Monday, February 28, 2011

Kale-Shiitake Saute with Toasted Black and English Walnut, Leftover Mixed Vegetable Barley Stew

I put two cloves of garlic, roughly chopped, in a saute pan with oil that had been warmed, and started sauteeing over medium heat for a half minute or so, then added about a quarter package of tempeh, cut into pieces maybe 1/4" x 1/2" x 1". I cooked for a few minutes till the tempeh started browning, then I added two handfuls of shiitake mushrooms, after removing the hard parts of the stems and then slicing into thirds or quarters. About a minute later, I added a little diced ginger root, a bit of red jalapeno pepper, and roughly hand-torn kale from three leaves. I cooked the kale down for maybe 3 minutes, then tossed in a few black and regular walnut pieces.

After the walnut was gently toasted (maybe 30 seconds or so), I added a tablespoon or so of raw coconut aminos (which adds a bit of a soy-sauce flavor) and a little shake of jerk seasoning. I stirred and served.

We still had some mixed vegetable-barley stew leftover from last week, so I heated most of it (a bit left for a lunch or snack the next few days!). I served it with some heirloom tomato slices to complete the meal.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Potato-Onion Bread

My wife had purchased a few days ago a nice head of cauliflower, and I thought it might make a good soup. I did a little searching on a VitaMix recipe for cauliflower, and found a Martha Stewart one that I used as a base. It was really quite a simple recipe and introduced me to the idea of cutting cauliflower through the stalk.

Our cauliflower was somewhat small. I removed the very end of the stalk, as well as the leaves, then, as the recipe suggested, cut it into slices (I went with 1/2" or so in thickness). Sometime I'll have to do this again and photograph the pieces - they look like interesting, white trees! I then started sauteeing the cauliflower, flipping sides every few minutes. About two minutes into the saute, I added half of a small sweet onion, roughly chopped, as well as two small pieces of jalapeno pepper. I sauteed, over medium-high, for a total of about 10 minutes till the cauliflower's edges were medium brown. About a minute before I was done, I put in about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, roughly chopped.

I put 4 cups of water in my VitaMix, as well as 2 vegan bouillon cubes, then added the cooked vegetables. I blended at a medium setting till the cauliflower was homogenized, maybe 20 seconds, then increased to high and ran the blender for several minutes till the soup was hot. I added a few pinches of salt, blended on low till mixed in, and was going to serve, but the soup was thinner than I had wanted it to be. I would have included some cashews, but we were out; instead, I added a few tablespoonfuls of potato flakes and blended a few seconds, then served.

In the meantime, I sauteed some tempeh and 1/4" thick half moons of the sweet onion. I put these on top of the soup. The meal was completed with some fresh potato-onion bread and tomato. Dinner was very good - I suspected the soup would be good, but it turned out better than I had expected.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last-Minute Valentine's Dinner: Brussels Sprouts-Greens Quinoa, Purple-White-Purple Sweet Potatoes, Shiitake Mushroom with Lemon-Pepper Tempeh

Happy Valentine's Day! We were going to go out for a vegan meal a lovely place downtown was offering, but ended up not being able to go. Instead, I prepared a tasty smoothie (with a Acai frozen base, along with strawberries, fresh organic pineapple pieces, two types of coconut, soy yogurt, flax seed, Valencia orange, and vanilla) to accompany preparing and enjoying a nice meal.

Late last year, I remember having some very tasty purple and white sweet potato varieties. Recently, I found that the Whole Foods Market in Raleigh had two kinds of purple sweet potatoes and a white one; I cooked one of each in the toaster oven at 400°F till done (I think it took about a half hour). (They turned out to be good, but none was nearly as flavorful as what I remember from last year, for some reason.)

In a stainless steel pan over medium heat, I sauteed about a fifth of an onion cut into large pieces. After 2 minutes or so when the onion was clear, I added about a dozen small quartered Brussels sprouts and 1 t chopped jalapeno slices; after another 2 minutes, I added a little chopped red bell pepper and a handful of roughly torn greens that we had in the refrigerator, stem (they were tender) and all. I cooked another 2 minutes, added 1/2 t roughly chopped ginger, stirred, and put in 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup water, a pinch of salt, and half a pinch of turmeric. I brought to a boil and let it cook for about 2 minutes, then turned the heat off and let it sit, covered, for maybe ten minutes till the water was absorbed by the quinoa and the quinoa took on its characteristic spiral shape.

I served the sweet potatoes with the quinoa, as well as with some lemon-pepper marinated tempeh and shiitake mushrooms. A little cherry tomato with fresh lemon-sage completed the plate.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brown Rice Noodles with Spicy Grafitti Eggplant-Tomato Sauce and Lemon-Pepper Tempeh Strips

I was excited a few days ago when I was shopping to find brown rice noodles. I do buy Tinkyada rice pasta, but in this case I found traditional Thai rice noodles. My wife picked up some lovely grafitti eggplants a few days ago. I almost always buy Lightlife brand tempeh, but recently picked up lemon-pepper marinated tempeh strips from Turtle Island Foods.
So, for dinner, I sliced a grafitti eggplant into thirds to get 3 long "boats". I put a little olive oil on both sides of the central cut and the "flesh" side of the end cuts. I tossed on a few thin slices of onion and roughly sliced garlic clove, sprinkling a little olive oil on these, as well, then roasted in my toaster oven (approximately 400°F for about 20 minutes).
I started simmering a nice marinara sauce with some dried herbs, bit of crushed red pepper, and a pinch or two of salt. When the eggplant was lightly browned, I added the onion and garlic to the sauce and easily teased out the eggplant flesh from its skin. The eggplant was soft; I used a knife to roughly cut it apart a bit. I added the eggplant and squeezed it into the sauce.
The rice noodles took about 3 minutes to be cooked in boiling water. I served the sauce atop the noodles, along with sauteed strips of the tempeh and an avocado half.