Easy Summer Treat: Frozen Yogurt

I want to share this easy frozen yogurt recipe wholesome ingredients for this summer. If you want to enjoy the seasonal fruits, the best pick is peach! You can cut the peach in half, and take the pit out. Sprinkle cinnamon and grill on BBQ for 2 min each side. You can simply put the frozen yogurt on top of hot, grilled peach or mix into it to enjoy!

Note: cold + dairy can aggravate some stomach symptoms. Always eat in moderation!

Ingredients: 
3 cups Greek yogurt (get really thick one from Greek town!)
2 tbsp raw honey
1 cup fresh berries, fruits compote, or grilled peach & walnuts

Direction:

It is really easy! Mix Greek yogurt with honey. (if yogurt is not thick like goat cheese, then sieve with cheese cloth to drain any excess liquid. This will help yogurt to not to freeze like ice!) Freeze it for 1-2 hours. Take out the yogurt, mix fresh berries, fruits compote, or grilled peach (see the direction above) & walnuts into yogurt and serve.

Savoury Rhubarb – Bruschetta

Rhubarb is a versatile vegetable! You can make a full course meal with rhubarb. This time of the season it is nice to enjoy rhubarb in raw. The key for using rhubarb in raw is chopping really fine, so the tartness will not over power the taste of other food.  Since tomato is not in season yet, this Bruschetta would be perfect appetizer for early summer garden party with local ingredients.

Also check my past recipe,  Ontario Lamb with Red Wine & Rhubarb Reduction, for main course!

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

Toast

  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 slices fresh baguette

Topping

  • 2-3 stalks of fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt & black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 tbsp chevre (soft goat cheese)
  • sprouts for garnish

Direction

– Preheat oven for 375F for toast. Mix 4-5 tbsp of olive oil and garlic for toast and set aside.

– Mix the rhubarb and shallot with the sea salt and black pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes, this helps the taste of rhubarb and shallot milder. Add fresh parsley & olive oil and mix all well.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes for all the taste to be marinated well.

– Brush each slice of baguette with olive oil&garlic mix and bake in oven until the toasts are crisp.

– To serve, spread chevre on each toast, the top with the rhubarb mixture and add garnish with sprouts on top.

Dandelion & Arugula Dairy Free Caeser Salad

Finally sunshine is here in Toronto! Our garden has started to show some early vegetables growing nicely. It is always such a joy to use freshly harvested vegetables for a meal. So I put together spring vegetables to make this flavourful salad. Dandelion green is bitter in taste (but yes, it is a great kidney cleanser!) so you can adjust the ratio of dandelion green and arugula for your taste buds. If you wish to add another colour, radish would be a nice spring addition!

Ingredients

  • A handful of dandelion green, cut into 2-3″ long pieces
  • A handful of baby arugula
Dressing
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 anchovy fillet, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chive, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp almond powder
Croutons
  • mushrooms (3 eringi mushrooms or 8 button mushrooms)
  • 1 clobe of gaelic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread (harder one is better), cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • sea salt & black pepper for taste

Direction

Combine greens, wash and drain well.

To make croutons, preheat oven to 375F. In a pan, place 1tbsp olive oil and garlic, heat in low heat to bring the aroma. Add mushrooms, dash of sea salt, and black pepper into the pan sauté until mushrooms are tender with midium-low heat. In a bowl, place bread, mushroom, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and parsley, toss well to make bread is coated with olive oil. Spread bread out on baking sheet, toast until golden and crisp for about 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool down.

To make dressing, combine all the ingredients, and whisk well.

In a large bowl, place greens, croutons, and dressing together, toss well and serve.

Raw Dessert: Cacao Berry Pie with Almond Cream

My friend offered her special raw dessert with a lot of fresh fruits at the evening of Spring Equinox. It was so refreshing just like the spring air, and I was inspired to make one too! Raw dessert with fresh fruits is almost like a smoothie, so it is a great snack, or can be a breakfast! This recipe is a combined with nutty almond cream and fresh berries. It is also a gluten-free (want to know more about gluten? Come to the workshop on Wed.Apr.17th! Information below) dessert!

Cacao Berry Pie with Almond Cream
note: pre-saok all nuts 6-8 hours

1) Crust Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Crust Directions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until they bind well together to reach your desirable crunchiness. Press flat into a 9? cake pan and place in the fridge to set.

2) Almond Cream Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 -2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Almond Cream Directions

Combine all but the chopped almonds, into a food processor until all are creamy & smooth. Fold in the chopped almonds. Spread a thick, even layer of the cream on the crust layer above. Chill in the freezer for a few hours, or until the cream is firm enough to spread the next layer on top.

