Monday, November 7, 2011

5 Minute Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate Bars

 Thanks to Averie over at Loves Veggies and in five minutes, you can go from no chocolate in the house to having a delicious, dark, rich chocolate bar Five minutes!
Heaven help me.

5 Minute Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate Bars

2 Tbsp of Coconut Oil 
3 Tbsp Raw Agave
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract 
4 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder   

Melt the Coconut Oil and Agave together either by placing in a bowl over a second bowl of hot water or by heating in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. 

Stir in the Vanilla

Add the Cacao Powder

Stir well.

Next, line a small dish with plastic wrap.
Pour in the warm Coconut Cacao mixture in to the plastic lined dish.

Then place the dish in Freezer for five minutes. (next to the peas, in this case...)

Remove dish from freezer.
Pull the plastic wrap and chocolate from the dish.
Peel away the plastic wrap and you have a chocolate bar!

Cut the chocolate into small squares or just eat the whole darn chocolate bar.

 Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

You will thank me or hate me later.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Raw Vegan Cashew Cheese - the 3 month experiment

This recipe started 2 weeks ago when I whipped up my first batch of cashew cheese. It sat on the counter for 2 days and then in the dehydrator/oven for 6 hours and finally in the refrigerator for 10 days. At this point it is a creamy, delicious sort of nut pate.I sliced it into thick slabs, wrapped it in paper and put it back into the refrigerator where it will age for up to 3 months. I sliced the cheese into 3rds, wrapping one to age as is, coating another in cracked peppercorns before wrapping and aging and leaving the final piece to enjoy this coming week. While the recipe requires patience, I think it is worth sharing.
Cashew Cheese 
2 C Raw Cashews - covered in water and soaked 12 hours minimum
4 capsules Acidophilus powder dissolved in 1 C water
1 clove garlic
3 T Nutritional Yeast
1 T 21 Salute or Mrs. Dash or Spike salt free seasoning 

  Drain the cashews. Process the cashews, Acidophilus mixture, Nutritional yeast, garlic, and 21 Salute in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade for 1 full minute or more until creamy.
Empty into a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with a clean pastry cloth or dishcloth and leave on the counter in a relatively warm and draft free place for 24 - 48 hours.

Dust a cutting board with:
2 T cracked Black Pepper
4T Nutritional Yeast
3T Medium Coarse Sea Salt

Empty the cashew mixture into your hands and gently form into a fat cylinder. Next roll the cylinder of cheese on the cutting board coating it thoroughly in the Pepper, Yeast and Salt mixture.

Next place the cheese in a dehydrator (or in your oven on the lowest temperature with the door propped open with a wooden spoon - this should give you a temperature of around 110 degrees) for 6 hours until a soft crust forms around the outside of the cheese.

Put this in a non-metallic covered container in the refrigerator for 10-14 days. A small covered glass casserole dish is perfect for this.

In 10-14 days remove the cheese from the container. 
Slice into 3 or 4 thick slabs. 
If you like, at this point you may coat 1 or 2 slices with more cracked peppercorns or herbs to suit your own preference. 
Now, you have something similar to Boursin Cheese - so feel free to enjoy some and age the remaining slices like this: Wrap in parchment paper and return to the refrigerator to continue aging for up to 3 months.

I will check back and update in 3 months!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Chocolate Pudding

This is probably the most delicious raw vegan treat yet. Go. Make it now. That's all I'm saying.

4 T Chia Seeds
1 C Coconut Milk or Coconut Water
1 C Raw Cashews
6 Dates - pitted
2 T Raw Cacao Powder
1T Coconut Butter (optional)
1/4 t Vanilla1 T Raw Agave Syrup
pinch Sea Salt

First - Soak the Chia Seeds in the Coconut milk for 1 hour.

