Category Archives: restaurants

Cooked Food, Oh How I’ve Missed You So…

And even though not a morsel of you did I eat, I had a lot of fun creating you!  I digress.  I’m  horrible riddler!  What I’m getting at is that for the first time in about two months, I actually turned on the stove with the purpose of cooking food!  I used my beloved crepe pan, the one that I spent about five years perfectly seasoning; I used my lovely royal blue Le Crueset grill pan, and even just using my old Sitram saucepan was its own cheap little thrill.  So why?  And why on earth didn’t I eat what came out of them!

Voted Baltimore’s best sandwich, and a long standing favorite for its innovative menu chock full of smoked goods and awesome salads, Neopol Savory Smokery, has asked me to work with them in integrating some healthy, alternative clean food options.  A great honor, and so much fun!  So tonight was the sampling night, where I used all my tools of past.  The ingredients I decided to work with are your clean food staples for the most part, but in true Neopol form, creative in execution: Quinoa, Kale, Mung Beans and Brown Rice.  Happily, creativity has actually become a requisite in this area.  Deliciously, many restaurants these days are seeing the benefit of having quinoa on their menu’s, not to mention the now nearly ubiquitous raw kale salad, which of course delights me most!

So little by little, we’re raising the bar on restaurant expectations.  Owners are getting it now!  We want whole grains.  We want clean food, and especially with our meats and organic produce.  Speaking of produce, we want that too!  And lots of it.  And not smothered in cream and bacon.  We like colors, and we expect to see  beautiful presentations.  But with all opportunity, of course there is a challenge, that I am now learning about first hand: With great food, comes great cost.  Organic is more than conventional.  Free range is more than caged.  Whole is more than refined.  So we’re figuring it out.  And maybe that it’s certainly an issue many places are facing, there’s still another burgeoning opportunity: Did I hear someone say co-op??

Anyway, of all the things I made, delicious indeed, there was one that I, little ole raw me, loved best:

Jinji’s Zucchini Hummus

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 c tahini
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T parsley
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1 t cumin

Blend it up! Enjoy.

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The Art of the Food Boycott

Caution. Full disclosure, foodie guidance strongly advised. Wait. First, would a foodist be one who is a lover of food or adverse to food? Unrelated, but depending on the answer, will become relevant later.
Ok, so here’s what. I have recently, inside of the past 2 years, undergone a food makeover. True to science, my taste buds really did change! Part of my repertoire now, which never were before are tomatoes (woohoo! Heirlooms are back in season! Just had an amazing ‘green zebra’ salad tonight), olives, mushrooms (now nearly synonymous with meat, and how I ever lived without them I’ll never know), all kinds of fish (sardines, especially), an really anything else that ever had a bad wrap–sauerkraut, beets, pickles, etc. I think the only thing left that I haven’t gotten used to yet is okra. I just can’t seem to get those little hairy suckers down. Ew.
Anyway, just like I may have jumped the gun a little too quickly on some delicious foods, I MAY have jumped the gun on some restaurants too. Keyword here: MAY. I love a good boycott and I love a good fight. Reasons for these have included, poor service, unsanitary conditions, repeated bad food (nothing worse than an unfulfilling meal, i.e wasted calories), or bad energy (yes, I require smiling faces of the people who interact wit my food! Energy transfer is real, people!).
Enter Liquid Earth. It’s on Aliceanna Street in downtown Baltimore. It’s one of maybe 3 all vegan spots in the city, with a great raw menu to boot! Delicious. Caring. Worth the money and the drive. I say all this with my tail between my legs of course! Liquid Earth was on my boycott list for just long enough for me to question..”why am I not eating there, again?” I never did think of the answer until a friend reminded me, “it was too hippie”. POOR. Shame! And I’m sorry.
But just like my food tastes matured, so have my expectations of a restaurant! I didn’t value the earthy, grounded, whole ingredients, slow food nature of a place back then, like I do now! I mean for instance, look at the creativity of this menu!

