Jan 212014
 

One bite of my Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce will have your taste buds dancing.

Layers of flavor create balance in this dish; aromatic, fresh ginger, cooling coconut milk, sweet mango, a little heat from the chili sauce, and salty, savory miso ~ all tied together in a neat bow by Ume Plum vinegar.

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Have you seen the show the Taste?

The Taste “features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson, expert chef and author Ludo Lefebvre and restaurateur Brian Malarkey. Each of the four culinary superstars and “Taste” mentors – Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey – will coach a team of four competing pro and amateur cooks chosen from a nationwide casting call as they vie to create the best tasting dish.”

My five year old daughter and I have been watching this season and rooting for our favorite Vegan, Cassandra Bodzak.

As you watch the judging of each dish, it is interesting how the judges lean towards two things: fat and balance. Many times the dishes that lose are too dry or lack one of the elements of taste, most often sour/acidity or heat.

As I created this dish, the subject of acid became very apparent at first taste. Many times, without acid a recipe falls flat, lacks depth and seems to be missing something.  Think about the dish ~ could you add tomatoes, vinegar or citrus….google to see what goes best in that type of cuisine. In this case I didn’t have lime on hand so I used Ume Plum vinegar. Ah ha! Perfection!

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Umeboshi are traditionally made by harvesting ume fruit when they ripen around June and packing them in barrels with salt. A weight is placed on top and the fruit gradually exude juices, which accumulate at the bottom of the barrel. This salty, sour liquid is marketed as umezu (梅酢; often translated as “ume vinegar”), although it is not a true vinegar.

I searched for quite a while to find this ingredient because it is often used in one of my favorite recipe books ~ Clean Food by Terry Walters. I finally found it locally at Native Sun; however, if you don’t live in the area, check on line or visit your local natural food store.

I can’t wait for you to try this dish! It is going down in my “favorites” and even my husband who is not a fan of Indian inspired dishes complimented this one. Enjoy!

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Serves 7-8 3/4 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup mango (the fruit of about 2)
1 sweet potato, chopped (do not peel)
2 tsp miso
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 dashes organic chili sauce or Sriracha (Plus extra for garnish if you like it hot like I do!)
2 tsp Ume plum vinegar
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat; add onions, sauté about 5 minutes; add garlic and ginger sauté an additional minute; add lentils, toast for 1-2 minutes; add curry powder; add vegetable broth, mango and sweet potato; bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and potato are soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk, miso, chili sauce and vinegar.

3. Garnish with cilantro and serve over cooked quinoa such as Pereg Quinoa with Vegetables.

Nutrition Facts
7 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 154.8
Total Fat 10.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 588.1 mg
Potassium 134.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 1.8 g

Vitamin A 50.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.7 %
Vitamin C 17.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.6 %
Calcium 1.3 %
Copper 4.6 %
Folate 8.1 %
Iron 4.3 %
Magnesium 2.6 %
Manganese 8.0 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 3.7 %
Riboflavin 2.6 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 3.4 %
Zinc 1.8 %

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

Bonus tip: 

For a WONDERFUL breakdown of the different types of lentils visit about.com.

Aug 072012
 

 

Tropical Salsa with Cucumber, Fresh Mint, Peach and Mango

 

Summer here is all about quick and easy – especially since last week I was really sick.  My doctor said I caught it before it turned into full blown pneumonia.  Goodness knows that one thing I can’t seem to do is slow down, so I had simply worn myself down.  For someone in-tune with their body, I have a hard time listening when I’m sick and that is something I need to work on.  
 
On a positive note, I found Netflix on line and watched every episode of Survivors from the BBC where a flu pandemic wipes out most of the world and the few survivors left have to live life and find a cure.  I loved all the story lines and watching the writer’s ideas of what would happen when government is gone – which is also kind of a fun fact about me.  I LOVE reading and watching survivalist books and movies.  Not necessarily zombie movies, though I did like I Am Legend.  (It doesn’t have”zombies”, but there are definitely some un-realistic vampire/undead people.)  It’s the whole virus part I find so interesting. Biology and sociology were some of my favorite subjects in college - in fact, I started out majoring in biology and ended up with a sociology degree! Studying people is SO interesting so wondering what would happen and what we would do if a major virus outbreak or climate change. 
 
After that, at the suggestion of some co-workers I started watching Breaking Bad.  It’s about a high school chemistry teacher that finds out he has terminal lung cancer and starts to cook meth with a local drug dealer.  So far I haven’t really been able to get into that one but they keep telling me to get through the first two episodes so I’ll have another go at it later.
 
And finally, I got my hands on the Secret.  If you haven’t watched it, you have to rent it.  It’s all about the power of positive thinking and changing our thoughts from constantly thinking about what we DON’T want to what we DO want.  So instead of me saying, I hate sitting in a cubicle, I hate being stuck till 9 pm away from my husband and baby girl at end of month, I have changed my thoughts to I can’t WAIT for my career in food and nutrition.  I can’t WAIT to change people’s lives for the better.  I can’t WAIT to make a real and positive impact on this world.  In fact, I have TWO “vision boards” and a gratitude board. 
 
