August 21, 2014

Vegan Stuffed Poblanos with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Around me the trees stir in their leaves 
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches. 
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come 
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
Mary Oliver --from When I am Among the Trees

OK, I'll admit, I'm on a bit of a cleanse. Every once in a while, something inspires me to clean up my act and eat cleanly for a while, giving my body a break. With all the bountiful produce so readily available this time of year, it's been so easy. This recipe for stuffed poblano peppers is vegan and gluten free, filled with uber nutritious sweet potatoes, black beans, fresh corn and cilantro - served over the best thing ever - a flavorful Avocado-Cilantro Sauce which has no other added oils or fat. The recipe can easily be modified for cheese lovers, as you will see below, like I often do for Brian -- but if you are interested in keeping it healthy and lean, the velvety creamy avocado sauce may make you forget all about the existence of cheese, or at the very least, help you use it with a light hand.

August 17, 2014

Sunshine Bowl w/ Sunflower Seed Tahini Sauce

Happiness consists not of having, but of being. It is a warm glow of the heart at peace with itself. 
David O. McKay

Coming home after a two week road trip, exploring Idaho's beautiful nooks and crannies -our fridge is frighteningly bare. I make a quick trip to the farmers market and return home, arms full of fresh produce. While at the market, I have this Sunshine Bowl in mind and make sure to pick out fresh crunchy veggies like golden beets, carrots, kohlrabi, sunchokes, radish, jicama and lemon cucumber - all which can be grated or sliced- and taste good in their raw state. In this recipe, all the veggies are raw, served over a bed of warm, short grain nutty brown rice (or any other whole grain) with kale. 

But it's the Sunflower Seed Tahini Sauce that really makes all this healthiness -palatable and delicious. Earthy and flavorful, it's low in fat and oil, vegan and gluten free. Because most of the ingredients are all raw, this dish is pumped full of antioxidants, vitamins and living nutrients.  I think of this as a "detox" bowl, and whenever I eat this, I feel energized and alive, and my body thanks me for it. It also passes the Brian taste test, meaning - he loves it without knowing how good it is for him.  

The Sunshine Bowl makes shopping at the farmers market fun... giving a good excuse to try different, interesting veggies that you wouldn't normally pick out.

You will need a total of four cups of grated or sliced raw vegetables…so try to use four different vegetables.

The Sunflower Seed Tahini Sauce is whipped up quickly in the blender. It is made with sunflower seeds, water, Bragg's liquid Aminos, apple cider vinegar,  garlic, ginger, a teaspoon of sesame oil and fresh orange juice. I added bee pollen as well, but this is optional. You can substitute tamari or soy sauce, but I find the Braggs adds an earthy nutty flavor that I really enjoy, one that is lost when using soy sauce. 

Fresh grated beets add a pleasant sweetness to the dish, and I always try to include them.

Carrots can be grated -or shaved with a vegetable peeler to add a different texture.

Kohlrabi has thick skin, so be sure to peel and either grate or cut into fine matchsticks. It tastes a little like a cross between turnip and radish. Substitute fresh radishes, or daikon if you can't find these. 

Fresh sunchokes, are the tuber of a type of perennial sunflowers. Raw they add a delicious crunch and nutty flavor. Roasted they taste similar to artichokes. For this recipe, I leave them raw, scrub them and slice them thinly, leaving the peels on. 

For protein, add small cubes of raw, sprouted tofu lightly marinated in Braggs Liquid Aminos.  Of course you can always crisp up or bake the tofu, or add a poached egg to the top, but for the sake of keeping this lean and raw, I used fresh uncooked tofu. 

Once the rice is cooked and the veggies prepped, divide into bowls. Place a bed of warm rice or grain into the bowls and top with kale and then divide the other veggies. 

Top with sunflower seeds and chives.

