December 29, 2012

Awesome Raw Energy Bars with Chocolate Fig Filling (Raw-Vegan)


Raw Chocolate Fig Filling:

Raw Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Dried Calimyrna Figs - 8
Himalayan Salt - a pinch

Blend everything together in a high speed blender to make a coarse paste that really binds together. Refrigerate till ready to make the layers.

Raw Energy Bars:

Almonds - 1/4 cup
Pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup
Sunflower seeds - 1/4 cup
Buckwheat - 1/4 cup
Medjool Dates - 6
Himalayan salt - a pinch
Coconut oil - 1 Tbsn

Blend everything in a high speed blender or food processor to a fine powder. They will all start to bind together. Transfer to a bowl and divide into 2 halves. Press one half of the mixture into a shallow glass dish. Spread the filling layer and then press the other half on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Slice into bars. Very good before workout or as a quick evening energy snack.




Hearty Kale Soup with Yam & Chickpeas

Here is a hearty soup inspired by couple of recipes from ForksOverKnives. It can be made by adding less yams and chickpeas to make it a starter soup. This one is made as a meal on its own and was served with a batch of freshly baked whole wheat dinner rolls.


Chickpeas - 1/2 cup (soaked for 12 hours)
Yam - 1 small
Organic Dino Kale - 1 small bunch (4-5 stems)
Tomato - 2 small
Cilantro - 1 small bunch
Red pearl onions - 3-4
Green chilly - 1
Sea Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn
EV Olive Oil - 1 tbsn

Cook Chickpeas with about 2 cups of water.
Meanwhile, chop pearl onions, peel and dice yams, and dice tomatoes
Separate kale from the stems and chop.
Separate cilantro from stems chop stems and leaves.
Heat oil and saute chopped pearl onions for a minute. Add tomatos, green chilly, cilantro stems, yam and cooked chickpeas along with the water. Add turmeric powder and bring to boil. (While it is still boiling, you can fish out the cilantro stems, green chilly and few tomato pieces and puree them and return to the pan - this will enhance the flavors) Reduce heat and simmer till yams are cooked enough. Add the chopped kale and continue till it is cooked just enough (for about a minute or so). Remove from flame, add salt adjust taste and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot.



Freshly baked whole wheat dinner rolls:

Whole wheat powder  - 1 1/2 cups
Luke-warm water - 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsn
Virgin Coconut oil - 1 Tbsn
Sea salt - 3/4 tspn
Raw sugar - 1 Tbsn
Yeast - 1/2 tspn

Knead everything to a dough (I use bread machine with dough setting to do this)
Divide into desired size and shape and spread on a baking sheet for about 2 hours to rise.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.


Quick Almond Oats Crackers

These quick'n'easy crackers are sweet with dates, spicy from peppers, and with all goodness from goji berries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds.


Rolled Oats - 1/2 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup
Handful of goji berries
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Medjool dates -3
Black Pepper - 1 -2 tspn
Cumin seeds - 1 Tbsn
Sea Salt - 1/2 tspn
Chia seeds - 2 Tbsn
EV Olive oil - 2 Tbsn
Baking soda - 1/2 tspn

Grind everything except olive oil into a powder (as fine as possible - I use VitaMix dry grinder and work in batches)
Transfer to a bowl, add olive oil and couple of tablespoons of water to bind everything together to a dough. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Keep the dough between 2 layers of parchment paper and roll into 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into desired shapes.
Spread in a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.
Cool completely on wire racks and store in air tight containers.




December 17, 2012

Bulgur Salad with Sprouted Lentils


I had recently learnt that its easier to sprout split lentils than to sprout whole lentils. I have been trying it for some time now. This recipe is a marriage between bulgur Tabbouleh and Sprouts Sundal :-)

Split lentils - 1/2 cup
Bulgur wheat - 1/2 cup
Spinach - 2 cups
Tomato - 2
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Green chilly - 1-2
Cilantro - 4-5 stems
Lemon juice - from half lemon about 2 tbsn
EV Olive oil - 1 tbsn
Sea salt as per taste

To sprout split lentils I soak them for about 12 + hours changing water every 4-5 hours. You will start to see the sprouting in the first 4-5 hours. Drain when ready to use.
Soak the bulgur wheat and raisins overnight with one cup of water. Bulgur will expand, soaking up all the water. Then it is ready to go into the salad, with no need of any cooking.
Dice the tomatoes, and chop spinach, green chillies and cilantro. Toss them with soaked bulgur and sprouts.
Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and salt together and add it to the salad and mix well.


Optional:
You can also pop 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and a pinch of asephoetida in a tspn of olive oil to season the salad. This will enhance all the flavors.

