Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back in the saddle again. Soon.

Hello dear readers.
It's true, there has been radio silence up here at Club Complicatarian. We were positively stoked to have placed in the YumUniverse contest and we've got some really fun recipes and party ideas in store, but then work got a little nutty for all of us, then there was that pesky little earthquake-thing followed by that hurricane-dealie you may have heard talk of... and suddenly everything just seemed to come to a grinding halt.

Or rather, it had already gone there.

Wait, we haven't posted in how long? Oh, oops. And forget about posting, how are we doing on our respective journeys towards treating ourselves right and eating clean? Ehhhhhhh... not so good, Al.

On a more personal note, I, for one, have fallen off the wagon for sure and I've been letting that get me down. There has been no time to plan and make my own healthy meals, no time for the gym, lots of angst, and lots of sleepless nights. So last night when my husband and I went to the diner because our power was still out and we'd grilled the last of what we could salvage from the now-warm fridge the night before, I just caved and ordered a veggie burger patty melt. (That'd be a veggie burger sandwiched inside a grilled cheese, y'all.) Not that there's anything wrong with that once in a while, but I've been making those kinds of poor choices for a couple of weeks now. Sometimes more than once a day. And I've felt noticeably worse for it. Did I mention I ate half of my husband's french fries as well? Yeah, I did. Somehow, and this makes no sense, that makes it easier for me to keep moving along this downward spiral. My logic, if you can call it that, goes "well, I've messed up. It's all over. I've failed. Oh, look, a brownie ice cream sundae..." which tastes divine and makes me happy for all of 20 minutes until I start to digest it, and then my body does all the bad stuff it loves to do to me when I've had too much dairy, wheat, and processed junk. What I forget is how great I feel when I do eat right, go to the gym 5+ times a week, drink tons of water, and sleep well. I forget that despite constant proximity with ill co-workers I haven't been sick in more than 3 months, which, as sad as it may sound, is actually a record for me these days. I forget that the good stuff can be, well, good!

But there is a solution. Quite simply, I need to approach all this in a different way. It's not all or nothing, at least not yet. Maybe one day it might be. It's a process and I'm still relatively new to it. If I make a bad choice here or there I need to remember that I have the opportunity to make a good choice the next time. It'll take some time, but I've got time. All is not lost. Baby steps. Etc etc. As many pep talks as I give myself, I could always use one more, so this paragraph is for me to read and re-read as often as I need it. Maybe it'll help you, too. I think I'll have a salad for lunch. Go get 'em, tiger.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Woot woot!

Thanks so much for your votes everyone! We placed second for our Basil, coconut and lime pops and we couldn't have done it without your help! We hope you enjoyed our pop recipes. Cheers!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mango Lime Ginger Tarragon Popsicles

Yeah we're a little consumed with popsicles. It's the heat. It's the fact that there's so much great fresh food at the market. It makes throwing a few ingredients into a blender and freezing for about an hour and half the easiest and best summer treat. So here we go!



2 large ripe mangoes peeled (approximately 3 - 4 cups)
2 tbsp Turbinado sugar (can use other sweeteners - what ever you have/like - would probably avoid something like mollasses though)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp lime zest
juice of one medium lime (approximately 2 tbsp of juice)
1 tbsp fresh ginger chopped
1 tsp fresh tarragon chopped
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne (optional)


- Peel, chop, zest, juice everything into one bowl or put it directly into a blender or food processor.
- Add sugar, salt and cayenne.
- Blend everything until incorporated. On this step you can experiment a bit. If you don't want everything super smooth, but maybe some bits of mango and ginger you can blend in short bursts. Also all ingreditents can be adjusted to taste so feel free to experiment with that too.
- Fill molds and place sticks in.
- Put in freezer for minimum 1.5 hours

makes 6 pops

We haven't posted our experiment with the sweet plums we bought at the farmers' market, but that pop also came out good! We did a mostly sweet plum and lime pop with a cumumber and lime "rind". We pitted about a quarts worth of plums (with the skins on) threw them in a blender with the same amount of sugar and lime zest and juice as above. We let that freeze for about 45 minutes (just so that it was frozen through enough so that when we poured the cucumber mix they would stay distinct and not so frozen that the stick wouldn't go in). The cucumber mix is the same one we used for the watermelon prosecco pops here.

Food Science Geekery Alert! Every wonder why store bought pops and homemade pops don't taste as much alike as you'd expect? And we're not just talking about flavors etc. It has to do with the quickness of commercial freezing process. Home freezers don't work as quickly as commercial freezers and therefore there is time for the liquid and the sugar to separate a bit. We think this might not be as much of an issue with fruits like mango and bananna that have a lower water to fruit ratio. You can read more about this here.

frosty army
the first of the frosty army!

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a party over here!


As a new blog, we are especially thrilled and honored to have our Basil, Coconut, and Lime Pop recipe as a finalist in the YumUniverse party-theme recipe contest! If you haven't checked out the YumUniverse website yet, you must! It's one of the most informative and tasty-recipe-laden whole foods blogs out there. And as an aside, if you're thinking of trying out a healthier plant-based diet, we can't recommend Heather's YU Test Drive Guide enough.

