by Amy Chaplin
Martha's Circle
summer salad

summer salad

Summer is in full swing and my meals like the farmers market are bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and greens galore. The buttery little Asian eggplants have arrived finally and this year, I pounced on them immediately. I have been envisaging them golden and roasted until melting inside, then generously drizzled with a bright and tangy miso dressing. Sticking with that plan, I turned the idea into a meal by cooking some lentils and adding lots of herbs and cherry tomatoes. The end result was a lovely, refreshing and light dish – perfect for sultry evenings.

undressed

undressed

This salad does take more time to put together that the one I posted last week, but the extra steps of turning on the oven to roast the eggplant and getting out the blender to make the dressing do take it to the next level.  It works well as a starter or part of a selection of dishes for a summer dinner party or picnic. You can also roast extra eggplant to eat on sandwiches, which would be delicious with a smear of the tangy miso dressing. And, over the past couple of days I’ve also discovered that the dressing, which thickens up to be sauce-like, is also great with steamed broccoli and stirred into brown rice with scallions. Yum!

cooked small brown lentils

cooked small brown lentils

lunch

lunch

 

Roasted eggplant salad with herbs, lentils and tomatoes and tangy miso dressing.

For this salad I used a small brown lentil that is the size of a French lentil. If you can’t find small brown lentils, substitute French or Beluga lentils.

Serves 4 as a starter/2 as a main course

1 pound Asian eggplant, halved lengthways

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

1 cup cooked lentils, see below

½ cup parsley leaves

¼ cup torn basil leaves

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 scallion, thinly sliced

Toasted black sesame seeds to garnish

roasted Asian eggplant

roasted Asian eggplant

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut any long pieces of eggplant in half. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add eggplant, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss to combine and arrange eggplant cut side down. Roast 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and soft inside. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Place lentils in a wide bowl or platter and add a pinch of salt, stir and spread out a little. Top with eggplant, herbs, tomatoes and scallions. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with extra dressing on the side.

miso, cashew butter, garlic and the dressing

white miso, cashew butter, garlic and the dressing

Tangy miso dressing

If you’re making this dressing right before using it, it will be the perfect consistency for drizzling, if not add a little water to thin it out. I made this using a regular domestic blender, if you are using a vitamix you will need to double the recipe to get the blender to run. This recipe makes more than you will need for this salad but it keeps well for days.

Makes ¾ cup

2 tablespoons white miso

1 ½ tablespoons raw cashew butter

3 tablespoons filtered water, plus more to thin out

2 tablespoons naturally fermented brown rice vinegar

1 tablespoon naturally fermented mirin

½ clove garlic

1-inch piece scallion, roughly chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in an upright blender, except for oil, and blend until smooth. Add oil and blend again until thick and creamy. Use immediately or store in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

To cook lentils

You will end up with more than you need to this salad. Store any left over lentils in the fridge for up to 4 days.

1 cup brown lentils, soaked overnight in 3 cups filtered water

Drain and rinse lentils. Place in a small to medium pot, cover with about an inch of filtered water and add kombu. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are soft inside but not falling apart. Remove from heat, drain well and set aside to cool.

Print recipe here.

in a bowl

in a bowl


salad for dinner

salad for dinner

In this sultry summery heat, I crave salad for dinner. Although it needs to be refreshing, a leafy affair or an all-raw dish does not satisfy, the salad has to be substantial without being heavy. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to put to use the produce that’s in season here right now—sugar snap peas, wax beans, radishes, summer squash, zucchini, herbs and spring onions. Yes, these vegetables can be eaten raw but when lightly steamed and cooled, they absorb dressings beautifully and can be tossed with fresh herbs and toasted seeds to become a satisfying dinner. When it comes to dinner I often go with an all-vegetable meal as it digests easily and won’t weigh you down before bed. When eating this kind of meal for lunch, I’ll add in a generous amount of cooked chickpeas or other beans for protein and sustenance. Try it topped with avocado or a crumble of goat cheese. If you have kale on hand, finely chop it and stir it through too.

fresh from the market

fresh from the market

IMG_2760

close up

Summer market salad with herbs and simple flax dressing

Other vegetables that I sometimes use here are carrots, Japanese turnips, peas, fava beans and sweet corn. When adding in cooked chickpeas or beans, you may want to add a dash more flax oil and tamari.