3) Cacao Berry Topping Ingredients
  • 100g Blueberries & Blackberries (or berry of your choice!)
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 2 Ripe Mangoes
  • Blueberries & Blackberries for garnish
Cacao Berry Topping Directions

Combine blueberries, blackberries, cacao powder and mango into a food processor until smooth. Pour over on almond cream layer above. Garnish with fresh blueberries and blackberries. Refrigerate until set and serve.

Almond Cream Recipe came from “We Like It Raw” site: click here

Oatmeal for Your Heart

Getting close to St.Valentin’s day, so I want to share a simple breakfast recipe to nourish and support your heart!

The main ingredients are oatmeal which contains soluble fiber, beta glucan, to reduce the LDL cholesterol as well as a good source for magnesium, blue berry & goji berry are high in antioxidants, flax seeds and chia seeds are great source of omega-3 fat and fiber, almonds are great source of vitamin E, fiber, also help lowering cholesterol as well.

To enhance the nutrition of oatmeal by making it easy to digest and absorbed by your body, it is best to soak the oatmeal before cooking. So if you are preparing oatmeal for a breakfast, just soak them a night before…yes it is an extra step, but it is not a hard one!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup mix of almonds, walnuts, or any of your favorite
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp Goji berry
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup nut milk of your choice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blue berries (or mix berries)
  • maple syrup, optional for taste
Directions:
  1. Soak oats, seeds and nuts in enough water to cover  for overnight, before cooking, drain oats mix and rinse them well.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, add soaked oats and nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, applesauce, nut milk, salt, and cinnamon. Mix all well and heat for about 8 min while stirring well until desired thickness.
  3. Turn off the heat and add bee pollen and blue berries, put the lid on and wait for a min.
  4. Serve with additional nut milk, yogurt, an/or maple syrup for your taste!

Non-dairy, Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium is much easier to absorb when we get it from the food, especially from vegetables!

Here are some of calcium rich food and how you can incorporate in your diet:

  • Almond: contains more calcium than other nuts. It can be eat as snack (both savory and sweat), and you can also use the powdered/milled almond as an alternative to flour for baking etc. A handful (20-25) of almond contains about 75-80mg of calcium.
  • Sesame Seeds: black sesame seeds contain about 60% more of calcium than white one. You can get black sesame seeds at Asian grocery and can use them in same way as white one. Using tahini (sesame paste) is also a great way to take  a high quantity of sesame as food. 1/4 cup of white sesame contains about 350mg of calcium
  • Broccoli family: broccoli, kale, collard green, bok choy, mustard green are all in same family and a good source of calcium! See below for calcium rich salad idea! 1/2 cup of cooked collard green contains about 190mg and cooked kale 95 mg to just give you the idea..
  • Dark leafy Vegetables: other than broccoli family, dark greens such as spinach and  turnip green are high in calcium. It is good idea to eat with vitamin C rich food such as lemon based dressing to neutralize the effect of oxalic acid. 1/2 cup of cooked spinach contains about 154mg and 1/2 cup of turnip green is about 132mg
  • Seaweed: There are a many kind of seaweeds, and all are quite high in calcium. See below for recipe idea! A cup of kelp contains 135mg of calcium
  • Blakstrap Molasses: is rich in a variety of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium, also a good source for vitamin B6. Great alternative to sugar. A table spoon of Molasses contains about 180 mg of calcium!
  • Soy: soy bean is high in calcium, some soy products such as soy milk is usually fortified with extra calcium. Soy is also a versatile foods from savory to sweat. The best way is using the soy in fermented form such as miso and tempe. 1 cup of fortified soy milk contains 300 – 325mg and 150g of tofu contains 230-350mg of calcium.
  • Fish: especially the one you can eat the bones like sardine and salmon. A can of sardine contains about 290mg, salmon contains about 200mg of calcium.

For any of the broccoli family, traditional Japanese side dish/salad, “Goma-ae” (sesame dressing) goes well very well. You can use black sesame seeds and molasess to increase the calcium contents even more!

Other nice recipe using calcium rich foods are Wakame Seaweed Salad. I love the combination of seaweed and Korean Sesame Dressing. You can add different type of seaweed, cucumber, carrot etc to make a wholesome salad! Again, you can use black sesame seeds in this recipe too!

Gluten Free & Vegan Finger Food: Quinoa Balls

December is a social season for most of cultures. I am sure you have many invitations to the gatherings and parties. I am introducing this recipe for people looking for gluten free & vegan finger food to bring to the potluck or for your party!

Idea is from Quinoa burger, and we are now making it in mini size, just like meat balls. It’s nutty and crispy outside and I made this nutty, crispy appetizer for a big party and both kids and adults really enjoy this “Quinoa Balls”!

Enjoy the festivity!