La La Lah...about an hour later, do this:

Grind the Cashews and Dates together in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. Add the Cacao and process a few more seconds. Next add the Coconut Butter and Vanilla and process a for about 20 seconds. Now add the Chia Seed/Coconut Milk mixture and process for 30 seconds or more until well blended. Then the Agave and Salt and process again for 10 seconds or so. Serve as is or chilled. This will keep refrigerated for about 5 days. It won't be around that long, but hypothetically, it would keep :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brazilian Brownies

The Detroit Zen Center offers the most delicious raw foods I have ever had.....anywhere. They make these delectable raw brownies from Brazil nuts. Unfortunately, (for me, not them) the folks at the Zen Center are heading to Korea for 6 months. So, I had to figure out a way to satisfy my brownie jones in their absence. Well, the recipe is all over the internet. They are easy to make and so good! I have to admit, they lack something compared to those at the Zen Center, though. I imagine when the Zen Center re-opens 6 months from now, you will find me face down in a pan of brownies.

2 cups brazil nuts
1/4 cup raw cacao
3 cups dates - pitted
1 tablespoon vanilla
In a food processor or blender, grind the nuts into flour.
Add the raw cacao and grind a bit more.
Add the vanilla and dates and process until you have a rather smooth dough.
I have a smaller processor, so while the resulting dough was not as smooth- these are still wonderful brownies (if I do say so myself).
Now, if you have one of those cool silicone brownie forms - press the mixture into that. I don't own one of those so - line a square or rectangle food storage container (8x8 ish or you can wing it) with plastic wrap and press the brownie mixture in. Whichever container you use - press the mixture firmly into the container. Slice into small squares with a sharp (not serrated) knife and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mango Lassi Breakfast Pudding

Slightly reminiscent of a mango lassi and slightly reminiscent of rice pudding, this breakfast pudding is filling, delicious and delightfully satisfying.
Step 1 -
1/4 C Flax Seeds
1/4 C Chia Seeds
2 C Coconut Milk

Combine and let soak 15 minutes.

Step 2-
1/3 C Raw Cashews
5 Cardamom Seeds

Grind well in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade the add:

2T Coconut Butter (not oil)
8 Pitted Dates
1/2 t. Vanilla
1T Raw Agave (or more if you like things sweet)

Grind again for a 30 seconds or so then add:

1/2 Ripe Mango - peeled and sliced
Grind until you have a very smooth, thick paste.

 Step 3 -
Add the Coconut Milk and Seed mixture and blend really well until  you have a nice, creamy pudding.

This recipe serves 4 or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days - so you have a ready made, healthy, delicious, raw, vegan breakfast!
Serve with mango slices or fresh raspberries.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pan-Asian Cabbage Salad (a.k.a. Super Awesome Potluck Salad)

A little Vietnamese, sort of Thai, a bit Japanese and I bought most of the ingredients at the Chinese market. So Pan-Asian seems about right. This salad is cool, crisp, peppery and minty and SO darn good! Raw Disclaimer: This salad is raw - but I am not certain about some of the ingredients in the salad dressing. If you want to be sure - simply dress the salad with some Nama Shoyu or Braggs Aminos,  some olive oil and sprinkle with some raw sesame seeds or raw sesame oil, if you can find it.

Start by rinsing well and soaking in some warm water:
2 Oz Dried Shiitake Mushroom Caps

Let the mushrooms continue to re-hydrate while you make the salad. Reserve the liquid for the salad dressing.

Pan-Asian Cabbage Salad

1 large head Green Cabbage - chopped as you would for cole slaw
1 bunch Cilantro - washed and chopped fine
1 bunch Thai Basil - washed and chopped fine (regular basil works, too)
1 bunch Mint - washed and chopped fine
1 very small Red Onion - sliced paper thin and chopped
1-2 Jalapenos (according to your heat tolerance) seeded, sliced paper thin

Place all the above ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine well.

Drizzle with the dressing:

Pan-Asian Salad Dressing
 1 clove Garlic - mashed into a paste
1/3 C Sesame Oil
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Shiitake broth from soaking the Shiitake Mushroom Caps
1 t Vegan Fish Sauce (yes, Virginia there is such a thing at the Chinese Market. Is it raw? I have no idea.)
1 T Tamari, Nama Shoyu or Braggs Aminos

Whisk together, sprinkle over salad - mix well.
Top with:
1/2 C chopped raw almonds.
2 Oz Shiitake mushroom caps (from the beginning of the recipe) soaked, stems removed and sliced into thin strips.
Thai Basil sprig for garnish.

