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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hey, We Moved!

Hi there, we want you to know that we've moved the blog along to a dedicated domain and a fabulous new WordPress installation.

If you've been following posts here, please consider updating your RSS feed to follow us at Vegan Nosh!
http://vegannosh.me/

Please don't post any comments or link to any posts here any longer, please go do these things at the new site. All the posts and comments were imported there a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Attention - We're Going to Move Soon!

Hi there -

Thanks for following this blog, it is pretty cool that people come here for inspiration and ideas for making vegan food that rocks.

We've got a spiffy new domain and Sherri is in working diligently on migrating everything (posts, pictures and comments) over to the new digs. It still is a little dusty, but you can check it out Vegan Nosh. It should be up and fully running just in time for VeganMoFo 2010!

Once we're over the posts here will be locked except for one to remind you that we've moved. When that happens please update your RSS feeds, links, etc. We don't want to lose anyone in the transition so we're trying to give plenty of warning.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Adventures with Tomatoes

Once again we managed to be busy, busy, BUSY during the peak of tomato season. This means several pounds have sadly gone to mush on the vine, but earlier this week I went out and picked pounds and pounds. I've been hearing all about people drying them in the oven ("sun dried" for Portland) and thought I'd give it a whirl.









Several of the "Roman Candle" paste-type tomatoes sliced into quarter wedges (the long yellow ones) along with the larger cherry types and some small plum types.












A whole roasting pan full of cherry and grape type tomatoes cut in half and put face down.













Hours and hours and HOURS later the yield: 3 cups of dried tomatoes.

The verdict: I think the oven is very inefficient for dehydrating food. We've been pondering an Excalibur model and this experiment has moved it up in priority a bit. This project took over the oven for quite a while and it would be preferable to be able to turn on a dehydrator and let it run.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Three Sisters Talking Story

I came up with this casserole quite a while ago. It started as a reconstruction of a recipe Christie had made once for us, but has progressed to a new and even tastier dish.

I named it "Three Sisters Talking Story" for a couple of reasons. The use of "Three Sisters" pays homage to the ingredients that were once the staple of the Native American diet. Many groups doing outreach to Native communities are working to bring attention to the health benefits of the traditional diet. The Three Sisters refer to the corn, beans and squash that are the stars of this hearty casserole. "Talking Story" is a term we heard in Hawaii, it refers to a close conversation where each participant shares deeply from the heart. In this dish the 3 ingredients all share the credit in this dish, each shining through.

The Stuff
  • 3-4lb winter squash (pick something with more flavor than an acorn squash for this: butternut, delicata, carnival, dumpling, hubbard, etc.)
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (1 15oz can is fine, just drain and rinse well)
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (a 15oz can will work, Muir Glen's fire roasted would be perfect)
  • 1/2 cup diced Anaheim chilies (or a 4oz can, I like Hatch)
  • 1 small yellow or sweet onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup + 2 T fine nutritional yeast powder
  • 1 t sweet, smoked paprika
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

All of the steps for making this are split into separate steps that can be done concurrently. Each of the different steps will be combined at the end in layers.

Making: Roasted Squash
Pre-heat oven to 350. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lightly spray the bottom of a roasting pan with oil. Place squash in roasting pan, cut side down. Roast in oven until soft. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Roasting time will vary greatly depending upon the size of the squash you used. Delicata are very small and can be done within 15-20 minutes. A Hubbard is so large and dense that it should be cut into quarters, at least, and will take closer to 30-40 minutes to roast through.

Leave oven on, it will be used to bake full casserole.
Making: Cumin Polenta
Spray a little oil into the bottom the pressure cooker on medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds to heated pot and saute until the seeds are fragrant, darken and begin to pop & sizzle. Less than 5 minutes

Add the water carefully and bring to boil. Add polenta and 1/2 t of smoked paprika while stirring. Put lid onto pressure cooker, bring to high pressure, reduce heat, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Remove pressure cooker and let sit for 10 minutes. Release any pressure if cooker has not unlocked and open. Stir in 1/3 cup of fine nutritional yeast and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

**If you are not using a pressure cooker you can cook this on the stove top. Just bring the polenta back to a boil, stirring often, once it is fully boiling again reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring fairly often.
Making: Stewed Pintos & Tomatoes
Spray a little oil into a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until just translucent (about 5 minutes), add garlic. Continue to saute until the onions and garlic begin to caramelize (about 5 minutes more). Add fresh chilies and saute until they soften (about 3 minutes). If you are using canned chilies they can be added along with the tomatoes (fresh or canned), cooked pinto beans. Stir in 2 T nutritional yeast, 1/2 t smoked paprika, 1/2 t of ground cumin. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the fresh tomatoes have softened, or at least 20 minutes.
Making: The Casserole "Three Sisters Talking Story"
In a dutch oven or a 9x12 baking dish spray a little oil. Scoop roasted squash out of skin and put into the bottom of the baking dish. Press down with spoon or spatula to get a even, 1-2" layer of squash. Pour stewed beans & tomatoes over the layer of squash and smooth out evenly. Top with the polenta, making as even a layer as possible.

Put casserole into the hot oven (350). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly spray the top of the polenta with oil. Return to oven and reset to low broil. Broil on low for 5 minutes or until the polenta is lightly browned and golden.

Remove from oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with avocado slices if you want.

Makes 8 very hearty servings

Monday, September 20, 2010

Eggplant & Chickpea Casserole

We do not share a love of eggplant in our home. Christie prefers to avoid it and I really like it. In getting boxes of fresh produce I find that I often have more eggplant than I am sure of what to do with and have already thrown out one lovely one this summer. In our garden we found a Turkish variety that yields small, orange eggplant with a tomato shape.

I had seen a recipe on the NYTimes that referenced a staple of Middle Eastern cooking. Tonight I made a variation with the ingredients I had on hand and the result was very tasty. I'll have to recreate at another time for exact measurements, but here's a review.

2 cups cooked chickpeas were added dry to a pre-heated cast-iron skillet on medium heat. I very lightly spritzed them with Canola spray (Spectrum) as they browned. Once they were beginning to look toasty I added a small onion, thinly sliced. Sauteed 5 minutes or so, until the onion began to go translucent and then I added a generous amount of dried oregano, some dried marjoram, lemon pepper, granulated garlic, and a pinch of nutritional yeast. Tossed all of that around to coat the chickpeas & onions before adding 1/4 cup of chopped, fresh Italian parsley, the juice of half a lemon, and one diced medium green tomato.

While all of that chickpea stuff was going on I had sliced in half 4 small, Japanese eggplant. I pre-heated our cast-iron grill pan and then added the eggplant, sliced side down. I put the lid of my small casserole dish on top of them to press them into the grill. After grilling for a few minutes face-down I flipped them all over, skin-side down, replaced the lid to press them flat and grilled for a few more moments.

The oven had been pre-heating to 375. After the eggplant was done grilling and the chickpeas sauteed, I gathered my casserole dish and 2 cups of crushed tomatoes. 4 eggplant slices went into the baking dish, topped with half the chickpea mixture and followed by half the tomatoes. Repeat, cover with lid, pop into oven for 15 minutes.

Tasty all by itself. If there were guests or I was less hungry I'd have garnished with fresh parsley and a slice of lemon. This would also be great paired with some whole grains or stuffed into a baguette. I enjoyed it with a big salad.

Organics to You - September 20, 2010

Between cutting back on boxes for a few weeks and the joyful craziness that was Wedding Camp there haven't been any updates from me for a while about our produce delivery. I'm doing some real guessing on the composted stuff since a couple of times I just cleaned out the fridge without noting closely what I was pitching into the bin.

