Posts Tagged farmers market

Homework #5

Even though I already finished the Natural Chef program at Bauman College,  I still want to catch you guys up on the rest of what I did there.

For our fifth homework assignment, we had to go to a farmer’s market, pick out an organic farm, find out some information about them, and design a day’s worth of recipes using what they had available – two recipes each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Additionally, two of the recipes had to be raw.

I chose Lopez Farms at the San Leandro Bayfair farmers market.  They’re not certified organic, but they are pesticide-free which is good enough for me.  Here is what they had in mid-December.

(Their lettuce was only $1 a head last weekend – score!)

It was tougher for me to come up with breakfast recipes than lunch or dinner.  I didn’t want to resort to a tofu scramble, so it was difficult to find a way to use multiple vegetables in breakfast dishes.  Here is what I came up with.

Savory Amaranth Porridge

To make a thinner porridge, just add more broth or some water.  I love adding fennel seed to breakfast recipes because it’s reminiscent of a sausage-ey flavor.

8 oz tempeh, cubed
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, diced
1 cup amaranth
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the tempeh and simmer 20 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, crumble the tempeh and set aside.

2. Place the coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute 1 minute.  Add the cumin, paprika, fennel seed and celery seed and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the brussels sprouts, carrots and a large pinch of salt and saute for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the tempeh, mix and remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, place the amaranth and broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable mixture to the amaranth, stir well and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve hot, topped with toasted pine nuts.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 487.93
Calories From Fat (40%) 195.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 23.17g 36%
Saturated Fat 8.6g 43%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 430.23mg 18%
Potassium 976.63mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 52.86g 18%
Fiber 10g 40%
Sugar 4.18g
Protein 25.33g 51%

Ginger Beet Smoothie

Beets for breakfast?  Why not?

3 medium beets
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 prunes, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 tsp agave nectar
1 cup ice

1. The night before, preheat the oven to 400.  Wrap each beet in foil and bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

2. Unwrap the beets, use a spoon to scrape the skin off and cut into pieces.

3. Place the beets and all remaining ingredients in the blender, starting with 2 tsp agave nectar.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and add more agave nectar if needed.  Serve cold.

Servings: 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 159.65
Calories From Fat (3%) 4.18
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.5g <1%
Saturated Fat 0.07g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 97.48mg 4%
Potassium 713.39mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 38.2g 13%
Fiber 4.31g 17%
Sugar 29.95g
Protein 3.05g 6%

For lunch, a little soup ‘n’ salad…

Creamy Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup with Parsley Coulis

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
2-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Parsley Coulis
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs water

1. Steam the cauliflower florets for 20 minutes, or until very soft.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil.  Add the garam masala, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring and swirling the oil almost constantly.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft, stirring frequently and being careful not to let it burn.

3. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and add the chickpeas and milk.  Blend until smooth and pour back in the pot.

4. Place the cauliflower and 2 cups of broth in the blender and blend until smooth.  If your blender is small you may need to do this in batches.  Pour into the pot with the onion mixture.

5. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and white pepper to the soup and whisk to combine.  If the soup is too thick, add 1/2 cup broth.  Heat the soup, whisking occasionally, until heated through.  Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper or cayenne if needed.

6. Meanwhile, rinse the blender.  Place the coulis ingredients (parsley through water) in the blender and blend until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides.

7. To serve, ladle the soup into four bowl and drizzle the coulis over each serving.

Servings: 4
Yield: 4 servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 321.49
Calories From Fat (22%) 69.56
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.05g 12%
Saturated Fat 3.55g 18%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 907.59mg 38%
Potassium 1529.58mg 44%
Total Carbohydrates 51.85g 17%
Fiber 15.63g 63%
Sugar 14.08g
Protein 17.02g 34%

Poppy Seed Coleslaw

This stuff is like coleslaw crack.  I easily could have eaten all four servings at once.  So good!

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, shredded
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 dash onion powder
1 dash garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp poppy seeds

1. Place cabbage, red pepper, carrot and celery in a large bowl.

2. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender.  Add the remaining ingredients except poppy seeds to the blender (water through black pepper).  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides if needed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and add the poppy seeds.  Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 227.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 113.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.4g 21%
Saturated Fat 2.24g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 412.5mg 17%
Potassium 643.03mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 24.01g 8%
Fiber 6.82g 27%
Sugar 11.78g
Protein 7.02g 14%

For my dinner recipes, I tried to be a little more fancy.

