Broccoli Squared: Broccoli Stem Puree topped with Roasted Broccoli Florets

If you’ve never tried broccoli stems – especially this way – prepare to be amazed.

 

Broccoli Squared

Broccoli Squared: Roasted Broccoli Florets over Broccoli Stem Puree

I wish I could travel back in time and retrieve all the broccoli stems I’ve so blithely tossed aside over the years. Here I was thinking the florets had all the fun. I had no idea! Why did no one tell me?

Okay, to be fair, I knew of using the stems for slaw, but had never even thought of using them in a puree. Then, a few weeks ago, a recipe from the 21 Day Sugar Detox turned me around. Diane Sanfilippo blew my mind by combining roasted florets with pureed stems. I’ve made it three times since then, adding my own tweaks. Try this and you’ll seriously never throw another stem in the compost again.

(Oh and yes, that is a dish in the shape of the lovely, verdant state of Oregon. I thought this recipe paid perfect tribute to its lush greenness.)…

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Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup with Sorrel and Sunchokes

A creamy (yet vegan) soup that’s perfect for the very beginning of spring.

Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup with Sorrel, Sunchokes and Roasted Asparagus (Dairy-Free!)

Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup with Sorrel, Sunchokes and Roasted Asparagus (Dairy-Free!)

If you’re not hitting farmer’s markets in your area yet, have faith, you will be soon. Really. And this soup is just the thing to celebrate the very beginning of the season – still a little chilly, cloudy, rainy (or even downright snowy in some regions, I know), but with green shoots of hope juuuust starting to emerge. Hunker down with a dish of this cozy vegan comfort, and start planning your garden. …

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Baked Curly Fries for Superbowl Sunday

baked curly friesI’m hosting my first ever Sportsball Party this weekend, so of course I’m most looking forward to the food. Lucky me, I just got a spiffy new addition to my kitchen gadget collection, the Paderno Spiralizer. Along with making oodles of zoodles, the first thing I looked forward to making was a baked version of a curly fry. The widest setting on the Paderno was perfect for this! It worked with both sweet and regular potatoes, and I plan to experiment with other root vegetables in the future. Perfect lighter fare for your game day plans, whatever other decadence is served alongside them. …

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Cilantro Veggie Curry with Veggie Sauce

Nothing but goodness in this all-veggie curry with veggie sauce, plus extra veggies.

Cilantro Veggie Curry

Cilantro Veggie Curry with Veggie Sauce, plus extra veggies with veggies on top.

 

This is the perfect warm, mildly spicy dish for January, as it fits into just about ANY health-conscious approach to eating you can think of. It’s vegetarian. It’s vegan. It’s gluten and dairy-free. It fits with paleo, Whole 30, and all other manner of dietary reset plans. Even if your only resolution was to eat more vegetables, period, this fits the bill and then some. Bottom line, it’s absolutely packed with vegetables and vegetables only, save for the spices and broth – the sauce itself is made from pureed veggies that are incorporated into the dish itself.  You cannot go astray with this one.

I fist discovered a version of this in Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat, and have been tinkering with it for years. My latest additions are golden beets and cilantro, plus a touch of turmeric, all of which brighten the dish up. This iteration isn’t terribly spicy – you could certainly add more cayenne if you like, or more heat in another form. Add it to your meal in any of the aforementioned approaches. …

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Raspberry Lemon Cheesecakes: An Homage to a Blue Ribbon Original

Raw Raspberry Lemon Cheesecakes, and a moment of gratitude for the cheesecake recipe that started it all for Donna and Anne.

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecakes: vegan, raw and no refined sugar either.

The first page in my battered and spattered recipe binder is a printout of an email sent to me fifteen years ago, kept safe from the ravages of my cooking habits by a plastic sleeve.

“Hey, we wouldn’t be a family unless we exchanged recipes now and then, would we? So, here’s the cheesecake recipe I was telling you about. It’s pretty good, and I have the ribbon to prove it (somewhere in my attic, okay, trust me!). I have changed the recipe a lot over the years to improve it, and so I feel justified in giving it my name!”

The days are long, the years are short, as the parenting saying goes. It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since Donna and I first reunited, but the calendars don’t lie – it was in October of 1999 that I was lucky enough to have a reunion that many adopted children only daydream about. After months of anticipatory email, we met face to face in the San Diego airport, only two years before routinely meeting people at the gate would become a thing of the past. My stomach felt positively carbonated as she emerged from the runway. I watched her looking around for just a moment, searching, and then our eyes met and the moment truly arrived. The mother and child reunion really was only a motion away.

Since that first whirlwind San Diego weekend, we have had one adventure after another, slowly integrating each other into our lives, getting to know each other through out Hotmail accounts, introducing one another to our friends and families, traveling together, sharing holidays, and yes, cooking and eating and cooking some more, making up for at least a little of our lost time. Discovering that we had this passion in common was a revelation; in fact, we inspired each other to delve more deeply into culinary creativity than we ever had individually.  Our collaborations eventually moved on to cookbooks, CIA Boot Camp, and finally this very blog – yet I still look forward to the visits where we whip up a feast for our loved ones, just for the sheer joy of it.

When I made that emailed Blue Ribbon Cheesecake for the first time, I felt as though I was tapping into a tangible part of my own ancestral history, but even beyond that, it was like being able to have a hazy glimpse into an alternate universe where my mom (not my birthmom, but simply my mom) taught me to make it herself, in our kitchen, me licking the beaters, all the clichés that go with halcyon kitchen memories. What would that have been like? But despite occasionally wondering about that universe, I’m deeply grateful to have what we have now.

