Posts Tagged beans

VeganMoFo: The Great American Detox Diet

Alex Jamieson, author of The Great American Detox Diet, was Morgan Spurlock’s girlfriend at the time he filmed Super Size Me (now his wife).  She allowed him to eat nothing but McDonald’s for thirty days straight on the condition that she could put him on a detox afterward, and this was the basis for her book.

I bought The Great American Detox Diet hoping that it would have lots of healthy recipes to try, and it partially delivered.  The first two thirds of the book explain why we need to detox and how to do it, and the last hundred pages are full of recipes.  The how is broken down into an eight week plan, each week focusing on something like swapping out healthy sweeteners for sugar, kicking the caffeine habit, or choosing healthy fats.  I read the plan with interest, but I think everything in moderation is okay, so I’m not planning on cutting out sugar or coffee completely any time soon.

The first recipe I tried was Spicy Red Beans and Savory Rice.  You start by simmering cooked kidney beans with kombu, then cook them again in a spicy broth.  Cooking the already cooked beans for an hour made them pretty soft, and while I like spicy food, I thought the spice in the beans wasn’t balanced by anything; it was just spice for spice’s sake.  The rice, on the other hand, was great.  I loved the crunchy veggies interspersed with the rice.  I was surprised that a recipe which was supposed to be for a detox called for four Tablespoons of oil; I reduced that amount greatly.

These are Sang Choy Bow, or Chinese Mushroom Rice “Burritos”.  This recipe was great; the combination of rice, finely chopped mushrooms, garlic, bell pepper, celery and ginger was really tasty.  You’re supposed to put the filling in lettuce leaves to make “burritos”, but honestly I liked the mixture more just on its own.  For a side dish, I sauteed green beans and broccoli in peanut oil and topped it with chopped walnuts.

Next, I tried the Sweet and Sour Sauce with buckwheat, veggies, tempeh and microgreens.  I didn’t love the sauce.  The sweet and sour flavors come from maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and I don’t know if it was the ingredients or the ratios, but I just didn’t like it very much.

Lastly, this is Milanese Tomato Soup, which I really liked.  It’s a chunky tomato soup with other fun stuff like shredded carrot and chopped spinach.  I’m not a big fan of creamy tomato soup, so this was perfect for me.  The only change I would make next time would be to add the carrot and spinach a little earlier, since they were still a little raw at the end of cooking time.  And because tomato soup loves grilled cheese, I made the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which is always a winner.

I’m not sure what I think of The Great American Detox Diet overall.  I like the idea of cleaning up our food, and I like the idea of a detox versus a diet, but I don’t feel like the recipes were always the cleanest they could have been.  For instance, some call for canned items or use more oil than I would expect a “healthy” recipe to.  Some recipes were great, while some just weren’t my cup of tea.  Maybe it’s just a different cooking style than I’m used to.

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Pot Likker

Lately, my blog hasn’t quite lived up to its name.  It’s been more like Vegan Stuff I Ate That Other People Made Outside My Home.  So here’s something I actually made, complete with a recipe!

Way back in February when I went to see Isa’s demo at the Ferry Building farmers market, I made a point to stop by Rancho Gordo’s booth.  Rancho Gordo sells lots of great stuff including beans, corn, chiles and rice, but I only had eyes for the beans.  I must’ve looked perplexed by the selection, because the guy working the booth offered some suggestions.  He highly recommended the Snowcap Beans, and mentioned that they’re good in pot likker.  Needless to say I bought them, and then had to find out exactly what pot likker is!

Pot likker (or liquor) is essentially the liquid left behind after cooking greens.  Here’s a very concise wikipedia description, and a much longer article that I did not read entirely but you might find interesting.  Because it’s a scrappy southern dish the traditional versions involve some sort of pork product or meat broth, so I set about making a vegan version.  I wanted mine to be a full meal in a bowl, with potatoes, turnips and seitan ham.  I couldn’t find a seitan ham recipe that seemed perfect, so I made up my own, based on the seitan recipe in Veganomicon.  The flavor of the seitan is perfect but the texture is a little soft, so if you have a tip for nice, firm seitan use it, and let me know!

Pot Likker

I used Rancho Gordo’s Snowcap beans, but any dry or fresh field peas or lima beans should work.  If the beans are very dry or old the cooking time may need to be increased.

