Thursday, August 8, 2013

Curried Vegetables

This is just a big dish of whatever vegetables you want covered in a curry spice mix. You can eat this over rice or another grain, dip them in hummus, put them in a pita with other delicious things like tomatoes, hummus, chutney & lettuce. Or just eat them straight up. I'm listing the vegetables I used, the point is to fill up a baking dish with vegetables you like. In this recipe I bake the vegetables but this would be a good dish to make in a pressure cooker as well.

For the Vegetables

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 orange pepper, you guessed it - coarsely chopped
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small chunks
2 carrots, peeled & coarsely chopped

For the Curry Sauce

1/2 c. vegetable broth
1/4 c. tomato sauce or strained tomatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garham masala
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Clean and chop all of the vegetables into chunks and place them in a large baking dish.

2. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and then pour the sauce over the vegetables and toss to combine.

3. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and toss and then bake for an additional 10 minutes (or until just fork tender).

This makes about 10 side dish servings of vegetables.
Photo to the left - Indian Tacos: Caramelized onion & tahini spread, curried vegetables, cilantro chutney and curry kraut on a pita. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chipotle Bowl

This recipe has nothing to do with the fast food restaurant, Chipotle. When we lived in So. California there used to be this really great Cafe near downtown Los Angeles called "Luna Sol" and this was on their menu. I think that cafe went out of business, which is a shame because they had wonderfully healthy food for low prices in a neighborhood that didn't have a lot of other healthy and affordable prices. So this is an homage to my favorite defunct LA cafe. This is a great recipe for using up leftover brown rice.

1 package of extra firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1" cubes
Extra virgin or canola oil 
1-2 c. cooked kidney beans (or 1 15 oz. can rinsed and drained)
1-2 c. cooked brown rice
1 c. chipotle flavored salsa
1/2 a small red onion, sliced into thin rounds
2 Tbsp. water

1) Heat the oil in a large saute pan or a wok. Add the tofu and let it brown for about 5-7 minutes. Toss and let it continue to brown for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile spoon the warm rice into 2-4 bowls.

2) Add the kidney beans and salsa. Continue to cook until heated through, about another 5 minutes.

3) Spoon the tofu & kidney bean mixture over the rice in each bowl making sure to get all of the sauce evenly distributed.

4) Put about 2 Tbsp. of water into the pan and add the onion slices. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Place the onions atop each serving.

This makes 2-4 servings depending on how much beans & rice you use and what else you're serving.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Baked Adzuki and Vegetable Wontons

As I've said before, I love appetizers that you can dip in some kind of sauce. I like wontons with sweet chile garlic sauce, which can be found in the Asian section of most large grocery stores. Just be sure to check the label because some brands may contain fish or oyster sauce. Also check the ingredient list on the wonton wrappers you purchase because some brands contain egg. I used Wing Hing brand pot sticker wraps and Mae Ploy brand sweet chile sauce.

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 a medium red onion, minced
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. baby bella or button mushrooms, diced
1/2 c. cooked adzuki (also called aduki) or small red beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. vegetarian hoisin sauce (or vegetarin stirfry sauce with 1/8 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder)
1 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
1 12 oz. package of pot sticker wrappers
2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
Black or toasted brown sesame seeds
Sweet chile garlic sauce for dipping

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line at least 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly oil them and set aside. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute all of the vegetables until soft, abotu 5-7 minutes.

2) Once the vegetables are soft add the adzuki beans, hoisin sauce and shoyu or tamari. Toss to incorporate.

3) One by one, wet the circumference of a pot sticker wrapper with your finger dipped in water. Place about 2 tsp. of the filling mixture on the bottom half of the wrapper. fold the top half of the wrapper down over the filling, using your fingers to force the filling to stay inside. Seal the wrapper by pressing down on the edges with a fork.

4) Place all of the wontons onto the prepared baking dishes as you complete them and then brush the non-dairy milk over the top of each wonton (I just use my fingers dipped in the milk to do this) and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

5) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until just golden brown. Place on a serving platter and serve with sweet chile garlic sauce for dipping.

