WARM, SWEET, AND SPICY PUNCH FOR HAPPY HOLIDAY TOASTING

Latin-Twist-cover-300Authors' photo

 

As a food blogger, my aim is to share those tasty bites and sips I think you will find as delightful as I do. I recently had the pleasure of meeting two exceptional authors and food bloggers at a presentation at Melissa’s Produce in Los Angeles (Melissas.com). Vianney Rodriguez and Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack teamed up to create a true thirst-quencher, Latin Twist, a gorgeous book filled with 97 traditional cocktail recipes from 18 Latin countries plus Spain.

At Melissa’s I was sampling five delicious “mocktails,” that is, the cocktails without alcohol. After tasting Ponche Navideno, I was enthralled with the flavors imparted by the exceptional combination of fruits, some familiar and some exotic. Not only did this festive beverage taste great, but it also emitted irresistibly sweet, spicy, and fruity aromas throughout the room. This was a recipe I knew I must share.

Don’t let the 20 servings discourage you from making this wonderfully satisfying punch. If you’re not serving a large group, you’ll have plenty for a cozy gathering of celebrants to enjoy seconds and thirds. You’ll need a large stockpot, about an 8- to 10-quart size.

PONCHE NAVIDENO

Ponche Navideno(Mexican Christmas Fruit Punch)

 Ponche Navideño is a hot punch served with or without alcohol during the holiday season and most generally during Las Posadas. On those chilly nights this fragrant infusion warms you from the inside out. The intoxicating aroma and perfumed air in your home will certainly entice your guests to give the drink a try. After that, they’re hooked. Brandy or tequila can be added, making it Ponche con Piquete (punch with a sting).

Makes 20 servingsCinnamon sticks

16 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

5 long tamarind pods, husk removed, and seededTamarind pods

1/2 pound tejocotes or crab apples, left whole

6 large guavas, peeled and cut into large bite-size chunks

2 red apples (of your choice), peeled, cored, and cut into small bite-size chunks

1 pear (of your choice), peeled, cored, and cut into small bite-size chunks

2 (4-inch) sugarcane sticks, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 cup pitted prunespiloncillo

1/2 cup dark raisins

1 orange, sliced

8 ounces piloncillo, chopped, or 1 cup dark brown sugar

1 ounce brandy or tequila per cup (optional)

Directions:

Ponche NavidenoPlace the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, tamarind pods, and tejocotes or crab apples in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. After it starts to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tejocotes are soft.

Remove the tejocotes or crab apples from the pot with a slotted spoon, peel, remove hard ends, cut in half, and deseed. Return them to the pot.

Add the guavas, apples, pear, sugarcane, prunes, raisins, orange slices, and piloncillo. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring gently. Discard cinnamon sticks and cloves.

To serve, ladle into coffee cups or mugs, making sure each cup gets some chunks of fruit. If desired, add 1 ounce of brandy or tequila to each cup.

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The two charming authors generously shared another warm, fruit-filled punch recipe from from Latin Twist that’s typically enjoyed at Christmas. Ponche de Frutas is similar to Ponche Navideno but has a few additional exotic flavors such as coconut, plantain, and a hint of ginger. Both can be sipped and thoroughly enjoyed with or without alcohol.

PONCHE DE FRUTAS

Makes 15 servings

16 cups waterhandful allspice berries

3 cinnamon sticks

4 whole allspice

1-inch piece fresh ginger

5 whole cloves

2 (8-ounce) bags dried fruit mix

1 pineapple, husked, cored, and diced

1/2 medium papaya, diced

4 red apples, diced

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup prunesplantains

1/2 cup raisins

3 plantains, diced

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark rum (optional)

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil with the cinnamon sticks, allspice, ginger, and cloves.

Add dried fruit mix, pineapple, papaya, apples, and coconut. Follow with prunes, raisins, plantains, and sugar. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring gently. When the fruit is cooked and sugar dissolved, remove from the heat and pour in the rum (if using).