Serves 2 to 4

 

2 cups sliced zucchini and or summer squash

1 cup yellow wax beans, chopped in 2 inch pieces

1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 cup sliced radishes (¼ inch slices)

½ a kohlrabi, halved and sliced in ¼ inch slices

1 cup herb sprigs and leaves—flat leaf parsley, dill and basil

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

Pinch chopped chives

2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

 

Optional add ins;

1 cup cooked chickpeas or other beans

Chopped avocado

Thinly sliced kale

Crumbled goat milk feta

 

Dressing

2 tablespoons flax oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon tamari, plus more to taste

Pinch flaky sea salt

Seam vegetables in batches. Zucchini, wax beans, radishes and kohlrabi can be steamed for 2 minutes each or until heated through, yet still crisp. Remove from steamer and spread out over a platter, wide bowl or a plate to cool. Steam sugar snap peas for one minute and add to vegetables. Set aside to cool completely before placing in a bowl and tossing with herbs, spring onions, chives and toasted sunflower seeds.

Stir the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over vegetables. Toss in any desired add ins and serve immediately.

 

chickpeas added

chickpeas added


Salad with nasturtiums

Salad with nasturtiums

When I was thinking about how to honor mother’s day here, my mind conjured up images of pretty spring breakfasts and then flirted with the idea of baking a special cake. Mother’s day is a great excuse to bake something gorgeous—I know my Mother would love a good piece of cake; especially if I baked it with sprouted flour. Then it hit me. Just about every mother I’ve talked to lately wants a healthy meal, something easy to throw together with clean, uncomplicated flavors. So, although you may not make this for your mother, I thought of it as a recipe that mothers can make for themselves.

This salad has become a staple weekday lunch as its perfect for cooler spring days and a great way to get more greens into your life. I think the best thing about it is that it’s so fast—especially if you have the greens washed and scallions chopped.

ingredients

ingredients

Meals like this leave you feeling clear, bright and present—I know it sounds odd to think of meals that make you feel present, but food that nourishes your body has that effect on your mind. When we eat foods that are not helping us thrive, we feel heavy and tired which makes us want the effect to pass, in turn taking us out of the moment.

Use whatever greens look the best in your area and try changing it up with the suggested add-ins below. Let me know how you like it!

Happy Mother’s day toand all the mama’s out there and to my lovely mother (missing you!)

my mother, sister and I in the garden~taken by my father around 1980.

my mother, sister and I in the garden~taken by my father around 1980.

 

Simple kale chickpea salad

I recommend home cooked chickpeas here but if you are using canned chickpeas for this salad, drain and rinse them well. Put them in a small pot, covered with water and bring up to a boil, then drain before using. This will greatly improve their flavor. I also add some baby mustard greens to the steaming kale.

4 cups chopped kale (cut it into 1 ½ inch ribbons, leaving the stems on)

½ cup cook chickpeas (preferably cooked in a pressure cooker for 22 to 25 minutes)

1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

1 to 2 tablespoons lentil and or pea sprouts, optional

1 tablespoon flax oil

½ teaspoon tamari, plus more to taste

½ small avocado, sliced

Pinch flaky sea salt

Black pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon

Nasturiums or other edible flowers, optional

Steam kale until tender, about a minute. Place in a bowl and add chickpeas, scallions, sprouts, flax oil, tamari and avocado, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Season to taste with extra tamari and serve topped with nasturtiums.

There are lots of other ingredients you can add to this salad, try:

Sauerkraut, crushed garlic, hemp seeds, toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, thinly sliced radishes.

unadorned

unadorned

nasturtiums

nasturtiums

 

 


tea + cake

tea + cake

Lately, Matcha tea has become part of my daily routine. I’m loving the creamy texture and rich grassy flavor—and find its perfect for a mid-morning boost. I should also add that I enjoy the extra caffeine—more than sencha but less than black tea. Matcha is known to promote a clear, calm and focused mind and unlike coffee or black tea, it provides an energy boost that doesn’t result in anxiety and nervousness.  To increase chlorophyll and create a deeper green color, the Tencha tea bushes used to make matcha are covered toward the end of their growth period. This process also enhances the levels of amino acids in the tea. Once dried matcha is stone ground to a fine, bright green powder, which is known for its high levels of antioxidants. Since the powder dissolves when whisked with hot water, you are drinking the whole leaf and receive more than triple the amount of health benefits you might from a cup of tea made from stepping tea leaves.

