Greetings friends and health seekers!

So this is what it takes for me to actually sit down and compile my first blog post… a rainy day. Pathetic I know, but it was just the motivation I needed to get this thing off and running.
 
 
I have just finished my 4th week at Bauman College on a quest to become a certified Natural Chef. Living here in Santa Cruz has been a very busy but fun adventure. I am loving the beautiful woods and abundant farmer’s markets. Bike rides to school involve a scenic view of the morning fog lifting off the Capitola Pier. Too many coffee shops, too little time.
 
 
I am loving all the food experiments at school. Last Friday was our “Vegetables and Greens” class. Here are some pictures of our creations!

The complete feast

Stir-Fried Szechuan Broccoli with Zesty Spiced Pecans

Blanched Greens in Cashew Curry Sauce

Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Gratin with Basil Cream

The basil cream was so delicious that I decided to recreate it at home and I thought I’d pass along the recipe for those who want to give it a whirl.

 

BASIL CREAM

1 bunch basil

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 cup water

2 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Heat a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl with ice water. Take the whole bunch of basil and dip for a few seconds in the boiling water. Plunge immediately into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the basil in a towel to remove remaining water.

In a blender, add the basil, cashews, nutritional yeast, water, lemon, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.

 
This cream inspired a meal that I made for lunch/dinner (lunner?) today. Squash season is in full swing and in honor of the squash and I took a basil cream opportunity to make some spaghetti squash and topped it off with some lovely locally grown Roma tomatoes, some fresh basil, and some mini turkey meatballs.
 
Needless to say, it was heaven. And now heaven is in my belly.
 
Stay tuned. I sense a pumpkin butter recipe in your near future.
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