Friday, June 29, 2012

A Meal, Morrocan-Style

Here are some pictures of the Sweet Morrocan-Glazed Tofu with couscous and Morrocan Carrot Salad from the book Big Vegan by Robin Asbell. Check it out!:

A great addition to the tofu after plating it was the mint. Also, I added a fresh diced red chile and the juice of half a lemon to the recipe. Instead of stir-frying the tofu, I made the sauce and spice ingredients as a marinade, substituting soy sauce for the salt, then baked the tofu till it was crispy brown. This is a great way to prepare tofu: press the block to squeeze out the water; cut it into small chunks and toss it in a marinade; refrigerate for at least two hours, turning over the tofu every hour or so to get all the cubes marinated; then bake in a 400 F oven for 40 minutes, turning the cubes half-way through the cooking time. After the turn, spray the cubes with oil to get a nice crispy coat. After the 40 minutes are up, spray the cubes again and turn on the broiler for 5 minutes or so. The oil isn't necessary- it just makes the texture that much better! So, forget about frying in a whole layer of oil and having to use those chemical-laden non-stick pans...

...and, don't forget to check out Robin Asbell's new book! Support those vegan pioneers...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sweet'n Sour Soy Curls with Chinese-style Broccoli!

Soy Curls! An awesome new protein product from Butler Foods. Check 'em out!

Soy Curls have a great texture, and stir fry and take up flavors nicely. Yep, even in a stainless steel pan, which is great if you now refrain from using non-stick pans. Butler Foods is a small family owned company which now has a base in Oregon. Soy Curls are affordable and deliciously vegan, so try 'em out!

To get started with a great recipe (that is, the one in the pictures), try this one from Chez Bettay:

(Recipe reprinted below): (my own edits in red)

2 cups Butler Soy Curls™
warm water to cover

1 tablespoon vegan no-chicken soup base (preferably one without any additives and organic) (I used 1 tblsp all-purpose spice blend)
1 teaspoon egg replacer powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup coconut oil or grapeseed oil (I used canola)

Ingredients for Sauce:
4 tablespoons organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Water
3 tablespoons organic sugar
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon organic ketchup
1 tablespoon unsulphured organic molasses
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 tablespoons Cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water

2 cups Thai sticky rice (I made a brown and wild rice blend)
2 2/3 cup water
2 pinches sea salt
Get your rice started.

In a small bowl, measure out 2 cups of Butler Soy Curls™ and cover with warm water.

Cover with a small plate to keep the Butler Soy Curls™ submerged and prepare the rice and sauce while they rehydrate and become pliable.

In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan, add the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch and water and heat on medium-low until sugar dissolves. In a small bowl mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and add to the warm sauce ingredients. Turn up heat to medium-high and whisk until the cornstarch is cooked leaving the sauce thickened and clear looking. Remove the sauce from the heat and cover with a lid.

Remove the Butler Soy Curls™ from their water bath and drain them on a kitchen towel. Press as much liquid out of them as you can. In a small dry bowl, whisk the powdered soup base, egg replacer and cornstarch together to distribute the dry ingredients. Place the Soy Curls™ in a large bowl and sprinkle with the mixture of the soup base, the egg replacer powder and cornstarch. Toss the Butler Soy Curls™ until all are completely coated with this mixture.

If using a cast iron skillet, turn the heat to medium once the pan get HOT. Cook the Soy Curls™ and stir and/or flip them until golden brown and crispy. There should not be any oil left in the pan. Turn the heat off and set aside... do not use a lid. Combine the Sweet Sour Sauce into the Soy Curls™ pan and stir together over low heat.

This turned out awesome. I garnished with some chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. To make the broccoli (and a great accompaniment), follow the following recipe:

Chinese-style Broccoli:

2 hefty cups broccoli, cut into large bite size pieces
2 tblsp canola oil
1/2 tblsp fresh ginger, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh small red chile, minced
2 tbslp lite soy sauce
1 tblsp rice vinegar
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder*

Heat the oil in a stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chile, and saute for 20 seconds. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice, and five-spice powder, stir once, then add the broccoli. Stir to coat the broccoli with the sauce. Cook until tender-crisp (5-7 minutes). Yum!

*You can make your own five spice powder by following the recipe, reprinted below from

Chinese five spice powder: 

2 tablespoons anise seed
2 tablespoons fennel seed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns 

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, combine all ingredients (in batches if necessary); grind until mixture becomes a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tropical Chutney

 Tropical Chutney

Need a way to use some dried tropical fruits you have in your pantry? Try this tropical fruit chutney, found here: 

I used a medley of dried papaya, pineapple, and mango, and added 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar for an extra punch. The panchporan spice mixture was a fun addition- if you don't have fenugreek, try substituting some Tandoori Masala, as I did. This chutney turned out delicious, and had new flavors different from the standard chutneys I've made in the past. Can't wait to have it as part of an Indian-inspired meal!

