Maple-Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Maple-Mustard Brussels Sprouts
serves 2-3

Roasted Brussels sprouts are great on their own, but the addition of sweet maple syrup and pungent grainy mustard makes them perfectly balanced.  Be sure to turn your oven up high and use a high-heat appropriate oil--like grapeseed or avocado--to get them to crispy perfection.

1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
generous sprinkle of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  On a parchment-lined sheet tray, toss brussels sprouts with oil, maple syrup and mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until browned and crispy.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

chocolate avocado pudding recipe

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Makes 4 cups

One of my clients who follows a mostly Paleo diet has me make this pudding for him every single week!  It has a beautiful smooth texture and it always surprises people how delicious it is .  Just keep in mind, because of the avocado and coconut milk, it has a lot of fat.  The good kinds!  But still, you'll want to take it easy.  I love pairing a rich dessert like this with a lighter dinner like a salad. Best of both worlds!

2 avocados
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth.  You may need to add a couple splashes of water. Chill well before serving.
 

Kale Salad with Asian Pears and Pine Nuts

Kale Salad with Asian Pears and Pine Nuts
Serves 8 - 10

A great make-ahead dish that can sit at room temperature or be made a day ahead—it will only get better.  A kale salad stands up to holiday sides much better than wilty mesclun or spinach.  It’s a nice, just slightly bitter contrast to the sweet dishes on the table as well.  This will be the number one leftover that everyone reaches for the day after to repent for holiday overeating.

2 bunches of lacinato kale
 juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
2 asian pears, cored and sliced (can also use apples, bosc/anjou pears or red barletts)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
honey or maple syrup to taste

1. Remove the stems from the kale leaves and chop or tear the leaves into small pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.  Massage the leaves with clean hands until they start to soften and break down, about 5 – 10 minutes.

3. Add the asian pears and pine nuts and toss to combine.  Taste and add more lemon juice, salt or olive oil if necessary.  If it’s not sweet enough for your tastes, add a little honey.

Dukkah

dukkah recipe

Dukkah
makes 1/2 cup

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut blend that's often served with flatbread an oil.  It's a great way to add flavor and crunch to salads, sautéed vegetables, soups and more. It takes about 10 minutes to make and I promise you'll find tons of uses for this nutty, sweet and cooling flavor blend.     

1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup cashews
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Toast pistachios and cashews in the oven at 300 for 8 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, toast coriander, sesame, cumin and fennel seeds on low just until fragrant, 2 minutes. Cool.

3. Combine the spices with the nuts and rough chop or pulse in the food processor.  Store in a sealed mason jar at room temperature for up to a month.

Cauliflower, Kale and Chickpea Saute

 

Cauliflower, Kale and Chickpea Saute
serves 2-3

We call these Depression Meals in my house: you look at all the leftover, random ingredients in the fridge, toss them into a sauté pan with some good seasonings and call it a bowl full of dinner.  While I wouldn’t serve this at a dinner party, this style of “food in a bowl” cooking is so key to getting me to eat clean daily instead of just when I have time.  Feel free to sub whatever vegetables and beans you have on hand and try my salty-sweet-tangy seasoning to see what magic you can create.

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, sliced
1 small head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Tamari
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 bunch lacinato kale, shredded
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
salt and lots of black pepper

1. In your largest skillet, drizzle some grapseed oil and add the chickpeas and some salt.  Shake the pan occasionally and cook until the chickpeas start to crisp and brown about 5-10 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.

2. In the same skillet, add another drizzle of oil and the red onion, ginger and garlic. Saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and stir.  Mix up your sauce in a bowl: water, tamari, maple and Dijon.  Add this to the pan and let cook until the cauliflower is cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.

3. Wilt in the kale and taste to add more salt/tamari if necessary.  Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and serve.  Add any herbs, nuts or seeds you want as a garnish.

Bitters and Soda

bitter and soda recipe

Bitters and Soda
1 serving

Bitters and soda is my new go-to drink when I don't feel like drinking and don't want whatever sugary soda or mocktail is available.  Originally used medicinally, bitters are considered digestive aids and are infused with powerful plants.  This drink will be fizzy, lightly flavored and very herbal.  You can add a splash of simple syrup too if you just can't go totally bitter.  Bitters are easy to make at home too--just get a super high proof alcohol drop herbs, spices or roots into it and wait (rosemary + cinnamon + orange peel is a great holiday combo).  Note: this mocktail isn't totally alcohol free--see my note in the full post.