2 Tbs canola oil
1 recipe Ham-ish Seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces (recipe follows)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb dry beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 bunch collard greens, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch turnips (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch dice, greens cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 cups water
1/2 cup dry vermouth
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce, to serve (optional)

1. Place the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the seitan and saute until browned, about 8-9 minutes.  Transfer seitan to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and saute about 6 minutes, until the onions are tender.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (beans through vermouth), and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until beans and potatoes are tender.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot, topped with hot sauce.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 434.84
Calories From Fat (13%) 57.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.53g 10%
Saturated Fat 0.71g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 384.95mg 16%
Potassium 1606.2mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 63.54g 21%
Fiber 13.8g 55%
Sugar 6.1g
Protein 29.3g 59%

Ham-ish Seitan

1 cup vital wheat gluten
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs chickpea flour
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs olive oil
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

Cooking Liquid
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

1. In a large bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour and black pepper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, olive oil and liquid smoke.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon, until completely combined.
4. Knead for 3 minutes, then let rest a few minutes.
5. While the dough is resting, combine the cooking liquid ingredients (vegetable broth through liquid smoke) in a large pot.
6. Cut the dough into three pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball and flatten a little.
7. Put the seitan pieces in the cooking liquid.  Cover and bring to a boil.
8. As soon as the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer.  Partially uncover the pot to vent, and simmer for one hour.
9. Turn the heat off and let the seitan come to room temperature in the liquid.

Servings: 6
Yield: about 1 lb

Amount Per Serving
Calories 139.8
Calories From Fat (19%) 26.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.07g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.38g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 462.45mg 19%
Potassium 119.96mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 10.65g 4%
Fiber 1.9g 8%
Sugar 2.96g
Protein 18.64g 37%

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Mint

I wasn’t thrilled when I landed on page 219 of the Flavor Bible, mint.  While I love peppermint flavor, I don’t really like fresh mint, so matching it with anything was going to be a palette challenge.  I took the easy route and went with one of the “flavor affinities”:  mint + cilantro + dill.  I also added other flavor matches with beans and yogurt.

This is bean salad with herbed yogurt dressing.  In the bowl is a can of chickpeas, drained, a can of black beans, drained, 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen green beans, 6 ounces plain soy yogurt, 1/3 cup each chopped fresh mint, cilantro and dill, the juice of one lemon, a Tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper.  This turned out okay, but it’s definitely not one of my favorites.  The cilantro and dill did turn out to be a great match for the mint; In each bite, a different herb came to the forefront.  I couldn’t really put my finger on why I didn’t love it.  Maybe it was the yogurt?  Maybe the dressing needed a touch of sweetness?  Dunno.

Served in a whole wheat pita with spinach, it made for a nice and filling lunch.

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VeganMoFo: Vegetarian Times Week – Hoppin’ John


My second choice for Vegetarian Times week was Hoppin’ John with Collard Greens from the November/December 2007 issue.  I’ve made dishes that were similar to Hoppin’ John before, but never by following a recipe, so I was interested to see what “real” Hoppin’ John tasted like.  I love the name Hoppin’ John!

I’m big into liquid smoke and use it whenever I want a smoky flavor, so using veggie bacon was an interesting change from the norm.  The recipe as printed was a little confusing – the first step is to mix a few ingredients and set aside, but then it never tells you when to add the mixture.  I added it to the rice and beans portion, since the collards already had plenty of flavoring, but it looks like the online version of the recipe is updated to add the mixture to the greens part.  Honestly, you end up mixing everything together when you eat it, so I would just put everything in the same pan instead of cooking it separately.  The good news is that it tasted really great!  It was a perfect mix of sweetness, vinegar, heat and wholesome ingredients.  My biggest complaint would be that there weren’t enough greens!  The collards wilted down so much that I would definitely recommend at least two bunches instead of one.  This is a great recipe if you’re looking for something traditional to serve on New Year’s Day.

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July CSA’s – Pizza, Almondine, Beety Potatoes & Delicious Italian Food

I’m considering participating in VeganMoFo this year.  (If you don’t know what VeganMoFo is, check out Kittee’s post here.)  While some people save up pictures and posts to meet their self-set VeganMoFo post quota, I would like to catch up to at least fairly recent so I’m not blogging about food I ate three months ago!  It’s harder to remember the details of all these dishes, but I will do my best…

7/1/10 CSA:  cauliflower, gypsy peppers, green beans, zucchini, basil and lettuce

peaches, tomatoes, grapes, carrots and a watermelon

Taco salad!  Lettuce, tomatoes, roasted corn, cilantro, a quick ranch dressing made from Trader Joe’s reduced-fat mayo (which explains the weird color and sheen), and to be honest, I don’t remember what the taco part on top was.  I think it might have been sauteed peppers, mushrooms, onions, spices and other stuff – Whatever it was, I remember it being good!

Zucchini pizza on a brown rice tortilla with basil and Daiya mozzarella.

Tofu Almondine with Lemony Green Beans, adapted from Clean Eating Magazine’s Chicken Almondine recipe.  I also had some dry-roasted cauliflower on the side.  The flavor of the tofu and green beans was really good, but it was kind of dry.  I felt some sort of sauce would have brought it together.

7/15/10 CSA:  grapes, lettuce, beets, purple basil, corn and a lemon cucumber

peaches, tomatoes, plums, an onion, a cantaloupe and carrots

I wanted to eat the corn raw, and I remembered that when I was in England I tried corn mixed with tuna salad and actually really liked it.  So, I made some chickpea tuna salad, mixed in the corn, and rolled it up in a Flat Out with lettuce.  Those are Food Should Taste Good chips in the background.  I love their chips!  They’re so good that I don’t buy them very often, because I’ll eat the whole bag much too fast.

