HOW TO :: Homemade Nut Milks

With health consciousness on the rise, more people are turning to dietary alternatives with the aim of avoiding allergens in their food. Why? Because many of these foods create internal inflammation of our tissues and joints and chronic inflammation can lead to disease and illness. homemade almond milkCommon food triggers are wheat, dairy, peanuts, soy, refined sugar. If you're following a paleo diet these and many more are on the no-no list. If you're doing a detox cleanse, you need not be as strict. Many things have easy, healthy substitutes - instead of white sugar, opt for raw local honey. Instead of peanut butter, try sunflower seed butter.

Dairy gets a little tricky because many of the substitutes have OTHER allergens and ingredients to steer clear from. Most shelf-stable nut milks contain carrageenan, "a gum extracted from certain species of red algae (also known as Irish moss) has thickening, gelling, and binding properties. It is used to stabilize emulsions in dairy products; to improve the quality of foods such as soups, salad dressings, sauces, and fruit drinks; and to give a creamy thick texture to milk products," states Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal by Phyllis Balch.

For this reason, I like to make my own nut milks at home. The process is easy and the results are great, as long as you're not looking for a thick emulsified product that mimics the consistency of cream. Not going to happen, no matter what 'they' say! Will it be close? Most def, but for anyone just making the change or those who are not vehemently committed to eating healthy (and therefore willing to overlook small things like a change in consistency), there will likely be an acclimation period.

To make homemade nut milk, seeds are first soaked. This not only helps to soften the nut meat, it activates sprouting in the 'seed'. This process makes the vitamin content of nuts more available to us and also strips the seed of their enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors allow seeds to remain dormant until ready to grow, but are considered difficult to digest. Once seeds are exposed to moisture, the enzymes are neutralized. This is why it's important to soak and drain the nuts, before adding more water to puree them.


Pressed nut milkThe same process is similar for all nuts, if you want to experiment making nut milks at home. I'm posting my method, along with one from Prescription for Dietary Wellness. I would soak my nuts first, otherwise I liked the additions to that recipe and it's a great version for moms looking for a daily alternative for the little ones.

I have a different method from any recipe I've ever read for homemade nut milks in that I do a double soak. I feel like my how to method extracts a lot of the fats from the nut meat and adds to a richer milk, but that could be in my head. Try it both ways and see what you prefer.

Finally, if I'm using almond milk SOLELY for coffee or drinks, I roast the nuts for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, until fragrant. This lends the coffee a rich, nutty flavor that I LOVE. I don't miss 1/2 &  1/2 at all.


1 cup raw almonds, soaked over night or at least 8 hours 1 1/2 cups filtered water 1 1/2 cups warm filtered water

Drain the nuts and add to the bowl of a blender. Add half of the water and puree on high until the nuts are broken down and the milk is creamy. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the nut meat from the milk, pressing down on the solids to release most of the liquid. Return nut meat to blender and add the warmed water. Let soak for until water is cool, about 30 minutes. Turn the blender on high and puree the nuts until milk is creamy, about 1 minutes. Using the same strainer, drain the nut meat from the milk, pressing down on the solids until all of the liquid is pressed out. Reserve nut meat for baked goods, or as a topping on a smoothie bowl, or dry out in the oven for later use.



This is an excellent addition to children’s and infant’s diets. It’s also good for adults as a milk substitute. Substitute almond milk for soymilk if you are allergic to soy. SOURCE: Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal

1 cup almonds 3 cups water ½ fresh papaya (optional; good for babies) 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (optional; a good mineral source) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional) 1 tablespoon brewer’s yeast or wheat germ or both (optional)

1. In a grinder, food processor, or blender, grind the nuts into a powder. Gradually add the water and other ingredients while continuing to blend.

2. Store almond milk in the refrigerator and serve chilled. Note: Using molasses and papaya makes this a complete milk for infants, especially for those who are allergic to cow’s milk. If you plan to use this as a drink for adults, start by adding ½ teaspoon of brewer’s yeast to the recipe and gradually increase to 1 tablespoon over a couple of weeks’ time. Omit the wheat germ if you plan to use almond milk for cooking or on cereals.




