Raw food curious?

An enthusiastic group of about two dozen of us gathered at Grand Kitchen & Bath in St. Petersburg the night before last to watch Elizabeth Dougherty from Food Nation Radio Network and Dr. LindaJoy Rose, guest chef, educator and cookbook author.

Demonstrating recipes from her book "Raw Fusion Recipes," LJ, as she prefers to be called, made this portobello pesto pizza. It was unbelievably good. I'll be making this at home for sure.

And look ma, no oven was used. The "crust" was fashioned out of ground walnuts, pecans, dates, fresh herbs and olive oil. The layer of cheesy spread was actually made of macadamias, soaked and pulsed in a food processor. The topping included tomatoes, spinach, red peppers and other natural fixings.

To listen to the broadcast of this event, tune in to Elizabeth's July 23 Food Nation show at 9 a.m. on WTAN 1340 AM.

I'll be writing more about my "raw fusion" experience and this recipe in next week's Table Scraps column in the South Shore News & Tribune and on tbo.com.


Good-bye you old smoothie, you.

I was a little wary, but based on comments I'd read about adding tofu to breakfast smoothies, I went ahead and tried it this morning.

Using about the same mix as usual - frozen bananas, ice cubes, splash of orange juice and whey protein powder - this time I also added a handful of cubed, firm tofu.

I had my doubts about using the firm tofu, but it turned out good. It added thickness. I wasn't crazy about the flecks of tofu that didn't get blended, though. Next time I'll try the silky variety.


1/2 frozen banana
1/4 cup mango
5 ice cubes
1/2 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup orange juice
Scoop of whey protein powder
Honey (to taste)

Blend ice first, then add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.


Meatless Monday or not: Warm Mushroom Salad

Here's a recipe I discovered this week while trying to use a package of portobello mushrooms sitting in the fridge and trying to find something special to go alongside lobster-filled ravioli with homemade tomato sauce.

This warm mushroom salad stars the lovely portobello, supported by a soaking in balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil and served atop a cluster of mixed greens. Voila! Problem solved.


1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (10-ounce) package baby greens mix

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until soft. Continue cooking until the juices from the mushrooms have reduced to about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Stir in the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper until evenly blended. Turn off heat, and let the mushrooms sit in the pan until they are just warm but no longer hot; otherwise the greens will wilt too much.

Place the baby greens in a serving bowl and pour the warm mushroom mixture over them. Toss to blend and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: www.allrecipes.com


Colorfield Farms Mango Festival

I'm ready for one of my favorite events of summer: the Colorfield Farms Mango Festival!

Learn all about the world's most popular fruit July 22-24. The event will feature all-day mango tastings, cooking demos and educational seminars. It's always a lot of fun. You won't believe all the different varieties of mango trees there are out there!

Hundreds usually attend the festival at Anne Pidgeons's large nursery Wimauma. Colorfield is located on State Road 674, exactly five miles east of U.S. 301. Admission is $5 per person, and parking is free.

For more information, call (813) 833-2545.


And the top mango chef is...

Here a mango; there a mango; everywhere a mango, mango. Or, so it seems lately.

Making waves across the country is the national Mango Hometown Tour. Yes, there really is a tour for the world's most popular fruit, and it arrived in the Tampa Bay area last Friday.

In an effort to increase awareness and consumption of fresh mangos, the National Mango Board organized the tour, which will be visiting six U. S. cities.

I'm already a fan of mangos, so I gladly jumped at the chance to help judge the Mango Taste-Off at Cafe Ponte in Clearwater.

The two opponents were Clearwater chefs Ferrell Alvarez of Cafe Dufrain and Chris Ponte of Cafe Ponte. Each created a tantalizing fusion dish featuring, you guessed it, mangos.

To get things rolling... Mango Bellinis! Prosecco thickened and perfumed with pureed mangos was served to everyone. If I may channel my "inner-30-something voice," the drink was flipping awesome.

The lucky judges included Charley Belcher from WTVT FOX 13 (left), Creative Loafing writer Andy Huse (center) and me.

Chef Ponte was declared the winner based on his creative progression of mango and shrimp, Japanese-style. Fabulous presentation, flavors and textures!

Chef Alvarez prepared this mango in allspice brine Pasture Prime pork with mango arbol barbecue sauce and pickled mango on top of a tostone. It was delicious.

Stay tuned for more about the Mango Taste-Off. I'll be writing about it in an upcoming Table Scraps column in the South Shore News & Tribune and on tbo.com.

Chef Ferrell Alvarez on the left, and Chef Chris Ponte on the right.


Mangos to star in this Tampa area throwdown

Local chefs Chef Chris Ponte of Cafe Ponte (right) and Chef Ferrell Alvarez of Cafe Dufrain (left) will compete toe to toe in the Ultimate Mango Taste-Off, courtesy of the National Mango Board this Friday, July 8 at 3:30 p.m.

The chefs will pay homage to Tampa's diverse roots by creating mouthwatering fusion dishes featuring mangos.

I'll be a judge, as will Andy Huse and Charley Belcher, so be sure to stop by and say hi between bites.

The National Mango Board and Sweetbay Supermarket will offer mango treats and surprises along the way.

There are still a few seats available so reserve your spot now:

The mango-themed challenge will be hosted at Cafe Ponte, 13505 Icot Blvd., Suite 214, in Clearwater.

See you there!