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Homemade Hummus Is Easy

Homemade Hummus Is Easy

healthy-hummus-recipes  This is such a delicious hummus you’ll want to eat it plain with a spoon, or at least lick your fingers taking out of the blender. We did1 (Watch those blades though!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or even better, dried chick peas, aka garbanzos. If you use dried soak them over night, or at least 12 hours and then cook up before use) – about 2 c
  • ½ c of good quality extra virgin olive oil (always, but always use extra virgin, first cold pressed, and if possible organic – this is worth the extra expenditure.)
  • Juice of 2 organic lemons
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (4 is very garlicy, I use 2 smaller cloves and 2 big cloves)
  • Sea salt – a few grinds, can be pink Himalayan sea salt for best nutrients
  • ½ tsp of cumin
  • Sprinkle a shake of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Splash (1 tbs at most) of apple cider vinegar – (The best and most healthful is Braggs organic unfiltered raw with the mother). A bit unconventional I know, but just a splash gives a nice enhancing dimension.

Directions:

Rinse the chick peas well in a strainer, make sure they are all good and there are no stones. If you don’t rinse them in cold water before you use them they tend to give you gas.

Put all of these ingredients into a blender and pulse until blended, and we like it a little chunky. If you prefer totally smooth, you may need to open the blender up and give a stir or two before you finish the blending.

Then, I like to add a finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy with your favorite raw veggies like cucumbers, carrots, sweet peppers, celery. Other great accompaniments – olives, nice toast, pita triangles, whatever you prefer!

Bon appetite!

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Sweet Potato Cilantro Onion Soup

Sweet Potato Cilantro Onion Soup

2 pre-baked sweet potatoes – sliced in semi-circle rounds

1 small onion (Vidalia) – chopped roughly (or ½ a medium one)

2-3 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 c – cilantro leaves removed from the stems

1 c – chicken broth or vegetable broth

3 c – filtered water

4 tb coconut oil

½ c of walnuts

½ c of Daiya chedder cheese

1 tsp of black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-bake your sweet potatoes at 350 for an hour (can be done the night before).

Sautee chopped onion in 2 tb of coconut oil. When translucent and fragrant, add in the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute or so.

Add 1-3/4 of the sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly to coat with coconut oil and sautéed onion garlic mixture for 3 minutes on medium heat. (Save the ¼ sweet potato to add to final bowl)

Add 1 c of broth and bring to a boil.  In the meantime grind the walnuts and cheese in a food processor or Vitamix blender until they become blended crumbs.

When boiling turn down heat to low and add the cilantro (reserve a few leaves to chop and use for garnish), 3 cups of water, black pepper, and walnut cheese crumbs. Stir to combine thoroughly and cook on low for another 5 minutes or so.

Remove from heat and return to the blender, blend until smooth. Add a slice of the sweet potato remaining to each bowl, and chopped cilantro to garnish. 

Bon appétit! 

My Take On Borsht

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My take on borscht ~ With ages old Russian heritage on my side, my improvisation was pretty tasty if I do say so  myself.  It can be vegan or not, up to you.

Ingredients:

  • Onion – ½ medium yellow onion
  • Garlic – 2-3 cloves chopped
  • Celery – 2-3 stalks chopped
  • Olive oil – 2 tbs
  • Chicken broth (I do part broth and part h2O, or all water if vegan) 5 cups
  • Basil (dried ok) – ¼ tsp
  • Oregano (dried ok) ¼ tsp
  • Sea salt and pepper (a few grinds of each)
  • Beets (peel and chop into med. chunks) (about 3 small beets)
  • Carrots (peel and slice into med. chunks) (2 carrots)
  • Sweet potato (peel and chop into med. chunks) (1 potato)
  • Kale bunch of leaves, washed and sliced thinly
  • Cilantro bunch of leaves, separate from stems and chop
  • Parsley, bunch of leaves, separate from stems and chop
  • Lemon – optional (squeeze juice from half a lemon into soup before serving)

Directions:

Cook down the onion, garlic, and celery in some olive oil, when translucent stir in basil and oregano and heat for a moment before adding liquid.

Add water or chicken broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil.

Add chopped beets, carrots and sweet potato, and turn down heat to med-low.

Simmer for 30 mins. (check after 30 and if all root veggies are fork tender – add the kale and cilantro.)

Simmer for another 3-5 mins. Can serve with a squeeze of lemon and add parsley and a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appétit! Or the Russian equivalent, Приятного аппетита! (Prijatnovo appetita!)

Delicious Guacamus (Homemade Guacamole & Hummus)

I never know whether I love guacamole or hummus more, but I do know that when you put either one in front of me I can’t stop eating them!! 

The nice thing is that avocados are good fat, which we need some of in our bodies.  Bad fats increase your cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats have the opposite effect, protecting your heart and supporting overall health. In fact, good fats—such as omega-3 fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, play a huge role in helping your brain function– they manage your moods, keep you on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.  These fats are absolutely essential not only to your physical health but your emotional well-being.  And hummus, well… chick peas are a very tastey source of protein for vegans, (tahini is excellent nutrient density too, however, it’s not included/needed in this recipe).

