Posts Tagged vegetarian

Vanilla Mint Smoothie

I want to share my new favorite smoothie, because it’s so perfectly Summer I have to get it in before Labor Day! I usually save smoothies for snacks and this is perfect for a post-hike or after school snack, but with the heat this Summer, it also worked great for me for breakfast. There is a secret ingredient too, with kind of a fun twist…instead of using questionable methods to get the green color that you find in many mint products, spinach and fresh mint each serve the dual purpose of a great nutritional boost and a brilliant green color! If you don’t have fresh mint, which I do recommend, you can put a drop or two of peppermint or spearmint oil in the water before pouring it into the blender. I keep frozen bananas in the freezer at all times in case the need for a smoothie arises. Outside of smoothie season, they are good for banana bread too.

If you are worried about the ice watering the smoothie down, no need to fret. We are essentially making our nut or seed milk and smoothie in the same step, so the ice (plus the water) serves as the liquid for the seed milk and it keeps everything nice and cold which is a critical element to keeping the bananas from getting gummy. Plus, the higher the hydration to sweet ratio the better, in my opinion, especially in a cooling mint smoothie! If you do want it a little sweeter, you can add a pitted date with the hemp seeds for an extra potassium boost!

  • 3/4 cup cold water, plus a little more depending on the consistency you want
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (I sometimes use raw soaked almonds instead)
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1 cup spinach, or more if you like
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh mint (depending on your level of mintophelia)
  • 1 large frozen banana, cut into smaller chunks
  • teeny pinch of salt

Pour the vanilla in the water and set aside; if you are using mint oil instead of fresh mint, add it to the water too. Put the hemp seeds, ice cubes, spinach, mint, and salt in the blender, then pour the water over it. Putting the hemp seeds in first keeps them from flying around before they are blended and sticking to the side of the blender. Blend on low to get it going, then turn to high and blend until smooth, adding small amounts of cold water if needed to allow your smoothie to process. Blend it just as long as necessary, as you want to avoid heating up the smoothie in order to keep a perfect smooth, thick consistency. I like it thick enough to eat with a spoon, but it’s good anywhere between there and milkshake consistency. Sit down, take a deep breath, be grateful, and enjoy!

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Ethiopian-Inspired Collard Greens

I feel like I’ve just had my first real day at home in a long time. Of course, that’s not really true, but it is pretty much my first day at home alone in quite a while and I feel blessed to have the clarity that comes for me when I’m home on my own, listening to my own music, hearing my own silence, cooking a leisurely meal for myself. A perfect time to use up CSA veggies* that were gifted to me by my neighbor last night. What I love about CSA shares is that, at least for the first few years, you always get something you normally don’t buy yourself, which almost always serves as the perfect reminder about diversity! Normally, I am a kale-eater. It’s my favorite all year long. But, last night I got collards which I like, but, I think deep down, associate with fatback and often overlook at the store. Today I decided that I should create a new association with collard greens, an Ethiopian dish called Ye’abesha Gomen. Since the cafe has, over time, inherited much of the contents of my home kitchen in various pinches for ingredients, I was a little light on some of the ingredients I might have used, but it turned out to be perfectly delicious!

This recipe is for one portion, but absolutely multiply it and share the wealth that collard greens offer! It takes about 20 minutes or so total, but only about 5 minutes of your time. To make a whole meal of it, add some cooked lentils and serve over a grain or plan ahead and go all out with homemade injera.

  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin rings (it will cook down a lot)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, or more if you love ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • minced chile pepper, to taste (sorry to be vague, but this really does vary – I’m a wimp and I used a few pinches of a dried New Mexico chile
  • 1/2 bunch collard greens, destemmed and washed and cut into thin ribbons.
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (can use 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1/4 or so cup water when tomatoes aren’t in season)

Heat a medium-sized skillet to medium heat. Add the sliced onion, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 7 minutes or so, or until it softens and starts to brown. Make a little space, add a bit more oil and the minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for about a minute, or until the garlic is fragrant but not brown. Add the collards and tomato, sprinkle with a bit more salt, turn the heat back up to medium or a little higher, and cook until the collards are still green but tender. Keep an eye on it to be sure there is some liquid at the bottom; when the liquid is dry, they will probably be ready. If you’d like them to be a bit softer, turn the heat back down to medium. Enjoy!

