Monday, May 30, 2011

Vegan Ice Dream

Be prepared for a summer revolution (or revelation?).

You know those days when the sun will not stop beating down and all you want is cold ice cream to slowly savor all day long? Here is your answer: an amazingly decadent ice "dream" made solely from frozen bananas. Smooth, creamy, refreshing and HEALTHY! It truly does not get any better than this. It is the kind of recipe that only comes along once in a great while, the kind you make every day and wonder how you ever survived without. Oh man, get ready.

I like to buy a big batch of bananas and freeze them at peak ripeness. Make sure to peel and roughly chop them before freezing, as they are impossible to work with frozen in the peel. There you are: all ready to go with a crop of frozen bananas waiting for you at any moment, stalled in the peak of their perfection, posed to satisfy any summer whim.

Bananas are super high in potassium, which acts to balance out sodium within our system. The ideal ratio is 2:1 (potassium:sodium), which is unfortunately no where near where most of us are on a daily basis. But with a little extra attention, you can increase your potassium through whole foods such as bananas and potatoes (leave the skins on!) and significantly boost your heart health. If you are not a huge potato skin fan, save the peelings and use it to make a broth to cook your grains in throughout the week. Other winners are beets, cantaloupe, winter squash and spinach.

There are a few add-ins that I particularly enjoy, which offer some interesting twists and can take the idea anywhere from breakfast to dessert. In the morning I like to add in ground golden flax seeds and frozen blueberries. Once for lunch, I even added a handful of kale. That's right, and it was delicious. My CSK members today enjoyed it spiked with a splash of soy milk, a dash of vanilla and a spoonful of peanut butter. Bam: Peanut Butter Milkshake. You get the idea....

Vegan Ice Dream
Serves 2


2 bananas, peeled, roughly chopped and frozen

Optional add-ins: 2 tbs. ground flax, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or strawberries, 1 tbs. peanut butter, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, dash of cinnamon...

Optional toppings: cocao nibs, toasted coconut, fresh fruit, granola


In a food processor, whip frozen bananas and add-ins until creamy and frothy (about 2 minutes). Scrape into 2 serving bowls and sprinkle with desired toppings. Enjoy immediately, or store in freezer for up to an hour.

Relax. Eat Well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spring Greens Salad

This salad is a celebration of the spring greens popping up and adorning our landscape, as well as a tribute to some of the winter staples that helped us stay local during the long winter months. A melding of winter to spring, cold to warm, root to leaf.

Spring has certainly been fighting its way in these past few weeks, and for me it has brought with it a myriad of new projects and significant "firsts". First big solo catering job in the new kitchen, first few weeks of my prepared meal service (CSK), first days cooking at home as my "real" job, and my first vegetable garden!!! I can't complain really. But aside from work and the kitchen, it has also brought along a bundle of home projects uncovered by the melting snow that are at once exciting and totally overwhelming. One (small) step at a time, right? Someday our yard won't look like a mud pit, I swear.

Anyway, back to the recipe. This is a nice mix of simple ingredients that comes together to become more than the sum of its parts (which I might add, is usually the goal of cooking). Toasted seeds become your crunch, the raw shredded beets add a brightness in their color and flavor, currants offer a subtle sweetness and the entire salad is coated in a very light and simple honey lemon dressing. All summed up on a bed of tender mesclun, you really can't go too wrong.

Fiddleheads is running its first class out of the new kitchen on June 8th, from 6-8pm on Entree Salads and Homemade Dressings. Come learn how to lighten up with fresh, ingredients that satisfy your every craving, made from scratch. Check out the full description at and Email me at to sign up.

To spring. To all things lighter, and brighter.

Spring Greens Salad with Currants, Shredded Beet and Toasted Tamari Seeds
Serves 4

4 cups mesclun
1 large beet, ruby or golden (or both!)
1/4 cup currants, or quartered figs
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbs. pumpkin seeds
1 tbs. tamari
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. ginger powder

Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. white miso
salt and pepper to taste

Shred beet using a box grater and set aside. In a cast-iron skillet, toast sunflower and pumpkin seeds over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until slightly golden. Add tamari, syrup and ginger to the pan, toss to coat and continue to cook until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, place lemon juice through salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To assemble salad, toss mesculin, half the shredded beets, currants and dressing in a large bowl. Portion into smaller bowls and top with toasted seeds (breaking up clumps as you sprinkle) and the remaining shredded beets.

Relax. Eat Well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Buckwheat Cheese Sticks

I have been a busy busy bee in the kitchen lately. A lot of firsts this week: first big catering gig out of the new kitchen and first CSK day today! Tonight was Thai, and for those of you who received a meal, I hope you enjoyed it! It felt great to have it all come together for the first time (although I think I need to go pass out now).

Luckily I had a few helper bees home today to form a last minute spring roll-ing assembly line because I definitely underestimated how long it takes to roll 45 of em. Eeks! But they are just so delicious, I had to pamper my first-time customers... so it was all worth it.

In other news, I served these buckwheat cheddar straws at a 75th birthday party on Saturday, to a wonderful couple in Stowe and their extremely gracious friends. It was part of a cheese platter adorned with fresh fruit, turkish figs, maple tamari nuts and 6 extravagant wedges of cheese. A nice way to start or end a meal if you ask me.

The recipe started from Heidi Swanson's, but morphed into a gluten-free version with rosemary instead of thyme. I did try it her way (with WW pastry flour) and decided I liked the gluten-free version better, as it has a complex grainy flavor that added to the rustic appeal. My next project will be to try a dairy-free version, with olive oil instead of butter... let me know if anyone tries it first!

These cheese sticks keep well for several days in an airtight container, and the dough can be made the day before they bake, if you are planning ahead. Just keep them in the fridge instead of freezer.

Buckwheat Cheese Sticks
Makes about 30

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour 
1/2 cup Teff flour
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup cheddar, grated
1/2 cup ice cold water

In a food processor combine the flours, salt, rosemary and butter and pulse until you have a sandy texture. Add grated cheddar and pulse several more times. With blade running, add the ice water gradually until your dough comes together to form a ball. Remove dough from food processor, form into two flattened balls, place in an airtight container and place in the freezer for one hour. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Working with one ball at a time, remove dough from freezer and roll out on a floured surface, using a rolling pin, to about 1/4 inch thick. Slice into long strips about 1/2 inch thick using a sharp knife. Remove a strip and working the entire length of the dough, gently pinch the sides in. This will make it easier to roll as you create your round stick. Gently roll dough to about 1/4 thick, cut in half if ridiculously long, and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips, and second ball of dough. Give each stick enough wiggle room so that it won't attach itself to its neighbor. 

Bake for 8 minutes, flip, and continue baking for an additional two, or until golden brown. Cool, and enjoy!

Relax. Eat Well.