On the vision boards we paste pictures of what we want – I have the logo for Institute of Integrative Nutrition up there, teacher training at Yoga Den, a photo of the big tent that attaches to my camper and my beach house in St Augustine – down to the comforter on the bed and the layout of the kitchen.  What this does is keep our wants in the forefront of our brains so we are constantly reminded of it and thinking about it.
 
Has it worked so far? Absolutely.  I got my Dyson vacuum, after LOTS of problems I finally got my healthy baby girl, I lost the weight I wanted, brought my daughter to Cape Cod, took my trip to wine country, got my daughter to sleep through the night when she was a baby – and on and on.  You can put ANYTHING on there.  It’s actually lots of fun!
 
Next up, the gratitude board, where each day I write something I’m grateful for and really try to think about it.  A roof over my head, healthy husband and daughter, running water, hot shower, food at the grocery, my parents and in-laws live five minutes away – and so many more things.
 
My second love is motivational books. I recently read The Choice, Beach Money and the Business of the 21st Century from the author that also wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad. 
 
What are your favorite subjects to read about and watch?   Do you have a “vision board” – if so what is on there?
 
10 minute -5 Ingredient Vegan Black Bean Burgers
Back to the burgers!
 
These 10 minute – 5 ingredient bean burgers are a main staple in the house so I hope you’ll forgive me for posting these again with a fresh twist.  Since these burgers are mainly beans and oats, I love that my 3 year old daughter can help me make them and she even loves to lick the bowl!
Tropical Vegan Black Bean Burger
This combo of hearty black beans, cool cucumbers, fresh mint, ripe peach and sweet mango blended together in a perfect melody.  I just had to share it! 
 
Throw a little hot sauce on for a kick and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Vegan Tropical Black Bean Burgers

with Cucumber, Mint, Mango and Peach Salsa

Vegan
Serves 4
 
 
Salsa Ingredients (Makes about 4 cups – 8 servings)
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 peach, seeded and chopped
1 mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
 
Burger
2 cups cooked and drained black beans (or use a 14.5 oz can)
1/3 cup instant oats (or 1/2 cup rolled oats pulsed in the food processor)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning
1 Tbsp coarse ground prepared mustard (or whatever mustard you have)
2 Tbsp Gluten Free Ketchup
 
Optional
4 Ezekiel Whole Grain Burger Buns
Hot Sauce of choice
 
Directions
 
1. Mix salsa ingredients in a large bowl.
 
2. Preheat the broiler on high and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.** Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; divide into four burgers or eight sliders. Broil first side for 6 minutes; flip and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.
 
3. Toast buns; top each with 1 burger, 1/4 cup salsa and a few dashes of hot sauce.
** Reserve extra salsa for later use.
 
 
Jul 262012
 
Tropical Mila Crumble

I haven’t done a dessert in a while and this one is right up my alley (and if you follow my blog I know you will love it too). It utilizes all the fresh tropical fruits that are in the grocery right now and some shredded coconut with that signature sweet-nutty taste and bit of texture. On top is a toasted crumble that is the perfect balance of sweet, crunchy and salty.

Healthy Dessert

This versatile dessert is not too sweet so it’s perfect for breakfast and snack as well! The two scoops of Mila give it lots of fiber and Omega 3s the oat groats have a great crunch. I do believe this is my new summer favorite for both dessert and breakfast.

As for my new favorite food, Mila takes the cake. It’s a premium blend of Salvia Hispanica, or chia seed, that has been cold pressed and sliced.  From what I’ve learned there are two kinds of people – those of us that are selective about what we put in our bodies and those that want a bargain.  And you know, it’s all good.  Everyone has to do the right thing for their own body.  As for me, I am the first person in line at a thrift shop but when it comes to food, you guys know I don’t compromise.

Super Fast Dessert!

I will say that I had been eating organic chia AND ground flax every day but never noticed any difference – I just ate it because I knew it was good for me. When I got a sample of Mila, I was given no info other than the basics – that it’s a whole, raw, super-food.  I ate it for three weeks and noticed better energy and digestion and contacted my friend Megan (who also happens to be my mom’s nurse practitioner at her neurologist and a PhD) to get more.

Of course, I had to ask all about where it is grown, the conditions, and farming practices.  Each crop is cleaned and tested for the highest fiber content and Omega3s and then it is cold pressed and opened by slicing it to make it more bio available.  Mila has 3000 mg Omega3s per scoop! You can eat regular chia whole – but slicing it open preserves the oils and helps your body absorb the nutrients. 
If you want to try some just click HERE and try it out.  Please let me know what you think!