The process of making good quality matcha is long and labor intensive; and since you need a teaspoon to make about a 2 to 3 ounces you’ll find that it’s also expensive.

Rishi Tea came out with this Teahouse matcha green tea powder that I currently love. It’s slowly stone ground, foams well (with a bamboo whisk) and has a fresh, smooth flavor.

Now onto the cake—which I think may be the best gluten-free cake I have ever made! Flavorful, moist and velvety, this cake also holds together perfectly when sliced and enjoys a hint of texture from plenty of ground coconut. The success of this cake did not come from careful planning or recipe researching but from a tin of matcha that I purchased at the Rainbow co-op in San Francisco.  Unfortunately, it didn’t taste great so I casually tossed a very generous amount into the cake batter. I then gasped at the dark green color, doubting that it would be edible I threw it in the oven with my fingers crossed. It was late by the time it had baked, so I left it on a cooling rack and went to bed. In the morning I sliced and wrapped it to take on a car trip. Later that day (somewhere in Rhode Island), I took my first bite and was really shocked at how perfect it had turned out. Unlike many green tea desserts, the flavor of matcha really shines here and the generous amount of the powder together with the coconut milk creates a delectable, rich textured cake that I hope you’ll love as much as I do.

2014_03_19_AmyChaplin2633

matcha tea cake

Matcha tea cake

Makes 1 8-inch loaf

2 tablespoons chia seeds

½ cup unsweetened full fat coconut milk

Filtered water

2 tablespoons matcha tea

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup gluten-free oat flour

¼ cup brown rice flour

2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

½ cup almond meal

½ cup maple syrup

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil, plus more to oil pan

¼ cup mashed banana, from about ½ a banana

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and oil any exposed parts of the pan.

In a medium bowl combine chia seeds with coconut milk and a ¼ cup of water, whisk until combined and set aside for 15 minutes or until thickened.

Sift matcha tea into a cup or small bowl and add 5 tablespoons water. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Place coconut in a food processor and blend until fine. Add oat flour, brown rice flour, baking powder and almond meal, and blend to combine. Set aside.

Add the dissolved matcha tea to the chia mixture along with maple syrup, coconut oil, banana, vanilla and salt and whisk to combine. Add the ground coconut mixture and stir until combine. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for about 15 minutes then turn out all allow to cool completely. Store any left over in the fridge for up to 4 days.

cake

cake

These gorgeous photos were taken by Stephen Johnson.

Print recipe here.

granola with almond milk

granola with almond milk

 

I made this granola in honor of spring and the strawberries to come. Since it’ll be quite a while until we see the sweet red gems at the green market (on the East coast), I decided to make a granola using dried strawberries. I had forgotten how totally delicious dried strawberries are until recently, when I spotted some in a little raw food shop close to home. Organic dried strawberries without added sugar or other additives are hard to find. The chewy, sweet delicacies are truly nature’s candy or gummy bears, if you prefer.  And if you’re hooked on candy, these make a perfect substitute.  When seeking out dried strawberries look for unsweetened or apple juice infused (it keeps them moist).  Also, make sure they are organic as strawberries are usually grown with fungicides to prevent mold. You can order the ones I used here.

dried strawberries

dried strawberries

 

I made this granola using soaked buckwheat –soaking reduces the phytic acid content, increases nutrients and digestibility. Once soaked, buckwheat is quite wet and sticky, which is why I drained it well; then spread it on a tray to dry out before tossing with the other ingredients and baking the granola. I’m sure you could skip this step and just bake it, but I wasn’t sure how the extra moisture would affect the final texture. Another alternative would be to add sprouted buckwheat after baking.

granola

granola

Photos by Stephen Johnson.