That said, here's today's box full of goodies:
  • a head of Romaine lettuce
  • red grapes
  • broccoli
  • a leek
  • 7 small summer squash, 3 kinds
  • 3 chilies (1 sweet red, a poblano, and an anaheim)
  • bunch of beets, with greens
  • several small tomatoes
  • 3 green pears
  • 3 peaches
  • 5 pluots
  • 3 apples
  • 2 ears of corn
In the fridge:
  • carrots
  • fava beans
  • cucumbers (including the first from our garden!!)
  • some garlic
  • a huge pile of apples (we went to the farmers market this weekend and the Pink Pearls are in!)
  • a few onions
  • 1 red beet
  • a bunch of radishes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 1 enormous mango
  • 1 orange
  • several bananas
  • green grapes
  • a few strawberries
  • several tomatoes, including many from our garden
  • several types of eggplant, including the orange Turkish ones from the garden
  • ginger
  • dill
  • Italian parsley
  • some lettuce
  • a little chard
  • a few bell peppers, many out of our garden
  • there's quite a bit of kale out in the garden too
  • red grapes
  • celery
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • a whole lot of lettuce
  • an eggplant
  • several pieces of assorted fruit
  • some cucumbers
  • a little cauliflower
  • some broccoli crowns
Expect to see some more recipes coming soon. I will post about fabulous mac & cheeze (using a creamy cashew & nutritional yeast sauce), our amazing shepherds pie, I am working on Christie to post her amazing mashed potatoes (also using a tasty cashew cream sauce and integral to the shepherds pie), and the crazy good Sloppy Schmoe's (my new made-up name for our take on sloppy joe's) we came up with this week after volunteering at Veg Fest.

We've also been experimenting with homemade almond milk, fantastic & healthy truffles from our friend Wendy's new cookbook, Scatter Vegan Sweets. Aside from the rich dishes I've mentioned above, we've been turning again to healthier, very low fat dishes along the lines of those in Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book, Eat to Live. This change has meant great new looks at salad dressings, stir-fry sauce, and very hearty minestrone soup.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Organics to You - August 2, 2010

We have started to cut back on the weekly boxes. We wisely did not get a box the week we attended OSCON since we ate out most meals. Last week we did get a box, but I was in a rush to just get stuff into the fridge, etc. that I never got it recorded.

That said, here's today's box full of goodies:
  • a head of red leaf lettuce
  • spinach
  • rainbow carrots
  • head of garlic
  • 4 zucchini
  • a cucumber
  • green onions
  • green beans
  • blueberries
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 5 apricots
  • 2 huge grapefruit
  • 3 nectarines
In the fridge:
  • carrots
  • fava beans
  • green beans
  • 2 1/2 cucumbers (including the first from our garden!!)
  • some garlic
  • green & purple cabbage
  • 4 apples
  • broccoli
  • head of cauliflower
  • 1 red & 1 golden beets
  • radishes
  • a pile of lemons
  • 1 small lime
  • 2 nectarines
  • 4 mangoes
  • 3 plucots
  • 1 apricot
  • 2 small daikon
  • several bananas
  • green grapes
  • 2 pints of strawberries
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 yellow onions
  • ginger
  • cherries
  • 2 pints of blueberries
  • basil
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • basil
  • bananas
  • some plums
  • green onions
I have managed to post some new recipes recently and am enjoying that a lot. This time of year I tend to make a lot of hearty salads that make for portable dinners for picnics and are great chilled. We also both adore stone fruit and have been having lots of it in salad form. This week there will be a cucumber salad and perhaps gazpacho to use up the several we have. I have been continuing to make lots of stir-fries, particularly with the cabbage and zucchini. I think tonight we'll be having a green bean stir-fry along with some miso udon soup.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cilantro Citrus Vinaigrette

I came up with this tasty salad dressing for a new Roasted Corn & Qunioa Salad recipe I came up with. This is so easy to throw together and would be great in a jicama salad or just as part of a tossed greens salad.

The Stuff
  • 1 bunch cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • juice from 1 large lemon or 3 limes
  • 2 T raw tahini
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar (no, not the seasoned kind)
  • 1/4 t garlic powder *optional
  • 1/4 t xanthan gum *optional
The Making

Cut the stems off the bunch of cilantro about 3-4 inches up. Wash in a colander and shake off just some of the excess water.

Put wet, washed cilantro into blender, add remaining ingredients and blend on high until completely blended.

If the dressing seems a little thick or too vinegary, add some water a tablespoon at a time until it is the right consistency/taste.

If the dressing is very thin or if you would like a very thick dressing you can add the xanthan gum to thicken it. Bob's Red Mill is a good source for this ingredient.

Roasted Corn & Qunioa Salad

Ahhhh, summer! The time of fresh, sweet corn is finally here and although I usually just like to roast it, coat it with lime juice and eat until there's nothing left, I did come this yummy recipe using some.

The Stuff
  • 2 ears of roasted corn, kernels carefully removed
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 cups of shredded, raw cabbage (red looks more dramatic)
  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • 8oz tempeh
  • 1 batch of Cilantro Citrus vinaigrette
  • half a small head of Romaine or other crisp lettuce cut into big shreds
  • 1 small avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • Spray canola oil

The Making

Slice the tempeh into 1/2 inch strips. Heat a skillet, or a cast-iron grill pan (preferred), coat with a little canola oil, and add tempeh. Cook tempeh on both sides, using a little spray oil before turning, until golden. Set aside and cut into small pieces (roughly diced) once it has been cooled.

Heat oven to 425F. Cut tortillas into very thin strips with a sharp knife. Spray tortilla strips with some oil while tossing. Place tortilla strips on a small baking rack and put into oven. Bake for 5 minutes, or until crispy. Set aside.

While the tempeh is cooking put the remaining ingredients, except salad dressing, together into a large mixing bowl. Once the tempeh has cooled and been diced up add it and the dressing to the bowl and toss all ingredients together until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.

Serve salad on a bed of Romaine lettuce, topped with avocado slices and some of the baked tortilla strips.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Raw Kale & Chickpea Salad

Last summer we picked up a raw kale salad from the deli at a co-op in Davis, California, and enjoyed it a lot. This salad doesn't really recreate it, but it was that salad that encouraged me to try using more raw kale in dishes. You can mix & match things like dressing, veggies used, etc., but this is generally what I stick with.

The Stuff
  • 1 bunch of kale, any variety
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper, diced small (I prefer a red just for contrast in colors)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced small (you can use red or yellow, I'd just saute it first)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15 oz can, rinsed & drained)
  • 1/2 cup pesto or balsamic salad dressing
Optional Stuff (tasty, pick a couple of these!)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomato pieces, cut up small
  • 1/3 cup green olives (oil cured, not canned, go to the olive bar if your market has one), sliced small
  • 1/3 cup thin sliced basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped up fine
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, brown rice, barley, or wheat/spelt berries **You'll need more pesto or salad dressing (this option makes for a nicely hearty dish - great for picnics)
  • Fresh tomatoes and cucumber (if this is going to be eaten right away), drained capers, raw cauliflower, beets and peas. Any additional veggies should be chopped up into small pieces.

The Making

Stem, wash and shred the kale into very small pieces and add to large bowl. Add in all other ingredients, pesto or salad dressing last. Toss well to evenly coat all of the kale and to keep the grated carrots from clumping together. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8

This salad keeps very well and does very well being made a day ahead of serving. It travels great too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegans at OSCON

This week O'Reilly's Open Source Conference, or OSCON, is happening in town. There will be a few parties and events around town, but most of the action takes place at the Oregon Convention Center (OCC). I was lucky enough to win a ticket to all of the sessions from the Linux Fund and will be attending events most of the week. It is a great chance to talk to several companies about jobs as well as connect with other Open Source professionals.

I'm really excited, except for one thing... The OCC and the neighborhood around it is pretty lame as far as vegan options and good coffee go. In general the mediocre coffee issue and lack of interesting food options pretty much affects everyone, just for vegans it is somewhat of a hassle. The OCC itself is a pretty nice place to be, but the food/beverage issue requires some planning.

I did contact O'Reilly and asked abut vegan options. They said that there would be buffet lunches and I should be able to get something. This kind of response always leaves me personally a little dubious since food often isn't labeled clearly and/or it means some hummus and pita. It also can quite often mean an assortment of raw veggies. All of those things aren't bad, but sometimes I find I'm still hungry!

My awareness of this really played into what suggestions I made for the catering for Open Source Bridge. Yes, we had hummus & pita, but as part of a really nice mezza plate clearly marked as vegan. We also were sure to offer soy milk as an alternative to dairy milk as well as vegan cookies and doughnuts.

Anyway, back to this week and being a vegan at a big conference in the OCC. I can say that closer to Lloyd Center (a mall) there is a Chipotle, which is a vegan option if you stick with the black beans (the pintos are cooked in beef stock). A little further away on NE 15th is Blossoming Lotus which features a fantastic all vegan menu with many raw options.