10+ dashes bitters of choice (I used Hella Bitters Ginger Lemon)
8 ounces club soda
slice of lemon

1. Fill a tall collins glass with ice.  Add bitters, soda and lemon. Stir and serve immediately.  

Saag Tofu

Saag Tofu (Vegan Saag Paneer)
serves 2-3

Slow-cooked saag paneer is one of my all time favorite ways to eat greens.  It's my go-to order in Indian restaurants, but I actually prefer the homemade version without all the cream.  Pounds of spinach cook down into a rich, creamy sauce that's comforting and gently spiced.   This dish freezes amazingly too so don't be shy about doubling the recipe.  Serve with brown rice or (better) naan or flatbread.  By blending the greens in the blender/foodprocessor, I create that "creamy" consistency without dairy.  However, this recipe is extra good if you add a touch of ghee or finish by swirling a dollop of plain yogurt, coconut yogurt or coconut milk right before serving.

1 brick of extra firm or firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 white onion, chopped
3-inch piece of ginger
6 cloves garlic
serrano chile (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 lbs frozen spinach, defrosted and moisture squeezed out
1 lemon
salt to taste

1. Toss tofu cubes with turmeric, grapeseed oil and an extra generous pinch of salt.  Heat a large skillet and saute until they are browned on all sides.  Remove to a bowl.

2. In the same skillet, add a drizzle more oil and saute the onion until it is a warm brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Rough chop the ginger, garlic and chile and add to the food processor or blender until it forms a fine paste (you can add a splash of water if needed).  Add the paste to the onions and continue cooking and stirring until the rawness goes away.  Add the cumin, coriander and garam masala and stir.

3. Add one handful of the greens to the skillet and add the rest to the food processor/blender and blend until pretty smooth.  Add this to the skillet with a pinch of salt and continue cooking until flavors combine, about 5-10 minutes. If mixture looks too dry, add a splash of water.

4. Finish the dish by adding a squeeze of lemon juice and tasting for more salt.  Stir in a spoonful of coconut milk or yogurt for extra creaminess.

Quinoa, Cranberry and Squash Bake

Quinoa, Cranberry and Squash Bake
Serves 6 as an entrée; 10 or more as a side

This vegan, gluten-free and nut-free entrée is your solution to pleasing everyone at the table at a holiday meal.  With bold colors, it makes a solid alternative entrée and isn’t too “weird” for your more traditional guests to enjoy as a side.  I’ve left the seasonings simple in this one so you can customize with your favorites—try replacing the sage with chives or dried cranberries with fresh, or add some spices like cinnamon, herbs de Provence or curry powder. Once the holidays are over, keep this one in your arsenal for a balanced weeknight meal as well!

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for oiling pan
2 red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 portabella mushrooms, chopped
½ cup of red quinoa
1 cup of white quinoa
1 squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
½ cup of dried cranberries
2 cups of mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
½ cup of pepitas
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2. In a large skillet heat oil and then sauté onions for 5 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.  Add portabellas and sauté for 5 more minutes, until they release their water.  Pour out contents of skillet into the baking pan.  Add quinoas, squash, chives and cranberries.

3. Heat mushroom stock in the empty skillet until it’s boiling.  Pour into baking dish and stir to evenly incorporate ingredients.   Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until quinoa and squash are fully cooked and liquid is absorbed.

4. Uncover and top with pepitas and drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with salt.  Return to oven uncovered and cook for 10 minutes more.

REHEAT: Can cook completely and reheat at 375, covered, for 30 minutes or until warm.

 
 

Marinated Mixed Olives

marinated mixed olives

Marinated Mixed Olives
makes 1 quart

For these Marinated Mixed Olives, I used a mixture of pitted castelvetrano (bright green), kalamata (large purple) and nicoise (small purple), but use any olives that you like (I’m a big fan of meaty-tasting gaetas as well).  I think olives with pits tend to taste better than pitted, but depending on the familiarity of the party guests with one another, you might want to go pit-less.  It can be hard to pick up a dude while spitting an olive pit out of your mouth.  Or so I’ve heard.

