Tomato Season!

I've been going back and forth about writing a blog about tomatoes. It is a perfect, summery food! It's also an (Indigenous) American original. But getting legit tomato recipes from the Americas that are cool and refreshing seems redundant. Salsa y mas salsa! Ha! But then I remembered another summery and tomato-y treat: ceviche! I love making mushroom ceviche almost as much as I love eating it! It's so easy and great for a summer get together so enjoy while the sun is still shining bright.

 

I am going to share my favorite recipe for oyster mushroom ceviche! I was going to share a salsa recipe, as well, but this ceviche is so amazing that I just want you to make it and tell me  how good you think it is.  I made it today and I think I'll make it again tomorrow! It's that good. 

 

The Perfect Summer Ceviche: 

This recipe makes 5-6 servings so make sure you have at least one bag of really good tortilla chips on hand!  Just double the recipe for big barbecues and fiestas.

Ingredients: 

1/8-1/4 lb of oyster mushrooms, roughly diced (I like to sauté mine, until soft, in either a little bit of water or 2 tablespoons of canola/avocado oil)

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes  

1/2 medium red onion  

1 medium cucumber  

1 avocado  

3/4 cup heart of palm, diced (optional)

1 jalapeño or Serrano pepper

1 fistful of cilantro 

1 big, juicy orange  

1-2 lemons  

1-2 limes

Preparation: 

Quarter all of your citrus and squeeze it into a large bowl.  Be sure to remove any seeds from the bowl with a spoon. Wash/sauté mushrooms and add them to citrus juice. Dice onion, peppers, heart of palm, cilantro and of course, the tomatoes. Add them to the citrus mix, stir and set aside for 1-2 hours . Dice avocado and cucumber. Add these to the marinated mix and serve! 

Happy summer, amigos! 

 

Beat the heat with this tomato-y treat! 

Beat the heat with this tomato-y treat! 

Superfoods from a Super Continent!

These days it is very trendy to label many edible things as "superfoods". Suffice it to say the term is overused! But for the sake of convention I will use the term but set guidelines of what is and what is not a superfood. A superfood is any food that has real health benefits, heaps of nutrition and no adverse effects when eaten in moderation. A super food is not any edible item that is newly to market and in need of a sales push. Since weat Nativegan adhere to the ancient belief that we are connected to all living things, all ingredients will be cruelty-free and vegan (as usual!).

 Chia Seeds!

You probably know how the non-edible chia seeds received their fame. The fame of the edible Chia seed is a much older tale and has no j-j-j-jingle. The Tarahumara tribe of the canyons of Mexico are long, lonnngg distance runners. They are also big proponents of eating chia seeds for endurance and recovery. They certainly were right! The chia seed is jam packed with good stuff like: omega-3s, tons of fiber and minerals. The omega-3s supplied are great for joint care and other properties of the seed keep you from dehydrating too quickly.

 Maca Root!

Both the chia seed and the maca root were used as currency by natives because of their known value as superfoods! Maca root is grown high in the Andes mountains of Peru. Inca warriors used to eat it before going into battle. It was said to provide energy and endurance. It was also said to provide virility which REALLY made it popular! This root veggie is full of amino acids (almost all of them!) and lots of minerals and vitamins. Also, maca has antioxidants to help ward of cancer and other killers.

Maple Syrup!

A sweetener?! Yes, I'm listing a sweetener as a superfood. Why? Because it is wayyy better for us than processed and refined sweets like cane sugar. AND because there are real, tangible health benefits! One of those being its high manganese content. 3 tablespoons a day would provide your entire daily allowance. It's also contains a good amount of antioxidants and it is also anti inflammatory. However, we must respect that it is still a sugary food so moderation is highly recommended!

Vanilla and Chipotle Peppers!