*In case you don’t know what CSA veggies are, they are vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. Find a local farm and ask about whether they offer shares of their produce , picked fresh and available weekly – you pay a fee in advance and get a box of amazing produce picked at the perfect stage of yumminess and nutritional availability every week through the season. In exchange the farm gets guaranteed sales, a wonderful community to feed, and the support they need to keep their farm running when they actually need it – at planting time.

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Savory Millet Risotto Cakes

There are so many bits of good news with this post!  First of all, yum.  Secondly, it’s really not risotto, but just accidentally overcooked millet, that is the basis of this recipe.  Third, since it’s just overcooked millet, it really couldn’t be any easier.  And, of course, finally, you could spice up this very, very, very basic recipe in many, many ways – with herbs and spices, with vegetables, with delicious sauces, and I’m even thinking of a sweet version with coconut butter, palm sugar, and cinnamon.

Of course, it started as an accident.  I soaked millet, then added way more water than usual, and it turned out as mush.  But, mush that was easily formed into cakes without the addition of eggs or cheese or any other binder.  Somehow this brought risotto cakes to mind.  I’ve only had risotto cakes when eating out, because of course they are just a delicious way to use leftovers and I don’t typically make risotto.  These days, since I don’t really eat dairy or eggs, I would have thought risotto cakes, which I do really like, were a thing of the past.  But, just when I was least expecting it, like leg warmers and skinny jeans, they came back upon me!  So, I decided to fry up my little millet mush patties and see what happened and was very pleasantly surprised by their crunchy outsides and creamy insides that would be so amenable to a variety of additional flavors.

While I normally cook millet by adding the grain to boiling water, in this case I’m putting the millet in cold water, then bringing it to a boil before simmering  This will make the millet even that much stickier, because it will develop the starch a bit more.

  • 1 cup millet, soaked overnight
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons ghee or olive oil, plus additional oil for pan-frying.
  • Ideas for optional additions:  caramelized onions, steamed spinach or other finely chopped greens, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, etc.

Drain soaked millet and rinse well.  Put the millet in a small-medium saucepan with the water and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and let the millet sit for about 10 minutes covered, then remove the cover and stir in ghee or oil, and salt to taste, as well as any additional ingredients.  Season to taste.  Allow it to cool until you are able to handle it.  Once it’s cooled down a bit, take large spoonfuls and press the into balls with your hands, then flatten the into patties.  You can cook them right away or refrigerate the patties until you are ready to eat them.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil, then place the patties on the hot oil and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.  Eat immediately.  Enjoy!

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Aunt Ellie Beans

So, my family is no exception when it comes to the ubiquitous green bean casserole served at Thanksgiving dinners throughout the Midwest.  We call it “Aunt Ellie Beans”, because, of course, this was always Aunt Ellie’s contribution.  I have to be honest, I never ate it.  Love Aunt Ellie, but not those French Fried Onions.  Or the Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.  Ok, I actually liked those salty canned green beans.  I’ll be spending this Thanksgiving with my family and I can promise you that, though Aunt Ellie’s time on this Earth has passed, Aunt Ellie beans will be on the table.

I can’t say I’ve missed this particular dish since eschewing all of the components that make it up, but now that I think of it, and knowing that some form of it will be at our table, I’m thinking there may be some elements worth saving.  Green beans and mushrooms certainly go nicely together.  A little creaminess is a comforting aspect of any dish.  And, of course, something crunchy thrown on top never hurts!  Here’s what I’m thinking…and, by the way, feel free to add a whole array of vegetables and you’ll having something more like a pot pie.  Yum.

