Archive for September, 2007

Global Vegetarian Recipes, Impressionistic Photography, Cooking classes, and UTube
September 19, 2007


Lots of great news here!

This month, I have recipes and artwork for you.

Drawing from the peaceful energy I experience in the woods around my New England home, I capture the magical sunlight that reveals itself as artistic jewels in the water. I just finished my digital story about my impressionistic photography: The Jewels in the Water. You can view it on UTUBE

Light. Water. Transformation.

When I take my camera into the woods, I feel my connection with the forest. It’s like meditating – a way to get back to my own true nature.

The sun calls me to a particular spot and I click the shutter when I see that rich, afternoon light..
dancing light.

Most of these photographs are taken within walking distance of my Western Massachusetts home. They are a celebration of New England seen through the eye of my heart.

My work is about inspiration and healing – about being so present in the moment that everything vibrates and shines. These photographs are about sun light.

I see perfection in nature – patterns – artistic jewels that reveal themselves.

My grandmother painted copies of Impressionist paintings by Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cezanne. Her apartment on the beach was decorated with her beautiful artwork and those paintings live inside of me.

My mother always encouraged me to be original and creative. When I was a little girl, I was given a camera instead of a paintbrush.

Like the Impressionists, I am passionate about light, water and landscapes.

My photography is a reflection of the peaceful energy I find in the woods. Living in the moment, I capture beauty as I click the shutter.

These images can be looked at from different angles. There is no one right way to explore them. Please relax, take your time, have fun. I invite you to look for faces and figures; there are jewels in the water.

If you care to buy my work, feel free to hang it any way you like. The creative process doesn’t end with Leslie Cerier!

I hope my impressionistic photography brings you great joy.

If you are in the Amherst, MA area, please come to my art opening at the Burnett Gallery in the Jones Library in Amherst on October 4th 5-8PM.

Also, you can go back to my website: and click on photography and see my impressionistic photography.

Global Gourmet Recipes for the Season

Ancient Wisdom, Ancient Grains

Ancient grains are making a comeback. More and more, I have replaced brown rice, barley and millet with quinoa, teff, and spelt. Rich in protein, amino acids, B Vitamins, calcium and fiber, each ancient grain has its own unique flavor and nutrition profile. Some are also quick cooking (quinoa, amaranth, and teff). Ancient grains expand our choices, and offer new options for diners whose diets demand rotation, not just to escape boredom, but because of food allergies. Ancient grains permit even the most restricted dieter to feast.
There is no limit to the tempting combinations and accouterments. Nuts, seeds, mushrooms, vegetables, herbs and spices complement the subtle earthy flavors of ancient grains as well as their different colors and textures.
Here are some recipes that showcase teff, quinoa, spelt and Chinese Black rice from my latest cookbook, Going Wild in the Kitchen. Mixing and matching the vegetables and herbs of this glorious season: tomatoes, peppers, kale, cauliflower, basil, thyme, and garlic. As the season changes, feel free to swap vegetables.
The Mix ‘em and Match ‘em charts in all the recipe chapters of Going Wild in the Kitchen reveals how to interchange vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, oils, herbs and spices. For your autographed copy, send a check to Leslie Cerier, 58 Schoolhouse Rd, Amherst, MA 01002

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Feta
This light, melt in your mouth, cauliflower and quinoa dish is wonderful garnished with tangy feta cheese. Serve as a one dish meal or use as a filling for tomatoes, squash, peppers.

Serves 4-6

1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed, drained and set aside
3 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
4 cups cauliflower florets
6 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or one teaspoon fresh leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 pound feta cheese

1. Bring water to a boil in a teakettle.
2. Place the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant and onions begin to soften.
3. Add cauliflower. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until cauliflower becomes bright white.
4. Add quinoa, kale, red pepper, thyme, sea salt, and boiling water. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
5. Stir quinoa to distribute red peppers and kale.
6. Crumble feta on quinoa and vegetables, and serve.

Substitute 2 cups coarsely chopped parsley for kale and add 1 teaspoon dried chili peppers flakes.

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Quinoa
Toasted pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch to sesame-flavored quinoa cooked with chilies and dill.

Serves 4-6

1 1/3 cups quinoa, rinsed, drained and set aside
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
2 2/3 cup water
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
¼ teaspoon chili pepper flakes or to taste (use 1 teaspoon for a spicier dish)
¾ cup string beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup fresh chopped dill

1. Boil water in a teakettle.
2. Meanwhile, dry roast pumpkin seeds in a dry 10-inch skillet, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until they begin to pop and smells fragrant.
3. Add quinoa and dry roast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until quinoa begins to crackle and becomes fragrant.
4. Add oil, garlic, onions, cumin and cayenne. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
5. Turn off the heat and add string beans, dill and boiling water. Resume heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
6. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.
7. Serve immediately.

Teff Polenta
Flavored with sweet juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and decorated with bright green peppers, here is an irresistible summer repast. Serve garnished with grated Fontina, Parmesan, Manchego, or sliced rounds of chevre.

Serves 4-6

2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped green peppers
2/3 cup teff grain
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1. Boil water in a teakettle.
2. Place the oil in a 10-inch skillet, and warm over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the fragrant.
3. Add peppers, and sauté for 2 minutes or, until bright green.
4. Stir in the teff.
5. Add boiling water, salt, and bring ingredients to a boil.
6. Add tomatoes and basil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water’s absorbed. There may be some extra liquid from the tomatoes, but as long as the teff is not crunchy, the polenta is done.
7. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.
8. Transfer it to an un-oiled 9-inch pie plate. Let it cool for about 30 minutes. 9. Slice and serve plain, garnished with chevre, or your favorite grated cheese.

Spelt Spaghetti with Dairy-Free Pesto
Try this vegan version of a summer favorite. It can be served warm or chilled, and is ready in about the time it takes to boil a pot of pasta.

Serves 4-6
Makes 2 cups pesto

4 quarts water
1 pound spelt spaghetti
½ cup almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
5 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar
½ cup water
2 ½ cups basil leaves
6 cloves garlic
Optional: ½ cup edible flowers such as bee balm, calendula, day lilies, or nasturtiums

1. Bring water to a boil. Slowly add spaghetti. Cook 7-9 minutes, or until as al dente as you like.
2. While the pasta is cooking, grind the almonds and sunflower seeds into a meal in a food processor. Add umeboshi vinegar, water, basil and garlic. Puree.
3. Adjust seasonings, adding more umeboshi vinegar for a saltier and tangier flavor.
4. Drain spaghetti and mix in pesto.
5. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with edible flowers such as calendula, day lilies, or nasturtium.

Substitute kamut spaghetti or spirals for spelt pasta.
Substitute cilantro for all or some of the basil.

Chinese Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Garlic
Garlic balances the sweetness of coconut for a rice dish with great depth and flavor. For a fine meal, serve with Szechwan Tofu with Mustard Greens and Chinese Cabbage also from Going Wild in the Kitchen.

Serves 4

1 cup “forbidden” black rice, rinsed, drained and set aside
14 ounces can coconut milk
1 cup water
pinch of sea salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed

1. Boil coconut milk, water, and sea salt.
2. Add rice and garlic. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Well I am off to Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA to participate in the Conscious Kitchens Conference offering my mix and match, yoga in the kitchen ideas that you read about in my July blog. Have a great organic feast with the produce in the season and support your local organic farmers.

Also, I am teaching lots of cooking classes, in October and November, please check my website: