Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Food Fashion

When I was in NYC summer, I bought this really cool t-shirt at the flea market made by the ladies at Black Sheep Heap, an eco-friendly green company.  My t-shirt is soft, organic and fun.  It's one of those shirts I grab first off the pile over and over again.

Jennifer Harris is an artist who uses her art to raise food awareness.  She has partnered with several not-for-profit organizations to promote sustainable, just food systems and work towards the eradication of poverty.

So, check out her wares and join the cool kids who wear "Food Fashion."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tasty Twig Tea

About 15 years ago, my dear friend Michelle introduced me to Twig Tea.  Michelle followed a vegan macrobiotic diet long before it became fashionable.  We would study together and sip on twig tea.  I love its earthy flavor and its mellowing effect.  It's very low in caffeine and its made from the twigs and stems of tea plants.  So, there is no waste of these parts of tea plants.  I like Choice Organic Teas because they are organic, environmentally friendly, fair trade and delicious!  So curl up with a nice warm cup of tea and relax.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Smashing Spaghetti and "Meatballs"

I was craving a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, so I dug out my New York Times Cookbook and adapted the recipes for meatballs and basic tomato sauce.  The result was satisfying and you couldn't even tell that the "meatballs" were soy.  So, I dare you to serve this up at the next spaghetti dinner you host or attend.  Yum.

To make the "meatballs,"  combine in a bowl:

1 log of Gimme Lean ground beef soy (14oz)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons parsley
2 teaspoons basil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together well and form into 1 inch balls.  Set aside.

To make the spaghetti sauce, saute in a large sauce pan:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves

Add to the pan:

1 large can of tomato sauce
1 regular sized can of dice tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons basil
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Bring sauce and meatballs to boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.   Cook 1 pound of spaghetti.  Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti.  May garnish with Parmesan cheese.  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thankworthy Thumbprint Cookes

I modified these tasty treats from The Kind Life website.  They are delicious, wheat free, sugar free and full of protein.

 Preheat oven to 350F.  Grind 1 cup raw almonds in a food processor.  Combine in a bowl:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup soy flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup brown rice syrup

Roll into  1 inch balls and put onto greased baking sheet.  Press a thumbprint into each cookie and fill it with your favorite jam.  I used my mother's homemade blackberry jam.  If you want this recipe to be completely sugar free, then use an all fruit jam.  Bake 15 minutes.  Smile and enjoy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tortilla Soup

I threw together this soup last night and the result was good enough to eat two bowls!  You can make it pretty quickly in a pinch or you can go for the longer version.  I put the quick ingredients in the parenthesis.  This is a nice meal served with a side of rice and vegetables.  Enjoy!

Saute in a large pot:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large chopped onion
1 chopped jalapeno
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Then combine:

2 cans black beans
1 can pureed whole tomatoes (or 2 cans diced tomatoes)
1 small can chopped black olives
handful of chopped cilantro
4 cups of water

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Garnish with tortilla chips.  You can either use chips from a bag or bake sliced corn tortillas at 450F until crisp.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

St. Louis Good Eats: Jilly's Cupcake Bar

The delicious weekend in St. Louis was topped off by a visit to Jilly's Cupcake Bar.  I confess, even though I am a healthy eater, I LOVE sweets, especially cupcakes.  We stopped by Jilly's and picked up a box of sin for the road.  We sampled the following cupcakes:  Bee Sting (honey lemon curd stuffed), Penguin (dark chocolate stuffed with vanilla cream cheese), Twisted Red Velvet and Key Lime Pie.  If you are a frosting lover, then these are the ultimate cupcake for you since there is almost as much frosting as there is cake and it is beyond super delicious.  The cakes were moist, the stuffings were exceptional but the actual cakes lacked any flavor besides bland. 

The staff there is friendly and helpful, but the prices are something else:  cupcakes range from $4.75 to $5.50.  I don't recommend ordering lunch there as it is a little overpriced and slow.  Overall, I think the cupcake experience was worth it because I am a frosting girl.  It's worth the trip to see the beautiful cupcakes and experience the place once.  If you can't get to St. Louis, you can order them for delivery here.