Ginger Spiced Date Almond Snack Balls (Raw-Vegan)

I have been making a lot of different variations of my Date-Almond snack balls lately. Who doesn't like variations? The most recent one had an addition of ginger, of course ginger is a sure win with Jyo:-)

Almonds - 3/4 cup
Walnuts & Cashew nuts - 1/4 cup
Medjool Dates - 4 (remove pits)
Fresh Ginger - 1 inch piece (sliced)
Cardamom - 2-3 (remove peel)
Sea Salt - a pinch

Start pulsing the nuts, ginger, cardamom and sea salt in a food processor or blender.
In about 1-2 minutes you should have a coarse ground almond ginger mixture.
Add pitted dates and continue pulsing for a minute or so. Dates will blend in and start to bind everything together.
Transfer everything to a bowl and make walnut sized balls. This makes about 8 balls.




Notes:

If using a different type of dates, play around with the quantity a little bit to be able to bind them together,  and to get the right amount of sweetness.

You could substitute dates with about 1/3 cup of raisins.

If you need a more chunky texture, add cashews and walnuts towards the end.



December 16, 2012

Multigrain Cauliflower'n'Celery Chowder

This is a quick Friday night meal to finish off your veggies from the week.

Ingredients:

  • Multi-grains - 1/2 cup
  • Cauliflower - 1/4 of a medium head -chopped fine
  • Celery  - 4-5 stems - chopped fine
  • Onion - 1 small - chopped fine
  • Garlic - 2-3 cloves - minced
  • Oregano - 1 tspn
  • Cashew nuts - handful
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Black pepper corns - 1 tspn
  • EV olive oil - 1 tbsn

Directions:

  • Cook multi-grains with 1 cup of water (I use pressure cooker)
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil a deep pan, add onion, garlic and oregano and sauté for a minute.
  • Add cauliflower and celery and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Leave about a cup of veggies in the pan.
  • Transfer the rest to the VitaMix jar along with 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water, cashew nuts, black pepper and blend at high speed for 3-4 minutes to purée well.
  • Add the pureed soup back to the pan, add the cooked multi-grains and mix everything well. Adjust taste as you wish.
  • Serve warm.





December 15, 2012

Creamy Avocado Fruit Salad (Raw-Vegan)

This one got Akku drooling and offering to finish any leftovers,even though there were hardly any. With raspberries and mangoes, the colors were so inviting, and they tasted so well together. I guess I'll probably be making this more often, and with a wider variety of fruits.


Ripe Mango - 1
Avocado  - 1/2
Fresh Raspberries - 1 cup
Organic Raisin - 1/2 cup
Organic Honey - 1 Tbsn

Soak raisins in coconut water or filtered water.
Peel and dice mango into 1/2 inch cubes.
Keep the mango cubes in freezer for 30 minutes, while raisins are soaking.
Take out meat from the half - avocado. You can use the other half for something else. Maybe you might want to make this again tomorrow :-)
Mix half of the mango cubes, raspberries and drained raisins together.
Blend remaining mango cubes, avocado meat and honey to make the avocado cream.
Mix the fruits and cream and serve immediately, or refrigerate serve chilled.




December 11, 2012

Brussel Sprouts with Lentil Crumble

I get long stems of brussel sprouts every fall, from our local vegetable stand. I have tried everything with them - steaming, grilling, roasting .. but this is one dish all of us really enjoy. This recipe is an adaptation of Parippu Usili that my Tamil friends make. My old neighbor and close friend Abi is the one who taught me the original parippu usili and her's is a classic!!


Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Split Peas - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida powder - a pinch
Red chilly - 2-3
Sea Salt - as per taste

Brussel sprouts - 8-10
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn
coconut oil - 2 tspn
Sea salt - as per taste

Soak the lentils for about 6 hours or overnight.
Drain and grind along with remaining ingredients into a coarse mixture.
Place on a steamer and steam for about 10 minutes. Let it cool.
Crumble with hands or using a food processor for a more uniform crumble.
Chop brussel sprouts very fine - I use VitaMix at speed 4 for most of my fine chopping.
Heat coconut oil on medium heat, add the chopped brussel sprouts and turmeric powder and cook covered for 2-3 minutes. Add the lentil crumble, mix well, adjust taste and remove from flame. Enjoy !!




December 10, 2012

Vegan Chili with Nut Meat Balls


Last week Akku was upset that his school lunch had beef chili and he wished that they made a vegetarian version. There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian versions of chili all over the web. If I see a quick recipe which only uses wholesome ingredients, and is inspiring, then that is something I try to recreate.


