Whole foods and other things for optimal living.

Whole foods and other things for optimal living.

Eggplant and Balsamic Brussels Sprout Tacos

eggplant balsamic brussel sprout tacos

If you're from Los Angeles and/or you frequent the Eastside, you most likely know what Best Fish Taco in Ensenada is. It's an eclectically decorated hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a weird name, whose clientele is strangely diverse. They even host a random standup comedy night on their tiny patio, which has attracted the likes of Aziz Ansari, Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt and many, many more.

Well, I live really close to Best Fish (we locals don't have time for that "Taco in Ensendada" nonsense). So close that if someone is coming to my house for the first time, I just tell them to go there. The temptation is right at my doorstep to mack on some $2 tacos when I'm feeling lazy, so I set out to make something equally as delicious. I can't say these take care of the laziness factor, as they do require me to do more than throw on a hoodie and step outside of my house, but the effort is well worth it!

I give you my vegetarian alternative to fish tacos.

These have baked, almond crusted eggplant slices instead of battered, fried fish and  glazed brussel sprouts instead of cabbage. Add a creamy spread and top with whatever your heart doth desire.

Besides being full of vitamins, brussels sprouts are  are great for lowering cholesterol and maintaining good blood health. As if that weren't enough, this cruciferous vegetable contains a high amount of glucosinolate and other important phytonutrients that help protect against cancer.

Also, don't even think about peeling the gorgeous, glossy purple skin off of those eggplants. That's where some of the best nutrients in this dish are found. Although, found maybe isn't the best noun to describe these guys, since that flashy, vibrant coating is anything but hidden. Nasusin is an amazing phytonutrient located within the eggplant skin that is a potent antioxidant and a protector of the lipids found in brain cell membranes. So it's good for your brain, dummy.

I'm sorry I called you a dummy. I didn't mean it.

Eggplant and Balsamic Brussels Sprout Tacos (serves 4)

8-10 small tortillas (these rustic homemade tortillas work great)
10 brussel sprouts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 cup ground raw almonds (almond meal works too)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup water
1/2 eggplant, sliced and cut into triangles
cashew cheese or hummus (highly recommend making your own cashew cheese, like this recipe over at Oh She Glows)

optional toppings: walnuts, salsa, sour cream, avocado

Directions: Preheat oven to 375.

1. Get 3 bowls (shallow bowls are best for bowl 1 and 2.  In bowl 1, combine ground flax and water. In bowl 2, combine ground almonds, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. In bowl 3, combine brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper, olive oil and garlic.

2. "Bread" the eggplant slices by dipping them in the flaxseed "egg" mix, then giving them a good roll in the ground almond mix and laying them on a greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (don't use wax paper!).

3. Bake eggplant slices for about 7 minutes on each side until golden brown.

4. While eggplant is baking, grill the marinated brussel sprouts (with all liquid from balsamic marinade) in a shallow pan until liquid starts to evaporate. Deglaze with 1/4 cup of water and cover. Cook on low heat until sprouts are tender. Set aside.

5. When eggplant is done, prepare the tacos by spreading cashew cheese or hummus on each tortilla and filling them with eggplant and sprouts. If you'd like, top with salsa, avocados/guacamole and/or sour cream.

Lavender Pistachio Pudding

Delicious, easy, vegan alternative to the usual pudding in a box. No one will suspect it’s made out of tofu, though. So don’t tell them until after they’ve eaten it. 

Even Cosby would approve. 

Did I just mention Bill Cosby in 2 consecutive blog posts?

Lavender Vanilla Pudding (vegan)

1 block (12 ounces) silken tofu (any firmness will work, but the firmer, the grainier)
1 vanilla bean, split, scrape seeds out (1 teaspoon of vanilla extract also works)
1/4 teaspoon lavender (rub between fingers to release oils)
1/4 cup honey (or any sweetener) 
1/2 cup shelled, chopped pistachios
A few tablespoons of nut milk, preferably pistachio (optional)

Directions: Put it all in a blender or food processor and process until smooth (about 5 minutes). You may add some milk if it’s too thick, but be careful not to make tofu soup.

Chill in the fridge.

Tips:

Make your own nut milk! Sara at My New Roots has produced the perfect How To video here.

If you take out the lavender and pistachios,  this recipe is like a blank pudding canvas. Try adding a banana, cocoa powder, lemon zest, almond extract, spices, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Fruit Tacos

Transient

This recipe takes sweet, juicy fruits and wraps them in a blanket of rustic, savory, corny goodness. Spread on a nice layer of buttery sunflower seed butter for a touch of warmth and decadence and you've got a healthy masterpiece suitable for a snack, any meal (especially breakfast) or even dessert. Think handheld pancake.

