Category Archives: Recipes

Christmas 2016 at Whole Foods Market on the Central Coast

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market Credit: Whole Foods Market

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Whether you need to shop for a holiday feast or check some folks off your gift list, Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterey have lots to choose from—including the always-dependable gift card idea (ones for the market itself or for other retailers).

Customers need to place orders for holiday dinners two days ahead of their desired pick up date. Food is available for pickup Dec. 18-24, and then again on Dec. 26 (WFM is closed on Christmas Day). Order in person or online.

For gifts, WFM has several selections where part of your purchase goes to a worthy cause. For example, they partnered with PBS Kids to carry the company’s toys and help raise money. I’ve seen some of the Aurora Plush Animals in the store (pandas, penguins, foxes and more) and they definitely look cuddle-able! Some of the animals are endangered species. There are also some colorful and fun PBS Kids toys made with a composite featuring rubber wood from mature trees that no longer produce latex. All net proceeds benefit PBS Kids’ mission of “building knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity to empower children for success.”

Other “gifts with a cause” include ones where part of proceeds goes to Whole Planet Foundation to help alleviate poverty worldwide. These include Alaffia trios (coconut oil triple-milled bar soap or whipped body butter); one percent benefits WPF. Or if you buy west elm kitchen products made from upcycled denim—such as potholders—a dollar from each purchase goes to WPF. In addition, they have gift cards for sale where one percent benefits the Whole Kids Foundation (which aims to support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness). These include Chipotle and Best Buy physical gift cards, and Starbucks digital cards.

There are room sprays and handmade soy wax candles from Thistle Farms; scents include lavender & lemon (Gratitude) and Geranium & Citrus (Hope). Thistle Farms is a community, sanctuary and social enterprise led by women survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution. It provides housing, recovery support and education. Each spray or candle purchase directly benefits the women who made it.

WFM wine experts have compiled a list of “10 favorite wines for the holiday season.” Available online, each wine has several suggested food pairings plus a recipe for an additional food pairing. Two examples: Andover Estate Pinot Noir goes well with items like Sartori Herbs des Provence BellaVitano cheese or roasted winter vegetables, or with the dish “Easy Porchetta Pork Tenderloin” (recipe included). Autoritas Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Vermont Creamery Coupole cheese, poached white-fleshed fish, or “Bay Scallop Linguine with White Wine and Parsley” (recipe included).

There are lots of other enticing articles on the WFM blog, including ones with recipes like “holiday cakes worth celebrating” (includes mini chocolate ricotta cakes and cinnamon-almond olive oil cake) and “holiday appetizers” (how about sweet potato bacon bites, spinach bites with honey mustard, or pigs in a blanket with cranberry-mustard dipping sauce? Ok now I’m hungry!).

For holiday appetizers, if you’re a cheese fan, WFM just announced a big “12 Days of Cheese” sale. From Dec. 13-24, a different artisan cheese is on sale for FIFTY PERCENT OFF each day! Some highlights with notes from the market’s cheese experts:

Vermont Creamery, Bonne Bouche (Dec. 15)

  • This mild ash-ripened goat cheese with earthy notes and a subtle hazelnut flavor is a visually stunning addition to any cheese board.

Uplands Cheese Company, Pheasant Ridge Reserve (Dec. 17)

  • The only three-time winner of the American Cheese Society Best of Show, this cheese has a sweet, broth-like flavor with notes of butterscotch and fruit.

Cypress Grove Chevre, Truffle Tremor (Dec. 19)

  • A silky, creamy soft-ripened goat cheese packed with truffles. Deep floral, herb and mushroom flavors. An American original!

Rapin, Le Maréchal (Dec. 20)

  • This creamy, raw-milk Alpine cheese is infused with flavor from herbs added by hand during the ripening process.

Papillon, Roquefort (Dec. 21)

  • This classic cave-aged sheep’s milk blue cheese shows rich spiciness, complex layers of flavor and a smooth texture.

Vermont Creamery, St. Albans (Dec. 23)

  • An American take on a traditional French cheese, sourced from milk from one farm. Delicate and smooth with rich creamy flavors and nutty notes.  Non-GMO Project verified.

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving article, WFM’s 2016 holiday food shopping guide  features selections such as traditional turkey dinner for eight ($99.99). This comes with a fully cooked 10-lb. oven-roasted Diestel turkey, four pounds each of herb stuffing and mashed potatoes, a quart of turkey gravy, a pint of cranberry relish, 16 dinner rolls, and a nine-inch traditional pumpkin pie. You can also order turkeys (cooked or uncooked) and ready-to-eat sides a la carte.

