Kombucha, from Booch, to Hooch

I’ve always believed that homemade is simply *the best*. In other words, anything commercial that I like, is just WAAAY better when home-made.

Breads, Kombucha, Condiments, to just name a precious few!

It was 2008 when I arrived in South Florida, a professional, highly trained chef, during the (first) economic crisis of my adulting. I was already a “green” champion, a pro at environmental and personal sustainability had always brought any clients business in under budget, everywhere. Once in Florida, I learned to farm organically, immediately taking the skill of saving money to new heights as a proud urban farmer.

I can now stretch a dollar till it squeals!

This means growing my own food, composting and amending soil, adding nutrients back into the soil and therefore the food.  Enter Kombucha a TRIFECTA of winning.  It meets my criteria of being super healthy, i.e. food as medicine for my “farmacy”, is a much more rewarding creative outlet and far, far cheaper to make than to buy. Not only can I personally grow the herbs, roots, shoots, spices, fruits and herbs to flavor it with, but the resulting excess scoby (of which there will be obscene amounts, potentially an endless supply) is a potent soil amendment, kitchen ingredient, and dietary remedy for adults, pets and children alike. Coming up with uses for my scoby collection offers me endless creative outlets, all chances to “play with my food”. I highly recommend it!!

ALL FOR PENNIES!

One of the greatest benefits of making your own kombucha at home is the ability to influence the flavor of your finished kombucha, plus find new flavor blends that you and your family will enjoy. You can influence the flavor of kombucha tea by choosing a different teaadjusting the fermentation time, or adding flavoring.

Some of my preferred flavor combinations:

  • Ginger/Hibiscus
  • Pomegranate/Kiwi
  • Banana/Vanilla
  • Vanilla/Raisin (Dr. Pepper flavor)
  • Apple/Cinnamon
  • Pineapple/Cilantro
  • Lavender/Chamomile
  • Chai/Pumpkin Spice
  • Basil/Blueberry

RECIPE

TOTAL TIME 15minutes (2 minutes prep / 3 minutes boiling / 10 minutes cooling)
YIELD: 16-32 Servings

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

  • Large Pot, minimum 1-Gallon capacity, with lid
  • Wooden Spoon
  • STERILE Glass Jar(s)
  • Paper Coffee Filters (3-4)
  • Large Rubber Band

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 8 Tea Bags (Caff/Decaf/Herbal; I prefer Yerba Mate/Green blend)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup “Booch” starter fluid or ACV
  • 1 Scoby, if possible (Optional; with patience, you’ll grow your own)
  • 1 Lb Patience  =)
  • Optional: Fresh Roots, Shoots, Fruits or Herbs

METHOD:

Step 1: Sterilize the Jar, storage and cooking utensils.

Step 2: Boil water, add in tea(s) and sugar together, including any aromatics chosen, ie turmeric or ginger root, hibiscus leaves or flower, cinnamon sticks, lemon peels, etc. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Once cooled, strain, bottle to the 4/5th capacity and before sealing, add your Scoby and cup of starter fluid.

Ratios for Flavoring Kombucha Tea

  • If flavoring with fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, start with10-30% fruit and 70-90% Kombucha.
  • If flavoring with juice, start with10-20% juice and 80-90% Kombucha.
  • If flavoring with herbs, the variety and strength of herbs varies greatly. Experiment to come up with the best ratios and combinations for your taste preferences.
  • For flavor extracts such as almond or vanilla extract, start with 1/4 teaspoon extract per cup of kombucha and adjust to taste. Remember the flavor will continue to develop during the second fermentation period.