Tropical Crumble
 
Tropical Mila Crumble
Inspired by Grains of Paradise
Serves 6
Vegan and Gluten Free
Ingredients
1 mango, peeled and seeded
1 orange, peeled
1/2 banana
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
1/4 cup shredded unsweet coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Crumble
4 Medjool dates, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup oat groats (you can use oatmeal but it won’t be as crunchy)
2 scoops Mila (4 Tbsp)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
Dash of salt
Directions
1. Preheat broiler to high.  Blend mango through vanilla in a Magic Bullet or food processor.  Pour into 9×9 baking dish that has been prepared with cooking spray (I used coconut).
2. Pulse the crumble ingredients together and pour evenly top of the fruit mixture.  Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until browned and crunchy.

p.s. Here are some photos I had to throw in.  My 3 year old daughter took these.  Not bad!

Nutrition Facts 
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 181.8
Total Fat 7.2 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 54.5 mg
Potassium 202.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Sugars 14.3 g
Protein 2.8 g

Vitamin A 6.2 % 
Vitamin B-6 7.2 %
Vitamin C 38.3 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 3.4 %
Copper 4.8 %
Folate 3.8 %
Iron 5.0 %
Magnesium 3.4 %
Manganese 25.3 %
Niacin 2.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.9 %
Phosphorus 3.2 %
Riboflavin 2.9 %
Selenium 1.0 %
Thiamin 4.3 %
Zinc 0.5 %

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

Nutrition Facts
Info on 4 servings in case you’re hungry!
Amount Per Serving

Calories 272.7
Total Fat 10.9 g
Saturated Fat 7.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 81.8 mg
Potassium 303.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.4 g
Dietary Fiber 7.2 g
Sugars 21.5 g
Protein 4.2 g

Vitamin A 9.3 %
Vitamin B-6 10.8 %
Vitamin C 57.4 %
Vitamin E 3.7 %
Calcium 5.2 %
Copper 7.2 %
Folate 5.8 %
Iron 7.5 %
Magnesium 5.1 %
Manganese 37.9 %
Niacin 3.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.9 %
Phosphorus 4.7 %
Riboflavin 4.3 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 6.5 %
Zinc 0.8 %

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

Jul 142012
 
Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Mango Avocado Lime Dressing
Oh my goodness I am one busy girl.  Not only has work been crazy but I’m also taking care of a sick little one, sharing Mila, doing yoga, hitting the gym, writing a food blog and cooking (to name just a few).  
And I have some exciting new to share with you!  I was asked to do a presentation at Baptist Beaches Hospital this Wednesday for an MS group there, Native Sun is now carrying some of my recipes (check it out!) AND I was invited to an exclusive media dinner at the Casa Monica’s restaurant, 95 Cordova, to review their new summer menu on August 10th!
Things are really moving along and gaining momentum.  In fact, last week on Tuesday I made the decision, after a particularly stressful day at work, to make peace with where I am in life and really have gratitude for what I have.  So I started a “Gratitude Board” where I write something I’m grateful for every day and really try to think about WHY I’m grateful for it.  Also, I began writing in a journal my goals and dreams in great detail as if they have already happened.  This little trick sets your subconscious up to be looking for ways to achieve what, in writing, has already happened.  I made a conscious decision to think of myself as a lucky person – and guess what.  I was on Native Sun’s blog and entered a little contest by guessing a secret ingredient and actually won!  The fact that it’s just a little (but VERY delicious) smoothie doesn’t matter….it’s the fact that when you get your mind right the universe responds to you.
Here are some of the things I wrote in my journal in a nutshell.
My first goals are to go back to school to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach like my friend Michelle at Find Your Balance.  To get there I will greatly grow my business with Mila so that I can share Mila with LOTS of people and change their health forever.  I want to continue doing seminars and presentations on health and nutrition and continue being the volunteer coordinator and event planner for KYV farm.  
I will make the world a better place than I left it. Ultimately, I strive to make a positive impact on people’s health and the environment.
How is that for a deep subject on a Saturday?  So where does food and recipes fit into this you ask?
I’m not sure, but the universe must have been telling me to try Cara’s Spicy Tomato Coconut Sauce because I found something my husband and I both love.  This was very surprising to me because I actually made this sauce for myself he isn’t a fan of tomatoes or coconut. I know, very selfish of me but I had been dying to try it.  Cara – the universe is talking and it’s telling the world to make Spicy Tomato Coconut Sauce.  It is perfect over some GF pasta.
Spicy Coconut Tomato Sauce

And for the salad – mangoes were on sale at Fresh Market 10 for $10 so I bought some and then decided on a tropical salad so grilled pineapple fit the bill.  I made this dressing for my friend Suzanne and her husband Dan who are oil free vegans that also eat Mila and lost a TON of weight. This dressing is sweet and creamy from the avocado and mango and the onion adds that hmmm factor and helps, along with the lime, to keep the avocado from oxidizing.

Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Mango Avocado Lime Dressing

I will definitely be grilling more pineapple in the future. I haven’t done it in ages and I’ve been missing out. It turns even sweeter and caramelized on the outside….you don’t need dessert after this salad!

Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Mango Avocado Lime Dressing
Tropical Grilled Pineapple Salad with
Mango, Avocado and Fresh Lime Dressing
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

4 slices pineapple, sprayed with organic cooking spray

Dressing
1 ripe mango, skin removed and chopped
1/4 avocado
1/4 red onion
Juice 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp sea salt

Salad
6 cups spinach blend
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced

Directions

1. Preheat grill to medium high.  Add pineapple – grill 5 to 7 minutes per side or until nice grill marks form.

2. Meanwhile mix the dressing ingredients in a Magic Bullet or blender – set aside.

3. Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Slice grilled pineapple into wedges.  Serve 2 cups salad mixture, 1 sliced pineapple around and a few Tbsp dressing on each plate.  The dressing can also be mixed in beforehand.

**You will most likely have dressing left over to reserve for another use.

Nutrition Facts Salad
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 59.6
Total Fat 0.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 37.1 mg
Potassium 399.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13.9 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 9.4 g
Protein 1.9 g

Vitamin A 86.3 %
Vitamin B-6 10.5 %
Vitamin C 65.2 %
Folate 25.5 %
Iron 9.2 %
Magnesium 12.7 %
Manganese 91.2 %


Nutrition Facts Dressing
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 54.0
Total Fat 1.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 147.4 mg
Potassium 145.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Sugars 7.7 g
Protein 0.5 g

Vitamin A 8.3 %
Vitamin C 27.1 %

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

Apr 192012
 
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.


For an ideal pairing we look for wines that that compliment Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa we look at the tahini, sweet potato, citrus and mango.


The Wines selected to taste are Warwick ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Barboursville Viognier.

Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers
with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

These sweet-spicy burgers are super easy to put together – only six ingredients. They can be baked, grilled or pan seared.  The mango salsa a spur of the moment inspiration that compliments the burgers so well it is a match made in heaven.  Mangos are on sale for a dollar and avocado is super cheap right now, too.  I had a jalapeno on hand to add a kick and some fresh Florida oranges and limes to add a nice tang.  For a side, I a added some nice steamed edamame with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Time Saving Tip: To save time for the salsa, simply buy a quality store bought mango or citrus salsa in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery!


From 1791 through 1902 Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa was originally known as  ‘De Goede Sukses’, the Good Success farm.  It was later renamed Warwick after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Gordon of the Warwickshire regiment.  In the 60′s the winery traded hands again when it was purchased by Norma Ratcliffe and her husband Stan.  After initially selling the grapes wholesale to other wineries, Norma studied the art of winemaking and began producing her own wine in 1984.  She was the first female wine maker in South Africa, thus the ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon is named as a tribute to Norma.

The winemaker’s notes, “The wine has a deep and intense ruby red colour. The nose reveals lots of red berries and sweet black cherries, complemented by sweet vanilla and chocolate oak background. The smooth ripe, round tannins make this wine easy to drink while still retaining a full body. The balanced acid creates a firm finish that is complemented by a lingering sweetness.”


Barboursville vineyards reside along side the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, owned by Gianni Zonin of Gamnbellara Italy who is a 7th generation winemaker. This Viognier Reserve is grown by the general manager-winemaker Luca Paschina who has a degree in oenology; the study of all aspects of wine. 

It looks like I have found my calling – I must go back to school for an oenology degree. I wonder if this is an offering at FSU.  If not, I will simply have to attend the the Instituto Umberto in Alba Italy as Luca Paschina did.
Gregg from Broadbent Selections sent me some additional information on the vineyard that I thought was interesting, “this second-generation estate house at Barboursville plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only 3 residences he designed for his friends. The Barbour family continued to occupy this residence until it was destroyed by accidental fire at Christmas, 1884, and returned to the elegant Georgian villa next door for several generations, now The 1804 Inn”

The Viognier, pronounced Vee-‘O’-nyaaay, is fermented in steel with tropical and floral tones.  It does well with aging of 4 to 5 years.  The photos of the vineyard are gorgeous-I would love to visit and take some of the cooking classes offered at their restaurant.

Categories



Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.


Rating Scale


Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could 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

Rating of Nice.  I would definitely make these burgers again as long as I could make the salsa with them.  I think that is what really made the dish.  It had all the elements I love - sweet from the mangos and sweet potato, aromatics from the cilantro and a spicy kick from the Cajun seasoning and jalapeno peppers.  The tahini wasn’t a prominent flavor, it just added enough to give it a nutty hint in the background. These were awesome with a bit of Arizona Gunslinger hot sauce on the side. 


Category #2 The Wine

Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 gets a rating of Damn That’s Good.  I’ve started a little wine journal now so I can sit down and write the first things that come to mind.  I’m still amazed when I go and look at reviews afterwards and the reviews actually coincide with my perception.  For this Cabernet the first thing I wrote down was chocolate/cocoa and no aftertaste. After sitting and swirling a bit I added perfect balance of dry and sweet, not too heavy.  Smoky mesquite.  Great with grilled foods.  My husband happened to be cooking on the grill at the time which may have had some influence there.

