Living the WELL Life


A Spectacular Saturday - by Christina Pirello

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last weekend we had a full house at my cooking demo in Philadelphia!  We talked a lot about how a whole foods plant-based diet can keep you looking and feeling oh-so-young and sexy.  I want to share some of the recipes from that day with you, my readers, so you can reap the benefits too.  Enjoy!

Braised Carrot Soup
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
6-8 carrots, small chunk cut
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Russet potatoes, peeled, diced
Scant pinch ground nutmeg
4 cups spring or filtered water
2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves removed, finely shredded

Place oil, vinegar and salt in a large, flat bottomed skillet over medium heat. Arrange carrots in oil mixture, avoiding overlap as much as possible. Cover and listen closely for a strong sizzle. When you hear the sizzle, reduce heat to low and cook until carrots are tender and the liquid has become a thick syrup, about 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the carrot pieces). 

In a large sauce pan, place remaining oil and onion over medium heat. When the onions sizzle, sauté with a pinch of salt for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes, nutmeg, braised carrots and water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt (about 1 tsp) and simmer 5 minutes more.

Transfer soup by ladles to a food processor and puree until smooth. Return to pot and warm through. Serve garnished with fresh mint. Makes 4-6 servings.  

Quinoa Tabouleh
1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well*
2 cups spring or filtered water
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon brown rice syrup
6-7 sprigs flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 cloves fresh garlic, very finely minced
½ roasted red pepper, small dice
¼ red onion, small dice
2-3 plum tomatoes, seeded, small dice
½ cup small dice cucumber

Rinse quinoa very well. Transfer to a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until quinoa has absorbed all the water and has opened (a small ‘tail’ forms on each grain, like a tadpole), about 25 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a mixing bowl, fluff with a fork and allow to come to room temperature.

While the quinoa cools, whisk together ½ teaspoon sea salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, lemon juice, oil and rice syrup. Set aside. Prepare the veggies.

When the quinoa is cooled, fold in oil mixture and all the vegetables, tossing very gently to incorporate, but not break the avocado into mush. Serve within 2 hours of making this dish or it will get soggy. Makes 4-5 servings.

Note: you can make this dish ahead; just do not add the oil mixture until close to serving time.

*It is important to wash quinoa very well, as it is coated with an oil, saponin, that can make it taste bitter.

Spicy Black Bean Stew
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
½ red onion, chunk cut
Sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cumin
Generous pinch cardamom
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups ½-inch cubes butternut squash
1 ½ cups ½-inch cubes sweet potatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup black turtle beans, rinsed very well
1 bay leaf
3 cups spring or filtered water
2 cups fresh or frozen petit peas

Place oil, garlic, ginger and onion in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt, curry, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom and cayenne and sauté about 3 minutes. Stir in squash, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in sweet potatoes, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, beans, bay leaf and water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until beans are soft and the water has been absorbed, creating a thick stew, about 1 hour. Season with 1 teaspoon sea salt and stir in peas. Cook for 2 minutes to cook peas through. Makes 5-6 servings.

Artichoke Stew
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 small leek, split lengthwise, rinsed free of dirt, cut into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Generous pinch crushed saffron
2 stalks celery, thin oblong slices
1 medium carrot, thin oblong slices
2 cups canned halved artichoke hearts (in water, not oil)
1 cup diced tomatoes
¼ cup spring or filtered water
4-5 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, left whole
1 cup fresh baby spinach, rinsed well

Place oil, garlic and leek in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. When the leeks begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes and saffron and sauté until leeks are quite limp, about 2 minutes. Stir in celery, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in carrot, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in artichoke hearts and tomatoes and add water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook until carrots are tender, 12-15 minutes. Add 2/3 teaspoon salt and cook for 5 minutes more. Stir in basil leaves and baby spinach and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

Bitter Green Salad with Pecan-Shallot Vinaigrette
Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hazelnut or pistachio oil
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1 shallot, very finely minced
1 cloves fresh garlic, very finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2/3 teaspoon sea salt
Generous pinch cracked black pepper
Salad
2 Belgian endive, halved lengthwise, sliced into long ribbons
2 cups hand shredded escarole
2 cups baby arugula
1 cup hand shredded spinach
1 cup finely shredded radicchio
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, lightly toasted*

Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together ingredients until emulsified and set aside for flavors to develop.  Combine salad ingredients, except pecans. Toss gently with dressing to coat the leaves. Serve immediately with walnuts on the side for those who want a bit of crunch with their salad. Makes 5-6 servings.  *For the best flavor, toast pecans in the oven at 275 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until fragrant.

Cinnamon-Scented Apple-Berry Crisp
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
Generous pinch cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons avocado oil
12 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 cup rolled oats
8 Gala or Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, cut into ½-inch chunks, do not peel
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or blackberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together flour, cinnamon and salt. Cut in oil and 8 tablespoons rice syrup to create a crumbly texture. Add oats and mix with your hands until moist clusters form. Set aside while preparing apples.

Cut the apples and toss them, along with the berries with lemon juice, remaining rice syrup and cinnamon to coat. Spread fruit in a shallow 9 x 13-inch or 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with topping to cover completely. Bake until the topping is golden and the pears are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

 



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