Posts filed under ‘lunch’
Next meal plan up: Mexican Chickpea Salad with Coconut Quinoa!
The dressing for this salad is OFF THE HEEZY, folks. Don’t skimp on the adobo, it makes the whole dish! The recipe (man her picture is so much nicer than mine!) calls for jicama, but I sadly couldn’t find any, so I used shaved (then chopped) carrots and cucumber, and LOTS of cilantro. I also doubled the recipe, but take it from me…unless you are a big eater, or are bringing this to a party, don’t double it. The dressing separated after a day and a half and started tasting funky. I really hate throwing food away, especially when it starts out so delicious! Oh, and for the dressing I used thawed frozen mango, a whole bag, which I figured amounted to about two large mangoes, hence the doubling.
The quinoa recipe is simple: 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk (I used lite), though I would recommend two cups lite coconut milk since the coconut flavor wasn’t very strong.
There is an intruder in this photo named Susu Watari, and though she seems to really love quinoa, I’d say it was more of a casual interest.
So, I’m sort of a minimalist. I grew up in a cluttered home, and unfortunately picked up a bit of the clutter bug. I try my best to fight against it, and have grown to hate collecting things. Throwing or giving things away feels SO GOOD. Maybe that’s why I’m such a foodie, and choose to pretty much only spend my money on good eatin’. You buy foodstuffs, you eat foodstuffs, then the foodstuffs are gone. (I won’t mention my often cluttered refrigerator. I like to pretend that doesn’t exist, thanks.)
Anyway, I like to splurge on food! So, in the past 9 or 10 months I’ve gone with my husband to Ubuntu, an all vegetarian (fancy!) restaurant in Napa, CA. We’ve gone for lunch both times to avoid crowds and were better off for it…natural light for crappy camera phone pictures makes a world of difference!
This place, while expensive is THE SHIZZ. People still say that, right? Well I AM. UBUNTU IS THE SHIZZ. Most of their produce comes from their backyard garden, and 3/4ths of the menu is vegan. My three course meal from our first trip there:
Beets! Beet tartar, roasted beets, shaved beets, beet chips, kale chips (candied kinda, and SO GOOD), crushed olives, beet hazelnut “soil”.
Roasted heirloom potatoes, fresh radishes, poached radishes in sauerkraut broth, sauerkraut mousse, and one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted: caramelized sauerkraut. I really have to make that some day.
Dessert was fennel pollen cake (?!) with poached apples (or pears maybe?), meyer lemon sorbet, satsuma orange caramel, and more hazelnut deliciousness.
Meal number two, which I just had last weekend, was technically a two and a half course meal since we split the dessert. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the salads, but I will tell you about them!
Mine was heirloom tomatoes presented in various ways with a creamy corn pudding garnish. The highlight was BY FAR the battered and fried tomatoes. I could have eaten a whole bowl of them! Sadly I have been disappointed with pretty much every tomato I’ve come into contact with in the past year, and these were no exception. For garden grown heirlooms they should have been bursting with flavor! Alas. My husband’s salad was different types of squash presented in different ways, also tasty.
The main courses were suited to our tastes perfectly. Mine was stewed and fried chickpeas with romesco sauce and arugula. Boy do I love me some chickpeas.
His was homemade tiny pasta that they were calling flagiola or something, but all my research on their shape shows that it’s commonly known as acini di pepe (peppercorns), in a smoky spicy brothy sauce. (Shown in the background of the picture above).
The dessert we split was similar to the last, and equally mouth-watering. Meyer lemon cake with pears(?), pluot reduction, black olive caramel, olive oil sorbet (some of the most refreshing stuff I’ve ever eaten), and some crazy delicious hazelnut brittle. The olive caramel was probably my least favorite thing on the dish…it didn’t quite compliment the cake in my opinion. Interesting flavor though, not at all bad by itself!
If you’ve got a bit of extra cash on hand and happen to be in Napa, I highly recommend this place. But hey, it’s got a Michelin star, so my recommendation probably isn’t worth much…
PS. I know “tomorrow” turned into “three days from now”, but I will make up for it by posting a bonus entry later today!
I’ll be out of town Saturday – Tuesday, so just in case I don’t get a chance to blog (really don’t think I will), I’m counting this as my second MoFo post. Accept it!