Chia vs Hemp :: A Health Lovers Guide

Nutritious eating has always been my game – I like getting the proper proportion of fats, protein and healthy carbs in on a daily basis. Like most people, I’m also following food trends and hoping to anticipate them. Flax meal? On it – you can catch a recipe or two in Urban Pantry. Fermented foods? Eat them – I have several jars in my fridge and eat them with a soft-boiled eggs as a quick lunch when I’m in the gardens. chia vs hemp Lately, it seems everyone is going ga-ga over hemp seeds and chia – me included. I wrote about hemp seeds in the February issue of Seattle Magazine and received a bag of 'cereal' at IFBC 2014 that included chia with hemp and buckwheat (and was delicious). Experimenting with healthy foods is fun, but I can’t help but wonder……why the fuss? What ARE these proclaimed super foods actually adding to our diet and do we need them? I had a vague understanding that both would add healthy fats and protein to my daily intake, but why choose them over my regular smoothie addition of a nut butter?

Here, I did a little investigative reporting, hoping to suss out the low down after I received a bag of seeds from Manitoba Harvest. While sources and packing information vary across brands, oddly, here is the essential caloric breakdown for both hulled/shelled hemp seeds and chia, based on a 1 ounce portion:

CHIA : 137 calories, 9g of fat (a significant portion of which are omega-3 fatty acids), 12g of carbohydrates (the bulk of which is dietary fiber) and 4g of protein

HEMP : 174 calories, 14g of fat (half of which are omega-6s), 2g of carbohydrates and 11g of protein.

From this, it’s clear that hemp has way more protein and chia has way more fiber. They both contain a decent amount of healthy fats, but chia is higher in omega-3 (like you find in salmon) and hemp is higher in omega-6, which is also found in poultry, nuts and whole grains. A healthy diet needs to balance the two, so increasing our intake of omega-3s is typically recommended. Not to get too heady, but these omegas are both essential fatty acids – we don’t produce these fats naturally so we must get them from our diet. They are used as an energy source, help to regulate inflammation and are thought to protect against diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Additionally, both have the ability to level out blood sugar, working to avoid spikes and valleys of energy while evening out our metabolic rate. Good stuff!

So why choose one over another? Well, our diets do include a decent amount of omega-6  already (whole grains, nuts & poultry, remember?), so we’re not missing that fat as much as the omega-3s. That’s a +1 for chia! Fiber is filling and sustaining – that’s another +1 for chia, as carbohydrates keep us feeling satiated longer. Hemp, on the other hand, has way more protein - +1 for hemp if you’re a vegetarian or looking for an alternative protein source. Hemp is also a bit higher in calories - another plus for anyone hoping to gain weight. (Hey, it happens.)

seed table

Flavor-wise, the two don't really compare. The flavor of chia seeds is not strong - it’s more about the texture. Through absorption of an added liquid, chia seeds create a gelatinous exterior, similar to that of tapioca pudding or bubble tea. If you like this toothsome, custard-like quality, chia is a win. People like adding chia seeds to their morning smoothies, which makes for a pleasantly thick shake. Hemp, as you might expect, has a nutty flavor that is similar to pine nuts. When added to a smoothie, there is a distinct undertone of a nutty quality, though the seeds are soft and therefore blend well without leaving chunky bits behind.

Hemp seeds can also be soaked and pulverized with liquid to create a savory sauce or sprinkled over salads for a bit of crunch – a great option for anyone with nut allergies. Chia makes for a healthy snack by way of pudding. Cover the seeds in milk, coconut milk or nut milk and you wind up with a pudding-like treat. Adding cocoa powder and honey sweetens the bowl for a dessert, whereas adding cinnamon and maple syrup makes for a more breakfast-friendly meal.

So maybe the real trick is in adding both on a more regular basis? Instead of using only almond butter, try pureed hemp seeds. Or skip them both and opt for the fiber-rich chia a couple of times a week. That's definitely my plan, as well as stocking the fridge occasionally with a chia-coconut milk-cocoa 'pudding'.

And lest you get too carried away with all these fad-forward foods, don’t forget about good ol’ flax seeds, which are another wonderful plant source for carbs, fat and protein. (More on that here, from Nutritionist Monica Reinagel) Having had their day in the sun, they may not be as trendy just now, but pound per pound they’re less expensive than chia or hemp – a budget-conscious health-lovers dream.


