Sunday, August 30, 2009

millions of peaches, peaches for me

Ontario peaches are so so good this year; juicy, sweet, beautiful!

Here's a super easy recipe for a delicious raw peach pie. The crust's ingredients combine for a caramel-y and candied pecan flavour. Cinnamon and nutmeg blend perfectly with the juices of the peaches, creating a naturally sweet spiced syrup.

 To make
1c pecans
1/4c - 1/3c dates
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch, sea salt
  1. In food processor, blend pecans with cinnamon and sea salt until crumbly.
  2. Add dates, starting at 1/4c and blend. Add dates as needed until doughy consistency is reached (i.e. the mixture sticks together).
  3. press into pan
  4. chill in fridge 1-2 hours

4 peaches, sliced thinly
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
  1. mix all ingredients together in a bowl until peaches are well and evenly coated with the spices.
  2. spoon into crust
  3. serve topped with almond cream

serving suggestion: in a springform pan, form dough into a base (1/4"-1/2"); chill in fridge 1-2hours. Remove from pan and spread peach slices evenly on top.

"cooking" tip: lightly dust the pan with a mixture of ground pecans and a cinnamon/nutmeg blend.

buying tip: peaches don't continue to ripen once picked, so make sure the ones you're buying are ready-to-eat.

other recipes you might like: If you're in Toronto, you're probably similarly concerned and disturbed by the fact that after a total of like 5 days of actual summer, it's now pretty much fall! Here's a cooked recipe to help you warm up while still making the most of those amazing summer peaches!

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

beets, beets, beets

Ok, before I even get into anything food related, I'm just going to go on for a bit about the fact that I feel really down right now. It's an easy kind of down in that it has one specific cause and one specific cure. For the past week or so our bathtub has been blocked up. Nothing too bad, just you know, your feet get a little bath while you're showering. WELL.Thursday it STORMED. Like, there were tornados nearby! That's insane! We don't have enough good weather to ever make tornados ok. And thursday night, our bathtub had a lot of other weird stuff in it. It was gross, we were worried the pipes overflowed and backed up or something. Well, this morning I wake up to find more gross gunk in the bathtub, and that's when I realize, the KITCHEN SINK is backing up into the bathtub, and then because the bathtub is plugged, it's not draining! There was a BLUEBERRY in my bathtub today! Very upsetting. Doubly so as I really need a shower. Sigh. Luckily I have a very handy husband, who used to be a plumber. So he's seeing if there's anything he could do. However, apparently our walls are wood and floors concrete, which is incredibly sketchy and is make it a little close to impossible for him to fix the matter. The whole matter is simply stunning in the sheer horror of it all.

Right, beets. I tried one once as a kid, and wasn't the biggest fan, so I never ate them again. Then, this summer I decided I should like them. I tried a couple of dishes that featured beets and enjoyed them. However, then I bought beets. Now, having had them in my life VERY briefly and long ago, I have never bought a beet in my life. They were not nice; my husband likened them to eating a raw potato, I used the analogy of taking a bite of dirt - and not the good kind - to sum up the whole experience. But, dedicated to liking them, and given their incredible health benefits, I was determined to try again.

I asked a lot of people about how it is best to prepare beets. After the trauma of the first attempt at beets, and knowing that I was trying again, my husband also inquired about the matter. Mention raw beets and many people have the same reaction - an unpleasant one. I don't think I've ever seen so many expressions of extreme distaste as in the past week. Many people, including my mom, swear that raw beets are solely good if part of a carrot-beet salad.

As my husband and I were still undecided on whether we even like beets, I played it safe and used cooked beets for this recipe.

Beet gnocchi with raw cashew pesto cream

beet gnocchi
Beets, peeled and sliced
cashew cream (cashew, soaked and rinsed, blended with water until it forms a thick cream)
flour (I used a blend of brown rice four, potato starch and tapioca starch)
  1. In a frying pan, saute beets with a bit of water until soft. If you have the chance to steam instead, do it! Less of the good healthy stuff will be cooked away.
  2. Blend in a food processor.
  3. Strain through a mesh sieve, pushing lightly on the processed beets to squeeze out the juice.
  4. mix with the cashew cream and flour until it forms a dough. You don't want it to be too sticky, and it should be easy to shape.
  5. Roll into tubes, cut off pieces and press lightly with a fork
  6. Boil lightly salted water and cook gnocchi for 3-5 min, until they float
cashew pesto cream
cashew cream
olive oil

blend in food processor.


AWESOME UPDATE!!! MY HUSBAND FIXED THE DRAIN!!! YAY!!! I <3 having a husband who's handsome and handy!!!

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

chocolate coconut (ice) cream

Here's an easy recipe for a delicious sweet cream. I had leftover coconut milk from making curry, and was in the mood for a yummy after-dinner treat. You can serve this cream straight, with a rich chocolate flavour, or as a decadent frozen treat.

Coconut cream
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed
3 tbsp agave nectar

blend until smooth.
Serve over fruits or a slice of cake.

Chocolate cream
coconut cream
3 tbsp cacao powder

blend until smooth.

Chocolate coconut ice cream
chocolate cream

Ideally you'd put it in an ice cream maker. However, I didn't have one. So, I put it in a container in the freezer. It has the appearance of having frozen solid, but really has a creamy consistency, even right out of the freezer.

For soft serve ice cream, only put the ice cream in the freezer for 2-3 hours.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

raw sesame fudge

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Around since prehistoric times, the sesame seed shows up in myths and practices of cultural significance throughout history. The Assyrians believed that when the gods met to create the world, they drank wine made of this ancient seed. In Hinduism, the seed is regarded as a sign of immortality, having been blessed by the God, Yama. In ancient Egypt and China, the oil was used for its medicinal properties. In Babylon, women ate the seed to reap its many beautifying rewards.

Packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and with many medicinal and nutritional benefits, it's easy to see why the sesame seed has been held in such high regard throughout the ages. Its nutritional resume is nothing short of impressive. Not only does the oil have natural antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, earning it a prized place in world medicinal practices, but the seed itself is a rich source of copper, calcium, maganese, protein, iron, tryptophan and phytosterols. Available in a variety of colours, it is the black sesame seed that is the most potent in terms of its nutritional properties.

Many of the nutrients and minerals contained in the sesame seed make it an ideal beauty food, helping to ensure youthful and blemish-free skin. Not only does the seed support collagen and elastine production, but it also fights free radicals, neutralizes acne-causing bacteria and tightens pores.

The sesame seed is one of the easiest seeds to add to your diet, given its diverse range of uses in each of its forms. When ground, the seed forms tahini, a deliciously creamy and subtly nutty base for hummus and salad dressings. Sprinkled on sushi, sesame seeds offer a delicious, crunchy and healthy treat. As an oil, valued for its resistance to rancidity, its a great base to cook with.

After tasting this decadent and unbelievably easy-to-make fudge, you'll understand how a simple seed can be so highly revered. Enjoy this rich, chocolate-y fudge with a glass of cold hazelnut milk.

Raw Sesame Fudge
1/2cup white sesame seeds, hulled and ground
1/4cup cacao powder
3 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp coconut oil

Mix well. Spread into a square container or on a plate, smooth top. Eat right away, or chill in fridge until firm (1-2 hours)

Serving suggestions
  • For spicy Mexican fudge, add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp cardamom and 1/4tsp cayenne
  • Top a square of this chocolate-y, calcium-rich treat with raspberry coulis and a dollop of whip cream
  • Spread on a piece of banana bread for a delicious, nutrient-packed treat for the afternoon slumps

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    Friday, August 7, 2009

    King's Cafe Yum!

    My relationship with King's Cafe starts years back when I was still promoting Crystal Light at random events (oh yeah). One of the events we went to was some food expo. The best part about the expo was that our booth was positioned right next to King's!! I made a convention buddy at the King's Booth named Andrew (whom, as it would turn out, happened to know a huge number of my friends; small world no?). Though he wasn't interested in samples of Crystal Light (because really now...), he did keep me well fed on bite sized pieces of godly deliciousness. Lucky me!

    Being a big fan of King's, I of course introduced the boyface to their wonderfulness. In true Daviid fashion, he is now even more obsessed with the place and it's yummyness than I am. We're a little (ok a lot) sad about the redesign, which got rid of the outdoor feel of the place and the beautiful waterfall mural we always sat next to. However, the food is as wonderful as ever.

    My husband and I were at King's on the weekend and picked up some takeout tonight as well, after what can only be classified as the laziest paddle ever... We're not very adventurous when it comes to ordering food, though we did actually try something new this time round!!

    Hot and sour soup with shredded tofu and soy ham

    dumplings!! Ok, not gluten-free, I know...don't worry mom, only ate a couple!

    Enoki mushroom balls (the something new!)

    Purple rice

    The best part of the whole meal (though it's a tough competition)! Spicy soy kung pao chicken! So so so so so good!!!

    note: I have some new recipes I've been working on that I'm going to post when I'm back after this weekend!

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    Saturday, August 1, 2009

    spiced blueberry almond granola

    If you're ever in Kensington, make sure you go to Essence of Life Natural Foods. They're an amazing store with a wide range of healthy, vegan and gluten-free items and excellent prices. While there, if you get nothing else, get the hemp granola that's in the bulk tubs. Not the one made with oats, but the one that has delicious chunks of sweet granola-y goodness. This granola alone started my granola obsession. And this granola is one of the things I miss most about eating gluten-free.

    Unfortunately few other foods can feel the void of granola and soygurt or granola with nut milk. And a good gluten-free granola is very hard to find. I've only found one gluten-free granola at all, and, though I do sometimes eat it when having a granola craving, it's not the tastiest granola around.

    This recipe is super easy to make and is unbelievably delicious. The granola is wonderfully spiced and sweet, the buckwheat is crispy, the almonds add a pleasant crunch, and the blueberries have a slightly cooked texture, maximizing their flavour. What's more, this granola forms those delicious clumps that ever good granola should.

    To make
    2c raw buckwheat, soaked and rinsed well
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2c almonds, chopped
    agave or date paste, to taste
    1c blueberries (see note)

    note: to extend the freshness of this granola, leave out the blueberries. Because they don't fully dehydrate, the granola needs to remain refridgerated and doesn't last as long. Add fresh blueberries before you enjoy.

    Soak the buckwheat overnight or while you're at work. It'll expand a bit, so make sure you put in lots of water. Rinse well before using, as when soaked the water becomes a bit gelatinous-y. I got lazy on the night I was originally going to make this, so left the rinsed buckwheat in the fridge overnight. When I went to make this recipe the next evening, some of the buckwheat had begun to sprout!

    Anyway, put the buckwheat into a bowl. Add spices and mix well.

    Chop the almonds in a food processor. Add them to the bowl and mix together.
    Add water to the date paste/agave to thin it. Add to the granola in the bowl and mix until well coated. Add blueberries and mix together.

    Cover dehydrator trays with paraflex sheets and spread the granola evenly. Dehydrate at 108 F for 1-2 hour, turn over onto mesh trays, stirring it a bit and continue dehydrating overnight. Store in the fridge.

    Enjoy a bowl of this delicious granola with fresh nut milk. Top it with slices of banana or mixed berries. Or just eat it straight out of the container!

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