I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided that I would make beet-stuffed potatoes.  I baked the potatoes and beets, sauteed some minced leeks, scooped out the potatoes then mashed the insides with the beets, the leeks, some parsley and probably some sort of vinegar, knowing me.  They turned out a little dry, but tasted really good, and turned everything red!

Clean-out-the-fridge Roasted Veggies:  sweet potato, onion, portobello, tomato, swiss chard and possibly some other things.  I roasted everything except the chard, then tossed the hot veggies with the greens to wilt them slightly.

7/29/10 CSA:  watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers & corn.  I don’t know why they keep sending me watermelons!  I don’t like ‘em!

tomatoes, an onion, nectarines, grapefruit and grapes

Salad:  lettuce, corn, black beans, lime-marinated cucumbers, salsa & pepitas.  Super tasty and light!

Caponata over gluten free pasta.  I used this recipe for the caponata.  The raisins and red wine vinegar and capers made this TOTALLY delicious.  The eggplant seemed a little undercooked, but that might have been because I reduced the oil called for a little.  I would definitely make this again.

To go with the caponata and add some protein, I made mashed white beans, I think using this recipe.  They were easy and tasty, with a very satisfying mouthfeel.

I was going to slice the zucchini into long, thin strips and use it as the “noodles” in a lasagna, but I was feeling really lazy the night I planned to make it, so I sliced it into half-moons instead and threw the lasagna together as a free-form casserole.  Still just as tasty.  Also in there was tofu ricotta, spinach, jarred sauce and Daiya mozzarella.  This post makes me feel like I eat a lot of Daiya since I’ve mentioned it twice, but I’m pretty sure the cheese here was leftover from the pizza above.

This isn’t CSA-related, but I wanted to share it because it was really good – Tofu Migas for breakfast.  I’ve never had real migas but have read several descriptions, so I figured I could wing it.  I scrambled the tofu with Mexican spices then added salsa, tortilla strips and some green onion.  I would definitely make something like this again if I had an extra tortilla laying around.

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Two Amazing Potlucks: Dumplings and Rainbows

My friend Amey has the BEST potlucks.  Whenever Amey hosts, I’m happy to make the drive down to Santa Cruz because I wouldn’t want to miss it!

Back in July, the Santa Cruz PPKers had the brilliant idea for a Dumpling Potluck.  Anything was fair game, as long as it was in dumpling form.  The turnout was smaller than usual, but the food was great.

My contribution was “chicken” and dumplings, a reinvention of a dish I used to enjoy every year at Thanksgiving with my very southern family.

I based the soup on this recipe, and used a baked chicken seitan recipe for the chicken part.  I wasn’t thrilled with how the seitan came out, but the dumplings and broth were dead on.  Fantastic.

Mini Empanadas

Chinese Barbecue Seitan Buns with a Spicy Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Some sort of tasty, doughy dumpling with a German name and delicious tomato herb gravy.

Mini Farmer’s Market Tamales with Pico de Gallo

Savory plate.  I liked that everything was mini-sized.

With some chicken and dumplings and blood orange soda.

Mini Cherry Pies with Marzipan

Mochi Daifuku with Red Bean Paste

Lavender Berry Cream Pie.  The crust on this pie was so good!

Dessert plate, with vanilla ice cream.

For a more timely and detailed account, check out Amey’s post here.  While all of the food was supremely delicious, we quickly realized that it was all very beige and didn’t exactly leave us feeling light in our loafers.  Someone came up with the idea of a rainbow theme for our next potluck, with the goal of more colorful and less carby food in mind.

So, a few weeks ago we got together at Amey’s house again to taste the rainbow.  We tried to go for a double rainbow of both savory and sweet, in tribute to the double rainbow video.  I came to the color-claiming party late, and accepted a challenge by choosing a blue savory dish.  I wasn’t really sure what blue foods I could use other than blue cornmeal, and then I learned that you can dye foods blue with red cabbage water.  Red cabbage basically acts as a pH indicator, and turns colors depending on its pH.  Fun with science!

I decided to make blue pupusas, with hopefully blue curtido.  First, I cooked some small white beans in the red cabbage water.

Then I refried the beans with onion, garlic, cumin and coriander.

Then I used cabbage water for the liquid in making the pupusa dough.  I tried to make the curtido blue as well by cooking red cabbage in baking soda water, and it turned the cabbage a beautiful teal color.  Unfortunately, when I added the vinegar-based dressing the acidity turned the cabbage back to purple.  It was actually kind of fortunate, as the violet portion of our rainbow would have been lacking otherwise.