I’ve eaten Mexican-style food at least once a day for the past, oh, I don’t know, 5 days now, but somehow I don’t get sick of it! Here’s what I made for dinner that has also been my lunch this week (boy I really gotta start using a camera that’s NOT my phone):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Chipotle Field Roast sausage links, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups short grain brown rice (uncooked)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can roasted and chopped green chiles
5 cups water
1 vegan bouillon cube or equivalent
1 can pinto beans (or equivalent amount fresh cooked beans)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan, or in my case, dutch oven
Add onion, cook until translucent
Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano, cook for about a minute
Add sausage, cook until crispy and browned on one or both sides
Add garlic, cook until soft (a minute or so)
Add rice, mix in and toast for a minute or two
Add tomatoes with juice and chiles, stir to deglaze pan
Add water and bouillon, bring to a low boil
Cook for 15 minutes
Add pinto beans with liquid
Cover pot, simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked to your liking. Depending on how long you simmer, it will start off as a really thick stew, and over time become more of a creamy rice dish. If you’d rather have a dryer rice dish, add less water, and you should be good to go.
I topped each bowl with salsa since I had neither lime juice nor cilantro in the house, which I would have added otherwise. I used my favorite salsa in the whole world, locally made La Salsa Chilena. If you get a chance to try this stuff, DO IT!! For added nutrients, I’d throw in some greens or have salad or broccoli on the side next time.
What? Am I really updating this blog after 2 years? I guess so! Why? Someone asked for a recipe of something I made for dinner last night! Reason enough for me.
Anyway, I don’t have a picture, but here’s what I made:
Whole-wheat rotelli with ancho-chile cashew cream sauce, kale, grape tomatoes, and chipotle Field Roast sausage
For the cashew cream sauce:
2-3 small ancho chiles
juice of one lime
handful of cilantro
2 or so cups soaked raw cashew pieces (soak raw cashews in hot water for at least an hour, or any temp water overnight)
2.5 – 3 cups veggie broth (I use rapunzel brand vegan bouillon cubes)
4 cloves roasted or sauteed garlic
teaspoon or so of salt
To make the sauce!
1. Roast the chiles. I did this over my open gas burner, but you can do in the oven.
If you want the sauce to be spicy, leave in some seeds! I took them out, but would leave some in next time.
Then roughly chop them.
2. Blend up cashews, lime, and broth until fairly smooth. Add in the garlic, cilantro, and peppers and blend again until totally smooth. (This might take a few minutes!)
3. Transfer the sauce to a pan and cook on medium heat until thickened to your liking (this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes). Transfer the sauce to another container so you can use the same pan to cook the kale. Don’t worry about the pan being clean, you can cook the kale with a little bit of sauce!
For the rest:
1 bag whole wheat rotelli or other small pasta
1 bunch kale, rinsed
a couple large handfuls of grape tomatoes, rinsed
juice of 1 lime
another handful of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
2 field roast chipotle sausages (optional)
1. Start boiling water for pasta.
2. Chop up kale into medium sized pieces (including stalks)
3. Heat pan on high and throw in the kale right away (a little bit of water is fine) making sure any leftover sauce in the pan doesn’t burn
4. Toss kale with lime juice and cook for a minute or two
5. Add grape tomatoes and cilantro, stir, and continue cooking until kale stalks are tender
Whenever water starts boiling, add pasta and cook for 5-7 minutes
In the meantime, pan-fry or grill sausages until crisp on the outside. Tear or chop up into bite-sized pieces.
After everything is done cooking, mix up as much sauce as you want with pasta, kale, and tomatoes. You can also toss in the sausages, but they have a strong flavor, so I ended up serving them on the side with more sauce.
Ok, I know I haven’t had anything fancy to post lately, even with my insufferable insomnia the past couple days (I went to bed at 6am this morning! WTF, mates?) but tonight, with a little help from Ina Garten and the Food Network, I have some beautiful stuff to show you!
Sometimes, when the Barefoot Contessa isn’t filling her food with butter and cheese and meat, she makes some drool-worthy dishes. This roasted butternut squash and arugula salad is one of those. My stomach rumbled when I saw her make it, and it’s a perfect autumn salad, especially for a San Diegan who’s still complaining about the heat (IE me).
I didn’t need to make many substitutions. In fact, I would only have had to leave out the parmesan or make dairy free parmesan to make it vegan in the first place, but I thought some ingredients were a bit unnecessary. And by unnecessary I mean I didn’t have them in my house and I didn’t want to go to the store to get them.
