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Archive for August, 2010

 

This may seem like a rather odd combination on the surface,  but let me tell you, this was delicious.  Not only is this velvety sauce a snap to make, but it’s vibrant, healthy and a great way to rock your greens!

 

Creamy Avocado and Coconut-Dressed Greens

Ingredients:

1 lb dinosaur/lacinato kale, cut into thin shreds

1-1/4 cup coconut water, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

 1 cup avocado

1 long strip of lemon zest

squeeze of lemon juice

1 tsp freshly minced ginger

pinch of salt

coconut oil

Optional:  sesame seeds, to garnish

Directions:

Add a drizzle of coconut oil to a large pan and sauté the garlic until fragrant.  Add the kale and stir through.  Add 1 cup coconut water and cover turning heat to medium low.  Braise the greens until soft.

Add avocado, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt to a blender.  Add coconut water a little bit at a time until a sauce comes together and has the consistency of tomato ketchup. [You want it on the thick side but still pourable.] 

Once the greens are soft, drain and transfer to a bowl.  Add the sauce and mix well.  Garnish with sesame seeds or lemon zest if you wish.

 

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These flavors went so well together and that burst of heat from the chili peppers is tempered by the sweetness of the glaze.   This is a great way to celebrate summertime green beans which are overflowing at  farmer’s markets this time of year.

 

Thai-Spiced Tempeh with Green Beans in an Apple and Lemongrass Glaze

Ingredients:

8 oz tempeh

2 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 lemongrass stalk, outer layer removed and reserved, inner stalk sliced thinly

⅓ cup thinly sliced leek or onion

1 Thai chili, seeded and sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup cilantro

1 inch-long piece of fresh ginger, finely diced

Juice of ½ a lime

1 T ground flax seed

1 T light miso

¼ cup ponzu [without bonito] or tamari/soy sauce

Sesame seeds to garnish

Directions:

Place the apple juice on medium heat.  Add the outer layer of the lemongrass to the juice and reduce by one half.  

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

While the juice is reducing, add the leek, chili, garlic, cilantro, ginger and flax seed to a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Add the tempeh, ponzu and lime juice.  Pulse and use a spatula to reincorporate any of the mix that has climbed the processor walls.  Let stand for 10 minutes so the flax meal can hydrate.

Roll into marble-sized balls and place upon a non-stick baking sheet or Silpat.  Lightly spray with coconut oil and bake for 30 minutes until browned.

When the tempeh is halfway finished, put some water on to boil in a steamer.  Steam the green beans for 5-7 minutes until cooked through but still crisp.  Remove the lemongrass stalk from the apple juice reduction and stir in the miso.   Add the green beans and tempeh and toss gently.

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This is a fabulous way to use leftover rice and lentils.  I don’t know about you, but we often have leftover cooked lentils and brown rice on hand because they are so versatile.  I also tend to keep cabbage in the crisper because I love adding it to salads for a sweet crunch.   This soup will thicken overnight as the rice absorbs the broth and become more stew-like.  You can then ladle it over baked potatoes or a plateful of steamed greens for another more hearty meal.  It also freezes very well.

 

Stuffed Bell Pepper and Cabbage Soup

Ingredients:

5 tomatoes [mine weighed 1.5 lbs total]

1 medium onion, diced

2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced [reserve a ¼ cup for garnish]

½ head cabbage, cut into shreds [Mine yielded about 6 cups]

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked Puy lentils

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 T tomato paste

1 ½ T dried oregano

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

6 cups vegetable or faux chicken broth

Olive oil

Directions:

Cut the tomatoes in half and toss with a bit of olive oil.  Roast in a 450°F oven for an hour or until caramelized on top.  Transfer to a blender and blitz.  [Mine yielded 2 cups of tomato puree]

While the tomatoes are roasting, add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan over medium heat and sauté the onions, garlic, bell pepper and cabbage until softened.  Add the tomato paste and oregano.  Cook for a few minutes longer.  Add in the rice and lentils and mix well.  Set aside until the tomatoes are ready.

Add the tomato puree and vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Let cook for about 15 minutes and then season with salt and pepper. 

Garnish with dried or fresh oregano [mine happened to be flowering, so I used those as well] and finely diced green bell pepper.

