Banana-Apple Bread

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Banna-Apple Bread (shown with raisins for added goodness)

I had two very ripe bananas and a few apples that needed to be enjoyed before going bad. Ordinarily I would have cut them up, added my favorite yogurt, and maybe sprinkled unsweetened shredded coconut on top. The fruit, however, was too ripe. Continue reading

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Mushroom-Lentil Pâté

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian When I hear the word pâté, I picture a slice of toasted baguette with a modicum of creamy pâté spread on top. Until recently, I hadn’t considered making my own because I thought it had to be made with liver and that it took a lot of prep time. Continue reading

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Quinoa Salad with Serrano Chiles

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Red quinoa, serrano chiles, fresh mint. Fresh salad!

Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wah”. When I journeyed to Peru a couple of years ago with our son, Robert, he and I enjoyed this traditional grain salad on the balcony of a small restaurant about an hour from Cusco at 11,000 feet in elevation.

While waiting for our food we noticed a bowl of small green leaves on our table. We were told that these “coca” leaves were a powerful stimulant and should be added to our hot tea if we had trouble acclimating to the local elevation. I tried them in my tea but our son did not. I can’t say I liked the sensation. I can say I liked the Quinoa salad they served. When we returned, I tried to duplicate it and think I got close. I like to serve on a bed of crisp, cold butter lettuce.

1½ cups red Quinoa
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 Serrano chiles (remove stems and seeds; chop)
1/3 cup grape seed oil
2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded, cut into ½ inch cubes)
2 firm medium tomatoes (chopped)
8 green onions (chopped – use white part only)
1/3 cup fresh parsley (minced)
1/3 cup fresh mint (minced)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Rinse the Quinoa and combine in a sauce pan with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until all the grains of Quinoa are translucent. Drain Quinoa and transfer to covered bowl. Place in refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.

Whisk together lime juice, chiles and oil. Set aside (be sure to wash your hands with plenty of soap and water after handling the chiles). Combine chilled Quinoa, cucumber, tomato, green onion, parsley and mint in large bowl. Mix gently. Pour juice mixture over the top of this mixture and toss to mix. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe makes a bunch of salad and will put a smile on many hungry friends at your next potluck gathering.

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Tip: I also make this with extra-virgin olive oil when I am out of grape seed oil…and it turns out just fine.

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Caprese Salad Stack

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Our garden produces a variety of tomatoes. Here is one of our favorite ways to enjoy them fresh from the garden. This traditional Italian salad is easy to prepare, a true flavor-flash on the palate, and very pretty when plated. Continue reading

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Roasted Cauliflower Pilaf

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Here is a super-healthy recipe that makes for a nice side dish or a light meal all by itself. It is fresh. It is low in calories and it is rich in oleic acid – a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid. In addition, it just tastes good. Continue reading

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Cooking Class – Pizza Party!

I will show you how to make restaurant quality pizza at home using pizza stones and traditional ingredients. In addition, there will be a pizza surprise so come hungry! Recipes are included and signed copies of my Ojai Valley cookbooks will be available for purchase. Call 805-646-6635 today for reservations. Class will fill up soon.

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Trail Energy Bar (energy for the hike back)

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Extra energy in these tasty, raw energy bars.


If you plan to take an extended hike on one of our many trails this summer, this raw, naturally sweet, vegan, and gluten-free energy bar is something to seriously consider. I recommend eating it for extra energy on the hike back.

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