Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Black Pepper Kelp Noodles with Cashew Cream

Back in January, my fiancé and I took a Vegan cooking class that was led by the head chef at Matthew Kenny M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica. The food was not only vegan but also raw. I would like to note that raw cuisine doesn’t mean the food has to be served or enjoyed cold but rather nothing is heated over 105°F.  Dehydrators are often used in raw cuisine world to achieve this luke-warm temperature without diminishing the nutrients in the food. Let me tell you, this raw vegan cuisine is like nothing you have ever seen or tasted before. It is so vibrant, beautiful and out-of-this-world delicious!

One dish that was featured was kelp noodles with a black pepper cream sauce (dairy free of course!). Kelp noodles are exactly what you’d think – kelp! Kelp is an edible seaweed or sea vegetable that grows in shallow oceans. The noodles contain three basic ingredients, water, kelp and sodium alginate (salt extracted from brown seaweed). Kelp noodles are a sea vegetable in the form of an easy to eat noodle and are fat free, gluten free and low in carbs and calories. The best part is that you don’t even have to cook them! Remove the noodles from the package, soak in water for a few minutes and dress them anyone you’d like. So easy and so good! 

Kelp noodles contain over 70 nutrients and minerals such as iron, iodine, calcium, magnesium and potassium. This means stronger bones from the calcium, improved thyroid functioning from the iodine and anti-inflammatory properties due to the magnesium. In addition, raw kelp noodles contain over 21 amino acids. With only six calories per serving, they are an ideal pasta substitute for those trying to shed a few pounds.  Check out Sea Tangle for more recipes!


1 bag of Kelp Noodles (brand Sea Tangle - found at Whole Foods)
 1 teaspoon of baking soda
¼ cup + 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
¼ cup of Tamari (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons of EVOO
1 tablespoon of agave
1 cup of raw unsalted cashew (soaked in water)
¾ cup filtered water
½ tablespoon of black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
Sea salt
1 cup of snap peas sliced thin
½ cup of pea sprouts/tendrils

*1 cup of black olives dehydrated (optional)


Empty the bag of kelp noodles into a strainer and rinse with water. Transfer the noodles to a bowl of warm water and baking soda for 15 minutes. Rinse well and marinate the noodles in the tamari (or soy sauce), 1 tablespoon of olive oil and agave.

Add the cashews, filtered water, peppercorns, ¼ cup of lemon juice, nutritional yeast and sea salt (based on your preference) to a blender. Blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy sauce.

Toss the sugar snap pea slices and pea tendrils with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and sea salt.

Strain the kelp noodles and toss them with the cashew cream sauce and snap pea mixture. Top with the crispy dehydrated olives and enjoy!!

* I dehydrated by black olives in the oven at the lowest temperature setting for approximately one hour, rotating every 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coconut Macadamia Nut Banana Bread - A Taste of Hawaii

I don’t know about you but when I have bananas that get too ripe, I know it is time to whip up some banana bread. And as much as I enjoy traditional good old-fashioned banana bread, I equally enjoy adding a new twist to an already awesome recipe! As I peered into my pantry the other day I noticed the macadamia nuts and started reminiscing about a past vacation in Kauai. For breakfast they always served these incredible banana pancakes with macadamia nuts and coconut syrup! The combination was heavenly and tasted like Hawaii! Pancakes and bread are pretty similar, right? Why not create banana bread that tastes like Hawaii?!

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am crazy for coconut! Coconut is actually a fruit (even though it has the word nut in it :). Its oil contains healing properties that far exceed that of any other oil. Coconuts are antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic. Basically coconuts contain properties that kill off bad bacteria and did I mention, they are excellent for immunity! Regardless of how you like to eat, drink or use coconut – it is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It has tons of fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and it is an EXCELLENT source of electrolytes. Say goodbye to your sugar filled Gatorade and Powerade. Still not sold on coconut? It also contains antioxidant properties, which slow down the aging process, protect against free radicals and leave your skin and hair silky smooth!

Like most of my desserts or sweet recipes, you will not find white sugar, white flour or artificial butter spreads. This recipe is no different :) Keep it whole folks!


2 cups of whole-wheat flour
½ cup of coconut sugar
¾ teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top)
½ cup of roughly chopped toasted macadamia nuts
3 ripe mashed bananas
2 eggs
½ cup of coconut cultured almond milk yogurt (any yogurt would work)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons of coconut cream (or the thick layer on the top of canned coconut milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Using an electric mixer beat the sugar and coconut oil. Mix in the eggs, bananas, cultured almond milk yogurt, coconut cream and vanilla.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in the shredded coconut and macadamia nuts.

Pour the batter into a greased (or parchment paper lined) loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining shredded coconut (optional). Bake at 350°F for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Harissa Cauliflower Steaks

There is a fantastic crepe stand at the San Diego Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market. They serve everything from sweet to savory crepes and everything in between. Though I am generally a sucker for a sweet crepe filled with strawberries and Nutella (once in a while J), there is something so magical about the savory crepes. The flavor is so unpredictable and pleasantly surprising. It is a combination of citrus and spice but the kind of spice that doesn’t make an appearance until after you have swallowed your mouth-watering bite. What could it be?! You guessed it, a secret ingredient! And in this case, the secret ingredient is harissa!

Harissa is a combination of spices such as serrano peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin and coriander. This hot sauce or spice mix stems from the Middle East but is making its way to Morocco and countries with a strong Arab presence such as France and Germany. Ah ha! This is why the crepe stand uses harissa!

For Christmas this past year my fiancé bought me this incredible box of spices from the Spice Station in Los Angeles. Inside the box was a premixed canister of harissa. Though you can mix all the different spices together to create your own mix, why not let someone else do the work for a change J. I have been trying to figure out what would pair nicely with the flavors of harissa but not overpower it and I came up with cauliflower steaks! I’m sure you’ve seen cauliflower steaks in food magazines or on other food blogs – they seem to be the big thing right now. Essentially you just cut the cauliflower head into thick cross-sections (forget the florets!) so they are beefy and substantial. Let me tell you, it is pretty awesome and will probably leave you cooking cauliflower more often!

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and green stems removed
1 tablespoon of harissa (click here for a harissa paste recipe)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice from one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a pan with foil or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix the harissa, two tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice. Stir and set aside.

Remove the green stems from the cauliflower and trim the stem, leaving the core intact. Place the cauliflower core side down on a cutting board and cut the cauliflower into ½” slabs. Some florets may break away from the slices – that’s okay you’ll use them too!

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Depending on how large your skillet is, you may need to do this next step in two batches. Carefully add the cauliflower steaks to the skillet and cook until golden brown for approximately two minutes per side.

Using a spatula, remove the cauliflower from the skillet and set on your pre-lined baking sheet or pan. Generously coat the cauliflower steaks with the harissa mixture (saving a little for late) on both sides and transfer to the oven. Roast the cauliflower for approximately 15 minutes, or until tender.

Serve the cauliflower steaks with an additional drizzle of your harissa mixture. Enjoy!