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Mu Shu was always my favorite Chinese dish to order when I was a kid.  There was something special about it because you got to assemble it at the table and slather on the thick, dark and sweetly-rich hoisin sauce.  Thing is, like the machaca,  Mu Shu is traditionally loaded with animal proteins.  Since that just wouldn’t do, I needed to figure out another way to create this classic Chinese dish.  Once again, I turned to yuba because it has that wonderful chewy texture and takes on the flavors of marinades very well. 

Another part of this dish that I wanted to reinvent was the wrapper.  Rather than use a Mandarin pancake, which is simply white flour and water and brings nothing of nutritional value to the plate, I chose to use a supple steamed collard green leaf that is full of iron, calcium and fiber.  I also added red bell pepper to the mix in order to add a healthy dose of vitamin C so that the iron and calcium in the collards would be more readily assimilated.  This meal was fantastic and one that I shall make often.

 

Mu Shu Yuba with Collard Green Wrappers

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 block regular firm tofu [I used half a block of my homemade tofu]

2 oz dried bean curd sticks [Yuba], rehydrated in warm water and drained

1 large red bell pepper, cut into medium dice

1 large green bell pepper, cut into medium dice

1 cup finely sliced bok choy

6 green onions, sliced thinly

1 cup mung bean sprouts

Juice of ½ a lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ inch fresh ginger, finely diced

2-3 dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced [@ a cup’s worth]

1 T tamari

1 tsp agave syrup

1 tsp dry sherry

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp turmeric

Hoisin sauce

2-3 large collard green leaves per person

coconut oil for stir-frying the vegetables and tofu

Directions:

For the Filling:

Cut yuba into thin shreds.  Place in a zip lock bag.  Add the tamari, sherry, half the sesame oil and the cornstarch.  Mix well and marinate at least one hour.

Drizzle a bit of coconut oil into a pan over medium-high heat.  Crumble the tofu into the pan and sprinkle the lemon juice and turmeric over it.  Mix well and cook until slightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside. 

Add another small drizzle of coconut oil to the pan and add the onions and peppers.  Cook until slightly softened.  Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add in the marinated yuba, wood ear mushrooms and bok choy and cook for a few minutes longer.  Return the tofu to the pan and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil.    Add the bean sprouts and mix thoroughly until the entirety is heated through.

For the wrapper:

Cut the large thick part of the stem out of each leaf.  Steam or blanch the leaves until tender [This only takes a few minutes].  Spread hoisin sauce on the leaf and add the Mu Shu filling.  Roll it up and eat!

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Judy, a dear friend of ours, recently gifted us with a sackful of fresh morel mushrooms that her son had harvested from the forest, as well as an arm-load of freshly-harvested garlic from her garden.  Faced with the combination of morels and garlic, and deciding to splurge and make something on the more decadent side of life, I opted for Po’Boys.  H wanted her sandwich on a traditional soft hoagie bun [pictured above], whereas I opted for a whole grain bun [pictured below].  Either way, these little gems resting atop a very garlicky sauce were so good!  Thank you Judy for your kindness, we enjoyed the treat thoroughly.

We added the traditional slices of heirloom tomatoes and butter lettuce to the sandwiches to round them out.

Pan-Fried Morels

Ingredients:

4-5 large Morels per sandwich

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 T ground flax seed

1 cup water

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Salt-Free Cajun Seasoning

Directions:

Combine the flax seed with the water in a blender and pulse until foamy.  Pour into a bowl.

Add brown rice flour to a bowl and mix in 0.5 tsp cajun seasoning.

Add panko bread crumbs and 1 T cajun seasoning to a bowl, mix well.

These morels were large in size so I quartered them, otherwise if yours are of a smaller size, I’d halve them.  Toss them lightly in some brown rice flour, shaking off the excess and then dredge them in the flax wash.  Allow excess flax wash to drip off before coating  them with the seasoned panko bread crumbs.   Place into a pan of hot oil.  Cook until browned on both sides.  Salt lightly after transfering to a paper towel-lined plate.

Garlicky Tofu and Olive Oil Aioli

This Aioli is less caloric than the standard.  I used tofu to eliminate a great deal of the fat.

Ingredients:

1/2 block extra firm silken tofu

1/3 cup olive oil

5 garlic cloves [This makes it very garlicky; add less if you would prefer.]

non-dairy milk

juice of 1/2 lemon

1.5 tsp Dijon mustard

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Add the tofu, olive oil, garlic, mustard and lemon juice to a blender.  Pulse until well combined.  Add the non-dairy milk until you acheive the consistency you wish.  Season with salt and pepper.

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