BlogHer Food San Fran … and Gluten Free Black Garlic Risotto Cakes

Words cannot describe the fun-filled 4 days in San Fran for BlogHer Food…I am a true foodie and I had an amazing time back in San Fran for this incredible conference filled with great food, talented foodie bloggies and lots of tasty eats!

San Fran in 5 Words…

Inspirational…

Magical…

Fresh…

Sunny…and Delicious…

Thank you, San Fran … I will be back soon … I assure you … I do travel for good, quality food.

In Other ‘Healthy Apple’ News This Week:

I recently won the Applegate Farms Recipe Contest … I’ll be sure to keep you posted when my winning recipe is published!

I’m also excited to announce that I won the Honorable Mention of the 2010 Angela’s Unique Recipes “Give the Oven a Rest”  Recipe Contest at Angela’s amazing and delicious blog, Amrecipes.

My winning recipe was:

Gluten-Free Black Garlic Risotto Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 bulbs of black garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, finely chopped
  • 2 cups risotto
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Nori flakes, for topping
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Almond flour
  • Tomato sauce, for topping

Directions

  • Coat garlic with 1 Tbsp. olive oi; puree in a food processor.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add parsnips and onion.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Add risotto and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add wine and let evaporate.
  • When wine has evaporated completely, add vegetable broth slowly, letting each addition evaporate before adding more.
  • When risotto is fully cooked, remove from heat; add in nutritional yeast, garlic puree, balsamic vinegar and basil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Transfer into a large bowl; set aside to cool.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Shape risotto into patties; place onto a baking sheet.
  • Cover and place into the fridge for 1 1/2 hours.  Place almond flour in a dish; coat each cake with flour.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add risotto cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked through; approximately 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Repeat with additional risotto cakes.
  • Serve warm with fresh tomato sauce and a sprinkle of nori flakes.
  • Enjoy!

Have a deliciously enjoyable weekend, foodies…

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Return to Real Tea with Dilmah…

I am excited to introduce you to my favorite tea…actually it’s more like a re-introduction as you have met previously when I’ve blogged about my love for Dilmah Tea.

Sri Lankan family tea company Dilmah, was established by Merrill J. Fernando to bring finest quality, Single Origin Ceylon Tea, garden fresh to tea drinkers around the world. His Dilmah Tea brand was the first genuinely ethical tea brand, bringing a smile to the faces of the underprivileged in Sri Lanka, whilst giving consumers quality, authenticity and natural goodness in their cup of tea.


It took Fernando nearly four decades and in 1988 he launched his own brand – Dilmah. Coined from the names of his two sons Dilhan and Malik, Dilmah was the first producer owned tea brand, and offered tea ‘picked, perfected and packed’ at origin. Unlike the multi-origin blends that monopolized supermarket shelves, Dilmah brought tea that is freshly packed at source and therefore rich in flavor and natural goodness.


Merrill pioneered three important initiatives which have today become hallmarks of Dilmah.


  • Traditional Tea ensures that the tea in made in the traditional, orthodox way perfected over a century
  • Single Origin ensures that the tea is Pure Ceylon tea and not blended with cheaper teas from around the world
  • Garden Fresh packed at Source ensures that Dilmah teas are the freshest and brimming with antioxidants

The Fernando family built their business around their love for tea; today Dilmah is the only vertically integrated tea company with its own tea gardens – some of Ceylon’s best estates – and state of the art printing & packaging facilities, tea packing and investments in every segment of the industry.


Dilmah is unique; a brand that is founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea, it is also a part of a philosophy that goes beyond commerce in seeing business as a matter of human service. This is what makes Dilmah the first ethically produced tea. Business ethics and social responsibility guide the family business where profits from the company are shared with those who are less privileged in society. The MJF Charitable Foundation was established to fulfill this commitment and is changing the lives of over 10,000 people each year through more than 300 different humanitarian projects. Dilmah Conservation is working towards a harmonious coexistence of man and nature by creating awareness and implementing sustainability initiatives.


What makes Dilmah especially unique is the philosophy that defines every aspect of the brand and the companies of the MJF Group. The key to Founder Merrill J. Fernando’s vision was integrity – in relation to his workers, the Ceylon Tea industry and in relation to his customers. Quality, Authenticity and Natural Goodness was what tea drinkers desired and that is what Dilmah offers. In relation to the workers, the exploited and ailing tea industry and our developing country, integrity meant ethics and genuinely fair trade. Merrill J. Fernando built ethics into the heart of his business and pledged to make his business a matter of human service.


That commitment is discharged through the MJF Charitable Foundation, a government approved charity that was formed by him and which bears his initials. The Foundation seeks to enhance the welfare of the Group’s workers, whilst also pursuing humanitarian assistance programs amongst marginalized communities.


With the objective of changing the lives of 10,000 underprivileged people each year, the MJF Foundation designs, funds, and implements over 300 projects throughout the country. These range from dignified empowerment of women, differently abled, conflict or tsunami affected communities, welfare projects, education and provision of free health care or vocational training. The Foundation has provided facilities to the National Cancer Institute to establish the first free breast cancer screening program for poor women in Sri Lanka. The pre-school program has constructed 72 pre-schools on Dilmah and associate company tea gardens, whilst also offering free English and Computer classes to older children. Foundation nutrition programs benefit children and the elderly and its Small Entrepreneur Program (SEP) has been hailed globally for its effectiveness. The Prisoners Reform & Reintegrate program helps rebuild the lives of reformed prisoners released on parole and the MJF Kids Development Program for urban slum children is offering a light of hope to children with little opportunity in life.