In honor of the recipe that started it all, I made a “daughter” version of her “mother” recipe, using raw ingredients to make an adaptation that lines up with the way I eat most of the time now, having undergone some valuable dietary changes over the last decade. I already love experimenting with raw/vegan/paleo desserts, but if you’ve never given them a shot, they’re well worth it and, as you can see, really quite simple.

Happy Reunion Anniversary to my first mom. May we spend many, MANY more hours in the kitchen together!

Love and eternal gratitude,

Anne

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Raw Beet and Farro Salad

Yes, they’re raw. Beets in a whole new way.

Raw Beet and Farro Salad

I discovered raw beets about a year ago, and it truly was a revelation.

They are crunchy and delicious, and so pretty on a plate. I paired them here with the ancient grain farro – the flavor of cashews in a grain! This is my first time using the grain that is so popular in Italy, and I loved the results. I bought semi-pearled farro, which just needs to be simmered until soft. If you buy whole grain farro, you will have to give it a soak overnight first. Farro has the texture of wheat berries, but tastes like cashews.

And then, raw beets. I have used them raw before in a Beet and Butternut Slaw, and found out the key: make very thin slices. Paper thin. As thin as you can get. If they are thin, they are crunchy and delicious.

So here I paired them with celery, leaves included, farro, and a lemon vinaigrette.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Cheesecake for Breakfast? With this creamy vegan blueberry smoothie, YES.

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

As Donna is an intrepid go-getter who’s always on the move, I’ve never gotten the honor of helping take care of my inspirational blog partner and mentor before. But I recently had the opportunity to help out just a little last month, when she was in need of a non-chewing diet for a thankfully short spell. In my ensuing exploration of the latest in smoothies, from green to protein and everything in between, I encountered this great collection by The Blender Girl.   I only had a few days to fill Donna’s freezer with smoothie-stock (frozen into ice cube trays then cubes stored in ziploc bags) and gazpacho, but I’ll happily come back for another round of TLC someday.

Of all the fantastic, ridiculously healthy recipes in Blender Girl’s book, my personal favorite was the luscious Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake. The innovation, used here and in several other smoothies, is using soaked raw cashews for the creamy texture. Brilliant! I’ve made it for myself at several times since getting back hope, and experimented with variations, my favorite of which is the blueberry version here (in no small part thanks to it being berry-picking-with-kiddos-season in Portland). As with any smoothie, add probiotics, flax, or any other supplements you like. …

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Kale Apple and Toasted Walnut Salad

Kale, Apples and Walnuts in a (creamless) creamy walnut dressing.

Kale Apple Walnut Salad

Make it ’cause it’s healthy. Eat it ’cause it’s YUM.

Walnuts? In June? I know, walnuts are often thought of as a fall ingredient, but they are available year round and add an amazing toasted taste and crunch to a salad. So. They can be a summer food, too.

We are joining the California Walnut Vistual Salad Party with other bloggers this week, so be sure to check out the other recipes at walnut.org

I have been a huge walnut fan for the last 12 years. Walnuts are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth, especially with heart health. Since my husband had a severe heart attack in 2002, I have made an effort to get lots of walnuts into our diet. We even make walnut butter, and yes, I know, a little over the top – but it’s YUMMY, and easy to do in your handy food processor. Just toast and then whirl with a little oil.

I fell in love with Aida Mollencamp’s Kale, Apple and Walnut Salad. I was especially intrigued with the [creamless] Creamy Walnut Dressing. It is so delicious you will want to eat the dressing with a spoon. I left out the pancetta and made the salad vegan. Another change I made was to toast the walnuts to give them a more intense flavor. NOTE: Do not skip the toasting of the walnuts – this totally transforms their taste and their texture. Just spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they are fragrant and browned.

– posted by Donna 

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Melon Slices with Lemon Walnut Gremolata

Melon slices just got a whole lot more interesting.

Melon Slices with Lemon Walnut Gremolata

Melon slices with a lemony walnut gremolata topping.

Summer brings delicious sweet juicy melon, which can be a little boring at times. But then, I saw a brilliant idea to make plain old melon slices a little more sophisticated on one of my favorite food blogs, The Perfect Pantry. Lydia’s Melon with a Peanut topping looked so intriguing, I had to try my own spin.

This topping with walnuts, lemon zest and mint is so delicious you will be tempted to just skip the melon and eat the topping out of a bowl with a spoon. It has crunch, it has zip and it has tang – a perfect match for the sweet soft melon goodness.

Classic Italian gremolata has three ingredients: parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Italians use it to add zip to most any savory dish. The same concept is used with this sweet walnut gremolata – it adds zip and texture to the melon slices. Or pretty much any fruit salad you can dream up.

Happy Melon Season, everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Sunbutter Surprise Cookies for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

  Delectable Grain Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – with a surprise inside. 

Sunbutter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies

To be filed under “Like You Need An Excuse: May 15th is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I thought I’d share my favorite heath-packed (AND delicious) chocolate chip cookies. Look at that lovely plate above. Just what you think of when “Chocolate Chip Cookies” comes to mind, yes?

And then, just below the surface, lurks THIS:

What? How did this get inside my chocolate chip cookie? And why is it still unsettlingly delicious?!

Do not adjust your monitor. Those cookies really are deep emerald green in the middle. With zero artificial dyes or any other such ingredients.

Here’s the history. …

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