Mediterranean Nights

There was a large box awaiting me.

Covered in silver foil paper, and bound with a satin bow, it shone like starlight. Too large for a dress or shoes. And it weighed a ton. What on earth could it be? 

Beneath the petals of colored paper lay a most exciting surprise.

Not a tiger print coat.
Not a tiny sailboat.
Not a collection of rare books. 

(But a divine gift for one who cooks.)

An earthen clay cazuela. A beautiful, coveted kitchen accomplice from a faraway land.

As a lover of Spanish everything, 
I must admit that I have a mad little obsession with the traditional clay cookware of the region. And though I’ve dragged countless plates, bowls, lanterns, and cushions across the sea, I’d never once considered a cooking vessel amongst my swag. 

Probably because it would take up valuable shoe room in my valise.

I travel light. Sort of.

I travel light. Sort of.


These sultry Summer nights always make me dream of Spain.

I’ve been craving a classic: the ubiquitous and wildly tasty tortilla de patatas, a tapas staple found absolutely everywhere. Hearty, delicious, and somewhat resembling a potato fritatta, it's come-hither comfort food bar none. The trick? Doing it justice without using eggs. 

But you know how I love a challenge.

So, on a 90 degree day, what does a Lioness do? Fires up the oven, of course.

Tantalizing Tortilla

  • 6 small organic red potatoes, sliced thinly (skins on)
  • 1/2 organic green pepper, chopped
  • 1 C organic chickpea flour (besan)
  • 2-1/4 C pure water
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked black salt
  • Olive oil 

Now, of course, you can make this without any imported pots and pans, but I do suggest a shallow baking dish once it's ready for the oven, in order to get the purrfect consistency. You could even use a pie dish. And it absolutely must be round. For the Sun. For the Moon. Just because.

Warm up a generous swish of olive oil on a low flame until you can feel the heat just above. Toss in the garlic, and allow it to dance just until it turns translucent and releases its heady aroma. Now place the potatoes in, separating the slices with your fingers. Next sprinkle in the green pepper. Give it a gentle tossing to mingle the flavors and coat the potatoes. Let it gently cook until the potatoes are tender.

In a small saucepan, pour the water, and gradually whisk in the chickpea flour on a low flame, until it becomes frothy. Add in the nutritional yeast and black salt, and keep whisking while the mixture gets hotter. It will thicken as it heats. Be careful not to make lumps! If you do, add a teeny bit more water and whisk like mad until it becomes smooth again. Pour it over the potatoes, and mix it well.

Now, pour it into your baking dish, and pop it into the oven for a good 45-50 minutes.

When you take it out, let it cool, Loves. It needs to rest after such a  passionate romp! If you dig in too soon, it won't have a firm texture, and will be jiggly. Take a nap for an hour, then come back to it. 

Oh, and when you do...

You're not going to believe how tasty this is! I was revved when I first took a bite.  So flavorful, and so close to my memory of it's non-vegan friend I'd known in my travels. For eggs, you see, were the last thing to go on my menu.

It even smelled eggy! Mmmmm! The secret? Black salt. 

Those of you who have followed my adventures for a while know that I consider smoked black salt quite the magical ingredient. (You can read about it here.) Somehow, combined with the nutritional yeast and the chickpea flour, the scent and flavor of a baked egg dish is right on...with MAJOR nutrients to boot! Loaded with quality protein, beauty-boosting minerals, B vitamins, fiber, and iron, its a most purrfectly satisfying dish that's easy to pack for lunch or a picnic, and just as easy on your wallet.

My fave way to enjoy tortilla? On a warm Summer evening beneath the stars.

Try it with a tossed dark green salad and my Amorous Ajo Blanco for a sublime supper on a balmy night. And share it with someone you love.

Estar bien mis amores!

xxx Alise

Follow




More Come Hither Comfort Foods

Because we can't get enough.

Rich, warm, oohey-gooey madness

served up with a side of sultry...