So, as usual, my list of recipe changes:
1. Left out the apple juice/cider in the dressing. The squash was already super sweet, like, caramelized, from roasting with maple syrup. That Ina loves her sugar! I did add a bit more maple syrup to the dressing though.
2. Used garlic instead of shallots.
3. Used candied pecans (that I happened to have lying around from a month or so ago), which were really awesome.
4. I guess I used “good” olive oil? This is one of the things I hate most about Ina Garten. She always says to use “good olive oil” or “good vanilla extract” or “good butter.” Does “good” mean imported? Expensive? Extra fattening?
The sandwich accompanying the salad is a delicious Chickpea-Hijiki sammich, my favorite tuna substitution, courtesy of Vegan with a Vengeance. Since there’s apple cider vinegar in that, too, it complimented the salad nicely. Thanks to the b-fri for the beautiful pic, even with such low lighting!
I made seitan for the first time tonight, using Joanna Vaught‘s recipe from her Yellow Rose Recipe blog. I’ll post the recipe here since the all-mighty intarwebs seems to have failed to archive it. (Hopefully she doesn’t mind that I’m re-posting!)
I have heard soo many good things about this seitan. I made it chicken cutlet style, and now have 20 or so cutlets waiting to be prepped and cooked however I please. Boy howdy I hope I like them! I left out the nutritional yeast and replaced it with chickpea flour, so I probably will.
I was told not to actually let them boil and just simmer them, but I have a flat-top electric stove I am still getting used to, so you could say that was a stove-top fail. Im reely gud at those, aktshually. Supposedly the texture gets rubbery if you do boil them, but I tasted a small piece after they came out of the pot and lo, they had a very pleasing texture indeed! So I guess…be careful of that, but don’t worry too much! Maybe the nooch makes them rubbery; I wouldn’t put a move like that past it.
The cutlets aren’t very pretty in their current state, but I’ll cook with them tomorrow so I can take pictures! What have YOU done with them? (besides breading and frying them like you were the KFC colonel)
Without further ado, feast your eyes upon the recipe:
Chicken-Style Seitan Cutlets
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour or chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 T onion powder
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cold water
2 T grapeseed or light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or microplaned
suggested bouquet garni:
Parisien Bonne Herbes
Place a large heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot on the stove filled with 2-3 quarts of cold water. Assemble a bouquet garni and place it in the pot. I like to use a tea bag designed for loose leaf tea and tie it off with a piece of string, but I’ve also used cheesecloth successfully. You could also just put the herbs directly into the water, which is what I used to do, but then the herbs get stuck to the seitan, and you have to strain the broth into the storage container… it’s a lot easier to just use a bouquet garni and then toss it in the trash or compost.
Combine your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet ingredients in another bowl. Add wet to dry and mix well, then use your hands to knead the seitan mix gently for a few minutes until uniform and homogenous.
Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out golf ball sized pieces of seitan dough as thinly as you possibly can. If a cutlet tears a little from being rolled out too thinly, no big deal! Just re-form it into a ball and have another go at it. When it’s very thin, slip it into the cold broth and repeat with the rest of the seitan dough. There is no need to be a perfectionist about this.
When all the cutlets have been rolled out and placed in the pot, allow them to rest in the cold water for 10 minutes or so. Then bring the water to a gentle boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and allow seitan to cook for an hour.
When you come back, all the cutlets should be at the top and some will be sticking together slightly. Don’t worry about that. Take the pot off the heat and leave them in the water for at least a half hour, until cutlets are easy to handle.
You can cook with them right away, but I prefer to transfer them at this point to a container with the broth, refrigerate them for a few hours or overnight, and then cook with them later.
You will need “cook” these before eating them. Think of them as you would raw tofu: it’s safe to eat right out of the container, but it needs to be flavored and cooked for maximum taste. The cutlets pictured above were pan-fried in a small amount of olive oil until they began to brown. I took half of these pan fried cutlets and tore them into small pieces to make a chicken salad, and then I marinated the rest in a balsamic-maple syrup-mustard glaze and lightly pan fried them again.
The other day I had no energy for grocery shopping or cooking, so we got out our recently created restaurant spreadsheet (this is the best thing ever; I don’t care how nerdy it is!) and sorted by price range since we wanted something cheap (we can also sort by distance and ethnicity, and we’ll probably add a personal rating system in there, too).
The winner? The Loving Hut, an all vegan Asian fusion (cultish, but not freakish) restaurant only a couple miles away. When this place first opened we lived about 5 blocks away, which was really awesome, but also bad. Any inkling of laziness and we’d be calling in our order or taking a quick walk/ride over. We moved recently, and I’ve been cooking more, so now eating out is more of a treat, and a better cheap treat we couldn’t ask for.
