February 7, 2013

Sesame Bok Choy with Quinoa

What have I been up to lately?  Reading, yes reading.  I made a personal resolution to finish the eight or so books I have started but not finished.  I began with John Robbins Diet for a New America.  Many vegans I know were vegetarian until they read this book.  I am starting to see why.  John Robbins was one of the first speakers I stopped to listen to when I started really learning about plant based eating.  I remember his talk. He was very interesting, but I hadn't really gotten deep into his book until now.  He really brings home the idea of the suffering animals endure in the name of making money.  Even though I began this journey to improve my health, I am starting to take on a little empathy for the animals. I've heard that there are three main reasons people go to plant based eating:  health, the environment, and the animals.  Once one door was opened the other reasons become clearer and it just all became part of what I think about when it comes to choosing what we eat.

We're going on vacation this year to see my son and meet my newest granddaughter.  We're going to be staying in a small two room dome made from earth and rock in the desert.  There's an outdoor kitchen with a cooler.  I thought I'd spend some time practicing some really easy recipes.  With those kind of meals in mind I can pick up some fruit and veggies, a little quinoa, some dates & nuts, and some beans and we're ready to spend the week eating plant based with a little decadence while camping. I flipped through the Vegan on $4 a Day cookbook I picked up this summer and it didn't take long to find an easy recipe with few ingredients.  It's a great book to practice those quick and easy meals.  I have some fresh locally made tempeh and started looking for a nice tempeh recipe. I found an easy tempeh recipe pretty quickly, but on the opposite page was a recipe for Sesame Bok Choy.  I remembered I picked up a couple nice heads of Bok Choy at People's Coop last weekend.  I'll use the tempeh tomorrow.

This whole meal didn't take longer than 30 minutes to prepare.  I diced an onion, sliced four carrots about an inch thick, chopped three nice cloves of garlic, and thinly sliced up two medium heads of Bok Choy.  I put 1 cup of quinoa on to simmer for 20 minutes in 2 1/2 cups water with a little sea salt.

While the quinoa was simmering I sauteed the onion, garlic, and carrots in 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil until they were tender.  Then I added the bok choy, about a tablespoon of tamari, , a teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger, a teaspoon of maple syrup, and a half a cup of water.  I let that all simmer together about five minutes.

I served that on top of the hot quinoa and sprinkled a few toasted sesame seeds on top.  Lovely meal and quick too.

January 27, 2013

White Bean & Black Rice Soup with Kale

My friend Linda gave me a recipe recently for Chickpea & Rice Soup With a Little Kale.  I made it this weekend for our lunches and dinners this week with some white beans I had on hand and black forbidden rice. That's why mine came out more like a brown sauce stew than soup.  I thickened it with the cashews creme and it came out very nice.  It's a nice hearty stew that will warm the bones in the cold weather this week.  This recipe can be made with just about any beans and your favorite brown rice.

Here's the recipe the way I made it.

White Bean & Black Rice Soup with Kale

I cooked 1 cup and a half of white great northern beans that I soaked for about six hours in a quart of low sodium vegetable broth.  I cooked them until tender and the liquid was most absorbed.  Canned beans may be used - 1 24 ounce can white beans drained and rinsed.

3/4 cup cashews, soaked in 2 hours or overnight
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup forbidden rice
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, diced chunky
5 cups vegetable broth (may need more depending on the desired consistency)

Thinly sliced green onion for garnish

Drain the cashews and place them in a blender with one cup of fresh filtered water.  Blend until completely smooth, scraping the sides of the food processor or blender.

In a large soup pot saute onion in a couple tablespoons water, adding 1 tablespoon at a time to keep from sticking to the pot until translucent.  Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and saute a couple minutes more.

Add rice, celery, and carrots and then pour in the broth.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down to a simmer, add the beans, and let cook for about 20 - 25 minutes until rice is cooked and carrots are tender.

Add the cashew creme and kale, and simmer until kale is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes more.  You may need to add more vegetable broth or water to the soup if it seems to thick.  Serve topped with sliced green onions.

Veggie Potluck & Potato Corn Chowder

It's been a few months since we've had a vegan/vegetarian potluck in Longview.  We had to find a new home, so we ended up skipping a couple months.  The Youth & Family Link building worked out very well, it's almost too big, but we now have room to grow.  We were starting to get a little squeezed in the produce store.  There were about thirty people together for an excellent meal. We had a nice variety of choices of savory dishes, salads, and desserts.  One of my favorites was a potato corn chowder which I promptly recreated today.  It's so creamy and warm, a perfect rainy day meal.  We caught up with some old friends and met a few new people.  Don Merrick from Northwest Veg came and spoke to us about corporate structures of the food industry and filled us in on some of the specifics and progression of the GMO issues.  Everyone seemed to enjoy dinner and a couple of folks were happy to find something like this in town and said they'd be back again.  Our next potluck is March 23.


Potato Corn Chowder
Makes 8 cups
Use 3.5-7 qt. cooker

#1  Blend the following ingredients in a blender 1-2 minutes, until very smooth.  Pour into slow cooker.

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked two hours
1/3 cup pimento
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons quick or rolled oats
3 tablespoons Vegan chiken seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

#2  Rinse the blender with 2 1/2 cups water and add to the cooker.

#3  Add the following ingredients to the cooker and cook until the potatoes are tender.  Average cooker about 4-5 hours on lowest setting.

3 cups peeled potatoes cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cups frozen organic corn
2 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion

Garnish with dried parsley, chopped fresh parsley, or chopped green onions.  Add a little non dairy milk or water if the chowder is too thick.

January 7, 2013

Apple Fig Crisp with Coconut Cashew Vanilla Creme

Last summer my friend Mary told me of a fig tree that was just loaded with ripe figs.  We promptly went to work picking and drying figs that weekend.  I am really glad I did.  I've store my dried figs in the freezer to keep them from molding.  Dried fruit has a shelf life too no matter how well you keep it.  Some fruit seems to do very well when I store it in the freezer.  I took some out and re-hydrated them in filtered water overnight.  They worked out fine, beautiful sweet figs in January.  I made a nice big apple fig crisp.  It was very easy.

Fig and Apple Crisp

1 1/4 cups dried figs, stems removed and diced
1/2 cup apple cider or fresh apple juice
3/4 cup spelt or whole wheat pastry flour + 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup turbinado sugar + 2 tablespoons (your favorite dry sweetener will work)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons vegan margarine, I used Organic Earth Balance
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick

Combine the figs and apple cider in a large bowl and let stand 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. This will work fine with more moist dried figs, but if they are very dry like mine are, I would soak them for 2 - 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ

To make the topping, whisk the 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar and spices together in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingertips, blend in the margarine until the mixture is crumbly and forms moist clumps.  Stir in the pecans.

Mix the apples, 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar into the figs.  Transfer the mixture into a lightly oiled 8 x 8 x 2 baking dish.  Bake for 40 minutes, then cover loosely with foil and continue to bake until the apples are very tender, about 20 minutes longer.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

I made a quick vegan cream I like using the solid potion of a can of chilled coconut milk.  I put the coconut creme in my blender with about a half cup of cashews, the seeds from half a vanilla bean, and about a cup of powdered sugar.  I used about 2 tablespoons of the liquid coconut milk to get the desired texture.  Then I chilled it for about an hour to thicken a little.  Very Nice.