Christina Pirello reviews Going Wild in the Kitchen by Leslie Cerier

May 11, 2010 - Leave a Response

“Have you ever found yourself in the kitchen wanting to make
something new and exciting but not knowing where to start? Are you interested in mixing things up? Look no further! Leslie
Cerier’s book, Going Wild in the Kitchen, will easily help you add
more spice to your life!”

Leslie will take you on a unique ride, introducing a variety of ingredients to make part of your culinary repertoire. In this book you’ ’ll find an informative glossary of these new
ingredients as well as helpful charts categorizing them by season and taste: wild mushrooms, herbs and spices, edible flowers, wild greens and roots, ancient grains, and sea vegetables. Other features of the book include handy guides for cooking grains, soaking beans, mixing and matching recipes, adjusting flavors, and converting measurements. And while many of these ingredients can be found at your local health
food store or farmer’s market, a resources section is available to readers looking to purchase organic ingredients online.
When you cook from this book you will find Leslie’’s recipes to be wildly entertaining to the palate and an indulgence for the senses. Going Wild offers an array of options to flavor every meal of the day! My favorite section detailed ways to turn ordinary oils and vinegars into tasty and aromatic dressings; you and your guests will undoubtedly love them! With over 150 mouth-watering vegetarian recipes that are both imaginative and simple to follow, you will find plenty of opportunities to go wild in your kitchen!

Garlicky Potato Soup with Fresh Nettles
The rich flavor of fresh spring nettles can’t be beat! This is a perfect first-course soup to rejuvenate the senses after a winter of root vegetables. Because fresh nettles have stingers, don’t forget to wear garden gloves when handling them. Fortunately, the stingers melt away when cooked in the soup.

Yield: 4-6 servings

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
8 cups water
8 cups unpeeled potatoes, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 cups fresh nettle tops
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1) Heat the oil in a 6-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and
sauté, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and the
ingredients area fragrant. Add the water, potatoes, nettles, salt, and pepper.
2) Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer covered
for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
3) Carefully ladle some of the soup into a blender until it is half full, and pureé until
smooth. Pour the pureé into a large bowl and continue to blend the remaining soup.*
4) Return the pureed soup to the pot and simmer until heated through. Adjust the
seasonings, if desired.
5) Ladle the hot soup into bowls and serve.
*If you have a immersion blender, you can pureé the cooked soup right in the pot.

Recipe excerpted from Going Wild in the Kitchen by Leslie Cerier, © 2005, Square One Publishers, Inc. Used by permission.

Orange-Pear Vinegar
Yield: About 2 ½ cups
3 cups coarsely diced Anjou pears
¼ cup orange zest
2 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar
1) Fill a quart jar with alternating layers of pears and orange zest, and add enough
vinegar to completely cover. Put the cap on the jar, and add a label that includes the
jar’s contents, date prepared, and approximate date the vinegar will be ready (5 or 6
weeks from the preparation date). Store in a kitchen cabinet or another cool, dark place.
2) Give the jar a daily shake for the first few days. If needed, add more vinegar to keep
the pears covered.
3) After 5 or 6 weeks, taste the vinegar. If a stronger flavor is desired, let it steep
another week.
4) When the vinegar is ready, pour it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a
bowl, wide-mouth jar, or measuring cup. Before discarding the strained ingredients,
either squeeze them through the cheesecloth or press them gains the strainer with the
back of a spoon to get every last drop of vinegar.
5) Transfer the vinegar to a clear bottle or jar, and label it with the type of vinegar and
date. Store in a cool, dark place, where it will keep for at least a year.
Recipe excerpted from Going Wild in the Kitchen by Leslie Cerier, © 2005, Square One Publishers, Inc. Used by permission.

This review appeared in pages 5&6 of the Christina’s latest newsletter, here is the link:

For more information on cooking classes, catering and personal chef work, cookbooks, and art: please visit:


Hemp seeds decorates a beautiful spring green salad with local greens

May 5, 2010 - Leave a Response

Spring greens grown in a local green house: spinach, kale, lettuce, arugala, mustard makes an easy salad garnished with chive blossoms, hemp seeds and walnuts. Have a wonderful day full of local feasting!

Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking Workshop June 18-20

May 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

Gluten-Free Baking
June 18-20 at Omega Institute in NY, I will teach a gluten-free cooking and baking weekend workshop; My new cookbook, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook, A Seasonal Vegetarian Cookbook by Leslie Cerier due July 1st, 2010 is full of delicious and easy to follow recipes for gluten-free whole grains and flours.
Gluten-free cooking and baking is fun and easy and delicious. For more information; please join me at

Amaranth Corn Flatbreads: from Leslie Cerier’s Upcoming cookbook, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook due July 1st.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Join organic gourmet chef, teacher, and author, Leslie Cerier, for an informative and fun approach to preparing a full spectrum of gluten-free foods.
This hands-on, gluten-free cooking and baking workshop is perfect for people with gluten sensitivities; people who cook for those with gluten sensitivities; and nutritionists, dieticians, and other health professionals. Beginner and experienced cooks are invited. You learn:

Menu planning for ease of preparation and great taste
Ways to substitute ingredients according to seasons, schedules, moods, and what’s in your kitchen
Cooking and baking with various sweeteners, oils, and seasonings
The magic of global flavors, using local produce, herbs, and spices
Delectable protein-based side dishes highlighting beans, soy foods, pasture-fed dairy, nuts, and seeds

Learn to cook like an artist as you master dishes ranging from appetizers to desserts and breakfasts to one-pot dinners, including pancakes, porridges, soups, salads, pasta dishes, pilafs, bread, sushi, and pastries.
Recommended reading: Cerier, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook and Going Wild in the Kitchen
To register: or

Sourdough Bread tastes like Cake

April 30, 2010 - Leave a Response

Sara Karl taking a photo of me taking a photo of the breads in my organic gourmet kitchen

Tastes like cake, moist and delicious: Here’s a tasty sourdough bread that I mixed up with all Organic Ingredients: local wheat and spelt flour, Cambodian Mekong Flower Rice™ and coconut flour. I pressured cooked this delicious sourdough bread inside a ceramic crock inside a pressure cooker instead of baking it.

Here is a recipe from my first cookbook, The Quick and Easy Organic Gourmet:

Rice Bread
Here is a delicious variation of the sourdough bread that I made last night. This one is from my The Quick and Easy Organic Gourmet cookbook. And there will be recipes of how to cook gluten-free grains using inserts in my upcoming cookbook: Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook due out this July.

Simple to make.

3 cups leftover rice, even better if sour
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Add water to knead about 1/8-1/4 cup

Put rice and flour in a mixing bowl. Rub them together to break up the rice. Add salt and water. Use your hands to knead into a dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover it with a damp, warm, thin towel. Let it rise for 8 hours.

Knead the dough again for 10 minutes inside the big mixing bowl or on a lightly floured pastry board. Add more wheat or another kind of flour, if dough is very sticky. Oil the insert, or a bread pan. Put the bread dough inside. Cover with a warm damp towel. Let it rise, at least, 8 hours or overnight.

TAKE OFF THE TOWEL! Pressure cook in the insert for 1 hour. OR
Bake the bread at 300 degree for 15 minutes, then, at 350 degrees for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Open the insert when the pressure comes down. When you look at bread, the top may seem wet, but it will dry out as it cools. Take out the insert. When it is cool enough to handle, turn it upside down onto a cooling rack. Bread slides out easily.

Goji Berries Balls fun to make and eat!

April 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

Happy Spring Everyone!

Here’s a link for a very entertaining and informative video I just shot on Earth day: “Going Wild in the Kitchen” author Leslie Cerier and nutritional counselor Verena Smith share a delicious recipe for a super food snack including goji berries, cacao, maca, hemp seeds and coconut.

For more tasty recipes and food inspiration, including cooking classes, see Leslie’s website: and Verena’s at:

Also, please come to Leslie’s Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking class at Omega Institute on June 18-20. Details and registration info is on

And Leslie’s Vegetarian Express May 20th is sold out in New York City AGAIN!

Great Grains in the Morning still has some room on June 17th in New York City at the Natural Gourmet in NYC. Please register soon!

Thanks and have a beautiful spring!
See you soon!

“Leslie Cerier, author and food industry consultant, also pointed out these ancient grains are also generally organic and GMO-free.”

April 12, 2010 - 6 Responses

“Leslie Cerier, author and food industry consultant, also pointed out these ancient grains are also generally organic and GMO-free.”

Read all about ancient grains:

Full Circle
What’s old is new again as artisan bakers and consumers of gluten-free and wellness foods find modern uses for nutrient-packed ancient grains.
As consumers grow more versed in the language of whole grains, ancient grains are shaping up as the newest grain frontier. Ancient grains are finding new roles among consumers looking to add variety to their whole-grain consumption or supplement nutrition in gluten-free foods.

But what’s an ancient grain? While no offi cial categorization exists, ancient grains generally include amaranth, teff, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, Kamut and sorghum — all part of the whole-grain family.

Cynthia Harriman of the Whole Grains Council (WGC) joked that ancient grains are, “all the grains that have been so unpopular that no one has bred any new versions over the eons.” In a more serious manner, Ms. Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for WGC said ancient grains could be defined as, “all grains that are so marginal they’re not included in the US Department of Agriculture consumption statistics, which would mean anything other than wheat, rye, corn, oats and barley.” WGC’s Web site highlights a new whole grain each month.

