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    hello there good looking,

    I'm Jodi. I'm a natural foods chef and lover of healthy, wholesome, and tasty foods that have the power to make us look good from the inside out.

    Tuesday
    Feb042014

    garlic soup + rosemary polenta croutons


    It's no secret that there are few ingredients I love more than garlic. 
     
    Last week I was craving garlic, big time. Cold weather + garlic craving = must make garlic soup asap  

    In researching garlic soup recipes, I did not realize how popular it is. There are so many variations in so many of the cookbooks I have. I could not decide on one version, so I decided to try two different methods. One, which is very similar to this version by Heidi  was very delicious ...... but this version I'm sharing today, which turned out to be a hybrid of several recipes, was more what I was looking for. Velvety smooth, and just enough of a garlic flavor to satisfy my craving but won't scare my friends away.

    This is a quick and easy soup that you can easily make for yourself, or your family, or it would also make a perfect starter for a dinner party. It's done in one pot (if you don't count the croutons) and the most labor-intensive part is peeling the garlic. But don't worry, I googled "how to peel a lot of garlic at once" <--- for you, and found a great shortcut.

    Although, if you are weird like me and you actually like the smell of garlic on your hands, then you can do it the old fashioned way, by smashing the cloves one by one. I actually find this kind of prep work therapeutic. 

    Just in case you don't love the smell of garlic on your hands, but you do want to peel each and every clove, I also googled "how to get the garlic smell off your hands" <--- for you. (I figured I probably needed this info as well, in case I want to make this soup and then have people over that might not appreciate my garlic hands.)  

     


    Another thing I learned when reading up on garlic soup, is that it has serious medicinal properties. Just like chicken soup, garlic soup meant to be a cure-all.

     
    Apparently, if you eat this soup, you can rid yourself of a cold, hangover, or just general winter blues ... but I will only guarantee the winter blues part. I am certain this soup will pull you out of any cold weather gloom.

     

     

    I thought of calling this recipe: 40 cloves of garlic soup, because you actually use about 40 cloves of garlic. It is the main ingredient and it certainly does shine through, but you'll see I added in a few other goodies to balance out the flavors and give it a little depth.

    The reduced wine in this soup really adds a whole other special layer of flavor, but if for some reason you do not want use wine in this soup, then you could certainly substitute with mirin (an asian rice cooking wine) or vegetable broth. Mirin will give you a slightly sweeter outcome, and the broth slightly more savory. The croutons are optional as well if you want to keep this simple. The croutons are there to make it more fancy and filling, but this soup certainly has the ability to stand on it's own.

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Jan242014

    green tea + ginger smoothie

    In the winter months, my coffee habit sometimes trumps my green smoothie habit, because in the winter, I want warm beverages and a boost of caffeine to get me through these long, cold, dreary days.

    As a way to get myself back onto the green smoothie more often, I bribed myself with a promise of a little bit of caffeine .... I'm not talking about dumping espresso beans into my smoothie (although I must admit, I wouldn't be above it) but, that would probably defeat the purpose.

    Green tea is the perfect compromise. A nice manageable dose of caffeine with the antioxidants to make you feel like you are doing a good thing for yourself .... because, well, you are. 

     

    I recently found this green tea powder in the grocery store that promised to be less bitter and more nutrient dense than loose or bagged green tea. I was sold. 

    When I got the new green tea powder home and made my first cup, I quickly started brainstorming of possibilities. In baked goods, in ice cream, but first, I was going to scoop it into my morning smoothie and see what would happen. Magic. The health benefits of a green smoothie plus the antioxidants from the green tea with the tiniest jolt of caffeine. YES. My winter morning smoothie compromise is here. 

    green tea + ginger smoothie

    Serves
    1-2

    Ingredients

    1 teaspoon of green tea powder (or Matcha)
    1-2 cups of almond milk (or whichever kind of non-dairy milk you prefer)
    ½” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
    the juice of ½ a lemon
    a handful of kale (or any other dark leafy green)
    1 small banana (or an apple or a pear - cored)
    ½ an avocado 

    Method

    • Using a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, blend the green tea powder, 1 cup of almond milk, ginger, lemon juice, and kale on high until the kale is liquefied. Then add in the banana, blend until smooth. Lastly, add in the avocado and blend until smooth. If it is too thick, then add in the additional cup of almond milk. If you like, you can throw in a couple of cubes of ice to chill it a little. Pour into a glass and drink immediately.
    • If you prefer, you can make this a day in advance and store in in an airtight container in the fridge. A mason jar works well for storage. 

     

    Tuesday
    Jan072014

    chopped kale salad with chickpeas, toasted almonds, sesame seeds + a honey ginger dressing

    Boy, do I need a salad every day for the next few weeks.

    As you may have noticed, I've been away for the past couple of weeks. Shortly after the New Year, Michael and I took off and traveled half way around the world to Thailand for a friend's wedding. Thailand has been top on my list of places to go for as long as I can remember, and now I can happily cross that off the list. The moment I put my feet in the sand and was handed a freshly cracked open Thai coconut with ice cold coconut water inside, the two days of travel it took to get there melted away. I was in pure heaven.    

    Whenever I travel, especially very very long distances, there is not much choice but to eat pick at whatever is being served in-flight, so as soon as I get home I crave big bowls of homemade goodness. I have been without my staples of kale, quinoa and green smoothies for longer than I like, and I was starting to go through withdrawal. I pleasantly pushed the limit on my Thai food intake while I was there, I ate enough sticky rice and coconut curry to last me a very long time.   

    I landed back in NY yesterday, so I am in a bit of a jet lagged haze. Thailand still seems like a dream. I am sure it is going to take me a few days to process memories, tastes, photographs, and opinions, but my initial reaction is that Thailand was so wonderful and just different enough to make you feel like you are far far away, but not too far from your comfort zone. 

