Monthly Archives: July 2011

Veggie Salad with Fennel and Tomatoes

I’ve had a nearly daily salad for the last week, so I thought I would share. I don’t usually get into food habits like this — I like variety — but for some reason this is sticking with me. It totally fills me up and I feel great when I eat it.

It all started at the cooking class I held a few weeks ago with health coach Gail Wyckhouse of Holistic Techniques.  She prepared a salad with tomatoes and fennel with a light cider vinegar dressing. Without looking at it, I basically expanded that recipe, but it’s almost identical.

I chop and toss tomatoes, fennel, parsley, green onion and cucumber, add freshly ground salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and add a splash or two of apple cider vinegar then toss again.

Not only is the salad light, these ingredients have various health benefits, many of which Gail brought to my attention. Here are just a few:

• Apple Cider Vinegar: My grandmother once told me she used to sip cider vinegar every day as a kid because it was really good for you, so in high school I started doing so from time to time and my mouth tends to water whenever I smell it. (Weird, I know). Well, she turns 95 in a few weeks, so I guess she can’t be all wrong.

Turns out, apple cider vinegar is said to aid in relieving muscle pain, promotes healthy skin, soothes dry throats, helps control weight, promotes digestion and pH balance, helps remove toxins from the body and is good for the immune system.

• Fennel: This fragrant, licorice-tasting vegetable (Sounds weird, but it tastes great) is said to be good for digestion, promotes healthy eyesight, may help ease hypertension, increases milk flow in nursing mothers, and may ease coughs.

• Parsley: This flavorful herb is said to fight cancer, help reduce blood pressure, increase the processing of sodium and water while increasing potassium absorption, and helps inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria.

• Tomato: Tomatoes are said to be great for the heart and other organs, are rich in antioxidants and are said to help prevent prostate cancer.

Baked Tofu

On a recent Sunday I decided to attack my refrigerator and make a handful of things to sustain us through most of the week. One of the reasons my clients turn to me as a personal chef is because they work hard, get home, are tired and sometimes make bad choices. Unfortunately, I’m no different. I get home after a cook day tired, hungry and reaching for whatever is easy.

So, I picked up a couple of things at the store but mostly wanted to use my refrigerator full of ingredients I had purchased with high hopes but hadn’t had time to put to use.

I already had decided to make black bean burgers, so I decided to put that ol’ block of tofu in the refrigerator to use as some sort of side dish — I decided just to bake it and make a dipping sauce.

I pressed it in my TofuXPress for about 30 minutes while I was making other things, then sliced it into halves or thirds (about 1/2-inch thick), then triangles. I whisked together soy sauce with a bit of sesame oil, rice vinegar, freshly grated ginger and minced garlic. I marinated the tofu for about a half four, flipping it every 10 minutes or so.

I’m not sure if I spritzed it with olive oil first or not, but I put the slices of baked tofu on my  favorite baking sheet, which nothing sticks too and always washes away (even the black stuff you can never get off of other pans).

I baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes. Flipping it a couple of times so it gets a little crisp on the edges and nice and chewy.  I threw together a quick peanut sauce (much like THIS ONE, but I doctored it up a bit with a bit of coconut milk and a few extra spices) and — voila! It was a hit. So much so I was asked not to make it too often because my squeeze had trouble holding back. That’s a review I can live with.

Chipotle Kale Chips

Soon after I took on a raw client for Fresh Chef Detroit, I bought an Excalibur dehydrator. Some research revealed it’s a favorite of raw chefs, including Ani Phyo.

Tonight I swiped a recipe from one of Ani’s cookbooks, “Raw Food Essentials,” and made delicious chipotle kale chips. I think these are going to become a staple around here. I think this will be my new favorite snack!

The recipe is simple:

• 1 head of kale
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 3 Tbsp. agave
• 1/2 tsp. sea salt
• 1/2 to 1 tsp. chipotle powder

1. Wash kale and rip/cut into bite size pieces.

2. Toss with other ingredients in large bowl. My head of kale was small, so I should have used less oil and agave. They’re still DELICIOUS, but a little sticky. Next time I’ll start small, depending on how much kale I have.

3. If you have a dehydrator, spread pieces on 2 dehydrator trays and dehydrate for about 5 hours at 104 degrees. If you don’t have a dehydrator, bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them — you don’t want them to burn!

They are spicy and sweet and crunchy and chewy and delicious. Way better than any potato chip I ever had (for real). Give it a try. You won’t be sorry!