Saturday, March 30, 2013

Simple Saturday Soup

Soba Noodle Miso Soup with Tofu, Kale and Mushrooms
Four servings

1 tablespoon seasame oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
4 "baby bellas" or other mushrooms, chopped
About 6 ounces dry soba noodles
1/2 block tofu, drained in a towel then cubed
1/2 bunch kale, destemmed and chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon miso paste
Red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
Small handful of finely shredded coconut, optional
Juice of 1/2 lime

Warm the oil in a deep skillet then add the onion, garlic, ginger and mushrooms and saute for 5 or so minutes.  Don't worry if things stick a bit.  While that is cooking, bring a pot filled with water to a boil for the noodles.  Once boiling, add the noodles and cook just a few minutes until noodles are al dente.  Drain and keep them in the pot.  Meanwhile, prep the tofu
and kale.  Once the onions, etc, are browned and softened, add the tofu to the skillet and allow one side of the cubes to brown a bit.  Add one cup of the vegetables broth, deglaze the pan.  Add the kale and the rest of the broth, bring to a simmer, stir and wilt the kale.  While kale is cooking, add in the soy sauce, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, the coconut and the dark sesame oil.  Place the miso into a brothy area in the skillet and stir it in that area with a fork until it dissolves, then stir the skillet well again.

Add the vegetable and broth mixture into the pot with the drained noodles. Stir in the lime, warm everything through and taste for seasonings.  Serve immediately.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cleaning Out the Fridge

I pretty much think cows' milk is gross.  It is for baby cows.  But, whatever.  We had some left in the fridge because our foster baby just moved out, and we're about to go out of town.  We also had an entire, unopened carton of baby spinach.  That would surely go bad.  So, spinach soup.  This came out very good and all the dairy made it seem decadent-- two thumbs up.  This is NOT vegan.  But it IS delicious.

Creamy Spinach Soup
About four servings

About 1/2 cup of butter
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can navy beans, drained
1 large pinch of sea salt

a few grinds of pepper
a large pinch of dried basil
the entire carton of baby spinach (the smaller one, not the huge one)

1 cup of whole milk
3 cups of water
2 veggie or nochicken bouillon cubes (I used one of each)
About 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a large and deep skillet or medium sized soup pot (I used a big, deep iron skillet and then my trusty Vitamix to blend).  Then saute the onions for a few minutes, add the garlic and saute a few minutes more, until everything is soft.  Add the can of beans, stir and warm through.  Add the spices and stir.  The add in the spinach, no need to chop.  Pour the milk and one cup of water over the spinach, turn up the heat and stir a bit, cook for a minute or two, so the spinach starts to shrink in size.  Then smash the bouillon cubes and add them and the rest of the water into the pot, stir together and allow to cook a few minutes.  Meanwhile, grate the cheese.  Then dump it all into a blender and blend, or add the cheese to the pot, turn off the heat and blend with a stick blender.

Enjoy with a Duvel and a glass of water, if you like.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Decadent Dessert

So delicious.
Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream
3 cups of boxed coconut milk, like So Delicious
About 1 cup of peanut butter, smooth or chunky
About 1 cup of 2% fat plain Greek yogurt
1 date, pitted
About 2 tablespoons maple syrup
About 2 tablespoons sugar
About 1 tablespoon corn starch

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend thoroughly.

Now use the Jeni's home trick to quickly cool the mixture:  Pour the mixture into a gallon zip lock bag and close it.  Then fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, and plunge the bag into the ice bath.  Leave it in the bath for 15 or more minutes, until the contents of the bag feels as cold as the ice water.  Then pour into your ice cream maker by clipping off a corner of the bottom of the bag. Follow ice cream maker instructions.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Roast it

Was seeking a hearty, warm, nutritious dinner.  So roasted up a bunch of vegetables, glazed them with a sauce, and served them with quinoa and beans.  Roasted celery root is delicious-- but the vegetable itself looks crazy.  Cut off the knobby, beat up outside and dice the creamy white vegetable within.  Any vegetables will work fine but I definitely recommend the combination below.