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Bee pollen! Who uses bee pollen! Amazing. Anyway, I am reviewing my boycott list, and checking it twice. I need some quality control here!
In the meantime, I have some lost time to make up for with my new friends at Liquid Earth.

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Continued Education…Raw Chocolate 101

Today is the day!! Been looking forward to it for SO long–since the beginning of June to be exact! It came about in one of those serendipitous, will-never-happen again moments at a David Wolfe dinner I attended at The Black Olive here in Baltimore.
I was sitting, enjoying amazing company, and even more delicious raw food…writing down the numbers of new friends and the websites I wanted to be sure and check out. Now mind you the timing here was this: still counseling only on the side, still working my non-food related corporate job, one “raw” foray under my belt, looking forward to the next one that would be in a few weeks on the Summer solstice.
After the event, I got home and turned over the card that I had been haphazardly writing on all night, and saw this: Raw chocolate making class…
Ahhh! I immediately inquired as the delicious raw chocolate I had had at the dinner was still deliciously fresh on my tongue, and David’s enthusiasm and nearly religious convictions over the health and POWER of cacao was still in my head.
So I decided right then and there I would become a raw pastry/chocolate chef. And this class will be my first official stab at it! Who knows, maybe Living Light culinary is next!
Anyway, I’m so excited! It’s being held at Brad’s Chips in Pipersville PA, which is also pretty exciting to see their headquarters!
We’ll see what they think of my carob fig truffles…!

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Juicing Joys!

Is a juicer, a juicer, a juicer? That’s not an error or mistype–I mean is there significant difference between the 40.00 juicers and the 950.00 juicers? Well I can go less extreme than that. How about the 40.00 ones and the 200.00 ones?
So as I have been raw-ifying my kitchen–removing the microwave, putting the dehydrator front and center, getting a good food processor (thanks Somer!!)–my final wish list item was a juicer. A solid juicer. Not the best, but a good one–not the worst either! In searching, there were all kinds of words I learned to pay attention to: centrifugal, masticating, dry/wet pulp. Then, is it a horizontal set up or vertical. Hard to clean or easy? And, as if another standard was necessary–how many pieces does it come apart in. Dizzying!
In the end, I went with the Omega 4006 model. Masticating. Horizontal. Dry pulp. 5 pieces.
To test my investment, I put it up against a 40.00 black and decker juicer–in fact they each had similar reviews! People are happy with their Omega’s and their Black and Decker’s! But I answer my own question of value in getting the more expensive machine in saying this: the B&D did have chunks of forgotten beets in the waste cabinet with the rest of the “wet” pulp, it was so loud I couldn’t even hear my Omega and there was about as much foam as there was juice!
So I guess it does make a difference! Another kitchen appliance where you truly get what you pay for.

Jinji’s Favorite Rainbow Juice
2 stalks of celery
Handfuls of parsley and cilantro
1 green apple
2 red beets
3 carrots
About 1/4 pineapple

Enjoy!

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For the Love of Raw

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What an amazing night for Baltimore! The group of us who organized the event (myself and the two women on the left) accomplished exactly what we set out to do: Inspire, educate, and connect…all with knock-your-socks-off amazing raw food, and a powerful yoga experience. We did it! The response was overwhelmingly and genuinely positive, to the point where we are already reloading for July.

At one point, everyone was asked to say in brief how they got to our Event and why they were there. A myriad of responses of course, ranging from “my wife made me come” to “I’ve been a raw foodist for years and have been waiting for something like this!” But my favorite outcome of that exercise and really the event as a whole is that MOST people were getting their first raw experience.

So what does that mean… It means we gave them the glow! The food tasted so good, and the energy was that powerful that they really enjoyed themselves! It’s a great honor to be a part of what I would consider the Baltimore raw movement! We’re finally taking note and nodding to our neighbor to the North and trying to make a positive impact on Nutrition and whole food availability in this city.

