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Archive for November, 2009

This salad combines different colors and textures. The citrus burst of clementines, the fluffiness of millet, the smooth texture of black beans, the crunchiness of roasted almonds with the fresh, crisp addition of fresh cilantro. I make salads like this one often. Colorful, highly nutritious, fresh, tasteful salads. Combine any grain, fruit, bean, fresh herb and nut for an easy lunch. Millet is a grain that is still widely unknown. It is packed with magnesium which is, for example, known to help decrease symptoms of asthma and reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.


 
1 cup millet
1 cup black beans (canned is fine), rinsed and drained
2 clementines, cut-up in medium-size pieces (or substitute one orange)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
 
Nutty Citrus Dressing :
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Juice of one small lime
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
Pinch of paprika
Sea salt, to taste

Cook the millet according to the manufacturer’s direction.

In the mean time, prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk briefly with a fork. Add rinsed black beans, cooled millet, chopped clementines and peas. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Add chopped cilantro and roasted almonds just before serving.

Serves 4

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This is an amazingly tasteful, easy to make, inexpensive, energy-packed soup. It is extensively nutritious : loaded with fiber-rich barley, iron-rich lentils, antiviral and antibacterial onions and garlic and immune system boosting ginger. This soup will get you up when you are down. It is perfect on a cold winter morning.
 
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
2 dried hot chili peppers, chopped
2/3 cup black lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup pearl barley
10 button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
 
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add chopped onion and salt, saute for about 5 minutes, until they become translucent. Add garlic and ginger, saute for a few minutes more. Add chopped dried chili peppers, ground cumin, cinnamon and coriander, saute for 3 more minutes, until everything becomes fragrant. Add vegetable broth and soy milk, bring to a boil. Add lentils, barley and freshly cracked black pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes, add the sliced mushrooms. Simmer for about 25 minutes more. Taste and adjust spices.
 
Top with chopped tomatoes, plain yogurt and/or fresh coriander.
 

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Today is my day off from work. I had planned to volunteer at a local restaurant (Robin des Bois). The owner donates all profits to non-for-profit organizations. Sadly, upon arrival, the manager kindly informed me that there was a mistake and that they already had enough volunteers for the day. They felt bad enough to give me coffee and lunch to go. Grilled artisanal bread topped with sweet and white potato, wild mushrooms, Emmental cheese and a white sauce (probably some kind of bechamel). I made the salad below to accompany the broiled open-faced sandwich. Perhaps I’ll try volunteering some other time.

 
 
 
Baby spinach
1 pomegranate
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
 
Maple-Balsamic Dressing
3 tablespoons walnut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple sirup
Black pepper and fleur de sel
 
To remove seeds from pomegranate, cut fruit in quarters in a bowl filled with cold water. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. The seeds with sink and the membranes will float.
Roast hazelnuts in a 375F degrees oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Divide baby spinach into 4 plates. Top with pomegranate seeds and roasted hazelnuts. Drizzle with maple dressing and sprinkle with  fleur de sel.
 
Serves 4

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The secret ingredient making this chili so dark, intense and almost creamy is cocoa powder. It gives a nice aroma and helps thicken the sauce to a dark chocolaty texture. This dish can easily be made vegan by omitting the feta cheese topping. Instead, generously drizzle chili with olive oil.

 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated or finely chopped
3 dried hot chili peppers, chopped
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 16-ounce can kidney beans
1/2 cup black, brown, or green lentils (or combo), rinsed
1 cup meatless ground round (I used Yves Veggie)
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Feta, salted yogurt, olive oil, chopped cilantro or chopped fresh baby spinach, for garnish

1 baked potato per serving of chili

 

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onions stirring frequently. When the onions soften up and become translucent, add the garlic, ginger, red pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and cumin. Stir well and cook for a minute of so, until everything begins to slightly brown. Stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, lentils, meatless ground round, cocoa powder and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 35-45 minutes until lentils are cooked and chili has thickened. Stir a few times during the simmering, taste and ajust spices and salt.

Serve over baked potato and top with feta and finely chopped fresh spinach.

*While chili is cooking, bake the potato. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 40 minutes.

 

Makes about 6-8 servings

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 banana bread

 

I don’t really have a sweet tooth. But I’ve been craving banana bread (cake?) for weeks. This cake is moist and fluffy, yet dense. For an extremely decadent dessert, reheat in a toaster oven and top with vanilla ice cream. 

 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup wheat germ

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 eggs

1/2  cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut (or soy) milk, room temperature

2 tablespoons canola or any other mild tasting oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch fine grain salt

3 medium, very ripe bananas, mashed

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 Lightly oil a loaf or square pan.

 In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except bananas. Beat with a wire whisk until well blended. Stir in bananas. Add to dry mixture, mixing until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

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rapini pasta

 

Rapini (or brocoli raab) is like the bitter version of brocoli. Some say it’s an acquired taste. I love it. I’ve always loved it.

I will always remember the best pizza I ever ate at Delfina Pizzeria, in San Francisco last summer. It was brocoli raab pizza with olives, mozzarella and hot peppers. Yum. This pasta dish (almost) comes in competition with aforementioned pizza.

 

rapini

 

1 bunch rapini (brocoli raab), trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces 
4-5 cloves garlic
5 sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons dried chili flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Freshly shaved parmesan
Roasted hazelnuts (optional)
Whole wheat pasta (I used spagettini)
1/4 cup pasta water

 

Boil water in a large saucepan. Cook pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions.

While the water in boiling, trim base of rapini stalks. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add whole garlic cloves and sauté for a about 5 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and optional chili flakes. When garlic cloves begin to brown lower heat just to keep the skillet warm.

In the mean time, blanch the rapini in the pasta water for 4 or 5 minutes. Add blanched rapini to the warm skillet, increase heat to medium and sauté for about 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Add pasta and pasta water to skillet. Increase heat to medium high, sauté and mix well, for about 2 minutes. Smash the garlic cloves directly in the skillet with the back of a spoon.

Serve immediately, top with freshly shaved parmesan and roasted hazelnuts.

 

Serves 4

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Fiery tofu in tomato sauce

 

I’m sure some people will be skeptical regarding the whole tofu in tomato sauce thing. Trust me, this dish is both comforting (especially on a cold autumn evening) and delicious. Everyone is already aware of the incredible health benefits of tomatoes ; key words : lycopene and cancer fighting.

I like how simple this dish is. However, you could add sliced mushrooms, chopped spinach, sliced zucchini or sun-dried tomatoes when adding the garlic cloves. This dish can be made vegan by omitting the shaved parmesan, maybe drizzle olive oil insted?

 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic

1 16 oz package extra firm organic tofu

1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes

Pinch of sugar

A few springs of fresh rosemary

2 dried hot chili peppers, chopped (or more, to taste)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh shaved parmesan for garnish

 

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add tofu and chili peppers, cook over medium heat until the tofu has browned a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion, stir, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 more minutes. Add whole garlic cloves, continue to cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, rosemary, sugar, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and smash the garlic cloves directly in the skillet with the back of a spoon.

Serve over brown rice or whole wheat pasta and top with fresh parmesan.

 

Serves 4

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