You can make this simple, yet versatile recipe with any regular premade corn tortilla, but I highly recommend making your own with this recipe. They're not your regular run-of-the-mill tortillas and are pretty much fool proof.

Feel free to use ANY combination of fruit and spreads you like in this recipe and dress it up with some toppings. I used bananas and blueberries. My photos depict an applesauce spread topped with cinnamon, but my absolute fave is sunflower seed or any other nut butter. Experiment and let me know your favorite fillings!

Here's a little break down of the nutrients will digest from two of our star players:

Sunflower seed butter:

  • Vitamin E - a metaphorical king of antioxidants and anti-inflamatories. Helps removes unwanted toxins from the body, reduces risk of colon cancer,  and even reduces the severity of hot flashes and diabetic complications.
  • Phytosterols - a cholesterol-like plant compound  proven to lower cholesterol, increase immune function and decrease risk of certain types of cancer. Sunflower seeds have the highest phytosterol content when compared to commonly eaten nuts and seeds.
  • Selenium - shown to encourage DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells. Studies suggest a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer.

Cornmeal:

  • A whole grain containing thiamine, folic acid, iron and niacine, among other things. Thiamine is good for digestion as it breaks down carbohydrates to glucose, creating energy for various bodily functions. It also breaks down fats and proteins, promotes healthy nervous system, skin, eyes, hair, mouth and liver. It also helps body withstand stress, which is a big one for me!

There is also a significant amount of iron and magnesium in both cornmeal and sunflower seeds.

Phew. There you go.

Transient

Ingredients (serves 2):
Homemade Corn Tortillas
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup berries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter; photos depict applesauce spread instead)
1 tablespoon honey

Transient

Directions:

1. Toss fruit with balsamic vinegar, set aside.

2. Mix nut butter and honey together, and spread mixture evenly on each tortilla.

3. Fill tacos with fruit mixture.

4. Gently fold taco just before eating.

Be gentle, these healthy tortillas are tender and best eaten right after making.

Kabocha Squash Muffin (contains eggs)


I've always wondered what the difference between a muffin and a cupcake are (icing aside). I've asked, I've Googled, I've taste tested (all in the name of science, of course), and here's the conclusion I've come to:

Icing aside, the only difference is...well, that is the only difference.

Of course, generally we eat muffins for breakfast and cupcakes for dessert.  We tend to fill our muffin batter with fruits and bran and hold back on the sugar and fat to declare muffins the healthy alternative to cupcakes. But let's be honest, when looking at your garden variety cupcake (aka those strawberry cream cheese muffins that call your name at the gas station check out),  there is NOT less fat and sugar and the name muffin becomes rather deceitful to those seeking out a quick breakfast.

In my perfect world, there would never be this distinction between muffins and cupcakes because ALL food would be created equal. Desserts would be healthy enough to eat for breakfast, and breakfast would be delicious enough to eat for dessert. It's possible!

That being said, feel free to spread some frosting on these babies and hand them out at your next birthday party!

Amongst all of my painstaking research (taste testing and whatnot) I did come up with a few simple tips towards achieving fluffy, moist, Top O' the Muffin To Ya delectables:

-Never over mix your batter. Lumpy is just fine. Overmixing causes toughness in the final product.* -Place a cookie sheet under your muffin tin to bake more evenly and prevent burnt bottoms. -Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full. Over filling can actually cause the muffin tops to flatten out.

*this step actually only makes a difference when you're working with gluten

Kabocha Squash Muffins Ingredients: 1 cup almond flour 1 cup brown rice flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 4 eggs 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (any other liquid sweetener will do) 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 cup packed acorn squash, shredded 2/3 cup carob chips (or your favorite premade chocolate/carob chips)

Directions:

1.  Combine almond flour, rice flour, baking soda and cinnamon. 2. In a separate bowl, combine vinegar, syrup and vanilla. 3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until combine. Be careful not to over mix. 4. Gently fold in squash and carob chips. 5. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. 6. Place muffin tin on cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Miss Maple Debut

If you're visiting us for the first time, Miss Maple is a new bakery devoted to serving sensible baked goods with good-for-you ingredients. Visit our about link to learn more.

This Saturday morning (April 7) we will be sampling our treats at one of our favorite places of all time: Stag Hair Parlor. We are excited to share our (hair-free) treats with the locals and get some feedback!

We are in the beginning stages, so we're mostly looking for your feedback to help us get you what you want! If you've recently tried one of our delightful doodads, please visit our feedback page or email us at missmapleLA@gmail.com and let us know what you think!