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Archive for November, 2010

 

This is a great seasonal chili recipe that’s quick and easy to make.   It’s loaded with gorgeous golden-hued and red vegetables that contain a specturm of carotenoids as well as curcumin-rich turmeric,  and the super antimicrobial herb oregano.   This meal will fill your bowl with the color of falling leaves and nourish you as only plant strong foods can.

 

Golden Chili

Ingredients:

2 cups butternut squash, cut into a medium dice

one medium onion, medium dice

1 orange bell pepper, medium dice

8 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz tempeh, cut into a medium dice

28 oz plum tomatoes, broken into bite-sized pieces

15 oz red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz tomato sauce

 2 T tomato paste

1 T chili powder

1 T Mexican oregano [Plus some for garnish]

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 quart No-Chicken or vegetable stock

Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the squash on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until the edges have caramelized. [I roast the squash first in order to give it more flavor.  You could certainly skip this step and add the diced squash to the pot when you add the tomatoes and then adjust the cooking time to allow for the squash to soften fully.]

While the squash is in the oven, sauté the onions, garlic and bell pepper in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the tomato paste and spices and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and tempeh.  Mix well.  Add in the stock and bring to a low simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.  Gently fold in the roasted squash.   Season with salt and pepper.

 

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What are we thankful for this year?  For many things.  We are thankful for the presence of one another.  We are thankful for the fortune that those we love are healthy.  We are thankful that we have been graced with the ability to make better choices than at any other point in the past,  and that these choices have led to more compassionate lives with the prospect of a more healthful future.

Wild Rice and Millet Stuffing

I’ve always made a bread-based stuffing for Thanksgiving in the past but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to do that this year.  Instead, I wanted to make something earthy and, to my mind, far more wholesome and sustaining.  It also happens to be gluten-free, which gives those with gluten intolerances another option for holiday dressings.  I thought the combination of wild rice and millet would make a beautiful duo when melded together with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This dish set the tone for a gorgeous holiday meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

1 cup millet

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup hazelnuts

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

6 cups vegetable stock, divided

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add the millet to a hot pot and toast for a couple of minutes.  [You will hear the seeds beginning to pop when they’re ready.]  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the millet is light and fluffy.  This should take about 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil and add the wild rice.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Place the bite-sized pieces of beet and the quartered Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.  Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and add the celery, shallots, leek and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the fresh herbs. [I like to tie mine together with kitchen twine so that removing the stems isn’t a hassle.]  Add the hazelnuts and dried cranberries and mix well.  Add one cup of vegetable stock and reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the millet is ready, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Drain the wild rice when ready, if necessary, and add to the bowl with the millet.  Mix in the contents of the pan, removing the herb stems.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, gently fold in the roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

I served this in a roasted pumpkin.  If this is how you’d like to present this dish then you will need to get a medium-sized pumpkin and cut a round out of the top.  Clean out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.  Place the hollowed out pumpkin and the top you removed on a baking sheet.  Place into a 400°F oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin has softened.  Remove from the oven and place upon a plate.  After that it’s just a matter of filling the pumpkin with the stuffing and serving it at table.

 

 

 

Tempeh, Walnut and Roasted Pear Loaf

Roasted pear purée was the key to giving this loaf an amazing seasonal flavor and moist texture.  The ingredient list reads like a Who’s Who of healthful botanical phytochemicals, polyphenols and antioxidants as well as omega-3s.

Ingredients:

16 oz tempeh

4 pears, divided

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

8 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 T fresh rosemary, minced

1T  fresh thyme leaves

4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut 3 pears in half and core.  Place them upon a baking sheet and roast for an hour.  Thirty minutes into the roasting time, add the garlic cloves [wrapped up in some aluminum foil with a small bit of olive oil].

Sauté the leek, shallot, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the herbs and mix well.

Place the tempeh into a food processor and blend until well crumbled.  Add to the sautéed vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

Remove the pears and garlic from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted pears and garlic into the food processor and blend until homogenized.  Add to the tempeh mixture on the stove.  Add the flax meal and bread crumbs and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Core the remaining pear and cut into slices.   Line the bottom of a oiled loaf pan with them, overlapping each piece with the previous one.   Spoon out the loaf mix atop the pear slices and fill the pan.  Press down with the back of the spoon to compress the contents well.

Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool slightly and then gently invert onto a serving plate, pear side up.

 

 

Persimmon and Cranberry Gravy

I served this over some steamed green beans with roasted chestnuts [pictured above] as well as spooning it over the tempeh, walnut and roasted pear loaf.  This tart, tangy and sweet gravy tastes wonderful with savory dishes.

Ingredients:

3 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 persimmon, peeled and cut into a large dice

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of one orange

1 T while balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cranberries

Sea salt

Directions:

Place the apple juice, vinegar, garlic, persimmon, orange zest and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce volume by half [~20 minutes].  Add reduced contents to a blender and blend until homogenous.  Return gravy to the pan and add the cranberries.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped [~10 minutes].  Season to taste with salt.

 

Raw Pumpkin Custard

The notion of a raw pumpkin pie has been tugging at my brain for a long time now.  Thing is, I wasn’t in the mood for a high caloric raw pie crust full of nuts and dates and such things after having such a large meal, so I opted to simply make the filling.  It’s all anyone ever really eats anyway, right?

