Monday, September 6, 2010

Week I - Innovate with your Imagination!

The Letter I stumped me for nutritious ingredient starting with the letter "I". Sure we could look at Idaho Potatoes or Italian Eggplant, but what was the point when I could feature them as "corn" or "eggplant" with out a country representing?

Stumped for a few months... I came home the other night after a long day at work in the kitchen. My fridge was looking a bit bare, but there were leftovers and random vegetables amongst other ingredients to make something delicious and nutritious for dinner. I decided to graze the contents of my refrigerator and let my imagination go to work. It was settled, we were going to have BBQ Tofu Sandwiches. Once I figured out the meal it came to me in a flash! This week is dedicated to using our imaginations, being inventive and improvising with what we have available to us. I was super excited to see what can come together. 

I started to grab fried rice we had made the night before, freshly made tofu from the Korean Market, BBQ sauce, panko bread crumbs, and a little egg to keep them together.  My sweetie shaped a beautiful large Spanish Tortilla like pattie. Once it was cooked through we cut it in four quarters and voila!  We made breaded BBQ tofu patties and serve it on some delicious whole grain bread with fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market and a delicious cabbage slaw already made from the night before.  Purrrfect!!  

What will you make?

Ingredients:  (I will list our ingredients with out measurements. Its up to you to create it how you like it!)
Two small tofu loafs
Fried Rice with edamame, carrots and red onions
BBQ Sauce (approx 1 Cup)
3 Eggs, whipped
1-2 Tablespoons  chili paste
fresh basil leaves, chopped 
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sweet spice mix (basil, thyme, oregano, paprika)
salt & pepper
3 Tbsp Vegetable oil (sunflower, safflower, grapeseed)

  1. Get out a large mixing bowl. With clean hands, crush tofu until there are no chunks.
  2. Mix in fried rice, BBQ sauce, bread crumbs, basil and spices.
  3. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated together.
  4. Wash hands and whisk eggs in separate bowl. Slowly pour the egg, while mixing, into the large mixing bowl.
  5. Using a large non stick skillet, turn on to a medium high heat to get your pan nice and hot. 
  6. Add vegetable oil to skillet and scoop the filling into the pan and form into patty.
  7. Once one side is completely cooked through (5-7 min), take a dinner plate and cover the top of the pan. Using a towel to protect your hands, turn the pan over onto the plate. Place the pan back on the heat and slowly slip the patty back into the skillet. Slowly is the key word. Guide it with a spatula or utensil if needed. We don't want it to break after all your hard work!
**we attempted to make small patties with the panko on the outside but the broke, so with our improvisational minds we mixed it all back in to make one giant patty. Its up to you!!

**If you decided to do this as single patties: 

    1. Scoop a golf ball amount of mixture into hand and roll it into a ball.  
    2. Roll the ball in the egg.
    3. Place the panko bread crumbs spread out on a plate. Place the ball on the plate, roll it, then shape it into a hockey puck size width and height fully breaded.**

photo found from website:,imagination/?perpage=18

Monday, May 31, 2010

Week H - Hazelnut & Cherry Bruschetta

Yesterday at the farmers market every where I looked I saw cherries!! Plump and delicious cherries! I thought to myself what delicious early summer dish can I make with this beautiful fruit?  The signs were all there. There was a short cooking demo and I couldn't help to think what is missing from this cherry relish? Hazelnuts!! The magical nut! There it came to me, cherry and hazelnut bruschetta with no other but the Cypress Grove goat cheese...mmmmmm... This is a great appetizer for a summer BBQ, picnic or dinner.

In many European countries, such as Switzerland, hazelnuts are consumed regularly the way we obsess over almonds in the United States. Only in the past few hundred years have hazelnuts been cultivated in the Northwest of the United States.
Have you ever thought to connect the shape and health benefits of a specific a nut? Doesn't the Hazelnut look like the heart? Well it is said that Hazelnuts have been deemed the most beneficial nut for heart health. Hazelnuts are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that helps to lower cholesterol.  Hazelnuts lower blood pressure because of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Hazelnuts contain cardioprotective arginine, an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels. Hazelnuts are rich in oil. It is said that 60-70 % of hazelnut consists of oil. This structure provides not only energy to organisms, but also another beneficial acid in hazelnut oil is Linoleic Acid which can be found heavily in hazelnut oil.
Now lets take a bite!

