of the almond butter that I used in my adapted version. I’ve tried to use coconut oil, but it immediately went rancid in the dehydrator. I didn’t give up easily and tried to use different brands of coconut oil, but the result was always the same – rancid. I’m puzzled – it never happens when I use coconut oil in other recipes that require dehydration. If you happen to know the reason, please let me know. I’m truly curious.
Photographer V Blak
I promise you won’t miss the ham hock in this deeply satisfying soup. Remember to soak the spilt peas overnight or, if you wake up craving this soup, soak them first thing in the morning so they will soak all day and you can make the soup for dinner! Soaking makes the beans cook faster and some say, makes them less gassy. Well, ahem, you be the judge of that. :) I also love to make this soup using yellow spilt peas. They add a lovely brightness to your meal in the wintertime but I only had green on hand so…yep…still as yummy!
Photographer: V Blak
I woke up this crisp September Sunday morning with the feeling of Fall. A slight chill in the air. Mist along the west coast. Mmmmm. I LOVE these morning’s. Especially here in Cali, where the weather of the season’s seem to always blend together. Finally, a change! YAY! Gonna embrace this new day in all it’s glory. Enjoy it while it lasts. Stay cozy for as long as I can. And that means, makin’ one of my most beloved dishes…SOUP! Woooooooo hooooooo. Yes, I am really THAT excited to make some yummy homemade soup! And, yes, I am the type of gal that fantasizes about makin’ it in the last long hot days of summer…just sayin’…
Soooooooo stay in your warm comfy PJ’s, put on some holiday music (I know it’s very early in the season for some holiday cheer but, I ain’t gonna lie, I’ve been know to rock out in the kitchen to those fab festive jams while makin’ me soup as soon as it gets chilly outside…:) ). And be sure to call some friends and invite them over for a delish homemade Sunday Soup Supper! Just ask them to bring a baguette and a bottle of wine and you got a wonderful din din…
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.
Photographer: Aria Alpert
My cooking school has ended and now I have a few free days before I go back to Roma to meet my sister who will be joining me for the last two weeks of my Italian journey. Hmmmmmmm…what do I wanna do after a decadent week of abundant food and wine and socializing and lack of sleep…how about a silent retreat and f-ing cleanse! Ha.
I was looking on line at a bunch of different towns and hotels and then, after many searches, I found it: Abate Masseria Resort in the town of Noci. This place sung to me through the computer. I asked Silvestro what he thought about Noci (which means Walnut in Italian) and he said, “Noci? Why would you want to go there? It’s a farm town in the countryside and there is nothing to do.” Perfecto. That’s exactly what I want. Nowhere to be, nothing to see, no one around, no espresso, no wine, not a lot of food, just the sound of birds singing, wind blowing, farmers working, ahhhhhhh… bliss. So I took the train from Lecce north to a town called Bari, got into a cab and drove 45 minutes into the mountains, arriving at Abate Masseria Resort in peaceful Noci.
Photographer: Dan Shouse
I will say it again, Not Just The Best F@ckin Fruit In A Jar, not by a mile. Olives, in my opinion maybe the greatest fruit of all-time. Olives have been described in biblical and other historic texts and are often associated with good health, goodwill, happiness, and peace. In Greece you could actually be put to death for harming an olive tree, while over in Rome is was considered a highly “sexual” fruit, and used as an aphrodisiac. Romans would eat them by the hundreds in single sittings, and were also the first civilization credited for the perfection of olive oil by using a stone press. The more you study olives and their history the more you begin to see how amazing they truly are. I am not talking about your black olives in a can either, I mean REAL, big juicy ripe olives that are fresh and magical.
