Friday, April 19, 2019

Hearty Miso Stew with Potato, Leeks and Tofu

I don't know how you are faring, but my family has had a rough season of illness. The calendar tells me it is mid-April so I am hoping it lets up soon, but in the meantime I am craving nourishment and defense in the form off immune-boosting meals.

This stew boasts hearty root vegetables rich with antioxidants and trace minerals. The broth is spiked with probiotic miso, which helps the gut remain inhospitable to bacteria and viruses. The wakame seaweed offers up some much needed iodine, calcium and iron to round it all out. You could even replace some or all of the criminis with shiitake mushrooms if you wanted to get super serious.

It's not the quickest stew, but it is well worth the trouble. You might want to make a big batch and enjoy it all week long. To preserve the live probiotics in the miso, avoid letting the stew come to a simmer, you might even want to leave it out of the big pot and instead add it to taste after heating each portion throughout the week.

Hearty Miso Stew with Potato, Leeks and Tofu

Serves 6

1 small onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 tbs. unrefined sesame oil
2 medium carrots, in ½ inch half moons
2 celery ribs, sliced on the diagonal
6-inch piece of burdock, in half moons
2 cups criminis, quartered
1 medium garnet yam, chopped
2 red potatos, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. grated ginger
2 tbs. dried wakame, soaked and chopped
1 lb. extra-firm tofu, in small cubes
¼ tsp. sea salt

¼ cup brown rice flour
3 tbs. grapeseed oil
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
tamari to taste
5 tbs. miso, dissolved in ½ cup stock
hot sauce to taste

2 cups cooked brown rice


Heat sesame oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add onions and leek and sauté for 10 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add the remaining vegetables along with the garlic, ginger, wakame, tofu and salt, turn down the heat to low and cook for 10-20 minutes, until root vegetables are soft, adding stock as needed to keep from burning and stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, toast brown rice flour in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until aromatic, stirring frequently. Add the sesame oils and stir to combine. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring to combine between pours. Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

Pour thickened stock into vegetable mixture and stir gently to combine. Return to a simmer. When you have reached desired heat, add diluted miso and season with hot sauce and tamari to taste. Serve over brown rice.

* If reheating, keep diluted miso mixture separate and add to each bowl just before serving, to preserve it’s probiotic qualities.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Baked Sweet Potato with Crispy Chickpeas and Spinach

This is a simple mid week dinner, for those nights when you want to nourish your body without getting too fancy. Well, maybe just a little fancy. 
The sweet potatoes take some time in the oven to roast until sticky sweet, but it is well worth it in the end. You just can't get those results with any other method. 
The chickpeas are simple yet bursting with flavor and texture, and help round out the meal with protein and an extra dose of fiber. Don't skip the basil, it adds a freshness and flavor punch that you'd sorely miss. Likewise, don't skimp on the olive oil and use the most flavorful one you have- it is integral for the crispy coat on the chickpeas, and adds a bright note when paired with the fresh basil.

Baked Sweet Potato with Crispy Chickpeas and Spinach
Serves 2 
1 large sweet potato (1 lb.)
1 tbs. oil
1 small red onion, minced
15.5 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
4 cups baby spinach, ¼ lb.
½ cup basil, finely minced
1 tbs. sesame seeds
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and drizzle with oil. Place cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, rotating after 20, or until very tender when pierced with a fork, and golden brown on the bottom.  Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile. place olive oil, red onions and chickpeas in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are golden and beginning to split, about 10 minutes. Add spinach, sesame seeds and salt continue to cook for 5 minutes, covered, until spinach is completely wilted. Stir in basil. Serve crispy chickpeas over sweet potato halves, seasoning with additional salt and pepper to taste. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Shitake and Soba Noodle Miso Soup

Has this been a tough winter for anyone else? It seems as though everyone I have talked to has been battling illness all winter long. Exposure is pretty hard to avoid, but we can empower ourselves by boosting our own immune systems at every meal.

This soup utilizes shiitakes, a medicinal mushroom and powerful immune activator, as well as garlic and ginger, two more excellent boosters. It is finished with live miso, which contains healthy bacteria to feed our gut so that it can ward off any bad bacteria that make their way in. The trick is to add the miso after the soup is off the heat, as simmering it will render it inactive.

Finish that with some green vegetables and fresh herbs and you are on your way to wellness.

Shitake and Soba Noodle Miso Soup
Serves 2


1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
4 oz Shitake Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-inch ginger, minced
4 scallions, sliced
4 cups water
1 tablespoon tamari, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauve
4 ounces soba noodles
a handful of snap peas, sliced on the diagonal
2 cups baby spinach
3 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Protein of choice, such as ginger garlic tofu, sliced
Scallions, sliced


Heat oil in a medium pot over low-medium heat. Add sliced shiitake caps, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and scallions, sautéing for an additional minute, stirring often. Add water, tamari, sesame oil and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, increase heat and bring to a simmer. Add soba noodles and cook for 4 minutes. Test noodles for al dante, cooking for additional time as needed. Add snap peas and spinach and continue to cook for one minute, or until spinach is well wilted. Turn off the heat. In a small bowl combine miso paste with an additional few tablespoons of water and stir to dissolve. Add miso, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Spoon into bowls and drizzle with sesame oil and top with scallions, as well as protein of choice, if using.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Dark Chocolate Date Caramel Hearts

What a perfect little DIY Valentine's Day treat. Simple, cute and tasty, it checks all the boxes.

