Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tofu & Sprouts UNVEILED!

As usual, there is information before the recipes to help you get started on the right foot. The marinade recipe is from Sheryl Ellenwood who is the co-author for our book 3 Plates at the table. If you have questions or comments you can e-mail me (which most of you do) or leave a message here.

*What can I sprout?
I like to sprout lentils, mung beans and wheat These are the tastiest to me. Many people like to soak alfalfa, broccoli seeds, fenugreek seeds. The list goes on. When soaking nuts (almonds and walnuts) it mainly soaking them for 10-24 hours to remove phytic acid. Do not expect or anticipate a sprout “tail” as it doesn’t have one.

*Do I need special equipment to sprout?
Sprouting seeds requires no special equipment. You can buy a seed sprouter but you can also sprout seeds in a bamboo basket, a colander covered with a plastic bag, sprouting bag or a wide-mouthed quart jar covered with cheesecloth or linen and secured with a rubber band.

*Can I mix and match?
Yes you can. Take care that you are sprouting grains that will go well together. Here are some examples of 50/50 ratio:
Wheat/chic pea
Wheat Rye
Wheat/ sunflower

*Why are sprouts good for me?
Alfalfa sprouts have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley.
Grain and nut sprouts, such as wheat and sunflower, are rich in fats. While fats in flour and wheat germ are going rancid quickly – we should refrigerate them, fats in sprouts last for weeks.
By sprouting nutrients are broken down and simplified: protein into amino acids, fats into essential fatty acids, starches to sugars and minerals chelate or combine with protein in a way that increases their utilization. These processes all increase nutrition and improve digestion and assimilation. Certain acids and toxins which ordinarily would interfere with digestion are reduced or eliminated.
Next to sea vegetables, sprouts are the best source of minerals and trace minerals. Most salad sprouts are rich in calcium and magnesium, have more phosphorus than fish, and are excellent sources of hard to find trace minerals such as tritium, selenium, manganese, chromium and others.
Baby green sprouts, like all green vegetables, are an excellent source of B-vitamins. B-vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, folic biotin, lecithin and others increase an average of 4 to 16 times during the first 7 days of germination. Some factors increase even more. B-12, the elusive vitamin alleged to be unavailable to vegetarians, increases almost 2000%, Vitamin B-17, also known as laetrile, multiplies 50 to 100 times that of the original seed. Nucleic acids, fundamental agents of cell growth and regeneration, increase up to thirty times upon sprouting.

*What can I do with sprouts?
Sprouts can be used in salads/dressings, dips, casseroles, soups/stews, sandwiches/wraps, snacks (raw or dehydrated...crackers, etc), breads, seasoning, stir-fry, drinks (rejuvelac, milk, juiced, smoothie), "cheese", crackers, "cadies" (with dried fruit) and cereals.

*Why should I sprout?
1. Only Pennies Per Serving
One tablespoon of seeds will fill a quart jar with several ounces of sprouts. A 4-ounce package will yield several pounds.

2. Simple and Easy
Take less than a minute per day to grow and prepare. They will grow nearly anywhere indoors, in any season. Sprouts require very little space and travel well. They are the ideal vegetables for campers, boaters and RV’ers.

3. Fresh and Ready Quickly
This “garden in your kitchen” grows very fast, in any kind of weather. No digging, planting, weeding, pests or chemicals involved. And there’s no long wait, as in seasonal outdoor gardens. Just 3 to 7 days to a bountiful, nutrition-packed harvest. When stored in your refrigerator, they will stay fresh for days- even weeks if rinsed properly.

4. Toxin-free Food
Sprouts are as sweet and pure as Nature intended food to be. NO pesticides and no chemicals needed.

5. Complete Foods
Sprouts are real health food. They are full of life- as you will see in how fast and luxuriously they grow. The right combination of sprouts contains many nutrients for life and health. All their many nutritional elements are easily assimilated and readily available to your body. When home-grown, you know they are pure, and you can enjoy them at the peak of their perfection.

6. Tasty and Delicious
Bursting with flavor, you may be surprised how truly delectable they are. Enjoy them in salads, on sandwiches, stir-fried, steamed, or even baked in wholesome, home-made breads.

7. Highly Nutritious
Several contain more protein (though not as complete) than cooked meat-at a tiny fraction of the cost. The presence and balance of amino acids makes this protein very digestible. All sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and fiber. When exposed to light, several become rich in chlorophyll.

8. Low in Calories / Fat
One fully-packed cup of alfalfa sprouts contains only 16 calories. These are simple sugars for quick energy. Sprouts contain no cholesterol and provide several essential fatty acids. Sprouts are perfect weight-loss and body-purification.