Serve chilled. This salad is great for potlucks and picnics - it travels well and stays fresh without refrigeration for a few hours.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

You can make these as spicy and hot as you like, they are super crunchy and satisfying. These nuts are great party food and also make an awesome quick energy food. Add dried fruit for trail mix or keep some in your office for a quick pick-me-up. The following recipe is for Cajun Spicy Nuts, but you can use the same method to create Indian, Asian, Italian and BBQ flavor Sweet and Spicy Nuts. The spice combinations for the flavor variations are at the end of this post. You can also vary the kids of nuts or seeds you use. Cashews, hulled raw Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, Hazelnuts, shelled Pistachios....really the combinations of seasonings, nut and seeds are endless. Have fun creating your favorite flavorful snack combination. These nuts make a pretty dandy gift, too.

Sweet and Spicy Cajun Nuts

3 C Nuts and/or Seeds (Pecans, Almonds, Pepitas)

Begin by soaking 3 cups of nuts - I used mostly pecans with some almonds and pepitas - for 1 hour to overnight. Drain and place on a kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes. Next put them in your dehydrator OR in the oven set to the lowest temperature (usually 170 degrees) and prop the door open with a wooden kitchen spoon. let the nuts dry and warm up in the dehydrator or oven like this for about 1/2 hour or so while you make the glaze.

4 T Raw Agave
2 T Date Molasses
2 T Coconut Butter

Mix together well in a small bowl until the coconut better is melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Next add your spice. I use "Cajun Seasoning" preferably without salt so that you may add your own, but salted works fine too, just don't add any additional salt.
Add the following to the Agave mixture:

Spice Mixture
1 T Cajun Seasoning
1 t Sea Salt (Smoked Salt is GREAT in this recipe)
1/2 t Cayenne (or more to taste - or for very mild heat omit)
1 t Smoked Paprika

Remove the warm nuts from the oven and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with the Agave Spice mixture and mix really well. Return the nuts to the dehydrator or cookie sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Put the nuts back in the dehydrator or oven - again propping the oven door open with a wooden kitchen spoon. Let the nuts dry for 4 or 5 hours if using the oven or 5+ hours if using the dehydrator.

Next - remove from dehydrator or oven, sprinkle with:

Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Date Sugar, Maple Sugar or whatever sugar floats your boat
Sea Salt (omit if you used a Cajun Seasoning that contains Salt)

Let cool. When you first remove the nuts from the dehydrator or oven they will seem soggy and sticky. In just a few (3-5) minutes, they will become crispy and crunchy - if not, return them to the dehydrator or oven for another hour or so. When cooled, store tightly sealed in glass jars.

*For conventional diet (not raw food) - the nuts will not digest as easily and you will lose some of the nutritional benefits (consider yourself scolded), but you can speed up this entire process by not soaking the nuts - just warm them in a 250 degree oven and drizzle with the syrup mixture - return them to the oven for 1-2 hours until they turn crispy when removed from the oven. They are delicious either way!

Spice Mixture Variations:
Curry, Cayenne and Black Pepper
Sesame Seeds, Tamari and Wasabi Powder
Rosemary and Sea Salt
BBQ flavor - Dry Mustard, Smoked Paprika and Sea Salt

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Raw Pineapple Coconut Macaroons

So delicious and moist, these macaroons will satisfy your sweet tooth whether you are vegan, a raw foodie or not. So good and so easy.