Drizzle the Sunflower Seed Tahini Sauce over top……. and feel your body tingle with energy.

print recipe

Sunshine Bowl w/ Sunflower Seed Tahini Sauce
A low fat, vegan healthy veggie and grain bowl with flavorful sunflower seed tahini sauce.
Serves 4
4 cups hot cooked brown rice, quinoa or other whole grain
1 cup cubed extra-firm tofu
4 Cups fresh raw crunchy veggies, grated and/or sliced - grated beets, grated carrots, radish, daikon, kohlrabi, cucumber, jicama, peppers, tomatoes
2 cups packed leafy green--kale, spinach or arugula
2 T chives or scallions- chopped
2 T sunflower seeds
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos ( or tamari or soy sauce)

Sunflower Seed Tahini Sauce:
¼ cup sunflower seeds - roasted or raw
¼ cup fresh orange juice ( half an orange)
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
⅛ cup Bragg's Liquid Amino's or Tamari or soy sauce
⅛ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1-2 cloves garlic
1 T fresh ginger ( optional)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp bee pollen ( optional)


Cook grain or rice according to directions. Drizzle 1 teaspoon Braggs liquid amino acids over cubed tofu in a bowl and set aside, letting marinate.

Prep all veggies (peel- then grate or slice).

Make sunflower tahini sauce- place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

When grain is cooked, divide among 4 bowls. Top with chopped kale. Arrange veggies and tofu overtop. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Garnish with chopped chives ( or scallions ) and sunflower seeds.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4

August 12, 2014

Wedge Salad with Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
John Muir

With the cool, crispy bite of romaine hearts, the vine-ripened summer grown tomatoes, the little baby golden beets,  and the crispy mustard-glazed bacon crumbles, dressed with chilled horseradish-spiked creamy Gorgonzola dressing-- this is our new favorite salad, the one we ate every night, for a whole entire week, before leaving on our camping trip. Talk about getting in a rut!  I kept asking Brian, what do you feel like for dinner tonight honey? And he kept saying, wedge salad please, with this half-crazed look on his face. Delicious, crunchy and refreshing- on its own, it makes for a light dinner. Or for heartier appetites, serve alongside grilled steak or chicken.  If going meat-free, substitute chopped smoked almonds for the bacon. Or if cooking for a delirious, hungry carnivore, make their day by doubling the bacon. 

Those of you who follow us on instagram, may know that we have been off playing in the lakes and forests of  Idaho --taking a little summer break.   We've been camping and hiking and swimming and paddling our way through McCall, the Sawtooth Mountains, Ketchum and Boise --spending most of our days outside. Brian, surrounded by birds and maps, is in heaven. Our dog Maxx hasn't stopped smiling and I am beginning to feel human again, my mind rested and clear. I had no idea, our sleepy neighbor, Idaho, had so much to offer in terms of outdoor fun and staggering beauty. I'm kind of blown away honestly. Wow!

Back at home, we have tiny little yellow pear tomatoes growing in our garden, which I used for this,  along with baby beets and radishes from the farmers market. Crispy lettuce works best, like romaine hearts-- or my favorite, "little gems" if you can get your hands on them. Soft greens, like mesclun, arugula or baby spinach, do not lend themselves well to this- you need a lettuce crisp enough to stand up to this heavier style of dressing. The traditional lettuce used in a classic Wedge Salad is Iceberg, and even with its bad reputation for being somewhat boring, bland and nutrition-less, it totally works. But for the sake of mixing it up, try romaine.

August 7, 2014

Huckleberry Pancakes with Almond Flour

Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness. 
 Mary Oliver

These little guys are sure to bring a smile to whomever you serve them up to this morning. Huckleberry pancakes, made with almond flour instead of regular flour are not only delicious, they are super healthy and nutritious  - packed full of protein and incredible antioxidants. Considered a "superfood", huckleberries are said to have the highest antioxidants of any fruit, second only to lingonberries, working their healing magic on the body. Not only are they high in vitamins, they are especially good at regulating blood sugar levels and specifically help the pancreas process starch and sugars more efficiently. 

If you are lucky to live in the Northwest, the season for huckleberry picking is now! They are plump, ripe and ready- and can be found growing in forested areas at higher elevations, especially abundant in areas which have had seen wildfires in the recent past. They may also be purchased locally at local farmers markets. If huckleberries are not available in your area, try this same recipe with any fresh berry... blueberries, lingonberries, black currants or blackberries.

This is also an easy camping recipe, fun and simple to make. Gather the huckleberries while hiking and reward yourself the next morning with a scrumptious hearty breakfast. And speaking of camping…by the time this post reaches you, we will be well in the middle of our two week outdoor adventure in Idaho. Camping, kayaking, hiking, cabin-ing ….come along if you wish via  instagram!