This makes abotut 8-10 appetizer servings.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spicy Asian Slaw

I can't deny my love for spicy, tangy food. Added to that fact, cabbage has been my favorite vegetable this winter. I'm not saying it's my favorite vegetable of all time, just that I am using it a lot this winter and am really enjoying it. It's inexpensive, super healthy and very versatile. This slaw takes about 1 minute to make if you use the pre-cut slaw mixture, and it makes a nice lunch on its own or could be used as a side with any Asian inspired meal. The spice in this slaw comes from Sriracha sauce, an Asian (I think it's originally Vietnamese) hot sauce that can be found in almost any grocery store.

1 lb. thinly sliced cabbage, either one of those pre-shredded slaw bags from the store or slice your own
A pinch of sea salt, about 1/4 tsp. or so
2 heaping Tbsp. Veganaise
As much Sriracha hot sauce as you want, I use a lot because I like it spicy
Several dashes of rice wine or brown rice vinegar (about 2 tsp.)
A small drizzle of toasted sesame oil, maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp.

1. In a large bowl toss the cabbage with the pinch of sea salt and set it aside.

2. In a smaller bowl whisk together the other ingredients.

3. Pour the sauce over the cabbage and toss to combine.

This makes about 2-4 servings.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pad See Ew

This is far and away my kids favorite dish. It is so rare for all 3 of them to like the same thing prepared in the same way - for example, they all like apples but one of them likes her apples whole, one of them likes them peeled and chopped, and the other one likes them chopped but not peeled. And so it goes with almost everything. This is one of the few things I can just make a big pot of an all of them will devour it without a single complaint or request for alteration.

So of course I have to be the annoying one with this recipe. My kids all eat it with broccoli, but I prefer gai lan (Chinese broccoli), so I make it with broccoli for them and with gai lan for my husband and I. You can use whichever one you want.

The signature of Pad See Ew is the sweet sauce. This is achieved by using kecap manis, which is a syrupy soy sauce. I've tried to make my own by caramelizing sugar in soy sauce but it's way easier and less messy to purchase it. They have it at my regular grocery store in the ethnic foods section or you could find it at any large Asian grocery or online. Often pad see ew will have fish sauce, I just add a little vinegar for that tang. 

14-16 oz. wide rice noodles, cooked/soaked according to package directions but just shy of done
1/4 c. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp. vegetarian stirfry sauce (any kind)
1 Tbsp. vinegar (rice or distilled white both work well for this)
2 Tbsp. canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
5-6 cloves of garlic (less if you're sensitive, but you really do need a lot)
1 onion, halved and thinly slices (I leave this out when I make it for my kids)
1 lb. extra firm tofu, cubed
1 bunch of gai lan or broccoli (broccoli cut into florets, for the gai lan, use both the leaves and the stems but separate them then chop them)

1) With any stirfry it's always best to try to prep everything before you start cooking because things cook quickly when you stirfry. To make the sauce, whisk together the kecap manis, shoyu or tamari or soy sauce, vegetarian stirfry sauce and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Slice your onion, cube your tofu, mince your garlic and prepare your broccoli or gai lan.

Here is what gai lan looks like.
2) Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions, but keep them al dente because you will also stirfry them. If you can, try to time it so that the noodles finish cooking right before you're ready to add them to the wok.

3) Heat the oil in a large wok or pot over pretty high heat and add the garlic, saute until fragrant but not browning.  Add the onion, tofu, and the chopped gai lan stems if using. Continue to cook until the onions have softened a bit.

4) When the noodles are ready drain them and add them to the stirfry along with the sauce. Toss to mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes.

5) Add the greens and continue to cook until they are just barely wilted.

This makes 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Baked Samosas

Samosas are an Indian pastry with a savory filling, usually some mixture of vegetables or ground meat. They are usually deep fried but they can easily be baked. I make a quick dipping sauce to go along with this, but you could serve them with a chutney if you'd prefer. I hate to brag again, but these are fantastic - even my kids loved them.