Serve hot with some of the diced fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAN’T BEET POMEGRANATE SALAD FOR THANKSGIVING!

sharonpalmer_headshot3Sharon Palmer RD generously shares her beautifully composed BEET AND POMEGRANATE SALAD to start the holiday meal with a pack of antioxidants packaged so appealingly no one will turn down a hearty serving.

Sharon has created an award-winning profession based on combining her two great loves–food and writing. As a registered dietitian with 16 years of health care experience, she channels her nutrition experience into writing features covering health, wellness, nutrition, and cuisine. Sharon is also a passionate writer about food and environmental issues, having published a number of features on plant-based diets, hunger, agriculture, local and organic foods, eco-friendly culinary practices, sustainability, food safety, and food security. Over 850 of Sharon’s features have been published in a variety of publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, 6x9Prevention, Oxygen, LA Times, Cooking Smart, and CULINOLOGY. Her books include The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health Beginning Today and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes. Sharon is the editor of the acclaimed health newsletter, Environmental Nutrition and nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian. She writes every day for her popular Plant-Powered Blog. In addition, Sharon is a nutrition advisor for the Oldways Vegetarian130 Network and served as a judge for the James Beard Journalism awards. She was the proud recipient of the Loma Linda University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013.

Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting the local farmers market every week and cooking for friends and family.

Beet and Pomegranate Seed Salad pic3BEET AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

Ingredients:
4 cups packed mixed baby greens
2 cups packed assorted micro-greens
2 cups sliced baby beets, cooked and chilled
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:
1. Arrange the baby greens in a salad bowl or on a platter. Top with the micro-greens.
2. Arrange the beets on top of the micro-greens and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
3. Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, black pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

ACORN SQUASH GETS SOME SWEET LOVE!

MAPLE SQUASHFOR ZEL MAPLE BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE Award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. Ms. Theodore is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy SQUASH LAURA ZELVegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host of the weekly Jazzy Vegetarian cooking show on PBS and she hosts the podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio. Laura has made guest appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, and she was recently featured on The Talk on CBS <https://vimeo.com/79038409> , Insider/Entertainment Tonight, News 4-NBC, Fox News 8, Better TV, and WCBS Radio. Laura has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, VegNews, Family Circle, Readers Digest, PBS Food, Naked Food and Healthy Aging, among many others. A love for good food, compassion for animals, and enthusiasm for great music has created a joyous life path for Laura Theodore. Read more at: http://www.lauratheodore.com <http://www.lauratheodore.com>

MAPLE BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Makes 4 servings
2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the acorn squash halves, cut-side-up, on the prepared baking pan. Put 2 heaping teaspoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon margarine, and π teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in the center of each squash.
Tent with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is soft and filling is bubbling.

HELP SANTA DELIVER HOMEMADE GIFTS!

 Scrub bestGRAPEFRUIT AND POPPY SEED SUGAR SCRUB

For the friend or family member who really adores body care products, this homemade, Bow w:pineconecreamy white and almond-scented body scrub makes such a welcome holiday gift. Also unique is that a body scrub makes a delightful departure from the calorie-laden baked goodies that are so popular for holiday gifting. And it takes practically no time to whip it up in your home kitchen.

Recipe by Poppy of Bunny Kitchen

Poppy portrait w:kittiesI have always had a deep connection with animals as far back as I can remember. It probably comes as no surprise, therefore, that I became a strict vegetarian at the age of 6 and am now a devout vegan in my twenties. I work in a wildlife hospital, treating and rehabilitating all kinds of wild animals for the hopeful eventual release back to the wild.

I am also studying in my final year forBow Hanukkah a degree in Animal Management, carrying out research into a disease affecting pigeons and other birds which causes great suffering, yet is much unstudied.