Strawberry buckwheat granola with coconut and cardamom

This granola is gluten free, if you are allergic to any trace of gluten be sure to purchase certified gluten free oats. The large flakes of dried coconut I used in this recipe are made by Go Hunza and are called “dried coconut smiles”. They are dried with the skin on and are much thicker than regular flaked coconut. Find this brand in health food stores and at Wholefood markets. If you want a less pronounced coconut flavor, you can use rice syrup or maple syrup in place of the coconut syrup and use olive oil in place of the coconut oil.

Makes about 6 cups

 

1 cup raw buckwheat, soaked overnight in 2 cups water

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

2 cups dried unsweetened flaked coconut

2 tablespoons whole golden flax seeds, optional

½ cup raw pistachios, roughly chopped

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup dried  unsulphured strawberries, thinly sliced

¼ cup unsulphured golden raisins

 

Drain and rinse buckwheat and spread out over a tray to dry for at east 4 hours, or all day.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the oats, coconut, flax, pistachios, salt, cardamom and dried buckwheat; toss to combine. Combine melted coconut oil with coconut syrup and vanilla, pour into dry mixture and stir to evenly combined. Spread over trays and bake for 10 minutes, stir and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Add granola to a bowl and stir in strawberries and raisins. Store granola in gars for up to 6 weeks. Serve with home made almond milk.

Print recipe here.

beet soup + lime coconut cream

beet soup + lime coconut cream

Although it’s spring and the sun has been shining here in New York, it still hasn’t gotten warm enough for me to stop making soup.  And, after eating a bowl of this soup, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before now. Pairing beets with ginger seems so obvious but unlike carrot and ginger soup I hadn’t seen it anywhere before. This soup does benefit from a good amount of carrots to temper the assertive qualities of the beets and the cool coconut cream helps mellow out the chili and ginger. Topped with beet micro greens, this soup looks fancy but it really is just a simple pureed soup—not unlike the 3 simple recipes I posted here last week.

Beets, coconut and lime are also a great combination; the first time I them together was in a little café nestled on the border of the Daintree Rainforest in Northern Queensland (Australia), many years ago. The Daintree grows right up to the beach and I remember sitting outside against a backdrop of huge, ancient trees.  The café had a veggie burger with a shredded beet and coconut salad on the menu and I ordered it. Beets (marinated or shredded) are a common addition to burgers and sandwiches in Australia. Since we were in tropical Queensland there was fresh coconut added along with lime juice and plenty of avocado. The only other thing I can remember about the burger is that it was really good!

If you have never scooped the coconut cream off the top of a can of chilled coconut milk you’ll love making this lime coconut cream. There are plenty of recipes online for using it in vegan frostings and fillings but here it’s used in a savory way instead.  I now always keep a can in the fridge in case inspiration strikes.

micro beet greens

micro beet greens

Beet ginger soup with chili and lime coconut cream

I didn’t peel the beets for this recipe, but it might be a good idea if the beets aren’t perfectly fresh. You want the carrot cut at least double the size of the beets since they will cook much faster. If your carrots are not large, consider adding them after the beets have cooked for 10 minutes.

Makes about 7 cups soup/serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 onion, diced

Sea salt

4 garlic cloves

2-inch piece peeled ginger

1 jalapeno or other fresh chili, seeded and chopped

3 medium red beets, cut in ½ inch dice

6 large carrots, cut in 1 inch rounds

Filtered water

Tamari to taste.

Optional beet micro greens to serve

Warm coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. Stir in a large pinch of sea salt, garlic, ginger and chili and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add beets and carrots and enough water to cover the vegetables by about half an inch (you will need to add more water when you blend the soup). Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little before blending in an upright blender until completely smooth and velvety, adding more water to get desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and tamari. Serve warm topped with lime coconut cream.

Lime coconut cream

Lime coconut cream

Photos by Stephen Johnson.

Lime coconut cream

For best results don’t shake the can before placing in the fridge as you want to scoop off the thick coconut cream that rises to the surface.

Makes about ½ a cup

 

1 13.5 fl. oz can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, chilled in refrigerator for 24 hours

Zest of one lime

Juice of one lime

Sea salt to taste

Pinch cayenne pepper, optional

Open can of coconut milk and scoop off the thick cream at the top. Save remaining milk for use in smoothies or desserts. Place in a bowl and add lime zest and juice, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until completely smooth and season to taste. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like.

Print recipe here.

 

suuny dressing and salad

suuny dressing and salad

The recent appearance of fresh fava beans at the health food store in my neighborhood was a welcome sight. Although they’re not yet grown locally, they were a sure sign of the lovely spring vegetables to come. Fava beans are a great way to make any simple salad, sautéed greens or grain dish special and although they do require a bit of effort to shell, cook and peel, you don’t need many to make an impression. Radishes also add to the spring feel and this dish is especially colorful if you can find watermelon radishes. I’ve been making this salad for clients lately, changing the vegetables and dressing as we move out of winter and into longer, warmer days.

fava beans

fava beans

This turmeric dressing is so bright, zesty and delicious that I find it hard not to drizzle it over everything. The idea came from a long phone conversation with my mother in which we inevitably ended up talking about foods we’ve been making or planning to make. She’d fallen in love with a turmeric salad dressing eaten in a pop up café in Byron Bay, Australia (that has since closed) and the idea stuck in my head. Many months later I finally tried adding turmeric to a few different types of dressing and this one is by far my favorite. Adding carrot and mirin helps tame turmeric’s astringent bite, but I found it needed more and added a dab of honey—you may not need it if you use less turmeric. Cashew butter helps meld the flavors and create a perfectly creamy dressing that looks like liquid sunshine.

Though it can be a challenge to find ways to incorporate this unusual tasting root into your diet, turmeric’s ant-inflammatory properties are phenomenal! Armed with this dressing you can turn any simple grain bowl into an exceptionally nutritious meal—make that grain black rice and you’ll double the anti-inflammatory content, as well as benefit from the abundant antioxidants that come from the plant pigment in black rice.

turmeric dressing

turmeric dressing

Photos by Stephen Johnson. You can see more of his beautiful photos here.

 

Turmeric dressing

This list of ingredients is long, but once you have it all in the blender it’s ready in one minute and will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge. Although I’m sure this can be made with dried turmeric, it won’t have the same bright flavor. I would start with ½ teaspoon dried turmeric and increase to taste.

Makes about 2 cups

 

2 inch piece peeled and chopped fresh turmeric

1 teaspoon chopped peeled ginger

2 tablespoons cashew butter

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped (1 ½ cups)

½ clove garlic

1 teaspoon unpasteurized white miso

2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons water, plus more to thin out

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon mirin

1 teaspoon tamari

¼ teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon raw honey, optional

Place all ingredients in an upright blender and blend until smooth. Add more water to get desired consistency. Store in a jar in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

black rice + radishes, fava, peas etc

black rice + radishes, fava, peas etc

Forbidden black rice

This will make more than double the rice you’ll need for the salad but it keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Makes about 3 ½ cups

 

1 cup forbidden black rice, soaked in 3 cups filtered water overnight

1 ¾ cup filtered water

Pinch sea salt

Drain and rinse rice and place in a small pot. Add filtered water and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside covered for 10 minutes before removing lid and cooling.

 

Salad

Mix and match any vegetables you have on hand for this salad.

Serves 2 to 4

 

½ cup shelled fava beans

2 small watermelon radishes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 red radishes, sliced

1 medium carrots, diagonally sliced

½ cup shelled peas

1 ½ cups cooked forbidden black rice

Handful chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus more to garnish

Extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed flax oil to drizzle

Sea salt to taste

Steam fava beans for 2 minutes or until tender, remove from steamer and slip out of their skins. Place in a salad bowl and set aside. Steam watermelon radishes 2 minutes or until tender, remove from steamer and spread over a plate to cool. Steam remaining vegetables separately, for 1 to 3 minutes or until tender. Spread them out to cool and then add to the salad bowl with fava beans. Add cooked black rice, parsley and chives. Drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and toss to combine. Serve warm or room temperature.

Print recipe here.