Best Soups in Seattle

I loved putting together this list of what I think are the best soups in Seattle. The article ran in January's Seattle Magazine, but I've condensed it here to a selection of soups that I would personally recommend, versus having to include neighborhoods across town. I would eat these soups any day of the week. What am I missing?! DOWNTOWN 

Tom’s Tomato Soup at Dahlia Bakery and Dahlia Lounge  In the jewel-box space that houses the Dahlia Bakery, people queue up year-round for takeout soups, salads and sandwiches. Just like mom used to make, Tom’s tasty tomato soup (available daily) is loaded with canned tomatoes and cream in perfect proportions, creating a super tomatoey soup that is best eaten with the brown-butter croutons (always served in Dahlia Lounge, next door; order as an extra at the bakery). Tom's Tasty Tomato

Go with the large portion ($6 at the bakery and $9 at the lounge)—the soup has an irresistible piquancy, and the smaller cup ($4 and $6 respectively) will surely leave you wanting more. Dahlia Bakery and Dahlia Lounge, 2001 Fourth Ave.; 206.441.4540 and 206.682.4142. Also available daily at Home Remedy, 2121 Sixth Ave.; 206.812.8407; 

BALLARD Huevos Ahogados at Señor Moose Cafe   Although it is easy to overlook on a menu teeming with tacos, masa cakes and hand-mashed guacamole, the huevos ahogados (“drowned eggs”) soup ($11.95) is not to be missed. Two suspended poached eggs—complete with oozing yolks—float in light tomato broth over a bed of thick, roasted poblano pepper strips and a dusting of Mexican Cotija cheese. On the side, a deeply golden piece of grilled bread slathered in butter is perfect for tearing into small pieces and adding to the broth, softening the bread’s crisp edges and providing texture. Sit at one of the many oil-cloth-covered tables or eat at the counter, which faces the kitchen (a great spot for solo dining) and enjoy this for breakfast (yes, this makes a terrific breakfast), lunch and dinner. 5242 NW Leary Ave.; 206.784.5568; 

CAPITOL HILL  Avgolemono at Vios Cafe   Owner Thomas Soukakos, who hails from Sparta, offers classic Greek dishes that are wholesome and flavorful. While the menu changes seasonally, in winter, you’ll find several soup options, including the popular avgolemono ($4/cup, $6/bowl, $10/lunch bowl). This traditional Greek soup, speckled with white rice, tastes creamy, but the chicken broth is actually thickened with egg yolks, creating its signature yellow hue. Lemon juice gives the soup a refreshing tang; the bright citrus hints help to lighten winter doldrums. While soup can be ordered for takeout, the neighborhood cafés (also in Ravenna) are comfortable, and the staff is always friendly, so stick around to slurp. Capitol Hill, 903 19th Ave. E, 206.329.3236; Ravenna, 6504 20th Ave. NE, 206.525.5701; 

Matzoh Ball Soup at Volunteer Park Cafe   Thick, fat matzoh balls and coarsely chopped vegetables give this matzoh ball soup ($4.50/cup, $5.50/bowl) a satisfying, toothsome texture. Drawing on a love of one-pot cooking, chef and owner Ericka Burke has been making this soup for years, and it’s one of the most popular dishes at the café. A daily offering (along with one other rotating soup at lunch), the soup boasts a house-made broth that has a strong, pleasant hit of black pepper along with large, pulled pieces of roasted chicken. Communal seating promises a social lunch hour. 1501 17th Ave. E; 206.328.3155;

Pho Tai Nam at Ba Bar   This soup’s deeply flavorful, salty stock is made with oxtail and marrow bones, plus charred shallots and ginger at this airy enclave, which serves fresh, house-made Vietnamese food all day, every day. Large, satisfying bowls of steaming soup are served with a perfect amount of thin rice noodles, along with strips of North-west fatty beef brisket and lean London broil from Painted Hills Natural Beef ($9 breakfast, $11 lunch and dinner). Bowls are served on platters with traditional fresh pho accompaniments—basil sprigs, lime quarters and sliced jalapeño—along with a squeeze of oyster sauce and Sriracha, and can be ordered from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. most days, and until 4 a.m. on the weekends. Beef balls, shiitake mushrooms or tendon can be added to the bowl for $2 extra—we recommend the plump and succulent mushrooms. 550 12th Ave.; 206.328.2030; 

