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Category Archives: Vegetarian/Vegan

Something Else You Can Ferment

I’ve extolled the virtues of fermented foods on many occasion due to their beneficial enzymes that help our digestive systems function better. There are various foods that are readily available in fermented form and all cultures have them since in days gone by, it was an important process because there was no refrigeration and fermented foods keep longer. Many vegetables like in the German version, sauerkraut and the Korean version Kim Chee are fermentable. There are types of dill pickles that are fermented. Not all though so read your labels. Milk is fermentable into yogurt and kefir. Soy is fermented into Miso and Tempeh. BUT something you might not be aware of is that you can ferment nuts and seeds.

I discovered a product from a company called Spread Em. They make a variety of very nice nut cheeses that are fermented. I was a bit taken aback by the price tag of $9.00 for a small container but I guess when you consider the price of nuts, it’s understandable. The kind I bought was garlic and chive cashew cheese spread. So the idea is that it’s sort of like a cream cheese but no dairy and the added benefit of being fermented. I fell in love with it and then of course my mind went to making my own. My first batch turned out great and it made quite a lot. I love it spread on my raw dehydrated (no grain or gluten) flat bread with avocado, red onion and tomato:) Yummy!!! I’ll post another flatbread recipe here too but there’s a link for you to a sprouted buckwheat flat bread recipe.

So I guess you want to know how to make it now?? It’s easy.

Just so you know that you can use many kinds of nuts and seeds but make sure they are soaked not only because it’s required for them to ferment but to remove phytates. Examples are Macadamia, pine nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds etc.

In this recipe I used cashews and sunflower seeds but feel free to interchange and make this your own recipe.

Fermented cheese

Cashew-Sunflower Fermented Nut Cheese PRINT

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soak in filtered water 4 hours

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soak 4 hours

1/2 cup of fermented vegetables like sauerkraut-get a good quality organic brand

2 T extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 T nutritional yeast

1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt or sea salt

You can flavour this up more with fresh parsely, basil, dill or other herbs of your choosing to taste. Add fresh ground black pepper, capers, finely chopped olives, green onion or chives and so on. Other options…sesame oil, coconut aminos, miso, fresh ginger and the list goes on.

Toss everything in the Vitamix high speed blender (you can use a food processor but it won’t get as fine a texture). Add a very small amount of filtered water if you need to thin it a touch. Blend til smooth. Have ready sterilized jars and add your mixture to the jars but fill only 1/2 full  so it can expand while fermenting. Put lids on loosely. Let sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 days then refrigerate. It should keep a week to 10 days.

Herb and Onion Flatbread PRINT

1/3 c sundried tomatoes soaked in hot water for 10 mins.

1/3 c and 1/2 c golden flax seeds, do not soak

1/3 c pecans or walnuts, do not soak

1 1/4 c sunflower seeds, do not soak

3 medium zucchini, yellow or green, keep skin on

2 cloves garlic

1/2 red onion

1/3 c fresh basil

3/4 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

3/4 tsp himalayan pink salt or sea salt

Line your dehydrator tray with a non stick paraflex sheet.

Grind 1/3 cup flax seeds.

Place nuts and sunflower seeds in food processor and grind. Place them in a bowl.

Shred two zucchini using shredding blade in the food processor. Add them to the bowel with nuts.

Using the blade in food processor, process third zucchini and all the rest of the ingredients except the whole flax then add to the nut bowl along with whole flax.

Mix well. Spread evenly over the lined dehydrator tray and score into rectangles, dehydrate for 12 hours then flip removing the liner. Dehydrate another 4 to 6 hours until crisp. If you like it extra thin, use two trays.

 

 

 

 

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The Perfect Salad (mine at least)

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This is one serving but you can make this for the family too…just increase
ingredients accordingly. For me it gets me to want to eat a lot of salad so that’s a
good thing and it’s a great one for lunch or dinner.

2 cups Mixed organic greens (I like some arugula and baby spinach as well)
Pickled Pear or Granny Smith Apples (recipe to follow)—just a few pieces
6 Cherry tomatoes cut in ½ (try to get different colored ones like orange, green,
red and yellow)
1/4 c Chopped Red Onion, green onion (scallion) is ok too.
1/3 c Fresh or frozen green peas (just blanch them briefly in boiling water)
Crumbled Cheese (about ¼ c) best choices are either creamy goats, some kind
of blue, feta or boccocini but use what you like. I love Gorgonzola or an herb
goats. Feta is nice too and adding some Calamata olives if using feta is great.
¼ c Toasted Spiced Pecans or walnuts (recipe to follow)

Serve with a Cider Vinegar Dressing (recipe to follow).