Local Store Details

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Monterey is at 800 Del Monte Center, (831) 333-1600.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

 

Alpine cheese night Tuesday Sept. 13 at Whole Foods Market

Gruyere is one of the Alpine-style cheeses featured at Cheese Night Sept. 13 Credit: Whole Foods Market

Gruyere is one of the Alpine-style cheeses featured at Cheese Night Sept. 13
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Attention cheese lovers: there is a cheese night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Whole Foods Market stores across the country; this includes the local Santa Cruz and Capitola stores as well as locations in the South Bay and San Francisco Bay.

Customers are invited to visit for free samples, and each store will have an expert or Certified Cheese Professional available to talk about characteristics and flavor profiles of Alpine-style cheeses and answer questions. They will have cooking tips, too.

A market spokesperson shared that Alpine-style cheeses melt better than any other cheese and are great for cooking, and that in general, these cheeses are nutty and salty with flavors of hay and/or caramel. Most pair well with white wines like viognier, reisling, or pinot grigio. Some of the cheeses at the Sept. 13 event include:

 

  • Kaltbach Le Gruyère: Made in Switzerland, this cheese is matured for 12 to 16 months and is washed regularly with brine. Flavors are complex, ranging from caramel, nuts, notes of mushroom, hay and fruit, and crunchy, salty granules add an extra boost of flavor.
  • Emmentaler: This famous cheese – the Swiss with the holes – has been in production for 400 years in the valley of the Emme. It has a buttery, delicate and nutty taste.
  • Le Marchel: Handmade in the mountains of Vaud by Jean-Michael Rapin and his sons since 1992, La Marchel has the distinctive aroma of hay, and herbs impart a very rustic and savory flavor.
  • Pavino: Exclusive to Whole Foods Market, this Alpine-style cheese is made in Wisconsin but stands up to any made in the Alps. It is nutty, fruity, and robust with a sweet milky finish, and is also sprinkled with crunchy salt crystals.
  • Kalthbach Alpine Extra: Aged in caves located on the edge of the Wauwiler Moos area in the canton of Lucerne, Switzerland, this award-winning, raw-milk, semi-hard cheese offers a tangy aroma and complex flavor.

 

Joe Kaulbach, who oversees the cheese program for Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno, explains the origin of this popular style: “Imagine, hundreds of years ago: small families are scattered across the rural Alps. One family has four cows; another has eight, another has 20. The cows are all roaming in the mountains; the families all need their cows milked and need to make cheese. So, traditionally the men went up into the mountains, built a hut, lit a fire from surrounding firewood, and put a copper cauldron on it. They would make ‘cooked pressed cheese,’ which was a new style of cheese in the 13th century: they’d cook the curds, press them into a form, and make wheels. At the end of the summer–and this still happens today–the cheese makers come down from the mountains with their cheese and their cows in a gorgeous pageant called the Transhumance. Then, they send the cheese to market. This is what provides their living for the year.”

 

Here are some related recipes that Whole Foods Market is highlighting for this event:

Swiss Family Sandwich

Turkey, Tomato, and Emmentaler Breakfast Sandwiches

Pizza with Le Gruyère and Prosciutto

Classic Le Gruyère Fondue

Celery Root and Potato Gratin

Butternut Frittata with Sage and Gruyère

San Francisco WFM locations are teaming up with Sur La Table to invite customers to cook with Alpine-style cheeses. The companies are giving away a Le Creuset fondue set and Breville panini press via the @wholefoodsmarketsf Instagram account. Users can follow the channel and tag a friend on relevant posts to enter to win.

Local Store Details

  • Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.
  • Whole Foods Market Capitola is at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

 

Vegetarian dishes perfect for the season, including Annie’s pumpkin mac & cheese

Pumpkin mac & cheese – recipe courtesy of Annie’s

Pumpkin mac & cheese – recipe courtesy of Annie’s

As we move through fall and approach the winter, many of us crave soups and other comforting dishes. Of course, homemade soup is hard to beat, but sometimes pulling one together can be tough for busy parents or those who don’t own a crockpot. In September, Annie’s released a delicious new line of organic soups. Three of the five are vegetarian: tomato, creamy carrot & bunny pasta, and creamy tomato & bunny pasta. The carrot one has a nice sweetness and provides a lot of vitamin A, so it made my daughter and me happy. See end of article for a few more details on the soups.

