Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Brazil Nut Topping

Organic heirloom tomatoes with persian cucumbers, red onions, basil, EVOO, balsamic, and I am Focused Brazil Nut Topping.

If you know local Bay Area restaurants, you have probably guessed that the" I am Focused" Brazil Nut topping is a recipe from Cafe Gratitude. I'm embarrased to say, I haven't eaten at their restaurants, but I did check out their cookbook from the library, I Am Grateful.

Cafe Gratitude serves raw, vegan food and today I created their very simple "I Am Focused" Brasil Nut "Cheese". It's just raw brazil nuts, chopped garlic, and salt, processed until fluffy.

I have to say is extremely flavorful and definitely a great vegan substitute for cheese. Above, I used it as a topping for a tomato salad, but it is also incredibly tasty "spread" on bread (the nuts have enough oil to make this workable, despite the grainy appearance above). And, super simple!

While I'm not ready to restrict my diet to raw vegan, I had a little bout of raw vegan last summer and people actually came up to me and commented on how radiant my dewy skin was.

Other ideas for this: I'm thinking of using it to top spinach-stuffed portabellos! Would be awesome on baked potatoes. In the cookbook, it's the base cheese for raw pizza.

What would you use it for?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Iron Person Soba Noodle Salad

God, this was perfect! Soba noodles with swiss chard, baby bok choy, scallions, garlic, ginger, savory smoked tofu (Wildwood), cilantro, soy sauce, 1 tsp peanut butter (Skippy smooth), mirin, peanut oil, toasted sesame oil, and black and white sesame seeds anda little RCP. I winged it with the ingredients (in other words, I didn't measure them), went very heavy on the swiss chard, and the result was perfection, sensational, better than I dreamed!

This soba noodle salad recipe has been waiting to be born for at least a month. It's been on my recipe "board" in my kitchen for at least two and I've even cooked a batch of soba noodles, run out of time, and.... well, you know, sometime life interrupts your plans.

This was soooo good I was tempted to make a second batch after I polished off the first. I was going to have this for lunch tomorrow, but it was just too good not to eat.

Why "iron person"? I'm feeling a little bruised, tired, and, well, anemic, so this was built around high iron vegetables. I feel stronger already!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Simple (but addictive) Salad I had this salad last night and now I'm having it again tonight. It's not laziness, it's addiction.

I wondered whether to post this one at all. But, then, I've posted about my cheese & tomato sandwich, and who doesn't crave the enjoyment of a few simple ingredients?

A meal-sized salad, based on a caprese salad, but with a generous helping of chopped romaine lettuce, a sliced Persian cucumber and some pinenuts...heck, I didn't even notice the lack of basil. EVOO and balsamic, coarse hand harvested fleur de sel, fresh ground pepper, heirloom tomatoes, and pinenuts with fresh mozzarella.

I really could eat this all summer long! Can't skip the special salt and a glass of local Pinot Noir made this, well, addictive.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vin Antico, San Rafael

I had dinner last night at a small Italian wine bar called Vin Antico in the heart of San Rafael's 4th Street. The dish above was probably the best egg dish I've ever had, Uova al Forno, eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce with capers and parmesan. I rarely eat egg white, but this was the kind of dish where one cleans the bowl and wipes every last drop up with bread. I'd definitely go back, just for this dish, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

It was a busy night in San Rafael, and perhaps that impacted the service, which was not as attentive as one might have expected for a small wine bar. The place was hopping and I was impressed with the servers and bartenders knowledge of the wines and appropriate pairings, but the food was slow to appear, some items had to be asked for a second time, and when my friend's papparadelle with beef ragu arrived, it had to be sent back as being well beyond al dente. Even on a second attempt, it wasn't quite right, but edible, and my friend was hungry!

I started with the spinach salad with while truffle oil and gorgonzola dolcette, topped with the lightest of light potato chips. My picture was blurry, but the potato chips initially overwhelmed the delcious salad (they completely covered it). Better as a garnish, but I ate the lot anyway.

We also enjoyed the flatbread (alas late with the entree) with ricotta and balsamic. My friend loved the ricotta, I found it somewhat tasteless.

There were many other items I might have ordered on this menu, but, if you like eggs, you've simply got to try Vin Antico's Uova al Forno. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Sausage"-Stuffed Portobellos

As today, it wasn't too hot to even think about heating food, I made a recipe I've been meaning to try for ages: "Sausage"-Stuffed Portobellos over a bed of lightly sauted spinach.

(Ever crave a nice green leafy iron? I do!)

Super simple and very tasty! For presentation, I should have grated the Parmesan to a powder, but the taste was great!

I lightly sauted 1/2 clove of crushed garlic and a little finely chopped fresh rosemary in a little extra-virgin olive oil. I added 2 TBS of Gimme Lean sausage, and sauted for a few minutes, breaking the "sausage" up into pieces.

I peeled and broiled the ports, upside-down, brushed with a mix of olive oil and balsamic for 3-4 minutes. Blotted juices with a paper towel, then filled the ports with the sausage mix and topped with grated Parmesan. Broiled for 2 minutes.

I placed the spinach in a colander and poured boiling water over it. Heated the other 1/2 clove pressed garlic in a little olive oil and added the spinach, along with a pinch of Fleur de Sel and grind of black pepper. Plated the spinach with a pinch of red chili peppers, and topped with the stuffed portobellos.

Friday, June 06, 2008

My (almost) Perfect Tomato Salad

An amazing tomato salad with red, orange, and yellow tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green garlic, avocado, fresh mozzarella, basil, pine nuts, sea salt, fresh black pepper, EVOO, and balsamic!

I could eat this every night, honestly! And, of course, you need some bread to soak up the juices.

"But, wait," you say " the title says (almost) perfect?"

Well, the green garlic 'ain't quite so green anymore. Check it out:

It was quite a bit stronger than I estimated, so I put a little more in than I should have. Oh, well, the vampires are outta luck tonight!

I'm really loving my Fleur de Sel, hand-harvested sea salt. It makes the tomatoes sing!

What are your favorite salts?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Caprese Open Faced Sandwich

It certainly seems like summertime...and the living is easy. Perhaps I should rename this blog, I'm Lazy and I Eat?

I seem to have been eating out rather a lot lately, and, now the pool has opened for the summer, I have the vaguest sense of regret....but only the vaguest.

A light dinner this evening with the first organic heirloom tomatoes at yesterday's Farmers Market: a toasted slice of La Brea Bakery's Rosemary Olive Oil bread, with sliced organic heirloom tomato, basil leaves, and a modest portion of fresh mozzarella. Topped with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, this was fresh and delicious...and, well, perfect.

The only problem....what could be more perfect than one more !