The simple batter comes together in minutes. Huckleberries go both inside the batter and over top.

Heat a skillet and either use butter, oil, a combination-- or coconut oil ( my preference).

Cook them up and place in a warm oven until ready to serve. Stack. 

Top with the remaining fresh huckleberries.
Drizzle with real maple syrup.

Dive in.

{ The amazing GIR spatula - my favorite spatula EVER- and the cute white Farmhouse pitchers are available at our store Bowl and Pitcher . Take a peek!}

print recipe

Huckleberry Pancakes Recipe with Almond Flour
Gluten free huckleberry pancakes, made with fresh huckleberries and almond flour.
¼ cup water
2 extra large eggs
2 tablespoons real maple syrup- plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest (optional)
1 ½ cups almond flour
1 Cup fresh Huckleberries - divided
½ tsp baking soda
butter, oil or coconut oil for skillet
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, water, oil, maple syrup, salt and vanilla. Whisk in baking soda, then almond flour. Fold in half the huckleberries and zest ( optional).

Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle, with 1 T butter or coconut on medium heat. Spoon in 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until edges become golden brown, or bubbles form. Flip with a spatula, and turn heat down to med low-- cook until browned on the other side. If insides are still soft, either continue cooking on very low heat, or place in a 350F oven until until cooked through.

Stack pancakes, top with fresh huckleberries and pour a little maple syrup over top.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 small pancakes ( serves 2)

July 29, 2014

Huckleberry Salmon Recipe

The first time I made this dish, Brian wittily called it --a bear's dream.  He's clever that way. Wild salmon, caught in the rivers of Alaska, is grilled until the skin becomes crispy. The whole thing is covered with pickled wild huckleberries.  A feast fit for a bear.  Sometimes when I hear huckleberry "sauce", disturbing images of cloyingly sweet, jelly like substances come to mind. To be clear- this is not that. This is a fresh huckleberry relish, one that is lightly pickled with shallots and coriander seeds, enhancing the huckleberries, while keeping the berries whole, plump, and intact. If you are fortunate to live in the Northwest, fresh huckleberries are in season right now…and can foraged and picked in the wild... or bought at local farmers markets. This salmon recipe is fun way to incorporate fresh huckleberries into a savory dish, and the pickled relish is delicious with chicken or even lamb, if fish is not your thing. If you can't find fresh huckleberries --fresh blackberries or blueberries will work great too. The important word here is fresh.

July 25, 2014

Cilantro Chickpea Sliders

Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb 
of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
Mary Oliver

This recipe for Chickpea Salad Sliders, has become a god-send when having to whip something up quickly and inexpensively for a gathering- and when it needs it to be vegan or vegetarian -and still hearty. A friend introduced them to me a few years ago, and I fell in love with them, putting a variation of them on our catering menu. They are always a big hit, and surprisingly, non-vegans end up devouring them too.  It's such a simple recipe that can me made in minutes. It's also perfect for easy weeknight meals, or lunches, and instead of using slider buns, the salad can be stuffed into pita bread, or into wraps. If gluten free, skip the bread all together and place a scoop of the flavor chickpea salad over a bed of dressed arugula. For those, who are not cilantro fans, substitute Italian parsley and a bit of fresh tarragon.

July 21, 2014

Grilled Jerk Chicken and Peach Skewers

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name 
is safe in their mouth.
Jess C. Scott

Our grill has been working overtime lately, allowing our old house (sans air conditioning), to stay a little bit cooler during our heat wave.  This recipe for grilled jerk chicken skewers with peaches, has become a new favorite around here.  It screams of summer with its bold Caribbean flavors and sweet tart juicy peaches- tender, ripe and dripping with nectar. The spicy heat of the chicken is soooooo incredibly good with the peaches --you simply must try this!  My husband Brian, I admit, was a little skeptical when I handed him the skewers to grill - he's not a huge fan of cooked fruit- but I'll tell you what, when it came time to eat, those skewers disappeared so fast, I had to laugh. He totally devoured them. So, get yourself some peaches and get grilling. Tis' the season …for both!!