Another option to finding something beyond the conference buffet is to take MAX across the river into downtown (free from the OCC) and check out a food cart. Since we get 90 minutes for the lunch break, this option is possible and is a lot of fun. If you walk 2 blocks west up Stark from the First & Oak stop there are 3 food carts with very tasty vegan options: Just Thai (will be closed this Monday & Tuesday - they offer a vegan Thai Iced Tea made with coconut milk - yum!), DC Vegetarian, and Sonny Bowl. There are also food carts ("pods") at SW 5th & Stark and SW 10th & Alder. Many of the food carts in Portland have vegan options and offer excellent food.

That said, check out Stumptown Vegans for reviews of mostly all local places. They have a map on the site with restaurants indicated, including those food carts I mentioned, and it is a great resource for vegans in PDX. Also, just in time for OSCON, The Portland Vegan 100 a great list compiled for Try Vegan Week that mentions many, many tasty restaurants and dishes around town.

Really though, Christie and I are actually planning to bring a lot of food. We find that eating out all week tends to leave us feeling a little blah, so having food along really helps. This means that a recipe for my raw kale and garbanzo salad with pesto is forthcoming! We're also making up some tofu salad and my garbanzo & nori salad (mock tuna-ish). I may even write down what I did for those and post recipes too!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spot-on Toby's clone...

I love Toby's.  Pretty much everyone does.  Like so many things, I just stupided into a perfect clone of this, -ala- my Yumm-Sauce clone a while back.

INGREDENTS:
  1. 1 16oz block Super- or Extra-Firm Tofu (undrained).
  2. 1 stick celery (cleaned, leaves on).
  3. 1/2 to 1 cup Vegenaise (depending on how creamy you like it).
  4. 2 green onions (cleaned, with greens on)
  5. 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  6. 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  7. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  8. 1/2 tsp celery salt
  9. 1/2 tsp sea salt.
  10. 1/2 tsp turmeric.
  11. 1-2 tsp water.
  12. 1 pack powdered guacamole seasoning (brand of your choice).
DIRECTIONS:
  • Place celery and onions into food processor.  Whizz up until broken down into bite-sized pieces.
  • Break the tofu into chunks and place in food processor with all other ingredients except the water.  Whizz to a paste, adding water until desired consistency is reached.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vegan Dashi

I began making dashi because we missed having soups when out at Japanese restaurants. This is a real problem since fish, usually as bonito, shows up in so many stock bases. We'd even found out, after assuring other friends it was alright, that a once-favorite local restaurant had been serving us soup with bonito extract in it! I'd been using a recipe from the mighty VegWeb, but since I've made several variations, I thought I'd post what I'm really doing.

The Stuff:
  • Kombu, at least 6 inches worth
  • 4 large, dried, whole shitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 t of wakame (just use a teaspoon to scoop out a big pinch worth, OK if it is a very rounded teaspoon!)
  • 2 T of sake (use something decent that you can enjoy with dinner later. We like Sayuri a lot)
  • 3 T of mirin
  • 2 T shoyu or tamari

The Making:

Cut the kombu lengthwise, about 2/3 the way up. In a small stock pot add the cut kombu and dried shitakes. Let these steep at room temperature for at least 1 hour, more is OK.

Remove kombu and shitakes, making sure to squeeze mushrooms to get out liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and put pot onto medium high heat. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off the wakame and either use dashi immediately or store in fridge for up to a week. This also freezes really well.

Note: The steeped kombu and shitakes can be used again!
  • We actually don't care for mushrooms much at all, except in stocks, so we compost the shitakes after steeping. Feel free to slice them up to add to soups.
  • The kombu can be used in a kind of Japanese, fresh pickle. It is often sliced into small, thin pieces and marinated in some shoyu, rice vinegar and sesame seeds. This can be a nice kind of condiment to noodles or soup.
Yes, this IS the dashi I use for the miso udon stew already posted to this site!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Organics to You - July 5, 2010

I think we're nearing the time when we will have to cut down to every other week or go into hibernation as we're starting to get more from the garden and the Farmers Market.

That said, here's today's box full of goodies:
  • a head of green leaf lettuce
  • kale
  • basil
  • yellow onion
  • 4 zucchini
  • a head of green cabbage
  • 2 ears corn
  • snow peas
  • a cucumber
  • blueberries
  • a cantalope
  • 5 apricots
  • cherries
  • 3 nectarines
In the fridge:
  • carrot sticks
  • carrots
  • green onions
  • peas
  • lettuce
  • 1 avocado (might be beyond saving)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • some garlic
  • a shallot
  • some onions
  • chard
  • celery
  • green cabbage
  • 4 apples
  • broccoli
  • head of cauliflower
  • red beets
  • radishes
  • 3 grapefruit
  • 1 mango
  • a lemon
  • several small limes
  • 1 peach
  • a watermelon
  • 4 plums
  • 2 pluots
  • 2 apricots
  • 2 small daikon
  • several bananas
  • pounds of strawberries
  • medium sized jicama
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 Walla Walla onions
  • ginger
  • cherries
  • pounds of blueberries
  • pounds raspberries
  • basil
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • jicama
  • kale
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • some apricots
  • some Russet potatoes
Came up with a great cilantro lime salad dressing last week, will be recreating and posting a recipe. Fourth of July provided the opportunity to make two big potato salads as well as a raw kale & garbanzo salad. This helped use up all of the red potatoes in the house. Although I tried having a few Russets, we just didn't get to them in time. I did make a pesto type dressing for the kale salad that used the garlic spears, mint and some basil as well as raw cashews and balsamic vinegar - very tasty!

This week - Several slaws with all that cabbage and perhaps a sweet & sour dish as well. The cabbage pairs so well with all the snow peas! Another pesto, this time with all the basil, perhaps to be served over zucchini pasta with grilled tempeh. I'm thinking I'm going to make a soup with the chard, perhaps a white bean soup. The kale will either go into another raw salad or appear steamed alongside the zucchini pasta & pesto.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tortilla Soup

In August I am teaching a one-day workshop on Metta (Loving-Kindness) and Hatha Yoga. I've requested that since I am teaching this and we are offering lunch, that the lunch provided be vegan. I just can't get behind the thought of teaching either things when the food isn't also sending the message of great compassion. The only request back was that I suggest a recipe I would like cooked.

In August there will be fresh zucchinis and tomatoes in great abundance. In recognition of these seasonal treats I've suggested that tortilla soup be served. It is light and should not feel too heavy for the work of meditation and yoga, much less the heat of August. At the same time the black beans give the soup some substance to sustain everyone for the rest of the day. The mix of citrus and tomatoes are lively and bright.

The Stuff
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds (*optional)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • 3 large carrots, halved and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 2 small/medium (10") zucchinis, diced
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes) OR 3 1/2 cups diced, fresh tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked, black beans (or approximately two 15oz cans)
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 1 t powdered cumin (more if not using cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t sweet, smoked paprika (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • lime wedges
The Making

Heat oil in the bottom of a stock pot and add cumin seeds (if using). When seeds begin to darken and pop, add onions. When onions become translucent add in garlic and saute until fragrant. Add in diced celery and carrots, let vegetables cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize. Add in diced bell pepper and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add water, tomatoes, and zucchini. Cover, bring up to near boil and then reduce heat. Add in lime juice, spices and black beans. Stir, cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender; about 25 minutes. Stir some fresh cilantro into the soup before serving.

While soup is simmering cut tortillas into very thin slices and toast under low broil until crunchy. Set aside as garnish.

Serve soup with more fresh cilantro, the diced avocado, toasted tortilla strips and lime wedges.

Makes about 6 quarts.

Kombucha Day 110

Really, I should have been posting more often about the kombucha. The thing is, it has gone so smoothly, so effortlessly that the posts would have been something like this:

Kombucha brewing, bottled, etc. No issues. Still brewing with Oolong tea.

That's really been about it. For all my trepidation at the start this has been amazingly easy and has me considering trying other home brewing as well (ginger beer). I've been easily coming up with 3 liters every 5-6 days and keeping both myself and my Mom in good supply.

There have been a few interesting things I've learned and they all have to do with brew time. The brewing is best at 5-7 days MAX. I did one batch at a 9 day brew and it was pretty vinegar-esque and required the addition of a lot of fruit juice to render palatable. A week is the most it should stay in, but at the 5-6 day mark it is still a light, effervescent, very slightly tart drink. In that time frame I've come to really enjoy a big pint glass of it.

Now where am I at?

Well, the mother has acquired strata - layers upon layers of new culture growing.

