Posts Tagged quinoa

What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast:  sludge-colored pumpkin pie smoothie (canned pumpkin, almond milk, banana, rolled oats, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baby kale)

Morning snack:  Arkansas Black apple, roasted almonds, multivitamin, papaya complex tablets, (unpictured) coffee with hazelnut soy creamer

Lunch:  quinoa & black bean salad over romaine (shredded red cabbage, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, mint, dressing of orange segments blended with peanut butter, garlic, ginger & sriracha)

Afternoon snack:  Persian cucumber with curry hummus (one can of chickpeas, drained, 1 Tablespoon tahini, juice of half a lemon, pinch of salt, heaping teaspoon of curry powder).  I ate about a third of the hummus pictured, I like to take a container to work and eat a portion, and bring fresh cut veggies every day until it’s gone.

Pre-workout snack:  two prunes

Dinner:  Two-bean chili over a baked sweet potato with roasted cauliflower.  The chili was made up as I went, and turned out pretty well – onion, carrot, celery, red and yellow bell pepper, garlic, and mushroom (all water sauteed), chili powder (both regular and chipotle), smoked paprika, cumin, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, no-chicken broth, kidney beans, pinto beans, corn, salt, pepper.

Advertisements

Comments (1)

Christmas with Candle 79

Candle 79 is one of those “dream” vegan restaurants…one that you absolutely don’t miss if you have the chance to eat there.  Sadly, I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Candle 79 myself, and I have no plans to travel to New York in the near future.  However, with the Candle 79 Cookbook, everyone has the chance to experience their food!

The cookbook is a large hardback volume with gorgeous color photos and delectable sounding recipes.  Including appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, sides, sauces, brunch, desserts and drinks, there are plenty of different types of dishes to try.  What first caught my attention about this book is that it is high end, yet it doesn’t call for expensive ingredients or crazy techniques.  It’s just good cooking methods mixed with quality ingredients and interesting flavor profiles, resulting in delicious food.

I received the cookbook just before Christmas, which seemed like a great time to try out a few recipes.  We had a few friends over for Christmas dinner, and Dave made steak for their entree.  I wanted to prepare some sort of vegetable side dish, and the Wild Mushroom and Cipollini Salad with Fresh Horseradish Dressing seemed like a perfect match.

The salad starts by roasting the onions and sauteing the mushrooms.  I couldn’t find cipollini onions, so I used small sweet onions instead.  The flavorful and creamy horseradish dressing calls for sauteed shallot, horseradish, silken tofu, white wine vinegar and olive oil.  It was a perfect, rich and spicy counterpart to the fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes.  The recipe calls for pre-mixing and plating the salad, but I chose to serve it buffet style so that everyone could choose the quantity of ingredients.

The dressing also made a nice sauce for my entree, which was Gardein Beefless Tips.

After Christmas, I went to visit my family for a vacation in Anna Maria Island, Florida.  I wanted to cook a nice big fancy meal for them as a gift, making interesting vegan food that wouldn’t scare my brother away.  I chose the Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Cakes with Red Bell Pepper-Curry Sauce and Apricot Chutney as the entree.

(The only plates at the rental house were bright red!)

Upon searching for images of this dish online, I found out that at the restaurant they serve the cake on top of a round of vegetables, so that is what I did.  The base is Red Bell Pepper-Curry Sauce, which includes coconut milk, onion, tomato paste, cilantro and spices.  The sauce was very tasty, but personally I could’ve used a little more spice.  I roasted the cauliflower very simply with olive oil and salt, and even my self-professed cauliflower-hating brother liked it.  To make the cakes, you combine chickpeas, onion, celery, flour and spices, including Old Bay.  I didn’t have access to a food processor, so I just mashed everything up with a fork.  My cakes were probably a little more chunky than they’re intended to be, but they held together fine.  The apricot chutney toed the line between savory and sweet, with onion, ginger and agave nectar.  It was decidedly not apricot season, so I bought dried apricots and reconstituted them in hot water.  To top it all off, you sprinkle on some toasted slivered almonds, which provided a nice texture contrast.

