I make this salad in early Autumn, when Pomegranates and Fuji Persimmons are appearing and there are a few decent strawberries left. As the season progresses, you may not find the strawberries, but the sweetness and fall colors of the persimmons and Pomegranate seeds still brighten this salad. I added a handful of raw shelled pistachios and sliced raw almonds for delicious flavor, texture and protein. Throw them together with mesclun (mixed lettuce greens) or baby spinach. It’s fine undressed or with a bit of blue cheese dressing.
This smooth rich soup is made with nutty kabocha squash, leeks and carrots and seasoned with ginger and turmeric. It can be made vegan with vegetable broth. It is rich and creamy from coconut milk. I’ve tried this soup with both regular and low-fat coconut milk, The regular gives a rich coconut flavor.but the low-fat is lower in calories. Chose what’s right for you. In any case, I recommend the most natural coconut milk you can find, with only guar gum added, no preservatives.
You can roast the squash ahead of time. It’s a good way to warm up the kitchen on a frosty morning. If you’re in a hurry, you can microwave it for 10 minutes (stab it first so it won’t explode!)
serves 6 bowls (12 cups)
1 medium kabocha squash
2 large carrots, peeled
1 tsp unrefined coconut oil (it tastes like coconut)
2 tsp grated ginger root or 2 cubes frozen ginger
3 leeks or 2 cups of sliced frozen leeks
1/2 tsp tumeric
several grinds black pepper
14 oz can low-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp salt to taste
Garnish: 1/3 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
Preheat oven to 375◦ Stab whole kabocha several times and place on a foil-lined heavy pan. Roast for 40 minutes. Add carrots and turn off oven. Let the vegetables sit in the oven for half an hour. Remove vegetables from oven. Cut squash in half and then let cool. until you can handle it
While squash is cooling, cut leeks lengthwise and slice crosswise. Soak and rinse thoroughly in a salad spinner several times to remove all grit. Alternatively you can pour out 2 cups of frozen sliced leeks and cut the rounds in half.
Melt coconut oil in a large pot. Saute ginger and sliced leeks until they soften.
Add broth to leeks and ginger and heat to boiling.
Slice carrots crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Scoop out and discard stringy seed pod from the squash. Carefully cut off the thin peel and add chunks of squash and carrot slices into the broth. Stir in turmeric and a few grinds black pepper.
Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Reserve a few tablespoons of coconut cream from the top of the can for garnishing the soup. Pour coconut milk into the broth and stir well.
Let soup cool for 30 minutes.
Pour into blender in batches and blend until smooth.
Stir in salt to taste
Heat soup until ready to serve
Toast 1/3 cup pepitas on a comal or heavy skillet over medium low heat and toss on top of each soup bowl to garnish
Have fun making designs with reserved coconut cream.
I combined 3 popular salads: kale, broccoli and carrot, into one delicious and nutritious salad. Carrot and jicama add natural sweetness and a bit of crunch, Meyer lemon juice and cilantro brighten the flavor; and almonds give an added crunch.
Kale is quite tough and bitter, but a good massage will break down its cell walls. This cell damage frees the enzymes which break apart the bitter chemical compounds. You can even light candles and put on soothing music to relax the kale. Broccoli Broccoli stems are very tender once you peel off the tough outer layer. Broccoli salads are made from grating these stems.
I made this with only one bunch of kale, which created a balance between the kale and the other vegetables. If you like your salad with more kale, add another bunch.
3 large carrots, peeled
3 or 4 broccoli stems, peeled (use crowns for another purpose)
1 small jicama, peeled
2 Tb cilantro leaves, stems discarded
1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
2 Tb garlic-infused olive oil (or 2 Tb olive oil and 1 clove garlic)
¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
¼ tsp salt to taste
2 Tb lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)
If you don’t have garlic-infused olive oil, pour extra virgin olive oil into a teacup or ramekin with 1 clove garlic and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Pour into a food processor with blade and run on high until garlic is minced.
Add tahini and salt to garlic olive oil. Run processor on high until dressing is emulsified. It will be thick.
Peel carrots, broccoli stems and jicama, then shred using the grater attachment to the food processor.
Add these vegetables and the lemon juice to the kale. Toss salad until the dressing coats it.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with almonds and cilantro leaves. Throw on some pomegranate seeds if they are in season.
Strawberry banana bread
I used four soft, speckled bananas to add natural sweetness and rich banana flavor to this delicious bread with minimal oil and sugar. The bananas and just one tablespoon of olive oil make this bread moist. Add strawberries for a taste of strawberry jam or blueberries. Add chocolate chips for a nice gooey sweetness.
