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Archive for the ‘Nuts & Seeds’ Category

 

I haven’t posted a homemade tofu recipe in a long time and decided that it was long overdue.  Aside from making the actual tofu, I took the easy way out and used a pre-prepared red curry paste for this variation and freshened the flavors of the dish with some shredded kaffir lime leaves.  To add to the southeast Asian flavors, I dredged the tofu in a mixture of almond meal,  shredded coconut and red pepper flakes, and then pan-fried it in a little bit of coconut oil.   I served this over some brown basmati rice. 

[You could use store-bought tofu for this dish and marinate it in a slurry of red curry paste made by adding a bit of water or vegetable stock to give it the consistency of a marinade .  If you choose this method, cut the block of tofu into the size of the pieces you wish to pan-fry so that you get maximum exposure to the marinade for the greatest flavor.  I would also suggest marinating overnight.]

 

 

Red Curry Tofu

Ingredients:

One recipe homemade tofu at curd stage [Procedure here.]

4 ounce jar Red Curry Paste

4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

Directions:

Transfer the tofu curds to a bowl and gently add in the red curry paste [Add a little bit of water to loosen it up beforehand] and lime leaf shreds.  Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.  Place the contents in a tofu press and press for an hour.  Cut the block into whatever sized pieces of tofu you wish to pan-fry.  [I cut mine into two bite-sized chunks so that there would be more crunchy batter per bite than if I’d pan-fried larger sized pieces.]

 

 

Almond and Coconut Batter:

Ingredients:

1 T ground flax seeds

1/3 cup almond meal

1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup water

coconut oil, for pan-frying

Directions:

Blend the ground flax seeds and water together and transfer to a bowl.  Let sit for a few minutes to form a slurry.

Place a pan over medium high heat on the stove and add a sufficient amount of coconut oil to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.

Place the almond meal, coconut and red pepper flakes in a processor and pulse a few times to break up the pepper flakes.  Transfer to a bowl.

Dredge the pieces of tofu into the flax wash and then through the coconut and almond flour. 

Pan-fry on each side until browned and crispy.

 

 

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This “cheese” has enabled me to take my vegan cooking to another level, creatively.  I used to absolutely love goat’s cheese and that creamy, tangy textural flavor has been something I’ve truly missed.  By fermenting raw cashews with probiotics this already amazing seed/nut gains new heights of culinary glory in my book.  It’s also an incredibly tasty way to boost your digestive system’s probiotic population.

I’d heard of the technique of using probiotics to ferment nuts, and my first attempt used a homemade rejuvelac as the probiotic source because I wanted to keep it as natural as possible.  Using rejuvelac, which is obtained by soaking grain sprouts in water overnight and allowing them to ferment, worked really well and I loved the end product.  The only problem was that I didn’t want to have to plan ahead for a week in order to make the fermented nut cheese.  That led me to an investigation of commercially available probiotics.  My requirements were pretty straightforward:  It needed to be a quality product that came in a powdered form and packaged in gelatin-free capsules.  After looking into myriad brands and formulations, I felt most comfortable ordering a blend from Udo’s. 

 

Soured Cashew Cheese

This recipe makes @ 2 cups of soft cheese.  After it is made, you can divide it up into portions and freeze for later use. 

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for one hour in filtered water

2 cups filtered water at room temperature, not chilled

1 capsule Udo’s Adult Advanced Probiotics

Cheesecloth or nut milk bag [The nut milk bag works great for this!]

Directions:

Drain the cashews and rinse.  Place the cashews and water into a blender and purée until smooth.  Empty the probiotic capsule into the blender.  [Throw away the capsule.]  Blend briefly to combine.  Pour the contents into a nut milk bag that has been placed in a bowl large enough to accomodate it.  Set aside and let sit out at room temperature overnight to ferment.

The next morning, lift the nut milk bag out of the bowl and place in a colander.  Depending upon the size of the colander either place within a bowl or over a baking sheet.  [You are going to be draining the fluid away from the cashew cheese and will need a resevoir to catch it.  Alternatively, you could place in the sink.]  Place a weight over the nut milk bag to help compress the liquid away from the solids.  [I used a bowl that fit inside the small colander I used and filled that bowl with water to give it added weight.]   The longer you leave it to drain, the denser the cheese will become.  [I let mine sit for about 4 hours.  If you won’t be around to tend to it, you could place the cheese with the weight in the refrigerator and deal with it when you get home later in the evening or even the next day.]

