Monday, December 31, 2012

Pan-Fried Quinoa Cakes

This is a recipe from Diane Morgan that my friend Kirsten shared with me.  Check out Kirsten here:

The pictures were also taken by Kirsten and I've yet to tried the recipe, but it looks like it came out perfect and very healthy. Serve with greek yogurt plain or with dill, lemon juice and salt. Yum. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cumin & Lime Sweet Potatoes

This recipe was submitted by Jennifer Plantenberg to the September 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times.  It is a very easy recipe and very tasty.  I made it with actual sweet potatoes, but think that it would be better with yams.  All you need to do is chop of the sweet potatoes and onion(s).  Toss with oil, salt, cumin and paprika.  (I happened to have a smoked paprika, which gave an amazing flavor).  Squeeze half of the lime juice and roast 45 minutes to an hour (check at 30 mins and stir, toss and rotate) at 425 degrees.  When then are done roasting, just squeeze the other half of lime on them, adjust seasoning and garnish with cilantro. Yum!



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kefir Okroshka (Russian Cold Vegetable Soup)

I got this recipe from the July/Aug Vegetarian Times Issue.  Credit to Amy Albert.  It is great for the summertime heat.-Enjoy, Max

Got all my ingredients together and then mixed the green onions and dill in with the Kefir.  I added quite a bit of salt.

Steamed up the potatoes and carrots: cooked yet firm.

Pealed, seeded and diced the cucumbers.

And there's your cold soup!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf with Carrots

Here is another recipe that was given to me by Denis Lambert.

I did try it at home with just plain Quinoa and it turned out quite well.  Pictures below.


Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf (6 servings)
Chef's notes: This brightly colored and vibrant dish is perfect for this time of year. It is extremely versatile, you can personalize it by adding julienned broccoli stems, peeled. cored and diced cucumbers, dried cranberries or cherries, etc, etc, etc... If you wish to make a meal of it, add a cup or so of cooked garbanzo beans that have been drained, rinsed and marinated in a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Don't be tempted to use bottled lemon juice with this dish.
White Quinoa
red quinoa
black quinoa
Carrots, finely julienned
slivered almonds, toasted
flat leaf parsley
lemons, zested then juiced
olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine the three quinoas in a large bowl and rinse THOROUGHLY until the rinse water runs clear. Add to a 4 qt. sauce pan.
Add two cups of water and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Lower heat to a bare simmer and cook, covered, until most of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa still has a hint of bite left (about 15-18 minutes).
Remove from the heat and let steam, covered, for another 5-8 minutes. Transfer back to the large bowl and cool uncovered to room temp.
Add the carrots, slivered almonds, lemon zest, parsley, cilantro and toss to combine.
Add the lemon juice and olive oil. Toss once again and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Chill until ready to serve. Serve on a bed of raw spinach.
Servings: 6
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 469 calories, 300 calories from fat, 34.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 24.8mg sodium, 537.1mg potassium, 35.9g carbohydrates, 4.8g fiber, <1g sugar, 8g protein.
Author: Denis Lambert

Below is a picture of the one he made which was quite colorful and good:

This is not an add for Trader Joes, but I was able to find all the ingredients that I needed there:

I cooked only 1 cup of regular Quinoa in the rice cooker with two cups of water, some salt and canola oil so that the Quinoa wouldn't stick:

I have some special ingredients like Himalayan Pink Salt and Merula Olive Oil, which is very green and fruity.  This helped to give it a rich flavor with the brightness of the lemon and lemon zest:

I cut the carrots in more of a large julienne, but I like that.  It came out really nice!  But the picture got a little corrupted or something...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Here is another recipe from the great Denis Lambert, the Monday Night Head Chef at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  I wish that I had some pictures.  I will add if I get some.

It is perfect for the season!

Happy Cooking!


For the Dough:
11 1/2 oz (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces
10 Tbs. cold organic vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum)
2/3 cup ice water

For the filling:
3 cups Fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced
3 cups Rhubarb, cut 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 Tbs. Orange zest
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbs. Instant cooking tapioca pearls
1/2 cup finely crushed amaretti or almond biscotti
1 Egg, beaten well with 1 tsp water

Oven Temperature: 400∞F

For the Dough:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter and vegetable shortening until evenly distributed but in still visible pieces.

2. Add the ice water all at once and mix until the dough just comes together.

3. Gather the dough with your hands and shape into two disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2-3 would be better).

For the filling:

1. Toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice and orange zest, vanilla extract, and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes.

Assembling the galette:

1. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Remove one of the dough disks from the refrigerator.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the galette  dough into a 12-inch round.