For the Samosas
1-2 tsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 a medium onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp. ground corriander
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. frozen or fresh diced potatoes, thawed under hot water in a strainer and drained well
1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed under hot water in a strainer and drained well
1 tsp. vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, minced
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

For the Dipping Sauce
3/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. mango chutney (optional)
1/2 tsp. curry powder

1) To make the sauce whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2) Preheat the oven according to the package directions for the puff pastry you are using. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly oil it, and set aside.

3) Preheat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds until they are lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

4) Add the onion, jalapenos, spices, and salt. Saute until the onions are soft, about 5 more minutes.

5) Add the drained potatoes and peas and saute until warmed and mixed through with the onions, peppers and spices. Then add the vegetable broth and tomato paste and stir until incorporated with the vegetables.

6) Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the fresh cilantro.

7) Flatten the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice the pastry into 4 long strips lengthwise and then 6 long strips widthwise so that you end up with 18 squares.

8) Fill each square with about 2 tsp. of the filling and then fold the edges in and crimp the edges closed to form a ball. Gently squeeze the ball in your hand to round it out and then flatten it a little bit between your palms. Repeat until your dough is used up placing the finished samosas on the prepared baking tray.

9) Bake the samosas for 15-17 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with the dipping sauce.

This makes about 4-6 appetizer servings and would be very easy to double for more.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sesame Ginger Tempeh Sandwiches

As far as I know, Asian food and sandwiches aren't really synonymous. I'm not claiming to know all the food from every country in Asia, but I haven't heard of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese Korean or Indonesian sandwiches. If you know of any, please let me know so that I can try them because this sandwich is delicious.

This brings me to another point. When I say "Asian food" I recognize that Asia is a continent made up of vastly different people groups and cuisines. But this sandwich isn't really from any particular Asian country, it just uses various traditionally Asian flavors. So be notified, I know "Asian food" is a very general term and all food from Asia is not alike.

For this recipe you'll be making a marinade to bake the tempeh, a simple sauce, and a simple slaw. Then it's all assembled on a roll of your choice.

8 oz. tempeh (as usual for these tempeh sandwiches, try to get a long rectangle shaped tempeh cake rather than those short, stubby square ones).
1/4 c. water or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (or rice vinegar in a pinch)
1 Tbsp. chile garlic paste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2" knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
2 scallions, roughly chopped
2 tsp. arrowroot powder or corn starch and 4 tsp. water, mixed together
2 c. cabbage, shredded
1/2 tsp. rice wine or brown rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
A small pinch of sea salt
about 1/3-1/2  c. Veganaise
Sriracha hot sauce or chili garlic paste to taste, I like about 1 Tbsp.
4 rolls of your choice, (I like multigrain ciabatta, just because they're usually the right size for the tempeh patties)

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the marinade by whisking together the water or broth, shoyu, lemon, chili garlic paste, garlic, ginger and scallions in a small bowl. Set aside.

2) Slice the tempeh in half width wise to make two squares. Then slice each square in half lengthwise through the center forming two flat squares (not two little fat rectangles).

3) Place the tempeh in a 2 quart baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Gently toss the tempeh around to coat in the marinade and cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

4) Mix the arrowroot or corn starch and water together in a small bowl and set aside.

5) As the tempeh bakes prepare the slaw by sprinkling 1/4 tsp. sea salt, the vinegar, and the toasted sesame oil over the thinly sliced cabbage (you could also use a bagged slaw mix from the grocery store) and tossing it together. Set aside.

6) Also prepare the Sriracha mayo in a small bowl by whisking the Veganaise and Sriracha hot sauce or chile garlic paste together in a small bowl. Set aside. You can also slice open your rolls at this point.

7) When the tempeh has baked for 15 minutes, remove the foil, give the arrowroot/water mixture one last whisk and pour it over the tempeh sauce (try to pour it into the spots where the sauce is visible). Use a fork to try to mix the arrowroot into the sauce a bit. Flip the tempeh patties over with a spatula and return to the oven, uncovered, for an additional 10-15 minutes to let the sauce thicken a bit.