For the past two decades, celiac home bakers and gluten-free cookbook authors have used the glutenfree ancient grains to add nutrition and texture to their foods. More recently, restaurateurs and adventurous foodies have embraced ancient grains as replacements for traditional rice and pasta side dishes. But familiarity with the unique attributes of ancient grains has been tenuous and interest in the grains lukewarm. That humdrum opinion is waning with predictions that ancient grains could be the “next big thing.” FIT THE PROFILE. Whole grain, ethnically exotic and nutrient-rich, ancient grains hit all the current food trends, and mainstream consumers are taking notice. Ms. Harriman remarked that the fact consumers are asking for quinoa and other ancient grains by name shows they’re on the consumer radar.

WGC member ConAgra Mills is working to revitalize ancient grains for mainstream manufacturers and artisan consumers with its Ancient Grain flour blends. The company offers amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff in gluten-free single-grain flours, standardized or customized multigrain blends or coarse grain and seed inclusions. The company also offers Eagle Mills gluten-free allpurpose multigrain flour.

“Ancient grains aren’t as well known as other whole grains, so many bakers don’t know how to use them. But the knowledge base surrounding these innovative grains is growing,” said Mike Veil, vice-president of marketing, ConAgra Mills, Omaha, NE. “We’re also working to change the perception of ancient grains so that they’re not simply viewed as grains, but flours and, furthermore, blends that can work in any operation or application, particularly mainstream applications.”

Yet the perception of whole grains still remains a challenge, especially among young consumers, according to Project Educate, Act, Thrive at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The research group’s data found that palatability barriers continue to hold consumption of whole grains down, with children eating around 0.6 to 0.7 servings per day, much less than the recommended three servings.

ARTISAN ENHANCED. If bakers like Michel Suas have anything to say about the matter, ancient grains will have a much larger audience in the next evolution of artisan breads. Like many bakers, Mr. Suas, president and founder of San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI), South San Francisco, CA, previously categorized ancient grains as bad tasting and difficult to work with. On second look, he discovered ancient grains can be used and enjoyed without limitation. “I think ancient grains are coming back to the marketplace because we have more knowledge about the grains,” Mr. Suas said. “Now we are able to produce more consistency, and bakers are seeing the value of the flavor and texture provided by ancient grains.”

This year, SBFI again offered classes on ancient grains for use in both artisan and gluten-free baking. Mr. Suas admitted most of SFBI students arrive with the assumption these grains will only produce bread lacking in flavor and texture. “Forget everything you’ve learned about ancient grains or anything you’ve tasted before,” he continued. “You’ve got to relearn what you know about these grains and reinvent yourself as a baker in order to produce new products.”

STORIED GRAINS. Manufacturers such as Bob’s Red Mill have built their success on a backbone of hearty, wholegrain organic products. The grain purveyor focuses on hard-core enthusiasts, providing grains in whole, flour or blended forms, as well as developing recipes that help consumers get the most from the whole grain’s flavor and nutrition. The company’s heirloom (ancient) grain offerings include quinoa, teff, Kamut grains and amaranth flour.

In addition to the heirloom grains’ hearty nutritional profiles, the company also promotes their storied history. “The culinary crowds are already savvy about grains, and they want new grains, textures and flavors,” said Matt Cox, marketing manager, Bob’s Red Mill. “The heirloom grains have a great narrative that can be traced back to a region, and I think consumers of these grains enjoy a more enlightened, meaningful eating experience because it contains a back-story and narrative.”

Mr. Cox recounted a story about how amaranth, a Mesoamerican grain used ritually by the Aztecs, was banned by the invading Spanish. Viewed as pauper’s food, consumption declined and many South Americans suffered nutritionally. As the US market for amaranth emerged, the stigma attached to the grain was shed and nutrition increased among South Americans who began to eat amaranth again.

NEEDED NUTRITION. Beyond a great story, ancient/heirloom grains have long provided a reliable nutrition option for celiacs and consumers of gluten-free foods. “The beauty of the ancient grains is that you receive all the benefits of whole grains — the germ, bran and endosperm,” said Carol Fenster, who develops gluten-free mixes for Bob’s Red Mill. “All the nutrients are still there, and they are going to digest more slowly as a complex carbohydrate.”

An Italian study in Minerva Med cited the palatability and health benefits from fermenting ancient grains into sourdough-like bread. Researchers found this processing method results in the creation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA),•a substance that, according to the National Institutes of Health, can be important in brain health, especially in guarding against seizures. Leslie Cerier, author and food industry consultant, also pointed out these ancient grains are also generally organic and GMO-free.