509 Delmar Blvd. St. Louis, MO · 63124
Phone: 314 993-Jilly (5455)
Fax: 314 993-5469


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

St. Louis Good Eats: Everest Cafe

Over the weekend, we enjoyed the good company of our friends, Melissa and Shannon, in St. Louis.  And lucky for us, because they took us to the coolest cafe for lunch, The Everest Cafe!  There is an incredible story behind the Everest Cafe and I hope you will take the time to read it.  The owner, Devi States, runs the cafe with his wife, Connie, and his two sons, Jesse and James.  Devi is originally from Nepal and has training as a social worker and public health.  The cafe's mission is to serve delicious, nutritious food, to promote healthy lifestyles and to give to those who need it more.

Here are a few highlights:
  1. Delicious, healthy,affordable food including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
  2. Free health screening on Sundays to include cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure evaluations.
  3. Dr. Devi States (the owner) founded the Himalayan Family Healthcare Project to promote community health services in the Himalayan region, Manang District.
I enjoyed the vegetable korma, Korean stir fry, spicy chickpea and tomato dish, daal(curried lentils), sag paneer(creamy spinach with cheese chunks), rice pudding and mango pudding.  Devi was very courteous and gracious, introducing me to his wife and posing for a picture with his sons.  If you are ever in St. Louis, please check out the Everest Cafe.  And if you are in the mood for a little charity, please donate to the Himalayan Family Healthcare Project.

4145 Manchester Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Now For Some Humor: Gross, But Real "Improvements" to Food

Ick.  That's all I can say about the foods that are featured in this article.  As Jamie Oliver says, "If the label reads like a science experiment, don't eat it."

Other than to be grossed out, there is a good reason to read this article- It's funny.  Just to warn you, there are some colorful words in this article.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kind Rice and Beans

I improvised this dish from a recipe on The Kind Life website.  Of course, we had a few different ingredients, but the end product was nice.

Cook 1 cup red or wild rice.

Combine in a large saucepan:

1 tablespoon olive oil
cooked rice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted almonds*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 can (or cup) of beans (soy here)

*Toast 1/2 cup raw almonds by either broiling them in oven (5 minutes) or toasting in the toaster oven (8 to 10 minutes).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Slim Sloppy Joes

On these cold nights, it's nice to snuggle up with a messy, warm meal.  Here's my healthy, vegan version of sloppy joes.  Enjoy!

Combine in a large saucepan:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
2 stalks chopped celery
1 chopped red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chili popwder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Saute until vegetables are soft.  Add:

1 cup lentils
1 can kidney beans
1/2 can tomato paste
4 cups water

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft and excess fluid has steamed off.  Serve on buns.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I Love Chocolate and This Chocolate is Love

A couple of weeks ago, I emailed my favorite chocolate company, Endangered Species Chocolate, and asked to try some organic bars.  I received my samples yesterday with much excitement.  They were very, very well packed (including an ice pack).  I have only one small suggestion- less packaging for shipping please!  That huge box contained 3 chocolate bars. Do you know about Endangered Species Chocolate?  Besides making superb, delicious chocolate, there are so many things to love about this brand:

  1. The chocolate is fair trade, thus promoting healthy working conditions for cocoa farmers in other countries.
  2. 10% of their profits are donated to wildlife preservation, habitat conservation and humanity.
  3. Their products are packaged with recycled, recyclable soy-printed labels.
  4. They sell organic, vegan, gluten free, kosher chocolate and more!
  5. Their products are made in the USA in a green facility.
  6. Their mission is to make the planet better for all creatures who live here.

I discovered Endangered Species Chocolate about 4 years ago when I learned about fair trade, especially fair trade chocolate.  Since then, I have been a little bit addicted.  I pick up at least one bar every time I grocery shop!  Since their chocolate is so rich, a bar lasts longer than junk chocolate- it's worth savoring!  I have two favorite bars:  Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee and Milk Chocolate with Cherries.

Thank you Tina for the samples.  I sampled Organic Dark Chocolate with Cherry, Organic Dark Chocolate with Orange and Organic Dark Chocolate.  They were all so rich and dreamy, the chocolate almost melts in your mouth immediately!  The flavor is strong, tangy, but comforting with no hint of waxiness.  The fruit flavoring is subtle, but very complimentary.

Once again, Endangered Species Chocolate, thank you for making your wonderful products conscientiously and sending me samples.  Peace and happy chocolate eating!  L

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Food Rules

This is a great article by a food warrior, Michael Pollan.  In this article, he discusses unhealthy lifestyles, health care reform and nutrition.  He provides some very simple ways to make over your diet.  Here's a snippet, "So I decided to take the doctors up on the challenge. I set out to collect and formulate some straightforward, memorable, everyday rules for eating, a set of personal policies that would, taken together or even separately, nudge people onto a healthier and happier path."