Cherry Hazelnut Bruschetta

Ingredients about 10 pieces 

2 Cups cherries, chopped small
1/2 Cup shallots, minced
2 Tbsp basil, chiffaunade (thin ribbon like strips)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 Cup hazelnuts, toasted, roughly chopped 
pinch cayenne peper, ground
to taste sea salt, fine
to taste black pepper, fresh ground fine
drizzle extra virgin olive oil

1 loaf baguette, toasted
1 round loaf goat cheese - If you are in the Bay Area I love Cypress Grove, Chevre 


1) Preheat oven to 275F. Toast Hazelnuts for approximately 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently toss the nuts to allow for all sides to evenly toast. 
*If you have a toaster oven it is much more energy efficient to toast the baguette and hazelnuts. For toaster oven: toast nuts at 325F for approximately 5-7 minutes, check regularly to be sure they do not burn. They can go from toasty to scorched in seconds. Toast baguette and set to side.
2) Mean while, using a mixing bowl, add the cherries, shallots, red wine vinegar, cayenne, salt, pepper and basil. Mix thoroughly and season to taste. 
3) Once the hazelnuts are toasted roughly chop and mix in with cherry mixture. 
4) Spread goat cheese onto the crostini and top with a little extra hazel nut or basil for garnish.

Bon Appetito!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week G - Let's Goji Berry

Goji Berry Gyoza
It was a snowy night in the sweet country of Utah when I decided to try something different for dinner with my lovely Hanks family. It was a fun group project. We made an assembly line. One person cut the dough and   rolled out circles, the next added the stuffing and followed down the line pinching ends together perfectly.  It makes eating them that much more rewarding! We spoke of the magic the Himalayan berry provides. The goji berry has been used in the countries surrounding the Himalayas for thousands of years. It is said that the Himalayans were the first natural healers, and that   they shared their wisdom with the ancient herbalists of China, Tibet, and India. One of their most prized secrets was the fruit of the native goji vine, which had been flourishing in the Himalayan valleys since the beginning of time. The remarkable goji berry are awed by its unmatched health-promoting powers.
Some of the legendary health giving properties of the goji berry are: Weight Loss, Free Radical Prevention,   Enhanced Immune Response, and Anti-Fatigue Effects that also help with healthy memory and brain activity.

Goji Berry Gyoza Dumplings
Serves 6-8
Step 1 - Dumpling Wrapper
2 cups   unbleached flour, sift
1/4 tsp   sea salt, fine
1/4 cup  warm water, not boiled

1)  Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add sea salt to flour. Lightly stir together with wooden spoon. Make a hole in the middle of the bowl and slowly stream in the water while mixing with wooden spoon. Be careful not to over mix.
2)  Cover dough with a clean towel and let the dough set for 45 minutes at room   temperature.
3)  Once the dough has set, roll into a long log about 1" around.
4)  Cut the dough into 1/2" pieces. Roll into small balls.
5)  Dust the dry surface with flour and roll out the dough with your rolling pin into small flat disks. Place onto a dusted sheet pan or plate until its time to stuff the dumplings!

Step 2 - Goji Stuffing Mixture
1 med     carrot, shredded
1 cup      napa cabbage, shredded thin
1 Tbsp   garlic, minced
1 Tbsp   ginger, minced
1/4 cup  goji berries, hydrate in warm water for 10 minutes
1 cup     tofu firm, crumbled (or desired protein)
2-3 Tbsp  soy sauce
2 Tbsp   sesame oil
1)  On a medium-high heat add oil to a medium sized sautee pan.
2)  Add garlic and ginger and sautee until fragrant. Then add the tofu and continue to sautee for another 2 minutes. This allows the water from the tofu to absorb.
3)  Add the carrots, cabbage, goji berries and soy sauce. Sautee for another minute or until the cabbage and carrots are soft.
4)  Place in dish and set in refrigerator to cool.

