Thursday, August 25, 2011

4 Courses

Fresh Figs, Arugula, Roquefort, toasted Pecans & a Balsamic glaze

Homemade Focaccia topped with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Garlic & fresh herbs

Zuchinni Noodles with a black olive medley, roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh basil, toasted pinenuts & parmesan
Berries, Cherries, baked Banana & Cashew Cream

Tiger Stripe Figs (best Ive ever tasted, as if they were filled w strawberry jam)
Roquefort cheese
Toasted Pecans
Balsamic Reduction

adapted from Tal Ronnen's Conscious Cook

1 T sugar
3c warm water
1 packet active dry yeast6 c all purpose unbleached flour
sea salt
1/3 c extra virg olive oil

Following the recipe from this book really stressed me out. I had to change his 1 1/2 c warm water to 3c.. because the dough was incredibly dry and never would have worked. Thankfully we just completed our breads courses at school & I am familiar with how the dough should feel. Also, he set the oven temp for 400 degrees, which I thought was way too low for the bread to cook thoroughly w a golden top. ugh. So basically, I am using a different recipe next time & you should too. But don't let this discourage you from baking your own focaccia! Its so good. Even though I wasn't thrilled with it I ate the whole thing, and my dinner guest loved it!

2 onions
vegan Butter (Earth Balance)
1 head roasted garlic
thyme rosemary sage

Thinly slice 2 onions, and throw them in a pot with the butter & cover. Stir them often. Once they are golden brown and super soft add 1T Balsamic Vinegar and sea salt. Allow to cool, then stir in roasted garlic, fresh sage rosemary & thyme.

Zucchini Pasta
1 large zucchini
1/4 red onion diced
1-2 cloves garlic minced
olive medley
roasted tomatoes (or sundried)
roasted bell pepper
fresh tomato
fresh basil
toasted pine nuts

First of all, for this dish you need a Spiralizer to cut your squash into noodle strands. I love this tool. I works on most hard fruits and vegetables like potatoes, apples, pears, winter squash, radishes...

Start by heating oil in the pan, then adding onion. After several minutes, they're soft & delicious add olives & garlic. Let cook another minutes, then add the roasted tomatoes, roasted bell pepper. Let them heat up, then toss in fresh tomato, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts & turn off heat. The olives will make this dish quite salty, so you may not need to salt it. Garnish w fresh parm & cracked pepper.

Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is so easy and its one of my classmates favorite things to make.

1 c cashews
1 T maple syrup
1/4 fresh vanilla bean pod seeded

Soak Cashews for up to 3 hours. They'll fatten and even take on a purplish hue. If you don't have the time to soak this long, boil water and use this hot water to blend them.
Place the cashews in a blender and cover with 1in water. Add fresh vanilla and maple syrup and puree until smooth. Enjoy

I served with blueberries, cherries, strawberries & a baked banana.

to bake a banana, place a banana in its peel on a tray in an oven at 350. Bake until the peel is black and juice is starting to ooze out. Amazing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Brown Rice Pudding with Grilled Pineapple Reduction


Cleanse: Guacamole Quinoa Salad

Cleanse: Garbanzos Italia

Okay.. this was early in the cleanse and I couldnt help but put a litttttle parmesan on it.. I mean c'mon.. this dish really wanted some parm and I was weak for it.

diced potatos
olive oil
Portobello mushrooms
roasted eggplant
homemade marinara sauce (from my freezer)
toasted pinenuts
and parm :)

Cleanse: Stir Fry

I'm on a cleanse. For two weeks. There are literally thousands of ways to do this.. cayenne pepper water, a juice fast, cabbage soup...etc. I have several books that are all about different ways to cleanse your body & mind through healing foods & drinks. Personally, I am not at a point in my life where I can fast on liquid alone for several days, (some people juice fast for over 40 days!) so I eat. This is what I do/don't eat on this cleanse..

My cleanse includes whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds.. ya know.. whole foods.

My cleanse does not include wheat, dairy, sugary foods, (basically nothing w sugar as an ingredient or over 6g per serving) alcohol, processed or fried foods, caffeine

NO sugar is the hardest part. I usually don't eat sugary desserts or crave cookies ever. But there is still a lot of sugar in our foods, and whether you realize it or not you probably crave it big time. I know I do. So on this cleanse I reach for berries, peaches, plums, juice.. when the crave hits.

Since I started, I have had 2 jars of sprouts growing on my counter, and every morning or night I cook grains and beans to keep on hand for meals.

Here is an example of a healthy very green stir fry I made.

1T toasted sesame oil
1 head bok choy
couple handfuls broccoli
1 carrot, shredded
sugar snap peas
shiitake mushrooms
brown rice
ume vinegar
brown rice
sprouts & dulse granules (optional garnish)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

French Onion Sooouuup

Food is so nostalgic for people. It holds memories and emotions, sometimes its obvious, like how pasta reminds me of my family. But sometimes I will smell or taste something that sends me back into a memory that I had completely forgotten, sometimes I am not even sure how the food & the memory are related.. but its a beautiful thing.