1/2 C Dried Pineapple Pieces
4 T Coconut Butter (not coconut oil)
5    Dates - Pitted
1/4 C Raw Agave Syrup
1/2 C Ground Almond Meal
1/2 C Unsweetened Dried Flaked Coconut
1/2  t Vanilla
1/4  t Sea Salt
Process all of the above ingredients in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade and grind until you have a fairly smooth dough-like mixture. Spoon this mixture into a large bowl and add:
3 C Unsweetened Dried Flaked Coconut
Knead the coconut flakes into the pineapple mixture REALLY WELL. (and I mean REALLY WELL - or they won't hold together)
Now, just firmly squeeze this mixture into bite size macaroons - you can roll some in almond meal too, for variety.
I store them in the refrigerator, if there are any left :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cilantro Pate

2 cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons Flax Oil
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/4 C Walnuts
1/4 C Sunflower Seeds (soaked 24 hours and drained)
1/2 bunch Cilantro - rinsed well and drained
Olive Oil
Kosher salt or Sea salt
Combine first 6 ingredients in food processor and chop fine.
Slowly add enough olive oil to form a thick pate.
Salt to taste.
Serve on zucchini or cucumber rounds.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pesto Zucchini "Pasta" Salad

3 Zucchini or Summer Squash - made into ribbons
1 Green Pepper chopped
1/2 bag broccoli slaw mix 
8 large mushrooms - thinly sliced
12 small black olives - sliced
Make zucchini ribbons using a mandoline slicer, spiral slicer or the large opening on a box grater.Combine the zucchini ribbons and the other vegetables, mushrooms and olives in a medium bowl and drizzle with Pesto Dressing.

Pesto Dressing:
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C walnuts
1/2 C raw or cold pressed olive oil
12 fresh Basil leaves
4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
Kosher salt or Sea salt to taste
Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Asian Inspired Lettuce Wraps - RAWr option

Fresh and Spicy!
1/2 head of Green cabbage or Napa cabbage - sliced thin , then chopped (like for cole slaw)
1/2 bunch cilantro (12-14 sprigs)- chopped
1/2 bunch mint - (4-6 sprigs) chopped
1 Jalapeno - seeded and sliced paper thin
1/2 english cucumber - finely chopped
10 mushrooms (for raw diet) or 8 slices baked tofu - finely diced
Combine all of the above in a medium bowl
Drizzle with:
juice of 1/4 lime
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
Serve on:
16 Romaine leaves - rinsed and patted dry

Southwest Lettuce Wraps - RAWr

Fresh, raw, delicious and satisfying!
1 clove garlic - minced
1/4 red onion - minced
1/2  - 1 whole jalapeno - seeded and thinly sliced
2 tomatoes - diced
2 ears of corn - cut the kernels from the cob
1 avocado- diced
1/4 bunch cilantro- finely chopped
1/4 lime - juice
2 Tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
Kosher salt or Sea salt to taste
In a medium bowl combine all of the above ingredients and serve on:
16 romaine lettuce leaves - washed and patted dry.

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale - stems and ribs removed and torn into large (4-5' square) pieces
cold pressed or raw olive oil
Kosher salt or Sea salt
pre-heat oven to 170 degrees
Put the torn kale pieces in a large bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil (4-6 Tablespoons)
Sprinkle with salt and mix well.
Put on a large cookie sheet without having the kale pieces over
Place in the oven and put a large wooden kitchen spoon in the door to prop it open.
Dry in the oven for 1-3 hours (depending on the moisture content of the kale), turning frequently.
If you are not doing a raw diet, you can bake these at 325 degrees for about 10-20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raw Food Experiment

Back in the 70's my diet was vegan and primarily - raw food vegan. I have decided to try that again for a bit. It's summer, there are lots of great fresh fruits and vegetables readily available and I could stand to lose a few pounds. I recall feeling energetic, light and enlightened. Maybe I  just want to get back to my crazy hippie roots.
I have a couple of friends who are contemplating going raw and I thought maybe blogging some recipes might come in handy.
The main reason I started this blog was for 2 reasons. Firstly, to hold myself accountable. Heart disease is rampant in my family. I lost my father when he was just 55 (my current age) to a massive myocardial infarction. My mother lived to 69, having had a quadruple bypass. I had a heart attack at age 53 - partially hastened by a raging case of sepsis - and I have 2 stents.My younger brother, Joe, has also had a heart attack when he was still in his 40's.
The second reason I started this blog was to share recipes with my older brother, Mike. Mike struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle even after suffering a heart attack in 1990. He always had an interest in my cooking and loved to write down my recipes. This blog was an easy way for me to share recipes with him in an attempt to keep him healthy. Mike passed away in March of this year.
Initially, I really didn't want to work on this blog anymore. My main focus, I realized, was impressing my brother with my crazy concoctions.
Now - I want to inspire my kids, my siblings, friends and myself to do the best we can to stay healthy.
So - for now the goal is 80 - 90% raw food vegan..... for a while. I intend to leave that other 10-20% for times when I just want to have some kale chips or popcorn or maybe even (gasp!) bread -or- more importantly for potlucks, birthday parties, picnics...... social eating.
There you have it. That is my new initiative. I plan to post recipes that are raw and tasty or.... maybe, cooked and not too horrible for you, but helped me not fall off the wagon too badly.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quinoa Salad

