Photographer V Blak
Let me start this post with an UPSIDE DOWN smile :( Okay now that I have that out of my system, lets focus on the title of this post: I Bought The $10 Mast Brothers Chocolate Bar, So Why Am I Not in Chocolate Heaven. What the hell is that suppose to mean right? Well, this is what it means. I sooooo badly wanted to LOVE, I mean butterflies in my belly, love this Chocolate Bar. Why why chocolate fairy did you still my joy!
Let me start at the beginning. I was in the big NYC for a little work and a whole lot of Loving (wishful thinking I know) a few weeks ago. I started off the visit by seeing my friend Dan, who has an office just around the corner from the newish Ace Hotel in Manhattan. Yeah, that cool hip salvation army looking hotel chain. The one out of Portland Oregon. It’s an awesome place and they even have a Portland styled espresso bar just off the main lobby of the Hotel. Since we were so close, we decided to make the Ace our morning espresso destination. Wow, it did not disappoint. The entire lobby is a wifi free hang out zone, featuring a completely black 40 foot ceiling with massive roman style white columns holding up the place.
I think I must have passed out. When I woke, there was a large chunk of this dry bitter bar still stuck to my tongue.
We headed into the espresso bar and order up a few soy cappuccinos. As I am paying for our brews, what quirky little thing catches my eye on the counter? The one and only Mast Brothers Chocolate Bars. I couldn’t believe it. I just wrote a post on the Mast Brothers a week or so before heading to NYC. The post included a few amazing videos about the two brothers and their dedication to the old world craft of chocolate making. Their Brooklyn based store in the videos looked like a mini chocolate heaven to me. So, seeing these Willy Wonka type bars right there, on the counter was just too much to resist, I grabbed one and told the barista, add this to my bill. First words out of his mouth were, are you sure, they are $10. The number echoed in my head. $10 Doooollllaaarrrssssss. Time seemed to stop. Everything was in slow motion. I could hear the hiss of the steam escaping the espresso machines, the slurping sound from all the hipsters sucking down their espressos and my own breath rushing out of my lungs… and then these words leaving my lips, of course, no problem, let me have it. And oh did he! $20 or so dollars later Dan and I strolled out with two espresso’s and my new shiny heaven in a bar of Mast Brothers Espresso Dark Chocolate.
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.
Photographer: Callie England
A quickie kind of post, for a quickie kind of recipe. However, these are so gosh-darn good, that they really don’t need much of an explanation. I’m addicted. Remember thin mints, the ones you ate as a kid? Well this is my Raw/Vegan version of the Thin Mints. A must try! Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Flesh Monkies prepare yourself for what I am about to tell you. This is V Blak by the way. I know you and I don’t feel this way, we are freaking Monkies after all, but the truth is, sadly most people, HATE, I mean really hate Beets. Even our hip youngish first lady, Michelle Obama has something against these red bloody beauties. She told Ladies Home Journal “Neither the president nor I have the beet gene”. What does that mean? You have to have a gene to like one of the best veggies on the planet? I am taking a wild guess here, but I bet they had that all to common first taste beet experience, you know the one, the dreaded dirt taste.
Yes dirt, come on, lets admit it, beets are very very earthy and if you are a clueless fleshy, like I was, you just don’t know how to properly bring out the lushes side of beets. The result can have them coming out tasting like the backend of a dog. Okay not that bad and no I haven’t tasted a backend of a dog, and anyways I think that taste is exclusively reserved for Durians.
“Neither the president nor I have the beet gene”.
My own first experience with beets almost completely turned me off them forever. I was just beginning to juice and I tossed in way too many beets, greens and all and the result, I could barely keep from tossing the thing back up. I thought I was going to be sick. I just completely over did it. I may have also added garlic to that juice. I think I was sick or something. My point is, it was just too many beets and too little of the sweet stuff. Life is about balance and sometimes I just completely forget that. Oh well, lucky for me, I have an experienced beet lover close at hand now days and she has completely turned me around. I’ll admit it, her beautiful smile and her contagious laugh might have opened me up to giving the beet a second chance, but in the end it was her Beet dish which closed the deal. And maybe if your unfortunately in the hater camp, she can do the same for you. I present to you, GreenChef Aria Alpert and her love love love for the dirty little Beet.
Aria and I whipped up a short GreenChef video just for you, about you guessed it, the Beet. Sit back, click play and enjoy the first GreenChef video from the new G Living Pad in Palm Desert and afterwards, jump down to the comment section and tell everyone why you love or hate beets. And if your in the love category, spill the beans and maybe even share your beet recipe / story. We would love that…. Recipes and photos after the jump.
