Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Farmer’s Market Fermenting

How often do you throw away fruits and veggies that have gone rotten in the fridge? For me, it’s way too often. This is one of the reasons I am becoming more active in preserving my food. Drying, jamming, and freezing are all methods I have used that, in the end, save me time and money. Lately I have become more interested in lacto-fermentation. It sounds intimidating but is immensely easy and healthy. To learn more about fermentation, I recently interviewed Chef Ernest Miller, the Master Food Preserver at The Farmer’s Kitchen.

There are only 3 ingredients required for a basic lacto fermentation; salt, water and vegetables. You can also add spices to the mixture to give more flavor and color. Simple lacto-fermentation involves cutting your vegetables (some people crush them to release juices), adding your spices, mixing, stuffing the mixture into a clean ball jar, and pouring brine over the top. After that, it is just a matter of letting the healthy bacteria do its job (see below for a simple starter fermentation recipe from Chef Miller).

One of the most intriguing aspects of fermenting to me is the nutrient boost the food gets. According to Chef Miller, it is even better that eating the vegetables raw because the fermentation process adds vitamins and minerals, numerous beneficial enzymes, and probiotics that aid in digestion. Your veggies actually get healthier! And they last up to 6 months. Almost any vegetable can be fermented – I love the creative aspect of combining vegetables and various herbs and spices!

To get started, try fermenting beets, onion, garlic, carrots, ginger, peppers, beans and cabbage – alone or in various combinations. Add herbs like ginger, dill, basil, and oregano and try spices like red pepper flakes, mustard, and caraway seeds. Get creative! You will love the results.

Stay tuned to the Pure website and Facebook page next week for the launch of my video on fermentation with Chef Miller.

- Veronica

Farmer’s Kitchen Basic Vegetable Fermentation Recipe –yields 1 qt.

  • .5 oz. canning, pickling, kosher or sea salt

Spices are optional and may be changed to suit your tastes:

  • 1.5 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1.5 tsp. yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1.5 lbs. cabbage, shredded (about 1 head of red cabbage or choose another vegetable)

Procedure: Trim or chop vegetables. Toss with salt and spices. Pack firmly into a clean jar. Be sure the cabbage is deep enough so that the jar rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage. Place a clean weight on the cabbage (like a small jar) to keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Add brine (1 oz. of salt to 1 quart of water). Cover the jar with a clean dishtowel or paper towel and secure with a rubber band or twine. Store at 70º to 80ºF while fermenting in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

At temperatures between 70º and 80ºF, kraut will be fully fermented in about 2 to 3 weeks; at 60º to 65ºF, fermentation may take 5 to 6 weeks. At temperatures lower than 60ºF, kraut may not ferment. Above 80ºF, kraut may become soft. Fully fermented kraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months.

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Bee Pollen

I am intrigued by bee pollen. Its reputation is strong and long in the natural food world. In fact it’s been touted for thousands of years as an herbal powerhouse, providing benefits from anti-aging and longevity, to immune-system support and weight loss. There is currently not enough research to support all of these claims, but if we look at the makeup of this superfood we can make some sound assumptions. For me, something created by nature, not in a lab, with such a rich history shouldn’t be ignored.

Bee Pollen is the pollen from a large variety of plants that sticks to the legs of the bee as they drink the nectar of the flowers. The bees then bring the compacted pollen granules back to the hive and it is used as nourishment for the worker bees. It is a perfectly balanced food and contains almost all of the nutrients we need to survive. Forty percent of the pollen is complete protein. The other sixty percent consists of carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and antioxidants like vitamins C, A, B, and E, nutrients we know help prevent cancer, inflammation, disease, and aging. Bee pollen also contains substances shown to have antimicrobial properties which slow the growth of bacteria and viruses.

There are some interesting case studies that show groups of people who have exceptional health and vitality after consuming bee pollen for many years. To me, it would be interesting to see some additional research to dig into this further.

In the meantime, I plan on including bee pollen into my diet. Of course, it is not recommended for individuals who have bee allergies or for pregnant/nursing women. Always discuss added supplements with your doctor. For interesting ways to add bee pollen to your diet see below.

- Veronica

Bee Pollen should be introduced slowly to your diet. Start with a granule or two and work your way up to 1 Tbsp per day. To preserve nutrients, avoid adding heat or cooking bee pollen.

  • Blend into almond milk with honey and vanilla for a creamy, delicious shake
  • Sprinkle onto cereal
  • Stir into yogurt
  • Scatter on top of salads
  • Add a pinch to smoothies
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Rhubarb the Vegetable

Next time you sink your teeth into a slice of rhubarb pie, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you are eating your vegetables! Rhubarb is, indeed, a vegetable even though the US decided in 1947 to classify it as a fruit to save on import tariffs. Either way, it is a unique and delicious addition to your diet.

