Category Archives: Fruit

Save the Rainforest Blueberry Crisp

by Toni Fiore

Rainforests are the earth’s largest sinks of carbon, safely storing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. In Indonesia, rainforests are razed to create industrial palm oil plantations, releasing massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making the tropical nation the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Rainforests also provide critical habitat to thousands of species including highly endangered Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants, rhinos and orangutans. These species are rapidly being driven to extinction. The Indonesian government has announced plans to convert approximately 18 million more hectares of rainforests, an area the size of Missouri, into palm oil plantations by 2020. As consumers we must make every effort to eliminate palm oil from our food, personal care and cleaning products.

For the past year in lieu of gifts for holidays, birthdays and weddings I’ve been making donations to organizations that rescue, rehabilitate and release animals whose forest homes have been exploited and destroyed by invasive palm oil production. There are “sustainable” palm oil alternatives but even those often overlap with non-sustainable sources. I’m trying my best to find products that don’t contain any palm oil. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. In fact most often it’s downright impossible.
I’ve been working with coconut oil as a palm oil free alternative and I’m loving it! Here are a few reasons why this is such a good choice. Studies have shown that coconut oil can help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. It helps to fight off yeast, fungus and candida. Coconut oil can boost your metabolism, energy and endurance all while improving digestion and helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

 
Bluberry Crisp 1200

Blueberry Crisp
It’s August in Maine and it’s the height of summer fruit season. Blueberries, plums, peaches and blackberries are everywhere! One of my all time favorite desserts for summer (and winter) is my easy and delicious Fruit Crisp. I’ve always prepared this recipe with vegan margarine and it’s been great. However, after a few modifications I’ve gotten a fantastic result using organic expeller pressed coconut oil. Now my fruit crisp has a lighter texture, better flavor and the best part for me is that it’s PALM OIL FREE!
Ingredients:

6 Cups Blueberries (or any fruit of choice)
1-2 Tbl. all purpose flour
1 tsp lemon juice and grated zest from one half

1 cup Light brown Sugar, packed
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 ¼ cup Flour
1 cup whole (old fashioned) oats
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
10 tablespoons organic refined coconut oil, room

Preheat your oven to 350. Toss the fruit with 2 tablespoons of flour, lemon juice and zest. Spread the fruit evenly into a 12 inch casserole or baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil and then begin blending with your hands, working the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs that are not uniform in size. The crumb should clump easily into one to two inch pieces. If it feels too dry add additional coconut oil one teaspoon at a time. Alternatively if the crumb feels too oily add additional flour one tablespoon at a time. Spread the crumb evenly over the fruit. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 325 and bake an additional 30 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit bubbles on the side.

Serve warm or at room temp with a scoop of dairy free ice cream, whipped topping or just by it’s delicious self!

Note: Unrefined coconut oil has a more distinct coconut flavor, which can be a nice addition to this dessert.

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Porridge

by Toni Fiore, the author of the Totally Vegetarian cookbook, and host of the now online Totally Vegetarian TV show.

Watch this recipe being made on Delicious TV’s Vegan Mashup  Reason to Rise episode.

Serves 2-4

When it comes to hot breakfast cereals the combination of walnuts, raisins and cinnamon is classic. Using Quinoa in place of oats or wheat adds a deliciously unique hearty flavor and subtle crunch that is sure to become a morning favorite. Considered a “Superfood” gluten free quinoa is loaded with protein, iron, calcium and fiber! For even more variety add your choice of nuts, dried fruits and fresh fruit. When I know I’m going to have a busy week I’ll double the recipe and store leftovers in the fridge in a covered container. Simply reheat porridge with an additional splash of non-dairy milk.

1 C. uncooked Quinoa

1 C. water

2 C. non-dairy milk (almond, soy or rice) divided in half

½ teaspoons. cinnamon

3 or more tablespoons chopped walnuts

2 or more tablespoons of Craisins or raisins

2 or more tablespoon chopped dates

2 or more tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup

Combine quinoa, water and one cup of milk in an uncovered saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Add the remaining one cup of milk and cinnamon and mix well. Toss in the walnuts, craisins , dates and coconut. Simmer, stirring frequently, on very low for an additional 5 minutes or until the porridge reaches the consistency you like. Add the agave nectar or syrup to taste and serve!

Pear Ginger Sanp Smoothie

Pear Ginger Snap Smoothie

by guest Chef Elizabeth Fraser  Creator of Girl Gone Raw

Elizabeth is a good friend of the show, and also resides in Portland, Maine. She is so full of positive energy, when she’s not creating delicious raw recipes, she’s in her Art Studio painting away. And of course, she always starts her day with a Green Smoothie.

In a high speed blender, add the following ingredients. And whiz it up. It only takes a minute.

Makes two hearty smoothies.

2 c. almond milk

4 c. dark leafy greens (spinach and dandelion or your favorite)

Handful of cilantro, with stems

2 ripe pears

1/4″ slice of fresh ginger

1 frozen banana

If your blender is not a high speed blender cut your fruit into smaller pieces. Blend for 30-60 seconds on high.

IMG_9493Citrus Salad web

Orange Fennel Salad with Toasted Fennel Vinaigrette

by Toni Fiore, the author of the Totally Vegetarian cookbook, and host of the Totally Vegetarian TV show,  now online.

Watch this recipe being made on Delicious TV’s Vegan Mashup.