(Copy of recipe below)


2 tbsp peeled minced ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp crushed red chile peppers
2 medium garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp Sea salt
½ cup Palm sugar or brown sugar
½ lb dried mango or papaya, or a mixture of both
1/2 tsp Panchporan

Panchporan (Bengali Spice Mixture)
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
3/4 tsp fenugreek
2 tsp black mustard seeds


Soak dried fruit in enough water to cover. Leave for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. Place the soaked fruits in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Meanwhile make the Panchporan spice mixture.
Heat oil in a heavy pan. When hot, put in 1/2 teaspoon of Panchporan. Let spices pop and sizzle for a few seconds. Next, put in the crushed red pepper flakes. Stir once, then put in ginger and garlic. Stir for 5 seconds.
Add the soaked pureed fruits, brown sugar, salt and ginger. Add about a cup of the soaking liquid.
Simmer on a medium-low flame until the chutney begins to thicken and take on a glazed look. If the chutney looks dry, add some more of the soaking liquid.
Serve at room temperature.
Refrigerate unused portion for future use.

Frosty Coffee

 Frosty Coffee

Every morning means getting my coffee on- but in the summer, it's iced coffee. A great way to make homemade iced coffee that isn't bitter is to brew your coffee cold in a french press. The flavor is smooth and delicious, and tastes as good as the coffee you'll pay $3 for at a coffee shop.

To make the iced coffee, put your coffee grounds in your french press, about 2 tblsp per cup of coffee. Pour this same number of cups in of water. Place the top of the french press over the pot, but DON'T PUSH IT DOWN. Then, just stick it in the fridge overnight, press it in the morning, and voila! Delicious, economical iced coffee.

Don't know what to do with your used up grounds? If you have acidic loving plants, such as hydrangeas or blueberries, fill the pot again with water and use it to water these plants. Slosh it around as you pour to get all the grounds!

Monday, June 25, 2012

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Orange and Green Salad with Beans

Orange and Green Salad with Beans

Dinner salads make great summer suppers. This one is full of veggies, protein, and yummy, filling avocados.

4 c red leaf lettuce (or your lettuce of choice)
1/4 large yellow or purple onion
1 large carrot, shredded
1 naval orange, segmented (or you can try mandarin oranges)
2 ears of corn, roasted (to roast, bake with husks on in a 350F oven for 30 minutes)
14.5 oz can beans (such as kidney or pinto)
1/3 c broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
2 tblsp sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove garlic, grated or chopped finely
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tblsp tahini
1/2 tsp agave
salt and pepper to taste
1-5 tblsp water

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add more water as desired, 1 tablespoon at a time (you don't want it too thin). Tear the lettuce into pieces and place them in your serving bowls. Pour half of the dressing over the bowls of lettuce and mix to incorporate. Cut the corn kernels off of the cob. Top the lettuce with the corn and the rest of the ingredients, except for the sunflower seeds. Pour the rest of the dressing over the bowls. Top with the sunflower seeds.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

White Beans with Kale and Fresh Herbs

Summer's here and so are fresh herbs! The kale in this dish gives you a heaping helping of greens, and the parsley-crumb crust is light and scrumptious. Serve this dish with a fresh green salad. If you're feeling extra ambitious, try chopping and stewing fresh tomatoes! 

White Beans with Kale and Fresh Herbs

1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, grated or diced
1 five-inch sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped (~ 1/2 tblsp)
5-6 leaves fresh sage, chopped
1 bunch kale, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
14 oz can diced stewed tomatoes, undrained
14.5 oz white beans (such as navy or cannelini)
salt and pepper to taste

1 c vegan dry bread crumbs, divided (such as Trader Joe's brand)
1 tblp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf or curly)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Heat the olive oil in a med-large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 7 minutes). Add the garlic, rosemary, sage, and kale, and cook for about one minute, until garlic just begins to brown. Add the lemon juice and stir. Add the tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper and stir. Cook until about half of the tomato juice has evaporated.

Pour beans into 8" X 8" or 9" X 9" baking dish. Sprinkle half of the bread crumbs over the top, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. In the meantime, mix the remaining bread crumbs with the parsley, then add the tablespoon of olive oil and incorporate it as evenly as possible. Remove the beans from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle with the bread crumb and parsley mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust begins to brown.

Optional: In the last 5 minutes of baking, spray the top of the crust with olive oil, and/or turn on the broiler. This will add a nice, thin, crispy brown layer to the top of the dish.

Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.


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