Could it be?

Macaroni and Cheese??

Hell yes!

But this isn't Kraft, baby.

That's kid stuff.

And we prefer more...adult...activities, don't we?

*ahem*

This classic has been given a magically seductive makeover, of course, 

because you're too hot for that processed crap.

And, for that matter, the home-cooked bloaty dairy version too.

This one is kind to your belly, your skin, and to those sweet cows.

So dig in.

(Sensually, of course.)

You know you want it.

You know you want it.

Remember a few posts back when I asked you to buy white miso to make that delightful vegan yogurt? Well, the remainder is still sitting in your fridge. Go get it. We're gonna concoct something sooo delish, you'll forget that it's actually good for you. 

Hot Mama Mac and Cheese

Serves two.

For the Sauce:

  • 1 3/4 C unsweetened organic almond or cashew milk
  • 5 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1/4 C virgin coconut oil. melted
  • 1/3 C nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp white miso
  • 1 Tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • A good Pinch-n-Grind (Celtic salt and black pepper)

(And one package of quinoa elbow pasta.)

This is, literally, as easy as opening a box of powdered orange food coloring with some noodles at the bottom. Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth. Pour them into a saucepan. Heat the mixture on a very low flame, stirring every few minutes, until it begins to bubble. The sauce will thicken as it heats.

While that's shimmying, boil some water in a larger pot. When it's rolling, add in your quinoa pasta and a splash of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. (Keep stirring to avoid a giant clump of semi-hard noodle paste.)

When it's done (8-10 min.), drain and add into your now-thickened cheesy sauce. If you need it thicker, add in a tiny bit more tapioca flour and keep heating.

You are gonna love this!

Feast, my Beasties.

Enjoy every slippery bite.

Oh!

Come here.

You've got some sauce on your lip...

xxx Alise

Alise In Wonderland




The Moon, The Goat, and The Flowers

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Year of The Goat. 

Fantastic.

My beloved friend, Mario, not really digging the idea of leaving his house this Winter. I hear ya, baby.

My beloved friend, Mario, not really digging the idea of leaving his house this Winter. I hear ya, baby.

The story goes that Buddha invited all animals to join him on the Lunar New Year, but only twelve showed. Can you imagine? I can only guess that they were off doing very amazing things to miss such an auspicious gathering. So he named a year for every animal present, bestowing the characteristics of that animal, with its corresponding element, on each year. 

2015 comes sweeping in as the Year of The Wood Goat (also Sheep and Ram), and with it the promise of positive emotions and steamy erotic encounters. Mmmmm! 

We can also look forward to a peaceful home environment, a more laid-back vibe between people around us, and...are you ready?

Soaring,

Sparkling,

Enchanted

CREATIVITY!

No matter what art form you choose, if it comes from down deep and makes your butterfly heart sing, it's got Lunar-powered success written all over it.

See? It's happening! GO. FOR. IT. RIGHT. NOW. 

Well, ok, so he ventures out to see little ol' me... I LOVE this guy.

Well, ok, so he ventures out to see little ol' me... I LOVE this guy.

As Chinese New Year celebrates wealth, longevity, and happiness, my offering to you, sweet Horned Ones, are delicate, tasty blossoms, filled with love and life, just bursting open with symbolic traditional talismans, and adorned with petals of magical significance...

This vibrant and very pretty dish can be eaten as an appetizer for a party, or as a full meal for two - with a raw salad first, of course, for easy digestion and maximum health and beauty benefits. 

It begins with a dark and delightful black rice. 

Black foods in the ancient Daoist tradition contained the most amount of Jing, or life-force, so whenever possible choose them over their pale counterparts. (It's all about the Jing, Lovers. Trust me on this.) It is said that rice carries the magical gift of wealth, and if, when cooking it, a ring forms around the edge of the pot, the owner will become rich! A purrfectly logical reason to fire that cauldron wayyy up...

