Saturday, August 05, 2017

Mint-Choc-Chip

For a couple of days I've had rushed mornings, which required me to buy my smoothie rather than make it at home; which is how I found out that both Project Juice and Urban Remedy have tasty, natural versions of mint-chocolate-chip.

Inspired by those shakes, I made an even healthier version at home. I increased the green content and added different kinds of vegetables. The mango somehow rounds it up, and cocoa nibs make it into a fun treat. It came out delicious!

100g kale
95g celery (about two stalks)
90g cucumber (about a third of a big cucumber)
90g banana (one medium-to-large banana)
55g mango (half a mango)
2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
cocoa nibs to taste

Blend everything except the cocoa nibs and add them at the end (for a fun texture.)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Risotto with Trumpet Mushrooms and Vegetables

I had just finished eating leftover mejedderah when Chad called me to announce we were going to have four guests for dinner--all four of them fierce martial artists just out of a four-day tournament! Easy peasy - a nice risotto, served with some vegetables and dip and gazpacho, did the trick.

For the rice I used whole-grain arborio, which is not very easy to find on the shelves but you can order it here. It has the glutinous quality of its white cousin with more nutritional goodness. I also had trumpet mushrooms, which slice beautifully into rounds, some greens, a heap of caramelized onions, and lots of stock.

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced trumpet mushrooms
2 cups greens (kale, collards, chard), chopped into small bites
2 cups brown arborio rice
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and toss about until caramelized (this could take you a good ten minutes.) Add the mushrooms, greens, and rice, and toss for a few more minutes. Then add 1 cup of stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook until almost absorbed. Then, add another cup of stock, plus the yeast and half the herbs. Repeat the process by which you let simmer until almost absorbed and then add another cup until all stock has been added. When all stock is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked, place in serving bowls and sprinkle the remaining half of the herbs. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pasta Puttanesca

Here's a nice, simple dinner--pasta with puttanesca sauce--for which you likely don't even need a recipe, and the only reason to post about this is that it makes a good example of how to take an old favorite and make it more nutritious.

I've always loved puttanesca sauce--a spicy tomato sauce--and it retains its wonderful flavor without adding anchovies. I add olives in addition to capers, and to increase the mineral content of the meal, a 1/2 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms that cooked with the sauce and made it chunky and delicious. What else is in there? strained tomatoes, garlic cloves, thinly sliced onions, dried herbs of various kinds, and half of a serrano pepper.

These days I favor lentil pasta. I don't eat it frequently (it's expensive, and why not simply eat lentils?) but it's a nice once-in-a-while treat. It certainly packs more of a nutritional punch than the wheat equivalent (lots of protein and iron.)

And finally, more protein and some B12 via my vegan parmesan (macadamia nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt). Some nutritional yeast brands add B12 to their formulas, which is great!

Bon appetit!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mojo de Ajo and What to Do With It

Since returning from Mexico I've been enjoying Jason Wyrick's book Vegan Mexico, which offers lots of interesting and authentic recipes. One of them is for a very useful item: mojo de ajo - olive oil infused with garlic and citrus. I made a small batch a week ago and have been keeping it in the fridge. I don't use a lot of oil these days, and usually prefer to cook using vegetable broth, but once in a while it's a nice change. Here's the basic recipe, followed by two of many dishes you could use it for:

Mojo de Ajo

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup peeled whole garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
juice from one lime, orange, or lemon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place olive oil in a baking dish and add garlic and salt. Bake for about 45 minutes. Carefully retrieve from oven and add citrus juice. Bake for another 20 mins or so. Remove from oven, let cool a bit, and, with the back of a wooden spoon, mash the garlic inside the olive oil. Keep in fridge and use where scented olive oil is appropriate.

White Beans, Zucchini, and Tomato

1/2 tsp mojo de ajo
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into thin rings
1 medium-sized tomato, diced
1 cup cooked white beans (cannellini, navy, or similar)
big handful of herbs: I like rosemary and oregano for this, but be creative

Heat mojo de ajo in pan. Add vegetables, beans, and herbs, and toss about for 7-10 minutes until fragrant.



