Sunday, April 3, 2011

Recipe: Black Eyed Peas Curry

This recipe comes from the Post Punk Kitchen, modified slightly by my wife.  I love how this dish feels both hearty (from the coconut milk) and light (from the black eyed peas). I feel it's perfect this time of year as we're just coming out of Winter and into Spring.

We didn't have any plantains as the original recipe calls for, although I am sure they would be a great addition. You can also substitute your favorite curry powder with the curry leaves, cumin and coriander. Serve with cooked brown rice.

Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 finely chopped small onion
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 bay leaves
6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
2 cups cooked black eyed peas (from 1 cup dry beans or 1 can)
3 stalks kale, chopped, stems removed
1 tsp honey
juice from 1/2 lime
2 sprigs cilantro, chopped (optional for garnish)

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion, red pepper and jalapeno pepper in the oil for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, ginger and bay leaf. Saute for two more minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, curry leaves, cinnamon and thyme, with a splash of water. Mix for another minute.

Add the salt, coconut milk, water and black eyed peas. Mix well and then add the kale. Lower heat and cover, cooking for ten minutes. Turn off heat. Add honey and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over brown rice.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Recipe: Chai Pistachio Granola

I can't get enough of this granola. Swati was inspired to create a batch after we both discovered an upstate New York bakery, Bread Alone, that makes a highly addictive granola by the same name.

I am beginning to think my wife has a future career in food science. She did an amazing job at re-creating this product, even going a step further with the addition of Indian chai spice (a blend of ground cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon). Now you must try it!

Makes about 12-15 servings

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried coconut
5/8 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Indian chai spice (or ground cardamom)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and spices. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown and well toasted. Remove from oven.

Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots, tossing to combine.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Recipe: Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

It's always a challenge to find inspiration this time of year. So many of the fresh vegetables I love to cook with won't be available until a few months from now. Fortunately, when I run out of ideas, I can always turn to friends who are busy cooking up some amazing stuff on their own. This vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe comes from my dear friend Sacha (aka Stiggly) and is one of my favorite things that her and her husband Mike make. Instead of the traditional beef and potatoes used to make this dish, Sacha uses sweet potatoes and lentils.

I was at first intimidated when I saw the lengthy recipe on her site, but decided to give it a shot anyway, and am glad I did. It was less complicated than I thought, and I made a delicious dinner not only for one night but several. And it was so tasty!

Makes 6-8 servings

3/4 cup french lentils
2 bay leaves
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into quarters
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil1 clove garlic
1 leek, diced, white parts only
1 zuchinni, sliced
1 carrot, diced
14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 green pepper, diced1 jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds removed)
5-6 crimini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
3 leaves of collards, thinly sliced (as side dish, optional)
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot, add lentils and 3 cups of water. Toss in a bay leaf, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked and water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, you can start to cook the sweet potatoes. In a large pot add quartered pieces and immerse in water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or so until sweet potatoes are soft. Use a fork to test whether they are done (should be able to easily pierce the potato). Drain water and peel potatoes by hands after cooling for a few minutes. The peels should come right off! Then add back into the original pot, and mash potatoes using a masher or fork. Mix in butter and milk until texture is creamy. Set aside.

While your potatoes are cooking, you can also start the third step. In another large pot, over medium heat saute garlic and leek in olive oil for a minute or so. Then add the sliced zucchini, carrot and let cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add can of fire roasted tomatoes and spices (cumin, paprika, oregano). Let cook for another five minutes and then add green pepper and jalapeno peppers. Cook another five minutes and then fold in the cooked lentils. Cover pot and let everything simmer for a bit. Check for salt and pepper.

You're shepherd's pie is almost ready for assembly! If you desire you can also add mushroom and collard greens to it. Highly recommended! Just saute them in olive oil in a small pan. I chose to serve the collards on the side, but you could easily put them in the pie and it would be great too.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x12 baking pan, you will then start to assemble your pie. The first layer should be the lentils/vegetable mixture. It should take up about two-thirds of the baking dish. Next, you will layer in the sauteed mushrooms and the collard greens if you desire. The last layer is the sweet potato mash. Make sure to spread it out evenly so it looks beautiful. Your pie is now ready to bake. Insert in oven and cook for 20-30 minutes. 


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties

Thirty years ago in the town of York, Pennsylvania, my dear wife was born. Fitting then I should choose to celebrate this milestone by making Peppermint Patties.

I found an amazing recipe on Elena's Pantry, which instantly appealed to me. It used only four ingredients and had no refined sugar.  I also knew it would go over well with Swati and her friends.

