All posts by ioana

Cauliflower Forever

Most of the people are simply astonished when they have raw cauliflower. Wow, it’s so great! but…what is it? rice….or cheese? If you’re not familiar with it, you literally have no idea what is that you’re eating. We of course owe it all to the food processor, able to break down the cauliflower into tiny white pieces resembling rice. You can do it by hand as well, but the result will be slightly different.

I haven’t yet discovered a better and faster recipe than the cauliflower rice.  It goes like this: you shred the cauliflower in your food processor and you mix it with peas, corn (both fresh or frozen) pepper (capia or capsicum) and green onion/garlic. In case you want to add some greens, I totally recommend lovage or dill. Make a basic dressing out of olive oil and lemon juice and that’s it. Now you can enjoy the best summer salad!

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Another vegetable that goes pretty well with cauliflower is carrot. I’ve used it in this thai version of the cauliflower rice. The whole idea is to make a coconut based dressing, keeping everything else the same. For this you would ideally need coconut cream or milk (I use Renuka or Biona brand as it doesn’t have any additives). You can also add shredded coconut or coconut flakes directly into the salad, but be aware it will draw in all the liquid, so you might have to add some more in a few minutes. The perfect seasoning is curry, mild or hot, and fresh basil. In the picture I’ve served it with sunflower seeds pate spread on bell pepper.

list of ingredients

  • cauliflower
  • peas
  • corn (if not fresh, see that it doesn’t have added  sugar)
  • pepper/capsicum
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt

optional:

  • green onion/garlic
  • lovage/dill
  • coconut milk or cream
  • shredded coconut
  • curry
  • fresh basil

 

The Pink Thing

IMG_8489IMG_8883Every time I want to have a colorful impressing dish, I make this wonderful pate, which goes perfect as a spread on any vegetable.

I drop in the blender hydrated sunflower seeds, grated beetroot, lemon juice, salt and coriander powder. If you wish, you can add a bit of oil, but it’s not really necessary as the seeds provide enough fat. In summertime, fresh mint goes excellent as well. That’s it!

 

Here are some presentation suggestions:

list of ingredients

  • sunflower seeds – soaked for a few hours
  • grated beetroot
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • coriander powder
  • fresh mint
  • optional: olive oil, sesame seeds

 

 

Summer Salad

IMG_8497Summer is the best season for tomatoes. Actually, the only one! I’ve always preferred to avoid the out of season tomatoes, as I never know what kind of fake substitutes I’ll get in the supermarkets. I wait instead for the rich tasty ones of august and the crooked sunburnt ones of late september (grown directly in the fields). So delicious!

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I usually chop it directly into any kind of salad, but I do enjoy a lot to prepare a tomato based dressing – some might call it a soup 🙂 I mix it in the blender with some of the following: olive oil, mustard, tahina, garlic, fresh basil, thyme or melissa. You can even incorporate hydrated nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc). The result is a rich dense dressing ready to be poured over a fresh greens salad or to be scooped with cucumber, squash or carrot sticks.

 

 

 

Here the beet root surprised me with its heart shaped stems 🙂

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You can add zatar or grated orange peel into the greens salad for an even more fresh taste.

 

list of ingredients

  • ‘real’ tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • mustard / tahina
  • fresh basil, thyme or melissa
  • nuts (sunflower, walnut, almonds, etc) – previously soaked overnight

 

Go Red with Beets!

Beets are just amazing! I remember that during my childhood it was the only vegetable I use to consider it rather awkward. Maybe because most of the times we were having it roasted and served with grated horse radish?

Anyhow, since I’ve discovered beets are to be consumed raw, it doesn’t seem I’ll get bored of them anytime soon. I love to turn it into spirals and marinate it in soya sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and thyme, like Cynthia taught me to do it at the beginning of my path. Adding sesame or hemp seeds at the end creates a pretty nice effect!

 

You can leave the beets to marinate overnight.

One of the things you should have in mind when preparing beets is that there’s no way back from red! Once you add another vegetable – either in the marinade or in the mixing – it will sooner or later become red. So instead of throwing everything into the beets salad, better leave the rest of the vegetables or greens for a side dish. Or, if you want to create a reddish coloring, choose something like cauliflower or sprouts and mix it right before serving .

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list of ingredients

  • beetroot (grated or spiraled)
  • olive oil
  • soya sauce
  • lemon juice
  • dry thyme
  • crushed garlic
  • sesame/ hemp seeds

Vegan Mayonnaise

Along the time I tried a few types of mayonnaise, some of them  occurring unexpectedly from one dressing or another. Let me tell you about my favorite ones.

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The one and only is the avocado mayo,   righteously deserving all its fame and glory. It’s also incredibly easy to prepare: you just crush the avocado (fork/blender) and mix it with cold pressed sunflower oil, mustard, lemon juice and salt. Its best companions are green onions and cucumbers, but I felt that it could also taste nice on kohlrabi (as in the above picture) or in a chickpeas based salad (as in the picture below).

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Here I garnished it with peppers, tomatoes, raisins and fresh mint.

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It happened that one day I’ve tried a mustard dressing that turned out to be pretty similar to mayonnaise. I simply mixed mustard, olive oil, onion flakes (previously rehydrated) and lemon juice in the food processor (you can also use the immersion  blender). If you’re not happy with the texture, help yourself with some starch flour. At the end I spiced it up with salt, black and red pepper and serve it on a cabbage, carrot and parsnip salad.  Mayo certainly asks for roots!

The third one is a tahini based mayo and it’s slowly turning into a favorite 🙂 You will get an amazing flavor only if by using a good quality balsamic vinegar. Besides that, you need olive oil, salt and ground flaxseeds – so it goes creamy enough and adds up to those omega 3 and fiber levels! Its superdelicious oily taste is again well balanced by pepper – use any type you wish according to your taste.

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Again with coleslaw (cabbage, carrot and celeriac) and green garlic on top. I’m sure you can crush it inside the mayo if you’re a true garlic lover!

list of ingredients

1. avocado based mayo

  • avocado
  • mustard
  • sunflower oil (cold pressed)
  • lemon juice
  • salt

2. mustard based mayo

  • mustard
  • olive oil
  • onion flakes
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: starch flour

3. tahini based mayo

  • tahina
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • ground flaxseeds
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: garlic

 

 

 

Cashew Pate

Ever since I’ve encountered cashew I found it intriguingly soft and exotic. The best part of it is that you can easily turn it into a salty spread or a delicious desert.  Either way, be generous with the lemon juice.

For this one I used fresh mint, garlic and salt. Put the hydrated nuts into the food processor, add the seasonings and mix well.  I was inspired by the way my mother use to stuff the peppers with soft cheese and then slice it, but I have to admit the texture here is not firm enough as the cheese 🙂 Better serve it as a spread on any kind of peppers or leaves.

If you don’t have enough cashew, you can easily incorporate some grated coconut and carrot. Instead of fresh mint, use dry one or simply mint water . Just get rid of the garlic and you’ll get a pretty fancy spread.  Serve it with pomegranate seeds and juice and you’ll have a winner for the dinner!

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list of ingredients

  • cashew nuts, soaked for a couple of hours
  • fresh or dry mint/ mint water
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • option 1: garlic
  • option 2: grated coconut and carrot + pomegranate