Posts Tagged indian

VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday II

Last week’s Semi-Wordless Wednesday turned out pretty well, so here’s another random assortment of things I have made!

Pad Thai Salad with kelp noodles, adapted from Appetite for Reduction, and orange-glazed tempeh

Avocado Cream Soup (better than it looks) and Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara (best raw marinara ever) from Practically Raw

Oh She Glows’ Strawberry Lemonade

Thai Veggie Burgers from Peas & Thank You, topped with pineapple and sriracha mayo

Moroccan Chickpea & Lentil Soup and Cheese Herb Corn Muffins fro Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews for All Seasons

roasted tofu and dry-sauteed cabbage

Reuben salad with roasted chickpeas, sauerkraut, pickles, and Healthy Thousand Island Dressings from Eat to Live

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Chowder from Vegan on the Cheap

Almond Butter Sesame Kelp Noodles from Practically Raw with Sesame Garlic Marinated Tempeh.  Loved the noodles, not so much the tempeh.

Baigan Bharta and Quick Indian-Style Spinach & Chickpeas

Green bean, tempeh & mushrooms stir fry with brown rice

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VeganMoFo: OBR Week – Bittersweet

I think Hannah of Bittersweet needs no introduction, but I’ll try anyway.  She is a blogger, cookbook author, photographer, crafter…just thinking about it all makes me tired!  I had the pleasure of meeting Hannah briefly at the end of Vida Vegan Con, and she was just as nice in person as I would have hoped.

Hannah is best known for her sweet treats, but she has posted a number of savory recipes as well.  I’ve made her Cold Sesame Noodles before and enjoyed it, so I wanted to choose another recipes I could eat as a main dish for dinner.

This is Matar Tofu Paneer Dahl, which is a mashup of Matar Paneer and Dahl.  It was a really tasty and easy to make one pot dish.  I don’t have a Tofu Xpress (yet!), so I used the old school method of stacking a bunch of heavy stuff on top of my tofu.  The tofu is a substitute for paneer here, but it’s not really masquerading…it is indeed just blocks of extra firm tofu simmered in a delicious sauce.  Luckily for me, I don’t mind plain tofu too much so it was not off putting.  The extra firm texture was a nice contrast to the soft red lentils.  No tofu haters allowed!  I added some cayenne pepper to bump up the heat, and served the dahl with steamed arugula.

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Good Times in Gainesville

Back in June, I traveled to Gainesville to attend a wedding and hang with some old friends.  The groom was my old band mate, and rather than a rehearsal dinner, he wanted to get the band back together.  Between family, friends, wedding guests and old fans who were still in town, we were expecting a sold out show!  We hadn’t played together in years and needed a few practices before we were ready to play, so I arrived a few days early and ended up spending four nights in town.  I hit some of my favorite food spots, and tried some new ones too.

I got into town on Wednesday night and met a few friends at Reggae Shack Cafe.

I like a lot of their vegetarian dishes, and this time I went with the Vegan Steak – handmade seitan simmered in a sweet Carribean sauce with vegetables.  The dish came with cabbage, rice and beans, and fried plantains.  I love this sauce; it’s sweet, savory and spicy.

Festivals, which are like sweet fried hush puppies.  Not very good for you, but they’re so tasty that I order them every time.

I didn’t even know Red Stripe Light existed!

On my way to visit my parents the next morning, I stopped at my absolute favorite coffee shop in Gainesville, Coffee Culture.

Vanilla soy latte.  None of the baked goods were vegan, but the guy at the counter said that they were planning to open their own bakery soon, and would have vegan options in the future.

Needing some solid fuel, I stopped by Bagels & Noodles on University Avenue.  This place used to be called Bagels Unlimited, but it seems they’ve made the odd move of also serving noodles for lunch and dinner.  Regardless, this whole wheat bagel with hummus and lettuce was exactly what I wanted.  The bagel was toasted and chewy, the hummus was garlicky and warm, and the lettuce added the perfect crunch.

Still fairly full from the bagel, I met my parents for lunch in Ocala.  Our go-to restaurant in Ocala is Amrit Palace, but my mom had heard of another Indian restaurant getting good reviews, so we gave that a try instead.

Bay Leaf Indian Restaurant has a buffet for lunch and a full menu for dinner.  After confirming that some of the buffet items were vegan, we sat down and helped ourselves.  I got veggie pakoras, mint chutney, rice, dal, potatoes and peas and tamarind chutney.  The dishes were well spiced and slightly spicy, and very delicious.

Coming back to Gainesville, I was in a rush to grab some food before our scheduled practice, so I grabbed take out from my very favorite falafel place, Gyro Plus.

Bad lighting, delicious pita – falafel, lettuce, tomato, pickles and tahini sauce, with a big side of fries.

I knew it was going to  be a long night of practice, so I also picked up a spinach pie which I ate in the car during a break.

