This is my last Winter recipe for those of you in Australia, before I head back to enjoy the American Summer and all things raw! But it is really cold here in Melbourne and my body is crying out for something warm. Whenever I need a nourishing, strengthening gluten free Winter recipe I look no further than the whole foods recipe collection of Tony Chiodo. I got this fantastic creamy vegan cauliflower mash recipe about ten years ago when I took a series of macrobiotic cooking classes with Tony in Australia, and I have been chowing down on this cauliflower millet mash with gratitude ever since. Tony’s gentle, laid back approach to vegetarian cooking, and his philosophy of love and sharing quick easy recipes really appealed to me. I quickly became a “Tony groupie”, attending all of his macrobiotic cooking classes, and assisting him on several occasions. His knowledge and passion for natural ingredients and wholefood cooking continues to be an inspiration to me, and I am so grateful to have him as a friend and mentor.
So who is this fabulous Tony Chiodo?
I have had numerous emails from curious readers who have googled Tony wanting to know more. Tony trained as a macrobiotic teacher at the world famous Kushi Institute in Boston, studied Ayurveda and Yoga in India. He has also studied Steiner techniques and has cooked in some of the best restaurants in Italy and some of my favorite restaurants in Melbourne. If you live in Melbourne you are in luck! Tony gives regular classes. Go see him in action. Alternatively, check out his incredible recipes on his website Eating Well Daily and in some of Australia’s top magazines such as Vogue Entertaining and Travel, and Australian Gourmet Traveller. Make sure you grab a copy of his cookbook, Eating Well. His amazing new book is about to be released this July 2010.
This creamy vegan cauliflower mash – otherwise known as “macrobiotic mashed potatoes” is a scrumptious, filling, strengthening vegetarian Winter dish that is a wonderful satisfying substitute for those of us not eating night shades. This creamy bowl of cauliflower millet mash heaven just makes you yearn for more. It is incredibly easy to prepare and really versatile. You won’t believe cauliflower can taste this good! You can eat a bowl of this phenomenal vegan cauliflower mash on its own with some sea vegetables. It makes a glorious accompaniment to other vegetable dishes; or makes a delicious porridge with some sweetener. I also like to mound it up on a piece of gluten free ciabatta bread. Oh, show me the way to piggy heaven!
The secret star of this recipe is the millet. If you haven’t cooked with millet, do your health a favour and check it out. Millet is a phenomenal alkaline food that is fantastic for savoury and sweet dishes. It is one of the oldest foods known to man, having been the grain of choice in China before rice became dominant. Today, it is an important grain in Africa, China, Japan, India and Egypt; and sustains about 1/3 of the world’s population. Millet is famous for being the staple grain of the “healthy Hunzas” in the Himalayas, who are renowned for their superior health and longevity. It is loaded with nutrients! It is about 15% protein; and is rich in essential amino acids; fibre and B Vitamins; as well as iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Millet has been associated with lowering cholesterol and diabetes; as well as protecting against cancer, childhood asthma, and the effects of migraines and heart attacks. Millet is also one of those fabulous gluten free grains that we love so much!
Millet is one of the least allergenic and easily digestible grains that is very strengthening for the digestive system. It is alkalizing, and does not feed yeast and fungus. It is one of the four “grains” allowed on the Body Ecology Diet. According to Donna Gates, millet acts as a prebiotic, and feeds beneficial bacteria in the body; it hydrates the colon, assisting with healthy elimination; and boosts serotonin levels, fat metabolism, tissue repair and energy. Millet is particularly good in the colder months; as it is very warming and soothing.
This is one of those wonderful vegan recipes for those of you looking for fantastic body ecology recipes. In fact, Body Ecology have their own version of this vegetarian recipe on their website. But Tony will always get the credit for this one! Besides, I think his version is a lot more tasty. If you are following Body Ecology stage one - just don’t stir through the Tahini at the end. I have listed this as optional. You don’t really need it. But it adds an incredible depth of flavour and creaminess if you can. You could be really decadent and stir through raw almond butter, raw cashew butter, or raw macadamia butter. But I always return to hulled tahini, which is a lot milder, and lets the cauliflowers bloom.
Another tip: start with the minimum amount of water (about 4 cups) and stir regularly until the water has been totally absorbed. The millet and cauliflower will probably not be cooked through, so just add in a little bit of water or stock gradually, stirring regularly, in order to achieve the creamiest consistency. During this end stage of cooking the cauliflower mash mixture should be thick and will cook slowly like mashed potatoes. Just mash with a potato masher to break it all down. The mixture will gradually get creamier and thicker. Then once the millet mash is done you can use a stick blender to stir through the tahini. Or just keep using a potato masher. If you add too much water at the beginning you will get a very watery diluted product that is not nearly as wonderful! “Stir with love” (as Tony would say) and you will reap the rewards. If you are looking for quick easy allergy free recipes this is a winner. It is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, soy free and sugar free. But definitely not taste free!
This easy gluten free vegan recipe has been a staple in my Winter diet for over 12 years. I went through a stage where I made a piggy pot of it every week! Hmmm – perhaps I have never moved out of that stage! Thank you so much Tony, for all that you have given to me. I love you!