Posts Tagged vegan

Spring Sandwich with Avocado, Radish, and Greens.

And just like that, everything is new again.

The chill of winter has lifted and life is springing forth from the ground. I see it all around me and I feel it in my bones.

Spring has come.

With the spring comes change. For me, this time of year means many different things; it is a time of celebration, a time of plenty, and a time of joy. It is a time for farmer’s markets and radishes and ramps and spring greens. It is a time for opening up the windows, a time for letting the sunlight and fresh air in.

daffodils

For some of us, this season is also a time of remembrance. A time of fasting and prayer, in preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ. For the past few years, Nich and I have observed Great Lent (aka Orthodox Lent). For six weeks, we abstain from meat, dairy, and alcohol, in preparation for the Easter Feast (Pascha).

I am only one week into Great Lent, but I already feel the effects of fasting. I feel focused and rested, contemplative and clear-minded. I feel hopeful and grateful. And yet, I am struck by the realization that I have so much. I have the freedom to abstain from luxuries such as meat, cheese, and wine. I know that there are many (many) people in this world who aren’t afforded this choice. They abstain because they do not have.

It is a sobering realization that I do not take lightly. Such is the nature of this season – it is a time of hope and of heaviness.

All that said, here’s to spring and all that it brings.

Spring Sandwich with Radishes, Avocado, and Spring Greens

Serving Size: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 heaping cup spring greens (baby kale, arugula, spinach, chard, lettuce, etc.), washed and patted dry.
  • 3 radishes
  • Slices of whole wheat sourdough (or other bread of your choice)
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. First, I like to ‘quick pickle’ the red onion. You don’t have to pickle the red onion, but I think it adds a nice vinegary kick to the sandwich. To pickle the onion, first peel the onion and slice 1/4 of the onion into very thin slices (reserve the rest for another use). Place the onion slices in a small bowl and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt over the onions. Pour red wine vinegar over the onions, just enough to cover and stir to coat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes (or more).
  2. Meanwhile, assemble the sandwiches. In a small bowl, toss the greens with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (Be careful not to overdress, use only a little olive oil and lemon juice.)
  3. Spread a thin layer of whole grain mustard onto a piece of bread. Top with half of the greens. Slice the avocado in half, and cut the half into thin slices (reserving the other half for a second sandwich). Arrange the avocado slices atop the greens.
  4. Using a knife or mandoline, slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Place radish slices atop the avocado.
  5. Sprinkle a few of the pickled red onions atop the sandwich. Season with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with another slice of bread, or enjoy as an open-faced sandwich.
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Roasted Lemon and Shallot Chutney

Five years ago I moved from Los Angeles, CA, to Portland, OR.

It was quite possibly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, for so many reasons. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this city, this state, the atmosphere, the people, all of it. I really love it here.

But it is precisely this time of year that I find myself missing California. I don’t miss the traffic, the smog, the crowds, or the stress. Really, I just miss the California sunshine and the California citrus. For all of Oregon’s greatness, we don’t have much of either of those two things this time of year. (On the other hand, we do have a lot of clouds, rain, kale, and squash. I like all of those things, but I tire of them easily.)

Last week, my mom gave me a really nice gift. My parents recently went to visit my aunt and uncle in Palm Springs, and my mom brought back a bag of Meyer Lemons from my aunt’s lemon tree. She was kind enough to give me a handful of the Meyer lemons, and it made my entire week. (I’m not kidding.)

I knew I needed to make something special with these Meyer lemons, so I decided to make a version of this roasted lemon chutney. The chutney incorporates all parts of the lemon, and the roasting process mellows the bitterness of the lemon. This is a simple and rustic chutney, and I would highly recommend that you slather it on some crusty bread with a dollop of soft cheese.

