Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lentil Soup

2 C dried lentils - I prefer french green lentils
6 C water
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 stalks celery -whole
2 cloves garlic - chopped fine
1 cube Knorr vegetable bouillon
1 T molasses
1 T balsamic vinegar

Rinse and drain the lentils and put in a large pot with the water, garlic and celery stalks. Bring to boil over high heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove celery stalks. Add tomatoes and bouillon. Simmer on low heat for another hour. Stir in molasses and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve as is -or- for a heartier meal serve over rice or baked potato.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Barbecued Beans

2 C dried soybeans – soaked overnight in 6 Cups of water. (or any mild, white bean of your choice)
8 C  water
1 batch of homemade barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
¾ C  water
Drain the soybeans and discard the soaking water.
Place soybeans and 8 Cups of fresh cold water in a large stockpot.
Heat to boiling point over high heat, reduce to simmer (low) and cook for 3-4 hours until firm but tender.
Note to self: Add more water as needed to keep the soybeans from burning!
Drain the cooked soybeans. In a large mixing bowl combine beans, barbecue sauce and ¾ C. water.
Place in Crock-pot on High for 2 hours or until tender, but not scorched!
(you may baked in a 350 degree oven in a covered casserole, too)
Once the beans are tender, simply turn the Crock-pot on Low until time to eat.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe in The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.

Barbecue Sauce

2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic – minced
½ C onion – chopped fine
¼ t ground red pepper
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t ground ginger
1 t dried ground mustard
1 t kosher salt
1- 6oz. can tomato paste
1/8 C molasses
1/8 C honey
¼ C brown sugar
¼ t orange peel finely grated
1 t balsamic vinegar
1t tamari
½ C water
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is clear and the edges slightly brown.
While stirring, add the red pepper, pepper flakes, ginger, mustard and salt.
Stir in the tomato paste, molasses and honey. Mix well.
Add the brown sugar and orange peel. Mix well.
Add the balsamic, tamari and water, stirring well after each addition.
Simmer over low heat, while stirring, for 2 minutes.
Use as you would any barbecue sauce. It is fantastic to use for making baked tofu!

Baked Tofu

Press 1 block of firm tofu (directions follow)
Slice into 1″ thick  slices
Marinate for 1 hour to 24 hours in:
3 T olive oil
1 T sesame oil
3 T tamari
2 T finely chopped garlic
2 T finely grated ginger root
1t cayenne pepper
Pre heat oven to 375 F
Drain excess marinade from the tofu slices and pat dry.
Place tofu slices evenly spaced on a baking sheet
Bake for 20-30 minutes
Turn the slices over and (optional) sprinkle with sesame seeds, nori flakes, red pepper flakes
or a combination of all three
Bake for another 15 -20 minutes
Bake too your liking, I prefer these baked well - almost like a tender jerky.
You may like them a little softer.
These baked tofu slices keep well refrigerated and make great ready-to-go lunches.
Pressing Tofu
In Asian specialty market you can find tofu that is already pressed and vacuum sealed.
Before using any water packed tofu - I press out the excess water.
The exception would be when using soft tofu, because, trust me, you just can't press that stuff.
There are no strict rules, but essentially, you are going to place the block of tofu on a slightly slanted surface
next to your sink. Next, place a weight on top of the tofu and let the water drain off and into the sink for a half an hour or so.
I use a cutting board with a Ball jar lid under one end and place a medium sauce pan 3/4 full of water on top of the tofu. I have seen people use foil covered bricks for weights and that looks pretty darn cool.