Looking back at the demise of something so dear to my heart. I wrote this post last year as the end was blaring out of the TV, but something this big this important should be shouted from the roof tops, so here is my tribute to not just a magazine, but to an old friend, who for reasons beyond belief, is no longer with us.
Why? Why why why…? It was October 5th 2009, about two weeks ago, I was at the gym, on the treadmill. Loud music blasting in my iPod earphones, CNN on the screen in front of me, both meant to distract me from dwelling on the fact that I’m running on a conveyor belt alongside other people running on conveyor belts. Then I saw it. An image on the TV screen of the cover of the latest issue of Gourmet magazine, and the printed headline, “Gourmet magazine closes after 70 years.” WHAT!? No Way! How is that possible? I’m frantically looking around, for… what… ? I think I was expecting others must have seen this headline and also stopped running out of shock and disbelief, like me. I was thinking I’d see people hugging, comforting one another over the news, shaking their heads. But no, I only saw people still running, pedaling, and the usual sea of heads bobbing up and down in the elliptical section.
I couldn’t keep going. I had to know what happened, so I ran home and checked online and yes, indeed, Conde Nast was shutting down Gourmet. Along with 3 other titles: a cookie magazine and two bridal magazines. I don’t get it. Isn’t there another silly magazine they could shut down? How about Golf World or Golf Digest? Does the world really need both? (or either?) Immediately I emailed my Mom, my Stepmom, and chef Neal, among others, like “OMG, did you hear???” They too were saddened. I wanted to call people and talk about it. I wanted to pull out a bottle of good wine and sit on the floor with all my old issues spread out around me, flipping through them and getting drunk and nostalgic. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Photographer V Blak
We escaped the cold ass east coast winter and are staying in a cabin along the Pacific Ocean. It’s warm and beautiful. Winter is a distant memory right now. It is wonderful. We are also staying on a property that has, of course, an incredible organic garden abundant with carrots, garlic, cilantro, greens and lettuces. So I picked up one of my favorite cookbooks, Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters, for a little inspiration. I had to make a few adjustments here and there, but this recipe is all Alice and it was good. It turned out so delicious that my BF went for his camera. Unfortatley the Monkie left it at the office, so we did the next best thing. We made an iphone video. Now go bite this one!
Photographer V Blak
I love cookbooks. Especially the ones with all those pretty pictures. I fall into those beautiful images and then dig into those recipes. If you can snap a pretty picture, you have me.
This recipe was inspired by a beautiful photo and recipe in a new cookbook by Kim Boyce, called “Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours”. I adapted her recipe to be wheat-free and vegan. In other words, “G” approved. These scones are really best eaten the day of baking them. But if you got leftovers, I would recommend toasting them the next day. Either way, yumminess…. :)
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
2 tablespoons fresh spearmint
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Photographer: Sayward Rebhal
Yogurt is an ancient wonderfood, brimming with beneficial bacteria to keep your gut running good ‘n healthy. But standard yogurt is made with dairy milks – blech – which contain hormones and carcinogens and acids and allergens and irritants. Oh my! But no worries, making your own alt yogurt is *super* easy and totally fun. It also saves a small fortune versus buying prepackaged products (which contain a slew of additives as well).
If you already have a yogurt maker you’re super stoked – and you can still use this recipe, but follow your machine’s directions when it comes time to culture. If you’re interested in making lots of yogurt at home, a yogurt maker may be a good investment for you. They’re really quite cheap – especially if you can find one secondhand (check Craigslist!).
But, a yogurt maker isn’t necessary! I make yogurt in my crock-pot, which is one machine that’s worth the money for all sorts of reasons. (I <3 my crock so much!) But even if you have neither a yogurt maker nor a crock-pot, you can *still* make yogurt at home! Just see the note at the end of this post. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Photographer Heather Pace
I’m in love… with my latest creation – Cinnamon Marshmallow Mousse. It’s fluffy, springy, soft and downright delicious. I guess I’m on a bit of a kick, since I posted a Dark Chocolate Mousse only days ago. This one is inspired by the Cinnamon Chaga Mousse that I made a few months ago.
I’ll be teaching a raw dessert class in Adelaide on Sunday March 6th! I’m so excited about this. It will be my second class in Australia, as I will also be teaching in Byron Bay. Here’s the info: Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
It’s time to get the basics down people. Making nut milk couldn’t be easier. Almond milk also happens to be a goto milk for most of my recipes. It’s one of the most versatile of all the nut milks. So, no more heading to the grocery store to buy factory made boxed up milks. Trust me. When you taste this you will never wont to buy that (crap) old stuff again.
To make nut milks you only need to invest in a very inexpensive nut milk bag. You can substitute other nuts for the almonds… hazelnuts, pecans, cashew, brazil nut, walnut…and if you want a richer milk increase the amount of nuts or decrease for a lighter version… Now go make some milk!
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.