Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Veggie Ragout

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I wish that I had a more appropriate recipe for Halloween, but I wasn't feeling overly experimental this week.  Maybe I will have some more "fallish" recipes next week!

I have been hearing about how good spaghetti squash is from almost everyone, but had never had any.  Actually, I am quite surprised that I have never tried it.  So, when I saw it at the market the other week I had to pick one up. This is a pretty basic recipe for the squash, but it is really flavorful.

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Spaghetti Squash with Veggie Ragout
Courtesy: "The Gluten-Free Vegan"

1 Spaghetti squash
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
1 Medium sized zucchini, chopped
3 Cups swiss chard, or kale
1/2 Cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
4 Ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 Can (14.5 oz) can diced or whole tomatoes
4 Cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon capers
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped basil
1/8 Cup red wine
1/4 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt/kosher salt

**I did not have red wine, roasted red peppers or cremini mushrooms and it still turned out great.

***Roast or cook the squash the way you know how to.  This book told me to put the squash, whole, into the oven.  I chose to cut it in half, remove the seeds and then roast cut side down in about 1 inch of water until soft.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, zucchini and swiss chard, and saute for 8-10 minutes.  Add the red pepper, mushrooms and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes and capers and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the basil and wine and cook until the flavors blend, 2-3 minutes.

Using a large spoon or fork, scoop out all of the "noodles" and place in a large bowl.  Add the veggies and toss to mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Lentil Stew and Kale Chips

Good Evening!

The northwest fall is in full swing here.  I have officially turned on my heat.

To deal with the cold, wet weather I have been eating a lot of warm, wholesome food.  Lots of stews and soups and food that sticks to my bones.  

I have also been trying new ways to eat my greens.  These kale chips are such an easy way to satisfy my salt cravings and eat a whole bunch of kale in one sitting.  I have literally eaten an entire bunch of kale in less than 20 minutes.  Yea for leafy greens!

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Sweet Potato Lentil Stew
Courtesy: "The Kind Diet"

1/4 Cup safflower oil
1 Medium onion, diced
2 Small tomatoes, diced
1 Teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 Teaspoon turmeric
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 Teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon cayenne
Sea salt
2-3 Medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 " cubes
7 Cups vegetable broth
1 Cup brown lentils

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large, deep pot.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes or until the onion starts to soften.  Stir in the tomatoes and ginger and cook for three minutes.  Stir in the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and a small pinch of salt.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes, then taste for seasonings.  

Add the sweet potatoes, broth and lentils.  Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat.  When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft.

Kale Chips
Courtesy: Me...and a whole bunch of websites

1 Bunch kale
Olive oil
Lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut out the stem and tough center ribs of the kale.  Chop or rip into smallish pieces, no smaller than a 1x1" square.  Wash and dry very well.

Place kale in a large bowl and toss with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, use more or less depending on the amount of kale you have.  Season with sea salt.

Place your kale, in a single layer, on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Cook for about 10 minutes in the oven.  You want to cook them until the kale is crisp and no longer "wet."

Good luck allowing them time to cool to put into a bowl.

Kale Chips Before the Oven

Kale Chips After the Oven

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spinach Dal with Dosas

Good Evening!

I know that I just wrote this morning, but I just ate an amazing dinner and wanted to share it with all of you.  I am not a big fan of Indian food, I think that it is too spicy sometimes, but I have been wanting to eat more lentils and this recipe had them.  Boy was I pleasantly surprised.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

Spinach Dal
Courtesy: Susan O'Brien's "The Gluten-Free Vegan"

1 Cup rinsed and picked over red or yellow lentils
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Medium-sized onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
4 Cups washed and chopped spinach
Pinch of mustard seeds or mustard powder (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 Teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh ground pepper

In a 2-quart pot, place the lentils in 2 cups of water and cook until done, 25-45 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion in the olive oil until soft, 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger and spinach.  Cook until the spinach is wilted.

When the lentils are cooked, add them to the vegetable mixture along with the herbs and spices.  Mix well.  Season with salt and pepper, as desired.  Heat through and serve.

Courtesy: "Gluten-Free Vegan"

2 Cups brown rice flour
1/2 Cups quinoa flour
3 Cups water
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Grapeseed oil, for frying

Place the brown rice flour, quinoa flour, water and salt in a large bowl and beat until very well blended.  The ingredients have a tendency to separate, so whisk them together well before you prepare to cook them.

Heat a large skillet over high heat and pour in a little grapeseed oil.  When it is hot, add a small ladleful of batter to the skillet.  The diameter of the pancake should be no larger than 7-8 inches across.  Cook until the dosa begins to become dry around the edges.  Unlike cooking a pancake, which is still very wet on top when you turn it, you want to be sure the dosa is cooked through before you flip it, so let it cook for a few minutes and, when the edges look dry, then flip it and cook the other side.  If the dosa begins to burn, reduce the heat slightly.  Place each dosa on a cooling rack or between waxed paper until you have cooked the entire batch.

