Vegan

Wheat Berry Salad with Corn, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Pesto Vinaigrette

September 23, 2012
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Here in Southern California, summer is not quite over. We’ve been pushing temperatures in the 90′s for the last two weeks and it certainly doesn’t inspire any cooking which requires slaving over a hot stove or even turning on the oven. That’s why I’m so enamored lately by cold salads which can do double duty. They can serve as a side dish or the main course later in the week (assuming you have leftovers!).

What is a wheat berry?

This is wheat in its whole grain form. According to Grain Mains wheat berries are one of the most common whole grains and appear in many forms; hard red wheat berries (hearty and firm in texture and flavor), soft white what berries (often used to grind into flour), whole grain farro, spelt berries, kamut, and whole grain bulgar (not the processed kind which removes the bran).

The book recommends pre-soaking the …

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Quinoa and Black Bean Burger and a “Grain Mains” Book Giveaway

September 10, 2012
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The media is awash in the benefits of “whole grains” these days. So much that the big food companies have jumped on board touting “whole grains” in everything from cookies to crackers to Cheerios. While my guess is that those products might be slightly better for you than their more processed counterparts, I can’t help but feel this is a bit akin to greenwashing.

This is why I find myself trying to cook with whole grains in their original form more and more. The benefits are clear; whole grains are good for the body. They fill you up with soluble and non-soluble fiber which encourages you to eat less and aids in digestion. They are a heart healthy food, scouring the body of cholesterol and can help cut the risk of diabetes. In addition, not only do they taste good, but they are easy on the wallet, especially when …

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Apple Cider Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Nutmeg

November 14, 2011
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Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, probably because it’s all about food and there’s no gift buying pressure.

Our family’s Thanksgiving tradition is a little different from most. It started back when my mother was a young graduate student at Berkely in the early 70′s. I remember it clearly and I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old at the time. We had about 25 people over to dinner and they were all “friends and orphans” with no family in the area and nowhere else to go. We didn’t have a lot of money, but somehow my mom managed to put on an amazing feast.
Over the years little has changed. We still have somewhere between 15 and 25 people at dinner, mostly friends and sometimes the occasional relative. The players have evolved to be a greater proportion my generation’s “friends and orphans” but the love and familial …

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

July 25, 2011
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It’s summer and most of the U.S. is swealtering under a blanket of record breaking heat. The last thing anyone wants to do is cook in a hot kitchen, right? Both my grandparents and my husband’s grandparents had outdoor canning kitchens and I think they had the right idea; get the heat out of the kitchen! This recipe is both flexible in cooking method and usage; cook it outside to beat the heat, and use it with multiple dishes.

First, while you can roast the vegetables in the oven, you can also cook them on an outside grill, keeping your kitchen cool. If you choose to cook outside, I recommend you still place the vegetables on a pan on the grill because the tomatillos will get very soft and you don’t want to lose any of their juice or any of the smaller pieces of onion and garlic.

Second, while …

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Grilled Asparagus and Spring Onions with Dijon Vinaigrette

June 28, 2011
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Sometimes the best meals are those which are uncomplicated; those which allow you to share a glass of wine and chat with your guests while cooking at the same time. This dish is one which will enable you to do just that. You can even prepare it before your guests arrive, because it’s just as good at room temperature as it is hot off the grill. In fact, it may even be a little better if the vinaigrette has time to “marinate” the vegetables a bit.

I used Mexican Spring Onions in these photos, but you could also use the ones which are slightly pink and oblong at the base. Spring onions can range in size from a large version of the standard green onion to small round bulbs about 2 inches in diameter. For the larger ones, it’s a good idea to cut them in half so they cook …

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Beet, Fennel and Arugula Salad

June 20, 2011
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Last week we had a friend visiting Los Angeles on her way back home to where she lives in Cambodia. Living in a developing country can be challenging on many levels, not least among them the quest to find familiar and well loved foods. While it’s often preferable, and easier, to eat local food, sometimes after months of noodles, rice, and curry, the cravings for foods from home kick in.

Knowing that she was on her way back, I tried to craft a meal which included many of the things she likes but cannot get there, chief amoung them beets, arugula, and cheese. While this salad would be lovely with the addition of goat cheese, the night’s meal already included home made pizzas with fresh mozzarella and we had a non-dairy eating guest. When we visited our friend in Cambodia last year we arrived with a cooler bag filled with …

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