Virginia Voignier Reserve, 2010 also gets a rating of DAMN THAT’S GOOD.  I had to write that one in caps for emphasis.  On first taste I wrote honey, mango and tad sweeter than Chardonnays, higher percentage of residual sugar ?  I loved the honey-lemon color.  I also wrote down grass reminiscent of summer fresh cut grass which is interesting because in a review of the wine I read “herbal frame” – I wonder if my interpretation was the grassiness.

Category #3 The Pairing

Both get a rating of Yum.  Each brought the dish up to another level in it’s own way.  If I had rated the dish higher, the wines would have elevated the pairings to a DTG. 
The smoky-cocoa cabernet brings out the spicy elements of the dish and has a light enough body to not overpower the sweet potato burgers. 
The Viognier complimented the sweetness of the mango and sweet potato; the wine acquired an added layer of a lemony-citrus flavor when paired with the dish-refreshing and smooth.

Where to buy

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

Sweet Potato Tahini Burgers

with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

Inspired by Lunch Box Bunch
Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients

Burgers
1 can of sweet potato
2 cans cannellini or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup oats, pulsed in magic bullet, blender or food processor to grind it a bit

Salsa
1 mango, seeded and chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Add all burger ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times, so just mixed.  Form into patties and place on a baking tray rubbed with oil.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Turn on broiler to high at the end to crisp outside – about 1 to 2 minutes or until browned.

2. Meanwhile mix the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. 

3. Top each burger with a generous heaping of salsa and serve with Barboursville Viognier or Warwick First Lady Cabernet.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 381.5
Total Fat 8.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 113.4 mg
Potassium 1,199.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 67.5 g
Dietary Fiber 14.4 g
Sugars 8.3 g
Protein 15.8 g

Vitamin A 185.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 20.7 %
Vitamin C 65.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.8 %
Calcium 18.3 %
Copper 35.7 %
Folate 42.5 %
Iron 36.5 %
Magnesium 31.7 %
Manganese 78.9 %
Niacin 8.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 12.9 %
Phosphorus 27.3 %
Riboflavin 14.1 %
Selenium 5.2 %
Thiamin 25.9 %
Zinc 19.1 %

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

Please note that as an ammendment to the Black Bean Soup post I would like to change my rating of the Pares Balta to a Damn thats Good. I’ll definitely be ordering more of because of it’s summer drinkability factor as well as the new information provided that this wine is produced with absolutely now animal products so it’s perfect for a plant based diet.

Sep 272011
 
Before I launch into my adventures in Wine Country…if you are here for the sushi click here.
I have returned from my 10th anniversary trip with the new knowledge that I am not, in fact, a city girl like I thought I was.  I’m much more of a relaxing and drinking wine all day and eating good food kind of girl.  We arrived in San Francisco last Saturday in the afternoon after a layover in Dallas where we began the celebration with Bloody Marys.

 
 
We pulled our bags off the baggage claim and dragged two bags, two sets of golf clubs and four carry-ons to the BART station where we proceeded to enter the world of public transportation.  When we arrived at our stop we then dragged all our bags to the hotels and got settled in.
 
 
The view from our hotel room at the Westin, Union Square.
 
 
Trolleys (Part of the Muni day-pass we bought.)
 
 
  Sunday we walked from Union Square to Chinatown.
We knew this place must be good.  There was a cat running through the restauraunt and a dead lobster floating in the tank.  But it was PACKED with locals.
 
We really got crazy and went with some kind of sesame ball.
 
From there we walked to the Ferry building and then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf.  On the way we got this view of Coit Tower.  We saw it from every angle that day.
 
 
 In the wharf area we hit a bar and proceeded to drink too much during the Jaguars game…
 
…THEN got bikes (this was a bad idea) because we were on our way to bike the Golden Gate…
 
 
…to Sausalito…
 
 
…we then took the ferry back and returned the bikes and started back to Union Square on foot, passing by Lombard…
 
 
…we made it back to the hotel to get ready for dinner…
 
 
…at Betelnut, a Pan Asian restaurant.
…where we had a noodle dish with sea bass that I added lots of hot chilies too and it needed cilantro. 
 
And then had a drink at the Clift hotel which was very cool but each drink was $15.  I had a blackberry margarita that I can say was almost worth it though; fresh berries and all. They have very cool paintings where the eyes move subtly so you aren’t sure if you actually saw the change or not.  I suggest going there even to see the “paintings”.  Wish I got a photo of those!
 
The next day we got up to walk Golden Gate Park… 
 
…walked to the Haight/Ashbury area where we did some shopping.  I got two super cute dresses, a belt and the flowy top I wore wine tasting for around $100…
 
 
Lunch back at the Ferry building at Delica…if you are there you MUST try this restaurant.  Japanese influence with California ingredients.
 
 
…Spicy Burdock Root Salad, Carrot Ginger Soup, Hijiki and Soybean salad.  I also tried the Wasabi Garlic Potato Salad and the Spinach and Sesame Salad at another time and had a lot of trouble deciding which was my favorite.
 