 Super easy and similar to Tabouli, Quinoa Salad is a delicious, nutritious and satisfying summer meal. Quinoa is actually the seeds from a variety of plant that is loosely related to spinach called: Goosefoot. Quinoa contains essential amino acids and has a surprisingly high protein content (12-18%). Be certain to prepare your Quinoa according to the package directions. Quinoa contains saponins that can make it taste bitter if not washed thoroughly prior to cooking. Some brands of Quinoa come pre-washed, so simply follow the directions on your package of Quinoa. If you pruchase bulk Quinoa - I would wash it prior to cooking.
In a large bowl combine:
2 Cups Quinoa cooked according to package directions (see above) in 4 cups Water and cooled slightly.
1 English Cucumber - washed and diced
1 Sweet Red Pepper - washed and diced
1 bunch Red Radishes - washed and diced
1 bunch Flat Parsley - washed and finely chopped
1 bunch Fresh Mint - washed and finely chopped
Sprinkle the Quinoa and vegetables with:
1/3 C Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Kosher Salt to taste.
Serve Chilled.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Potato stuffed Naan Bread (aloo naan)

 Aloo Naan
In a large bowl combine:
3/4 warm water
2 T soy milk
1 t dry yeast
1 t sugar
1 pinch of baking soda
let sit until bubbly (5 minutes or so)
2T olive oil or ghee (obviously not vegan....)
1 C unbleached white whole wheat flour (or AP flour)
whisk well and let bubbly for about 15 minutes then stir in:
1 C more flour
When you can no longer stir in the flour - knead the resulting dough until smooth (roughly 5 minutes).
Set the dough aside and go light your grill - I used a charcoal grill and waited about 2 minutes before baking.

2 boiled potatoes mashed slightly
Handful of frozen or fresh spinach
Saute in:
4T olive oil or ghee
1T ground cumin
1t course black pepper
pinch of Kosher salt
heat thoroughly and set aside, once cool add 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro.

Method: Make these one at a time (you can have 2 cooking on the grill at once - but prepare them one at a time)
Take roughly 1/6 of the dough and pat into a disk shape - set it on the counter and top with a heaping tablespoon of the potato filling, fold over and pinch edges together - now ...carefully with oiled hands....pat between your palms until you have a circle about 6" to the grill and set that bad boy on the grate. close the lid. go make another one etc etc
These should cook about 5 minutes on each side BUT be careful depending on your coals, they can burn very quickly. After approx. 5 minutes use tongs and carefully pick up the naan and flip it over. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Repeat until all your dough is used up. Remember keep your hands generously coated with ghee or olive oil when flattening your naan. The oil also keeps the bread from sticking. Serve with cucumber soy raita and chutneys or enjoy plain.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vegan Roast and Gravy

Roasts (recipe makes 2)

 - Before we start, please read the entire recipe, this one is a bit complicated. This takes some time, but the recipe is really for 2 roasts. Reserve one for later in the week and this becomes 2 substantial meals.

- You are going to need the necessary ingredients for your favorite stuffing.