Lemony Raw Swiss Chard Salad

This tasty raw salad is best the day it is made.

1 bunch chard, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 pinches sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp lemon zest

1. Place the swiss chard in a large bowl.  Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small jar, close the lid and shake until well combined.  Taste the dressing and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Pour the dressing over the chard.  With clean hands, massage and squeeze the chard until it reduces in size and feels more tender, a few minutes.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Place the shallots in a small bowl and cover with water.  Set aside for 1 hour.

3. After an hour, drain the shallots.  Add the shallots to the chard and mix well.  Transfer the chard to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the raisins, lemon zest and more freshly ground black pepper over the salad.  Serve cold.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 217.26
Calories From Fat (43%) 92.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.53g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.46g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 410.09mg 17%
Potassium 876.52mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 30.17g 10%
Fiber 2.49g 10%
Sugar 7.6g
Protein 5.03g 10%

Tofu & Potatoes En Papillote with Leeks & Parsley Pesto

En Papillote is just a fancy term for “in paper”.  The red wine marinade gives the tofu a really pretty rosy color and great flavor.  And, the parsley pesto is good with everything – especially pasta!

1 lb extra-firm tofu
2 cups red wine
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
Parsley Pesto
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 tsp white miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon slices, for garnish

1. Pat excess water off of the tofu.  Place the tofu on a plate and place another plate on top.  Balance a few heavy objects such as canned food on the top plate and press the tofu for 30 minutes.  Drain the excess water.  Place the tofu on its side and carefully slice the tofu into eight thin pieces.

2. Combine the red wine, balsamic vinegar, tamari, lemon juice and smashed garlic in a container large enough to hold the tofu slices.  Submerge the tofu and marinate for at least 1 hour.  Drain.

3. Preheat the oven to 375F.

4. Cut four pieces of parchment paper into 15″ x 15″ squares.  Fold each square in half.  Draw a large half heart shape on each rectangle and cut out.  Open each piece flat.

5. Place one piece of tofu on one side of a parchment heart.  Place two to three potato slices on top, then layer another piece of tofu and a few more potato slices.  Top with one fourth of the leeks.

6. Fold the paper over the ingredients so that the edges meet.  Starting from the top of the heart, fold and crimp both edges of the paper so that the packet is sealed, overlapping the folds and twisting the bottom corner.  Repeat with the remaining paper and ingredients.

7. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto.  Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until they are the size of breadcrumbs.  Add the miso, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt and pulse until combined.  Add the parsley and process until finely chopped.  With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly.  You may not need to use all of the oil.

9. To serve, open the packets and top with pesto and a lemon slice.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 431.98
Calories From Fat (49%) 210.98
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.1g 37%
Saturated Fat 3.11g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 230.15mg 10%
Potassium 920.72mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 40.04g 13%
Fiber 7.46g 30%
Sugar 3.11g
Protein 17.16g 34%

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August Cleanse: Days 22-30 & Wrap-up

I’ve been putting this post off because I knew it was going to be a monster, and also between preparing for a friend to visit, said friend’s visit, and preparing for Dave’s birthday party this weekend I’ve been a very busy girl.

Day 22

This breakfast smoothie had banana, strawberries, peanut butter, flax, cocoa, agave, coconut milk.  This is probably my favorite smoothie combination, and for that reason I don’t let myself have it very often.  Saturday mornings are a good excuse!  I also took my multi and coQ10 and had coffee with coconut milk.  After breakfast I headed to the farmers market with no particular plan in mind.

kale, spinach in the back, persian cucumbers, celery, corn and okra

blueberries in the bag, peaches, baby eggplants, carrots, shallots, zucchini (they’re yellow and light green!), multicolored potatoes and a canary melon

When I returned home I had napa cabbage salad with spicy peanut sauce and smoked tofu.  I skipped my morning and afternoon snacks to keep it light in preparation for the evening’s activities – a vegan potluck housewarming party hosted by Megan and Kelly, The Sisters Vegan!  I decided in advance that I was going to cheat on the cleanse a little bit (how could I resist trying everything at a vegan potluck???), so I tried to make my contributions as healthy as possible.  I made my Potato & Fava Bean Salad with Miso-Mustard Dressing, except there were no favas at the farmers market so I went with lima beans instead.  A good substitution, but not at all the same as favas.  I didn’t get to snap a picture of the dish because I was running late.