SCOBY USES:

  • Creamy Vinaigrette, with or without oil
  • Added to smoothies
  • As meat substitute for a stir-fry or “meat” in a soup (Green chili pozole?)
  • As Dog Food (soaked first) or Dog Treats (dehydrated, plain or PB slathered)
  • In the garden as a soil amendment
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner -Citric acid
  • Facial Mask – fruit acids* imitate a “chemical peel” – add avocado if sensitive skinned

* various organic acids, such as acetic, gluconic, glucuronic, citric, L‐lactic, malic, tartaric, malonic, oxalic, succinic, pyruvic; also sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose; the vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C; 14 amino acids,

Dog treats, aka Kombucha for your Pooch-A:

I dehydrate my 12 inch scobys (YEP folks, 12 inches in diameter!) in my dehydrator on low for about 24 hours or so, until it looks like fruit leather. Once it’s done, either roll into rolls and dehydrate again to get twisted chews to use instead of rawhide, or cut/tear them up into little strips or square pieces, and store these little pieces of heaven in jars at room temperature.

Another option, smear dehydrated scoby in peanut butter or some other delicious substance and watch the dog go nuts on it. The texture of the dried-out culture is like pliable leather. The probiotics work their balancing act!

WHY BOOCH?

  • Kombucha Can Help Lower Your Caffeine Intake
  • Kombucha contains vitamins B1, B6, and B12. All of these vitamins are known to help stabilize mood, improve concentration, and fight depression.
  • Kombucha is an adaptogen, which balances the body.
  • They also tend to reduce cravings for sugar, alcohol, and provide liver protection. They can also help boost immunity, energy, and stamina.
  • Supports healthy digestion by increasing the acidity of the gut with a number of different natural enzymes that aid in breaking down food.
  • Kombucha promotes healthy gut bacteria. DYK that 80% of your immune system lives within the gut, and affects almost every aspect of how you feel each day.

When your gut is healthy, it contains about 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. Good bacteria in your body work to keep you both feeling and functioning at your best by:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Digesting your food
  • Improving mental clarity
  • Promoting nutrient absorption
  • Balancing your hormones
  • Normalizing glucose levels

The Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology recently published a study showing that consistent stress negatively affects the amount and diversity of your good gut flora.

A diverse population of gut flora is your goal.

  1. First Fermentation: This is when you transform sweet tea into tart and tasty kombucha.
  2. Second Fermentation: This is when you carbonate the kombucha by adding flavor and sugars then bottling it.

Kiwi will be the main source of sugar in today’s batch, with moringa oleifera, spirulina and spinach added for a boost of GREEN nutrition. Recipe loosely inspired by https://brewbuch.com/green-goddess-kombucha/  follows:

2ND FERMENTATION KOMBUCHA RECIPE

 INGREDIENTS

  • ½ Gallon Kombucha #F1 (decaf/green/white/black/yerba all ok)
  • 1 Kiwi, un-peeled ok (!) – Try Golden Kiwi…
  • ½ Cup Spinach, fresh or thawed
  • 2 tsp Moringa Oleifera (and/or spirulina)
  • 2 TBSP Ginger, fresh or paste
  • Optional: Essential oils – Cilantro toothpick “dot”.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Blend: Puree all the ingredients with a splash of the kombucha until smooth. Swirl a toothpick coated with Cilantro E/O through the fruit puree (It’s very potent and this is all you’ll need!)
  2. Bottle: Evenly distribute the puree into fermentation bottles, then pour in F1 Kombucha, leaving 1 to 2 inches free at the top for carbonation to occur.
  3. Ferment: Place in a dark, room temperature area for 3 to 10 days, burping occasionally, until it reaches the carbonation level you like. This process will go faster in warmer climates, and slower in cooler climates.

 NOTES

  • Kombucha will continue to develop as it rests, though slower once chilled.
  • Not a kiwi fan? Substitute ½ cup of chopped strawberries, an orange, or 2 tsp of Maple.
  • Can’t find moringa? Ask me for a local Farmer/Grower near you if you’re in South Florida.
  • Consider other popular flavor combos, as seen here:
    https://brewbuch.com/top-kombucha-flavors/

*If you’ve found peace of mind, learned something helpful, or been inspired to make a change in your own, or a loved ones life, please consider supporting practical wisdom and wellness. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. Little goes a long way towards helping us continue to live ad-free in the world and bring you stimulating content.

