Almond and Lemon Cloud Cookies (Gluten-free)

December 12, 2012

talk about healthy foods. How would you define a healthy food?
Personally, I like to stick to this definition: “A healthy food is a food organically grown, with no additives, having a balanced nutritional profile, good dietary value and capable of bringing benefit to health.”
It’s pretty good, isn’t it?
we should ask ourselves: would these Almond and Lemon Cloud Cookies fall within such definition? In order to get our answer, we must check whether they comply with the healthy food checklist.
These cookies are made with lots of almond paste, some brown sugar and two egg whites (plus some natural flavorings). No butter, oil or flour. Already a good start.
Organic? Yes (as long as you use organic ingredients).
No additives? None, it’s all natural stuff.
Balanced nutritional profile? Almonds are a superfood and egg whites are a great source of protein. There’s some sugar involved (there’s no denying that) but not a lot.
Good dietary value? With just 90 calories per cookie, I think we’re good.
Bring benefit to health? Almonds are packed with good stuff so there are definitely good things going on here.
Considering all the above, I suppose they will rightfully pass the healthy food test.

Vegan Yorkshire Gingerbread

December 8, 2012

Is there anything that says “Christmas time” more than gingerbread? I guess not.
I’m not talking about cookies, men, houses, snowflakes or stars though; I’m talking about real gingerbread. Bread made with ginger, allspice, and blackstrap molasses.
Gingerbread doesn’t simply say “Christmas time”, it literally screams it. The aroma permeating the apartment, while baking, is the most Christmassy thing ever. Isn’t it?

Beet and Potato Gnocchi

December 6, 2012

I struggle with beets. There, I said it. My mind keeps telling me to eat them, but my taste buds are in strong disagreement. There’s something in their taste and texture that I find off-putting.
It’s a shame though; beets are that healthy and that important in a sportsman diet. They’re an incredible natural source of nitrates, capable of boosting performance.
I drink beet juice though. Well, I gobble it, not really drink it. I find no pleasure whatsoever in that. I know that I need it to drink it to perform better, so I do it. Enjoying a drink, however, it’s something different.
Notwithstanding my hatred for beets, I keep buying them and keep experimenting different recipes. Hope die last, they say.
So far, however, I ended-up in utter disappointment. I made salads, vegetarian lasagna, risotto: none worked for my taste buds. They’re picky, I know.
Last week I decided to give beets a last shot. It was a do or die moment.
As gnocchi are my favorite food, I decided to squeeze two whole beets (no, not one, I said two!) in the potatoes dough, and see what happened.
I took a lot of pleasure into squeezing the beets. It suddenly all became some sort of splatter movie scene. Beets are so bloody and red.
Anyway, the [squeezed] beets turned the gnocchi dough into a shiny pink color. I’m talking about Nicki Minaj pink, my niece’s ballerina gown pink, sugar candy pink. A tad weird.

Vegan Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

December 4, 2012

Biscotti is a generic Italian word that refers to any type of cookie. If you travel to Italy, walk into a bakery, and ask for a “biscotti”, they’re going to answer (in Italian): “Which kind of biscott[o] do you want?”The same will happen if you walk into a sandwich shop and ask for a panini.
“Panini” means sandwiches, “biscotti means cookies, and “pizza” Ok, we got at least that right.
Biscotti is just another “lost in translation” case. Well, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s not really that. We didn’t translate anything. It’s some sort of cross-language homonym. Same spelling different meaning.
Anyway, back to “biscotti”. The name biscotti is derived from the Latin word “bis” meaning twice and the Italian word “cotto” meaning cooked or baked. It just means twice-baked or baked-twice, as you prefer.

Does Eating Spicy Food Burn Additional Calories?

December 3, 2012

You’re eating a hot chicken Vindaloo at your fave Indian restaurant. Your tongue is on fire and you’re sweating buckets. You wonder: isn’t sweating a sign that my metabolism is speeding up and burning calories?
Well, you’re not far from the truth. There is indeed evidence that spices can increase the metabolic rate, up to three hours after finishing the meal. However, it’s not as clear-cut as it seems...

What Is A Heirloom Food?