For the cruncy topping:

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or small croutons

For the green bean mixture:

  • 2 cups chopped fresh cremini and portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups trimmed green beans, cut into 3 inch pieces.  I actually sliced them in half lengthwise first and, though it’s time consuming, it’s the zen kind of time-consuming and much more authentic
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked 4-6 hours, then rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 teaspoons tamari
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Heat a large skillet to medium and add the thinly sliced onions for the topping.  Sprinkle with salt.  Turn heat down to medium-low and drizzle the onions with olive oil.  Leave the on the heat, stirring occasionally, until you make the rest of the dish.  Heat a large ovenproof pan over medium heat, add the mushrooms and sprinkle with sea salt.  Let cooked undisturbed until they have released their juices and then started to brown; depending on the moisture level of the mushrooms, this could take 5-10 minutes or more.  Once they start to stick to the pan, give them a stir and cook for a few minutes.  Move the mushrooms to the side of the pan, add olive oil and onions and cook until they soften and begin to brown.  Stir in the shallot and cook 3-4 minutes more.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, maybe a minute or less.  Stir in the green beans, cover, and cook on low while you make the cashew cream.  Meanwhile, turn on your broiler.  In a blender, blend the cashews, water, and tamari until very smooth.  Pour the cashew cream over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Remove the caramelized onions for the topping and layer them over the green bean mixture.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and place under the broiler until the bread crumbs are crisp.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Hungarian Goulash (or GHOULash, for Halloween:)

Ok, so when I looked Hungarian Goulash up before writing this post, I realized that my version is actually not that much like authentic Hungarian Goulash.  However, this is my take on the Hungarian Goulash my mom used to make when I was growing up which was, in fact, inspired by my father’s Hungarian roots.  The version on which I grew up was basically ground beef and onions, seasoned with paprika and probably some other spices and then mixed into pasta.  I’m sure there were canned foods involved too.  It was one of the few meat dishes I really remember enjoying.

I made a few changes, of course.  I pressed some extra-firm tofu and seasoned it with paprika, oregano, and sage, then mixed it in with sauteed cabbage, spinach, and tomatoes, then served the whole thing over quinoa.  You can certainly use pasta instead of quinoa, but I’ve been doing a lot of homemade candy taste-testing, so need to keep things a little lower on the glycemic index.

  • 1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, preferably frozen and thawed
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1/2 medium head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 big clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup jarred strained tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • Cooked quinoa or pasta

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onion, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil, and turn the heat down just a bit.  While the onions are cooking, press as much water as you can out of the tofu and crumble it up.  When the onions are soft and starting to caramelize, stir in the tofu and spread it, more or less, into a single layer on the pan.  Cook until the tofu is browned, then give it a stir and continue to brown on the other side.  Move the tofu and onions to the side of the pan and add the cabbage, and spinach, then sprinkle with salt, cover and cook for a few minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes and paprika, then crumble the oregano and sage between your fingers as you add them to the pan.  Cover and cook for a few more minutes.  Stir everything in the pan together and clear a space in the middle of the pan, add a little oil, and cook the garlic directly on the pan for a minute or so.  When the garlic is fragrant, pour the tomato sauce and tamari over it, then stir it all together, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve over quinoa or pasta.  Enjoy!

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Gingered Carrot-tomato Sauce

I love, love, love this sauce.  I love it on vegetable pancakes, I love it on quinoa, I love it with chickpeas or lentils or vegetables, and sometimes I just eat it with a spoon right out of the jar.  It’s just another example of how easy it is to make something divine from a few simple ingredients.  And, I can’t think of a place right now where one couldn’t just run down to the Farmers’ Market and buy all of the vegetables.  You’ll have to get your ginger from the store, most likely, but that’s a darn good ratio of local to non-local.

