Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spicy Green Beans with Crispy Yuba

I have wanted to try Yuba (tofu skin or bean curd sheets) for quite sometime now, but I always end up purchasing other forms of tofu instead.  Yuba is made from soy milk.  The process is quite interesting--the soy milk is heated at very low temperatures and the fat/protein rises to the surface and creates a solid film, which is then collected and is sold either fresh or dried.  For this recipe I used fresh and recommend that you purchase organic Yuba to avoid GMOs.  Also, here is a YouTube video from Hodo Soy Beanery in Oakland, CA showing how they make tofu and Yuba from scratch.  Seems like a great company and you can't get any fresher than this!


1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed, cut into 2" pieces and rinsed
4 oz organic Yuba or bean curd sheets, cut into 1/4" strips
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
5 dried chile de arbol peppers, stems and seeds removed
4 scallions, sliced on a bias
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp organic soy sauce
1 tsp chili black bean sauce (or more depending on how much heat you like)
4 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp agave nectar or sugar
1/4-1/2 cup filtered water
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tbsp canola oil
Canola cooking spray

  • In a small bowl mix together, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, rice wine, and agave nectar and set aside.
  • Prep beans and blanch in boiling, salted water for two and a half minutes until crisp-tender and cool immediately in an ice bath to stop cooking, drain and set aside.
  • Prep Yuba and heat a large frying pan on medium heat.  Add canola oil and sesame oil and fry Yuba strips for about two minutes until they start to curl and get crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Spay frying pan with cooking spray, add garlic, ginger and chilies and cook for a minute until fragrant.  Add 1/4 cup water and cook until most of the water is evaporated.
  • Add sauce and stir to combine and cook for about a minute or two until sauce thickens slightly.
  • Immediately add blanched green beans and Yuba sheets, tossing to heat through, adding more water if necessary.
  • Garnish with additional green onions and serve with brown jasmine rice and more chili sauce if desired.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Curried Lettuce Wraps

Finally! our first beautiful day in the Bay Area in over a week.  The temps are still below normal for this time of year hovering around 70 degrees, but at least the skies were sunny and blue.  A perfect day for a hike...so my husband and I decided to go to Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Los Altos Hills.  What a beautiful place by the way, clearly marked trails, beautiful scenery with mountain vistas and lots of wild life...even saw a rattlesnake! 

Anyway, I knew that I would not want to make dinner after returning from a three hour hike and so before we left I prepped this dish in 15 minutes.  And when we got home it was ready and waiting.  Just a perfect day!

Curry Sauce:

1/4 cup Follow Your Heart Sour Cream
1/4 cup Vegenaise
1/4 cup Major Grey's Mango Chutney
1-2 tbsp Madras Yellow Curry Powder
2 tbsp white wine, veg stock or water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

  • In a large bowl mix all ingredients together and set aside.
Wrap Ingredients:
(Serves 2)

4 oz (1/2 package) Soy Curls (or you can substitute, extra firm baked or fried tofu, tempeh or seitan)
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in 1/2 or 1/4's depending on size
1/2 cup toasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp chives, finely minced
1 head bib lettuce, washed and dried

  • Cover soy curls with boiling water and rehydrate for 15 minutes, drain really well on paper towels or a dish towel to remove excess moisture. Chop into 1" pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • While soy curls are soaking, prep other ingredients.
  • Combine all ingredients together and check for seasonings.
  • Let mixture chill for at least an hour for flavors to develop.
  • Place about 2 tbsp of mixture in the center of each lettuce leaf and garnish with additional chopped cashews and chives.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chicago Dogs with Boardwalk Fries

Since it's Memorial Day weekend, my husband asked if we could have hot dogs for dinner.  I'm not certain if you've ever had a Chicago style hot dog, but the toppings really make it unique.  It's crunchy, spicy, sour and gooey because it's garnished with cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, pickles and cheese.  I've always loved the toppings and this meatless dog is really delicious!  To accompany the dogs, I made Ocean City Boardwalk Fries with Old Bay seasoning and apple cider vinegar.  I grew up in Maryland eating these fries and it brings back so many wonderful memories of hanging out on the boardwalk on a warm summer night with a big cone of spicy fries. 