This dish was a little bit of work, and it’s definitely not weeknight meal material, but I would make it again for company or a fancy dinner at home.

I wanted to try one more recipe, and I got some really nice avocados in my recent CSA delivery, so I chose the Stuffed Avocado with Quinoa Pilaf and Chipotle-Avocado Dressing.  I’m watching my fat intake, so the stuffed avocado half became more of an avocado sliver, but this dish was delicious regardless.  The recipe is technically a salad and calls for mixed greens as the base, but I had kale in the fridge and steamed it to use instead.  This turned out to be a good decision, because the kale stood up well to the somewhat heavily dressed quinoa pilaf.  The pilaf incorporates corn, bell pepper, carrot, scallions and parsley, and you mix it with the dressing of  shallot, cilantro, guajillo chile, chipotle chile powder, white wine vinegar and even more avocado.  The dressing was very strong in flavor, but didn’t overpower the vegetables, and radish and hemp seeds were nice fresh toppings.  Plus, now I have chipotle chili powder in the pantry and I want to put it in everything.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the recipes in the Candle 79 Cookbook.  The recipes are well written, and range from simple to complex, so there’s something for everyone.  Some recipes that I hope to try in the future are Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves,  Kale, Vegetable, and Spelt Berry Salad with Chive Vinaigrette, the famous Seitan Picatta, and Chile-Grilled Tofu with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.  The words, opinions and photos here are entirely my own.

Comments (9)

And For My Next Post…Here’s a Bunch of Food.

There’s always a bad reason for not blogging, but here’s a good one:  My internet didn’t work for two weeks!  But I’m back now, and what better thing to do than post a whole bunch of random food and get caught up?  Some of this stuff dates from last October.  Eep!  I’ll jump right in.

Ginger Cashew Tofu from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, with fried quinoa

Salad with chickpeas, sauerkraut, crackers and “special sauce” dressing

Whole wheat pasta with cooked beets and beet greens.  Turned the whole thing red!

Pizza burrito!  Leftover pizza toppings wrapped up and served with pizza sauce.

These potatoes were sold as “teeny tiny potatoes” at Trader Joe’s.  How cute!  Roasted whole, with broccoli & tofu scramble.

Roasted Fennel Salad from Veganomicon – test run before Thanksgiving.

Amaranth porridge with apples and pecans

Tempeh Tetrazzini, adapted from a magazine recipe.  Was tasty but dry.

Teriyaki tofu and veggies with red quinoa

This was a total clean-out-the-fridge dinner before I left to visit family for Christmas:  sauteed cabbage and carrots with shredded bleu Sheese and brown rice.  It sounds weird, but it worked well enough.

Shells n’ cheese n’ Tofurkey.  Mom was making mac n’ cheese with leftover ham for the rest of the family, and she made the white sauce with Earth Balance and soy milk so that I could partake too.  I added shredded Follow Your Heart cheese, cooked shells, diced Tofurkey slices that needed to be used up, and some spinach so I could pretend that it was slightly healthy.

“Special Tofu” with peanut sauce and jasmine rice, from Royal Orchid restaurant in Ocala, Florida.  Beautiful and delicious.

Fried rice with red cabbage and baked tofu

Braised red cabbage and carrots

Roasted root veggies with greens and tahini sauce

Tofu scramble and an English muffin to scoop it up

Butternut squash stuffed with rice, kale and vegan sausage, served with mushrooms.  This was super tasty.

When the weather started warming up, we decided to grill twice in one weekend.  For this plate, I bought every vegetable worthy of grilling – baby squashes, radicchio, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic scapes.  We also had some grilled toast and drizzled everything with balsamic reduction.

The next day it was a little more simple – store bought baked tofu, a marinated portobello, brown rice with carrots and hijiki, and steamed veggies with gomasio.

Hot and sour cabbage stir fry with noodles and cilantro

For this tofu scramble, I crisped some diced potatoes first then added the tofu and other ingredients, and finished it with fresh dill.