The nice thing about this salad is that is seems really special but you can have
the pecans, pears/apples and dressing made up ahead and stored so that when
in a hurry, that’s all done and it’s just a little bit of prep.

Pecans: Melt 3 TBSP unsalted butter in a saucepan. Add a splash of
Worcestershire sauce and a splash of Tabasco…more if you really like it hot.
Also add, ½ tsp salt and pepper and ½ tsp granulated garlic. Melt the butter and
stir. Remove from heat and add 1 c pecans (walnuts are ok too). Stir to coat and
pour all into a pie tin.
Place in the oven on 350 F until fragrant. About 5 to 10 mins.
Watch them carefully as they can burn easily. Remove from oven and cool. Store
in fridge.

Dressing:

cider dressing

I just put all into my Vitamix (high speed blender) and blend.

1/3 cup raw unfiltered organic cider vinegar. I use Braggs.
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup raw honey or agave can work too
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo)
1 tsp salt and pepper

Spiced Pears or Apples: This is for one small jar using one pear or apple so
adjust accordingly.

Make the brine:
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. vinegar (I use raw coconut vinegar but cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
are ok too.)
¼ tsp salt
1 large pear, cut up into thin slices. I didn’t peel.
1 cinnamon stick

Mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Put sliced pear into a small
mason jar with the cinnamon stick. Pour hot brine over them and let them sit for a
couple of hours before using. Store in the fridge.

To serve salad…Place all ingredients in your serving bowl and toss with dressing.
Make this into a real meal with some left over roast chicken or other left over
meat or fish of your choice.

mayo

 

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Thai Curry Bowl with Chicken or Beef

Serves 4   PRINT

One night I was looking for an easy way to use chicken and was craving something a bit spicy and curry like. Well, I have a new favorite now:) And the great thing is that there are so many variations and you can use up leftovers easily in this dish. I’m making this a gluten free meal and variations for a completely no grain dish. It can be made vegetarian too just by adding more veg and toasted nuts on top. The original inspiration recipe called for packaged ramen noodles, which are gluten free but you can use thin rice noodles prepared as the package says but a tad underdone so they can finish cooking in the liquid and absorb more flavors. You can also get thin brown rice noodles which are healthier than the white. Another option is GoGo gluten free spaghetti noodles which are rice and quinoa. They take a while to cook so again make sure they are slightly underdone. To make this grain free, spiralize a medium zucchini and cook lightly in salted water but again…keep it underdone so it can cook a bit in the liquid and absorb the flavors of the curry.

*2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
*1 lb boneless chicken thighs or breast or a mix, sliced (see beef/seafood variations)
*2 roughly chopped green onoins
*1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (you may add more to your liking)
*1 clove garlic, minced or grated
*½ lb lightly steamed asparagus, chopped in bite size pieces
*1 red pepper, thinly sliced (orange or yellow peppers are ok too)
*1 or 2 hot red or green chillies, seeds removed unless you like it really hot and chopped finely (optional)
*12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
*1/4 cup thai red curry paste (yellow or green ok too)
*2 teaspoons smoked paprika
*1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk organic preferably
*4 cups chicken broth preferably home made (use more if you think it’s too thick)
*1/4 cup gluten free tamari (soy like sauce)
*2 tablespoons fish sauce (leave out if vegetarian)
*1/2 cup creamy ORGANIC peanut butter (use almond or cashew butter if you like)
*1 lime, juiced
*2 tablespoons agave for a touch of sweetness
*4 packages Ramen noodle soup, seasoning packets discarded (you may also just use your favorite pasta)
*chopped toasted peanuts or nuts of your choice, for serving
*chopped cilantro, for serving

Instructions:

Prepare your noodles or zucchini noodles as I mentioned above. Cooked to a slightly underdone state. Set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and the chicken or whatever meat you are using. Brown the chicken for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is barely cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and reserve.

Add another tablespoon of oil. Cook the mushrooms until slightly browned and add the peppers (sweet and hot), garlic, green onions, asparagus and any other veg you may be using. Cook until veg are lightly cooked. Add in the curry paste and smoked paprika, stirring until the curry paste has coated the veggies. Add 1 cup chicken broth and allow to heat up. Carefully stir in the peanut butter until completely smooth.