Tower to Table Cooking

Best Ever, Herbed, Roasted Tomatoes! “From Land to Hand, From Tower to Power Bowl” Featuring Homegrown Tomatoes w/ Garlic, Basil & Rosemary over Arugula

 

ROASTED TOMATO RECIPE

TOTAL TIME 30 minutes (5 minutes prep / 20 minutes roasting / 5 minutes cooling)
YIELD: 2 Servings – scales up easily

 

 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

  • Rimmed Sheet Pan
  • Silpat Sheet or Parchment paper (or disposable sheet pan)
  • Flexible Rubber Spatula
  • Oven

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lb, Washed Cherry Tomatoes
  • 8 Garlic Cloves, Whole & Peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon Good Olive Oil (or Aquafaba for Oil-free roasting)
  • 1 teaspoon Combined Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper (try Green Peppercorns)
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Optional: Base of Arugula Leaves, a shake of Za’atar, or Berbere (a more floral, adventurous substitute, and often this chef’s “secret weapon”)

METHOD:

Roasting Tomatoes:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees with oven rack in the middle part of the oven.

Step 2: Toss garlic cloves, tomatoes, oil (or aquafaba), salt & pepper onto a silicone mat-covered baking sheet and stir till evenly covered. Spread out so that air can circulate.

Step 3: Cook undisturbed…”till done”… approximately 20 minutes, depending on size and, your oven’s characteristics. Check progress in your oven at the 10-minute mark, to be safe, shake pan to toss garlic and tomatoes lightly.

(Let your nose guide you …hopefully before your smoke alarm does!)

Step 4: Remove from oven, and apply a liberal “dusting” of freshly minced mixed herbs, and set aside to cool. Get creative here, switch up your herbs as you wish – try Cilantro, with Lime zest, for a homemade salsa base, or with Za’atar for a Middle-Eastern twist!

Spoon out your tomatoes into a glass jar for longest keeping qualities and refrigerate for a week or more. Cover with a slick of Olive oil to keep them longer

Step 5: Bonus, scrape up all the cooking juices and blend into your basic vinaigrette recipe (1/3 Cup wine vinegar to 1 Cup EVOO; keeps refrigerated for up to 2 weeks)

HEALTH BENEFITS:

Tomatoes provide about 40% of the daily recommended minimum of vitamin C and are an overall stellar dietary tool to help both prevent, and manage diabetes and aiding in weight loss since they’re a great source of dietary fiber. With significant fiber, they are helpful to stabilize blood sugars, and improve cardiovascular health. Tomatoes are low in carbs and calories, yet rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K, a known blood clotting factor. Mostly, tomatoes are known for being a great source of various antioxidants, most importantly Lycopene.

More about Lycopene:

A 2011 study found that the combination of tomato & olive oil helps protect against sun damage, and boosts the production of pro-collagen, which gives skin the structure to keep it firm and youthful. Lycopene is at its highest concentration when tomatoes have been cooked, and olive oil boosts its absorption from your digestive system into your bloodstream. While Lycopene is good for your eyes, tomatoes also contain lutein and beta-carotene, nutrients that support vision and protect against eye conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration. Finally, Lycopene has been linked to fewer incidences of prostateovarianlung, and stomach cancers.

I’ve always believed that simple *is best*.

Once arrived in South Florida, THIS professional, highly trained “green” chef, added “urban farmer” to my skillset, incorporating growing food and composting to round out the full sustainability cycle , adding nutrients back into the soil and therefore the food. This had been the link to living a zero-waste lifestyle.

My biggest shift, was that I no longer felt called to show off my kitchen fancy footwork but rather exult in the purest homegrown ingredients, celebrating Mother Nature & Father Time’s glorious creations. For sure, these need the least of my meddling!

While at times, that meant just eating a freshly plucked veggie or fruit, other times, the only embellishment needed was the lightest of dressings, a few sprinkles of complementary herbs, or grinds of specialty spices.