Remove the nut cheese from the bag and place upon a piece of plastic wrap.  Form into a log and roll it tightly in the plastic.  Place in the refrigerator until it has chilled enough to be able to cut it into even slices. 

At this point it is ready to eat as is, or you could do as I did above and roll the log in some freshly chopped herbs and/or nuts prior to cutting into slices.

 

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This makes a really nice quick and easy lunch or dinner entrée.  When cut into smaller triangular pieces and paired with some spicy cocktail sauce, they make a great appetizer. 

 

Sesame Bay Tofu Points

Ingredients:

1 block firm tofu

½ cup sesame seeds [I prefer to use un-hulled seeds because they have a greater nutritional content]

¼ cup rice flour

2 T Old Bay Seasoning, divided

1 T ground flax seed

½ cup water

neutral oil for pan searing [I used rice bran oil]

Directions:

Blend water, flax seed meal and 1 T of Old Bay together.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside to thicken.

Mix the rice flour and remaining 1 T of Old Bay together and pour onto a plate.

Pour the sesame seeds onto another plate or wide-mouthed bowl.

Cut the tofu into ½ -inch thick slices and then cut diagonally to create two triangular pieces from each slice.  Dredge in the seasoned rice flour and then dip into the flax seed slurry.  Dredge through sesame seeds to coat fully.

Pan sear over medium heat until the tofu is heated through.  Take care not to burn the seeds by adjusting the temperature accordingly.

 

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This dish would make a beautifully elegant dinner for two served with a nice green salad and crusty bread.  There should be enough left over for a wonderfully quick and  delicious lunch the next day.

 

Roasted Tomato and Almond Pasta Sauce with Green Olives

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2lb Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 small onions, peeled and cut into quarters

12 cloves garlic, divided [8 roasted, 4 raw]

⅓ cup almond meal [This is simply ground raw almonds]

½ cup green olives, sliced [I used some almond and garlic stuffed green almonds, but plain would be just fine]

¼ cup chopped parsley, for garnish

¼ cup sliced almonds,  for garnish

2 tsp  No Chicken Bouillon

2 T olive oil

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

1 lb pasta [I used Rigatoni]

Directions:

Roast tomatoes, onions and 8 cloves of garlic at 425°F until the edges have browned [~30 mins].   Add the raw garlic, bouillon, olive oil and almond meal.  Liquefy in a blender.  Transfer to a pot on the stove top over medium heat and stir in the sliced olives.  Bring to a low simmer and then reduce the heat.  Let it perk away while you are cooking the pasta. 

Once the pasta is done, taste the sauce for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.  Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.   Garnish with sliced almonds, olives and parsley.

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Mmm!  Amazingly decadent and seasonal breakfast food was on the menu this week because of the holiday.  I don’t post many breakfast recipes because we tend to eat very simply in the mornings and usually end up throwing together a quick Vega smoothie.   I wanted to treat H to a special breakfast on Christmas morning for a variety of reasons, including that she took on the task of preparing Christmas Eve’s dinner for us this year.   I figured that If I was going to treat her I’d need to go all out and thoroughly indulge her sweet tooth.   I also knew that this would probably  involve tackling a dish that I’d put on the back-burner for a long time:   vegan French toast.  I only wish that I’d put my imagination to work on this sooner because it turned out wonderfully and earned me some serious brownie points!

 

Spiced Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients:

2 cups non-dairy milk [I used So Delicious Original unsweetened coconut milk]

½ cup pumpkin purée [I use Farmer’s Market Organic brand]

2 heaping T finely-ground flax meal

1 T pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt

1 loaf fresh ciabatta cut into ½ inch slices

¼ cup pecans, toasted

maple syrup

Directions:

Add the milk, pumpkin purée, flax meal, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes to thicken.  [I made mine the night before and placed in the refrigerator and it worked brilliantly.]

Dip the bread into the pumpkin milk and coat evenly.  Remove any excess by brushing the bread along the sides of the bowl after dunking.  Place on a hot nonstick griddle and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side until the bread has set.

Serve hot with warmed maple syrup, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and toasted pecans.

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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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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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