Conscious Food Choices

For the love of delicious healthy food…

Happy Summer! Fresh Pasta “Margherita”

Last week I was working on the foodie section for a friend’s hilarious and brainy new website, PhilomobileInNaples.com, and I had the great pleasure of researching and writing about the origins of pasta and the pasta machine, much of which significantly happened in Naples.

Apparently, the first pasta machine on record was commissioned in the 1700’s by the King of Naples, Ferdinand II. Up until that time a “pasta maker” was someone who sat on a bench and kneaded the dough with his feet. (The term “maccaruni” in fact, means “made by dough by force”. )

Cesare Sapdaccini, this same genius engineer, is also credited with inventing the 4-pronged fork on behest of the Queen, who was reportedly embarrassed by the King eating pasta with his fingers. (Thus proving that the birth of civilization actually began in Naples…!)

To underscore that, Naples is also where Gelato, Pizza Margherita, and a wonderful Neapolitan custom called “Caffe Sospeso” was born:

Caffe sospeso literally means “coffee in suspense” and in old timey Neapolitan society it was a custom to order not one but two coffees at a time, one for you and one for someone else less fortunate. The order would be logged in the cafe’s book until someone else came in and inquired, at which point they would be graciously served.

Anyway, to read more pasta trivia (and mythology), check out La Storia di Pasta.

So, what do you do after spending a whole day reading about Neapolitan pasta? Make fresh pasta! How could I not? The egg pasta dough recipe is super easy and straight out of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook,* and he also has a vegan version in there but I wanted the full “Crack-The-Eggs-Into-The-Flour-And-Mix-With-Your-Hands” Experience. (And besides, I was planning to top it with a very un-vegan fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes).  So this is it.

Fresh Summer Pasta “Margherita” for 4

Prepare the Fresh Egg Pasta Dough:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 eggs yolks

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and salt on a counter or large board. Make a well in the middle. Into this well, beak the eggs and yolks. Beat the eggs with a fork, slowly and gradually incorporating a little of the flour at a time. When it becomes too hard to stir with a fork, use your hands. When all the flour has been mixed in, knead the dough, pushing it against the board and folding it repeatedly until it is not at all sticky and quite stiff.

Sprinkle the dough with a little of the reserved flour and cover with plastic or a cloth: let it rest for about 30 minutes.
(Recipe Courtesy Mark Bittman)

(I actually let it rest for one hour, and it was still a bit tough to roll out thinly. But I might have gotten a bit overzealous in the kneading stage… it is a beautiful, silky dough – really satisfying to knead. I didn’t try it with my feet, but I was questioning how enlightened Mr. Sapdaccini really could be after all of that: why would anyone want to make pasta dough with a machine?)

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:

Summer “Margherita Sauce” for Pasta

  • 1/2 pound super fresh mozzarella, cut in 1″ cubes
  • 1 cup sweet ripe cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut or torn
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T capers
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t salt, to taste
  • 2 T freshly roasted pine nuts

In a medium sized serving bowl, combine all ingredients except salt and pine nuts,  and let marinate together at room temperature while the pasta dough is resting and cooking.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board as thinly and evenly as possible and cut into any shape you like. You can see that I went to town with the ravioli roller...

Boil in salted water for  just 2 – 3 minutes until tender but al dente. Drain and toss with Margherita mixture, and toasted pine nuts, adding salt to taste and drizzling with a bit more olive oil as needed.

Serve immediately, while the cheese is still cool and the pasta is hot. Enjoy!

*Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian has become my all purpose cookbook bible (really! It’s huge but I shlepped it all the way to Bali, and to Costa Rica before that. And you know what? It was the one cookbook that Tracy Morrisette – the chef I was working with in Costa Rica – had also brought with her from the States! Says something, I think). I rarely use recipes except for reference, but when you need a quick and reliable basic, like fresh pasta dough, or need to to know how many beans to soak to feed 40 people, this is the book to turn to.