I’m not vegetarian myself, but I know more and more individuals who are. I tried out a seasonal recipe from Annie’s recipe web site for pumpkin mac & cheese, and decided to make a vegetarian version by skipping the bacon-bit garnish (see my result in photo above). It didn’t taste like anything was missing; I’ll definitely be making this savory dish, which includes chard and apple, again. Because I had it on hand, I also substituted Annie’s organic vegan shells for the “shells with real aged cheddar” that the recipe called for. If you are vegan and want a quick recipe, Annie’s has one for spicy vegan bacon mac and cheese.

When searching for a few more vegetarian fall recipes, I discovered that Lundberg Family Farms has lots of options. I haven’t made these yet, but I look forward to creating kale and rice rolls and brown jasmine rice with pecans and orange honey glazed tofu, which is actually vegan. You can sort their recipes by vegan and/or vegetarian and/or course type (like appetizer), too. They also have recipes that feature their new American-grown organic tri-color blend quinoa, and their sprouted risotto. If you haven’t tried these yet you’re in for a treat. The sprouted risotto made with organic whole grain brown Arborio rice comes in three varieties including cheddar/pepper and sweet corn/bell pepper. They are good on their own, but it’s also fun to use a product you already like as an ingredient for a new recipe.

If you do have time to make some vegetarian soup from scratch, let me recommend a couple cookbooks I became familiar with when doing research for a Santa Cruz Sentinel article; they were both published in 2013. Mollie Katzen’s “The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation” includes recipes such as Black-Eyed Pea, Squash, and Shiitake Stew and Yellow Split Pea Dal (the latter is perfect for beginning cooks). Before this book, Katzen was already famous for writing “Moosewood Cookbook” among others; The New York Times and Amazon both named “The Heart of the Plate” a best book of the year.

“Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden” by Diane Cu and Todd Porter includes Hearty Celery Root and Red Lentil Soup. If you’re not vegetarian, the Curried Kabocha Squash and Chicken Stew recipe is one that I’ve made and loved—it’s an easy recipe with only a few ingredients. Foodies out there might already know Cu and Porter through their food/travel/photography, blog WhiteonRiceCouple.com.

More on Annie’s soups: Both tomato varieties offer a half-cup of vegetables per serving, while the chicken-based soups use only organic chicken and broth with no antibiotics added. All varieties are made with NO artificial flavors, synthetic colors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.

More on Lundberg: All of their products use organic rice and/or quinoa.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Thanksgiving selections at Whole Foods Market in Capitola and Santa Cruz

Whole Foods Market's many Thanksgiving options include cooked turkeys

Whole Foods Market’s many Thanksgiving options include cooked turkeys

As usual, the Santa Cruz and Capitola branches of Whole Foods Market have stocked up on lots of delicious Thanksgiving options. You can place your Thanksgiving orders in person or online — but remember the deadline for both is Tuesday, Nov. 24. Here is the 2015 holiday menu.

Whole Foods Market’s selections include prepared meals such as turkey dinner for two, four, or eight people. Choices include regular, organic, smoked, or lemon herb turkey. Other dinners include 72-hour sous vide short ribs, and spiral-cut hams. You can also order cooked (or uncooked) turkeys a la carte, and sides a la carte. A few side dish highlights are sage sausage sourdough stuffing, broccoli cheddar gratin and sweet potato mash. Serving a vegetarian Thanksgiving and want to do your own cooking? Check out Whole Foods Market’s online menu, complete with recipes.

If you’re in charge of bringing appetizers to your Turkey Day feast, they have many appealing party trays to choose from.  A classic antipasto platter features ingredients like prosciutto, salami, and marinated olives, artichokes and mushrooms; other platter options include vegetable-stuffed mushrooms. For something less traditional, there are selections like pumpkin-almond wontons (vegan) and Sriracha chicken wontons. Of course, top-quality cheese always serves as a dependable appetizer, accompanied by your favorite cracker or perhaps olive or walnut bread, and Whole Foods has hundreds of selections ranging from cow-milk to goat, sheep, and buffalo. In fact, any given location has anywhere from 250 to 1,000 varieties that come from all over the world—many of these are organic, too. One of my favorites is Red Hawk, a triple cream variety from Cowgirl Creamery. Each market has a cheese expert who can help guide you.

Let’s not forget about dessert. The bakery team at each Whole Foods Market makes pies from scratch, on site. Varieties include pumpkin (traditional or vegan), brown butter walnut, and apple cranberry. I had the traditional pumpkin one last year, and loved it.

