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Let’s Get Cooking: Chia Seed Delight

I love the nutritional benefits of chia seeds — and the way just having some fills me up. I don’t get hungry between meals when I include a teaspoon of chia seeds in my oatmeal or water bottle!

Because my Brazilian friend Rosita has asked for dessert recipes, I’ve kept my eyes open for something relatively healthy (since it is still January and most of us want to keep our New Year resolutions for healthy choices).

Here’s a recipe that you could use to start your day or serve as a tasty, healthy, colorful dessert.

From the November/December 2018 issue of “Eating Well” magazine, comes –

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!” — Fruity Chia Pudding

Active: 5 minutes Total: 8 hours, 5 minutes

To Make Ahead: Refrigerate pudding for up to 3 days. Mixed with a fruity base and refrigerated, chia seeds expand to form a thick, creamy texture similar to tapioca pudding . . .

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup blackberries, raspberries and/or diced mango (fresh or frozen) divided
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup granola

Directions:

  1. Purée 1 1/4 cups fruit and milk in a blender or food processor until smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl; mix in chia, syrup and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  2. Divide the pudding between 2 bowls, layering each serving with 1/4 cup of the remaining fruit, 1/4 cup yogurt and 2 tablespoons granola.

Serves: 2 about 1 1/3 cups each.

Nutritional Facts:

  • Cal 343/Fat 15G (Sat 3G)/Chol 8MG/Carbs 39G/Total Sugars 18G (Added 6G)/Protein 14G/Fiber 14G/Sodium 125MG/Potassium 573MG

**Chia seeds are packed with fiber, a nutrient Americans [and others] often fall short on. Just 2 tablespoons provides a whopping 9 grams of fiber (p. 44).

Be healthy and enjoy this yummy dish for breakfast — and/or dessert..

Aloha, Renée

Let’s Get Cooking: Noodles with Sesame and Garlic Dressing

Here’s a basic noodle dish for you, Rosita (or any young adult headed out on his/her own) and any of us who want easy, healthy, beautiful dishes to serve our friends.

This traditional and very tasty form of Chinese ‘fast food’ is quick and easy to prepare and much better for your health–and digestive system–than burgers and fries!  You may apply the recipe to virtually any type of noodle, adjust the sauce to your own taste, and add whatever sort of vegetables you like best.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250 g (8 oz) dry wheat noodles (or spinach or egg or . . . noodles)
  • 1 handful fresh mung bean sprouts, washed and drained
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), finely minced
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), seeds removed and cut into fine strips
  • Optional: 2 handfuls of any other fresh vegetables you love (broccoli, mushrooms, corn . . . )

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoon dark sesame paste (or tahini) blended with 3 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom oyster sauce (su hao you)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, sunflower, grapeseed, or other high-grade oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Combining:

 1. In a roomy mixing bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients, then add in the minced garlic.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil with 1 teaspoon salt, then add the dried noodles; return to boil and simmer until cooked (cooking time depends on type of noodle; follow label directions).

3. Drain the noodles well, then add them to the sauce ingredients.  Toss all together with the bean sprouts, spring onions, and capsicum (sweet peppers), making sure the sauce is evenly distributed before serving in a large bowl or in individual portions.

Try different types of noodles for different versions of this dish, including Italian spaghetti and angel hair noodles.  You may also use fresh noodles, if available.  It’s a good idea to offer an assortment of condiments and garnishes on the table, like chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) or basil, chilli oil and Sichuan pepper

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 mins.

Cooking time: 8 mins.

Enjoy. 

Aloha, Renee

From: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking by Daniel Reid, p. 39.

Let’s Get Cooking: Chinese Vegetarian Sandwich with Sesame Sauce

This is a convenient, modern adaptation of a sort of ‘Chinese sandwich’ that is traditionally made with flat wholemeal bread which requires special ovens and a lot of experience to prepare properly.  Instead, we substitute any heavy, high quality wholegrain bakery bread, thinly sliced and toasted, and this provides equally good, if not better, results.  The key to any good sandwich, besides fresh ingredients, is the spread, and in Chinese sandwiches sesame paste is the key to the spread.