Recently, one of my clients has had a financial setback so he’s taken to feeding me after our sessions – not a bad trade off, particularly when your client is a good healthful chef.  I was reminded how easy it is to whip up homemade hummus and so I’ve concocted this variation on some of his specialties.  The name “guacamus,” which is combining ingredients from guacamole and hummus, is coined by a good HS buddy who is very clever and a superb cook himself.

These are estimates on the proportions I used which feed 2 a nice sized portion, (these are also flexible to your taste):

1/3 of a ripe Florida avocado,

1/2 a box of organic chickpeas (rinsed) = 1 cup

1/4-1/3 cup of olive oil,

1/2 a large shallot,

a few pinches sea salt, cayenne, tumeric, black pepper + BLEND. 

Although I didn’t use lemon in this recipe, it would be a great addition – for the above proportions I’d add the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil on top, a few shallot slices, and a parsley leaf. 

Enjoy–an invigorating snack on its own with veggies or other healthful pita/cracker combo, condiment for gourmet sandwiches, accompaniment to salads!

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Miraculous Miso = Anti-Aging Power (Part 1)

I can remember my mom making me miso soup for breakfast when I was little. I didn’t eat cereal very often due to my allergy to dairy products. I think she was looking for ways to sneak in added calcium any way she could. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, this soup is eaten as breakfast in Japan as well.

WHAT IS IT?
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kōjikin, the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, with incredible immune system boosting, anti-cancer, and anti-aging health benefits.

I find that it is one of those fabulous cooking staple items that can be used in oh so many tasty ways. It can flavor sauces as a seasoning, be its own sauce, the base for a soup, make a nice salad dressing… it’s very versatile.

Miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan, and is still very widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking. The taste is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory.

Miso soup is so easy that it is virtually impossible to mess up. It can be made with whatever seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, meat or seafood is at hand. Miso soup can be as light, (with just a few blocks of tofu and some green leafy vegetable or seaweed), or heavy which is almost like a stew.

The other good news is it skirts out of the soy controversy because it’s fermented. Just make sure it’s non-GMO soy, (genetically modified organism) is not healthy. Miso is very easy to purchase in little tubs in the refrigerated section at most regular grocery stores.

RECIPE
4 cups filtered water
1 strip of dried kombu* (*You can do with kombu, or without)
3 tbs miso (white is recommended to start, it’s light)
1-2 sprigs of green onion/scallion (chopped)
1/2 block of tofu cut into bite size cubes the size of dice (firm, non-GMO – also in the refrigerator area of most grocery stores)
1/2 cup wakame another seaweed (also optional, purchase from health food store or Japanese food shop)

I’m going to share both the traditional miso soup recipe first, and then a creative version I made (depicted below).
Dashi option – a kombu stock which serves as a basis for so much of Japanese cuisine, is loaded with glutamates, and infuses everything it touches with a savory deliciousness. Kombu (kelp) is low in calories and high in calcium, minerals and iodine. It can be found in most health food stores, or definitely any Japanese food shops.

*WITH KOMBU TO MAKE “DASHI” – The Broth Base for Traditional Miso Soup
Place the kombu (a seaweed) in the 4c water, and place on a burner set to medium. The longer the water takes to get to hot, the better. Watch the pot carefully, as the kombu should be taken out when it floats to the surface and before the water boils. You’ll notice little bubbles forming at the rim of the pot. After removing the kombu and just as the dashi starts boiling, take the pot off the heat.

Tip: As an alternative, you can also use powdered dashi as a shortcut. Many of Japan’s modern home cooks do! Powdered dashi comes in little foil packages, and has quite a strong flavor. Simply add the powder to anything you are cooking.

While you are making the dashi, (or bringing your plain water to a boil) – Soak ½ cup wakame in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Rinse the reconstituted wakame, roughly chop it, and then add it, along with the tofu, to your 4 cups of hot (dashi, or) water.

Then take a 3 tbs. of your miso of choice and dissolve with just a tablespoon or 2 of the just heated dashi/or water in a bowl. Stir until it’s dissolved completely. You don’t want to boil miso, because it can kill the live beneficial microflora and enzymes.

Then add the tofu, wakame, and rest of the the boiled water (or dashi liquid) to the bowl with your dissolved miso. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serves 4

* * * *
The soup creation depicted below: I didn’t use dashi, nor did I use any of the above ingredients. I made a shitake mushroom broth from boiling some dried shitakes* for a few minutes, added it to the miso broth – no kombu this time – just red miso, which you use less of because it’s stronger tasting and more salty and pungent.

Then I added left overs: chopped broccoli (1/3-c blanched), baby peas (1/3-c blanched), an amazing super grain called quinoa (1/2-c already cooked), and a few cubes of an non-GMO soy cheeze (this is very mild and sweet tasting variety). Voila!

*Shitake mushrooms are packed with flavor but surprisingly low in calories, they also are high in fiber and vitamins B and D. While available fresh, the dried variety has a concentrated, rich mushroom flavor, and a little goes a long way.

You can use miso as the soup broth for many yummy combinations adding great nutrition, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.