The Capitola and Santa Cruz locations will both be open the day before Thanksgiving, Wed. Nov. 25, from 7 am–10 pm, and Thanksgiving Day from 7 am – 2 pm. Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information. Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

New Leaf in Westside Santa Cruz dishes up breakfast cooking class

Examples of breakfast dishes created by Madia Jamgochian (Attendees of the April 24 class may learn variations of some of these selections)

Examples of breakfast dishes created by Madia Jamgochian (Attendees of the April 24 class may learn variations of some of these selections)

Interested in learning techniques for creating a delicious breakfast? Chef Madia Jamgochian is teaching “Intro to Cooking-Breakfast!” at New Leaf Community Markets in Westside Santa Cruz.

The class is from 5 -7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, and the cost is $40 per person or $70 for 2. Preregistration is required and space is limited; contact New Leaf at 426-1306 or visit newleaf.com/events.

The hands-on class is beginner-friendly and gluten-free. Attendees will receive recipes and learn breakfast basics like how to make an omelet. The course description also mentions learning how to cook sweet potato hash, and participants can enjoy a full meal at the end of class if they “don’t mind eating breakfast for dinner.”

Instructor Jamgochian, a certified nutrition consultant who advises clients through her business “My Healing Habits,” also serves as Community Education Coordinator at New Leaf’s Westside location. Jamgochian is excited to teach on this topic. “I learned to cook when I was about 10, and it is something that has proved both valuable, and fun over the years. Cooking for yourself and others creates an important connection to the food we eat.”

Jamgochian has taught many cooking classes at New Leaf but this is her first intro-level class. She talks about her food philosophy on her blog myhealinghabits.com: “The name My Healing Habits was chosen to emphasize the fact that it is not always the foods we eat, but the habits we form around eating: where we choose to shop, how we prepare a meal, the ingredients we use, our state of mind, the location, and the time we take. These are all important factors in the grand scheme of reaching Optimal Health.”

Learn about all of New Leaf’s upcoming classes and activities, including “Go Foods for Fitness” on Earth Day, April 22 (taught by Sandi Rechenmacher), at newleaf.com/events.

Contact information: New Leaf Westside branch, 1101 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 426-1306

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Celebrate National Peanut Month with sweet recipes

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

One way to celebrate National Peanut Month during March: bake up a treat that includes peanut butter! Of course, there are lots and lots of recipes out there. There are some on the National Peanut Board web site, including a link to a fancy dessert recipe via Bon Appetit: peanut dacquoise with peanut butter mousse. With elements like meringue, be prepared to spend some time and effort.

For those who want a fast, easy recipe, here is a quick one that calls for only five ingredients.  This dish is from the Pillsbury web site. Some of the bakers who tried the recipe shared comments. These include the fact it makes a good after-school snack, it’s easy to do variations, and it also works for any “Elvis-themed” parties since the famous singer reportedly loved peanut butter and  banana sandwiches.

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA CRESCENTS

INGREDIENTS
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet

½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced (1 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon roasted salted sunflower nuts or sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS
1. Separate or cut dough into 4 long rectangles (if using crescent rolls, press perforations to seal). Cut each rectangle in half; press into 3 1/2-inch squares.
2. 
Spoon peanut butter in center of each square; top with 2-3 banana slices. Fold dough over filling; press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg; sprinkle with sunflower nuts.
3. 
Bake at 375°F 12 to 16 minutes.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Heart-healthy fish at Whole Foods Market for Valentine’s Day and beyond

whole foods paiche

Pan-Seared Paiche with Spicy Avocado Sauce and Greens, made with Whole Foods Market recipe. Photo courtesy of WFM

Whole Foods Market has started carrying a new fish called paiche, which is a whitefish from the Amazon. After trying a complimentary sample, I wanted to pass along some information about paiche (pronounced “pie-chay”). I also have a recipe to share plus an opportunity for one of you to win a Whole Foods Market gift card (see end of article for contest details).

And in case you were wondering, it’s not merely Valentine’s season: February is National Heart Month, so it’s good to think about eating heart-healthy foods like fish!

As stated in a December 2013 New York Times “Front Burner” article, paiche is a freshwater fish with a “mild, sweet flavor and a meaty, dense texture that is suitable for sautéing, roasting and grilling; it also holds up well in stews.” The article warns that although the fish is threatened by overfishing and deforestation, it’s being sustainably raised in ponds in Peru monitored by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It is being filleted, shipped frozen from Peru, and thawed at Whole Foods Market.