Step 3 - While the mix is cooling:
Start your steamer.  There are many types of steamers, most commonly used is the stainless steel steamer.    There are plenty to choose from. My favorite is the bamboo steamer.
The most important aspect for this use is to create a cover over the steamer and a great use is cabbage leaf,   chard, lettuce or parchment paper. Up to you, but since we are using cabbage I suggest keeping a few to the side for your steamer.

Step 4 - Now that the mix has cooled:
1) Add a spoonful of mixture. Fold in half. Press edges together and pinch closed.
2) Place dumplings in steamer on high for approximately 3 minutes.
3) Heat frying pan on high heat and add vegetable oil. Get the oil hot, but not smoking, then place the dumplings in the oil. Be sure to move the dumpling around so not to stick.
4) Fry until golden brown and serve immediately with the Dipping Sauce.

Step 5 - Chili Ginger Dipping Sauce
1/4 Cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp  rice vinegar
2 Tbsp  mirin or sake
1 1/4    sesame oil
1 tsp     honey
1 tsp     ginger, grated
1 tsp     garlic, minced
1/2 tsp  chili paste or 1 tsp chili oil
green onion, sliced thin
toasted sesame seeds
1)  Whisk all ingredients together in mixing bowl. Place in serving dish and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds

Friday, May 7, 2010

Week G - Tea Time! Go Ji Berry Tea

A month ago I was at my dear friend's baby shower, who are now proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. As a gift to all of their friends they sent us home with a wonderful tea that just happened to have Go Ji Berries. How perfect to go along with Week G! Each ingredient is dense with all sorts of health benefits. Thank you Bettina! Bettina is also a practicing acupuncturist. I highly recommend her if you are based locally in the Bay Area. She is amazing!

To find out more about her practice please take a look at her website:

Tea Time!

Make the tea with the following dry ingredients:
Go Ji Berries (she taught me how to spell it properly)
Chrysanthemum flowers
Peach Pit

Health Benefits:
Go Ji Berries - nourish blood and benefit the eyes, good for people who exert themsleves too much either physically or mentally, don't we all? again, good for people who overuse the computer to nourish their eyes
Chrysanthemum flowers - disperse wind and clear heat, which is helpful with fever and headache, it further clears the Liver and eyes, good for red, painful, itchy, burning eyes due to allergy or dry eyes due to staring at the computer lot
Peach Pit - moves the intestines and unblocks the bowels as well as breaking up blood stasis- good for constipation and painful menstrual problems

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week F- The Food Mill: A Look into Our Local Grocery Stores

Last year I moved out of San Francisco to settle in Oakland. I have found quite a affinity for the life style over here, and my hobby is finding all the local health food stores from El Cerrito to Oakland!

In honor of Week F - I thought to introduce The Food Mill to those of you who have not had the opportunity to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find an array of bulk spices, herbs, dried fruit, sweet goodies as well as a large supplement selection. You can also make your own nut butters there too!
Their website has a plethora of information from nutritional guidance to yummy recipes.

3033 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland CA 94602

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week F - Feeling the Fennel

Fennel offers an aromatic unique flavor and a wealth of medicinal purposes similar to anise and licorice. A part of the Umbelliferae family, fennel is a relative to celery, carrots and parsley. Do we see anything in common here? Maybe Vitamin C?
Let's also note a great source for potassium and dietary fibers, phosphorus, folic acid, and minerals.
I found a great web site called Organic Facts that shares great information on the health benefits of fennel.
Symptoms of the to relieve intestinal spasms, strengthens the stomach and helps ease constipation. Helps reduce PMS symptoms, Colic babies, eye care, respiratory conditions and more. Please check the web address listed below. Great website. Now lets make some soup!!