Savory amaranth with broccoli and pecans

Pasta with parsley pesto, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic-roasted veggies

Crunchy salad with black eyed peas, hemp seeds and spicy apple cider vinegar dressing

Teriyaki tofu bowl with short grain brown rice, raw red cabbage, steamed broccoli, green onion and extra teriyaki sauce

Gardein Crispy Tenders!  I bought these to try when I had a coupon, and I LOVE them.  They’d be good with any sauce, but they were especially good straight out of the oven with warm marinara.  The only problem with these guys is that I could easily eat the whole package at once.

Seasoned mashed fava beans with red bell pepper on Ezekiel toast for breakfast.

Springtime brown rice risotto with fresh peas, aspragus and dill

For a light side to go with the risotto, I dry-roasted some cauliflower that was liberally seasoned with a dry rub mix.

Ahhhhhhh, I feel better having purged my unposted photos a little!  Hope you enjoyed it too.

Comments (10)

CSA’s & Laptop Lunches

Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted my foods!  I’ll try to keep my rambling and descriptions short, since I’ve got a lot of pictures!

8-27 CSA:  corn, rosemary, pears, zucchini, cucumber & lavender

onions, figs, tomatoes, beets, squash & honeydew melon

When I got this CSA box, I was actually growing tired of snacking on fresh figs.  Gasp!  I’m spoiled, I know.  I decided to make a poached fig salad, based on a recipe I found online that I can’t find again now!  Which is a shame, cause it was really good.  The fresh figs were poached in a whole bottle of port, then the wine was reduced down to a syrup.  There was also a simple vinaigrette, pisatchios, shallots and faux feta cheese.  The poached figs were STRONG, but good.  I also had some herbed pumpkin seed crackers.

I had taken note of the Teriyaki Quinoa recipe in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan during my August cleanse but didn’t get a chance to try it then.  I’m glad I tried it afterwards, because I love it!  It’s so simple – just cook the quinoa and mix it with the sauce.  I served the quinoa with stir-fried veggies (seasoned only with tamari and ume plum vinegar), and instead of sprinkling with sesame seeds as the recipe called for, I used some sesame gomasio that I had bought for no specific reason.

Quinoa close-up!  Looks like…quinoa…

I had a huge heirloom tomato sitting around doing absolutely no good, and I decided I wanted to slice it up for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s a big hole in the middle cause the tomato had a big, tough core that had to be cut out.

I wanted to make bread machine bread for my sandwich and…FAIL.  I modified a multigrain bread machine recipe that I found online and it really didn’t rise at all.  It was edible but incredibly dense.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad or if it was the fact that I used the time delay feature and the ingredients sat there for hours before the machine started mixing.

The cheese in the sandwich is the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I love.  I also love pickles on grilled cheese.  On the side was broccoli and cucumber with goddess dressing, and oven-baked beet chips.

I had corn and squashes left over from the CSA box, and thought they would make nice side dishes for black-eyed-pea gravy and biscuits.  I have no idea where I got the gravy idea from, but it worked out.

For the biscuits, I used Happy Herbivore’s Whole Wheat Low Fat Biscuit recipe, and they turned out quite well!  I rolled mine out and cut them into circles with a glass though, rather than just dropping them like the recipe calls for.  That way you get the flaky sides, and they’re easy to cut in half.

Gravy close-up!  The gravy turned out okay, but it was a little too acidic and the onions weren’t cooked enough, so I need to work on it a bit before I have an official recipe.  For the creamed corn, I just cooked some corn kernels till tender, blended up some of them in the food processor, added it back to the pan with some soy milk and cooked a bit just to thicken.  The squash and zucchini were sauteed with probably a pinch too much red pepper flakes.

9-10 CSA:  lettuce, thyme, zucchini, swiss chard & grapes

tomatoes, plums, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & oranges

There’s nothing particularly special about this salad, except that it was topped with Annie’s French Dressing, which I had never seen before and like a lot.

With the abundance of tomatoes in this CSA box, I thought I ought to try my hand at making gazpacho.  I’d had gazpacho before a number of times but never made it.  Turns out it’s ridiculously easy to make!  The blender does most of the work.  I followed the recipe from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and it was perfect.

