Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Toor Dal with Tahini and Parsley

This was originally supposed to be a luscious Indian dal with coconut milk, shallots and curry leaves. But it was raining hard enough on Sunday to deter a supermarket run, and we were out of curry leaves & shallots, and the jar of leftover coconut milk in the fridge that inspired the whole dal idea had developed, shall we say, a very mature aroma. The result: there is absolutely nothing Indian about this soup besides the toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas) and because it relied on whatever we had around, it's taken on more Syrian flavorings: tahini, browned onions, chopped parsley and cumin. It's rib-sticking comfort food, and has been doing an awesome job as warm, motivating breakfast during the first week of bone-chilling rainy weather.

If you don't have toor dal, yellow split peas are fine--you might need a slightly longer simmer to get them soft.

1 cup toor dal or yellow split peas
4 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons tahini
a teaspoon or so of good kosher salt or sea salt
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Combine dal, water and turmeric in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Skim off the white foam that rises to the top, and simmer 40 minutes, until dal is very soft.

Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the sliced onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until they start to brown.

When dal is cooked, add the onions, cumin, tahini, salt and pepper and simmer for 5-10 more minutes to thicken the soup and blend the flavors. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Skillet Cornbread with Gruyere and Chives

Our free subscription to Gourmet (who are you, wonderful secret admirer?) is seriously the best thing ever. The second seriously best thing ever is our latest favorite cheese, gruyere. Combine these two and you get our doctored version of the cornbread in the Thanksgiving issue--personalized with some gruyere, yogurt instead of buttermilk, chives from the farmer's market, slightly less butter and, as usual, agave instead of the sugar.

Between the cornmeal, egg and yogurt, this is complete protein, and a leftover wedge makes a fantastic breakfast on the go. Also, try some as an accompaniment to bean dishes and hearty stews--this was delicious with the leftover frijoles con todo from lunch at Tacubaya.

Finally, an unrelated public service announcement: Manzanita Restaurant, which we heart because it always has kale on the menu, has re-instated dinner service on Fridays and Saturdays. Bay Area readers, please take note and take advantage!

Adapted from Gourmet

1 and 1/2
cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3/4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
large eggs
1 3/4
cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons minced chives
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a medium-sized cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up for 10 minutes while you get everything else ready.

Stir together dry ingredients and beat together eggs, yogurt, gruyere and chives in a large bowl. Get out your thickest potholder and remove the skillet from the oven. Put the butter in the skillet, tilting it so the butter melts and coats the bottom and sides. Pour the butter into the wet mixture and stir quickly, then add dry ingredients and mix to combine. Transfer batter to hot skillet and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a butter knife around the sides of the cornbread and flip onto a plate to serve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gruyere-Crusted Root Vegetables

You can use whatever kind of root vegetables you want here: try a mix of potatoes, something assertive like turnips or rutabagas, and something sweet like beets, parsnips or sweet potatoes. If you use parsnips or sweet potatoes, be careful not to put them on the bottom, since they'll burn easily. If you're going the beet route, use golden beets or chioggia beets so you don't turn the entire dish pink. We served this with a dollop of kale pesto.

3 lbs root vegetables (we used chioggia beets, golden turnips and Yukon gold potatoes)
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Slice root vegetables 1/8 inch thick (please, for the love of all things holy, do this with a mandoline if you've got one). Melt the butter and toss with the root vegetables in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet. Cover with aluminum foil (or a lid, if you were smart enough to register for a cast-iron skillet with a lid. Next time we get married, next time...). Bake for half an hour, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another ten minutes, until bubbly and golden-brown on top.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pumpkin Coconut Milk Ice Cream

We've been perfecting our coconut milk ice cream technique for a few months, ever since we realized we were busting our grocery budget on Coconut Bliss, the most rich, delicious frozen treat on the market for the lactose-intolerant among you. This rendition is our creamiest and most authentic yet--it really has the texture and decadence of ice cream. Try this for Thanksgiving and please everyone from Grandpa Meat-and-Potatoes to Cousin Vegan-Liberation. We prefer to use our low-glycemic index friend, agave nectar, but any sweetener will do.

1 14-ounce can coconut milk (regular, not low-fat)
3 tablespoons cooked pumpkin puree (canned works well -- but make sure it's unflavored)
1/4 - 1/2 cup sweetener (agave, honey, maple syrup, sucanat, sugar)
1 inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of allspice

Grate the ginger and then squeeze it between your fingers or in a cheesecloth to extract the juice. Discard the squeezed ginger pulp. Combine the ginger juice with all of the ingredients except the sweetener and whisk well.

Heat the mixture over a low flame and add the sweetener slowly, tasting as you go. (It won't need to be very hot, just enough to dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors.) Transfer to the fridge until it's cool, then follow the directions for your particular ice cream maker.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yogurt-Mashed Parsnips and Potatoes with Thyme

Take a break from mashing your spuds with milk and butter--these mashed potatoes are enlivened with fresh flavors from parsnips, thyme and yogurt. The sweetness of the parsnips works wonderfully with the tang of plain yogurt, and you get some extra probiotics and calcium out of the deal, too.