Roasted Vegetables with Maple Balsamic Glaze
Four servings

1 very large sweet potato
1 celery root/celeriac bulb
1/2 large onion
2 large broccoli stalks
pint of mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
coarse salt
fresh pepper
a few sprigs of fresh thyme

About 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
About 1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
About 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop all the vegetables into bite sized pieces.  Toss in a bowl with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, large pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper and the thyme. Spread into a roasting pan and roast for about 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring every ten minutes.

Whisk together the maple syrup, vinegar, and soy sauce.  Put the cooked vegetables into a large bowl and pour the glaze over them, stirring to coat them all.  There should be just enough glaze to just cover all the vegetables, they should not be soaking wet with it, just a bare glaze and touch of flavor.  Serve with a quinoa and bean or other starch and bean pilaf and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Not Fat Tuesday

An imprecise, delicious one-pot meal.  We ate it with some bread and avocado, simply and tasty.

Creamy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
4 servings.  All measurements below are estimates, I measured nothing and you don't need to either.

1 tablespoon olive oil
About 1 1/2 red peppers, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
5 small mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups diced boxed (or canned) tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
fresh pepper

large handful cashews (use tahini instead if not using a high speed blender)
1 cup or so unsweetened, plain almond milk (or another milk you prefer)
About 1 cup Greek yogurt

Saute the onions and red pepper in the oil until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.  Then add the tomatoes, broth, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt.  Bring to a low simmer for a few minutes.  If using an immersion blender, add about 1 tablespoon of tahini, the almond milk and yogurt to the pot, turn off the heat and blend.  Then bring to medium heat and heat through.

If using a high speed blender, add the tomato/pepper mixture into the blender with the cashews, milk and yogurt and blend for a few minutes until creamy and hot.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Spring Sunday

A salad for dinner during an early spring day.  Can be served warm or cold.

I recommend enjoying this salad with one of the best beers in the world, which I just discovered is carried at Whole Foods!  No trip to the BK (or Japan) required.

Orange Sesame Quinoa Salad
4 main dish servings

1 1/2 cups of quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water

2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 orange, divided into segments then diced

1 orange, peeled (or juiced)
1 small piece of ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 grinds of pepper
pinch of salt

Bring the quinoa, broth and water to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, prep the kale and onion and put into a large bowl.  Prep the pepper and orange and set aside.  When the quinoa is cooked, mix it into the bowl with the raw kale and onion, stirring well.  This will wilt the kale and soften the onions.  Put in the fridge to allow to cool a bit.

To make the dressing in a high speed blender, place all the ingredients (whole orange and ginger chunk) into the blender and blend at high speed until creamy.  To make without a blender, juice the orange and grate the ginger and whisk all the ingredients together until they are combined very well.

Stir together the quinoa, dressing, red pepper and orange pieces.  Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Serve warm or cold.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Promise of "Great Mouth Feel,"

said by an actual human who ate this stew who was raving about how delicious it was.  True story.  This post needs no more introduction. I leave you with the very easy recipe:

Sweet Potato Stew
About 5 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 gigantic sweet potato or two regular sized potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2.5 cups)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
A few shakes of red pepper flakes
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can diced tomatoes without salt
1 can chick peas, drained
1 can white beans such as navy beans, drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup boxed unsweetened plain coconut milk (Like So Delicious)
Juice of 1 lime

Saute the onions for a few minutes in the olive oil.  Then add the onion, potato, garlic and bell pepper, saute several minutes more.  Once everything is getting browned and softening add the spices and stir in.  Then add the tomatoes, beans, broth and milk and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and partially cover for about 20 minutes and the potatoes are tender.  Test for salt level and add a pinch more if needed.  Then turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice (do not skip this step!).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Life Gave me Lemons

So we had a delicious lemony dinner.  Lemon tofu with gravy, lemon quinoa with kale and chick peas, and avocado with lemon on the side.