This is an adaptation of Ani Phyo's Tomato Chili with Taco Nut Meat. Of course her's is completely raw. Mine is partially raw :-)

Vegan Chili :


2 big tomatoes, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
3 stems of celery, chopped fine
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup frozen shiitake mushroom, chopped fine
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 clove garlic minced
1 tspn red chilly powder 
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn cumin, powder
1 tspn oregano, dry
sea salt, to taste


Saute Onion and minced garlic in EV Olive oil till the raw smell goes away, for about a minute. Add the Mushroom and green peas for 3-4 minutes. Remove from flame. 
Add all remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Transfer half of this into VitaMix and puree at high speed for 2-3 minutes to make a silky smooth soup base. Add this along with the other half to the sautéed veggies. Warm and adjust taste before serving.

Nut Meat Balls:

1 cup walnut
1 Tbsn EV olive oil
1 Tbsn cumin powder
2 tspn coriander powder
1/4 tspn sea salt

Add everything into food processor or dry blender and process into a chunky mixture. Make small meat balls.

Warm soup and serve into bowls topped with mini-meat-balls and chopped cilantro.






December 9, 2012

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich on Rosemary Flatbread

Today I had made something new for breakfast and Akku didn't really enjoy it. Lunch, I have to admit was not so great for both of us, but he tried to cheer me up saying the sauce is not so bad :-)
For dinner, I decided that I have to make something that he really enjoys. I thought of making Pizza initially, but then I thought I will make eggplant sandwich. Eventually, I decided to combine them all together. No doubt, Akku enjoyed every bite of his sandwich !!'

Rosemary Flatbread:

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Organic cane sugar - 1 1/2 tspn
Sea salt - 1/2 tspn
Dried rosemary - 1 tspn.
Virgin coconut oil - 1 1/2 tspn
Water - 1/3 cup and 4 tspn
Yeast - 1/3 tsp

Knead everything together to make pizza dough consistency. Keep aside for about 45 minutes to rise. (I used my bread machine with dough setting). 
Divide the dough into 4 balls. Roll them into 4 inch circles. You could sprinkle more rosemary while rolling. 
Heat a griddle and make Flatbreads. (Just like making rotis) 





Grilled Eggplant:

1 medium Eggplant
Sea Salt, Red chilly powder - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn
Dried basil - 1 Tbsn

Make 4 big slices from the eggplant for the sandwich and slice the remaining into big chunks (these are for the spread) 
Mix all the spices and apply on the eggplant slices and grill them. I also stuck some garlic cloves to the eggplant slices while grilling.


Eggplant-Basil Spread:

Grilled Eggplant 
Handful of fresh basil leaves

Grind them together into a chunky spread.  Spread it on inside of the flatbreads and make sandwiches. Press in the grill to make hot panini sandwiches




Quick Bulgur Wheat & Split Peas Idli


Organic Bulgur wheat - 1/2 Cup
Organic Split peas - 1/4 cup
Homemade Yogurt - 1 cup
Sea Salt - as per taste
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp

Grind bulgur and split peas to a coarse powder.
Dry roast the powder for about 5 minutes on medium heat, till nice aroma comes. Add it to a bowl and let it cool.
Add salt and baking soda. Add yogurt and mix well and keep aside for about 15-20 minutes. (Add 1/4 of water if the mix is too thick.
Make idlis in idli steamer (you can also pour batter on a greased plate and steam over a pasta boiler)
Serve with coconut or coriander chutney.


December 8, 2012

Multigrain Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash & Avocado Dressing



Multigrain (mix of Farro, wheat, rice, oats and barley) - 1/2 cup
Pressure cook with 1 cup of water and let it cool.

For Roasting:
Butternut Squash - 1 cup (peeled and sliced into strips)
Red Onion - 1 medium
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Green Chilly - 2
Sea Salt - as per taste
Chilly powder - as per taste
EV Olive oil - to spray for roasting about a Tbsn

Roasting Squash:
Slice the Butternut Squash, chop the onion, Garlic and green chilly.
Mix with Sea Salt and chilly powder.
Spread everything on a baking sheet and spray EV Olive oil and into toaster overn at broil -450 deg for about 12 minutes.

Raw Veggies:
English Cucumber - 1/2
Baby Spinach - 1 cup
Raw Mango - 1/2 cup (Peeled and sliced thin)
Before you are ready to serve, slice the cucumber and mango mix in with the roasted veggies.

Dressing:
Dressing - Avocado
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsn
Sea Salt  - as per taste
Take out the avocado meat. Add lemon juice and salt and may be a  green chilly (optional) and blend it well to make the dressing.

Put it all together on a bed of spinach and enjoy !!

December 6, 2012

Raspberry Lassi


Lassi is a popular and traditional yogurt-based drink which originates in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. It is made by blending yogurt with water and Indian spices. Traditional lassi is a savory drink sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin while sweet lassi on the other hand is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices. Read more ...

Raspberry lassi is Akku's favorite drink at Thali too, a vegetarian restaurant near our place. This is our home made version.


