• November 2011
  • Luscious Lorraine

    Exchanging One Dream for Another

    FARM TO TABLE Supporting sustainable
    FARM TO TABLE Supporting sustainable
    For as long as she could remember, Lorraine Ornelas wanted to be a pastry chef. Growing up in the Bay Area, a mecca for some of the finest restaurants in the world, Ornelas loved all things pastry. Following her dream, she graduated from culinary school and was dedicated to her craft. But at the young age of 23, Ornelas’ life took a sharp turn. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Ornelas received treatment and began to evaluate her lifestyle and eating habits. She made a decision to educate herself about eating better and preparing wholesome, natural foods. She was recruited to work at a local resort and continued her exploration of natural foods. She left the resort to work as a private chef for President and Mrs. Gerald Ford, which she did for eight years. And then she opened her restaurant.

    Luscious Lorraine’s, Ornelas’ organic juice and food bar, is 10 years old, and considering the small amount of space it occupies inside Harvest Health Foods, it packs a varied and nutritional punch for the legion of devotees who eat there every day.

    Sourcing organic food for her restaurant was a challenge until Ornelas worked with local farmers to grow the foods she needed. Supporting sustainable agriculture is one of Ornelas’ passions, and she purchases 75 percent of her fresh produce at the Valley’s Certified Farmers’ Markets, where she frequently gives food demonstrations. She also grows kale, peppers, tomatoes, spinach and more on her own urban farm, Farmers’ Daughters, to supplement her restaurant.

    “What we eat is a choice and it’s so important to know the ways in which our food choices affect our health.”

    "Changing one’s diet is a progression,” says Ornelas. “I didn’t change everything all at once, but I’ve made changes, step by step, over the last 20 years. One of my goals is to educate people, especially kids, about nutrition and food. What we eat is a choice and it’s so important to know the ways in which our food choices affect our health.” To that end, Ornelas will soon graduate with a degree in holistic nutrition.

    While Ornelas has remained cancer free, she has battled other health challenges. One of her health practitioners is Eisenhower Gynecologist and Primary Care physician Lisa Lindley, MD. “I love Dr. Lindley. She’s brilliant and compassionate, and someone you can trust and be at ease with your care,” says Ornelas. “She always has the patient’s best interest at heart, offers ongoing education for women and is such a loving and caring person. She’s an excellent physician.”

    Luscious Lorraine’s offers a variety of choices: raw, vegan and vegetarian foods and organic meats. Menu items include all organic vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies, organic salads, wraps, sandwiches, homemade soups and desserts.

    Luscious Lorraine’s Creamy Cauliflower & Spinach Soup with Basil Nut Pesto serves 4 - 6

    Basil Nut Pesto organic ingredients

    • 1/2 cup cashews and almonds, toasted
    • 2 handfuls basil leaves, stemmed
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • Generous pinch of pink salt

    Pesto Recipe
    Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add salt to taste.

    Soup organic ingredients

    • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped, optional
    • 1 1/2 lbs. cauliflower, coarsely chopped
    • 5 cups vegetable stock, low sodium or substitute purified water
    • Pink salt to taste
    • One large handful of fresh spinach, stemmed, finely chopped
    • Small handful of fresh basil, finely chopped

    Soup Recipe
    Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, until translucent. Stir in cauliflower and the potato (optional) and cook for another 2 minutes. Add stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and puree thoroughly with a handheld immersion blender. (If you must use a conventional blender, be cautious; the hot liquid can create combustion.) Try leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cover with a kitchen towel and blend in small batches on low speed. Season with pink salt and lemon to taste. Stir in spinach and basil. Ladle into individual bowls and top with a generous swirl of the pesto.

    Cauliflower traces its ancestry to wild cabbage and is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a good source of manganese and antioxidants. Cauliflower has nearly 12 grams of fiber in every 100 calories.

    When purchasing cauliflower, look for clean, creamy white compact heads, with tight bud clusters, surrounded by healthy thick leaves. Avoid heads that are dull colored or spotted. Choose a size that fits your needs. Store stem side down to avoid moisture buildup in the refrigerator.

    Luscious Lorraine’s Organic Juice & Food Bar
    Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    73910 Highway 111, Suite E (inside Harvest Health Foods) • Palm Desert, CA 92260 • 760-862-1911

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