Raddicchio Pizza and Rice Crispy Treats

Good Morning Everyone!

Fall has finally taken ahold of Eugene and the cold, wet weather has settled in.  Gone are the days where I have all my windows open and warm breezes flow throughout my apartment.  I have actually started to turn my heat on for about an hour a day - still trying to keep my electric bill down.

Because of the turn in weather I no longer crave cucumbers and tomato salad, or any salad for that matter.  I want something hearty, warming and thick with flavor.  I have a feeling that you will all be seeing more bean and soup recipes!

These next two recipes come from Alicia Silverstone's book, "The Kind Diet."  Once again, while I was at the market I found some really cheap radicchio and remembered seeing a recipe for it somewhere.  After scrolling through a few books I finally found the recipe, radicchio pizza with truffle oil.  Just a fair warning for those of you out there who have never had radicchio, it is bitter, very, very bitter.  It does lose some of the bitterness after cooking, but it is still very powerful.

Radicchio Pizza with Truffle Oil
Courtesy: "The Kind Diet"

This recipe is just for the topping of the pizza.  You could technically put anything on a pizza that you want.  Last night we did the radicchio and also a pesto with red peppers.  Be creative and have fun with it.

For the crust I used Bob Red Mill's prepackaged gluten free pizza crust mix.  I did the substitution for eggs with flax meal.  The crust was amazingly flavorful and quite good.  The longer you cook it the less doughy it is.  Just keep an eye on the bottom of the pizza, so it doesn't burn.  We also lowered the temperature of the oven last night, so we did not cook it at the specified temperature.  

1 Head radicchio-small is fine
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
White truffle oil, to taste
1 Fresh pizza crust

Cut the radicchio in half, then slice each half crosswise into thin ribbons.  Dress with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of truffle oil.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees F.  Toast the pizza crust in the oven for 7 minutes or until it is heated through and slightly golden but not crunchy.  Scatter the dressed radicchio over the pizza crust and return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes, until the radicchio is warm and just starting to wilt.  Serve immediately.

For the Bob Red Mill's gluten free crust I followed their directions in making a crust.  I did not put on toppings until the last 5 minutes of cooking, at least for the radicchio option.  If you put other veggies on top you could cook them longer.

Radicchio before being cooked

Basil-Cilantro Pesto with Red Peppers

Basil-Cilantro Pesto
Courtesy: Veganomicon

2 Cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 Cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/3 Cup slivered or sliced almonds
2 Cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup olive oil
Pepper to taste

Place the basil, cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and blend until pasty, scraping down the sides occasionally.  With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Blend until relatively smooth and no large chunks of almonds are left.  

Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips
Courtesy: "The Kind Diet"

I love this recipe.  I made it last week on a Monday, and it was gone by Wednesday.  I literally ate about 3/4 of the pan.  Gross, I know.  Somehow I just can't stop eating it.  No wonder I don't make it that often!  So, when you make it, either hide it from yourself or plan on sharing it with everyone.

1 Box gluten free brown rice crisps cereal
1 3/4 Cup brown rice syrup
Fine sea salt
3/4 Cup peanut butter or almond butter (unsweetened and unsalted-I use the fresh ground nut butters)
1/2 Cup gluten free and vegan chocolate chips or carob chips

Pour rice cereal into a large bowl.  Heat the syrup with a pinch of salt in a saucepan over low heat.  When the rice syrup liquefies, add the peanut butter and stir until well combined.  Pour over the rice cereal.  Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Once thoroughly mixed and cooked to room temperature, stir in the chocolate chips.  Make sure the mixture is cool, or you will end up with melted chocolate instead of chocolate chips in your treats.  I never wait until it cools and end up with a peanut buttery, chocolatey treat!

Turn the mixture into an 8x8 or 9x13 inch baking dish.  Wet your wooden spoon lightly and press the mixture evenly into the pan.  Let cool for 1 hour before cutting into squares or bars.

Rice Crispy Mixture Before the Chocolate Chips

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto and Carrot Cupcakes

Good Evening Everyone!

Living on my own has been a great experience.  This is the first time in my whole life where I feel 100% responsible for myself.  I have lived on my own before, in college and when I was an au pair, but I never really felt on my own.  Now I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it without anyone judging me.  So, I can eat a whole pint of ice cream without my dad giving me funny looks, and I can clean my apartment 2 times a week if I want.  And yes little sister, I still scrub my walls.  Living on my own has been great for my cooking.  I have been able to stock my fridge and cupboards full of the food that I want to eat. 

