Jul 192012
You’ll be tempted, but resist the urge to add any oil or butter with this recipe if you use all fresh ingredients. Just try it and see what happens.  Let your seasonal veggies shine through and enjoy the real flavors that each adds.  Every layer is perfectly delicious in itself – roasted tomatoes become sweet and tangy, potatoes become buttery, onions caramelize and corn turns even sweeter with roasting.
This is an easy recipe but since there are a fair amount of steps I chronicled it in photos.
Tomatoes and Onions – Ready for Roasting
Potatoes and onions – just in the oven
….and corn lined up for roasting.
Corn – finished roasting and kernels removed


Roasted tomato and potato trays
Ready to top with mashed potatoes.
Complete dish before going into the oven for final baking.
**Stop here if you are making ahead! Cool, refrigerate, and bake the next day.
I am not an oil free vegan, but I do see the benefits of cutting back on refined oils because in the process of refining most oils, many of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are stripped away when it is heated- similarly to how white flour and sugar is refined.  It is definitely important to incorporate fats into your diet for cognitive function and digestive health etc. – but leaning towards healthy, un-processed and plant based fats, such as avocados, seeds and nuts is the best way to go.
The next best thing to plant based fats is organic, cold pressed oils. These are are non-genetically modified and have gone through a very minimal heating process. Some examples are cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil and avocado oil.
Many times reason for refining oils is to increase the smoke point.  This is the point in heating when the oil turns to vapor and the begins to decompose, loose even more nutrients, acquire free radicals and may even gain some cancer causing compounds. It is best to not heat oils above smoke point.
So what oils are best to cook with?  I found so much contradictory information out there that I finally went to Cleveland Clinic’s website and found the following chart:

High smoke pointBest suited for searing, browning and deep frying (although the latter is not a recommended practice where heart health is concerned).

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Almond 65 28 7 Distinctive nutty flavor
Avocado 65 18 17 Sweet aroma
Hazelnut 82 11 7 Bold, strong flavor
Palm 38 10 52 High in saturated fat. Not recommended
Sunflower 79 7 14 Seek out high-oleic versions, which are higher in monounsaturated fat
“Light” olive/refined olive 78 8 14 The more refined the olive oil, the better its all-purpose cooking use. “Light” refers to color

Medium-high smoke pointBest suited for baking, oven cooking or stir frying.

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Canola 62 31 7 Contains low levels of omega-3
Grapeseed 17 73 10 High in omega-6
Macadamia nut 84 3 13 Bold flavor
Extra virgin olive 78 8 14 Best-pick oil
Peanut 48 34 18 Great for stir frying

Medium smoke point Best suited for light sautéing, sauces and low-heat baking.

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Corn 25 62 13 High in omega-6. High-oleic (monounsaturated fat) versions coming soon
Hemp 15 75 10 Good source of omega-3. Keep refrigerated
Pumpkinseed 32 53 15 Contains omega-3
Sesame 41 44 15 Rich, nutty flavor. Keep refrigerated
Soybean 25 60 15 High in omega-6
Walnut 24 67 9 Good source of omega-3
Coconut 6 2 92 High in saturated fat. Not recommended

No-heat oils* Best used for dressings, dips or marinades.

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Flaxseed 65 28 7 Excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid,
a form of omega-3
Wheat Germ 65 18 17 Rich in omega-6. Keep refrigerated

*Toasted sesame, extra virgin olive and walnut oils also work well.

Now that your head is spinning with all the information about oils – deciding to forgo fats in a meal or two every now and then is perfectly fine – simply grab a handful of almonds as a snack earlier or, if you like, add some nuts or seeds into the dish!
Tip:  Using an oil mister is going to prevent your foods from sticking and at the same time using a fraction of a teaspoon.
Roasted Summer Veggie Shepherds Pie with Corn, Tomato, Onions and Quinoa
Serves 8


3 ½ pounds mixed potatoes
2 sweet onions, divided
2 pints cherry tomatoes
4 fresh ears corn
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp gluten free flour (or any flour)
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 Tbsp fresh thyme & chives (or any herbs you like)
1 cup dry quinoa