Of course, you could add all types of spices to this sauce – berbere, my current obsession, curry spices, chili peppers, basil, oregano…

  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6-8 good-sized carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped, optional
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes, or about a cup and a half of jarred strained tomatoes
  • grated fresh ginger, to taste
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee, optional
  • salt, to taste

Heat a large skillet to medium, add the sliced onions and sprinkle with salt.  Drizzle with olive oil and give it a stir so the onions are coated.  Reduce the heat a bit and leave the onions for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally if you get the chance, until they are very soft and caramelized.  Push the onions to the side, add the carrots and celery to the pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then turn the heat back up to medium and saute until they soften.  Remove from heat.  Put the tomatoes and the cooked vegetables into a blender or food processor and process.  I like to leave this sauce a little chunky, so I am careful not to over-process, but if you are going for a smooth sauce, process away!  Pour the sauce back into the pan and grate in the ginger, then add the cinnamon, ghee, and salt.  Simmer on low for about 10 minutes or so (at least), then taste and adjust seasonings.  If you are paying attention, you’ll know when you have the right amount of salt.  Enjoy!

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Millet and Roasted Vegetables

Since I posted the injera recipe last week, I think I’ll stick this Ethiopian theme through – so next week you can probably expect a recipe for an Ethiopian stew that will bring it all together.  This will give you time to perfect your injera so you can have enjoy the full experience.

I have tried cooking millet a few times in the past and have never quite gotten the light, fluffy texture I’ve envisioned.  It always seemed like it didn’t quite cook through the middle, so there was a bit of a chalky crunch that wasn’t quite right for me.  I have been meaning to give it another try now that I am soaking all of my grains and I find that they cook so much better that way, but just hadn’t gotten to it yet.  I was inspired the other day as I was preparing an Ethiopian stew for lunch for a Kundalini teacher training session.  My new friend Ria, who is doing a fabulous job of helping me with the Market (thank goodness), told me about a yummy meal she had cooked the previous night using millet.  I happened to have a whole bunch of soaked millet ready to go into the dehydrator, so I scooped some up and gave it a try and was so happy that I did.  It was light and fluffy, mildly sweet, and delicious.  I ended up serving it with the stew and it was the perfect compliment.  Even Joshua, who hasn’t been fond of millet in the past and also isn’t partial to green split peas, which were the main component of the stew, devoured it happily.  It was a hit with my teacher trainer friends, as well, so it comes very highly recommended!

In case you aren’t very familiar with millet, it is a little, round grain most commonly used here in the US as birdseed, but popping up more as a crunchy component to baked goods, in granolas, etc.  It can apparently be gray, white, red, or yellow, but I’ve only seen yellow millet.  It is the most easily digested grain, in fact it’s the only grain that is alkalizing to our bodies.  It’s rich in B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.  Cooked, I find it reminiscent of couscous; actually, couscous was originally made from cracked millet (now it’s made from wheat/semolina flour).  It is thought to have originated in Ethiopia and I have read that injera is sometimes made from millet flour rather than teff, but is also consumed as a pilaf grain or porridge in many other cultures.

So, on to the recipe…please note that you’ll need to soak the millet for about 8 hours before you use it in this recipe, so be sure to include that time in your plan.  Also, this may be a lot of roasted vegetables for the amount of millet – I typically taste (read:scarf) a lot of the veggies while they are cooking and/or want to have some for other meals, so I’ll roast a bunch and just use what seems right in the recipe.  Feel free to use any seasonal vegetables.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli (flowerettes and trimmed stalks)
  • three medium sweet potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon berbere spice blend (or a pinch each of cayenne and fenugreek)
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup millet, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup water for cooking
  • a splash of olive oil or a bit of ghee
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower and sweet potato (without peeling) into small bite-sized pieces.  Coat vegetables generously in olive oil and stir in the minced garlic, then  spread them out on a baking tray or trays, more or less in a single layer.  Put them in the oven (no need to wait if it isn’t quite up to 375 yet).

While the veggies are roasting, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the ghee and the onion and cook until the onion begins to brown, then add the ginger, garlic, and spices and cook another minute or so.  Add the water and bring it to a boil.  Rinse the soaked millet and add it to the pot once the water boils, then cover the pot, turn the heat to medium-low, and let it cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.

When the millet is done, fluff it with a fork and replace the cover.  When the vegetables are soft and browned, stir them into the millet.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Enjoy!

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