Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Orange Marmelade Glazed Carrots

Today I had this jar with Swiss orange marmalade in my hands when Iwas looking for something else in my fridge. And from there it went …
  • 2 TB bitter orange marmalade (such as Hero, or Bonne Mamman)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • hot chili sauce
  • 1/2 pound of carrots, peeled, cut into 2 in sticks and quartered
  • pepper
  • 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 red onion, cut into long spears
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh rosemary, chopped
  • good pinch of cayenne pepper
In a pot, whisk the water (orange juice would be good, too), marmalade and hot chili sauce. Heat to a medium-high, and add the carrots. Lower the temperature to low, close with a lid, and simmer the carrots on medium-low for about 20min until softened.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onion. Drain the carrots and add them to the onion mix in the pan. Heat on medium-high to caramelize and slightly brown the sweetened, glazed carrots. Add the salt, pepper and rosemary, and a good pinch of cayenne.
I added some cannellini beans for a great vegan dish. Serve!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Clean Chinese Hot and Sour Noodle Soup

It is still too cold outside. Sunny, no snow, but too cold. I still have remnants of a lingering cold so I still eat many blistering hot brothy soups.This one is a clean Chinese hot and sour noodle soup, with fresh ingredients made from scratch.

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 ts vegetable bouillon (like Rapunzel organic bouillon)
  • 1 TB light soy sauce
  • 1 TB organic shoyu
  • 1 TB Chinkiang black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 TB dry sherry
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, diced
  • 1 in fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strands
  • 1 oz brown rice noodles
  • 1 baby bok choy
  • a few fresh shitake mushroom, sliced

In a large pot, heat the water and add the bouillon, making a hot vegetable broth. Add the soy sauces, the vinegar and cherry as well as the diced hot pepper and the fresh ginger. Cook for about 2-3 min. Add the baby bok choy leaves, the shitake and the rice noodles.
Rice noodles typically take only about 1-2 min to cook. Once they are cooked, it’s ready to serve!

Traditionally, cornstarch would be added to thicken the soup, and also the hot pepper and ginger would be fried in oil first before adding the broth, but I like it light and clean this way.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Red Pepper Soup with Harvest Grains

Today’s lunch was all courtesy of Trader Joes and a lazy Sunday: a cup of Trader Joes’ low-sodium red pepper and tomato soup and two heaping spoons of harvest grains, cooked in chicken stock with a fresh bay leaf. Can I say “yum!”?



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chia Coconut Cookies

Healthy, and tasty cookies… Great for snacks to go and that pick-me-up cup of coffee in the morning.

Dry ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup rice cereal, 1/2 pulverized in food processor
  2. 1/4 cup and 2 TB quinoa flour (quinoa flour is gluten free and great for flavor, but all purpose flour works, too).
  3. 1/2 cup old fashioned oats or (TJ) multigrain flakes
  4. 1/4 cup organic sugar
  5. 1 TB chia seeds
  6. 2 TB unsweetened coconut flakes
  7. 2 TB cacao bits
  8. 1/2 ts baking powder
  9. pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup pureed canned pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 ts cinnamon extract

Preheat oven to 375F.

First, grind the rice cereal in a food processor or magic bullet. Combine all the dry ingredients. Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Then combine wet and dry ingredients. With a small icecream scoop make about 1inch diameter balls, and pat them flat. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or just sprayed. Bake for 25min for a nice crunch.

I had 17 cookies; one has about 50kcal.


Spaghetti Marinara with Mussels

I was ready for a beautiful simple spaghetti with tomato sauce dish for a while. This was a dish I would cook even when I knew I could not really cook. “Could not really cook” meant I knew how to prepare a dish but the final product would not knock my socks off because it tasted so good. It tasted ‘ok’, it was eatable, but I really wanted to swoon over the food I eat because it tastes so good. Still today cooking something as simple as marinara sauce is my hallmark if someone can cook. When I buy a cookbook, I always check out the marinara sauce recipe….. Still today I do not have a predictable outcome, but I am getting better at it. (BTW, Giada’s jarred sauces at Target are divine, for a jarred sauce).

Spaghetti marinara with mussels (2 servings):

  • 4 oz spaghetti, cooked to instructions, al dente
  • 1 white sweet onion, finely (!) chopped
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • splash of red or white wine
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 small can chopped, no sodium added organic tomatoes (I used the Trader Joes brand)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 hot cherry pepper, finely diced
  • a few mussels (I used frozen, they are easier to portion)
  • fresh basil, chiffonade
  • handful baby spinach
  • 2 TB daiya mozzarella vegan cheese