4 whole grain sprouted hot dog buns (I like Alvarado Street Bakery)
4 Yves Meatless Jumbo Hot Dogs
1/2 cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
4 kosher dill pickles, thinly sliced
1/2 English cucumber, diced small
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
1/2 small onion, diced small
1 tsp canola oil

  • Dice all vegetables and set aside.
  • Heat a frying pan on medium heat, add canola oil and jumbo dogs.
  • Cook for about 4 minutes, turning so that every side is lightly charred.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with Daiya Cheese and cover with a lid for about two minutes for cheese to melt.
  • Toast buns and pile on all the ingredients of choice.
Ocean City Boardwalk Fries:

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" slices
Old Bay Seasoning
Kosher salt
1 Liter Canola Oil for frying
Apple cider vinegar or ketchup for dipping

  • Peel and slice potatoes into 1/4" slices and place in a large bowl and cover with cool water and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Drain potatoes and dry really well with paper towels or a dish towel.
  • In a deep dutch oven or stock pot, using a deep frying thermometer and heat canola oil to 275 degrees.
  • Add 1/2 of the fries and cook for five minutes.  Remove fries and place on a sheet tray and repeat with the remaining fries.
  • Remove oil from heat and chill fries in the freezer for about 15 minutes until cold, but not frozen.  
  • Reheat oil to 350 degrees and again fry the fries in batches until golden and crispy.
  • Remove fries from the oil and drain on paper towels.  While fries are still hot, toss with Old Bay seasoning and kosher salt.
  • Serve hot along with apple cider vinegar and ketchup for dipping. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Gyro

One of my favorite countries to visit is Greece.  My husband and I have traveled all over the Peloponnese, the Cyclades Islands and Crete.  But I still remember that it was in Athens, at a street corner stand, where I had my first authentic gyro.  I remember that we had just walked about six miles, it was hot, we were exhausted and we sat under a shady tree in a city park devouring our gyros.  And when we returned from vacation, we would crave Greek food and attend just about every Greek Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Our favorites were the San Jose festival held the first weekend of June, and the Belmont festival held over Labor Day weekend.  San Jose has the best Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and Belmont has the best Loukamades (warm donuts in a honey-cinnamon syrup).  Both of which I will be making and sharing my recipes in upcoming posts.

Just because we're both vegan now, doesn't mean that we still can't have a gyro.  And I could sell this gyro at any Greek festival and no one would have any idea that it didn't contain meat and dairy.  My husband couldn't believe how authentic the flavor and textures were and said that he could eat this every weekend.  I made my own Greek-Gyro flavored seitan from scratch, but you can purchase whatever brand of seitan you like.  I also made my own Tzatziki made with vegan sour cream, dill, mint, garlic, diced cucumber, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  For the bread, I went to a Middle Eastern market and purchased authentic pita, toasted it slightly and brushed it with olive oil before piling on all the ingredients.       

Most gyros in Greece are topped with Lemon-Oregano fries (Patates Lemonates).  I decided to serve my fries along side the pita which made it a little easier to eat. 

Baked Lemon-Oregano Fries:

1 1/2-2 pounds medium sized Yukon gold or white potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges.  Make sure that you use boiling or waxy potatoes--not russets.
1 tbsp Greek dried oregano
Juice of two-three lemons
Greek extra virgin olive oil or another quality olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss potatoes in olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt and pepper and spread out evenly on a sheet pan with edges or a large casserole dish.
  • Add enough filtered water to just cover the potatoes.
  • Bake in the oven until all the liquid is evaporated.
  • Drizzle with additional olive oil and bake until golden brown.
  • Just before serving, squeeze with additional lemon juice and kosher salt if needed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Lentil & Cauliflower Curry with Methi Thepla

When I was a young girl I lived in an apartment complex and I remember our next door neighbors were from India.  Whenever they would open the door to their apartment this wonderful aroma could be smelled throughout the common hallway.  I was too young at the time and really not focused on food, so I never asked them what spice they were cooking with.  But when I started cooking Indian cuisine and exposed to different spices, I knew exactly what spice they were using when I purchased and opened up my first bag of fenugreek.  It took me all the way back to 1968 and my apartment building and I finally knew what that wonderful aroma was.  And even today, whether I use fresh fenugreek leaves, seeds or dried leaves in my cooking, I think of that family and I associate Indian cooking with the smell fenugreek.

So there is an Indian restaurant near my husband's work and they serve the best Methi Thepla (fenugreek flatbread) that I've ever tasted.  I have tried on several occasions, but I have yet to master making certain Indian flatbreads.  I even purchased a Tava (iron griddle) and a chapati rolling pin thinking that I had to have the right equipment.  My Methi Thepla were very flavorful, but I still need to work on the texture.  In the meantime, if you want to make the Red Lentil & Cauliflower Curry recipe below, I recommend that you purchase whatever flatbread you like, because you'll want to have something to soak up all the flavorful juices of the curry.  And once I master the recipe, I will definitely share it, especially if it's as good as the restaurant's! 

