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Archive for February, 2011

Rainbow Soup

 

At the end of this rainbow lies a pot of soup!  This gorgeous vegetable soup will flood your senses with vibrant natural colors and deliciously fresh flavors.  It’ll also nourish your body through diversity of root, stem, leaf,  flower and fruit, and help protect your cells with a broad-spectrum influx of antioxidants and other phytonutrients.  I even snuck in a cruciferous vegetable to help the liver detoxify the body from daily adventures through urban landscapes and just plain old living.

This recipe makes a very large pot of soup.  I kept the numbers even or whole so that you could easily divide the recipe in half if you wanted to make a smaller volume.  I like to make a big pot and freeze some for a rainy day.  You can also add some cooked lentils to your soup bowl to make it a heartier meal.   [Another thing to consider is that if you do not like a particular vegetable, such as yellow bell pepper, substitute in another yellow vegetable such as squash or corn in order to keep the benefit of that particular color vegetable’s antioxidant profile.]

 

Rainbow Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, diced

4 stalks celery, sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 cups Peruvian [purple] potatoes, diced

4 medium carrots, sliced

2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups chopped cabbage [Kale would work really well as a substitute]

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1-28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, broken into pieces by hand with juice reserved

12 cups vegetable stock [I prefer Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock]

1 T olive oil

Fresh herbs for garnish [Parsley, oregano and basil are my favorites]

Directions:

Place a stockpot on the stove and turn the heat to medium.  Once hot, add the olive oil.  Add the onion, celery and garlic.  Sauté until softened.  Add the carrots, bell pepper, potatoes.  Cook with periodic stirring for about 10 minutes.  Add in the cauliflower and zucchini.  Add the tomatoes with their juice and the stock.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender.  This should take about 30 minutes.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Garnish with fresh herbs, if you wish.

 

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This savory baked toast rocks because it tastes like pizza.  You could definitely use this as a base for a thick-crusted pizza and top it with whatever you wish.  For this dish,  I took a helping hand from Trader Joe’s and used their six-bean medley as the base and then added in some eggplant, fresh herbs and vegetable stock to make a quick stew.   

 

Savory Baked Toast

This recipe yields four slices of baked toast.  If you need more, simply multiply the ingredients by whatever factor you need.

Ingredients:

4 inches ciabatta bread cut into 1 inch-thick slices

4 T flax seeds, ground

2 T tomato paste

6 cloves roasted garlic

1 tsp faux chicken or vegetable bouillon

1 tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

2T olive oil

1½ cups water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place a Silpat-covered or non-stick sheet pan in the oven to preheat as well.

Add all the ingredients to a blender except the ciabatta bread.  Blend until completely combined and frothy.  Pour into a small shallow container that is large enough to accommodate the ciabatta bread.  Let sit for five minutes to thicken.

Dunk the bread into the mixture and soak completely.  Transfer to a plate until all the slices have been dunked.

Place slices upon the preheated sheet pan [If you do not preheat the sheet pan the underside will be mushy] and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  The baked toast will get puffy and the tomato will caramelize slightly.

 

Herbed Beans with Eggplant

Ingredients:

1 package Trader Joe’s 6-bean medley [Found in the refrigerated produce section of the store]

1 small eggplant, cut into a small dice [Whether you peel it is up to your tastes, I prefer mine to have the anti-oxidant rich skin on]

1 T tomato paste

½-1 cup faux chicken or vegetable stock [I really love Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock]

2 sprigs fresh oregano, plus some for garnish if you wish

2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus some for garnish if you wish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees.

Spray the eggplant with a mist of olive oil.  Place in the oven and roast until soft.  This should take about 30 minutes. [You should roast the eggplant at the same time as you are baking the toast so that the entire meal comes together at the same time.]

Place a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the tomato paste and cook it for a couple of minutes to remove the tinny flavor of the can.  Slowly whisk in the broth until the sauce is smooth.  Add the beans and fresh herbs.  Cover and reduce heat to low.

Once the eggplant is soft, add to the bean mixture.  If you need more liquid, simply add more broth.

Divide into four equal portions and spoon over the baked toast.  Serve immediately.

 

 

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I have fallen in love with Tofu Shirataki noodles.  They’re packed full of fiber and calcium and have such a low calorie count they are almost an afterthought.  I’ve been using them lately in everything and wanted to spread the word to those of you who may be looking for interesting and less caloric pasta choices.  They have a somewhat squidgy texture, but they’re soft unlike kelp noodles which are crunchy and brittle-textured.  Here I tossed them with some quickly sautéed kale [we have to get in our daily cruciferious fix!], shiitakes and garlic in a really quickly freshened Asian-style sauce.

 

Orange and Mushroom Noodles with Kale

Ingredients:

1 bunch lacinato kale

2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus the zest of one orange

¼ cup vegetarian oyster sauce [aka mushroom sauce easily found in Asian groceries]

1 – 8 oz package Tofu Shirataki, or noodle of your choice

Directions:

Add a couple teaspoons of neutral oil to a sauté pan and bring to a medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and onion.  Sauté until softened. 

Add the orange juice, zest and vegetarian oyster sauce to a small pan and bring to a low simmer.  Allow this to simmer and reduce slightly while the vegetables cook.

Put a pot of water on to boil to heat the noodles.

Add the garlic and kale to the pan containing the mushrooms and onions.  Once the kale has wilted down [should take about 10 minutes], add the sauce and set aside.

Rinse the noodles under running water and then add to a pot of boiling water.  Boil for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and toss with the vegetables and sauce.

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We love just about every fresh herb out there, but we especially love the flavor of dill.  I wanted to incorporate some dill into a seitan recipe and decided to couple it with the Georgian spice blend, kharcho.  This is a really simple wheatloaf that takes minimal effort to make and leftovers make great sandwiches.   

 

Dilled Georgian Wheatloaf

Ingredients:

[Dry]

1 cup vital wheat gluten

¼ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup dark rye flour

2 T kharcho

1 T Bill’s Best Beaf Vegetarian Seasoning

1 T sweet paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

[Wet]

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 cup fresh dill

1 cup ice-cold water

1 T soy sauce

1 T olive oil

Olive oil for sautéing the vegetables

Directions:

Sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper until soft in 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil.  Set aside to cool. 

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Once the vegetables have cooled, transfer to a food processor and add the dill.  Pulse until it has a smooth consistency.  Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, mix well and set aside.  Add the puréed vegetables and remaining wet ingredients into the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Mix by hand until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.  Spread the mixture out evenly in a loaf pan.  Loosely cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes.   

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