Chocolate Coco Truffles

This recipe was inspired by my floral designer friend Amanda, who makes everything beautiful!

One year my daughter and I made these as holiday gifts for her teachers and garnished them with tiny basil flowers.

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You can also roll the truffles in cocoa, cacao, or carob powder or finely chopped nuts (like pistachios) instead of coconut flakes, as pictured in the cover image.

Chocolate Coco Truffles
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Raw
Serves: 12 truffles
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped and packed
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened fine coconut flakes
  • extra coconut flakes, for rolling the truffles
Instructions
  1. Place the dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Strain the dates from the hot water (reserving liquid) and place in food processor along with chocolate chips and coconut oil. Pulse the ingredients until smooth. Add a little of the soaking liquid only if needed to blend.
  3. Sift the cacao powder into the medium mixing bowl and add coconut flakes.
  4. Scrape date mixture into the bowl with the coconut mixture. Using a spatula, fold ingredients together until well combined. Cover bowl and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
  5. Once the mixture is cold, roll into balls working quickly so the chocolate does not melt and roll evenly in the remaining coconut.
Variations
  1. Roll truffles in sifted cocoa, cacao, or carob or finely chopped nuts insead of coconut flakes.
  2. Place rolled truffles in an airtight container in refrigerator to set.

 

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Enjoy making these treats for your friends and family this holiday season!

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

salad with fresh figs, avocado, marcona almonds

Mmmm… fresh figs! Late summer and early fall is the height of fig season. Right now in Austin, the grocery stores have been fully stocked with varieties of figs from California that range in color from dark purple to bright green on the outside, to various shades of pink on the inside. They are best when heavy, plump, unblemished, and slightly soft on the outside. Figs that are squishy are probably overripe. Check out this article to learn more about how to choose figs.

Varieties of ripe figs
Varieties of ripe figs. Photo Credit: Photo © Patrizia Savarese/Getty Images

In this recipe, I have chosen to marinate the fennel in citrus, olive oil, and salt before adding it to the salad. This slightly softens the fennel and makes it more flavorful. Fennel bulbs are easy to slice if you first trim the stems and fronds from the bulb, cut into quarters, and then thinly slice each quarter. If the stems are juicy and flavorful, they can also be thinly sliced and added to the marinade.

FennelTrim fennel root and stems. Cut in half.

fennel- quarteredCut each half in half.

Fennel-4Slice off the hard core from each fennel quarter. Slice thinly.

I recommend using a good quality, aged balsamic vinegar that is less acidic and slightly sweet. I used the Central Market brand Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Italy for this recipe. It costs about $16 and can be bought online or in the Austin Central Market stores.

balsamic vinegar

I used a tangerine-infused olive oil from Vom Faas specialty store. You can sub a good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can’t find this ingredient.

Be creative and try substituting ingredients that are seasonal in your area. For example, as winter approaches, pomegranates will be in season and can be used instead of figs. Mango can be used in place of oranges, celery for fennel, and toasted pecans for almonds.

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small or ½ large fresh fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 cups mixed field greens with baby arugula
  • up to 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • up to 2 tablespoons citrus-infused olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 fresh figs, sliced in quarters
  • 1 small avocado, cut into chunks
  • slices of 1 orange or 2 clementines
  • ¼ cup Marcona almonds (toasted and salted)
  • black pepper, freshly ground (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together fennel, orange juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Allow fennel to marinate for at least 20 minutes. This step can also be done up to one day ahead, storing the fennel mixture covered in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.
  2. Rinse and spin dry mixed greens. Spread evenly onto large platter or into large salad bowl.
  3. Drizzle greens with balsamic vinegar and citrus-infused olive oil. Top greens with marinated fennel, figs, avocado, orange or clementine slices, and Marcona almonds.
  4. Top with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Variation
  1. Use mango chunks in place of orange slices.

Salad at Sami & Lorraines (3)

Bon appetit!

Shaved Carrot, Radish, and Green Apple Salad with Lemon and Fresh Mint

Try this light and refreshing shaved salad as a side to almost any meal. Radishes are good at dissolving fat, while green apple and lemon have the sour taste that is cleansing for the liver and gall bladder. The mint garnish gives it a super fresh taste!

Shaved Carrot, Daikon, and Green Apple Salad with Lemon and Fresh Mint
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 daikon radish or 1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed and peeled into wide strips
  • a few pinches sea salt
  • 1 green apple, cored, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar (optional)
  • ½ lemon, sliced into thin quarter moons
  • handful fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
Instructions
  1. Place daikon and carrot into a large bowl. Massage sea salt into vegetables for a minute or two, until vegetables are shiny.
  2. Add green apple, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar (if using). Toss to coat the entire salad.
  3. Plate salad with sliced lemon and fresh mint leaf slivers.
Note
  1. Umeboshi vinegar will add a salty, sour taste to the salad.
Variation
  1. Add ½ bulb fresh fennel, cored and thinly sliced.

 

 

Authentic Italian Pesto

Round out your summer Italian feast with some pasta and homemade basil pesto (recipe from Monica Pesoli of Cook Like An Italian)! For a dairy-free version, omit Parmesan cheese and add 2 teaspoons sweet white miso or 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar and sea salt to taste.