Red Lentil & Cauliflower Curry:

1 tbsp Canola Oil
1/2 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp mild yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 14 oz can tomato puree
3 1/2 cups filtered water
1 cup red lentils
1/2 head cauliflower florets, seamed
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1-1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • In a medium sauce pan, heat canola oil on medium low, add onion and saute for five minutes until tender.  Add garlic, ginger and spices and stir to combine.
  • Add tomato puree, water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Add lentils and stir to combine and reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes until lentils are soft.
  • While lentils are cooking, steam cauliflower until crisp-tender.
  • Just before serving stir in cauliflower and frozen peas and heat through.
  • Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve with warmed flatbread.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pasta, Basil Pesto Cashew Cream & Peas

I used to serve this dish when I worked at the restaurant except that it was made with heavy cream instead of cashew cream.  Back then, I had no idea how simple it was to use nuts as a substitute for heavy cream, or I would of switched a long time ago.  The health benefits of eating cashews are endless.  They are high in protein and soluble fiber, contain heart friendly monounsaturated fats, B vitamins, and numerous minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, and zinc.  I don't think that you can say the same about consuming heavy cream!

And the dish tastes better too!  It's not as heavy and the fresh flavor of the basil really comes through.  It's also feels good to eat something and not feel guilty afterwards! This dish takes a little planning because you need to soak the cashews overnight, but it's worth the wait.  It also helps if you have a high powered blender such as a VitaMix, which I do not have.  I have a cheap blender and so I had to let it run on high for about 4 minutes to really puree the nuts.  

Basil Pesto Cashew Cream:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in filtered water to cover, about two cups
1 small onion, sliced 
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bunches fresh basil leaves, about 3-4 cups, blanched
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 cup vegetable stock

  • Soak cashews overnight in the refrigerator, completely covered in about two cups of filtered water.
  • Drain cashews and place in a blender and cover with water and blend on high for about 4 minutes until creamy.  Add more water if necessary.
  • Strain cashew cream through a fine mesh strainer, lined with cheesecloth into a bowl and set aside.  You should have about two cups of cream, maybe more.
  • Remove basil leaves from stems and blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds and then shock in an ice bath to stop cooking and retain bright color, drain and set aside.
  • In a small saute pan, cook onions and garlic and a little salt and pepper in olive oil on medium-low heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add about 1/4 cup of vegetable stock to prevent burning.  You do not want to brown the onions or burn the garlic.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Return cashew cream back to the blender, add onion mixture, basil leaves and blend until smooth, adding additional vegetable stock to get the right consistency of cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Strain basil cashew cream through a fine mesh strainer.  You do not need cheesecloth for the second straining.  You should have about 3 cups of basil cashew cream when finished and it should be bright green.  
Other Ingredients:

1 pound whole wheat pasta of choice
2 cups blanched English Peas
1 bag baby spinach leaves
1-2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (for garnish)
Fresh basil leaves, (for garnish)
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water.
  • In a large saute pan, add cooked pasta, some vegetable stock, spinach and peas and toss together and cook until spinach wilts.  
  • Pour over basil cashew cream, toss and heat through and then remove from heat.  Do not over cook the sauce because you want to retain the bright green color.  Check seasonings again and add salt and pepper if needed.  
  • Garnish with toasted pine nuts, fresh basil leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice...Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coconut-Macadamia Nut Bread with Pineapple Jam

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday.  He doesn't really like cake and I don't particularly like making cakes, so I decided to make a Coconut-Macadamia Nut Bread.  Quick breads are so easy to make a freeze well.  You can pull out a slice from the freezer, pop it in a toaster oven, spread on some vegan butter and enjoy anytime.  I made a quick pineapple jam to go with the bread, but any jam will taste good.  This will be perfect on Saturday morning with a cup of Green Tea and of course the newspaper.  


