Vegan Gruyere and Beet Carpaccio

Below, find the fun sort of things I do in my classes

Oh, Miyoko! Our supper club guests were swooning over your version of vegan gruyere… I demoed it, but all the credit goes to you. I will add that if you want to make this exactly like what you tasted at Thought-Design, folks, use 2 T of South River Chickpea miso and you’ll need to learn to make rejuvelac, too. It’s not so pretty, but it is tasty!

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So if you want something really pretty and really delicious, try the roasted beet carpaccio I brought. I garnished it with beluga lentils (you can use du puy!) and an almond ricotta. I put the overlapping flower shapes on squares of wax paper and then composed the salad on site. Voila!

February 2014 Supper Club 192

Here’s how you do it…
Salt-roasted Beet Carpaccio with horseradish ricotta and French lentils
(serves 4-6)

Beets
Ingredients:
1 box Kosher salt
3 medium beets, rinsed

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Put a layer of salt, ¼ inch deep in a loaf pan. Place clean beets on salt. Do not let them touch.
Pour salt over beets until covered.
Roast in oven for about an hour. Remove pan from oven and let sit until cool.
Peel off skins and slice beets thin with a mandoline. Place them in an overlapping flower pattern on wax paper to keep until ready to assemble.

Lentils
Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup du puy lentils, rinsed and drained
1 veggie
bouillon cube (preferably no MSG)

Method:
Put all ingredients into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and quickly lower to barely a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool 15 minutes.

Horseradish Ricotta
Ingredients:
1 cup whole, blanched almonds, soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp. horseradish, or to taste
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ tsp. sea salt
Several grinds fresh pepper

Place all ingredients in food processor and run until it has reached a consistency you like. You will probably have to stop and clean the sides with a spatula a few times.

To assemble:
Lay each beet ‘flower’ on a salad plate. Spread ¼ cup ricotta in the center and sprinkle with drained lentils. Garnish with sunflower shoots of flat-leaf Italian parsley.

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Red Quinoa Salad with Veggies

There are so many delicious dishes at every supper club, but a few start to get a buzz around them and those are the ones that get recipe requests. Unfortunately, we don’t always get a beautiful photo of each sought-after dish, so you’ll just have to imagine what this one looks like.

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Sue Smith’s Quinoa Salad with Veggies

Ingredients
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 cup water

1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cup carrots, small dice
1 cup diced red cabbage
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes (from an oil-packed jar)

2 T red wine vinegar
4 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup almond/cashew feta cheese. Find a video/recipe for that here or use your own. Personally–this is Sue speaking–this one looks pretty good. You might try a little kalamata olive juice in place of the oil or the water.

Directions
Simmer the 1/2 cup quinoa in the water for about 15 minutes until water is fully absorbed.

Set aside to cool while you finish dicing veggies.

Whisk together red wine vinegar and next three ingredients. Combine almond/cashew feta with quinoa. Fold in veggies. Sprinkle with dressing and fold all together. Voila! P.S. In the montage below, you can see Sue’s empty dish!

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Farmer’s Market Bounty

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If you ever wondered what $53 dollars could buy for you at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market, here you go! I am terrible at remembering how much of something I got so you’ll just have to eyeball it, but I can certainly list it. The only thing I bought that wasn’t homegrown was some Gilroy, California shallots. Other than that, it is Pure Michigan. From Blandford–always my first stop–I got an enormous head of broccoli, some cauliflower, a celery leaf heavy bunch o’ celery, two bundles of Tuscan kale and some flat-leaf parsley. After that, it was a blur that included red-skinned potatoes, 3 pints of hot peppers (a mix of habanero and cherry bomb) for Roger, two beautiful heirloom tomatoes, tons of peppers to freeze (green, pimento and poblano, tons of apples to perfect my apple pie pizza–Honey Crisp, Zestar and Fuji–and Michigan pears.  This will easily feed the two of us for a week.  Love, love, love my home state!

A Late Summer Stunner

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There was something so arresting about this beautiful simple dessert brought by Andrea Hensen and her creative collaborative of food arttists to our recent supper club.  When they first skimmed the skin off the long watermelon, someone thought it was a ham!  But oh no!  It was a glorious watermelon cake.  Cut a long seedless watermelon in half and remove the skin.  Shape each half into a cake shape by cutting a smooth bottom and top.  Set it on a serving plate and slather the top in coconut cream.  See a tutorial for that here.

Then, if you are an artist–like Andrea and her friends–you find your inspiration in sliced fresh fruit, coconut and edible flowers.  I could say more, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Bean Can Man to the Rescue!

Another exciting installment in the life of Bean Can Man

I came home from the gym…starving. BUT I wanted exactly what I wanted, which was a taco salad. I wanted crunchy, creamy, chewy. Anyway. I started with Vertical Paradise baby greens.

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Talk about Paradise! It’s February in Michigan and I can get my hands on this stuff. We’re working on YOU getting your hands on this stuff. Come to next week’s supper club and lobby Tim Sharer, owner of Vertical Paradise Farms. Here’s Tim (holding his stash).

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Back to the salad. I chopped up peppers and onions, heated a little water in a non-stick pan and sauteed them. After a couple of minutes, I sprinkled on some chili pepper and cumin. Another minute went by and I tossed in two small zucchini (diced), some frozen corn and a half a cup of salsa. I gave it all a stir, turned the pan to low and my attention to the dressing. Into my blender went a half a box of tofu (silken lite firm tofu), 1/2 of a big–ripe, people!–avocado, juice of one half lime, 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk (you could use water) and whir away until it is perfectly smooth. I wanted to add just a little salt, but when I tipped my jar of himalayan sea salt, a big chunk fell out into the blender. Drat! I tasted it. Like the rim of a margarita. What to do?

As I was sitting there, fretting, apron over my head, a can of Eden Organic No Salt Black Beans fell into my lap.

Bean Can Man with his faithful sidekick, Lime Boy

Bean Can Man with his faithful sidekick, Lime Boy

“Trouble, young lady?”
“Oh Bean Can Man, I am so SO sad. I just put too much salt in my creamy dressing.”
“Don’t worry your pretty little head. Why not offset too much salt with my salt-free black beans? I assume I was destined to make it into your salad anyway.”

Yes, he was. So I mixed the dressing with the beans, which I had rinsed and drained. I chopped the lettuce and put on a layer of creamy beans, topped that with some sauteed veggies, another dollop of creamy beans and salsa. Looked like this:

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How do you say Yum! in Spanish? Add some super-thin and crispy Xochitli chips and you are fueled to save the world–one can at a time! Thank you Bean Can Man.

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La Vida Local–Blueberry Peach Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

The focus of the food was local this evening in honor of a beautiful day and happy hour in my yard with good friend, Meghan Disselkoen, the Program & Fund Development Coordinator at Local First. If you are a local business and you haven’t joined and experienced the benefits of Local First, go to their website to see what you are missing.

Personally, I can’t resist the combination of blueberries and peaches, but there are just so many times you can make a cobbler and happy hour isn’t one of them. But, hey, how about chips and salsa? Cruising the web, I found lots of recipes with jalapenos and red onion and scallions, but why in the world would you want to mess with the success of blueberries and peaches by adding red onion? Maybe it’s just me. No–Meg concurred–here it is, a lovely and light appetizer.

Blueberry Peach Salsa
2 large peaches
2 cups blueberries
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 generous tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. agave nectar.
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint

Salsa Chips
3 uncooked Tortillas (we buy Tortillaland Tortillas at CostCo)*
1 T sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. Earth Balance

*you can bake cooked tortillas in the oven for about ten minutes at 350 degrees. Spray with a mist of cooking oil and sprinkle ahead of time.

For the salsa:
Pour the blueberries into a processor and pulse maybe ten times until many of them are chopped but some remain whole. Don’t overprocess!
Zest the lemon and pour the juice into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Peel and dice the peaches into small pieces and add to the bowl
Add the blueberries, and the rest of the ingredients and gently fold. Personally, I like this at room temperature, but it’s your call.

