Thursday, May 22, 2014

UPDATE:

We are in the process of moving my blog into its own site...yay. We've had such succes that it just makes sense.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

This weekend was a whirlwind of wonderful. The house smelled of vanilla shortbread and chicken pot pies. No, not at the same time, but who cares if it did.



Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped potato
  • 1 cup fresh green beans cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces.
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Other spices to taste (garlic, celery seed etc.)
  • 2- 8 oz cans of chicken broth
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Crust:
  • 3 3/4 cups sifted white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1.5 tabespoons ICE water - super cold

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, potatos, and beans . Add enough chicken broth cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain (while saving the chicken broth,) and set aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and spices . Slowly stir in 1 3/4 cup chicken broth and 1 cup milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the Chicken mixture and the sauce. If it doesn't seem saucy enough, slowly add broth and milk one tablespoon and a time until mixture has a nice gravy. (Sorry to be vague here but you really just need to eye ball it. Especially if you are decide to add other veggies.)


For the Crust:
Sift four and salt.

Put oil and water in cup together.

Don't mix them, but add all at once to a little valley that you have made in the flour mixture.

Stir with a fork just until it sticks together into a ball.

Cut in half. Divide each half into 6 equal small portions. Roll each section between two pieces of waxed paper. Tip from my Mom: (I usually put a tiny, tiny amount of water on the table under the bottom waxed paper because it doesn't move around as much and sticks to the table better.)

After each section is rolled out lightly press it into the large muffin cups allowing the edges to come all the way up to the top and hang over a bit.

Fill each up with the Chicken mixture.

Roll out the remaining 6 dough sections and one by one drape it over the filling, press the edges together and trim excess dough.

Use a fork or butter knife to indent the edges if you'd like, and cut small slits into the top of each pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chile and Cumin Tofu Tacos with Roasted Zucchini and Corn

One thing about summertime is that cooking becomes sweaty. Yep, just plain sweaty and hard to accomplish. For much of the summer we do a lot of grilling outdoors or lettuce and shaved veggies inside a freshly made tortilla. I only "cook" on certain days during the summertime---on the rarely cool, nearly raining days. Today is that day. Perhaps tomorrow too, but I doubt it.




Today is the day for mildly spicy, yet oh so Spanish sweet tofu tacos with broiled zucchini and corn smothered in butter and seasoned to perfection. The day where we will blast Shakira and open all of the doors and windows.

This dish is completely vegan, but for you dairy-aholics, add cheese or crema or whatever to this dish...I am sure that it will shine just as bright. And for meat eaters, well, just dig in and stop acting like you don't like it. Or you can swap the tofu for ground turkey or lamb or beef or I don't know....

The Sauce:
***If you do not like to make things from scratch, try Frontera's skillet sauces or some other prepackaged taco sauce.

15 dried mild red chile pods(Guajillo, New Mexico, California or Pasilla chiles)*
4-5 cups water
2 TBS oil
2 TBS flour
1 TBS cumin
1 TBS salt( or to taste... do lower(or omit) the amount of salt, if you are using broth)

1. Wash the red chiles and remove the stems, then place them in a stock pot.

2. Add water and bring to boil.

3. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook for about 15 minutes.

4. Let cool and place everything in a blender.

5. Blend till smooth.  

6. Heat the oil in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook on high till flour browns.

7. Stir in red chile sauce, cumin, and salt.

8. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 5- 10 minutes..


The Veggies
1 ear sweet, white corn
1 zucchini

In the broiler, broil the veggies about 10 minutes, turning repeatedly.

Take the veggies out of the oven and set aside until cool enough to chop up.

Mix them together in a bowl. No need to season -- they're fabulous naked.



The Tofu
1 16 ounce extra firm tofu
1 small yellow onion, diced
The red chile sauce!

Pat the tofu dry with a paper towel. Take a fork and crumble the tofu.

In a large pan, use a little oil and toss in the onion. Cook them on high until they are translucent.