Roasted Lemon and Shallot Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot (or 2 small shallots), roughly chopped
  • 3 Meyer lemons, plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus a bit more for brushing)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped basil or mint

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Wash the lemons and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds (discard the end pieces). Use a knife (or fingers) to remove the seeds from the lemon slices. Place the lemon slices on the baking sheet and brush with a bit of olive. Sprinkle a touch of sea salt over the lemons.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the chopped shallots with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a separate baking sheet (or in a small baking pan). Roast the shallots until they are tender and lightly browned, around 15 minutes. Once the shallots are cooked, remove them from the oven and set aside until needed.
  4. While the shallots are cooking, roast the lemons (on a separate oven rack). Cook the lemons for ten minutes, and then turn them over and continue roasting until they are very tender and are beginning to brown (about 20 minutes total cooking time). Remove the lemons from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Once the lemons shallots are cooled, transfer them to a food processor. Add in the olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add a bit at a time and pulse until the mixture comes together (it will look creamy, with a few chunks). Taste and adjust the seasonings until the chutney is to your liking. Allow to sit for 2 hours before serving, to allow the flavors to meld. If adding in chopped herbs, stir them into the chutney right before serving.
  6. The chutney can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
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Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup: Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2013!

I’m not gonna lie, this year was a doozy.

There were a lot of ups and downs, but I got through it. It wasn’t easy, but it was good.

I am happy, I am healthy, and I can honestly say that I am welcoming the new year with a spirit of excitement and anticipation. I know there are a lot of good things ahead.

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, they just aren’t my thing. However, I view the new year as an opportunity to reflect and to refocus. It’s a time to be thankful, and a time to move forward.

And, as silly as it might sound, it’s a time to get back to eating healthy, to eating the food that makes me feel good. (While I love all the treats and goodies that come with the holidays, they make me feel downright miserable!) It’s time to eat more fruits and vegetables. And it’s time to eat less grains, sugar, and processed foods.

I am ready for the new year, and whatever changes it may bring.

I’m ready to start things off on the right foot.

All that to say, here’s to a happy and healthy 2013.

{The following is a list of recipes that I’ve been inspired by recently.}


Butternut Squash with Farro and Honey Harissa Dressing
from Happy Yolks
Garlicky Kale with Bacon and a Poached Egg from Pearl & Pine
Scallops with Carrot Cream and Marjoram from Food Republic
Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon (over a Sweet Potato) from The Kitchn
Raw Kale, Cabbage, and Carrot Salad with Maple Vinaigrette from Gourmande in the Kitchen
Vegan Pho from Green Tea Broth from The Cozy Herbivore
Wintery Spring Rolls from 101 Cookbooks

{And here are a few of my own recipes that are healthy and seasonal.}

Pumpkin and Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Roasted Red Pepper Cream
Potato and Kale Soup with Tomatoes and Rosemary
Roasted Carrot Tacos with Carrot Green Chimichurri
Roasted Broccoli with Honey, Sriracha, and Soy Sauce
Chickpea Pancakes with Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

{And here is a brand new recipe for a spicy butternut squash soup!}

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 6-7 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass (or 1 tablespoon frozen lemongrass, which can be found in most Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice, plus 2 large strips of lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (omit if vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Coconut or olive oil
  • Optional garnishes:
  • Cilantro
  • Sriracha hot sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil (coconut or olive oil) over medium heat. Add in the minced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add in the curry paste, coriander and cumin, and stir to coat.
  2. Next, add in the squash cubes, stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, fish sauce, and lime juice and zest. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes (or more), until the squash is cooked through and tender. Remove lime zest strips and lemon grass stalk.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it reaches a smooth consistency. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. (If you feel the soup is too thick, feel free to add in more stock or a bit of water to thin it out.)
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Sriracha and fresh cilantro.
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Pumpkin & Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing (Recipe Swap)

Last month, I wasn’t able to participate in the Recipe Swap, as I was driving across the country with my sister. In two years of swapping, this is the only post I’ve missed! I was bummed to miss out on all the recipe swap fun, but driving across the country isn’t exactly conducive to cooking. (On the contrary, driving across the country is conducive to eating a lot of crappy food and drinking gas station coffee.)

That being said, it’s good to be back.