 

breakfast

breakfast

I’ve been bored with my breakfast routine of late, my usual oatmeal and almond milk just isn’t getting me into the kitchen with much enthusiasm.  Neither is my fall back breakfast: sprouted toast with almond butter. Maybe it’s just that I’m ready for spring to usher in some seasonal inspiration or perhaps, I simply need something completely new? Since we’ve had some glorious spring-like days, the thought of a cool (or room temperature) breakfast is becoming more appealing.  With warmer mornings in mind, I started to experiment. I wanted to create a dairy-free, yogurt-like breakfast that can be topped with all my favorite breakfast add in’s: nuts, hemp seeds, bee pollen, berries etcetera.  And, like good natural yogurt it needed to have a wonderfully tangy flavor, which the berries provide. I’ve ordered a starter to make coconut yogurt, but until that project materializes I used chia seeds to get the desired thick and satisfying texture, the frozen banana also helps. After blending all the ingredients, simply pulse in the chia seeds and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes (or longer) before serving. This also helps it come to room temperature, which is better for digestion especially when the mornings are cool. I hope you enjoy this as much as my clients do!

Photo by Stephen Johnson 

 

Raspberry chia smoothie bowl

Adding coconut water gives this bowl a subtle sweet flavor but you could also replace it with water. If you like a sweeter flavor, add a medjool date or two. Look for unpasteurized coconut water in the fridge or freezer section or your health food store…or if you have access to fresh organic coconuts then you’re in for a treat. Unfortunately any imported fresh coconuts are irradiated here in the United States.

½ cup almonds, soaked overnight in 1 cup filtered water

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

¾ cup fresh orange juice

1 frozen banana

¾ cup unpasteurized coconut water

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut butter or extra virgin coconut oil

3 tablespoons chia seeds

 

To serve:

Toasted almonds, chopped

Hemp seeds

Bee pollen

Maca root

Fresh berries or fruit

Drain and rinse almonds and place in an upright blender. Add remaining ingredients, except chia seeds and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Add chia seeds and stir thoroughly or pulse a couple of times until evenly incorporated. Set aside for at least 15 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Pour into two bowls and sprinkle with toppings.

Print recipe here.

cakes, cashew sour cream and garnishes

cakes, cashew sour cream and garnishes

As I rummaged for lively looking vegetables at the health food store recently, my idea for these cakes changed numerous times. At first they were curried, then root vegetable, then herbed, then I finally settled on this recipe. Usually “what to cook” becomes clear to me once I’ve stood before organic vegetables for a minute or two –although a walk thru the farmer’s market most of the year can result in a flood of ideas, usually too many to organize into a single meal. Fresh, colorful vegetables speak to me in a way that triggers cravings and a desire for a certain flavor combination; they catch my attention and ultimately, they themselves decide what will end up becoming dinner.

Of course it becomes more difficult for the veggies to “speak” by the time it gets to the tail end of winter, when they’ve lost much of their vitality from being stored for long periods of time or shipped from warmer regions.  So my solution is to visualize flavor combinations before heading to the store.

These cakes, despite the winding road it took to get to them were tasty and delicious. I love the way the whipped cashew cream highlights the sweet vegetables, cilantro and chili.  Keep the recipe on hand for topping anything that needs a creamy and tangy component.

sweet potato carrot cakes

sweet potato carrot cakes

 

Sweet Potato Carrot Cakes with Cilantro and Chili

I didn’t end up using all the red lentils that I cooked, but I’ve left the full amount here as it’s only a cup and I find it’s good to have protein on hand for quick meals.

Makes about 14 2 ½-inch cakes

1 ¼ cup red lentils, rinsed

1 ½ cups filtered water

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, plus more for brushing pan and cakes

1 large onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt

2-inch piece peeled fresh turmeric, finely grated or 1 teaspoon dried turmeric

1 red chili, thinly sliced ( I used a red jalapeno) plus more to garnish

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro stems, from one bunch cilantro

3 medium carrots, grated, divided (about 6 cups)

2 small sweet potatoes, grated (I used one regular and one Japanese sweet potato)

1 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more to garnish

2 scallions thinly sliced

1 teaspoon tamari, plus more to taste

1 ½ teaspoons brown rice vinegar

Combine lentils and water in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat and set aside covered while you prepare the other ingredients.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, brush paper with coconut oil (you may have to melt it first) and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (convection bake) or 400 degrees if you don’t have a convection setting.