Add the tofu. Cook for about ten minutes. Add the red chile sauce. Cook for a minute.

Add the filling to warmed tortillas, then top with the zucchini/corn mixture.


For the dairy folks, now would be the time to add queso fresco or crema.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Super Yummy Thai Yellow Curry

You may know by now that I have an obsession with curry. If I can make a better curry, then I will go for it. Recently, I decided that I would make Thai yellow curry from scratch. That's right....paste and all! I served it to a group of beloved friends and it was a hit. Here is the recipe:

Yellow Curry Paste
3 Tsps Cumin powder
1 Tsp Coriander powder
3 Fresh yellow (or red) chillies, chopped
1/4 Tsp Flaked red chillies
1/2 Tsps Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Turmeric/curcuma powder
1 Tsp Paprika powder
1/2 Tsp Ground cloves
2 Tbs Fresh coriander root, chopped 
2 Tbs Fresh lemon grass, chopped 
2 Tbs Shallots, chopped
4 Tbs Garlic, chopped
2 Tbs Fresh ginger, chopped  
4 Kaffir lime leaves, thinly shredded and chopped  
1 1/2 Tsps Shrimp paste/Kapi  *
1 Tsp Palm sugar 
1 Tsp Fish sauce**
2 Tsp Peanut oilA pinch of salt to use when grinding (it helps)

Method:
1. With the help of a mortar and pestle, pound the ingredients in batches of two (transfer every batch into a clean bowl) until a smooth paste is formed, about 10 minutes per batch.


2. At the end, add the shrimp paste, palm sugar, fish sauce and peanut oil. Pound until well blended, about 2 minutes.


* You can omit the shrimp paste if you are a vegetarian/vegan
** You can replace the fish sauce with soy sauce if you are a vegetarian/vegan

Once you have created the paste, proceed with your delightful curry!

Thai Yellow Curry with Brown Rice
1/2 batch of curry paste
5 potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 can baby corn
3 cans coconut milk
3 cups water
16 ounces cubed tofu or some other protein
2 heads broccoli, sliced up

6 cups cooked brown rice


1. In a large stockpot, add 1-2 tbsp oil and throw in the pepper, onion, and carrots. Cook for about five minutes. 
2. Add the cream layer from the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then add the rest of the coconut milk.
3. Whisk in the curry paste. Simmer until it becomes fragrant.
4. Add everything else, but the rice.
5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover until the curry has thickened....about 30-40 minutes.
6. Serve over hot brown rice.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Emergency

Hi Readers!

I am sorry that almost all of the photos are broken. Recently, I switched the software I use for photos.

In the next week, I will fix all of this. Please keep reading!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Lemongrass Ginger Sauce



 Tofu seems to be popping up in my house lately. So, sorry if you are a meat-eater who frequents this blog. Next week, we will be attempting BBQ Shredded Chicken Sandwiches....with roasted rosemary corn and red cabbage slaw, so please do not abandon ship quite yet.

Tofu rolled around in cornmeal is crunchy and satisfying, especially when dipped in lemongrass ginger sauce. Yummmy. I hope you like this and try it!




Ingredients:

For the tofu:
1 package extra firm tofu
1-2 cups cornmeal (not coarse), more harina de maiz style)
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp red chili flakes
2 tbsp ginger, peeled, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, minced


Directions:

Make the Sauce first and I would double that recipe because you are going to love it.

For the sauce:
1. Whisk the vinegar and honey together in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil, the reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 10 minutes. It will get a little thick.

2. Stir in everything. Cook for two more minutes. Add to a glass container and let chill. See, you might want to do this the day before or a few hours at least.

For the Tofu:
1. Cut the tofu down the middle length wise and then into 1-2" strips/cubes/ It doesn't matter really.

2. Take a little bit of the dipping sauce and dredge the tofu into it. Then roll into the cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 425F.

3. Add the tofu to an oiled baking sheet or foil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Dip in deliciousness.