8) To assemble the sandwiches, spread the Sriracha mayo over the tops and bottoms of each roll. Place a tempeh patty on the bottom half of each roll and top the tempeh with some of the slaw. Place the top of the roll over the slaw and secure with a toothpick or some similar device.

This makes 4 sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Liquid Sunshine (Green Juice)

Sorry to be annoying, but you need a juicer for this recipe and you need one that can juice greens. Good juicers are pricey, but I figured most chronic diseases are even more costly so a few years ago I decided to invest in my family's health and get a juicer. Everything I read always posits green juice as one of the most beneficial health foods. Greens just can't be beat, they are so jam packed with nutrients. Juicing is a delicious and easy way to get loads of greens into your diet. Some people complain about the taste of green juice, but if you ask me this tastes like summertime, warm breezes, sunshine, and happiness.

1 bunch of kale, collards or other dark green (warning: mustard greens are disgusting in this), about 10 leaves (you can juice the stems too)
4 ribs celery
1 whole lemon, peel and all
1 medium-small golden beet (or purple if you can't find golden), ends cut off but peel left on
1/2" piece of ginger, washed but not peeled
2 apples - peels, seeds and all

1) Juice all of the ingredients according to the directions for your juicer. I do mine in the order listed above and turn it from low to high for the beet, ginger and apples. Run the vegetables through slowly so you can extract the maximum amount of juice.

2) Stir, transfer to a glass, and enjoy.

This makes 1-2 servings and even kids like it!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cold Soba Salad

This could be as easy as just making the dressing and tossing with the noodles, but you can also add various combinations of vegetables. My favorite vegetables in this salad are thinly sliced shallots and green peas.

Soba noodles are found in the Asian section of most large grocery stores nowadays. They are traditionally made with buckwheat flour, but I've noticed a lot of the brands have part buckwheat flour and part wheat flour. If you can find 100% buckwheat flour soba noodles you should give them a try if you like sea vegetables because they do taste a little like wakame and have an interesting almost slimy texture. The ones that include wheat flour are more mild and grainy.

8 oz. dry soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
1/4 c. seasoned or brown rice vinegar
1/4 c. natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp. (overflowing) shoyu, tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. (or more) sriracha (found in the Asian section of most grocery stores, it's a lovely Asian hot sauce)
Small drizzle each of toasted sesame oil and pure maple syrup
About 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger (optional but really good)
1 thinly sliced shallot or red onion
1/2 c. green peas, thawed by running under hot water in a strainer (if using frozen)

1) Cook the soba noodles according to package directions, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until the pasta is completely cooled.

2) As the noodles cook, whisk together everything but the vegetables in a large bowl.

3) When the noodles are finished cooking and have been rinsed under cold water add them, along with the peas and shallots, to the dressing and toss to coat.

Eat immediately or chill first. This makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry everyone is and what else you're eating.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baked Kimchi Wontons

This is my new favorite appetizer. And may I just say, Asian cultures make the best appetizers in the world (sorry Americans, Italians, and Mexicans). I don't want to toot my own horn, but these are amazing.

1 package extra firm tofu, crumbled
3 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
3/4 c. minced Kimchi, homemade or store bought
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 a medium red or white onion, minced
8 oz. crimini or shiitake mushrooms, diced
About 18 oz. eggless pot sticker wrappers, about 1 1/2 packages
2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (or black), to garnish, optional
Sweet chile garlic sauce for dipping

1) Crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl with your fingers and then smash it up with a fork or potato masher. Mince and add the kimchi and the shoyu and set aside.

2) Heat the sesame oil in a saute pan and add the scallions, minced onion and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

3) Add the sauteed vegetables to the tofu mixture and mix well.

4) Take a wonton wrapper and wet the entire circumference with your finger dipped in water. Add about 2 tsp. of the tofu mixture to the bottom half of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the mixture, forcing the mixture to stay in the wrapper, and seal the edges by pressing it down with a fork. Repeat until the mixture is used up.

5) Place the finished wontons onto the prepared baking sheets. Rub the tops of the stuffed wontons with a finger dipped in non-dairy milk and then sprinkle the sesame seeds over the tops of the wontons.