I share vegan recipes, DIY tips, inspirational animal stories and general health resources on Scrub side viewmy blog which has evolved somewhat over the years from an amateur baking blog to a fully vegan blog.

My spare time is usually centred around food, I love getting creative in the kitchen along with spending time with my 24 rescued pets!

GRAPEFRUIT AND POPPY SEED SUGAR SCRUB

Bow red & greenThis super exfoliating and pretty polka dot sugar scrub can be mixed up in minutes.

Per cup of scrub, mix together:

60ml/1/4 cup almond oilScrub top view

200g/1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

A few drops of vitamin e oil (optional)

 Then stir in:

8 drops of grapefruit essential oil.

 Jar and label and give as a thoughtful gift.

The finishing touch is a puffy, colorful bow taped to the top or one that’s wrapped around the jar.

Bow horiz

TARTS FOR DESSERT? YOU BET!!!

Raw Gingerbread Tartlet1 LR 1500px RAW GINGERBREAD AND CHOCOLATE TARTS

oliverioPlant-fueled since 2011, Annie Oliverio writes, runs, and cooks in the heart of Cattle Country. An enthusiastic “home chef,” Annie started her blog, An Unrefined Vegan, to share her passion for creating cruelty-free, unprocessed, whole food recipes that are delicious, healthful, and simple to prepare. Annie’s dishes contain little or no oil and her desserts are sweetened with fruit, dates, or stevia. It’s all about nurturing body, brain, and conscience.

Through her project, Virtual Vegan Potluck, she invites both vegan and non-vegan bloggers to share a twice-yearly online potluck, demonstrating how food can bring people together. Annie is currently writing and photographing her first cookbook, crave/eat/heal.

She has been fortunate to have as participants, cookbook authors Kathy Hester, Robin Robertson, Natalie Slater, Ellen Jaffe Jones, and Bryanna Clark Grogan. Read more about that event on her website, Virtual Vegan Potluck. Annie is also a recipe contributor to One Green Planet and a featured chef on Raw Food Recipes.

 RAW GINGERBREAD AND CHOCOLATE TARTS

 Makes 9

Crust:
1/2 cup pecans

1 tbsp. crystallized ginger
1 tbsp. cacao or cocoa powderRaw Gingerbread Tartlet3 750px LR
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
4 dates, chopped
1 tsp. dried ginger
1 tbsp. water

Chocolate layer:
4 tbsp. low-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp. agave nectar
4 tbsp. vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Filling:
1 banana, cut into chunks
1 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours, drained & rinsed
1/8 cup molasses
3 tbsp. low-fat coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
pinch ground cloves

~18 thin strips of crystallized ginger, for decoration
9 whole pecans, for decoration

Make the crust:
Have a 12-cup muffin pan at the ready.

In a food processor, combine the pecans, ginger, cacao powder, chia seeds, coconut flakes, dates, and dried ginger. Process until the nuts and dates are broken down into very small pieces. Add the water and process until the mixture starts to come together. The mixture should stick together when pinched.

Put 1 tbsp. of the mixture into each of 9 muffin cups. (You could probably eke out 10…) Press the crust firmly and uniformly down into each tin. Set aside while you prepare the chocolate layer.

Make the chocolate layer:
In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and melt over medium heat. This does not take long – so watch carefully so you don’t burn the chocolate. Whisk to thoroughly combine, then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the chocolate over the crust. Tap and tip the pan so that the chocolate completely coats the crusts. Place pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling:
In a high-speed blender, combine the banana, cashews, molasses, coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and spices and process until very smooth. You’ll need to tamp it down a few times to get a really smooth mixture. You want it silky with no little chunks of cashews. You can do this in a food processor, but it takes a long time and you won’t get that silky smoothness.

Once the filling is smooth, scrape it into a small bowl. This just makes working with it a little easier. Remove the muffin pan from the freezer and divide the filling between the cups. Place two strips of crystallized ginger on each tart and gently press in one pecan per tart. Refrigerate for several hours.