- You will also need fresh clean, washed muslin or 2 boiled lint free cotton pastry cloths
wet ingredients:

1 16ounce block of tofu - drained
1 C hot water (not boiling, just hot tap water)
2     vegan"chicken style" bouillon cubes dissolved in 1/4 C boiling water
1/4 C soy milk
1/4 C grapeseed or olive oil
1/8 C tamari
1 T sesame oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced and sauteed
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and sauteed

Step 1 - combine the first 7 ingredients and blend on low speed for 1 full minute - then stir in the onion and garlic (do not blend ). Set aside.

dry ingredients:
2 C vital wheat gluten
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 t Kosher salt
2 t Mrs. Dash or 21 Salute (salt free herb seasoning)
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t. ground sage
1 t  rosemary leaves - crushed
1 t smoked paprika

Step 2 - Place all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and just stir briskly with a fork to combine.
Step 3 - pour half the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients, use the dough hook attachment and turn mixer on low. Slowly add the remaining wet ingredient mixture. Beat/knead on low for 10 minutes.
Step 4 - let the roast mixture rest for 20 minutes.
*During this 20 minute rest period, make 4 - 5 cups of your favorite stuffing. I just use regular Pepperidge  Farm stuffing made with all vegan ingredients and add extra sage, celery and onion.
Step  5 - Beat/knead roast on medium speed for another 10 minutes.
Step 6 - let roast rest for another 15-20 minutes.
Step 7 - take half the roast mixture and pat out into  a roughly 10"x15" rectangle on a sheet of plastic wrap. Leave just a 1/4 inch or so of the plastic wrap exposed.
 Step 8 - spread 1/2 the stuffing mixture on top of the rectangle, leaving about and inch border at the top and bottom.
Step 9 - roll using the plastic wrap to help - from the bottom to the top and press the seam together. Try not to roll like a jelly roll - you want one cylinder of roast with a stuffing center.
Step 10 - place a clean damp pastry cloth vertically on the counter, use the plastic wrap to lift the roast and place on the lower edge of the pastry cloth, roll the roast up in the cloth all the way to the top. Tie the ends with kitchen twine.
Step 11 - repeat with the remaining roast and stuffing.
Step 12 - steam the roasts for 2 hours in a large stock pot with a steamer insert. Turn the roasts after 1 hour.
Step 13 - Remove roasts from steamer onto kitchen mat. Carefully unroll from the pastry cloths.
Note: at this point you may let one roast cool slightly and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for later in the week. I have kept a roast for up to one week prior to baking.

At this point, your roast is ready for some nice vegan gravy and a side of mashed potatoes - however, there is one more step that makes this already delicious roast, even better......

Glazing and finishing your roast with a crispy "skin":
Pre-heat oven to 350 F
For each roast:
1 sheet of yuba (dried tofu skin - available at Asian markets) - soaked in HOT water until soft, but do not over soak, the yuba will fall apart.
1/8 C olive oil or mild vegetable oil
1 T tamari
1/8 t. smoked paprika
Gently pat the yuba dry. Combine the oil, tamari and paprika and rub on both sides of the softened yuba sheet. Lay the oiled yuba sheet vertically on the counter. Place the roast at the bottom and roll the roast up in the yuba skin, tuck the ends under and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, flip over and bake for 15 minutes more, until golden brown. Remove from oven , slice with a serrated knife and serve with vegan gravy. If the mood strikes you  - add all the trimmings for a holiday or special occasion feast. 
Don't forget - you have a second roast! 
Simply steam the reserved roast for 20 minutes, glaze, finish and roast for a second feast later in the week! Slice thin and top with cranberry relish for an awesome sandwich filler, too.

Smoked "Cheddar" spread

1 tub of Tofutti Cream Cheese (or any other vegan "cream cheese")
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash or 21 Salute (salt free herb seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt or Kosher salt
pinch cayenne pepper (or more, if you like it hot)
tumeric - just a touch for color

Bac~Os, chives and/or green onions for garnish

This is pretty straight forward.
Put the entire contents of 1 tub of "cream cheese" in a bowl.
Add the next 7 ingredients.
Mix well.
If you are serving immediately, you can mix in the Bac~Os and Chives, form a ball or cheese log, then roll in more Bac~Os and chopped green onions.
Otherwise - spread on crackers and sprinkle with Bac~Os and chive snips.
PS, FYI, BTW and BTO - Bac~Os are not meat. Not by a long shot.
Also, as long as I still have your attention, you could use "real" cream cheese too, if that's how you roll.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gigantes with kale

Gigantes are HUGE lima beans that a popular in Turkey, Greece and throughout the middle east. You can find them in middle eastern markets.