WFM is the only national retailer that’s currently carrying paiche, and it’s priced at $14.99/lb. This paiche is raised without antibiotics, pesticides or added hormones. It has an optimal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, plus 20 grams of protein in every 3.5-ounce serving. It has a lower fat content than some similar whitefish like Chilean seabass—as I soon discovered, the decreased fat correlates to decreased flavor.

I got my paiche at the market with complimentary seasoning added to my filet (whenever you buy seafood at WFM, you can ask for seasoning at no extra cost). I chose a lemon-herb combination; in the future I would try something with more kick like a Cajun seasoning blend—that was available at the market too—or fresh garlic and other strong herbs. The fish was subtly flavored after my husband grilled it; it’s one of those products that takes on the flavor of what you add to it. The texture was pleasing, very steak-like. A bonus of the mild flavor? My 2 ½ year old daughter loved it! It actually made her open to trying seafood in general whereas she had previously been a bit hesitant; last night she was willing to taste freshly grilled salmon and asked for more.

Another advantage to a mild-tasting fish is that you can use it as a conduit for a sauce or ingredient that you want to be the star of your dish. I bet the paiche is perfect for this Pan-Seared Paiche with Spicy Avocado Sauce and Greens recipe provided by WFM, which includes jalapeno (see photo).

Want the chance to win a gift card so you can buy paiche and/or other ingredients at WFM? Keep reading!

CONTEST
Prize: A $50 gift card to Whole Foods Market.
To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Whole Foods seafood.” Deadline to enter is Fri. Feb. 14, 2014 at 9 p.m.
This contest is open to readers of Tara Fatemi Walker’s Examiner.com and Santacruzfoodie.com sites. Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for this promotion.

On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Whole Foods Market Dungeness crab, Wellshire ham, & Capitola holiday tastings

Wellshire spiral ham at Whole Foods Market

Wellshire spiral ham at Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market in Northern California, including stores in Santa Cruz and Capitola, has lots of tasty offerings for the 2013 holiday season including Dungeness crab and Wellshire Spiral Sliced Hams. I’ve had the great fortune to eat both in the last couple weeks, and highly recommend them. More details are below.

Also, Whole Foods Market (WFM) in Capitola is offering holiday tastings on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 12 -2 p.m. Each department will be handing out samples of at least one product; rumor has it that the crab and/or ham will be available to taste!

Wellshire Spiral Sliced Cooked Half Hams are sold exclusively at WFM, not in any other grocery stores. Because they are spiral sliced, it’s easy to just pull off however much or little you want at a time instead of taking the time and energy to carve. The hams have no preservatives, nitrates or antibiotics; the animals are fed very wholesome grains. The cost is $3.99/lb. for semi-boneless, cooked, seasoned uncured ham and the meat is moist, flavorful, and wonderfully addicting! I brought home an 8-pound ham, and I can’t believe how many meals I ate. These included:
• Split pea soup with ham
• Ham sandwiches
• Ham, cheese & avocado omelettes
• Ham & pineapple pops (really easy recipe from the Whole Foods collection)
The Dungeness crab at WFM Capitola is delivered fresh from San Francisco fisherman six days a week, specifically from Pezzolo’s Seafood at Pier 45. You can taste the freshness, and the WFM Seafood Department staff members do a fantastic job of cracking and cleaning your whole, cooked crabs (free if you ask). The crab is really meaty and delicious; my family ate ours cold and dipped various bites into lemon, butter, or both. Some nice seeded baguettes and a side dish of brussels sprouts were the perfect accompaniment; of course, some people will choose to heat their crab and everyone has their own preferences for what to eat with crab! Bon Appetit.

Bonus: if you buy 3 crabs or more, you get $1.00/off per pound (the initial cost varies depending on market price that day).

The crab is “Super Green Rated” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. What does that mean, you wonder? As stated on WFM’s site: It’s “good for the environment and good for health… the Monterey Bay Aquarium has identified seafood that’s ‘Super Green,’ meaning that it’s excellent for human health and is caught or farmed responsibly. The Super Green list highlights products that are currently on the Seafood Watch ‘Best Choices’ (green) list, are low in mercury and are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.”