Kale and Carrot Glass Noodle Soup



First, sorry for the lame picture....fog got trapped on the lens. This soup is one of my house favorites because it is light, healthy and loaded with flavor.  Plus, if you have a garden full of kale and carrots, then even better for you.

My monster, the toddler, loves it, which is saying something, right? I mean what toddler actively eats kale? Well, mine does, but come on, she is a freak.

This soup combines rice noodles with a super-savory green onion and garlic broth and is steamed to perfection with kale, broccoli heads, and carrots.

Ingredients:
16oz rice noodles....translucent ones
1 bunch green onions, chopped up
1 clove garlic, whole
2 carrots, peeled
A handful of broccoli, chopped
2-3 cups of kale, shredded
2-3 cups of water (it will reduce)

Directions:
1. In a pot, add the water, green onions, and garlic. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes, covered.

2. Keep at a simmer and everything else. Let cook for another ten minutes.

3. Serve. SOOOOO Easy.





Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tofu to Taco

We do a ton of quick dinners in this house with my twenty two units and freelance work, oh, and those six book ideas that continue to accomplish (in my sleep sometimes). Tacos are a definite in this house. Funny thing about tacos, many varieties contain some sort of animal carcass in them. Nah, no thanks. I mean, there is nothing like a fish taco from the shores of Hawaii or a BBQ pulled chicken taco in New Orleans, but here, in California where the veggies are aplenty, this lady prefers her tacos tofu.

Tonight was one of those nights. The fridge had tortillas, tofu, and bell peppers stocked up. Yep, tofu taco night. My favorite tofu tacos are made by chopping up the pepper, crumbling the tofu and adding Bearitos Taco seasoning to the mix. Mmmm. Oh and homemade refried pinto beans without the refried part.



In gredients:
16 ounces extra form tofu, pressed and crumbled

2 bell peppers, red and yellow, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 packet Bearitos (or any other, but that is my favorite) taco seasoning

Refried beans...

Whole wheat tortillas



Instructions:

1. In an oiled pan, add the tofu and the peppers, turning frequently.

Cook about 5 minutes.

2. Add the seasoning and the 2/3 cup water that the package asks for. Heat up the beans.

3. Serve in warm tortillas.



See how quick that was! Tofu to taco in no time!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Veggie Fried Rice


Rice is a staple in my house. We buy that twenty-five pound bag of brown rice and it lasts for six months.  It works as a main, side or a crunchy addition to soup.  In the winter, as the frost settles on the grass and the sprouting leaves of carrots pop up alongside spears of asparagus, there is nothing like a one-pan dish as "fried" rice.

This dish uses the asparagus, onions, celery, and mushrooms that I grow in the back yard. Yes, all of those in my back yard.  I like to cook the rice in the morning and let it sit in the fridge so it becomes textury as day old rice. Also, I roast the veggies in the oven before I begin the cooking process.


 Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced,
  • a handful asparagus, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a smile
  • and ponzu sauce to taste
Directions
  1. Cook the brown rice at least 4 hours before starting this....consider cooking it the night before.
  2. Before throwing everything into the pan, roast all of the veggies in the same pan at 450 for 20 minutes. Toss some salt and pepper on those puppies.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan.
  4. Add rice and begin to cook for five minutes before adding the veggies.
  5. Add the veggies and a splash of ponzu.
  6. Cook until everything is hot and cooked through.

Suggestions:
Add shrimp, tofu or chicken

Add beans

Consider a sauce: maybe a chili powder or soyrizo to Mex it up.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Creamy Potato Soup

Warm, creamy Yukon Gold potatoes combined with root veggies like carrots and celery mashed into a piping hot soup make any Winter's Eve worthwhile. I swear, as soon as the temperature consistently drops below fifty, you will find me making soup on a regular basis.

This week I was at my parents's house and found the pantry to be full of soup goodies. Potatoes. Carrots. Celery. Cream of Mushroom soup. Basil. Rosemary. Yellow Onion.  Sea Salt. Pepper.

A vegetarian's love.


