Friday, July 17, 2015

Stunningly Wonderful Carrot Soup

I've just made a simple and marvelous carrot soup! I'm not usually fond of pureed soups, but I had fresh organic carrots and coconut milk and this turned out to be a rousing success. Here goes:

5-6 carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp baharat
1 tsp cumin
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water or broth

Heat olive oil in smallish pot and add onion, garlic, ginger, baharat, and cumin. Sautee for a few minutes until fragrant. Add carrots, water, and coconut milk. Cook for 10 mins, or until carrots are soft. Puree the entire thing in the blender and eat. Enough for two big bowls or four little ones.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Just for a few days! Casa Corazones blog

Just for the next three days, I'll be blogging about the comings and goings of robins and other small birds on the electrical cables around my backyard. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Middle Eastern Summer Dinner

Our friend Daniel is staying with us for a couple of days, and we were very happy to host him and his son for dinner. It was a nice summery affair--corn on the cob, roasted eggplant with tahini, salad, green beans in tomato sauce, whole wheat pita and hummus--and it was quickly gobbled up before I had a chance to take a photo.

A few fun tips:

  • After lightly cooking fresh corn on the cob, it's nice to give it a rub with a bit of vegan butter (thank you, Miyoko Schinner!) and Dipping Herbs. 
  • Take a big eggplant. Use a knife to make about ten slits in it, and stick half a garlic clove (sliced lengthwise) in each slit. Wrap in foil and bake for 45 mins. The garlic melts inside the eggplant and lends it an amazing flavor. Slice lengthwise and serve whole with tahini on top or on the side. The guests scrape out the eggplant goodness.
  • The wonderful spicy tomato sauce used in khreimeh (a Libyan fish dish) can be used to sautee green beans. Lots of taste, none of the suffering.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Vegan Mac-n-Cheese

I was craving something creamy and delicious this evening and settled on a vegan version of mac-n-cheese. This is not my recipe; I made it using Isa Chandra Moskowitz's classic recipe.

A couple of small substitutions: the pasta is Tolerant lentil pasta (boosting the protein component of the meal) and the seasoning, rather than standard pizza seasoning, is Pike Place dipping herbs. I didn't sautee the onion and garlic in oil before adding to the blender (I'm sure it would have improved the sauce, though not by much, as it was damn tasty as it was). Other than that, the recipe's there and I can attest that the results are, indeed, comforting, creamy, and fantastic.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Squash-Kasha Patties

Still living off the soaked kasha from two days ago! Today, I mixed about a cup of it with a cup of pureed butternut squash, added some herbs and flavorings and grilled patties made of the mixture. It was very tasty, especially served atop mixed sautéed leafy greens, but didn't have as  much of a cohesive structure as I'd hoped. I'll had to add some chia in water next time I make patties.

What with this, the flax crackers, and the lovely vegetable broth slowly brewing in the slow-cooker (from all the stems and ends of the vegetables I used today), I think I'm good, foodwise, for a few days.

Flax Crackers

To the left: an image of the very first batch of (oddly shaped) flax crackers, made in my new Excalibur dehydrator.

I used to eat these quite a bit after falling in love with them at Cafe Gratitude; they made theirs with grated carrots and whole flax seeds. Then, I bought ready-made varieties, but their prohibitive price made them something to be enjoyed on an infrequent basis. But, as it turns out, I have a huge bag of ground flax in the freezer, and the equipment necessary to make it into a tasty batch, so I set out to make some.

There's really nothing to it: you mix the flax with water until you get something that has the consistency of yogurt. You let it sit for a few moments, during which the mixture thickens a bit, add seasonings (I threw in a generous handful of blackened cajun seasoning) and, using a rubber spatula, smooth it over a dehydrator tray (or three) until it's a fairly thin layer (I'd say, about the thickness of two flax seeds.) I left mine working overnight, and was pleased to have a ready-made batch in the morning; just ate two of them and they are delicious.

I bet the following varieties would also be fabulous, but haven't tried yet:

  • grated carrots (Cafe Gratitude style), possibly with curry or masala seasoning
  • with a hefty spoonful of tomato puree, a bit of thinly chopped garlic, and some dried basil or oregano
  • with thinly chopped onions, parsley, and sumac
For lunch, I plan to have squash-kasha patties served atop sauteed collard greens. Good times!




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Adventures in Fruit Rolls

The curious object in my hand is a fruit roll piece made of strawberries, mango, and melons, with a generous addition of ground flax seeds. I used to love eating fruit rolls, or as we called them, "fruit leather", as a kid, and started incorporating them into my feedings as I started swimming long distances in open water: they were flat and easy to pack, and delivered a satisfying sweet jolt. I typically bought the ones with no sugar added, but they came in a fairly limited assortment of flavors; imagine my joy when I figured out I could make some of my own using my new Excalibur dehydrator (buy directly from the factory: they have some great deals.)

This is my second attempt so far, and it has been a partial success. I put ripe strawberries, mango, and melon pieces in the blender with some lemon juice, because I remembered that pectin was an important ingredient in many commercial leathers. I added flax seeds and pureed the mixture. Then, I spilled it over my silicone mats and shook them a bit to guarantee an even spread, and started the dehydrator at 135 Fahrenheit. After about six hours I got what you see here. I suspect that a thicker layer would be more flexible and less brittle, but would take longer to dry; I'll try that next time. But I should point out that even the mistakes are tasty, and I plan to continue experimenting.

The thing also makes fabulous banana and strawberry chips, and I plan to use it to make seed crackers soon.

Kasha with Greens, Squash, and Mushrooms

I just found out something amazing! You can soak kasha (buckwheat) in water, and the result is just as tasty as cooked kasha.

It was the result of a happy accident; I intended to soak it for just a couple of hours, but forgot it in the soaking pot for a day and a half. Ah, well, I thought - I'll just cook it up. But then I tasted a couple of kernels and realized it didn't really need any cooking - just a quick turn in the pan that already had a stir-fry from yesterday in it.

Chad had made himself a dinner of greens, squash, and mushrooms, and ate it (probably) over pasta. I got about 8 leaves of young chard, and a handful of spinach, from our garden, threw it in there with the stir fry, and added a few handfuls of kasha. The result was extremely tasty, and improved with a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast while cooking, as well as a tiny bit of truffle salt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chard from the Garden!

These are two or three chard plants from our garden, fresh and ready to eat!

I stir-fried them with tofu, garlic, ginger, coconut aminos, and sriracha, and served the whole thing over rice noodles. There's nothing like eating vegetables straight from the garden.

We have great plans: tomatoes of four kinds, cucumbers, okra, and herbs. So far, the tomato plants seem to be doing fine. I hope there's lots and lots of fruit, because I just got an Excalibur Dehydrator and I plan to dry lots for the winter season.