Amey decorated the table with construction paper and color-matched beverages.  From left to right:

Red – Borscht and berries
Orange – Annato-coconut soup

Yellow – Mini Corn Muffins with Maple Frosting, Mac n’ Cheese, Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes

Green – Green Tomato Bruschetta (on a snail plate!) and Basil-Coconut-Lime Ice Cream

Blue – my Pupusas, which actually turned out kind of blue, and Blueberry Cocoa Cupcakes

Violet – Red Cabbage Curtido and Lavender Simple Syrup hiding in the back.

Gorgeous Rainbow Salad to finish things off.

All together now, with rainbow steamer.

I made less pupusas than there were people, so I cut them in half to reveal the pretty blue insides.

Savory plate, with both soups.  Everything was so fresh and tasty!  We definitely had more veggies than usual due to the color requirements.  The mac n cheese was based on the VegNews recipe, and it was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Dessert plate, upon which everything was awesome!  The standout was the basil-coconut-lime ice cream, which was outrageously good.  The lemon bundt was also intensely lemony and wonderful.

Sadly, I don’t have any people pictures from either party, because once I sat down with all the delicious food I just wanted to eat and enjoy the company.  Amey has more details and some people pictures on her blog post here.  Can’t wait for another Santa Cruz potluck!

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More Personal Cheffing

For the rest of my externship, I did a few personal cheffing sessions.  I met with the client to assess their needs, planned the menu, grocery shopped, prepared the food in their kitchen, and cleaned up.  All of my “clients” were friends, so it was pretty fun!  Exhausting, but fun.

My first client was Miles.  Miles is a healthy, active guy, so I was sure to include plenty of protein and good fats in his meals.  He is trying to eat low gluten and low soy, so I took that into account as well.  I packaged his meals individually so he could grab them on the way to work.

For the first meal, I made the Quick Red Posole with Beans from Viva Vegan, served with Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale (also from Viva Vegan), toasted pumpkin seeds and quinoa with lime juice.  The kale is really great for such a simple recipe.

Since Miles strives to be mostly soy-free, he makes really interesting stuff like hemp tofu and Burmese tofu, made with chickpea flour.  He had prepared a batch of Burmese tofu, so I made Fragrant Burmese Curry with it.  The chickpea tofu held together much better than I expected.  I served the curry with brown basmati rice and roasted broccoli.

This is “tuna”-stuffed tomatoes with Italian pasta salad.  I used this recipe for the tuna, substituting hemp seeds for the sesame seeds and using an adaptation of this cashew mayonnaise recipe instead of prepared vegan mayo.  The pasta salad was based on this recipe, with gluten free pasta and Zesty Italian Dressing.  Miles didn’t care for the pasta salad much, but he said he loved the tomatoes.

My next clients were Alex & Kristin, an awesome couple who, apart from a few allergies and dislikes, aren’t too picky.  I packaged their meals for two, so that they could reheat and eat together.  (I forgot to bring my camera that day, so please enjoy the craptastic cell phone pics!)

Kristin reeeeeeally wanted lasagna, so lasagna she got.  I’m not sure I would make lasagna again for a client becuase it takes me forever to put together, but it was worth it to make her happy!  I based my lasagna on the recipe from Veganomicon, with the VCon marinara, spinach, tempeh sausage, and cashew cream with plenty of nutritional yeast.  I would’ve also added mushrooms, but they don’t like mushrooms.  The horror, I know!

This White Bean Salad with Mint was the side dish for the lasagna.  I’m not huge on fresh mint, but I think it was pretty tasty.

Atrocious picture.  I know.

Alex & Kristin love Indian food (who doesn’t?), so I made the Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and some saffron basmati rice pilaf.  Alex called it biryani, which I guess is what it was.  The slivered almonds totally made the rice.  I also made some kale saag, which tasted nice but photographed so horribly that I can’t bring myself to post it.  It’s unrecognizable as food.

To use some seasonal vegetables, I made succotash from a recipe I printed from Food Network’s website many years ago which doesn’t seem to be there anymore.  Instead of the bacon called for, I add a dash of liquid smoke.  I served the succotash with polenta cakes.  I wanted to do grit cakes, but the grocery store I went to didn’t have grits.

My last clients were Raelene and Wayne, and their adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter.  I packaged their food family style, which basically meant just putting the whole recipe away in the fridge or freezer.  I brought my camera that day but totally forgot to take pictures, and then left my camera there!  They were nice enough to take pictures on my camera when they tried the meals.  They wanted to eat kind of “light”, and they basically like everything, which made it easy to choose recipes.

First up, Quinoa-Corn Chowder and Classic Cabbage with Cilantro-Citrus Vinaigrette, both from Viva Vegan and both tasty and easy.

The next meal was Two-Broccoli Stir-Fry on Soba Noodles from Vegetarian Times, and Fat Free Vegan’s Double Mushroom Miso Soup.  I wanted this meal to be filling yet light, if that makes sense, and I also wanted to sneak in some seaweed :)

Lastly, we wanted to try freezing one of the meals, which worked out well since Raelene just had surgery (she’s fine), and they pulled it out of the freezer last night for dinner.