Creamy Fennel and Celery Root Soup with Rosemary Lavash Crackers

Ingredients 8 servings

1Tbsp fennel seeds
1Tbsp olive oil
2 med fennel bulbs, quartered, cored and coarsely chopped, feathery fronds from 1 bulb
2 stalks celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 med yellow onion, coarsely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
1/2 Cup dry white wine
5 Cup vegetable stock, homemade see Beet Risotto recipe for details:
1 med celery root, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 med potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Bouquet garni:
5 flat-leaf parsley stems, 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied with string
to taste sea salt and pepper

1) In small skillet, toast fennel seeds over med-hi heat, tossing frequently, until fragrant, about 1 min.
2) Let cool then transfer to spice grinder and finely grind. In large pot, heat oil over med heat.
Add chopped fennel bulb, celery and onion, and cook, stirring often, until veg are softened, about 7 minutes.
3) Add wine, increase heat to high and boil until almost all liquid has eveporated, about 5 min.
4) Add stock, celery root, potato and garlic and bouquet garni. Bring to a gentle simmer over med heat. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 45 min. Remove Bouquet garni.
5) Working in batches, puree soup in food processor or blender and return to pot.
6) Season w/salt and pepper.

Rosemary Garlic Lavash Crackers

3 lavash crackers, whole
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp rosemary, dried
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian spice mix
to taste sea salt, fine

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Place lavash bread straight onto rack in the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes depending on oven. You want a hard cracker like texture. Once the lavash is baked, place on cooling rack.
2) Meanwhile, heat small sauce pan with butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted add the garlic and lightly blanch it. Then add the spices and remove from heat.
3) Brush the mixture across the entire bread. If you want to add a little more flavor add a hard cheese and finely shredded it over the cracker before breaking into bite size pieces.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Week E - Make Edamame the New Green Pea

Ever wonder what that block of white mass they call tofu really is? Tofu is the product made out of a whole bean native to Eastern Asia. There are many names for this sweet nutty flavored legume. Japanese consume this frequently as a light but energy boosting snack. They call it "Edamame". In English we have come to know it as a "Soy Bean". Soy Beans have been consumed for thousands of years across Eastern Asia in countries such as China, Japan and Vietnam. Recently Edamame has become quite the hit on American health chart radar.
Soy beans are a complete protein containing all nine amino acids. This is an ideal candidate for the vegetarian diet.
Eating a half a cup of Edamame regularly will also provide you with a healthy dose of fiber and isoflavones, helping to lower blood cholesterol levels and decreases risk of heart disease. The isoflavones found in soy beans are also good for strong bones and healthy teeth. Edamame is highly recommended for diabetics as it is said to balance and maintain sugar levels. Make Edamame the new frozen pea in a variety of dishes. You can now find Edamame in most stores in the frozen section. Specialty grocery stores and farmers markets offer them fresh, I believe in late spring or early summer. Anyone?

Ingredients Serves 5
1 Cup Japonica Forbiddin Black Rice, rinsed well
1 3/4 Cups distilled water
pinch sea salt, for rice
1 Cup edamame, frozen
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 Cup (1sm) carrot, diced small
1/4 Cup shallot, diced small
1/4 Cup cilantro, whole leaves only
to taste sea salt, fine
2 Tbsp organic low sodium tamari sauce,

1) Bring forbiddin rice to a boil over high heat with a pinch of sea salt. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes with lid on.
2) While the rice is cooking bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add edamame to boiling water and cook for 1 minute or until they appear bright and green. Remove from boiling water and rinse under very cold water.
3) Once the rice is finished place in mixing bowl and toss rice gently with sesame oil, tamari sauce and lime juice. If you desire more citrus to the flavor add lime juice to taste.
4) Gently toss in the carrots, shallots and cilantro.

I am a strong believer in not wasting food, so why not use what you have left over in the refrigerator? I had some left over brown rice along with my delicious Edamame and Forbidden Rice and made a fried rice dish! ..mmmmmmmm.. Check out some serving options: Serve with Glazed Chili Tempe, Marinated tofu and or your favorite stir fry!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Daikon is the Japanese word for "Great Radish". At full maturity, the daikon radish can weigh up to 2 1/2 pounds.
Daikon radish is a natural digestive aid bearing vitamins A, C and E. It is used in Ayuervedic medicine as a diuretic as well as a digestive aid, helping to relieve constipation. I saved this last little tidbit for my fellow friends who suffer here and there from "a bad hangover", I highly recommend eating a cup of fresh shredded daikon the next morning to help sort the pain. It will do the trick!