I agree with his rules!

  1. Avoid foods you've seen advertised on television.
  2. If it came from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don't eat it.
  3. Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
  4. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
  5. Eat when you're hungry, not when you're bored.
  6. Do all your eating at a table (not a desk or coffee table).
Click the link to read the rest of the article and happy, healty eating.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Appeasing Apple Crisp

This is a warm, tasty treat for those cold winter nights and it's easy!

Preheat oven to 375F.

To make the crisp topping, combine in a bowl:

1 cup oats
1/3 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinammon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup

To make pie filling, combine in a bowl:

3 chopped apples
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pour apple mix into a pie pan.  Cover with crisp mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are soft and juicy and topping is crisp.  You may like it served with ice cream or yogurt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Exceptional Enchilada Pie

As you know, I am a bit lazy when it comes to foods, hence the Chunky Chef concept.  Well, I love enchiladas, but they are a lot of work!  I found this recipe in Sunset magazine a couple of years ago and have loved making lazy enchiladas. If you want to make it quickly, you can used canned beans and ranchero sauce.  I like to make the ranchero sauce fresh.  Click on the link for fresh Ranchero Sauce.  You will also need fresh 10 inch tortillas; corn are nice for that authentic taste.  You can use smaller tortillas to build a smaller pie.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grate 12 ounces of monterey jack cheese and set aside.

Mix in a large bowl:

1 cup or can black beans
1 cup or can pinto beans
1 bell pepper (I like red) chopped
1 chopped medium onion
12 ounces frozen corn kernels
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Use a large round casserole dish to build your enchilada pie.
  • Cover the bottom of the dish with Ranchero Sauce
  • Tortilla
  • Large spoonful of bean mixture
  • Large spoonful of monterey jack cheese
  • Tortilla
  • Ranchero Sauce
Repeat layers until you have reached the top of the casserole dish.  Spoon remaining Ranchero Sauce over the pie and cover with cheese.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.  Serve with rice, avocados, etc.

Rocking Ranchero Sauce

This recipe is from The Border Cookbook and it is amazing!

Saute in a large pan:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 large green chilies (your choice)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in 1/3 cup chopped cilantro and juice from 1/2 medium lime.  Use sauce with enchiladas, beans, rice and tacos.  Smile.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bulky Buckwheat Pancakes

For Christmas, I received a big box of wheatless flours.  I consider this a baking challenge!  For our lazy Sunday feast, we whipped up some buckwheat pancakes.  The recipe is adapted from The New York Times Cookbook.  They are heartier that ordinary pancakes and full of flavor and fiber.  They are delicious topped with strawberry syrup, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup.  Warning:  you do have to do a little bit of advance prep work for these babies.

Combine in a bowl:

2 teaspoons yeast
2 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
2 cups buckwheat flour

Let sit over night (approximately 12 hours).

Mix in:

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon honey

Pour cakes onto a hot pan and cook as you would regular pancakes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Delectable Delicata Squash: Stuffed and Irresistable

I have a crazy thing about squash-  if I a see a squash at the grocery the store that I have never seen before, I am compelled to buy and cook it.  Last week I picked up some organic delicata squash.  I'm not sure why, but it's referred to as a novelty squash.  Since most winter squashes are very similar I decided to experiment with it like acorn, pumpkin, butternut and other squashes.  Here it is stuffed and broiled.  Smile, it's squash.

Cut delicata in half and scoop out seeds.  Microwave with 1/2 water in a glass pan until guts are soft.

Stuff each half with the following:

cream cheese
sunflower seeds

Sprinkle with allspice and garlic salt.  Broil in the oven until squash skin is toasted (3 to 4 minutes).

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year Hoppin' John Black-Eyed Peas

Here's a vegetarian version of traditional Southern New Year's Day black-eyed peas.  Enjoy and may they bring you a lucky and prosperous 2010.

You can use canned, fresh or dried black-eyed peas.  I soaked one cup of dried peas overnight, otherwise you can use 2 cups fresh or 2 cans.

Saute in a large pot:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon chives
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Add 2 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of soy sauce.  Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.  Simmer until beans are soft and most of the liquid has steamed off.  Serve over rice.  Optional toppings include tomatoes, parsley, sour cream or grated cheese.