1 quart of olives (I used a mixture of castelvetrano, kalamata and nicoise)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flake, or more to taste
zest from 1 lemon (use a microplane or fine grater)
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons minced thyme
4 garlic cloves

1. Drain the olives from their brine and put the olives in a large bowl.

2. Add the olive oil, chili flake, lemon zest, rosemary and thyme to the bowl. Using the side of your knife blade, smash each garlic clove and peel of the skin and discard. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the bowl and stir everything to combine. Refrigerate and return to room temperature before serving.

Note: These can be served immediately or days later but taste best after one day of marinating.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12

I’ll say it: these dark chocolate peanut butter cups are WAY better than Reeses.  Sorry purists.  Rich and flavorful dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids and can lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol.  Raw honey helps provide body and a little sweetness to the filling.  Raw honey (with traces of bee pollen and propolis) is an antibacterial and antifungal and is believed to help with allergies and immunity.  Seek out a natural peanut butter brand that only contains peanuts and salt for the best taste and texture.

2 3.5-ounce bars of dark chocolate (60-70%)
1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons raw honey
flaked Maldon sea salt

1. Line a mini muffin tray with 12 paper liners.

2. Chop up chocolate bars and melt in the microwave or a double boiler. In a separate bowl, whisk peanut butter and honey together with a fork. Pop the peanut butter bowl in the fridge to chill.

3. Fill each paper liner with 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate and tilt the pan to completely cover the bottom and slightly up the sides of each paper liner. Pop into the freezer to harden.

4. Take a heaping 1/2 teaspoon scoop of the peanut butter mixture and roll into a ball. Place on top of the chocolate and press gently to flatten into a thick disk.  You want to leave a very thin circle of chocolate around the peanut butter so that the chocolate will completely encase the filling. Repeat for all muffin cups.

5. Take 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate (or more) and cover each cup completely. Give the pan a little shimmy to flatten the surface of the chocolate.  Top each with a pinch of sea salt and chill in the fridge. Serve once hardened. Make a bunch of friends fast.

Sunflower Sprout Smoothie

sunflower sprout smoothie

Sunflower Sprout Smoothie
Serves 1

Sunflower Sprouts are easy to grow at home and are bursting with nutrients! High in protein and easy to digest, all sprouts can add a little something extra to your diet.  Because nutrients like Vitamin C, folate, and beta carotene all start to decrease once a plant has been harvested, older greens in the grocery store might not carry as much nutrition as you think. Sprouts and microgreens have a shorter shelf life, so they are usually locally grown and pack a higher nutritional punch.  Here I combined the slightly bitter and very green taste of sunflower sprouts with a banana to sweeten it up and a tart green apple to play on the fresh vegetal taste.

1 banana
1 green apple, cored and rough chopped
1 handful sunflower sprouts (½ cup)
1 cup baby spinach
1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
1/2 lemon, juiced

1. Combine ingredients in a high-powered blender with cold water and blend until smooth. Can store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.

Clean Green Smoothie Jars

Clean Green Smoothie Jars
Serves 4

This recipe is really more of a technique that can be used for any green smoothie.  Chop all of your ingredients one night and portion out smoothie ingredients for the next few days.  Lemon juice provides an essential bright, tart flavor in green smoothies and it also helps keep fresh fruit like apples and bananas from oxidizing (aka turning brown and ugly).  You can mix up what you put in each jar for a little variety too.

4 bananas, chopped
4 green apples, cored and chopped
2 lemons, juiced
1 small English cucumber, chopped
1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
4 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach

1. Set out 4 32-ounce size mason jars.  Toss chopped bananas and apples with lemon juice and divide equally among jars.  Fill jars with cucumber, kale, hemp seeds and spinach until full and seal with lid. Store in the fridge.

2. When you go to make a smoothie, empty contents of jar into the blender and add enough water to make it blend.  Pour the smoothie back into mason jar and off you go!

 

Mushroom Walnut Pate

Mushroom Walnut Pate
makes about 3 cups

This "pate"--or let's be real "spread"--is unbelievable rich and meaty.  Combined with green apples, arugula and a whole grain bread, it makes my favorite vegetarian sandwich.  There are a couple of steps here, but they are all actually easy and this comes together pretty quickly.  Back when I had my food blog Urban Chickpea, this recipe was one of my most circulated and reposted.  I've simplified the original version here--fewer ingredients, but the same knockout taste.  I like it best on whole grain crackers or bread or served simply as a dip to celery sticks.