I needed to fuel up the next morning before heading to another practice, so I grabbed a friend and headed to 43rd Street Deli.  They used to have a location on 13th street which was great because they always had vegan items on the menu.  That location closed a few years ago, and I was hoping there would be something I could eat at the original location.

They had vegan pancakes on the menu but were sadly out of them, so I ordered the tempeh scramble with rye toast.  The scramble was more oily and salty than I would have made at home, but it was a nice, hot plate of protein and veggies, and it helped get me ready for more practice.

We practiced during the afternoon, and I don’t know if everyone knows this, but June afternoons in Central Florida are HOT.  It was possibly the hottest I’ve ever been.  I went back to my friend Janeen’s house where I was staying and was getting ready for the show that night, when Janeen came home with this:

Raspberry sorbet!  She must’ve been reading my mind, and got the sorbet for me when she stopped for frozen yogurt.  It was the perfect cold treat to keep me going.

To get a little more family time in, I met my parents, brother and sister-in-law for dinner at The Top.  I have a few favorites at The Top but selected a special that sounded really good – Tempeh Chimichurri with steamed broccoli and roasted fingerling potatoes.  The chimichurri was much more thick than those I’ve had in the past, but was herbey and citrusey and very delicious.

The show went really well, considering we hadn’t played together in years.  I was made to wear a cowboy hat because we covered a Mley Cyrus song.  Don’t ask.  Don’t ask about the other costumes either…

The next morning I met a few friends for brunch at The Jones.  I went to The Jones once or twice when I lived in Gainesville and was never that impressed, but over the past few years I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews so I figured it was worth another try.

The breakfast menu says that almost any dish can be made vegan, and I chose the Blackhawk Burrito – soy merguez, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos in a flour tortilla with organic black beans, topped with salsa fresca and avocado.  Served with homefries, organic black beans and brown rice.  This was a hugely filling and delicious breakfast.

I wasn’t sure what kind of food would be available at the wedding and was getting peckish by mid-afternoon, so I met Janeen for one last ladydate at Karma Kreme.  Karma Kreme opened soon after I moved away, which is probably a good thing.  Having freshly made vegan ice cream available that close to home could’ve been bad for my health!

An entire half of the ice cream case is dedicated to vegan ice creams, and they boast a variety of soy, rice and coconut-based ice creams.

Before I got to the sugary stuff, I needed some real food.  Not all of their sandwiches are available daily, and I felt very lucky that they had the Tofurkey Reuben that day.  Tofurkey slices on rye with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and vegan cheese, pressed and served hot.  This sandwich was gooey and fatty and wonderful.

You can’t really see how amazing this sundae is, what with the chocolate ice cream, coffee ice cream, cookie pieces, caramel and housemade coconut whipped cream.  It was so good!  If I still lived in town, I think I would be giving Karma Kreme plenty of business.

The wedding was great.  It was actually at the same venue Janeen’s wedding was at last year, and it was really interesting to see what two different couples did with the same space.  It was wonderful to see so many old friends, and the wedding was complete with 40’s brought in from Georgia and a nacho cheese fountain.  As my British friends said, “brilliant”!

Me on the right, with two very pretty lady friends.

reception aftermath

Sadly, I had to head home the next day.  I picked up another hummus bagel on the way to the airport and called it a trip.  I always said that it was very easy to be vegan in Gainesville, and it’s even more so now with restaurants like Karma Kreme and Boca Fiesta around, and mainstays like The Top, Reggae Shack, Gyro Plus and Satchel’s still in business.

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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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When Life Gives You Lemons…

When I finished classes at the beginning of March I had grand plans – plans to complete my required externship hours as soon as possible, plans to get back to creating new recipes and use my CSA deliveries creatively, and then…life happened, as it tends to do.  I woke up last Sunday and thought that my face felt a little funny.  At first I chalked it up to sleeping in a weird position or something, but after a few hours when I noticed that it was difficult to eat and one of my eyes wasn’t blinking properly, I really started to freak out.  Dave took me to the ER and I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition where the nerve that motors one side of your face becomes inflamed.  The visible symptom is that the right side of my face is mostly paralysed – it looks like I’m winking at everyone!  It is certainly no fun, but Bell’s Palsy usually cures itself after a few weeks to a few months, so I’m trying to take it easy and hoping for a speedy recovery.

How this relates to food is that I’ve found it a little difficult to eat, what with half of my mouth not really opening or chewing very well!  So, I have been making foods that I can eat with a spoon or through a straw that don’t require too much chewing, while still trying to take in a good amount of nutrition.  I have been able to eat some solid foods by cutting them into small pieces, but it’s really much easier to just slurp something up.

Mushy is easy for breakfast…

Good ol’ grits with nutritional yeast.

Amaranth with strawberries and coconut kefir.

Super smoothie – First I juiced some red cabbage, celery, ginger and swiss chard, then I blended the juice with a banana, kiwi, frozen strawberries and mango, hemp protein powder and coconut kefir.  Odd maybe, but good!

A coworker mentioned that when her mother had Bell’s Palsy she ate a lot of applesauce, so I took applesauce to the next level.  This is store bought applesauce, warmed up, topped with peanut butter, ground flax and maple syrup.  It was like a warm pb & apple butter sandwich without the bread.

Luckily, I’ve been able to work from home since my diagnosis, so my lunches have been quick and simple.

Broccoli-Avocado-Lemon Soup.  I steamed a bunch of broccoli well then processed it with three small avocados, the juice of one large lemon, dried thyme, garlic powder, salt, white pepper and nutritional yeast.  Yeah, perhaps it looks like something from The Exorcist, but it tasted nice and simple.  I wanted to bulk up the soup, so I toasted a piece of Ezekiel bread, tore it into small pieces, and soaked it in the soup until soft.

Purposely overcooked brown rice pasta with jarred sauce and nutritional yeast.  Appetizing, no?

Dahl for dinner.  I’d never made dahl before (and I was out of curry powder – doh!), so this was my thrown together version with garlic, ginger, fenugreek seed, mustard seed, turmeric, cumin, coriander and cilantro.

With the dahl, I had some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever made.  I cooked baby red potatoes until very soft, then mashed them with a few spoonfuls of Cheddar-Style We Can’t Say It’s Cheese.  So good!  Now I understand why people put cream cheese or sour cream in their potatoes.

And for dinner tonight, to use up some sweet potatoes, I made Sweet Potato-Lentil-Wild Rice Stew, seasoned with ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and coriander.  Ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, so I’m telling myself that eating them will help my swollen nerve calm down!

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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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Wrapping Up – Random Meals

I wanted to make this post before I left Gainesville, but as most of us know packing, cleaning and moving is incredibly time consuming.  So tonight I write from Lafayette, Louisiana, where we are staying after our first (very long) day of driving.

I didn’t get to eat all the food from my freezer and pantry that I wanted to use up, but I did what I could.  I’m gonna keep this one short, cause it is close to sleepy time.

First, a truly random meal that was composed of everything I could find in the fridge:  herbed tofu, carrots and broccoli w/ tamari and dill, bulgur pilaf and a strawberry jalapeno corn muffin.  Somehow it worked.

A fairly composed meal almost entirely from the pantry – chickpeas rogan josh, instant mashed potatoes w/ peas and turmeric, and steamed broccoli.

I used this canned rogan josh curry sauce, which I had picked up meaning to try with tofu.  It tasted really nice with the chickpeas though, almost like an Indian-flavored baked beans.

If you look in the background you can see the potato buds that I spilled all over the counter.

It’s always a bonus when your meal resembles a smiley face.  (“Good morning, breakfast!” “Good morning, Peewee!”)

Inspired by Caroline at The Broccoli Hut, I made a breakfast parfait with pieces of bran muffin.  This one also had peach soy yogurt, blueberries and flax flakes cereal.

As moving day got closer, I became less and less inclined to prepare food.  One day I picked up some slices from Leo’s By The Slice.  They have a spot labelled “vegan” on the pizza display and make cheeseless pies a couple times a day.  I think the toppings are at the whim of whomever is making it, so it’s always different.  Sometimes they use tofu, chickpeas or even tempeh, but more often than not it’s just all the veggies.  Often, they line the whole pizza with spinach under the other toppings, which is really good.  A couple times I have gone to find no vegan slices available, but their garden salad is great and the pasta marinara is vegan too, not to mention the rolls and delicious marinara.  So if you’re ever in Gainesville, stop by Leo’s for a quick slice.

I think a lot of pets freak out when you start moving stuff out of your home and shuffling things around, but not Jake.  He enjoyed sitting in and laying on all the newly unoccupied spaces.  This is the bottom shelf of a bookcase, in case it’s not obvious.

Lastly, our friend Nate had folks over last weekend to grill and practice black jack.  I made a “throw everything in a bowl” pasta salad with red onion, carrot, cucumber, artichoke hearts, olives, pimientos, chickpeas, parsley and probably a couple other things I’m forgetting.  The dressing was just vegennaise, balsamic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It was well received, and made a ton so I had leftovers.

I also made a chocolate pudding pie with a crust from the freezer.  I wanted to try the VWAV chocolate pudding recipe, but I had JUST packed up all my cookbooks.  So I looked it up online, but I’m not going to post a link because A) I’m not sure it’s the exact recipe, and B) it didn’t set up properly.  I’ll try again when I have the book for reference.

The good news was it tasted great, even if it ran everywhere and plated up funny.

It’s bedtime for me here in Louisiana.  We have a couple more loooong days left of driving, then a stop in Las Vegas and possibly a jaunt to Anaheim before we arrive in NorCal.  I’m trying to document as much awesome (read: awful) roadtrip food as possible and will post again when we arrive.  Until then…

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