Spring is here! Let’s have some fun.

Hello everyone! It has been a while but I’m still here!!! I just taught a cooking class on vegan food! – you know me, I am not vegan and I really dislike labels – but that was the theme of the class and a perfect one for a good internal spring cleaning…  I  call this a “meal with benefits”; When I have friends over, I like to take care of them so, the food is often vegetarian or vegan but I chose it based on seasonal vegetables because I happen to really like a dish; I don’t advertise it as being vegetarian as all that matters is that it is absolutely delicious and everyone is enjoying themselves, don’t you think? At the class, no one was vegan (one lovely woman has a vegan daughter) but it made me really happy to see that people are starting to think about what they put in their bodies. That there is a higher lever of consciousness.

Everyone had fun and got very creative and that made me happy.

IMG_8172Photo by Angelica Equizi

I am going to share all the recipes from the class so this will be a longer post than usual, it is a full on DETOX spring meal (3 recipes) made with the best spring markets have to offer.

VIETNAMESE INSPIRED SUMMER ROLLS
IMG_8176For 4 People
8 rice papers (I used 16 cm papers)
4 Romaine or Butter lettuce leaves
(washed and dried)
A Julienne of colorful vegetables, I used:
(Red bell pepper, Carrots, cucumber, red cabbage)
8 basil leaves
8 coriander sprigs
olive oil
1 lime
Fresh jalapeño or italian peperoncino

Prepare all your vegetables in evenly sized julienne.

Wash and dry the herbs.
Chopp the jalapeño
Place one sheet of paper at a time in lukewarm water and once it is soft, place it on a clean dish towel, plate or chopping board.  You can see how right here.
Remove any hard core of the lettuce and cut a small enough piece to coat the center of your paper. Add your vegetables, basil, cilantro, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of lime juice.

I served mine with an amazing Almond milk & Tumeric “fake” mayo (to be prepared 24-48 hours ahead). No seriously it was absolutely delicious. I tried many recipes I found online but the one that helped me the most was from a blogger friend and colleague I did adjust the quantities for the consistency I wanted but if you speak italian check her out. Great blog: Essenza di Vaniglia

MAIONESE DI MANDORLE E CURCUMA
Almond Milk:
50 gr. almonds
250 gr of spring water

Blanch the almonds in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then peel them.
Place the almonds in a bowl with water and leave overnight (up to 2 days)
In a blender add the almonds and the 250gr of spring water and blend until very smooth. Pass through a sieve (don’t throw away the pulp – see dessert below) and you have fresh delicious frangrant almond milk.

Fot the mayo:
80 gr of almond milk
175 gr of olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp tumeric
1 tsp fresh black pepper
salt to taste

Using a food processor or immersion blender add the milk, tumeric, pepper and salt and start to blend. Slowly add the olive oil and at the end add the vinegar. This should all take 10 minutes. You need to fluff enough air into it. Chill until ready to serve. Overnight is best.

Summerroll4

SPRING COUS-COUS WITH HERB SALAD

One of my favorite spring vegetables is “Agretti” {I have posted recipes with it in the past} a tangy crunchy seaweed-like green. Besides the great flavor, agretti are a terrific detox vegetable.

For all the nutrition information see my post “Agretti”, a short season not to be missed

Can’t find agretti? Substitute any vegetable in this recipe for is at your local farmer’s market right now, I trust you!

couscous2
For 4 people

150 gr whole wheat organic cous-cous
300 gr Agretti
150 gr shelled spring peas
150 shelled edamame or fava beans
1 spring bulb onion or 2-3 scallions
small bunch of parlsey
small bunch cilantro
1 sprig of mint
1 or 2 sprigs of dill
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
1 carrot to decorate (optional)
2-3 tbsp x.v. olive oil
salt and fresh pepper

Cook your vegetable:
Agretti – blanched in salted boiling water 6 min.
Peas – blanched in salted boiling water 5 min max (run cold water to stop cooking)
Edamame or fava beans – blanched in salted boiling water 3 min

clean and dry your herbs and chop half of them. The other half should be stem free, keeping just leaves for a nice little herb salad.

If using the carrot, take a mandolin or vegetale peeler, slice paper thin and set aside

Chopp the spring onion and add to a sauté pan with 1 tbsp olive oil.

At this point bring enough water to cover your cous-cous to a boil. Put your cous-cous in a large enough bowl and add a pinch of salt and a tbsp of olive oil, mix well and cover with the boiling water (should be about 1 finger above level of cous cous, cover the bowl with a pot lid or plate and rest 5 minutes.

While the couscous is resting, cook the onion on low flame until tender and add the peas, edamame and roughly chopped agretti, add the cous cous and warm all for 2-3 minutes. Add the fresh chopped herbs, some freshly ground black pepper and  the zest of half a lemon. Serve on a plate and top with the herb salad. Add the lime zest and the zest from the other half a lemon. Drizzle a little olive oil and if you want a tiny squirt of lemon or lime juice.

You can decorate with the carrot slices to add a bit of contrasting color. you can use edible flowers, fried tomato peel, red bell peppers, anything you like that will add a bit of color.

couscous1

And finally my new favorite guilt free dessert I found this on a french health blog called “Néo Nutrition“:

CHOCOLATE SUGAR-FREE VEGAN TRUFFLES

For about 25/30 truffles
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
20 pitted dates
2 tbsp almond flour (or the almond pulp from making almond milk)
2 tbsp olive oil (or better organic coconut oil)
unsweetened coconut flakes
pinch of salt

Soak the dates in warm water for at least half an hour then drain
Add all ingredients except the coconut flakes to your food processor and blend until well incorporated

put the coconut flakes on a dish

with 2 teaspoons, take a small amount of paste and place them in the coconut dish. using the spoon, coat them well then you can take them in your hands and rolll them into shape.

Refrigetate min. 1 hours or even overnight

tartufini1

BUON APPETITO!!!

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