Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fresh Greek Veggie Salad & Ginger/Cherry/Almond Chocolate

One of my favorite lunches is a simple, fresh diced veggie salad drizzled with lemon/lime, grapeseed/olive oil. You can really play around with the veggie combos and spices. For valentines, my mother in law sent us a set of different artisan oils and vinegars. One of which is an awesome arbequina, which I've only had in restaurants. I love to invents salad dressings, and this gave me even more ideas. There is an amazing blueberry balsamic in the set, and I just use it alone, too perfect to add anything to! Anyway.. if you love to play around too, you may like this salad (or have already invented it on your own)! The recipe itself is from a moosewood (the cafe not mollie katzen) cookbook... the Cook at Home one I believe. I've made it so many times, I just throw it together now. This might now be the exact recipe, but this is how I make it:

Fresh Greek Veggie Salad
1/2 cucumber (scrape out insides) dice
1 tomato dice
1/2 red onion dice
3-4 cloves garlic crushed (I love garlic- this may be strong)
1/2 red pepper dice
1 full cup diced parsley ( I love parsley.. may be a lot for some)
1 avocado dice
1/2 cup olives (kalamata/black) quartered
Mix together

I drizzle over:
1 tsp of arbequina
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp good dried oregano
a couple grinds of sweet long black pepper
a pinch or two of salt

Mix again and Enjoy! You could also add in feta cheese (I believe the original recipe does)

I usually eat this entire thing for lunch. Double if serving for more than 1 person...

Cherry/Almond/Candied Ginger
Oh my... I got to talking about making homemade chocolate yesterday with someone and just had to make some today. Today I made chocolate with dried cherries, almonds, and chunks of homemade candied ginger! Delicious! But a bit rich for me right now (as eating a piece quickly told).
Here's the link for homemade chocolate:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Miso Soup, It's Marvelous Dahling

MMmmm Miso
A lot of the time I don't feel like cooking and end up eating salad, steamed veggies, or soup. It's easy without compromising health and my produce doesn't go bad! My hubs on the other hand has a thing going on with frozen 'all natural' ravioli. He makes it a lot! I'm not into that, even though the ingredients look 'okay.' I'm lucky if my produce comes from as close as California, but that is still fresher than packaged 'all natural' ravioli.

One thing I love to make is miso soup. It's really easy and versatile. While traditional Japanese Miso calls for Dashi, I've never been able to find it, so I just use miso and water for the broth.
Miso Soup
1/2 cup cubed/dry fried tofu (you can use firm/silken etc. or omit)
1 big scallion sliced thin
3-4 cloves garlic crushed
1-2 inch piece ginger grated (yum!)
1-2 big leaves bok choy chopped coarse
1 big carrot grated
1 cup shiitake mushrooms (mine molded so I used cremini-but I normally use shiitake) sliced thin
Couple dashes sesame oil
1/4-1/2 cup miso (I use brown rice miso)
1-3 cups water
sprinkle of Kelp flakes
bean sprouts

So, I eyeball all of the ingredients and add water when I need it (when I go crazy on the veggies!). This is a pretty good guess. You can use any veggies you want. If you have access to dried seaweed, that would be awesome! I never do though. I have tried to chiffonade nori, ended up in bits.. but that works ok. Not the same as wakame! (yum!) I have kelp flakes on hand as an everyday salt substitute and you can just sprinkle it on the top when you are done.

Miso is a super feel good food (google miso gravy for another yummy recipe) that has many health benefits.. but I'll let you google it your self. One important tip when making miso, never boil the water, and only add miso prior to serving, not before simmering your veggies.

Dash some sesame oil in a pan, lightly (on med-low heat) stir saute the scallions, garlic, ginger, carrot and bok choy (adding bok choy just before you turn the burner off).