1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Chop potatoes and one onion.  Lay out four baking sheets, spray with organic olive oil cooking spray (or your Misto). Top two sheets with potatoes and chopped onion. Quarter and slice second onion.  Place on third tray with tomatoes.  Cut off silk on top of corn only and place on 4th.  Sprinkle salt on tomatoes, onions and potatoes.  Place all trays in oven, bake 45 minutes, remove corn from oven and toss the remaining three trays. Place all but corn back in oven for additional 10 minutes.
2. Rinse quinoa and add to small pot with 1 ½ cups veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 15 minutes; remove from heat and let sit an additional 5 minutes
3. Place cooked potatoes and onions from first two trays in a food processor and pulse until it becomes the texture of a rustic mashed potato.  Taste and re-season.
4. Mix the 2 tbsp flour and ½ cup veggie broth in a medium bowl; stir in tomatoes, onions, thyme/chives and cooked quinoa.  Shuck corn and cut kernels off cob; add to bowl and mix all well.  Taste and re-season if necessary.
5. Spray a 2 Qt baking dish with cooking spray.  Spoon tomato mixture into baking dish and top with potato mixture.  Press potatoes evenly.  (**You can cool and refrigerate for one day at this point.  Simply bring back to room temp and cook as directed.)
6. Place baking dish in preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes or until heated well throughout. Turn broiler to high and brown top, about 3 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 235.8
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 17.8 mg
Potassium 761.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 49.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Sugars 3.7 g
Protein 7.4 g

Vitamin A 6.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 23.0 %
Vitamin C 55.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.2 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 10.1 %
Folate 12.0 %
Iron 18.1 %
Magnesium 12.5 %
Manganese 16.8 %
Niacin 11.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 7.8 %
Phosphorus 31.9 %
Riboflavin 47.6 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 13.9 %
Zinc 4.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Mar 142012

Welcome to Wine Down Wednesday where I will feature some lovely wine pairings with a vegan dish – in this post, Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta. This all came about a few weeks ago when my friend Gregg and fellow yogi (who also happens, lucky for me, to be the VP – Director of Sales for Broadbent Selections) approached me with a suggestion to do a wine pairing.

Here he is with Adi, the wine maker of the Chenin Blanc.
Gregg is the one in the white.

I was excited about this prospect as I rarely see wine pairing suggestions with anything other than meats or seafood -what a unique opportunity to offer an alternative!

Going into a wine shop can be overwhelming because of the numerous wine regions and the multitude of grape varietals.  While I’m no expert, I’m thrilled to learn more about wine. It will be nice to take this in small bites of two-at-a-time learning about the background of each wine to give it more depth in my mind. This informal section will post several Wednesdays a month.
Thanks Gregg!
  The selection suggestions for this dish are as follows:
BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011,
(Swartland, South Afria)
The proprietors, Hein and Adi Badenhorst, make the wine as naturally and biologically as possible.  The vines are un-irrigated and are grown from vines planted in the early 60’s. 

Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge, (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon).  In Lebanon, this wine is known as Cuvee Rouge and it is a blend of grapes; Cinsaut, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  It’s all organic and has only a tiny trace of sulphites. 

The Categories
Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I (and fellow tasters) like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well each wine pairs with the dish.
Official Wine Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I would drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 – The dish
Balsamic Garlic Mushrooms over Pasta
Rating of Damn that’s Good.  If I do say so myself.

This dish couldn’t have turned out better and is going under “favorites”. It had a great balance of flavor – tart, salty, sweet and aromatic. I preferred the mixed mushrooms as they had a bit more bite than the portabellas I tried this with first. The key is definitely the little dash of agave or honey. You don’t really know it’s there but it brings out the sweetness of the balsamic.

Category #2 – The wines

BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, ( Swartland, South Africa)
Rating of YUM.
It was light and refreshing.  It reminded me of peaches and sweetness but without the sweetness, if that makes any sense.  It was nice and dry – just like I like it!
The Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge
Also Rating of YUM; however, two of the others that tried this gave it a Damn that’s Good.
Possibly because it was red I was thinking berries more than peach.  It had a bit more body than the white without being heavy. Interestingly this wine is similar to the chenin as far as being a dry wine with the perception of sweetness.
Category #3 – The pairing notes

The rating for the pairing on both wines gets a Damn that’s Good.  It was interesting how the two wines paired with this dish. I loved the meatiness of the mushrooms with the Jeune Rouge and the sweet/tart balsamic with the Chenin Blanc. Lip smakin’ good.