Daikon Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Ginger Vinaigrette

Ingredients Serves 6

2 Bundles Soba Noodles
1 whole (1 1/4 Cup) daikon radish, diced medium, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
1 Cup organic English cucumber, halved, seeded, diced medium
1/4 Cup organic scallions, sliced on a bias

Miso Ginger Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
3 Tbsp organic rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp mirin
1 Tbsp lime juice, fresh
1/4 Cup organic white miso paste
1 1/2 tsp organic agave nectar (can be swapped out for granulated sugar with an equal measurement)
3 Tbsp raw sesame oil

1) Bring water to a boil and add the soba noodles as said on package. Cook noodles al dente. Strain noodles. Be sure to rinse the noodles well under cold water. Toss with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to keep from sticking and place in regrigerator while preparing the rest of the dish.

2) While the noodles are cooking and chilling, start to prepare the daikon and cucumber. Set aside and continue onto the vinaigrette.

3) Whisk together the grated ginger, rice vinegar, mirin, lime juice, white miso paste and organic agave nectar. Once well combined, slowly stream in the sesame oil until well blended.

4) In a large mixing bowl combine the chilled noodles, daikon radish, cucumber and Miso Ginger Vinaigrette. Mix well.

5) Garnish with green scallions and black sesame seeds.

Preparation Tips:
Best way to peel ginger is to wash off the ginger root and peel the skin with a tea spoon. This will allow you to keep more of the ginger root as opposed to using a peeler.

Best way to seed a cucumber is to cut the cucumber in half and scrap the seeds out with a spoon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week C - Braised Chard -Get Your Greens!!

Leaves built like a fan, Swiss Chard is a rainbow of goodness offering solid white stalks to reds, yellows and oranges.
I am presenting a simple and delicious side dish for folks who have always been curious about Swiss Chard, but don't know what to do with it. Or perhaps you are looking for other vegetables to introduce into your diet. This is a vegetable that will compliment many different dishes.
For most regions Swiss Chard's season runs between summer and fall, but here in Northern California we are able to receive this nutrient rich leafy green year round. I am always so thankful for the abundance of fresh lush produce available!
Swiss Chard is a relative of spinach and beets. Native to the Mediterranean during the Roman Era chard was respected for its medicinal properties.
Dark leafy greens are critical to a healthy diet. By incorporating chard into your diet regularly, it will improve digestion, balance out calcium deficiencies and boost energy levels. Vitamins A (for strong lung health), C (fighting free radicals), E (fighting cardiovascular and a wonderful anti-inflammatory) and K (for strong bones) are an excellent source of dietary fiber and chlorophyll. Chard is a great source of minerals as well. This includes iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Braised Chard with Toasted Almonds and Currants

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
3/4 Cup red onion, thin julienne
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp currants
1 bunch red chard, stems removed and chopped small, chiffaunade leaves
1 Tbsp Bragg's Amino Acids or sea salt to taste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 Cup almonds, toasted, rough chop

1) Preheat oven to 275F. Place almonds on sheet tray and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
2) Heat grapeseed oil on medium in a large sautee pan. Add red onions and sautee for 1 minute or until translucent. Add the chard stems and continue to sautee for another 30 seconds. Add the garlic, currants and the chard leaves to pan.
3) Cover with lid and let the natural water from the chard braise the leaves gently for 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook the greens. The leaves should be wilted and soft, not mushy.
4) Top almonds over chard and serve.

For preparation: Remove stems from leaves by holding stem in one hand and removing the leaf in an upward motion along the stem. As seen in the photo above.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week C - Roasted Cauliflower Soup

A part of the cruciferous family, also known as a flowering vegetable, cauliflower is native originally to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Near the 17th century it was brought to parts of Europe. Today we see it all over North America as a staple vegetable.
Cruciferous vegetables are known to help protect against cancer, heart disease and strokes.
More specifically, cauliflower, protects against bladder, stomach and colon cancer. Cauliflower also lowers circulating estrogen levels in the body, which help to reduce breast and uterine cancer. Key nutritional information: folate is an essential vitamin B promoting healthy blood and cell growth. It is crucial that pregnant women and those who plan to have children in the future, get enough Vitamin B for healthy fetus growth. Cauliflower is rich in Vitamins C and K, as well as fiber and potassium