And the verdict? They were delicious and the hit of the party. I even had some leftover melted chocolate which I then used to dip strawberries, cherries and walnuts.  Yum!

Note though this recipe requires Peppermint Oil (and not extract!). Extract contains oil, which can ruin this recipe, causing the chocolate to break apart. Peppermint oil gives this dish a nice strong flavor and should be diluted with another oil (such as coconut) for consumption.

Makes 12 patties

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil
1/2 to 1 cup dark chocolate chips, 73% cacao

In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, agave nectar and peppermint oil. Freeze mixture for about 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to harden. Use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to measure out balls on a parchment lined plate. Place in freezer until balls begin to firm up (another 5-10 minutes).

Meanwhile melt chocolate chips using a double boiler (I assembled a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water). Remove from heat.

Remove firm mint balls from freezer and flatten into patties using spoon. Quickly dip mint patties into melted chocolate using spoon. Cover patties completely with chocolate and place on parchment lined plate. Leave out for about 10 minutes until patties harden or return to freezer if making on a hot summer day.

See original recipe from Elena's Pantry

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The battle over raw foods

Every time I visit San Francisco, I make it a point to visit Cafe Gratitude, a raw vegan restaurant that is one-of-its kind.  With few of its exceptions, none of the items has been heated over 188 degrees Fahrenheit.  And it boasts its menu is gluten and soy free.

If you've never been you might be surprised to see things like "live" nachos and enchiladas on its menu. And lots of great desserts (check out the recipe for the I Am Inviting Banana Creme Pie).  The restaurant is a huge success and now counts seven locations, fueled by interest in omnivores eager to try something new and different.

While it's true this approach has interested more folks in the raw foods diet, it has also angered some raw food purists. These individuals believe the food being served up at "gourmet" establishments like Cafe Gratitude and Pure Food and Wine in NYC are heavily processed and full of excess calories, contrary to the "healthy" experience they claim to delivering.  Author Lessley Anderson does a great job at highlighting the schism in her article The Raw Deal.  The individuals she interviews feel that a true raw diet should consist of nothing more than fruits and vegetables in their natural state.

I'm curious where you, dear reader, might align yourself in this debate.  Please share your comments. 

Note to reader: this article can be found among other hot button food topics in The Best Food Writing 2009.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Recipe: Polenta Breakfast Triangles

I was really proud of myself this morning. I wanted to make something sweet and different from my usual steel cut oats or oatmeal pancakes, so I decided to get creative with polenta, which had been sitting in my pantry for quite some time.

Making polenta is similar to preparing any whole grain. It's often served savory, but it also works great as a sweet dish. When cooked it will appear like a porridge, but given a few minutes it will harden and form the shape of any baking pan or bowl. I chose to serve mine with toasted walnuts, ground flaxseed and maple syrup. It also would be great with strawberries and blueberries. Oh summer, can't you come a bit sooner?

Here is my recipe. Enjoy!

Serves 3

3 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp of butter
1 cup dried polenta (finely ground cornmeal)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
3 tsp ground flaxseeds
maple syrup to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and salt to a boil. Add 1 tbsp of butter until melted.  Then slowly add polenta and reduce heat to medium low. Make sure to stir frequently for about 20 minutes, watching carefully. If left unattended, polenta will splatter! When it stops bubbling taste to ensure doneness.

2. Remove from heat and transfer to a small square 8x8 baking pan. Let sit here for 5-10 minutes until it hardens. Then cut into 8 triangles.

3. In a cast iron or frying pan use the remaining butter to slightly brown polenta triangles, 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve on plate with toasted walnuts, ground flaxseeds and maple syrup. Yum!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Avocado Pudding

The secret is out! Yes, this delicious, rich chocolate pudding was made with avocados!

Swati and I shared this Valentine's friendly recipe with our friends Joan and Adam on Sunday. After many guesses over the secret ingredient (bananas being the closest) they were shocked to learn this pudding was made from the very same fruit used in guacamole. Did I also mention it is dairy free?

Truth is the avocado is a great substitute for dairy, providing the fat and rich smooth flavor you'd expect from a chocolate pudding recipe. It's also a pretty neutral tasting fruit that easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients.
You'll also find no sugar in this recipe - it's sweetened using dates and maple syrup. And yes, it can all be made rather effortlessly in a food processor. No cooking required.

Okay, enough talk already. Show me the chocolate.

Serves 6

1/2 cup pitted mejdool dates, soaked
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe avocados
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup water

Place the dates, maple syrup, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the avocados and cocoa powder and process until creamy. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the water and process briefly. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

The pudding will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Integrative Nutrition