The only problem with living on your own is that there really aren't recipes for one person.  I always have left overs, even if I try not to.  I think it comes from my days of cooking for nine people in the Grimme household.  My host parents always told me I cooked for the whole block.  And when I bake, I have dessert for days.  I am lucky that the people I work with enjoy my cooking.  

These two recipes have created the most amount of leftover yet, but they are delicious.  I hope you all enjoy and share with someone else.

Butternut Squash Risotto
Courtesy: My friend Cynthia

I recently acquired a lovely butternut squash from the market and had no idea what to do with it.  It was one of those veggies that I had never cooked with.  I called my friend Cynthia, who happens to be a vegetarian, and asked her if she had any good ideas for me.  She sent me this recipe.  It turned out quite lovely.  I would actually replace the basil and oregano with rosemary and thyme for a more bold flavor.  Also, if you can do cheese, I would recommend throwing a little parmesan in there too!

1 Butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon agave nectar
2 Tablespoons fresh basil (or rosemary)
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano (or thyme)
1 Large onion
1 Pound arborio rice
1 Tablespoon vegan butter
6 Fluid ounces Dry white wine (3/4 cup)
2 Pints low sodium veggie stock (you might need a little more)
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the squash in a roasting pan.  Mix 1 Tbs of the oil and the agave nectar and spoon over the squash.  Turn the squash to coat with the mixture.  Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, put the herbs and 2 Tbs of oil in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.  Set aside.

Heat the butter and remaining oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden.  Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stiring to coat the grains in the oil mixture.

Pour in the wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and cook until the wine is almost absorbed.  Add the stock, a little at a time, and cook over med-low heat, stirring constantly on low for 20 minutes.  *Add about 1/2 cup of stock at a time and wait until the rice absorbs it before adding more stock.  It may take longer than 20 minutes.

Gently stir in the herb oil and squash until thoroughly mixed into the rice and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the rice is creamy and cooked, but retaining a little bit in the center of the grain.  Season with salt and pepper before serving.

I served this dish over a pile of sauteed chard.

Carrot Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

     Courtesy: Erin McKenna "Baby Cakes"

      I picked up this book because the idea of making a gluten free and vegan cupcake was too irresistible.  And to be honest, the recipes are to die for,  I love the chocolate chip cookie.  Oh, and the frosting...I could have eaten it every day, it tastes like cream cheese frosting!

     Carrot Cupcake - Makes 24 

     3 Cups Bob's Red mill gluten free all-purpose baking flour
     1 Tablespoon baking powder
     1 Tablespoon baking soda
     1 Teaspoon xanthan gum
     1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
     1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon ( I would add more )
     2 Teaspoons ground ginger
     1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
     2/3 Cup coconut oil
     1 Cup agave nectar
     1 Cup rice milk
     1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
     1/2 Cup hot water
     3 Cups shredded carrots
     Vanilla frosting!

     Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

      In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Add the oil, agave nectar, rice milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until a thick batter is formed.  Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the carrots just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

      Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it.  Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 25 minutes.  Te finished cupcakes will bounce back slightly when pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

      Let the cupcakes stand in the tins for 20 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely.  Using a frosting knife, or a spatula, gently spread 1 tablespoon vanilla frosting over each cupcake.  Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

      Vanilla Frosting

      1 1/2 Cups unsweetened soy milk
      3/4 cup dry soy milk powder
      1 Tablespoon coconut flour
      1/4 Cup agave nectar
      1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
      1 1/2 Cups coconut oil
      2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

      In a blender or a food processor, combine the soy milk, soy powder, coconut flour, agave nectar, and vanilla.  Blend the ingredients for 2 minutes.  With the machine running, slowly add the oil and lemon juice, alternating between the two until both are fully incorporated.  Pour mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate for 6 hours or for up to 1 month.  It was best the next day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A weekend of cooking

Let me start off by telling all of you that I am currently eating chocolate/avocado mousse.  Yum, yum, yum.  That recipe will follow.

Fall in Eugene is quite lovely.  We had about a week of awful rainy, dreary weather, but it is back to high 60's and sun.  I really can't complain that much!  I am loving the smell and crunch of the fallen leaves.  

At the market there is a big difference in the type of food available.  No more blueberries and tomatoes.  Hello: apples, pears, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, leafy greens!  I have been picking up a lot of produce that I have never heard of.  A new food adventure every Saturday.  My next adventure is spaghetti squash. 

As I was preparing to blog I ended up looking through some of my pictures and realized that I had a lot of pictures from recipes that I had made earlier this summer.  So, I figured that I would share with all of you what I made this weekend and also a few recipes from what I made this summer.