Fennel has such a lovely flavor it’s a shame it isn’t used more often. I love it roasted and raw and paired with just about anything! Fennel becomes soft and sweet when roasted yet maintains it’s crunchy texture in salads longer than just about anything! For kids, or anyone really, new to fennel a simple fruit salad like this is a great place to start. Fennel pairs amazingly well with sweet oranges. I prefer a lighter dressing like the vinaigrette in this recipe, however feel free to use your own favorite.

Ingredients:

2  Oranges

1 t. Fennel Seeds

3 T Olive Oil,

1 T white wine vinegar

1/2 t Sea Salt, or to taste

1 medium Fennel Bulb

to prepare:

Thinly slice the fennel bulb. Reserve fronds.

A few rings of thinly sliced red onion, or chopped fresh parsley(optional)

Slice the rind and pith completely off of the oranges. Next slice the oranges 1/4″ thick.

Toast the fennel seeds for a few minutes until the aroma is nicely released and they change color slightly.  Crush well in a mortar & pestle or grind in a small spice grinder or coffee grinder.

Combine ground fennel seeds, olive oil, vinegar, and sea salt in a small bowl and whisk to mix.

Layer orange slices and sliced fennel bulb on serving plates.  Quickly re-mix vinaigrette then dress oranges and fennel. Garnish with arugula.*

Another option for salad – Layer in a lot more arugula to have a more greens-heavy salad. The peppery taste of the arugula compliments the sweet oranges and anise fennel.

Gruyere and Pear Croustadeweb

Gruyere and Pear Croustade with Red Wine Glaze

by Miyoko Schinner from her cookbook Artisan Vegan Cheese reprinted here courtesy of The Book Publishing Company. Watch this recipe on Delicious TV’s Vegan Mashup

The highly versatile “Gruyere” is delicious in this easily made appetizer. Great party food!

For each croustade, you will need one thin slice of a baguette, about 1 generous tablespoon of the gruyere, one slice of pear, and then a half-teaspoon or so of the red wine glaze. Thus, the recipe below will yield about 16 croustades, depending on the circumference of the baguette, enough for about 8 people for cocktails, presuming each person has two. You can make the red wine glaze days ahead and refrigerate until needed, reheating while the croustade bakes in the oven.

First, make the Gruyere:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 – 8 hours and drained

½ cup rejuvelac (a fermented grain drink & a non-dairy source of acidophilus available at natural food stores or can be made at home – there are many recipes for this online)

¼ cup refined coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon medium miso

1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl or jar, cover loosely, and let sit on your counter for 24 hours until thickened. It will become more flavorful and cheeselike as it cultures. Now, it is ready to use in your croustades.

Preheat oven to 400°.

1 cup soft Gruyere

About 2 firm but ripe pears, sliced about 1/3” thick

About ½ a baguette sliced into sixteen 1/3-inch thick slices

To assemble the croustade, merely spread a thick layer of gruyere onto the baguette slices. Top with a slice of pear. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes until the edges of the “cheese” have begun to brown slightly. Top with a dash of the glaze and serve immediately.

If you like a richer flavor, you can brush olive oil on one side of the bread (the side without the cheese and pear) before baking. I find that the oil-free version is just as delicious.

Red wine glaze:

1 ½ cups red wine

2 – 3 Tbs. Agave

¼ tsp. Sea salt

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 – 2 tsp. Arrowroot dissolved in a tablespoon of water

Combine all of the items except the arrowroot in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to less than ½ cup. If you are serving immediately, dissolve the arrowroot in the water and add whisk into the hot red wine mixture, stirring until lightly thickened. If you are making this ahead of time, go ahead and refrigerate, but reheat prior to serving and thicken with arrowroot as described.

The mighty strawberry

strawberry1

For a little red fruit, the strawberry is a superhero

Cultivated as early as the 17th century, even its botanical name calls to mind something wonderful: fragraria. Did you know that strawberries are considered to be a “false fruit” and that the plant belongs to the rose family? With only 49 calories per cup (4 of those calories from fat) and offering 149% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C, why wouldn’t you reach for these luscious red beauties during their season – in the east, that season is now. So go on, indulge – it’s good for you!

Strawberry Nutrition Information and the fruit’s history and lore from the Illinois Cooperative Extension. Find out why red fruit is so good for you.

Strawberries with a Twist

With strawberry season upon us, here’s a tip for some of the most delicious strawberries you’ll ever eat. The classic dressing for strawberries has historically been a little sugar and a squirt of fresh lemon. While even the sweetest freshest strawberries benifit from a light sprinkling of these two ingredients, one dressing you may not have thought of is balsamic vinegar.

In Europe, a good quality balsamic is often used in desserts. Something amazing happens when you combine these two ingredients. The one trick is finding a superior balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is an abundant staple in every supermarket these days, so knowing the difference between a real balsamic and a balsamic flavored vinegar can be a daunting task. Start by looking for a vinegar that is aged at least ten years and labeled Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (traditional balsamic vinegar) from Modena, Italy.

Check the ingredient list, a fine quality balsamic requires no addition of extracts, sugars, or artifical anything. Simply grape must. This usually comes at a bit of a premium, price-wise, but this quality vinegar is the one I use and reserve for desserts such as fruit or ice cream. Because it is intended to be used sparingly, a small bottle will go a long way. Once you savor a true dark rich Balsamic, unfettered by a host of other flavors you will understand what all the fuss is about and you’ll never be without it in your pantry.