Fine, I won't categorize these as superfoods but they are pretty terrific. Mostly, I just want to talk about them because they're in today's recipe! Also, they are indigenous to the Americas and they both have nutritional properties that make them super in their own way. The jalapeños that make the smoky chipotle peppers are high in folate and vitamin C. Vanilla has some of the most powerful aromatherapy, mood enhancing properties and it contains antioxidants.  Vanilla is also known for having anti inflammatory properties.  

Today's Recipe!  

So, that is about it. These are most of the ingredients for our recipe today. Almost all of them are native to this continent (everything listed above is). Okay, now let's make some food! Today's recipe is for roasted maca chia pudding:

Ingredients!  

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 c plant based milk (we used hemp)

1-2 tsp of roasted maca powder* 

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

A pinch of chipotle powder  

 *Please note: most maca is available, outside of Peru, in raw, powder form. Roasted powder is available but typically it's much more expensive. So we bought raw powder and roasted it by following directions found here: https://youtu.be/SBTtO6XPfEs . You can use raw powder, but we like the flavor and the additional health benefits of the roasted maca better.

 

Directions! 

This couldn't be easier to make! Just add all your ingredients together, saving the milk for last. Stir in the milk making sure to break up all the lumps. I like to make this mixture in a glass container with a lid, that way I can see the bottom and make sure all the chia seeds are mixed in. Refrigerate for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and stir pudding again making sure there are no lumps. If the consistency is to your liking you can eat it right away! If you wanted to be thicker leave it in the fridge for another 30 to 45 minutes. If it is too thick you can always stir in more milk. 

 

 Pro Tip! 

You can use whole or ground chia seeds for this recipe. If you choose to use ground seeds you may need to use a little bit more milk. Also, you can blend the entire mixture before putting it in the fridge. Then you will have a pudding with a creamy or texture and not so tapioca-like.

 

 

Raw Maca powder for roasting. 

Raw Maca powder for roasting. 

Finished, roasted Maca!  

Finished, roasted Maca!  

Ready to pour the milk!  

Ready to pour the milk!  

The final product: delicious, creamy Chia pudding with roasted Maca! Yum!

The final product: delicious, creamy Chia pudding with roasted Maca! Yum!

You're still here? Okay, one final tip then: for a differently delicious treat try adding a teaspoon of peanut butter into the mix or cocoa powder. Have a super day!!

Welcome to the Journey!

I grew up living close to the earth. As a child I ran barefoot on horse trails through the Sonoran desert. I drank in the smell of the creosote after the rain. My cousins and I made forts among the mesquite and Palo verde trees. I swam in the creek after the thunderstorms. I foraged for broken native pottery. We ate the stickery prickly pear fruits. 

I was lucky in this respect! In some other ways I was not so fortunate. I was raised without true knowledge of my native roots. This is true of both sides of my family. I was an ironic brown child , living in the southwest, surrounded by white people. Here I was, living at the crossroads of Mexico and the US, and I had no real inkling of the native blood I had that linked me indefinitely to both countries. The history of my peoples was hidden from me and remains hidden, for the most part, even still today. 

I was also raised eating animals. Sounds normal enough... but when your family gets sick, someone is hospitalized or someone else dies early of disease you start searching for answers. The link I found seemed to be poor diet that was founded in animal consumption. I watched Forks Over Knives and discovered the China study, which is the most comprehensive study on lifestyle and disease ever done. This study seemed to show that my assessment was right: an apple a day (not a steak) was the key to keeping the doctor away. 

This led to a new era in my life where I turned to plants to sustain my vitality! I was uncertain that I could be vegan. I thought it would be monotonous. Nothing could be further from the truth! I have been able to find amazing, like-minded people who constantly amaze me with imaginative dishes sure to satisfy the biggest critics. I have surprised myself with my culinary creativity, as wel! I want to share that creativity with you! 

I want you to know my personal food journey and then go (re)discover your own. I want you to be inspired to health and staying the course! I am excited to shed light on a growing community of healthy activists that act like an extended family and support group. Much of what I have to share will be tied to my background in southwestern cooking and also in my ongoing search into my native roots. Thanks for reading! Please enjoy!