Tortilla Soup at Poquitos    At less than $5 for lunch and $9 for dinner, this soup is an excellent choice day or night. Healthy, hardy and chock-full of vegetables, with a pronounced roasted tomato flavor, this bowl of soup is garnished with fresh cilantro, avocado, raw white onions (which add crisp texture) and a crumble of salty Cotija cheese. The chicken-broth base is infused with roasted red chiles, adding heat, and it’s loaded with pieces of grilled chicken. The large room seats diners in plush booths and cushioned swivel chairs around the bar, while the atrium-like bar area next door is an oasis of natural light, even on gray winter days. 1000 E Pike St.; 206.453.4216; 

WALLINGFORD Shoyu Ramen at Yoroshiku Ramen joints are a dime a dozen in Seattle, but few do it better than Yoroshiku, which offers traditional foods from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, where chef and owner Keisuke Kobayashi grew up. At lunch, it’s all ramen, either traditionally served in a bowl with broth or as “tsuke men”—noodles dipped into broth before slurping. Select from three broths (chicken and fish broth seasoned with soy sauce, house-made miso base or house-made miso base with chili oil), and several additional ingredients; the list runs the gamut of an exotic and well-stocked pantry. Our recommendations: the popular shoyu ramen ($9), with the addition of a soft-boiled egg or roasted seaweed. Also, a house-made miso broth works well with the vegetable soup, which is hearty when accented with roasted mushrooms or sweet corn. 1913 N 45th St.; 206.547.4649;

shoyuCHINATOWN–INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT  Brown Beef Noodle with Soup at Szechuan Noodle Bowl   Located on the edge of the International District in an aging building, this restaurant has long been a foodie favorite for its green onion pancakes and savory dumplings. Inside, perfunctory tables and a low ceiling await guests. The staff is friendly; however, be sure to bring cash, as plastic is not accepted. The vague-sounding brown beef noodle with soup ($7.95) gets a little lost on the menu full of delicious-sounding options, but you’d be remiss not to order it. A big bowl of hand-cut, thickly misshapen noodles (cu mian, similar to Japanese udon) comes topped with a deep brown broth that is rich and salty. Cubes of beef are soft, tender and full of flavor, and are accompanied by a handful of wilted baby bok choy and chopped green onions, which add a bit of verdancy to the bowl. 420 Eighth Ave. S; 206.623.4198

MADISON VALLEY  French Onion Soup at Luc  Tucked into the busiest corner of Madison Valley, Luc serves French classics in a casual dining room fit for all occasions. Chef and owner Thierry Rautureau began cooking in kitchens in France as a teenager, learning the regimented classics at a young age. It is no surprise then that this traditional French onion soup ($9) is the best the city has to offer. Made from a rich stock of poultry and veal, the slightly sweet broth is bulked up with caramelized onions. A thick, toasted baguette wedge floats in the center of the bowl, while sharp Gruyère cheese is layered over the top and broiled, producing a bitter-crispy topping that is irresistible. Good thing the dish is available on both the dinner and weekend brunch menus.  2800 E Madison St.; 206.328.6645; 

MAGNOLIA  ‘Nona’ Vita at Mondello  The meatball soup at this Magnolia Village eatery is served as you’d expect it to be in Italy: no fancy garnishes and no secret flavors, just a wholesome, simple bowl of soup. Two friends—Corino Bonjrada and Giuseppe Forte—from north of Palermo own and run Mondello, named after the small town where they grew up. Small veal meatballs scented with parsley fill a shallow bowl of chicken stock, making the soup a hearty bowl fit for dinner. This version includes a small amount of spaghetti. Bonjrada’s mother, Enza, cooks most nights, while his grandmother, “Nona” Vita, is often perched at the bar waiting for closing time. The women’s presence, together with the heavy wood tables, the colorful room’s muted shades of blue and terra-cotta, and a hodgepodge of decorative items, lend to the overall homey feel. 2425 33rd Ave. W; 206.352.8700; 

A handful of local places offer tasty and speedy options for soup lovers in a hurry

I blame my boyfriend for this one because that man is obsessed with soup. If I took him to a soup bar for lunch every day, he'd be thrilled. He even gets soup at……wait for it…..Fred Meyer, sometimes. Yeouch - sodium bomb.

