Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meeting Sarah B. of My New Roots

 Last week, I met my idol in New York City. My inspiration. The person that I admire and look up to when it comes to nutrition and food blog things. I'm still a little buzzed from the whole experience. Her name is Sarah and she writes the blog My New Roots. If you're a veggie food blogger follower like me, then you must know who I'm talking about. The woman is amazing and I could literally read her blog for hours. If you haven't checked her out, do it now!
You see, Sarah was hosting a series of raw food classes in Manhattan and I was lucky enough to get a spot in one. I was also lucky enough to run into her the evening before my class in my favorite restaurant of all time, Angelica Kitchen. It was surreal. Picture this: I'm sitting in the restaurant with my hubby waiting for a table to open up. The two of us are chatting about how crazy it would be if Sarah was eating at the same restaurant that night. I chuckled and said, "yeah that would be cool, but highly unlikely." Sure enough, at that moment, I turn around to see if any tables were open and there she was, enjoying dinner with a friend. No lie. I was shocked and embarassingly starstruck. And my heart was pounding like crazy. I mean, I knew I was going to meet her at the cooking class the following night, but to randomly spot her at my favorite restaurant? No way! Of course, I mustered up the courage to go over to her and say hello. And when I tell you she was the nicest person I've ever met, I mean it. Her smile was so genuine and she was just beaming. We chatted for a bit, and then I sat down at my own table and relished in the whole experience, looking forward to the following night when I'd see her again at the class.
So how did the class go? Awesome! High up in a gorgeous Manhattan loft, Sarah showed us how to make some delicious food, all while including some super interesting nutrition information and making it really fun. We made fresh raw almond milk, nut pulp hummus, raw tacos with a fantastic raw salsa and cashew sour cream, and a decadent salted caramel dip made with Medjool dates to eat with fruit. When we sat down to eat the beautiful meal at the table, Sarah had us take a 10 second moment of gratitude for our food, our health, and our gorgeous surroundings. She said it's a practice she does before every meal and helps her prepare her body for the food she will be eating, but also helps her to slow down and appreciate everything, even the little things. I loved that. My heart was filled with gratitude that night and I feel more inspired than ever to follow my dreams and do what I love to do.

All photos were taken by SousStyle, which also hosted the class. More photos (plus these above) from the class can be found on their instagram page for the event and even more can be found on their website here. Definitely check out SousStyle. I am now addicted to the super awesome site, created by amazing and beautiful people.

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bibimbop and the Most Spectacular Red Miso Sauce

I've been on an Asian food kick lately. I've made some tasty vegetable sushi, miso soup, seaweed salads, and soba noodle bowls filled with colorful vegetables (I'll be sure to post recipes for those soon). I've been sipping Japanese green tea like it's been my job. And I've been literally using this red miso sauce on practically everything I've consumed all week. And when you make it, you will, too. You will go back to this sauce again and again for all your Asian sauce needs. When I tell you that  it's incredible, I mean it with all my heart. And I can honestly say that this meal is ranked as one of the top meals that I have ever made in my little kitchen. And you're lucky enough to get the recipe!
Bibimbop is a Korean word that means "all mixed up". So essentially, this dish is a combination of brown rice, cooked and raw vegetables, kimchee (a salty-spicy Korean pickled condiment that is out of this world), tofu, seaweed, sesame seeds, and the sauce all mixed up. This meal is incredibly healthy, full of delicious vitamin-rich greens and mineral-rich seaweed, among other things.