4. Sprinkle half of the crushed amaretti over the dough evenly leaving a 2-inch border without crumbs.

5. Distribute half of the fruit mixture evenly over the crumbs.

6. Lift the edges of the dough and fold them inward over the filling, pleating as you go to create a folded over border.

7. Brush  the border with the whisked egg and sprinkle with a little sugar.

8. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Move the disks to the prepared cookie sheet.

9. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the fruit has completely wilted.

10. Turn off the oven leaving the door open a few inches and allow the galette to sit in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes or so until the bottom of the crust is nicely browned.

11. Set on a cooling rack and cool until just barely warm.

12. Serve with a scoop of Three Twins Madagascar Vanilla ice cream.

Servings: 12
Yield: 2 Galettes

Monday, May 28, 2012

Artichokes with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

I learned this simple technique from one of my past clients: Cecelia Hurwich.  Thank you Cec!

1) Cut the top prickly part and the bottom stem of the artichoke off.

2) Take 3 garlic cloves and slice thinly.

3) Pull the artichoke leaves apart and push some garlic in between the leaves.

4) Pour 1 Tablespoon of good olive oil over each artichoke.

5) Pour 1/2 Tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar over each artichoke.

6) Put the artichokes in a pot with about 1 inch of water and cover.

7) Cook at high heat so that the artichokes with steam until you can easily pull out a leaf.  (1/2-1 hour)

8) Enjoy with Mayo or an Aioli of your choice.

-Max Swanger

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raw Kale and Beet Salad with Avocado and Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe is from a friend of a friend.  I love massaging kale!  It brings out the color and kind of cooks it in it's own way by breaking down the vegetable and bringing out the flavors.  Click HERE for an article about the great health benefits of kale.  This is a really great raw salad for the beginning of summer or anytime really.  Happy Raw Eating!

1 bunch kale
Olive oil (about 2 tbsp. or to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt
2 small uncooked beets grated
1 large, ripe avocado, cut in half and pitted
1 large, very flavorful tomato, diced, or a large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1-3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Wash the kale thoroughly. 

Devein it (take out the stem all the way up the leaves) and either cut into small squares or chiffonade it. (Roll the leaves up into tubes and slice thin strips across the tubes, resulting in very fine strips of kale.) Put kale in large bowl.  Compost the stems.

Pour olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and lemon juice over the kale. Then, after washing hands thoroughly, “massage” the kale, running your fingers through it again and again for about 2 minutes until it is entirely coated with the olive oil. Add in the salt and continue to massage until kale wilts down a bit. Set aside for 10 minutes or so as this will allow Kale to lose some of the bitterness.

Add the rest of the ingredients (beets, avocado, tomatoes, green onions) and toss well. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. You can also add radishes, celery, green pepper or whatever you like!

-Rebecca Johnson

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miso-Mustard Sauce

This recipe was inspired from Andrea Nguyen’s Miso-Glazed Tofu Recipe in the March 2012 issue of Sunset.

It is sweet, salty and bright. You can use it over Tofu, Vegetables, Brown Rice or even salad.

½ Cup Miso (Preferably a good brand like South River)
½ Cup Water
¼ Cup Sugar, Honey or Agave
3 Tbs Soy Sauce or Tamari if you want to be gluten-free
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
5 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
¼ tsp. Cayenne
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil (Preferably a light oil like Sunflower)
Mix all ingredients in a blender, slowly add oil while blender is going to emulsify.
Serve and Enjoy.

-Max Swanger

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Planting Herbs and Eggplant

Today I planted from left to right, Sage, Pineapple Sage (not sure what the culinary application is yet, but the leaves really do smell like pineapple), Thai Basil, a Maroon Basil that I think would be fun to make a purple pesto with... and then the small plant on the right is French Thyme.  The big plant in the back left is Camomille put there by another cook at my place of work.  

The plant in the pot is a Japanese Eggplant that I also planted today.

I'm excited to start cooking with some of these herbs and posting some new recipes!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Beet Burgers!

Beet, Rice and Goat Cheese Burgers!

This recipe is from Martha Rose Shulman.

Click HERE for the original recipe from the NY Times.

We made a huge batch of these at my work place.  About 144 total.  Make sure to finely grate the beets and we had to add rice flour because the mix was too wet.  We also grilled both sides of the burgers and then put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to finish off cooking.  The grilling of both sides helps with the flavor.  We got a note from one of the eaters that we had a sense of humor in our vegetarian kitchen to make these meat-like red burgers.  If you look at the ones on the grill, they kind of look like raw beef.  Also, using gloves helps to keep the hands from completely turning red.  If you don't use gloves, you can remove some of the red on your hands with a slurry of salt and lemon juice.