3-Day Sprouted Granola

Day 1 -Soak overnight:
1 C whole buckwheat
2 C hulled, raw sunflower seeds
Day 2 – Drain and Rinse the seeds twice a day
Day 3- Pre- heat  your oven to the lowest setting. If you have a dehydrator, you can use that instead. The lowest setting on my oven is 170 F .  The ideal temperature is  150 F, so I occasionally prop my oven door open with a wooden spoon.
Drain the buckwheat and sunflower seeds really well.
In a large bowl combine them with:
1/8 C Grapeseed oil
1/2 C Agave (or honey or maple syrup)
2 C unsweetened coconut
1 C raw almonds
1 C hazelnuts
1 C pecans or walnuts
1 t fine (not ultra fine) sea salt or kosher salt
*optional cinnamon
** optional you may soak the nuts for 6 hours and drain well prior to making the Granola if you tend to have difficulty digesting nuts.
*** optional you may add more oil and sweetener to taste.

Spread mixture on to 2 baking sheets and warm in the oven -
stirring occasionally for 10- 12 hours.
As I stir the mixture, I move the Granola from the edges of the pan in an inward direction
so the edges of the mixture do not become overdone.
Cool thoroughly. Store in tightly sealed glass jars for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegan Yellow Curry with Peas and Peppers

2 cups dry soy chunks (TVP) - reconstituted in 4 cups broth (instructions follow)
1 small yellow onion - halved and sliced thinly
3 T olive oil
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. curry powder
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cardamom
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1-2 T Taste of Thai peanut sauce mix (powder)
2 roma tomatoes -chopped
1 green pepper - cored, seeded, halved, sliced thinly
1 small bag frozen peas
1 Knorr vegetable bouillon cube dissolved in 2 C. boiling water
1 can of coconut milk ( I use "light")
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 1/8 C of cold water
chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish

Drain the soy chunks (reserve the liquid for soups etc., if you like)
Gently press the excess liquid from the soy chunks (and yes, I hate the word "chunks")
Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat then add the soy chunks and spices.
Sort of toss the chunks and spices with a large spoon for a minute.
Now add the onions and Thai Peanut mix - toss again for a minute.
Add the tomatoes, pepper slices and peas - continue sauteing carefully for 2 minutes (can burn easily)
Next, add the boullion/water, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and continue to simmer on low
-at this point it can simmer for a long time or you may proceed-
Add the cornstarch water mixture and continue to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve over rice ( I like short grain brown rice) and garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves.
I also serve with a variety of hot condiments: green sauce, Tabasco, Thai chili sauce, red pepper flakes.

Reconstituting Dried Soy Products
There are a variety of dried soy products (also known as TVP or textured vegetable protein) on the market that are available at health food stores or generally for a much lower price at Asian specialty markets.
The basic method is to cover the dried soy product with boiling water: 1 part TVP to 2 parts water and let it stand for at least a half an hour.

You can add more flavor to your meals by flavoring the water with the appropriate seasonings and simmering for a few minutes prior to letting it sit. For this recipe I added fresh garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, turmeric and a pinch of salt to the water, simmered for 5 minutes, put the lid on it and let in sit all day.

TVP is similar in texture to meat - it has virtually no flavor, so it is WAY tastier when you take the time to hydrate it in a seasoned broth rather than plain water. Always drain the TVP and gently squeeze out the excess water before using it in your recipe.

When she was good....

   This was me in January of 2011

    "I would love to begin this blog by telling you how wonderful it is to be vegan. To tell you about the purity and healthfulness of it all. That, however, would be a big fat lie.The truth is, I am not really a vegan at all. I am an omnivore. Yep. Sometimes I eat my little friends. I'm not proud of that  - it's just a fact. I am not about being sanctimonious, this is just who I am - someone who would be better off being vegan - but I fall off the wagon on a routine basis. Rather than beat myself up over it, I have chosen to  embrace who I am.... carnivorous misgivings and all."

   What a jackass. I could just delete this, but it's good for me to remember that I didn't get here overnight.
   If you can't commit to a vegan lifestyle, I certainly have been there and understand..Try some of this delicious food and someday you may end up where I am - vegan and never looking back. I have learned you can't "unknow" something. Now that I know about the benefits to the planet, our water supply, our air quality, the potential end to starvation on this planet, the welfare of animal, the welfare of my heart - both physically and metaphorically-  I am vegan for life.
Peace and pass the (vegan) chocolate.