I can't conclude this post without mentioning something about miso. It's more than just the main ingredient in your soup at a sushi restaurant. Miso is a Japanese word that means "fermented beans". Miso is usually found in the form of a thick paste, and the beans used during fermentation are almost always soybeans. During the soybean fermentation process, grains like barley, rice, or buckwheat might be added to achieve a certain flavor or other desired attribute, but in most situations, soybeans serve as the basis for miso fermentation (Source). There are so many types of miso, ranging from mild-flavored mellow white miso (that's usually what your miso soup in a sushi restaurant is made of) to medium barley miso, to a rich tasting red or brown rice miso (like the miso used in this here sauce recipe). There is even a soy-free version made with chickpeas. Miso is an extraordinarily healthy food. It has numerous antioxidant, probiotic, and anti-cancer benefits. No wonder why the Japanese people (who consume loads of the stuff) live so long! It's a superfood! It's worth noting that I always buy organic miso paste because it's made of soybeans, which sadly are almost always genetically modified, and I refuse to eat GMO foods. So while I advocate for eating all organic and/or local food, I especially urge you to only consume organic soy products, and that includes miso. 

Bibimbop with Red Miso Sauce
(There are really no set amounts to this recipe. Basically, make lots of vegetables and if you have any leftovers, serve them with more rice for other meals throughout the rest of the week.)

The Rice:
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups water

Prepare short grain brown rice by combining one cup uncooked rice to two cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover 30-40 minutes until the rice is cooked and all water is absorbed. Set aside

The Vegetables and Toppings: (Use as much or as little as you want and season to taste. I used all of these vegetables and loved the combination, but feel free to add or omit anything)

-steamed broccoli florets
-blanched baby bok choy
-thinly sliced zucchini (I used a mandolin to make them super thin) lighlty sauteed in sesame oil, 1 tbs fresh garlic, and 1 tbs  fresh ginger, plus a pinch of sea salt
-shiitake mushrooms (de-stemmed and sliced) lightly cooked in sesame oil, 1 tbs garlic, and 1 tbs ginger, plus a pinch of sea salt
- 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned, then marinated in equal parts rice vinegar and maple syrup
 for 15 minutes
- organic tofu, cubed
-scallions, sliced thinly
-nori seaweed, cut into strips, for garnish
-sesame seeds, for garnish

Prepare all of the vegetables and put them on a large plate or platter, so that later, you can top your rice bowls with as many toppings as you like

The Sauce: (makes about 1 cup of sauce, enough for 2-3 bibimbop bowls)

1/2 cup organic red miso paste
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
toasted sesame oil to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon)

Combine the sauce ingredients in a blender or food process and blend until smooth.

Assembling the Bibimbop Bowls:
Spoon your desired amount of rice into your bowl. Top with as much sauce as you want. Add the vegetables, tofu, kimchee, and top with sesame seeds and scallion. Mix it all up and enjoy!

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blueberry Apricot Crisp

I've gone blueberry picking three times over the past week. I've picked 26 pints of them. It's safe to say that I'm a happy woman. And my refrigerator and freezer is overflowing with them. And I'm going on Saturday to pick some more. Blueberry season only lasts a few weeks out of the entire year, so I need to stash away as many as I possibly can! Yes, I know I'm crazy.
My favorite way to enjoy them is simple: fill a bowl with fresh blueberries and eat. But I figured with all of these blueberries coming out of my ears, I had to at least bake something with them. So, being the amazingly creative super boring baker that I am, a crisp was made. I threw in some fresh apricots for good measure. And I'm  not gonna lie, but I ate almost the entire thing for lunch today. Hey, blueberry season comes around only once a year and I'm here to make the most of it.
Yesterday, I wrote about a raw fruit crumble that was absolutely lovely, so today I figured I share with you a cooked version. This is a lighter version of your typical fruit crisp. There's no flour, which means it's gluten free. And it uses coconut oil instead of butter, which makes it vegan. And finally, as with every dessert I make, there is no refined sugar in this crisp. Pure maple syrup all the way, baby!

Blueberry Apricot Crisp 

For the filling:
2 pints blueberries
3 apricots, sliced
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3 tsp arrowroot powder

For the topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger

1. Put blueberries and apricots in an 8"x8" square baking dish

2. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup maple syrup with 3 tsp arrowroot powder and stir with a fork very well until there are no clumps. Pour this mixture over the berries in the baking dish and toss to combine. Put the baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until the berries are bubbly.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the topping ingredients and toss well. Pour onto a parchment paper- lined baking sheet and bake in the 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring once to promote even cooking. Remove from the oven when the granola topping is nicely browned and crunchy. Set aside until the fruit is done baking.