I also wanted to make a wheat- and sugar-free dessert, so I consulted Diet, Dessert and Dogs and found a good looking recipe for Jam-Filled Turnovers.  Of course, I didn’t have any sugar-free jam at home, so I made my own and it probably wasn’t quite thick enough.  I also didn’t have coconut oil and couldn’t get any without driving almost an hour round trip, so I substituted canola oil and hoped for the best.

They didn’t turn out so well.  I could tell when I rolled out the dough that it was much too oily and soft, but I tried to put together some cookies anyway.  They were edible for sure, but not potluck party worthy, so I bagged ‘em up and left ‘em at home.  I don’t think this is the recipe’s fault at all – I think it’s a good recipe and I just made bad substitutions.

Oh, did I forget to mention that while I was baking and cooking I had two vodka tonics?  Yeah?  Well, there it is.  Again, that’s what Saturdays are for!  I had a great time at Megan and Kelly’s place, their house is super-cute!  Here’s my plate o’ food.

Sorry for the crazy redness, I couldn’t get my camera to take it any other way.  From top left going clockwise, this is hummus and some jalapeno sauce with pita chips, a delicious bagel bite with the new Daiya cheese made by Melisser, fruit salad, pesto pasta, my potato-lima bean salad, part of a sundried tomato scone, part of a blueberry muffin, and TWO types of corn dog nuggets with an awesome spicy-sweet mustard.  (Thanks for sharing wheat products with me Melisser!)  This was a really great meal, and far more than I should have eaten.  Now I see why people rave about those sundried tomato scones – so good!  I didn’t take a picture of dessert, but if memory serves me I had a snickerdoodle, a small chocolate thing (truffle?), a brownie, and there may have been another cookie involved.  This is why I shouldn’t wait almost three weeks to write blog posts.  Aaaand I had a few beers at the party too.

Day 23

Sunday morning, I didn’t have anything I wanted to put in a smoothie, so I made fruit salad.

Strawberries, banana and grapes with flax meal.  I also had coffee with coconut milk, a multivitamin and b complex supplement.  Lunch was napa cabbage salad with spicy peanut sauce and smoked tofu, along with spirulina and (four) jam turnover cookies.  Afternoon snack was a grapefruit.  I was planning on leftovers for dinner, but when I went to pick Dave and a friend up from bart and he suggested that he might pay for taqueria if I took them…

…this happened.  Rice, beans, salsa and chips.  It’s technically cleanse friendly, except for the rice not being whole grain.  It was also technically delicious.  Along with dinner, I had a beer or two.

Day 24

I woke up with a raging headache Monday morning and decided to stay home from work.  I don’t get migraines or anything, but I could tell this was the kind of headache that was going to stick around all day.

Luckily, I had already prepped my smoothie with spinach, banana, raspberries, chocolate hempshake, udo’s oil and coconut milk.  I also took my multi and coQ10 and had blueberry green tea.

For a snack, I cut into the canary melon from my CSA.  I had never had canary melon before, but apart from the bright yellow rind, I’d say it’s really similar to honeydew.

Lunch was the last of the napa cabbage salad with spicy peanut sauce and smoked tofu, as well as a probiotic, two blueberry jam turnovers and wild sweet orange tea.  My afternoon snack was also what I had prepped to take to work – carrot sticks, squash slices, red bell pepper and cucumber with white bean pesto dip.  Dinner was the last of the sesame tofu scramble with greens, yams, mushrooms and dulse over savory oat bran, two blueberry jam turnovers and camomile tea.  I was feeling much better by the end of the night and was able to work on some food for the next day.

Day 25

I was running late for work, so no picture of the smoothie, but it had spinach, banana, strawberries, berry pomegranate hempshake, udo’s and coconut milk, and I took a multi and b complex.   Morning snack was canary melon, a nectarine and black tea.  Also no picture of my lunch salad, which had leaf lettuce, baby romaine, mexi-millet from Veganomicon, black beans, guacamole and salsa.  There’s a picture below under Day 26 of basically the same salad.  I also took a spirulina with lunch, and my afternoon snack was carrot sticks, red bell pepper and cucumber slices with white bean pesto dip.

For dinner, I made a curried stew with many of the veggies I bought at the farmers market, plus some stuff hanging around the fridge.  This stew included onion, garlic, ginger, red jalapeno, curry paste, zucchini, eggplant, okra, corn, swiss chard, coconut milk, tofu and cilantro.  I was really happy with how this turned out and kind of wished I had written down a recipe.  After dinner I had two blueberry jam turnovers and wild sweet orange tea.