1/3 cup 1% or skim milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup unbleached white flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup finely ground whole wheat flour
¼ cup ground flax seed
A dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon.
1/2 cup sugar plus 1 Tb for sprinkling on top. I used turbindo sugar for sprinkling.
4 bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tb olive oil
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
3/4 cup roughly chopped strawberries (optional)
1/2 cup blueberries (optional) If you are using frozen blueberries, defrost them and drain them before adding
½ cup walnut and/or pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Add lemon juice to milk. Let it sit while you are mixing the other ingredients. The milk should curdle, resembling buttermilk. (You can skip this step and use buttermilk instead if you prefer).
Sift both flours, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, and flax seed. Stir well to combine ingredients.
Mash bananas with a fork or potato masher. You can also whirl them in a food processor. Add them to the egg mixture, along with olive oil and vanilla. Whip for another minute.
With mixer on low, add half the milk and half the flour mixture, and then repeat. Mix only until ingredients are almost combined. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips and/or blueberries (if using) until they are just combined.
Spray a loaf pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray. (because of the low fat content of the ingredients, you should spray paper muffin cups with non-stick spray if you choose to use them.) For extra buttery flavor, wipe a smear of butter at the bottom. Pour in batter. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Place on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Bake loaf 50 – 55 minutes, muffins for 35-40 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove bread from pan and let cool on a rack a few minutes before slicing.
Necessity being the mother of invention, when I was ready to serve blueberry walnut pancakes to our guests yesterday, I suddenly realized we were out of maple syrup. Having no time to run to the store, I grabbed a bag of frozen strawberries and microwaved them. I put them in the blender with fresh strawberries and several tablespoons of strawberry fruit spread and hoped for the best. The guests and my family were delighted with the results! I guess you could say that the jam got me out of a jam…..
Ingredients: (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tb strawberry fruit spread sweetened with white grape juice (I used the Whole Foods 365 brand). You can substitute 2 tsp maple syrup.
Microwaved frozen strawberries until warm. Pour into blender jar with strawberry jam and blend until pureed.
Achiote paste is used in Mayan Yucatán cusine, the most famous dish being cochinita pibil (literally pork cooked in a pit). The deep red paste is made with ground annatto seed. Friends from tropical countries have told me that they just went to their achiote tree and broke open the pods to use the seeds for a fresh flavor. For the rest of us, buy it in a 3 ½ ounce brick in a small paper box at a Mexican market.
Yucatán cooks use sour oranges, called su’uts’ pak’áal in the Mayan language, which are also known as Seville oranges.. If they are hard to find in the your area, you can substitute juices from one orange, one lime, one lemon and one grapefruit.
The chicken is traditionally served with red onions which have been pickled with salt and lime juice.
Lorena del Carmen, a Mayan woman I know here in Berkeley, inspired me with her recipe. She made her chicken a bit differently though. She first boiled it, then split it in half and painted the achiote mixture on the inside of the chicken. She then baked it. But I’m following her recipe for the onions. Although she didn’t measure the ingredients, I estimated the amounts from watching her make them.
one pack of chicken breast halves (about 5 or 6 halves) and/or thighs
1/2 brick achiote paste
3 Tb olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sea salt
several grinds black pepper
1 tsp or more to taste Tapatio sauce
Juice of 3 large Seville Oranges
1 1/2 Tb juice from one lime
1 Tb juice from half a lemon
1/3 cup juice from 2 small juice orange
1/3 cup juice from one small grapefruit or half a large grapfruit
1 red onion
1 Tb salt (I like to use sea salt)
Juice from 3 limes
Make the marinade:
In a non-reactive container, mix achiote paste with olive oil, using a fork to make a smooth paste. Add oregano, salt and pepper and mix well.
Add the Tapatio sauce and citrus juices and stir well until no lumps remain.
Stab the chicken a few times on both sides to let the marinade permeate it. Submerge in marinade so that all sides of the meat are covered. Marinade 2 -4 hours.
After you put the chicken in the marinade, make the pickled onions. . Slice a red onion thinly. Put a layer of onions in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle salt over it, and continue to layer with salt, using a total of 1 Tb salt. Squeeze 3 limes over the onions. mix with your fingers, and then cover with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate until chicken is cooked. The onions will soften when pickled. Stir every so often while the onions are pickling. Serve with the chicken.
If you’re not up for barbecuing, you can place the chicken in a shallow baking pan under the broiler for 15 minutes until they brown.
Serve with pickled onions and fresh tortillas. Or make tacos or tostadas with them.