6) Bake for 15-20 minutes until just golden brown. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with sweet chile garlic sauce for dipping.

This makes about 10-12 appetizer servings.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Red Beans and Rice

When I first became a vegetarian in college my mainstay was those bags of Zatarain's red beans and rice. In the many, many, many years since college I've come to avoid pre-packaged meals as much as possible. I've often looked at red beans and rice recipes, but reading over ingredient lists I've been left uninspired and I have to admit I've not tried a single one I've looked at. Maybe they all would have been delicious, but I just wasn't motivated by them to try. So, of course, I finally decided to make my own. I don't know how this ingredient list will strike you, but let me assure you it is very delicious. The recipe is not a lot of work, but it does take quite a long time for the beans and rice to cook. For that reason this is an excellent meal to make on the weekend when you have some extra time, then you can use the leftovers for lunches during the week.

About 1 lb. of small red beans (if it's a little over or under that's no big deal), sorted, soaked and rinsed
About 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
6 c. water, plus more added during the cooking process
1 c. rice
1 scant Tbsp. sea salt
1 pound container of fresh salsa (I got it in the deli section of the grocery store), or 1 recipe Pico de Gallo.

1. Lay the beans out on a large kitchen towel and sort through them removing any debris or discolored, broken, or  malformed beans. Rinse the beans to clean and then place them in a large bowl covered with 2-3 inches of water. Let them soak for at least 6 hours up to overnight. Once they have soaked, rise them in a strainer and set aside.

2. When the beans have been soaked and rinsed heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and let it saute until soft, about 7 minutes.

3. When the onion is soft add the tomato paste, mustard and oregano. Let the tomato paste melt as you stir the mixture around to evenly coat all of the onions.

4. Once the tomato paste is distributed evenly over the onions add the beans and about 6 cups of hot water, or enough to cover the beans by about 2-3 inches, and bring to a boil.

5. Let the beans cook at medium boil (not a gentle simmer) for about 2 hours until they are completely soft, stirring occasionally and adding more hot water when it starts to evaporate too much. You want to keep the beans submerged in a lot of liquid so that they have room to move around in the pot and cook evenly.

6. When the beans are fully cooked but not falling apart, add 1 c. of rinsed brown rice and a little more water if necessary. Let it cook for 45 minutes longer, partially covered, and stir occasionally but keep an eye on it because you'll start letting the water evaporate at this point to form a thick sauce.

Here the salsa has just been added.
7. As the mixture boils only add more water at this point if it is about to dry out, but just enough to keep it boiling without drying out. Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan at this point to avoid burning. When the rice is fully cooked, after about 45 minutes, add the entire container of fresh salsa and let it cook for 15 minutes longer as the liquid continues to evaporate into a thick sauce.

This is how thick the sauce should be.
 This makes 6-8 servings and tastes lovely topped with fresh Guacamole.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quick Pickle Red Onions

I eat these like popcorn when I make them. Even if you don't want to make them to eat as a snack on their own, they are great on tacos, wraps, sandwiches or salads. In my opinion, these have just the right balance of tangy, salty and sweet. I love them on corn tortillas with Black Beans, Guacamole, and Scotch Bonnet Salsa.

1 c. cold water
1 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. unrefined sugar
1 large or 2 small red onions

1) Whisk everything but the onions together in a glass container large enough to hold the liquid and the onion (I use a pyrex 4 c. measuring cup)

2) Slice the onion into thin strips. You could do rings, or any shape you want, I just think strips are the easiest shape to deal with.

3) Place the onions into the liquid and weight them down with a small glass or ceramic object (such as a small plate, bowl or lid). Let the onions sit at room temperature in the liquid for 1-5 hours.

4) Drain the onions in a strainer and briefly rinse them off in cool water. Store the onions in a glass container in the fridge for at least a week, maybe longer.