Little by little! Oh, and for any who are wondering, here was our raw vegan dinner menu:
– mushroom ceviche on endive leaves
– guacamole and dehydrated corn chips
– watermelon tomato gazpacho
– micro green and kohlrabi salad with turmeric dressing
– butternut squash lasagna with cashew ricotta
– strawberry rhubarb ice cream with cacao truffle

Yummmmmmm!!!!!!

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Cacao, Honey and Figs Oh My!

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Raw truffles!! Recipes to come, but gearing up for a great night in Baltimore at the Black Olive! Raw 5 course dinner and one of them includes the lovely confections I just made pictured here!

Looking forward to a great night with Woody Harrelson! We will see if we can match up to the awesome New York weekend we just had with him and David Blane!

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Oh, Burger King..shame, shame, shame

ImageOk. So here’s the picture of it. and don’t get me wrong. I’m Raw, not Dead…it looks sort of good. But honestly, not to me, it really doesnt, but I can see how someone, even a clean someone would say “mmmm”. Ok, I said that, so now I can say this: “Burger King. REALLY??? Have you not killed enough people by way of Whoppers already?? You had to go and make a Bacon freakin Sundae to go with it??” Okay. Relax. I know I should, and I know people make their own choices. BUT! WHy, oh why does American Fast Food continue to make it so damned hard to do the right thing? Check these numbers. If, just say someone went and decided to get their usual Whopper meal–A Whopper, Fries and a Coke (BTW, was just on the BK website to find out this information, and learned they now have such a thing as a TRIPLE whopper….lonnnng sigh). Say they then decide that since they left the bacon off the burger, they have license to also go ahead with this Sundae/Bacon concotion pictured above. Because, well they would have gotten ice cream anyway. Well the Whopper meal itself already puts them back 1,560 calories. Add the Sundae, and in one sitting, they will have consumed 2,070 calories. But wait, it’s 173 grams of sugar total!! Where’s the bold button on here…173 grams of sugar!!! And taking into account our nifty equation (thanks Lil Sis!), that’s a staggering 43 teaspoons of sugar. In one sitting. At one time. In one body. And we wonder why we can’t get a hold of ourselves. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to recover from 43 tsps of sugar. I’m reminded of that Smoking movie where the lead character was kidnapped into a cargo van and literally injected with nicotine until near death. Dramatic? Maybe. But maybe not.

In the meantime, while I was in New York at Organic Avenue, I picked up an amazing new cacao treat! I thought salted chocolate was a thing of my past but no sir. Salted cacao is alive and very, very well and is now indeed a permanent fixture in my diet. So the next time I want a sweet and salty fix, I break up a few pieces of that into the very rawsome frozen banana cacao sorbet:
1/2 frozen banana
1 t cacao
1 t nut milk
A few dashes of salt

Blend and add in the chunks of salted cacao, plus hemp seeds and blueberries. Mmmmmmm!

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A Few More Words on New York Raw

Now that I am coherent, and it’s not 3:00a in the morning!  So we ended up getting back to Baltimore around 4:00a last night.  Number one benefit of living Raw…ENERGY!  Our Baltimore Party of Five was zonked, but we were still alive!  Still buzzing about the unblievable experience we had just had, and still marveling over the delicious food that was in our bellies!  Can I say that Pure Food and Wine is America’s Raw hotspot?  Is that debateable by anyone?  I have been to enough raw restaurants in other states to really say that unequivocally, but I just can’t imagine there being any place that could beat it!  However, if there is, that’s fantastic, and I am booking a ticket today to go and eat there!  I mean avocado stuffed squash blossoms in a strawberry rhubarb broth!  King trumpet mushrooms done RIGHT…enchiladas and tacos you wouldn’t believe, cauliflower couscous spiked with with mint, and this savory, delicate puree of a soup with a nut creme drizzle that made Woody Harrelson who had declared he was fasting for the evening, break fast and join the delicious festvities!  I’m afraid if I even go into the desserts too much I’ll drool on my keyboard.  But let’s put it like this…creme brulee, cacao ganache with a fluffy, airy cacao mousse inside, and ginger blackberry cheesecake.  Yes.  That happened.