On the side is a slice of Bianca’s awesome Whole Wheat Beer Bread.  I grew up eating beer bread, and this totally hit the spot.  I added FYH cheddar and some rosemary just cause I could.  I also totally screwed up and mis-read the recipe.  I thought the bread only baked for 30 minutes, so I pulled it out then, let it cool, and was totally surprised that my first slice was completely raw in the middle!  Then I re-read the recipe – doh!  It bakes for 55 minutes.  The slice on my plate up there went in the toaster oven just to finish, which is why it looks funny, and the rest of the loaf went back in the oven.  Read your recipes all the way through, people!

9-24 CSA:  swiss chard, lettuce, cucumber & more lettuce

beets, tomatoes, red onions, grapes & peppers.  I also got a galia melon but it didn’t find its way into the picture.

Another sandwich, this time on store-bought sprouted bread.  I had an avocado ready to use, and thought it would go perfectly with the CSA tomato and lettuce in a great sandwich.  I was thinking along the lines of a BLT, so I sauteed tempeh then glazed it with soy sauce, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Delicious!  The sandwich also had red onion jam, spicy mustard and a slice of vegan cheese.  Those nuclear chips in the front there are Buffalo Chips from Food Should Taste Good.  They didn’t really taste buffalo-y, but they were tangy and spicy and good.  If you haven’t tried Food Should Taste Good chips yet, do so!  They feel so much lighter than other chips, and their flavors are fun and imaginative.

10-8 CSA:  arugula, lettuce, acorn squash, more lettuce & baby bok choy

plums, potatoes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, peppers & beets

I haven’t done anything with last week’s CSA box yet, but…there it is.

Laptop lunches!  I don’t have the time these days to neatly pack everything every night, but I do when I can.

9-8 pasta salad, steamed carrots, beanie weenies, cauliflower

9-10 biscuit & black-eyed pea gravy, creamed corn, spicy sauteed squash

9-15 cheddar-rosemary beer bread, gazpacho, baked beans, grapes

9-17 sesame noodles, sauteed cabbage, grapes

9-28 peppers lavender tofu, scalloped zucchini,
slow roasted tomatoes, grapes

10-1 multigrain sesame-beet pilaf, spicy daikon slaw, gf corn muffin, grapes

Bonus Jake.

And armless Jake.

Comments (15)

Announcements!

1.  I have been accepted to, and am officially enrolled in the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College in Berkeley.  Yay!  Starting in late September and going through February I will be attending classes nights and weekends while holding down my 40-hour-a-week job and hopefully still cooking at home a bit (other than homework assignments).  Sadly, I probably will not be able to pay much attention to my blog during this time.  But at the end I will be a trained natural chef!  I am hoping to turn this into a career change sooner than later.

2.  With my crazy schedule impending, I’ve decided to take the month of August to clean up my diet through a “cleanse”.  It’s not a diet, per say, but my feelings won’t be hurt if I lose a few pounds in the process.  I lost 8 pounds between the beginning of this year and April, then went and gained it all back on my vacations in May and June.  Doh!  Mostly I want to focus on nutritious whole foods, and NOT CHEAT!  Details on the rules and first four days below.

3.  This one is inconsequential, but I feel like listing it anyway.  I’ve always referred to my boyfriend as bf on the blog because I thought he would prefer it that way.  It turns out he doesn’t care one way or another, so from now on he shall be called Dave, which is his name.

