Thursday, April 29, 2010

~It's a Soup Day~

HHmmmm what kind of soup to make.... I have thought all day about minestrone soup, but do not have all the ingredients or the desire to leave my abode in a thunder storm such as this one. So what is there lurking in my pantry. Aha! Tonight's dinner is a Kidney Bean Tomato Potato Broccoli Soup. How it began: I cooked off kidney beans last night, broccoli florets in the freezer and one lonely russet potato on the counter. I love tomato based soups, so call the boyfriend for a canned tomato pick up. He is on his way. As you can see above, this soup started with olive oil, a julienne onion, chopped garlic, diced potato and garden-picked rosemary. One thing that makes this soup different from others, is the yellow mustard. The heat of the mustard goes great with the acidity of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the kidney beans. Try it in your next soup, you might just love it! Save a trip to the store and hopefully you can rummage up something delicious from your pantry. Use what you have and see how creative you actually are.

A couple of fun history facts about soup. The first type of soup dates back to 6,000 B.C. Then, the soups were not boiled. It wasn't until about 9,000 years ago that soups were boiled and they were cooked in animal skins or clay. MMmm animal skin flavor, my favorite! Very thankful for my stainless steel pot. So the soup night was successful and I didn't even have to skin an animal. Hah! Enjoyed a bowl of warm soup with toasted homemade whole wheat olive oil bread and a cold beer. See you in the kitchen!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cinnamon Nutty Buns

These delicious little buns were made for my family at our Easter brunch. They were such a big hit I thought I should post the recipe for all of you to enjoy. The best part about this recipe is that it can be done and in the oven in 15 minutes or less!

Here is what you need:
  • 1-1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. salt
Combine in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

  • 3/4 cup warm soymilk
  • 1 package dry active yeast= 2-1/4 t.
  • 1/3 cup oil
Mix together and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon until you can knead on the counter. Knead for about a minute, folding the dough into itself. When dough is combined and still pliable, with a rolling pin make a foot long by six inch rectangle. Now you are ready for the filling!

  • 1/4 cup oil
Pour and rub evenly over dough rectangle.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup your choice of chopped nuts
  • zest of 1 lemon (save the juice)
Sprinkle brown sugar, chopped nuts and zest over the oiled dough. Now that all your ingredients are on the dough begin to roll tightly length wise. You should get 8-10 rolls out of this. Place in an oven safe pan with a ridge so the juices won't drip down. A cookie sheet with small sides works great. Place pan in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. They will feel particularly soft, so if you are unsure check the middle to insure doneness. After pan is out of the oven, coat with the following glaze.
  • Juice of leftover lemon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Whisk together until there are no lumps and drizzle over hot rolls. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and enjoy! These rolls stay soft and tasty for up to 4 days.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Experimental Vegan

After a great night out, there is nothing better than that certain someone making you breakfast. My boyfriend Jonathan made a hearty array of panfried tempeh, corn grits and toast. Coming from Alabama, he is the master of corn grits. We accompanied this meal with a spirulina berry smoothie and super-antioxidant green tea. He has been experimenting with the vegan diet the past 2 weeks, mainly to see if he can loose weight and just to see how he feels. Being a pastry chef, this diet has certainly cut back on the sweet snacks at work being that they all have animal by products in them. Although he admits most of his curiosity stems from my energy about the vegan diet, I think a lot of his interest comes from hearing individual's overall health success on this particular diet. It really is quite amazing the way the vegan diet can add years to people's life. Check out the meat- eating cowboy turned vegan! Awesome and interesting!