3 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced (we keep the skins on)
4 parsnips, scrubbed and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes and parsnips in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender. Drain, return to the pan, and mash with the thyme, olive oil and yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Whole-Grain Stuffing with Apricots and Allspice

Perusing the mainstream Thanksgiving stuffing recipes available, we once more found ourselves thinking, "Again with the day-old artisan bread?" Apricots and allspice bring a little Syrian flair to this complex-carb incarnation, which is comforting and delicious on its own or stuffed inside whatever festive protein you're into. This serves 4-6 as a side dish, so scale up if you have a bigger crowd.

2 tablespoons butter
1 small leek, white and pale green parts, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 slices whole-grain bread (we used Alvarado St. sprouted bread), cubed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped roughly
1 egg
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks, celery and garlic and saute 5 minutes, then transfer to a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole. Reheat skillet and toast bread cubes and add those to the casserole with the vegetables. Mix in thyme, allspice and apricots. Beat together egg and stock and stir into stuffing. Drizzle olive oil over the top, salt and pepper to taste and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Raw Cranberry Sauce

The last thing you need while you're trying to make Thanksgiving dinner is another simmering pot to keep track of...especially one filled with popping cranberries. This year, just go raw. All you have to do is throw everything in a food processor and press go.

Try to get an organic orange, since you'll be using the whole thing, peel and all.

1 and 1/2 cups cranberries
1 whole unpeeled Valencia or other juicy orange, chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and grind.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carrot Fennel Soup

For reasons unclear to us, Gourmet started showing up in our mailbox about six months ago--we never ordered it, so either someone at Gourmet reads the blog or one of you really, really loves us. This soup is a variation on the carrot fennel soup in the recent Thanksgiving issue: velvety, elegant and simple, a fantastic showcase for fennel.

medium fennel bulbs with fronds
1 lb carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 medium red onion, quartered
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F. Thinly slice fennel bulb. Mince some of the fennel fronds and save them for a garnish. Start a vegetable stock with 6 cups of water, carrot trimmings, onion and garlic skins, fennel stalks and any extra fronds.

Toss the fennel with carrots, onion, garlic, oil and salt on a greased baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour, until soft. Puree vegetables in a blender with 4 and 1/2 cups stock until very smooth. Taste for salt and serve sprinkled with reserved fennel fronds.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Beet and Cumin Soup

This was inspired by beet soup we had at Dosa last month that was smooth, earthy and swirled with a little creme fraiche. Our attempted reconstruction came out equally satisfying--make sure to be persistent in pureeing the soup, since the creaminess is a big part of this soup's apppeal.

We made our own stock with the trimmings, and while that may be too fussy for some, we find that making stock out of beet trimmings for a beet soup really brings the sweetness forward. It really doesn't add much time.

1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 large leek, white part only, diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 lbs beets, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt to taste
Yogurt for topping

First, start a stock with the leek tops, beet trimmings, thyme stems, garlic skins (also, whatever other veggie bits you have lying around) and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer while you do everything else. Strain.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a stock pot and add cumin seeds. Stir quickly, then add leeks and garlic and saute for 3 minutes, until leeks start to soften. Add beets, thyme and barely enough stock to cover. Simmer about 30 minutes or so, until beets are tender. Transfer to a blender (in batches if necessary) and puree until very smooth, adding more stock if necessary. Return to pot, salt to taste, and simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with a swirl of yogurt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cauliflower Bisque with Miso

This soup may look and taste like it's packed with cream, butter and decadence, but it's just roasted vegetables, stock and miso. It's warming, velvety and a great dead-of-winter pick-me-up. Save out some of the roasted cauliflower florets for the top--they're delicious!

We used Russian banana fingerling potatoes, but anything waxy will work here. Use potatoes with a nice thin skin so you don't have to peel them. In this recipe, the garlic cloves get roasted with the other vegetables, but we also tried this with the delicious preserved garlic we made last winter (still good!)--if you go that route, just add them when you're ready to blend it all up.

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets
1 lb small waxy potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
about 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon miso

Preheat oven to 350. Toss the cauliflower, potatoes and garlic with olive oil and salt in a large pan and roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and potatoes are fork-tender. If you don't already have vegetable stock, you can make some now while you're waiting.

Set aside a third of the roasted cauliflower and potatoes, then puree the rest of the roasted vegetables, miso and stock in the blender. You might need more or less stock depending on the consistency of your potatoes, so add it slowly. Be patient and keep blending until the texture is as creamy as possible. Add in the reserved vegetables and enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Applesauce with Ginger and Plums

We were already planning to spend all day in the kitchen roasting heirloom tomatoes to keep for winter, so while we were at it we made a batch of my sister's applesauce. This is one of the last weeks we'll see both apples and plums at the farmer's market, and here's a great way to take advantage of that overlap: spicy, rosy-hued, delicious with a swirl of yogurt. It would be great on latkes, too.

This made enough for 5 12-ounce jars, so scale down if you're not embarking on a mass-preserving project. We used a mixture of apple types from the "seconds" bin at the farmer's market and tiny Italian prune plums, but what we ended up with was basically half apples, half plums--any plums will do.