This makes about 2 c. of onion pickles depending on the size of your onion. The photo to the right is of my taco spread with pickled red onions.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kimchi Tofu Scramble

I've been keeping a secret this winter. I never thought I was superstitious until I considered sharing my secret and realized that I was afraid I would jinx it if I said it out loud. So I'm not going to say it out loud, I'm just going to quietly type it. The flu has been going around this winter, and from my understanding it's pretty nasty. I was fully expecting our family to get infected, but we never did. In fact, most of us have not even gotten a cold this winter. With two kids in elementary school and a toddler who puts everything in her mouth, including other people's tooth brushes, I couldn't figure out how we were avoiding getting sick. Then I realized that it's probably from eating fermented foods so much.

My husband and I eat lacto fermented sour kraut, kimchi, curtido or jalapenos several times per week. My daughters eat lacto fermented cucumber pickles almost every day. The fermentation process develops the good bacteria that help to build the bacteria colony in your gut (which I heard likened to a second brain in a TED Talk recently). If you have a well developed bacteria colony in your gut, you are able to obtain maximum nutrition from the foods you eat during the digestion process which may enable your body to fight illness because it's not lacking in nutrition. I think this is what has kept us from getting sick.

You can find lacto fermented kimchi (and other products) in the refrigerated section of most health food stores, but they are very expensive. I think they're so costly because they need to remain refrigerated and cannot sit in hot warehouses or trucks. At least that's the only reason for the high price that I can come up with because they're extremely inexpensive to make yourself. For this recipe I add the kimchi at the last moment after the greens have been wilted to just heat it through so as not to kill the good bacteria with high heat. It's best to prep everything before you start cooking because the dish goes quickly once you start adding things to the pan.

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 small onion (any color), diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
10-12 mushrooms (crimini, button or shiitake work well), diced
White or black pepper to taste
1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu, crumbled to look like scrambled eggs with your fingers
1 Tbsp. fermented Korean bean paste or chile garlic paste
2 1/2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari 
1/2-1 c. Kimchi, home made or store bought
5-6 leaves kale (or other green), thinly chopped

1) Slice the vegetables and have them ready to add. Rinse the tofu and pat it dry. Preheat the sesame oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

2) Add the scallions, onions and diced stalks of your greens (if you're using a hearty green like kale, collards, gai lan or broccoli) and onions and a bit of white or black pepper. Toss to combine and let the onions cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

3) Add the tofu by crumbling it with your fingers into the pan and toss to combine. let the mixture cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, then add the mushrooms, toss and cook for another 3 minutes.

4) Add the fermented Korean bean paste (or chile garlic paste) and shoyu or tamari and toss it around to dissolve the paste into the scramble and coat everything with the sauce.

5) Add the greens and cook until wilted (kale or gai lan will take longer than spinach or watercress).

6) Once the greens have just wilted add the minced kimchi and toss to combine everything well. Remove from the heat once the kimchi is warmed and serve. 

This serves 4 and looks nice garnished with black or tan sesame seeds and minced fresh chives.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Curried White Bean Spread

In my Indian Chickpea Salad post I likened that salad to a deconstructed hummus. I like that salad so much that I decided to reconstruct it into a white bean spread/dip. You can use this like hummus. I like using cannellini beans rather than chickpeas (aka: garbanzos) for this dip because they get smoother and creamier. You could also try navy beans.

3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice (I like it better with the vinegar)
2 Tbps. water, plus more for thinning during mixing if necessary
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (or 2 cups cooked)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. curry powder (hot, sweet, whatever you want)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1) Place all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender or a food processor and mix until fully combined and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add more water 1 Tbsp. at a time to facilitate blending if necessary.

2) Taste and add more curry, vinegar or lemon, or salt if needed.

This makes about 2 cups of bean spread.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Recently I had what I can only call the one true tomato soup that I have ever enjoyed. However, upon later reflection I realized that it probably had cream in it and I just didn't realize it at the time. So, of course, this prompted me to create my own version of a creamy tomato soup, and what better way to get a nice, rich flavor than by roasting the ingredients first?

