Monday, December 29, 2014

Parsley and Pear Juice

Parsley parsley parsley!  My favorite herb strikes again!  This weeks recipe is one of my favorite juices to date.  Pears are a marvelous winter fruit, who's season lasts quite a ways from the late summer into the winter.  The only problem with pears are that they are hard to find ripe in the store.  When choosing a pear lightly pinch the top end of the neck and if it yields, it is ripe.  Fortunately, for our purposes, underripe pears will provide juice that is just as nice.  The crisp refreshing juice from the pear, the tart sweetness from the apple are tempered nicely with the earthiness of the herb.  Overall, this makes for  a delightful winter juice to freshen up your morning!  Or afternoon.  Oh, what am I saying, it's probably good at any time of the day.

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh Parsley
  • 2 Bartlett Pears
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples

  • Wash and clean all fresh produce. 
  • Process the apples, pears and the parsley through a juicer.  I recommend placing the parsley between the pears while pressing it down through the feeding tube so that it is easier to process and can yield more juice.
  • Pour into a large glass and serve immediately.
       Nina & Spencer

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sichuan Noodles

This week asian style cuisine is the name of the game.  Two classic seasonings to use are sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.  The sesame oil has a nice nutty richness and the vinegar adds a splash of tang.  When combined with peanut butter it makes a creamy, flavorful sauce, that pairs nicely with rice pad thai noodles and stir-fry veggies.  With the noodles and sauce as a base this recipe is very versatile. We prefer to add very light vegetables such as snap peas, red peppers, water chestnut and bamboo shoots.  Round it off with the more savory mushrooms and broccoli and you have a dish that will make anyone say YUM!

  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Chili Paste
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • Mushrooms;  sliced
  • Red Bell Peppers;  sliced
  • Snap Peas;  whole
  • Brokkoli
  • Bamboo Shoots;  cut into strips
  • Water Chestnuts;  sliced
  • Thai Basil;  to garnish

  • Wash and clean all fresh vegetables and cut them according to the instructions above.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta. 
  • Then heat a medium size pan with some vegan butter to sauté.  When the pan warms, clean and slice the mushrooms before adding them into the pan to brown.
  • After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and stir-fry them for about 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients:  Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili paste, peanut butter and water.
  • When the water boils, cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet.  Then drain the pasta, tip it into a bowl and toss it with the dressing and the stir-fry vegetables.  Plate the dish into bowls with some fresh cut basil and serve it immediately. 
       Nina & Spencer

Monday, December 15, 2014

Macaroni and Cash(ews)

Everyone loves macaroni & cheese and this raw vegan cheese sauce is an easy and elegant version of the traditional comfort food.  Made with raw cashews, nutritional yeast and a mix of spices, this sauce first puzzled my non-vegan husband and then won him over after he had a little try of it—yum, yum.  The nutritional yeast that's in the sauce is an inactive form of yeast that's yellow in color and with a unique nutty flavor that's similar to cheese.  If you happen to give this recipe a go, please let me know in the comments.  I'm curious to know what you think of it.

  • 1.5 cups raw Cashews
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. Spicy Brown Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 pinch Turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice (about the juice of one lemon)
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1.5 tsp. Salt
  • Shell or Elbow Pasta of choice
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Milk

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. 
  • At this time, also heat a medium size pan with some vegan butter to sauté the mushrooms.  When the pan warms, clean and slice them before adding them into the pan to brown.
  • Meanwhile, you can prepare the sauce.  In order to make the raw cheese sauce, combine the cashews, together with the nutritional yeast, mustard, spices, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor or high speed blender.  Then slowly add the water to the mixture to reach a more sauce-like consistency.  
  • When the water boils, add the pasta, and then cook according to it's instructions.  Everyone likes the pasta cooked differently.  My husband likes the noodles on the crispy side of al dente, while I would not mind if he would "forget" them in the pot a for a little while so that they are completely soft and slippery.
  • Next, combine the pasta with the mushrooms, spoon some of the cheese sauce with it and mix to distribute everything evenly.  I recommend adding the sauce gradually so that you can coat the noodles with just the right amount.
  • Serve the dish with some freshly chopped parsley and maybe a nice amount of cracked black pepper.
       Nina & Spencer

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts

THIS IS HOW I LIKE MY SPROUTS!  I'm a big fan of a simple preparation of vegetables that involves some herbs and a little roasting.  Adding cranberries and steaming the Brussels Sprouts in fresh stock and sherry vinegar showcases the delicate nutty flavor without the sulfur smell it might usually possess.  Like any type of cabbage, Brussels sprouts release natural sulfur compounds that can cause an unpleasant smell.  For this reason, it's important to cook the Brussels Sprouts correctly to keep this stench--yeah stench--in check.  If you are lucky enough to grow your own sprouts in the garden, the sulfur smell is not really a concern to you because it's not as potent in the freshly harvested sprouts.  Also, the vegetable loses much of it's bitterness after the first frost, so the longer you "forget" the Brussels sprouts in your garden patch in winter, the better.  Tenderized by the frost, the Sprouts can just be roasted with some herbs and they are good to go.  If you don't have a garden to grow winter vegetables, I recommend cooking them this way.

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cooling Oil
  • 1/2 cup dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 cup homemade Vegetable Stock

  • Wash and clean the Brussels sprouts.  Peal the dark green outer leaves because they can be bitter and tough.
  • Cut the Brussels sprouts in half.
  • Place a oiled pan on medium high heat and carefully place the Brussels sprouts face down into the pan.  Leave them frying until the cut side turns golden brown and caramelized, add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of walnuts.
  • Immediately afterwards, de-glaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar and then add 1 cup of vegetable stock. 
  • Cover the pan and let the Brussels sprouts cook for 5 minutes.  This steams the sprouts and allows them to get tender.
  • Uncover the pan and allow the vegetable stock to reduce.  This will take about 3-4 minutes or until the remaining liquid has a syrupy consistency.
       Nina & Spencer

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pomegranate Salad

Spencer and I love pomegranates.  They are such little jewels of goodness!  And since they are in season we decided to make a salad with a little middle eastern flavor. We hope you'll like it.  And if you haven't already noticed it, this recipe has fresh mint in it and of course a whole bunch of fresh parsley (my favorite).

  • 1 cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 1 Lemon;  juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh Mint;  finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. dried Mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parsley;  finely minced
  • 2 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. Walnuts;  soaked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Golden Raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Prepare the Bulgur Wheat:  Warm 1 cup of water in a small pot.  Add 1/2 cup of Bulgur Wheat, the juice of half a lemon and then also add the empty piece of lemon into the pot.  Bring everything to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook until the Bulgur absorbed all the liquid. Carefully remove the hot lemon form the pot and test the grain for doneness.  It is done when the grain is soft but still has a somewhat tender texture.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and then stir to distribute everything evenly.
  • Add the other half of the lemon juice to the salad and then... Enjoy this yummy salad.
       Nina & Spencer