Talk about inspiration!  So we have our Raw food Happy Hour and our own sit down Chef’s dinner this Saturday night, and we’re pulling ALL the stops too!  Definitely have a delicious line up for the menu, filled with superfoods, and other dishes of yummy intrigue.  I can’t wait!  WIsh you all could come!  We’ve also managed to line up a few more special guests, so it’s definitely going to be a night to remember!  Not to be outdone, the next mornng will be our wake up with Vinyasa (taught by famed Phili instructors Dhyana and John Vitarelli!), followed by our open juice bar and delicious raw brunch items!

Deets:

Where: The Black Olive @ 802 S. Caroline Street, Baltimore

When: 6/30 @ 6p and 7/1 @ 10a

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Holy New York Raw

Just had an amazing Raw food experience! So it wound up being about 12 of us, but definitely including my new core raw group from Baltimore. We started at Organic Avenue and finished the night at Pure Food and Wine, the raw Mecca of the east coast.
Wow! Organic Avenue is a super cool place. The beautiful display of juices, shots, elixirs combined with a packaged raw food collection more extensive than any I have ever seen! Which, for me–She who equates health food stores to paradise–Was extra special! And BIG shout to Zia’s, one of only a couple raw food hotspots in Baltimore…Organic Avenue, in the NYC big city that never sleeps (affirmative, as I write this post at 1:00a amid a city still buzzing around us!) actually carries their goods! Imagine that, Zia’s from little Baltimore! Anyway, after grabbing a bunch of yummy things, we headed to Pure Food and Wine at 17th and Irving where we had the five course Chef’s Table tasting. AH-MAZING. Inventive. Creative. Intentional and obviously made with a ton of love!

So thank you NYC. A short trip and delicious indeed. Oh and of the additional new friends we ate with… David Blane and Woody Harrelson! Crazy!

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Who said Raw food is Boring?

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Because I want them to look at this, and tell me this one thing: If I didn’t tell you this was a 100% raw dish, would you have known?

So in my second quest for Rawdom, I’m having much more luck so far.  After Rawifying (should I start a Raw____ dictionary??) my kitchen, bidding adieu to the microwave, initiating the Dehydrator…I have to say I’m feeling pretty confident!  I like to couple my quests with at least one defined goal.  The first time I went Raw, my goal was pretty much just survival.  Try not to starve.  Try to enjoy the process, and make it through the two weeks!  This time, I know I can handle those things.  In fact, today I knew it would be a long day outside, so I brought the big purse, and stuffed it full of raw trail mix, a couple apples, a date (the best thing for quick energy and focus!), and a piece of cacao (I take that back–THIS is the best thing for quick, sustained energy!) and a some raw almond butter, spiked with cinnamon.

Anyway, this time, the goal is color!  It’s summer time afterall, and Raw reigns supreme, especially at this time of year.  We have a huge homefield advantage because everything is inherently colorful and bountiful!  No effort required.  So for breakfast, in my overnight soaked oats, I made sure there were blueberries, strawberries, coconut shreds, gogiberries and hemp seeds.  Pretty colorful!  Okay, for lunch it was a shake, but before it was the beautiful lime green color, it had LOTS of color!  Yellow from the mango, red/orange from the peach, yellow from the pineaple, green from the kiwi and greens…yum!  And then you can see the lovely concoction that was dinner.

Colorful Bloomed Wild Rice Salad

Sauce

  • 1/4 c. soaked sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 roma tomato
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt
  • cumin
  • chili spice

Wild Rice: Soak for 2 days, rinsing 4 times…perfecto!

Veggies

  • 1/4 avocado
  • fresh corn
  • zucchini
  • 1/2 roma tomato
  • 5 sliced peppadews
  • handful of spinach,chopped
  • some sunflower sprouts!

Top with a bunch of cilantro, a handful of raisins, and some pumpkin seeds.  ENJOY!

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