The Real Food Journal

Robin Asbell is your experienced guide to cooking and eating healthfully, sustainably, and deliciously. Her cookbooks, articles and blog are valuable resources for anyone interested in the good life with good food.

Make Your Own Facial, From Food!

Make Your Own Facial, From Food!

mood, you can slather it all over your body. That’s because homemade skin care is the plant-based way to nourish your skin with ingredients that are good enough to eat. This recipe is actually made from foods that are good for you both inside and out!

Make a Pure Plant Smoky TLT Sandwich

Make a Pure Plant Smoky TLT Sandwich

We start with a mushroom, a plant famed for its umami chemicals. Umami, according to this article in Science Direct.com, is the meatiness caused by the presence of sodium salts of glutamic and aspartic amino acids and 5′-nucleotides. What that means is that mushrooms have an extra chemical punch when you eat them, that makes your brain perceive them as more “meaty” and satisfying. Then, we add another umami star, smoke.

Plant Based Smoky “Lox” and “Cream Cheese” Bagels!

Plant Based Smoky “Lox” and “Cream Cheese” Bagels!

The brilliance of carrot “lox” is that it uses the natural color of the carrot and a few simple ingredients to make a silky, smoky bagel topper that really does make you think of lox. The cashew cream cheese helps to support the allusion, giving you that combination of creamy, rich cheesiness under the lox-flavored carrots. It’s really a stunning combination. The capers, red onions and cucumbers also serve to reinforce the feeling that you are really eating a lox and cream cheese bagel at a deli, in the most delightful way.

Roasted Tomato Sauce over Pan-Toasted Gnocchi

Roasted Tomato Sauce over Pan-Toasted Gnocchi

Last week, I extolled the virtues of my fave way to put up tomatoes. I’m picking a big bowlful of tomatoes every few days at my house, and I have developed my own routine. Early in the morning, before it gets hot, I roast them, then freeze them. I’ve also posted my method for freezing basil, and it’s my most popular You Tube video to date! Once you have those two essential meal prep items, you have invaluable flavor, concentrated and ready to go. One really fast and easy meal that you can make with your prep is this Roasted Tomato Sauce over Pan-Toasted Gnocchi.

The BEST Way to Freeze Your Tomatoes for Winter

The BEST Way to Freeze Your Tomatoes for Winter

This is the month, when all the heirloom tomatoes that I’ve been nursing along suddenly ripen. This has been a tough year, with no rain and high heat, so it’s been a labor of love, if daily watering can be called love. My reward is a weekly haul of mixed tomato varieties, packed with intoxicating tomato flavors. Now it’s time to freeze roasted tomatoes!

Make Spicy “Tuna” Maki, Plant Based

Make Spicy “Tuna” Maki, Plant Based

Do You Love Sushi?
If you follow my instagram, you have probably noticed that I have been teaching sushi classes for many years. In fact, sushi is one of my great loves, and I respect the traditions. I also can’t stop myself from occasionally making a completely untraditional riff on sushi. So it’s out of love that I took a popular roll, the Spicy Tuna Roll, and made a plant based version. Instead of fish, I made watermelon tuna.

Veggie and Tofu Skewers with Peanut Hoisin Sauce

Veggie and Tofu Skewers with Peanut Hoisin Sauce

This Minnesota summer has seen a long, hot spell combined with a drought. Every day, we water and cross our fingers that it might rain a little, soon. It’s also way too hot to do any kind of baking. That’s the perfect time to use that grill to your advantage. I embrace the heat, and make grilled vegetables and tofu.
Of course, it is zucchini season, so you might well have an overload of zukes that shouldn’t go to waste. This method is a showy, fun way to put them to use. The first thing you need is a delicious sauce. I stirred up an easy, no-cook peanut-hoisin sauce in a flash. Then The veggies. I did blanch the brussels sprouts for one minute, just to help them cook through on the grill without drying out. The tofu got a sprinkle of tamari and sesame oil for a bit of flavor beneath the sauce. But the fun piece is the weaving of zucchini ribbons onto the skewers. Watch the video, for a quick demo. You’ll need a mandoline or a chop top box to slice the zucchini evenly and thinly.

Grilled Plum Salad-A Kiss Of Fire Makes Fruit Sing!

Grilled Plum Salad-A Kiss Of Fire Makes Fruit Sing!

After we’ve eaten our fill of the juicy fruits au naturel, I like to move to the Plums were made for the grill. Just a few minutes on the hot grates softens and sweetens the fruit. Then they are ready for this salad. I always place them cut side down at first, to get a little marking on the surface and start the cooking, then flip them. Then, the skin of the fruit holds the juices in, keeping the fruit from exploding and losing all it’s sweet liquids to the fire. This time, I sprinkled with a little cinnamon.

Tostadas and Salsa-All On the Grill!

Tostadas and Salsa-All On the Grill!

Mealtess Grilling is the Best! In this recipe, I grill the tomatoes, corn and hot peppers, for a bit of charred flavor in the salsa. The heat sweetens the corn, giving it a bit of caramelization as it cooks. My skewered grape tomatoes become soft and juicy, as their skins blister and blacken. Two hot chilies mellow and become friendly, and it is easy to slip the skin away, if you choose to do so.
The real fun starts when you grill fresh chips and tostada shells. Instead of buying a bag of tortillas, serving tacos once or twice, then watching them languish in the fridge, I now make them into grilled chips and shells. No need to heat a pot of oil to deep fry your tortillas, when the grill will make them into crispy chips in a couple of minutes.

Purslane and Glazed Tofu Summer Rolls, Eat Your Weeds

Purslane and Glazed Tofu Summer Rolls, Eat Your Weeds

You’ve probably seen purslane, growing out of cracks in the sidewalk, or filling in between the rows in your garden. I know I’ve yanked out bushels of the stuff, over the years. It took me a while to figure out that the vigorous “weed” was actually very valuable. You see, as vegetarians, we should be farming this stuff, and eating more of it than spinach.