Ingredients:

a small sugar pumpkin [mine yielded ~2 cups peeled pumpkin flesh]

one young Thai coconut [mine yielded ~1.5 cups coconut meat]

coconut water from the Thai coconut

6 medjool dates, soaked and pitted

¼ cup almond meal

4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 T fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

½ vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Suggested garnishes:  raisins, almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, citrus zest, freshly-grated nutmeg, cinnamon

Directions:

Seed and peel the pumpkin [I reserved and roasted the pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish].  Cut into a medium-sized dice.  Set aside.

Hack into the coconut [Great how-to video here], reserving the coconut water and flesh.  Set aside.

Add the pumpkin, dates and coconut flesh to a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the coconut water to aid the blending until you get a thick but smooth consistency, remembering that you can always add more liquid but can’t remove it.

Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds with the back of a paring knife.  Add to the food processor along with the other spices.  Blend well.  Add the almond meal, ginger,  lemon zest and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth.   Add agave syrup to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

The almond meal will help to thicken the pumpkin pudding just as the coconut water will loosen its consistency.  You can adjust this to your tastes as you wish.

This is really nice served with a ginger cashew cream like the one I made here, and garnished with raisins, zests, nuts and seeds.

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Savory Phyllo Roll

This dish is similar to the Mediterranean Braciole dinner in that it’s a combination of separate dishes combined into one  main course.  It’s very straight-forward and easy to assemble and well worth the time investment when you want to create a memorable and special meal.  The three main components can be made ahead of time so that you can create a beautiful dinner without any stress.

Ingredients:

Greek-Gyros seitan [Half a recipe was used for this]

Tangy Greek custard-style tofu [Half a recipe was used for this]

2 cups cooked greens that have been squeezed dry to remove excess water [I used nettles, but spinach could easily be substituted]

1 package phyllo dough

Olive oil

Directions:

Thaw the phyllo at room temperature while still in the box.  [You do not want to open it until you’re ready to use because it dries out very quickly.]

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the seitan and tofu into blocks that measure roughly one inch by three inches and set aside. 

Unroll the phyllo dough and cover with a slightly damp towel to keep pliant.  Set a baking sheet on the counter in front of you, vertically.  Take one sheet of phyllo and place upon the baking sheet.  Using your fingers or a brush, lightly dot olive oil over the surface of the sheet.  Place another sheet of phyllo atop the first and repeat. 

Using a pizza cutter or knife [If using a knife be careful not to tear the dough, applying pressure from above rather than drawing the knife across it], gently cut the phyllo down the center, vertically so that you create two pieces.  Place a piece of seitan on either half of the phyllo three inches from the bottom edge of the sheet.  [You want to have enough room to be able to bring the phyllo up and over the filling.] Place a piece of tofu atop the seitan and then add a final layer of cooked greens.

 

Roll the phyllo up and over the filling and roll over a couple of times.  Tuck in the sides and continue to roll until all the phyllo has been used.  Rub the outside with oil and set upon a separate baking sheet. Repeat until all the rolls have been created.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown on the edges.

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This is a wonderfully quick and delicious autumnal whole grain-based salad.  It can be served at any temperature you wish, but is very nice when warmed.  I like to serve this over a pile of soft butter lettuce as a side dish to my gyros seitan for a hearty meal on a cold night.

 

Warm Bulgur Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup coarse bulgur

1 cup diced green beans

½ cup toasted pine nuts

12 dried apricots, cut into slivers

¼ cup mint, chopped

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 leek, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 leaves dinosaur kale, finely chopped

Lemon vinaigrette with oregano  

  • 1T lemon juice + 2T olive, flax or nut oil + 1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Bring 2½ cups of water or vegetable stock [If you want a more savory flavor] to a boil.  Add the bulgur, stir and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the grain is tender simply drain off excess liquid and set aside.

While the bulgur is perking away, over medium heat, sauté the green beans, leek, garlic and kale in a small drizzle of olive oil until tender.  Add the apricots and pine nuts.  Toss to combine.  Transfer the drained bulgur to a large bowl and add the sautéed vegetables, parsley and mint.   Pour as much of the lemon and oregano vinaigrette over the bulgur salad as you wish and mix well.   Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

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Sweet Potato and Pear Strudel with Dark Chocolate

Desserts can be decadent and good for you!   While sweet and satisfying, this simple strudel contains nutritious fruit and vegetables with fiber to help mellow out those sugar rushes. 

Ingredients:

1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 pear, peeled and cubed

4 squares Endangered Species dark chocolate, roughly chopped

⅓ cup turbinado sugar, divided

¼ cup raw walnuts, chopped

1 T whole wheat flour

6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

walnut oil

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Add the pear, sweet potato, ½ the sugar, walnuts, flour and salt to a bowl and mix well.

Lay a sheet of phyllo upon a baking sheet and, with your fingertips or a brush, dot it gently with walnut oil.  Add another sheet atop the first and repeat.  Repeat once again and then sprinkle with 1 T of the reserved sugar.  Add another sheet of phyllo atop the sugared sheet and repeat the oiling process.  Add two more sheets, oiling them the same way.  [You should now have 3 oiled sheets of phyllo on either side of a layer of sugar.]

Spread the filling out in a line, length-wise about 3 inches from the bottom edge of the sheet.  Sprinkle with the dark chocolate.  Roll the phyllo over the top of the filling and tuck in the sides as you would while wrapping a present.  Continue to roll until all the pastry has been used.  Set the strudel seam side down and gently rub the entirety with walnut oil.  Dust the remaining sugar over the top.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown on the edges.

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