Roasted Cauliflower Soup Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head cauliflower, florets
1 Tbsp cumin, ground
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 leeks, white section only, sliced thin, soak in cold water for 10 minutes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 Cup crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 large potato, diced small (or two small potatoes)
2 bay leaves
4 Cups vegetable stock
3 Cups distilled water
to taste sea salt (approx 1 Tbsp)
to taste black pepper, ground

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Toss cauliflower and 1 tablespoon of cumin with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure to evenly coat the cauliflower. On a greased sheet tray spread the cauliflower out evenly and roast for 30 minutes. Check half way through and toss to get the cauliflower evenly cooked. When the cauliflower is done, remove from oven and set to the side for later use.
2) In the mean time, heat a heavy bottom pot on medium high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat for 30 seconds, then add the onions and cumin. Sautee for approximately 3 minutes or until translucent. You will be able to smell the cumin. Add the leeks. After the leeks soften add the garlic and mushrooms. Continue to sautee for another minute then add the celery and let the vegetables cook for another two minutes.
3) Fill one cup of the sauteed ingredients and set aside for later.
4) Add the vegetable stock, water and potatoes to pot. Bring to a soft boil and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
5) Add the cauliflower to pot and remove from heat.
Blending Options
6) For Immersion blender: Cover the pot half way with towel so not to splash, blend until creamy and smooth.
For Blender: In batches blend on medium speed until smooth. Place back in pot.
7) Add the cup of vegetable mix to pureed soup and continue to reduce the soup down on a medium low heat for another 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8) Serving Suggestion: sprinkle hot paprika and top with a parsley leaf or top with toasted cumin yogurt or creme fraiche. Enjoy!

Tools needed:
Heavy bottom pot
Immersion blender or blender
wooden spoon

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Week B - Gimme a Beet in your Juice!

Gimme a beet!
I was excited to hear about beet juice during my uncle Ted's visit to California last month. He and his compadre were hell bent to find rich red beet root juice, as they were preparing for the Sacramento marathon.
Recent studies have found a miraculous effect on oxygen consumption, and hence endurance performance. A natural version of steroids? Beet juice is cooling to the blood. These nitrate rich foods can enhance exercise endurance. Beet root juice taste has a stimulating effect not only upon the nerves of the tongue but also on the nerves in the intestines. Beets clean and build blood, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, fights cancer, cleans intestines and improves menstrual problems.
*Do not be alarmed to find a red hue to your urine or feces after ingesting red beets. If you find you struggle with a slow metabolism, this is a good way to see how long it takes for your body to digest food.*

Delicious Beet Juice

1 beetroot (the small ones are sweeter)
2 apples
1 stalk celery
1" ginger root


Wash the vegetables using water and a stiff vegetable brush.

1) Remove the carrot and beetroot tops, and peel the beetroot if its skin is tough. If it has a nice thin skin then just cut off the top.

2) Slice up the vegetables to fit your juicer.

3) Juice and serve.

The green beetroot tops are edible, rich in beta-carotene, and can also be juiced. They have a strong flavour and are rich in oxalic acid which if taken in excess may form kidney stones. I find a little goes a long way.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week B - Gimme a Beet! Risotto

Beets are a magical food. Lucky for us Northern Californians, beets are available year round. For the rest of the country, June through October are peak months. Beets are a part of the Chard and Spinach family. Unlike many other root vegetables, you can eat both the greens and root. Beets add gorgeous color to any dish. You will find red, golden, white and the Italian heirloom Chioga beet that is red and white striped on the inside.
Beets have been used since the ancient times. They have been known for their cleansing qualities in the liver, for kidney stones, gallbladder, stomach and intestines. Beets are high in antioxidants. The powerful red color, betacyanin, is a powerful cancer fighting agent. Beets are known to aid the lymphatic system as well as aid digestion. Beets tone the blood and build red blood cells. If you struggle with anemia red beets are at your service.
They can be used for both sweet and savory cooking styles. You can even eat beets raw due to their high sugar content. Try them spiralized in a salad or as raw noodles. In the recipe below we will discover how to naturally color our food with whole ingredients. Beets are just one of the many natural coloring agents.

In the recipe below is cut into sections. Recipe total time approximately 1.5 hours.