Metropolitan Markets   In the grab-and-go grocer realm, Metropolitan Markets excels in its daily soup offerings—a large, self-serve bar offers various soups, depending on the location. French mushroom bisque is earthy and spiked with sherry, while the tomato basil leans toward creamy and is laden with fresh basil. All soups are made from scratch in-house by a team of trained culinary staff using traditional soup-making techniques.  $2.99–$8.99 for individual portions. Various locations;  Shoyu ramen at Yoroshiku in Wallingford; photo by Easton Richmond

Leafy Greens & Coconut Milk Soup :: Clean Eating

Leafy Green & Coconut-Broth SoupThe new year is a great time to recover from holiday indulgences. Personally, I'm so over food and drinks just now. Instead,  I'm craving clean eating foods that I know will work through my system quickly and provide me with energy. (I've been counterbalancing bourbon with green juice for a week!) Craving fuel, January 1 is when I typically make a shopping list and stock up on frozen cut fruit for smoothies, bunches of leafy, winter greens and make sure I have some lean proteins available for adding to meals.  



Here, the good fats found in coconut milk satiate and homemade beef stock provides a calcium and phosphorous dense broth full of minerals providing a base for the Leafy Greens & Coconut Milk Soup. I fill a large, shallow bowl with torn spinach leaves, a handful of mixed herbs (whole cilantro, basil and mint are delicious and invigorating) and some finely chopped green onions. Add thinly sliced jalapeño for spice - they're especially great when you're fighting a cold as the capsaicin from the seeds (the compound that creates the spiciness) thins mucus and helps to open up your nasal passages.



Pour hot broth directly over the greens - the heat cooks the greens, allowing the soup to come together in minutes. Keep the pantry filled with at least one can of coconut milk (look for a pure brand that avoids adding carageen - a seaweed derivative that is thought to be an allergen) and keep a container of stock frozen in the freezer, for easy meal-making.

Leafy Greens & Coconut Milk Soup 2 parts bone broth :: 1 part coconut milk

Place broth and coconut milk into a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Meanwhile, fill a large, shallow bowl with greens, as above. When broth is at a low boil, pour over the veg and serve immediately.

Leafy Greens for soupFor bone broth, check out this recipe for beef pho from Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen. For a simple chicken bone broth made at home in a slow cooker, here's a goodie from the ever-healthful Nourished Kitchen.

How to Harvest & Eat Dandelions

Poor dandelions, always getting a bad rap for wreaking havoc on lawns and in general being a ruthless weed. It’s true that dandelions are a deeply rooted “weed” that are a real nightmare to dig out, but it’s also true that they taste pretty good and are literally everywhere. One need not look very far to find a bed of dandelions fit for eating; they are easily identifiable. Dandelion greens turn bitter and woody quite quickly, so very early spring is the best time to harvest them. To harvest and eat dandelions, try to clip the small leaves from the plant before the plant flowers. How to Harvest & Eat Dandelions

Once the yellow flower has bloomed, taste the dandelion greens first to see if you find the flavor too off-putting. Harvest by picking off the small leaves and eating straight away. Be sure to wash dandelion greens well, and steer clear of picking them out of public lawns. Those areas are too heavily sprayed with chemicals to warrant
eating. Use dandelion greens in salads, or
cook them in a sauté. I like my greens
wilted with a little bacon and an egg
in the morning. You may also use the
flower petals in recipes. I roll chopped
 petals into cracker or pie dough, for their 
bright yellow color, but the taste will not
shine through unless you use an exorbitant
amount of petals. If you're really brave, you can try this recipe for Dandelion Jelly & Pectin.

Lemon Trout with Dandelion Greens

Whole fish can sometimes be intimidating, but trout cooks quickly and tastes great. No need to clean anything—commercial trout comes scaled and gutted already. I learned this wholesome and healthy recipe from my friend Jaime years ago; it has been a standard of mine ever since.

Whole trout is cooked quickly under the broiler and served topped with a salad of dandelion greens and almonds. The dandelion greens are quite bitter, but work well with the subtle fish. They are also very healthy for you; ounce for ounce, they have more vitamin A, iron, and calcium than broccoli.

Harvest new dandelion growth in spring; older, bigger leaves are too tough and woody, and their flavor is harsh.

Dandelion Greens

Serves 2

1 garlic clove, peeled 1 handful sliced almonds 2 handfuls dandelion greens, coarsely chopped 1 lemon, zested, then sliced 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 whole trout

Preheat the broiler and raise a rack to the highest position in your oven.

In the bowl of a mortar and pestle, mash and grind the garlic clove. When the oils have covered the walls of the mortar, remove and discard the garlic flesh. Add the almonds to the bowl and grind until they are broken up into smaller pieces. Add the dandelion greens and lemon zest and mash all the ingredients together until com- bined. The mixture will look a little bit like a salad and a little bit like a pesto. Inconsistency in the size of the leafy bits is perfect. Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt and give it one last stir with the pestle. Set aside.