Ingredients (about 40 balls) :

  • 1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa (well cooked side to make it stick together)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, minced in food processor (combination of brown/white and Portobello)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds) or any alternative flour (buckwheat, chick pea etc) to bind
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • sea salt & black pepper for taste

Direction:

Combine the quinoa, mushroom, shallot, and parsley in a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil, flax meal and all the spices in to the bowl and stir well. Let sit for a few minutes so the flax meal can absorb some of the moisture.  Make small balls in 1-2 bite size, about 1 to 1.5 inch diameter (if it does not hold together, add some more flax meal), place on baking sheet (put little olive oil on the sheet).

Preheat the oven at 400F and bake the quinoa ball for 10-15min until all sides are golden.

Serve with Tahini Sauce (below) or Greek style plain yogurt for non-vegan.

Tahini Sauce

 Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (high quality extra virgin would be better)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chive as a garnish

Direction: Combine all the ingredients except chive, whisk together for a few minuets until the source is smooth. garnish with chive.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I came across this type of beets & goat cheese salad a few times at the restaurants, and each time I did enjoyed them! The combination of the sweetness of beets and creamy goat cheese is simply great! So I decided to enjoy it at home too! In this salad, I also added maple syrup coated walnuts to give another layer of flavour.

In this season, you can make this salad easily at home with all local ingredients in Ontario. It is quite simple to make but the richness of the colours makes it to be quite gorgeous on the table.  Thanks to the blessings of the mother earth.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium beets – you can use different colours, too!
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 handfuls of your choice of greens (mixed green, baby spinach, arugula, dandelion green etc)
  • Chèvre (soft, fresh type of Goat cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • dash of sea salt and black pepper

Direction:

1. Wash and remove stems and ends from beets and place in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Cook on boil for 40 to 60 minutes, until you can stick fork or knife through beets easily. After cooling, remove skin and cut into thin slices.

2. Place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat to toast. When walnuts are heated up and starting to have a nutty smell,  stir in the maple syrup and pinch of sea salt. Stir well until walnuts are evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and sea salt and black pepper to make the dressing.

4. Toss greens in a big bowl with the candied walnuts and beets then top with goat cheese. You can drizzle the dressing on each plate separately or toss with the spinach before adding other ingredients.

Simple Canning Method

A few years back, I learned how to make traditional Italian tomato source from 92 years old Italian neighbour of mine. She also taught me a simple way to can the sauce with using an oven. Now around this time of the year, we make a pot full of tomato source from our own garden tomatoes and canning them for the winter.  Today I am going to share you this simple and easy canning method. I found this method to be much safer and much easier then using boiling water.

Hope you can start enjoying the local food all year by canning by your own!

What you need:

  • Clean glass jars and lids
  • Oven, preheat at 200F
  • Cooking gloves
  • Things to be canned (has to be still hot)
  • Labels

Direction:

  1. In a preheated oven, place empty, clean glass jars (without lids) for 20-30 minutes. Check the jars, in a beginning the jar may fog a bit, but as you continue heat them up, it will become all clear, and when it is all clear, then it is ready to use.
  2. Take out a jar with cooking glove on, and put the things you want to can inside the jar and close the lid tightly. Put back the jar in the oven (temperature is still at 200F)
  3. When you finish canning all of the jars and put them back inside the oven, turn the oven to “OFF”. Let it cool by itself for a several hours (or over night). Because of this temperature change, it creates a vacuum, and lids are now tightly sealed.
  4. Label them with contents, dates it was made etc and keep them in cooler place until you use them!

Oven heat (dry heat) can be also used as a sterilization for the glass wear. To kill the most resistant organisms, make sure to heat the glasses for 60 min.

Note: you do not need to use a canning method for fermented food.

Vegan Vichysoisse: Cold Potato & Leek Soup

Cold soup on a summer day can be a refreshing appetizer for a BBQ or a garden party! Using a new potato will add a mild sweetness to the taste. 

Ingredients (for 2)

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium leeks, slice thinly
  • 4 medium potato or 6 new potato, cut in small cubes
  • 2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can of coconut milk (or 1 cup of other milk substitute)
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • sea salt, black pepper, and nutmeg for taste
  • chive, chopped for garnish
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the coconut oil in low-medium heat. Add the leeks and a little pinch of sea salt, saute until leeks sweat for about 5 to 10 minutes, careful not to change the colour of leaks to brownish. Add the potato cubes, cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook at a low simmer on low heat for about 1/2 an hour, until the leeks and potato are very soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes before the next step.

Using a blender or food processor, very carefully puree the soup in small batches. Return to the cooking pot, whisk in coconut milk, nutmeg and taragon. Add the sea salt and pepper. Return to a boil, turn down and simmer for 5 minutes. If it’s too thick, add a little more stock to thin it out. Then let cool and refrigerate. Serve topped with chives.