Of note, tomatoes (so easily grown in my Tower Garden!) release their cancer-fighting antioxidants only when cooked giving me reason to create this recipe with many creative pairings listed below*.

Just know that these concentrated, decadent flavor bombs have become the backbone of many a #swoonworthy feast of mine!

*Try them atop polenta, tossed over spaghetti squash or mixed with beans as a protein filled bruschetta over toast. For Mediterranean Fusion, add these to mashed, or refried beans; as “dressing” for fresh greens or steamed veggies, added to omelets and salads, drizzled over broiled tofu, as a topping for sautéed green beans or potatoes or broiled fish/seafood. Want a base for a quick, easy salsa? Check! Boost your veggie chili, spike store-bought hummus and elevate a humble bowl of brown rice, or lentils, topped with these jewels, and a few broccoli sprouts!

Many a time, I will simply eat them like a jam, spread on a flax cracker or with veggie scoops, like my favorites, Watermelon Radish, Golden Beet or for a little more heat, use a Poblano pepper, instead! I encourage you to discover a new veggie each week for a healthy 52 weeks ahead. Let me know what you try out!

Bon Appétit & You’re Welcome!

 

*If you’ve found peace of mind, learned something helpful, or been inspired to make a change in your own, or a loved ones life, please consider supporting practical wisdom and wellness. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. Little goes a long way towards helping us continue to live ad-free in the world and bring you stimulating content.

Who’s Hungry? Come and Get it….

This week’s menu is packed with Brand New Dishes ready for you to enjoy

Place orders Extra-early so you don’t miss a chance to chow down happily on fresh, delicious & most creative food.

 

Once you submit your form please make sure to send your payment: Please be sure to identify yourself in your payment note, so we can match you up with your order.

– <3 Nina

*If you’ve found peace of mind, learned something helpful, or been inspired to make a change in your own, or a loved ones life, please consider supporting practical wisdom and wellness. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. Little goes a long way towards helping us continue to live ad-free in the world and bring you stimulating content.

Delish Chai Energy Bites

Chai-Scented, No-Bake, Energy Bites with ultimate flexibility, these people-pleasing morsels can masquerade as breakfast, dessert, or an exotic snack. Best of all, with no flame, heat, sharp blades or even scissors, this is perfect for instant gratification, and especially great way to distract and satisfy kids of any ages. You’ll be sure to always keep some in your freezer for that perfect “snack-attack”!

Bonus: If you’re lucky enough to have kids around that still love to make mud-pies with their hands, give them a chance to play with their food and make this dessert for you 😉

TOTAL TIME 20 minutes: 10 minutes PREP & 10 minutes Freezing time
YIELD:One Bakers’ Dozen of (13) Bite-sized “Balls”.

INGREDIENTS:
1 Banana, ripe
½ Cup Almond OR Coconut Flour
2 Tbsp. nut butter of choice
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1 scoop Vanilla Complete Protein Powder, by Juice Plus
1 Extra-Large dose of patience

SPICES:
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Cardamom
½ tsp. Turmeric
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Ginger, ground
¼ tsp. Allspice, or Cloves, ground

TOPPING:
1 Tbsp. Coconut, Dark, or Turbinado Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

METHOD:
In a large bowl, mash your banana using a fork and stir in nut butter and maple syrup.

In another bowl, stir together almond or coconut flour, all spices and your Vanilla “complete”.

Add dry ingredients to the banana mash. Stir until a dough forms. Add cacao nibs, chocolate chips, or
any optional ingredients now, if using.

Separate dough into 13 evenly sized balls.

In a shallow bowl, stir together topping made of two ingredients only:1 Tbsp sugar and 1 teaspoon
cinnamon. Roll each ball into cinnamon/sugar mix until completely coated.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator or freezer. Ready to eat when firm to the touch.
Notes: Leftovers keep up to 1 weeks stored in the refrigerator, 4 weeks if stored in the freezer.