3 cups whole grain spelt flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
4 tbsp filtered water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut milk
1 1/2 cups flaked or shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Powdered sugar for dusting

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place coconut on a sheet tray and toast for about five minutes tossing every minute until lightly golden brown.  It may take less or longer depending on your oven, but be careful not to burn.
  • You can toast the macadamia nuts at the same time on a separate sheet tray.  They will take longer about 10-12 minutes.  Toss frequently to prevent burning.
  • Increase oven temp to 350 degrees and place rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Spray a standard loaf pan with canola cooking spray and dust with flour, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
  • In medium size bowl, add egg replacer and water and whisk until smooth.  Add maple syrup, canola oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest and coconut milk and whisk again until combined.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir together with a spatula until combined.  
  • Fold in toasted coconut and macadamia nuts and pour into the loaf pan.  Do not fill the pan completely to the top--leave at least one and a half inches for rising.  You may have some batter left over--because loaf pans vary in size.
  • Place pan on a sheet tray and bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on oven.  Check at 30 minutes for doneness.
  • Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing and let cool completely before cutting.
  • Sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar if desired.
Pineapple Jam:

1 20 oz can of diced or sliced pineapple, roughly chopped, juice reserved
1/4 cup agave syrup

  • Drain juice in a small sauce pan and coarsely chop pineapple. 
  • Add chopped pineapple and agave syrup to juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, about 15 minutes.
  • Chill until ready to use.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Black Bean Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa

I had left over chili from last night's dinner and so I decided to make tostadas.  Normally I would make a black bean puree (recipe below), but I wanted to use up the chili.  I just reduced the chili until it was really thick, like a puree. 

These tostadas would also make a great appetizer for a party.  For this recipe, I used 4" corn tortillas that I purchased from a Hispanic market.  If you can't find the smaller tortillas, just use the regular size.  However, if I were serving these as appetizers, I would cut each tortilla with a 2-3" round cookie cutter for an individualized two-bite serving. 

Baked Tostadas:

8 4-1/4" corn tortillas
Canola Cooking Spray
Kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and place tortillas on tray.
  • Spray the tortillas lightly and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy and lightly golden brown.  Turn tortillas every 2 minutes for even browning and be careful during the last few minutes of cooking so they don't burn. 
Black Bean Puree: 

1 14.5 oz can of organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp canola oil or cooking spray
Note:  You can also use pinto beans but I like the contrast using the black beans.

  • Heat canola oil in a saute pan on medium and cook onions until soft.  
  • Add garlic and spices and cook for a couple of minutes longer.  Add a little vegetable stock to prevent burning.
  • Place all ingredients, except vegetable stock in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth, adding a little bit of vegetable stock to get the right consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
Pineapple-Avocado Salsa:

1 large can pineapple slices or chunks, drained and diced small
1 avocado, diced small
1 tbsp jalapeno, finely minced
1-2 tbsp red onion, minced
1 tbsp cilantro, minced
2 tbsp pineapple juice
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Mix together all ingredients in a bowl and chill for about 30 minutes for flavors to combine.
  • In addition to the pineapple-avocado salsa, I finely shredded green cabbage and tossed it with a little lime juice, salt and pepper.
  • Layer the tostada with bean puree, shredded cabbage and salsa and sprinkle with a little minced cilantro.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoff Chili

I normally don't make chili during the middle of May, but the weather in the Bay Area has just been horrible this week.  For the past three days, it has been in the 50's with cloudy skies and showers.  Actually, it rained all night, last night.  The rain doesn't bother me so much, but I hate the cooler temperatures--especially since it was 85 degrees two weeks ago!  Sometimes I wished we lived in SoCal...but by the weekend they are forecasting 75 degrees with sunny skies (Yay!)

Anyway, since I associate eating chili with winter months and football playoffs, I thought it would be perfect for tonight's dinner since we'll be watching the Stanly Cup Conference Finals.  Unfortunately, the Sharks won't be playing until tomorrow, but tonight we'll watch the Bruins-Lightening game, and enjoy it with a big bowl of Spicy Three Bean Chili.  GO SHARKS!!!


1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
1 tsp smoked paprika or 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp organic soy sauce
1 bottle or can of larger beer, I used Corona, but you can use a pale ale
1 28 oz can tomato puree
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2-3 cups filtered water
1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 12 oz package Yves Meatless Ground Round Original
1-2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Tortilla strips, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
Note:  If you don't want to use the Yves, just substitute another can of pinto beans.