1/2 cup Concord grape juice, apple cider, Good Earth tea or other yummy sweet liquid
12 medium apples, roughly chopped (leave the skins on if they're organic)
30 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted
4 tablespoons very finely grated ginger (use a microplane if you have one)

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer for about 2 and a half hours, stirring occasionally, until fruit is broken down and saucy. Run through a food mill.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Savory Roasted Grapes

These look like olives, and we served them alongside two dishes of olives, but they are, in fact, grapes! I know it sounds weird--but hear me out. Grapes are in season right now, and while they're plenty delicious just popped in your mouth as snacks or fermented into wine, sometimes autumn abundance just cries out for a little innovation. So last weekend, we decided to give grapes our household produce spa treatment, i.e. dousing them with olive oil and salt and roasting them. This resulted in a surprising and delectable addition to our game night buffet: savory grapes, warm from the oven and addictively salty-sweet. They're fabulous with a cheese plate or on toast, or just plain. The grapes will give off a delicious liquid that practically begs to be sopped up with a good crusty piece of bread.

We meant to do this with concord grapes, and you should definitely try that if you have them. But the Berkeley Bowl was out of concord grapes, so we just substituted seedless black grapes. We can't vouch for red or green grapes, but you're welcome to try--and let us know how it works!

1 lb Concord or black seedless grapes
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt

Roll grapes with olive oil and salt in a 9 x 13 inch pan (cookie sheets won't work here because the grapes will give off liquid). Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, until soft and juicy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pasta & Kale with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This point in mid-September is a really great time for pasta sauces, because you still have seasonal tomatoes and bell peppers but it's finally cooled down enough to slave over a hot stove. Roasting the tomatoes along with the red peppers concentrates their sweetness and dries them out a little, which keeps the sauce from getting too watery, and a little tomato paste finishes the job. Fried shallots and fragrant oregano sing backup -- a nice change from garlic and basil.

We've also used the 101 Cookbooks kale and pasta trick: add kale to boiling pasta just as it finishes, count to six and drain. It really works! We made this with brown rice rotini, but ziti, fusilli or any other small shapely pasta will be work too. (And while we ordinarily heart rice pasta, this batch met with an untimely end: a DNC canvasser knocked on the door at a critical moment, which meant that the pasta got overcooked. Score: Barack Obama 1, rice pasta 0).

4 red bell peppers
4 medium-sized tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb. pasta
10 leaves kale, de-stemmed and thinly sliced

Place the red bell peppers and the tomato halves (cut side up) on a cookie sheet and broil for 15-20 minutes, until peppers are blackened (check periodically to turn peppers, so that they blacken on all sides). Remove cookie sheet from broiler, transfer tomato halves to the blender and place peppers in a paper bag to steam for about 15 minutes. When the peppers have cooled down, peel off the charred skins, discard cores and seeds and chop roughly. Add the chopped peppers to the blender and pulverize with the tomatoes until well blended.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil or butter over medium-high heat and add the shallots, salt and crushed red pepper. Fry for a few minutes, until shallots start to color, then remove from heat. Add the tomato-pepper mixture, tomato paste and fresh oregano and return to a very low flame. Simmer and stir for 5 minutes, just to blend the flavors.

Cook your pasta according to package directions (unless you made your own pasta, in which case: feel superior! We're jealous). Just before the pasta is ready, add the kale, count to six, and drain. Mix in the sauce and serve.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Curried Coconut Corn Soup with Yogurt and Lime

Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen is one of our favorite cookbooks. The recipes are organized seasonally, so you end up with soups that naturally pair whatever comes into season at the same time and involve appropriate amounts of cooking for the temperature outside: roasted vegetable soups for fall, quick simmers and cold soups for summer. This is one of our go-to soups from that cookbook, and a great way to use the last of the summer corn.

We've modified the recipe only slightly: Madison adds the garam masala (an Indian spice blend available at Indian groceries and the spice aisle at Whole Foods or easily made at home) with the onion, but we've been noticing lately that garam masala ends up tasting bitter when we add it too soon. So we add it later, with the corn and coconut milk.

Curried Corn and Coconut Soup with Yogurt and Lime
modified from
Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

4 ears corn, yellow or white varieties, shucked
8 cilantro branches plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup finely diced red onion, trimmings reserved
1 tablespoon butter or roasted peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot or mild paprika
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon flour (gluten-free friends, we've tried this with rice flour and it works)
1 can light or regular coconut milk (1 and 1/2 to 2 cups)
Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Heat 6 cups water in a saucepan. Meanwhile, slice the corn off the cobs, taking just the top halves of the kernels, then reverse your knife and run the dull edge down the cobs to press out the liquid. Break the cobs and put them in the heating water with the cilantro branches and any onion trimmings. Simmer for at least 15 minutes--longer if you can--then strain.

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add all the spices except the garam masala and cook a few minutes more. Stir in the flour, pour in the coconut milk, and add the corn and the scrapings, the chopped cilantro, 1 and 1/2 cups stock, and 1 teaspoon salt. If the soup is too thick, thin it with more water. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice and taste, adjusting the salt if needed. Refrigerate if you want to serve the soup chilled.