Meanwhile, season the trout on both sides and inside the belly with salt and pepper. Insert several lemon slices into the belly of the trout. Place on a sheet pan and lightly coat the trout with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking. Place the sheet pan directly under the broiler, and broil on one side until the skin starts to shrivel and char, 4 to 5 minutes. Take out the pan and flip the trout with a spatula. Return to the broiler and broil the other side until charred and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Place the broiled trout on a platter and spoon the dandelion salad over it. Serve immediately.

More Garden Recipes: Dandelions are a great green for adding to your salad, but use them sparingly so they don’t overpower the other flavors. Try making a dandelion pesto with crushed garlic and pine nuts. Dandelion greens can also be used as a filling for the Pea Vine Dumplings, which are in my book Apartment Gardening

Cabbage - Clean Eating

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, just like broccoli, kale, collards, turnips and MORE. Cruciferous veg are high in sulfur. Eating these natural compounds help your body produce anti-oxidant and detoxification proteins, which in turn help to eliminate biohazards from your cells. Seriously! Basically, what this does is increase your bodies cellular function   and help clean out your system - like a gentle internal cleanser. For these reasons (and more which surpass my scientific understanding of digestion), many health advocates contend that you should be eating raw cruciferous vegetables daily. Because of their cellular support, cruciferous vegetables are thought to aid in the prevention of many cancers. Studies have been done to prove this, but why wait for a study? Eating more raw (or cooked) leafy greens will never prove to be a BAD idea.Cabbage Pancake Here is one of my most favorite breakfast recipes - Savory Cabbage Pancakes. I've been a little obsessed with these lately and make them several times a week. Of course, this recipe shows up in my newly released eBook - Fresh Pantry - CABBAGE. You can purchase it here for $2.99 and get it on your phone, tablet or computer for more awesome and healthful cabbage recipes. Cabbage is one of the more affordable and functional vegetables available, and so the book aims to take advantage of this virtue all winter long.

For the pancake, cabbage is briefly sautéed and added to beaten eggs for the ultimate breakfast meal. Topped with chopped cilantro, fresh green onions and a spoonful of fermented kimchi or sauerkraut, they are tremendously deliciously and seriously satisfying. (Additionally, fermented foods support proper gut health - that's where the kimchi comes in. More on fermented foods soon!) You won't be reaching for a snack for several hours, which is awesome for anyone eating clean (who can tolerate eggs, of course) or trying to cut out unnecessary calories.

Fresh Pantry, cabbage pancakeCABBAGE PANCAKES excerpted from Fresh Pantry - Cabbage, Skipstone Books 2013

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup shredded green cabbage ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 2 eggs 2 tablespoons water

For Garnish - chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, kimchi or sauerkraut, OR kefir

In a small sauté pan (about 5 inches in diameter), set the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil has warmed, add the green cabbage, salt, and pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted and soft, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and water until well combined. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and tilt the pan to distribute the eggs evenly. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the pancake edges are firm, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a large spatula, flip the pancake over quickly and continue cooking the other side until the eggs are just cooked, another 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.



Juicing at Home Without a Juicer - Clean Eating

It seems like the world is crazy for juicing just now. I had figured it for yet another American health craze for anyone hoping to drop five pounds, but recently I visited the Torvehallerne KBH in Copenhagen (essentially, a gourmet food hall) and even they had a raw juice bar. pear-ginger-collards

I love the concept of juicing - a nice clean, hit of nutrition for a mid-day pick me up or small meal seems like a smart idea. A veg-based juice or a fruit-based smoothie is a blessing for me, as I'm often on the move and don't  have time to sit for a proper meal. A hard boiled egg and some beet-kale-apple juice makes for a decent lunch when I leave my house early to get out to gardens, and they are easy to make ahead and toss in my purse. Additionally, I have never been a huge fan of breakfast - something about eating first thing in the morning never appealed to me. So, yeah……juicing has been great.

The problem is, I don't have the money or space for a home juicer. Yes, I know there are small versions and I know everyone swears by their Vitamix, but I figure that I have enough kitchen tools as it and I prefer to work with what I have. If you don't have a juicer at home, don't sweat it. Here's how to make your own with relative ease.