Homemade Plain Yogurt *  - 2 1/2 cups
Raspberry (Fresh or Frozen) - 1/3 cup
Honey - 2 Tbsp (more or less according to your sweetness level)
Himalayan salt - a pinch



Add everything to VitaMix or regular blender jar and blend well to make silky smooth Raspberry lassi.
Serve immediately.

Makes 3 servings


* I usually make my yogurt at home using organic milk: warm milk to just above room temperature, mix with a little bit of existing yogurt (as a starter) and keep aside in a warm place for about 6-8 hours. I usually keep inside my oven (might need the 'Serve warm' setting in winter)

December 5, 2012

Raw Gingersnaps

People are talking about holiday baking and gingerbread and ginger snap cookies all over the web. I thought I should try something with ginger too since that is a never fail spice with Jyo and me. Akku loves it too though he won't admit it ;-) I will give him these cookies without mentioning the ginger part of it and I am sure he will love it.


Organic Brown Rice puffs - 1 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup
Medjool Dates - 3-4
Fresh ginger - 1 inch piece
Sea salt - a pinch


Process all ingredients in a food processor till it is fine enough to bind them together, but coarse enough to be little chunky.
Make into about 8 balls and press into a cookie shape.
Can be kept freezer for 10-15 minutes to make them extra firm.


December 4, 2012

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Sauce

When I opened the fridge today, I saw eggplants, tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, basil.. everything leading me to make roasted eggplant pasta - a big favorite in our family. I checked my pantry and sure enough, there was no pasta (store bought that is). Usually, if I decide to make something, I make it -- come what may. I thought of giving homemade pasta a try this time. I was quite satisfied with what I ended up making in the next one hour.



Whole Wheat Pasta:

Whole wheat flour - 1 1/2 cups
Sea Salt - 1/2 tspn
Water - 1/2 cup and 2 tbsn

Knead everything together to make dough. I used my bread machine with dough setting to do this job.
Since I do not have a pasta press, I had to use my Idiappam press with a wider blade to make my pasta :-) I have to admit, it was pretty hard to press the dough out. After I was half way thru the dough, I decided to roll the dough out really thin and cut them into strips instead.
I spread them out for about 15 minutes, to sort of air dry them (a tip I got from one of the pasta makers) so that they don't stick together when you cook.


Roasted Eggplant:

Eggplant - 3 small-medium
Chilly powder - 1 tspn (this is a law heat version)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn (it is a habit to add turmeric to almost anything I cook :-) )
Oregano - 1 tspn
Rosemary - 1/2 tspn
Sea salt - 1/2 tspn

While pasta is being air dried, slice the eggplant into strips, mix with all the spices and spread in a baking sheet with EV olive oil sprayed and into my toaster oven at broil - 450 deg for 12 -15 minutes.


Tomato-basil Sauce:


Roma tomatoes - 2
Mini Sweet peppers - 6-7
Basil - small bunch
Garlic - 2 cloves
Green chilly - 1 (optional)
Sea salt - as per taste



Add the tomatoes, 2 sweet peppers, half of the basil, garlic & salt into VitaMix and run at high speed for couple of minutes. Reduce to low speed and add the remaining sweet peppers one by one to make a chunky sauce.




Cook Pasta:
Boil water in pasta boiler (any deep pan would do) add pasta strips and cook for about 3-4 minutes.












Put everything together:
Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the drained pasta and adjust for taste, add the roasted eggplant and enjoy hot !!









November 22, 2012

Vegetarian Thanksgiving



I had always wanted to make a Thanksgiving lunch that we loved to have. All long for the past 12 years we had experimented with the feathered and leathered kind of TG recipes, but we did not relish them (partly because of our taste preferences). So this time I found the Well's Vegetarian TG recipes in NYT and liked it a lot. 

In the interest of world peace and harmony, which is in the TG spirit, we decided to pick from the recipe list 3-4 jewish and arab/palestinian recipes as a dedication to the cease-fire, and to reflect upon the fact that food from around the world taste well together, and so can people. It worked out perfect, we loved the food. Here are the recipes (some are modified to our liking) we tried for the day….


Hummus a la Sweet Pumpkin




  • Sweet pumpkin (sugar pumpkin) chunks - about a cup
  • 1/2 cup fava beans soaked and cooked
  • Tbs EV olive oil
  • Tbs sesame seeds 
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Saute pumpkin chunks in a tsp of olive oil and cook covered for 2-3 minutes till soft.
  • Transfer to a food processor or blender (I used VitaMix). Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add a little extra olive oil or water, and process until the desired consistency is reached. 
  • Serve with fresh cut carrots, and freshly made almond wheat rotis.
  • Yield: 3 servings


Coconut Mashed Yams With Raisins





  • 3 small yams, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used 2 garnet yams and 1 Japanese Yam)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I made this using 1 cup of fresh coconut and 3/4 cup of water in VitaMix) 
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes and drained

