Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lentil Tomato Sauce

An all time classic. Great for carbo loading and boosting protein intake.

2 TBLS Safflower/Sun Flower Oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cup of green lentils
1/2 TSP dried thyme
1 can (28 oz)diced tomatoes
1 can (3 oz) diced green chiles
1 TBS instant broth
2/3 cup low- fat plain yogurt
1 1/2 pounds linguine or spaghetti

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, wine, and mushrooms;cook stirring occasionally, until softended. Add in the garlic. Add the lentils and thyme; cook stirring until lentils are coated, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the diced tomatoes and chiles. Add 4 cups of water and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly,and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender and starting to break down, about 45 minutes.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. While the sauce is cooking cook pasta to your favorite al dente softness.
5. Toss with sauce and stir in yogyrt, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

1/2 pink grapefruit
1 TSP Fresh Fennel
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
2TSP Salt
1 TBS Black, freshly ground pepper
1 TSP Chile Pepper

1. Juice the grape fruit half.
2. Combine the Grapefruit juice, olive oil, and rice vinegar until well combined
3. Add the salt, pepper, Chile pepper, and fennel. Mix until well combined.
4. Serve over salad, fish, vegetables. Get ready for a shock of YUM!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beet Pea & Curried Rice

3 Large Beets
3 Cups Jasmine Rice
1 sprig of rosemary
1 lemon
1 TBS Chile Pepper
1 TSP Cayenne
1 TBS Curry Powder
1/2 Cup Frozen or fresh peas


1. Peel and cut beets into 1 inch quarters. Place in a large pot with a vegetable steamer.
2. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze one half over the beets, and slice the other half into 5-6 moon shaped slices. Place the sliced lemon on top of the beets. Add the sprig of rosemary. Steam on high for 45-50 minutes.
3. Mean while, prep the rice in a rice cooker, or on the stove.
4. Once the rice is complete, add 1-2 TBS of cooking oil to a large frying pan at medium heat.
5. Add the rice to the heated oil. Add the curry, chile pepper, and cayenne. Add the peas after you have mixed the spices into the rice. Cook over medium heat, turning frequently. The rice turns out the best when it is allowed to crisp a bit in the oil.
6. Once the beets are cooked through, remove the lemon slices and rosemary and mix the beets into the rice.
7. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Can be served immediately or served cold as a salad. Great for lunch at work!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goat Cheese Sweet Potatoes

A tasty snack for any day of the week. This used to be my favorite snack after a long day at work when I was in college. So satisfying, and so easy to make. I would buy all the ingredients from Trader Joes- easy and cheap and still tasty. Just the way I like it. Enjoy!

1 LB sweet potatoes
1/4 cup water
1 TBS honey/agave nectar
1 package of fresh goat cheese

Equipment: 1 deep frying pan, 1 spatula

1. Cut sweet potatoes into rounds (peeling optional)
2. Place the cut sweet potatoes into a deep frying pan with the water and honey/agave nectar.
5. Cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, turning the potatoes as they brown.
6. Cook the potatoes until they are just beginning to be soft, but not mushy.
7. Remove from the frying pan and place on serving ware.
8. Place a dollop of goat cheese on top of each potato round. Serve immediately. Great as a snack or appetizer.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Easy Chard Pesto Pasta

Since I am drowning in winter greens I have become a master of hiding the greens in everyday food. The recipe that follows is by far my best easy, quick, and tasty dish I have thrown Chard into. Great way to boost your antioxidants!

1/2 1 yellow onion
1 bunch of Chard (about 1/2 a pound)
1 bunch of fresh basil
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
One Clove Fresh Garlic
1/4 cup green or kalamata olives
Dash of Cayenne
Salt to Taste

1. In a food processor dice the garlic and the onion.
2. Add in the basil, olive oil, and pine nuts and run processor until well combined.
3. Slowly Add in each chard leaf. Grind until well combined all pieces of chard are very small.
4. Add in the olives and cayenne and combine.
5. Transfer all of the contents from the food processor to a heated sauce pan. Add more olive oil if needed.Heat and cook for 10 minutes until the green tone turns a slightly deeper tone.
6. Toss with rigatoni, spaghetti, or any of your favorite pastas. Also great as a spread for sandwiches.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pea Shoot & Smoked Bacon Soup

I received pea shoots in my CSA box last week and didn't know what to do with them. Fortunately they sent a recipe along with the veggies. Below is verbatim the recipe, except with minor changes to the meat contents. You can make this using chicken broth and traditional bacon.