To me, Rhubarb and Grandma go hand in hand. My grandma excelled at all things rhubarb – sauces, pies, stews, you name it. When we moved into our last home there was an old rhubarb patch out back. I wasn’t very familiar with cooking with rhubarb so at first I tried to remove them and replace with other plants. I soon realized that rhubarb is extremely hearty. It refused to go away, so I made my peace with rhubarb and learned that cooking with it is simple and delicious.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a stubborn rhubarb patch, rhubarb is very inexpensive and can usually be found year round. Originally, rhubarb was used by the Chinese as a healing plant – not surprising since there are all sorts of studies documenting rhubarb to be a high antioxidant food with disease-preventing abilities. Rhubarb is also high in vitamin C which is helpful as we go into cold and flu season. It provides calcium and vitamin K for bone building and neuron protection, and complex B vitamins for energy. It is also high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Just be aware that you should never eat the leaves as they are toxic to humans.

Rhubarb is best known for use in pies and sauces, but is also great in stews, baked goods, and soups. It adds a nice complimentary flavor to almost any dish. I like to make an all-purpose sauce that can be used as a side dish, a marinade, a dessert, or even a jam. See my favorite simple rhubarb sauce recipe below, and keep enjoying this great little fruit… I mean, vegetable!

- Veronica

Orange Rhubarb Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 lb. rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 tsp. fresh ginger
2 large oranges peeled, sectioned and muddled
1/2 cup walnuts
mint leaves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Boil the water and cook rhubarb, oranges, ginger and honey on low temperatures until the rhubarb is soft and the liquid has boiled down. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and add walnuts cinnamon and cloves. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

High-Protein Vegetables

The question I get asked most as a vegetarian is how do I get protein? We are so trained to think of only meat or animal products as protein sources, yet plants provide an amazing amount of protein per calorie. This means I can eat a lot of veggies and get a lot of protein (and fiber and antioxidants not found in meat) with few calories. | To me, that is a great deal!

Here are some of my favorites:

Calories Fiber Protein
Lentils ½ cup cooked 115 8g 9g
Brussels sprouts 1 cup cooked 56 4g 4g
Corn, 1 large ear cooked 120 3g 4g
Green beans, ½ cup cooked 114 8g 6g
Cauliflower ½ cup cooked 30 3g 3g
Kale 1 cup sautéed 36 3g 3g
Peas 1 cup steamed 134 9g 9g
Potato 1 medium baked 161 4g 5g
Swiss Chard 1 cup sautéed 35 4g 3g

— Veronica

What to do with all those veggies?

Now imagine a dinner plate filled with some of the above choices like ½ cup of green beans, ½ cup of lentils, 1 ear of corn, 1 baked potato, 1 cup of Swiss chard and 1 cup of cauliflower. It would definitely be a filling meal! You would consume:

575 calories

30 grams fiber

30 grams protein

Pretty cool, right? And that doesn’t count the magnitude of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your meal! The USDA RDA (recommended daily allowance) of protein for adults is about 40g-70g depending on your weight. One meal of veggies gets you almost there!

Vegetables are the gateway to healthy living. I find the more vegetables I eat, the more I crave them. Sometimes I will eat three or four different veggies for a meal. Whether you eat meat or not, pile your plate high with vegetables and reap the amazing benefits!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Peaches, Dirty Dozen!

Even in California, life is dictated by the seasons. We may not get extreme hot and cold like some states, but our eating is always seasonal. Late July and early August is all about peaches for me. . Peaches always make the “dirty dozen “ list, which means they are full of nasty pesticides! I always buy seasonal organic peaches, and would buy frozen or canned organic peaches over fresh conventional ones any time.

For the past two years, we have adopted an organic peach tree. Our tree is one of many grownPeaches - dirty dozen

I can never have enough of these peaches in their natural state, but of course I have to make things with them. Along with pies and tarts, we put up jars and jars of peach jam and chutney at my restaurant. Try white peaches with crème fraiche and honey for a quick dessert on a hot summer night. When your local farmers’ market is bursting with peaches, peel and freeze for smoothies and cobblers. I also love this salad that highlights honey grilled peaches. It’s so fresh and light, and perfect for lunch or dinner on a hot summer day.

Honey Grilled Peaches with Arugula & Goat Cheese

Serves 4

  1.  1/4 cup sliced almonds
  2. Extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 8 ripe but firm medium sized peaches, cut in half and pitted
  4. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar mixed with 2 teaspoons honey
  5. 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  6. 4 ounces baby arugula
  7. Balsamic Vinaigrette
  8. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  9. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  10. 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  11. 2 tablespoons honey
  12. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  13. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and dry roast the almonds until they are light brown and fragrant. Let cool.