Using a strong blender (or a mini-smoothie maker, like this one), add 1/4 cup of water, a handful of fresh fruit, 1-2 tablespoons peeled & chopped ginger & 3 whole leaf greens. The water helps the fruit and vegetables break up, and allows for easier straining. Process in the blender for 1 minute and turn off. Let mixture sit for one minute, before turning the machine on again and allow to blend for 2 to 3 minutes more. This will seem like an excessive amount of time, but the color will continue to change as the mixture is fully pulverized, promising to extract as much as possible from the fruits and vegetables.

Using a fine mesh strainer set over a deep bowl, pour in the juice and strain, pressing on the solids firmly to extract all moisture. This process takes about 2 minutes total. Use a rubber spatula to fold and press the pulp until it is paste-like and dry and stops releasing juice. Pour the strained juice from the bowl into a drinking class & enjoy!

It is good to note that this process will remove most of the fiber found in the plants skin, membranes and stalks. This fiber is very healthy for you, so you need not strain the juice, if you don't mind the pulp. I prefer a smoother drinking juice, though on occasion I'll add a small spoonful of the pulp back in for good measure. It's up to you!

home juicingThis is what I blended today -  pears offer a natural sweetness and clean flavor, collard greens are more gently flavored than kale leaves (and it's what I had in the pantry!) and I use ginger in my juices because of it's medicinal properties. Ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory AND it tastes fantastic, adding a bit of a spicy kick to drinks.

Pear-Ginger-Collard Juice

1 whole pear, stem removed 2 tablespoons peeled & diced ginger 3 collard green leaves, cut into 2-inch wide ribbons 1/4 cup water

*You can add a small spoon of honey or maple syrup to sweeten slightly, if so inclined. Pears are still tasty this time of year, so you really shouldn't need it.


Clean Eating

IMG_9666Many people opt for health in the new year, particularly after weeks of festive parties and holiday cheer. This marks a new column for the site focused on Clean Eating. While you wouldn’t necessarily make the connection, many of the recipes I write are considered ‘clean’ - they take advantage of healthy fats, steer clear of inflammatory foods and maximize flavor. I don’t eat wheat, rely on fruits and vegetables for bulk, and count on lean proteins for their nutritional properties and ability to sate. I’ve been eating like this for years. It all started when…… A little over ten years ago, on my 29th birthday, I woke up tired, fatigued and overweight. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I thought “Twenty-nine….what am I going to do with my year?” and the answer came easily. I decided I didn’t want to be fat anymore. At the time I weighed close to 200lbs – a lot of heft on a 5’6” frame. I didn’t want to take the self-doubt, body hate and shame into my 30s with me, and I knew I had to make changes. So, I got up, put on some grubby clothes and snuck out for a run. I use ‘run’ loosely here, because in truth I lumbered down a block before I had to stop and gasp for breath. I kept walking and as soon as my breathing leveled off, I’d run another short bit until I was forced to stop.

And so began my journey into health. I’ll spare you the details, but give you the overview; I started exercising near daily – walking briskly at first, but eventually my body wanted more and I naturally became a runner. I invested in my health and started working out with a personal trainer three times a week for one month. (And then dropped into her group classes two nights a week.) I stopped eating bread. I’d have an occasional whole wheat pita, but never white bread. And I curbed my snacking, no small feat as I worked in the epicenter of Tom Douglas Restaurants, up in the corporate office. At first I got hungry during the day, but I allowed for a mid-morning snack of an apple with peanut butter and a mid-afternoon snack of a steamed cup of milk with some vanilla extract, cinnamon or a few shakes of nutmeg over the top. Over the course of 3 short months, I lost about 40 pounds. It was that easy. I made up my mind and made it happen through sheer dedication. And while I ate healthy, I wasn’t compulsive about calorie counting. I still drank wine and cocktails, and I still ate pork belly – I just did it all in moderation, balancing my nutrition across the week. (Interestingly, this is the time in my life where I took a clear pivot and starting making all of my food from scratch home and relying on whole foods for nutrition. This personal ethos provided the background for my eventual cookbook, Urban Pantry and food-writing career.)

Today marks a day of new starts for many. I have always cherished the peace and pause a new year offers. This day provides a great opportunity to reset. For breakfast, I had a bowl of fermented kefir sprinkled with a handful of my Coconut-Chamomile Granola (from Apartment Gardening), a cup of fresh melon and a drizzle of honey. Good stuff.