Ingredients:
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery sliced
  • 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 chunk garlic
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • sprig of rosemary, whole
  • 3-4 basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano

 How to:
  1. In a large stock pot, heat 1tbsp olive oil. Saute the onions.
  2. Add the celery after five minutes. Stor for two minutes.
  3. Add the remaining veggies.
  4. Let cook for about five more minutes.
  5. Add the water and cream of mushroom soup.
  6. Turn down to a simmer and add the spices. Let cook, covered for thirty minutes.
  7. Smoosh everything and make it creamy.





Friday, November 16, 2012

Red Curry Potato and Rice Soup



Fall and Winter are the best seasons of the year because I get to eat hot foods. Sure, most of you can slurp a soup in the hotter weather, but this hot mama sweats too much (ew, TMI). ANywhoooo, during November and December I crank out soup every week depending on the fresh produce at the Farmer's Market.  And here comes the Irish, "PO-TAY-TOES" that  is right, that place is loaded with root vegetables and fragrant onions during the winter season.

This is my soup of the week: Red Curry and Potato and Rice Soup. It is filling and stores easily in kids' lunch boxes because you can reduce it down to s very thick stew if you want it to be hearty.

Ingredients:
5 small Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut in chunks
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 carrots, sliced thinly (or not, whatever)
oil
1 spoonful of Thai red curry paste (now you can avoid this and add veggie or chicken stock if you want to make a more traditional potato soup)
2 handfuls of frozen spinach
2 cups green beans, left whole
1-2 cups of previously cooked brown rice
water
salt
pepper

Do It:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat up 1-2 tbsp olive/canola oil. Throw in the onions and the garlic. Stir frequently so they do not burn. When they begin to brown, add the green beans. Cook for two minutes.
  2. Add the spinach and cook for another five minutes on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add the potatoes and the carrots. Cook for another five minutes. Keep stirring.
  4. Add the water up to the level of the veggies, then whisk in the curry paste. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Put a lid on it and cook (no hotter than a simmer) for about fifteen minutes.
  5. Add the rice, stir, and put down to a very low setting. Cover and cook for another thirty minutes.
  6. Eat.






Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Seriously. Seriously. Marshmallows are my person. I used to eat an entire bag whenever I went on a road trip. And then something terrible happened...I ate a homemade marshmallow and my life changed. No longer could I snag a quick bag of them. Now, I have to make them in advance....I have to plan this stuff out.

That hot cocoa and marshmallow craving hit me today as the weather remained brisk all day long. Sweater weather is equivalent to marshmallow weather in my eyes.

Ingredients:
1.5 ounces gelatin (vegan or otherwise)

8 ounces water (here is where you can get creative- add coffee or hot cocoa or who knows...)
11 ounces honey
28 ounces sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1+ cup powdered sugar for dusting

Let's Do This Beast:

  1. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the gelatin and the water in a mixer bowl (either a free standing mixer or you will need a hand mixer). Set aside.
  3. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the honey, water, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean. Set over medium heat and stir gently. Try not to splash the liquid. Once it simmers, stop stirring and cover with a lid for 5 minutes. (Note: There will be a horrific stench, ignore...the end product is worth it).
  4. Remove the lid and use a candy thermometer. Let it reach 240 and then shut off the heat to bring it down to 210. IT MUST BE 210.
  5. Pour this crazy hot (and skin singing) liquid into the mixer and mix it at medium high speed. Let it triple in volume.  Move quickly.
  6. Scrape marshmallow gunk into the 9x13 pan. Wet your fingers and press the goo down to make it level (or not).
  7. Dust with powdered sugar and cover in plastic and allow to chill overnight (or at least four hours).
  8. Pull that giant marshmallow from the pan and dust the bottom with powdered sugar.
  9. Using a hot knife, cut into marshmallows. You will have to stop and clean the knife every now and again. Roll them in powdered sugar.