Now, here is the outline of my cleanse:

– first thing upon waking is a warm glass of water with the juice from a quarter of a lemon
– breakfast is a smoothie including fruit, greens, Udo’s DHA oil blend or flax or chia seeds, protein powder or nut butter and unsweetened almond milk, a multivitamin and either a CoQ10 or B complex supplement
– green or black tea or coffee with stevia at work
– morning snack is fruit or nuts or both
– lunch is a salad including some form of protein (open for interpretation – veggies salad/grain salad/bean salad, etc.) and a probiotic supplement a few times a week
– afternoon snack is raw veggies and hummus or nuts
– dinner is whatever I want, as long as it all fits in a normal dinner-sized bowl and is not high in fat
– decaf tea with stevia before bed
– minimal, if any, processed food
– no wheat (grains that may contain gluten are okay)
– no sugar or artificial sweeteners (stevia, agave and maple syrup are okay)

This is my own design, but I was inspired by a number of things including Jessy’s Adventure Cleanse Tune-up and re-reading Gillian McKeith’s You Are What You Eat.  Jessy did so amazingly well sticking with her cleanse, but I’m not making mine quite as intense.  She cut out everything I am, PLUS coffee, alcohol and gluten.  I generally only have coffee two or three times a week and tea the rest of the time, so I think it’s not that bad.  And I do like my beers on the weekend, so I’m keeping them but watching my intake.  (Geez, that makes me sounds like an alky!  I’m not, I promise, but I have to be honest about it if I’m going to detail my intake day by day.)  I will not be drinking any wheat beers though.  Speaking of wheat – I say “no wheat” because I’m not worried about gluten so much, so I may eat oats or other stuff that may contain gluten.  I just want to take a break from wheat and kind of force myself to eat other grains.

All that being said, I had a plan in place to start the cleanse off right on the morning of August 1st.  I was going to go grocery shopping and buy everything I needed for the first week on Friday night so that I could get going on Saturday.  I had planned my first few meals and written out a huge grocery list, and as I headed out the door I realized I didn’t have my keys!  Through a series of unfortunate events, Dave had gone to band practice in San Francisco with my keys in his pocket, so I couldn’t leave the house.  So much for being prepared!  I ended up going Saturday morning, but it left me a little stressed and wasn’t the way I wanted to start.

Day 1

Since I didn’t have my special smoothie making supplies yet or any greens in the fridge, I had a pear and some cantaloupe for breakfast along with my multivitamin.  Not exactly a power meal, but it’s all I had.  I also drank some blueberry green tea on the way to the store.  By the time I got back I was ravenous, so I ate some apple slices with peanut butter.

The first day presented me with a challenge because we were tailgating for the A’s game.  Normally I would have a veggie burger or dog and do some grilled veggies on the side, so I had to figure out how to fit grilling into salad form.

My solution was to take a salad of iceberg, tomatoes, shredded carrot and sunflower seeds and top it with grilled mushroom and squash and a squeeze of lemon.  (I only used iceberg because I had it leftover from a work bbq.)  This salad didn’t have as much protein as it probably should’ve and didn’t really fill me up, so I had some pistachios as a snack soon after.  I also had a few beers.  Told you I was going to be honest!

We didn’t end up actually going into the game (long story), and instead went to Dave’s uncle’s house for some chatting and board games.  On the way there I ate some carrot sticks, celery & cucumber slices with Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Hummus from Yellow Rose Recipes as “dinner”, and then had two glasses of wine at their house.  So my dinner didn’t exactly fit into the dinner rules, but I felt it was the best I could do since we were very rushed that morning.

Day 2

Sunday went much more smoothly.  Dave took off to go fishing with his buddies (blech) and I slept in a bit.

My breakfast smoothie had a banana, strawberries, mango, kale, udo’s and almond milk and despite being a bit thick and me forgetting to add the protein powder, it was very tasty.  I also took my multivitamin and CoQ10.  The smoothie kept me full all morning, so no snack.  I also had some coffee with unsweetened almond milk.

Lunch was a second take on the salad from day 1 with iceberg lettuce, carrots, squash, mushrooms and chickpeas and a dressing of balsamic vinegar, mustard and agave (there was already oil on the grilled veggies).  It was more filling this time with the chickpeas – I couldn’t even finish it!

My afternoon snack was more of the roasted eggplant and garlic hummus with carrot sticks, bell pepper and cucumbers.  I have to say that this hummus is kind of weird.  It tastes really good and blended up smooth, but after sitting overnight in the fridge it had kind of gelled together, as if it had agar agar or something.  I had to stir and mush it up with a fork, and it was never again as smooth as when I first made it.

