SPICY RED LENTIL-YAM SOUP
This light soup, with its gorgeous golden colour, is a nutri-yummy meal-starter any time of the year. It is also a most pleasant way to add to your (and your family's) vitamin A and protein account.
3 - inch piece wakame
8 cups water
2 medium yams, peeled and cut into 1 - inch cubes
1 cup red lentils
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 large bay leaves
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin or to taste
1 tsp ground coriander or to taste
3 tbsp organic soy sauce
1-2 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
Finely chopped dill or curly parsley, for garnish
- Soak the wakame in a bit of warm water for eight minutes, and cut into 1/4 - inch pieces.
- In a large pot, place the eight cups water, yams, lentils, onions, garlic, bay leaves, ginger, and wakame; cover, bring to a boil, and cook on medium heat for 40-50 minutes.
- Cool slightly, remove the bay leaves, and purée with a hand-held electric mixer, or in a blender or food processor.
- Pour the soup back into the pot, add the cumin, coriander, soy sauce and vinegar, adjust seasoning, and simmer for another eight minutes.
- Garnish with dill or parsley and serve.
- For party-time or special occasions, serve hot in mugs or in elegant china cups.
- In summer serve chilled.
Yields about 2 cups; serves 6 – 8 as an appetizer.
All types of mushrooms beckon us today at the stores, from simple white button mushrooms to more exotic and strange-looking creatures. Their distinctive, strong flavours enhance many a dish.
This pâté makes a delectable appetizer, using 1/4 – 1/3 cup pâté for each portion, served on a lettuce leaf and colourfully decorated, or as a tasty snack on crackers, rice cakes or bread.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 lb coarsely sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup raw organic walnuts
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms until onions become translucent (about eight minutes).
- In a food processor, chop the walnuts, add the mushrooms and onions, salt and pepper, and process until well blended.
- Transfer to a bowl, adjust seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.
For the weight watchers, the yo-yo dieters and the health-conscious, place a dollop of this mouth-watering pâté on a medium, firm lettuce leaf, roll up and snack to your heart's content.
BEYOND THE RAINBOW SALAD
No veggies, raw or cooked, are safe from my passion for this vita-packed, mix 'n match salad. It is especially good for those poor souls who don't like vegetables but need their immune-building properties.
4 cups shredded packed romaine lettuce
1/4 cup shredded packed radicchio
1/4 cup shredded packed Belgian endive
1/3 cup finely sliced purple onion
2 - inch piece English cucumber, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1 small carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1 celery stalk, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1/8 cup finely chopped dill
2-3 tbsp flaxseed oil
3 tbsp brown rice vinegar or 1 – 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tbsp dried marjoram
- In a large bowl, place all the vegetables and dill and toss well.
- Pour the oil and vinegars and marjoram over the salad, toss well, adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
For best results, the greens in this salad should be fresh, crisp, and completely dry.
BEYOND THE RAINBOW VARIATIONS:
More color in your salad means more energy for you, and adds to your daily vitamin and mineral account. Add to this salad any of the following according to your taste: finely sliced raw mushrooms, finely grated raw or cooked beets, yellow or red sweet peppers, cut into fine strips. You can also sneak in some steamed kale or broccoli. Served with some kind of grains, pasta or wholesome bread, this salad can become a main course.
SHORT-SHRIFT RISOTTO-STYLE RISOTTO
Whenever the word "style" appears behind a food, we know that it's not the real thing. Risotto is the kind of dish that supposedly lends itself to fun-in-the-kitchen-with-your-guests; where they all hang out in your large, state-of-the-art Smart-kitchen. While some of the guests take endless turns adding stock to and stirring the risotto, others prepare the garlic roasted croutons for the salad. The artistic ones among them decide which colour scheme to use for the edible flowers. Well, I have news for you; this is not my idea of fun with my guests. I like my kitchen and I like my guests, but never the twain shall meet. If I don't have time to prepare dinner for them, I don't invite them. Also, my kitchen is rather smallish; you can't even swing a big head of lettuce in it. My short-shrift risotto needs only one short-order cook, and I have developed a basic recipe -- good any time -- provided you have the required ingredients prepared and on hand. I call it ‘risotto' because I like the name, and I hope the Culinary Police won't come ‘round and revoke my license!
2 cups KOMBU-SHIITAKE STOCK or VEGETABLE STOCK, or water
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried crushed garlic flakes
A few pinches ground cumin
Organic soy sauce to taste
1 tsp dried parsley or – if you are fresh-obsessed like me – 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil.
- Add the brown rice, salt, onion powder, garlic flakes, cumin, soy sauce and parsley, stir well, cover and simmer for five minutes, or until heated through.
- Adjust seasoning and serve.
HELPFUL HINT: If you don't have Kombu-Shiitake Stock or Vegetable Stock on hand, substitute with a mixture of water, soy sauce and seasoning to taste.
- You may add any cooked vegetables (especially green ones) or leftover ones to this basic recipe at step 2.
- If you add tofu cubes to this dish, or serve it with a bean side salad, you have added to your daily protein account and have earned, perhaps not air miles but, sugar-free brownie points.
SPICY GLAZED PEARS Serves 8
These divine-tasting pears are wonderfully light and refreshing to end a festive meal and make a classic signature dessert. You may keep the stems on the pears; they are not for eating, but apparently the food-style mavens seem to think that's elegant.
4 large anjou or bosc pears, totally ripe
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to rub on the pears as soon as they are peeled
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2-inch piece ginger
2 sticks cinnamon
5 whole cloves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- Peel pears and try to keep the stems on.
- With your fingers, cover the pears with lemon juice, so they won't turn brown.
- Halve each pear, carefully remove the core and reserve.
- In a medium pot, combine the water, wine, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves and maple syrup, cover and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat, add the pears, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- With a spatula, transfer the pears to a serving dish that has a one-inch rim or more.
- Strain, reserve the cooking liquid and discard the spices.
- Return liquid to the pot and bring back to a boil.
- Mix the arrowroot with a bit of water and pour into the pot, stirring continuously until liquid has thickened.
- Pour the sauce over the pears, cool and refrigerate to set.
TO PREPARE INDIVIDUAL DESSERT PLATES:
Place one pear half, cut-side down, on each plate and make sure it is amply covered with the sauce. Add a dollop of chocolate-flavoured tofu ice cream on the side.