Living in Montana, we wait all year for Flathead cherry season. Throughout the state, Flathead cherries reign supreme. Memories are made from eating these luscious, large, dark, firm, meaty, juicy, and sweet-with-a-touch-of-tart cherries. You definitely can’t—nor would you want to—eat just one.
Although dark, sweet cherries from Washington have begun appearing in our local markets, we’ll begin seeing Flathead cherries a little later than usual this year, in late July.
Crunchy, sweet, nutritionally rich carrots appear on most every dip and vegetable platter. Yet, we never see carrots as the star. With today’s recipe, that’s what’s happening. Stand aside hummus, there’s a new dip in town. Rich, flavorful, light and vibrant, Roasted Carrot Tahini Dip is equally satisfying whether spread on a leaf of baby romaine, served as a dip with crudités, or enjoyed from a spoon as a quick pick-me-up.
Yes, you can find carrots in markets throughout the year. Though the freshest and most flavorful, locally grown carrots are available from June through October. Choose carrots with the deepest orange color for the greatest amount of beta-carotene. Generally, carrots with the largest diameters will be the sweetest, as they have a larger core, which is where the carrot’s sugar is concentrated. With organically grown carrots, there is no need to peel them, just wash them well.
As we eagerly await the emergence of our newly planted gardens, I invite you to explore the bountiful, mineral-rich, ocean-grounding water plants known as sea vegetables. Easy to find year-round at most grocery stores, the most common sea vegetables are nori, kombu, dulse and arame. They are harvested, dried and packaged and last for years on your pantry shelf.
This extremely powerful wild food contains all the mineral nutrients of the ocean. It actually sponges up toxic heavy metals, radiation, dioxins, pesticides like DDT and many other poisons, to absorb and deactivate them through their bioactive phytochemicals. They lock onto the toxic waste, draw out the poisons, and only leave behind over 50 nutrient-packed, supercharged, ocean-grounding nutrients. These whole-food, mineral-rich nutrients are ultra-bioavailable and easily digested, assimilated, and utilized by every cell and system in our bodies.
Our Montana Winter temperatures usually stay with us long past spring’s official March starting date. So, I offer a new recipe to you for a hearty salad to help brighten the days until spring actually arrives.
Colorful, satisfying and deeply flavored Roasted Beet & Carrot Lentil Salad plays the natural sweetness of roasted beets and carrots against a backdrop of robust and firm-textured French green (le Puy) lentils. The roasted carrots add brightness. Fresh parsley, mint and scallions bring freshness. Crumbled goat cheese or feta give a touch of creaminess. And to top it off, the refreshingly tart and Tangy Orange Mustard Vinaigrette makes this salad especially delicious.
Beautiful by nature, roses delight the senses: visual, touch, scent and taste. Yes, taste! This edible flower is used as oils, essences and food. Organic, wild-crafted rose petals can be put in salads, and in side dishes. Yet roses are best known for their rose hips in tea. (They grow in my garden and the deer love them too!)
One cup of rose-hips tea has more whole-food vitamin C in it than a whole bag of California oranges that have been sprayed, picked, stored and gassed to make them turn orange. Most recently, I have been using powdered rose hips found at my local health-food store. It is very versatile and a wonderful cell food. It mixes easily into a fruit salad, fresh juices and smoothies, and apricot-coconut-nut balls. Be creative and enjoy roses all year long!
TThe idea came to me a couple of weeks ago while enjoying a bowl of vegetable soup. Hmm, I thought, this soup would be perfect over a scoop of quinoa. Maybe even toasted quinoa. Interesting thought considering that I’d never before tasted toasted quinoa.
I made a small batch, toasting the quinoa in the same pan I would cook it in. The smell was incredible, the color change promising, and adding the boiling water exciting. The depth of flavor was rich, earthy, nutty, and fabulous, the texture amazingly light and fluffy.
I have never before used such words and adjectives to describe quinoa—and I love quinoa and have since before the turn of the century (something else I doubt I’ve ever said before). Toasted Quinoa may be my new best friend. I’m guessing it will become yours, too.
I always get asked if I know any easy, raw desserts that can be good for the holidays. My two-year-old son really likes this recipe for gingerbread chia pudding. It has become a holiday staple for us. It’s really easy and delicious. Changing recipes for the holiday season is all about using the base recipes and then just changing and experimenting with the spices and seasonings! Have fun with it!
*You can experiment with different nut milks. Try Brazilian, pistachio, almond, or cashew… To make your own nut milk, just use 1 C. nuts soaked overnight and blend with 2-½ C. water in a blender, high-speed for 20 seconds. Then squeeze through a nut-milk bag. It’s super-easy!
It often takes a number of tries to get a recipe “right,” meaning I like it a lot and it’s ready to share. Definitely the case with this recipe for Honey-Roasted Apples. I experimented with different ways of cutting the apples, different varieties of apples, different flavorings, and different cooking temperatures. The night I photographed and ate an entire batch of Honey-Roasted Apples for dinner, I knew I had a winner. They were fragrant, complex, flavorful, tender, easy, and oh so delicious. A word of warning—only make Honey-Roasted Apples when there are other people around so you can share them!
Beginning in September, a few friends brought me bags of just-picked apples from their trees. These crisp, fragrant, juicy apples, in unknown varieties, came in colors from yellow to pale green to deep red. When I experimented with roasting them, some split open while others, looking great on the outside, had turned mushy on their inside.
Perhaps you’ve begun noticing a strange rather alien looking vegetable appearing at your local supermarkets and farmers’ market. Some of you may even have received a few of them in your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. If that alien vegetable looks anything like this photo, what you have, dear friends, is a celeriac, also known as celery root. Two popular ways of preparing celeriac include peeled, grated and eaten raw or peeled, diced and cooked with potatoes and mashed.
Today I offer you a third way inspired by Israeli-British celebrity chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. And now I, too, both suggest serving the celeriac unpeeled and roasted whole with coriander and olive oil. Try roasted celeriac as a meal in itself, serving it straight from the oven for dinner or from the fridge the next day for lunch. Whether hot or cold the flavors are perfect together. The celeriac richly flavored and luxuriously tender, the oil flavorful and the burst of flaky salt addictive.
Perhaps you’ve seen photos of the beautiful, deep purple lavender fields in the South of France. Each field a quilt of perfectly rounded mounds of flowering lavender as far as the eye can see. For years my bucket list included walking a field of blooming lavender flowers enfolded in their soothing, aromatic fragrance. Last July, right here in Montana, I did just that. On a hillside overlooking Flathead Lake at the Purple Mountain Lavender Farm, I walked among hundreds of sweet-smelling lavender plants in hues of purple, pink and white. Heavenly.
Relax with Lavender. One of our most powerful senses, the sense of smell, impacts both our mood and well-being. A recent study from London’s King’s College confirmed lavender’s ability to relieve anxiety. The lead researcher wrote that lavender worked so well that it would make for “on-the-spot anxiety reduction in dentists’ waiting rooms.”