For dinner I made the Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango from Veganomicon and served it over spinach.  My first impression of this dish is that it was just a bit oily.  I get what the recipe is going for, and it tastes good and is easy to make, but it didn’t blow me away or anything.  After dinner I had camomile tea, which I’ve never had before, and was pleasantly surprised.

Day 3

My Monday breakfast was this tasty banana, cherry, kale, udo’s, almond milk and amazon acai hempshake smoothie along with my multivitamin and b complex.  It was actually more brown than red, this picture makes it look much nicer than it really was.  My morning snack was a pear, almonds and darjeeling tea.

Lunch:  leaf lettuce, green pepper, carrot, red onion, snap pea sprouts, cherry tomatoes, sauteed cajun tofu and Honey Mustard Dressing from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, and a probiotic supplement.  This dressing is wonderful!  I never would have though to use lemon juice in honey mustard and it gives the dressing the perfect tang.  No actual honey is involved – it calls for agave nectar instead.  The tofu was just sauteed in a little bit of oil and sprinkled with a cajun spice blend.

My afternoon snack was more of the eggplant and garlic hummus with carrot sticks, green pepper & cucumber.  Beginning to notice a trend?  A whole batch of hummus lasts me forever if it’s just for snacks.

Dinner was precisely the same as Sunday (quinoa salad with black beans and mango over spinach) with sweet wild orange tea to follow.  I thought the quinoa salad might be the kind of dish that improves overnight, but it was still just kind of “eh”. The orange tea, however, is awesome.  It’s by Tazo.

Day 4

I’m into this green smoothie thing.  This one had banana, mango, kiwi, kale, udo’s and almond milk, and I forgot to add the dang protein powder again.  This used up all my mangos – I got five small ones for 99 cents at Berkeley Bowl that were all ready to go mushy, so I didn’t want to let them go to waste.  I took my multivitamin and CoQ10 and had a pear, a plum, cashews and earl grey tea as my morning snack.

The lunch salad was much like the day 3 lunch salad, minus the onion, sprouts (they went bad) and cherry tomatoes (I don’t like ’em!), and plus sunflower seeds.  Also had a probiotic supplement.  Afternoon snack was celery, green pepper & cucumber slices with more roasted eggplant & garlic hummus.

Dinner was a challenge.  I was going to the recently re-opened Souley Vegan in Oakland to meet up with some PPKers and was hoping they’d have enough decently healthy options for me.  I meant to take my camera and forgot it like a dufus.  I ordered a three-item combo plate with collard greens, black eyed peas and yams.  The collard greens were very good, and different from any greens I’ve had – they were quite spicy and had a combination of spices that I could not put my finger on.  It drove me a little crazy that I couldn’t figure out the spices.  The black eyed peas were also good.  The yams…were incredibly sweet.  I’m fairly sure there was about a ton of sugar in them.  But I tried to stick to the cleanse, and I think I did pretty well for being at a place that has delicious chicken fried tofu and mac n’ cheese, and life goes on.  When I got home I had camomile tea.

(Souley Vegan’s Yelp page says they’re closed, but they’re not.  They are very much open at 301 Broadway, near Jack London Square.)

I hope that this style of posting doesn’t bore you all to death!  I want to post everything I eat, day by day, to hold myself accountable and to show anyone who may think I’m crazy that it’s completely do-able.  I’m hoping to post every two or three days, as opposed to four or more, so that there’s not so much redundant content.

So far I haven’t noticed much of any change in my energy or anything like that.  I do feel more hungry in general than before I started, but it’s not the kind of hungry where I HAVE to eat something, it’s just a little lingering hunger that tells me I didn’t totally fill up my tummy.  I’ve been cooking less in general but spending more time preparing food, which I guess is what happens when you eat more raw foods.  The only way I can make it in the mornings is to prep everything the night before, including putting the greens and fruit in the blender jar in the fridge, which kills a good amount of time at night.

