Sunday, July 28, 2013

Easy Savory Gluten Free Chia Nut Bread

Savory Chia Nut Bread

This hearty, savory, dense bread can almost be a meal in itself.  It takes 5 minutes to throw together and about 25 minutes to cook.  It's a no brainer and packs a lot of fiber, good fat and protein as well as wonderful flavor. I hope you will try it!!!

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour *
  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat grout, ground into a flour *
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Real Salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup currents or chopped raisins
  • 1 cup water
  • Preheat oven to 325 F and for easy clean up line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.
  • Add rolled oats and buckwheat into a high-speed blender or food processor.  Blend or process until a fine flour forms.
  • Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir until well combined. Stir in dried fruit and water.  The mixture will be  watery and runny at first, but it will thicken up fairly quickly due to the chia seeds.  Place mixture into the pan and smooth it out evenly with moist hands or a spatula.  You may want to lightly sprinkle the top with a course salt. 
  • Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch.  Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and lift out and place on a cooling rack.  
  • Slice into 4 squares and then each square in half on the diagonal.
I love topping it with a little bit of arugula and a thick spread of goat cheese.  It's like biting into a little slice of heaven.

Make a sandwich with avocado, and navy bean hummus in the middle and you have an easy lunch.  Just add a piece of fruit and your body and mind will be satisfied for hours.

*Note: you may substitute the oat flour with brown rice flour and you can always purchase the oat flour and buckwheat flour already ground and ready to go.  And I prefer the currents over raisins.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hooray! Fig Season is Here !!!

 Aren't these absolutely beautiful? The luxury of a luscious ripe fig is quite extraordinary and even a little bit decadent. Figs are ripening on the trees and are back in the markets so don't wait to taste this season's little gems! The season starts in June and goes through October with six varieties of figs.   

I tasted my first fresh fig about three years ago and I was hooked on this ancient fruit which dates back to around 8,000 BC and were possibly the first fruits cultivated by man.  The ancient Egyptians made a pastry of figs rolled in dough, which could be considered, the precursor of the modern day fig newton.

It's wonderful to just pop these delicate little fruits into your mouth or spread a little bit of goat cheese on and let the texture and taste send you into another world!  Of course, this paired with a crisp, light Chardonnay or Merlot is even a bigger treat!  If you want to make a dessert that will stop your guests in their tracks, follow the simple 20 minute easy recipe for roasted figs at the bottom of this  page and let everyone experience a little slice of heaven! 

But before I take you there, I want to share a recent experience that I had under the fig trees.

I recently had an opportunity to camp on a small organic/bio-abundant farm in Brentwood, California (northern/central valley) amongst the apricot and fig trees and was able to just reach up and pick the fruit right off of the trees.  The whole weekend was wonderful with so much learning on so many levels. Part of that learning was just spending time on the property amongst many varieties of plants and trees that seemed so happy to produce so prolifically without the use of any pesticides.  It is something that I wish everyone could have an opportunity to experience.  I came away with such a reverence for the people who are the creators and caretakers of the farm and a feeling of awe to see how food can be grown and enjoyed in such a beautiful and sustainable way.

My favorite and possibly the best part of the whole trip that will be embedded in me forever was lying in a bed of arugula planted between the rows of fig trees (the picture above).  We were given the instruction to go meditate/sit amongst the fig trees and it was an experience that I did not want to end and will never forget.  The smells, the sounds and sense of peace that the trees, the soft afternoon breeze and the spicy, soft arugula gave was truly a gift.  

And now for the recipe that your guests will be swooning over :-)

Roasted Figs
12 Black Mission figs, halved vertically
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons Raw Honey
3 ounces fresh goat cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. While the oven preheats, melt the butter in a small saucepan, along with the balsamic vinegar, honey and a pinch of Real Salt.   Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  3. Place the figs, cut side up, in a baking dish the size of a pie pan.  Top each fig half with 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of goat cheese.  Drizzle the balsamic vinegar syrup over the figs.
  4. Roast in the oven until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Arrange on a pretty platter and enjoy!

 Figs are very delicate and bruise easily, and should be kept in the refrigerator once they have become ripe, where they will stay fresh for about 2 days.