Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho

Ahhhhh…Summertime. When summertime graces us with all her glory here in Minnesota it’s time to hit the local farmers market for fresh fruits, veggies, and other seasonal fare…Which also means it’s time to turn off the range and enjoy these wholesome foods in their fresh, natural state.

There are a few seasonal recipes I start dreaming about as soon as the weather warms…one of those recipes is this Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho featured in Sarma Melngailis' first [un] cookbook "Raw Food Real World". I bought this book five years ago when I ate at her takeaway bar, One Lucky Duck, in Manhattan. I was completely blown away by the flavors of the food that I had to learn more. When I came home, my husband bought me a VitaMix (for my birthday-Best. Birthday. Present. EVER.), a year later came the Excalibur dehydrator...and the rest is history. The way I look at it, eating fresh, raw food just makes sense.

Diced, sliced, and chopped! 

When I caught wind that there was a second book about to be published I pre-ordered that book like it was nobody's business and was thrilled when I received my autographed copy by Sarma herself (EEEEEEEEEEEEE!).

Anyway, on to the good stuff. As far as gazpacho goes,  I’ve never been a huge fan as I’ve always felt like I was just eating spoonfuls of salsa, but this recipe is different. The watermelon base filled with diced watermelon, tomato, red pepper, and cucumber is extraordinarily refreshing. Plus, the ginger and jalapeno add a kick, while the cilantro adds even more flavor. As Sarma writes in her book, “I'm sure this sounds totally cliché, but this soup is like summertime in a bowl.” And she is right…It is summertime in a bowl.

Bonus?  It’s super easy to make and yields a batch large enough to enjoy throughout the week…So instead of spending time in your kitchen cooking, get out and enjoy the sunshine with a bowl of summertime!

Summertime in a bowl...With a HUGE piece of cilantro...Clearly, I need to work on my food photography. 

 Eat Healthy, Stay Happy.

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho
Sarma Melngailis
Raw Food Real World

3 cups watermelon, seeded and pureed in a blender
1 cup seeded watermelon, diced small
1 cup seeded tomato, diced small (about 2 medium tomatoes)
1 cup peeled, seeded cucumber, diced small (from about 1/2 English cucumber or 1 or 2 whole Kirbys) 1/2 cup red or green bell pepper, diced small
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small handful cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 green onion, white and 1 inch of green, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large glass bowl or container, combine the watermelon puree with the diced watermelon, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, ginger, jalapeno, green onion and salt. Stir to combine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nacho Kale Chips

Nacho Kale Chips
Yeah, I know...two Kale recipes in a row…I don’t know what to tell you, except my love for kale abounds; and there really isn’t too much to say about this next recipe except that these kale chips are fantastic FREAKING AWESOME. The only problem I had with them is trying not to polish off the entire batch in one sitting. Nom nom.

 We all know that kale is packed with nutrition as it contains omega 3’s, is a good source of fiber and has been shown to help fight inflammation, yadda, yadda, yadda…But let’s get on to the good stuff… The creamy sauce that the kale is marinated and dehydrated in is so flavorful with the chili powder, coriander, onion and fresh pepper and carrot, while being spicy enough to make up for the fact that these aren’t actually “nachos.” The cashews in the sauce provides the creamy consistency and nice kick of protein while the nutritional yeast adds the “cheesy” flavor and is packed with amino acids and B vitamins.
Kale getting ready for the dehydrator

 If you don’t have a dehydrator you can make these in the oven…I prefer to use my dehydrator because it allows the food to maintain its complete nutritional value when it is gently heated at or below 115 F. The moment you heat foods above (many say 120 F) you start to kill off the natural enzymes in the food necessary for digestion, while also depleting the nutritional content in the food. With that said, if you decide to make these in the dehydrator it will take 6-7 hours of dehydration time. So, if you’re jonesing for some of these little morsels of goodness, like, NOW, preheat your oven to 275 F, throw the bite-sized sauce-coated kale leaves on a baking tray, wait 15-20 minutes and “voila”! Kale chips.