1 onion
3 Slices of Smoked "bacon" (I use Morning Star)
1 Medium Potato
1 Tbs Olive Oil
50g Pea Shoots (1 pack)
1 pint veggie broth
1 tbs sour cream

1. Finley chop the onion and fry in the olive oils in a saucepan for 5 minutes,
2. Chop the "bacon" into small pieces and add to the saucepan. Fry for for 5 minutes until the onions start to brown.
3. Peel the potato and chop in to 1cm square dice. Add the potato and the veggie broth to the saucepan. Boil for 1- minutes until the potato is soft.
4. Place the contents of the saucepan into a blender of food processor, and blend until smooth.
5. Then add the pea shoots and blend until a smooth, bright green, thick soup consistency is reached.
6. Return to pan and reheat.
7. Serve in bowls with a swirl of sour cream. Serve with warm bread.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Apple Tarts

I made these tasty apple tarts on a whim when I had too many apples and a need for a dessert. These are quick and turn out really tasty. Serve with vanilla ice cream and a dash of cinnamon on top.


2 Cups White All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Water or Milk
6 TBS Butter
1 TSP Salt

1.5 lbs Pink Lady or Pinova Apples
1/2 cup water
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 TBS Cinnamon
1/2 TS Ground Cloves
1 TS Nutmeg
1/4 TS Salt


1. Take out butter and let stand. Chop all apples into small chunks.
2. Place all apple chunks into a food processor. Run processor for a few pulses until apples have reduced in size to 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Transfer the apples into a mixing bowl.
4. Add the sugar, water, and spices and salt into the bowl. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
6. Crust: Using food processor again, place the flour, butter, and water, and salt into the food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined.
7. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface.
8. Using a rolling pin roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 cm thick.
9. Slice the dough into 6 equal parts. Cutting in circles works best.
10. Spoon the apple filling into each of the six dough portions.
11. Gather the edges of the dough and purse them together.
12. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is lightly browned.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Baked Brussels Sprouts With Blue Cheese

As part of my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)Box we received 1.5 Lbs of Brussels sprouts this week. As they were very fresh and ready to eat I quickly did some research and came up with this rendition of baked Brussels and blue cheese. Enjoy! It's great with wild rice.

1.5 Lbs of Brussels Sprouts
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice Meyer Lemon
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Butter cut into thin slices
1 TBS of Crumbled Blue Cheese for garnish

1.Pre-Heat Oven to 375 F
2Cut all the Brussels Sprouts into quarters. Place them in an accommodating baking dish. (I used my 5X8 Corning Wear with lid)
3. Pour the olive oil evenly over the Brussels Sprouts
4. Pour the lemon juice evenly over the Brussels
5. Add the Salt and the pepper
6. Mix the contents until the Brussels are evenly covered with all the ingredients.
7. Place the thinly cut butter slices evenly on the top of the Brussels. Cover the Brussels and place them in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the Brussels are tender.
8. Once cooked place Brussels on your serving platters, or dinner plates, and add the desired amount of blue cheese to the top of the Brussels.
9. Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Well, I missed a week of posting. Didn't mean to, just got way too busy with the month of January. I'm back and ready for some posting action. Something new and exciting this month is I joined a CSA,or a Community Supported Agriculture delivery service. Since we are vegetarians we get one of the largest boxes of fruits and veggies delivered each week.It comes right to our door every Thursday. Quite a surprise since we don't know what to expect to receive. It's been three weeks since we started and we have received everything from Chard, Kale, Winter Greens, Carrots, Red Onions, Garlic, Russet Potatoes, Napa Cabbage, Leeks, and Fennel. We have also received lots of yummy fruit including apples, pears,and oranges, and tangerines. It's been a little difficult to change the way I cook and shop. Before I would make a list of recipes I wanted to cook and show accordingly. Now I have a box full of goodies I have to figure out what to do with. It's an adventure, but it's great!

If you live in or around the Bay Area check out Farm Fresh To You, they are awesome, reliable, and friendly. Totally worth looking into. I will try from now on listing which of my ingredients were made with my Farm Fresh to You Box Veggies. A culinary treat.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cafe Gratitude- Berkeley

What are you grateful for? It read at the bottom of my tea cup as I took a sip of my blueberry rooibos tea. I'm grateful the opportunity to eat at the raw, vegan,alternative Cafe Gratitude.

The atmosphere is "chill" and relaxed with a hippy and radical vibe. I sat at a communal table wit a few locals who engaged in simple conversation as they peacefully sipped their raw brewed cup of joe. All set with a robust raw-foods menu and my hemp napkin I was ready to enjoy myself and the experience of Cafe Gratitude.

The specials of the day included: "I am festive," a raw dehydrated spinach enchilada with a cashew pate, "I am Blissful," a stuffed "tuna" avocado and a side salad, and a multitude of other positively named foods. It took me and my friends some time choose which item to feast upon for lunch. I went with the stuffed avocado, my one friend went with the "I am Cheerful" raw burger, and my other friend went with the "I am Graceful" Indian curry with red rice.

The service was quick and efficient and we were soon munching on our raw delights like three plump rabbits...or at least, that's how we felt as we chewed on the clover and sunflower sprouts that adorned the tops of our salads. The stuffed avocado was delicious and pungent with an actual "tune" flavor. The "I am Graceful" had a spicy kick and was the most filling of the three meals. The raw "burger" was small in proportion but surprisingly filling.

