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Showing posts from 2013

Split Pea Soup - Smoky and Delicious

I think that a well made soup is a real treat and when I have the time I like to make a batch of split pea soup. It is so much better than any sort of store bought soup from a can and it makes a perfect winter meal. 
If you want to stretch it or make it even more hearty, you can also add potatoes. This makes a lot, so unless your serving a large family, you can have left overs and I think it tastes even better the next day.

Ingredients

4 Cups low sodium Vegetable Broth 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil 2 cups Water 2 cups dried Split Peas (soaked overnight) 4 cloves Garlic minced 2 cups Carrots, diced 1 cup Celery, diced 1 Onion, diced 1 tsp Black Pepper 2 tsp Salt (or to taste) 1 tsp Thyme 1 tsp Marjoram 2 Bay Leaves 2 tsp Liquid Smoke
Directions:
Rinse and then soak the split peas overnight in a heavy cast iron pan. In the morning, drain and then rinse again. Pour in vegetable broth, water, and bring to a soft boil. Gently skim away any scum that comes to the surface
In a sauté pan, and add the oil and saut…

Great Blogs and Sites for Recipes

I am always looking for new inspiration and when I find new sites I like to share them with you. Some of these you may already know, but maybe a few will dazzle you.

Vegan Richa is a wonderful site, with lots of healthy vegan recipes and tips. Highly recommended.

http://www.veganricha.com

Veg News - Probably one of the best vegan magazines and they have a wonderful site with links to other sites and great recipes. Just do a search and you will find lots to tempt you.

www.vegnews.com

Choosing Raw is an excellent resource for a raw lifestyle. It features some really amazing recipes and gives you a different point of view on how we interact with food and why minimal manipulation is a healthy choice.

www.choosingraw.com

I've always been big fan of the BBC Food site. It's somewhat buried in the overall BBC News site, so its easy to overlook, but it has top chefs and really stunning recipes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/


Charred Brussels Sprouts with Shallot and Garlic

I am a big fan of brussels sprouts, but I am amazed how many people don't like them. I can only imagine this is because of too many mushy overcooked experiences as a child. However, I find that even the doubters will turn around after smelling these cooking away in the oven.


The key to getting these perfect is not to overcook them and to get just a little bit of char on the sprouts. I think these are wonderful as a side dish, but I particularly like them served over pasta with a squeeze of lemon.

Ingredients

4-5 cups of Brussels Sprouts, hard end cut off and then cut in half.
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Shallot, peeled and sliced thinly.
4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and sliced thinly.
Salt and Black Pepper

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and preparing your sprouts. Put the sprouts into a Pyrex oven proof dish, which is large enough that they can lie in one layer. Add olive oil, shallots. garlic and toss, and then add salt and black pepper. Put into the oven and bake f…

Maple Sweet Potato Pie

I had this maple sugar hanging around in the cupboard. I had bought it to make some Mennonite cookies and it just never happened so I decided to figure out how to use it and I thought that maple sugar and sweet potatoes sounded like a great combination and they were indeed. 

The maple sugar can be ordered online at the King Arthur Flour website, if you can't find it locally. Its worth worth the extra effort and cost to find it. 


Ingredients

4 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces (About two med/large)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup Maple Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Spread or butter
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Sweetened Coconut - Optional, but very yummy. 


Boil the sweet potatoes in salted water until they slip off a knife when skewered 

In a mixer, combine the cooked sweet potato, coconut milk, Earth Balance, vanilla extract, maple sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, ground gin…

My Favorite Vegan Must Haves

I get this question from non vegans quite frequently, "What do you eat?" So, after many requests, I thought posting some of my favorite vegan "must haves" would be helpful.

I don't think that you can expect to have vegan products that taste exactly like non vegan, but that's not really the point. Bottom line, do they taste good? All of these products certainly do.

Often I hear from people that they can't find these products locally. Firstly, start by asking for them at your local store and they will often order them and start stocking them. Secondly, find a place that might be a bit of a further drive and stock up. 

You can find most of these products at Whole Foods and most Von's and Kroger locations in the US. Sadly, Daiya is not yet available in the UK, but they are actively looking for a partner, so fingers crossed.

For many people, cheese is the most difficult food to transition, and honestly I loved my cheese too, so it was initially a big concern…

How to store bananas? Problem solved - UPDATED

I don't know about all of you, but over the years I have thrown away a lot of bananas that have gone overripe and its always bothered me. Such a waste of food, and you can only freeze so many. I mean how much banana bread can one person eat? So, what to do?

I decided to do some research and after reading too many long winded scientific explanations. Yes, people have spent a lot of time on this subject. I realized that most of the suggestions were far too much work, like wrap each banana individually and use a banana hanger and increase the airflow, keep away from other fruit etc.

I came up with what seemed to be a simple solution and I am happy to say, it works very well, and I have pics to prove it. 

Apparently, its all about blocking the uptake of ethylene to the bananas, and there is a simple way to do it. The pics below show the bananas after 4 days and they have not ripened one bit more than when I bought them.

Step 1- Wrap the base of the banana with plastic wrap/cling wrap.