Baked Lemon Tofu with Tangy Gravy
4 servings

1 block of extra firm tofu

3/4 cup of vegetable broth
A glug of soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
A glug of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons cumin

5 button mushrooms, finely diced
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
About 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
A little water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

This is how to quickly marinate tofu when you want marinated tofu at the last minute: Cut the tofu into blocks, place in between a folded kitchen towel to drain it, pressing down time to time or laying canned foods on top.  While that is drying out a bit whisk together the broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and apple cider in a sauce pan.  Remove the tofu and cut into smaller squares.  Place the tofu into the saucepan, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.  Partially cover.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and spread a thin layer of olive oil on top of it to prevent sticking.  Start preparing the quinoa below.  Let the tofu simmer for 15-20 minutes so it absorbs the flavor.  Then fish the tofu out of the marinade and place on the prepared baking sheet, no overlapping or touching.  Put in the oven.  Let it bake while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Add the mushrooms to the leftover marinade in the saucepan and bring back to a simmer.  Cover and let simmer about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are very soft.  Add the liquid smoke, a few tablespoons of water and the cornstarch, stir to combine.  Then stir in the nutritional yeast.  Keep simmering on low, stirring frequently, while the tofu bakes.

After they tofu has been in for twenty minutes, flip them and let them bake for another 5-10 minutes.  They should be nicely browned, dried out a bit but still moist.  The gravy should have thickened (if not, keep cooking and stirring or add a bit more cornstarch and cook longer).

Serve with the gravy on the side.

Lemon Qunioa with Kale and Chickpeas
4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, diced
About 1/3 of a red pepper, diced
4 small stalks of celery or 2 large, diced
Pinch of coarse salt
About 1 tablespoon cumin

1 cup of quinoa
Juice of 2 lemons (just over 1/2 cup)
About 1 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1 can of chick peas, drained

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped into bite sized pieces

1 avocado cut into chunks, fresh lemon juice squeezed over

Saute the vegetables in the olive oil until the onions are browned and the pepper and celery have softened.  Add a pinch of salt and the cumin and saute a few minutes more.  Stir in the quinoa and continue to saute for a bit.  Then add the liquid and bring to a boil, stirring.  Once boiling, bring to a low simmer, stir in the chick peas, and cover.  Cook for 15 minutes.

Stir in the kale.  Add additional broth if the mixture is dry at all.  Cover and allow to cook a few more minutes.

Serve with the avocado.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Another (vegan) coconut ice cream recipe.  Because coconut is amazing-- and it contains plenty of healthy fats so needs no dairy to become creamy.

Plus, it is both healthier and easier than making dairy ice cream with eggs and cream.

This one has undertones of tropical fruit.  It freezes well.  This recipe is a keeper, but does require a really high quality blender-- if you don't have that, soak the cashews in some coconut milk overnight or for at least a few hours and replace the dates with another sweetener, and this should still work fine.

Coconut Ice Cream With a Hint of Tropical Fruit

1 can of full fat coconut milk
About 1/2 can worth of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
About 1/2 can worth of unsweetened plain boxed coconut milk
2 kiwis, peeled
A few chunks of frozen pineapple
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Small handful of raw cashews
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup
1-3 tablespoons of sugar
2 dates, pitted and chopped a bit
Large handful unsweetened coconut flakes

Put everything but the flaked coconut in the blender (start with the lower amounts of syrup and sugar).  Blend thoroughly.  Taste for sweetness level and add additional sugar or syrup.  It should be slightly sweeter than you want it in the end.  Once you blend in any additional sweetener, put the flakes in and quickly blend on low speed to incorporate and chop up just a bit.

Now use the Jeni's home trick to quickly cool your mixture (Jeni's ice cream, that is, get the cookbook it's amazing):  Pour the mixture into a gallon zip lock bag and close it.  Then fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, and plunge the bag into the ice bath.  Leave it in the bath for 15 or more minutes, until the contents of the bag feels as cold as the ice water.  Then pour into your ice cream maker by clipping off a corner of the bottom of the bag. Follow your ice cream maker instructions (my Kitchen Aid takes 10 minutes of churning and voila!, c'est ca).