WFM Santa Cruz Area Location Details:

Both stores open 8am-9pm daily


Whole Foods in Capitola
:
1710 41st Ave, Capitola 95010 (831) 464-2900
Whole Foods in Santa Cruz:
911 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz 95062 (831) 426-9901
If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Dairy-free Halloween recipe for Coffee Toffee from Santa Cruz chef Lauren Hoover-West

Participants making treats at a Halloween class for teens led by Lauren Hoover-West

Participants making treats at a Halloween class for teens led by Lauren Hoover-West

Santa Cruz chef Lauren Hoover-West has graciously shared her recipe for Coffee Toffee, a yummy dairy-free treat for Halloween or any occasion. According to the chef, half of America can’t eat dairy, and of course those folks need recipes too!

California Culinary Academy graduate Hoover-West, author of the cookbook “No Wheat No Dairy No Problem,” regularly teaches classes at New Leaf Community Markets’ Westside location. Her November classes are Allergy-Friendly Holiday Cooking (Nov. 14, includes turkey and many sides), Holiday Pies: No Wheat, No Dairy, No Problem!, (Nov. 20, includes Apple Pie, Citrus Curd Tart and Sweet Potato Pecan Pie), and Raw Vegan Holiday Desserts (Nov. 22, includes Cheesecake and Raw Pumpkin Pie). Each class costs $40 and is from 6-8:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. See complete New Leaf Westside November schedule.

Read more about Lauren at her web site.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Coffee Toffee

Note: this recipe can be made low glycemic index, which is easier on the body and won’t cause sugar spikes/crashes, by using coconut sugar

Ingredients

1 cup Coconut Oil
1 1/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar/Coconut Sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. filtered water
1 TBSP. Molasses
2 tsp. instant powdered espresso, optional
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt or himalayan salt
8 oz. chocolate (dark or semi-sweet), finely chopped or chips

Instructions

Grease a cookie sheet (approx. 9×13 inches) and set aside.

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot stir together, with a silicone spatula or wooden     spoon, all ingredients except for the chocolate.

2. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until it reaches 315 degrees. You will need a candy thermometer. Quickly remove from heat.

3. Pour mixture into the cookie sheet and spread with a silicone spatula to smooth out into a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick.

4.  Cool 20-30 minutes on the kitchen counter.

5. While cooling the Toffee, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a glass bowl over simmering water. Cool the chocolate for 5 minutes off the heat.

6. Pour melted chocolate over the Toffee and spread evenly to cover the Toffee.

7. Let the chocolate set/harden at room temperature for about 4 hours. You can put it into the refrigerator to speed up the process, but it may be dull or bloom (turns white).

8. Break into pieces and enjoy! Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Chomping Monster Cookies and other Halloween recipes

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Looking for easy Halloween recipes? Here are two provided by Pillsbury, with a link to one additional recipe. I’ll publish at least one more—including a dairy-free treat from a local Santa Cruz chef—in the next few days.

Chomping Monsters
(see photo)

24 servings

Ingredients
Cookies

1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury® Ready To Bake!™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies (24 cookies)
1 ¼ cups white vanilla baking chips
1 container ready-to-spread frosting (any white variety)
Gel food colors, if desired

Optional Decorations
Red or black string licorice
Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Large marshmallows
Candy-coated chocolate candies

Steps
1
Heat oven to 350°F. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookie dough rounds 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

2
Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave 1 cup of the white vanilla baking chips uncovered on High 45 seconds. Stir; if necessary, microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each, until chips can be stirred smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in frosting until well blended. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the frosting mixture to attach decorations. Use gel food colors to tint remaining frosting in desired colors. Spoon each color of frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut 1/2 inch off one corner of bag, and pipe on bottom of 1 cookie. Press another cookie, flat side down, on frosting at an angle, cookies touching on one side and about 1 inch apart on the other, to look like open mouth.

3
To decorate, press remaining white vanilla baking chips in frosting for teeth. Use reserved frosting mixture to attach eyes, using decorations as desired.

Spider Web Cookie Pizza
16 servings

Ingredients
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vegetable oil

Steps
1
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil with shortening. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; arrange evenly in pan. With floured fingers, press slices to form crust.
2
Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Use foil to lift crust from pan. Carefully remove foil from crust; place crust on serving platter or tray. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust.
4
In a small resealable food-storage plastic bag, place chocolate chips and oil; seal bag. Place bag in bowl of very hot water. Knead bag several times to melt chips. Cut small hole in 1 corner of bag. Working from center to outer edge, pipe chocolate to form spiral design over top of cream cheese mixture. Working from center of spiral to outer edge, draw tip of knife lightly through spiral to form web design.
5
Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. To serve, cut into wedges or squares. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pizza.

Another Halloween recipe from Pillsbury is for Crescent Mummy Dogs.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.