  • Place yam pieces in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot.
  • Add coconut milk, honey, salt and spices, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. 
  • Add more coconut milk for a creamier texture and more maple syrup for a sweeter flavor.
  • Mix in raisins and serve.
  • Yield - 3 Servings

Couscous and Cauliflower Kugel With Cumin







  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green chilly
  • 3-4 red pearl onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 head medium cauliflower - broken into florets
  • 1/2 cup freshly made paneer (add lemon juice and yogurt to boiling milk and pass thru a cheese cloth)
  • 1 egg

  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the cumin seeds and saute for 1 minute. Add onion, garlic and chopped green chilly and cook, stirring, until just about tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add water and salt to taste and bring to boil. Add couscous and remove from flame, keep covered for 5 minutes. Flake with fork and make sure no water remains.
  • Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and oil a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  • Finely chop the steamed cauliflower. Place in a mixing bowl. In a food processor, purée the paneer until smooth. Add the eggs and process until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and mix together. Scrape into the bowl with the cauliflower. Add the couscous and stir everything together. Scrape into the oiled baking dish. Drizzle a tsp of olive oil over the top and place in the oven.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares or wedges.
  • Yield: 3 servings.

Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs olive oil 
  • 3 small (Indian) eggplants
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (soaked for 3 hours)
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • handful of raisins
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • handful sliced almonds
  • lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt passed thru a cheese cloth)
  • Salt

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, chipotle, lemon, 1 Tbsn of olive oil, salt.
  • Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise into 3-4 slices. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for around 12-15 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.
  • Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.
  • Soak the raisins in the warm water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, almonds, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place eggplant slices cut side up. Spoon the bulgur on top, spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.
  • Yield: 3 servings

Coconut Ginger Pumpkin Pie 

This one is not from the Well's list, but from Wholefoodsmarket recipes. After seeing ginger and coconut flavor, I could not pass off this recipe, and we could not could not hold back till today, we could not resist and had it yesterday itself ;-)


For the Filling:

  • 1/2 of a medium sugar pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk 
  • (1 cup of coconut with 3/4 cup of water in Vitamix)
  • 1/2 cup organic raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt




For the Crust: 

  • 1 cup of almond powder (Almonds in VitaMix or any dry grind blender)
  • 3/4 cup of fresh coconut 
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger ( I has sliced and soaked ginger in honey overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil



  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick pumpkin with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  • Meanwhile, to make the crust, grind coconut with dates and ginger without adding any water, transfer to a  bowl, mix in almond powder and a pinch of himalayan salt. Mix until moistened and well combined. Press mixture into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly.
  • To finish making the filling, peel roasted pumpkin and transfer flesh to the bowl of a food processor. Discard skins. Process until pumpkin is puréed. Add coconut milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and process until evenly combined.
  • Pour pumpkin filling into crust and bake about 50 minutes or until just set in center of pie. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Serve or chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.




November 19, 2012

Vegan - Raw - CheeseCake ??


Akku and I love cheesecake, but we do not want to indulge in a piece of real 'cheese' cake because of many reasons (not going to list them here).  Jyo does not like the idea of cheese itself.  So, I was looking for a  not really cheese 'cheesecake' idea, and was glad to find ideas in some of the raw food websites. 


Crust :
Hazelnut - 2/3 cup
Dates - 3-4 (Medjool dates - pitted)
Himalayan salt - a pinch
Filling:
Cashew nut - 1 cup ( soaked for couple of hours)
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
Coconut oil - 1/4 cup
Organic wildflower honey - 1/4 cup
Himalayan salt - a pinch


Grease two 4 inch spring form pans with coconut oil.

For Crust: Pulse the ingredients for crust into a coarse meal. Divide and press into the bottom of the pans, keep refrigerated till filling is ready.

For filling:
Drain the cashews, discard the soaked water.
Melt coconut oil in a bowl kept over boiling water.
Blend all ingredients to get a smooth cream cheese like consistency.
Divide and fill into prepared crusts.
Freeze for 2-3 hours.
Keep it outside for 20-30 minutes before serving.



November 8, 2012

Ginger Hot Cocoa.. Anyone?


What is more refreshing than a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter evening? How about if you spice it up with some ginger?

Raw Cocoa Powder - 2 tsp
Fresh Ginger Root - 1/2 inch piece
Filtered water - 1 cup
Coconut palm sugar - 2 tsp *
Milk - 1/2 cup

Crush the ginger with mortar and pestle (you can just grate the ginger if that is easier).
Add ginger and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the water is reduced to half. Your kitchen will thank you for the warm scent of ginger..:-)
Meanwhile add cocoa and sugar to a mug, mix it with couple of teaspoons of milk until there are no more lumps.
Add milk to boiling ginger-water and heat thru. Strain this into the mug with cocoa and whisk well.
Enjoy hot !!


