June 2007

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Vol. 6, No. 6

Featured Recipes

Falafel Wraps 

In the past I have always made baked falafel in pita bread, and added all the toppings separately, similar to how you would layer the toppings on a burger.  My daughter, Heather, recently experimented with combining all the ingredients together in a bowl, and then wrapping it all up in a large tortilla.  This is so delicious that Iím sure we will never go back to our old way of eating falafel.  This combination works well either stuffed into pita or wrapped up in a tortilla.  This is a richer food because of the tahini sauce.  However, this may also be made with hummus instead of tahini, which would be much lower in fat content, but still delicious!

 Preparation Time:  30 minutes (need baked falafel)
Cooking Time:  none
Servings:  6-8

Tahini Sauce:
1 cup roasted tahini
ĺ cup water
ľ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (optional)
dash sea salt 

Combine all ingredients listed above in a food processor and process until smooth.  Place in a bowl.

Add:
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
3 chopped green onions
1 cup chopped lettuce
3 cups chunked baked falafel (see hints below) 

Mix the vegetables and falafel into the tahini sauce.  Stuff into pita halves, or place a line of the mixture down the center of a tortilla, roll up and eat.

Hints:  The easiest way to make the baked falafel is to purchase the falafel mix sold in the bulk section of most natural food stores and also in packages in some supermarkets.  The dry powder is mixed with water, allowed to rest for about 10 minutes, then formed into patties that resemble burgers.  The directions tell you to fry in oil, but the falafel should be placed on a dry non-stick griddle and cooked about 5 minutes on each side, until browned.  They may also be baked in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side, until browned.  To reduce the fat content of the tahini slightly, be sure to pour off all the oil from the top of the jar before using.  Other vegetables may be added to the sauce as desired.  A chopped avocado is one nice addition.

Thai Green Curry Rice

This rice dish is made with a Thai green curry paste that is sold in Asian markets, natural food stores and some supermarkets.  To vary this recipe, try making it with red curry paste instead of the green curry paste. 

Preparation Time:  20 minutes (cooked rice needed)
Cooking Time:  12 minutes
Servings:  4

1/3 cup vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup snap peas
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 cups cooked long grain brown rice
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup almond milk or rice milk mixed with 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Place the broth in a large pot along with the onion, bell peppers and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Stir in the curry paste.  Add the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and soy sauce.  Mix well, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

Hint:  Curry pastes are quite spicy so you may want to start out with the smaller amount and add more to taste.  If you canít find fresh Thai basil, just use the fresh basil found in the produce department of your supermarket.  For a very colorful variation, use cooked Thai purple rice in place of the cooked brown rice.  Coconut extract in rice or almond milk makes a wonderful substitution for coconut milk in recipes.

No-Bake Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks
By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Colleen prepared and served this fantastic dessert during our latest Celebrity Chef weekend.

This delicious, easy-to-prepare pie calls for the sweetest strawberries you can find. It is also best when served within an hour or two of preparing it, since it is at its most fresh then, but it holds up just fine in the fridge.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Chilling Time:  1 hour
Servings:  8-12

Crust:
2 cups raw almonds or pecans
ĺ cup pitted dates, preferably Medjool

Filling:
5 cups sliced ripe strawberries
5 pitted dates, soaked 10 minutes in warm water and drained
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Dark chocolate chunks, preferably from a good, organic, fair-trade bar (optional)

Place the nuts in a food processor and grind until theyíre a coarse meal. Add the ĺ cup of dates (for the crust) and process until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into a non-stick or very lightly oiled pie plate or spring form pan.

Arrange 4 cups of the sliced strawberries on top of the crust and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine the remaining 1 cup of strawberries with the 5 soaked dates and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Pour the sauce mixture over strawberries.

Arrange the chocolate chunks on the top of the sauce (optional), and refrigerate the pie for 1 hour before serving. This will help the pie set and will be perfect for slicing.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:  This is a perfect summer pie when strawberries are at their most ripe.

Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa
By John Ash

John Ash was one of the chefs during our Celebrity Chef weekend.  He prepared a variety of delicious sauces to serve over simple foods, such as grilled vegetables, pasta or grains. This salsa keeps its bright green color even when prepared ahead of time because of the tomatillos.

Often tomatillos are cooked when they are used in recipes.  Cooking tones down their natural acidity and astringency.  Here, however, it is used raw where itís a perfect foil for the buttery avocado.  This is delicious on grilled vegetables, bean and vegetable salads or bean burritos.  Feel free to add drops of lime juice if you like more acidity and chopped cilantro too.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Chilling Time:  1 hour (optional)
Servings:  Makes 1 Ĺ cups

2 medium fresh tomatillos, husks removed, washed and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon seeded and chopped fresh serrano chile, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped scallion
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

In a food processor add the tomatillos, garlic, chile and scallions and pulse to finely chop.  Coarsely chop the avocado, add to the processor and pulse until just blended.  Salsa should still have some texture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Chu Visits the Southwest Soup

This variation on Chuís Corn Chowder was sent to me by Linda Vallin. It is a delicious and hearty soup, perfect for the summer months.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes
Servings:  2-3

1 16-oz. bag frozen corn
1/2 cup water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 4-oz. can roasted green chilies
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
Cilantro, for garnish

Bring the corn and water to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and cook 5 minutes.  Let the corn cool a bit, then puree in a blender with the broth.  Return the mixture to the saucepan.  (I like to strain it at this point because I prefer the texture, but this step is entirely optional).  Add the chilies, the bell pepper and the beans (if using).  If it seems too thick for your taste, add a bit more water or broth.  Simmer until heated through, 7-10 minutes.  Stir in the green onions.  Garnish with cilantro. 

Hint: Makes a good "first course" soup without the beans, a "main dish" soup with them.

The following 2 salad dressings were developed by Richard Whipple, executive chef at the Flamingo Resort Hotel, for the McDougall program.

Yellow Bell Pepper Vinaigrette

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Chilling Time:  2 hours
Servings:  makes 3 cups

2 12 ounce jars roasted yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons diced green chilies
1 cup water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth.

Green Chili Orange Dressing

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Chilling Time:  2 hours
Servings:  makes 2 cups

1 cup diced green chilies
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Pinch of black pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. 

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