This is Curried Cauliflower Frittata from Vegan Brunch, with added spinach, and Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon.  Looks like the served it with some chutney – Good call!

A few people have asked me about my experiences with the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, so I thought I would share a few opinions here.  I enjoyed it overall, and I’m very glad that I did it.  Yes, It was difficult to attend the classes and complete the homework while still working full time, but I basically decided to dedicate my time and forgo a social life for six months.  The program is not vegan, but it is vegan-friendly, and I was never asked to taste or work with any non-vegan ingredients.  My classmates were super-cool about working with me and making sure I had enough to eat at the end of class.  The instructors were educated and experienced, and if they ever didn’t know the answer to a question they would find out before the next class.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian in the program, you do have to be okay with being around meat for a few classes, but you don’t have to work with it.  Also, you may have to listen to some talk about the merits of stuff like the Weston A. Price Foundation that you may not agree with.  Basically, you have to be understanding with your classmates, the same way you would want them to be understanding with you.  Overall, the program is extremely vegan/vegetarian friendly, and very approving of plant-based nutrition.  Also, because the program is a condensed six month program, you have to know going into it that you’re not getting the same education or experience that you would at a three-year culinary school.  In the end, I feel like I still have a lot to learn and to cook, but that I have a better basic understanding of food and nutrition, and a much better foundation in knife skills, cooking techniques, ingredient knowledge and kitchen timing.  Again, I’m very glad that I completed the program.  If you are considering attending Bauman and have any other questions about my experiences, e-mail me at jamboxrock AT hotmail DOT com and I’ll try not to take forever to answer!

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My First Try at Personal Cheffing

The very last component of the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College is the externship.  While many students completed their externships at restaurants or with catering companies, I chose to spend mine trying out personal cheffing, since it is what I am considering as a possible future career.  I recruited some vegan friends on The PPK who were interested in trying it out as well, from the client’s perspective.  In California, legally, food has to be prepared in a professional facility like a commercial kitchen, or in the client’s home, which is where personal cheffing comes in.

For my first assignment, I cooked a special dinner for Megan and her roommates.  The birthday boy’s favorite cuisines are Central American and Middle Eastern, and I chose to go Central American for the challenge, as I didn’t really have much experience in the area.  Note – This was before Viva Vegan came out, which would have made my planning a whole lot easier!  I did as much research as possible in order to present a somewhat-authentic meal.  I didn’t have time to take pictures, as I was serving each course plated, but Megan’s sister was kind enough to snap some shots.

First, I brought out Strawberry Agua Fresca and some South American beers.  BevMo didn’t have any Central American beers, so we had to settle for South.

The agua fresca was just strawberries, water, a little sugar, and lime juice blended up and strained.  Delicious!

The appetizer was chorizo-spiced mushroom papusas with curtido and hot sauce.

For the filling, I sauteed some diced mushrooms with a chorizo seasoning mix based on this recipe, then added some fresh cilantro as I stuffed the papusas.  The curtido recipe is from Vegan Lunch Box Around the World.

I chose a cold soup that I could make ahead for the second course, to free up some burners and cooking time in preparation for the main course.

This is Mark Bittman’s Savory Cold Mango Soup.  Not authentically Central American, but close enough flavor-wise to go with the meal.  I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out, but the diners really liked it.

For the salad course, I chose Hearts of Palm Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette.  Except that the grocery store I went to, which is usually very well stocked, didn’t have hearts of palm.  So, it turned into an artichoke heart salad, which was probably just as good.  The recipe didn’t call for avocado, but I figured there oughta be avocado somewhere in the meal.

The entree was a large plate of food, and the diners were starting to get full by this point, but they tried their darndest to eat as much as possible!

This is Tofu Pepian, Gallo Pinto, Sauteed Kale and Roasted Plantains.  The pepian sauce is from this recipe.  It was really easy to make, and ridiculously flavorful.  It was my first time working with tomatillos, so I was pleased to find out that they are relatively easy to work with.  I breaded the tofu with the method of the Cajun Spiced Tofu from Yellow Rose Recipes.  I used this Gallo Pinto recipe, which was super duper delicious, and the kale was simply chopped and sauteed in a bit of oil with some salt.  The ripe plantains were tossed with some oil and roasted at 425F, just until they started to brown.

Dessert was the birthday boy’s choice…

Smlove Pie from Veganomicon.  This picture cannot express how amazingly delicious this pie is.  It’s somewhat time-consuming to make, but so very worth it.

After this meal I was exhausted and their kitchen was a mess, but they thoroughly enjoyed the meal and I learned a lot about planning and executing a catered dinner.  I’ll return soon to tell you about the rest of my externship experiences!

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Beet Hummus, Lots of Veggies, and Pancakes for One

I’ve been pretty busy lately, and I realized tonight that I’m going to be even more busy for the next two or three weeks, so I wanted to make sure to get a post in before I go haywire!

