Thursday, January 8, 2009

Raw Food Feast at BODY

As interest in raw foods has grown, folks who have long 'eaten raw' delight in sharing recipes. Such is the case at BODY cafe, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lest you think raw food can't possibly be gourmet fare, BODY's menu will quickly change your mind.

BODY's owner, Lorrin Parish, has eaten vegan/raw food since the 1970s. She has more than 250 recipes at her fingertips and an upcoming cookbook titled Raw Holidays. "Raw foods are living foods that still have their natural biological functioning retained or restored," she says.

Thai soup kicked off our meal, with cashews and Brazil nuts, coconut, Thai lime leaves, chile, ginger, and lemon grass. Collard green burritos with rice and Brazil nuts, and jicama sushi, followed. And ultra-rich slivers of chocolate ganache made with raw, hand-ground cacao beans proved ultra-satisfying to even the most diehard chocoholics.

BODY also offers spa services, a boutique full of organic clothing, accessories, gifts, and music; a daycare facility, and a studio for yoga, dance and Nia classes; and hosts special events such as concerts, dance performances, lectures, and workshops. It's a place designed to promote and support optimal health and well-being of body, mind and spirit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Peppermint Pie with Sugar Cookie Crust

The holiday season ended, my grown girls returned to their own homes, and several unused food items stared at me accusingly for a couple of days. Then I combined them to create a creamy dessert with a touch of crunch and a taste of Christmas. Grab the last peppermint ice cream in the dairy case today, or save this recipe to enjoy next winter.

Peppermint Pie with Sugar Cookie Crust
Makes 2 pies, 8-10 servings each

1 package pre-made sugar cookie dough
3 1/2 cups peppermint ice cream, thawed to soupy consistency
8 ounces heavy whipping cream
12-14 round peppermint hard candies

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two pie pans. Cut cookie dough into 1/8th-inch pieces and then pinch together and press into each pie plate creating 'crusts' for the filling. Bake crusts 12-14 minutes until golden brown. When slightly cooled, use your fingers or a rubber spatula to gently press down the center crust to create a space for the filling.

VOE - The pastry will puff up in the oven and then fall some after removed, but still require pressing.

While crusts cool completely, whip cream until slightly firm but not stiff. Fold gently into thawed ice cream. Then pour filling evenly into two crusts.

Place in freezer until slightly hardened so filling retains its shape when touched. As the filling hardens, grind peppermint candies finely in food processor to a coarse 'dust' texture. Completely cover the top of each pie with peppermint dust. Return to freezer. Thaw about 20 minutes on counter, before serving.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Mexico's Vortexes

Much has been made of the clear, natural light and spectacularly blue skies in New Mexico, which have drawn and inspired artists for decades. But could it be that natural energy centers throughout the Southwest have equally compelled artists?

Often called 'vortexes,' these sites are thought to be spiritual 'power centers,' which enhance and support spiritual practice and healing. Individuals who are sensitive to this energy may feel it all along an energy vortex line that some people say follows the Rio Grande River as it winds through the Rocky Mountains, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos, and several small towns, including Chama.

Georgia O'Keefe's beloved Abiquiu/Ghost Ranch area is also known for its vortex energy. In fact, juniper trees like this one, at Ghost Ranch, supposedly respond to vortexes through their growth patterns. The stronger the energy, the more spiraled their branches become, sometimes to the point of bending them. Vortex enthusiasts also find these unusual energy sites in the Four Corners region, including Mesa Verde, and also in Sedona.