Day 26

This very tasty smoothie included spinach, banana, raspberries, vanilla rice protein, almond extract, udo’s, almond milk and agave.  I really liked adding the almond and vanilla flavors, and also took my multi and coQ10.  The morning snack was a peach, canary melon and black tea.

Here is a picture of the salad mentioned above – leaf lettuce, baby romaine, mexi-millet, black beans, guacamole and salsa, with bonus cilantro and green onions.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the mexi-millet, but I quite liked it.  It was nice and flavorful and moist.  With lunch I took a probiotic, and had almonds for an afternoon snack.

The curried stew thickened significantly sitting in the fridge overnight, but still tasted great.  After dinner I had the last four blueberry jam turnovers and sugar plum spice tea.

Day 27

Thursday was a great day, if only because I was taking Friday off to hang out with our friend Mike who was visiting from Florida.  This smoothie was made from spinach, banana, strawberries, chocolate hempshake, udo’s and almond milk, and I took my multi and b complex.  At work, I had coffee with almond milk and more canary melon.  Lunch was a similar salad to the day before, with leaf lettuce, baby romaine, mexi-millet, black beans, avocado, salsa and lime juice, and I had almonds for an afternoon snack.

After work I headed downtown to pick up Dave and Mike, who had been afternoon-bar-hopping, and went straight home to have time to prepare for our first fantasy football draft.  I always get really nervous before drafts for some reason, so I cracked open a beer pretty soon after arriving home to sooth my nerves.  After a few beers and what I consider a pretty good draft, I had more of the curried summer veggie stew.

Day 28

Friday morning I slept in, and we were too busy chatting and planning our day’s activities for breakfast.  To introduce Mike to the taqueria experience, we went pretty soon after they opened for what would have to be considered brunch.  I had chips and salsa and a taco salad (lettuce, tomatoes, rice, beans, guacamole, salsa).  I took only a few nibbles of the fried tortilla taco shell.  We stopped by the grocery store to pick up tailgating supplies for the Giants game, and upon returning home I had coffee with almond milk.

We left for San Francisco in the early afternoon to meet Dave’s bandmate Brendan at Anchor Brewery, where he works.  He was finishing up a tour, just in time to give us a few samples and our own private tour!  It was very cool to see the inner workings of Anchor.

My food at the tailgate and game weren’t nearly as interesting as the game itself.  For a snack and dinner I brought a peach, a banana and leftover curried summer veggie stew.  In the game I snacked on some peanut, pistachios and a few garlic fries, and of course I had a few beers.

Photo essay on the wonder that is Tim Lincecum:

I love watching Lincecum pitch, but I’ve gotta say that the kid needs a haircut!

Dave and me after the game.

Day 29

I was seriously running out of fresh fruit by Saturday morning and had no time to shop, so this smoothie included baby romaine, banana, blueberry jam leftover from making the turnovers, mango pomegranate amazing meal, udo’s and  almond milk.  We were leaving for the whole day, so I took all my supplements in the morning too – multi, coQ10 and probiotic, and had coffee with almond milk.

The reason we were leaving was to go to our second fantasy football draft, at Dave’s cousin’s house about an hour away in Manteca.  Manteca also happens to be home to Taqueria Menteca, the sister restaurant to Taqueria Ripon, which is my second favorite place for Mexican food in the world next to Las Margaritas in Gainesville, FL.  I had had enough with taco salads and just went for the burrito.  However, I still tried to be good by cutting it in half and saving part for later that night.  It was nice to have leftover burrito, but that didn’t stop me from grabbing some handfuls of pretzels and tortilla chips.  We had some beers during the draft, and afterwards headed to a luau party also going on in town.  I did the limbo, tried to hula hoop, and had two veggie spring rolls prepared by the hostess for me and the one other vegetarian there.

Day 30

We got home really late Saturday night, and I slept in far past breakfast time on Sunday.  I was really, really out of fruit anyway.  I skipped straight to lunch and had another mexi-millet/avocado/black bean salad, as well as my multi, b complex, spirulina and coffee with almond milk.  Even though our guest was still in town, I needed to go grocery shopping to prepare for the coming week.  He wanted to go shopping for souvenirs, so we headed to Berkeley and he explored Telegraph Ave while I went to Berkeley Bowl.  When I picked him up we were both hungry and feeling too lazy to cook, so we picked up some Japanese food from a place just north of campus.  I had inari sushi and soba noodle soup with tofu and veggies.  It was quite bland, but I was hungry enough to not care much.