This has been so amazingly successful that I've reached out to my Portland friends to see who wants to brew at home. Even Christie has expressed a wee bit of interest through her absolute horror at the mother "tea mushroom".

I also want to start to branch out to adding flavors to the bottles when I pour off a batch. I'm doing some reading on using fresh juice (e.g., ginger) and perhaps some fruit pulp. Need to research this a bit.

In the meantime today I poured off a batch. Interesting to note that for the first time I didn't get a little over 3 liters. I would have, but I've been leaving about a liter of brewed kombucha in the jar when I add the new tea and I would have only had about half a liter left. That might not be so bad, I believe that's how much commercial kombucha I used to start the culture going.

What's curious is where the tea went? It has been warmer & dryer in Portland (finally), so perhaps it is evaporating a bit more quickly? Does the huge culture consume more of the tea? Not sure, we'll see how the next batch goes.

Today's excitement was separating off two of the top-most layers of the mother culture for friends. This is how I got going, with a piece off the culture tended up at Great Vow, and it feels really cool passing on this culture to new people.

And here's one more crazy close up of the 110 day old culture floating in kombucha.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Organics to You - June 28, 2010

Today is a day of massive fridge cleaning. We've been over run with deliveries, supplemental things we've picked up and farmers market finds. Combine all of that with some eating out and we're once again filling up the compost bin!

That said, here's today's box full of goodies:
  • a head of red leaf lettuce
  • kale
  • garlic spears
  • broccoli
  • a cucumber
  • green onions
  • peas
  • celery
  • 10 red potatoes
  • 3 yams
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • 3 nectarines
  • 5 apricots
  • cilantro
In the fridge:
  • green leaf lettuce
  • 4 avocados (thrilled to learn that putting a ripe avocado in the fridge will let it sit for quite a while before getting around to using)
  • 1 cucumber
  • some garlic
  • 2 shallot
  • some onions
  • kale
  • chard
  • celery
  • green cabbage
  • 5 apples
  • broccoli
  • head of cauliflower
  • 2 bulbs of fennel
  • carrots
  • red beets
  • radishes
  • 4 zucchini
  • 5 grapefruit
  • 4 mangoes
  • a lemon
  • 4 limes
  • 3 peaches
  • 3 plums
  • 3 pluots
  • 2 apricots
  • 1 plantain
  • several red & orange bell peppers
  • 2 small daikon
  • several bananas
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • medium sized jicama
  • 1 tomato
  • young Walla Walla onions
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • ginger
  • cherries
  • 4 pints of blueberries
  • 1/2 pint of raspberries
  • russet potatoes
  • red potatoes
  • yams
  • green peas (from our garden - yeah!)
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • piles of lettuce
  • bunches of spinach
  • a little cilantro
  • some basil
  • sunchokes
  • bits of green pepper
  • some broccoli
  • 4 ears of corn
  • a mango
Even more terrifying looking at it all written out...

OK, just how to cope with all this produce? Here's the ideas I've got, I'm grateful we have a party this weekend to help with the produce :)
  • Raw kale salad will use up the 2 bunches of kale easily
  • Tortilla soup (cilantro, zucchini, limes, carrots, celery, aromatics)
  • Jicama Salad (if it is still in good shape when I go to peel)
  • potato salad for the 4th of July
  • Miso Udon Stew (broccoli, carrots, shallot)
  • Daikon & Carrot Salad
  • Garlic spear pesto
  • Lots of fruit salad
  • Cabbage & Pea salad
  • Big stir-fry (more broccoli, chard, greens from garden)
  • Big green salad for the 4th of July

Monday, June 14, 2010

Organics to You - June 14, 2010

Missed last week's post due to the crazy busyness of getting ready for Open Source Bridge. We'd thought last week we'd come home and cook some, but were wrong. This week we have a crazy surplus of produce in the house including the contents of this week's box:
  • 2 heads of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • garlic spears
  • 2 ears corn
  • a cucumber
  • asparagus
  • baby broccoli
  • bunch of carrots
  • 6 Russet potatoes
  • 2 yams
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 nectarines
  • 3 fuji apples
  • 2 peaches
  • 2 mangoes
  • bunch of basil
In the fridge:
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) - yep, these are still there and STILL might be OK
  • red leaf lettuce
  • piles of spinach
  • 6 avocados
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • several onions
  • 2 ears of corn
  • collards
  • celery
  • green cabbage
  • 1/2 apple
  • some broccoli
  • head of cauliflower
  • 2 bulbs of fennel
  • carrots
  • red beets
  • radishes
  • 6 grapefruit
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 limes
  • 2 nectarines
  • several red & orange bell peppers
  • 2 small daikon
  • several bananas
  • Pounds of Hood/Honeoye strawberries
  • medium sized jicama
  • 3 tomatoes
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • cucumber
  • some lettuce
  • cilantro
We are still rather awash in produce! I tried to make some real veggie rich dishes last week to help use up some of the surplus. Between that and the gift of house guests who like veggie dishes we are making some headway. The garden is getting underway and I haven't listed the pounds of kale, mustard greens, bok choi and chard that are out there waiting for me to pick them and do something interesting. Oh yes, and lots of peas too. As things really start to produce we may need to stagger boxes to every other week, perhaps even pausing completely until late autumn?

This week -- I think I've been over thinking the whole making of saag and am going to give it a try. Christie's favorite Indian dish is aloo saag (potatoes with spinach) and since her birthday is coming up I thought it would be good to try it out. I am thinking of adding in some pieces of seared tofu as a kind of saag paneer, vegan style. The broccoli, garlic spears and asparagus will most likely become yet another stir-fry. The peppers were picked up to make fajitas this week and I think I'll make a huge pile of guacamole (freezing some) to use up the avocados.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Umbrian Inspired Favas

Organics to You has been bringing us fresh fava beans for a few weeks now and I've repeatedly put them into a green bag in the fridge until I figure out what to do with this new produce. Tonight I finally decided to cook up the pile of them as inspired by a recipe I found online for an Umbrian fava bean stew, Scafata. I didn't have the ingredients exactly so I winged it quite a bit (so no exact recipe, just technique follows).

The result was very tasty! Here's a rough outline of what I used and did:

Roughly 3 pounds of unshelled, fresh Favas were used in the dish. I combined them with a small onion, 3 cloves of garlic, a small bunch of green garlic spears, a bulb of fennel, and 2 large stalks of celery. The onion was sauteed in olive oil along with the bulb garlic, then the celery, fennel, green garlic and the shelled beans. Once they all got going nicely and the fennel was softened a little I layered the chopped kale on top then topped it with a lid.

Once the kale began to wilt a little I added some thinly sliced, fresh sage and basil. I tossed everything together carefully to get the kale and herbs down into the rest of the veggies, then covered again. I added a splash of Vinho Verde we had on hand since it seemed like a little more moisture would help and covered again.

After the kale had fully softened I added some dried dill and marjoram (didn't have fresh, seems like thyme would be nice too) as well as salt and pepper. At this time I diced up 3 tomatoes and tossed them in. Given that the original recipe comes for Italy I decided to add some champagne vinegar as well as some balsamic & fig vinegar.

Simmer on low until the outside of the beans was tender - total cooking time was a little over an hour since it takes a while for the skins of the fresh favas to get tender. I served this with some garlic/pepper tempeh braised with balsamic vinegar.

Totally delicious and I'll certainly make again!

creamy and nutty greens soup!

our lovely portland spring has inspired more soup-making than usual for this time of year. i had to share this recipe - i found variations of it on several websites and tweaked it to my liking. it's soooooo good, vegan, and gluten-free (if made with quinoa only)!

CREAMY AND NUTTY GREENS SOUP

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice or quinoa or combo
1/2 cup onion or leeks, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic (or more to taste)
4 Tbsp olive oil (or combo with canola oil)
2 tsp sesame oil
bunch of greens (i like kale and chard together - be sure not to use the stalks)
5-7 cups water
1-2 cubes veggie bouillon

SPICES
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp of sea salt, to taste
(you could use 2 tsp cumin in lieu of cinnamon and chili powder)

TAHINI DRESSING
1 to 3 Tbsp tahini or creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp flax oil (optional)
Bragg's Liquid Aminos to taste

Wash greens and chop finely.

Add olive oil to a pre-heated soup pot on medium temperature. Once oil is hot, add onions/leeks and garlic and cook until soft. Add spices, being careful to blend well. Then add lentils and rice/quinoa and stir well. Add chopped greens and mix.