 

 

*I know that sentiment has deep political ramifications RIGHT NOW as the term “marshall law” is being bandied about, but this post just isn’t about that.  I’m personally NOT a fan of speculating, or stressing about the things that I cannot control so here I am back at my home temple, the kitchen, creating healing recipes so that we can live our best life, despite being temporarily in isolation.

Raw, No-Bake, Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Energy Bites

Anyone else enjoying memories of that radical thing we used to do, not that long ago, called “gathering IN-PERSON”?!

I am, and of course, my mind goes right to “snickerdoodle”, naturally!

Need a translator?  Here’s how that worked, for me:
Friends… Family… Loved Ones… Holidays… Christmas… Christmas Cookies… Snickerdoodles!

You’re still with me, right?

This recipe is so easy, we can enjoy these snickerdoodles any day; they’re not just for Christmas, anymore.   In fact, I recommend you always keep some in your freezer for that perfect any-time “snack-attack” (since it’s not like anyone’s just going to “drop in on you!)!

TOTAL TIME 10 minutes: 05 minutes PREP & 05 minutes Freezing time
YIELD: One Bakers’ Dozen of (13) Bite-sized “Balls”

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Banana, ripe
  • ½ Cup Almond OR Coconut Flour (Can use a blend)
  • 2 Tbsp. nut butter of choice
  • 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Complete Protein Powder, by Juice Plus
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg

TOPPING:

  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut or Raw, Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

METHOD:
In a large bowl, mash your banana using a fork and stir in all your wet ingredients. In another bowl, stir together all flours, spices and the serving of Vanilla “complete”. Add dry ingredients to the wet. Stir until dough forms. Scoop 12-13 small balls of dough.

In a shallow bowl, stir together the Tbsp sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll each ball into cinnamon/sugar mix until completely coated.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.  Ready to eat when firm to the touch.

*I know that sentiment has deep political ramifications RIGHT NOW as the term “marshall law” is being bandied about, but this post just isn’t about that.  I’m personally NOT a fan of speculating, or stressing about the things that I cannot control so here I am back at my home temple, the kitchen, creating healing recipes so that we can live our best life, despite being temporarily in isolation.

Anxiety?? Eat more Cacao!

Feeling Anxious? Don’t turn to pills, turn to basic skills and enjoy combining foods in your pantry into amazing, healing treats. This is part of my #foodasmedecine way to eat!

Here’s what you need to know:
1. Walnuts have been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.

2. Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium, which promotes a healthy mood, safely and effectively as a homeopathic therapy.

3. Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression.

4. Cherries, known to improve sleep, a critical component of keeping your immune system at it’s best!

Mix all this together and make chocolate bark, and the goodness goes way beyond amazing deliciousness! Have a piece in the afternoon, with a cup of green tea, and be happy knowing your afternoon pick-me up is completely therapeutic.

Note, the linked recipe does NOT include sunflower seeds, but go ahead and play with your food, walk on the wild side and add what you want… I highly recommend that you liberally sprinkle your chocolate slab with the seeds.

Leave a comment below on how you plan to use your pesto!

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*I know that sentiment has deep political ramifications RIGHT NOW as the term “marshall law” is being bandied about, but this post just isn’t about that.  I’m personally NOT a fan of speculating, or stressing about the things that I cannot control so here I am back at my home temple, the kitchen, creating healing recipes so that we can live our best life, despite being temporarily in isolation.