Here’s a CSA delivery I got way back at the beginning of June.

broccolini, rosemary, lettuce & bok choy

blueberries, peaches, beets, potatoes, cantaloupe & cauliflower

With the beets and lettuce, I decided to make beet hummus lettuce wraps, even though I had never had beet hummus before.  It just sounded good.

I topped the wraps with shredded carrot and daikon radish, which was a great idea.  Right around this time, I started counting calories and making an effort to lower the fat content of my meals and include more veggies, so you’ll see a lot of meals like this from me for a while.  That’s why this hummus is low-fat, with no tahini or oil.  I went back and forth trying to decide if I should include at least a little tahini, but in the end the beets made the texture and flavor so nice that it didn’t need any added fat.  I meant to include a clove of garlic but forgot, so that would be a nice addition.

Low-Fat Beet Hummus

1 bunch beets, about three large
1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, or 1 1/2 cups cooked
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 dash cayenne
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp minced fresh dill
3 Tbs water

1. Trim the beets, but do not peel.  Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Add beets to water, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until beets are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and let cool.  Once cool, peel the beets with the side of a spoon and chop.

2. Place beets and all remaining ingredients, except water, in a food processor.  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary.  Add water, 1 Tbs at a time, to reach desired consistency.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 102.58
Calories From Fat (7%) 7.04
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.84g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.09g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 311.27mg 13%
Potassium 334.15mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 20.61g 7%
Fiber 4.61g 18%
Sugar 4.72g
Protein 4.11g 8%

Lunch the next day, with leftover risotto and dried pears.

This is kidney bean and broccoli stem ragout.  I meant to use the broccolini in whole for this dish, but by the time I got around to cooking it, the poor broccolini was looking pretty bad, so I just used the thin stems.

With the ragout, I served rosemary-potato-cauliflower mash.  Adding the cauliflower was a nice way to still have potatoes but cut the calories a little.

Lunch the next day, with persian cucumbers and blackberries.

Next CSA delivery:  lettuce, carrots, zucchini, chard & cauliflower.

Tomatoes, strawberries, plums, cantaloupe, blueberries and nectarines.

With the return of summer and fresh zucchini, I returned to my spiralizer.  This is soba and zucchini noodles with carrot-ginger sauce, mung beans, long beans, cilantro and green onion.  I adapted the carrot-ginger sauce from this recipe, but to be honest I didn’t like it very much.  I think I just don’t like fresh carrot juice though, so if it sounds good to you, give it a try!  One great tip I did learn from this meal is that when you mix cooked soba noodles and raw zucchini noodles, you can barely tell the difference texture-wise.  It’s a fantastic way to extend the volume of soba noodles without adding a ton of calories.

Along with the noodles, I sauteed some purple kohlrabi.  I wasn’t going to have a side dish, but when I saw the kohlrabi at the farmer’s market that morning, I had to have it.  I love kohlrabi.

I had leftover carrot-ginger sauce and mung beans, so I combined them with short grain brown rice, arame and steamed broccoli for another meal.

One pot meals rule my world!  This is tempeh with leeks, carrots, swiss chard, mushrooms, capers, tomatoes, white wine and quinoa.  Delish.

To use up the last of the CSA veggies, I turned to Vegan Fire & Spice.  This is the Kashmiri Vegetable Soup.  Simple yet tasty, I really enjoyed the emphasis on cardamom in the spice mix.  You could add protein and greens to this soup and call it a complete meal.  And, because the veggies are cut into chunks, the prep was really fast.

Soup close up!

To go with the soup, I made Many Bean Salad, also from Vegan Fire & Spice.  This certainly lived up to the cookbook title – it was spicy!  I really liked the combination of beans and the addition of peas, which gave the salad a lovely texture.

A few Sundays ago, Dave left the house ridiculously early to attend a Nascar race up in Sonoma, and when I finally got out of bed I had a mad craving for pancakes.  Seeing as I’m doing this calorie counting thing, I wanted to make filling, relatively low-cal pancakes without having any leftovers.  I googled pancakes for one and came across this Buckwheat Pancakes for One recipe, which turned out fabulously.

I didn’t have any buckwheat flour though, so I used half whole wheat pastry and half quinoa flour.  They were a little gummy in the middle, but I actually like my pancakes that way.  Because I only had to cook one batch, these pancakes were much more quick to make than my usual recipe.  And, my entire breakfast was less than 350 calories, including the 2 tsp of blueberry agave nectar on top.  I will definitely be adding this to my weekend repertoire!

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Homework #4

The fourth section of the Natural Chef program at Bauman College focused on ethnic cuisines, specifically European Mediterranean, Levantine Mediterranean/North African, Japanese, Indian, Latin American and Thai.  Our homework assignment was to turn in one recipe representing each of these cuisines.  I figured that there are plenty of authentic recipes out there that are much better than I could do, so I focused on using the ingredients of each region in what might be a non-traditional manner.  I also wanted to make each recipe a one-dish meal to make things easier on myself.  Here they are!