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June 22, 2011 Posted by | Fresh, Pasta, Recipes | , | Leave a comment

Pura Vida Tortilla Soup (Raw)

“Pura Vida” literally means “Pure” and “Life”, and it is a term used loosely in Costa Rica as a greeting or farewell  – meaning things are cool, and that life is good, in balance…

This recipe was based on Ani Phyo’s Tortilla Soup Recipe in her book, Ani’s Raw Food Essentials, but I think Tracy Morrisette, the chef at the Goddess Garden, brilliantly improved it with the addition of a little nutritional yeast and chili powder. Not to mention some utterly addictive deep fried fresh tortilla strips covered in her nacho cheese-flavored spice mix! Tracy made this soup for us on the first retreat here in Costa Rica and it blew my mind: an utterly virtuous and creamy raw soup with a handful of wickedly delicious crunchiness on top. Pura Vida!

Serve this gently warmed up for a cold winter day, or at room temperature on a hot one.

Pura Vida Tortilla Soup (Raw) – Serves 6

  • 4 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 ½ t garlic
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t ancho chili powder
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 2 sundried tomato halves, soaked
  • 3 cups water (use soak water from tomatoes)

Fried Tortilla Strips

  • 6 corn tortillas, cut into half inch strips
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1 T ancho chili powder

Blend the Soup: Combine all soup ingredients in a Vitamix and blend until completely smooth and creamy, taste and adjust for salt and spiciness.

Fry the Strips: Combine yeast and spices in small bowl and set aside. Deep fry tortilla strips in two or three batches until crisp and lightly brown.  Drain each batch well on newspaper covered with paper towels to catch the oil, and sprinkle generously with the seasoning mix, tossing to coat. Serve in bowls alongside soup.

Serve soup cool at room temperature, or warm slightly in a saucepan: stirring constantly and testing with a finger often to make sure it does not get too hot. Pour immediately into warmed bowls and pass the strips!

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Fresh, Low Carb Recipes, Raw Food Recipes, Recipes, Soups, Vegan Recipes | , , , , | 7 Comments

Eating Fresh Chocolate with the Bribri

Costa Rica is a really interesting place, food-wise. There are a number of paradoxes. They have so much edible exotica hanging from the trees here, plus hundreds of varieties of coconuts and palms, cocoa and banana trees growing wild everywhere, and almond trees lining all the beaches… yet it’s extremely difficult to get coconut oil anywhere or any kind of natural sweeteners including palm or coconut sugar, nuts are mostly imported and extremely expensive, and the unsweetened cocoa powder (when you can find it) is strangely fruity and does not resemble anything we have in the states.  That being said, I just had the coolest chocolate adventure ever…

A few days ago I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Bribri Indigenous Reserve in the Talamanca, or “blue mountains”, right on the border of Costa Rica and Panama. To get to the village, we traveled almost an hour into the mountains, sometimes stopping to push the truck  (and other vehicles) across the flooded roads, and then another hour upriver in dugout canoes. It had been raining hard the day before so the river was high, and full of flocks of yellow butterflies, with white and gray herons fishing alongside the banks everywhere.

The Bribri are Costa Rica’s largest indigenous group, and while there are only 10-15,000 people left, from what I could see they seem to be gracefully navigating a delicate balance between modernization, change, and maintaining the cultural preservation of their community and local culture. The story goes that the men of the community spent most of their time working in the banana plantations, and, as happens, the money wasn’t exactly coming back home with them when they returned. So the women, realizing that they needed to take things into their own hands, formed a council of leaders and began to organize educational tours of their community. These tours are unique in that they are highly organized but wonderfully informal. You never feel like a tourist, you feel like you have been personally invited to experience a small slice of the Bribri life… their life. For real.

When we pulled the canoes back onto shore, we were met at the boat by one of the local women leaders, Priska, who toured us through the Bribri primary school, showing us their new kindergarten and the health clinic, and then down a dirt sunlit path past their new secondary school which was build last year and just graduated its first group of 12 students. There are no cars, not even bicycles here, and the buildings are built lightly, on stilts, out of bamboo and rough unfinished wood. They are beautiful.

As we continued along the path I realized we were walking through acres and acres of cocao trees, and that there were cacao fruits hanging everywhere! Marcello, who is the co-owner of the Goddess Garden, has a close relationship with the Bribri and he and Priska picked fruits from the trees and cracked them open on a rock by the side of the path, sharing the soft white meat and purple seeds with us. My chocolate adventure had begun!

