Sunday, August 31, 2014

asparagus soup

This is such a delicious soup, creamy with hints of fresh herbs and the most faint cumin aroma. Often recipes call for soaking cashews overnight, but I think they work just fine soaking for about an hour.

1 bunch of asparagus, about 25 spears
1/4 cup chopped raw cashews
2 TB chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 cup vegetable broth, maybe a bit more

Soak the cashews in some water and set aside, for about an hour.
Trim the tough ends of the asparagus by letting each spear break where it will give easily when bent, then roughly chop.
Drizzle about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pot, raise the heat and sauté the asparagus, red onion, garlic, and cumin seed, with a pinch of salt, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the broth and fresh herbs, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover and cook until the asparagus is done, about 8 minutes.

In a high speed blender, process the soup until smooth. Return all but about a cup of the soup to the pot. Drain the cashews and add to the blender. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary. Return to the pot and gently heat. The cashews will thicken the soup, add a little extra broth if necessary.
makes enough for two

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

faro & radicchio salad

While in Asheville, Tammy made this simplest of salads for us, via her memory of a dish she had while in Italy. It's so tempting to add something to this, but resist; the simplicity is its perfection. A sturdy and nutritious salad that travels well, even up mountains.

1 cup faro
1 smallish head radicchio (4 cups chopped)
 for the dressing-
3 TB lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1-1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 tsp salt
a few grinds of black pepper

Rinse the faro and put in a sauce pan with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover it by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until the grain is cooked through, but still chewy.
Drain but don't rinse, and let cool a bit before mixing with the chopped radicchio and dressing. You may need a bit more lemon or salt. Gets better as it sits for a bit. I think it's best at room temperature but we had left overs for breakfast right out of the fridge and it was quite good.

Monday, June 2, 2014

tomato pie with vegan parmesan

My sister in law makes a tomato pie for holiday dinners, and I wanted to have a go at creating a vegan version. After a few attempts, I think I got it. Both sweet and tart, with the crunchy topping, it's so good warm out of the oven, but re-heats beautifully.

for the parmesan-
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 TB nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

for the crust-
1 cup flour, plus a little bit more for rolling out
1 cup vegan butter
3/4 tsp salt
a few tablespoons of ice cold water

5-6 large roma tomatoes
fresh cracked pepper

For the parmesan, blend everything together in a food processor. Set aside. This will make more than you need, but it's a good thing to have around, it's great on pasta and pizza.

Preheat the oven for 375.
Wipe the food processor clean and pulse together the flour, butter and salt a couple of times. Slowly add the water until the dough just begins to come together. If you remove the lid and press the dough, it should stick together. Scrape out the dough onto a floured cutting board and roll out to a rough roundish shape, drape over a pie dish and bake for 12 minutes until the crust begins to turn light golden.
While that's baking, thinly slice the tomatoes. Roma tomatoes seem to have less juice, so if you use another kind, knock out some of the seeds and juice.
When the crust comes out of the oven, arrange the tomatoes, sprinkle over with a drizzle of good olive oil, some black pepper, and a good bit of the vegan parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate and bake for another 15-20 minutes until everything is golden brown.

Let the pie rest before slicing.

Friday, May 30, 2014

vegetable & rice soup

A delicious soup you can tweak to your liking by adding a squeeze of lemon, some chopped jalapeno, or maybe a few dashes of nutritional yeast to finish. I like to add fresh herbs, parsley or basil work well.

2 cups garbanzo beans
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 leeks
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 cups diced turnips, 1 medium
3 red potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
6-7 cups vegetable broth

Clean the leeks well, and slice them into half moons. Use the white part and move up into the green, until it starts getting tough. Dice the turnips smaller than the potatoes and they will break down and meld into the broth. Red waxy potatoes will stand up to being cooked for the time it takes to cook the rice.

Saute the garlic, leeks, celery, and turnips with the turmeric, coriander and a pinch of salt for a few minutes until things start soften and maybe stick to the pot. Add the potatoes, deglaze with the wine and cook until the wine has absorbed, about a minute. Add the rice and beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, add the corn and cook another few minutes until the rice is done. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

banana bread

Banana bread makes a great after school snack. This one is not overly sweet, you may want to add a slather of earth balance and drizzle of honey, or another sweetener.

2 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup coffee, cooled, regular or decaf
1/2 cup earth balance butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup soy milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Mash the bananas and coffee together and stir in the soy milk. Set aside.
Grease a loaf pan with a little earth balance, line with parchment paper and grease again. Set aside.
Mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg and set aside.
In a standing mixture, cream the butter and sugars together for a couple of minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and blend. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add half of the banana/coffee mixture, then the remaining flour. Blend until just combined and add the remaining banana mixture (and nuts if you are using nuts) and mix well.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
When the bread is done, let it cool a few minute in the pan before removing and slicing. It's great right out of the oven, but toasts up nicely under the broiler.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

pasta bake with cauliflower and squash

Cauliflower makes for a healthy and yummy pasta sauce. This recipe is really a guideline; any vegetables could be substituted for the squash.

16 ounce box of pasta

1 head of cauliflower
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 TB nutritional yeast
good squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp salt
black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth

1 zucchini, diced
2 summer squash, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 large ear of corn, kernels sliced off
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 heaping tablespoon butter

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes until soft. Let it cool a bit and then blend together with the garlic and onion powders, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and vegetable broth, until smooth. This will yield about 4 cups.
In a few tablespoons of olive oil, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until the onion starts to get soft. Add the squash, zucchini, garlic, basil, and black pepper and cook until everything is just tender. Add the tomato, corn, and butter. Turn off the heat and stir until the butter is melted.
Add the pasta and cauliflower sauce and stir to combine. Pour into a 9 X 11 pyrex pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
If you are going to bake this straight away, you would decrease the cooking time. I made it earlier in the day and refrigerated it until dinner time, so I baked it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, covered. Uncovered and cooked for another 20 minutes, until the top started to get crunchy.

Friday, May 2, 2014

red pepper pudla with baba ganoush

This Indian crepe is often described as a cross between a pancake and an omelet. When I first had pudla I wasn't crazy about the texture. But I'm glad I tried them again because the key is to pack them with flavor and texture.
While these were delicious plain, I thought they paired so beautifully with baba ganoush. If the pancakes were made smaller, this would make for a really nice canapé.

for the baba ganoush-
1 medium eggplant
2-3 cloves of garlic
3 TB lemon juice
2 TB tahini
3/4 tsp salt
few dashes white pepper

I kept the garlic flavor mild, you could add some raw garlic if you like…
Slice the garlic cloves. Slice the eggplant in half length-wise, cut slits in the eggplant and fill each hole with a garlic slice. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, until the eggplant is soft. Remove and let cool so that you can scoop out the insides. Place the eggplant and garlic in a food processor with the other ingredients and process until blended well but it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use. (There will be left over baba ganoush, unless you increase the pudla; save for later to serve with pita and veggies.)

For the pancake-
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup water
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fine red pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp soy sauce
Red pepper flakes, optional

chopped of fresh spinach or chard
cherry tomatoes, sliced

Whisk the chickpea flour, water, salt and baking powder together and let sit for 5 minutes. While the batter is resting, sauté the onion, red pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a teaspoon of oil until the red pepper is just getting tender, careful not to burn the garlic. Turn off the heat and mix in the soy sauce. Let this cool a bit before adding to the flour and water mixture.
In that same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil, ladle in a 1/3 cup of the batter and spread it out to make a pancake. Turn down the heat just a bit and let cook for a couple of minutes until the underside is golden. Flip and cook the other side. This recipe will make 3 pancakes.
Spread some of the baba ganoush on the pancake, layer with spinach and chopped tomatoes.