Add water and bouillon to about 1/2 inch above all your goodies. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 45 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, combine tahini/PB, flax oil and Bragg's; mix until texture is smooth and creamy. When the soup is ready, puree with the instrument of your choice, until the texture is how you like it. Mix in tahini/PB dressing well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Organics to You - June 7, 2010

Missed last week's post due to the crazy busyness of getting ready for Open Source Bridge. We'd thought last week we'd come home and cook some, but were wrong. This week we have a crazy surplus of produce in the house including the contents of this week's box:
  • 2 heads of red leaf lettuce
  • 2 bunches spinach
  • asparagus
  • fresh fava beans
  • radishes
  • bunch of carrots
  • 6 Russet potatoes
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 4 nectarines
  • 2 apples
  • 2 tangerines
  • a small cantaloupe
  • 1 bulb of garlic
In the fridge:
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) - yep, these are still there and STILL might be OK
  • red leaf lettuce
  • 4 avocados
  • a small zucchini
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 bulb of shallot
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • half a large, yellow onion
  • fresh fava beans
  • collards
  • celery
  • baby bok choy
  • Napa cabbage
  • green cabbage
  • kale
  • 3 apples
  • some broccoli
  • little bit of cauliflower
  • 3 bulbs of fennel
  • garlic spears
  • asparagus
  • carrots
  • red beets
  • turnips
  • radishes
  • 6 grapefruit
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 1 plum
  • bell pepper
  • 2 small daikon
  • several bananas
  • 6 pints of Hood/Tillamook strawberries
  • medium sized jicama
  • cilantro
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • 4 bananas
  • some lettuce
We are awash in produce! Still getting more in the fruit category from the market to supplement the box. We picked the half-flat of berries this past Saturday out at the Bella Organics Berry Farm on Sauvie Island. I managed to make a couple of dishes using a lot of produce including a stir-fry with asparagus & garlic spears as well as a hearty stew that included asparagus, garlic spears, chard, shelling peas, carrots, celery and various beans.

With the pile of spinach I am leaning toward making a Korean wilted spinach dish that is often served with bibimbap. Christie has requested a carrot/daikon salad - perhaps served with a miso stew? Stir-fried veggies will certainly happen. I also want to do a jicama, lime & cilantro salad. I spotted a tasty sounding Moroccan stew using fresh fava beans, so that's up for this week too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kale & Chickpea Salad

This is not the recipe, I have to recreate this one. This post is just the food porn about how good this salad turned out! I wanted a nice salad, but something that would be very hearty for dinner. I've had some raw kale salads in the past and really wanted to give another go for one.

What I had was green curly kale, golden beets, carrots, chick peas, red quinoa, fresh basil, and a young Walla Walla onion. I shredded all the veggies up fine and put everything into a bowl to toss. I actually shredded up the kale very fine first and tossed it with apple cider vinegar while I worked on the other veggies.

In the dressing department I discovered we were out of tahini so I soaked about half a cup of raw cashews in hot water for several minutes. I put these into the food processor along with a bulb of raw garlic, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, fine flake nutritional yeast, and some other dried herbs. Everything was processed until quite smooth and then poured over all the veggies, chick peas & quinoa.

Toss well, coating everything, serve and and bask in the appreciative compliments. This got even better the next day or two. Will be recreating this very soon with a full recipe!

Sauteed Greens with Zucchini Pasta

Last week for dinner one evening we had and excellent dish of shallot, sauteed with mustard greens and tempeh. Served this over zucchini "pasta", topped with marinara and finely sliced basil. This was a simple dish that came together quickly and was extremely tasty! This could be made to serve 3 if each person gets a little less zucchini or another one is used.

The Stuff
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced fine
  • 1 8 oz. package tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 good sized bunch mustard greens, stemmed & shredded
  • 3 small zucchini, julienne cut into small, thin ribbons
  • 8 oz. marinara (we used some from Muir Glen)
  • Leaves from one stem of fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper
The Making

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a hot skillet. Saute shallot on medium-high heat until it begins to darken, add tempeh. Continue to saute until the tempeh begins to turn mostly golden. Salt & pepper to taste while tempeh is browning. Reduce heat to low, add mustard greens, and cover with lid. Continue to toss greens with tempeh and shallot every couple of minutes, returning lid between stirs, until greens are fully wilted.

While tempeh & greens are cooking bring a small saucepan of water to boil. When water is at full boil add julienne zucchini "pasta". Blanch for 4 minutes, remove from heat, drain. Dish equally onto two plates.

Divide greens & tempeh mix up equally between both plates of zucchini and top the "pasta". Add some heated marinara and top with finely sliced, fresh basil.

Organics to You - May 24, 2010

Hmm... not a lot of fruit in today's box from Organics to You, excepting the tomatoes and avocados:
  • green leaf lettuce
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • fresh fava beans
  • fresh shelling peas
  • radishes
  • bunch of carrots
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 3 avocados
  • 2 cucumbers
  • fennel bulb
  • broccoli
  • shallots
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • basil
  • cilantro
In the fridge:
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) - oddly enough these are still there and might be OK
  • green leaf lettuce
  • half an avocado
  • a few small zucchini
  • 2 cucumbers
  • several bulbs of shallot
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • large, yellow onion
  • fresh fava beans
  • collards
  • baby cauliflower
  • 2 red velvet apricots
  • 2 d'anjou pears
  • some broccoli
  • a bulb of fennel
  • 2 young Walla Walla onions
  • carrots
  • red beets
  • turnips
  • radishes
  • red Bibb lettuce
  • ginger
  • 1 yam
  • 4 grapefruit
  • 6 oranges
  • 2 mangoes
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 apples
  • 2 kiwi
  • 4 wrinkled peaches - these just didn't ripen nice last week
  • several bananas
  • a few pints of Hood strawberries
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • 2 bananas
We have been looking at what we eat and have noticed our tendency to not each much fruit combined with our shared sweet tooth and eating out a lot. The result is the decision to limit out eating out and limit sweets for special occasions. Last week I even made up a batch of almond cupcakes with almond icing and didn't have one!

The result has been the purchase of quite a lot more fruit and supplementary veggies for big salads. We found last week's green lettuce a little bitter and bought several heads of delicious, delicate red Bibb lettuce a the farmers market on Saturday along with a half flat of Hood strawberries, beautiful radishes, and snow peas (immediately went into a gingery stir-fry). We've been using a lot more veggies in all the lunch/dinner/snack dishes as well as a lot more fruit showing up at breakfast and for snacks.

We tried to supplement some things that looked like they were coming with a shopping trip to New Seasons yesterday, however, it somewhat backfired as several items did show up in the box. Now we have a surplus of garlic, radishes and cucumbers!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Organics to You - May 17, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You:
  • green leaf lettuce
  • radishes
  • 5 small zucchini
  • several bulbs of shallot
  • fresh fava beans
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • a bulb of fennel
  • fresh basil
  • 2 d'anjou pears
  • an avocado
  • 3 Fuji apples
  • 4 oranges
  • 4 peaches
In the fridge:
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) - oddly enough these are still there and might be OK
  • Romaine lettuce
  • young Walla Walla onions
  • mustard greens
  • green, curly kale
  • a carrot
  • ginger
  • 2 yams
  • 4 grapefruit
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 kiwi
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • a lot got composted right before we went out of town
  • some tomatoes
  • some citrus
  • cilantro
  • mint
We went out of town for a week, across two weeks, so I had the delivery suspended for those two weeks. The one before I just ran out of time and didn't get stuff posted up. Some of the produce in the house already was purchased by either Christie or I as we got back into town. We're looking forward to some nice salads for lunches and some more stir-fry dinners. Not sure what to do with the fava beans, but I'll be finding out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Organics to You - April 19, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You:
  • carrots
  • radishes
  • collards
  • green, curly kale
  • broccoli
  • 2 leeks
  • red potatoes
  • salad greens
  • 3 kiwis
  • an avocado
  • 3 Fuji apples
  • 2 Atalufo mangoes
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 stalks rhubarb
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • radishes
  • 3 yams
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • a red beets & greens
  • a lot of celery
  • 3 stalks of rhubarb
  • Romaine lettuce
  • salad greens
  • turnip greens
  • spinach
  • 2 leeks
  • several small zucchini
  • a lot of gold potatoes
  • some rainbow carrots
  • several apples
  • several pears
  • 2 Honeygold grapefruit
  • 2 kiwis
  • 2 tangerines
Supplemental produce in the house:
  • 3 Meyer lemons
  • a lime
  • garlic
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • a yellow bell pepper
  • a mango
  • a lemon
  • 2 artichokes (for which I feel considerable shame - they were really beautiful)
I'm surprised there isn't a bigger compost list. Perhaps it will grow considerably next week? Christie was in San Francisco most of the week and I realized that on weeks like that we should suspend the Organics to You deliveries! Some hash, some soup, and lots of collard wraps! We have a lot of produce on hand already with this week's delivery in the fridge.