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add anchovy filets, and heat them until they melt into the oil. Add the finely chopped onion, and saute on medium-low until they are browned and caramelized. At this point add the garlic and saute only for 1-2min because it burns fast. Add the wine, mix it in and let it cook down until no liquid is left in the pan. Take the pan off the heat, and mix in the canned and fresh tomatoes. Pour the entire mixture in a food processor (I use a vitamix for an extra smooth, silky consistency), and puree until smooth. (Note: I do it at this point because the tomatoes cool down the mixture and I can actually process it in the food processor without risk of steam exploding out of it). Once pureed, the mixture goes back into the pan and is heated back up on medium-high heat. I add the basil and the mussels. Once the mussels are heated and cooked (and open), I removed the shells and leave the mussels in the sauce. Last I add some baby spinach and vegan daiya cheese to make the sauce extra creamy. Mix in the drained spaghetti, cook for about 1 min, and serve.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

Browsing through the current Clean Eating magazine, the Moroccan chickpea salad caught my eye: bursting red and orange colors mixed with perly-white chickpeas, hints of green (mint) and bits of star-white (feta). Shortly, I had to make it. My version is slightly different but all Moroccan and a feast for the eyes, too.

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot, peeled and with a julienne peeler sliced into thin strands
  • handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
  • a few spring of fresh thyme
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 ts cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 ts honey
  • 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil (fruity type)

Place all the vegetables in a container. Remove the leaves from the thyme spring, chop (or not) and add to the salad. Add a slight bit of salt and pepper. In a cup, mix the cumin, cayenne, orange juice, honey and olive oil. Whisk, and pour over the salad. Let the flavors come together for about 1h in the fridge, and serve!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cucumber Salad in Warm Layers

There was an English cucumber in my fridge, and a few tomatoes who if they were people would need a serious amount of collagen cream, and yes, cooked cannellini beans….. I grated the cucumber, added salt and pepper, layered a few tablespoons of cannellini beans, and sauteed the tomatoes with onion, capers, pickled jalapenos and a few beans. Cucumber salad, with warm layers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cannellini Beans from Scratch

Recently, I started to build a dried bean collection. Dried beans, lentils and chickpeas of all colors and sizes. It is really easy to cook them, it just needs some planning ahead, i.e. they have to be soaked over night before usage. The benefit are beans with a tender but not mushy texture and a lot less sodium. And no fear of anything seeping into the beans from the metal can.
Since I refer to them in many of my recipes, I thought it would be good to have a post about how to prepare them.
Dried beans (or chickpeas) need about 12h of soaking. So, they can be soaked in the morning if used in the evening, or soaked over night. I typically pour them in a large glass jar or jug and leave a lot of room for them to expand while they soak up the water and plumb up. Here, I am using a cup of dried cannellini beans, and soak them overnight. In the morning, most of the water was absorbed and the beans had doubled in size.
Once they are plumbed up, I rinse them and pour them in a pot, cover them with water and through in 1-2 garlic cloves and a fresh bay leaf, and cook them for about 30min. At that point I taste the texture, and once I like the softness of the beans I take them off the heat. (Note, make sure to not eat raw beans since they contain high amounts of PHA, which can be toxic, but is removed once they are boiled at least 10min). Next step, rinse and store in the fridge for use within 2-3 days. Freeze for later usage, and keep on hand for soup, stews and salads.

Rich Chocolate Cake (Vegan)

Angela’s fabulous looking chocolate cupcakes made me rummage in my recipe collection and unearth a recipe of a birthday chocolate cake that I loved, long before I was vegan. Its rich dark chocolate taste and wonderful light texture is the secret. No sugar, eggs or butter – just baking soda and apple cider vinegar to make the cake rise, and maple syrup for the deep sweetness. 

Ingredients for a cake baked in a small spring form:

1/3 cp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/3 cp cocoa powder
1/4 ts salt
1/2 cp almond milk
1/4 cp canola oil
3/4 cp pure organic maple syrup
1/2 ts apple cider vinegar
1 ts vanilla extract

Raspberry Sauce (for a small cake):
1 cp frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 ts maple syrup
1/2 ts vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with non stick cooking spray. Sift together flours and baking powder and baking soda. In a saucepan, heat the almond milk on low-medium heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and whisk well until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Pour batter into prepared pan, bake at 350 F for 25 minutes until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean. Let cool completely and frost with your favorite frosting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moroccan Farro (vegan)

Tomatoes and farro are a combination that is like fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella – a classic. I started with both, some garlic, and added ‘flavor’, a heaping spoon of harissa. Ok, so we are going Moroccan today. Harrissa, some cinnamon, saffron, a bay leaf, a bit of white wine, a quarter cup of unflavored almond milk for the creaminess, a few chickpeas, corn, and we are done.
Moroccan Farro (1 large or 2 small servings)
  • 1/4 cup farro
  • 1/2 small can stewed, no-salt added tomatoes
  • 1 ts crushed garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unflavored almond milk
  • 1 TB harissa
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 ts ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas (I used black chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • about 1 TB white wine
  • salt, pepper to taste
Pour all the ingredients in a pot on a stove, heat on medium, and simmer for ca. 25 min on low-medium heat. How easy what that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kale and Acorn Squash