Warm coconut oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and add onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and a large pinch of salt and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Stir in turmeric, chili and cilantro stems and cook 2 minutes longer. Reserve about 1 cup of grated carrot and add the rest to the skillet along with the grated sweet potato. Cook, stirring for 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not soft. Remove from heat, stir in remaining carrot, cilantro leaves, scallions, tamari and rice vinegar and set aside.

Remove 1 cup of red lentils from the pot and save for another use. Place remaining red lentils into skillet and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and tamari and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Shape into cakes, using a ¼ cup measure as a guide. Flatten them a little, place on prepared tray and brush with coconut oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until browning on the bottom. Flip over and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on each side.

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

 

cashew lime sour cream

cashew lime sour cream

Cashew Lime Sour Cream

Use this tangy, light cream anywhere you would use regular sour cream.

 

1 cup cashews, soaked 4 to 6 hours

Zest of one lime

3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons filtered water

½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

 

Drain and rinse cashews and place in an upright blender. Set lime zest aside and add remaining ingredients. Blend until completely smooth and velvety, scraping sides as necessary. Season to taste and add reserved lime zest. Pulse to combine and pour into a bowl. Place in the fridge for an hour or until ready to serve. Sour cream will last 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.

Print recipe here.

 

salad + dressing

salad + dressing

During the last photo shoot for my cookbook we focused on my pantry and  capturing ingredient glossary shots. For these, I needed to have all my favorite beans on hand; since many are heirloom beans, I made a big order from Rancho Gordo in California.  They have the best range or runner beans, which are large, creamy and super flavorful. Runners come in all colors: scarlet, which I used here, black, purple and white. They make any dish special and taste great in a simple olive oil and vinegar marinade. These black runners, called Ayocote negro are absolutely beautiful and make the simplest of meals stand out. They also seem to keep their bright shine, and shape even after being cooked and the texture is delightfully creamy.  I do find that they need to cook 40 minutes in the pressure cooker, rather than 30 minutes like other large beans. If you’re boiling them you may need to allow another 30 to 40 minutes to make sure they are cooked through.

ayocote negro beans

ayocote negro beans

Having a jar of these cooked beans in the fridge, effortlessly dresses up simple salads or any plain steamed vegetable or grain bowl. I’ve bean eating variations of this salad all week, steaming vegetables I have on hand, sometimes stirring in some warm quinoa and always topping it with a bit of avocado. I’m also been adding this tasty cilantro pumpkin seed dressing (inspired by this recipe) to anything that needs a burst of bright flavor.

cilantro pumpkin seed dressing

cilantro pumpkin seed dressing

Tangy cilantro Pumpkin Seed Dressing

The inspiration for this dressing comes from My New Roots. If you have plenty of limes and want a more pronounced lime flavor then replace some of the apple cider vinegar with fresh lime juice. I enjoy this dressing both thick and creamy and also thinned out a bit with a little extra water, depending on what I’m drizzling it over.

Makes about 1 ¼ cup

½ cup freshly toasted pumpkin seeds

½ cup roughly chopped cilantro

½ – 1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon white balsamic

1 teaspoon tamari

Large pinch cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

Sea salt to taste

½ cup filtered water, plus more to thin out dressing

¼ cup cold pressed flax oil

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients to an upright blender and blend until smooth. Add sea salt to taste and extra cayenne pepper, and blend again. Pour into a jar and store any left over in the fridge for up to 3 days.

beans, squash, scallions and cilantro leaves

beans, squash, scallions and cilantro leaves

Heirloom black bean and kabocha Salad

Although not pictured here, avocado makes a great addition to this salad.

If you cooked the beans ahead like I often do, you can reheat them when you steam the squash or serve them room temperature.

Serves 4

2 cups cooked black runner (Ayocote Negro) beans, drained

Sea salt

¼ of a medium kabocha squash, seeded, cut in thirds and sliced in ¼ inch thick pieces

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Cilantro leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish

 

While beans are still warm place them in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, stir to combine and set aside.

Place kabocha in a steamer basket and steam for about 10 minutes or until soft but not falling apart. Add to the beans, along with the scallions and gently toss to combine. Divide into bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and pumpkin seeds and drizzle with dressing.

Print recipe here.

Older Posts »