Tonight I made a hash and I think there will be more collard wraps instead of bread for sandwiches. I believe I need to make more sauce out of some of the fruit. Perhaps miso udon stew again, with the broccoli.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Organics to You - April 12, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You:
  • Romaine lettuce
  • salad greens
  • baby turnips w/greens
  • asparagus
  • radishes
  • baby red beets w/greens
  • raab
  • rapini
  • collards
  • more celery
  • kale
  • 4 small zucchini
  • 3 yams
  • orange carrots
  • 3 Pink Lady apples
  • 3 d'Anjou pears
  • 2 Honeygold grapefruit
  • 3 tangerines
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • 2 artichokes
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • a red beets
  • some garlic
  • a lot of celery
  • 3 stalks of rhubarb
  • some green lettuce
  • 1 and a half yellow onions
  • spinach
  • kale
  • 3 leeks
  • bunch of chives
  • several small zucchini
  • a lot of gold potatoes
  • some rainbow carrots
  • several apples
  • several pears
  • a Honeygold grapefruit
  • 3 kiwis
  • an Ataulfo mango
Supplemental produce in the house:
  • 4 Meyer lemons
  • 2 lemons
  • a lime
  • a yellow bell pepper
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • beet greens
  • some salad greens
  • a tomato
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • half an avocado
Last week saw some progress with a shepherd's pie helping out with mirepoix, zucchini and potatoes. Another savoy bread pudding helped with even more mirepoix, kale and some zucchini. This week might be challenging since Christie is on business travel most of the week. I may need to invite people over or take food to people! I'm thinking of some veggie heavy stir-fries and lots of raw turnips, radishes & celery sticks with hummus!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Organics to You - April 5, 2010

Last week I forgot about the delivery until it was close time for me to leave to pick up Christie and go to a friends' seder dinner. I totally blew putting in the last delivery. Starting over again with today's box from Organics to You:
  • spinach
  • salad greens
  • red kale
  • a leek
  • bunch of chives
  • 5 small zucchini
  • gold potatoes
  • rainbow carrots
  • 3 Rainer apples
  • 3 d'Anjou pears
  • 2 Honeygold grapefruit
  • 3 kiwis
  • an Ataulfo mango
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • 2 artichokes
  • a few carrots
  • fingerling potatoes
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • 2 small Russet potatoes
  • gold potatoes
  • 2 red beets
  • some garlic
  • 2 grapefruit
  • 2 Mineola tangerines
  • a lot of celery
  • rhubarb
  • braising greens
  • a kiwi
  • 5 pears
  • 5 apples
  • 2 leeks
  • beet greens
  • green lettuce
  • cilantro
  • 2 onions
  • half avocado
  • half onion
  • red curly kale
Supplemental produce in the house:
  • 4 Meyer lemons
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 5 bananas
  • parsley
  • a shallot
  • a yellow bell pepper
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • green curly kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • an avocado (oh the shame of it all)
  • a few Chioggia beets
  • an eggplant
Last week shows what happens when we don't end up eating at home as much - more went into the compost pile unused and we have a lot of produce already on hand. The star of last week were the collard greens used in a seder friendly dish first, then the leftovers incorporated into a superb final dish that I'll be writing a recipe for: Collard green rolls stuffed with red quinoa, bell peppers, collards & BBQ Anasazi beans. Baked on top of more shredded collards and a tomato & corn sauce.

We have pounds of potatoes - I'm thinking I'll make a shepherd's pie (great chance to write out a recipe too) for Wednesday. Christie & I have a meeting on Wednesday so it would be nice to come home to a warm, potato-y casserole. Christie has also requested to savory kale bread pudding and since we have a lot of kale I'm thinking I need a stale baguette!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Savory Kale Bread Pudding

A couple of blocks from our house lives a neighbor who runs a catering business. Christie & I were out for an evening stroll last week and ran into the neighbor as she arrived home after an event. She greeted us with a baguette in her arms, asking us if we wanted one. We said sure and as we walked we ate a few bites off the top. The rest came home, went onto the counter and promptly went stale & hard.

Usually at this point the compost pile is involved, but this time I thought I'd try out an idea for savory bread pudding. It turned out fantastic and Christie asked me to jot down a recipe.

The custard for this is based directly on a recipe from the Fat Free Vegan blog site for Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches. This is a fantastic recipe we've made several variations of, mostly because we don't like mushrooms, so we always wing the ingredients to fit something we'd enjoy more. I'd wondered for some time if I could adapt the tofu custard for other purposes so it immediately came to mind as a way to make the bread pudding.
The Stuff
  • 1 stale baguette, coarsely cut up
  • 1 medium bunch of kale, washed, stemmed & shredded
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced small
  • 1 medium carrot, diced small
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 2 12.3-ounce packages lite firm silken tofu, drained of water
  • 1/2 cup plain soymilk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • sweet paprika
The Making

Preheat oven to 375.

In a skillet heat the olive oil and saute onion until they begin to soften, add garlic and continue sauteing until the garlic and onion begin to caramelize. Add in celery and carrots and saute until they begin to soften. Add kale, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook, turning occasionally, until kale is softened. Remove from heat. Put coarsely chopped up bread and sauteed vegetables into a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients into a blender. Process until mixture is completely smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides to be sure everything is incorporated. Pour this mixture over the bread and vegetables. Mix all ingredients together, making sure bread is coated with custard.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with canola oil. Pour bread, custard and vegetable mixture into dish. Lightly press down so that the pan is evenly filled. Lightly dust top with sweet paprika.

Put pan into the oven and immediately reduce heat to 350. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before cutting and serving with a lovely salad.

Organics to You - March 22, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • spinach
  • collards!!
  • asparagus
  • a yellow onion
  • a big leek
  • Russet potatoes
  • a bunch of cilantro
  • green leaf lettuce
  • orange carrots
  • 3 Rainer apples
  • 3 d'Anjou pears
  • 2 Honeygold grapefruit
  • 3 Mineola tangerines
  • an avocado (looks Haas-like)
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • 2 artichokes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • a few carrots
  • fingerling potatoes
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • an eggplant
  • several potatoes
  • a few Chioggia beets
  • some garlic
  • 3 grapefruit
  • 2 Mineola tangerines
Christie has been making more smoothies so we have some supplemental produce in the house from New Seasons as well as a treat from the Farmers Market, which opened for the seasons this past Saturday on a gloriously sunny first day of spring!
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 7 navel oranges
  • 6 bananas
  • a Haas avocado
  • 5 Roma tomatoes
  • Brussel sprouts rabe
  • parsley
  • shallots
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Spinach (Ugh, two weeks in a row! I mean it is spinach, it isn't that hard to figure out what to do with it!)
Last week saw 5 qts & 2 pts of fruit sauce!! With all the kiwis in it (at least a half dozen) the end result looked like freckles in the blondish sauce of pears and apples. I believe some of this will go in the fridge or I'll set up the boiling bath to fully preserve a few of the jars. I did take pictures of this and will post about it. The mix of pears, apples and kiwis is really nice.

I also made a stir fry with asparagus, broccoli and fried tofu. Other quick, easy meals included pasta, veggies & tempeh crumbles over polenta and a hash made with potatoes, onions, broccoli rabe from the Farmers Market served with tempeh bacon. The Bacon avocado was divine and I made raw, sunseed pate from it.

While walking one evening last week a neighbor handed us as a baugette as we passed her place. She does catering had just come home from an event with extras. It meant we ended up with a stale, mostly whole loaf in the house so I experimented with a savory bread pudding that included kale, mirepoix, garlic, fresh parsley, dried herbs in a custard of silken tofu, tahini & cornstarch. It was pretty fabulously good and I will post the recipe.