We arrived at a simple wooden “restaurant” a short while later, and were met with cold fresh limeade and warm banana pancakes on banana leaves. Yumm. After, we all made our way down to the river for a swim, trailed happily by a troupe of brown naked children who jumped in with us and cut like fish through the strong current.  After a swim and a short bake on the river rocks, we made our way back to the restaurant for lunch. Lunch was vegetarian – it is usually chicken or fish, but Marcello called ahead and told them they could save the chicken –  and it was fairly standard Costa Rican fare: white rice, black beans, some sort of refried beans, and a mixture of veggies including green platanos and tiquisque which was simple and tasty.  Plus a little spaghetti (..!?) and a pile of boiled fresh hearts of palm, which was totally delicious.

Afterwards, one of the younger girls of the village, Daisy,  joined us at the table and gave us a bit of history about the community and took our questions. Apparently, both schools, the clinic, and the big suspension bridge over the river we were swimming in have all been built from money earned from tour groups like ours, but the Bribri only accept 700 visitors a year because any more people would “keep them from doing what they want to do”.  I love that. I wish I had asked them what they want to do, but I suspect it is just to live their lives…

At this point, the smell of roasting chocolate was too strong to ignore. One of the women brought from the kitchen a large wooden bowl of freshly roasted cacao beans which we were all invited to taste before she began to crush it with a huge stone. Several of the visitors took turns crushing the chocolate, and then one of the local girls –  Felicite, the resident expert –  flipped the bowl a few times, spinning the beans into the air and deftly removing all the chaff from the cacao. I wish I had tried that – she made it look easy but I am sure it was not. At this point the still warm cocoa beans were fed slowly into a hand grinder and pulverized to a thick, gooey paste, and apparently I was the only one in the group that thought this was delicious (it was a lot less bitter than the unroasted cacao I use at home!). She then whipped out a small can of sweetened condensed milk, combined it with the cacao paste, and passed out pieces of banana for us to dip in it while the children ran off with the condensed milk can. Everyone was happy.

I have to tell you that the reason I was there in the first place is becuase Marcello and I have been talking about doing a cookbook here at the Goddess Garden, featuring my vegetarian recipes and highlighting the local and indigenous food of Caribbean Costa Rica and the Bribri in it. We had also been speaking about the Bribri diet, which I understood not to be so healthy. So I was here in the village to see all of this for myself. And I have to say, even though the women looked a bit heavy, I thought they all looked more solid and wholesome than truly unhealthy. Sitting there with them, eating roasted cacao, mixed with sweetened condensed milk, on a freshly picked banana… another interesting paradox of Costa Rica was coming into focus.

Also, I have to show you the kitchen, which gave me a whole new appreciation for “wood stove”. The stove they cook on is actually built out of wood, with a couple of cinder blocks and two metal to put pots on. There is no electricity, except for a small amount of solar, no refrigeration, and the sink drains directly into a small ditch, which no doubt leads off into the jungle somewhere and down to the river. But given all of that, it had the vibe of a professional kitchen and I felt completely at home there.

Marcello had arranged for me to speak privately with Priska and some of the other women – I wanted to know what the typical meals are, and what their special traditional dishes are,  whether they use any natural sweeteners like palm sugar or dried cane juice, what they grow and what they harvest, whether they grow their own rice and beans, etc. It quickly became clear that I would have to spend more than one day there to get any kind of understanding of their lifestyle. Marcello and Priska spoke about working with me to explore ways I may be able to help them improve their own diets a bit, and how I might also help them provide some extra sweets and snacks to sell to the visitors to take home with them. I would have to come back speaking Spanish…which I promised to do.

Part of the paradox is how un-opportunistic people are in Costa Rica are, in the midst of so much natural abundance. And although I can feel my own hyper-opportunistic American nature by contrast, I do think some sort of gentle “cultural exchange” would be really interesting and could be helpful to them as well. But more than anything I came away humbled by what they are able to pull off in that simple kitchen, and by the quiet dignity of these women, and I think it would just be a gift to be able to spend more time with them –  an opportunity to understand them and their way of life.

March 6, 2011 Posted by | Food Consciousness, Fresh | , , , | 3 Comments

Raw Pad Thai with Young Coconut “Noodles”

The Farmer's Market in Limon

Like the Raw Lasagna, my Raw Pad Thai recipe is also an adaptation from Russell James’ original recipe. (If you haven’t already – sign up for his email list to get the original emailed to you). This recipe is extremely flexible so use what you have on hand. I made this one with tahini because for some reason that is available here but also have made it with almonds, almond butter, and peanuts and it’s great. I used raw bok choy which I was lucky to find in the farmer’s market in Limon and love the combination of that with the arugula, but napa cabbage is great too, and of course if you can get mung bean sprouts (I can’t) then that would add a more Pad Thai touch to the recipe.