It is not really the season of squash, but I found this great picture on a memory card that I had not uploaded yet. Memories of fall, roasted acorn squash, pureed butternut squash, and garlic-sauted kale with some hot sauce. Vegan at its best.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Asparagus Leek Soup

Popped in an old tape with Food TV shows this morning, times when Rachel Ray was still unmarried and perky, Martha Stewart had not gone to jail yet, and Tyler Florence was still single and hot. When I first taught myself cooking, I taped Food TV shows to watch them over and over again until I had memorized all the details and imitated the chefs (much to my delight also producing tasty dishes!). As time goes by…… Now, it is Sunday morning, most of my bloggies seem to sleep in today, but Giada cooked an elegant soup on TV this morning, and it became the inspiration for lunch.
Asparagus Leek Soup (2 servings): (vegan version)
  • 1 ts grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup leeks, white and light green parts, washed and cut into thin slices
  • 10 thin fresh asparagus stalks, fiberous ends cut off and discarded, and remaining stalk cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh baby spinach (or frozen)
  • handful fresh basil or 1 cube frozen basil
  • salt, pepper to tasted
  • 2 cups of vegetable bouillon
Heat the grapeseed oil, and add the leeks, asparagus and baby spinach. Stir and saute for about 5 min on medium heat. Add the vegetable bouillon and the basil, and simmer for about 20 min. Cool to room temperature, and puree the soup in a food processor. Reheat, and serve with whole-wheat toast with some baked mozzarella daiya cheese.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Penne Puttanesca with Italian Sausage Seitan

It is Saturday night. What could be better than a bit of luxuary in form of hearty meal? The italian sausage seitan was inspired by the great vegan num num recipe (who was inspired by someone else).
Italian Sausage Seitan:
  • 125g (4½oz) vital wheat gluten
  • 1 ts  dried thyme (or 1 spring fresh)
  • 1 ts fennel seeds
  • 1 ts dried marjoram
  • 1 ts sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)
  • ¾ cup vegetable stock (made with hot water and bouillon or from scratch)
  • 1 TB organic ketchup
  • 1 TB harissa
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
In a coffee grinder converted/spice grinder or mortal & pestle, grind the thyme, fennel seeds, marjoram, sweet paprika and chili flakes until fennel seeds are crushed and the spice mix is fragrant. In a bowl combine the vital wheat gluten with the spice mix.
In a separate bowl whisk together the hot vegetable stock, ketchup and harissa. Add the stock mixture to the dry ingredients, folding them together until the mixture forms a thick dough. Separate the dough into two portions and shape 2 sausage shaped logs. Place logs onto a large sheet of foil and cover the seitan logs with another layer of foil. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes covered, and 10-15 min uncovered. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Penne Puttanesca with Italian Sausage Seitan (1 serving)
  • 2 oz penne
  • 1/2 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 hot red pepper, diced
  • 1 TB capers and 1 ts caper liquid
  • 1/8 ts of anchovy paste (optional if completely vegan)
  • 1/4 cup diced no-salt added canned tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup white wine (like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 fresh baby spinach
  • 5 stalks of fresh green asparagus
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 TB Daiya mozzarelle cheese
Cook the penne according to instructions al dente.
In a skillet, beat the oil, and add the onion, garlic and hot pepper, anchovy paste and saute until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the capers and caper liquid, tomato and the wine. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Now, add the canned tomatoes, the spinach and asparagus, and some water or vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for about 10min.
Heat a separate pan on medium-high. Add some cooking spray, and saute a few slices of the iIalian sausage seitan. Add vegan mozzarella  to slices and let it melt on the ‘sausage’ slices, turning them once.
Serve: mix penne with sauce and top with sausages slices. Enjoy!

Radicchio with cannellini beans, blue cheese and spiced pecans

There was not much left in the fridge today, salad-wise, but fortunately a half head of radicchio, which is one of my favorite salads. I had just boiled some cannellini beans, which had soaked overnight, added with a few crumbles of blue cheese (Trader Joes!), black cherry balsamic vinegar (too lazy to make a vinaigrette) and spicy candied pecans, and lunch was ready.

PS. Chanelle says, it’s a lifestyle change, and I am liking it. I don’t miss the food at all, because I am too busy chasing the laser pointer.

radiccio salad

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Endless snow

We were spoiled the last few winters here in Maine – not much snow, decent temperatures, and back on the mountain bike by March. Not this year. Still endless snow and endless this. Good that I got new skis last November.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fennel Cabbage Salad

One of my favorite raw fennel salads! Thinly shaved fennel and white cabbage using a mandolin, chopped fuzzy fennel leaves, and just some salt, pepper and olive oil. All topped with pine nuts.