This week has some trickiness to it since Christie and I have things going on every evening through Wednesday and Thursday we be on a trip. Now, I could leave leftovers for the friends who will be house sitting, but I'm not 100% they'll want them! I do have several dishes I am going to be cooking ahead on Tuesday & Wednesday to take with us, that will use up some of the ingredients.

Cooking for Mom is tricky since she is allergic to some nuts and somewhat soy-sensitive. She's also a bit picky and not entirely adventurous when it comes to food. The menu for the weekend will include:

Marvelous lentil quinoa nut loaf with mashed potatoes & miso shallot gravy (using chickpea miso)
Tostadas with re-fried black beans
Bean soup or perhaps a stir-fry with Aduki beans

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kombucha Day 7




After seven days of brewing there was a distinct, apple-cider vinegar like scent coming from the glass jar. There were also a lot of bubbles and a new child culture forming on top of the mother culture I'd obtained from Jordan.






I did a taste test with a clean spoon and the result was tangy, not too strong, still a little sweet. I decided to go ahead and try making a new batch of sweet tea and bottling the brewed kombucha.

Here's everything ready to go. The two cultures have been removed to a clean plate. I have a water pitcher to pour kombucha into and 3 clean bottles (recycled Dragonfly Chai bottles) ready to fill.




Here's a nice close up shot of the child culture that has been growing on top of the original mother culture.








The kombucha filled the 3 bottles right up to the top with enough left over to keep the batch going as well as a glass for me to try. After having a glass full I realized it was still pretty sweet, perhaps it could have brewed for a couple of extra days? From what I've read on line the brewing can take anywhere from 5 days to two weeks at which time most of the sweetness should be gone.

The bottles will sit for at least 5 days to mature in flavor. Sometime next week I'll be opening them up to try it out.

Sunseed Pate

This raw pate is served at Proper Eats in St. Johns. Christie & I order it nearly every time we're there. Piper, one of the owners, wrote down a recipe for me on one visit.

The Stuff
  • 3/4 cup soaked, raw sunflower seeds (soaked at least 6 hours)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 Tablespoon sundried tomato (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons raw tahini
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water (may need more or less depending upon desired consistency)
The Making

Pulse soaked seeds, avocado, tahini, spices, lemon juice and tomato in a food processor to incorporate roughly. Add in water a little at a time and keep processing until you have
a smooth consistency.

Serve with pear and apple wedges, veggies, raw crackers, etc.

Raw Almond Pate

This is a variation a recipe served at the late Veganopolis. I enjoyed this so much I started looking for it to make at home, especially now that Veganopolis is no longer in Portland.

The Stuff
  • 1/2-2/3 cup unblanched whole almonds (raw)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 spring onions (green onions)
  • 1 carrot
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. dulse or snipped up nori
  • dash of cayenne pepper powder (or more to taste)
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
The Making

Soak the almonds at least overnight (changing the water every 12 hours), then drain

Roughly chop the celery, onions and carrot. Add vegetables and soaked almonds into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Add lemon juice to taste, mix in dulse/nori and seasonings.

Makes a great dip for fresh veggies or crackers, or as a wrap filling

Monday, March 15, 2010

Organics to You March 15, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • spinach
  • green kale
  • asparagus
  • a yellow onion
  • green cabbage
  • yellow & orange carrots
  • fingerling potatoes
  • a big avocado
  • Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • little Chioggia beets
  • 3 apples
  • 3 pears
  • 2 grapefruit
  • 5 tangerines
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • 2 artichokes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • some broccoli
  • carrots
  • a yam
  • an eggplant
  • several potatoes
  • beets
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red onion
  • some garlic
  • a whole lot of apples
  • too many pears
  • many kiwis
  • 2 honey gold grapefruit
  • 2 Orlando tangerines
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Spinach
Thank goodness for the Interwebs and information on how to store & cook the sunchokes, totally a new veggie in the house for us. We have an embarrassing number of apples, pears & kiwis - Christie has suggested cooking them all together for another fresh batch sauce, it has become a favorite sweet snack for her. I'm pondering the rather large number of carrots and considering if there's enough to do some soup with them. I really like puréed carrot soups, so this might be a possibility. Might be a simple cabbage stir-fry this week or perhaps a borsht with the leftover red beets & and cabbage.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Miso Shallot Gravy

Honestly, I really don't like mushrooms. I may be willing to use some shitakes in making my dashi, but generally I don't have much like for them. That said, the endless list of mushroom based gravies haven't exactly inspired me. I like gravy, but I don't really want mushroomy stuff. This past autumn, in time for all the mashed potato goodness of Thanksgiving I came up with the following gravy. Finally, here is the recipe (didn't realize I hadn't posted it yet).

The Stuff
  • 1 good sized shallot, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 Tablespoons white or red miso
  • Fresh pepper
The Making

Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot add minced shallot and fry in oil until well caramelized. In a small dish combine soy milk and flour, whisk well to make sure they are combined. Pour slowly into oil and caramelized shallots, reduce heat to medium-low and whisk to incorporate. Add in miso, whisking it in well, and freshly ground pepper. Let continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is a desired thickness.

A nice variation is to add in 1/4 cup of chopped up, fresh parsley at the end. This is wonderfully tasty.

Too thick? Add a little more soy milk, slowly.

Too thin? Sprinkle in more flour, a little at a time, and whisk well until it it the desired thickness.

**Update as of September 22, 2010**

I have made this using brown rice flour in place of wheat as well as rice milk in place of soy - making this gravy both gluten and soy free.

I've also tried this using only a little spray canola oil to saute the scallions and no additional oil. This has worked just perfectly as well and makes for a almost fat-free gravy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home-Brewed Kombucha - Day 1

That's right! A bold new step into living the hippe-vegan stereotype... Home brewing kombucha!

The first few times I was offered kombuha I didn't really care for it. Too vinegary. Too funky tasting. Generally not very tasty.

I've been liking it quite a bit this past year, it has certainly improved into a tasty beverage. There are a few good varieties at markets around town and get some once in a while. A few places are putting it on tap around Portland, haven't checked out this yet. I really like a particular brand that I only get a couple of places around town, Kombucha Wonder Drink (Asian Pear, yum).

Last month I had some awesome homemade kombucha out at Great Vow Zen Monastery. After talking to the brewer, Jordan, I was encouraged to give it a try at home. He generously packed up a piece of his mother culture into a bag and it is been residing in the fruit crisper drawer for about a month now. I'm hoping it is still active, the cold should have kept it dormant. If not, I'm going to go out to Great Vow a week from Sunday and can always ask for another piece.




Shopping with Mom on the 5th I picked up a very large glass jar with a lid (which I won't be using since it needs to breathe). She also requested that I give it a try, she recalled it being beneficial to her one of the times she had cancer. Today's the day I decided to get going, cleaned the kitchen up and got out the supplies.





I'm following Jordan's advice as well as guidance from a recipe on the Get Kombucha site.

Into the jar I've got:

3 liters + 1 glass (8oz aprox.) water that was brought to a boil and cooled.
1 liter sweet tea made with Wuyi Oolong from Tao of Tea and 1 1/3 cups evaporated cane juice
1 piece of Jordan's mother culture
400ml of Kombucha Wonder Drink made with Oolong tea.

We'll see in 5 days if I've got my own kombucha brewing or nastiness in which case I'll get a new piece of culture and start over.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Organics to You March 8, 2010

Today's box, with the promise of spring, from Organics to You contains:
  • small bundle of asparagus
  • 2 artichokes
  • bunch of carrots
  • Romaine lettuce
  • red beets
  • Yellow potatoes
  • bunch of spinach
  • 2 honey gold grapefruit
  • 2 Orlando tangerines
  • 3 Gold Blush apples
  • 3 Bosc pears
  • a lovely eggplant
  • a yellow onion
  • an avocado
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • some broccoli
  • carrots
  • 2 yams
  • leeks
  • a lot of potatoes
  • beets
  • parsnips
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red onion
  • head of garlic
  • little bit of celery
  • 12 apples
  • 10 pears
  • 4 kiwi
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Spinach
  • an orange that went moldy in less than a week
  • half an avocado I'd missed in the back of the veggie drawer
This past weekend saw another fresh citrus juice fest as we used up all of the citrus in the house. Are now looking forward to this - Monday's citrus delivery becomes Saturday or Sunday morning fresh juice.

