Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Whenever I eat gazpacho, I’m transported back to my time living in Spain, enjoying the warm summer evenings in the outdoor plazas, sipping a bowl of the chilled tomato soup beside a glass of rosé and a bowl of freshly made potato chips. Since moving home to Oakland, it’s become a summer tradition to whip up weekly batches of gazpacho in an attempt to recreate that scene. With the temperature slowly rising, I thought it the perfect time to share my take on the classic warm weather recipe.

Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup that originates from the Andalucía region of Spain. While its main base is made up of tomatoes and tomato juice, it also consists of cucumbers, red bell peppers, onions, garlic, and olive oil. Traditionally, bread is served alongside a bowl of gazpacho, though it can be enjoyed just as well without it by adding your own unique blend of spices and ingredients. In today’s variation, I chose to incorporate orange juice and zest for a bit of sweetness, along with pumpkin seeds for a little protein and crunch. If you’re looking to make a well-rounded meal out of the soup, try pairing gazpacho with a seasonal corn salad (recipe below), or grilled fish.

Not only is this soup satisfying to eat, it’s also a delight to prepare. The brightly colored reds, greens, and purples that make up the ingredients are all colors reminiscent of authentic Mediterranean produce markets. They also contain antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene that are responsible for giving tomatoes and bell peppers their bright-to-deep colored hues. In terms of health benefits, these antioxidants play key roles in keeping our cell membranes strong, thick, and fluid, which are in charge of allowing nutrients in, while removing cellular waste and preventing toxins from entering. By eating vegetables rich in antioxidants, we prevent free radicals from causing heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

gazpacho

Gazpacho

INGREDIENTS
4-5 ripe Roma tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
1/2 medium cucumber, seeded and peeled
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
1/2 garlic clove
1 red chili, seeded
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus zest for garnish
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup low-sodium tomato juice
1 cup cold pure filtered water
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Using a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients, including the tomato juice and water. Pulse or blend until all ingredients are mixed well. Depending on your preference, you can blend until smooth, or keep the mixture a little chunky.
2. Pour mixture into a large bowl and season to your liking. Chill the soup for at least an hour. When ready to serve, garnish with parsley or torn mint, orange zest, pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of fresh lime. You can also add the remaining diced vegetables and avocado.

gazpacho

Corn Salad

INGREDIENTS
1 ear of white or yellow corn
3 tbsp. diced cucumber
1 tbsp. diced red onion
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3 minutes. Immediately drain and cool it under cold water to stop the cooking. Placing the ear upwards on a cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut along the side of the ear, removing the kernels from the cob. Toss the kernels into a large bowl with the red onions, cucumber, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

gazpacho

Recipe posted in The Elysian Edit

Bean-less Beet Hummus

EE_Beet_Hummus_Final.PNG

An easy way to ensure you’re getting enough essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet is by consuming the colors of the rainbow. It is natural medicine at its best, once again, as we call forth bodily self-healing. By adding color through nutritional nourishment in your daily meals, you can protect yourself from ailments, diseases, and even uplift your mood and spirit.

beethummus

Running with this idea for today’s recipe for Elysian Eats, I’ve decided to make a beautiful and vibrant beet hummus. For those intolerant of beans and legumes, fret not — this recipe is bean-less and you wouldn’t even know it. As a general rule of thumb, instead of limiting yourself from your favorite foods, try simply reshaping the recipe by adding something healing in its place.

Aside from it’s eye-catching hue, this beet hummus makes a wonderful snack, packed with exquisite flavors that pair well with vegetables and whole grain breads. Even if you aren’t a beet lover, the lemon and garlic in this recipe balances out the beet’s earthiness, making it an ideal dish to bring along to your next summer gathering. Read on for the health benefits of each ingredient included in today’s recipe.

beethummus

• BEETS

The magic of beets is the way they encourage liver cells to rid themselves of toxins. Beets contain a special type of fiber that flushes these toxins from the body, as opposed to getting reabsorbed, as they do in many cases. For example, constipation or feeling ill during a detox or colon cleanse may be an indication of toxin reabsorption. Beets prevent this from occurring.

• TAHINI

If you aren’t familiar with tahini, you should be. Tahini is a Greek sesame seed paste that also aids in liver detoxification due to its powerful amino acid, methionine. Tahini has a higher digestible protein source than most nuts. Not only does tahini offer a rich, nutty, creaminess to this hummus, but it also provides sustenance from its protein and healthy fat content.

• CUMIN

Cumin is a potent spice that possesses an earthy, spicy, and bitter flavor. It harbors many stimulating properties, such as liver cleansing, and improvement to digestion and appetite.

• ZA’ATAR

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made from dried thyme, sesame seeds, sea salt, and dried sumac. The result is an exquisite tangy flavor with an intoxicating aroma. Try sprinkling za’atar over your hummus for an added punch.

beethummus

INGREDIENTS

2 medium cooked, peeled, and cooled beets
2 tbsp. tahini
1 raw garlic clove
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more as needed
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
Sprinkle of za’tar (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Cut the beets into chunks and put them in a steam basket in a pot of boiling water. When beets are soft enough that a fork will slide into them without effort, remove and cool. Once beets are cool, place them in a blender, food processor, or mixing bowl (if you are using an immersion blender). Add in the tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and salt, and process until completely smooth. Add a little more olive oil as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Recipe posted in The Elysian Edit

Josey Baker Bread

seedbread

I ran into the recipe for the Josey Baker's Adventure bread a while ago but put it off for some time, because honestly, baking bread is daunting to me. However, when I came up with doing the Seed Series for a week, I figured making this bread would be a wonderful way to tie it all together. 