For the chips:
Using a biscuit cutter (or tracing the bottom of a glass with a knife) cut six rounds from an uncooked tortilla.

Gently peel the circles out of the dough.

Place the ‘chips’ in a heavy pan over medium heat and cook until bubbles begin to form (the one at 11 o’clock is just about ready to flip).

Using a small spatula, flip the chips until they are nicely browned on both sides. You don’t need oil for this operation because there is oil in the tortilla.

Once the chips were baked, I touched my warm spatula to a stick of Earth Balance pressed it on the top of a chip. Then I sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar on it.

I like to serve the salsa in individual bowls, so people feel comfortable double-dipping!

Juice Fast 101

After watching the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” my husband Roger and I decided to embark on a ten-day juice fast. I should mention it was also the day after “Founder’s Fest.” The load you see in my Vibe is about enough for two people for two and a half days. Below, find my ‘down and dirty’ 10 day experience.

The Diary:
Day 1: I hate the world. I’m thinking about eating the dog. I have a headache and there is a seismic murmur in my stomach. Roger suggests a ‘water snack.’
Day 2: I still hate the world. Still headache. Still lots of hunger pangs. Oh, and I hate green juice, too. I learn the word ‘hangry,’ which is a frankenword for hungry and angry.
Day 3: Still headache (was that in the brochure?) I blame Michigan beer and locally roasted coffee—oh, and Himalayan sea salt. When Roger complains about my bad mood, I say, “Am I really that much more bitchy than I am normally?” He concedes that I am not.
Day 4: Roger confesses to having fantasies about English muffins. There are murmurs about not lasting the ten days. I tell him it’s like enlistment. He has no choice but to go the distance. Fortunately, he doesn’t remind me about my near desertion on day one when I begged him to release me from this hell and take me to Bud & Stanley’s. Cabbage juice has been banned from the house. Blissfully, headache goes away.
Day 5: Roger makes it to lunch at which time he agrees not to eat in my presence. I need to stick it out one day longer than him to show our son Walter that ‘Girls win!’ Somewhere in the middle of Day Five (maybe it was discovering the $3.99 skirt at the Salvation Army that was produced by a boutique in Chelsea), I forget that I am on a juice fast. In fact, I realize that I am quite happy. No headache, no pains of any kind.
Day 6: Long rollerblade (my 3rd during the fast). Long dog walk. Wow. I feel great. With lime, horseradish and jalapeno, I think I might even like green juice.
Day 7: Long walk around Pickerel Lake. Inspired morning juice of pineapple, carrot, mint, apple, beet, ginger, raspberry, nectarine and cucumber. The heat is making it easier to do this—who wants to eat, anyway? During these long days of summer, I decide that I miss food more than beer. One of the mysteries of my universe solved.
Day 8: Gained a pound. Excuse me? Put too much jalapeno in my big batch of juice. Drink it anyway. I have double the time that normal humans have between 4 and 8 p.m. Another long roller blade in the intense heat. Not a good idea.
Day 9: I am an astronaut eating pellets. I do not belong to the human race, but hover above it, knowing that someday soon I will rejoin you. All you people do is eat! Do you know that?
Day 10: Happy Fourth of July. I do not want veggie brats, coleslaw, pesto salad, chips, salsa, watermelon, fruit popsicles and killer classic margaritas. I’d rather drink some green juice that looks like it has algae floating on the top. Really!

Want to see a juice being made? My fruit juices might be as simple as carrot, apple and ginger. This much raw material goes into the extractor to make about 20 ounces of juice.

Load it in and let the machine do the chewing for you.

Here you can see the juice separated from the pulp.

We composted our pulp, but if you’re Martha Stewart you might make crackers or dog biscuits out of it.

I encourage you to get creative with your juices–you have to do something to amuse yourself! In the morning, I mixed everything from beets, carrots, apples, ginger, lemongrass, mint, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, mango, peach, nectarine, celery and cucumbers. No bananas. Here’s a pretty morning juice:

Here’s a typical afternoon bowl.

