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Avocado Toast, Tropical Style

Breakfast, Appetizers, SnacksLina LiwagComment

I just love avocado toast!  It's so delicious, easy to make, comforting and it always makes me smile!  Especially when Spring in Toronto can't seem to make up her mind.  

There are so many versions or flavours of this wonderful thing.  And the good news is: the components are not complicated and anybody can make it!  This is a great family activity on a Saturday morning which the kids would love to join in.  

 

Fresh bread with the best ingredients is the most important thing for this recipe.  I love to use organic sourdough or rye bread.  For those who are sensitive to gluten, use your favourite gluten-free bread.  Raw flat bread made of almonds and flax seed is also a great option.  I've served the recipe using them in my last raw food tea party and they were a hit just the same.  Ripe but firm avocado is also a must - unless you're a fan of the more mushy ones like my hubby.  The rest of the components is a mix and match at your own preference -  be creative. 

Here's my own version of the avocado toast, tropical style.  It reminds me of Hawaii and Philippines.  I have served them many times to friends and family.  They're always  a crowd pleaser I must say!  The combination of creamy, sweet, tart, and crunchy items + herbs and toasted bread makes it a perfect and delicious option for breakfast, brunch or snack.  It will make you smile!

Avocado Toast, Tropical Style
Ingredients:
1-2 ripe but firm avocado, cut and pitted
1-2 ripe mangoes, cut into cubes
1/2 - 3/4 c. cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1 tbsp. red onion, minced
1 small purple daikon or a few red radish, thinly cut
juice of 1/2 lime or more
1/4 c. cilantro leaves
pinch of good salt and optional black pepper
Slices of sourdough, rye bread or gluten-free option

Method:
Prep all the ingredients and before serving, toast the bread. In a bowl, mix  the mango, tomatoes, onions, lime, salt and some of the cilantro leaves leaving some for topping.  Depending on how big your bread slices and your avocados, scoop 1/4- 1/2 of the avocado and spread on the bread by using the tines of a fork.  Top with mango salsa, a few daikon slices and more cilantro.  Enjoy!

Below is another version using homemade flat bread, shaved purple cabbage dressed in cashew cream and edible flowers.  We enjoyed this last year in my Raw Tea Party. 
 

Another  version using raw flatbread and purple cabbage

Another  version using raw flatbread and purple cabbage

Recently, I went home to the Philippines.   I had a good dose of my long missed tropical fixes and get to hang out with  my favourite people including high school classmates and teachers. My family lives in the northernmost tip of the country where we still grow our own rice, vegetables and lots of fruits since land is abundant there, thanks to our older generation who started it all.  The ocean is not too far away either although no beach days for me as it rained so much for the whole week that I was there.  I enjoyed spending time playing with my nephews and nieces in Manila, especially the younger ones.  I miss them so much!

  I'm very grateful that I have the best of both worlds: cosmopolitan Toronto and the muddy rice fields of my childhood.  I was able to ride in the same boats (just like in my high school days)  to cross the river in order to visit Aparri.  I still have several of my high school friends there.  Shopping in open markets  was fun!  There were fresh seaweeds and pako (tropical version of fiddleheads), taro shoots, the juiciest  jicama and the best bananas.  The supply of young and mature coconuts never runs out since all you need is a skillful young man to climb the tall trees in the backyard.  My sister is the new(er) modern-day  farmer, mixing some science and good old passed me down wisdom from older generation farming techniques.  She graduated from UP Los Banos many years ago specializing in Agriculture and is now managing what our ancestors left us.  These days, her garden has tons of red dragonfruits, bananas, pomelo in addition to trees my dad planted when we were young: mangos, tamarind, mandarin oranges, chico and coconuts.

 My dad is now 91.  He still has a sharp memory and is the classic story-teller who remembers things that happened so many years ago.  He loves to read using a magnifying glass and never his prescription glasses.  My heart was full.  Here are some of the photos.

My dad at 91.  

My dad at 91.  

Matcha Pina Colada Green Smoothie + "Advanced Raw Cuisine Course"

Smoothies, RawLina LiwagComment

This looks like a "matcha green tea sequel" but it wasn't intentional.   It was one of those instantaneous inspiration in the kitchen.   Since  the snow has melted and some warmer weather is upon us, green smoothies are just perfect these days.

This mix is great even to those who are still newer in adding veggies to their drink.  Pineapple + greens  is refreshing and yummy at the same time.  I know mint can be intimidating to some...the thought of toothpaste is usually associated  with it but trust me, it's awesome.  I put it in my smoothies all the time!

Matcha Pina Colada Green Smoothie
Ingredients

1 handful organic baby spinach 
1 handful sunflower sprouts
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1  1/2 cups homemade coconut milk (recipe below)
6 -8 mint leaves
1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4  - 1/3 of an avocado
2 tsp. matcha green tea powder (I used this)

Method:
Blend until smooth.  You can also add some ice before serving. Serves 2.