Add the chicken back into the pot along with the coconut milk, remaining chicken broth, tamari, fish sauce, lime juice and agave. Bring the soup to a boil then turn to simmer. Add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes or until happy that they are fully cooked.

Once the noodles are ready, serve soup immediately and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and peanuts.

Variations: Use sliced beef fillet or ground beef. You can use other veg like snow peas, zucchini, green beans or whatever you like or may have leftover. You could also use prawns (shell removed) and just let them cook in the liquid at the end with the noodles for a few mins. Other white fish like cod or halibut can work here too. Instead of chicken broth, use beef broth if using beef in the dish. If using seafood, stick with the chicken broth.
You can get a coconut based sauce to replace tamari. It’s called Naked Coconuts- soy free seasoning sauce-organic and raw. Coconut Milk-Let’s Do…Organic-organic creamed coconut.
If using veg that are harder like broccoli or cauliflower, lightly steam first.
Now get creating:)

How a spiralizer works.

 

 

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Product Review-Oodles

oodles I’m always looking for ways to replace gluten products in a way the is satisfying. Seasnax has come out with a Wakame seaweed noodle product called Oodles that I found really great. They are a bit pricey but easy to use, gluten free and Non GMO. You don’t cook them. I used them in a cold salad with some lightly steamed asparagus, red pepper, scallions and a few other bits and bobs. You can use what you like. I just drizzled the salad with hot chili oil, gluten free tamari (there is one made from coconut now available which is organic, gluten free, non GMO and raw…company Naked Coconuts), rice wine vinegar, mirin, squeeze of lime and a touch of sesame oil. I topped it with some chopped cilantro and there you go. I’ve also at times added a grilled chicken breast sliced up for protein. I marinated the chicken in the same ingredients I used for the salad dressing and then grilled it but you could just roast it in the oven too.

I think it would work well in a sushi roll too but I haven’t tried that yet. So give them a try. You might have to ask your local grocer to get them in but I got them on Gabriola, so if you are in the city you should be able to find them.

http://www.seasnax.com/Where-to-Buy_ep_45.html#canada

The link will tell you who stocks Seasnax seaweed snacks but it doesn’t necessarily mean they stock Oodles so I would call and ask before trekking out to get them.

Enjoy!

 

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Raw Chocolate Bark- A Real Treat!

 

DSC_0343This is a really easy and tasty treat. However, it is sweet and there is caffeine so don’t overdo it. The fat is really healthy and there are antioxidants in the cacao. It’s GMO free too. My rant is that ‘they’ are always trying new forms of population control. GMO foods are one of the latest. Apparently Obama has given Monsanto (one of the biggest GMOers) free reign to alter anything they want and puts them above the law. Who does this!!! Get after your local representatives in gov’t and tell them to get real! No one should be above the law. Is Obama nuts? I have no idea but I do know that like any top official, there is pressure from companies and lobbyists so if you want to put a stop to this, take action. See Dr. DiffRANT’s blog on GMOs.

This is a basic chocolate recipe with things added to your own taste. So the options are shredded coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds (nice crunch), dried fruit and nuts, nut butters, goji berries (and other superfoods) and maybe try some heat with chillies. I haven’t done this yet but will let you know:) You can even add flavors like vanilla beans and essential oils like peppermint, orange, etc…So try a few different versions and see what your favourite is.

Harmonic Arts brand is one source for these products…you can also order online from Sunfoods…see our link

1 cup raw cacao (cocoa) powder

1 cup gently melted organic coconut oil

4 to 6 raw cocoa butter wafers (leave out if you can’t get it) This is about 4 TBSP if you get it in another form instead of wafers.

1 tsp fine Himalayan Salt or other good quality sea salt like Fleur de Sel or Grey salt-might be nice to sprinkle some coarser salt over at the end too.

1 tsp vanilla extract

Raw Blue Agave sweetener, raw honey or coconut syrup (not raw) to taste

This makes enough to spread on one parchment lined cookie sheet so go ahead and increase it if you like. The rest is up to you but here is an example of a recent batch I made…2 TBSP cacao nibs (Sunfoods)-these aren’t sweet so they give a bitter edge which is nice, 1/2 cup raw chopped hazelnuts and pecans, a handful of dried cranberries, 1 TBSP chia seeds.

Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter together ever so gently. I did mine in the dehydrator so it wouldn’t heat over 113 degrees but stove top is Ok if you must. Pour into your bowl of cacao powder and mix until smooth with a whisk of hand mixer until about the consistency of thickish chocolate syrup. It needs to be runny enough to spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet but not so runny that it doesn’t hold together somewhat. Then place in the freezer for about an hour and then break into pieces and store in the freezer in a plastic container.