* You can also sweeten with raw sugar or honey.

November 4, 2012

Bhelpuri ReInvented

When the weather outside is cold, we crave for something spicy and crunchy. Bhelpuri (more commonly known as Bhel) is a versatile Indian street food. It is something that can be customized for any spice level and at the same time, can be made simple and wholesome. The original recipe is more of a snack, and calls for crispy rice puffs, deep fried savories, with one or more sauces/chutneys and topped with your choice of toppings and garnishes. Some versions also have mashed potatoes, making it a more of a quick meal. This version is more of an Indian-American fall version with the addition of yams, which are in plenty during this season. I am also replacing the tamarind chutney with a cranberry chutney. 




  • Organic brown rice puffs and Kamut (wheat) puffs - 2 cups each - Dry toast both puffs on medium heat till crisp, for about 5 minutes.
  • Sweet potato or yam - 1 medium - Peel, slice, cook, and mash.
  • Onion - 1 small - Chop fine, use raw or saute in little bit of coconut oil if you cannot handle raw onions. Mix with the mashed sweet potato.


Red chutney


  • Fresh cranberry - 1/2 cup
  • Medjool dates - 2
  • Red chilly - 2
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Bring water and cranberry to a boil to make the cranberries pop and soften.
  • Grind all the ingredients to a fine chutney.

Green chutney

  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup
  • Mint or basil - 1/4 cup
  • Green chilly- 2-3
  • Garlic- 1 clove
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Grind all ingredients along with enough water to make a fine chutney.






Optional toppings & seasonings: 
Be creative and play around with these. There are just some ideas.
  • Sliced fresh coconut, pom seeds, chopped raw mango etc.
  • Amchur (dry mango powder), homemade chat masala etc.
  • Chopped cilantro, mint etc.
  • Each person will mix all the above according to their own spice level and level of crunchiness. Enjoy while it lasts :-)


  




November 1, 2012

Jyo's Clear Vegetable Soup


Kitchen at home is my world and Jyo does not like to help out as he says he prefers to have good food and leave the cooking to meJ . For Akku there is one thing that comes to his mind when it comes to Jyo cooking, and that is the ‘clear vegetable soup’ which is what he makes when I feel a lil down. Both Akku and I like it a lot, as it is quite simple and honest, though it can get to you if you get it every day in the week as it once happened , maybe too much of a good thing is bad…

Like every good recipes, there is a story behind this soup as well. During Jyo’s first job, his vegetarian boss took him to a fine restaurant for dinner. The boss took the ‘clear vegetarian soup’ and recommended Jyo to try it too, now this was a time when the guy felt that specials can only be of the feathered or leather-ed type J (ohh,much has changed since J)…So he agreed for the same with false enthusiasm (and very reluctant inside), and he was pleasantly surprised on the very first sip itself that he fell in love with its simple taste. Part of the reason could be that the expectation levels were so low, but there is no disputing the fact that the simple taste was honest and pure, and more often than not, simple is better.., so here is the recipe now and I am sure you will like it too J

Cabbage - 1/2 cup 
Snap Peas - 4-5
Baby Corn - 3-4 
Ginger - 1 inch
Lemon juice - 1 T
Salt - as per taste

(be creative and try any combination of vegetables)


Cut vegetables into 1 inch pieces and julienne ginger. Add the veggies and ginger to a medium sauce pan with about 3 cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10-15 minutes till vegetables are soft. Add lemon juice and salt and adjust taste. That's it.. serve hot immediately.




October 30, 2012

Freekeh Salad With Cranberry Dressing

Salad:

Freekeh (Green Freekeh wheat) - 3/4 cup
Spinach - 1 1/2 cups
Strawberry - 1 cup
Fresh Cranberry - 1/2 cup
Raisin - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup

Cranberry Dressing:

Fresh Cranberry - 1/2 cup
Raisin - 1/4 cup
Almond-pumpkin seed - 1/4 cup (coarsely ground)
EV Olive oil - 1T
Salt/Pepper - as per taste

Cook Freekeh with 1 1/4 cups of water and let it cool
Saute onion in a tsp of olive oil.
Chop strawberries and cranberries.
Arrange everything on salad plate.
For dressing, blend all ingredients well, you can add little water if needed.


October 26, 2012

Raw Almond Chia Fudge Bars

My son had been asking for the fudge bar I had made for him a few months back which I made from a raw food recipe. I could not track that recipe now, but I knew it was quite simple. So figured I can just give it a try right away. He just had a piece and gave the thumps up !! Yes !!, and took one more piece :-)


Almonds - 1 cup (soaked in water for 3-4 hours)
Medjool dates - 8 (pitted)
Chia seeds - 2 T
Raw Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Virgin coconut oil - 1 T
Sea Salt - a pinch






Using a food processor or blender, process almonds and chia seeds to a coarse powder.
Add dates, cocoa power and salt and blend them well. 
Grease a glass shallow dish with little bit of coconut oil.
Mix in the remaining the coconut oil into the fudge mix and press it into the glass dish.