Eat.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes Vanilla Buttercream & Sprinkles (Half Vegan Half Not)



I have a child. This child loves sugar more than sugar knows how to exist. As we strolled beyond a cupcake shop, she begged, "I NEED ONE OF THOSE!" and I promptly told her that we will make some at home because those taste like "poop".

How else do you tell the nearly vegan child that some sugary concoctions just suck. That is not to say that every cupcake shop in the nation (so millions...) has horrificly processed-tasting cupcakes....but most that I have tasted do not have that gourmet home quality that comes out of many friends' kitchens.

So, needless to say, the master-memorizer-of-all-things-that-I-say remembered this "We'll make them at home" comment, leaving me in the kitchen to make some of the simplest, yet most delicious vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream in town. Yeah, I know that I am that good.

Grab It and Do It:

For the Cupcakes:
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk (if you only have plain, that is fine...other milk can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup non hydrogenated, non-dairy margarine, softened (again you can use real butter)
  • 3/4 cup sugar or 2 whole bananas mashed
  • 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Steps:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line muffin tin with liners.
  2. Whisk the soy and the vinegar together and set aside to allow for curdling. Note: if you are using dairy milk, then you do not need to add the vinegar, but I guess you could to give it some acidity.
  3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix together. 
  4. In another bowl, cream the sugar and the margarine together for no more than two minutes (I am SERIOUS). Add the vanilla and the soy milk mixture alternately with the dry mixture (If you were using an electric mixer for the first half, put down the corded beast and please continue with a Wooden Spoon)...
  5. Fill cupcake liners to 2/3s full and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to  cool before frosting them babies up.


For the Buttercream:
Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces at room temp
  • 3 1/2-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 coconut cream (the creamy top of canned coconut milk)
Steps:
  1. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle (use a wooden spoon if this is not available) and beat butter until very creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Scrape down sides...as if I needed to tell you that.
  2. Add the beans and extract. Beat to combine. Slowly add the coconut cream and beat on medium for about 4-5 minutes. Let it sit for a minute before using.
Add sprinkles or colored sugar.




Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cauliflower Red Curry (V)



Warm red curry is a wonderful addition to the menu as the cool evening embark upon us. As a cultivator of plants (i.e. FOOD) I like to take every opportunity that I can to make wholesome meals. My house is a veggie sanctuary, as I do not keep dairy/meat products in the house. Never.

This week, I decided that Red Curry would be on the menu considering I have six cauliflower plants that sprouted early in the garden.

The combination of red curry, cauliflower, parsnips, and coconut milk warms the stomach and makes a great meal for freezing or packing in lunches.

What You Need:

1 head of cauliflower
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and sliced into cubes (if you hate tofu, then use 1 lb of your choice of protein...garbanzo beans work great)
1 yellow onion, diced
oil, preferably sunflower olive or canola.....
2-3 parsnips, sliced
1 cup cooked rice
3-4 tbsp red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper
A dash of red chili flakes


How to Make it Awesome:

1. If you have not already done so, begin to cook the rice. I use brown rice and cook it until it is 3/4 way cooked and let it finish off in the curry.

2. Steam the cauliflower and the parsnips until cooked through.

3. In a LARGE pot (a stock pot would do), saute the onions until translucent. Add the tofu.

4.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, curry, chili flakes, salt, pepper...stir or whisk until well combined. Set aside.

5. Add the cooked rice, and steamed veggies to the stock pot. Pour in the curry sauce. Turn the heat on low.  I let it simmer for 1-2 hours....but if you are in a bind, bring to a boil,  then turn to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Serve LARGE servings in bowls. Let the rest cool and or store it by freezer or fridge.













Thursday, October 4, 2012

Super Awesome Bunny Birthday Cake


When I hear, "Mom, I need a bunny cake for my birfday" I am naturally inclined to smile. This year, we decided to give her that bunny birthday cake.

This is my favorite, quick and simple vegan cake recipe:

The Goods:
3 cups flour ( I do half wheat, half white)
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups water
3/4 cup canola or banana (mashed)
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla


Do It:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 2. Thoroughly mix dry ingredients first (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt). 