White Bean & Vegetable Bake with Herbed Polenta Crust

If using dried herbs instead of fresh, be sure to use half the amount called for.  This is great for dinner, but also makes a good breakfast.

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, stems sliced and leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/8 tsp celery seed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbs capers
2 cups cooked white beans
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1/2 tsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onion, carrot, leek, sliced chard stems and a few pinches of salt and sweat the vegetables for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are becoming translucent.  Add the garlic, fennel seeds, celery seeds and red pepper flakes and continue to saute for 2 minutes.  Add the wine, tomatoes and capers, turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the chard leaves and white beans and cook for a few minutes, until chard is wilted and beans are heated through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Place the vegetable broth or water, polenta, herbs, salt and black pepper in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened.
4. Transfer the bean mixture to a baking dish and spread the polenta evenly on top.  Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 482.56
Calories From Fat (13%) 63.71
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.22g 11%
Saturated Fat 1.14g 6%
Cholesterol 1.03mg <1%
Sodium 1353.81mg 56%
Potassium 1356.33mg 39%
Total Carbohydrates 83.8g 28%
Fiber 14.55g 58%
Sugar 8.4g
Protein 16.07g 32%

African-Spiced Rice & Lentil Salad

4 cups vegetable broth or water, divided
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup green lentils
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup raisins
juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs juice)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp agave nectar
5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1. Bring 2 cups of the vegetable broth or water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add the rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 40-45 minutes until rice is done.
2. In a separate pot, bring the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth or water to a boil.  Add the lentils, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender.  If any water remains in the pot, drain the lentils.
3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the dried apricots and raisins and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and slice the apricots thinly.  Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing.  Whisk together the lemon juice, ginger, spices (coriander through cayenne), salt and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, whisking constantly.
5. When the rice is done, immediately transfer it to a large bowl.  Add the dressing and stir to coat.  Allow the rice to cool a little then add the lentils, apricots, raisins, cucumber, carrot and pistachios and mix well.
6. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Servings: 4 as a main or 8 as a side.

Amount Per Serving (for 4 servings)
Calories 604
Calories From Fat (33%) 196.38
% Daily Value
Total Fat 22.48g 35%
Saturated Fat 3.13g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 259.09mg 11%
Potassium 956.01mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 84.89g 28%
Fiber 19.12g 76%
Sugar 14.87g
Protein 18.79g 38%

(I forgot the scallions when I took the picture – it’s much prettier with them!)

Soba Noodle Stew

3 quarts water
2 pieces kombu
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2 1/4-inch slices ginger, peeled
1/4 cup tamari
8 oz soba noodles, 100% buckwheat
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium heat napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/4 cup white miso
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Place the water, kombu, dried shiitakes, ginger and tamari in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes then remove the kombu, ginger and garlic.  If the shiitakes are whole, remove them from the broth, allow to cool, thinly slice and return to the pot.
2. Turn up the heat and bring the broth to a boil.  Add the soba noodles, carrot, napa cabbage and rice vinegar.  Cook for 8 minutes, until noodles are done.  Remove from the heat and carefully ladle some broth into a small mixing bowl.  Add the miso to this broth and whisk until smooth.  Add the miso mixture and edamame to the soup and stir to combine well.
3. Serve the soup hot, sprinkled with the sliced scallions.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 322.04
Calories From Fat (9%) 30.45
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.76g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.54g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2149.96mg 90%
Potassium 697.66mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 63.43g 21%
Fiber 4.37g 17%
Sugar 3.46g
Protein 18.28g 37%

Chickpeas and Vegetables in Almond-Coconut Curry Sauce

1 cup almonds
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs ginger, minced
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup water
13.5 oz can coconut milk
14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, diced with juice reserved
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15.5 oz can
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 cups loosely packed spinach, rinsed and chopped

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready.  Add the almonds and boil for 1 minute.  Drain the almonds and plunge into the ice water until chilled.  Squeeze each almond to remove the skin, and pat off as much water as possible.  Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until ground into the size of breadcrumbs.  Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the coconut oil, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and cook for 1 minute, shaking the seeds around the pan.  Add the ground spices (garam masala through cardamom) and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring the spices to distribute.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened.  Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, place the potatoes and water in a large, wide pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  You should be able to pierce the potatoes with a fork easily, but they should not be falling apart.
4. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender.  Add the coconut milk, tomato juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and blend until smooth.
5. When the potatoes are cooked, add the sauce, ground almonds and diced tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine.  Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until potatoes are soft and sauce is thickened.
6. Add the chickpeas, peas and spinach and cook for a few more minutes, until the chickpeas are heated through and the spinach is wilted.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
7. Serve hot, with basmati rice or flat bread if desired.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 634.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 314.73
% Daily Value
Total Fat 37.52g 58%
Saturated Fat 22.23g 111%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1050.61mg 44%
Potassium 1578.4mg 45%
Total Carbohydrates 65.46g 22%
Fiber 14g 56%
Sugar 9.08g
Protein 18.07g 36%