9. Help Detox your Body
Chlorophyll helps cleanse and oxygenate the blood. Enzymes aid in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and contribute to the body’s life force. Fiber aids elimination and their lecithin helps the body get rid of cholesterol.

10. Build your Immune System
Antioxidants protect you from radiation and toxic chemicals. They help the body to cleanse, detox, rebuild and heal itself. Sprouts are rich in antioxidants and help protect your health from toxic build up. Antioxidant enzymes are especially important, because they are essential for the proper function of the immune system. Sprouts are one of the best sources for these important nutrients.
**The Sprouting Book:How to Grow and Use Sprouts to Maximize Your Health and Vitality- Ann Wigmore
**Rawsome!-Brigitte Mars

*What is tofu?
Tofu or “bean curd” is a fermenting of the soybean that renders it digestible and free of phytic acid.

*What kinds of tofu are there and how do you use them?
There are 2 categories that most tofu can fit into. These are firm and silken. Firm tofu can be pressed, chopped, crumbled, sliced and more. Silken tofu is used in puddings, sauces, desserts, etc. You must know which one to use for a successful tofu experience.

*Why do I have to press tofu?
It isn’t necessary to press tofu. Unfortunately, un-pressed tofu has given ALL tofu the bad reputation for being slimy, tasteless and weird textured. Therefore, I suggest always pressing for a minimum of several hours. This ensures that most of the liquid will be removed and the tofu can soak in the marinade and have a more enjoyable texture.

*What can I use tofu in?
Tofu is known as a “meat substitute”. It can be use with rice, in stir-fry, casseroles and wraps. The list goes on. Tofu is relatively tasteless and can be used in any way that the imagination takes aim.

*Why must tofu be organic?
Organic tofu is made from organically grown soybeans. Any product, which is certified organic, does not contain genetically modified organisms nor has it been subjected to radiation. Radiation has become an otherwise accepted (and not indicated on labels) way of helping preserve some food products. Even though the federal government has declared that genetically modified foods are acceptable, there are no long-term studies to prove that they are not harmful. We do know that conventional farming practices do lead to contaminated streams and soil depletion. Organic farming practices help sustain the planet’s natural eco-systems.(see

Sprouting 101:
1) Place rinsed 1/3 cup of grain/legume in a jar.
2)fill jar with warm water, cover with cheesecloth, secure with rubber band and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours.
3) Strain water out and rinse seeds.
4)rinse and drain and sit at a 45 degree angle.
5) Repeat #4 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days until sprouts are long enough for you.
6) Refrigerate to STOP the sprouting and to store.
7) use liberally.

Miso Tofu Marinade:
1 TBSP Red or white miso
3 TBSP lemon or lime juice
3 TBSP Agave/honey
3 TBSP Tamari or liquid aminos
2 TSP sesame oil
1 TBSP nutritional yeast powder
1 TSP smoked paprika or ¼ TSP liquid smoke

Mix together all ingredients. Pour over to pressed cubed/cut tofu. Marinate at least 1 hour. Line a pan with parchment paper or foil. Arrange tofu on paper in a single layer. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip/stir tofu pieces and bake another 20-30 minutes taking care not to burn. Remove from oven and cool. Serve or store in refrigerator.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Gratifying Grains with Quinoa recipe

How many different kids of grains?
*Grains come in all shapes and sizes. Grains vary from origin, use, taste, nutrient content and preparation. Grains can be used by themselves, as substitutes, combined, ground or whole as food or drink. There is no limit

Why do we need grains in our diet?
* Whole grains are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, minerals, antioxidants and B vitamins.

How can I get the most nutrition out of my grains?
*Choose whole, fresh organic grains
*prepare them by soaking, fermenting or sprouting.
*Vary your diet to include and enjoy many grains

*ALL grains have phytic acid (Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption)
*2 general categories: Gluten grains (oats, rye barley, wheat) are hard to digest and should rarely or not be eaten unless they are fermented, soaked or sprouted.
*non-gluten grains buckwheat, rice and millet and are more easily digested but should still be soaked in some cases.
*Whole rice and whole millet contain less phytates making it not “absolutely necessary” to ferment them.

How do I cook grains?
Grains can and should be used in a variety of different ways. Options can include one or a combination of boiling, sautéing, simmering in soup, pressure cooking (on occasion), baking, frying, in a crock-pot or rice cooker or on a skillet.

Frequently Asked Questions Continued?
How can I flavor grains?
Some grains have a beautiful flavor on their own or lightly seasoned with salt (basmati). To flavor grains decide on a “theme”. Are you going for Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Texas Style, Louisiana style, etc? After you have decided you can use a variety of herbs, spices, vegetables, sauces, or stocks to manipulate the flavor to your palate. Some popular add ins are tomato sauce, stock (chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.), vegetables (peppers, onions, garlic) or tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce). Other ways to change flavor is by sautéing grains in oil or roasting them.

How Can I make grains fluffy when boiling them on their own?
*Never peek. After you have brought your water to a boil keep the lid on. I would suggest getting a pot with a glass lid so you can see the progress. If you peek grains will be less apt to fluff. Also, let rest 5-10 minutes BEFORE taking the lid off.

How can I make my grains sticky?
*To determine the “stickiness” of the grain you need to know your grain. Short grain brown rice, Japanese sushi rice, amaranth and millet are a few of the sticky grains.
* A few techniques to make grains sticker is to boil them a bit longer with a bit of extra water or pressure cook. These techniques will yield stickier grain.

***Note: when you are working with grains and the different techniques do a little research. The “GENERAL” rule is that grains receive a 1:2 ratio (grain:water) This is not always the case especially when using a pressure cooker or crock pot. Also, determining the final product must be taken into account. For example: making Groatmeal is a 1:4 ratio as Brown Rice Cereal is a 1:2 ratio.

Southwest Quinoa Taco Salad
I LOVE salads that are hearty, flavorful, quick and full of nutrition. This salad sports grains, beans, vegetables and flavor with beautiful color and texture so everyone leaves satisfied. ~Jami
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ Cup water
1 TSP salt
1 Cup salsa
½ cup plain yogurt
3 TBSP cilantro
2 TSP olive oil
Pinch of chipolte powder (opt)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Can of beans rinsed
½ organic red or orange bell pepper
1 Cup frozen corn thawed
1 Avocado, chopped
1 large tomato chopped
Homemade tortillas (see previous post for recipe)

Soak quinoa in water 7-24 hours. Add salt, cover and bring to boil until all water is absorbed 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat and KEEP COVERED letting sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender mix salsa, yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, lime zest and juice. Blend until smooth. Toss quinoa with beans, corn, avocado and tomato. Place heaping amount of quinoa mixture on a bed of lettuce and serve with tortillas.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bountiful Beans

Frequently Asked Questions…

*Why do I need to soak beans and how long?
Beans and legumes contain a compound called phytic acid. This is an anti-nutrient that inhibits the absorption of nutrients into the body. By soaking the beans in slightly acidic medium the phytic acid is release and the body can enjoy the host of nutrients beans/legumes have to offer. Soaking, also, takes up to 1/3 off the cooking time! Soak 12-24 hours.**Sometime you may need to sift through beans/legumes for any shriveled beans or debris of other sorts**

Do I soak beans in hot or cold water?
I always fill my bowl with hot water and soak my beans for 12-24 hours in that same water. Others will change it out periodically with fresh hot water. It can be hot from the tap or boiled water poured over.

*Why should I add beans/legumes to my diet?
Beans/legumes are cost effective, versatile, and come in amazing variety. Beans/legumes are full of:
~healthy protein. Protein builds and repairs body tissue, regulates body processes, gives energy and more.
~fiber. It helps digest food, flushes toxins, and helps in weight loss.
~B vitamins which are necessary for healthy brain and nerve cells, for normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.
~calcium for strong bones and teeth and to help keep the body more alkaline, rather than acidic.
~potassium helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
~folate a B vitamin that our bodies don’t produce yet dry beans are our single best source of this important vitamin which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.

* How can I add beans/legumes to my diet?
There are over 60 beans/legumes that can be used in soup, salads, salsas, burritos, casseroles and smoothies. Beans can be used whole or smashed. They can be the star of the meal or a side. We are only limited by our imagination.

*How can I get my beans to be soft?
It is important to:
1)soak your beans 12-24 hours in mild acid medium (add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar)
2) NEVER put salt in the pot until last minute when beans are soft.
F.A.Q continued….

3)add a pinch of baking soda to the water if beans aren’t softening.
4)If beans aren’t softening after a couple hours of cooking add a pinch of baking soda &/or a splash of vinegar to the cooking water.

*How can I reduce gas and bloating?
1) Always soak 18-24 hours and throw away used water
2)simmer with a KOMBU strip
3) Eat with digestive herbs and spices
4)make sure to cook beans until completely soft.

*What are the methods of cooking beans?
1)Stove top: After soaking beans drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Place beans in a large pot. Fill the pot with cold water. Bring beans to a boil skimming off all foam. After about an hour (for hard beans) check to see if they are getting soft. If they aren’t add some soda/vinegar. Continue simmering until done. Add spices at the end and simmer to combine flavors.

2)Crock pot: After soaking beans drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Place beans in crock pot. Place on high for a few hours or on low for several hours. At the end of cooking add spices and allow time to blend flavors.