Happy Cooking!

Max Swanger

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Leek and Potato Tart

Here is a recipe from my cooking mentor Chef Denis Lambert:

And a picture of us playing around, or at least I was...

Leek and Potato Tart


1 1/4 lb butter, cut in chunks
3 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp salt
3 oz (about 1/3 cup) parmesan
2 tsp dried thyme leaves


6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup half-n-half
2 cup ricotta cheese
1 2/3 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/8th" thick
1 2/3 lb leeks
1/3 bunch fresh thyme
2/3 lb swiss cheese, grated 

For the Crust:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

2. Using the Food Processor, prepare the crust by adding all ingredients (except for parmesan cheese). Process just until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Be careful not to over process as this will make the mixture difficult to spread. Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture and set aside.

3. Spread the mixture evenly onto a 12"x18" rimmed half-sheet pan. Using an offset spatula, press down on the mixture to create a compact crust. Using the spatula, bevel the edges.

4. Pre-bake the crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it is a light golden color.

For the Filling:

1. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, the ricotta cheese, the half-n-half and the swiss cheese.

2. Steam the potatoes until just soft and spread evenly on the crust, overlapping the slices if necessary.

3. Saute the leeks until they are soft but not  browned, then add to the egg/ricotta  mixture.

4. Roughly chop the fresh thyme and add to the mixture.

Completing the tart:

1. Combine the  parmesan with the reserved 3/4 cup of crust to make the topping.

2. Spread the filling evenly onto the half-sheet pan/crust. Leave a small edge of crust showing all around.

3. Sprinkle with topping and bake in pre-heated oven for 35-45 minutes, filling should have puffed up nicely and the top should be golden brown.

4. Allow the tart to rest for a few minutes then cut  into 12 generous portions (3x4) or 20 smaller portions (4x5).

Servings: 12

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

These days many people are gluten-free, so I'm very happy to present this recipe from Dianne Kerwin.  She and I worked together at a Meditation Center.  Here is a picture of us mucking about with cabbage:

From Dianne:

I like finding gluten-free dessert recipes that use simple ingredients. These cookies can be made with different kinds of nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew,...) and with different types of sugars (white or brown cane, palm, maple...). I think the cookies would be fun with chocolate chips in them (though I have not tried it yet)!

Gluten-free peanut butter cookies
Makes 20 small cookies

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter, or other nut butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla, optional
extra sugar for rolling, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Cream the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Beat in the baking soda. Beat in the egg, and vanilla if using. Mix until it is all well combined.
Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball. Roll the ball in sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press a fork into the top of the cookies and flatten slightly. 
Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies are done when they look more matte and slightly cracked, but still a little soft. Treat them gently.

Dianne freelances as a bicycle-powered chef in Berkeley, CA.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blog Title and URL changed

Hi everyone.  I've changed the blog to be my own cooking blog and not be associated with any organization.  Thank you.  Max

Monday, April 9, 2012

Roasted Beets, Fennel, Orange and Rocket Salad

Here is our first recipe.  It is a Roasted Beet Salad with Sliced Fennel, Oranges and Rocket (Arugula). I've scaled it down to serve 4-6, but I haven't tested it at this quantity, but I'm pretty sure it will work.  Thank you, and happy cooking.  Love, Max

Roasted Beets, Fennel, Orange and Rocket Salad

garlic, chopped 
lemon juice
red-wine vinegar
parsley chopped, reserve 1 tsp. for garnish
Dijon mustard
olive oil
beets, roasted, peeled and large dice
fennel, save some fronds for garnish
fennel seeds. toasted
oranges or tangerines, pealed in sections
a few
rocket, (arugula)

1    Roast beets in a tightly foil covered pan with a 1/2 inch water at 350 degrees until done. Time   varies depending on size.  Check with a fork after half an hour.  May take an hour.

2    Meanwhile make dressing by blending first seven ingredients and slowly pour in olive oil in blender on high speed to emulsify.

3    When beets are done (soft in center), peel with a dish towel and chop into a large dice.

4    Remove tops and cores of Fennel and then cut thin, cross-wise. You can use a mandoline if you want really thin slices.

5    Toss beets and fennel separately in some dressing. This can be done an hour in advance. Reserve some for rocket.

6    20 minutes before eating, lightly dress rocket and make an outer ring on a platter. Next ring in will be fennel, and then scoop beets in very middle. Decorate with orange slices.

7    Sprinkle beets with toasted fennel seeds. Sprinkle parsley on sliced fennel.  Season with salt and pepper.

-Max Swanger, April 2012