    I am a routine person, so I am always happy to come home after being away awhile, just to get back into my routine. 

    Within my daily routine I have a food routine, and as you may have guesses my food routine includes a lot of salad. Eating salads is not a chore for me, I love it. Although, I almost always prefer the homemade variety over the ones you would takeout or eat at a restaurant. I like throw anything and everything into my salads without wondering if it is going to taste good .... it usually does. 

    I always prefer to make my own dressings too. You will never find a store-bought dressing in my fridge. It is one of those things that is so easy to make and keep around, and I can whisk together combos like honey and ginger. There is never an excuse to buy salad dressing.

    Before my trip, I was experimenting a lot with chopped salads. I love a good chopped salad, because it is the best kind of salad for getting that perfect bite. You know, when you dive in and you end up with all of the ingredients on your fork every single time. Chopped salad is sure bet for a super satisfying salad experience.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Dec302013

    sweet potato tart with garlic chili oil

    Let's start this new year off with a bang. And by bang I mean this decadent, insanely delicious tart.

    If you remember last year, you remember that I don't do resolutions, diets, or new year's cleanses. I don't believe that we should only be setting these kinds of goals one time during the year, and I don't believe that you should throw your life off balance by drastically changing your eating, working, and exercising habits for a week or two. 

    I do believe in balance, and I do believe in continuously setting goals. 

    Mad respect for those who do set goals on Jan 1, and even more respect for those who actually accomplish what it is they are seeking .... but these kinds of things are not for me. 

    I realize that if you are one of those people who have goals set, you may have moved onto salads and detoxing already, and that the thought of anything on the indulgent side may have you running to the gym, but I NEED to share this recipe with you. The truth is, I probably should have shared this with you before the holidays, but it was during the holidays that I made this for the first time, and then I made this over and over and over again because it was such a major crowd pleaser. Even if you cannot think about entertaining guests for months, put this recipe in your back pocket for the next dinner party you are ready to throw.

    But, if you're anything like me .... let's throw a dinner party this weekend, just to have a reason to make this tart.  

    This tart might look familiar, especially if you are a fan of Ottolenghi. This recipe is on the cover of the newly released US version of his book: Ottolenghi, and it just might be my favorite recipe that I have made of his. Actually, it's hard to name just one favorite, so let's call this my favorite 'entertaining' recipe of his.  

    This tart blows minds. I've witnessed it. If you're wondering what it looks like, it's that look when people take their first bite and their eyes get really wide, it's then followed by some sort of expletive like "wow" or "damn girl". 

    My response to this reaction has typically been, "well ... anything you serve on puff pastry tastes good" but actually, I shouldn't say that. Most things served on puff pastry feel heavy and greasy and usually make you feel guilty, where this tart has a healthy balance of veggies, with the light, bright flavors of garlic, parsley and chili. It all works...sooo...well. 

    It is fair to mention that cheese and butter are not normal staples in my diet, but if I am going to bend the rules and go big, this is how I do it. I usually allow a little room for a good quality goat cheese from time to time, and this toasty, melty form is the ultimate exception. If you wanted to make this dairy free, you could do so by either buying or making your own vegan puff pastry and omitting the goat cheese. I'd like to think that a caramelized onion spread would sub in nicely for the cheese. 

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Dec182013

    eggnog french toast | vegan 

    Let's be perfectly honest ....  this is probably one of the most indulgent recipes on this blog. It's the holidays, I think we can all afford to enjoy a little extra indulgence. 

    You see, I have a thing for french toast. When I was a kid, I was a very early riser, so when I would get bored in the morning I would make breakfast for everyone. We're not talking complicated breakfast like poached eggs, more like boxed pancakes, aunt jemima, french toast, that sort of breakfast.

    We had this awesome electric griddle that I would drag out from the closet, plug in, heat up, drop a mound of butter onto, and when it started to sizzle I knew it was ready. I remember that griddle so well, I loved that thing. It was a symbol of saturday mornings. 

     

    Though I am not dropping mounds of butter onto electric griddles these days, I still like to indulge with a piece of french toast every one in a while. 

    Through my years of making french toast on the weekends, I have learned a thing or two about how to make really good french toast. The bread. It's all about the bread. The type of bread, the way you treat the bread, the stale-ness of the bread. 

    Lot of different types of bread work, you can even use your favorite gluten-free kind if you like, but I think thata thick, hearty bread such as challah is definitely the best. And if you wait until it is a day or two old, it is even better. When it's too fresh, it tends to be too soft and does hold up to the liquid as well, causing soggy french toast. No one likes soggy french toast. 

    *A quick side note about the bread. If you want to make this truly vegan, then you need to find a vegan bread (made without eggs, butter, or milk). I have a great bakery by me that makes a beautiful seeded whole wheat challah that I love for this, but if you are feeling ambitious or you don't have good options, you can always make your own bread, or vegan challah

    If I am going to indulge in a french toast breakfast, I want it to be really really good french toast. But if that really really good french toast can be made with ingredients that are slightly healthier, but still taste the same or better, well that is the perfect french toast in my eyes.

    I was a little skeptical as to how a "vegan" or dairy free french toast would taste. Would it need the egg and the milk, or could it be just as tasty with sweet coconut milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

    I was so anxious to find out, I didn't even finish making my first batch, my fork dug straight into that first piece that came off the stove, and I was IN LOVE.  It was so crazy good, I ate another three pieces all by myself that morning. While I do not necessarily recommend you do the same, I do recommend that you make this on a weekend or holiday morning for your family or friends, so that you can share and you are not tempted to eat it all yourself. 

    Click to read more ...