Friday, December 28, 2012

Raw Brussels Sprout Slaw with Cranberries and Almonds

I really love Brussels sprouts. Steamed, roasted or raw - they're really yummy to me. The only thing about Brussels sprouts, is that little critters and mold love them too. I find myself taking a lot of time cleaning and prepping my fresh (not frozen) Brussels sprouts. I use so much care in prepping them, that I sometimes wonder if restaurants do the same... And I can't imagine that they do. This makes me sad, because as much as I'd like to order them whenever they're on a menu - I usually resist the urge after this thought passes through my mind.

Hopefully I haven't grossed you out too much, and you'll still give these yummy veggies a shot! If it's your first time working with fresh Brussels, and you are a little OCD (like me), here are some tips to be sure they are squeaky clean.

Step 1: Look for any dark brown holes/spots (ones that litter critters may have crawled into). I will usually throw out any Brussels with dark brown holes immediately, before going on to step two...

Step 2: Cut the bottoms of Brussels off (about 1/2 an inch of where the stem grew from). If you see black stuff inside, its possibly mold (or bugs - eek!). If it looks like this, throw it out!

Step 3: If your Brussels are clear after your first slice, then slice in half vertically (just to be sure). Notice a healthy green color throughout the layers of leaves; no spots or black shit inside either... This one is perfect.

Step 4: After you collect a pile of healthy looking Brussels, soak them in a bath of cold salt water - this will kill anything else that you may have possibly missed.

Step 5: Drain salt water, and rinse well.

Now you're ready to cook/create with your perfectly clean Brussels sprouts!

When I eat Brussels raw, I like to shred them thinly and serve with a creamy sauce. For this recipe, I decided to make an avocado creme to soften up the leathery leaves of the Brussels sprouts. It's really a match made in heaven... And people who wouldn't normally consider eating/liking Brussels sprouts, surprisingly love this slaw. You will too :)

Raw Brussels Sprout Slaw with Cranberries, Almonds and Avocado Creme
by Sarah Farsh December 28, 2012

  • 5 - 6 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 fresh limes, juiced
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (leave out if you're a baby)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, for garnish
Clean your Brussels sprouts by following steps 1 - 5. Shred your Brussels thinly inside a large salad bowl. You can shred your Brussels by using a VitaMix, food processor, or by hand using a mandolin. Add cranberries, cilantro and jalapeno into salad bowl. Meanwhile, in a high powered blender, blend avocado, lime juice and water together until smooth. Poor avocado creme on top of greens and add in all spices. Mix well and top with slivered almonds. *This slaw tastes even better served up the next day after marinating overnight...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Butternut Squash Gruyére Gratin

Yea... I'm using cheese here - get over it. It's the holidays people, and it's only a sprinkle! In all seriousness though, you can totally make a healthier version of this Gratin by eliminating the cheese... And maybe sprinkling a mixture of ground up cashews and nutritional yeast on top... But in my book, treating yourself every now and then never hurt anyone!

Butternut Squash Gruyére Gratin
by Sarah Farsh December 27, 2012
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 cup gruyére cheese, shredded (or vegan cheese, or leave out)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme springs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a pyrex dish or oven pan, and lay the pieces of butternut squash evenly - about 2 layers. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Poor almond milk on top and sprinkle cheese evenly. Lay sprigs of thyme on top of cheese, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Cook for 45min covered. Uncover, and cook for an additional 15min - until golden.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whipped Cauliflower Mash

This is probably one of the easiest, and most satisfying side dishes I make. It's always a crowd pleaser, and it's always entertaining to watch guests think it's mashed potatoes! I whip up my cooked cauliflower in the blender for super fast cookin' - but you can mash by hand if you'd like to
give your arms a good workout.


Whipped Cauliflower Mash 
(that taste like mashed potatoes)
by Sarah Farsh December 26, 2012

  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprig thyme for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in cauliflower florets, and steam in boiling water for about 7min. Drain cauliflower and transfer into blender (or a large mixing bowl). If using a blender, you will have to blend in a couple separate batches. Blend cauliflower using tamper to get all pieces mashed. Add tahini into blender with one of the cauliflower batches. Poor the batches of cauliflower mash into a bowl, and add in nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and garnish with fresh thyme.

Merry Happy

Although my family practices Judaism... I seem to find myself squeezed into someones Christmas dinner table each year. I always love a reason to celebrate! This year, my dear friend Ellie invited me over for her Cuban style Christmas dinner - and how could I resist!? Ellie is quite the chef... I knew this was going to be good. 

A few days before dinner, Ellie humbly asked if I would bring a veggie dish. I ecstatically said "I'll bring three!" (veggie dishes are kind of my thing) I decided to make a Raw Brussels Sprout Slaw with Dried Cranberries, a Butternut Squash Gratin and Cauliflower Mash, to accompany Ellie's Black Beans, Rice and Roast Pork (which I did have a few bites of). 

I'll be posting recipes for my veggie dishes separately.

It was a wonderful Christmas, with delicious food and an awesomely long cocktail hour (that pretty much took up the entire day). I felt very special to be part of such a lovely gathering. I have a whole lot to be thankful for this year... Merry happy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Vegan Veggie Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Stew of Greens)

Ghormeh Sabzi is a very popular Persian stew, traditionally made with a mixture of greens, beans and stew meat, served over rice. Some will make it with all fresh greens and herbs, some make it with a mixture of dried and frozen greens... Either way it's deliciously fragrant, and very Persian tasting!

My grandmother used to use all fresh greens when making her Ghormeh Sabzi. I remember one day when I was little, we went to the grocery store. She asked the produce department for 50 pounds of parsley... The guy working in produce said "FIFTY... Like FIVE ZERO?!" and my grandmother just smiled and said "Yes, fifty." (in her amazingly beautiful Persian accent).

When I make my version of Ghormeh Sabzi, I keep the meat out and it's just as good! Sometimes I add mushrooms and sometimes I don't. I mix fresh, frozen and dried greens together... Just because. This is one of my all time favorite Perisan dishes, and I hope you enjoy it too :)

Veggie Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Stew of Greens)
By Sarah Farsh December 17, 2012
  • 1 sweet yellow onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups dried sabzi (dehydrated herbs - I use Sadaf)
  • 1 bag chopped, frozen spinach
  • 2 cups fresh mixed greens (cilantro, spinach, parsley), finely chopped
  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms, cut into quarters (optional)
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, with the bean juice (you can add more beans if you like)
  • juice of 2 juicy lemons
  • 5 dried limes (omani)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • kosher salt and pepper - to taste
  • 1/4 cup oil (optional, I'll make with oil when I have company over)
In a large stew pot, dry saute onions (or fry, if using oil). Add in in dried sabzi and frozen spinach - saute for about 5min. Add in mixed fresh greens and optional portobellos, saute until greens cook down significantly (about 10min). Add turmeric, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon and pomegranate molasses. Using a fork, poke holes into dried lemons before adding them into the pot. *The dried limes are just for flavor, you may not enjoy eating them... they just float in the stew. Add 3 cups of water to pot, and bring stew to a boil. Add in 1-2 cans of beans, with their juice and stew for 15 - 20 more minutes. This stew tastes even better the next day after everything marinates together. Serve with brown basmati rice, and enjoy.