Adding fortune's fire to our ritual concocting here are sesame seed, cabbage, ginger, and lettuce. (Lettuce is also always included in Chinese New Year celebrations for prosperity and a fresh start.)

And how about a bit of garlic for good health? Orange and lime for love?

You got it.

Prosperity Flowers

Makes 13 Flowers

  • 4 oz. black or wild rice, organic
  • 1-1/4 C pure water
  • 1 Tbsp raw organic coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 organic red pepper, chopped
  • 1-1/2 C. organic red cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp organic ground ginger, or 1/4" piece fresh grated
  • 2 Tbsp organic Nama Shoyu (a healthier version of soy sauce, found in health food stores)
  • 1/2 C cilantro, chopped
  • 2 sprigs mint, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 drops Lime essential oil
  • 3 drops Wild Orange essential oil

For the Sauce

  • 3/4 C organic Nama Shoyu
  • 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 drop Lime essential oil
  • 1 drop Wild Orange essential oil

This dish comes together easily, so light and energizing, but don't mistake that for fluffiness in the power department. That holds true for all plant foods, especially when they're raw. So, light your candle, set your intention, and let the energy build...

Boil the water in a small saucepan, then add in the rice. Return it to a boil (remember that "ring around the pot!") , then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover it, and let it cook for 20-30 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. 

While the rice is coming into it's own, fire up a large pot slowly, adding in the coconut oil when it's hot, and letting it quietly melt. In goes the chopped garlic, sizzling gently until just translucent and madly fragrant.

There's something indescribably rich about the scent of garlic warming in coconut oil. It's absolutely mouth-watering.

Sprinkle the ginger on top of the garlic, give it a stir, and let it mingle a few minutes. Then add in the cabbage and peppers. Move it all around. Splash in some Shoyu sauce, and give it one more good stir.

While the vegetables cook, whip up your sauce. Whisk together the shoyu and coconut nectar until they are blended. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oils. Whisk it again, then set it aside. (By the time you're ready to plate, the flavors will be mingled.)

Oh, and toast the sesame seeds. Just warm them in a little pan on the stove until they brown and smell outrageously nutty. Try not to burn them.

When the veggies are cooked to your desired tenderness, remove the pot from the flame. Let it cool somewhat. You want the mixture to be warm going into the lettuce flowers, not hot. Toss in the fresh cilantro and mint (more love and money!), and, finally, the oils. 

Spoon it into the lettuce flowers, and arrange them beautifully on a plate with the sauce. Sprinkle the sesame seeds around like little wishes...

These are so flavorful, fresh-tasting, and yummy you'll want to make them all the time!

To you, Beloved Beasties,

I wish a most energizing New Moon, 

and a Lunar year filled with everything your heart desires.

And goats.

Goats are fabulous.

 

All My Love To You,

xxx Alise

 

 

 

Rockstar Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar

I've made it my mission,

Lovers,

to introduce you to my most fabulous food friends,  

my cheekiest culinary cohorts,

my rockstar retinue...

I want you to meet a very sassy friend of mine.

Perhaps you've seen her around?

You really should get to know her...

Morning cocktails at Maison Marie

Morning cocktails at Maison Marie

Apple cider vinegar.

Let me give you a little backstory on this babe.

She was a good friend of Hippocrates, who noted her antibiotic talents and recommended her to his ailing patients.  Need more star power than that?

She:

Restores body ph-alkalinity. The standard Western diet creates an acidic pH in our bodies, and many health problems are attributed to this, such as allergies, acne, high cholesterol, joint pain, weight loss, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, dandruff, chronic fatique, candida, sore throat, gum infection, sinus infection, flu, acid reflux, leg cramps and ear infections. Though vinegars are acidic, apple cider vinegar actually has an alkaline effect on the body, restoring the pH balance and assisting in the healing of these ailments. It is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-bactrial. Need more? It's used to help dissolve kidney stones, lower high blood pressure, and contains nearly all of the essential vitamins and minerals the body needs for optimum functioning. KInd of awesome, no?