There are times when Christianna emails the swap group our recipe for the month, and I’m completely inspired by it. This was not one of those times. This month’s recipe – “Russian Salad” is just plain nasty. It’s essentially a potato salad with veal and herring. (Yes, herring.) If I’m being truly honest, I got to the herring part of the recipe and decided to read no further. I am just not down with fish in my potato salad. So, I went in a totally and completely different direction. Really, the only thing my pumpkin kale salad has in common with Russian Salad is that they are both….salads. That’s it.

I blame this salad on Pinterest. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a bit of a ‘pumpkin craze’ on Pinterest as of late. It’s all pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin cocktails, etc, etc. I hate it! You see, I love pumpkin. I love it in curries and soups and stews. I love pumpkin in salads, gratins, and casseroles. Pumpkin is an amazingly flavorful and versatile fruit. And, sure, I love pumpkin pie as much as the next person, I just happen to believe that pumpkin does not belong in coffee. ;)

So, this is my take on the Russian salad, as well as my official submission to the great pumpkin craze. I hope you like it.

PUMPKIN & KALE SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING
Makes 6-8 servings

Salad ingredients:
1 small heirloom pumpkin (or 1/2 of a large pumpkin)
2 heaping cups of chopped lacinato kale
2 heaping cups of roughly chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup candied pecans*
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Tahini dressing:
2 tablespoons sesame tahini paste
2 small cloves of garlic
the juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon water (more, if needed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper

*You could easily make your own spiced or candied pecans, or use plain pecans. I happened upon some candied pecans at Trader Joe’s that I thought were quite tasty in this salad.

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a Silpat.

Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then cut each half in 2 or 3 pieces (whatever is easiest to handle). Using your knife, carefully remove the pumpkin skin from each segment. Once the skin is removed, chop the pumpkin into 1″ cubes. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to coat. Spread the pumpkin pieces into an even layer on the baking sheet, and roast until fork tender, but firm (about 30 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the pumpkin is cooling, mix the dressing together. Stir together tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. The mixture will thicken and turn a lighter shade. Begin adding water, a little at a time. Stir until the mixture is light and creamy, and the desired thickness. Stir in yogurt and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the chopped lettuce and kale. Toss with tahini dressing, and gently mix in the pumpkin cubes, pecans, and minced parsley. Toss with a bit more tahini dressing, until coated. Taste, and season with extra salt & pepper, if needed.



Roasted Strawberry Vinaigrette

First off, I’d like to thank you all for your support, kind words, and encouragement! I’m so excited to start my new job at Plate & Pitchfork, and your support means a lot.

In all the excitement of preparing for the new job (and training my replacement at the old job), I’ve not had a lot of time to cook. Honestly, I’ve not had a lot of time to do anything (Laundry, housecleaning, etc.). It’s just a busy season in life.

But, I bought a few pints of strawberries at the Montavilla Farmer’s Market last weekend and they sort of forced my hand. I used up some of the strawberries to make Minted Strawberry Shortcakes with Lemony Whipped Cream.

But I was over-zealous in my strawberry purchasing (they looked so good!) and I had a lot of strawberries leftover. They were just sitting in the fridge, begging me to use them. I noticed that a couple of the strawberries were beginning to brown, and I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t let them go to waste!

So I roasted the strawberries and then blended them with garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices. I transformed the last of my strawberries into a vinaigrette (and a darn good one, at that).

I saved the strawberries and got a delicious salad dressing out of the deal.

It’s a win-win situation.

ROASTED STRAWBERRY VINAIGRETTE
(Slightly Adapted from Glow Kitchen)
Makes 1.5 cups (or so) of vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
1 pint of ripe strawberries (2 cups)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
14 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
Salt & pepper, to taste

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, de-stem the strawberries and slice them in half. Line a baking pan with tinfoil and place the strawberries on the lined baking pan. Bake, until the strawberries are roasted and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Remove strawberries from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, blend the strawberries together with the rest of the ingredients, using a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Depending on your preference you can add more olive oil (or water) if the dressing is too thick.

Store the vinaigrette in an airtight container in the fridge. The dressing will keep for a week (or more).