  • In a large stock pot, add canola oil, and onions and cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and cook for two minutes longer.
  • Add the next 8 ingredients and stir to combine.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook for about five minutes until beer reduces by half.
  • Next add tomato puree, diced tomatoes and two cups of water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-low and simmer for about 45-60 minutes until flavors combine and sauce thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste during cooking process.
  • During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the beans and the Yves Meatless Ground and heat through.  If too thick add additional water to desired consistency.
  • Garnish with tortilla strips, cilantro and lime wedges.
Tortilla Strips:

8 small-medium corn tortillas
Canola cooking spray
Kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 325.
  • Cut tortillas in half and then into fine strips.
  • Spray baking sheet with canola spray and lay strips evenly on tray, trying not to overlap.
  • Spray strips lightly with canola spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, tossing and turning every two-three minutes.  Be careful during the last five minutes of cooking to make sure that they don't burn.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Roasted Corn & Potato Chowder

I remember when I was a young girl growing up in Maryland we couldn't wait until the first ears of Silver Queen corn would appear at the road-side stands.  The kernels were so sweet and tender that you didn't even need to cook them.  So when I was at the market today, I knew exactly what I was going to make for dinner tonight when I saw the large stalls of local sweet white corn.

I love chowders and they are so easy to make.  Besides making this Roasted Corn & Potato Chowder, I also like to make Curried Cauliflower & Potato, as well as Slow Roasted Tomato and Potato Chowder.  But since corn is in season, roasted corn chowder it is!  

(Serves 4)

3 large ears white or yellow corn on the cob, roasted
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced small
1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced small
1 cup celery, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2 tbsp flour
4 cups unsweetened/plain rice milk or other non-dairy milk
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp Vegan worcestershire sauce
Several dashes of Tabasco sauce (optional)
2 tbsp pale dry sherry
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Crusty bread for dipping

  • Preheat broiler to 475.  Shuck corn, remove silk and roast on a sheet pan until lightly charred and golden on all sides.  Let corn cool and remove kernels with a knife.  Set aside.
  • Dice all vegetables and mince garlic and thyme.
  • In a stock pot or large sauce pan, add canola oil and saute onions and celery for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat until soft.  
  • Add garlic, thyme and Old Bay Seasoning and stir to combine.
  • Add butter and stir until melted and then add the flour and stir to combine.
  • Next add vegetable stock and rice or non-dairy milk and bring up to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add diced potatoes, roasted corn, worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
  • Cook on medium until potatoes are soft and flavors are combined, about 20-30 minutes.
  • During the last five minutes of cooking, add pale dry sherry and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Garnish with parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve with warm crusty bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Malaysian Coconut Curry Soup

I try not to use coconut milk in my cooking on a regular basis because it is high in saturated fat, even though the saturated fat comes from a plant source.  However, I read that some studies have shown that people in countries who consume large amounts of coconut milk, or cook with coconut oil usually have a lower rate of heart disease.  They attribute this to their overall diet and the use of fresh fruits, vegetables and tofu/tempeh when preparing dishes that use coconut derived products.  

So for my Malaysian Coconut Curry Soup, I decided to use a combination of lite coconut milk, full-fat coconut milk and vegetable broth.  If you are really concerned about the amount of saturated fat in your diet, then use lite coconut milk only.  Or, another option would be to purchase 8-10 ounces of coconut water and blend it with a 1/4 cup of organic silken tofu to obtain the creamy texture.  I have used this technique before and have received good results when making curries and stews.

(Serves 4)

2 tbsp lemongrass, finely minced (two stalks, bulbs only)
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup shallots, finely minced (about two medium)
2 red Thai chili peppers, seeds removed, finely minced
2 tbsp mild curry powder (Madras or other quality curry powder)
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp agave syrup or brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
4 cups vegetable broth
2 scallions, sliced thin on a bias
1 1/2-2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 package organic extra firm tofu, drained and diced
4 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 cups cooked Asian (egg free) noodles
Note:  I used Japanese Udon noodles because that is what I had in my pantry.  You can you rice noodles, ramen noodles or even jasmine or basmati brown rice.

  • Spray a large sauce pan with canola cooking spray and add shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilies.  Cook on medium-low for a couple of minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
  • Add curry, turmeric, vegetable broth, scallions, agave syrup or brown sugar and the lime juice.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes for flavors to combine.
  • While broth is simmering, steam cauliflower until crisp-tender and set aside.  Also drain and dice tofu and set aside.
  • Cook noodles according to package, drain and keep warm until ready to use.
  • Add coconut milk to broth and bring to a medium simmer.  Just before serving, add cauliflower and tofu and heat through.
  • Portion 1/2 cup noodles in each bowl and ladle curry soup over top.
  • Garnish with desired condiments and serve with a lime wedge. 