Since half the group really loved the red I would probably serve this dish with the Jeune Rouge but if it was just me I would go with the Chenin Blanc. I prefer dry to semi dry white wine because it seems to just go with the warmer weather in Florida.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.


Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta
Inspired by Mushroom Stroganoff, E2 Diet
Serves 2-4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
10 oz mixed mushrooms, I used Woodstock Farms Organic Frozen (or any mushrooms you like)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp agave or honey for non-vegan
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
4oz Fettuccini, I used Tinkyada Brown Rice
Chives for garnish, optional
1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook about 5 minutes, lower heat, add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes; add mushrooms, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  Simmer about 20 minutes or until balsamic vinegar has cooked down to a sauce.
2. Meanwhile cook pasta to package directions.
3. Divide pasta and mushroom mixture over four bowls, garnish with chives.  Serve with BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, (Swartland, South Africa) or CHATEAU MUSAR Jeune Rouge 2009, (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon).
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 263.7
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 54.9 mg
Potassium 304.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 4.5 g

Vitamin B-12 0.5 %
Vitamin B-6 5.6 %
Vitamin C 5.1 %
Vitamin D 13.5 %
Vitamin E 8.9 %
Calcium 0.7 %
Copper 12.0 %
Folate 3.7 %
Iron 4.7 %
Magnesium 2.1 %
Manganese 3.6 %
Niacin 21.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.0 %
Phosphorus 6.8 %
Riboflavin 17.7 %
Selenium 9.4 %
Thiamin 12.4 %
Zinc 2.8 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Pin It

Jan 032012

Goodbye 2011, you were a good year. 
Let’s see…..I gave up meat and most dairy (that is a work in progress), hosted a farm to table dinner and held a Free Range Yoga workshop at the farm, went on LOTS of campouts, trips to St. Augustine, took an amazing trip to the Keys and finally, am at a point where I’m comfortable with myself.  For one, I don’t step on the scale every day any more, I don’t record every bite, and I’ve lost weight and feel better than ever.  After trying every diet in the book, I have finally settled into the aforementioned meat and dairy free diet.  I’ll admit I thought I was going to be tired, but I have more energy than ever.  In fact, on New Years I didn’t get to bed until 3AM!  I used to have to drink 5 Hour Energy and sugar Free Red Bull just to say awake until 11:00.
One of the biggest challenges was (is) not cutting meat from my diet, but how the people around me reacted and the availability of animal free foods at social events and during travel.  I can’t say how many times I’ve been told it is unhealthy to not eat meat and been asked how I get my protein and calcium. I have learned to still participate in social events but to bring along something delicious that everyone can eat and to not make a big deal about my abstention from meat.
For the New Years Eve party I attended, I decided to make a pesto with the fresh Meyer lemons that my friend Gregg brought me to yoga that morning and I paired it with herbs straight from my garden.  As “dippers” I skewered a small tomato, a bit of fresh beet green and broccoli-both fresh from the farm.  For the folks that weren’t into the “salad on a stick”, a loaf of sliced Cuban bread and a whole grain baguette were on the side as well.  It turned out so well I am going to make another batch for a dressing and sandwich spread.
As for my 2012 New Years Resolutions….. I finally settled on two.
  1. Meditate daily
  2. Stay in the present moment
A BIG, HUGE thanks to everyone that has visited my site, supported me, tried my recipes and even introduced themselves to me when I’m out and about.  It is so fun to meet some of the folks that actually read my posts!  I love, love, LOVE every comment, suggestion and insight.
So THANK YOU and I look forward to the new year!
Now tell me…..what are your resolutions this year?
Fresh Meyer Lemon Pesto with Tomato, Beet Green and Broccoli Skewers
Inspired by Epicurious
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
2 packed cups of fresh herbs, I used basil, oregano, chives and parsley.
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
Zest and juice of one fresh Meyer lemon
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
For the skewers
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 fresh beet greens, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 large head broccoli
  1. Add herbs through lemon zest and juice to a food processor or blender and pulse to chop finely; slowly stream in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, taste and re-season if necessary.
  2. For skewers, thread one tomato, a rolled bit of beet green and a broccoli floret onto a toothpick.