Transfer to a soup pot, add the rest of the ingredients (except miso/kelp/sesame). This is where you may need to adjust the water. Simmer for a few minutes (or until the veggies are how you like them-I like them crisp not smushy). Remove from heat. In a separate small bowl, stir miso with enough water to dissolve it. Now stir it into your soup. Dash sesame/kelp/sprouts over individual serving. Enjoy! A light, easy, pretty quick and healthy dinner/lunch etc. Miso is a bit salty by the way, so don't add salt to your broth!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gluten Free Quinoa Cowgirls

Giddy Up CowGirl!
So.. I called these cowgirls, because I love the name, I love Rosetta's (Asheville, NC) vegan cowgirl cookies and, even though they aren't really cowgirl cookies, there are so many ingredients, if I listed it out the title would be way too long!
 There are a couple reasons I'm really excited about these:
1) They are gluten free (a blog reader requested a GF recipe)
2) They are high in protein
3) I just ate 5 (had to test each batch!)
4) And I finally made it work!

I've made a couple gluten free recipes and I have to say, it takes practice for sure (especially if you don't want them saturated with butter or eggs). There is still debate about whether or not oats are GF and many American processed brand are said to be contaminated... Bobs Red Mill uses the ELISA system to test. I do not have Celiac's. I have discovered that I am a bit wheat/starch sensitive. At least my bowels are.. so I've been breaking away from those foods more and more. I don't have an issue with sprouted grains (including wheat) though. hhmmmm "Food" for thought :)

Now, I made a few cookies at time, altering the batch and baking time a bit just to see... explain later.

Onto the recipe:
1/2 cup Toasted Quinoa Flour* (see below)
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour (I ran out of Quinoa/garbanzo)
1 cup Oats (I ground this up to medium coarse/medium fine in blender)
1 Tsp arrowroot (may not need-but I did it)
1 Tbs Flax seed (ground-ish)
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
 1/8 Tsp Cloves
2 Tbs Coconut oil (tried to avoid this, didn't work)
1/4 cup Apple Pulp (or sauce)
2 Tbs (or more as needed) Apple Juice
1/4 (or more as needed) Soy milk or Almond Milk
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbs (or more) Maple Syrup (Optional-taste it-may want more-mine are barely sweet but I only added more juice)
Add Ins:
1/4 cup (or more) dried cranberries
5-6 Dried Apricots (soaked then squeezed of water- chopped)

Ok, I know it looks complicated and I was just adding more of this and that as I needed it..but somewhere along these lines and you will have yourself a delicious healthy cookie!

First, soak those apricots. Second, add the vinegar (or lemon/lime juice) to the milk-let curdle).

*Toasting the Quinoa: Quinoa actually contains a toxic substance (saponin) which I learned about while making sprouted Quinoa 'salads.' It is said that most of this is removed in processing.. but since I make my own quinoa flour..

To be on the safe side:  I wash my quinoa.. spread it on a pan and let it dry, then put through my flour grinder, before toasting it on low for about 5 minutes (constantly stirring) in a dry skillet. Alternatively, you can spread your whole (or flour) quinoa on a pan and toast at about 200-215F for an hour or so.. but pan toasting it much faster.

Ok, NOW you are ready:
Combine all dry ingredients in medium bowl.

Combine all wet ingredients in large bowl (except add ins)

 Add dry to wet. Stir until just combined (at this point-taste for sweetness, check for moisture- you may need more milk/juice).

Fold in the cranberries/chopped apricots.

Mmmm MM
Shape into teaspoonful rounds on pan (most vegan cookies keep the shape you put them in and do not spread). Bake at 4 minutes (for a moister cookie) 5 minutes for a cakier cookie) and 6-7 minutes for a crunchy on the outside (but kind of dry cookie). I recommend baking 3 cookies alone. Try then at 4 minutes.. see what you think, bake some more-or add more sweetener/liquid. On the last try I added an additional Tbs of milk and finally added in 1 Tsp of Maple (the rest of the batch was sweetened with juice) and while they were tastiest (due to the maple!), they were also a bit moist for me.

My favorite way: 4 minutes at 350, right off the pan, with a thick cake batter consistency. I added 2 Tbs of milk to this, baked the second batch for 5 minutes and they were perfect! They have the whole soft baked oatmeal cookie thing going on.

Nutritious and Delicious!!!
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