The weather was finally a bit chillier that day, so the b-fri said “bring on the soup!” (Ok, I’m sure he didn’t say those words exactly, but that was the vibe I got.) Pictured above you see a huge bowl of wonton soup with tons of lovely veggies and TONS of wontons. The price? 6 bucks!
Next we have my favorite, the BBQ noodle bowl. Thee most amazing beef-like seitan, rice vermicelli, mint, lettuce, cucumber, pickled radish, and do you see those golden fried cylinders there? Those are by far the best bestest fried spring rolls I’ve ever had. I think they put crack in them, or maybe they lie about using no MSG. And then when you pour that sauce over everything…PURE HEAVEN. I’m really full right now and my mouth is watering. Oh, how much you ask? ONLY SIX FITTY! ($6.50). I don’t know how they do it, but whatever it is I love them for it.
Lastly, here’s a bonus picture of me with the food before the mouth-shoveling began. I had to keep my fist in there while I waited for the picture to be taken, otherwise my face would have been in the bowl.
The title is a little much, I know, but this caramelized vidalia onion quiche from Vegan Brunch is so good I want the world to know; even if it takes a cheesy title to make people notice.
I’ll admit now though, I made the crust from Vegan Brunch without doing any research about it first.
The bad: there was a misprint in the crust recipe, which left me using A WHOLE LOT of earth balance. I’ve never made my own crust before however, so I assumed once I let the uncooked dough refrigerate for a while the gooey-ness would be taken care of. I was wrong!
The bad/good: Again because I’d never made crust, I decided to use my hands instead of a pastry knife to mix, which inevitably lead me to add more flour, and again add more flour when I was rolling it out, so it baked up just fine.
The absolute good: the crust was so buttery and rich and flaky (and a bit crumbly) it couldn’t NOT have been delicious.
The picture below shows some fresh steamed broccoli alongside the quiche, perfect for cutting the richness. The cashews processed in with the tofu and onion made the perfect texture, and the cinnamon I substituted for the nutmeg (never been a nutmeg fan, really) complimented the sweetness of the onions beautifully. Next time I’ll add less cinnamon though, I kinda dumped a full teaspoon in by accident. Oops.
Just goes to show though, if you’re making something with ingredients you love, it’s hard to screw up.
When I say “easy” brunch, I mean “use what you have in the fridge and throw it all together at the last minute” brunch, but also “not much preparation” brunch and “tastes so good” brunch. I wonder how many times I can type the word brunch before it loses all meaning…
Another time, another place.
The beauty you see before you consists of a bowl of seedless red grapes (on sale and really crunchy and sweet) to balance out the richness of the mushroom gravy from Vegan Brunch (there’s that word again…), the topping that really pulled together the mess of ingredients underneath it: Italian style Tofurkey sausage, sliced and pan-fried with yellow squash and mixed dark greens (mustard, collard, kale, etc.) Some whole wheat toast awaits its true calling of scooping up any leftover bits and gravy. The fresh apple juice from Trader Joe’s we drank with the meal was camera shy, but it also went really well with everything. Even my vegan vitamin (iron, B12, folic acid, vitamin C.) Tasty!
I have a secret to tell the non-vegans reading this blog: a lot of vegans still crave very NOT vegan things. Shhhhhh! We’re always striving to create or find substitutes for the things we miss. Some are lucky and forget their old eating habits, but not me! I was practically a cheese connoisseur before taking the plunge.
And it didn’t get any better than my mom’s mac and cheese, so of course I’ve always wanted to find a suitable veganized version. Please don’t get mad, but this vegan don’t like no nutritional yeast, and every recipe I came across had an unfortunate amount included in the recipe list. I’ve never understood the claim that “nooch” makes things taste “cheez-y.” Any amount of the stuff, even a pinch, becomes the most prominent flavor to me. You know how it is…when you don’t like something it becomes the strongest flavor? (Another ingredient like that for me is celery, but I won’t get into that now.)
Anyway, you can imagine my excitement and surprise when VegNews posted this recipe. No nutritional yeast in sight! I’ve made it a few times, once with only a third of the earth balance where I replaced the rest with olive oil, and every time has been better than the last. Boy do I wish starch was really healthy to eat a lot of all the time. Now feast your eyes, then go make it for dinner!