The Lotus Kitchen Presents Living Food



 Last week I had the great privilege of presenting for The Living Food Ministry at The Agape International Spiritual Center here in Los Angeles. This ministry was the vision of the awe- inspiring Rev. Arlene Hylton who opens a conversation to discuss and share insights on the benefits of eating Raw and Living Foods.

We had a blast preparing foods and sharing information on everything from the dangers of GMO’s (especially how removal of seeds in fruit is effecting woman’s health.) To what the heck is Nutritional Yeast? We laughed, we got inspired and best of all we ate some amazing food that not only nourishes your body, but your soul.

Even if you are not contemplating a vegan lifestyle you can enjoy these recipes because they just taste good! And if you are in Southern California on the second Sunday of the month at 2:30 p.m.I invite you to check out Rev. Arlene and the Living Foods Ministry! I promise you will be inspired to eat more foods that taste great and make your body feel alive. In the words of Rev. Arlene “Life tastes good!’

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

6 large heirloom tomatoes, all varieties and colors, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch cubes

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4 Parisian cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and diced into1/4 inch cubes

2 purple bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

In a blender or food processor combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and peppers. Add cilantro, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and jalapeno. Add a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Process vegetables into a juicy soup, leaving it nice and chunky. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2-tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1-tablespoon maple syrup

6-tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1-cup olive oil

Fresh ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and let stand for one hour.

From THE LOTUS KITCHEN 2015 Huqua Press



Hydrating Cucumber Mint Salad

4 cup  Cucumber Chopped

2 cups  fresh Mint

1 Cup Cilantro

1 cup basil

1 Cup of Lime Juice

1/3 of Grape seed oil

1 Cup  Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

2 teaspoons fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and Serve. Serves 2 to 4.

From THE LOTUS KITCHEN 2015 Huqua Press



These brownies are chock full of chocolaty goodness, but they also have a few health benefits for you! The three biggest health-boosting ingredients are Xylitol, coconut oil and dark chocolate. Xylitol tastes sweet but, unlike sugar, it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva and also acts against some bacteria that cause ear infections. It is said to be friendly to some diabetics because it releases smaller amounts of insulin slower! Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and can help reduce bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It is true that coconut oil can be classified as a “super food.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. This includes fat loss, better brain function, helps fight infections, reduce bad cholesterol and promote healthy hair, skin and be used as a sunscreen! But mostly they are simple to make and are super tasty!



½ cup coconut oil
2 cups 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup water
1 cup zilatol
1 cup pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Dutch process cocoa (60% Cacao or higher)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds

1-tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13 san with bakers joy.
In a double boiler or a bowl set atop a pot of gently simmering water, melt the coconut oil, ½ of the chocolate chips and vanilla together. When melted add the xylitol and remove from heat.
In another bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the flax seeds, cornstarch and ½ cup hot water, allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Combine the chocolate/coconut oil mixture with the flax seed mixture and whisk vigorously. Add to the flour mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the other half of the chocolate chips and mix well. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and bake for about 50 minutes. Start checking the brownies after the first 30 minutes to ensure it is baking evenly and turn the pan around in the oven. When cooked soft cake like to the touch pull them and let them cool completely before cutting. Makes 20-14 squares
From A VEGAN HOLIDAY Fall 2016 Huqua Press





Ethnic Markets

c-fakepath-zion-market-produceOne of the most amazing things about living in L.A. is all of the culinary diversity. Not only do we have so many restaurants to try, but the little markets tucked in mini malls and tiny corner storefronts are one of our cities treasures. With hundreds of Latino, Asian, Cuban, Russian and Armenian markets in almost every given neighborhood it is a wonderful opportunity to talk to cooks from all over the world. I have learned so much about everyday cooking in other countries. Things that seemed complicated like Thai green curry seem so simple when explained by someone who makes it for her family as often as I roast a chicken. Sometimes I get really board with my own recipes that I just spend an afternoon perusing isle after isle of different foods. O.K…there are a few things that seem unfamiliar and a bit scarry! The other great thing about these mainly family owned shops are that they are so much cheaper than the regular market! I found a beautiful filet mignon for $6.99 a pound at a local Cuban market! I invite you to explore these little cultural centers and expand your cooking repertoire as well.