You can cut them into bars immediately or refrigerate for couple of hours before cutting them. 






October 24, 2012

Mediterranean Inspired Whole Grain Salad


Whole Grains - 1/2 cup (see notes)
Baby Spinach - 2 cups
Onion - 1/2 cup finely chopped
Raisin - 1/4 cup
Apple - 1

Dressing :
Olive oil - 1 Tbsn
Lemon juice - 2 Tbsn
salt'n'pepper - to taste

Cook whole grains and let it cool down. (I used about a 1 cup of water and pressure cooked the whole grains)
Meanwhile, mix chopped onion with lemon juice and salt and let it sit for 5- 10 minutes so that the raw taste goes off. If you think you still cannot handle raw onion, you might want to give it a quick saute in olive oil.
Wash and chop baby spinach.
Roughly chop apples.
Make the dressing.
Once grains are cold enough, mix in the spinach, apple, raisin and onion. Add the dressing and serve immediately.

Notes:
I use a mix of whole grains (Rice, wheat, whole oats, Faro and Barley)
Can be substituted with any combination of whole grains.


October 7, 2012

Thai Inspired Pumpkin Soup

Since I had stopped using any canned/processed products in my kitchen, I was not making my Thai recipes for a long time. With the addition of VitaMix in my kitchen, I have reinvented coconut milk. Coincidentally WholeFoods has started selling great coconuts in the recent past. This is again an adaptation of a VitaMix recipe.


Pumpkin - 1 cup (skinned and cubed)
Tomato - 1 small
Onion - 1/2 cup (roughly chopped)
Fresh Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 1 clove
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tspn
Coconut milk - 3/4 cup (see notes)
Lemon juice - 1 tbsn
Salt - as per tastes
Virgin coconut oil - 1 tbsn

Heat coconut oil on medium heat and saute onion and garlic for a minute, add pumpkin, ginger, tomato and red chilly powder along with 1 cup of water and bring to a quick boil.
Add this along with cocounut milk, lemon juice and salt to VitaMix and puree to get a silky smooth soup. Serve immedietely.
This makes about 3 cups of soup.



Notes:
1. I use VitaMix to make my coconut milk. 1/2 cup of coconut and 1/2 of water will make about 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
2. If you do not have VitaMix or do not have the patience to take coconut milk using a traditional blender, try with regular milk.
3. If you are using a traditional blender, you might want to wait till the soup is cooled down to puree and then warm the soup before serving.

September 12, 2012

Sushi with an Indian twist

My son gives me a wish list of dishes he wants me to cook for him every Christmas vacation. Last time there was something new .. 'Sushi'. Initially I was not sure if I wanted to do it because I don't want to buy any special rice (which I might not use for anything else) or any prepared sauces or pickles that go with sushi. But then I did not want to disappoint my son either. So I decided to give it an Indian twist and make up my own sauces and work with the rice that I am comfortable with. It was a great success with my family and then a few times with guests. I have just played with 4 basic things, Nori, Rice, Fillings and Sauces.

1. Nori - Just get a packet of organic toasted Nori sheets. This comes under my not-so-much-processed standards :-)

2. Rice - I have tried Ponni raw rice and Srilankan red rice. Cook rice 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice in pressure cooker. I work with batches of around 1/2 a cup, add a few drops of olive oil and pinch of salt and mash slightly with a spoon so that I get my sticky rice for sushi. (This is done only once you are ready to assemble)

3. Fillings - I use cooked fillings like Salmon, Shrimp, Sweet potato etc
                  I also use raw fillings like Cucumber, Bell peppers etc.
     For cooked fillings cut them into 1/2 inch strips and mix salt, chilly powder and turmeric powder and broil for about 10-15 minutes.
    For raw ingredients, just cut them into 1/2 inch strips.

4. Sauces - I generally make 2 sauces.
     Ginger-tamarind sauce: Saute 1 inch of inch minced along with 1 or 2 chopped green chilly in olive oil and add water and walnut size of tamarind and 1 cup of water & salt and give it a nice boil. Once this cools down grind to make ginger-tamarind sauce
    Onion Sauce: Saute 5-6 red pearl onions and 3-4 red chilly in olive oil and add salt and enough water and grind to make the Onion sauce.