Ms. Fenster, a life-long celiac, has relied on the use of sorghum as the main protein flour in recipes. The sorghum flour replaces white rice flour. Once grown primarily as animal feed, food-grade or sweet sorghum is now also bred for use as both a grain and flour. The white sorghum eliminates the bitter tannins of the animal-grade red sorghum. Because of the stronger flavors associated with ancient grains, Ms. Fenster recommended that these flours are always blended with starchier flours to provide lift, aeration and a more mild flavor.

Montina, created from a wild Native American rice grass, is another go-to flour for many gluten-free bakers. The high-protein, high-calcium flour is available flaked and gives foods the appearance of a product made with whole wheat. Mesquite flour is another ancient grain option, although its use is less prevalent. The mesquite pod has strong, cocoa-like properties that make it a good match for spiced products but not for bread.

According to Beth Hillson, president, American Celiac Disease Alliance, the nutritional qualities of ancient grains are especially important for gluten-free consumers who already may be nutrient deficient. “All of the ancient grains have a lot of protein and fiber and are nutritionally balanced,” said Ms. Hillson, editor of Living Without magazine. “Traditionally many flours such as the white rice flour used in the production of gluten-free products have only had carbohydrates. Because the gluten is missing, these ancient grains add back needed protein.” These nutritional qualities become all the more important with a growing prevalence of obesity among gluten-free consumers, according to Ms. Fenster.

This year, Kamut International, a producer of Khorasan wheat, a form of Triticum turanicum, will publish research reporting individuals with wheat-sensitivities can tolerate the Kamut brand of grain. The research funded by the Great Falls, MT, company outlines the differences between ancient and modern wheat at a biochemical and nutritional level. The company is also working with SFBI to develop a line of bread mixes made with the grain.

“We try to keep the old grains message new by reporting the results of research, making more people aware of it and by providing additional ways to use the products,” said Bob Quinn, founder, Kamut International.

INCREASING VISIBILITY. As with any unknown, it pays to do your research. Ancient grain applications will continue to grow, but education about the product, processing differences and their nutritional attributes remains an important consideration. “Take all your knowledge of processing, fermentation and technology and apply it to these ancient grains,” Mr. Suas said. “By understanding the grains and their characteristics, we can create something that’s a pleasure to eat.” •

Vegetarian Express cooking class

April 10, 2010 - Leave a Response

Check out the photos in this post for a delicious preview of what we will cook in my upcoming cooking classes: Cacao Maca Hemp Seed balls with gogi berries; And another dish with gogi berries: such as this one in the other photo below: with Broccoli and Cashews.

We will make the Roasted Pepper and Feta Cheese Dip made with black olives from my cookbook, Going Wild in the Kitchen. YUM!

And then there are so many other great choices for the menu of this class: Quinoa Pilaf with Cauliflower, Red Peppers,Toasted Pumpkin Seeds & Optional Goat Feta; Seitan Stroganoff with Rice Noodles; Sauteed 3-Grain Tempeh with Marinated Dried Tomatoes and Kale; Savory Tofu and Garlicky Greens in Tahini-Ume Sauce over Kasha; Curried Coconut Red Lentil Soup with Chard and Tomatoes; and Whole Wheat Linguine with Broccoli and Spicy Peanut Sauce. (Vegan; some optional dairy will be used in one recipe.)

And I will teach this class on May 20th in NYC at the Natural Gourmet, too.

Please check my cooking class schedule on http://www.lesliecerier.coma href=””>

Remarkably Delicious and Easy to Make

Organic Certified, Sustainability, Fair Trade talk with Dean Cycon & Leslie Cerier

April 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

Hi all,

Please watch this informative and beautiful video, part 1 of 3 more segments to come on sustainability, fair trade and organics.

Here is the link:

Vegetarian Express- Organic Gourmet Quick and Easy Cooking Classes

March 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

Spring has sprung and it is very sweet. After spending the last 2 weeks in CA, I am back on the east coast and happy to be home. California was beautiful and I loved teaching at Esalen in Big Sur.

LESLIE CERIER, Organic Chef Creates Sun-dried Tomato Oil & Vinegar with Summer Herbs

March 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

I am looking forward to seeing you.
When you get a chance, please enjoy watching my latest cooking video:

LESLIE CERIER, Organic Chef Creates Sun-dried Tomato Oil & Vinegar with Summer Herbs

My cooking class at Esalen, in CA on March 19-21 Improvisational Cooking for Health and Vitality is sold-out… YAY!!!

For those of you on the east coast, you might consider signing up sooner than later for the April 11th and the April 25th Vegetarian Express Cooking class. Details for that class is on my website

Spread the word. Thanks a lot!

Wishing you a joyful week.