Step…

Cauliflower and Potato Curry (Aloo Gobi)

This is a wonderful vegetarian/vegan curry dish. It can be very hot or not depending on how you manage the chilies. I like it hot, but with a sweet and sour aftertaste.



Ingredients

1 head of Cauliflower, cut into florets 3 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed 3 Tbsp Margarine or Butter 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 6 cloves of Garlic, peeled and pureed 1 inch piece of Ginger, peeled, chopped and pureed 1 Serrano Chili, puréed. Add additional chilies if you want a hotter result. 1 Onion, chopped and pureed 2 tsp Salt 1 tsp Sugar 3 Tbsp Curry Paste* 1 can diced Tomatoes Juice of one Lemon Cilantro to finish
Begin, by adding the garlic, ginger, chili, salt and onion to a food processor and puree the mixture. Add margarine and oil to a pan and gently cook the pureed mixture for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar, curry paste and cook briefly. Then add cauliflower, potatoes and mix well and sauté briefly. Then add tomatoes, bring to a soft boil and simmer covered for 45- 1 hour.
Finish with lemon juice and cilantro and serve wit…

Apple Crumble

Just in time for apple season is this rich and decedent apple dessert. Warm out of the oven with ice cream, this is a perfect end to a wonderful meal. If you want to have a bit of fun, use individual ramekins and you can create multiple mini desserts. If you do this, then I like to start them in a water bath for half the cooking time and then transfer to a baking sheet.



Ingredients

1/2 lb sliced and peeled Apples. I like to mix a tart apple like Granny Smith with a full bodied apple like Macintosh.
1 ½ Tbsp. of Cornstarch, mixed with 2 Tbsp. of warm water
1/4 cup Water ½ tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/8 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg 1 ½ cup of sifted AP Flour 1 cup Sugar ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar 2 tbsp. Light Brown and white Sugar mixed 12 Tbsp. of Earth Balance or Butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour; sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together and then cut the butter and margarine into the mixture until it is completely incorporated.
Take the apples and put into the sauc…

Simple Poached Salmon

This is a very simple dish, which delvers a flawless tender result. The key is to not overcook and serve simply. The flavor will amaze you. It is perfect served with small baby potatoes boiled with a bit of fresh dill in the water for flavor.



Ingredients

1 lb Salmon Filet, pin bones removed and skin on. You may also use smaller pieces, but do not make them too small. ½ cup Water ½ cup dry White Wine 1 Shallot sliced 3 springs of fresh Dill 2 whole Cloves Salt Black Pepper
Salt the salmon filet. Bring water, wine, shallot and cloves to a boil. Gently place the salmon into the pan and cover and cook on a very low simmer for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness on the fillets.
Serve with fresh lemon slices and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. You can also chill and serve later. It makes great leftovers. Or use for the Salmon Rilette, originally published on June 1. 2012.

Kale and Black Olive Pasta

I made this last night and it was really good. Best part is, it was easy and it’s very healthy as well. I love kale, but don’t really cook with it as much as I should, so this is a good way to encourage me. I am planning to working on a kale soup recipe on the coming weeks. Bon appétit

Ingredients

5 cups of Kale leaves, chopped into large pieces. ½ cup Black Kalamata Olives, chopped ¼ cup White Wine 1 cup of Vegetable Broth 2 Shallots, sliced 2 Garlic cloves, sliced 3 Tbsp Olive Oil ½ tsp Chili Flakes Juice of one Lemon Salt and Pepper to taste. Farfalle, DeCecco of course.
Put a pot of water on to boil. While waiting for it to come to a boil, add olive oil to a sauté pan and lightly sauté the garlic and shallots. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as directed.
Then add the kale leaves, olives and chili flakes and sauté until the kale begins to wilt, then add the white wine and lemon juice. Once the wine has cooked away, add the broth and simmer until the pasta is done.
Drain the pasta and…

Great Blog -Taste Tickler

With so many blogs out there, I always like to call out the ones that really go above and beyond. Taste Tickler is just such a blog. Belinda does a great job of showcasing interesting dishes and fun combinations. Give it a look and enjoy.



http://tastetickler.blogspot.com/

Brown Sugar, Oatmeal and Applesauce Cookies

I found this recipe in a great cookbook call “Betty Goes Vegan”. It is a wonderful cookbook that has a lot of traditional recipes, but all done in a vegan manner. So really perfect, if you want to avoid cholesterol and some fat.
Flavor wise, these cookies taste amazing and when I took them to a party no one could believe they were vegan. As usual, I played around with the recipe a bit. Bottom line is, do they taste good? And the answer is, yes!!!!

Ingredients

2 cups of Brown Sugar 1 cup of Margarine, softened. I use Earth Balance. 1 1/2 tsp of Vanilla 1 Tbsp Applesauce
1 cup of Whole Wheat Flour 1 cup of AP Flour 1 tsp Baking Powder ½ tsp Cinnamon 1/8 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg Pinch of Salt
2 cups of Old Fashioned Oats, not the quick kind. ¾ cup of crushed Walnuts or Pecans if you prefer. ½ cup of dried Apple Pieces. I used freeze dried and they were fine. ¼ cup of Water

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, cream your margarine and brown sugar until smooth, then mix in the applesauce and vanill…

Slow Cooked Broccoli - UPDATED

This is a dish that I first read about in an article about  Alice Waters and Chez Panisse in Berkeley California. People mentioned that sometimes they had this amazing dish on the menu and many people tried to replicate it. Eventually Alice herself offered up the recipe, but I have to admit that my first go at it did not yield the best results.