4. When the fruit is done baking and is nice and bubbly, remove it from the oven and top it with the granola mixture. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before eating.

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Raw Fruit Crumble

My refrigerator is bursting with summer fruits right now. Thanks to an unusually warm spring, local peaches and blueberries are in their full glory and I couldn't be any happier. I pair those with blackberries, strawberries, and super sweet cantaloupe for a gorgeous and antioxidant-packed snack.

I was super excited to see the recipe for this raw fruit crumble because I thought it was just gorgeous, plus I had all the fruit on hand to make it. I left out the almond cream because I didn't have any soaked almonds ready to go, but that looks so fantastic and I must try it soon. Check out the amazingly simple and refreshing recipe here!

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

 I know it's been a little while since I updated on my raw food week and I figured it was time to report back on my experience. It went quite well and included lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (obviously). I felt good...like I was eating really simply and clean. It was a nice time to sort of cleanse my system. But honestly, I'm glad it's over. Here's why:

1. I missed cooking.
I didn't enjoy having to use my food processor for almost every meal I made and most of the dishes I ate just didn't really satisfy me in terms of taste the way cooked foods do. Don't get me wrong, I love raw foods and believe that they definitely should be included in and with meals, but 100% raw dishes just didn't do it for me.

2. I felt like I was hungry (almost) all the time.
I say almost because there were times throughout the week where I felt really great and satisfied and full of energy. But other times, I just felt like I needed more. I think this is pretty common with newbies who try eating raw (like me) and I get that. It takes time to learn what works for your body and one week to figure it out just isn't long enough.

3. My digestion wasn't what it normally is...and normally my digestion is perfect.
This was by far the most surprising aspects of the week. Without getting into the territory of too much information, let's just say that I wasn't as regular as I normally am. This was very weird to me. I mean, I was eating so much fresh foods, full of fiber and other good things. I was drinking plenty of water. I was doing everything right (I thought). Maybe I wasn't eating enough? Maybe my system needed time to adjust? Who knows, but now that I'm back to eating my normal way of eating, I've been doing fine.

4. I don't believe in restriction, diets, food fads, and elimination of nutrients.
A diet consisting of all fruit and little fat is not healthy. A diet consisting of all animal products and no fruits and vegetables is not healthy. You get my drift. I believe in seasonal eating, the joy of preparing food and feeding others, and I enjoy tasting and trying new and healthy delicious things. Why should I have to say "no" to a wonderfully prepared bean salad filled with roasted vegetables and fresh herbs because it's not raw? What's wrong with a local, organic, free range poached egg with a gorgeous orange yolk full of absorbable vitamin A nestled over top of a bed of gently cooked local kale and collard greens? For me, eating the way that works for my body will take precedence over what any diet book, fad, or other people practicing diet doctrines may say. I eat a whole foods diet, built upon an abundance of fresh (and local during this wonderful summer season) produce, prepared in a variety of ways. That's what works for me.
So there you have my reasons. And I will leave you today with a recipe that I actually enjoyed during my raw food week. I actually make this salad all the time at work and people seem to really enjoy it. It's really adaptable and I like the idea of using cauliflower as a replacement for grain. I may experiment with adding other vegetables and herbs to this salad. I think it would be quite tasty.

Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh (makes a very large bowl of tabbouleh)

1 small head (or half of a large) of cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 large handfuls grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, diced
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
one quarter of a red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice of 2 lemons
sea salt and black pepper to taste
lime slices and sprouts for garnish (optional)

Put chopped pieces of cauliflower in food processor. Pulse until cauliflower is the consistency of couscous. Add the processed cauliflower to a large bowl with all of the other prepared ingredients. Toss well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with sprouts and lime if desired.

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest