Here's the Dish

healthy ANDI licious

Cloud 9 Icebox Chocolate Pie March 21, 2012

Cloud 9: Who knew tofu and chocolate would pair so well?

Cloud 9 Icebox Chocolate Pie
with creamy tofu & almond crumble crust

No one will guess your secret ingredient to lighten up this slice of chocolate indulgence–at least no one who hasn’t already used this secret ingredient in her own kitchen: tofu.

Ingredients
Pie Filling
–   1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vegan chocolate chips if  going dairy-free. Carob is a different flavor but not healthier–just different.

–   1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
–   1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
–   1 package tofu (calcium-fortified, organic)
–   1/4 cup almond milk

Crust
–   1 & 1/3 cup almond meal
–   2 tbsp olive or canola oil
–   2 tbsp brown sugar
–   2-3 tbsp warm water (more if needed)

**Nut-Free Version: Use a whole-wheat or spelt frozen pie crust and soy or regular milk instead of almond milk in the filling to go nut-free (instead of dairy or gluten-free). The frozen or ready-made whole-wheat pie crusts can serve as a quick , healthy version if you are not serving to gluten-free guests.

Method
Almond Crumble Crust
1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) Mix almond meal, oil,and sugar in medium bowl or right in the pie pan. Add water 1 spoonful at a time, as needed, until mixture becomes slightly moist but not watery.
3) Smooth mixture to form thin crust, covering bottom and sides of pie pan.
4) Bake for about 15 minutes at 350°F and set aside to cool. To speed up cooling process you can place baked almond crust in the freezer or fridge while you make the filling.

Icebox Chocolate Pie Filling
1) Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe ceramic bowl for about 1 minute and 30 seconds at power 80% in the microwave or in a saucepan on your stove top, stirring frequently.
2) Combine ingredients, including melted chocolate, in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
3) Pour well-blended filling into pie crust and allow to sit and “form” in fridge for a least an hour before serving. Store in fridge.

Soy Side Note: While I do think that tofu is often way overused as a go-to vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free ingredient, I can’t deny that it serves this recipe beautifully. (For a vegan protein fix, try pairing complementary proteins instead of using soy daily. Yes, tofu is made out of soy.)

 

Green Bliss Smoothie March 16, 2012

Green Bliss Smoothie
with pineapple, banana, and spinach

Ingredients

-3/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks (unsweetened)
-1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
– 1/2 ripe banana (fresh or frozen)
-3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze (or coconut, or soy milk)

Method

Combine ingredients in your blender. The frozen pineapple and spinach are key for the texture. For a thicker smoothie use a frozen banana half (use fresh instead for a “less-spoon-required” version). Blend until smooth. Make sure the spinach is well blended so you do not end up with noticeable pieces in your drink.

Flavor Profile

The sweet flavors of the pineapple and banana make this a perfect green smoothie for green smoothie beginners. Pineapple dominates the flavors in this blend. If the thought of frozen spinach in your drink sounds daunting you will be pleasantly surprised by the mild flavor of the leaves which can rarely be detected past the sweet fruit flavors.

Nutrition Highlights

Sip this for breakfast and you will be one serving (1/2 cup) closer to meeting your choosemyplate.gov minimum 2.5 recommended daily cups of vegetables and 2 servings closer (1 cup) to meeting your minimum daily recommended 2 cups of fruit! The drink is packed with Vitamin C (over 70% of the DV), Fiber (24% DV), Folate (36% DV), and Vitamin A (beta-carotene form from spinach).

Use a calcium-fortified almond milk (or soy) to reach nearly 1/3 of the DV for calcium.

 

Crisp Wheat Toast with Wood Smoked Sardines March 9, 2012

Crisp Wheat Toast & Wood Smoked Sardines
with fresh dill & brown spicy mustard

Simple. Economical. Sustainable. Delicious.

I have been trying to find a way to enjoy sardines ever since I discovered the enormous nutritional powerhouse properties that these small fish deliver. I’ve broiled them with garlic, tossed them in pasta, seasoned them with lime juice and salsa and pan fried them for fish tacos, and–with great hesitation–have attempted to eat them straight from the tin. All attempt have been edible, some even good, but none delicious…. until now.

The little fish are a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids–three nutrients that most of us could use in greater quantities in our diets. Despite the popular perception that sardines have a high sodium content which renders them less healthful, it is only the varieties with added salt that contain high levels. You can pick up a tin of sardines in water with “no salt added” and sprinkle a light pinch of a course grain salt yourself to get the same flavor with very little sodium.

In Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, author Annie Murphy Paul describes her preferred sardine recipe: on a slice of buttered toast. Paul also was trying to get more of these little fish in her diet due to their low risk of mercury contamination compared to many other popular fish varieties. Her simple style of serving them gave me the idea to try sardines in this style.I nixed the butter and used brown spicy mustard and fresh dill.

Ingredients
for one serving

-1 slice fresh bread (toasted)
– 1 tsp brown spicy mustard
-fresh dill (to taste)
-1/3 tin (about 1.5 oz) sardines (not the kind with bones removed)

Method

Toast fresh bread to desired crispness. Spread the brown mustard across your freshly toasted slice and top with fresh dill and sardine fillets (straight from the tin or pan seared or broiled with garlic if preferred). Enjoy!

I decided to try Wood Smoked Wild Caught Brisling Sardines  hand packed in extra virgin olive oil this time by Crown Prince Natural. I have to say these were excellent but if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake, opt for a “no salt added” variety instead.