Punk Rawk Labs Smoked Cashew Cheese Bruschetta

Here is my Election Day (GO OBAMA!) awesome hot weather early supper. I ventured down to Rainbow Grocery to see if Punk Rawk Labs had caught up with demand and sure enough, all their cashew cheese was in stock. Lucky me!

I made a few different versions with what I had in the fridge and added some fun flavors in honor of this beautiful Indian Summer night in San Francisco.

Portobello mushroom, grilled persimmon and fig, swiss chard/kale, artichoke all on beautiful vegan walnut bread and drizzled with balsamic…

My favorite was the mushroom and the fig. I added a bed of super greens topped with beets, a bit more artichoke and some pickled hot peppers and it was fuckin’ YUM. Do it.

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Sausage Breakfast Burrito

Sausage Breakfast Burrito

So, everyone knows what a huge fan I am of Field Roast grain meats. I almost feel like they are lying about their sausage being Vegan and they are really made from animals. So much of what makes a sausage delicious is about the seasoning. Field Roast understands this like no one else. And yes, I have tried the Tofurkey sausages and let’s face it, it’s a NO from me. The only difference I notice is how I don’t feel like shit after I am done eating a meal made from one of their amazing products. If I were to have a breakfast burrito with pork sausage, eggs and cheese… I would be totally useless for the rest of the day. When I substitute sprouted tofu for eggs, vegan sausage for pork, a sprouted tortilla instead of flour and rice cheese instead of cow’s milk I feel like I am powering up instead of down.

Here’s what you need…
3 med Brown Mushrooms (sliced)
4 spears Asparagus (cut into 2 inch pieces)
1 small Tomato (diced)
3 oz. Sprouted Tofu (cut into small cubes)
1/2 link Field Roast Italian sausage (crumbled)
a little bit chopped garlic
a little bit chopped shallot
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 Sprouted Tortilla
big sprinkle Rice Mozzarella cheese

Here’s what I did…
In a large non-stick pan heat Olive Oil and brown Mushrooms, Tofu and Sausage. Don’t forget to season as you add each element with Salt and Pepper.

When you’ve browned your protein, toss in garlic and shallot and add a little bit of water to deglaze your pan.

Throw in your Asparagus and cover allowing the steam from the added water to cook your fresh veggies.

Sprinkle some cheese on your tortilla and zap in the microwave until melted.

Spoon your filling onto your tortilla and top with diced Tomato. Wrap it up like an open ended burrito and enjoy.

Cheers!

Balsamic Vegetable 3-Way

So, this is my favorite quickie dinner. You can do it with any veggies you like really. Tonight I chose steamed Asparagus, Avocado and sliced Tomatoes plated with a little cup of Whole Wheat Couscous…

Here’s what you need…
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
4 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar (aged)
1/2 large clove Purple Garlic (sliced thin)
1/2 large Shallot (sliced)
Salt/Pepper

[Optional: 1/2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard AND/OR 1/2 Tbs. Agave Nectar]

Here’s what you do…
In a large pot boil 2 cups of water with a veggie steamer colander sitting inside. Place asparagus (or veggies of your choice) in and cover to steam for 5 minutes or until al dente. Take off heat and set aside.

In medium non-stick pan heat 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil until smokey.

Toss in 1/2 large clove Garlic (sliced paper thin.) And then the Shallot until both are golden brown but not burnt!

Reduce or cut heat and add 4 Tbs. Balsamic. Let the moisture cook out of the Balsamic and add Salt and Pepper to taste. Add your optional Mustard or Agave and let dissolve until mixed.

Plate up your veggies and Couscous and pour your warm dressing over everything.

Simple, easy and fun…

Cheers!

Local Fruit

I hit the road this weekend and had the pleasure of passing through some of our finest California farm towns. All of the little family homes nestled in fields of beautiful Strawberries, Nut Trees, Artichokes, Peaches and Peas made me wish I always had access to such a wonderful bounty.

It’s kind of a shock how inexpensive fresh produce is when you eliminate the middle man. I got 3 baskets of HUGE Strawberries and 8 Peaches for $8. After chatting with the farmers about the crazy mark up prices, it felt good to give my money vote directly to the people who grow and harvest.

Being able to connect directly with the person who picked my fruit (that day) was amazing and it made me think about the argument that eating a Vegan or Vegetarian diet is more expensive. It isn’t the fruits or vegetables that are costly. It isn’t the farmers who are asking top dollar. It’s the grocery chains who are trucking it in for us.

That’s why I love urban projects like Free Farm so much. We need more of these types of organizations instead of empty parking lots. I enjoy chatting with the grocers at the store about what’s coming in next but I LOVE talking with farmers about what they are going to GROW next even more.

Baked Shells stuffed with Eggplant, Spinach, Tofu “Ricotta” and Italian “Sausage”

Okay, so listen. I am as disappointed in the photo of tonight’s dinner as you are but don’t let this pasta dish fool you. She is beautiful on the INSIDE, and I ain’t lying. I’ve been trying to bring you some version of my lasagna/stuffed shell dinner for quite some time now but none of the photos have turned out. So screw it. Take a chance and make this your next Vegan meal that will knock the socks off your meat eating loved ones.

