Tuesday, August 30, 2011

White Gazpacho (use up your cucumbers!)

Got Cukes?  Well, if you've made my Overnight Pickles and have brine leftover, this delicious cold soup will tickle your taste-buds! .. and don't worry, if you don't have any brine, the recipe includes a version with Apple Cider Vinegar. 

This White Gazpacho is based on a soup I used to make when I was the Chef at a Wine Bar in Maine.  I have revised the ingredients to be more raw friendly.. but you can always sub Marcona Almonds and Sherry Vinegar for the Cashews and Brine/Apple Cider Vinegar. 

White Gazpacho
  • 1 c cashews soaked overnight (drain soaking water)
  • 3 large English cucumbers (keep the peels on if they are organic)
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 3-5 tablespoons pickle brine OR  apple cider vinegar (raw is best, start with 3 and add more if needed)
  • ½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground toasted coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Scant pinch nutmeg
  • Decent pinch ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons evoo
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • Smoked Sea salt or regular sea salt to taste (add small amounts and wait for 10 minutes for the flavors to bloom, especially if you are using a high quality, chunky salt… and if  you can, please do!.. )
  • Additional water as needed to blend

  • Blend , blend blend. I use my Vita-Mix, but if you are doing this in a regular blender, do it in three batches.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Add a bit more vinegar/salt as needed and let the soup rest for a bit..  This soup is MUCH better chilled overnight and will keep up to 10 days.

Garnish with herb oil and chunks of cucumber, roasted sunflower seeds or cashews and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt if you have it.
Herb Oil:
  • Blanch 1 bunch of chives, drain and pat dry; blend with 1 cup of olive oil, put in squirt bottle and drizzle

BTW, thanks for the great comment and support about my Moving To Boston post!  I am really excited! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Boston for $3.33 a Day!

Big changes here!  I am MOVING TO BOSTON!!!  See the picture?  That's my new view!

I am totally stoked and a bit scared because I am basically changing everything.  I am selling my car, which I am really looking forward to actually.  Living in the heart of the city with no car.  Wow..  I am amazed at how things unfold in life.

The ONE sad thing, is that I will be leaving my beloved dog with my X.  We share custody of her now, and I will still go up and see her once a week overnight, but it is going to be hard not to have her with me like I do now.  My X loves her as much as I do, so she will be taken care of well.

I'm moving sometime in the next 30 days..  depending on how fast I can sell my stuff and tie up loose ends here.

I will be one subway stop from Chinatown!..  there is a Trader Joes close by and a Whole Foods really close by my apartment..  it will be interesting to see if I can pull off $3.33 a Day in Boston?
I am so grateful I have this opportunity.  My youngest son went to college last week and now Momma's gonna play!  Part of my goal with this move is to really stretch my creativity with my photography..   fun fun fun.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vegan Chipotle Cheese Spread

I made this delicious Chipotle Cheddar Spread the other day and just had to share the recipe.  It is super simple and really good!  While it may not fool a real cheese lover (and if you serve it to one, don't call it cheese, just call it delicious!)..  it hits all of the same flavor notes as cheese and is a great finishing touch to any southwestern chili, beans or stirred in to soup, or on top of a burger..

I used cooked (white NOT edamame) Soybeans, but you could probably use white beans in place of them.  I don't think they will quite as good because soy lends some fat and a better mouth feel in my opinion.  You could also use 14 ounces of tofu as well.. and to make it SUPER decadent.. use CASHEWS! 

Chipotle Cheddar Spread

  • 2 cups well cooked and drained soybeans
  • 1 ½ cups well drained sauerkraut
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup roasted red or sautéed red peppers
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (or more if you like it nice and spicy) OR 1 teaspoon smoked paprika if you don’t want any heat at all
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil of choice
  • Soybean cooking water as needed
  • Additional salt to taste

  • Blend like crazy, adding cooking liquid to think out as necessary.
  • You can do this in a food processor, but if you are, process the garlic and salt first, then add the rest of the ingredients.
In the picture here, I used my food processor, but if you have a high powered blender, it will be even smoother.  I actually divided this batch in two and used agar to turn it into a block cheese.  I'll talk about that more in another post.