3. Mix in wet ingredients (water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla). Continue mixing until you obtain an even batter (no lumps).

 4. Pour into a cake pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes. 


Then you gotta cut it and shape it into a BUNNY. Add Frosting and Eyes and Whiskers and you have got your self a Fabulous Bunny Cake and a very very happy child.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Garlic Taro "Fries" and Chipotle Lime Aioli (V)

I picked up the most recent edition of VegNews and they have some amazing tropical recipes featured in the magazine at the moment. The one that caught my eyes was the taro"fries"....I read the recipe, did my own version of it and here you go:

Ingredients:

For the Fries
4  cups uncooked taro, peeled, cut into wedges
2  tbsp safflower oil
1  tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped cilantro


For the Aioli
1/4 cup vegan mayo, like Nayonaise
1 tsp lime zest
the juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp chipotle paste


Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the taro in a large bowl with the oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the fries and bake for another 10-15 minutes, Remove from the oven and toss with the cilantro and the minced garlic.

2. For the sauce, whisk all of the ingredients together.



This dish would be a great side for a BBQ or Luau inspired get together.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Baked Beans with Whole Wheat Spanish Rice and Steamed Broccoli



As barbeque season rolls into summertime I feel that nothing pairs as a great side dish better than Baked Beans. Typical baked beans are made with bacon, but these ones are vegan and better tasting than its counterpart. That is not to say that you cant add a little bacon to your beans, but hey give these a chance first.

I made these beans as a side dish for my whole grain Spanish rice and steamed broccoli. These baked beans will do great alongside Rosemary Corn, Pork Chops, or ladled onto a Big Juicy Burger!

Enjoy!

Baked Beans
Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry navy beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped sweet onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
  1. Place the beans and the water in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender. Drain, and transfer to a large casserole dish.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 F or 150C.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, and cook until tender. Mix in garlic, and cook until golden brown. Mix onions and garlic into casserole dish with the beans. Stir in the tomato sauce. Mix in brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, bay leaves, mustard, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  4. Cover and bake 3 1/2 hours in the preheated oven, stirring frequently and adding water if necessary. Remove cover, and continue baking 30 minutes.


Note: You can use a crock pot instead of using the oven. I use the crock pot and start it in the morning so that it is done by evening. Either way this a slowwwww process.




Whole Wheat Spanish Rice

    3.5 Cups of Whole Grain Brown Rice
    2 14.5 oz cans of Stewed Tomatoes
    2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
    1/2 cups of raw onions
    2 tbsp of Cumin
    2 tbsp of garlic powder
    2 tbsp of onion powder
    1 cup of water

Directions:
Put rice , stewed tomatoes , tomato sauce and a water in a pan stir and put on the stove on medium high.

 As the water starts to boil , add onion , onion powder and garlic powder.

 Continue to cook the rice , until it is tender but still has a bit of liquid, add the cumin. About 35-55 minutes.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vegan Spanakopita and Creamy Cilantro Sauce

If you read this blog, then you are already aware of my fascination for all things Greek...more importantly Greek food. I am fairly certain that there is a Greek person hiding in my amygdala. Just sayin'. Anywho, last night, I made spanakopita vegan-style for the first time ever! I used to make it traditionally with the feta, but I wanted to see if I could make it my way without sacrificing flavor and ethics. I did it and I did it well.

I paired the spanakopita with a creamy vegan cilantro yogurt sauce that you will be making every night once you've had a taste of it. This sauce will go with veggies or alongside a beautifully seared leg of lamb or something....I don't know, I don't eat meat. For the Creamy Cilantro Sauce, CLICK

Vegan Spanakopita

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb fresh spinach, stemmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1 pkg silken tofu, firm
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
pinch of nutmeg

A bunch of phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup of margarine, melted




Saute the onion over medium heat in the olive oil. Add the spinach by the handful. When the spinach has released its liquid, switch to high heat and add in the parsley. Cook until most of the water is gone. 