 

Real Foods for Lung Health and More

This Coronavirus thing, this social distancing thing, this working from home thing…. what a thing it can be! We are all feeling it, in one form or another and like all of you, i’m running through all the feels and processing it all -at least that which I can actually process, and surrendering to the unknown mostly, trusting in my own health and wellness lifestyle and sharing as much of it as possible with my circle. Because i’m hearing form many of you with increased anxiety over the additional uncertainties of it all, I wanted to share some of my favorite distractions, some of which involve my pets, always considered emotional support animals, and my kitchen, always part lab/part temple, to me.  Thanks to the extra time off due to Covid19, the moment, I’m making a few extra ferments that take 30-40 days to age just right, and creating “Quarantine Queue” content, finally starting up YouTube channels, and the like!
In the meantime, i’m HERE on this platform with you sharing some meal ideas to improve our immune system overall, as well as heal inflammation, strengthen our lungs, and reduce any upper respiratory symptoms which you might be facing:
  1. For lung health, incorporate pineapple or kiwi (or both!) into your meals. These each make great snacks, breakfast or dessert options, but might as well splurge and turn these into easy and fast meal replacement ideas, filled with beneficial nutrients by adding either fruit to a clean shake mix such as this kind
  2. To reduce inflammation, and benefit from antioxidants, eat ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, regularly. Blend these together to make a great dip and base for a dressing  even, and enjoy with as many leafy greens and raw veggies as possible. Always a great way to eat, but vital right now! If you’re more in a soup mood,
  3. To up your intake of the most beneficial vitamins, A, C, and E, in order, include Carrots; Citrus, Bell Peppers, Papayas (green, or ripe), Avocado, Collard Greens,Sweet potatoes; and ¼ Cup sunflower seeds in your meals. Adapt any pesto recipe to incorporate sunflower seeds and collard greens in lieu of the other greens and nuts,and eat the finished pesto with carrots bell pepper “scoops” for a great solution.  Want an alternate pesto recipe featuring sunflower seeds? You’re in luck! Get the recipe HERE
  4. Eat 2 Brazil nuts, per day, every day, for selenium content which protects the body from infections and from damage caused by free radicals, among many other good things this little nut can do! I just use them as a snack item, but if you’re feeling extra ambitious, with a little extra time on your hands, save money and make your own DiY nut mylk right now
  5. Eat Walnuts daily, for their Vit E, anti-inflammatory properties, copper and folate, and above all, ability to reduce psychiatric stress which weakens our immune systems. BTW, Copper as a nutrient helps maintain the immune functions, and helps us absorb iron, which is what gives us energy, and we can all use more of that, only always! Try Walnuts with this great recipe for a yummy treat!!
If you do all this, you’ll reduce asthma symptoms, strengthen capillary walls, enjoy good energy levels, all for eating a few yummy meals with carefully created, easy-peasy recipes. Should you feel unable or unwilling to purchase and eat these ingredients, or cook your own meals, you can always choose to bridge the gap with my favorite “easy-button”, taking a variety of the whole food nutrition capsules or gummy-chewables twice a day and cover getting over 30 different fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, seeds, skins and all!
PS: Those weird parts like skins and seeds, among others,  are the ones that actually have the most beneficial compounds!  Here’s where you can order when you’re ready to get started! https://ninakauder.juiceplus.com/us/en/buy/capsules/juice-plus-fruit-vegetable-berry-blend-capsules.
Stay Healthy, Friends!
Please Strive to Remain Kind, Above All <3

Leave a comment below on how you plan to use your pesto!

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*I know that sentiment has deep political ramifications RIGHT NOW as the term “marshall law” is being bandied about, but this post just isn’t about that.  I’m personally NOT a fan of speculating, or stressing about the things that I cannot control so here I am back at my home temple, the kitchen, creating healing recipes so that we can live our best life, despite being temporarily in isolation.

2 mmmazing ways to use Sprouted Lentils

Raw Lentil Apple Pie – 1 serving
  • 1/3 cup sprouted raw lentils (instructions at the end)
    1/2 diced green apple
  • Zest from ½ of a lemon
  • Juice from ½ of a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (ground, fresh, or paste)
  • 2 diced dates
  • 2 tbsp chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans

Combine all ingredients and enjoy for breakfast, dessert or as a snack

Tex-Mex Lentils (raw lentil taco filling) – 1 serving

  • 1/3 cup sprouted raw lentils (instructions at the end)
    1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Zest from ½ of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 diced avocado
  • 1 tbsp sliced black olives
  • 1 tbsp fresh or canned corn
  • 1 tbsp diced tomatoes, fresh if available

Optional:

  • Pickled jalapenos, 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • Serve inside romaine or butter lettuce leaves, or radicchio “lettuce cups”.
  • Savory Sprouted Lentils – 1 serving
  • 1/3 cup sprouted raw lentils (instructions at the end)
    1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • Zest of ½ of a lemon
  • Optional:
  • ½ tsp spirulina

Mix and enjoy, best eaten by the spoonful!