1 cup French green lentils
3 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
1 8-10 ounce package of cremini mushrooms (about 3 cups), thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry (or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons of kosher sea salt

1. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to a large pot and cover with the water. The stock should be about 2 inches above the lentils; add water if it’s not at that level. Bring up to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are fully cooked, about 30 minutes.

2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a sheet tray, spread out the walnuts and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

3. Heat up a large saute pan and add the oil. Saute the onion over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt until it is soft and golden brown. Then add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms with another pinch of salt and saute until they are brown and much of the liquid has evaporated. The whole mixture should be soft and look caramelized. This is key to the richness of the recipe, so don't hurry the cooking of the mushrooms and onions.  Then add the dry sherry, using it to scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.

4. In the food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely ground. Then add the cooked lentils (drained from their water), the mushroom mixture and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and add salt until it tastes perfect. Then add two extra pinches of salt. It will taste too salty warm, but once it cools, it will taste perfect again. The palate perceives salt differently in hot and cold food.

5. Spoon mixture into a loaf pan, mold or tupperware and cover with plastic wrap. Then place a similarly-sized container on top and weigh it down to press the pate. (optional)  Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.  Invert on a plate to serve as an hors d’oeuvre or spread on bread for your sandwich.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

creamy vegan broccoli soup

Creamy Broccoli Soup
Serves 4

One of the weird packaged foods like I absolutely loved as a kid was Lipton Cup-a-Soup in the Broccoli Cheddar flavor.  Basically it’s a “food” powder that you rehydrate in hot water and that should only be served to monkeys in space.  Somehow we thought that feeding this to a sick person would make them healthy again.  So I decided to create a healthy, vegan version of broccoli cheddar soup with–gasp!–real food.  Onions and garlic give a solid flavor base, and cannellini beans create that creamy texture and pack the protein, while lightly cooked broccoli adds vitamins C, K, and A, folate, and a brilliant green color. The nutritional yeast adds an optional "cheesy" flavor and Vitamin B12.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups of water
2 heads of broccoli, broken into small florets (about 1 lb)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
juice of half lemon
salt, pepper, and chili flake to taste

1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot and add onions.  Saute until they soften but don’t brown, about 5 – 7 minutes.

2. Add garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.  Stir in the beans and add salt and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli florets and let sit until they turn bright green, about 30 – 60 seconds.  Remove a few florets and set aside for garnish.  Blend the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding lemon juice, salt, pepper and chili flake to taste.

3. Serve immediately, garnished with broccoli florets and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Note: The lemon juice will turn the broccoli an olive green as it sits.  If you aren’t serving the soup until later, add the lemon juice and re-season right before serving if you want to keep it bright green.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

chipotle sweet potato fries

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4

3-4 sweet potatoes (2lbs)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous sprinkle of salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. Slice sweet potatoes into large wedges (8-12 per potato). On two parchment-lined sheet trays, toss sweet potatoes with oil, chipotle powder, cinnamon and salt. 

2. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing lightly half-way through.  You want them to be tender and browned on the outside.

Individual Blueberry Blackberry Crisps

blueberry blackberry crisp vegan natural

Individual Blueberry-Blackberry Crisps
Serves 4-6

The beautiful colors in blueberries and blackberries tell you that they are bursting with anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant.  Berries are bountiful in the summer, but this recipe can use frozen berries for a year-round treat.  While the berries are the star of this dessert, the whole-grain and nut topping adds crunch and richness while still being nutrient-packed and slow-digesting.  You’ll wonder why you’ve been adding flour and white sugar to desserts all these years.

for the filling:
12 ounces blueberries (1 pint fresh or 1 bag frozen)
12 ounces blackberries (1 pint fresh or 1 bag frozen)
1 tablespoon arrowroot (can substitute cornstarch)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
grated zest from 1 lemon

for the topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil

special equipment:
4-6 small ramekins or gratin dishes

1. Preheat oven to 350. Set ramekins or gratin dishes on a sheet tray. Depending on the size of your dishes, you may need more or fewer.