Here’s what you’ll need…
2 Field Roast Italian Sausage links crumbled
1 Leek sliced
1/2 medium Shallot diced
2 stalks Celery chopped
4 cloves Garlic minced
3 tbs. Olive Oil
2 big handfuls shredded Spinach
1/2 large Eggplant diced
1 big can diced Tomatoes (unseasoned)
7 oz. sprouted Tofu
Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese”
1 hit of Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

And here’s what I did…

In a large non-stick saute pan (high heat) get your Olive Oil going and toss in 1 clove of chopped Garlic, chopped Leek, Shallot and Celery. Brown it up and toss in your diced Eggplant. Season as you cook with Salt and Pepper.

Then, throw in your crumbled Field Roast Italian Sausage and incorporate. Turn off heat and add shredded Spinach folding into the hot mixture enough to wilt leaves but not enough to cook.

In a blender, blend your diced Tomatoes and 1 clove of Garlic on low speed. Add a hit of Cayenne Pepper, Salt and Black Pepper. Pour into small dish and leave for later.

In the blender, blend your sprouted Tofu and 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1 clove of Garlic until creamy. Spoon into small dish and set aside.

Boil 8-10 large Pasta Shells until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a baking dish to cool.

Grate your Mozzarella “Cheese” and set aside.

Start stuffing your shells first with Tofu Ricotta, then with your Sausage mixture and place open side up back in your baking dish until all shells are filled. Then pour your Tomato sauce over the top and place in a 450 degree over for 35 minutes or until the excess moisture has cooked off. Then top off with your cheese and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes so shells can set up and then serve!

I promise, you will be in heaven from the first bite until you’re STUFFED… Hehee…

Cheers!!!

Raw Juice

I LOVE to juice. I’ll juice anything. After having had some time to experiment with different combinations of vegetables and fruits, I’ve got some pretty great tips to share with those who may want to give raw juice a try. Once you go raw, you’ll never look at pasteurized juice the same.

First, selecting your juicer is a big deal. They can cost you a pretty penny and if you get the wrong one, you may not have as much fun getting your leafy greens down and out of the shoot. Take a look at the different sizes and capacities they offer. I happen to LOVE my Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. It’s perfect for the amount of juice I’d like per day and easy to clean.

Before you dive into juicing it’s important to read a little about what fresh juice means and how to use fruits and vegetables properly. I know this sounds silly but I have found out the hard way that gung ho ain’t the way to go. When you juice, you remove all the dietary fiber from the plant speeding up the rate in which your body delivers nutrients and sugars into your blood stream. Prior to your first glass, read up on which juice does what and give your body a chance to adjust to the new way you’re asking it to digest. My first glass of juice was comprised of 3 large Beets. After about 5 minutes, my heart was racing, my limbs were cold and I thought I was dying. I wish I had read about beet sugar and what happens when it enters your blood stream at rapid speed. Now I know to never have more than 1/4 Beet in any single glass of juice. A little research goes a long way.

Next, hit up your local organic grocery store. Sure, some fruits and vegetables are more important to buy organic than others but for the most part, if it’s fresh and organic you want it and if it looks wilted, it’s probably past the point of doing your body good. The goal is to get raw, living nutrients in your body, not dead unhealthy pesticide treated plant cells.

Make sure you give all your juicing items a good wash and prep them to fit into the juicer shoot. This is a bit time consuming but you’ll be thankful you did your prep work when all is said and done. It’s no fun to have to take your juicer apart and remove the jammed pieces of fruit from the blade.

Find combinations you enjoy but follow the enzyme rules. Did you know your body uses two different types of enzymes to process fruits and vegetables? Never combine fruit juice with vegetable juice with the exception of Apples and Lemons.

I love to start my day with a glass of grapefruit juice. Then I usually move into a green juice for lunch and have another glass for a pre-dinner boost. Sounds like a lot but like I mentioned before, I love to juice and once you get started, you’ll understand why. It makes you feel great, sets your mind at ease knowing you are getting your veggies in and keeps your digestive track in step with a natural flow.

If you really want to go for it, try a juice cleanse! You can do as little as 3 days or as many as 40 days. It might sound crazy but it feels amazing and gives your body a break from the normal grind of digestion. I recently did a 30 Day Green Juice Fast and loved the results. It was a huge challenge and I am so glad I gave it a shot.

Cheers!

B.L.T. with Smoked Provolone and Avocado

Nothing screams Classic American better than a B.L.T. So I thought I’d jazz this one up with a few extras just for fun. I’ll be honest, vegan bacon looks funny. Like a school teacher’s ruler. Or a belt. I doesn’t LOOK like real bacon and I have my doubts that it ever will. BUT it TASTES like REAL BACON when you close your eyes and just relax. Which is what I recommend doing in more than one life situation.

So, what do we have here?

3 slices of Ezeklel 4:9 Bread
5 pieces Smart Bacon
3 slices of Smoked Provolone Veggie Slices
1 ripe Organic Tomato sliced
1/2 Avocado
Handful of mixed Baby Lettuces

I toasted the bread and melted the cheese on each of the 3 pieces. Then I grilled up the Smart Bacon and placed them on top of the cheese. Two on the bottom, one in the middle and two on the top tier. And built my sandwich layering the veggies and bread until I thought it looked amazing. I’m a fan of the diagonal cut but also think it works cut into a classic club 4 piece.

That’s it! Cheers!