Mole-Style Sweet Potato Chili

1 dried ancho chile
4 prunes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, juices reserved
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 small sweet potatoes or 2 large, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 tsp sea salt
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 avocado, diced
fresh cilantro

1. Wearing a glove if desired, use scissors to halve and stem the dried chile, shaking out as many seeds as possible.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat, add the chile and prunes and let sit for 30 minutes.  Drain.
2. In a food processor or nut grinder, grind the pumpkin seeds into a fine powder.  Transfer to a blender.  Add the drained chile and prunes and the juice from the diced tomatoes.  Blend until smooth and set aside.
3. Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the coconut oil, onion and green pepper and saute for 8 minutes, until onions are becoming translucent.  Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and saute for 1 minute.  Add the sweet potatoes and salt and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  It is okay if the vegetables start to brown a little.
4. Add the chile mixture, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chocolate and vegetable broth or water and mix well.  Raise the heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the pinto beans and corn and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  If the chili is not spicy enough, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
5. Serve the chili topped with the diced avocado and cilantro.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 465.91
Calories From Fat (27%) 125.9
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15.04g 23%
Saturated Fat 5.64g 28%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1488.2mg 62%
Potassium 1901.14mg 54%
Total Carbohydrates 78.29g 26%
Fiber 17.47g 70%
Sugar 17.77g
Protein 13.01g 26%

Mango and Rice Noodle Salad with Tamarind Baked Tofu

1 cup sweet tamarind pulp (from 4-5 large tamarind pods)
2 cups water
2 Tbs vegetarian fish sauce (recipe below)
2 Tbs tamari
juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tbs)
1/8 tsp sriracha
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 lb extra-firm tofu
7 oz rice noodles
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 mango, diced
1 bunch radishes (8-9 radishes), julienned
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, lightly toasted and chopped

1. Place the tamarind pulp and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium.  Simmer the tamarind for 30 minutes, occasionally using a fork to press the tamarind against the side of the pot, separating the flesh from the seeds.  Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, using a spoon to push through as much tamarind flesh as possible.
2. Add the vegetarian fish sauce, tamari, lime juice, sriracha and ginger to the tamarind juice and whisk together.
3. Press the tofu gently with paper towels to blot off some liquid.  Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces, approximately 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch.  Add the tofu to the bowl with the tamarind mixture and submerge the tofu as much as possible.  Place a small plate on top of the tofu to weigh it down.  Marinate for at least one hour, stirring after 30 minutes.
4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and use tongs to move the tofu from the marinade to the baking sheet, reserving the marinade.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.
5. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced by half.  Allow to cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package directions.  Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water until chilled.  Drain and set aside, shaking off as much water as possible.
7. Place the romaine, mango, radishes and cilantro in a large bowl, reserving some cilantro for garnish if desired.  Add the rice noodles and mix together with your hands, separating the rice noodles if they are sticky.  Pour the reduced marinade over the mixture and mix with your hands until well combined.
8. To serve, top the salad with the tofu, peanuts and reserved cilantro.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 473.6
Calories From Fat (19%) 91.29
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.56g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.51g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1051.73mg 44%
Potassium 830.18mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 82.84g 28%
Fiber 8.54g 34%
Sugar 28.22g
Protein 17.38g 35%

Vegetarian Fish Sauce
from the Bauman College Natural Chef Cookbook

1 cup dried seaweed (any kind)
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup tamari
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/8 tsp chili powder

1.  Add the seaweed and water to a pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for another 30 minutes.
3.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Strain and use, or store in refrigerator.

Yield:  2 cups

I’d also like to share some of the food that we made during the ethnic foods classes…

There were two Mediterranean classes, encompassing western Mediterranean, the Levanth, and Northern Africa.

Cannellini Beans with Chard

Provencal Artichoke Ragout

Fennel, Orange and Mint Salad with Herb Roasted Olives

Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce (my first time making falafel!)

Tunisian Beet Salad

Whole Wheat Pita Bread with Zataar

Fall Vegetable Tagine over Couscous

North African Carrots with Harissa

Levant-Style Stuffed Cabbage

Japanese class was seaweed-tastic.  Wakame salad.

Veggie Sushi

Kinpara Gobo (Burdock Root and Carrot)

Soba Noodles

Rice Balls with Umeboshi Plum

Indian class was super duper delicious, especially this South Indian Vegetable Curry.

Vegetable Biryani

Moong Dal

Latin America class was nice and spicy.  This is a Grilled Nopales Salad, made from fresh cactus.

Plantains

Mushroom Tamale with Mole Poblano

Lastly, Thai class…starting with Miang Kum, or Thai Lettuce Bites.

Tom Kah – Lemongrass and Coconut Milk Soup

Pad Thai!  I got my own little serving, without the egg and other non-vegan stuff.

Red Curry Squash with Jasmine Rice.  We made the curry paste from scratch and it was hard work, but the flavor was sooooo worth it.

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