Have you ever tried Dilmah Tea? If so, I’d love to hear what flavors you’ve enjoyed…

As we’re on the topic of my favorite tea, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite recipes using Dilmah’s Lemongrass Green Tea…I love cooking and baking with tea.  It’s not just for sippin’ and can be used in so many recipes to add flavor and antioxidants.

Risotto with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water (for tea)
  • 8 Dilmah Lemongrass Green Tea Bags
  • 1 oz. dried Marx Foods Black Trumpet Mushrooms
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cups risotto
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Soak dried mushrooms in a bowl of water for 25 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid.  Rinse mushrooms under cool water; squeeze gently to remove moisture.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, heat water with Dilmah Green Tea bags; bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes; discard tea bags.
  3. Add onion and risotto; cook for 10 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar, dried mushrooms and avocado.  Cook over medium heat until tea has been absorbed.
  4. Cook risotto for another 20 minutes until tender.  Season with sea salt and pepper.
  5. Serve warm and top with a sprinkle of scallions.
  6. Enjoy!

Black Garlic Recipes and Reviews

I recently had the pleasure of tasting black garlic for the very first time in my life…and let me tell you…I honestly could not stop eating it…Words cannot simply describe the taste and mild flavoring of black garlic.  Marx Foods sent me a complimentary sample of one of their new products: Black Garlic, which has been used in Korean, Thai and Japanese foods for awhile, yet is only recently coming to play in the United States, and needless to say…I’m thrilled…I can’t wait to get my hands on some more black garlic as it truly was an experience beyond describing.

The black garlic had both a sweet and savory taste and does not have the strong regular garlic taste and bitterness.  One could easily pop a clove or two into their mouth without squirming around as you would with regular garlic.  I had a fabulous time recipe testing with the black garlic…I started with a balsamic halibut dish then moved onto a risotto and finally topped off the black garlic in my dark chocolate s’mores. Yes, I paired garlic with dark chocolate, and I assure you with your first bite of black garlic, you’ll be pondering what dessert, sweet reduction or savory vinaigrette you can create.

Considered healthier than plain garlic, black garlic has twice as many antioxidants and has long been consumed in Asia for its disease preventative and treatment properties.

Here are the tasty Gluten-Free recipes from my Black Garlic recipe testing.


Photo credited to www.friedas.com

Balsamic Black Garlic Halibut Steaks

Ingredients

  • 2 Halibut Steaks (6 oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves Black Garlic
  • 1 small orange (juiced)
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Dash of sea salt and ground white pepper
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for topping)

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in garlic.
  • In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, sea salt and pepper.
  • Season both sides of halibut steaks with balsamic mixture.  Place steaks into skillet; cook for 10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.
  • Flip steaks halfway through cooking to ensure brownness on both sides.  (I used my Taylor Thermometer and Timer to ensure my fish was perfectly cooked).
  • Serve warm and enjoy with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Roasted Black Garlic Risotto Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 bulbs of black garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, finely chopped
  • 2 cups risotto
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Nori flakes, for topping
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Gluten free flour

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Coat garlic with 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Wrap each with aluminum foil.  bake for 20 minutes.  Cool garlic and puree in a food processor.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan, such as my favorite Calphalon, over medium-high heat.  Add parsnips and onion.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Add risotto and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add wine and let evaporate.
  • When wine has evaporated completely, add vegetable broth slowly, letting each addition evaporate before adding more.
  • When risotto is fully cooked, remove from heat; add in nutritional yeast, garlic puree, balsamic vinegar and basil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Transfer into a large bowl; set aside to cool.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Shape risotto into patties; place onto a baking sheet.
  • Cover and place into the fridge for 1 1/2 hours.  Place gluten-free flour in a dish; coat each cake with flour.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add risotto cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked through; approximately 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Repeat with additional risotto cakes.
  • Serve warm with fresh tomato sauce and a sprinkle of nori flakes.
  • Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate n’ Black Garlic S’mores

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. ghee or butter alternative
  • 3 Tbsp. cold water
  • 4 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cloves black garlic
  • 1 bar dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Large marshmallows

Directions

  • Combine rice flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix in ghee using hands.
  • Add cold water, honey and vanilla.
  • Mold dough into a ball form and place into the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Pre-heat oven to 325.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll out dough and cut graham-cracker sized shapes, lightly pricking with a fork.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • In a food processor, combine dark chocolate, warm water, balsamic vinegar and black garlic; puree until smooth.
  • Heat chocolate mixture on the stove top until warm.
  • Top each graham cracker with a dollop of warm dark chocolate and black garlic mixture, followed by a large warm marshmallow and finished with another graham cracker.
  • Enjoy!

Black Garlic can be purchased online through Marx Foods here.

White Bean, Spinach and Tomato Risotto

 This is such a fabulous recipe.  I often recommend it to my clients as as a dinner, and again for lunch left-overs the next day! If you’re simply just looking for a side dish–this recipe can easily be paired with a protein source such as Tofu, Tempeh, Fish, Chicken and Turkey for a well-rounded, healthy meal!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked risotto
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Dash of Nu-Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Galaxy vegan parmesan cheese
  • Dash of oregano

Directions

  • Cook risotto (per directions on package). Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  • Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add garlic; stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and beans. Mix well. 
  • Add spinach, Nu-Salt, pepper, rosemary, balsamic vinegar.  Continue to stir until mixture is completely cooked and warm. 
  • Remove from heat and serve warm atop a bed of warm risotto.
  • Top with vegan Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with oregano.
  • Enjoy!