The "caramel" is simply pureed dates with water and sea salt. For best results, you'll want to search out some soft medjool dates. If your dates are a little less fresh and not quite as soft, you'll want to soak them in water before blending.

Ok, so I will be the first to admit I am not a chocolatier. I have tempered chocolate in the past, but in most instances, I am much more into convenience than perfection and simply melt my chocolate in a double boiler without all the pomp and circumstance. But this does create some limitations- if your finished creation then sits out at room temperature for more than a day or two, you will notice that it starts to look a little less pretty, which can affect the texture of the chocolate as well.

So the trick is you'll have to store them in the fridge or freezer to keep them looking pretty.

Dark Chocolate Date Caramel Hearts
Makes 15 hearts


1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup of large medjool dates, pitted (took about 8 large dates)
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 cup hot water


Set chocolate to melt in a double boiler (or non reactive bowl over a pot of simmering water), until melted smooth.

Remove pits from dates. Place dates and sea salt in a food processor and process, streaming in hot water as needed to get a smooth caramel, without getting too liquid-y. Use more of less water as needed. It'll take a few minutes to get it super smooth and you'll have to stop and scrape the sides down several times.

Using silicone heart molds, spoon chocolate in to each mold and use a butter knife to coat the bottom and all sides. Set in freezer for 5 minutes. Remove and scoop a small amount of caramel in to each center. Top with additional melted chocolate until you reach the top of the mold. Set in freezer for another 15 minutes or until completely solid. Remove and pop out hearts.

Enjoy within the day, or store in fridge until serving.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Almond Flour Snickerdoodles

Alright alright, these aren't true snickerdoodles, but there is something about them that reminds me of my favorite childhood treat, matured and with a touch more class.

They hint at almond without screaming it in your face, are soft and chewy and somehow leave you feeling satisfied after just one or two.

And they take about ten minutes to make. Are you sold yet?

Almond Flour Snickerdoodles
Makes 12


1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. raw sugar

2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3/8 tsp. salt


In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar together. 

Mix all remaining ingredients together in food processor until the dough gathers and turns in to a ball. With slightly wet hands, roll dough in to 12 small balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten into cookie shapes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, rotate and continue for another 4 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Set aside to cool before enjoying. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

BBQ Cauliflower Sloppy Joes

I got a little overzealous with my cauliflower order from my local farm the other day, and have been getting creative with them in the kitchen since. This is one of my favorites.

If the title Sloppy Joes conjures up images of elementary school lunch lines, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to sit down to this instead. The lentils give it a certain chewiness, while the cauliflower absorbs the flavor and boosts the vegetable content.

For a lighter version, skip the bun and create a Sloppy Joe Bowl instead - I think you'll find it is plenty filling, especially if topped with coleslaw and avocado.

BBQ Cauliflower and Lentil Sloppy Joes
Serves 4


1 tbs. neutral oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup green lentils
1/2 medium head of cauliflower, broken in to florets, about 2 cups
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt

4 buns
1 avocado
a few cilantro stems (optional)


Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add lentils, bring to a low boil and cook for 18 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. 
The easiest way to prep the ingredients is to pull out your food processor. Throw the garlic clove in and mince. Add cauliflower and walnuts and process until broken up in to small pieces, similar to the texture of ground beef- don't over process, you want some structure to remain.

Meanwhile, mince onion and saute over medium heat in a large pan with oil of choice. Once translucent, add cauliflower mixture from food processor, drained lentils, bbq sauce, chili powder and salt. Continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until pretty dry and beginning to brown.

To serve, toast buns in a lightly oiled pan, cut side down, with a smaller pan on top to weigh it down. Spoon sloppy joe mixture on top, followed by avocado slices, cilantro stems and top bun.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Quinoa "Fried Rice"

I make this dish so often I thought I'd share, just in case you'd like to add it to your weeknight repertoire. It comes together quickly, especially if you prep the sesame ginger sauce in advance. I like to make a double batch of the sauce to store in the fridge, as it keeps for several weeks.
It's the perfect dish for someone who is quinoa-curious, but maybe a little intimidated as well. See? There's nothing to be scared of.
You can vary the vegetables- I'll often use green beans in place of broccoli or throw in some chopped garlic scapes when they are in season. You can finish it with your favorite hot sauce, chopped cilantro or salty peanuts for a crunch.

You're now two pans and 30 minutes away from a dinner chocked full of high quality protein, fiber and stir-fried veggies. 
Quinoa Fried “Rice”
Serves 2 as a main dish
3 tbs. tahini
3 tbs. tamari soy sauce
2 tbs. honey or syrup
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves
1-inch ginger root

½ cup quinoa
1 cup water or stock
2 tbs. oil of choice, divided
Small head of broccoli, about 1 cup chopped
1 small carrot,  grated
2 eggs 
2 tbs. sesame seeds
Chili flakes, if desired 
Place quinoa and water/stock in a small pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, covered, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove lid, fluff and set aside.
To make the sesame ginger sauce, combine tahini through ginger in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
Beat eggs in a small bowl. Season with a dash of salt and pepper.  
Heat 1 tbs. oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add eggs and scramble quickly. Remove to a small bowl and break up into small pieces. Wipe pan clean. Add remaining tbs. of oil to the pan along with carrots and broccoli and stir-fry until bright and tender, about 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa, scrambled eggs, 4-6 tbs. sesame ginger sauce and sesame seeds and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and chili flakes if desired.