Ingredients:

  • 3 thin slices of heavy wholegrain bread, toasted
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 12-15 fresh celery leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

Spread:

  • 35 g. (1/4 cup) raw sunflower seeds, presoaked at least 3 hours (or overnight) in cool water and drained
  • 2 tablespoons dark Chinese sesame paste (or tahini) blended with 3 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Assemble:

  1. To prepare the spread, place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend to a smooth paste.  Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
  2. To assemble the sandwich, slice and toast the bread.  Place a slice of toast on a plate and cover with one-quarter of the spread.  Arrange half the tomato, chopped celery leaves, lettuce and onions on top of the spread.  Top with a second slice of toast spread–side down, then cover the top of that slice with spread and arrange remaining vegetables on it.  Complete the sandwich with the third slice of toast placed spread–side down.
  3. Cut in half with sharp knife, or serve whole.

As with all sandwiches, you may improvise and experiment with a variety of different fillings, as well as different types of wholemeal toast (sourdough rye is especially good with the Chinese sesame spread).  As long as you use the basic sesame sauce, or some version of it, as your spread, the sandwich will taste ‘Chinese.’ It will also have the unique health virtues of Chinese food, for sesame paste is a very potent source of nutritional elements.

Serves 1

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Assembling time: 5 minutes

[ From https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6997/10-Reasons-to-Eat-Tahini.html

10 Health Benefits of Tahini [ground sesame seeds]
  • It’s rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesiumpotassium and iron.
  • It’s a good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.
  • It’s one of the best sources of calcium out there.
  • It’s high in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15. + more]

Be healthy — and Enjoy.   

Aloha, Renee

From: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking, Daniel Reid, Periplus Mini Cookbooks, p. 8.

Let’s Get Cooking: Basic Kale and Basil Pesto

“This variation of traditional pesto adds another taste dimension.  It’s easy to prepare and full of those kale nutrients.  Besides having it with pasta, you can spoon it into soups, spread over a layer of fresh ricotta, toss it with steamed potatoes, over eggs or use it in salad dressings.  Sometimes we add chopped roasted walnuts and finely grated Parmesan cheese.  We spoon any leftovers into an ice cube tray and when frozen hard, we pop them into a zip lock bag for later use,” says Ayu Spicy in “Food Glorious Food” (from The Bali Advertiser, Nov. 2017 p. 16).

Kale-for-Kale-Pesto-600x900

Kale for kale pesto.  Image from: https://pinchofyum.com/5-minute-vegan-kale-pesto

Basic Kale and Basil Pesto (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups kale leaves, washed and stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest finely grated
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 shakes of Tabasco or 1/16 tsp. powdered cayenne

Directions:

With the blender or food processor running, throw in the garlic clove until minced.  Stop the blender and add the rest of the ingredients and run the blender until all is chopped.  Stop the blender and scrape the sides down.  Turn it back on and run until you have a smooth sauce.  If it seems too dry, add more olive oil.

Kale-Pesto-Vegan-600x900

Blender with kale and other ingredients.  Image from: <https://pinchofyum.com/5-minute-vegan-kale-pesto

Taste the bright green silky sauce and adjust lemon, salt, pepper, and Tabasco to your liking.  Note: Add 2 Tbl. chopped roasted walnuts and or 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese to all or part of the recipe for variation.

Buon Appetito!”

Aloha, Renée

Banner from http://ifoodreal.com/vegan-kale-pesto/

 

Let’s Get Cooking: Shiitaki Mushrooms with Soy Sauce, Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar

“This easy dish has mega flavor.  It keeps for several days, making the mushrooms even tastier.  You can also use a variety of mushrooms or just your everyday white ones.  But I prefer the shiitaki with their strong flavor and chewy texture,” says Ayu Spicy in her column, “Food Glorious Food.”

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of such books as Eat to Live and Super Immunity, advocates what he calls a micro-nutrient-rich diet.  To have optimum health, Dr. Fuhrman says we need to eat GMOSBB (more greens, cooked mushrooms, onions, beans, and berries).

content-1

This Shiitaki Mushroom with Soy Sauce, Garlic, and Balsamic Vinegar dish is a tasty and easy way to get your recommended cooked mushrooms.   Serves 2-3.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg. fresh shiitaki mushrooms or other mushrooms
  • 1 Tbl. virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbl. soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbl. chopped chives for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C).

Clean the mushrooms getting all the grit off of them.  Drain and then dry them on paper towels.  Remove the stems and discard if they’re tough.  If not, cut them in half crosswise.  If the mushroom caps are large, halve or quarter them.  You want big pieces of mushroom for this dish.