Here is my latest CSA delivery.

cherry tomatoes, cherries, pears, an eggplant, tomatoes

pattypan squash, onions, peppers, basil, a cucumber,
a crookneck squash, grapes

And just because I can, some pictures of Jake from this weekend.  He’s taken to squishing his face on the arm rest when he’s trying to nap on the couch.

Kitty paws.

I love how his body looks humongous from this angle.

Comments (19)

Arc-tichokes

Does it make anyone else crazy when people say “arc-tichokes”?  To me it’s almost as bad as saying “nuke-you-ler”.  Yes, I’m the one that points out spelling errors, too.

When I saw that I was getting four fresh artichokes in my CSA delivery, I really had no idea what to do with them.  The only forms of artichoke I’ve ever eaten are from a can, and on my plate at Millennium.  And who knows how they do the voodoo that occurs in their kitchen…

So, I knew that more often than not, whole artichokes are boiled or steamed and served with a dip like mayo or a dressing.  To me that seemed like the easy way out, and I’m trying to push my cooking boundaries a little.  So I searched around the internet and my cookbooks and did some hard thinking on artichokes, and in the end I decided to steam them and eat them with mayo.  These were my first real artichokes, so I figures I should cook them up proper.

I have a jar of Vegennaise in the fridge, but I have a hard time using it for anything but a special occasion, i.e. when other people will be eating most of what I’m making.  I remembered that I had seen a lower-cal mayo recipe at My Vegan Cookbook, and so I went with that.  I’ve only made a few of Josh’s recipes so far, but what I have has been really good, so I had no doubt the mayo would be a great complement.

(I must admit that I cheated making the mayo.  I mashed and whisked the tofu instead of blending it smooth, and I microwaved it for three bursts of 30 seconds instead of cooking it on the stovetop.  I was already three dirty pots and pans deep, and I wasn’t going for a fourth.  The mayo still turned out great, and that shows just how good the recipe is.  Oh, and I added chopped fennel frond just because I had some.)

It was much easier to actually eat the artichoke than I expected.  Google “how to eat an artichoke”, read, and that is exactly how it works.

On the side, a quinoa pilaf with onion, carrot, fennel bulb, portobello, white wine and dulse.  I also added some fennel seed, making this a triple-fennel meal.  I really liked the dulse.  I liked the chewy texture and the unique flavor it added.  I had forgotten that I bought a big bag of dulse from the bulk bin last time I was at Rainbow, but I will be using it much more now that I know I like it!

Comments (12)

Presents On My Doorstep

One of the things I was very excited about when moving to the Bay Area was the proliferation of farmers markets and CSA’s.  Ever since I first heard of the CSA concept I knew I wanted in.  There was precisely one option in Gainesville, and I tried to sign up during my last six months in Florida, but there was a long waiting list to contend with.

So as soon as I had the room in my budget, I signed up for one here.  I looked around and compared, and the best choice for me was Farm Fresh To You.  They run their own farm, as well as sourcing from other local farms to round out the seasonal offerings.  You can choose the frequency of your deliveries (every two weeks for me), postpone a delivery if need be, request to not receive certain items if you don’t like ’em, and best of all – they deliver!  To my door!  A lot of CSA’s around here require you to pick up, or charge for delivery, and with my schedule the way it is right now that wasn’t an option.  They also have different box options, including a smaller delivery, all fruit or all vegetable.  And apparently they have a permanent storefront in the SF Ferry Building, as well as appearing at multiple farmers markets.  And they send a newsletter with recipes.  Oh, and they post the contents of the box at the beginning of the week, so I can plan ahead and spend way too much time at work fantasizing about what I could make.

I think you can see where this is going.  I got my first CSA delivery.  And I love it.  I think I am going to have a long, happy relationship with all this produce.

There were far too many veggies to fit in one picture, so I went with green and not green.

salad greens, collards, bok choy, leeks, napa cabbage and dino kale

navel oranges, pinova apples, red potatoes, the largest butternut squash I have ever seen, and radicchio

I used the collards for my New Year’s Day meal, and the salad greens for…a salad.  Creative, I know.  The salad went with delivery pizza during the College Football National Championship game.  Go Gators!!!