Heat the same skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Grill the peaches cut side down, about 2 minutes total. Add the vinegar/honey mixture and cook another 30-40 seconds, just until the peaches caramelize.

In a blender, puree the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the arugula with some of the dressing and place on individual plates. Place the cheese and the peaches (2 halves per person) on top of the salad, add the almonds and drizzle with more dressing.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Sautéed Kale with Grated Ginger

Kale and I have always had an uneasy relationship. I walk by it in the supermarket and I hear it calling my name, but it always looks so tough and intimidating. “What could I possibly do with you?” I think. The truth is, besides running it through the juicer, I have never really experimented with kale… until recently. Friends of mine, who work at an organic farm, stopped by the other day with a huge bag of kale in exchange for some Pure Bars. I have to admit, I wished it was spinach at the time, but it forced me to create. And create I did!

Kale is hailed as the “Queen of Greens.” It surpasses all of other vegetables in health, providing an entire day’s supply of calcium and vitamin b6, 5 grams fiber, as well as antioxidants vitamin A (180% DRV), Vitamin C (200%DRV), and loads of vitamin K in just one cup. That’s right, 1 cup. That’s well worth starting up a friendship!

Now that I have made friends with kale, there are tons of recipes online I want to try. My first creation was so easy that I will be making it weekly, especially since it was met with rave reviews from my kids. Imagine, a few weeks ago I was scared of kale, and now my kids are eating it!

— Veronica

Veronica’s Tip of the Week

Veronica Bosgraaf, Pure Bar Founder

  • One bunch of kale, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger root
  • Combine chopped kale and grapeseed oil in a large skillet. Sauté on low heat until kale is bright green and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and sprinkle grated ginger over the top. Serve warm.

See more ideas on our Pinterest page!

Read Veronica’s Blog or follow Pure on Twitter

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Veronica Bosgraaf’s Creamy Vegan Berry Smoothie on MisoVegan.com

Veronica Bosgraaf’s Creamy Vegan Berry Smoothie on MisoVegan.com

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Grilled Fruit

What’s a vegetarian to do with a grill? Grill all things colorful, of course! One of my favorite uses of the grill is to create wonderful, healthy desserts with fruit. It’s so easy and creates a colorful and delicious compliment to any meal. Grilled mangos are my favorite, but peaches, apricots, and pears are wonderful, too. You can grill practically any fruit, but they all react and taste different so you may have to experiment.

The typical method I use to grill fruit is to cut the fruit in half, leaving the skin on, and removing the pit or core the fruit (when grilling mangos, I slice into smaller sections because I often have to cut the fruit away from the pit). I then place the fruit flesh down first on a medium-hot grill. I like to use the upper shelf because I want the fruit to get warm and smoky rather than charred (make sure grill is clean). Let cook for about 3 minutes with the cover closed until fruit is warm with slight grill marks. Then I turn it over and sprinkle the fruit with brown sugar and cinnamon and close the grill for about 2 more minutes to let the sugar melt and the fruit become soft and warm. Some recipes call for oil on the grill or fruit but I have never needed it, and I don’t like the fruit to be greasy. If you need more moisture, squeeze lemon juice on the fruit before grilling.

I tend to choose fruits that are more firm than ripe so they are easy to work with. You can also grill smaller fruits like strawberries and blueberries with sugar and spices in aluminum foil placed on the grill.

— Veronica

Veronica’s Tip of the Week
Veronica Bosgraaf, Pure Bar Founder

Grilled Mangos with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon:

  • 3 small mangos
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon juice

See more ideas on our Pinterest page!

Read Veronica’s Blog or follow Pure on Twitter

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

The Magic of Mint

The Magic of Mint

I have wild mint in growing all over in my garden. Although some may call it invasive and bothersome, I take a “survival of the fittest” perspective when it comes to my garden. I don’t mind having species that thrive, take little maintenance, and are beautiful to look at. Mint is even more special in my book because it is incredibly healthy and can be consumed fresh from the garden. There are countless reasons why herbs have been used throughout history by various cultures, and I’m always in awe of the many amazing health benefits they hold. They are powerful plants that we often don’t give enough credit to and mint is no exception.

There are numerous varieties of mint; the type in my garden is common spearmint. The leaves can be picked and used in recipes straight from the plant. Mint contains good amounts of Vitamin A, C, B12, folic acid, thiamine and riboflavin, as well as protein and minerals such as calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. It also contains special antioxidants which have been shown to protect the body against the formation of cancerous cells.

