A interesting holiday recipe or an easy weeknight meal, these babies are quick and full of creative options if you’re feeling’ fancy. Sweet potatoes and yams (different species but interchangeable in most recipes) are bursting with flavor and nutrients and have far more to offer your body than a regular white potato. Twice baked white potatoes are typically loaded with greasy cheese, bacon and not much else good for ya- while these Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Kale & Goat Cheese are an interesting and delicious alternative. This recipe can also be made entirely vegan or you can jazz it up even more with some high quality pastured bacon and anything else the might tickle your fancy. Check out the “tips & notes” for some fun ideas and watch the video for the quick 411 on how to make it happen!
There are a few kitchen tools that I find indispensable; A good chef’s knife (8-10 inches), a Vitamix, a food processor and a Japanese mandolin. While the first three are pretty awesome, nothing will turn your veggies into effortless, professional-looking works of art quite like the mandolin. The best part? It is CHEAP, easy to clean, stores super easily in a drawer, no muss no fuss.
There are 4 different blades that you can use:
Flat- for things like sliced onions, fennel, paper thin squash, root veggie slices, cheese etc
Thinner Strips (3-4mm wide)- a medium julienne, great for many veggies for salad, sandwiches, pickling etc
Super Duper Baby Strip (1-2mm wide)- works only with very dense veggies like carrots, and other root veg
Whatever you do- do not use the silly plastic guard that is included (not pictured here as I promptly throw it out!), invest the $10 in a pair of nylon mesh gloves that will SAVE YOUR FINGERS :). See the video above for the full demo…I promise you will fall in love!
1 cup nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds or a mixture of
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries
1 heaping packed cup pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1-2 Tablespoons filtered water, if needed
Makes 12 bars or 24 balls
Place the nuts, chia seeds, coconut flakes and sunflower or pumpkin seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. If you would like some more texture in the bars you can take out a little of the nuts, coconut and seeds before mixing and add them in later.
Add the dates, cranberries and the cocoa nibs and blend until the mixture begins to come together in a sticky dough. If this is not quite happening you can add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until it is sticky and moist and will come together easily in your hands. At this time mix in the chunky pieces if you kept some aside and pulse just until blended.
Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper and press the mixture down into a rectangle about 1/3 of an inch thick, making the sides as even as possible.
Place in the fridge for 1 hour. Remove and flip over onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment. Cut into 12 even pieces and store in a glass container or wrap individually in plastic wrap for easy transportation.
The faster method is to roll the dough between your palms into balls about 1 ½ inch diameter.
Both methods will keep in fridge for up to a month or at room temperature for a week.
Pesto is one of the easiest things to make and it is such a versatile condiment. I use it for sandwiches, over eggs, as a source for grilled veggies or fish or as a dip. I like to change up the classic version by using different herbs and nuts, sometimes I make it vegan by using nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. This formula will work using the classic basil/pine nut combo or you can experiment a bit!
This recipe has changed my life, seriously. As an ice cream addict I needed to find another healthier route…this Banana Ice Cream (or “nice” cream) is it! It has become a nightly treat and a healthy one that I feel good about. Fast, vegan, gluten and dairy free it is a staple!
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.