Jordan St. Clair-Jackson
In many (if not most) Western diets, fermented foods aren’t very prevalent, and that’s something that should change! Pickling, fermenting, and culturing add beneficial enzymes to foods, and enhance flavors and nutritional. To familiarize yourself with the world of fermented food, here’s a Q & A with Michelle Schoffro Cook, author of The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. You’ll learn about the benefits of fermented foods, and be inspired to make them in your own kitchen with the expert guidance in her new book.
What got you into experimenting with fermented foods?
I’m an avid cook and recipe developer with a huge passion for delicious, healthy foods. I first started experimenting with fermented foods when I was 19 and exploring various cultures’ traditional recipes that could give my health a boost. more→
Jícama is a root vegetable that’s native to the American Southwest. Pronounced HICK-a-mah, until the last decade or so it wasn’t easy to find outside that region. Now it’s more widely available well-stocked supermarkets and produce markets from west to east, primarily in the fall. Subltly sweet, crunchy, and a bit more watery than other roots (it’s actually 90% water), jicama is good sliced and eaten raw, used in salads, sautéed, or baked.
Jícama is high in fiber, and provides good amounts of vitamin C and potassium. Its characteristic mild sweetness is from oligofructose, a soluble fiber that actually functions as a prebiotic, and which helps stabilize blood sugar. more→
By using seasonal organic produce and ingredients, you can create meals that are dazzling to the eyes and palate that are incredibly simple to prepare. Are you a seasonal eater? Visualize these scenarios:
In your mind, visualize the supermarket you frequent. Put yourself in the produce department. Think summer. Now think winter. Does it look much different? Any different? Now imagine yourself in the restaurants you frequent. It’s fall, and you are studying the menu. Now shift gears—it’s spring. Have the menus changed very much? Have they changed at all? more→
Not long ago, we presented a delicious shortcut recipe, Instant Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry, inspired by the classic combo from Indian cuisine. One of the many full-flavored Indian simmer sauces available these days makes the meal a breeze to prepare — no need for the zillions of individual spices that gives the dish an authentic character. From mild coconut-based blends to hot jalfrezi sauces, the choice is yours. If vegan is important to you, check labels, as many of the varieties of these sauces contain dairy.
Completing this high-protein dish as a meal is a great idea, and that’s just what we’re going to do here. Brown rice and a refreshing cucumber salad are just the right companions. This meal is a bit light on vegetables; okay, quite light on vegetables, so we recommend fresh fruit or simple fresh fruit dessert (Pineapple-Orange Ambrosia, for instance) to make up for that. more→
Today, we’re going to learn to make authentic vegan ravioli from scratch, starting with growing our own artisanal wheat. Just kidding, of course! There are quite a number of yummy delicacies that I love, but that fall into the “life is too short” department when it comes to from-scratch cooking. One of them is vegan ravioli (followed closely by sushi).
Which is why when the mood strikes, we get a package of these dumpling-like cuties from the frozen foods section of our natural foods store. Then we’re well on the way to a hearty meal that only needs a salad to complete it. A can of pink beans gets us close to the finish line, then all that’s needed is a good sauce and a sprinkling of fresh basil and nooch (aka nutritional yeast) or vegan Parmesan. Let’s get started! more→
Concha means shell in Spanish. These sweet, fluffy, and warm sweet breads are topped with a shell pattern, hence the name concha bread. These are delicious with coffee or hot chocolate. Mexican Independence Day is September 16, and just in time, Vegan Mexican Food, a resource of the nonprofit Food Empowerment Project, has been updated and expanded. Thanks to these organization for this tasty contribution, as well as the photo. more→
Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry is a traditional Indian dish that combines two tasty and high-protein legumes. And while it usually doesn’t need to be veganized, in our minds, it needs to be simplified, as the typical recipe has 15 to 20 ingredients — a great percentage of them spices. Lots and lots of spices.
We couldn’t have been more thrilled when an array of full-bodied Indian simmer sauces burst on the market — you can have your pick whether at a natural foods store or in the supermarket’s international aisle. From mild coconut-based blends to hot jalfrezi sauces, many are also vegan (at least an equal number contain dairy, so check labels. more→
A delicious dozen of Apple Cider Vinegar recipes will boost your intake of the most popular vinegar in the natural health community. ACV’s health benefits are legion, many of which are backed by research (see 23 of these benefits here). It’s become well known as an aid to weight loss, and due to its probiotic properties, it’s a good way to boost gut health. Make sure to use raw, unfiltered, and organic ACV — it’s the ideal kind to use to make these apple cider vinegar recipes — pickled vegetables, salad dressings, and bracing beverages. more→
Peanut butter pizza is a fun and easy way to start the day — even an busy school or work day morning. Pizza crust spread with peanut butter and then covered with bananas and other fruit and spoonfuls of jam make a filling breakfast treat in one fell swoop, rather than making a separate breakfast for everyone. It’s also a nice after-school treat.
Make sure to use an all-fruit jam, and use peanut butter that’s nice and spreadable rather than clumpy. You can also consider using small pizza crusts to make personal-size portions. more→
When my kids were young, they never wanted mashed potatoes until we read The Trouble With Grownups, a Berenstain Bears book. In one scene, the cubs are bored with the same old dinner. Mama and Papa scold the cubs for building volcanoes with their mashed potatoes. Immediately charmed, my kids wanted mashed potatoes so they could rebel against the grumpy fictional bear parents. We even concocted a “hot lava” sauce for the mashed potato volcanoes.
I see nothing wrong with making food more amusing, especially if doing so inspires kids to eat it. Mashed potato volcanoes with hot lava became a fixture on their repertoire, and it accomplished the feat of getting mine to eat two — or three —vegetables in one dish. more→
Children are notoriously picky eaters, so when it comes to preparing healthy food for kids that they’ll actually eat, sometimes you’ve got to add some fun to the equation. When mine were young, I found that getting them to participate in the preparation was a good way to encouraged them, because they were more likely to eat what they helped make. I found cooking activities were particularly successful when they and their friends were between the ages of 5 and 8, when hand-eye coordination is excellent and the willingness to do adult-supervised activity is still a plus. more→
A vegan shepherd’s pie is a wonderful choice as a holiday centerpiece — especially Thanksgiving and Christmas — or as a dish to take to a potluck. To prove the point, our Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie is one of our most popular recipes. And though it isn’t at all difficult, judging by how many people have made it and served it, it’s admittedly a bit of a project. For holidays and special occasions, that’s fine — we like to pull out all the stops and put our best foot forward.
But these days, we’d like to cater to the extremely time-crunched (and okay, the very lazy) who’d like to make and share such satisfying dishes, so here’s a brilliant shortcut vegan shepherd’s pie, which cuts out the most time-consuming step — peeling, dicing, cooking, and mashing the traditional potato topping. Instead, we’ll use frozen cauliflower and just whip it up in a food processor or blender. Using lentil soup instead of plain canned lentils adds more flavor. more→