Beat the yogurt with a fork until smooth. Serve the soup with a swirl of yogurt and sprigs of cilantro in each bowl.

Monday, September 1, 2008

One Year of Hearting Kale

Happy anniversary to the blog! Digital camera in hand, we set out exactly one year ago to archive our recipes and amuse ourselves, and have ended up with comments from across the country and readers from all over the world, according to Google Analytics! Most importantly, having the blog has pushed us to be more creative--knowing that someone will actually read our recipes, we've taken risks and gone through multiple iterations of dishes to get the seasoning and proportions just right, resulting in some pretty awesome stuff we might not have come up with sans blog. To celebrate, here are our top five blog success stories, recipes we perfected for the blog and have continued to enjoy after posting.

#1: Tortilla Soup. The first recipe we ever posted is also the one with the most hits, so it seems like everyone else loves this one as much as we do!

#2: Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie with a Coconut Crust. Ordinarily, we're a little shy sharing dessert recipes--if you eat normal cookies, whole wheat agave-sweetened hermits taste like cardboard. But having the blog made us realize that there are other folks out there who want to make delicious sweet treats without refined flour or sugar, and we happily monkeyed around in the kitchen to get the perfect consistency for this filling. Now, we have a go-to dessert whenever there's a potluck, and this is it.

#3: Brussel Sprout and Green Bean Bhaji. When we plan out menus, now we try to think not just about making food that is delicious and healthy, but also about making food that is bloggable. This has resulted in a lot of season-specific variations of old standbys--for example, adding brussels sprouts to a much-loved bhaji right after Thanksgiving!

#4: Raw Kale Salad with Tamari-Roasted Almonds. One of the main innovation drivers in our kitchen has been trying to create new kale recipes for the kale-hearting masses (and those striving to join their ranks). With that goal in mind, we went on a kale binge week, and this is the standout recipe from that experiment, with the most reported reader attempts of any recipe on the blog!

#5: Whole Grain Strata with Oregano and Myzithra. Situation: a loaf of rapidly-aging sprouted bread. Usual remedy: breadcrumbs. Blog-era remedy: whole-grain strata!

Thanks so much to all of you for reading, commenting and being a part of our kitchen. Here's to another year of cooking for you guys!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Simple Skillet Zucchini

We've said it before and now we'll say it again: well-loved zucchini is zucchini cooked on high heat until all the gross wateriness is obliterated. This is our latest breakfast dish, delicious with a side of scrambled eggs.

1 zucchini, sliced into 1/8 to 1/4-inch rounds
1 clove garlic, chopped roughly
a few sprigs of dill, minced
oil or butter

Heat a cast-iron skillet with a little bit of oil or butter. When hot, add the chopped garlic and stir a few times, then add the zucchini. Shake some salt over the zucchini. Fry the zucchini on medium-high until the bottom sides are golden brown with a few darker spots. Flip the zucchini over and fry until the other side is equally brown. If you have more zucchini than will fit in the bottom of the pan at once, you'll need to do a juggling act to get all of the zucchini browned. Don't worry if some of the zucchini get very dark -- our friend Denise leaves her zucchini in the pan until it's verifiably charred and it's delicious!

Serve immediately -- the zucchini will revert to a soggy state if you leave it sitting around for too long.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tomato and Tahini Soup

For our final tomato soup week recipe, here's a simple, creamy version that gets its bulk and protein from a swirl of tahini. The concept was inspired by Mark Bittman's Tomato and Onion Salad with Tahini Dressing; here, we've added some honey, substituted scallions for the onion and put it all in the blender.

2 lbs tomatoes, chopped roughly
2 scallions, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
1-2 teaspoons honey

extra minced scallion for garnish

Combine everything in the blender. Puree. Garnish with extra scallions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Green Tortilla Soup

For the fourth day of tomato soup week, we bring you this greener, rawer version of our tortilla soup. Green zebra tomatoes, shown below, are an heirloom variety that stay green even when fully ripe. This wouldn't be delicious with what we usually consider green tomatoes (i.e. unripe red tomatoes), so if you can't find green zebras at your farmer's market, go ahead and use whatever delicious ripe tomatoes are on hand.

15 green zebra tomatoes (about 2.5 lbs or 5 cups pureed)
1 small avocado
juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeño pepper (or some cayenne), diced, seeds removed if you're not into spice
1/4 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
water, as needed

6 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons
canola oil

Combine tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, jalapeño, paprika, cumin and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Thin out with a little water if it's too thick--you want soup texture, not guacamole.

Fry the tortilla strips in canola or peanut oil until golden and crisp, then remove to a paper-towel-lined plate. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Potato Gazpacho with Avocado

OK, gluten-free friends, we hear your pain: why the incessant thickening of soups with slices of day-old artisan bread? (Also, non-Alice Waters friends, we hear your pain as well: why the incessant assumption that you just happened to spend yesterday at a boulangerie?) We answer your well-placed concerns on the third day of tomato soup week with this gluten-free gazpacho, which gets its texture from a cold cooked potato. Obviously it's best to have the cooked potato ready, but nothing catastrophic will happen if you boil the potato when you're ready to make the soup and chill it in the freezer for half an hour, since the only other thing this soup involves is throwing stuff in a blender and pressing go.