Recipe Swap: Coconut Brown Rice Pudding

 

It’s our first recipe swap of 2012, and I’m only a few days late to the party. (Oh well! Better late than never, I suppose…)

As many of you know, I’m part of the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap. The swap consists of 25 foodies and writers from all over the world, and each month we re-interpret a vintage recipe (selected by Christianna of Burwell General Store) and post our creations on the first Sunday of the month.

This month, Christianna selected this recipe for the swap: Zabaglione for Two.

I was a bit flabbergasted by this recipe. First off, I had to google Zabaglione as I had no idea what it was. The images that appeared on my screen horrified me: it looked like a rich, lumpy, custardy mess. Granted, this recipe came at a bad time – I had just started my January detox and was feeling particularly over-sugared from the holidays. I couldn’t stomach the thought of a heavy custard. I decided that I needed to transform zabaglione into something light and healthy.

The only problem was that I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to pull off this transformation. I was stumped.

After a lot of thought, I finally decided to make a coconut milk brown rice pudding. It’s vegan, gluten free, and it doesn’t contain much sugar. And, most importantly, it’s easy to digest. It makes my belly happy. And as of right now, a happy belly is a top priority.

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I do think it is worth mentioning that I have IBS.

Meaning: my stomach hates me.

I’ve tried various medications, elimination diets, fasts, probiodics, kombucha, vitamins, herbs, and more. I’ve been tested for various diseases and allergies, but everything comes back negative. In my opinion, IBS is the diagnosis doctors give you when they can’t figure out what’s wrong with your digestive system. So, I just do my best to take care of myself. I try to listen to my body. I started a detox on January 1st, because I wanted to cleanse after the holidays. I drank a lot of chicken broth and ate a lot of veggies. And the funny/tragic thing is, my stomach felt even worse during the cleanse. I was downright miserable. Nothing I ate or drank (or didn’t eat or drink) seemed to help.

I just didn’t have the heart to cook anything, let alone create a recipe for the swap.

But, I gave it a couple days and gradually I began to feel better. I allowed myself to dream of delicious and tummy-friendly recipes that might work for the swap. And then I remembered an amazing rice porridge I had for breakfast a couple years ago at a local brunch spot in Portland. I specifically remember that I ordered the porridge because I wasn’t feeling well and it was named something clever like “The Belly Pleaser”. It was made with coconut milk and had fresh mango on top. I loved it (and so did my stomach).

So this is my ode to “The Belly Pleaser”. It’s no zabaglione, to be sure. But it is a pudding — a pudding that happens to be vegan, gluten free, low-sugar, and is quite easy on the stomach. It also happens to taste wonderful. And that, my friends, is a fabulous thing.

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding
Adapted from The Witchy Kitchen
Note: This recipe uses pre-cooked brown rice, so make sure you factor that into your cooking time. Once the rice is cooked, however, this recipe takes 5-10 minutes to throw together.

Ingredients:
2.5 cups pre-cooked short grain brown rice
1 can (14 ounces) of light coconut milk
1/4 cup soy milk (or dairy milk)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus cinnamon stick for garnish)
1 teaspoon vanilla*
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cardamom pods
1/4 cup golden raisins (plus more, for garnish)
Slivered almonds, for garnish

*I think this recipe would be incredible with real vanilla bean, I just didn’t happen to have any at home when I made this. Vanilla extract works nicely, I just think that real vanilla would be killer.

Method:
Heat coconut milk, soy (or dairy) milk and sugar together in a medium sized pot. Until warm. Whisk in corn starch and vanilla. Add in rice, 1/4 cup of golden raisins, and cardamom pods and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly and reduce heat if necessary. Allow mixture to gently simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.

Once the pudding has thickened, remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve warm, with a dusting of cinnamon. Garnish with almond slivers and extra golden raisins. Can also be enjoyed cold.

Hello there, 2012: It’s Time to Detox.

And just like that, life is suddenly normal again.

The holidays have come and gone. The Christmas decor is all packed away. I’m back to sitting at a desk in a cubicle for 40 hours a week. And, of course, since it’s the first week of January I’m doing what every other resolution-making, gym-membership-buying American is doing this week: I’m detoxing.

