Thursday, August 12, 2010

Brownies for Breakfast? Well, no. But a great midday snack.

I just snacked on a couple after a tough workout.  What a great pick-me-up. Calling them brownies might be a stretch but they taste so decadently delicious, I feel like I'm eating something as rich and satisfying as a conventional brownie. It seems that in the raw food/vegan/vegetarian world, we like come up with foods that approximate to some extent the foods that the mainstream is accustomed to eating. 

The difference between my delightful treats and baked brownies? There are many.  For starters, my treats are not cooked or heated in any way. They are made with raw cacao and raw hazelnuts.  Tahini, coconut butter, maca, organic maple syrup, sea salt and cayenne pepper are the other unconventional ingredients you don't find in your typical baked brownie. My little treats are made in 1/4 of the time of baked brownies.  Here's how:

Using a food processor, grind one cup of cacao beans into a crunchy, powdery consistency. Add one cup of hazelnuts and pulse down to small bits. Add 1 tablespoon each of raw tahini, coconut butter, and maca powder; 3 tablespoons each of raw cacao powder and maple syrup; 1/2 teaspoon each of sea salt and cayenne pepper.  Process and taste. Adjust ingredients to your taste. You may like a bit more heat and salt or more chocolate and sweetness.

Line a brownie pan with wax paper. Empty content of processor bowl into pan. Press down with your hand. Pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy. Store in the freezer.

Health Benefits of Maple Syrup
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds (tahini)
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper   

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sweet and Salty Tofu Steaks

Tofu can be a hard sell for some but with the right ingredients even the biggest hater can enjoy this tasty dish.  To make these tofu steaks, I simply cut the block into eight pieces. You want to squeeze as much water out as possible. I lay a dish towel across a plate, then add a layer of paper towels; place the tofu pieces on the plate in a single layer; cover with paper towels and the other half of the dish towel; place a plate on top and store in the fridge for 2 hours.  In the meantime, whisk together white miso, tamari, mirin, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Heat a saute pan, add a teaspoon of canola oil. Brush your marinade mixture on one side of each tofu steak. Sear in pan. While searing one side, use a brush to cover other side with marinade. Flip when the tofu turns a toasty shade of brown.  You can keep brushing on marinade and flipping.  The more you do it, the sweeter the final product. Feel free to sprinkle with some sesame seeds.  

Marinade ingredients:
1 tablespoon white miso
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

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