Afternoon juices were possible combinations of lemon, lime, horseradish root, jalapeno, beet, carrot, cucumber, celery, grapefruit, tomatoes, broccoli stalks, fennel bulb, and tons of green leafies, such as kale, spinach, collard, parsley.

If your interest is still piqued and you would like to try this yourself, read on!
I want to give you the benefit of what I’ve learned and what I would do differently. Let’s start with the latter. If I were to do this over again, I would put more time into prep work. Here’s what I would do:

One week before the fast, I would at least give up caffeine. You do not need a caffeine withdrawal headache during the first few days of your juice fast. You have other areas of your body to focus on. Ideally, cut out alcohol and processed foods and reduce sodium, meat and dairy consumption (if you eat those things).

Study up a little about ‘true hunger.’ There is a great chapter in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” that discusses the stomach rumblings, mild headache and low blood sugar stuff we’ve all read about for years. He makes a convincing argument that this is what the body will experience when the digestive system is empty and the body is undergoing cellular repair. It really helped me to think of those symptoms not as ones to be avoided at all costs—as I have all my life…I hate being hungry—but as part of a natural cycle. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman explaining true hunger.

Learn a little something about juices. Primarily, how will green juices be palatable for you? Many of the reboot recipes (jointhereboot.com is the companion website to the documentary we watched) pair sweet fruits with leafy greens. Apparently that’s what the documentary subjects liked. I did not. I like savory green juices with tomatoes, beets, horseradish, ginger, cilantro, jalapeno. On your juice fast, you don’t need to be pinching your nose to drink the stuff. To be frank, I never loved the juice, but I got to where it was really palatable.

Get really clear about why you are doing this. If the only reason is to lose weight, there are easier ways, believe me. Since this is SO different from normal eating, you are not likely to maintain whatever loss you experience without changing your eating habits. So why not just address those? There are lots of plans on the reboot website that involve juicing and eating. That might be a better place to start for you. Here was my list: 1) Experience a juice fast firsthand so I can advise others who are interested, 2) break my two beer a day habit (or at least temporarily disconnect it), 3) learn more about juices, 4) okay, okay, lose the 5 pounds I packed on over the winter, 5) experience true hunger.

This is not a strong list, in my opinion, and that’s evidence of my wanting to bale on day one.

What do I consider good reasons for juice fasting? You have a significant amount of weight to lose, and/or you have additional health complications: adult-onset diabetes, autoimmune disorders, severe allergies, asthma, heart disease. Do your own research and consult your doctor. There are lots of websites sponsored by doctors and dieticians to help you research how high-quality nutrition can address your symptoms: jointhereboot.com, diseaseproof.com, drfuhrman.com. You will need to do this under the care of a medical doctor.

Build a support system. If this is really right for you, put a system in place so that you will be supported, especially in the first few days. Plan to begin on a long weekend when you have few demands on your time. Enlist the help of your spouse, kids and friends. Give someone you trust the list of reasons you are doing the fast and promise to call them before you break it. (It is then their job to gently remind you of why you did this in the first place). Go to the reboot website and sign up for the forums. People are on call 24/7 to give you encouraging support. You can even go there to get buddies from around the world to experience it right along with you.

Draw upon an earlier time when you achieved a difficult goal: finishing a term paper, planning a big event, running your first 5K. Reflect on the moments when you thought you would never pull that off, either, and then relive the fact that you did! Most of this juice fast is mental.

Make the juice fast your own. The reboot site suggests a morning fruit juice and then vegetable juices the rest of the day. I broke my morning juice in half and drank half in the morning. I then saved half of what was left in the fridge and froze the other half in ice cubes. My before dinner drink became a fruit slush I whirled up in my blender. Oh, and when the vegetable juices were too pulpy for my taste, I whirled those in the blender, too.

The upside of drinking nothing but high-nutrient juices for ten days? I lost eight pounds (three of which leapt back on the next day). After the first four days, I felt great. I had energy. I bore the heat better and I didn’t feel any hunger pangs at all. I achieved all my goals, but one–I never experienced true hunger. Alas. I can let it go to be back in the land of eaters and drinkers again!