Young coconuts and tamarind are easily available in this part of Costa Rica, but you may have to do a bit of sleuthing to find them in your home town. Look for Tamarind Paste in your local Hispanic market (ask for Tamarindo) and both tamarind paste and young coconuts, or “white coconuts” can often be found in the produce section of Chinese or Southeast Asian markets, and in some high-end markets like Whole Foods.  You can also ask your local health food store to order you a case of young coconuts – they come 9 to a box – and then cut them all open and freeze the meat and juice to have on hand all the time. I love young coconuts! This is just one of the many ways you can use them.

Raw Pad Thai “Noodles” and Vegetables – Serves 4

Young Coconuts

  • 2 – 3 young coconuts
  • 1 ½ cups arugula, torn into 3′ pieces
  • 2 carrots, ribboned with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 4 cups young bok choy, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 1 spring onions, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 8 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped

Pad Thai Sauce

  • 1 oz tamarind paste (or 2 dried apricots, one date, plus 1 T lemon juice)
  • 3 T palm sugar, or coconut crystals, or sucanat
  • 1 T red miso
  • 1 t sesame oil (leave out if using nuts instead of tahini)
  • 4 sundried tomato halves, soaked
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 t dulse flakes or kelp powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoons garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime
  • 1/2 jalepeno, seeded and minced
  • 6 T tahini

Make Sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a Vitamix or other high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Prepare Noodles: Cut open the top of the coconuts with a large sturdy cleaver over a large bowl, being careful to capture the juice. (Use juice for another purpose… like drinking!) With the back of a spoon, gently work out large pieces of the white flesh from the inner shell. (If you are new to this, Dr Ralph gives a thorough video intro to coconut whacking here). Slice the meat of the coconut in to long, fettuccine-like pieces.

Assemble Pad Thai: In a large bowl, toss together all vegetables, reserving a pinch of basil and cilantro for garnish. Pour 1/2 sauce over vegetables and massage gently with your hands to coat well and soften vegetables. Add coconut noodles and toss gently, adding some or all of the remaining sauce to taste. Allow to sit for 1/2 – 1 hour to allow flavors to combine and serve with a sprinkle of herbs and a slice of lime.

February 27, 2011 Posted by | Fresh, Low Carb Recipes, Pasta, Raw Food Recipes, Recipes, Salads, Sugar Free/Unrefined Recipes, Vegan Recipes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Raw Zucchini Lasagna

By popular request, here is the “Raw Zucchini Lasagna” recipe, which, while made with raw zucchini instead of pasta, was not a totally raw dish only because the spinach in Costa Rica is too bitter to serve raw. This recipe is based on Russell James’ raw lasagna recipe, the original which can be found on therawchef.com for free when you subscribe his raw food tips. I really respect Russell James – if you are new to raw food I HIGHLY recommend his Raw Chef Academy Homestudy Course – his videos are very professional and well presented, and the recipes are consistently reliable and good. I don’t think anyone out there is educating on raw food as professionally as he is.

Raw Zucchini Lasagna  – Serves 10

While this recipe has many different components, it is actually very easy to put together and extremely flexible. The nut layer can be made with soaked macadamia nuts or pine nuts instead of cashews, the spinach layer can be made all raw instead of cooked, or be replaced with any other vegetable layer, or eliminated completely. You can leave the mushroom part out of the mushroom nut layer, or do a raw version, or leave the nuts out, or eliminate that whole layer as well and just use the cashew ricotta, pasta and tomato sauce. Get creative with what you have on hand. The lasagna can be made several hours in advance and held, but serve it the same day you make it because it is best fresh.

Raw Zucchini Lasagna “Pasta”

  • 10 medium zucchini or goldbar squash, peeled
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt

Using a mandolin or Chinese slicer or very sharp knife, carefully slice each peeled zucchini lengthwise into even 1/8 -1/4 inch slices. Only use the fleshy outside of each squash discarding or reserving the seedy core for another recipe. Gently rub salt and oil into all the slices, reserving the nicest, most lasagna-like “noodles” for the top. Let sit while you prepare the remaining fillings, tossing gently with your hands occasionally and letting excess liquid drain off.

