Living the WELL Life


It's A Colorful Life! - by Christina Pirello

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring is in the air…and in the garden too!  It’s a wonderful time of year, providing us with a vast array of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.  I’ve created a colorful menu to celebrate the season; it’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds.  Enjoy!

Menu
Stuffed Artichokes
Lemon Scented Vegetables
Greens with Avocado and Sprouts
Fried Tofu and Marinated Vegetable Salad
Farfalle with Asparagus and Roasted Shallots
Grilled Pears with Minted Glaze
Sweet Strawberry Pie

Stuffed Artichokes

2 artichokes
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley -- minced
3 cloves garlic -- minced
1/4 cup shelled hempseeds
1 cup dry white wine
1 lemon -- quartered
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Trim and remove choke.  Combine parsley, garlic, hempseeds, and stuff into artichoke.
Stand artichoke in pan, add wine and lemon, cover and bring to boil. Reduce and cook about 35 minutes.  Plate and drizzle with oil.

Lemon Scented Roasted Vegetables

6 shallots -- peel half lengthwise
10 baby carrots
4 parsnips -- chunks
2 sweet potatoes -- cut into 1 inch wedges
4 stalks celery -- cut into 1 inch pieces
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup pecans
8 dried apricots -- coarsely minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons -- zested and juiced
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large shallow baking dish.

Combine the vegetables, bay leaves, nuts, and apricots mixing bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil. Turn gently to coat ingredients. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce and add the lemon zest. Mix well to coat. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly in prepared baking dish.

Cover and bake about 40 minutes or until tender. Remove cover and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice, taking care not to break the vegetables. Serve garnished with parsley sprigs.

Greens with Avocados and Sprouts

Vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons black olive paste
2 shallots, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil
pinch sea salt

2 bunches watercress, rinsed well, stems trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces
Handful alfalfa sprouts
4 ripe avocados

Make the vinaigrette by simply whisking ingredients together, adjusting seasoning to your taste. It should be strong and slightly salty. Set aside.

Halve, pit and peel avocado. Thinly slice them lengthwise, keeping them intact. Divide watercress among 8 salad plates. Using a spatula, carefully transfer an avocado half onto each plate, pressing gently to fan the slices. Top with sprouts. Spoon dressing over each plate and serve at room temperature or chilled.  Makes 8 servings

Fried Tofu and Marinated Vegetable Salad

Tofu, with its cooling character, provides us with strengthening protein,
while relaxing any tension in our stressed muscles. When the body is relaxed,
we open ourselves to possibilities, to creative thought, to life and our dreams.

Avocado oil
4-ounce block extra firm tofu, 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced into rounds
1 small carrot, fine matchstick pieces
2-3 red radishes, very thinly sliced into rounds
Avocado oil
4-ounce block extra firm tofu, 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced into rounds
1 small carrot, fine matchstick pieces
2-3 red radishes, very thinly sliced into rounds
4-5 small broccoli florets, boiled 1 minutes, drained
4-5 thin slices fresh daikon, cut into fine matchstick pieces, boiled 1 minute, drained
2-3 fresh scallions, sliced into long, thin diagonal pieces

Marinade
1/4 cup Living Harvest hempseed oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced

Pour 1 inch oil in a small sauce pan and turn the heat to medium-low. When the oil is hot
(you'll see patterns forming in the oil, known as 'dancing'), turn the heat to high and fry the tofu, a couple of pieces at a time, until golden brown. Drain on paper and place in a warm oven.

Prepare vegetables and place cucumber, carrot and radishes in a mixing bowl. Cook the broccoli and daikon as directed and set aside separate from the other vegetables. Whisk the ingredients for the marinade together and pour over the cucumber mixture, covering completely. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

Just before serving, mix the fried tofu, cooked broccoli and daikon into the marinating vegetables, allowing the marinade to double as a dressing. Fold in scallions and serve immediately as a warm salad.  Makes 3-4 servings.

Note: If you dress the salad too early, the lemon juice will discolor the broccoli and scallions, turning the dish bitter, so remember to dress the vegetables and tofu just before serving.

Farfalle with Asparagus and Roasted Shallots

Spring into spring with this elegantly simple and oh, so delicious pasta course. As a light luncheon centerpiece or the pasta course of an elegant dinner party, this dish is like a breath of fresh air!

24-30 shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 pound farfalle
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
grated zest of 1 fresh lemon
2 bunches asparagus, ends snapped, sliced diagonally into 1-inch lengths
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced
2/3 (two thirds) cup whole wheat bread crumbs
One half ripe tomatoes, diced, do not peel or seed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place shallots in a mixing bowl and add vinegar, salt and vinegar. Toss well to coat and spread evenly on a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

When the shallots are nearly ready, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.  While the pasta cooks, place a small amount of oil, garlic and lemon zest in a skillet and turn heat to medium. Add asparagus, season lightly with salt and saute for 1 minute. Add a small amount of water (1/4 cup or so), cover and steam until asparagus is tender, but still bright green. Remove from heat and remove cover.

Toss the cooked farfalle with roasted shallots, sauteed asparagus, parsley and bread crumbs. Serve garnished with diced tomatoes.  Makes 5-7 servings.

Grilled Pears with Minted Glaze

2 pears
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon fresh mint -- minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 pint blue berries
1 pint raspberries

Peel, halve and core pears with stem intact. Slice halves to fan. Brush with oil.
Fan pears and place on grill to mark, turn and mark about 3 minutes per side.
Combine mint, syrup and zest in pan, cook until foamy, spoon glaze over pears, garnish with berries.
Peel, halve and core pears with stem intact. Slice halves to fan. Brush with oil.
Fan pears and place on grill to mark, turn and mark about 3 minutes per side.
Combine mint, syrup and zest in pan, cook until foamy, spoon glaze over pears, garnish with berries.

Sweet Strawberry Pie

2 pounds fresh strawberries, tops removed, quartered
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Suzanne’s Specialties Strawberry Rice Nectar
Sea salt
2 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 cups pitted dates

Combine strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla, rice syrup and a pinch of salt in a bowl and toss to combine. Set aside while you make the crust.

Place almonds in a blender and pulse on high until they resemble bread crumbs. Empty into a 9-inch pie plate. Place dates in blender with about a teaspoon of water and pulse on high until well-chopped…it will be a little clumpy. Combine almonds and dates until they hold together and then press evenly onto the bottom and sides of pie plate to form a crust. Spoon berries generously into the crust, discarding any remaining liquid. Refrigerate for 2 hours before slicing into wedges and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.

 



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