Conclusions

I figure I’ll report some conclusions, for anyone who might want to do a cleanse like this, or just for anyone who is curious.  I gained a bit of weight the last week (I suspect it was the lack of exercise and extra beers while our friend was visiting), but overall I was still just over three pounds down which is pretty good for a month.  After going back to “normal” with exercise and eating I dropped back down a bit fairly quickly.

Energy-wise, I didn’t feel any difference.  This was one area I was hoping to see a difference.  I get a good amount of sleep and have decent energy all the time, but I was hoping between the b complex and coQ10 supplements, healthy eating and exercise I would feel energized.  Not so.  I still needed my caffeine every morning and had those evenings here and there where all I wanted to do was sit on the couch.

Digestion.  I thought for sure my digestion would be great on this cleanse.  In reality, my digestive system was…ahem…unhappy the whole time.  Soon after starting the cleanse I noticed my…ah…number two was not in a good state, and this continued through the whole month.  For someone who normally does well in this area, this was a definite negative result.  I also had digestion pains a few times, probably from increasing the amount of raw vegetables I ate.

The other negatives were the amount of time spent prepping food, and the amount I spent.  My grocery bill was a full 30% higher than normal for the month.  I’m sure this was due mostly to buying supplements and a ton of fresh, organic fruit.  I felt like I spent a LOT of time prepping, especially for my daily lunch salads.  I was very happy when I could go back to taking dinner leftovers for lunch.

One positive was that cutting out wheat forced me to try new grains.  I tried buckwheat for the first time ever and liked it, and gave millet another shot after having it only once and not being a fan.  I will keep these grains, as well as spelt flour, regulars in my diet.  I was also shocked to find out how many products I was eating regularly had sugar.  All types of soy yogurt, for instance, are made with sugar.  So is soy creamer, and a few other products that I regularly consumed.  I’m going to stay off yogurt and take a probiotic supplement every once in a while instead, but I’m going back to creamer full force.  Coffee is just no good to me with “regular” milk.  Creamer is a deal breaker.

One rule I will continue to stick with for weight loss purposes is alcohol on weekends only.  It’s a good policy for me that keeps me from having a glass of wine on Tuesday here, a beer on Thursday here…it certainly aids in keeping my calories down.  I’m also continuing to exercise four to five days a week, and have started weight training again in addition to cardio.

Overall, I’m happy I did the cleanse (even though I “cheated” more times then I would’ve liked to), if for no other reason than to prove to myself I could do it!

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Random Meals & Laptop Lunches

I feel like I lost my cooking mojo there for a few weeks in July and had a hard time figuring out what to eat, so I have no theme for this post.  The theme is random!

What does one do when one has leftover filling from tomato-basil-mozzarella sandwiches but no bread?

One makes tomato-basil-mozzarella bites.  Yum!

This is a secret risotto that I tested for a friend to submit to a recipe contest.

CSA delivery…

Corn, yellow onions, peppers & lettuce mix

Grapes, red onions, peaches, tomatoes, cherries & an eggplant

I like eggplant but don’t always like cooking it.  It seems like most eggplant cooking techniques use a lot of oil, so I wanted to do something different.

My solution was eggplant and lentil curry.  This had a whole can of light coconut milk in it, so it wasn’t exactly low fat anyway…but I tried!

Thinking back, I don’t really know why I did this, but I made a little slaw to go with the curry.  This had carrot, celery and broccoli stalk and a Vegennaise-based dressing.  (Again, so much for keeping the meal low-fat!)  Oh, I think I made it cause I had broccoli stems that needed using…

I wanted to make a salsa with the corn and tomatoes, so I made some mostly-raw lettuce tacos.  On the bottom is seasoned black beans, them lime-marinated mushrooms, corn salsa and fresh cilantro.  These were very tasty but very messy to eat, because the fancy lettuce at TJ’s looks like it would be good for lettuce wraps, but in reality was decidedly not.  In the back are TJ’s corn-flax chips, which are slightly addicting.

I got a spiralizer!  I’ve been jealous of other blogger’s zucchini noodles for far too long, so I finally bought one.

…and made zucchini and squash noodles.  I used the larger noodle shredder the first time, and they were a bit too large and super curly.  The blade with the smaller holes is much better for this purpose.

I had fresh basil in the fridge and I was feeling too lazy to make a raw sauce, so I went the easy route and added spaghetti sauce, basil, toasted pine nuts and almond parmesan.  This was very tasty!  The sauce separates and gets watery if it sits with the zucchini, so I want to try a different type of sauce next time.

This is a Saturday afternoon clean-out-the-kitchen salad.  It has red potatoes, purple potatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, carrot and sliced veggie dog, with a Vegennaise dressing.  It wasn’t the most fantastic thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was pretty and it got the job done.

Farmers market purchases:  rainbow chard, okra, baby cucumbers, jalapenos, peaches and nectarines, a golden and regular zucchini, a lemon, broccoli and strawberries.  All for under $20!

The main purpose of my farmers market trip was to get ingredients to make my Southern Style Dolmades for a potluck that night.  I ran late and didn’t have time to assemble the rolls, so I just took the filling and the sauce and hoped it would be okay.  Turns out people really liked it as it was!  That was a big relief.

I realized while at the market that I hadn’t had anything with cheesy sauce for a long time (such a travesty), so I bought the broccoli with plans to make this:

Shells n’ cheese n’ broccoli.  You can’t beat it.  I used my favorite cheesy sauce, which is tofu based, but I used the wrong kind of tofu and eyeballed the ingredients and so it didn’t turn out the best it ever has, but it still hit the spot.

To go with my pasta, I roasted the okra.  Look at the size of these okras!  They are with a regular sized golden zucchini and jalapeno for reference.

All roasted up.

I still had the chard leaves from my non-roll making debacle and hadn’t a clue what to do with them since they were already boiled.  So I asked The PPK for ideas, and one member suggested peanut sauce.  Bingo!  Peanut sauce makes everything better.  I still ended up making rolls, but went a different direction with the filling.

So these are quinoa, pepper, carrot and zucchini chard rolls with fresh cilantro, basil and peanut sauce.  It was very yummy!  I was glad I could salvage my $4 worth of boiled organic chard.

I won’t be using my laptop lunchbox for a reason to be discussed in my next post, so I’ll catch up with lunches.  Most of them are repeats from the meals above anyway.

7/14 the aforementioned secret risotto, steamed broccoli,
carrot sticks, grapes & cherries

7/16 potato & fava bean salad with miso-mustard dressing,
roasted asparatus, sweet potato-chocolate chip-
walnut muffin, strawberries & raspberries

7/21 broccoli/carrot slaw, eggplant curry, brown rice,
oat bran pretzel sticks, wasabi-soy almonds, figs

7/22 lettuce wraps with seasoned black beans, marinated mushrooms,
corn salsa & cilantro, corn-flax chips, dark chocolate

7/24 zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce, pine nuts & almond
parmesan, beanballs, maple cookie, b-complex supplement

7/27 clean-out-the-kitchen salad with lettuce & avocado, strawberries

7/28 shells & cheese & broccoli, roasted okra, gf corn muffin, strawberries

7/30 chard rolls with peanut sauce, celery, soy nuggets
with ketchup, dried figs, dark chocolate

7/31 leftover quinoa filling with peanut sauce, zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce & almond parmesan, cherries, gherkins, sandwich cookies

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Food Network Friday

First, my CSA delivery from two weeks ago.

Green stuff:  parsley, broccoli, leaf lettuce, pea shoots that went bad before I got to use them, and collards.

Red-stemmed stuff:  beets and chard.  To show how big the beets were:

As big as my fist!

Other stuff:  mushrooms, grapefruit, red onions, carrots, and tangelos.

I also went to the farmers market to supplement.

 Red and gold potatoes, yellow onions, grapes, fuji apples, garlic, asparagus, a sweet potato and a turnip.

I happened to make two Food Network recipes recently, so I thought I’d join Tami from Vegan Appetite’s Food Network Fridays.  She’s been veganizing a Food Network recipe and posting every Friday for a while now.  I could be considered a fan of Food Network;  I don’t love any of the shows in particular, but I love that it’s a network dedicated entirely to food.  Many a Saturday I’ll turn the tv on FN and just leave it on all day while I go about my business.  Even during the shows I don’t really like, which is how I came to make this first dish:  Sunny Anderson’s Pork-Stuffed Collards.  It was a dish she first had in Hawaii I think.  I just so happened to have a bunch of collards that needed using, so I decided to make it.  Thing was, the pork really was the main component of the dish.  My first thought was to replace it with tempeh, but the “meat” really needed to be able to hold itself together in a patty.  So I decided to use Gimme Lean Sausage, until they didn’t have it at the store and I bought the beef instead.

On the side I made a simple steamed root veggie soup from carrots, a sweet potato and a turnip.  I couldn’t decide how to season it, so I threw in a little of everything and the flavor ended up being confused.  Bay, sage and curry just don’t go together.  Don’t know what I was thinking!

Luckily I liked the Beef-Stuffed Collards much more than the soup.  Although the “beef” was really well spiced and the recipe was very easy to make, all together the meatiness was a little much for me.  I would’ve enjoyed it much more with the sausage.  If I make this again, which I may, I think I’ll try to make some sort of mixture with tofu or tempeh, veggies and bread crumbs and see if I can get it to hold together.

The next FN recipe I made, I actually searched for on foodnetwork.com:  Michael Chiarello’s Roasted Beet Salad with Bleu Cheese.  There were many roasted beet salads, but this one looked the best and allowed me to use up some of my tangelos.

So, the thing about great salads is that you use different flavors, textures, temperatures etc…The components of this salad somehow found a way to dull each other.  I couldn’t figure it out, because on their own the ingredients were all good – roasted beets, Sunergia soy bleu cheese (which I like a lot), baked tortilla strips that I subbed for the almonds called for, lettuce instead of spinach, and the tangelo reduction dressing which was the best part.  It had the texture of honey, which I thought was pretty neat.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice salad as salads go, but…I’ve come to expect a good salad to be a flavor explosion of sorts, and this one didn’t meet the mark.

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Farmers Market Roasted Veggie Salad

Last weekend I had some free time Saturday morning, so I went to the farmers market.  I don’t think I can say enough how much I love the farmers market.

On a tangent of sorts, bf and I always laugh about how whenever someone is walking with groceries in the movies there are carrot tops or a baguette sticking out the top of the bag.  Always.  Even though in real life you never see it.  So I chuckled when my bag looked like this.

For less than $19 I got all this:

broccoli, swiss chard, carrots, golden beets, fingerling potatoes, salad greens

persimmons, kiwi, navel orange, apples, asian pear, sourdough bread

I’ve been thinking about how I never eat salads anymore because it’s so darned cold all the time.  So I figured, I’ll make a warm salad that’s still healthy and chock full of good stuff.  I roasted the potatoes, beets, broccoli, carrots and some leeks I had in the fridge.  I made a sweet triple mustard dressing from yellow, brown and dijon mustards, agave, and a dash of white wine vinegar.  No oil, salt or pepper in the dressing since the roasted veggies already had them.  Toss the dressing with the warm roasted veggies and serve over greens, and you’ve got a happy tummy.

I also sprinkled chopped carrot tops on the salad.  I found out that they’re totally edible and pretty nutritious.  They taste good - just a little bitter, which was a nice counter to the tangy, sweet dressing.

The next morning, I continued my quest for the perfect pancake.  I picked up some of Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat pancake & waffle mix, and gave it a whirl.

I used egg replacer and subbed applesauce for the oil.  They looked very nice and pretty fluffy, but the texture was a little gummy and they tasted “healthy”.  I’m definitely okay with making these for myself, but they’re not that exact perfect pancake I’m looking for.  On with the search!

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Good News, Bad News & Laptop Lunches

The good news is that I’m back to work and back to making laptop lunches every day.  The bad news is that my camera died and I had to take pictures of my lunches on my cellphone and I thought it was going to be a while before I got another camera.  The good news is that I got a new camera yesterday, a digital Fujifilm with a good feel and lots of nice features.  Hooray for spending more money I don’t have!

Here are the lunches I took last week, courtesy of my cell phone.

uncheese and crackers leftover from Halloween, spinach salad with apple,
red onion & balsamic vinaigrette, pumpkin cookie

veggie stirfry, wheat spaghetti, cashews for the stirfry, gherkins, grapes

chickpea-uncheese spread, wheat crackers, lettuce, broccoli, red peppers, goddess dressing, grapes

The chickpea-uncheese spread was an idea I had to use up some of the uncheese scraps, kind of like a chickpea no-tuna salad.  I thought it might go horribly wrong, but it was worth a try.  I mashed chickpeas and uncheese together and added dijon mustard and minced celery and red onion.  It wasn’t anything worth raving about, but it was good!  I’m glad I didn’t let all the leftover uncheese go to waste.  Here’s how I served it for dinner.

There are crackers under the lettuce.  I liked this presentation a lot, it was like a nice little bite you’d get for an appetizer at a party.

More good news:  I checked out the other farmers market in San Leandro, the one that purportedly goes year round.  I wasn’t expecting much from a farmers market held in a mall parking lot, but I was so pleasantly surprised!  There was practically every kind of fruit and vegetable you could want, even some things I didn’t recognize.  I think the Saturday farmers market is even better than the Wednesday one that closed down already.  More parking, more vendors, and Saturday is much better for me than the middle of the week.  I got all this for under $18!

Veggies:  zucchini, yams, fingerling potatoes, cauliflower, lettuce, small butternut squash, leeks (huge!), cucumbers, an eggplant, and a daikon radish on the bottom left.  I thought it was a parsnip at first, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a daikon so it suits me just fine.

Fruit:  strawberries, navel oranges, and kiwis!!!!!  These kiwis were the real find.  As much as I love kiwis, I’ve been avoiding buying them in stores since they’re always shipped from New Zealand or somewhere equally far away.  I didn’t even know kiwis grew in California!  Awesome.  I’ll probably try to go back in the next few weeks and stock up so I can freeze a bunch.  I love kiwis in smoothies.

Even with all this amazing produce on hand, I was feeling completely lazy and not up to cooking last night.  In the afternoon I went to going-out-of-business sales at Mervyn’s and Circuit City to hopefully scope out some deals.  These sales are crowded and draining and never as cool as you hope for.  The only thing I bought was my new camera, which is turning out to be great.  By dinner time I was pooped, and embarrassing as it may be, I ordered pizza delivery.

It’s from a local chain called Mountain Mike’s.  It’s so nice to be able to order a pizza and have it delivered sometimes!

And, to prove that I don’t always drink schwag, I decided to take a picture of this tasty beer a la my friend Tom at One Brew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, a fellow recent FL to CA mover.  Although looking now he seems to have stopped doing the whole beer-bottle-next-to-beer-in-a-glass thing.  Tom, are you taking pictures on the floor?  It’s cool.  I take pictures on the floor too.

I have a thing for seasonal beers.  I love summer ales in the summer and winter ales in the winter.  They’re just so…appropriate.  The Pyramid Snow Cap is a great beer.  It’s got the hoppiness of an ale, with plenty of malt to balance.  It’s darker like a stout but still with the characteristics of an ale.  It has good flavor without being overwhelming.  I like to talk about beer like I know what I’m saying.  The bottom line is, try the Snow Cap winter ale!  Or anything else from Pyramid, which is headquartered in Berkeley.  The Apricot Ale is particularly good too.

I may do an occasional beer review, depending.  This will probably be the only non-cheap beer I’ll drink for a while anyway.

I have plans for my farmers market goods which I will hopefully carry out in the next few days.  I will report back.  Everyone have a great Veteran’s Day!  I have Tuesday off.  Yes.

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VeganMoFo: Farmers Market Meal

I cooked a pumpkin that had been waiting patiently for over a week this morning with intentions of trying to recreate my mom’s wonderful pumpkin bread.  Alas, the day has run its course and I have to get up early for an interview tomorrow, so the bread will have to wait.  In the spirit of VeganMoFo, which I have not been doing too well with lately, I’ll show you what I DID manage to do today.

Searching for farmers markets in the area, I came across the downtown San Leandro farmers market, and sadly learned that today was the last day until next season.  There is supposedly another one on Saturdays, but this seemed to be the main one so I had to check it out.

I have to say, it’s a pretty good farmers market!  Maybe even better than the one I used to go to in Gainesville.  I was surprised at how much summer produce was still around – tomatoes, zucchini and such, but there was also a good representation of fall produce.  Here’s what I got for just over $17.

Rainbow chard, navel oranges, beets and three kinds of apple.

Romaine, red bell pepper, assorted mushrooms (I think it was a mix of button and cremini), strawberries and garlic and black pepper tofu.  I’m mucho excited to try the tofu, I hope it’s as good as I expect!

For dinner tonight I stuck with the veggies.  Pardon the lighting.

Rainbow chard and quinoa, VWAV orange glazed beets, and sauteed mushrooms.  The orange glazed beets were good, but I’m not sure they’re worth the time it took to let the glaze reduce.  I think next time I’ll go back to plain ol’ roasted beets.  The surprise standout of the meal was the mushrooms!  They were simply sauteed with a bit of canola oil, some tamari and a generous amount of black pepper.  Sometimes simple is best.

Tomorrow, a hopefully successful veganization of mom’s pumpkin bread.  Goodnight!

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