All You Can Eat Soup Diet Soup
Courtesy: Good Housekeeping Magazine

I got this recipe from my mom who had found it in an old Good Housekeeping magazine.  It is so easy and so delicious.  It is pretty basic with the idea that you can change it every time you eat it.  So one day you can make a mexican bean soup and the next some sort of Indian flavored soup.  I always end up adding more vegetables to it to make it a little more substantial.

5 Medium Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
3 Medium celery stalks, diced
3 Large onions, chopped or 3 medium leeks, each cut into 1-inch slices
1 Large clove of garlic (I add about 5-6)
2 Cans (28 oz each) tomatoes in juice
1 Small head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 Medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
2 Packages baby spinach (I also use chard instead of spinach)
1/2 Cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Containers (32oz) low sodium veggie stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for saucepan

Over medium-high heat, in a large 8 qt saucepot, add olive oil, carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with their liquid. 

Add cabbage and the remaining ingredients, except for the parsley.  Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.  

Reduce to a simmer, add parsley, and cook for 20 minutes or until the veggies are cooked, but not over cooked.  Don't forget to season!


Sesame Brussel Sprouts with Garlic, Ginger Marinated Ahi
Courtesy: Terry Walters and me

I love fish, and I still eat it about once to twice a week.  This weekend I treated myself to a lovely piece of ahi, or tuna.  I served it with brussel sprouts and steamed rice.  The flavors were fantastic together.

Sesame Brussel Sprout Saute

16 Brussel Sprouts
4 Garlic cloves, minces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon mirin
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 Cup toasted sesame seeds
Sea Salt

Prepare brussel sprouts by trimming off dry ends and peeling away any damaged outer leaves.  With stems down, thinly slice and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until soft.  Add brussel sprouts and mirin and saute for 15 minutes.  Don't skimp on the time as extended cooking helps them caramelize and take of incredible flavor.  If they start to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan, add water 1-2 tablespoons at a time to deglaze the pan.  Continue sauteing until the sprouts start to brown.  Remove from heat, toss with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Season to taste with salt and serve.

Ginger and Garlic Marinade

2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 Teaspoons tamari sauce
1 Tablespoon freshly grated, or chopped, ginger
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon lime juice

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and marinade fish for about 5 minutes.  Cook fish to your preference, I love ahi seared rare!  When fish is done remove it from the pan and add the extra marinade.  Cook briefly and then pour on top of your fish.

Spinach Tofu with Peanut Sauce
Courtesy: Susan O'Brien's "The Gluten Free Vegan"

I love this recipe.  It is quick, easy, and filling.  You can't quite ask for anything more.  I make it when I crave thai food.

Peanut Sauce
1/2 Cup organic peanut butter (I use the freshly ground peanut butter)
1/2 Cup hot water
1/4 Cup brown rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons tamari
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (If you don't have it, that is okay, it still tastes great!)
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Spinach Tofu
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Cups chopped onion
1 Package (I use 8 oz) extra-firm silken tofu
4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Bunch spinach (4-6 cups)
Fresh ground pepper
Sea salt
1/2 package rice noodles, cooked according to their directions

Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion until soft, 3-4 minutes.  Add the tofu and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.  Add the peanut sauce and heat through.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Serve over your cooked rice noodles.  

Just an fyi, the noodles absorb a lot of the sauce so try to make extra sauce or use less noodles.

Avocado, Chocolate Mousse
Courtesy: Cozmic Pizza and me

Nearly a month and a half ago I went out for vegan/gluten free pizza at this little pizza place in Eugene.  It is called Cozmic Pizza.  They do their own gluten free crust and you have to call about 2 hours in advance so they can make it for you.  It is quite delish.  When I went in I noticed a raw, vegan, gluten free dessert and just had to try it.  When I asked them what it was made of, they told me "AVOCADOS!"  I was in love, so I asked very nicely and they handed me the recipe.  I have made some changes to it to make it a little more 1-2 person friendly.

Also, keep in mind that since it is made out of avocados that it should be eaten within a few hours.  I made the whole recipe one night and the next day the avocados had turned.  I had to toss out a huge container.  

The following is the original recipe:

4 Ripe, organic avocados
1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup agave nectar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

I ended up quartering it:

1 Ripe, organic avocado
1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 Cup agave nectar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Almond milk to taste

In a food processor add avocado, vanilla and agave nectar and blend until smooth.  Add cocoa powder a little at a time. Some of you might not like it as bitter as others.  Blend in almond milk, as much or as little as you would like.  It all depends on how thin or thick you like your mousse.

If you don't add any almond milk this mousse is very thick and very chocolatey.  It would make for a great frosting.

You can garnish it with toasted coconut flakes, nuts or berries.


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