I felt that it was unpleasant to look at and had lost that rich broccoli flavor  That being said, when you cook broccoli for 2 hours (yes, the recipe does call for two hours), what do you expect? 

I felt there was a better way and after some experimentation, I have come up with my version which I really like. The key is to cook it very slowly and not to bother it too much.
Ingredients

1lb Broccoli, cut into 1 inch pieces, stems and florets
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth, or 1/4 cup White Wine and 1/4 cup broth
2 Lemons zested and then juiced
4 cloves of Garlic, sliced
1 Shallot, thinly sliced
1 tsp Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 …

Summer is the perfect time for Pesto.

I think summer is the perfect time for pesto. The ingredients are fresh and the flavor just screams summer. That being said, I have had a lot of really awful pesto. My top complaints would be be too rich, too much garlic and a pasty texture. 

I have been making pesto for years and wanted to share my recipe as I think it solves all of these issues. The basic recipe was from a friend in Genoa, which is home to the best pesto I have ever eaten. Give it a go and I think you will agree.


This will make enough pesto to serve with one pound of pasta. Personally  I like to serve this with gemelli pasta, which can be found in most grocery stores. Barilla makes a good one, and you could substitute fusilli or orechiette, however I would not suggest anything with holes or tubes as it can overwhelm the pasta.

1 cup fresh Basil leaves, firmly packed.
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp Walnuts
1 Tbsp Pine Nuts
1 Tbsp Go Veggie Parmesan Cheese substitute or freshly grat…

Salsa Pomodoro

This is one of the fastest and easiest pasta sauces you will ever make and it is totally authentic.  I have had this exact sauce many times in Italy and it is the simplicity and quality of the ingredients that makes it so good. 



2 28oz or 32 oz can of crushed San Marzano Tomatoes, if these are not available, I like Muir Glen Organic. As this is the base of your sauce, find the best tomatoes you can. 

Note: I prefer to use crushed tomatoes, as they are already quite thick, and since you are only cooking for 30-45 minutes, you don't have time to reduce whole or diced tomatoes.


Ingredients

4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of Garlic, lightly crushed
6 leaves of fresh Basil, whole
1 tsp Sea Salt
Fresh Black Pepper

Put your tomatoes in a saucepan and bring to a soft simmer, add the other ingredients and simmer gently for about 30-45 minutes.You will know the sauce is ready, when the oil separates.  

Remove the garlic and basil and serve over spaghetti, linguini or chitarra. Add cheese or non…

Sweet Potato Madras

This is one of my favorite curries. I invented it as a way to get that wonderful intense curry taste without meat and it is excellent. You can control the heat by reducing the cayenne pepper or using a bit less curry paste. 


Ingredients

2 Tbsp Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1  inch piece of fresh Ginger, grated

2 Medium Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup Tomatoes, crushed

3-4 Tbsp Curry Paste, Pataks is one of the best. I use the Madras Paste.
1/4 tsp Cardamon, ground
1/4 tsp Cinnamon, ground
Pinch of Cloves, ground
1 tsp Garam Marsala
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, ground
4 Curry Leaves
1/4 tsp Coriander, ground

1/4 cup shredded sweetened Coconut
Juice of one Lemon
Salt and Black  Pepper to taste
Water, as needed.


Begin by placing the onion, garlic and ginger into a food processor and pulse until it is puréed. I have a mini food processor I use for this.

Then heat your oil in a pan which has a lid and once the oil is hot, add your purée and some salt and pepper and sau…

Cashew Nut Curry, Southern Indian Goodness

This is a favorite curry of mine. I have had it many times, but tried to recreate the one I had in London at Vineet Bhatia Rasoi in Chelsea. I think this is very close. Note: I have added ground spice amounts for those of you who don't have a whole spice grinder. 



The key to making this a stunning dish, is to make sure the paste is fully cooked, so the spices lose their raw flavor. Making sure the cashew nuts are properly roasted and keeping to the final timing, so the cashews still have some crunch. It is not a difficult recipe, but it's worth reading it through to make sure the process is clear before you begin.



Ingredients

1½ cups roasted Cashew Nuts 1 ½ cups diced Tomatoes, pureed 2 Tbsp Oil, Smart Balance or Coconut Oil 2-3 Tbsp Coconut Milk 1/2 - 1 tsp Salt

Coriander/Cilantro Leaves, chopped
For Onion/Garlic /Ginger Paste:
1 tsp Garam Masala
3 Cloves, Approx 1/8 tsp ground cloves. 3 Green Cardamoms, peeled, approx 1/8 tsp ground cardamom.
1 inch Cinnamon Stick, approx 1/2 tsp ground …