We can't wait to try out the other recipes. Everything looks so amazing! Can you believe that Heather and her friends spent a weekend testing out ALL the contest entries? That's a lot of cooking!! You can check out the behind the scenes here. Looks like a lot of fun! We can't wait to have another test kitchen weekend ourselves, try some of these recipes out, and come up with more tasty recipes of our own.

In the meantime, if you want to vote, all you have to do is "like" your favorite recipe (such as, say, some delightful basil/coconut/lime pops? ;) ) on the YU Facebook page. Easy peasy. Voting closes in one week so you have plenty of time to try these all out.

Here are links to the finalists' recipes:

Our coconut/basil/lime pops (yaaaaaay!!)

Lisa Pitman’s Party Perfect Petit Fours

Rawxy’s YUM Cake

Sweet Potato Soul’s Pineapple Almond Balls

Making Love In The Kitchen with Meghan’s Spicy Sweet Potato & Refried Bean Burrito
We are going to try them all! How about you?


Monday, August 1, 2011

Black Bean Fritters with Three Sauces (oh and a pickled radish or two)

Parties are a lot of work...but a lot of fun too. Food for a party should be easy for everyone - the host and the guests. It's also nice when after a party you feel satisfied by all the lovely little morsels without feeling over full or that the food was too heavy. This is especially true now that it's summertime. These black bean fritters are quite versatile, substantial and can be made ahead of time.




1 Cup black beans (Don't rinse the beans if you are using canned. If fresh beans don't drain off the liquid)
1/4-1/2 Cup of a red onion chopped fine, depending on how much you like
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh cilantro chopped
1/2 TBSP cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP chickpea flour
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP olive oil for frying (You could probably use coconut oil or even spread mixture onto a baking sheet, bake, cool, and then slice up into cakes)



- In a pan sautee the onions in olive oil until softened. Should take about 5 minutes if stove is set to medium flame/setting.
- Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Keep an eye on the garlic to make sure it doesn't burn.
- In a bowl mix the beans, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper and cooked onions and garlic. Mash, food process, or puree 1/2 the mixture and mix it back in with the rest
- Add chickpea flour & mix
- Add remaining oil to pan. Drop in 'batter' by 1 or 2 tbsp depending on
what size you want your fritters. Fry for 4 minutes on each side. Don't flip
until you see the edges brown. The crust that will form will hold the cakes together.
- Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Allow them to cool as they will firm up even more.

Serve with any of the three sauces below or simply a pickled radish (we used a very basic recipe from a canning and pickling book titled, "Put 'Em Up!") and a bit more cilantro (or not).

Makes 8-10 appetizer cakes



Fresh and light with a kick of garlic. Pretty traditional, but pretty awesome!


1 package of silken tofu
1 cucumber
juice of 1/2 lemon (approx. 2 TBSP)
4 small garlic cloves
1 tsp dill
1 tsp sea salt

- Place tofu into high speed blender or food processor.
- Peel and seed cucumber. Rough chop 1/2 the cucumber and put into blender. Set aside other 1/2.
- Juice lemon into blender (don't forget to strain the pits with a sieve or your hand)
- Add garlic and salt to blender
- Blend until smooth consistency
- Chop dill. (Can use more dill if you like, but avoid putting dill in the blender as it can turn your entire sauce a pale shade of green).
- Cube remaining 1/2 of cucumber
- Stir both dill and cucumber into blended mixture.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if it is needed.

Makes about 1 pint



Mellow and creamy, but with just a bit of heat and curry flavor thanks to the Garam Masala! The black bean fritters with chickpea flour stand up nicely to this thicker sauce.

Curried Cashew Dip on the left and Tzitziki Sauce on the right.

3/4 Cup cashews, soaked 1-3 hours
1/2 Cup filtered water
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt (add more to taste)
1 tsp garam masala curry (add more to taste)

- Drain the cashews.
- Blend all ingredients except Garam Masala curry in food processor or high speed blender. Check the consistency. You can add more water a little at a time for a thinner consistency.
- Add garam masala curry spices.
- Taste and add seasoning depending on what you like.

Did you know you can make your own Garam Masala? In India Garam Masala is a very personal thing - families tend to have a recipe that gets handed down from generation to generation. Experiment with what you like and check out this link to learn more about variations. The blend above was based on these basic ingredients: ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric.

Makes about 1 pint




1 medium/large ripe mango cubed (approx. 2 Cups)
2 small tomatoes seeded and chopped (approx. 1 Cup)
1 shallot chopped finely (approx. 1/4 Cup)
1 clove of garlic minced (a nice fat one should yeild about 1 TBSP)
1/2 jalapeno seeded and minced (approx. 1 TBSP)
1 1/2 medium/large limes juiced (approx. 3 TBSP)
1/2 tsp of sea salt
few cranks of pepper mill
1 tsp of olive oil
1/4 tsp of fresh tarragon roughly chopped


Throw everything in a bowl as you work through the ingredient list. Stir and let sit for about 5 or 10 minutes. Give a taste and adjust to your taste.

Makes about 1 pint