December 2, 2012

I bet you have encountered oddly shaped black carrots in the produce section of your supermarket before, and wondered why anyone would buy those instead of the regular, tubular, orange variety.
Heirloom foods, such as black carrots, can look dramatically different from the “regular” ones you’re used to. Different to the point that sometimes it might get “scary”.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is to look away.
Heirloom foods are a rather flavorful, colorful, and tasty version of foods you already enjoy. Chances are you’re going to like the heirloom version just as much the “regular” one, maybe even more. If that isn’t enough, heirloom foods bring diverse and precious nutrients to your table.
So you definitely shouldn’t look away; reach for them instead.

Pumpkin And Potato Masala Curry (Vegan)

November 30, 2012

Pumpkin And Potato Masala Curry (Vegan)

I have a favorite Indian cookbook. It’s “Step-By-Step Indian Cooking” by Sharda Gopal. A great cookbook if you want to master your cooking skills with Indian cuisine.
She keeps recipes short and simple. Just what any westerner trying to bring Indian flavors to the kitchen needs.
Over the years I became enamoured with one recipe in particular: Aloo Masala (also called Dry Spiced Potato).
It’s a popular south Indian vegetarian spicy dish. Made with a good amount of spices, fresh tomatoes, and potatoes.
As I prefer not to overstuff myself with starches, I tweaked the original recipe and tried several combination of vegetables over the years to replace the potatoes.
After many attempts I decided that my fave combo is pumpkin with one small potato (I didn’t dare to completely depart from the original recipe). Also, I used olive oil instead of ghee (or butter) to make it completely vegan and lighter.

How To Make A Perfect Flax Egg (For Vegan Baking)

November 29, 2012

Flax Egg
Vegan baking can be intimidating. I know better. At the beginning of my healthy cooking journey I didn’t even care for vegan baking. In my mind baking involved eggs, butter, milk and cream. Considering that these ingredients are off-limits for vegans I thought: why even bother baking? If you can’t use proper ingredients just don’t bake, do something else instead.
I was mistaken all along. There’s nothing wrong with vegan baking. To the contrary, it's awesome. To non-vegans (like myself) it represents a further option to bring different flavors, textures, and nutrients to “regular” baking.
For the most part vegan baking entails just a simple 1:1 substitution on specific ingredients. Plant milk for dairy milk and plant fat for butter. With eggs, however, it gets a bit more tricky.
If you’ve encountered vegan recipes before, you’ll know that, most of times, they call for “flax eggs”.
The majority would think that it’s some expensive product you can buy at specialty shops. It’s really not. Making flax eggs is “easy peasy”. All you need is some flax seeds and water. In a matter of minutes you’ll have vegan egg substitutes that will “act” as a binder in your recipes, just as regular eggs.

How Veggies Make The Meal (Their Hedonic And Heroic Impact)

November 28, 2012

Even though vegetables are known to be healthful, they are served at only 23% of American dinners. Chicken, steak, pasta, pizza, these classic dishes make the core of family meals.
Provided that better nutrition value alone doesn’t seem enough of an incentive to consume more veggies; are there other ways to promote the consumption of vegetables besides the “better for you” claim? What psychological motivation to include vegetables in meals exist?
A team of researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab explored the topic; investigating whether serving vegetables changes the perception of an entrée’s taste as well as the perception of the cook.
To their own surprise, they discovered that serving vegetables improved taste expectations not only for the entrées, but for the whole meal as well.
Furthermore, serving a vegetable with a meal also enhanced perceptions of the cook. They were evaluated as being more thoughtful and attentive as well as less lazy, boring, and self-absorbed.
In other words, vegetables positively influenced the hedonic expectations of the meal and the heroic impact of the cook.

Turmeric Cauliflower With Lemon Pepper Dressing

November 27, 2012

Turmeric Cauliflower With Lemon Pepper Dressing

Not everyone is a fan of cauliflower. I know this for a fact. It’s a non pretentious vegetable, that deserves much more attention it’s actually getting.
Cauliflower is cheap, versatile, and features a high concentration of nutrients for the calories contained.
The bad rep has something to do with the fact that it stinks badly when it cooks. The taste can also be a bit off-putting. I get that.
Nevertheless you should give this recipe a try, even if you don’t think you’re much of a cauliflower person.
It’s that good, that easy-to-prepare, and that healthy. Plus it’s vegan and gluten-free. It really accommodates everybody.

Turmeric Cauliflower With Lemon Pepper Dressing