Friday, March 23, 2012

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

My friend Biz turned me onto this recipe a few years ago, and I've tried many variations. I believe hers called for Medjool dates (probably soaked in water for a few hours) as a sweetener, but I like to use raw agave nectar because it's convenient, and there's always a bottle on hand in my kitchen. You could probably just as easily use honey, brown rice syrup, or regular old sugar to make this incredibly easy, surprisingly delicious chocolate mousse. Whether you're a diehard raw food enthusiast, or you just like rich desserts, this one is a crowd pleaser.  Your dinner guests won't be able to guess that it took 5 minutes to make, and that it's good for you.

2 very ripe avocados
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/2 C agave nectar
optional:
almond or rice milk (to thin the mixture, if desired)
a little vanilla (bean or extract)
couple Tbls of coconut oil (if you wanted to use it to frost a cake)

Raw ingredients, and almost TOO easy!
A high-speed blender works best for this recipe, but you can whip it up in a food processor or a regular blender, too. I suppose you could even do it by hand, but blending makes it silky smooth like regular mousse. I use about 1/4 C of almond milk, and make it in two batches in my blender, because my old Osterizer was made back when my parents were in grade school, and it won't blend very well, unless I add liquid. If you wanted to use dates instead of agave, you would want to use the date water to thin the mixture. Refrigerate the mousse and let set for a while. I've heard you can freeze it like ice cream, too, but have never tried that.
It just took me twice as long to write this post as it did to make the mousse. Try it out next time you over-buy avocados. It's super rich and yummy. I like it with some crushed walnuts sprinkled on top, or with a sliced banana. Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Makeshift Greenhouse

Who knew that a north-facing laundry room could double as a greenhouse? 
When I planted these babies during that hot spell in late February, I was rolling the dice, figuring that if spring had arrived early, I'd have quite a jump on tomato season.  (I am so smart, thought I.)  If it turned cold again and killed everything, I'd have only wasted a couple of plants.  Well, winter returned with a vengeance and in a fit of insanity, I brought all of the potted plants indoors, covered the laundry room table with a tarp and hoped for the best. 

Ta-da!  Check out my tomato plants - they're growing like crazy!  And, this, in a room that the sunshine never hits.  Apparently there's just enough light to keep everybody alive - two tomato plants, parsley, cilantro and a couple of random house plants - woo hoo!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's in Your Fridge?

My refrigerator is about a thousand years old, missing the bottom shelf, and is held together with duct tape. It's on the List of Things to Replace, but it's gotten me this far, so a new one is not very high on the list. The exterior of my house needs a serious paint job, and two trees need to be removed from my property; a new fridge will have to wait. I think a refrigerator says a lot about a person. It's akin to looking through someone's music collection, or underwear drawer.

It looks like a jumbled mess, perhaps, but I know where everything is, and I'm fanatical about throwing things away, so it's pretty clean. The bottom drawer is problematic, since it's missing its glass cover/shelf, causing the massive pile-up of fruits, and veggies. You gotta dig around a little.

Eat your veggies!
Must-haves: Almond milk, lemons, baby foo-foo lettuces, and Anchor Steam Beer

My freezer, on the other hand, is more easily navigated. It contains exactly six things: coffee, sweet potato fries, home made vegetable stock, steel cut oats, tempeh, ice. Sometimes, there is vodka.



Siberia.

At least it's clean, right?


The outside of one's refrigerator often tells a story, too, of course. Although, since most people have stainless steel refrigerators these, days, I might be the last one with magnets, old pictures, and grocery lists on the front of mine.

Peach comes from within.

What's in your fridge, Sissy? (No fair staging it first!)

Franny, is this a competition?  'Cause I think I win... Erin
Always on hand: eggs, kale, cabbage, carrots, leftover mashed potatoes, Veuve Cliquot and St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc.

Why there are two copies of the same photo of Dad up there, I'll never know.  You and I have the same taste in fridge magnets.

Crazy Fijian ingredients that Suli keeps in my awesome bottom drawer freezer plus endless loaves of gluten-free bread and some Amy's frozen dinners, just in case.


Nacho Mama's Nacho Sauce


What's cookin'? Indy waits for a cashew to drop.
Today, I had some cashews soaking, and too many bell peppers in the fridge, so I decided to give Cashew Cheese another try. I've tried to make it a hundred times, and it never turns out quite right . . . . until now! I made up a recipe based on what I already knew (and actually wrote it down for once), and it turned out great. 

1 Red Bell Pepper, cleaned and chopped
1 c Raw Cashews, soaked for 4+ hours (they will double in size and become 2 cups)
1/2 c Raw Cashews (not soaked)
1-3 Garlic Cloves
Juice of 1 Lemon
1+/- tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbls Red Onion, finely chopped
3 Tbls Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbls Tahini
Water (thin as necessary to incorporate ingredients)

Whiz all ingredients in high-powered blender for about a minute (or in your regular blender for 2-3 minnies), pour into glass container, refrigerate for at least an hour or two before serving. The consistency will be something like the consistency of yogurt or a thin hummus, depending on the amount of water added.

Spread on crackers, use in place of mayo, dip veggies, add a dash of cayenne for a Nacho experience, make kale chips (see earlier post for recipe), or thin with lemon juice and add chopped sweet pickle for a pseudo thousand island salad dressing. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, soy-free, and raw. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rainbow Kale Slaw

I eat kale because I know it's good for me, not because I love it or anything.  Not even close.  This recipe makes eating kale easy and appetizing.  

I know I posted this previously, somewhere between the crab cakes and the quinoa breakfast yumminess, but it seems to have disappeared.  So, here it is again:  my version of Whole Foods' Rainbow Kale Slaw. 

1 bunch lacinato (a.k.a. dinosaur) kale, thick stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
4 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1 small head, quartered and cored) 
3 navel oranges peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
 
 
In a large bowl, combine kale, cabbage, chopped orange, onion, bell pepper and sunflower seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar and pepper. Pour over the kale mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Goodbye to Oatmeal

I don't like oatmeal for breakfast.  I've tried, and although I know the whole grains are good for me, I can't bring myself to eat it without dumping a ton of maple syrup on top.  At that point, I figure, I might as well have had pancakes.

Quinoa cake to the rescue!  I recently found the following recipe on the Whole Foods website and it's my new favorite breakfast, which I alternate with my other favorite, egg salad on rice bread toast (also yummy, no need for recipe, you can figure it out).  It's totally savory - do not expect sweetness from the applesauce and cocoa 'cause you won't get any.  I suppose you could add sugar, should you desire.  I used almond milk and flax seeds instead of hemp.

Meanwhile, it's nutrient rich and makes 8 or 9 servings, enough for a week's worth of whole grains.

Serves 8


Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups unsweetened hempmilk, soymilk or almondmilk
1 cup pitted dates (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup almond meal, divided

Method

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear, drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a blender, purĂ©e hempmilk, dates, seeds, applesauce, cocoa and salt. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in quinoa and 1/2 cup almond meal. Transfer to prepared pan, scatter remaining 1/4 cup almond meal over the top and bake until firmly set, about 1 hour.

Set aside to let cool for 1 hour, and then carefully run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the edges. Turn out onto a flat surface, remove parchment paper, cut into squares and serve.

To freeze, wrap individual squares tightly and store in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave.

Nutrition


Per Serving: 270 calories (90 from fat), 11g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium, 37g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 17g sugar), 10g protein