2. In a large bowl, combine berries, arrowroot, maple syrup and lemon zest.

3. In a different bowl, toss oats, almond meal, sliced almonds, maple syrup and coconut oil together.  Mix evenly with your fingers until you get a crumbly texture.

4. Spoon the berries into the ramekins, filling them all the way (cooking will reduce their volume). Top each ramekin with a couple spoonfuls of the crumble topping. Cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes. You want the crisps to be lightly browned and the filling to be bubbling beneath.

5. Cool for about 5 minutes until warm and thickened. Can serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or homemade coconut yogurt.

Kale Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas

kale salad with sundried tomatoes vegan

Serves 4

Raw kale salads make great go-to lunches because you can dress them and they will stay sturdy and delicious for 1-2 days.  If you love salty, crunchy snacks like me, you’ll love these crispy chickpeas.  You can play around with seasonings to make a different high protein, high fiber movie-watching snack.  Keep the chickpeas out of the refrigerator and store them in an airtight container to keep them crispy longer.  To maximize time, put the chickpeas in while you eat your dinner, then finish up the rest of the salad post-dinner and you’ve got lunch ready to go.

for chickpeas:
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlicsalt and pepper to taste

for salad:
2 bunches leafy kale, stemmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a parchment-lined sheet tray, combine chickpeas, grapeseed oil, granulated garlic, salt and pepper.  Roast until crunchy, about 45-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the kale with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Massage with your hands for about 5 minutes, until kale looks moist and softer and it has reduced in volume.  Taste and see if you need to add more salt, lemon or olive oil.  If it’s too bitter, add a little maple syrup.

3. Toss in sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower seeds.  Pack the salad and chickpeas separately to keep the chickpeas crunchy.  Toss chickpeas on top right before serving.

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

raw chocolate macaroons

Makes 20

If I could choose a dessert to be served at my funeral this would be it. They'd be easy and stress free for my grieving loved ones to put together and the combination of chocolate, coconut, and sea salt seem like the perfect way to honor my memory.  Rich and chocolately, these little guys are best served chilled.

2 1/2 cups dried, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup coconut butter, melted if necessary (not the same as coconut oil)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cocoa or raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until a sticky “dough” is formed.  Use a small ice cream scoop to create even macaroons or form tablespoon size macaroons by hand.  Top with a flake of sea salt.  Chill for at least 2 hours and serve cold.

 

 

Gingery Peapod Stirfry with Black Rice

peapod stirfry recipe

Serves 2-3

Stirfries are a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Ginger is a powerful antiinflammatory and can soothe the intestinal tract.  Black rice is an easy to digest grain packed with more anthocyanins (the antioxidant in purple foods like blueberries) than any other food. Sub brown rice or quinoa if you can’t find it.

3/4 cup black rice
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 package shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 scallions, white and green parts sliced, separated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups snow peas, trimmed
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tamari
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese cooking wine--sub rice vinegar + maple syrup if you can't find it)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. In a medium pot, combine rice with 1 1/4 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer until cooked, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a drizzle of grapeseed oil. Saute mushrooms until they release moisture and start to brown. Then add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger.  Add trimmed peapods and cashews and sauté for 2 minutes, until peapods start to turn bright green.  Add tamari, mirin and sesame oil and stir to combine.

3. Serve rice alongside stirfry and garnish with scallion greens.

Vanilla Apple Kuzu Pudding

apple kuzu pudding

Serves 2

That's not crack in the photo. It's kuzu! Kuzu pudding is an ubiquitous remedy at the culinary school I graduated from, the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC.  Kuzu is a starchy root from Japan and used a lot in macrobiotic cooking. It’s known to have a calming effect on the body and mind (and is a great sweet for kids for this reason) and has been used to help alcoholics reduce their cravings. Use this pudding to settle an upset stomach or to ease or prevent constipation. Look for kuzu in the international aisle. Kuzu makes a great natural thickener for Asian sauces as well.

1 cup apple juice or cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick (or just a piece or pinch)
2 tablespoons kuzu
2 tablespoons water

1. In a small pot, heat apple juice, vanilla and cinnamon until it starts to simmer. In a small bowl or teacup, whisk kuzu and water with a fork. Pour into simmering apple juice and whisk. Mixture will go from cloudy to clear and thicken.

2. Remove cinnamon stick and serve hot or chilled.