Beet Risotto with Hazelnuts and Herb Goat Cheese

Serves 6-8
Roasted Beet Mixture
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium red beets, leave skin on, cut stems down to one inch (so the beets do not bleed while roasting)
1 large shallot, chopped fine
1 tsp orange zest, chopped fine or use micro plane
1 tsp basil, dried spice
to taste sea salt
to brighten lemon or orange juice, fresh squeezed

1) Preheat oven to 375F. Individually wrap each beet in foil and place on sheet pan.
2) Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until your knife can slice into the center of the largest beet.
3) Once beets are cooked through, remove from foil and let cool for 10 minutes.
4) Heat medium sauce pan with olive oil. Add shallots and cook for approximately 1 minute or until translucent. Meanwhile rough chop the beets and add to shallots. Stir occasionally. After 1-2 minutes, add orange zest, basil and sea salt. Optional: to brighten the flavor, add a squeeze of lemon or orange juice. Mix together for 30 seconds and remove from heat.
5) Use food processor with S blade to puree the beet mixture until smooth. Set aside until risotto is ready.
Basic Risotto

2 Tbsp olive oil or unsalted organic butter
1 large shallot, chopped fine
2 cups Aborio rice, do not rinse rice
6 cups vegetable stock, recipe below
3/4 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
1 tsp lemon zest, mince or use micro plane
to taste sea salt, fine
to taste black pepper, ground fine

1) Heat vegetable stock on medium low heat in separate sauce pan.
2) In a heavy large sauce pan, heat olive oil or butter over low-medium heat and add shallots. Stir occasionally until shallots become translucent in about 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat of the pan and add aborio rice to shallots. Stir regularly to keep rice from browning. Stir until the rice has a nice white center and appears chalky for about 4-5 minutes.
3) Add a third of the dry white wine and continue stirring until wine has absorbed into the rice. With a ladle, add in 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and stir continuously until it absorbs into rice. Repeat this step until there is one ladle of stock left, set aside. The rice should be firm in the center, and the risotto has a nice creamy buttery flavor and texture. It should not be runny like soup. Let set for 2 minutes while combining the beet mix with hazelnut flour.
Adding a beet to your risotto step:

2 Tbsp hazelnut flour
complete beet mixture
complete basic risotto
1/2 C vegetable stock
garnish per plate:
1 Tbsp crumbled herb goat cheese
1 Tbsp roasted hazelnuts, rough chop
1 Tbsp basil, chiffonade (place leaves in pile, roll up and slice thin. You should have ribbon like pieces.)

1) In a mixing bowl, add the pureed beet mixture with the hazelnut flour, and mix gently.
2) Add the mixture to the risotto and stir until completely combined. Your risotto should have a beautiful deep purple-red hue. Gorgeous!!!

To serve:
In 4" diameter ramekin or shallow bowl lightly pack the risotto. Over dinner plate turn over and let the risotto mold onto the plate. Top with crumbled goat cheese, basil, then finish with the hazelnuts. There you have a brilliantly colorful plate!

How to make a rich flavored vegetable stock (not from the box):
**It is really important to use organic foods.

5 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns, whole
3 organic carrots, rough chop large, peel on
3 stalks celery, rough chop
2-3 onions, rough chop into quarters
6 stems parsley, leaves and stems
3 stems thyme, left on stem
distilled water

1) Use large heavy bottom stock pot. Leave enough room to add vegetables. Add all your
ingredients and fill the water almost to the top. I like to use leek leaves as a natural cover
while cooking down the stock.
A good rule of thumb is approximately 3/4 of water to half vegetables.
2) Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about and hour to hour and a half.
3) Using a sieve or mesh strainer, strain the vegetables delicately into a separate large bowl.
Toss the vegetables into compost.

*When I know I will need a vegetable stock for cooking I keep a plastic bag or container next to me for veggie scraps that might work for a stock, and put it in the freezer until ready to use. Here are a few I might recommend:
green onion or leek leaves, onion scraps, shallots, lemon or orange peels, carrot ends, some use turnips, potatoes, garlic, chives, spinach, mushrooms (make a great dark stock), if you like small amounts of tomatoes, bell peppers...
What not to use: Highly recommend not using the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Asparagus can also be too strong for a delicate vegetable stock.