Roasted Vegetables

1 tsp mojo de ajo
2-3 sweet potatoes, sliced
1/2 small white onion, diced
3-4 heads bok choy, separated into leaves
6 garlic cloves
1-2 cups assorted mushrooms
big handful of herbs
2 corn cobs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment paper double the size of your baking sheet. Place the bottom half of the paper on the sheet and rub mojo de ajo on it. Arrange vegetables and herbs on the baking sheet, then fold other side of parchment on top of them and put in oven for approximately 40 minutes.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Tacos with Baked Tofu, Avocado, and Mango

This whole feast on the left, complete with homemade tortillas, took me 20 minutes to make. Easy peasy! Of course, we benefit from the fact that Casa Lucaz #3, our local grocery store, keeps fresh masa bags for purchase near the counter. Here are the instructions, for two people:

First, make the tofu (the most time-consuming task.) Heat up the oven to about 420 degrees. Cut up 150g tofu into little cubes. In a shallow dish, mix:
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp liquid smoke
1 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast

Then, add tofu cubes to the dish and toss around until coated. Place cubes on silpat mat on baking sheet in a single layer and forget about the tofu for 20 minutes.

Then, make the salad: lettuce, avocado, mango and cilantro, with plenty of lime juice.

Then make the tortillas: I used masa and a tortilla press. I'm especially fond of making tiny tortillas, 3-4 inches in diameter, because they look cute. Wrap both sides of the tortilla press with saran wrap or parchment paper and place a small amount (the size of a ping-pong ball or less) on the bottom side, closer to the back hinge. Then, carefully close the press and use the handle to press. Gingerly peel the tortilla of the paper/saran wrap and place on a hot, dry griddle. After 1 minute, flip over to other side; after 1 more minute, tortillas are ready.

Beet Burgers

If you're anything like me, you probably have all kinds of vegetable leftovers. After yesterday's iteration of the Buddha bowl, we were left with about a cup and a half of quinoa, a cup of cooked chickpeas, a few steamed beets, and a small plastic container of zucchini in tomato sauce.

I placed all these things in the food processor, added some salt, pepper, and liquid smoke, and added some dry polenta until the textures solidified enough to make little patties. I then baked the patties on a silpat mat at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, and we had delicious beet burgers to enjoy with vegetables, tahini, and a side sip of the New York Times' legendary gazpacho.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Even More Buddha Bowls!

You already know I've been very enthusiastic about Buddha bowls lately, right? Exhibit A; Exhibit B. Well, here's Exhibit C, just to give you more inspiration to concoct your own. The toppings are incredibly easy to make:

Beets: I steam them in the Instant Pot for eight minutes and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Carrots and Brussels Sprouts: This time I halved the sprouts, cut the carrots into matchsticks, and rubbed both vegetables with a little bit of mojo de ajo that I had lying around from having made Mexican food earlier in the week. I then placed them on a silpat mat on a baking sheet and sent them into the oven, at 350 degrees, for about 25 minutes.

Zucchini in Tomato Sauce: I had a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce lying around from a nice ravioli dinner yesterday. I thinly sliced up two large zucchini and sauteed them in the sauce until tender.

Chickpeas: I could've gotten fancy with this and baked them with spices, but this time I simply spooned cooked chickpeas with some fresh ground black pepper.

In the center I have a few spoonfuls of kimchi.

And the whole thing sits atop a layer of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth.

Which is another illustration of the principle: if there's an abundance of colorful, wholesome ingredients, you don't have to be particularly fancy with the preparation of each topping - just place them nicely in the bowl and you'll have a fabulous lunch.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Grilled Vegetable Casserole

The answer to the question "what do vegans eat on the 4th of July?" is obvious: grilled vegetables of all kinds! But what do vegans eat on the 5th of July?

We had a bunch of grilled vegetables from yesterday in the fridge, and today, with the help of some fresh tomato sauce and some herbs, they turned into a nice, filling casserole. Feel free to improvise with whatever you have in your fridge.

1/2 cup grilled corn kernels
1/2 cup grilled potato
1/2 cup grilled cauliflower
4 grilled mushrooms
2 large grilled onion slices
6 grilled Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup tomato sauce
oregano, marjoram, rosemary, garlic to taste

Cut up vegetables into small cubes, and in a baking dish, toss with tomato sauce. Sprinkle herbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 mins or until the top begins to be golden.

Gazpacho

Tonight I'm having a nice friend over, so I took a few minutes in the morning to make gazpacho according to the New York Times recipe. I used eight large vine tomatoes, two Persian cucumbers, half a red onion, and one Poblano pepper, and drizzled in olive oil. This is one recipe in which the oil makes a big difference--it emulsifies everything into a heavenly orange-hued soup.

I'm also serving sauteed long green beans in garlic-ginger-soy sauce, a green salad, and easy portobello pizzettas.