I hope you make this if you love smoky, tangy, cheesy deliciousness! 

If you can, please let this site overnight before eating.  The flavors really get to know each other and sauerkraut really mellows into a tangy, beautiful thing! 

Serving ideas:
  • Mix with with Southwestern Kidney Beans, quinoa and salad greens and eat as is or stuff in a tortilla or collard 
  • Serve over a baked potato with steamed broccoli
  • Use in place of mayo in sandiwches
  • Serve on top of a veggie burger
  • Mix a cup of spread with 2 cups cooked broccoli and thin out with stock.. puree for super fast Cheesy Broccoli Soup
  • Dip veggies into it

What would you do with this?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Southwestern Kidney Beans

I had a meal at what is considered the 'best Mexican restaurant' in my town.. and I live in a town known for its' restaurants, so imagine my dismay when their "drunken beans" lacked any flavor at all, except for, well alcohol. Yuk.  

It makes me really sad (and MAD) that so many chef's don't seem to care about their vegetarian options.  Maybe it's a good thing since I rarely go out to eat.  I usually end up feeling pissed off and like I've wasted a lot of money.   

Since I have worked in restaurants catering to many different types of people, I AM hard to please.. but I also know that with just a LITTLE thought and effort you can make vegetarian food that is delicious! 

OK.. rant over..  I made these Southwestern Spiced Kidney beans yesterday to have on hand and while I may not serve these in a restaurant, they are still MUCH better than a lot of the crap out there. Here's the recipe and I am including a variation for those who don't like heat as well! 

Spicy Southwestern Kidney Beans 
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced (take the seeds out and use less if you don't like spice or leave it out all together)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1/2-1 cup bean cooking liquid 
  • 1 chipotle in adobo (or if you don't like heat, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste (around 1/2 teaspoon)

  1. In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat add the oil, cumin and chili powder. Toast for 10 seconds
  2. Turn heat down to medium, add the onion and jalapeno and a pinch of salt, cook for 5 minutes
  3. Add the beans and cooking liquid as needed, along with the chipotle. cover and cook for 5 more minutes
  4. Stir in cilantro and vinegar and salt to taste. Let stand for 5 minutes, then re-season.  If the beans are bland, add for salt and vinegar as needed depending on your taste. 

You can mash these with a potato masher in the pan, puree them in a food processor for or eat them as is.

See how easy that is?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spicy Coconut Kidney Bean and Veggie Curry

I cooked up a pound of Kidney Beans in my pressure cooker the other day and have been using them in various dishes.  I made a huge batch of this spicy curry and have frozen half of it. I still have quite a bit leftover as well and will be eating it for several meals and most likely making a burger out of it in a couple of days. It will make a great Middle Eastern type burger! 

I used what I had on hand... you could really add any veggie you like, switch up the legumes or add tofu, seitan or tempeh for the protein in place of beans.   I made this pretty spicy with the addition of two large jalapenos, but feel free to reduce the amount of leave them out all together. Remove the seeds if you are sensitive to heat as well. 

Kidney Bean, Veggie and Coconut Curry
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos , finely minced (less if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Tony's Creole Seasoning or Salt
  • 2 carrots , diced 
  • 2 zucchini, diced 
  • 4 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 2.5 cups water or stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat coconut oil over medium high heat, add spices 
  2. Add onion, ginger and garlic, ginger, jalapenos and Tony's
  3. Turn heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes
  4. Add veggies, beans, water and coconut milk
  5. Cover, bring to a strong simmer for 30 minutes
  6. Stir in vinegar and cilantro, turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt/soy sauce and pepper 
  8. Serve over your favorite grain
This obviously makes a big batch, it freezes well and will keep in the fridge for 5 days. 


I also made a batch of Southwestern Beans and 3-Bean Salad out of the rest of the beans.  I'll post those recipes in the next couple of days.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good and Simple Millet and Vegetable Salad

I made this Millet Salad with simple ingredients and it turned out really tasty! 

