Monday, July 11, 2011

Durian Fig Cream Cake

Durian is considered the "king" of fruits, and for good reason. A hefty brown specimen covered in off putting spikes... nothing about this fruit says "eat me". When ripe it will split at the seems letting out a putrid sour stench likened to dirty socks, sweat, and dead animals. With my first encounter I would have described the scent in anyone of those terms, if not worse.

Opening the seams, it reveals segmented chambers with egg looking sacks encasing large seeds. Feeling like I was opening some sort of putrid carcass, I shoved the "egg sacks" into bags and got the remains as far away as possible.(never managing to actually taste the fruit but gladly gifting it to a more adventurous woman than I)

Durian #2 was a less horrid, if not pleasant experience. Was it me or the durian, I still am not sure? The smell was not overtly offensive( albeit odd, yes) In a strange way I enjoyed the process of uncovering the sweet fleshy treasures. The taste was a creamy sweet peppery garlic blend that can't be compared.

I so badly want to love this fruit, and I am determined to ease my way into that affair. This recipe is a grand introduction to the fruit, with enough conventionally delicious ingredients to disguise the unique durian disposition. However, it is not possible to completely mask the flavor, and surly you wouldn't want to...

Durian Fig Cream Cake

Carob Date Crust:
-10 medjool dates
-1/4 cup shredded coconut
-1/4 cup sprouted dehydrated buckwheat(sub more dried coconut if unavailable)
-2 TBLS raw carob powder
-optional: 1 vanilla pod

Put all ingredients into food processor and pulse until crumbly sticky texture is reached. If necessary add a tablespoon of water at a time. Put mixture into 8 inch spring-form pan and press along bottom. Place in freezer while filling is prepared.

Durian Filling:

-5 segments of durian(about 1 cup fruit)
-4 frozen bananas
-5 medjool dates

Place ingredients into high speed blender on high until creamy texture is reached. Pour mixture on top of crust and place back in freezer.

Date and Fig Crumble:

-4 chopped medjool dates
-5 black mission figs sliced in desired fashion

Place these ingredients evenly over top of durian layer and return to freezer.

Fig Filling:

-10 frozen figs
-1 fresh banana
optional: zest of one orange

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour over the top and spread evenly with spatula. Decorate with dates, figs, or desired topping. Place in freezer to set, preferable over night.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Arugula Fig & Fennel Salad

This is a simple summer salad that highlights unique seasonal ingredients. Black mission figs are preferable for this dish, as the sweetness cuts the bitter and pungent notes of the arugula and fennel.(plus the color contrast is beautiful) Figs are not quite in season full force but they are slowly creeping their way up from California.(keep an eye out) The sheer simplicity of this dish is made satisfying, as each flavor is bold and complex in its own right.

Arugula Fig & Fennel Salad:
-1 bunch of arugula washed
-1/2 small fennel bulb shaved thin (use the fronds too if you desire)
-6-8 organic black mission figs cut in quarters or slices
-2 green onions minced
-optional: ¼ red onion thinly sliced

Toss all ingredients in large bowl and set aside.

Orange-Tahini Dressing:
-1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice(about 2 small oranges)
-1 TBLS raw tahini (Arisana is a great brand)

optional: a small nub of fresh minced ginger, and a few mint leaves are a nice addition

Place ingredients into small bowl and whisk together with a fork until tahini is homogenized.[much how you would(but likely
don't) beat an egg] Pour over salad just before serving.

Serves one-three

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baby Turnip, Snap Pea and Mint Dip

This recipe utilizes the first of the season bounty, bursting with flavor and life. Young turnips have a mild pleasant flavor similar to a radish, although less of a bite. Their greens are also edible, a tender mildly spicy green which I incorporate into this recipe. The texture is thick and smooth, similar to a guacamole. It's delightful served with an array of fresh vegetables, as a sauce atop spiralized noodles, or as a creamy sauce in a wrap. Enjoy the abundance of the season!

Baby Turnip, Snap Pea, and Mint Dip

-1 bunch of baby turnips with greens
-1 cup snap peas (stems removed)
-1/2 larger or 1 small avocado
-2 green onions
-juice of 1 lemon
-juice of 1 lime
-small handful of fresh mint
-optional: 1/4 red onion and/or clove garlic

Place all ingredients into blender on low until creamy purred consistency is reached. If desired chill in fridge for at least 20 minutes to meld flavors.

Serves one to many

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Banana-Fig-Vanilla and Orange Zest Shake

What makes a shake a shake and a smoothie a smoothie is something to be argued. I don't think it has to do with whether there's heavy dairy or ice cubes, neither are necessary. I go purely on taste and texture. Simply put, if it's smooth and creamy-it's a shake, if its more fruity with high water content ingredients, it's a smoothie. This is definitely a shake. A creamy smooth mix of fresh and frozen bananas blended with ripe figs, a squeeze, and a bit of zest from an orange, and pure vanilla powder. A super decadent shake without the fat or refined sugars, all natures pure goodness.

It is still early in the fig season and they are not at their peak in flavor, but they will still do wonders to a blended drink. People often try a particular fruit at a particular time from a particular store and say "yep, I don't like ______ fruit. Hardly a scientific method to say the least, and quite prejeduce to boot. Every fruit deserves to be defined by its best, it's peak season, bursting with sugars, falling of the vine, bush, tree best. With that said, someone has to jump first, and just because they're not "the" cream of the crop, doesn't mean they're of no value. A wise friend recently noted that even a bad fig is better than most things you'll eat. Indeed. Yes, there is something to be said for waiting, but in my opinion your not going to find that perfect fig unless you start early and eat a lot!