Homemade Coconut Milk
1 cup coconut flakes, soaked in 2 cups of water for 15-30 mins until soft. Use the same water to blend.  Strain in a nut milk bag or wire sieve. 

Suggestion:
You can also substitute coconut milk on this recipe by using 1  1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 Tbsp. softened coconut butter.  

 


Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary 

I'm back to culinary school again!  This time, I'm taking the online Advanced Raw Cuisine at the Matthew Kenney Culinary School.  I am almost finished.  Hence my absence from the blog for a while now.  Here are some of the dishes that I've made in the last few weeks.

   New Style Miso Soup using carrot juice, infused with herbs.  I used lemongrass on my recipe.

 

New Style Miso Soup using carrot juice, infused with herbs.  I used lemongrass on my recipe.

   Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

 

Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

   Green Curry Kelp Noodles.  

 

Green Curry Kelp Noodles.  


   Vanilla Panna Cotta.  I made my own sauce of blood orange, strawberry and raspberry sauce with cardamom and orange zest.

 

Vanilla Panna Cotta.  I made my own sauce of blood orange, strawberry and raspberry sauce with cardamom and orange zest.

I will  be wrapping up this course very soon and will have time to develop some products and host some events.

Enjoy Spring!

Sincerely,

Lina

Dips, Dips, Dips - Austin's Super Bowl Weekend

Appetizers, DipsLina Liwag5 Comments
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My 15 year old son  loves to invite relatives during sporting events.   He also loves to plan and talk about the menu...sometimes way too much as he really gets very excited with good eats.  So I thought why not take this opportunity to make some good dips... then share it with everyone.  We had my brother-in-law and his 11-year old son for dinner today and everyone enjoyed a mini Super Bowl party.  I'm not really a big sports fan but I don't mind the entertainment portion of it. 

On this post,  I have decided to showcase three recipes of dips that have become our family's favourites. I know I should have posted this last week in preparation for Super Bowl Sunday but I find I'm always running behind in a lot of things.  I'm sure you can still use these for your snacks or when you're entertaining as I find them very versatile.

In addition to these dips, I also made some flax crackers with organic spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, a variation of the crackers on an earlier post..see here. I will try and share that recipe at another time.  We had some citrus drinks made of lemon, lime and tangerine with mint which was yummy.   After partaking with the appetizers, we were too full but eventually, we had some vegetarian chili and I promise to share that too in a future post.  

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Tex-Mex Guacamole
Ingredients:
2 medium size avocados
1/2 c. cooked black beans or 1 can BPA-free organic black beans
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. Non-GMO frozen corn soaked in boiling water for 5 mins.
1/2 to 1  piece jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onions
juice of 1 lime
1/2 t. Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt
3 Tbsp. finely chopped coriander leaves and a bit more for garnish
a pinch of cumin
Method:
Rinse and drain the beans if you are using the canned version. Boil 1 cup of water then add the corn.  Turn off the stove then let the corn sit with the boiling water for about 5 minutes then drain.  In a bowl, mashed together the avocado, salt, lime, coriander, cumin and onions.  Add the black beans, tomatoes and corn and combine well.  Refrigerate before serving.  Garnish with coriander leaves.  

Avocado Hummus
Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas or 1 can  BPA-free organic chickpeas
1/4c. toasted unhulled sesame seeds, grounded
juice  of 1 1/2 lemons
2 -3 Tbsp. filtered water
1/2 avocado
1/2 t. Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch of cumin
Method:
Rinse and drain the beans if you are using the canned version.  Dry roast the sesame seeds then grind them.  Place all ingredients into the food processor except the avocado.  Process until smooth then add the avocado on the last minute then process until well incorporated.  You may add more water if you want your mixture a little thinner.  

Creamy Cannellini Bean Dip
Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. cooked cannellini beans or 1 can BPA-free organic cannellini beans
2 Tbsp. raw tahini paste
5 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. filtered water (or more if you want a thinner consistency)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1-2  cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
Method:
Rinse and drain the beans if you are using the canned version.  Place all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth.  Add a bit more water if you want your mixture thinner.  Serve with your favourite crackers, cut up raw vegetables or even use it as base on open face sandwiches with tomatoes, avocado and sprouts like the picture below. 

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I'm not sure how your weekend has been.  Did your team win?  Did you have good food?  My weekend just flew by so quickly.  I spent Saturday prepping for today's food and I was happy that my family enjoyed it.  We are still in the midst of winter here...we seem to be having a lot of snow this year.  What I notice though is that the morning is much brighter and so I know spring is not too far away.  I can't wait!  

I took some pictures of the woods behind our town home last week.  These are usually green in the summer and bright with pretty colours in the fall and now they are bare.  However, they are so beautiful whenever we get the right kind of snow...the fluffy kind which gives the trees that magical look!  Whereever you are and whatever kind of weather you have, there is always beauty in it...God made it that way!  Have a great week!

Wishing you the best,

Lina

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