Green Chicken Curry
This green curry is rich and creamy with just the perfect kick. It is so simple to make so don’t be intimidated if some of the ingredients seem unfamiliar. Most are available at a good super market and all are available at an Asian market. Be sure to remove the lemongrass stalks and lime leaves before serving, as they are really stringy and tough to eat. Keep in mind that you can make it with shrimp, or vegetarian. I like it with the snow peas, but you can use any vegetable you like.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, cut bite size
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 lemon grass stalks, bruised and cut
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 pound snow peas
15 basil leaves

In a wok or frying pan heat the oil. Add the green curry paste and stir-fry until bubbly and fragrant. Add the chicken, kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Add the snow peas and cook for another minute. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve over rice.

Filet mignon in a Shallot Cabernet sauce

The filet mignon that comes from the Cuban Market is so reasonable that you can play with sauces and ways of cooking. It is really great grilled and if you have enough people you can get a large cut make small incisions all around and add whole cloves of garlic. Roast on 425 for about 10 minutes a pound.

4 6-ounce 1-inch thick filet mignons
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-cup cabernet wine (can substitute any dry red wine)
1 shallot finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons butter

Coat steaks lightly with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear the steaks, moving them with tongs a little so they don’t stick to the bottom, for 5 to 6 minutes per side. When the steaks are crusty-charred remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to wine sauce. In the same pan sauté garlic and shallot for two minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping any pieces of steak off the bottom of the pan and stirring them into the emerging sauce. Let the liquid boil until reduced to approximately 1 cup. Remove pan from heat. Gently whisk in the butter. Pour the sauce over the steaks just before serving.

At the Armenian market I was turned on to this wonderful dip. They use it to dip veggies as a sandwich spread or with pita bread. You can add a few hot peppers if you like a bit of a kick. The color is so spectacular that I love to serve it in an over sized basil lined Martini glass.

2 eggplants
6 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
1/2-cup olive oil,
Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Bake eggplants and peppers until tender when pierced with a fork. Peel skin from hot vegetables and place in a food processor.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the garlic and lemon juice. And olive oil and pulse. You want it to be pureed, but coarsely. Chill or serve warm sprinkled with parsley!