6 large tomatoes, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 boiled Russet potato, cooled, peeled and diced
1 finely minced jalapeno chile (leave out the seeds if you're a spice wuss)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced

Combine tomatoes, scallion, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, potato, chile, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with the cucumber and avocado chunks. Best served at room temperature!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gingered Raw Tomato & Coconut Soup

Day two of the great tomato soup challenge! Sometimes we post recipes knowing that most of you won't really make them. I mean, we have to give our moms something to forward to their friends. This is not one of those times; with whatever power you've vested in us, we now strongly urge you to drop everything and make this smooth, addictive soup. This recipe came about because we wanted to try the tomato-coconut soup we made last fall with raw tomatoes, to let the tomato flavor really shine. Result: the best soup we've had this summer. Really. The richness of the coconut milk, the fruitiness of ripe tomatoes and the heat from the garlic, ginger and jalapeño all cooperated to produce a final product that had us squealing with tomato-induced joy. (Sorry, heartburn sufferers, you should probably sit this one out).

We used Early Girl tomatoes, which are about the size of a racquetball. Use whatever delicious tomatoes are at your disposal.

16 Early Girl tomatoes, chopped (which came out to 5 cups pureed)
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeño chile, minced (seeds removed for the heat-shy)
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
lemon wedges and chopped cilantro for topping

Combine tomatoes, coconut milk, garlic, cumin, chile, ginger and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. (If you have a hot date later tonight, drop the whole cloves of garlic into boiling water for minute to mellow them out. ) Serve at room temperature with cilantro and lemon wedges.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yellow Tomato Soup with Cucumber and Yogurt

It's a tomato explosion all this week on iheartkale! The Berkeley Farmer's Market is bursting at the seams with heirloom tomatoes in every size and color, and we've created a rainbow of raw* tomato soups. Soup number one -- yellow tomatoes!

We started with your regular old cucumber-yogurt soup and took advantage of this tomato challenge to mix it up a little. The result: a creamy, pale green puree, perfect for a light summer meal or first course. We used a mix of yellow heirloom tomatoes, but feel free to use whatever tomatoes are accessible, ripe and delicious (although the color will obviously be quite different).

1 and 1/4 lbs tomatoes (it'll be 3 cups pureed)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1 cup grated cucumber (we used two lemon cucumbers, but half of a regular-sized one will work too).

Combine tomatoes, dill, yogurt, garlic and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir in cucumber, taste for salt and serve.

*Okay, picky raw food folks. We call them "raw tomato soups" because the tomatoes are always raw, but other ingredients may have been heated above 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Pay $30 at Cafe Gratitude if you want the real thing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cucumber and Summer Squash Carpaccio

When your garden is overrun with cucumbers and summer squash, it's time to get creative. Really fresh zucchini are excellent raw, like in this simple salad. It's important to slice the cucumber and squash incredibly thin. All you newlyweds, now would be the time to whip out that mandoline you registered for.

2 small summer squash (we used a zucchini and a pattypan)
4 small cucumbers
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

Blanch the garlic and shallots briefly in boiling water. Slice squash, cucumbers and shallots paper-thin and combine in a serving bowl. Mince the garlic and whisk it together with lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well. You can eat right away, but this will benefit from sitting around for half an hour if you have time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kale Recipe Shoutout

Dear readers,

Many of you heart kale as much as we do. We bet you have some really good kale recipes up your sleeve that ought to be shared with the world. Well, here's your chance. Consider this post an open forum for your best kale recipes -- raw, cooked, salads, soups, we want them all. Give us your recipes in the comments section as well as links to the most delicious and inventive kale recipes you've seen online. Then let's eat them all! Prizes will be awarded for the most delicious and inventive. (Disclaimer: there are no actual prizes, except the satisfying warmth of a bellyful of kale.)

If you need inspiration, check out the Kale and Friends tag on the right-hand side of the blog, or try this:
Kale with Tomato Peanut Sauce

1 bunch kale, stems removed
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
3 large chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky -- your choice!)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Heat up a little olive oil in a medium saucepan, then add the tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes reach sauce consistency. Stir in the peanut butter and cayenne. Salt to taste.

Meanwhile, chop the kale and heat a wok with a little olive oil. Stir-fry the garlic and kale over medium-high heat. When the kale is wilted to your liking, stir in the tomato sauce. We served ours over brown rice and roasted okra. Yum.

Yours in kale,
Hannah & Phoebe

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Plum Crisp with Sunflower Streusel

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

William Carlos Williams

We ended up with a ton of plums from our friend Bianca's family farm this week, and used most of them in this crisp. Most crisp recipes involve macerating the fruit with white sugar to bring out the juices; here, we've provided some extra juice by mixing the fruit with a lemon-agave solution. The plums give off a beautiful reddish-purple bubbliness when baked, and the crunchy vanilla-scented topping is a nice textural contrast to the soft baked fruit.

