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

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Almond Milk Vegan Iced Latte on MisoVegan.com

Almond Milk Vegan Iced Latte 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, June 21st, 2012

Versatile Vinegar

A little splash can make a big difference in your health when it comes to vinegar. Who knew that this sour liquid could be so sweet for your body while enhancing the flavor of so many dishes?

Since vinegar was one of the ingredients we choose for our ingredient of the week contest, I thought I would do a little research on the health benefits of vinegar and share my mom’s famous sweet and sour chili recipe. It always leaves people raving!

Although vinegar (apple cider is most often written about) has been touted as a cure-all for many years, little research has actually been done on it. But what researchers and vinegar advocates seem to agree upon is that vinegar improves our body’s absorption of nutrients, including calcium (one of the reasons it’s great to have a vinegar-based salad dressing on your calcium rich leafy greens), helps control blood sugar levels by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars and can aid in weight loss when it is used as a substitute for mayonnaise and cream in dressings, sandwich spreads and marinades.

— Veronica


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

I love the punch of flavor vinegar gives to whatever you are cooking. Enjoy this super simple veggie chili recipe that uses vinegar to create an amazing sweet and sour flavor:

Veggie Chilli:

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 TBSP Chili powder
  • 1 cup coffee or water
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 TBSP vinegar (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onions in oil until soft. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, corn and chili powder. Stir. Add one cup coffee (or water), more or less to get the consistency you want. Finally, add the brown sugar and vinegar to achieve a sweet and sour flavor. Let chili simmer for 30 minutes.

See more ideas on our Pinterest page!

Read Veronica’s Blog or follow Pure on Twitter

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Loving Limes

Last January while in Mexico, the kids and I were introduced to a wonderful new treat, frozen sugared limes (recipe below). In the heat of the day, there was nothing more refreshing than chewing on a frozen lime treat – and, as my children wolfed them down, I couldn’t help but feel good about how much healthier they were than candy or baked goods.

With the coming of summer, my house will be well-stocked with limes for a multitude of uses. These little green gems are best known for their high vitamin C content (half a day’s supply in one lime), but they also have high antioxidant and antimicrobial characteristics. The flavonoids in limes neutralize free radicals that we know lead to aging and disease, and their antibiotic qualities make them great for our bodies and for cleaning.

Besides squeezing them into an occasional beer, I love to squirt their juice onto salads, guacamole, fish, and rice dishes. I use the juice from limes with olive oil and sea salt for a wonderful hand or foot scrub. I even use limes in place of lemon juice in natural cleaners by mixing equal parts lime juice and water in a spray bottle. It cleans counters, tubs, and even glass (don’t use it on slate though or certain stones as it can calcify and discolor).

I love how herbs, fruits, and vegetables have multiple uses and can help us in so many ways. It’s almost like they were put on this earth just to make us healthier and happier (wink).

— Veronica


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

Frozen Sugar Limes

  • Slice limes as you would a loaf of bread to create thin pieces
  • Arrange single file on a platter
  • Sprinkle organic cane sugar over the surface of the limes
  • Freeze for 1-2 hours, enjoy!

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.


Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Vegan Fresh Cherry Scone Recipe -Chef Akasha Richmond Guest Blogger



















I wait all year for cherry season! When the first cherries hit our local farmers’market, every chef in town is at the market early, buying up the first of the season. I have gone cherry picking quite a few times out in the Leona Valley where most of our local cherries come from. Once you pick cherries yourself (usually in very hot weather), you have a new found respect for your local farmer, since cherry picking is one hard job!

One year we picked sour cherries, which are pretty rare in our area. Sour cherries are very delicate, and once picked, they need to be used fast, or frozen right away. I am so obsessed with sour cherries that I once bought enough at the New York Green Market to fill a suitcase and took them home with me! Sour cherries are the only type that makes a proper cherry pie, so when available I get whatever I can. If you are lucky enough to live in Michigan, Utah, New York or Washington, you can get local sour cherries in season.

Fortunately we get plenty of red Bing cherries in California, and they can be used in so many delicious ways. Cherries make great preserves and chutneys, and can be preserved in syrup to last all year long. If you live in an area where you can pick or buy a lot of cherries, you can also freeze them to use later in the year. I love to add fresh or frozen Bing cherries to lemonade, cocktails, cheesecakes and ice cream. They are also great in salads and with cheeses like ricotta and soft goat cheese. You can add cherries to coffee cakes or chocolate cakes, muffins, and these scones that are lower in fat than a traditional scone. I have been doing a lot of baking with almond milk, but feel free to use buttermilk or a non-dairy milk you like in this recipe.

Cherry-Almond Scones

1 &1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup almond milk mixed with 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup pitted cherries (pit cherries, then measure)

4 tablespoon finely chopped almonds

Additional sugar

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, oil and lemon zest. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula, stirring with as few strokes as possible. Lightly fold in the chopped cherries.

Scoop the batter on to parchment lined baking sheets, making 12 scones total. Sprinkle each scone with 1 teaspoon chopped almonds and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.


Friday, April 27th, 2012

Flavorful Fennel

Flavorful Fennel

One of my favorite early spring veggies is fennel. Its sweet, crunchy texture compliments salads and vegetable dishes, and nothing beats the smell of roasted or sautéed fennel! You can eat the bulb raw or roasted and use the greens in a salad. Sometimes I make a simple dish of Vidalia onions and fennel sautéed in sesame oil to serve alongside fish or on top of basmati rice.

Fennel is a high antioxidant food that is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also contains oil called anethole, which studies link to reduced inflammation and protection against cancer. It is high in fiber, folate and potassium. Fennel season is almost over so if you haven’t experimented with this versatile little bulb make sure to pick some up the next time you are at the store or farmers market. Below is a refreshing and impressive spring salad, packed with nutrients and oh so delicious. In fact, often I eat the salad with no dressing because it is so good alone. Happy spring!


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Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Wild Morels

wild morel mushrooms

Wild Morels

It’s finally spring, and with spring comes morel mushrooms. I am already starting to crave these amazingly flavorful morsels sautéed with organic butter and sea salt. I have friends that gather them this time of year in the woods. They hunt for the ever elusive camouflage mushrooms in awakening spring forests, usually after a rain storm. It’s a wonderful pastime for many (kids will love it) and after a long winter being outside is heavenly, and the exercise and fresh air benefits everyone. I truly enjoy being connected to food and understanding where it comes from.

If you don’t gather them yourself, you can purchase morel mushrooms at your local farmers market, at natural and specialty food stores, and even online. If you’ve never purchased them, you can call your local grocery or natural food store to point you in the right direction. They are best when fresh and local. Morels are a delicacy and the flavor is out of this world. They are high in antioxidants and studies have shown them to increase heart health, boost immunity, and may even reduce the risk of cancer. What else could we want?

Because they are rare these mushrooms can be pricey, but the way I look at it anytime you buy something delicious and incredibly healthy, it is money well spent.

Source: http://www.ehow.com/facts_4828453_health-benefits-morel-mushrooms.html

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Friday, March 30th, 2012

‘Spring Risotto’ Newsletter

Spring Risotto

This time of year I start to crave a delicious risotto filled with spring herbs and vegetables. With thyme peeking its head out in my garden and an array of veggies available at the market, an easy and succulent risotto is the perfect spring dish. Risotto can be an intimidating dish for lots of us, especially if we are busy and don’t have the time to spend on a fancy meal. But in reality, I’ve found that risotto is quite easy to make – it takes me a half hour start to finish, and is often a full meal. Just add a quick salad and you’re done!

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