3 C Gigantes washed and drained
4 C water
combine in a large stockpot, bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Let stand 1/2 hour. Drain and rinse.
Cook Gigantes:
3 C pre-soaked Gigantes
10C water
1/2 t cracked black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 t dried oregano
combine in large stockpot over high heat until it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender but not mushy.
Drain and reserve cooking water. Set aside beans and water, for now.

Gigantes with Kale:
2-3 T Olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced or crushed
1 bunch kale - washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 tomato - diced
bean cooking water
kosher salt
zataar (middle eastern seasoning) -or- crushed dried rosemary

Braise the kale - Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add kale and saute for a minute or two. Add garlic.
saute until the kale is on the verge of browning, then add 1/2 C of the bean cooking water, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid add cooked Gigantes and heat until most of the water is gone. Add the tomato, toss lightly over medium heat until all of the water is gone.
Remove from heat. Place in a large serving bowl.

To serve place individual serving in bowls - since we have varying tastes in my household, I let everyone season their own by drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with kosher salt or sea salt and then adding either zataar OR crushed rosemary leaves. (Either one is delicious, but decidedly different and not so good together.)

Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegan "Full Breakfast"

1 slice Food for Life - Sprouted Wheat Bread - toasted
1/3 C leftover cranberry beans - heated
1 roma tomato sauteed
2 sausage patties made with Lightlife Gimme Lean veggie sausage.

Easy, filling, perfect brunch.

You could add some scrambled tofu to this.
For a more traditional, yet vegan, Full Breakfast you could serve a proper slice of grilled tomato and also use tradition Heinz Beans and buttered grilled bread, instead of toast.

Full disclosure: I hate margarine. I use butter (gasp!). I figure, if you can't make it at home, you shouldn't eat it. And, yeah, super awesome photo of my chipped dinner plate, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zucchini Noodles

If you are cutting back on pasta this is an easy and delicious substitute. Unless you hate zucchini, in which case this is a nightmare on a plate.
4 zucchini
a vegetable peeler

Wash the zucchini and cut off the stem and the tiniest bit of the end.
Place the zucchini on a cutting board.
Yeah, keep it on the cutting board, don't try to be fast or fancy.
If you try to pick it up and peel it, you will make a mess.
So, just put in back down on the board, already
Run the peeler lengthwise along the zucchini.
Repeat, giving the zucchini a slight turn after each pass.

Repeat until you get to the middle where all of those little seeds are - now you want to concentrate on the ends until all you have left is a seedy core. 
You can discard the cores or save them for soup. Or take photos of them and post them on the internet.

Keep going in this manner until you have enough zucchini ribbons - roughly 1 zucchini per person.

I cook these over medium high heat in a bit of olive oil with some minced garlic - they cook very quickly and you need to keep tossing them as they cook. You don't want them to get too mushy, just bright green and slightly tender. the ribbons in this photo are about 2 minutes away from being done.
Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.
Shout out to kitchen goddess Heidi who introduced me to the idea of noodles made from squash.
"Hey, girl, I stole your squash idea and I'm claiming it for my own, Holla!"

Friday, February 11, 2011


It doesn't get much easier than this.
1/4 C Good Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 red pepper - diced
1 zucchini - diced
1 eggplant (you guessed it) diced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Heat the oilve oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the garlic, red pepper, zucchini and eggplant. Saute for 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and the seasonings to taste. Simmer on low for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours - watch to make sure  you don't need to add more liquid, if  you go longer than 30 minutes.
For a heartier meal, serve over couscous (as pictured), rice, over any kind of mild white beans or with some good whole grain bread.