For the filling:

8 plums, pitted and sliced roughly
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon minced ginger

For the topping:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
5 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together lemon juice, agave, cinnamon and ginger and pour over plums in a 9 x 13 inch pan, mixing well to coat. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats and sunflower seeds and cut in the butter. Add the vanilla and agave, stir well to combine, and crumble topping over the plums. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 5-7 minutes or so, until fruit is bubbly and topping is starting to brown. It's good served warm, but it's also delicious straight out of the icebox, so sweet and so cold.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mom's Tofu Reubens

Some people say there's nothing like their mom's meatloaf. Well, those people weren't raised by a pack of tofu-gobbling hippies; for Phoebe, there's nothing like her mom's tofu Reubens.

This recipe will make enough tofu for six sandwiches; we only made sandwiches for the two of us, but the leftover tofu will find a home in kale salads and over rice later this week.

For the Tofu:
1 pound extra-firm tofu
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
2 cloves garlic

First, press the water out of the tofu: lay your tofu block on a plate, put another plate on top of it, and weight down with a can of beans. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, during which time the weight will press out the extra water, leaving your tofu thirsty for some marinade!

Slice the tofu width-wise into 12 rectangular slabs, 1/4 inch thick, and arrange in a 9 x 13 inch broiler-safe casserole dish. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and pour over the tofu, shaking the dish around so both sides of the tofu get coated. Marinate for at least 15 minutes (longer if you have time). Broil for about 10 minutes on each side.

For the Sandwich:
Rye Bread (or whatever hippie sprouted rice loaf you're into)
Butter (or whatever vegan substitute you're into)
Swiss Cheese
Thousand Island Dressing (we use Annie's) or just mustard
Sauerkraut (warm it up if you prefer!)

Surely you know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches? Butter two pieces of bread. Place one, butter side down, on a frying pan over medium-low heat, then add a few slices of cheese and top it off with the second slice of bread, butter side up. Fry until each side is golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Open up the grilled cheese and add a little thousand island, a couple slabs of tofu and a big pile of saurkraut. Delicious!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mango Pickle

Hannah's gone away for a week in New Orleans... without me. Before settling down in front of the television to mope, I decided to take advantage of her absence to enjoy two of my favorite forbidden foods: mangoes and pickles. She's allergic to mangoes, so I keep them out of the house when she's around. And for reasons I will never understand, the one food she just will not eat is an Indian-style pickle. Why, Hannah? They're so mouth-watering and spicy.

Some pickle recipes take days, weeks or months to fully mature. This one is quick and easy, leaving you more time to contemplate your dreary, solitary existence.

1 mango
1-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper (as much as you can stand)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon mustard oil (if you can't get any, use canola oil)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
10 curry leaves (optional)

Peel the mango and cut it into small pieces, discarding the pit. Mix the mango chunks, cayenne pepper, salt and fenugreek powder together in a glass jar. Heat the canola and mustard oil in a small pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves and asafoetida. Once the mustard seeds pop, pour the mixture over the mango chunks and stir gently. Allow the pickle to mellow for at least an hour, then consume with rice and curry, at a table set for one. I'm not crying, I swear, this pickle is just really spicy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stone Fruit Chutney

We made this to use the last fruits of our loquat tree, but we based it on a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for peach chutney (which was based on a recipe for green mango chutney!), so this basic concept will work with apricots, nectarines or other stone fruits. Chutney is a great showcase for fruit that may have been bruised on the way back from the farmer's market, and will be delicious on whatever protein you choose to throw on your grill.

This is based on the recipe for Delhi-Style Peach Chutney in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian; we skipped the overnight soaking of fenugreek seeds and subbed honey for the sugar.

2 lbs peaches, nectarines, apricots or loquats
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely minced (use a microplane if you have one)
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Pit and roughly chop fruit and toss with lemon juice. Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan and add cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add fennel seeds, stir once, and add ginger and fry for a minute. Add water, fruit, honey, salt, turmeric and cayenne. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, until fruit breaks down and sauce thickens, stirring frequently. (If your fruit is extra-juicy, you might need longer than 20 minutes). Cool and store in a clean glass jar.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Whole Grain Strata with Oregano and Myzithra

Strata is delicious for brunch or dinner, a really filling rustic concept: an egg custard, cubes of bread, and whatever cheeses and vegetables you want. This variation has a Greek flair, with a generous amount of fresh oregano and some crumbles of aged myzithra. Myzithra is a hard, salty Greek cheese; if you can't find it, feel free to use feta instead, or just skip it.

We used Alvarado Street sprouted wheat bread, but if you have something more normal around, go crazy. Also, this would probably work with rice bread for you gluten-free folks; let us know if you try it!

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
5 slices of bread, cut into 1-inch squares
1 1/2 cups milk (we used rice milk, but you could use whatever you want)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled myzithra cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat butter or olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute 5-7 minutes, until translucent, then add garlic and stir for 2 more minutes. Add bread and continue to stir until evenly coated and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir in oregano, pepper and myzithra.