Authentic Italian Pesto
 
An authentic Italian pesto, versatile and delicious. This would traditionally be used as a pasta sauce, but would also be good on bruschetta, meats, fish, or vegetables. Recipe courtesy of Monica Pesoli of "Like an Italian" cooking classes, language instruction, and Italy tours.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups of basil leaves (no stems), tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, Montebello brand recommended
Instructions
  1. Use all organic ingredients to the greatest extent possible. Wash basil and parsley nonetheless; de-vein basil leaves w/ largest veins.
  2. Add to a blender parsley, half the oil, garlic, nuts, cheese, and some salt if desired. Puree with lid on.
  3. Turn off blender, and add all basil, drizzling remaining oil over leaves. With blender off and using a rubber spatula, help to direct leaves under the blades by forcing them down along the sides of the blender. With the lid on, pulse the blender switch a number of times, catching leaves in the blades to puree. Continue to alternate forcing leaves down the sides of the blender towards the blades (with blender off and lid removed), and pulsing blender switch with lid on to puree leaves.
  4. Pesto is ready when leaves are evenly pureed, but mixture still has some texture (with no leafy bits). Use as pasta topping/sauce or on a multitude of other foods!

 

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed, spun, and chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced (or 1 cup grape tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ¾ kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced
Dressing
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • ½ cup spring or filtered water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. Place greens onto a platter or individual salad bowls. Decorate greens with tomato slices, cucumber slices, olives, and red onion.
Dressing
  1. Drain cashews and discard soaking water.
  2. Blend cashews in blender or VitaMix with water, garlic, scallions, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar until smooth.
  3. With blender on low speed, add in olive oil and blend until incorporated.
  4. Add dill, mint, and oregano and blend on low for a few seconds.
  5. Add a pinch or two of sea salt, if needed, to balance flavors.
  6. Pour dressing into a bowl or creamer to serve alongside salad.
Variation
  1. Serve with goat feta or homemade tofu feta cheese on the side.

 

Healthy and Delicious Spring Rolls

Mmm… what could be more refreshing on a warm day than a light veggie spring roll with a tasty Almond Butter Dipping Sauce?
Spring rolls are best eaten right away, as they can either dry out or tear if refrigerated for more than a few hours.
Save extra filling ingredients and store in a glass container in the refrigerator to make more fresh rolls the next day.
This particular recipe is dedicated to my friend Lindy who was kind enough to give me an authentic Vietnamese spring
roll making lesson many years ago. She likes to make them full of spring mix and fresh herbs, like the ones I made below,
rather than the ones you often find at restaurants that are full of noodles and little specs of veggies.

Healthy and Delicious Spring Rolls
 
A fresh and light spring roll filled with vegetables. Quick to make, yet filling and delicious. For a variation, try adding a layer of chickpea hummus, pan-fried tofu, a ¼-sheet of toasted nori, or sautéed shiitake mushrooms over the basil and cucumbers for a heartier spring roll.
Author:
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces rice noodles or mung bean noodles
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 cups spring mix
  • ¼ cup organic fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup organic fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup organic fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin, wide strips
  • round rice paper spring roll wrappers
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add noodles to boiling water and turn off heat. Let sit for a few minutes until noodles are soft, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Lay all ingredients out for assembly; noodles, carrots, cucumbers spring mix, herbs, avocado slices, and spring roll wrappers.
  3. Prepare a large bowl or plate with warm water. Water does not need to be hot but warm enough to soften rice paper and the bowl wide enough to fit a sheet of rice paper
  4. Take one sheet of rice paper and soak it in warm water until it is pliable, about 10 seconds. Spread the wrapper on a large plate or other clean surface. Work quickly so rice paper does not fall apart.
  5. Place a large basil leaf vertically with 3 cucumber slices to the right of it (stacked vertically) in the middle of the spring roll wrapper. Place a layer of avocado, noodles, carrots. Sprinkle with spring mix and cilantro and/or mint leaves, making sure that 1 inch of rice paper remains visible on the edge closest to you and on either side of the ingredients. Be sure not to overfill spring roll.
  6. To wrap, bring up the lower lip of the rice wrapper and wrap around the ingredients, tightening slightly as you tuck and roll the wrapper. Fold in the sides to enclose the filling then continue rolling the wrapper. The rice paper will seal itself. Set aside to rest with space in between rolls.
  7. Continue wrapping spring rolls until all ingredients are used up.
  8. Serve with a dipping sauce such as spicy peanut or almond butter sauce or basil pesto.

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Winter salad with dried figs, pomegranate, avocado, and pecans

The inspiration for this salad came from the earth’s bounty in December in the South. The contrasting colors, flavors, and textures from the fruits, nuts, and greens make an irresistible combination. You will need to get the seeds out of a pomegranate for this recipe. My favorite, least technical, and least messy way to do this involves cutting the pomegranate in half, submerging the halves in a bowl of water, and gently opening each half and removing seeds under the water (see method 3 in wikiHow article: http://www.wikihow.com/Open-a-Pomegranate). It is well worth the effort. The extra seeds keep well for later, refrigerated in a glass container. The kumquats are optional in this recipe, but are a fun ingredient to use when they come into season in the wintertime. The entire fruit is edible, and in fact the peel is sweet and the inside is sour (the opposite of an orange). Look for kumquats that are firm, as they should be juicier.

Winter salad with dried figs, pomegranate, avocado, and pecans
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This salad is perfect for holiday gatherings or any meal that needs a colorful side dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 4 cups mixed field greens or baby arugula
  • 4 dried figs, soaked in warm water
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 small avocado, cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 2 kumquats, thinly sliced (optional)
Maple Balsamic Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange or tangerine juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 small clove fresh garlic, minced (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
Salad
  1. Rinse and spin dry mixed greens. Place on large platter or into large salad bowl. Drain figs and slice thinly, removing any tough stems. Decorate greens with fig slices, pomegranate seeds, avocado chunks, and toasted pecan halves. Garnish with kumquat slices, if desired.
Dressing
  1. Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil. Gradually whisk in olive oil, one drop at a time, until well incorporated.

 

 

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