Mint is a known antiseptic that can be used to freshen breath and treat acne. It aids in digestion by soothing the muscles surrounding the intestine. The scent can reduce headaches and the taste is a wonderful complement to many dishes. I love to make mine into tea by simply infusing the chopped leaves in warm water. I also add the chopped leaves to salads, soups, risottos, vegetables and fish.

Source

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Blended Apple Pie Juice Recipe

The Apple Cinammon Pure Bar is my current favorite (it’s ever changing) so I decided to hit the kitchen and figure out how to create it in liquid form. I came up with this super easy juice which tastes like blended apple pie (score!) and has powerful apple cider vinegar which helps to curb sugar cravings, revs the metabolism and helps to balance your pH levels. Drink on!

Apple Pie Juice

 

2-3 apples put through a juicer

1-2 t apple cider vinegar (depending on how brave you are)

1 t cinnamon

1 quick dash of raw agave nectar

 

Mix well and enjoy!

-Kathryn Budig

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Tangerine and Pear Holiday Salad from Jenny Ross, Raw Food Chef


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays are always filled with parties and fellowship.  Here is a wonderful, healthy and creative recipe from guest blogger and executive raw food chef Jenny Ross for you to serve at your next holiday gathering!

Tangerine and Pear Holiday Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients

For the dressing: (whisk together, can be refrigerated for 5 days)
Satsuma Tangerines (juiced & strained)
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Stone-ground Mustard
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 dash Sea Salt

For the Salad
2 medium large size Pears
4 medium Satsuma Tangerines
6 cups Winter Greens (SpinachRed Chard or Heirloom Romaine)
2 ounces Walnut pieces
2 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Preparation

  • Slicing one of the pears from top to bottom, create 8⅛ inch thin slices.
  • Then slice the remaining pear into matchstick-sized pieces with skin on.
  • Place both pear slices and sticks in a large mixing bowl with the agave and cinnamon.
  • Toss together until fruit is coated thoroughly and set aside.
  • Peel the Satsuma mandarins; separate the segments, removing the white netting.
    Remove the large slices of pear and set aside.
  • Add the mandarin segments to the pear stick mixture, tossing to coat thoroughly.
  • Clean the greens, remove large stems, slice lengthwise into ½ -inch ribbon-like pieces.
  • In a large mixing bowl lightly coat the greens and walnuts with the salad dressing.

Plating

  • Place ⅔ Cup of the greens mixture in the center of the plate.
  • Top with one thin slice of pear laying it horizontally on top of the greens.
  • Top the pear sticks and Satsuma mixture.
  • Repeat layering one more time.
  • Garnish over the top with additional dressing and serve immediately.

 

 

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Pure Body

This is a guest blog from Pure ambassador Jessica Mendoza, an Olympic softball gold medalist, ESPN color analyst and new mom!

It is amazing to me that even with the 23 years experience of training and playing sports, I am still learning so much on how to keep my body fit and able to perform at its best. The ironic part is, it all comes back to keeping my body and its movements as PURE as possible.

I spent this entire past week training at my alma mater, Stanford University. My trainer and nutritionist (Brandon Marcello) from the 2008 Olympics is now the Director of Sports Performance there. Now that I am turning 30, he wanted to change up my workout a little. I’m not going to lie, as soon as he said this I became defensive. “Am I too old to train like I used to?” I asked with slanted eyebrows. He reassured me that this was a new phase and that I would be just as strong as I always have been, but my body would be healthier. More time needed to be spent on natural movements specific to my sport then on lifting heavy weights. And when I say natural movements, I mean something as simple as focusing on your breath and feeling your diaphram expand and contract.

Breathing is something I feel many athletes overlook, yet it is such an integral part of our performance. When I am focusing on my breath, my body naturally relaxes, which in turn allows my movements to be quicker and more reactive (which in my sport softball, is everything). Every stretch in the beginning of my workout is done in reps of BREATHS instead of the classic numbers (ie three-way hamstring stretch for 3 breaths each). I found this to be extremely helpful with the amount of output I had for my workout (which still included squats, push-ups and core). Who knew something as simple as correctly BREATHING could make an impact on a workout? I guess this old lady can still learn a thing or two …

The more I learn about my body and how I can perform and live better, the more I realize that being PURE in my diet, my movements and my training is really the key ingredient. We are constantly surrounded by ads telling us about “magic” pills to help us lose weight, or gimmicky “tools” that will get you in the best shape of your life. When really, there is so much we can do and eat naturally that will get us to exactly where we need to be, the PURE way =)