Now you are ready to assemble.
Since I still have not found the time to buy bamboo mat for rolling I just use a piece of aluminium foil to aid me in rolling.
Step 1. Spread  the rolling aid (bamboo mat or aluminium foil) on your working space.
Step 2. Spread a Nori sheet with rough side facing up.
Step 3. Spread 1/2 cup of prepared rice leaving about 1/2 inch on your left side and 1 inch or your right side
Step 4. Arrange choice of fillings on the rice leaving about 1/2 inch of rice on the left.
Step 5. Start rolling, pressing tight enough to hold the filling in and soft enough not to break the nori. Wet the empty edges of the Nori and seal the roll.
Step 6. Hold the roll tight and cut them into an inch deep strips
Step 7. Serve with the sauces.

Sushi with Red Sri Lankan Rice, Sweet potato, Salmon with Ginger Tamarind sauce


Easy Bulgur Wheat Breakfast



Bulgur Wheat - 3/4 cup
Water - Just enough to cover the bulgur wheat
Cococnut Milk - 1 cup
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Strawberry  chopped - 1 cup
Banana - 1 (chopped)
Walnut - 1/2 cup (chopped fine)
Salt - a pinch
Cinnamon - 1/2 tspn

Soak bulgur wheat in water overnight.

When ready to eat in the morning, warm the milk and add soaked bulgur wheat and salt and let it warm up.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well and serve.

Note 1: this makes good enough for 3 people.
Note 2: I make coconut milk using VitaMix from fresh coconut using 1/2 cup coconut and about a cup of water. Or just use regular milk.
Note 3: Be creative, try other combinations of cereal, nuts and fruits.

September 4, 2012

Quick'n'Easy Squash Soup

I have always made hot soup splash all over my kitchen because I never have the patience to wait till the soup cools down before pureeing it. All this until I got my VitaMix which will work like a charm for anything from boiling hot soups to frozen desserts. My kitchen is cleaner, my trash weighs less and we are all eating more wholesome thanks to VitaMix. This soup is an adaptation of a VitaMix recipe.

Acorn squash skinned and cubed - 1 cup
Onion - 1/2 medium
Red/Yellow pepper - 1 medium
Bay leaf - 1
Water - 2 cups
Green squash/Zucchini/Summer Squash - 1/2 medium
Coconut oil - 1 Tbsn
Low fat milk or coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Black pepper - 1tspn
Salt - as per taste
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Add acorn squash, onion, pepper and bay leaf along with salt and water to a deep saucepan or pressure cooker and give a quick boil.
Remove the bay leaf and add the boiled mixture along with other ingredients in the order listed into the VitaMix and start with speed 1 and low. Go to 10 and high. Blend till soup seems silky smooth for about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately. Enjoy!!


June 15, 2012

Quick Salmon Thoran


Ingredients:
Salmon - 2 fillets
Red Pearl onions 3-4
Red chilly - 3-4
Cocum (kudam puli) - 3-4 small
Coconut - 1/2 - 1 cup (the more the merrier :-) )
Salt as per taste
Oil - 1Tbsp
Mustard/Red chilly/Curry leaves for seasoning

Directions:
Soak cocum in 1/4 cup of warm water
Skin Salmon, cut into chunks and rub salt, turmeric and little red chilly powder and keep aside for 10-15 mins
Grind Coconut with pearl onion and red chilly coarsely (adding no water)
Heat oil in a shallow pan, pop mustard/red chilly/curry leaves
Add Salmon along with cocum and the soaked water.
Cook covered for 2-3 minutes. Flake fish with a spoon while still cooking on low heat.
Add coconut and mix well, adjust taste, cook on medium heat till all moisture is absorbed.


March 14, 2012

RAW APPLE PIE

Son.. strong and good-hearted..that's how God made you.
Proud and so grateful.. that's what you've made us.
Happy Birthday Dear Akku.!!

Since we have been into raw eating especially with snacks and desserts, I decided to make a raw birthday treat for my son who is turning 11 today. This recipe is an adaptation of one I found on food network.

Ingredients:

Raw Apple Pie Crust:  
• 11/2 cup almonds
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 11/2 cup walnuts
• 1 1/2 cups pitted dates


Pie:
• 3 apples, peeled and cored and chopped.
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 dates
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 2 tablespoons chia seeds, ground (can substitute with flax seeds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds)

Directions:

Pie Crust:
Place almonds in a blender or food processor and process until mixture resembles flour. Add salt to the almonds and process well. Add walnuts, and dates to the and process just until combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch glass pie pan. The crust may be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen.

Pie:
Place 1/3 of the apples, sea salt, cinnamon and dates in a food processor. Process the mixture until it is almost the consistency of applesauce. Continue adding remaining apples, processing only until apples are chopped into fine pieces. Add raisins to the mixing bowl. Stir in ground chia seeds, mix well, and set aside for 15 minutes. The raisins and chia seeds will soak up the juice from the apples. Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pie crust. Serve immediately. Or keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.