We splurged on dessert, and this is truly where Cafe Gratitude shines. We ordered the special of the day a chocolate mocha layer cake and a slice of the key lime pie. All raw. No cooking. And absolutely amazing! By the end of our excursion we had racked-up quite a bill, however it was worth every penny. The experience alone is part of the fun. At the end of our meal our server asked us the question of the day, "What are you blissful for?" and my answer? I am blissful for my full belly and the time well spent with friends.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

1 Small Yellow Onion
1 TBS Safflower or Grape Seed Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Jalapeno
1 Pablono Pepper
3 Tomatoes
2 Boca Chicken Patties or 1/2 a bag of frozen Morning Star Chicken Strips
1 Can of Crushed Tomatoes
4 Dried Red Chile Peppers
1 TSP Cumin
4 Cups of Veggie Broth
2 Cups Water
1 Lime
1/2 Cup Cilantro
1 Cup Cheddar or Jack Cheese
1 Avocado
6 Stale Corn Tortillas
2 TBS Safflower or Grape Seed Oil

Pan Fried Chip Strips:
Prepare the 6 stale corn tortillas by cutting them into 1/2 inch strips and set aside while prepping the pan for frying. In a frying pan add 2 TBS of Safflower or Grape Seed Oil (anything that can handle high heat) and turn the stove onto medium heat. After a a minute, gently place the tortilla strips into the hot oil. Be careful as the oil will splatter. Saute the strips in the oil for 3 to 5 minutes. Shake a little salt over the strips. Remove when they have begun to crisp and turn a light brown. Remove the chip strips from the pan and place onto a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Set aside for later.

Griffin Bird Says: If you do not have stale corn tortillas you can use fresh or frozen tortillas instead. In an oven or convection toaster oven, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the tortillas on a cookie sheet. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until dry to the touch.

In a large pot place 1 TBS Safflower or Grape Seed oil. Turn the stove onto medium heat. Chop the yellow onion into 1 inch squares. Place into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Chop or crush the garlic with a garlic press. Add to the onions and cook for 1 minutes. Next, chop the Pablono Pepper and the three tomatoes into 1 inch pieces. Add them to the pot and simmer with the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. While those items are cooking, bring a cup of water to a full boil. I use an electric teapot. In a small bowl add the 4 dried red Chile peppers. Poor the boiling water over the peppers and cover with a clean dish towel. let stand for 15-20 minutes. With a clean knife slice the Jalapeno in half and remove the seeds. Cut the Jalapeno into very small rounds. Add the sliced Jalapeno and the cumin to the soup. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, veggie broth, and extra water to the contents of the pot. Cook for 15 minutes. When the Dried Red Chile peppers are soft, remove them from their bowl and chop them into very small pieces. Add the Red Chile pieces and their water to the soup pot. Cut the boca chicken into strips and add directly to the soup. Cook the soup for another 5 minutes. While the soup cooks, prepare your serving bowls. In each bowl place a handful of the Chip Strips. Grate the cheese and set aside. Rinse and chop the cilantro and set aside. Slice the avacado and set aside. To assemble to entre, poor a ladel of soup over the chip strips. Add 1/4 cup of the grated cheese on top and a handful of cilantro. Add a few slices of avacado and place a few lime quarters on the side of each bowl. Serve and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Vegetarian Hungarian Mushroom Soup

I love mushrooms and this was the first soup I ever learned how to make well. My original recipe came from the Moose Wood Cookbook, but over time I have adjusted this to my pallet. There's something about mushrooms and spice that make the winter months so comforting. One more soup to celebrate the chill in the are.

2 Tbs Olive Oil or Sunflower oil
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 cup sliced onions
32 Oz Fresh Mushrooms- Sliced
1 Tbs Dried Dill (or 3-4 Tbs freshly minced- or to taste)
2 Tbs Mild Paprika
1/2 Tsp All Spice
1-2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
2 Tsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
4-5 Tbs Flour
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup Milk or Plain Soy Milk
1/2-1 cup sour cream
Cilantro or Parsley for Topping

1. Pour oil into a large pot. Add wine and onions and saute over medium heat from 5 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms, dill, paprika, all spice, and cayenne pepper. Stir and cover. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Stir in the lemon juice and add the salt to taste
4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir constantly. Cook another 5-10 minutes over low heat.
5. Add the water, cover and cook about 15 minutes. Stir often.
6. Stir in the Soy Milk, reduce heat to low heat if you haven't all ready done so. Add more salt if needed
7. Whisk in the sour cream. Keep soup warm, but don't boil the soup at this point otherwise the milk products will curdle.
8. Serve with a topping of cilantro or parsley

Griffin Says:
Don't have lemons? Use a little Rice Vinegar to get that zing. Star by adding 1/2 tsp and increase to the taste you seek.