Take skillet off heat, fold in egg mixture and mix until well-combined. Bake for about 15 minutes on middle rack, until strata is puffed up and eggs look set. Cut into wedges and serve.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kale Pesto

We knocked out a healthy bunch of red Russian kale tonight for dinner simply by substituting kale for basil in pesto. We tossed our kale pesto with thick homemade whole wheat noodles, but any pasta will do. Also, we sprinkled a handful of raisins over each portion, always a delicious combination: sweet raisins are great with kale, and together they pack an iron punch for vegetarians, pregnant ladies and Popeye impersonators.

Again, this is a situation where kale type matters: you want a sweet variety like red Russian, karinata or even those flowering ornamental kales I've only ever seen in regular old supermarkets. The curly red or green kinds are a little too bitter for this type of showcase.

1 bunch (4-5 cups) red Russian kale, stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/4-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place kale and garlic in a strainer over the sink and pour about 5 cups of boiling water over: this will blanch any bitterness from the kale and mellow the raw garlic. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until they are touched with golden brown. Combine small batches of kale, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse well until you have a smooth paste. Stir your batches together and salt to taste. Toss with hot pasta, spread on crackers or bread, or use to top baked potatoes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Balsamic Kale Salad with Strawberries and Hard-Boiled Eggs

Here's another kale salad, this one with a balsamic vinaigrette and two classic toppings; the sweet strawberries and the comforting blandness of the hard-boiled egg are a perfect foil for the assertiveness of raw kale. This plus an artichoke made a successful kale-centered dinner, with the added bonus of cramming a full bunch of kale into one meal.

A word about raw kale salads: they really do best with lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale, black kale or cavolo nero), which is much less severe and therefore better served raw than other varieties. If you don't believe us, the New York Times actually pays Melissa Clark to say so. So if you think you're ready for raw kale, please be careful not to do this with the curly green kind--it'll make you hate kale, which will make us weep.

You can also use with other fruit, depending on the season--try pears or apples in the winter, peaches and nectarines later in the summer.

1 bunch (ours was about 25 medium-sized leaves) lacinato kale
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
10 strawberries, sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (totally optional)

Wash kale and remove stems. Slice into very thin ribbons and place in a large salad bowl. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pour over kale, mixing well to coat. Let it marinate for at least an hour (up to a day).

When you're ready to serve, divide kale into individual bowls and top with strawberries, hard-boiled egg and parmesan.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Potato and Kale Casserole

Operation Kale Binge is on track: we have consumed three and a half bunches of kale in three days! Mostly, we've been just having an extra-large portion of Wheeler greens along with whatever else we were planning to eat, but we've also generated some as-yet-unblogged recipes, like this filling, savory dish. It's loosely based on a recipe for "Delicious Winter Casserole" that came with our CSA newsletter a few years ago, but that one was mostly about using up red daikon, which isn't a concern in June, so we've pared it down to just thinly-sliced potatoes, some delicious fat, pepper, kale and parmesan cheese.

We sliced the potatoes extremely thinly on our mandoline, so this cooked up in less than an hour. If you're slicing them on your own and they're a little thicker, just cook for longer after you take the foil off (in our pre-mandoline days, we needed about half an hour covered and half an hour uncovered).

3 large red waxy potatoes, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons melted salted butter
10 leaves kale (the curly-edged green or purple kinds are good here), washed, stemmed and finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, drizzle melted butter over the potatoes and mix well with your hands, making sure each slice is coated. Grease a large cast-iron skillet and arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Top with kale, black pepper and 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Repeat until you run out of kale, then top with a final layer of potatoes and a sprinkling of parmesan. Cover skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 15-30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Raw Kale Salad with Tamari-Roasted Almonds

We're on a mission this week: to consume one bunch of kale every day. Half of today's bunch went into this invigorating salad, in which raw kale mellows and marinates in an aggressive dressing and comes to the table sprinkled with addictive, salty tamari-roasted almonds. If you don't have tamari-roasted almonds in your bulk section, make your own!

Make sure the kale is sliced as thinly as possible, and try to use the freshest kale you can find.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons mirin
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
12 leaves lacinato kale, stemmed and sliced into very thin ribbons
1/4 cup tamari-roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Whisk together olive oil, mirin, tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar, maple syrup and ginger and pour over kale in a large salad bowl. Marinate for at least an hour. When you're ready to serve, sprinkle with the tamari-roasted almonds.

Tamari-Roasted Almonds

Roast raw almonds in a hot dry skillet, stirring frequently, until they start to brown. Pour in a few tablespoons of tamari and stir until the tamari is stuck to the almonds. These will stay raw inside (which the store-bought ones don't), which makes them even tastier and more complex!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Swiss Chard Fritters with Creamy Mint Dipping Sauce

These fritters, called krefsiyeh, are from Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews by Poopa Dweck. This encyclopedic guide is full of childhood favorites (including a mouthwatering full-page photo of mjeddra), but also includes a lot of interesting dishes that are totally new to me, such as this recipe. (Also, the one for calf brains, which is interesting on a completely different, thanks-for-not-making-that-Grandma level). The classic Syrian flavorings of allspice, cinnamon and fried onions are delicious with the sweet chard, and we didn't modify the seasonings for these fritters at all. We did dairy it up with a sour cream-based dipping sauce that's totally optional for the lactose-intolerant reader, but a smashing addition if you want to throw these on your Shavuot menu.