To be clear, I’m using the term ‘detox’ very loosely. Really, I’m just cutting back on sugar, alcohol, and carbohydrates (and all those other things that taste really good but aren’t actually good for you). Since life has returned to normal, my diet should do the same. It is officially time to say goodbye to holiday treats. As much as I love them, they certainly do not love me: I feel tired, old, and sluggish.

So, I’m going back to square one. I’m going to eat simple, whole foods. I’m going to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains. I’m going to be good to my body. There is no formula; this isn’t rocket science. I’m just going to do the best that I can.

If you’d like to join me, I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite “detox” recipes. These recipes have inspired me to eat better, and they’ve certainly made me feel better. Please do let me know if you have any detox recipes that you’d like to share! I’d love to hear your suggestions. Happy new year, everyone. Here’s to healthy, happy living!

POST-HOLIDAY DETOX RECIPES: A FEW OF MY PERSONAL FAVES.

Cleansing Ginger Chicken Soup from Bon Apetit: I made a big batch of this broth last week and I LOVE it. For the first few days after Christmas, I simply drank this ginger chicken broth on its own (alongside a simple kale salad). I still had quite a bit of the broth leftover (I made a giant batch), so I roasted some carrots, fennel, parsnips, celery and onions and added that to the broth, along with some leftover cooked chicken. It made for the best chicken and vegetable soup ever. It is full of flavor and nutrients, and it makes my belly really really happy.

Kale and Peanut Slaw from The Kitchn: I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for ages, but I didn’t get around to making until last week. It’s simple, fresh, filling, and wonderful. (It’s also reminiscent of my all-time favorite salad: Raw Kale Apple Salad.)

Coconut Black Eyed Pea Soup from Boulder Locavore: A new year’s tradition (black eyed peas), transformed into an amazing soup. This soup looks rich, yet bright and refreshing (and healthy!). I will be making this soon.

Detox Salad from Oh She Glows: I’ve not yet made this salad, but how could I not add a salad called ‘Detox Salad’ to my list of detox foods? This salad contains SO many wonderful things, and I plan on making it sometime this week.

Miso Soup from 101 Cookbooks: I’ve made Heidi’s miso soup recipe many, many times. I adore this recipe, as does my stomach.

Vegan Caesar Salad: This is my adaptation of 101 Cookbooks Vegan Caesar salad. It’s lighter than a typical Caesar and uses a mix of greens as opposed to iceberg or Romaine lettuce. It’s much healthier than a typical Caesar, and in my opinion – it tastes every bit as good. The secret? Capers.

Warm Chickpea & Butternut Squash Salad from Smitten Kitchen: I’ve also made this salad a zillion times. I like to eat it alongside hummus & pita, but it can be served on its own as a meal. The Tahini dressing is the key, as it really marries all the flavors together beautifully. This salad is also great leftover (and eaten warm or cold).

Balsamic Roasted Roots with Spinach Sauce from Sprouted Kitchen: I could easily include every recipe from Sprouted Kitchen in my roundup, but this recipe seemed particularly appropriate for the season. Plus, the photos are gorgeous.

Curried Quinoa and Apple Salad: What’s not to like about quinoa with apples, curry, coconut milk, golden raisins and almonds? This is such a simple salad, but it’s full of bright and bold flavors. This is also my favorite weekday lunch recipe.

Spicy Slaw with Shredded Chicken from The Unexpected Harvest: This is a recipe from my dear friend Mari that I’ve had bookmarked for ages. Somehow, I’ve never gotten around to making it! It is a simple cabbage slaw with a spicy dressing, served with shredded chicken and soft boiled eggs. It looks hearty, without being too heavy.

Carrot Soup with Orange and Lemongrass: This might be my favorite soup of all time. It’s spicy and powerful, bold and bright. And, it’s vegan!

Vegetarian African Peanut Stew from Big Girls, Small Kitchen: A hearty winter vegetable stew with sweet potatoes, peanuts, edamame, spinach and more.