 

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Raw Buckwheat Flat Bread

Here's a pic of my fave raw sandwich!

Here’s a pic of my fave raw sandwich!

I give thanks to Russell James for this recipe. I hope he doesn’t mind me posting it. Please check out his raw food course and for just a few dollars a month you can join and get recipes via email throughout the month. It’s worth it. This is a great way to get away from high carb breads and get more raw into your diet. My fave sandwich has sprouts, avocado, red onion, lettuce, tomato and whatever else seems yummy that particular day. Makes 18 ‘slices’

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1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups sun dried tomatoes

3 cups sprouted buckwheat

1 cup flax meal

3 1/2 cups peeled zucchini roughly chopped

2 cups apple cored and roughly chopped

3 tabblespoons lemon juice

2 avocados

1 large onion

1/2 cup minced parsley

– Process the olive oil, sun dried toms, sprouted buckwheat, courgette, apple, lemon juice, avocados, onion and herbs until thoroughly mixed.

– Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the flax meal by hand. The reason you do this separately (not in the processor) is that you are likely to have too much mixture for the size if the processor at this point, and when you add the flax meal it will become quite heavy and sticky and overwork your machine.

– When mixed, process the whole batter in the machine again, but in small batches to achieve a light fluffy texture.

– Divide the mixture in half and place on Paraflexx sheets on dehydrator trays.

– Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly to all 4 sides and corners of the Paraflexx sheet. If mixture is too sticky you can wet the spatula to make things easier. With a knife score the whole thing into 9 squares.

– Dehydrate for 2 hours and then remove the Paraflexx sheets by placing another dehydrator tray and mesh on top and invert so that your original sheet of bread is upside down. That will allow you to peel the Paralexx sheet off and continue to dehydrate the underside of the bread.

– Dehydrate for approx 8 hours more (do this overnight so you’re not tempted to eat it before it’s ready) or until bread feels light in your hand. If the pieces don’t fully come apart where you scored, use a knife to cut them.

 

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Vegan Chestnut Terrine – Rich and Delicious for Special Occasions

Chestnut Terrine

Chestnut Terrine

Vegan Chestnut Terrine can be served with Miso Gravy. This can be a vegetarian main or an appy. The chestnuts make it festive and rich so great for a special event.

Vegan Chestnut Terrine Print

Serves: 10

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing

2-4 cloves garlic, crushed

175 g (6 oz) mushrooms, sliced

175 g (6 oz) red onions, thinly sliced

6 tablespoons brandy

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw cashews

8 vacuum packed or canned unsweetened, whole chestnuts

1 egg, beaten

125 g (4½ oz) breadcrumbs (panko is ok)

400 g (14 oz) canned unsweetened chestnut purée

Grated zest of ½ orange plus juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon each chopped fresh parsley and thyme

Salt and black pepper

Prep: 20 mins  Cook: 55 mins

Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease a terrine dish or 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and gently fry the garlic, mushrooms and onions for 7-8 minutes until they are tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently.

Add the brandy to the pan and allow it to simmer for 1-2 minutes until reduced, then remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool for about 3 minutes.

Whiz up the nuts in a food processor until broken into very small pieces almost like nut flour.

Break the chestnuts into pieces and stir them into the mushroom mixture with the egg, nuts, breadcrumbs, chestnut purée, orange zest and juice, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper to taste, using a wooden spoon to break up the chestnut purée.

When the mixture is thoroughly combined, spoon it into the greased loaf tin, smooth over the top and bake it for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned.

Leave the terrine to cool in the tin, then turn it out onto a plate and cut it into neat slices. Sprinkle a little chopped coriander or basil over the top and serve it with mixed salad leaves. Serve Miso Gravy on the side.

Miso Gravy

4 cups Vegetable Stock (homemade or organic store bought)

½ cup Red Wine

2 TBSP Miso (any type is ok)

1 TBSP Organic White All Purpose Flour

1 TBSP Cornstarch

Salt and pepper to taste

Put stock and wine in a sauce pan. On medium heat reduce for 15 minutes until a slightly stronger taste develops.

Add Miso and combine well with a whisk.

Mix the flour and cornstarch together and stir in some water to make a runny paste. Pour through a sieve into the stock mixture and whisk well so that lumps cannot develop. Stir until thickened. Add S & P to taste. Serve on the side of the terrine.

canned chestnuts

 

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