Millet is one of those grains that I ate a lot as a child (along with bulgur) so it is a food that is one of my comfort foods.  It’s great in both sweet and savory dishes.  You can cook it your favorite non dairy milk, stevia, cinnamon and raisins for a great fall breakfast that will stick to your ribs.  My beanmilk is GREAT in hot breakfast cereals because you get a good does of protein and fiber for super very little money. 

So, the next time you are in a cooking rut, cook up a pound of dry millet to keep in the fridge and use it like you would rice!

How to cook:
  • Toast 1 cup of millet in a dry saucepan over medium high heat until fragrant
  • Pour in two and a half cups of water and a pinch of salt
  • Bring to a rolling boil, uncovered
  • Turn heat down as low as it goes, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or so

The other night Kittee posted about a dressing made of mayo, nutritional yeast and Braggs on Facebook.  She added the addition of flax meal.  I took it a step father and added chickpea cooking liquid, garlic and some nutmeg.  OMG.. This is so good!  I used my Low Fat Vegenaise Alternative.

Wicked Yummy Dressing
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or Braggs
  • 1 tablespoon golden flax meal
  • 1.5 cups chickpea cooking liquid, broth or water
  • 2 big cloves pressed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • Good pinch nutmeg

Whisk everything together and chill for several hours.

To make the salad:
  • 1 large yellow squash or zucchini diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Good pinch salt/black pepper

Toss with cooked millet and add dressing to taste. Let chill overnight if possible, then add more dressing, and season with salt and pepper (smoked salt would be ideal) and toss with fresh herbs and lemon zest. (You do have citrus zest in your freezer like I taught you, right?)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

20 Minute Clean Out The Fridge Lunch!

I love clean out the fridge meals..!  Unfortunately they aren't something you can write as a recipe since they are different every time.. BUT..  I hope that those of you who read this blog (is anyone still out there?) will trust your own cooking intuition and experiment!  Frankly, most of my very favorite foods have come from this type of cooking.  Use what you have. Don't be afraid to throw crazy flavors together and by all means, substitute ingredients!

 (lately I've been using white vinegar in place of most acids with wonderful results)

I sprayed my beloved cast iron pan with cooking spray and sauted 1 small onion, 5 cloves garlic, lots of red pepper flakes, dried rosemary and 2 T quinoa for several minutes. Then I added 1 zucchini and some frozen veggies along with some Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette 1 cup of water.  1 cup of chickpeas and a handful of cilantro went in and I covered it, brought it to medium high heat for 20 minutes then stirred in fresh basil.  I topped it with nutritional yeast and Chipotle Sauce

I had this for lunch yesterday and again for dinner last night topped with yet another sauce/dressing I will be blogging about soon.  Let's just say that I love FACEBOOK! The ideas shared there are great... and I will admit that most of my online food stuff is taking place on my PAGE!   

Do you have a favorite clean out the fridge meal?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Out of this world Yellow Spit Pea Dahl

I made this delicious dahl out of yellow split peas (which I scored for .$79 a pound!).

Now, I know this has a lot of ingredients, but if you don't have all of the various spices then please use 3 tablespoons of curry powder and a pinch of cinnamon.  I used whole seeds in this recipe, but you don't have to if the texture bothers you. They will get stuck in your teeth a bit, but flossing is a good thing, right?  The cumin seeds don't and really add a special flavor POP, but if you only have ground cumin that's OK.  It will still be delicious.

You will notice the inclusion of chili powder, yellow mustard and white vinegar. I use what I have on hand to create certain flavors, but you can certainly add lime juice. I would have used lime juice in the past for sure and it's super yummy!  I topped my bowl with toasted coconut.

Notice, I use the cilantro STEMS here?  They add that amazing cilatnro flavor and the texture of the stems pops in your mouth. *plus you save the rest for a pretty garnish and use in other dishes!*.

I used my pressure cooker. You can cook it on the stove, but don't add the Tony's or Salt until the beans are cooked. I think you will need to cook this for at least an hour to get it good and creamy.

Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/8  teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Cayenne to taste (I like it spicy so I added 1 tablespoon, that will probably be too much for most people)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Tony’s Creole seasoning
  • 1 pound dried yellow split peas
  • 8 cups water
  • Stems from 1 bunch of cilantro (around ½ cup chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • Soy sauce and black pepper to taste
  1. Over medium high heat add the coconut oil and the spices. Wait til the seeds start to pop then add the onions, garlic, ginger and Tony's (or salt)
  2. Turn heat to medium and saute the veggie/spice mixture for 5 minutes
  3. Add split peas and water
  4. Lock pressure cooker lid, turn to high heat and bring to high pressure for 3 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, let the pressure come down naturally
  6. Stir in rest of ingredients. 
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings
  8. Drool all over your bowl and try to stop eating before you get too stuffed!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rawish Squash Pasta 'Carbonara'

I have to admit, I have never had traditional Pasta Carbonara.  I was raised a vegetarian, and even back then I despised eggs.... so this is a VERY loose interpretation of the flavors I like and what I had on hand.

My friend brought over some fresh herbs and yellow squash from her garden the other day, so I invited her to lunch today and to show her how easy it is to whip up based on what is available.

I am sure that the traditional sauce is much creamier, but I like tang, so I added sauerkraut for the great flavor it brings to creamy sauces and cheeses.

Please feel free to use what you have on hand.  We used fresh basil and parsley ... and I think the addition of garden fresh tomatoes would be out of this world!

Shitake Bacon

  • ½ cup dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 c very hot water
  • 4 cloves pressed garlic
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1-2 t liquid smoke depending on how you like it
  • 1 T brown sugar (or better yet if you have it, Maple Syrup)
  • 2 T Ketchup

Soak the mushrooms for an hour or so, drain and reserve liquid

I sprayed my cast iron with cooking spray then fried them up, but you don’t have to.

  • 1/2 c well cooked soybeans
  • ¼ c cashews
  • Reserved soaking water
  • 3 T Nutritional Yeast
  • ½ t smoked paprika or chipotle
  • ¼ c sauerkraut
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ¼  t black salt (for an eggy taste) or sea salt
  • Water or Veggie Broth to thin it out if needed

Pasta: Spiralize zucchini or yellow squash and dehydrate at 115 for 6 hours (you don’t have to dehydrate.. but the pasta will get watery if you don’t)

  • Chop the mushrooms
  • Puree sauce in a blender or food processor
  • Place in bowl; add mushrooms and torn fresh herbs
  • Toss with pasta and garnish with more herbs, freshly ground pepper and olive oil if desired
  • Feel free to heat the whole thing together on the stove if desired!
  • Taste and add black salt (if you have it and want and eggy taste) or sea salt and pepper as desired

The smoky, chewy shitakes were awesome in this dish...  it does have a garlic punch.. if you don't warm it, so add less or use garlic powder if you are not a fan of bold garlic flavor!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Simple Overnight Pickled Cucumbers and Onions

A friend of mine gave me a bunch of cucumbers from her garden, so I made these quick pickles.

This is not really a "recipe" because you can use whatever spices you like and add other veggies you have on hand.  I kept it simple.  I use regular old white vinegar (that I buy in a gallon jug) and just a pinch of stevia for sweetness.

The most important thing you need to do for the recipe is sterilize your jar.  All I do is place it in my sink and pour boiling water into the jar until it overflows...  take a pot holder and pour the water out and you're good to go!

Simple Spiced Pickles
  • 1 1/2 English Cucumbers, sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced into half moons
  • Hefty pinch sea salt (around 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill 
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch stevia or 2 tablespoons sugar
  • White distilled vinegar
  1. With impeccably clean hands, pack the cucumbers and onions into a quart sized glass jar
  2. Add the salt, spices and stevia
  3. Cover with white vinegar
  4. Cover jar and chill overnight

I've been eating these mixed into everything! They were especially good in the salad I had for lunch!

Finally, I wanted to give you guys the link to my facebook account.  I post almost everything I eat daily there and have been keeping track of my shopping list there too. (You can find August's list so far under the Discussion Tab).  

You can also look to your right of this page and click on the Facebook Box to take you to my page.