Mash the tofu and the flavorings together with a fork until pebbly and mix into the spinach. 

Unroll the thawed phyllo. Cover it up with a dry dishtowel to keep it from drying out. Putting a slightly damp dishtowel over that is even better.

Take a sheet of fillo and lay it in a lightly oiled 9x13 pan. Brush it lightly all over with margarine. Repeat seven times.  Now put in the filling, spreading it all the way to the edges. Seven more layers, margarine on the top, and roll the edges down. Take a sharp knife and cut into squares. Don't cut all the way through the bottom layer though.

Now you gotta put it in the fridge for half an hour. Start preheating the oven to about 375F.

Bake for about 45 minutes until it gets all golden brown and stuff. 

Creamy Cilantro Sauce, Vegan Style

This beautiful sauce is great for dipping and for serving on sandwiches. My favorite way to use this dip is with my spanakopita (vegan or vegetarian) that I make about once per month. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

16 ounces of plain soy yogurt
1/2 tub of silken tofu, drained
Juice from 1 lemon
a dash of pepper
a pinch or two of sea salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and grated
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil


Directions:
In a food processor or a blend, pulse until everything is completely combined.

Allow for it to chill for at least an hour.

Serve and enjoy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Zucchini Bread (V)

As the summer season flourishes, so do my zucchini plants. It can be difficult to munch down pounds of zucchini all week. I love it, but everything has its day.  A few days ago, I plucked a 3 pound zucchini from my plant and knew just what to do with it: Zucchini Bread.

Zucchini bread is a healthy alternative to muffins or cake, for breakfast or dessert. If you want to make this for breakfast, consider making huevos rancheros alongside it or topping it with a drizzle of honey and a side of crema fresca. For dessert? No problem,  whip up a sweet basil cream cheese frosting and spread it on once the cake has cooled down.

Here you go:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini


Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. Whisk together the flour, flax seeds, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder in a bowl until evenly blended; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture and shredded zucchini until moistened. Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.


Basil Cream Cheese Frosting (Vn)

From Baking with Basil
Don't cringe at the title. It is beautiful. Imagine that crisp sweetness of basil paired with the sour-creaminess of cream cheese.


This frosting can go on a number of things such as lemon cake, zucchini bread, and much more!


Ingredients:
8 oz of low fat whipped cream cheese
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
handful of fresh, finely chopped basil
Whip the ingredients together with a fork or a hand mixer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stuffed Mushrooms


Stuffed mushrooms can make anybody want to eat their vegetables.  Mushrooms ooze Italian essence, especially when paired with fresh ricotta, Italian herbs, and spinach. These stuffed mushrooms can be a small appetizer or a main dish depending on the occasion. Typically, I eat two for dinner and save the rest for later.


Grab It:
4 large portobello mushroom caps
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce

Do It:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place marinara sauce in a small bowl, cover and microwave on High until hot, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes.
4. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Spread 1 tablespoon marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm. Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creamy Zucchini Soup (V)

Photo: FatFreeVegan
Already I know that you are saying, "Why would  I want soup? It's so hot" But wait just a minute here. Creamy Zucchini soup is just right for those crisp summer nights. Not to mention I have zucchini coming out of the ground and I din't think I can look at another steamed, roasted, or grilled zucchini for at least another week.

Zucchini is my favorite vegetable. Okay no, maybe my third favorite right under Brussels sprouts and asparagus...it goes well in so many dishes and brings out a caramelized sweetness that you don't expect from such a watery vegetable.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds zucchini (about 5 small to medium)
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 3 tablespoons raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • additional salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Set aside one of the zucchini; trim and coarsely chop the rest.
  2. Cook onion in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, if necessary) taking care to avoid burns by not filling the blender more than halfway. Add the basil, cashews, and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth.
  4. Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm. Shred the remaining zucchini with a spiral slicer, mandolin, or grater. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle grated zucchini over top.