Saturday, February 28, 2009

Healing Outside the Box

Yesterday I was interviewed for a cable access TV show on NHTV in North Haven. I've been on numerous television programs over the years and one commonality I've noted is that TV people often get a little squeamish when I mention the animals. Talking about veggies is fine, but nobody wants to be reminded about ethics when it comes to the food they put on their plate.

So I was pleasantly surprised that the hosts of Healing Outside the Box, Rosemary LaChance and Traci Crampton, were not only open to discussing factory farming and animal welfare issues, but were curious to learn more. I was happy to oblige. We didn't get into any of the gruesome details (other than mentioning battery cages, debeaking and downed cows), though I do think that just talking about these issues can be enlightening to many people in the audience.

Earlier in the day I had seen Wayne Pacelle speak at Yale to a small group of professors, grad students and community members interested in discussing animal welfare. He mentioned something very powerful which stuck with me, and which I reiterated on camera. That is, we not only have the power, but also the responsibility, to show compassion, mercy and empathy toward animals. It's intrinsic to being human.
The farther we can extend our responsibility -- not just from caring about cute and cuddly dogs and cats, but to other animals -- the more we increase our capacity for compassion, mercy and empathy to all beings. So simple, really.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bubbling blueberry cauldron

I had a craving for warm blueberries and bananas yesterday morning (yes, that's the kind of craving I get), so I decided they would go perfect atop some waffles fresh out of the oven. And along with that, some melted chocolate chips. Not terribly gourmet, but nonetheless an ideal way to start the day.

If you haven't yet discovered Van's vegan and gluten-free waffles, do search them out in your local grocer's freezer. I found some recently in Stop & Shop in the "Natural Foods" section with other such yummy temptations as Tofutti Cuties, Soy Delicious and Purely Decadent. I had to restrain myself from a la moding these babies with a heaping spoonful of Coconut Milk Purely Decadent.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Whenever it gets cold and rainy, I tend to crave comfort food. This week, it was polenta. So I decided to create a dish with a Mediterrannean feel because, well, that's where I wish I was on this cold and rainy day.

I love those convenient tubes of polenta that you simply slice into rounds, bake and serve beneath a hearty sauce in place of the standard pasta. It's the perfect alternative if you're gluten-intolerant since it's made with corn instead of wheat. I like the creaminess, too.

On the Menu:

Mediterrannean Kale with Cannelini Beans and Sundried Tomato Marinara on Baked Polenta

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chocolate Ambrosia

Just got back from the cooking demonstration at Nature's Grocer. What a great little health food store! For anyone out in Northeastern CT who can't eat gluten, they have a fully gluten-free kitchen where they make pizza fresh every night (which can also be veganized, by request) and plenty of muffins, cookies and other baked goods to satisfy the sweet tooth. Very tempting!

Thank you to all who came out! It was nice to see so many people interested in gluten-free vegan food (I know... it was the chocolate), and I think there ended up being quite a bit of cross over from both camps.

I've done numerous variations on this Chocolate Ambrosia Tart with Nut Crust recipe. Sometimes it's almonds. Sometimes it's hazelnuts. Sometimes I do a raw version with avocados and dates. Tonight, I added a little extra decadence to the chocolate pudding filling by blending in some coconut milk along with Mori Nu tofu. The nut crust also contained some of the coconut butter skimmed off the top of the Thai Kitchen organic coconut milk. Yum.

The finished tart is garnished with a strawberry flower petal design around the perimeter. I love the combination of chocolate, nuts and berries - perfect for Valentine's Day.

Here's a closeup for anyone who wants a better look. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vegan Valentine

I will be doing a gluten-free vegan cooking demonstration at Nature's Grocer on Feb. 12 and, being that Valentine's Day is just around the corner, the feature presentation will of course include chocolate. Contrary to popular belief, I do indulge in sweets (a couple times a year).

In the past, I made a lovely lemon chiffon cake with cookie cutter raspberry kanten hearts.

I also like a simple, yet elegant, plate full of truffles and petit fours to decorate a table.

For the cooking demonstration, I will be making a Chocolate Ambrosia Tart with Nut Crust. I've done many variations on this theme, but the easiest way to go is a creamy chocolate pudding made with silken tofu, melted chocolate chips, maple syrup and vanilla. The decadence comes in the crust which is made with dried coconut, macadamia nuts, Florida crystals and coconut oil ground together in a food processor then pressed into a fluted tart pan. If strawberries are flown in from California, I'll be using them as a garnish. Can't wait!

Raw Rican Vegan

I recently had the pleasure of giving a raw food lesson to two lovely women who are beginning their raw journey. Both are happy to report that they've lost over 15 lbs. since the start of the New Year, and are enjoying an amazing increase energy (despite the frigid temps and stormy weather!). Bravo!

We made a "Sea"sar Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Pear, Avocado and Tahini Dulse Dressing, Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Cashew "Cheese" Sauce and Red Pepper Marinara, and an Apple Pear Crumble for dessert. By all reports, it was delicious!

You can read about their raw journey at Rawformation.