Recently, I have arrived to the remote mountains of Idaho where I will be working with some private clients for part of the summer. It is proving to be an amazing place that will help me clear my head and bring new inspiration to the kitchen. The last couple of weeks have been powerful and I have a story I’d like to share with you…
In 2005, I participated in a competition on Food Network to create the next Häagen-Dazs ice cream flavor. I was 1 of 3 finalists, but I didn’t win. Six months later Häagen-Dazs called me and said they still wanted to produce my ice cream, giving me the grand prize money anyway. Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle (or TCSB as some of us refer) was born and sold on the shelves for a few years as a Limited Edition flavor. It was pretty damn tasty.
The experience was amazing, as were the kindred connections that I developed with some of the production company crew. Very shortly thereafter, Corrina Robins, Mike Harris and I brainstormed about a food/travel show where I would trek across the world on a very tight budget: staying with families and learning about food. Then, Corrina became pregnant, I became the chef for a pro-athlete and the idea was shelved.
In 2007, Mike helped me edit some footage I had once shot in Guatemala into a short “sizzle reel” meant for distribution to networks. My camera skills in those days left a lot to be desired, and the reel never did sizzle. He was unbelievably patient with me as we poured over hours of footage, futilely hoping for a shred of brilliance to emerge from the project. He did make something genius out of the nonsense, but it never went anywhere.
More recently, over the last year, Mike and I had begun discussing a cooking show with a twist. We were trying to get some traction with a network, but the problem was that I didn’t have a “calling card” of the current me. It was time to invest in the filming of a video.
On March 15th, 2014 with the dedicated help and vision of Rebecca Carter, Daniel Doty, Anthony Esposito, Cameron McDonald, Cristy Padial, Robert Shaw, and my “cooking class cast,” the footage was shot and passed over to Mike. He skillfully organized an entire day’s worth of tape, with a touch of micromanaging from Rebecca and me, into four minutes of something pretty special.
The video was almost perfect and hours from completion when Mike was hospitalized with a sudden onset of pneumonia. Two weeks later he was in a coma with a collapsed lung and excessive brain damage. In the early hours of May 29th, Mike passed away. “That’s a wrap,” his unwaveringly strong wife, Sonja, posted to the hundreds of friends keeping vigil.
The debut of this video is incredibly bittersweet, but it is time to let it fly, in honor of Michael Harris.
This is the final finished project of his exceptional career. With the few unfinished details, it is perfection. Thank you, dear Mike, for your tireless efforts to edit this world into a better place, your dedication to your family, your wit and snarky loving sarcasm and for the imprint that you left on our lives. You are a warmth in our hearts forever.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the making of this video, and to all of you that have supported my journey along the way! We’d love to hear your comments.
We all LOVE pizza right? This recipe will give you an excuse to eat it more often…Yay! This is also an easier and faster alternative to a cauliflower crust as you don’t have to cook the carrots (as you do the cauliflower) before you make the “dough”. It’s gluten free (can be made vegan) and packed with veggies but still has that “pizza” feel without being naughty…even though naughty is good sometimes!
This one is covered in pesto, queso fresco (that’s what I had in the fridge) and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Pizza with Carrot Crust
For the crust~
3-1/2 cups chopped carrots, unpeeled
1 cup sliced almonds
4 large cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
A good pinch of salt
3 large farm fresh eggs
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce or pesto
1/2-1 cup any cheese such as mozzarella, feta or goat cheese
Sliced cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes as needed
Kalamata olives or capers
Sauteed mushrooms or spinach
Chopped fresh basil or oregano
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place carrots, almonds, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the oil and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade. Pulse until well broken down and very fine- like the consistency of rice. Remove the lid a few times and scraping down the sides. Add the egg and pulse again until combined. Consistency should be moist but not too loose.
Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper and lightly oil with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Divide the mixture in half. Press each half down on the baking sheet into a round and flat pizza shape about 1/4 inch thick (do not make too thin or it will break). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Using a flat spatula loosen the crust from the parchment all the way around. Top evenly with desired sauce and toppings and return to oven for 6-8 more minutes. Cut and serve!
Tips & Notes~
For a crunchier texture- add 1/2-3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese to the carrot mixture. You will want to decrease the salt however.
To make it Vegan- try substituting “flax eggs” for the farm eggs.
3 Tablespoons water + 1 Tablespoon ground flax = 1 egg
Everywhere people seem to be waking up to the idea of changing their diet for the better. Perhaps not everywhere, but the awareness is definitely growing.
The theory and practice of eating healthy, however, are two different things. We want to eat better, but how do we do it, and what should we eat?
With infinite diet philosophies out there, the route can be quite confusing…almost paralyzing. Even for someone who lives, sleeps, and breathes “healthy” food, I get confused. After a lot of reading, eating, and cultural study I think I finally have the answer. An answer that works for almost everyone, everywhere.
Eat more plants.
Seems like a no brainer, right? When you make plants the main focus of your diet, you are making good choices for your body and the planet.
Does this mean that we should only eat plants? That works for some people, but not for everyone. We can’t all thrive on the same diet. Perhaps you don’t feel complete without some meat and dairy. Then have some! But don’t forget to pile the veggies onto your plate, as well. Listen to your body. Perhaps even indulge in the occasional “junk food.”