This recipe is written in verbatim from David Lebovitz's blog "living the sweet life in Paris,".

One 9 or 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pan (20cm by 10cm), oiled

Dry ingredients

2 1/4 cups (235g) rolled oats
1 cup (160g) sunflower seeds (hulled)
1/2 cup (65g) pumpkin seeds (hulled)
3/4 cup (90g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (120g)  flax seeds
1/3 cup (25g) psyllium seed husks (see note)
3 tablespoons (25g) chia seeds
2 teaspoons (12g) fine sea salt

The wet stuff

2 tablespoons (40g) maple syrup
1/4 cup (55g) olive oil
2 1/2 cups (600g) water

1. Gather your foodstuffs. Toast the seeds. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC.) Spread the sunflower and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast until they start to brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway during baking.

(David: The seeds may take less time to toast, so keep an eye on them.)

2. Measure ingredients. Dump this stuff (all the dry ingredients) into big bowl. Then pour in the wet stuff.

3. Mix it all up. Oil your loaf pan, and then mush up your “dough” real good with your strong hands or a big spoon. Take pride in your mush-job; this is all of the handling you’re doing to do with this “dough.” Once it’s mixed real good, scoop it into your oiled pan and smooth out the top so it looks nice. Then stick it in the fridge and leave it alone for at least a few hours, up to a whole day.

4. Bake it. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400ºF (200ºC.) Remove the bread from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Bake the bread for about an hour or so, then take it out and gently remove the loaf from the pan. Let cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours (YES, two whole hours). Don’t rush it here folks, this bread is D*E*N*S*E, and if you don’t wait for it to cool, it really won’t be as yummy.

6. Toast and eat. This bread is definitely best sliced nice and thin (around 1/2-inch, 12mm) and then toasted up and spread with whatever your heart desires. And don’t worry if you’re adventuring somewhere without toaster access (like a gorgeous river in the middle of nowhere), it will still be scrumptious, I promise.

Here are some tips of my own:

I oiled the cookware with ghee, but I butter, olive oil and coconut would do just fine. 
Gluten-free folks should use certified gluten-free oats. 
Let the dough cool down after taking it out from the fridge and before you put it in the oven. 

Recipe from Josey Baker Bread, San Francisco via David Lebovitz at http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/05/josey-bakers-gluten-free-recipe-adventure-bread/

Garlic Beet Greens

beetgreens

It's rare in my household to discard parts of vegetables. When buying organic produce I reuse "scraps" (leftover goodies) to make my bone broth because they contain loads of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

Beets are root vegetables that have long greens leaves that are slightly bitter but edible and delicious when sautéed. So, don't toss them! Give them a try. 

Here's what to do:

Drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil in your pan, sauté some minced garlic and onions, optional. Chop up the greens and add them to the pot. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until wilted. Spice it up with sea salt, black pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper. 

 

Basil + Hemp Seed Pesto

basilpesto

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil
2 cups organic spinach
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup raw walnuts
2 tbs. hemp seeds
2 tbsp. olive oil (can add more for consistency)
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. sea vegetable powder (optional)

basilpesto

INSTRUCTIONS

Using a high-speed blender or immersion blender, combine all ingredients until desired texture.

Tip: I like to use the immersion blender to keep my pesto on the chunkier side, and prefer to add the hemp seeds into the mixing bowl last so they don’t shoot out when the immersion blender turns on. For a smoother and creamier pesto, try using a high-speed blender or Vitamix.

basilpesto

This recipe is featured in Jessica Commingore's The Elysian Edit, Los Angeles Ca

Basic Cactus Prep + Recipe

cutting-nopales-mexico.jpg

Basic Preparation for Cactus Paddles

Don't fear this plant, it holds some great properties. Here's what you do. 

Try to hold onto the fresh cactus paddles at the base and rinse under water, being careful not to prick yourself. If you have comfortable garden gloves, feel free to use them. 

Lay the paddles on a chopping board or over a paper bag and trim around the edges. Next, using a vegetable or a small knife, peel off the bumps where the thorns grow. Try to keep the green skin intact as much as possible. When you have peeled off all the bumps, you can then cut half an inch off of the base. 

Now, rinse and dice into half an inch to 1 inch sized squares, to you liking. 

Heat the oil in a large-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced cactus, stir in the salt and stir for a minute or two. Place the lid on the skillet. 

Reduce the heat to medium and let the cactus cook and sweat for about 20 minutes, until it has let out a gelatinous liquid that will begin to dry out. Take the lid off the skillet, stir and make sure most of that jelly substance has dried up. If it hasn't, let the cactus cook for a few more minutes until it does. Let the cactus cool and they are ready to go in a salad, tacos, nachos, whatever you like. 

Nopale Salad

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 2/3 cup diced onion

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 3 cups diced, precooked nopales

  • 1 medium tomato, diced

  • 1/2 lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

  • a dash of fresh or dried oregano

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tbsp. fresh or pickled jalapeños (optional)

  • crumbling of cotija cheese

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium-size frying pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onion begins to soften, being careful not to let the garlic burn. 

Add the cactus and oregano and continue to sauté over medium heat for a few minutes. 

Transfer the vegetables to a bowl. When cool, combine with the tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cactus Nutritional Benefits

  • Cactus is loaded with vitamins C and E, both protective antioxidants that ward off disease and strengthen immunity. 

  • Cactus also contains lots of fiber, which cleanses the digestive tract adn reduces constipation and even removes fat, so it's great for weight control. 

  • Diabetics benefit from eating cactus because it reduces blood sugar levels. 

 

References: www.patismexicantable.com/2012/06/cleaning_cactus_paddles_or_nopales

www.reviewnopalea.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-benefits-of-nopal-cactus.html