Chocolate Beet Brownies

“Delicious AND nutritious,” says recipe creator Marion Owen (see her webpage for the full story:

1/2 C butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 C brown sugar (packed)
1 C applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 C unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C cooked beets, pureed
1/2 C finely chopped almonds
1/2 C wheat germ

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed. Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in wheatgerm and almonds. Turn into greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Beet Cake

The beet puree can be made ahead of time. Basically, cook the beets any way you like… boil, bake, whatever, then peel and cut cooled cooked beets into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor. If your puree is too ‘dry’, you can probably add a tiny bit of water, beet cooking water, or some applesauce, but only enough to make the puree whirl. It should be pretty thick.

1 1/4 C beet puree
3 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease and dust with flour a bundt pan or 8-9″ square pan.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in sugar, oil, vanilla, salt & beet puree. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa and soda. Add dry ingredients to wet a little at a time, gently mixing until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 – 50 min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for at least an hour before slicing and serving. Goes great with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.

Cold Carrot Orange Soup

2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup almonds, coarsely chopped
8 carrots, coarsely chopped (6 cups)
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1–inch piece stick cinnamon
Juice of 4 oranges
1 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

1. In a large pot melt the butter. Add the almonds, onions, carrots, and sauté until the carrots start to become tender. Add water to cover, the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Simmer, partially covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
2. Allow the carrot mixture to cool. Remove the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick.
3. Blend the carrot mixture with orange juice and cream in a blender. Dilute to a good consistency with more orange juice, if desired.
4. Chill thoroughly. Taste, season and serve garnished with a dash of thick cream or coconut milk.

Serves 6

Fresh Strawberry Mousse

By Julie Jordan from Cabbagetown Cafe

½ cup honey (if your honey has crystallized, heat it until it is liquid)
2 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed
15-16 ounces ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup heavy cream or coconut milk

1. Measure all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning – I like to add about 1 teaspoon lemon zest to this.
2. Pour into serving glasses and chill.

Serves 6

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Thank you to Julie Jordan for this recipe, and the many others she has created over the years.

3-4 apples, diced
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup butter
2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Put the chopped apples in a medium-size pot with 2 tablespoons water. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the apples have become thick applesauce. Measure out 1½ cups and return it to the pot to keep it warm.
2. Mix together the flour and spices, raisins, and walnuts in a mixing bowl.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, mix in the honey then stir into the dry ingredients.
4. Stir the baking soda into the hot applesauce in the pot – be prepared, this will foam up in a spectacular fashion. Add to the batter in the bowl, mix thoroughly and pour into a well-buttered 9-inch square cake pan.
5. Bake in a preheated 325 degree F. oven for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 1 9-inch square cake, serves 8

Mustard Greens with Ginger, Cilantro, and Rice

2 bunches mustard greens, or 1 bunch chard and 1 bunch greens, coarse stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
¼ cup rice
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chopped cilantro stems and leaves
Sea salt

1. Wash the mustard greens, and chard if using. Chop, but don’t dry, them.
2. Heat oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, rice, ginger, cumin, and paprika. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes then add the cilantro and chopped greens. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the pan and cook until the volume has reduced, 10-15 minutes.
3. Give everything a stir, then reduce the heat to low, re-cover, and cook slowly for 20 minutes – there should be ample liquid in the pot, but check once or twice to make sure there is no sticking on the bottom. If the pan seems dry, add a little water.
4. Cook until the greens are really tender, 25-30 minutes total. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6

Vegetable Lo Mein


Sesame Garlic Sauce:
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup peanut butter
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, or juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
¼ teaspoon cayenne or less to taste

Lo Mein:
½ pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
2 carrots, grated
¼ cup finely chopped chives or scallions
1 cup toasted almonds

1. First prepare the sauce – whisk together the garlic, ginger, peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar or lemon, tamari, and cayenne. Set aside.
2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Set aside.
3. To prepare the vegetables – steam or blanch the broccoli and cauliflower for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Heat the oil in a medium-size pan and sauté the cooked vegetables and grated carrots until well combined, about 1 minute.
4. In a large paste cooking pot, mix together the vegetables, scallions, cooked pasta, and sauce. Heat for about 3-4 minutes, until it’s piping hot. Taste for seasoning.
5. Sprinkle with almonds to serve.

Serves 4

Greek Spinach

2 pounds spinach, rinsed well
Handful of fresh oregano
2 green garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil to moisten
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Chopped scallions for topping

1. Blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute. Remove immediately and rinse under cold water. Press out the excess moisture then chop.
2. Mix the oregano and garlic in a large bowl sprinkled with a splash of olive oil. Add the lemon juice and a splash more olive oil, if desired. Toss and taste for salt and freshly ground pepper.
3. Either turn the mixture into a heated skillet for a couple minutes, stirring, until heated through, or refrigerate until needed.
4. Top with chopped scallions to serve.

Makes 4 servings

Fresh Thyme and Green Garlic Soup

1 bunch of green garlic, trimmed, save the greens for a stock
1 bunch fresh thyme, about 12 sprigs, or 4 fresh sage leaves, or 3 fresh tarragon leaves, or 1 small bunch of fresh marjoram, or 1 large bunch parsley
1 quart chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices stale, or lightly toasted, French bread, plus extra for passing around

1. Tie the thyme or other herbs into a small bundle and put them into a 4-quart pot with the garlic. Pour in the stock, cover the pot, and bring the soup to a slow simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and can be crushed against the inside of the pot.
2. Strain through the fine disk of a food mill, or puree in a blender and push it through a medium-thresh strainer with the back of a soup ladle. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
3. Place a slice of stale bread in each bowl and pour the soup over it. You can top each bowl with a spoonful of olive oil. Pass toasted slices of French bread brushed with olive oil in a basket.

Serves 4

Greek Leek and Rice Salad

3 cups cooked long-grain jasmine or basmati rice with ½ teaspoon turmeric added to the cooking water
2½ tablespoons olive oil
4 cups ¼-inch slices of leeks including the tender leaves, about 2 medium leeks
1 large clove green garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
1 tomato, cut into ¼-inch dice
A handful of dried currants plumped in warm water and drained
A handful of toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. While you are cooking the rice, heat ½ tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the leeks until barely tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic after 3 minutes.
2. In a salad bowl, use a fork to mix the warm leeks with the parsley, mint, tomato, currants, and pine nuts in that order. Add the rice and mix the same way with the fork, then blend in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning.
3. Serve at room temperature in pretty bowls, or heaped on top of romaine lettuce leaves.

Serves 6