Monday, December 11, 2017

Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup

(recipe from Pure Ella via Kris Carr)

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups red split lentils, rinsed
6-8 cups of water
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tsp. ground cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp. sea salt (I used 1 tsp.)
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and carrots and cook, stirring for a few minutes.  Add the lentils, water, sweet potatoes, spices and seasoning.  Stir and bring to a boil; reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Stir in the cilantro or parsley just before serving.

Potato, Zucchini, and Olive Stew with Garlic, Jalapenos and Tomatoes

(recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay)

4 lbs. fresh tomatoes (about 8 medium) (I used fire-roasted canned diced tomatoes)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1/2 medium white onion
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/4 lbs. tiny red potatoes
1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium)
1 cup whole pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained (I used jalapeno-stuffed green olives)
2 tsp. chopped pickled jalapenos (I omitted this, since my olives were stuffed with jalapenos)

Roast the whole tomatoes under a preheated broiler, turning frequently, until their skins are well charred.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.  When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, cut out the stem ends, peel away and discard most of the blackened skin, and place the tomates in a blender.  (I just put the canned diced tomatoes in the blender; did not drain.)

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed stockpot.  Add the garlic cloves and cook, stirring constantly, until they begin to turn golden brown.  This will take only a minute or two.  Watch carefully - if the garlic gets too dark, it will taste bitter.  Turn off the heat.  Remove the garlic cloves from the oil with a slotted spoon and add them to the tomatoes in the blender, along with the onion, stock, parsley, and salt.  Puree until smooth.

Pour the tomato puree into the pan in which the garlic was cooked.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to very low, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.  The sauce will reduce and thicken considerably.

Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes but do not peel them.  Cook the whole potatoes in plenty of rapidly boiling water until they are barely fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes, depending on their size.  Drain and set aside.  [Alternately, cook the potatoes in the simmering tomato puree - it may take a little longer; just monitor for doneness (the potatoes can be cut to preferable size before cooking).]

Discard the stems and root ends of the succhini and slice crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds.

When the sauce has thickened, cut the potatoes in half and stir them into the sauce, along with the zucchini, olives (I sliced mine), and jalapenos.  Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, 20 minutes.  Serve very hot.

Sweet Red Pepper Strips with Artichoke and Caper Filling

(recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay)

1 can (13 3/4 oz.) water-packed artichoke bottoms
1/3 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp. capers, drained, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sweet paprika
Several grinds black pepper
2 medium red bell peppers

Drain the artichoke bottoms and mince them finely.  Toss with the onion, capers, and parsley.  Stir together the mustard, olive oil, vinegar, basil, paprika, and black pepper.  Toss with the artichoke mixture until well combined.  Set aside.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise.  Discard the stems, seeds, and white membranes and cut each half pepper into 3 lengthwise strips, taking care to create strips with a cupped shape that can hold the filling.  Spoon the artichoke mixture along the length of each bell pepper strip.  Arrange the filled pepper strips in a pretty pattern on a serving dish.  Serve at room temperature.

(I made these for Gretchen's Christmas party, and they were a hit - and a healthy alternative to the other appetizers, namely cheese plates and the like.  I cut my strips much smaller than described, but made sure to preserve the cupped shape as best as possible.  With smaller, less cupped strips, just mush the mixture together along the length of the strip with your fingers, much like sushi - the mixture is wet enough that it can be molded in such a way.)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Healthy Apple Crisp

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

8 Macintosh apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup date sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup Goji berries, soaked (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, sprinkle apples with lemon juice & toss.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a medium bowl, then combine with the apples and mix thoroughly.  Pour into a 8x11-inch baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Lasagnette with Spicy Greens, Adzuki Beans, and Shiitake Mushrooms

(recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay)

1 cup dried adzuki beans
1 tsp. dried red chili flakes
2 bay leaves
1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 lbs. mustard greens (about 2 bunches)
2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lb. dried lasagnette (or any type chunky pasta)

Soak the beans several hours or overnight.  Drain and cover with fresh water in a large stockpot.  Add the chili flakes and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and cook about 40 minutes, adding water occasionally as needed.  Beans should be tender but not so soft they break apart easily.  Drain the beans, remove the bay leaves, and set aside.

Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for about 30 minutes.  Lift them out of the water, reserving the soaking liquid, and wash carefully under a thin stream of running water to remove any grit in the membranes.  Remove and discard the tough stems and sliver the caps.  Strain the soaking liquid through a paper coffee filter into a bowl, if the liquid is gritty.  You will have about 1 1/2 cups, which you will use in the sauce.  Set aside.

Bring several quarts of water to a boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, wash the geens carefully, discard the thick part of the stems, and chop coarsely.  In a high-walled skillet or stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onion about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to get limp.  Add the beans, mushrooms, ginger, and soy sauce, and stir and sauté 5 minutes longer.  Add the greens and the mushroom soaking liquid and increase heat to medium-high.  Toss and stir often as the greens wilt and most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente.  Drain well and gently combine with the sauce in a warm serving bowl.  Pass the pepper grinder and additional soy sauce, if desired.

(I used a combination of kale and napa cabbage in place of the mustard greens, and bowtie shaped pasta.  My beans turned out a bit on the falling-apart side, but were still good.  I also didn't strain my mushroom liquid - the mushrooms were high quality and not gritty.  Nice unexpected Asian flavor combination with the pasta.)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Apple Pie with an Olive Oil Crust

(recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, via Bust magazine)

For the olive oil double crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup olive oil, partially frozen (see first step)
4 to 8 Tbsp. ice water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Wax paper for rolling

For the filling:
6 cups peeled Granny Smith apples, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 lbs.)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch salt

For the topping:
2 Tbsp. plain almond milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Crust directions:
About an hour before starting to bake, place the olive oil in a thin plastic container.  Freeze until it's opaque and congealed, but still soft, like the consistency of slightly melted sorbet.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt.  Quickly add the olive oil by the tablespoonful, cutting it into the flour until the mixture is pebbly.

In a cup, mix 4 Tbsp. of ice water with the apple cider vinegar.  Stir 2 Tbsp. of this mixture into the dough with a wooden spoon, adding more water gradually until you form a soft ball.  Don't over-knead the dough!

Divide the dough into two balls and press them into inch-thick disks, then place each between 14-inch long sheets of waxed paper.  Roll each into a circle about 1/4-inch thick, using a rolling pin.  Fit dough into the pie pan, letting the excess hang over the edge.  Place both crusts in the fridge until ready to use.

Filling directions:
Preheat the oven to 425F.  Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl, tossing to coat the apples.  Add the filling to the prepared pie shell.  Cover with the top crust, pinch edges together, trim excess dough to about an inch, and crimp.

Brush the top of the pie with almond milk, then sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Make five slits in the middle of the pie to let steam escape. 

Bake for 25 minutes, then lower heat to 350F and bake for 30 to 35 more minutes, slipping on a pie-crust shield if the edges get too brown.  Place on a cooling rack and wait about 30 minutes before serving.

Grilled Winter Squash with Millet Pilaf and Coconut Chutney Sauce

(recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay)

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup prepared mango chutney
1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
2/3 cup uncooked millet
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 medium acorn or delicata squashes (about 1 lb. each)
4 tsp. coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1 small carrot, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. mustard seeds, crushed
1 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups loosely packed, finely chopped napa cabbage
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne

To make the sauce, combine the coconut milk, chutney, and lime juice in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Set aside at room temerature so the flavors can blend.  Preheat a coal or gas grill to medium-high.

Rinse and drain the millet and toast it in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan.  Add the toasted millet to the hot stock.  Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit with lid undisturbed until you are ready for the millet.

Meanwhile, cut the squashes in half lengthwise.  Do not peel them.  Scrape out and discard the seeds.  Slice each half into 1-inch wedges.  Use 2 tsp. of the oil to lightly coat both sides of each squash wedge.  Place the squash on the hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, turning once.  Squash should be quite tender but not falling apart.

Heat the remaining 2 tsp. of oil over medium heat in a sauté pan or skillet.  Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, along with the mustard, cumin, and fennel seeds.  Sauté, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.  Add the cabbage, salt, and cayenne and sauté 5 minutes longer, until cabbage is wilted.  Gently, but thoroughly, combine the sautéed vegetables with the hot cooked millet.

Mound the hot pilaf onto individual serving plates.  Arrange grilled squash wedges alongside each portion of pilaf.  Spoon the sauce generously over the squash and serve immediately.

(I just baked my squash instead of grilling.  I also just mixed everything together to take for lunches - would recommend cutting squash into a smaller dice to serve in this way.  Be careful of the chutney you buy: some are super sugary!  All in all, this had a nice and interesting flavor.)