Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

“There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you…”

Celebration” by Kool & The Gang is the perfect song to celebrate our one year anniversary of Kake2Kale!  Well, it is the perfect song for any celebration.  It came out in 1980, the year that our family moved out to the West Coast and the rest, as they say, is history.  This song was part of the soundtrack of my life as I acclimatized to a new city, school and friends.

Kale Lime Cake by Kake2Kale

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Pseudo French Toast

What is your earliest breakfast memory?  Mine goes back to my childhood in Hong Kong when I stayed for the weekend at my grandmother’s home and shared her breakfast.  She was born in Japan, hence, she served me pickled daikon, soft-boiled egg, toast, fruit and then a cup of tea with a generous amount of condensed milk.  I always looked forward to those weekends.  That hot cup of, beyond sweet, creamy flavourful tea still fortifies my soul when I think of it.  And I still use her technique to make the perfect soft-boiled egg.  I suppose I looked forward to those weekends because it was just the two of us.  She really made me feel special.

French Toast Kake2Kale.com

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Blossom Berry Smoothie

Vancouver is awash in freeze-framed explosions of bubble-gum-pink-awesomeness.  Magnolias, cherry and plum blossoms are on practically every block in the city. Their dazzling, blushing petals clear my mind of the gloomy grey days that plague our city over the winter months.  Getting eyefuls of blossoms evoke in me a sweetness tinged with sadness, knowing this eye candy is fleeting and will soon flutter away.

Making a Blossom Berry Smoothie is my way of rejoicing and recapturing the joy of springtime!

smoothie 4 Kake2Kale

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Valentine to a Golden Birdie

It wasn’t love at first sight, not even second sight. My “date” was quite verbose, but I was seduced by his vulnerability, the ease with which he stripped his….heart bare (clothes stayed on). Once I fell into his grasp, I fell hard for him. My husband knew of this love affair, and was fine with it because the object of my affection is a book, The Goldfinch. I devoured it for hours at a time, good thing I don’t have kids, otherwise I would surely have Child Services knocking on my door. I was swept away by the raw beauty of Donna Tartt’s writing, and how the main character wooed me into his inner life. The story unwound itself page by page and wrapped itself around me in sensurround. The Goldfinch in the title of the book refers to an actual painting that became very dear to the main character, but please go read it for yourself if you haven’t already.

I wanted to make an edible Valentine to The Goldfinch, and thought something lemony would be fitting. I decided to create golden cupcakes that are tart and sweet, which is one of the book’s messages, that is – even though your life may be sour, sweetness can still be found. Because the book is so substantial in content and length I wanted my cupcakes to be dense and substantial, almost like a pound cake quality.  For the love of The Goldfinch, below is my Valentine cupcake recipe.

Sweetheart Muffin Kake2Kale

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Cauliflower Steaks with Red Pepper and Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Cauliflower, The Next Kale?

Kale is everywhere it seems, in salads, in smoothies, made into chips, hidden in cake (check our first post), in our name. But perhaps it is time for the ubiquitous kale to move over and make room for another worthy vegetable. Which one shall it be, carrots, beets, jicama, iceberg lettuce, onions? Nope! The consensus of foodies ahead of the curve indicate it’s cauliflower!

My earliest memories of cauliflower, was of Mom serving it boiled and then topped with oyster sauce. I always welcomed this dish, as it tasted so homey, it was my comfort food while other kids had macaroni and cheese. Well, we had mac and cheese too, but only after Mom went to boot camp once she got accepted into the military, but let’s save that story for another time.

My mother-in-law liked to serve cauliflower cooked in cream of mushroom soup, and so my husband, asks me to make it every once in a while now. But of course, I make my own sauce if time permits, or I rely upon any of the organic versions available. Cream of mushroom soup was the “go to” ingredient in helping immigrant families become westernized. I ‘m sure our grocery list didn’t look much different from other immigrant families who wanted to fit in: Wonder bread, Shake and Bake, the mysterious cottage cheese, peanut butter, Spam, just to name a few. But back to the cream of mushroom soup, it dressed up chicken, pork, serving it just as a soup. Oh, those were the days before we found out how much sodium was in those tasty soups.

Who by now hasn’t had roasted cauliflower, pureed cauliflower, or cauliflower soup? But, what about cauliflower as an entrée? This vegan and gluten free recipe for cauliflower steak with a cashew, red pepper, and shitake mushroom sauce, was inspired by a recipe I saw in Bon Appetit.

What is so great about cauliflower? It has a high amount of vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and it contains Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), as does all cruciferous veggies. I3C is important for detoxing xenoestrogens, the harmful type of estrogen, from our bodies. We don’t want these in our bodies because they act as hormone disrupters, and have toxic effects. Xenoestrogens are found in plastics, BPA, pesticides, dry cleaning solutions, air fresheners, perfumes, etc.

Cashews: Have lots of minerals, B vitamins, mono-saturated fat, which is good for your heart.

Red Pepper: Lots of vitamins A (good for eyes), C (good for skin), vitamin B6 and manganese (these two work in tandem to support the nervous system), and lycopene an antioxidant that can help prevent UV damage.

Shitake mushrooms: Not only are mushrooms rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenols they also activate the immune system, have strong anti-tumor properties and prepare white blood cells to be ready to fight off disease.

cauliflower steak 1

Cauliflower Steaks with Red Pepper and Shitake Mushroom Sauce
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side

  • 1 medium head Cauliflower
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Slice off the bottom of the cauliflower removing the leaves, but still keeping the core in place. Then put the cauliflower on the cutting board, with the stem side down and from the center, cut 2 slices that measure ½ inch per slice. Toss the cauliflower bits left over after the slices have been cut, with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Put onto a large rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven.
  • While bits are roasting, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side, adding 1 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches. Take out the cauliflower bits from the oven and make room on the sheet for the steaks, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 20 minutes, and make the sauce during this time.

Sauce:

  • 1 cup cashews, (soaked for 2 hours then drained)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups shitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. sherry
  • Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat, add garlic, sauté for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms cook for about 5 minutes, then add the sherry. Sauté for another 1 minute to cook off the alcohol and remove from heat. Season with a little salt.
  • Put the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or a good blender and puree.
  • To plate, smear the sauce on the plate, place the steaks on top and scatter mushrooms on top. The sauce can be heated as well before serving.  The bits can be served in a bowl alongside.

Bon Appetit! – {Kake}

cauliflower steak 2