 And if you REALLY want some kale chips and don’t want to do ANY of this, then try these. (I will warn you, they are a bit pricey, at $7.00 for a 2oz bag-or a big savings of 12 for $80-hello sarcasm- You can make yourself a whole lot’a kale chips for that…Just sayin'.)

 Now, on to the recipe…I made a few changes to the original recipe I found on Raw Food Recipes. I’m not a big fan of cumin so I substituted onion powder for the cumin and I upped the chili powder to ½ tsp instead of ¼ tsp. I also sprinkled a little sea salt over the top before I put them in the dehydrator. So far of the 3 people that tried them, all 3 gave them a raving 2 thumbs up (which would be 6 thumbs total for you mathematically challenged folk), so I must have done something right. You can play with the heat factor by adding more cayenne or less depending on your taste…Whatever blows your skirt up.

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy

  Nacho Kale Chips
 1 large bunch of curly kale
3/4 cups cashews, soaked 2-4 hours
1 TBSP and 1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp coriander
 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp stone ground mustard
1 TBSP scallions
1/4 cup carrot
1/4 cup red pepper
1/2 clove garlic

 Wash your kale, remove the leaves from the stock and tear them into bite-size pieces. In your blender combine the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. In a large bowl, pour the dressing on to the kale. Massage the dressing into the leaves to coat-I do this with my hands as it is the best way to get the leaves evenly coated. Spread out on Teflex sheets and dehydrate at 110 for 6-7 hours.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vegan Creamed Kale

Who would have thought the dish that would bring me back to post on my woefully neglected blog would be a recipe involving kale, let alone creamed kale. That's right. Creamed kale.

I first discovered this recipe while perusing the deli at Whole Foods…It was lunchtime, I was hungry and out of the corner of my eye I saw a tag for “Vegan Creamed Kale.” First of all, I am always looking to incorporate more greens into my diet in a creative and innovative way. Secondly, I felt as though us "vegans" received the short end of the stick when it came to creamed veggies. Needless to say, my interest was piqued. So when I sat down to test the plate of goodness that lay in front of me, I was pleasantly surprised.

Let’s talk for a moment about kale. You know, the stuff that for years was nothing more than a garnish on a plate at your local Applebee’s. As far as its origins, kale is a member of the Brassica family of vegetables that includes cabbage, collard greens and Brussels sprouts, all of which are known for their richness in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. The health benefits of consuming kale are innumerable. Kale has not only been proven to reduce inflammation (something to do with omega 3’s and Vitamin K which is a key nutrient to help regulate our bodies inflammatory process), but the fiber properties have shown to help lower cholesterol and kale has also been touted as a major player in the detoxification process. Kale also contains cancer preventative nutrients called glucosinolates…Need I say more?

There are many different ways you can consume kale and reap the many health benefits it has to offer. I like to juice kale and incorporate it into my morning green juice with an apple, orange, ginger, and cucumber. I also love to make this salad, which features not only the good green, but also shredded carrot, daikon radish, and red pepper, cilantro, parsley and mint all covered in a delectable orange ginger dressing…Yum.

But honestly, if you’re looking for something down-home that you can serve as a side with just about anything, the following recipe courtesy of our friends at Whole Foods is an excellent way to incorporate this superfood into your diet.

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy.


Vegan Creamed Kale
Serves 4


½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews (the recipe calls for ¼ cup, but I used a little more to make the sauce thicker)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp mellow white miso
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups chopped kale or other dark, leafy green (I use a bag of frozen kale, Whole Foods brand comes already shredded)


Heat broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add white onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, onion powder, miso, nutmeg and pepper flakes and puree until smooth.

Transfer blended mixture back to skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in kale and continue simmering, tossing often until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

( In the above photo, I served my creamed kale with veggies I sauteed in my Pistachio Pesto.)