Banana, Fig, Vanilla, and Orange Zest Shake

-2 frozen bananas
-2 fresh ripe bananas
-6 figs (black mission or brown turkey)
-juice of 1/2 orange + zest
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder or extract

Place all ingredients into blender and whirl away, serve, and savor this creamy delight.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Apricot Ginger Sauce

This is a quick simple sauce that is great as a fruit "fondue" or sauce over chopped fruit. I used a sweet pile of bananas, which paired wonderfully. This dish makes a filling sweet meal that will keep you fueled for hours.

Apricot Ginger Sauce

-6 small apricots
-3 medjool dates
-1 frozen banana chopped
-1/2 tsp size nub ginger (optional)
-1 tsp orange zest (optional)

-6 large bananas chopped in large bowl
-1/2 cup blueberries

Place all sauce ingredients into high speed blender or food processor and pulse until creamy. Pour this mixture over chopped bananas, and top with blueberries. Devour.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Springtime Mango Salad

My very favorite mango is in season currently... no, not locally but our not too distant Mexican friends are growing a surplus for our dining pleasure. So well loved, these mangos go by numerable names: Ataulfo, Champane, Manilla, Honey, etc... They're usually smaller in size and not as plump as most mangos you see at the market. When ripe they're a beautiful golden sunflower yellow, and the flesh reveals a similar hue, with the sweetest fiberless flesh I have ever encountered in a mango.

This salad has been my mainstay the last few weeks, and I can't seem to tire of it. Depending on the preparation, this salad can take on a multitude of texture to flavor nuances. Keeping with the base, it's wonderful to swap out various fresh herbs, acid fruits, or vegetables. I have found the simple marriage of mango and tomato to be an utter delight, try it out many ways- you can't go wrong!

Springtime Mango Salad

-1 head of lettuce(romaine, red or green leaf, or bib) chopped thin
-1 large cucumber diced into cubes
-2 large juicy tomatoes chopped into similar sized cubes(heriloom or vine are best.. or use pint of cherry)
-3 large ataulfo mangos cubed
-1/4 head cilantro chopped
-handful chopped dill
-1 green onion minced
-juice of one lime
-optional: 1/4 red onion chopped and 1/2 cubed avocado

In large salad bowl toss in all the ingredients, mixing well with hands. This is a beautiful salad to take to a get together but I prefer to devour it all on my own.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Banana Cherimoya Ice Cream!

It's still Winter, it's still cold, the sun is still hiding its beacon of lovely light behind heavy grey clouds. But.. it's March, the days are noticeably lengthening, and the fruit I wait all year for is coming into season! How can I attest to the ways of the seasons, especially when they coincide with the marvelous Cherimoya!! Now, a recipe is hardly called for as the sweet custard-pudding flesh, reminiscent of papaya, vanilla, cashew, and mango are an extravagance in their own right. Moreover, it's hardly a recipe, calling for a minimum of two ingredients.(or one for just cherimoya or just banana) But simplicity is sometimes in order if not necessary when dealing with natures sacred bounty. The recipe has no added refined sugar and no overt fat, making it not just a treat but healthy fuel that could serve as a meal. Add ins are fun, but it would be a mistake to over power the subtle delicacy of the noble cherimoya. :)

For more info on bananas and cherimoyas see the current Marlene's Market and Deli News letter

Banana Cherimoya Ice Cream

-4 large ripe frozen bananas
-2 medium/large deseeded cherimoyas(ripe when skin has give similar to avocado)
optional: vanilla bean, cacao nibs, cashews, pineapple chunks, coconut, etc..

Place deseeded cherimoya into food processor or high speed blender. I often strain the cherimoya pulp through a sieve as to be certain all seeds are removed, as they contain toxic compounds that could go unnoticed when blended. Then, place chopped frozen bananas in and pulse until creamy texture is reached. At this point you can enjoy it as a soft serve style treat or freeze it for at least 20 minutes for authentic hard pack.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Benevolent Borscht

It's fascinating how we unconsciously surround ourselves with colors we find appealing. Depending on the season, an emotional phase of our life, or an unexplainable internal pull we gravitate towards various shades to synergestically encourage our growth. I believe various colors correspond to our chakra meridian and tuning into these colors we are drawn to can help correct an internal imbalance. Our food is perhaps an even greater determinate of our alignment, and seeking out specific foods will nourish that void. There are various books on the subject, such as Chakra Foods For Optimal Health by Deanna M Minich, and Gabriel Cousens speaks extensively on the energetics of food in "Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine and Conscious Eating.

Lately, I can't get enough magenta, fusha, plum, egg plant, berry, rose, ruby, pomegranate, burgundy, grape, wine, mulberry, maroon, etc.. I find myself surrounded by these colors, and more recently preparing foods of these hues. Yesterday I whipped up a nostalgic wild blackberry tart with berries from last years forage, and then tonite I prepared a deep blushing borsch that although raw and served at room temperature was very warming, and nourishing to my very center.

Benevolent Borscht:

-one large beet(1/4 diced & set aside)
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-juice of one lime
-one minniola orange peeled(or navel)
-2 green onions
-1/2 bunch of parsley( a handful of sprigs diced & set aside)
-2 stalks celery(one diced & set aside)
-4-5 baby bok choy heads(two diced and set aside)
-1 small red pepper
-1/2 large avocado(1/2 of this diced & set aside)
-opptional: 1 small nub ginger and 1 small jalapeno
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup shaved radicchio or another bitter such as dandelion, chicory, or endive

Place all ingredients into high speed blender in descending order(except those set aside) and pulse on high until creamy velvet texture is reached. Place into large bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Serve right away or refrigerate and use within two days. Shaved radicchio and a bit or parsley make an enticing garnish.

Serves 2