I find that we have a lot of beets and carrots so a shredded salad with both of them shall show up this week. I have plans for sweet & sour broccoli with tofu skins for dinner tonight. The lentil quinoa nut loaf was requested, served with some mashed potatoes will help out with getting those eaten. The sheer number of apples & pears indicates the need to make up some more chunky fruit sauce. We've both been enjoying that plain or added to oatmeal, so it will be a good way to process the fruit. The eggplant and parsnips are tricky since Christie doesn't actually care much for either of the, particularly the eggplant. I may roast or grill these up and have on hand for my lunches this week.

Quick & Easy Stir Fry Dinner

I really file this one under the category of "Too Easy to Need a Recipe", however, I've been reminded repeatedly that to people who don't cook as often and/or do not have the level of experience & confidence that I do in the kitchen, this dish does not appear easy. In light of that, here's my favorite stir-fry with a few variations.

This does require some Asian ingredients. These can often be found at your "regular" market, however, if you have an Asian community it is worth the trek to an Asian market for these ingredients so that you have them on hand. They will be far less expensive and you'll also have the chance to shop for lovely things like steamed rice buns stuffed with mustard greens (or pumpkin, tofu & celery, etc.), delicious Asian veggies & fresh herbs including bamboo shoots in water (as opposed to canned/pickled), dried tofu skin, and other great things you won't find in an American market.

The Shopping List
  • Hoisin Sauce (often mistakenly referred to as "plum sauce", this is a must-have)
  • Mushroom Sauce (a.k.a. "vegetarian oyster sauce")
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Mirin (a sweet cooking wine)
  • White Miso
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Seasoned Rice Vinegar (a.k.a. "Sushi Vinegar")
  • Sriracha (a.k.a. "Rooster Sauce")
  • Peanut Oil
  • Tomato Paste in a Tube
The Stuff

This is where you can truly be creative. Stir-fries and soup are the best way to use up the veggies you have on hand. Some work better than others, but if you just choose an assortment of what you have on hand and know you enjoy, the dish will be delicious.

Plan on having 3 or more cups of vegetables sliced or diced into relatively small, bite-size pieces. If you are using a kind of green that will cook down you will want to use at least 3 cups of the fresh greens cleaned that have been shredded/tore roughly. Consider using some of the following:
  • carrots
  • celery
  • beets (roots & greens)
  • chard (stems removed, diced and sauteed ahead of the greens)
  • kale
  • spinach
  • broccoli (crowns & stems)
  • rapini
  • rabe (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc.)
  • snow peas with pods
  • green beans
  • cauliflower
  • bell peppers
  • daikon
  • winter squash
  • summer squash
  • bok choi
  • ...getting the idea here?

  • Add some aromatics:
    • onion
    • leek
    • garlic
    • shallot
    • ginger
    • Thai basil (e.g., Siam Queen basil)
    • Shiso leaves
    • Kefir lime leaves (for a very Thai flavor)
    • fresh coriander (cilantro)
    • fresh chilies
  • Then pick one of the following:
    • 8 oz firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
    • 8 oz tempeh, cubed
    • 8 oz aduki beans, chick peas or other legume
The Making

Several variations here for you to experiment with. All, variations start by heating a tablespoon each of canola and peanut oils in a wok on medium high (use all canola if you have a peanut allergy). When oil is hot and forms ribbons on the bottom of the wok add in the onions. As the onions start to soften, about 3 minutes, add in garlic and/or shallot. If you are using leeks instead of onions saute the garlic and/or shallots first and add leeks when the garlic starts to soften. If you want to use fresh ginger, add it a minute after the garlic/shallot. If you are using tofu or tempeh, add it in next and stir-fry until some of the sides turn slightly golden.

Add in vegetables to onions and stir-fry at medium high for a few minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, add 2 tablespoons of water, and cover with lid. If you are using greens, do not add these in yet. Let the vegetables cook for 5 minutes, remove lid and stir. If they have brightened and have started to soften any greens can be added in next. If you are using legumes like aduki or chick peas, add them in too. Toss well and then add one of the sauce variations below:

Basic Stir-fry
Add 2 tablespoons each of hoisin and mushroom sauces and a dash of vinegar. Toss well with vegetables, cover and let cook on low for 5 more minutes. Nice served with Thai basil or fresh coriander as a garnish.

This variation reminds me a little of the basic brown sauce seen in some Vietnamese dishes, particularly if I caramelize the onions & garlic a bit first.
Sweet & Sour
Whisk together a tablespoon each of hoisin, mirin, vinegar, sweet chili sauce, water and tomato paste, add to vegetables, toss well, and cook on medium-low heat for 5 additional minutes. Toss vegetables in sauce often to help reduce liquid in sauce.

This has a more distinctly SE Asian flavor than a standard American/Chinese dish.
Thai-Style
*Kefir lime leaves should be added to the stir-fry when the vegetables are first added to any onion or garlic. Once the vegetables are tender, add 2 tablespoons each hoisin and mushroom sauces, a tablespoon sweet chili sauce, and the juice from half a lime. Toss well with vegetables, cover and let cook on low for 5 more minutes. Remove lime leaves before serving with Thai basil as garnish.

If you want to go extra crazy, chop up a stalk of lemongrass, smash with side of knife and add that in at the beginning as well. Remove chunks when the lime leaves come out.
Japanese Style
Whisk together a tablespoon each of tamari, mirin and white miso. Toss well with vegetables, cover and let cook on low for 5 more minutes. Garnish lightly with shiso leaves cut into very fine ribbons and furikake.

Kind of a sweet stir-fry as well. Also nice with a very small dash of sesame oil.
Serve stir-fry with brown rice, quinoa, steamed buns, rice noodles or just by itself. For 3-4 people.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Organics to You March 1, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • chard
  • bunch of carrots
  • green curly kale
  • broccoli
  • red beets
  • 4 Russet potatoes
  • parsnips
  • 2 honey gold grapefruit
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 Enterprise apples
  • 3 D'anjou pears
  • 4 kiwis
  • a yellow onion
  • an avocado
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • red lettuce
  • some broccoli
  • carrots
  • 2 yams
  • leeks
  • Russet potatoes
  • beets
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red onion
  • head of garlic
  • little bit of celery
  • 10 apples
  • 7 green pears
  • 2 honey gold grapefruit
  • 2 blood oranges
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Spinach
  • a few kiwis (oops)
  • a tangerine
  • some chard
  • bok choy (which went off surprisingly quickly)
Made a great stir-fry with the chard last week and fried onion tofu from Uwajimaya. On Saturday I made another huge scramble with broccoli, carrots, celery, potatoes and tofu - we fed a houseguest & ourselves Saturday plus had plenty leftover for Sunday breakfast. Sunday night I made the delicious potato, broccoli & fresh herb soup in Veganomicon - a great way to use up broccoli stems! I also made a huge amount of fresh squeezed juice on Saturday which helped us up the citrus we had around. We actually ended up eating out a lot last week, so we had a lot more go into the compost.

Tonight I'm making the ruby beet pockets as well as some broccoli & tofu stir-fry for dinner. There's a great rice casserole with chard in Veganomicon I'm going to try since we have the chard. Wednesday we'll be at Ignite, so eating at the Bagdad. I'm going to try to make some kind of hearty dish easy to take to the Dharma Center on Thursday for our monthly get-together with our practice cohort.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Organics to You February 22, 2010

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • Rainbow chard
  • bunch of carrots
  • spinach
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • red beets
  • Russet potatoes
  • 2 grapefruit
  • 3 Mineola tangerines
  • 3 Enterprise apples
  • 3 Fuji apples
  • 3 green pears
  • yellow onion
  • head of garlic
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • red lettuce
  • some broccoli
  • carrots
  • 2 yams
  • leeks
  • Russet & red potatoes
  • spinach
  • chard
  • beets
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 Enterprise apples
  • 4 green pears
  • 4 honey tangerines
  • 2 blood oranges
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • A beet that had gone moldy, one arrived kind of soft & I should have used it immediately
  • green kale
Made a great spaghetti sauce with tempeh, canned artichoke hearts and some spinach. Made a chick pea salad that included some celery and slightly caramelized red onions. I also made 5 pints of apple/pear sauce to use up the bulk of that fruit. We bought a good citrus juicer over the weekend, so there may be an uptick of fresh juice!

This week is a hectic, stressful week. Tonight I'm making miso udo stew, which we've both been craving. Might also be some more tostadas and a a few nice salads.