Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mush, Mush, Mushrooms!!


I never really appreciated mushrooms until recently. I think it's the texture that has always pushed me away. They are normally described as "meaty," which for some reason has never appealed to me. Hmmm? Anyways, there I was last night munching on raw criminis. Oh how delicious they are! I made a Mushroom Sherry Thyme Sauce to go over my Braised Tempeh and mashed Rosemary potatoes. This was served up with roasted brussel sprouts tossed in olive oil and fresh herbs. I was very satisfied with the sauce and the wonderful flavor that the sherry gave the criminis.
As versatile as mushrooms are I think the most irritating thing is the infamous Portobello Mushroom Sandwich that is offered to vegans and vegetarians at many esablishments. When in doubt feed the vegan mushrooms! Don't get me wrong they are sometimes delicious, but very unimaginative. I do think that this is the reason I steered clear of mushrooms for so long, because I thought they all tasted like a portobello. There is such a variety and so many to be tried, so think outside the box next time you are in the produce section. You will be surprised what you come up with. Remember mushrooms work like a sponge when cooked so you can pick what you want them to taste like. See you in the kitchen!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup


After a long day at the bakery I came home and was in the mood for more soup. The rain pelting down on the skylight above the stove confirmed my craving. Opened the cupboard and what did I see red lentils staring back at me. Lentils are great because they are ready in an hour or less! Here is the recipe that I concocted today! If these spices are not readily available, use curry powder or make your own mixture.

Begin with:
  • 1 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 1/2 T. red chili paste
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1- 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. ground fenugreek
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. coriander
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
Directions: In a medium sized pot combine lentils, chili paste, water and milk. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add spices and whisk to combine completely. Keep heat on low until lentils are fully cooked and soup has thickened, about 25 more minutes. After that the soup is ready to be served. Serve with drops or swirls of coconut milk on top and maybe a few green onions. Makes about 3 cups. See you in the kitchen!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Black Bean Soup


Black beans are probably one of my favorite beans. They are so diverse to use and have such great texture. These luscious legumes are the staple of cuisines around the world including Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and Brazil.
Did you know that one serving of black beans has 10 times the antioxidant value in that of an orange? Black beans also give you vital energy, stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, replenish iron storage and lower your risk of heart attack! Not only are they healthy but delicious too! The soup that I made began with sauteed onions and garlic, then I added flavors of cumin, dill and cinnamon and finished with pureed and whole black beans. I will post this recipe soon I just have a bit of editing to do. Hope this makes y'all want to cook up some beans!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Cashew Sauce

You will need:
4 oz. sun-dried tomatoes(unsoaked, dry)
6 oz. roasted and salted cashews
1/2 of a yellow onion, roughly chopped
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
Water

Directions: Place sun-dried tomatoes, onion and cashews in medium sized pot. Cover with water until water is 1 inch over ingredients. Bring to boil and let simmer for 15 minutes or until sun-dried tomatoes are softened and cashews are plump. Take away from the burner and let cool for about 10 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes. Use an immersion blender, blender or food processor to puree till perfection! Be careful when blending warm liquids in the blender. Do not fill too full. You should not see any chunks of cashews. Add water to desired consistency and seasonings to your pleasing. Serve over your favorite pasta with a handful of spinach. Keeps for 4-7 days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Have any questions?? Need ideas??

I will post recipes soon and feel free to ask questions. I am also good at throwing out ideas for meals if you have some ingredients lying around that you don't know what to do with. In addition, if you need help with egg replacers, vegan baking advice or flavor pairings I'm here!

Pizza with Dad



This last Tuesday my dad arrived in Portland to go to the Steve Earle concert and to work on his pizza skills. My boyfriend Jonathan is an excellent pizza maker, so he taught him the ropes. They made a whole wheat pizza dough with an assortment of toppings. Me, being the only vegan present made a delicious and almost overstuffed calzone. Inside consisted of sauteed crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, tangy tomato sauce, crumbled and seasoned herb tofu, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and lastly, fresh basil. Heavily brushed with olive oil, this crispy calzone was officially awesome. Good job dad you made some good looking pizzas!

Last Night's Fiesta!



Had a fabulous taco night last night. I made Cilantro Lime Brown Basmati Rice and Refried Red Pepper Garbanzo Beans to accompany our taco topping platter. Mmmm I love Mexican food!

Protein?

Being a veg for life I have heard a lot of, "Well what do you eat?" Especially in elementary when mom would pack seaweed snacks and a bean burrito. Back then it was more, "Ewwwh, what's that". A bit different from my classmates handi-snacks(which I was always jealous of until I tried one). Anyways, the most popular question is often said with quite concern, "What about protein?" This is a common concern among all humans not just vegans. One needs to plan meals and be able to diversify proteins for adequate health. For example, today's protein consisted of pumpkin seeds, garbanzo beans and rice, sprouted bread and tempeh. I also ate green leafy vegetables which when paired with another, become a complete protein. The Vegetarian Resource Group has great tables and charts on their website. I understand everyone is busy and might not have time to plan meals, but try to put your health first. The easiest way to eat healthy is to have the right foods accessible. Keep this in mind on your next trip to the grocery store!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Cabbage Rolls



So when making these funny little things I didn't realize the lack of beauty they possessed when finished. I re-plated multiple times until I looked at every picture I could find of cabbage rolls and realized that I wasn't gonna be satisfied with the plating. Oh but they tasted good! The cabbage leaves became perfectly pliable after exactly 3 minutes in salted boiling water. They did not crack at all.
Mainly prepared in Eastern Europe, cabbage rolls are filled with some sort of beef and rice mixture. After researching I found that cabbage rolls are an international treat! Found in Japan with pork and shitake, China, Turkey and even Sweden served with potatoes and lingonberry jam. For a delicious vegan version I used a mashed garbanzo beans, seasoned rice and stewed tomato mixture. A tomato based sauce is preferable, so I made a thin zesty sauce made from pureed tomatoes and seasoned with fresh basil and thyme. With a dollop of vegan sour cream... oh yeah! All my wheat-free peeps this is gluten free too!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Eggplant Rolls


Last night, I made Seared Eggplant Rolls stuffed with basil, roasted pecans and garlic aioli. I served them atop a Carmelized Onion Polenta Cake and Braised Lacinato Kale. Not only was this dish vegan but gluten free and delicious!

Hello to all and welcome!

So for the next ten months I will be experimenting and refining my very own vegan recipes for my first cookbook. I will post recipes a couple times a month and sometimes upon request. The past month I have been creating recipes just about every night, so expect a lot of pictures! I am doing my own photography and my own food styling for this book so any advice is appreciated. I hope you enjoy all my blog has to offer and I hope all is great in your life. Lastly, please feel free to ask me any questions about vegan cuisine or diet. I'll see you in kitchen!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chocolate Agave and Orange Cake


Ooooo, I made a warm and chewy cake consisting of absolutely no refined sugars! I was so excited to dive into this steaming dome of goodness. I baked them in my pretty blue ramekins and un-molded them shortly after the bake was done. Topped with agave sweetened chocolate syrup and berries, oh my!