Artichoke Benedict with Garlic Cashew Cream Hollandaise

Artichoke Benedict with Garlic Cashew Cream Hollandaise

Artichokes are beautiful vegetables that should be eaten whenever possible. They are rich and flavorful in the springtime and will turn any meal into a special occasion. So why not  marry them to the coveted brunch menu and place them atop the much revered Benedict?
Behold the Veggie Eggs Benedict. While not entirely vegan (due to the protein-rich egg), this towering pile of exquisite vegetables is topped with a cashew cream and roasted garlic hollandaise sauce, 100% butter (and guilt) free. With such delicious and indulgent flavors this recipe begs the question: Why not have artichokes for breakfast everyday?

While this recipe has a seemingly long list of instructions, most are simply a detailed expression of basic cooking skills. Once you have mastered the art of the poached egg and have learned to clean an artichoke properly, you will be able to add this exceptional recipe to your cooking tool repertoire and easily impress the breakfast crowd at any given moment.

INGREDIENTS

2 artichokes, outer leaves removed

1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped into rings

2-4 eggs

**Cashew Cream Hollandaise**

½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or a minimum of 2 hours)

1 clove garlic, roasted

4 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast

½ tsp. finely ground sea salt

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

⅛ tsp. turmeric powder

1/8 tsp of smoked paprika

1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar (plus more for poaching)

1 Tbs. water

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for cooking)

 

DIRECTIONS

Begin by soaking your cashews. Cover in water and set in the refrigerator for at least two hours. The longer you soak, the creamier your sauce will be. Overnight is ideal.

Cook and clean your artichokes

In a stock pot filled ¼ with water, steam the artichoke for 50 mins or until you can easily pull the leaves from the stalk.

To clean your artichokes, you will first need to fill a large bowl with ice, water and 1 lemon cut in half, squeezed and added to the water with peel on. This will be your artichoke bath and will help keep their color.

First peel the outer layer of the stalk with a vegetable peeler (many people waste this delicious part of the artichoke, but it tastes as good as the heart).

Next, start pulling away the tough outer leaves working, around the artichoke, until you reach the tender inner leaves. Exactly how many leaves you remove is something learned with experience, but don’t be surprised if you pull 1/3 of the leaves off. (Put these leaves aside as they can be steamed along with the heart or used later to make an artichoke stock.)

Trim the tip of the artichokes, cutting about 1” of the tip off the remaining leaves, and then slice the artichoke in half, lengthwise. Place the first half into the ice bath, then,  using a knife, cut out the inner fuzz of the other half, ensuring that all of the fuzz has been removed. Do the same with the second half. Slice the cleaned heart into 6” lengthwise pieces and keep warm in the steamer until you are ready to plate the benedict.

 

Cook your veggies

Preheat the oven to 350.

Slice your yellow onion into rings and cook it in a big pan with 1 Tbs. olive oil. Cook on low for 30 mins, stirring frequently, or until the onions start to caramelize and turn soft and sweet.

Slice your sweet potatoes into small disks and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, fresh pepper and 1 Tsp. of smoked paprika. Cook for 20-30 minutes, removing once potatoes are soft.

Add a garlic head to the oven for roasting. Slice the top off the entire head, exposing the tops of each garlic clove. In a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the garlic in, set in in the center and drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bring the foil up around the sides and close at the top. Place that in the over with the potatoes and roast for 30 minutes.

 

Make your secret sauce

Once your cashews have been soaked, you can make your hollandaise. Add 1/2 cup soaked cashews, 4 cloves of roasted garlic, 4 Tbs. of lemon (or to taste), 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast, ½ tsp. sea salt, ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, ⅛ tsp. turmeric powder, 1/8 tsp. of smoked paprika, and 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (also to taste.) Blend on high for one minute, then check the consistency. If you find it needs to be thinned out you can add water 1 tsp. at a time until it is to your preferred consistency. Taste and adjust sweet/tartness with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Once everything is prepped you are ready to poach your eggs. Simmer them in a shallow pan with a tablespoon of vinegar to hold them together. For a more in-depth look at poaching the perfect egg check out my tutorial.

While your eggs are poaching, assemble your vegetable tower. Timing is key to eggs benedict, so you make sure you are prepped and ready to plate with the vegetable base built and sauce in hand.

On a plate create a small stack of sweet potatoes in the center and surround it with sliced artichoke hearts. Place your poached egg in the center and drizzle hollandaise on top. Add a pinch of caramelized onions and a dash of smoked paprika and serve immediately.

Why Everyone Needs To Try Foam Rolling + How To Do It

As we age, our once-spry muscles lose elasticity in the joints and connective tissue and lead us to develop more aches, pains and injuries. The good news is that there’s an affordable and simple way to maintain a healthy body that’s easy to take on at any stage of life.

What foam rolling actually does is this: miofacial release. By applying pressure directly to sore muscles with a foam roller, you’re able to roll out knots (or adhesions) on the muscle. This allows your body to bring blood flow to the troubled area, transporting nutrients and oxygen to the muscles for faster repair.

Here are three tips to help you foam roll more effectively:

1. Don’t roll directly onto the area of pain.

Avoid rolling directly on the source of pain, and, instead, target the muscles around the area which are likely causing an imbalance and tension in your body. By focusing your rolling a few inches away from the pain source, you’ll help muscles relax and repair, rather than bringing unnecessary inflammation to an injury.