Dark Chocolate

Oh chocolate!  My true love! How many nights it has been you and I!  The evening ends with me beating myself up after hours at the gym and then the sun goes down and I just can’t resist you!  Who knew we were doing something so terribly right! Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent and it contains phenylethylamine which is the chemical the brain produces when we fall in love. It contains neurotransmitters that act like little messengers running around our brain telling the body what to do. Serotonin, one of the main neurotransmitters in the body, acts as an anti-depressant.
Chocolate has antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which damage cells, clog arteries, and contribute to chronic illness and aging. It contains more calcium than eight ounces of milk and it is full of flavonoids which are pigments found in plants that help reduce damage to the body. They help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide and are good for the heart. It releases endorphins that are natural feel-good chemicals. It just makes you feel good! So grab a slab and enjoy guilt free these recipes! Once again chocolate is our friend!
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
8 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
1 pound strawberries with stem, washed and dried completely
3 ounces white chocolate (to garnish half)
Place chocolate in heatproof pan. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth.
Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Melt the white chocolate the same way and with a fork drizzle over half of the strawberries for a lovely presentation.
Chocolate Risotto
3 tablespoons Butter
1-tablespoon olive oil
Small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio Rice
1-cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ to ½ cup white wine
3 to 5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
3 teaspoons Dutch processed cocoa
Dash of smoked paprika
1-cup parsley, chopped
Parmesan Cheese to serve
Mix butter and olive oil in a stockpot over low heat until butter is melted. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until onion is translucent. Add garlic and stir for about a minute. Add rice and stir a few minutes. Add mushrooms and stir for about 5 minutes until they soften.
Add wine and stir until absorbed. Add hot stock about ½ a cup at a time. Keep the heat hot enough so the rice keeps gently simmering and absorbing each addition of stock. When the rice is plump and cooked when tasted you have added enough stock. Stir in 1-tablespoon cocoa and dash of paprika. Taste and check seasoning.  Stir through some parsley and Parmesan.
Chocolate Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce
For pancakes:
1/2 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-cup sugar
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
1/8-teaspoon salt
2 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4-cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/4-cup vegetable oil
1-teaspoon vanilla
Unsalted butter for greasing griddle
Sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl, then whisk in eggs, yolk, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined well.
Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over moderately low heat and lightly coat with butter.
Working in batches of 2 or 3, pour 1/4 cup batter per cake onto hot griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip cakes with a large spatula and cook until tops spring back when pressed gently, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Add 1/2-teaspoon butter to griddle between batches.
Serve cakes in stacks, topped with chocolate sauce.
For the sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
7 ounces 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
Bring cream to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, gently whisking until smooth. Keep warm or at room temperature.
Chocolate Truffles
12 ounces semi- sweet chocolate (chips or a bar broken into small pieces)
1 stick butter
1/2-cup ground chocolate
In a double broiler, melt the chocolate over simmering water, stirring constantly. (If you don’t have a double broiler you can use a smaller pan for the chocolate and a larger one to simmer the water. Just be careful especially with the kids, as it is slightly awkward.) Remove from heat. Add butter stirring until melted. Chill until firm enough to form into small round pieces. Roll in ground chocolate. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Makes about 40.
Green Tea and Chocolate Truffles
Around mid-day I usually have a cup of green tea. It was one time when I was eating a piece of chocolate that I thought how amazing the two would be together. The subtle essence and healing power of green tea make these really special.
2/3-cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
2 teaspoons loose Green Tea leaves
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup cocoa powder
In a medium saucepan bring cream and butter to a boil and stir in tealeaves. Remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grind chocolate in a food processor and transfer to a bowl. Pour cream through a fine-mesh sieve onto chocolate, pressing on and discarding tealeaves, then whisk until smooth. Chill mixture covered, until firm, overnight. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons onto prepared baking sheet. . Refrigerate until firm, about three hours.
Place cocoa powder in a bowl. Roll truffles in mixture. Cover with plastic; chill until ready to serve.
Chocolate Fondue
Combine in a medium, heavy saucepan:
1-cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Stirring constantly bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Let stand for one minute, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in:
2 teaspoons vanilla, or a splash of brandy or orange liqueur.
Pour into a fondue pot and serve with shortbread, pound cake and any fruit you like.
Very Chocolate Ice Cream
2-cup heavy cream
6 heaping tablespoons Valhrona cocoa
6 1/2 6 ounces 60%cacao bittersweet chocolate
1-cup milk
5 egg yolks
1/2-cup sugar
1/4-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon vanilla
In a medium pot heat 1 cup of heavy cream with cocoa; whisk well to ensure the cocoa dissolves properly. When cream is bubbling at the edges, remove from heat and add dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds then give it a good stir until it’s all incorporated. Add remaining cup of cream to pot, stir to combine, then pour the contents into a medium sized non-metal bowl, scraping out the pot as well as you can, and place a strainer over the bowl. Place the pot back on the stove, and add the cup of milk, 1/2 cup of sugar and the salt. Heat the milk and sugar gently on the stove while you get your egg yolks ready. Whisk the egg yolks together and then grab the pot from the stove. SLOWLY drizzle warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking the entire time until everything’s all combined. Then dump the liquid back into the pot. Stir constantly with a wooden or other heat-safe spoon or spatula over medium heat until the eggs thicken a bit, into custard. You’ll know it’s done when you can hold up the spoon and run your finger through the egg-milk mixture and the line you drew with your finger stays there. Pour custard through the strainer into the bowl. Add vanilla and stir to combine the chocolaty goodness. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl, literally touching the entire surface of the ice cream base. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours then prepare according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Once you’ve got it into your final container, freeze again for at least 6 hours – Remove from the freezer 10-15 minutes before eating so it has time to soften a bit before serving.
Chocolate Basil Cake with Chocolate Cream Frosting
1-cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus addition leaves for garnish)
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4-teaspoon salt
3/4-cup all-purpose flour
1/2-cup hot water
1 cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1 recipe chocolate cream, frosting (below)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with Bakers Joy. Place the sugar and basil in a food processor. Process until basil is chopped fine and uniformly green in color (it will look slightly wet). In a large bowl whisk the melted butter, cocoa powder and basil sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, until blended and smooth. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla, and salt.
Gradually add flour to bowl, stirring just until blended (do not over stir). Add hot water to mixture, stirring just until blended. Add chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 22-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Cool completely, Prepare sour cream frosting. Spread over cake and garnish with basil leaves.
Chocolate Cream
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1-teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa powder; set aside. In a separate medium bowl beat the butter and melted chocolate with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Gradually add sugar mixture to the butter mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. Add vanilla and beat well for 1 minute until very smooth and creamy.