 
…after lunch we made our way back to take the trip to Alcatraz which was awesome.  You can take a audio self guided tour…
 
 
 
 
We walked back to the Ferry Building where I got dinner from the market there; that I proceeded to dump all over the street from the trolley we were riding.  No photo of my broken frosty wine bottle and salad splayed across the street.  After all the walking I was exhasuted; this was not my finest moment if you can imagine.
 
 
Tuesday day in San Fran the boys played golf and my friend Justine and I got a pedicure, ate at Delica again and then Chris and I had dinner at Perbacco.  I had a lovely lemon ricotta ravioli and Chris had sort of a short rib and egg noodle dish.  They were good but I would try elsewhere if I dined again in San Fran.
 
 
After dinner we hit the Starlight Room in the Drake for dancing.  It was SOO much fun.  Awesome music and a few of the city.  I would DEFINITELY go there again.
 
Wednesday the relaxing started when we got our very comfy minivan and drove over to visit the redwoods. Relishing in the fact that we could get in and out as we pleased without waiting and stopping at each block.  I have a renewed appreciation for what you city folk go through.  You expend so much energy getting around it’s a wonder anyone actually needs to work out.
 
As soon as I stepped out in Muir Woods I felt like I was at home (you know me, the camper that I am).
 
 
We walked through the woods, smelled the pine in the cool misty air and walked through the muffled quiet.  We headed back to the car after a short walk and took the winding (and tad bit foggy) ocean drive to wine country.
 
 
    The hotel there in Petaluma was much quieter, there was a lovely pool and we could park right out front and walk in. 
 
We found a fabulous little café called Luma that was so amazing we ate there two nights in a row. 
 
 
The first night I enjoyed a tomato ginger soup with the most wonderful texture; not too smooth, just perfectly rustic, and then a colorful Asian inspired salad that was topped with sesame seeds, a light sesame vinaigrette and blackened shrimp.  The result was shockingly perfect.  SO mad I didn’t get a photo.
 
 The next day we rented a driver to drive us around to the wineries outside Sonoma Valley.  We chose to go to all wineries with wines that we could not buy at home. 
 
We hit Ledson…
 
 
…Chateu St Jean, our favorite was Chateau St Jean where Bob, the sommelier, took us through the most informative wine tasting as well as gave me a priceless tip on taking daytime photos of sim ply forcing the flash.
 
 
And finally Deerfield.  Yes, only three, but it took us five hours and by the end it was probably good we didn’t hit two more because we started taking silly photos of ourselves stopping to smell the flowers.
Ok drunks…on to “the caves” at Deerfield.

 

Stick a fork in us.  We’re done.  Time for dinner!
We closed out the day back at Luma again with apps, pizzas and salad.
The next morning the boys played their second round of golf at Bodega Bay which was GORGEOUS.  Every hole was on the ocean.
  Justine and I wound our way through the hills close by.  We discovered Wild Flour Café with the MOST amazing scones we have ever experienced. 
Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate chip and an asiago, green onion, which we enjoyed in the actual wildflower garden complete with frolicking children. 
 
We made our way over to the town of Occidental where we found a small gift shop and coffee bar.  We both had a chai tea coconut latte and decided it was the best we ever had.  From there, at the suggestion of a long time yogi that was partaking in a most fabulous concoction called “Desire”, we went to my most favorite meal on the trip at….Lowell’s.  All organic, local, vegetarian. 
I got a macro bowl with brown rice, greens, roasted root vegetables, tempeh, lentils and a miso ginger sauce.  My body had been screaming for that exact sort of dish that I had so been missing since I left home. 
It doesn’t look that great here but in the dish’s defense we bought it in Occidental and didn’t eat it till we got to the beach on Bodega Bay to wait for the boys to finish up. 
Roasted root veggies, greens, tempeh, brown rice, lentils and a miso ginger sauce.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
 
Now for the “sushi”.
What did I do with all that delicious mango salad from my last long ago post?
 

I made another take on a Forks Over Knives recipe.  Simply cutting the stems off some gorgeous green collard leaves, blanching them in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then wrapping my delicious fillings.  Not only did the leaves hold up well for three days but they were almost easier than the standard wraps to use!

 
Alas, I can not provide nutrition information for this one as I did not measure the amounts I put in, however, it was so wonderful that I simply had to share.  I know there are those that need to follow exact recipes, however, I hope that this one allows you some freedom to experiment and at the same time, enough information to allow you to do so.
 