**These and other methods can be found in Three Plates at The Table on page 59 including: canning and pressure cooking***

Red Curry Lentil soup
This is a recipe that is easy, quick and great reheated. It’s also a creative way to add more greens to your diet.~Jami
Makes 4 , 1 cup servings

1 cup green lentils
2 TBSP real butter or tallow
½ chopped yellow onion
3 cups broth
1 TBSP red curry paste
Chopped carrots &/or greens optional

Soak lentils in hot water as long as 24 hours then strain.

To make soup: In a pan melt butter and sauté onion until translucent. Add lentils and sauté 2-3 min. add broth and paste, carrots stirring well. Simmer 15-25 minutes until done. If using greens add last five minutes of simmering. Eat as is or use a hand blender to cream it up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Basic Bread Baking

Frequently Asked Questions
*Why should I choose to make bread instead of buy it?
Baking your own bread is more cost effective and healthy to the consumer. There are fewer additive and more nutrients. When making bread the baker has the ability to customize bread to the taste, texture and complexity of those who eat it and the meal it‘s being served with. There is great satisfaction in making a fresh delicious healthy bread at home.

*Why would I want to put wheat bread? Red or White?
Whole wheat bread provides your system with fiber and other important nutrients like Vitamin E, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Wheat helps regulate insulin. Whole wheat bread is also low in fat and cholesterol. Wheat contains elements that help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

*What kinds of bread are there?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of types of breads. Most breads will fall into these categories: Leavened (yeast, sourdough, baking soda etc), unleavened (flat) or batter breads. They can be steamed , fried, baked. It can be as basic as liquid and flour or complex when adding fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs or vegetables. We are only limited by our imagination

*What are leavenings?
Leavening are what make the bread rise. These are the ones that I use and am familiar with: yeast, eggs, baking soda and powder, and wild yeast (sourdough).

*What are the Healthiest breads?
Breads that use whole grains and take time are the healthiest. To make grains more digestible and their nutrients more available I suggest soaking sprouting or fermenting grains. (that's a whole different lesson)

*How do I choose and interchange grains?
Not all grains are created equal. Grains differ in their nutrient values but also their gluten content. When interchanging grains it is necessary to make sure the substitute has similar gluten content or make adjustments in the leavening. Start by substituting ½ cup at a time and adjust from there.

*How can I know what temperature “warm” is for the yeast?
Yeast like warm environments. It wakes them up. This is why we should store yeast in the refrigerator or freezer, they live longer. You want the water to be warm enough to COMFORTABLY wash your hands.

*Why should I add sweetener or salt to my dough?
Sweetener feeds the yeast and adds a little bit of# flavor as well though sweetener is not necessary. Adding salt affects more than taste. It strengthens the gluten, making the dough more manageable and predictable. If you choose to omit salt it’s important special precautions are made.

*Why is kneading important?
For the best flavor , rise and keeping quality knead the dough 8-10 minutes with a mixer or 15-20 minutes by hand. Whole grain breads take time to develop gluten. Taking the time on this step really enhances the crumb and success of bread baking.

Basic Wheat Bread Recipe

1 Cup water or milk
1 TBSP baking Yeast
1 TSP salt
3 TBSP sweetener (raw sugar, honey, agave, etc)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Cups flour (½ white, ½ wheat)
1 TBSP Italian seasoning or other herbs (OPTIONAL)

Mixer method:
1)Heat water or milk to warm.
2)Stir in yeast, salt, and sweetener.
3)Add egg and blend well.
4)Add 1 cup flour at a time thoroughly mixing.
5)After all the flour is incorporated put mixer on low setting and allow to knead, with dough hook, for 8-10 minutes.
6) Allow to rest 30 minutes or until doubled.
7)Press dough back down releasing all the air. Turn onto counter (it may need to be lightly floured) press into a 6x8 square. Roll into bread shape.
8)Place in lightly sprayed pan and press down. Cover and allow to rise until when you poke it the indention stays.
9)Bake 350 for 40 minutes…cool 30 minutes BEFORE slicing.

By hand: Follow above directions but knead 15-20 minutes by hand.

Mixer method:
1)Heat water or milk to warm.
2)Stir in yeast, salt, and sweetener.
3)Add egg and blend well.
4)Add 1 cup flour at a time thoroughly mixing.
5)After all the flour is incorporated put mixer on low setting and allow to knead, with dough hook, for 8-10 minutes.
6) Allow to rest 30 minutes or until doubled.
7)Press dough back down releasing all the air. Turn onto counter (it may need to be lightly floured) press into a 6x8 square. Roll into bread shape.
8)Place in lightly sprayed pan and press down. Cover and allow to rise until when you poke it the indention stays.
9)Bake 350 for 40 minutes…cool 30 minutes BEFORE slicing.

By hand: Follow above directions but knead 15-20 minutes by hand.

**For more information about me, my services or my cookbook visit