This soup reminds me of childhood lunches with my Mom & Grandmother. If French Onion Soup was on the menu, I'd order it. At 17, when I became a vegetarian.. I stopped eating french onion soup :( Everywhere you go it is made with Beef Stock. No bueno.

Eventually, I found this product by Pacific, a french onion soup broth, with no beef. I caramelized some onions, added the broth.. and was in heaven. But I wanted to make my own broth.

So this time I started with a mushroom broth and loads of caramelized onion, a few other ingredients, lots of time & love. But the sweetness of the onions was a little too much for the mushroom broth. So at the end, I cheated & used one of my Better than Bouillon jars, this time the jar called "No Beef." It is a concentration of vegetable paste, yeast & salt that is supposed to mimic the flavor or beef stock. The soup was a hit, but I'm going to keep working on it.. afterall, its my fave!

5 onions
6 sprigs thyme
1-2 Bay leaves
1/2 c Sherry
oil & vegan butter
4 cloves garlic
7-8 c broth (or more as needed)

crusty bread/croutons

Caramelize your onions. This takes time folks! Like, at least an hour. Slice up all your onions, toss them lightly in oil, and turn on the heat, start off at med-high, then bring it on down. I like to keep the lid on, for moisture, to prevent burning/sticking. While they are doing their thing, throw in the bay and thyme. You dont have to pick all the thyme off the twigs, throw em in whole.. the leaves will fall off & you can pick the twigs off later. Once you are confident that your onions are good & caramelized, toss in a couple tablespoons of vegan butter & your minced garlic. After a few minutes add the Sherry. Let it cook for a minute or 2 and then add your broth.
Season with salt & pepper.. and finally serve with the bread & melty cheese. Sticking your soup bowl under the broiler with the bread & cheese helps with the melty part. Enjoy!
Gruyere cheese

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vegan Dogs 3 Ways

left to right #1 Relish Onion & Habanero Ketchup #2 Tangerine Habanero Mustard & Apple Sauerkraut #3 Black Bean Chili, Pickled Jalapenos & Cojita

This is what happened when I got home from vacation and didn't have enough money to buy vegetables. I used fridge and pantry items to create this "Welcome to Austin" meal for Michelle and I.

I know the idea of "veggie dogs" grosses a lot of people out.. but c'mon. Which is worse? Mine made with soy protein & wheat gluten.. or yours made with random animal parts? The difference is worth considering.

I definitely wouldn't recommend anyone largely supplementing their diet with "meat alternative" products. This is the one of the very few times I have ever blogged about one. It is so much more important to get your beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, pickles, fermented foods, fruits, vegetables... basically stick to whole foods! and every once and a while pig out & have fun.. like vegan hot dogs 3 ways!!

Pressed Salad with Mustard Tahini dressing

All kinds of fruit & veg are great for pressed salads. The idea is that you slice them thin, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, gently massage, and set a plate & heavy object atop the salad for at least 1 hour.
In this process, water is released from the vegetables, making them easier to eat raw, and producing a dish high in mineral quality, alkalizing, rich with fiber and digestive enzymes.

This salad contains:
Carrot, Daikon Radish, Red Radishes, Savoy Cabbage, Cucumber & Apple

3 parts Tahini
2 parts Stone Ground Mustard
dash lemon & shoyu (or tamari)
agave nectar (or honey or brown rice syrup)
garlic, minced
water to reach desired consistency

This salad might seem boring, but believe me its exciting! Its one of our favorite things to eat/prepare different versions of at school. Its healthy crisp & delicious. The dressing is actually quite sweet, and if you like mustard you'll love this dressing!

As an alternative you could add fresh herbs, nuts, dried fruits, onion, pear, citrus juice.. Enjoy!

Sweet Summer Veg Soup

It is seriously so. freaking. sweet. It tastes like I added sugar. ITS SO GOOD! definitley perfect for summer. I made it for Michelle & it cured our hang overs.
Corn, leeks, carrot, &garlic cookin down in oil & vegan butter.
Roasting the sweet potatoes and green beans, rather than tossing them in the pot to cook, adds depth to the flavor of the soup.
Making tea with the corn silks. It has a very subtle sweet corn flavor.. and has many healing properties.

3 Leeks, white/light portion cleaned & minced
4 ears fresh corn, cut kernels off the cob (save cobs & silks for use!)
1 sweet potato, cut into small cubes
2 c fresh green beans, break off tough ends & cut into bite-size pieces
oil & 2 T vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1/4 c mirin (rice wine)
garlic, 5 or so cloves
almond milk 8-10 c
3T ume plum vinegar (or other light vinegar/lemon juice)

Heat oven to 350, toss sweet potato & green beans in light oil & salt, spread on sheet pan & roast until soft & yummy.
Add the vinegar/lemon juice to the almond milk & let sit.
Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil in a large pot, then toss in leeks & small amount of salt. Cook until soft, then add the corn & a little more salt.
Scrape all the corny bits & juices remaining on the cob into the pot. Cook for a couple minutes, then add vegan butter & garlic.
Cook an additional minute, add the mirin, let it cook down for a few moments, then add milk/vin & green beans & sweet potatoes from oven.
Salt to taste, and simmer for 10-15min. Toss in a handful or fresh cilantro at the very end.