Most of you know from reading my stuff that I am a big fan of eliminating toxins and getting the toxic mucus out of your system. With olives you seriously hit the jackpot in accomplishing this. Olives have a greater ability than oranges to dissolve toxic mucus in the system, and that’s saying a lot, because oranges are actually great for that. According to Ragnar Berg’s table which lists different foods ability to bind with acids it shows olives having the highest propensity to do so, actually THREE TIMES GREATER than oranges. The higher a foods acid-binding ability, the better it is at dissolving toxic mucus and removing cooked food residues from the body. It turns out that the olive comes it at a rating of 30.56, with figs coming in at 27.81. There were no other foods on the list that even topped a score of 20. Oranges came in at 9.61 and it is considered one of the very best toxic mucus dissolvers. Olives are pretty powerful little fruits!
Photographer: Aria Alpert
Lets be honest, I am not gonna be eating shellfish when I get back home and if I wasn’t here in Lecce I would not be eating all these ‘shit’ eaters at all. Well…that is what they are! And, as you know, while I AM here, I say… f-it! But I gotta admit, it’s been a wee bit challenging for me. But, I’m doing the best I can with embracing the all the many crustacean meals we are making. And we do seem to be making a lot of them. I mean, we are along the Adriatic Sea and all, where the water is clear and blue and beautiful. It surely looks clean but as we all know, looks can be deceiving so while I am here, it’s better not ta ask or investigate if the Sea is, in fact, clean so….F-it!
Today was an easy peassy fish soup that surprisingly didn’t taste too fishy or was too stinky. Which is kinda surprising cause it’s clams, shrimp, mussels, scampi and cod fish in a pot with white wine, tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley, basil and mint. It’s very quick to make. The soup takes, at most, about 8 minutes from start to finish. Thank god for the bread today cause I basically dipped it in the soupy part, avoiding the ‘shit’ eaters as much as I could…
Photographer: Aria Alpert
Yes, friends, this is almost it. The Awaiting Table is coming to an end. It’s been so lovely but, I gotta tell ya, I am f-ing filled to the brim with food and wine. I need to stop f-ing eating and drinking! Ahhhhh… 1 dinner and 1 lunch to go…I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…okay…twist my arm…. :)
The temperature keeps rising here so we wanted to create the least amount of heat in the kitchen while making dinner. That was the plan anyway. But as you know, plans don’t always go as planned. Somehow I volunteered to make the eggplant over the hot stove. The dish shoulda been called eggplant with essence of Aria from all the sweat I dripped making them. And right next to me, Ted was sweating a big pan of yellow bell peppers and next to him Giuseppe was sautéing a pot of string beans…I mean…come on guys! This was probably the MOST heat we made in the kitchen!
The only thing that wasn’t creating any heat was a classic Leccese dish. It’s basically a bread salad with fresh vegetables. The difference is that they use a local dense hard bread to do it called, Frise Integrali. It’s cooked like a biscotti so it’s very hard and the only way they eat it is by soaking it in water to rehydrate it and then eat/use in recipes when soft. Am I the only one who finds that strange? I mean, why not just keep it soft in the first place? Well, I asked of course, and Silverstro informed me that this particular type of bread has been around for years and originally was eaten by field workers and those who travelled long distances because it doesn’t spoil. So they would pack the hard bread in their bag and when they got hungry travelling along the countryside, or working in the fields, they would forage some wild onions and tomatoes, what ever they could find and soak the hard bread in the fresh stream until soft and managia (that’s eat in Italian)! Well, I’ve tried it both ways and personally, I like it better crunchy. But then again, I’m American, so what do I know… :)
Photographer Heather Pace
Blueberries – nature’s candy and nature’s medicine, packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. I just happen to live in blueberry country. It’s one of the few perks of living in the north. Every year I battle the bears out in the old logging roads to pick pails and pails of berries. I gobble them up in their natural state, in addition to using them in smoothies and desserts, before freezing heaps of them to enjoy throughout the year.
The taste of wild berries can’t be compared to store bought ones – in fact, I never buy them because I know what the REAL ones taste like. I often invite my raw food friends up to my little corner in northwestern Ontario, Canada to partake in my wild adventures, so consider this an invite to join in my summer berry expeditions!
I hope you’ll give this blueberry cheesecake a try. It’s delicious with the cardamom but you could easily omit it if you’re not a fan.