In the coming year, I will host a series of posts here on Clean Eating. It could be an interview, a recipe, a trick, a nutritional factoid, a meal plan – whatever I’m doing at that moment in my own kitchen. I hope you’ll follow along and start experimenting at home in your own kitchens. You know, get a little bit healthier – support your goals with ease.  Who knows, maybe you’ll drop a few pounds? (I have about 8 to loose, ma’self!) If you’d like to learn how to do something specific, or have any questions along the way, holler out. Until then…….

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to a healthy 2014.

Asian Noodle with Kale & Avocado-Miso Dressing Recipes

Kale & Avocado Miso DressingI am in love with this salad from my new eBook KALE. Last week on the TV show Top Chef, Dana Cowin (the long time editor of Food & Wine Magazine) said kale is one of her most hated food trends. Then, this......"I love kale, that's not a trend to me," says host Padma Lakshmi. "The idea of kale has now become boiled down to ONE iteration - it's either Kale Salad or Kale Chips," responded Dana Cowin.

I'm happy to say THIS kale salad stands out for it's bold flavor and healthful properties. Buckwheat noodles (ie gluten free) are coated with a healthy vinaigrette of mashed avocado (great fat) and miso (fermented food - good for the gut) and paired with just-blanched kale (nutrient rich.) Check out my new eBook for more awesome kale-inspired ideas............along with two great raw salad recipes, as well! How could I not include a few?!

Chilled Squid with Pickled Peppers & Summer Herbs Recipe

Chilled Squid & Pickled PepperThis is a perfect dish for a cool and sunny autumn afternoon, from my ebook Fresh Pantry: PEPPERS. Eat as many peppers as you can before they are all gone - we're in our last days of harvesting them! My dear friend Ritzy, who seldom cooks but is always hungry said "omg. I love this salad so much! I gobbled up the entire grande bowl that you gave me." Chilled Squid with Pickled Peppers & Summer Herbs SERVES 4

This dish reminds me of a meal I ate in Croatia, along the coast where my cousins live. It draws on the fresh flavor of olives and parsley, and pairs both with a few slivers of pickled peppers. Little squids (aka calamari) can be intimidating for home cooks, but they are fast-cooking and actually

quite easy to work with. Most fish mongers sell squid already cleaned, so you need only worry about the timing. Cooked too long, squids go rubbery and are hard to chew. Cooked briefly, they are supple and lend a fabulous texture and flavor to this simple summer salad. This salad is also a great packed meal—make it ahead of time and bring it camping or on a picnic.

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters 1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips (about 1¼ cups) 1 red serrano pepper, cut into thin strips 1-inch-piece fresh ginger, cut into thin slices 1 cup rice wine vinegar ½ cup sugar 1 pound cleaned squid, patted dry ¼ cup olive oil for frying, plus 3 tablespoons for salad ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 3 cloves garlic, smashed and diced 1 teaspoon red chile flakes 2 cups chopped fresh parsley (mint, cilantro, or basil also works well) 1 cup whole olives (green, black or mixed)

Set water to boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Boil the potatoes until cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool in a large bowl.

Put the bell pepper, serrano pepper, and ginger in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the rice wine vinegar and sugar until boiling; stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the peppers and set them aside to pickle while they cool.

To prepare the squid, cut the body portion into 1-inch rings. To cook the squid, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over high heat in a large sauté pan. You want the olive oil to be rippling and very hot. Drop in the squid and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and red chile flakes. Stirring constantly, cook the squid until just cooked through, about 1 minute. The squid may splatter and pop when it hits the heat, so be careful and wear an apron! Do not overcook the squid—it is ready quickly, when just opaque. You may have to cook the squid in batches if the saucepan is too full.

Remove the squid from sauté pan, using a slotted spoon, and add it to the cooled potatoes. Add the parsley and olives to the squid and potatoes. Drain the pickled peppers from the brine, reserving 3 tablespoons of the brine and discarding the ginger. Add the peppers and reserved brine to the squid-potato-parsley-olive salad. Add the remaining olive oil and fold gently to combine all ingredients well—be careful not to break down the potatoes. Serve immediately.

PANTRY NOTE: This salad holds well in the fridge, covered, for one day. Any longer and the squid loses its fresh flavor. Use any olives you prefer, or a mix of greens and blacks, but don’t scrimp on the olive oil. You want a nice grassy-tasting olive oil for this recipe, as with most salads.