Recipe notes: we used peanut oil (best for high-heat frying), and you'll want to drain the chard really well so your batter doesn't end up watery--try pushing down on the chard in a mesh strainer over the sink.

Original Recipe from Aromas of Aleppo:

2 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed
4 eggs, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil

In a medium stockpot, bring 1 inch of water to boil. Add the Swiss chard, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the Swiss chard thoroughly and chop it.

Combine the eggs, onion, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well and stir in the Swiss chard.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil sizzles upon contact with a droplet of water, drop 1 tablespoon of the egg batter into the pan. Flatten the mound of batter slightly with the back of a spoon. Continue adding as many mounds of the batter mixture as the skillet will allow. Fry for 3 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain the fritters on paper towels. Repeat this process with the remaining batter, and if necessary, add more oil.

Optional Dipping Sauce from Aromas of Kale-eppo

1 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

Stir together and dollop on fritters!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Licorice-Scented Loquat Salad

Events contributing to the birth of this salad include:

(1) It's been way too hot out to make anything other than salad.
(2) There was some fennel in the fridge and Mark Bittman's fennel with olive oil dipping sauce looked like the way to handle it, but we're out of garlic .
(3) The loquat tree outside our kitchen window is finally bearing gorgeous, ripe fruit.

So, the loquats ended up in a salad with two licorice accents: fennel and tarragon. If you live in a loquat-less climate, don't cry. You can substitute apricots or even just leave them out.

2 cups pitted, chopped loquats or apricots
1 bulb fennel, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped mint
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt to taste

Mix. Eat.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gorgonzola and Black Bean Polenta Squares

When we were in college, our dining hall used to make a meal that consisted of a vat of soft polenta, a vat of black bean puree and a vat of gorgonzola sauce. The flavors were good, but the mushy texture was unappealing. Since we're not going to five-year reunion at the end of this month (dude, we're old), we decided to bring a little bit of college dining to our California kitchen. In this version, whole black beans are mixed into the polenta, which is chilled to achieve a nice firm texture, topped with gorgonzola and broiled until bubbly.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarse-ground polenta
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet on high heat. Add onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown, then add black beans and stir for another five minutes, so the black beans pick up the sweet onion flavor.

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the vegetable stock and salt to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking as you go. Turn the heat down to low, fold in the black bean mixture and remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, and stir frequently for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then spread into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with crumbled gorgonzola and refrigerate for an hour to firm up.

When polenta is firm, cut into squares and place on a greased cookie sheet. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is starting to brown.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Peanut-Tamarind Noodles with Spring Vegetables

Mung bean thread are a great addition to your pantry--they're cheap, a good source of protein, and require no actual cooking, which makes them ideal for a spring evening when you want dinner ten minutes ago. You can find them in Asian grocery stores or a well-stocked international aisle in the supermarket, but if you don't have access to either of those sources, you can certainly do this with regular old angel hair or any long, thin pasta. (Not sure if they're gluten-free, so this post isn't tagged "gluten-free"--any of you GF folks know?)

Fresh shelling peas are so sweet and delicious that you can eat them raw if you're a veggie enthusiast. Here, they're briefly soaked in boiling water with the mung bean thread, which cooks them just enough without making them mushy.

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped into 1-inch segments
1 cup freshly shelled peas
8 ounces mung bean thread
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup-3/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon tamari
a few drops toasted sesame oil, if you have it

Steam asparagus until just tender and bright green, 5-10 minutes, then run cold water over it to stop it from cooking. Place the peas and mung bean thread in a large bowl and cover with plenty of boiling water while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, combine peanut butter, 1/2 cup hot water, tamarind, cilantro, cayenne, tamari and optional sesame oil in a small bowl and blend with an immersion blender until creamy. If it's too thick, add more hot water.

Drain the peas and mung bean thread, return to the large bowl and mix with the peanut sauce. Top each portion with asparagus segments.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spicy Raw Carrot Soup

The latest in our "homemade recipes from Cafe Gratitude" mission: an attempt to emulate the spicy, smooth and refreshing "I Am Divine," without all the abundance-creation schtick and cash-forking-over. Creamy. Invigorating. Yum.

A word on portions...we're not just being cute with the photography, this is actually best consumed in itsy-bitsy servings. It doesn't make a lot (unless you have the patience to juice more carrots, in which case...wow), and the avocado makes a pretty rich base. So think of this as an appetizer or palate-cleanser, perfect for when dinner party guests get there early or when you just need a little something extra to round out a big salad. It's also best made in small batches because like most raw food, it doesn't keep long.

2 and 1/2 cups carrot juice (juice it yourself if you have the gear)
2 small avocadoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. As you eat, feel the abundance of not having paid $7 for your portion.