2 containers Pomi diced tomatoes, or 2 28 oz. cans whole or crushed tomatoes
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried parsley
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
3/4 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. plain milk alternative such as soy, almond or oat (don't use anything too thin like rice milk)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tomatoes, onion, herbs, salt and pepper into a 2-3 quart baking dish and toss to mix. Roast the mixture for 3 hours. Add the garlic after the first our and then stir the mixture every 20 minutes after the first hour (this ensures even roasting and keeps the top bits from burning).

2) When the mixture is done roasting let it cool a bit and then transfer to a blender and blend until completely smooth.

3) Add the mixture to a large soup pot along with the vegetable broth and milk alternative. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.

This makes 4-6 servings and would go excellently with homemade Garlic Bread, Spicy Kale Chips, Sauteed Italian flavored Tofurkey pieces, cured olives, a salad or Pizza. 

The photo to the left is so that you can see the Pomi tomato product I used. I find it in the "Natural Foods" section of my local grocery store. I like this product because it's not in a BPA lined can.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hummus and Apple Cider Vinaigrette

I keep hearing how good raw apple cider vinegar is for you so I've tried to use it more but the flavor is a little stronger and more sharp than I like. However, when mixed with a little hummus it makes a lovely creamy vinaigrette.

1 heaping tsp. dijon mustard
1 small drizzle of pure maple syrup
Small pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (the raw fermented kind if possible)
2 heaping Tbsp. hummus (I used my Edamame Hummus recipe)

Place all of the ingredients into a small jar and whisk or shake until blended well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mung Bean Dal

I'm calling this Mung Bean Dal, but you could use any kind of split peas or lentils. If you use lentils or split peas you will need to reduce the cooking time to about 35-45 minutes. Once you begin the cooking process things go quickly at first, so have all of your vegetables prepped and spices measured and ready to go.

Often times when making Indian food it's OK to make substitutions when you don't have a certain spice. However, I think that the fenugreek seeds are what give this recipe the most delicious aspect of it's flavor. You can find fenugreek seeds at Indian or African grocery stores, specialty spice stores, some well stocked spice sections in the regular grocery store, or online. They look like a malformed tan grain (maybe kind of like buckwheat groats). Once you smell them you will recognize the scent if you eat a lot of Indian food.

Since fenugreek is a big, chunky, whole spice (as are some of the other spices you'll be using) you either need to toast it and then grid it, or cook it in a screaming hot pan until it explodes (I prefer the second method because it's easier).

2-3 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil or canola oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. corriander seeds
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp. brown mustard seeds
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 large white or yellow onion, minced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 large tomatoes, minced with their juice or 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
2 c. mung beans or split peas or lentils, sorted, rinsed and drained
Vegetable broth (8 c. or more)
Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon, about 2 Tbsp.
Fresh cilantro (1/2 c. or more as you like)

1)  Heat the oil over high heat in a large soup pot. Once small wisps of smoke arise from the oil add the cumin seeds, corriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. Quickly throw the seeds into the oil and place the lid on the pot. The seeds should immediately begin popping and then calm down after about 30 seconds.

2) After 30 seconds of popping seeds, turn the heat down to medium and put in the onion, garlic and ginger and stir to mix. You want to do this step quickly so that you don't burn the seeds. Continue to saute the onions, garlic and ginger until soft but no browned, about 5-7 minutes.

3) Once the onions are softened add the other spices (curry powder, salt, turmeric, paprika, and cumin powder. If you happen to have some amchur around you could toss in 1/2 tsp. of that as well).

4) Mix the spices with the onions to coat and then add the 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste and let it melt as you stir it around to mix it with the onions.

5) Add the diced or crushed tomatoes, the mung beans and about 4 c. of vegetable broth (or more if you need it to submerge the beans). Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a low boil/high simmer, and let it cook for at least1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the beans are completely tender. Make sure to add more liquid as necessary if it starts to evaporate too much, I usually end up adding another 4 c. of broth as the beans cook.

6) Once the beans are completely tender, continue to let it cook until the liquid evaporates to your desired thickness, keeping in mind it will continue to thicken a bit after it cools. Add about 1/2 c. of fresh cilantro and the fresh lemon juice, and stir to incorporate. Serve garnished with additional cilantro over rice or with naan bread.

This makes about 8-10 servings.