How to sprout lentils (yields ~1 cup sprouted lentils)

  • Add 1 cup dried lentils in a bowl with water to cover by at least 2 fingers
  • Let soak for minimum 4 hours, or overnight to plump
  • Once plumped, drain and rinse
  • Spread soaked lentils on a flat tray or plate and cover with a damp, sterile dish towel or double paper towel and keep it damp throughout the day
  • Keep out of direct sunlight and AC vents
  • Rinse once or twice during second day and return to tray
  • Once a “tail” even just begins to sprout, they are ready to consume
  • Continue letting them sprout to your desired tail length, then rinse, drain and either eat or store, refrigerated to keep for several days
  • Consume within 3-5 days

Share with us how YOU might use your sprouted lentils, especially any variations you come up with. We can’t wait to hear back from you and see your own pictures! Post your photos, questions or comments by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook

Thank you, and please, play with your food…
-Chef Nina

Presto Vegan Pesto!

We are but one week from when i enjoyed teaching a  “plein-air” (which just means outdoors) cooking class on a beautiful day, under deep blue skies (no filter needed kind of a day!) and vitamin-D rich sunshine 
offering the gardeners from the local Methodist Church’s Community Garden a cooking class on how to make the very most of their abundant organic veggie harvest.  And here we are, just a few short days later,  all practicing “Social Distancing” and “Self-Isolation” doing our patriotic bits to help flatten the curve.
Their lush late season harvest included many varieties of onions, purple, yellow, green, bunching varieties, and scallions, so I chose to invent a variation on Pesto, utilizing the tall stalks of onion greens, which folks tend to toss and waste. I pride myself on being a #zerowaste chef, or at least strive to get as close to zero waste as possible, so i found this a brilliant possibility.  Now, just hoping ti would taste divine, too, otherwise it would be so brilliant, after all, lol!   With a further challenge, I also opted to keep it budget-friendly, so instead of walnuts or heaven forbid, pignoli nuts most commonly featured in traditional pesto recipes, I picked sunflower seeds. Both choices actually worked brilliantly! Finally, because I’ve seen the call to keep clients healthy, I aim for no-oil recipes as often as possible.  So, this pesto is more of a paste, than a sauce. And, it works!
Ingredients:
1 bunch basil
1 bunch scallions (or the equivalent e.g. in fresh onion tops.)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 and 1/2 cups shelled sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)
2 garlic cloves (raw is suggested but these could also be roasted if you prefer the flavor)
1/2/ cup Nutritional yeast
1/4 cup olive oil oil (or enough for a paste to form in the blender, you may need a little more than 1/4 cup). You might use infused oil i(e.g. with basil stems). If you don’t want to use additional oil and a paste has not yet formed, use hot water for the additional liquid. If you don’t want to use oil at all, you may substitute hot vegetable broth for the entire 1/4 cup of oil
2 big cloves garlic (raw is recommended but you could use roasted)
Lemon zest from one lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice (this is approximately the juice that you can squeeze from one half lemon)
Directions:
Blend all ingredients together to form a paste.

Leave a comment below on how you plan to use your pesto!

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*I know that sentiment has deep political ramifications RIGHT NOW as the term “marshall law” is being bandied about, but this post just isn’t about that.  I’m personally NOT a fan of speculating, or stressing about the things that I cannot control so here I am back at my home temple, the kitchen, creating healing recipes so that we can live our best life, despite being temporarily in isolation.
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