I believe in moderation when it comes to raw diets, and take the middle road: during the winter I eat -and recommend- warm foods that have been at least lightly cooked, along with slow cooked soups, stews, and the like. Excess raw food in cold weather can create cold and damp conditions in the body. But when spring rolls around, or when I visit a very warm climate, raw foods tend to come front and center. They are excellent for cleansing purposes, and in the short term can work wonderfully for re-setting our circuits.
Having just returned east from Southern California, I am trapped between longings for warm and raw food. When I'm there, I take advantage of the reasonably warm weather and make green drinks every morning, which unfailingly give me an incredible burst of energy. Greens can also be briefly marinated to tenderize them, as is the case with Mediterranean Marinated Kale. Collards, mustard greens and curly savoy cabbage are all excellent substitutes for the kale in this recipe.
The Ultra Green Smoothie and the Heavy Metals Detox Smoothie are worth a try if you are open to the vibrant flavors of raw leafy greens. The drinks help alkalize our bodies, and are excellent for sluggish digestion. Please remember to ALWAYS use organic greens!
I have a sweet tooth that wants to be taken care of on occasion, so finding ways to satisfy it that are healthy -or at the very least not UN-healthy-has been an ongoing journey. These days I'm flirting with organic coconut butter and its applications are remarkable. My Dreamy Creamy Raw Coconut Cream "Candy" Recipe is the product of a rainy day session in the kitchen, and has a half-dozen variations ranging from Chai Spice to Lemon to Vanilla Nut to Chocolate. This simple recipe is great fun for kids, too. The only challenge is to not eat too much at one time: like fudge, this treat is very rich.
I've been playing in the kitchen with one of my favorite foods: coconut butter. Not to be confused with coconut oil, this rich and delicious blend of whole coconut is called coconut cream, coconut manna and coconut butter by turns. It is delicious spread on toast and in baking, and recently became part of the base for Raw Coconut Macaroons and Raw Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. Both of these recipes offer fun variations, including Chai Spice and Chocolate Mint
When I hear the word Easter I see my aunt's farm. I see the first signs of spring pushing their little heads up out of the earth and forsythia bushes with their delicate yellow flowers. I see the Italian side of my family, my mama Carla, my siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins and our partners and mates gathered in a tumbling, loving jumble of energy. I see the kitchen table laden with good food, and the long, long dinner table set with my great great grandmother's silver and china. We gather, we talk and laugh and eat and catch up, for we are scattered around the country and this is one of the occasions when we gather together. The Easter Feast is inspired by remembrance. I hope you enjoy these recipes that make me think of my family. Mia famiglia.
Happy Easter! Buona Pasqua!
Pea, Mache, and Endive Salad with Sweet Herbs and Lemon Vinaigrette is truly an ode to spring.We love this salad as a pre- or post- main salad course, or as great brunch salad. For dinner it pairs beautifully with roast chicken or fish, or with a beautiful carrot soup for a lighter meal. Brunch pairings include poached eggs,quiche or a frittata. It can be prepared a few hours ahead of time and dressed when serving.
Spring in Southern California means greens of all kinds, and I'm reveling in the bounty coming from my garden. We've been eating kale every day, and this latest recipe for Kale Salad with Artichokes, Cannellini Beans and Herbs is a light and bright celebration of spring that works year round. I made a big batch of this and only dressed part of it with the lemon vinaigrette to be eaten raw. The rest was lightly sautéed with garlic and olive oil the next day to be tossed with pasta. Both ways were equally delicious.
More raw bars coming down the pike! These little treats hit the sweet spot with protein, healthy fats and plenty of energy. Raw Chocolate Banana Bars are the latest in an arsenal that includes Pumpkin Spice, nutrient packed Berry Superfood, light Lemon Coconut, and the original Raw Cashew, Date And Almond Superfood Energy Bars.
My step mom was a francophile of the first order. She taught French, lived in Paris several times during her life, and wrote her dissertation on Anais Nin, with whom she had a long-standing friendship. She also loved French cooking, and kept 3 cookbooks in her house: The Joy of Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2. I have memories of cooking with her as a young girl, and most of them are connected to Julia Child And Simone Beck.
Given that my work is all about the healthier side of cooking, I look to Southern France for the lighter dishes of the Mediterranean, most of which call upon olive oil, herbs, and wine -rather than butter and cream- to bring flavor to foods. Southern French Seafood Provencal is one such recipe, and is a family favorite. It's a wonderful recipe for either entertaining or a family dinner.
Wasabi is a potent, rare, Japanese horseradish with powerful health benefits. It is anti-inflammatory, cleansing to the liver, and contains detoxifying anti-cancer phtyochemicals. Real wasabi is quite expensive, and the Japanese restaurants that heap large nobs of bright green paste on your sushi platter are generally using a bootleg version of horseradish, ground mustard seed and food coloring.
A little of this potent root goes a long way, and Wasabi Aioli is a favorite sauce of mine. This zesty mayonnaise is excellent with grilled fish and meats, veggie burgers, tofu, and tempeh, and makes a great sandwich spread.
One of the things I love most about spring is the return of young greens and salads of all kinds.
Carrots are an excellent food for digestion, the lungs and liver, and are chock full of cleansing properties, as well as a major dose of beta-carotene. A simple salad of grated carrots, chopped parsley, a little olive oil and lemon is a common sight in the south of France, and is a medicinal food feast for spring cleaning our systems. Each ingredient has active properties that help the body heal and cleanse, and a big plus is how tasty it is. Provencal Carrot Salad also keeps well: you can make it ahead of time and add the chopped herbs when serving.
Photo by Jen Hoy