I used the napa cabbage in some more fried quinoa, along with carrots and peas.  This fried quinoa wasn’t quite as good as the first time I made it, it was a little mushy.  I think the secret might be mixing in some rice.

I was interested in grilling the bok choy.  I found some recipes online that all included a sauce, but I wasn’t up for all that extra work, so I just sprayed them with some oil and grilled plain.  It was interesting – it has potential, but I definitely wouldn’t make bok choy again this way.  The leaves got nice and crispy, but the stems were undercooked and still crunchy, which wasn’t what I was going for.  This meal was better as leftovers, reheated in the microwave and cooked through a bit more.

I’m not a big fan of radicchio, especially raw, so I was very happy that the Farm Fresh To You newsletter came with a recipe for Radicchio and Squash Pappardelle.  I adapted it to be vegan, whole grain and lower in fat.  The taste is very simple; the sweetness of the squash, bitterness of the radicchio and heartiness of the pasta play nicely together.  It would be very good topped with toasted pine nuts or vegan parmesan.

Penne with Butternut Squash & Radicchio

2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
3/4 lb radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 oz wholegrain penne

Melt butter and heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add radicchio, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until wilted and just tender, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook penne according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.  Add pasta to radicchio mixture with 1/2 cup cooking water and toss over low heat until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add more cooking water to moisten if necessary.

Serves 4 to 5.

To go along with the pasta, I made a raw kale salad.  I’ve read about this technique to “wilt” kale without cooking, and when I saw a recipe on the Bauman College website I knew I wanted to try it.  The original recipe was for a main course type dish, so I made it more simple and side dish-like.

Raw Kale Salad with Oranges & Pecans

This would be good with dried cranberries or diced apples instead of oranges, or walnuts or pepitas instead of pecans.

1 bunch kale, cleaned, stemmed and finely sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 oranges, supremed
1 cup pecans

Place kale in a large bowl.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt over kale.  Massage the mixture with your hands, kneading and squeezing until kale begins to wilt.  Add vinegar and lemon juice and toss with tongs to mix.  Divide kale between servings bowls and top with oranges & pecans.

Serves 4.

I knew I wanted to use the leeks and potatoes in a soup, and after searching through all my vegan cookbooks without finding the right recipe, I lucked out with Healthy Life Kitchen by Marilu Henner.  I bought this book on a whim because it was on super sale.  It isn’t exactly my style of cooking, and it includes fish and eggs, but every once in a while I find a nice, simple recipe like this one.

Potato Leek Soup

2 Tbs soy margarine
1 large bunch leeks, julienned
6 new red potatoes, cubed (I left the skins on, or you can peel them)
6 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt
fresh chives

Melt the margarine in a large stockpot over medium-low heat and add the leeks.  Cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until they have softened.

Raise the heat to high, add the potatoes and stock, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Transfer the solids to a blender or food processor and gradually add broth, pulsing until just pureed.  Return the puree to the pot.  Do not overheat.  Add soy milk, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt to taste.  Serve garnished with chives.

The recipe says it makes 8 servings, but for me it was 4.

To go with the soup I made the Smoky Grilled Tempeh from Veganomicon (the broiled variation) and boy oh boy was it every good.  The most juicy tempeh I have ever had.

As if the CSA goodness wasn’t enough, I got another present – my PPK December swap package!  My partner was Evan of Bjorked Off, and he sent some good stuff.

Homemade truffles, dark chocolate, mini Larabars, a photo, a cupcake postcard, Canadian maple syrup, and a pretty syrup-themed trivet that unfortunately broke in transit.  The truffles were amazing, as well as the one piece of chocolate I’ve eaten so far.  I’m not a huge fan of Larabars (can’t get into dates), but these mini bars were the perfect size for snacking without getting tires of the flavor.  The brownie flavor was good for the first bite, but after that it wasn’t very appealing to me.  The cashew cookie flavor was good all the way through.  I might even consider buying a normal size bar of that flavor.  There are people who are obsessed with Larabars though, so don’t take my word for it if you’ve never tried one!  Thanks Evan!

Comments (13)

Older Posts »