In a bowl mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Beat this with a fork or whisk to make a smooth sauce and then add the mushrooms and toss to coat well.

Choose a glass or ceramic oven dish big enough to hold the mushrooms in one layer.  Spread the mushrooms over the bottom and bake for 10 minutes.  Stir the mushrooms and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.  If the sauce starts to burn, turn the heat down to 350 F (177 C).

Remove the dish from the oven and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving these beauties.  Allow to come to room temperature before eating.

Enjoy your meal!  From “Food Glorious Food at www.BaliAdvertiser.biz

Aloha & sampai jumpa, Renée

Banner : Photo by Christina Holmes https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/soy-glazed-shiitake-mushrooms-51140500

Let’s Get Cooking: Coconut Milk

Coconuts are an almost perfect food: highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by  those with lactose intolerance as well as vegans says, https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-coconut-milk

Given proper care and growing conditions coconuts palms grow rapidly, can produce up to 100 coconuts a year, and live to be 100 years old!  So if you are lucky enough to have access to coconuts – and they are grown in more than 90 countries around the world, one delicious way to use them is to make your own coconut milk.

In the May/June 2017 issue of Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi magazine, “Cuckoo for Coconuts,” Ryan Burden shares his knowledge and passion for coconuts, including this recipe for coconut milk:

Coconut-Information-Ryan-Burden-copy

Ryan Burden, a young man from Hā’iku, Maui, on a mission to get more people to eat coconuts, niu in Hawaiian.

How to make homemade Coconut Milk:

Ingredients

  • One older, shaker coconut [almost fully mature, these coconuts have thick meat and are rich in coconut oil].
  • 1 or 2 rubber or spoonmeat coconuts [younger coconuts with jelly consistency meat]

Coconut-information-Milk-1-copy

You will need coconut meat

STEP 1

Split the coconut in half by tapping firmly around the circumference. Tip: You can use any hard surface, like the back of a machete, a cleaver, even a stone.

Scrape out the meat using a coconut tool or butter knife; cut into 2-inch pieces.

coconut milkINGREDIENTS
STEP 2

Fill a high-powered blender halfway with coconut pieces and top with water. Water from a sweet coconut is best, but you can use plain H20. If you do, add a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of salt.

Tip: Make sure the water is at least 73 degrees; otherwise, the oils won’t emerge.

Blend on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Tip: Coconut meat is tough. Gradually increasing the speed avoids overheating the blender.

STEP 3

Strain through a nutmilk bag or fine cheesecloth. Squeeze out every bit, and put into a jar.

Fill to the very top, leaving no air in the jar to spoil the water. Chill immediately.

After the jar is opened, milk will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, but is best enjoyed within two days.

For the complete article including how to open a coconut, go to <https://mauimagazine.net/coconuts/

Have fun making – and drinking your homemade coconut milk.

Aloha, Renée

Let’s Get Cooking: Asparagus – Pistachio-Crusted with Feta Vinaigrette (vegan option)

Pistachio-Crusted Asparagus with Feta Vinaigrette

Recipe from Handmade Gatherings: Recipes & Crafts for Seasonal Celebrations & Potluck Parties (Roost Books).

asparagus-chef

Chef Ashley

Every spring, Ashley English, author and homesteader, uses asparagus fresh from her garden in Chandler, North Carolina.  She says, “When I notice that those first, tender, thin green spears have poked their sleepy heads from the soil, that’s my cue that spring has arrived.”  Here’s her favorite asparagus recipe.

Yield: 4-6 servings

2 pounds large asparagus

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup shelled pistachios

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons feta, crumbled (Look below for a vegan “feta” that is tasty – and 100% dairy free)

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

asparagus-recipe

Vinaigrette

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup feta, crumbled

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Several grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the asparagus, and cut about an inch off the stem ends. Pat to dry. Place the asparagus on a dry baking sheet, and cook it for three minutes to dry off any excess moisture. Remove the sheet from the oven and toss the asparagus on the sheet with the olive oil.

Crush the pistachios in a food processor (or under a towel with a kitchen mallet or hammer) for about 1 minute, until finely ground. Transfer the ground nuts to a small mixing bowl. Using a spoon or clean hands, mix the nuts with the salt. Lay the asparagus out evenly across the baking sheet. Sprinkle them with half of the ground pistachio and salt blend. Turn the spears over, then evenly sprinkle them with rest of the ground pistachios.