2. Go slowly!

You need to give your brain enough time to tell your muscles to relax in order to get the maximum benefit of foam rolling. Find an area of tension that allows you to feel the pressure at about a level of eight, on a scale of one-to-10 (this is called the sensation scale).

Sit into this pressure point and breathe deeply until you settle and the sensation drops to about a four on a sale of one-to-10. After this, work down the same muscle by rolling a few inches over from the original point and repeating the process of sitting into a pressure point and allowing tension to melt away.

3. Do foam rolling for at least ten minutes, twice a week.

This will bring stress relief, improve posture, support anyone who is pregnant and help prevent injury. Here are five foam roller prescriptions to help you move better, stand taller and live a pain free life.

If you’re injured:

Let’s face it, just about everyone has experienced low back or knee pain in their lives. What most don’t realize is that this often stems from our supportive hip stabilizers like the piriformis, hip flexors, rectus femoris, or the quadratun lumborum (QL). By releasing these small, but impactful muscles, you’ll feel huge pain relief and increased mobility in the low back and knees.

You can release these muscles by laying on your side with the foam roller under the back side of your hip (stretched out horizontally, perpendicular to the length of your body) and placing your elbow on the ground for support. Using the scale of one-to-10 rule, find a hotspot that feels like an eight on this sensation scale and breath through it. Use the same principles to gently roll your hip flexors, the hamstrings and the the outside of your leg with the foam roller.

Tip: NEVER foam roll your low back! To relieve back pain the foam roller should stay above the rib cage or focused on the hips. The lumbar spine is fragile, and rolling there will cause the muscles to tense and protect, which is counter productive to pain reduction.

To relieve the body of stress:

Foam rolling is a great way to proactively work stress out of the body. It allows you to access hard to reach spots like the shoulders and hips, where many people carry their tension. View your time spent foam rolling as a physical meditation. Allow yourself to focus on relaxing the body, deepening your breath and unwinding muscular tension.

Begin by laying on your back with knees bent and your feet on the floor. Then place the foam roller horizontally under your upper back (below the shoulder blades). Place your hands behind your head for support, or if you have the flexibility, arch your back over the foam roller and relax your head on the floor. While keeping your feet on the floor, roll the foam roller along your upper spine, spending extra time on the tight spots of the shoulders.

Next, use a long foam roller that spans from your pelvis to your neck, by placing it vertically along the spine. Let your arms relax along your side. Either keep your feet placed directly on the floor with bent knees, or let your knees fall open while the feet stay together. Hold this for two-to-three minutes.

For the dancer:

I cannot tell you how often I hear women say they want long, lean dancer’s bodies. Well, here’s the industry secret: foam rolling. Think of foam rolling as a tool to iron out your muscles, allowing them to lengthen to their full potential. The foam roller is a minimalist, underused exercise tool to help you get there.

Sit on the floor with the foam roller behind you and your legs extended out in front. Place your arms behind you with your hands on the foam roller, palms down. Engage the core and slowly roll backwards, allowing your arms to move down the roller and then back up again. This reverse push-up will strengthen the core, arms and back while elongating the arm muscles.

Foam rolling is also posture correcting! Because you must maintain a strong, upright posture for many rolling positions, you are strengthening your postural muscles and improving your dancer’s physic.

For the athlete:

If you’re exercising more than two times per week, then foam rolling should be a non-negotiable part of your pre and post workout routine. Maximize your potential by activating key muscle groups before you exercise.

As much as it is a recovery tool, the foam roller is also an active warm-up tool.

Before you embark on a big cardio workout (i.e. running, swimming, cycling, hiking, etc.), use the foam roller to prime the major muscle groups. This will help the body to fire muscles correctly. Muscles will get more oxygen and be able to work faster and harder.

Sit with your legs extended out in front of you and place the foam roller under the lower half of your calf. With your hands on the floor, lift your butt and roll your calf along the roller. Switch legs and repeat. By placing both calves side-by-side, you get deeper pressure. If you want less intensive compressions, work on one calf at a time.

If you’re pregnant:

Sure, pregnancy comes with lots of excitement, but it also comes with back pain and achy feet. Foam rolling, when done gently, can help relieve pressure in the low back and help improve blood flow to the legs to prevent varicose veins.

Use a soft foam roller when pregnant, to keep pressure light. Steer clear of rolling the inside of the lower legs and any area showing signs of varicose veins or swelling. Instead, focus on releasing the pressure of the sacrum, because it carries much of the pregnancy weight and will affect blood flow to the legs.

Sit with your feet on the ground and your knees bent, with a horizontal foam roller placed behind your back. With your hands pressed to the floor behind the roller, lift your butt up and place the very lowest part of your back (your sacrum, never your lumbar spine) onto the foam roller. Once you are there, gently massage your back with small rolls forward and back, and side-to-side.

Next, release tension in your hips and increase blood flow to the legs by lying on your side with the foam roller placed under the back side of your hip. Place your elbow on the ground for support or stack several yoga mats for your arm to rest on. This will allow you to get into a supported and ergonomic position.

Happy rolling!