Think of it as adding things into your diet, not about taking away. We need to be realistic about what we can attain for the long haul. I, for one, will never abstain from my favorite treat of chips and salsa with margaritas…you cannot make me! I will, however, have a green juice or smoothie and a salad beforehand.
Eat less from a box and more from the earth. Stay away from ingredients you cannot pronounce, and fill your grocery basket with produce. Make the veggies the star of the show…the other stuff should just have a supporting role.
If you can shop at a farmers market, do it. If you can buy organic, do it. If not, by simply choosing to make fruits and veggies the focus of your meals, you have made the most important impact on your health. Plants provide vital nutrients and enzymes that you do not get from other foods. They are also low in calories, so you can eat more…that’s good news, right? You will feel better, lose weight and save money on the doctor.
I am lucky, I LOVE my veggies. If you are programmed to think that you don’t like vegetables, then take a look on this site, or better yet, come to a cooking class if you can…I promise I will change your mind!
This recipe is a revelation…a way to indulge and feel great about it! True alfredo sauce is one of these foods that is pretty much on the “do not eat” list. But this recipe takes it to another level, fun, delicious, unique…oh and vegan, gluten free to boot! Do not fear however…it will KNOCK your socks (or tastebuds) off!
Zucchini Alfredo Pasta
4-5 large zucchini, ends trimmed- (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 4+ hours
Core of 1 grated zucchini
3 large cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast*
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon reserved liquid from zucchini
1+ Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon mellow white miso paste
Salt to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Makes 4 servings
Trim the ends of the zucchini and then julienne lengthwise on a mandolin or with a julienne peeler as far as you can go. Save the core of 1 zucchini for the sauce, and the rest for another use such as a stir fry.
Place the shredded zucchini into a bowl with the salt and toss well. Set it aside for 20+ minutes to allow the salt to draw out the liquid out of the zucchini. When you can see liquid released at the bottom of the bowl: use a clean lint-free kitchen towel or cheesecloth to squeeze the zucchini and remove excess liquid. Squeeze into a small bowl and reserve.
Drain the cashews and place in the blender. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and blend well. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Place the zucchini ribbons in a large sauté pan and heat gently over medium heat, heating it through but not cooking. Add the sauce, lightly salt and toss well. Pile onto a large platter or plate individually and top with a little drizzle of olive oil and some chopped basil or parsley if desired.
Tips & Notes~
Watch our Mandolin 101 video for a full demo on how to use one of my favorite kitchen tools!
This sauce also works well over whole wheat or quinoa pasta and veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower.
If you do not have the yeast you can use parmesan cheese but it will not be vegan and you will need to use less salt to season.
*Nutritional Yeast is the byproduct of the molasses brewing process. It is high in all sorts of B vitamins and has a “cheesy”flavor. You can find in heath food stores usually in the bulk section or near the spices. This is complexity different than regular yeast and is not interchangeable. You can however use brewers yeast if you cannot find but it is not gluten free.
**Miso paste is available in many grocery stores in the refrigerated section. There is white, yellow, brown and red miso. “Mellow white” or “sweet white” will be the most mild. You can however use any kind for this recipe but you may need to decrease the amount a bit if you are using a stronger one.
Chips and Guacamole are one of my favorite snacks…I even make it a meal sometimes. These baked yuca chips are an easy and healthy alternative that are unique and of course vegan and gluten free to boot. They are super easy! Did I mention delicious?
I am thrilled to announce that I am working on my first cookbook. It will feature some of The Naked Bite’s most popular and requested vegetarian recipes from our cooking classes, catering and personal chef work.
Before we publish these recipes, we need to test the heck out of them! That’s where you come in. The Naked Bite is seeking recipe testers. If you are interested, please read the requirements below and then submit an application.
Recipe Tester Information & Requirements
- When you receive a recipe, you will be able to make the recipe and provide feedback within 10 days.
- The recipe must be followed EXACTLY as written. (There will be room for you to provide your suggestions later.)
- Be able to take a photo of the finished product and upload the photo to our post-recipe survey.
- Take detailed notes and provide very detailed feedback via our survey.
- This is a volunteer position. There will be no monetary compensation or reimbursement for ingredients and supplies. But, it will be exciting to be a part of bringing this cookbook to life!
- Besides basic kitchen equipment, we do require that our testers have a blender OR a food processor.
- No sharing or publishing of the recipes. Remember: you will be part of a team testing top-secret recipes prior to publication!
- Applying does not guarantee that you will be selected as a tester. We need a variety of skill sets to test the recipes, and only have a limited number of spaces available.
Thank you for your interest! The application period has now closed! What an amazing response!
This wrap is incredibly easy and can stand in as a full meal. Treat the recipe as a blank canvas and add anything that you think might be good. Jazz up the rice a bit, or use a different sauce. Make it Asian with a soy dipping sauce, or take a Latin or Italian route…get creative!
Mixed Veggie Brown Rice Wrap with Garlic Tahini Sauce
2 collard greens or large Tuscan kale leaves, stems trimmed
2 cups cooked brown rice
3 cups mixed shredded veggies such as carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini, red cabbage
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
A handful of bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts
2 scallions thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Makes 2 servings