SRIRACHA AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS GET MARRIED!

 Randy's BrusselsMAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

WITH CRANBERRY WILD RICE

Randy Clemens is the author of The Sriracha Cookbook, The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook, and co-author of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. He is a graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts and a BJCP Recognized Beer Judge. When not writing for Los Angeles magazine and other stellar publications, he can sometimes be found cooking, playing baritone horn, practicing yoga, or just trying to help make the world a better place. If one (or more) of these things also tickles your fancy, you can follow Randy’s musings on Twitter via @SrirachaBook and @RandyClemensEsq. Photo of Randy Clemens by Tyler Graham.

RANDY CLEMENS 4l_aHNVby8iRpg0YdN6nEkE7pEoQyOvb5LV2lORGkKx3141NE=w1226-h582MAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRY WILD RICE
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Cranberry Wild Rice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leavesSRIRACHA COOKBOOK 3kIsrR-sDpX0rAPo8rV2h6b3XBz0O5_h2u7bhN0Rr7hObWeEuA=w1226-h582

1 1/2 cups wild rice

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Brussels Sprouts

1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup or raw agave nectar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Sriracha

1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

To make the rice, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves and sauté just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir until evenly coated. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is slightly toasted and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the stock to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the stubborn, tasty brown bits. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of stock and the cranberries. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and some of the grains have popped, 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess liquid.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, Sriracha, liquid aminos, and lime juice and whisk until well blended. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a nonstick or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet or a large cast-iron skillet and spread them in a single layer. Reserve any liquid left in the bowl. Bake the Brussels sprouts for about 25 minutes, until tender and browned.

To finish the rice and serve, add the walnuts to the rice without stirring. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and fluff with a fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Brussels sprouts over the rice, garnished with a healthy drizzle of the reserved maple-Sriracha dressing and a sprinkling of parsley.

You can use honey in place of the maple syrup if you wish. Raw orange blossom honey would be especially nice.

Reprinted with permission from The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes That Pack a Punch by Randy Clemens. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Text copyright © 2013 by Randy Clemens. Photographs copyright © 2013 by Leo Gong. Veggie Lovers Sriracha Cookbook

STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS–ALWAYS A HOLIDAY FAVORITE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADianne Wenz VeggiegirlDianne Wenz is a Holistic Health Counselor, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Plant-Based Nutrition Specialist. Dianne coaches people from across the country to help them improve their health and well-being, and she helps people make the dietary and lifestyle changes needed to go vegan. Dianne lives in New Jersey, where she runs the busy MeetUp group Montclair Vegans. Through the group she hosts monthly potlucks, runs charity bake sales and organizes guest speaker events. An avid cook and baker, Dianne also teaches cooking classes to local clients. She is also the editor-in-chief for ChicVegan.com, a website where compassionate fashionistas and vegan vixens meet up to discuss how they can make the world a better place for people and animals alike. Her articles and recipes have appeared on DevilGourmet.com, HotFromTheKettle.com and VegKitchen.com, and in Chickpea Magazine and T.O.F.U. Magazine.

To learn more, visit Dianne’s website http://www.veggiegirl.com, connect with her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VeggiegirlHHC, or follow her on Twitter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASTUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 medium-sized shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, chopped
  • 2 tightly packed cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the mushroom caps on it, upside down.
  3. Whisk together 3 teaspoons olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon sea salt OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  4. Brush in the mushrooms with the mixture and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until tender.
  5. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the shallots in the remaining olive oil for 5 – 10 minutes, until slightly brown and fragrant. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the spinach and broth. Remove from heat as soon as the spinach begins to wilt.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the shallot-spinach mixture, beans, parsley, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and the remaining sea salt and pepper.
  7. Stuff the mushrooms with the mixture. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra breadcrumbs and nooch if you’d like a little extra crunch. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until heated throughout.
  8. Serve hot. Enjoy!