Texture Tip: texture is everything here. The reason you peel these and the thickness of the slices all add up to a smooth, lasagna-noodle “mouthfeel”, which I think is the whole trick. You may have to adjust the thickness as you go to get it perfect – I find that thinner slices are nicer, but go too thin and you will lose the body after the squash marinates in the salt a bit. Play with it – you can always bury the ugly ones in the middle!

Cashew “Ricotta” for Lasagna

  • 2T lemon juice
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 2 yellow peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2T fresh parsley
  • 1T fresh thyme
  • 2t salt
  • 3 cups cashews, soaked 2 – 4 hours and drained.
  • 1⁄2 c water if needed
  • ½ c (optional) fresh chopped herbs (rosemary, parsley, thyme, basil)

Blend all in vitamix until smooth and creamy, starting with peppers and adding nuts at the end, and water only if needed. Fresh herbs can be added at the end if using. Set aside, use the (unrinsed) vitamix to make tomato sauce:

Sundried Tomato Sauce

 

  • 11⁄2c sundried tomatoes, soaked for 1 hour or more
  • ¼ small onion
  • 2c tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 4 t agave/honey or 2 soaked dates
  • 11⁄2 T dried oregano
  • 1t salt or to taste
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 2T lemon juice

Process all in a food processor or vitamix until smooth, adjust for salt/sweet depending on how salty your sundried tomatoes are. Set aside while you make your mushroom filling:

Mushroom Nut Filling

  • 2 pounds fresh mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1t salt
  • 1t black pepper,
  • 1T dried sage
  • 11⁄2c sunflower seeds soaked 1 hour or more and drained
  • 1c sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 1 hour or more
  • 2T dark/brown miso
  • 2t dried oregano
  • 2t dried sage
  • 1T nama shoyu/soy sauce
  • 1⁄2t cayenne pepper
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1T honey/agave nectar
  • 1t sea salt

In food processor, chop mushrooms coarsely. Sauté with garlic in 2 T olive oil, salt, pepper and sage, for 5 – 10 minutes until liquid is absorbed and mushrooms are very flavorful. Alternatively, for a truly raw version, spread evenly on dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 2 – 3 hours until lightly “cooked”.

In food processor, blend nuts and remaining ingredients until combined but slightly chunky still. Combine with mushrooms. Set aside in dehydrator or warm place while you make your spinach filling:

Spinach and Onion Filling

  • 2 large onions
  • 1 pounds fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T olive oil

Sauté onions in olive oil, salt and pepper until translucent, add spinach and sauté 5 – 10 more minutes until gently cooked. Cool slightly in colander, squeezing lightly  to drain excess liquid.  Alternatively, to make raw, toss raw spinach with other ingredients and massage gently to soften.

Assembling the Lasagna….

Spread one cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish, preferably glass. Top with one even layer of zucchini pasta, overlapping each slice slightly. Top with one thick even layer of mushroom filling.

Add a second layer of zucchini (use the ugly ones here and make sure you have enough for one more layer of nice ones for the top. You can skip this layer if you don’t have enough for both.

Top second layer of zucchini with the cashew ricotta, dot with spinach. Top with final top layer of zucchini. Smooth remaining tomato sauce over the top.  Cut carefully into 10 -12 pieces with a serrated bread knife and keep warm in dehydrator or low oven until ready to serve.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Fresh, Low Carb Recipes, Main Courses, Pasta, Raw Food Recipes, Recipes, Vegan Recipes | 2 Comments

Quasi-raw, butter, and my favorite Peach Gallette

For a while I have been thinking about my own eating habits as being “quasi-raw”… this  could be anywhere from 75% – 95% raw, and is totally flexible depending on whats in season, what’s on hand, what country I happen to be in, and who is coming for dinner.

I do believe in the virtues of raw food, and although much of the flavor of fresh (see Addicted to FRESH), comes from uncooked foods, I love also being able to mix it up by taking more traditional cooked/baked recipes and loading them up with really fresh seasonal fruits or veggies, and turning people ON to that freshness in other ways.

Fresh Peach Gallette imageSince my background is that of a professional pastry chef, and I LOOOOVE food,  all sorts of food…I want to say that there are some things that are not great for you, but cannot be substituted for by anything else, and one of them is butter. Really good butter. Fresh from the farmers market, organic, grass fed when possible, or at least French or European. (You have to be able to smell it, or it doesn’t count).