Collard Sushi with Hummus and Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad
Vegan and Gluten Free
Inspired from Forks over Knives pp. 172
Ingredients
Collard Greens (1 leaf per serving)
Fillings such as:
Hummus
Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad, or any mango salsa would work as well
Sprouts
Corn
Directions
1. Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.  Bring a large, straight sided skillet or Dutch Oven filled with water to boiling; remove stems from collards and blanch for 30 seconds.  
2. Cut the thick woody part of the stem out, spread the hummus, fill with toppings and top with sprouts, just under and around the main rib line.
3. Fold in the sides and roll from the bottom up until closed.  Cut into sections and enjoy!
Sep 162011
 
One more day and I’ll be off; flying through the air, straight to San Francisco where we will be for four nights and then heading over to Sonoma for the next three nights for our 10th anniversary.  This is really the second major trip my hubby Chris and I have taken where we fly out of town (last one was to Mexico about 6 years ago) so I wouldn’t call us major out of state travelers; hence why I’m SOOO excited.  We will be there with another couple, our best friends Justine and Kerry that we have vacationed with before.  I promise to get back to blogging right when I return, but in the mean time I will try and tweet some good photos and updates.
As my parting gift I leave you with this salad.  But it’s not any salad.  It’s an almost raw salad (except for the chickpeas; they would be kinda hard not cooked), so it’s super easy to throw together, versatile; I ate this alone and then in two other recipes, and perfectly balanced.
Lightly sweet and very fresh.
Mango, lime and cilantro are such a classic and delicious combination, don’t you think?
(Almost) Raw Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad
Inspired by Taste Space
Serves about 8 1/2-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves
1 knob fresh ginger (about 1 1/2 inches long)
1 cup baby carrots
1/2 large red onion, quartered
Juice 1 lime
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp agave
1/4 tsp of salt
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 ripe mango, seeded and chopped (1.5 cups)
1 cup cooked chickpeas  (this is the not-raw part so omit if you are eating raw)

Directions

1.  Mince the garlic and ginger in a food processor until very finely diced; add the baby carrots and onion and pulse until finely diced.

2. Mix the lime, garam masala, agave and salt in a small bowl and add to carrot mixture. Pulse to disperse through; add cilantro, pulse once or twice until combined. 

3. Pour mixture into a bowl, stir in mango and chickpeas. 

**Garam masala is an Indian spice mixture you can get in specialy grocery stores or on line at Frontier or Penzey’s.

Nutrition Facts

8 1/2-cup Servings (Perfect for side dish)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 68.2
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 174.6 mg
Potassium 173.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 2.0 g


Vitamin A 42.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 11.3 %
Vitamin C 19.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.0 %
Calcium 2.2 %
Copper 5.1 %
Folate 7.4 %
Iron 3.1 %
Magnesium 3.7 %
Manganese 12.3 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 4.1 %
Riboflavin 2.4 %
Selenium 1.8 %
Thiamin 2.8 %
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.

Apr 152011
 
Today my daughter and I had our last CSA pickup for the season and what a wonderful visit we had.  We walked around the farm with one of the owners, Vivian while we talked and she hand picked some vegetables for us. After we left the rows of lettuces and greenhouses of tomatoes and peppers she brought us to a mulberry bush with fruit so ripe it was raining from the plant as we picked it.  My daughter and I had never had mulberries before and they were so juicy we ate them right on the spot (they are grown organically), my daughter’s hands and face stained red from the juice.  I never saw a happier child.  Vivian brought us over to feed the chickens, but my daughter started getting a bit shy so we watched as another fellow CSA member’s daughter scooped the feed mix and sprinkled it about while the birds gathered to eat it. 
 
We headed back to the vegetable house where the veggies are lined up in bins for us to choose from.  As several free roaming chickens, one lazy cat and menagerie of dogs visited us we sighed with happiness. 
 
This is what it is like to know your farmer.
 
Tomatoes, Peppers, Cabbage, Lettuces
 
Bok Choy, Napa Cabbage

 

Cucumbers, Fingerling, Purple and Yukon potatoes

 

Watermelon Radish and Mulberries

 

Broccoli and Spinach
 
Sweet Onions and Yellow Squash
 
(And we were excited to find out the farmers are considering extending the share another three pickups as well as looking forward to our farm to table pot luck on April 23rd.)
_______________________________
 
Avocado, Mango and Caribbean Black Bean Tostada
Two sweet champagne mangos, a creamy avocado, some sweet onion and tender baby lettuces came together on a crunchy pita.  This one is going down in the favorites.
 
 
Originally this was going to be another salad (which is what I would do for my upcoming detox) but I am just salad-ed out.  I wanted a piece of bread damn it and only something crusty or crunchy would do. I accidentally grabbed a can of Caribbean black beans and when I read the spice mixture I knew it was fate that I grabbed it; EDEN Caribbean Black Beans are organic black turtle beans cooked in a delicious sauce of mild tropical spices: organic dried onion, organic paprika, organic cayenne pepper, organic cumin, organic garlic powder, organic cinnamon, organic black pepper and a bit of our finest sea salt. 
 
I whipped up the salsa and split the pitas, sprayed them with some oil and a sprinkle of salt and toasted them up.  When topped with the sweet mango it had my favorite salty sweet thing going on.  This one is easy and so delicious I just know you will love it!
 