1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup basil, finely shredded
1/4 cup scallions, sliced thinly on a bias
1-2 cups mung bean sprouts
Limes wedges

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The New Muffuletta Sandwich

Yet another great sandwich that was created in New Orleans in the early 1900's.  This sandwich is right up there with the Po' Boy as one of my all time favorites.  Of course, this version is so much healthier for you, but doesn't compromise any flavor or texture.  It contains smokey grilled eggplant, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, spinach and of course the famous olive/cauliflower salad which gives it its distinct Sicilian flavor! 

If you don't have time to make the olive salad from scratch, you can purchase a jar of Giardiniera, which is pickled vegetables (cauliflower, carrots and celery), along with some black and green pitted olives.  Drain the giardiniera and add everything to a food processor and pulse until chopped.  Or you can use my recipe below...incredibly fresh and delicious!   

Olive Salad:

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/4" rounds
1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 red bell pepper
3/4 cup green olives, pitted, chopped
3/4 cup black olives, pitted (I used Kalamata), chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Preheat broiler to 475 degrees and char bell pepper.  Let cool, remove skin, seeds and finely chop.
  • Steam cauliflower and carrots until tender, let cool and chop.
  • Pit and chop olives and chop celery.
  • Combine all ingredients together and let marinate for about 24 hours.
  • Check for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, red wine vinegar or olive oil, if needed.
  • Bring to room temperature before using.
Sandwich Ingredients:
(Serves 4)

4 French rolls
1 large globe eggplant, cut into 1/8"-1/4" thick slices
2 red bell peppers, roasted, skins removed and seeded
4 small zucchini, cut into 1/8"-1/4" thick slices
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed and sliced into 1/4" slices after grilling
2 cups baby spinach
4 tbsp Vegenaise 
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper 

  • I grilled my vegetables, but you can roast them in the oven or saute.  Grilling or roasting uses a lot less olive oil, especially for the eggplant, which seems to soak up a lot of oil otherwise.  Regardless, use whatever method is easier for you.  
  • I also grilled my bread before adding all the other ingredients.  It was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.
  • On the bottom half of the grilled bread, layer eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and spinach.
  • On the top half, add a large serving of the olive salad and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.  Enjoy!



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Very Veggie Pizza

I love eating pizza and who doesn't, especially a pizza that is healthy and delicious!  Pizza is very easy to make at home.  You can either purchase a pre-made pizza sauce or follow my recipe below.  For the crust, I used Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough.  The instructions on the package says to let the dough sit for 20 minutes before rolling, but this is not enough time for the gluten to relax and it is difficult to roll out.  And if you like a thin crust, like I do, then you need to let the dough rest for about an hour before rolling.  The dough makes enough for two medium size pizzas and one pizza serves two people.  


Homemade Pizza Sauce:

1 28 oz can plum tomatoes or tomato puree (I purchase whole plum tomatoes without salt and then blend them myself into a puree)
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups filtered water
1 tsp dried oregano flakes, crumbled
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2-1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Note:  This makes enough sauce for two pizzas.  The sauce can be frozen and used for another time.)

  • In a 3qt sauce pan, add olive oil, a little salt and pepper and saute onions and garlic on low until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, water and remaining spices.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, stirring frequently and cook for about an hour until most liquid is absorbed and the sauce is thick.
  • Remove bay leaf, taste again for seasonings and add more salt if needed.
  • Set aside until ready to use.
Other Ingredients:
(Serving Size:  1 Pizza)

1/2 package whole wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe's, or your favorite brand)
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup black olives, cut into quarters or chopped
1/2 cup Daiya Vegan Cheese, Mozzarella Style
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp cornmeal or bread crumbs for the pizza peel
Note:  These are my favorite vegges to use on pizza, but you can add mushrooms, broccoli rabe, asparagus, etc.  Also, I saute my onions and peppers until slightly soft before adding them to the pizza.

  • Preheat oven to 475-500 degrees and place pizza stone on the bottom rack in the oven.  Preheat the pizza stone for at least an hour before using.
  • On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough to desired thinness.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal or bread crumbs on pizza peel so that the dough doesn't stick when you're transferring the pizza to the pizza stone in the oven.
  • Place dough on pizza peel and lightly brush dough with olive oil and add a good amount of pizza sauce and spread evenly on the dough.
  • Layer pizza with sauteed onions and peppers, artichokes, capers, olives and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Transfer pizza to pizza stone and bake for 10-12 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with a little sea salt and shredded basil leaves.  You can also drizzle with a little more olive oil if you prefer.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy!!!