Not having a scale, we are unsure of the pounds that he has lost, but Jonathan has noticed his pants are starting to fit a bit easier. He has defenitely come to fathom the art of healthy snacking. His favorite snack is popcorn seasoned with nutritional yeast and salt. Although, I have seen Jonathan as a popcorn addict for our entire relationship, he has emphasized his excitement for this yeasty snack. Nuts and dried fruit are also a perfect snack to keep you going through the day. Protein and fat from the nuts provide long term energy and the sugar in the fruit gives you a quick raise in your blood sugar. I hope you can start snacking well with these tips. I get really excited for people's curiousity and wish I could feed everyone delicious and nutritious vegan food. Hope your day has been beautiful! See you in the kitchen!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

~HaPpY HoUr~

Since moving to Portland I can now fully understand my love of happy hour. Not only do you get to eat cheap food, but you get to start drinking right after work. Portland being known for it's bars, strip clubs and great food, naturally have killer happy hours. Luckily, with the high vegan population I usually have a wide variety of snacks to choose from. The one thing I don't enjoy about this hour of fun is the check at the end. Yeah, you saved a buck or two on those martinis you crushed down, but the point is... you did buy 5? Hmmmm.

So after spending dollars at area eateries I did what I usually do; go home and make it myself. Not only can it be cheaper, but healthier and sometimes even more festive. Today, my happy hour consisted of whiskey gingers, sweet potato fries with a pickled onion aioli, roasted garlic stuffed zucchini bites and bbq triple bean burgers. Be creative and social and invent a happy hour of your own flavor! See you in the kitchen!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Broccoli, Tofu and Potato Curry with a side of Onion Chapati

Tonight was a grand adventure into South Indian cooking. I made a traditional vegetable curry stew but with an uncommon use of broccoli, in place of the commonly used cauliflower. I seasoned and baked the tofu to make a chewy, yet tender texture and left the potatoes with the broccoli on the stovetop imersered amongst tumeric, tomato paste and coriander.While I tended to the main dish, Jonny constructed a sensationally satisfying onion chapati. Also known as, "roti" which is bread, chapati is normally made of whole meal or whole grain flour. We used whole wheat flour, with roughly chopped shallots and rather than ghee, olive oil. Many Indian breads are made yeast-free, which is great if you have a yeast allergy. After about 20 minutes of stirring, starring and tasting, I had a fabulous curry served atop a bed of quinoa.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Things to Look Forward To...

~Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

~Beet Carpaccio

~Veg- Happy Hour

~The boyfriend going vegan...?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Salad Toppers with a Protein Punch!

Lately, I have been craving just about every raw veggie known to man, dressed with a homemade vinaigrette and topped with some flavor and substance. Yes this does sound quite cliche coming from a vegan , who does only eat plants... but I don't normally eat salads for every meal. I promise. So my sudden excitement for salad has brought me to experiment with proteins amongst my salad bowl. There are plenty of proteins to place atop a fiasco of greens ,such as seared tempeh, baked tofu, braised seitan, or simply beans. On the contrary, I have been enjoying the quick no-cook kind. My favorite has been my very own trail mix. The peanuts, pepitas and cashews pack protein, vitamins and healthy fats. Oh, and the dried pineapple, raisins and pretzel bits add a good "chew", and salty crunch. Here are a couple more quick salad fixers: sunflower seeds, chia seeds, goji berries, soynuts or flax seeds. Jazz up your next salad with these favorites and see for yourself the fabulous punch of energy and satisfaction! Please share with me your favorite salad toppers. See you in the kitchen!

Tangy Cilantro Salad Dressing

Why buy dressing at the store when you can make one at home with no weird additives. Yes I understand the convenience of salad dressings at the store, but if you can find the time just make it yourself. You will find them to be delicious and the greatest part is you can add whatever you want. You get to construct the flavors and calorie content. Here is a great recipe that not only goes well on greens but on beans and corn or even used as a dipping sauce!

You will need:
1/2 a bunch of cilantro (chopped, stems and all)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or other blending device and puree till smooth. With blender on low, slowly add olive oil until completely combined and shiny. This method emulsifies the oil into the dressing making it not separate. If you are using a closed top device you may add the olive oil all at once, then blend together. You just will have to shake it before serving. Keeps for about 2 weeks in refrigerator and makes about a cup.

Modifications: If you are trying to cut back on your sodium you may completely omit the salt. You will still have a delicious dressing!