Avocado, Mango and Caribbean Black Bean Tostada

Inspiration from Whole Foods
***5 WW Pts Plus
Makes 6 Tostadas; generous 1/4 cup salad and 1/2 pita each
Vegan, Gluten Free Option

Ingredients

1 ripe but firm avocados, halved, peeled and cubed
2 ripe champagne mangoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 15oz can Eden Organic Caribbean Black Beans, drained
1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (leave off if you prefer less spice)
1 lime zested and juiced
2 leaves culantro, chopped (or 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp agave
3 cups baby lettuces, chopped or torn
3 small whole wheat pitas, split open, sprayed with olive oil and seasoned with salt (for gluten free use toasted organic corn tortillas)


Directions


1. Add mango, avocado,onion, jalapeno and  black beans to a medium sized bowl; add lime zest and juice through honey.


2. Toast whole wheat pitas (or corn tortillas) until just browned and crisp.  Top each half with 1/4 cup chopped lettuce and 1/4 cup mango mixture.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
6 Servings 
 Amount Per Serving
***5 WW Pts Plus
Calories 259.5
Total Fat 7.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 180.2 mg
Potassium 616.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.7 g
Dietary Fiber 9.6 g
Sugars 10.2 g
Protein 9.2 g
Vitamin A 16.0 %
Vitamin C 17.3 %
Folate 43.0 %
Magnesium 17.0 %
Manganese 38.8 %
Thiamin 17.9 %
Dec 142010
 
Check out this good lookin’ lunch.
 
Half kale with star fruit salad and half roasted calabaza over fresh lettuce with some fresh organic goat feta from the St. Augustine Farmers Market.
 
 
I did my roasted calabaza again but this time I added apples too.  I also toasted the seeds for the kale salad.
YUM.
 
 
Do you watch the Food Network?  Have you heard of the new show Aarti Party?  One of her recipes is this massaged kale salad with mango but I added my own twist by adding star fruit, roasted calabaza seeds from my CSA squash and, for lunch, a few raisins too.
 
**Check out the vitamin A and vitamin C from the kale and mango in this recipe below.
 
Massaged Kale with Star Fruit, Mango and Roasted Calabaza Seeds
**5 WW Pts Plus
Serves 4
 
Ingredients
 
1 bunch kale, washed, destemmed and chopped
1 star fruit, sliced
1 mango, peeled, seeded and sliced
Handful of toasted squash seeds
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp agave or honey
 
Directions
 
1. Add the kale, half of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of oil and a bit of coarse sea salt to a large bowl. Massage the kale for about three minutes until starts to soften and wilt. Add the mango and star fruit then set aside while you make the dressing.
 
2. Pour the rest of the lemon juice, a nice amount of pepper, 1 Tbsp olive oil and honey into a smaller bowl.  Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.  Pour over the kale mixture, add toasted seeds and toss gently. 
 



Nutrition Info
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 167.6
Total Fat 8.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 640.3 mg
Potassium 498.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.4 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 11.7 g
Protein 4.3 g


Vitamin A 450.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 15.0 %
Vitamin C 144.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 14.0 %
Calcium 12.5 %
Copper 16.9 %
Folate 7.6 %
Iron 9.3 %
Magnesium 11.0 %
Manganese 35.5 %
Niacin 5.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.8 %
Phosphorus 5.5 %
Riboflavin 8.6 %
Selenium 2.6 %
Thiamin 8.1 %
Zinc 5.2 %

Aug 112010
 
In a moment of inspiration I came up with a recipe on the way home from work last night and it is definitely a keeper.  Easy, light and really, really delicious.
 
I tend to shy away from Asian dishes for some reason.  Maybe because I haven’t stockpiled a lot of the ingredients such as fish or hosin sauce.  What I do have is some wasabi mustard I came across at my local Fresh Market on sale.  I really wanted to use some of that in my dish so that is where the Asian inspiration came from.   On the side I whipped up a chunky mango salad that was dressed simply with Annie’s Organic Goddess dressing.  It would have been great with some fresh cilantro but when I took mine out of the fridge it was looking rather sorry so I decided to forgo that ingredient.  If you try it out and it’s good let me know!
 
Asian Panko Crusted Black Sea Bass
Serves 2
 
Ingredients
 
4 small sea bass fillets or other white fish
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp wasabi mustard
1 tsp soy sauce
2/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumb)
1 Tbsp black and white sesame seeds
Cooking spray, I used organic coconut
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat the broiler to high.
 
2.  Mix the honey, mustard and soy sauce in a small bowl and then transfer to a shallow dish.
 
3.  Pour the panko and sesame seeds in a second shallow dish and mix well.
 
4.  Dip the fish fillets in the honey mixture and then roll in the panko.  Spray with cooking spray.
 
5.  Broil 3 to 4 minutes per side.
 
 
Chunky Mango Salad
Serves 4
 
Ingredients
 
1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 sugar snap peas
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced
3 Tbsp Asian dressing, I used Annie’s Organic Goddess
 
Directions
 
1. Mix all mango through carrots in a medium size bowl.
 
2.  Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. 
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