Can you smell it when you look at this photo? What I love about this tart is the incredible simplicity of it – the flavor is simple bright fresh peach, nestled in a flaky pure butter crust, the shape is as organic and free-form as you want to make it, and it takes no time to pull together with any fruits you happen to have on hand.

Fresh Peach Gallette

Perfect Butter Crust:

  • 1/2 c butter, frozen
  • 1 1/2 c unbleached white flour (can use up to 1/2 c wwheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 ice water, with squeeze of lemon

This can be done by hand, but its incredibly easy and fast in a food processor or mini-prep:

Chop butter into 8 -10 pieces and combine with flour in mini-prep. Pulse until butter is no larger than course bread crumbs. Stop, add salt and 4 -5 T of the iced water and pulse just a few seconds more to slightly combine. Turn out into a medium mixing bowl and toss lightly with a fork, adding 1 -2 T water if nessesary until the mixture just holds a ball. Pat lightly into a 1 inch circle and chill for at least 1/2 hour, while you prepare the fruit.

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare fruit:

Peach Mixture:

  • 4 -5 peaches, washed and sliced thinly
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/4 c Agave syrup, to taste
  • 1 t arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • pinch salt
  • pinch nutmeg and cinnamon

Combine fruit and remaining ingredients and allow to macerate for 10  -15 minutes while you roll the crust.

Roll the chilled dough into a large circle, 3 -4 inches beyond diameter of the the pan you are using. This is a freeform tart, so you can make it in anything you have – its supposed to be rustic. I like using an 11′ glass quiche pan (shown above).

Pile fruit in center of crust, even out, and then fold the pastry sides gently towards the middle, so they lay directly onto the fruit, leaving the middle exposed. Crazy, uneven shapes are fine – part of the charm of this tart.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 375, then reduce to 350 and bake for another 20 -30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the peach juice is thickend slightly.

Remove from oven and brush the exposed peaches with a bit of the juice form the tart to moisten them and make them shine. Serve warm for dessert, and then finish off the next morning for breakfast!

Options:

  • Add a smattering of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
  • Replace cinnamon with zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Replace peaches with nectarines, plums, or any other stonefruit in season
  • Replace stonefruit with apples or pears, or combination.
  • Try adding chopped crystallized ginger and a few cranberries.
  • Use maple syrup instead of agave, or use a combination

January 28, 2010 Posted by | "Evil Butter" Recipes, Desserts, Food Consciousness, Fresh, Recipes, Sugar Free/Unrefined Recipes | , , , | 1 Comment

Addicted to FRESH

I live in NYC, and am a certified food nut. Usually can’t even remember the names of my relatives, but ask me what I remember about some 2 week trek in the Himalayas over 20 years ago… and you will get total food recall. (A little hut… they served us “mussel pizza”, which was steamed dough topped with Chinese canned mussels. It was delicious!).

New York is a city where you can pretty much get any type of food you like, any way you like it, any time day or night. So the rules change here a bit, and surprisingly, I don’t actually go out that much. It was different when I lived outside the city and came in – all I wanted was good Asian, or whatever I wasn’t getting where I was. But here, in the middle of everything, when people ask me what kind of food I like to eat, I say “Fresh!” Because that’s the rare gem to be found here. Not just fresh, but fresh done really well, when it sparkles off your plate. When you think Wow!… then mmmmm…..

I love finding these spots, and will be posting them in the FOOD GEMS category as I find them.

But back to Fresh-  its something that once you develop a taste for, there is no going back. I developed this, and became conscious of it, cooking for Andrew Cohen, my spiritual teacher of over 15 years. There was one particular day that I made an omelette for him. I had recently seen the movie Big Night, and was on a serious omelette trip at the time, and can confidently say by anyone’s standards it was a GORGEOUS little omelette, a perfectly balanced sweet-savory combo of caramelized onions, zucchini and thyme, light on the eggs, perfectly cooked… or at least I thought.

Andrew sent it back. He asked me to taste it, to see if I could tell what was wrong with it, and I did. It was dead.

The tastes were all perfectly balanced, but the veggies had lost their life, and I realized that you can taste the life force in food. From that moment on, that sense  of life, that Fresh, became an irrevocable 6th element for me, in both cooking and eating.

My name is Jorin – I am a Fresh-oholic.

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Food Consciousness, Fresh | Leave a comment