Living the WELL Life

A Fresh Start for 2010

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Well, here we are…the New Year. Don’t let another one pass and find yourself still not making healthy choices…time for change, baby. And with delicious menu plans like this one, how can you resist?  Healthy and delicious? It’s a fresh start, my friends.

Creamy Shiitake Soup
Basmati Rice with Scallions and Lemon
Fried Tofu with Ginger Relish
Hiziki with Burdock, Broccoli Rabe and Lemon
Chocolate Brownies with Macadamia Nuts

Creamy Shiitake Soup

1 yellow onion, diced
8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until tender, thinly sliced
½ cup pearl barley, rinsed well
4 cups spring or filtered water
sea salt
2 teaspoons barley miso
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Place onion, shiitake mushrooms and barley in a soup pot with water and a pinch of salt.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low cook for 35 minutes.  Remove a small amount of broth and dissolve miso.  Stir back into soup and simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes. Serve garnished with scallion.  Makes 4-5 servings.

Basmati Rice with Scallions and Lemon

1 ½ (one half) cups spring or filtered water
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed very well, soaked for at least one hour
sea salt
One half cup fresh shelled peas (or frozen petite peas)
extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
6-8 fresh scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
juice of one half lemon
4-5 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced
grated zest of one half lemon

Place water and drained rice in a pressure cooker and bring to a boil, loosely covered.  Add a generous pinch of salt, seal lid, bring to full pressure and reduce heat to low.  Cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to stand, undisturbed, for 15 minutes more.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.  Bring a pot of water, with a pinch of salt to a boil and cook peas until bright green and just tender, about 1 minute.  Drain well and set aside to cool.

Place a small amount of oil, garlic and scallions in a skillet and turn heat to medium.  When the scallions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for about 30 seconds.  Stir in cooked rice and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add peas, lemon juice, parsley and lemon zest.  Stir to combine, season lightly with salt and stir well.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Fried Tofu with Ginger Relish

Avocado or olive oil
1, 4-ounce block extra firm tofu, 1-inch cubes
ginger relish
avocado oil
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
5-6 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
2-3 red onions, finely minced
generous pinch cumin
sea salt
6-8 leaves fresh basil, finely shredded or ½ teaspoon dried basil
1/4 red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, finely diced
brown rice vinegar

Place enough oil in a skillet to generously cover the bottom.  Turn the heat to medium and when the oil is hot, begin to pan-fry the tofu until golden on each side, about a minute, turning once.  Drain on paper and place tofu in a warm oven.

Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Sauté garlic, ginger and onions, with cumin and a pinch of salt until caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt, stir in basil and red pepper and cook for 1 more minute.  To serve, stir tofu into ginger relish and transfer to a serving platter.  Sprinkle lightly with rice vinegar and serve hot.  Makes 2-3 servings.

Hiziki with Burdock, Broccoli Rabe and Lemon

½ cup loosely packed, dried hiziki, rinsed well, soaked until tender
soy sauce
spring or filtered water
extra virgin olive oil
1 small burdock, fine matchstick pieces
generous pinch red pepper flakes
1 small bunch broccoli rabe (or other bitter greens), rinsed well, thinly sliced
grated zest of one half lemon
sea salt
juice of one half lemon

Place soaked hiziki in a small sauce pan and add a light sprinkle of soy sauce and mirin.  Add water to half cover and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until hiziki is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.  Set aside.

When the hiziki is nearly done, place a small amount of oil in a skillet with burdock and red pepper flakes.  Turn heat to high and when the vegetables sizzle, sauté for 1-2 minutes, until the burdock is well-coated with oil.  Stir in broccoli rabe and lemon zest and season lightly with salt.  Sauté until the rabe is bright green and wilted, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in hiziki and lemon juice, tossing to combine.  Serve immediately.  Makes 2-3 servings.
Chocolate Brownies with Macadamia Nuts

1 1/3 cups granulated maple syrup
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons spring or filtered water
2 teaspoons shelled hempseeds
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup semolina flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
Generous pinch sea salt
unsweetened almond milk
1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
½ (one half) cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
chocolate glaze
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
2/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips, coarsely chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan.  Mix together maple granules, applesauce and water in a medium-size bowl.  Stir in hempseeds and vanilla.  Fold in flour, semolina, cocoa, baking powder and salt, mixing just to combine ingredients.  Stir in almond milk to create a smooth, spoonable batter. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts until well-incorporated.

Bake for 40 minutes for chewy brownies and 45-50 minutes for more cake-like brownies.  Either way, the brownies should be set when touched.  While the brownies bake, make the glaze.  Prepare the glaze by placing almond milk and rice syrup in a small sauce pan and bringing to a high boil.  Pour over chocolate chips and whisk to create a smooth, shiny glaze.  When the brownies have cooled, cut into 16 squares and place on a wire rack with a piece of parchment underneath.  Spoon glaze over each brownie.  Makes 16 brownies.



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