Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside.

With the latest arctic air masses coming down from Canada, Maine has a cold spell with temperature at -5F (and -15F with wind chill). Oophs. That means getting out the Def Con 1 winter clothes (looking like the Michelin man), and eating hot soup. I found this wonderful vegan soup on Green Kitchen Stories, and I tried it out over the weekend, changing it around slightly. How does Renee Zellweger say in "Jerry Maguire"? "You got me at hello". Or better this one got me by its beautiful name: white velvet soup.

White Velvet Soup:
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 TB grapeseed oil
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup lima beans (used canned, I used dried one which I cooked)
2 cups of vegetable stock

for serving: hot sauce (recommend Sriracha).

Use a steamer inset for a pot, and steam the cauliflower florets for ca 20 min. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic clove in the oil until only translucent, but not browned (it's called white velvet). Once done, pour the mix in a blender. Add the cooked beans to the blender/food processor. Once the cauliflower is steamed, add to the blender, too, and the vegetable stock. At this point, I let the whole mix cool for about 1h, and then pureed it til smooth. (Don't mix hot ingredients, ever! The whole stuff will explode. Been there, done that). 

Pour the pureed soup back in a pot, and reheat gently. Serve with a squirt of hot sauce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Penne with Slow Cooked Tomato Beef Sauce

We had another snow storm a few days ago, and now it is Cold with a capital C (the wind chills supposedly will to approach -35F tonight but I have NO plans to be outside). Nevertheless, there is wonderful soft fresh snow, blue skies and endless cross country ski trails, and after 10min of skiing I am getting warm no matter the actual temperature. However, coming back from skiing I am ravenous! Pasta, please, with slow-cooked tomato sauce over vegetables!

2 oz penne pasta, cooked according to instructions
1 cup frozen vegetable, microwaved for 3.5 min

Slow-cooked tomato sauce:
1/2 large can of Wholefoods crushed tomatoes with basil
1/2 TB olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
2 stalk celery, washed, and cubed
1 bay leaf
100 g lean ground beef (you can leave this out)
3 TB red wine
2 TB Trader Joes red pepper spread
handful baby spinach leaves.

In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic, and once translucent add in the carrot and celery. Saute everything on medium-low until slightly soft. Add in the beef and sautee for 3-4 min. Add in the red wine, and stir. Simmer until the wine is cooked off. Add in the crushed tomatoes and 1/4 (tomato) can of water and the bay leaf. Stir, heat until bubbly and then pour the tomato sauce into a small slow cooker, which is set to high. Add in the red pepper spread. It takes about 2h to cook on high, or you can let it simmer for 4-5 h on low. I made it around lunch time, and had it ready when I came back from skiing at 4pm. Before serving, add in a handful of baby spinach leaves, which should wilt down immediately in the hot sauce.

Note: in my opinion, frying the onions and garlic first takes out the 'raw' taste of the sauce (instead of adding all ingredients straight to the slow cooker), and the sauce gets a more caramelized, complex flavor while making the beef really tender during slow cooking, especially if you have an inexpensive cut of beef.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Breakfast for skiers

The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, a thick layer of brandnew snow on the trails, it is freezing cold outside and it is the weekend -- time to hit the cross country trails and soak up the sun, fresh air and get the soul going. This requires a protein rich breakfast, and for the first time in a while, I am eating Greek yogurt again. It is sweetened with stevia, sprinkled with thawed frozen raspberries, Vermont muesli and to add some extra superfoods topped with Goij berries and honey. Skiing, here I come!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tempeh Spinach Curry

While it is snowing outside like there is no tomorrow, what better to do then to cook and make a bit pot of a curry?This one is from scratch and vegan.

2 medium sized potatoes, about the size of a fist, peeled and cubed
1 ts coconut oil
1 ts whole cumin seeds
1 ts black mustard seeds
1/2 ts curry powder
1/4 ts turmeric
1/2 ts garam massala
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, small dice
1/2 block of tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch sized cubes
1 ts Rapunzel vegetable bouillon
2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach

In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil and add in the cumin seeds  and mustard seeds. Fry until the start to 'pop' (like popcorn). Now, add in the remaining spices and the onion. Mix well, and saute for about 2-3 min, constantly stiring sot that it does not burn. Add in the tomatoes, and stir. The tomatoes will cool down the mix so that it can be pureed safely (without it exploding in your face because of he hot steam), so, before heating it up further, pour the mix into a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the mix back into the skillet and add the cubed potatoes, bell pepper as well as the jalapeno pepper. Turn heat to low-medium, and simmer for about 15-20 min or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the bouillon, tempeh and the baby spinach. Simmer on low, just to heat through the tempeh and wilt the spinach for about 5 min. Transfer to a large family-style bowl, and serve.  (If not vegan, add some creme fraiche at this point.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Open faced lentil loaf sandwich

Lunch today was delicious: a piece of home-made sourdough bread, toasted in a pan, a teaspoon of harissa, baby spinach and an individual lentil loaf, with more harissa and feta crumbles. Yum!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Moroccan Lentil Loaves

Today, I was in the mood for something vegan, spicy --- and "meaty". I was inspired by a  recipe of the wonderful Angela @ Oh She Glows, the Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut loaf, but by adding different spices and ingredients, it became my  Moroccan Lentil loaf.

(makes only 6 small servings)
1 1/2 cup of cooked lentils, chickpeas and cranberry beans (or beans of your liking)
1 1/2 TB harissa (Moroccan spicy hot pepper paste)
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 ts minced garlic (Trader Joes!)
1 stalk celery, cleaned, finely diced
1/2 TB olive oil
salt, pepper
1 TB bbq sauce
1 flax egg (2 TB ground flax seed, 1/8cup water, mixed to gel)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (Progresso, with herbs and garlic) or home-made

First, mix the flax egg. Preheat oven to 375F.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil, and saute the onions, celery, red bell pepper and the garlic for ca 5min on medium-low. At the end, add in the BBQ sauce, as well as add salt and pepper. Let slightly cool, and add 1/2 of the mixture to a food processor. 

Mix the cooked lentil mix with the harissa, and puree about 75% with the sauteed vegetables in the food processor. Add the puree to a larger bowl and mix with the unprocessed lentils. Add the flax eggs and bread crumbs, and mix all the ingredients gently, Spray a loaf pan or muffin pan or brownie pan with cooking spray, and distribute the mix in the pan, pressing down. As glaze, I added a bit of BBQ sauce.

Bake for 35min at 375F.