Keeps your smile bright. Brush with it, followed by brushing with your favorite natural toothpaste, to remove stains that dull your gorgeous grin. Do it continually for stubborn stains, and your friends will swear you've had them professionally whitened.

Banishes nasty fleas from your familiars. I don't believe in harming any living thing. Unless you are messing with my cats. Then, mofos, you have me to deal with.  Mix up an inexpensive potion to get those f**kers OFF your animal friends:

  • 8 oz. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 oz. warm, pure water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Mix it all together in a spray bottle, and spray onto their coats, rubbing in gently with your hands. You could also dip a flea comb into the mixture, and comb your fur baby with it.

Seasons a sunburn. Apply apple cider vinegar generously to your heated skin with either a spray bottle (rub it in!) or with a cotton pad. Yes, you will smell like a salad. And, yes, your sunburn will be transformed into a golden goddess tan. It's an ancient folk remedy, and it works. Just follow up with a liberal douse of essential oil-based perfume.

Reduces heartburn. You can mix one or two tablespoons into a glass of pure water, and drink in between meals, at least an hour before or after you eat. **Important to note: drinking water or any beverage with a meal causes digestive acids to dilute, making digestion difficult, which creates bellyaches and bloating. Sip if you must, but as a rule drink between meals. Or, knock back a shot a soon as symptoms arise.

Stops crazy hiccups. Hiccups are often caused by either low stomach acid slowing the digestion of protein, or eating too much. Because apple cider vinegar restores the acid balance in the stomach, it can ease irritating spasms of the diaphragm. Try a tablespoon and see.

Soothes a cranky tummy. Just like how it's used for heartburn and hiccups, apple cider vinegar can ease your belly woes. 

Stabilizes blood sugar. Studies have been conducted with people who suffer from type 2 diabetes, noting that apple cider vinegar lowers glucose levels.

Keeps your mane manageable. Yes! A water/apple cider vinegar rinse will remove residue from your hair and scalp, detangle, and seal the hair cuticle, making major shine. Just use a 50/50 blend (say, 1/4 cup of each?) and either pour onto your hair after washing, or spritz it from a spray bottle. Let it work its magic for a few minutes, then rinse really well. You won't need a conditioner unless your hair is mega dry. Hello, smooth and shiny tresses!

Beautifies your skin.  Apple cider vinegar balances your skin's dry-to-oily ration, and prepares your skin to drink all the tantalizing potions you follow it with. Here's my Witches secret to purrfectly toned skin: Boil your favorite magic herbs into a tea. Allow it to steep for 30 minutes on a very slight simmer, then cool completely. Add one part vinegar to two parts herbal infusion. Now you can spray onto your skin with a mist bottle, or daub it on with a cotton pad. I'll be brewing up a few batches soon as part of my new shop (!) so check back with me for skin-type-specific formulations. 

(Oh, and add a splash to your bath with your fave essential oils for a silky bod).


Ahh...my friend ACV. She's so amazing.

How do we spend our time together, you ask?

Well, I like to knock back a shot everyday, first thing, often with a teaspoon of turmeric mixed in. Me-yow! I also splash in a salad at least three times a week, but my absolute fave, especially in Summer months, is a yummy, tonic, thirst quenching potion:

  • 1 32 oz. bottle organic unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 C raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar 
  • Liquid vanilla stevia to taste
  • 1 Tbsp ground organic cinnamon

Mix this all together in a glass, lidded container, and store it in the fridge. If the cinnamon floating around bugs you, strain it through a cheesecloth first. (You can adjust the strength by adding some pure water if it's too strong for you.) Enjoy it with fresh lemon slices in a gorgeous glass, or serve it to guests in a beautiful pitcher. 

My dear friends,

Sålut! To your health!

xxx Alise

Follow me on Bloglovin'