Cook 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, and carefully plate the spears onto a platter using tongs. Add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a lidded container or a food processor. Shake or blend until smooth. Drizzle the plated asparagus with the vinaigrette. Top with the chopped parsley and feta. Serve at room temperature.

Seen in Spring 2017 edible ASHEVILLE, p. 42.

** For vegan feta, see this recipe from Nikki at EatingVibrantly.com for instant raw vegan feta: https://www.eatingvibrantly.com/instant-raw-vegan-feta-cheese/

Enjoy.  Happy Spring, Renée

Let’s Get Cooking: Homemade Coconut Butter

Now more aware of the health benefits of coconuts, I’ve been seeing how I can get more of the wonderful power food.  Here’s a simple recipe for homemade coconut butter that you might want to try too.

Meagen, the Vegan Food Addict, says, “Coconut butter, sometimes referred to as creamed coconut, is becoming increasingly popular. With its popularity, however, it can be expensive and often difficult to find. The good news though is that you can still enjoy it…just make your own! If you have access to shredded coconut or coconut flakes, you are in luck.

flakedcoconut

Coconut flakes. – Meagen’s photo

Check out this recipe:

Homemade Coconut Butter
Yields approximately 1 cup

4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut

Place coconut in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5-10 minutes*, or until smooth; stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl.

Store coconut butter in an airtight container at room temperature, in the fridge, or freezer. Coconut butter will begin to solidify after resting.

*Processing time may take more or less time depending on food processor”

Meagen has many more tasty recipes including Tikil Gomen, (Ethiopian Cabbage and Potatoes).  Check out her blog.

Coconut Butter and more from Meagen: ttps://veganfoodaddict.wordpress.com

Aloha, Renée

Let’s Get Cooking – Bali: Mango and Chickpea Tabouli

This recipe from Ayu Spicy is loaded with protein and keeps for several days refrigerated – where it just gets better.

Mango & Chickpea Tabouli – Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

coconut-yogurt

Coconut yogurt from Chef Simon Jongenotter

  • 1 tsp. orange zest, grated – just the orange part not the white pith
  • 1 cup cooked rice or quinoa
  • 1 can (439 g, about 16 oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 ripe mango cut into 1  1/2 cm x  1  1/2 cm pieces (under 2 inch cubes)
  • 2 Tbl. coriander leaf, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl mix the orange and lime juices, the curry powder, yogurt, and the orange zest.  When this is well mixed add the cooked rice or quinoa and stir again.

Now add the garbanzo beans and raisins, mixing well.  Finally add the mango pieces and the chopped coriander leaf and mix gently.

Set the tabouli aside, covered, for at least an hour for the flavors to mix and mature.  When you are ready to eat, turn it onto a serving dish and garnish with the toasted almonds.

This tabouli keeps well in the fridge.  If you plan to have leftovers, don’t sprinkle all the almonds on at once but save some for when it comes ot of the fridge an sprinkle on just before serving.

Enjoy your meal!

“Salamat makan,” Renée

from: “Food Glorious Food” Bali Advertiser, 12-26 Oct. 2016, 45)

Image from: <https://theflexitarian.co.uk/recipe-items/mango-tabbouleh-vegan/

Let’s Get Cooking – Bali: Coconut and Lemongrass Soup

coconutlemongrass

This weekend, the second annual Bali Vegan Festival was held in Ubud.  It was fabulous – with speakers, classes, talks, movies, music, food, and, of course, ideas.

http://www.baliveganfestival.com/

To show you how wonderful – and easy – making healthy vegan food can be, here’s a recipe from the Bali Vegan Festival program.

The raw, vegan soup is a creation of Chef Arif Springs and his team at Taksu, spa and restaurant and a sponsor of the festival.  http://www.taksuspa.com/.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tsp honey (or if you are vegan, substitute agave nectar, coconut nectar, or maple syrup)
  • Pinch of diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Zucchini, cucumber and/or coriander for garnish

Directions

  1. Soak cashews in water for two hours.
  2. Cut a thin slice from a clove of garlic and dice finely.
  3. Juice lemongrass (strain out the pulp).
  4. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  5. Garnish with pealed zucchini, cucumber and/or coriander.  A zucchini flower adds a decorative finish.

Serve at room temperature or refreshingly chilled for a hot day.  Recipe for two.

Enjoy.

Salamat malam, Renée

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