Archive for the ‘food and recipes’ Category
One of the great thing about growing your own fruit and vegetables is that you get to shop in your garden. This year was really good for tomatoes, cucumbers, chili etc. The challenge is that they tend to ripen all at the same time. So what can you do when you have lots of tomatoes in your garden? What dishes can you quickly prepare to take advantage of your bumper crop?
You could can tomatoes or roast them but that’s a lot of work (cleaning the jars, blanching the tomatoes, peeling them, sealing the jars etc.) You may not be up to that! You could make a big tomato salad but how many tomatoes can you eat? A summer favorite in our house is “bruschetta”. Seasoned diced tomatoes with fresh basil on toasted french bread! Yum! But again, what to do after you run out of baguette?
Another great summer dish is gazpacho, a cold and refreshing soup! It originates from the South of Spain, in the Andalucia region and is usually served with stale bread, olives and olive oil. There is nothing easier to make and you can prepare it the day before so that the flavors blend overnight. It can be really colorful if you have yellow, orange and red tomatoes. Take advantage of abundant fresh basil. In Spain, they often filter the soup after blending it so that it is pretty liquid. I personally prefer a thicker soup. So I blend half of it and keep the rest in small chunks.
So here is the recipe (serves 4-5 people)
6-8 ripe tomatoes quartered
2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded and roughly chopped)
4 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
4 Tbl red wine vinegar
4 Tbl virgin olive oil
2 Tbl soy sauce
1-2 tsp chili powder
- Slice the baguette in thin slices and lightly toast until done. Set aside.
- Mix the chopped tomatoes, celery, cucumber, basil, vinegar, oil, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce in a large bowl.
- Pour half into a blender and pulse a few times only to obtain a chunky texture. You can do the same with the other half if you prefer a more liquid soup. For a thicker soup, just pour the blended half into the other half. Add the oil, salt and pepper and gently mix with a spoon.
- You can eat right away but it is better to refrigerate for a few hours or a day ahead.
- Ladle the gazpacho in nice small bowls (chilled on a very hot summer day). Garnish with a few slices of bread, fresh chopped basil and drizzle a little olive oil.This has to be the fastest soup in the West! Under 10 minutes from refrigerator to bowl!Bon appetit !
One of the best way to prepare sugar peas when they are in season and abundant is to add as little as possible to retain their delicate flavor. First you have to shell the peas which requires a little manual labor. This is a great opportunity to gather everyone in the house to led a hand around the kitchen table. This recipe calls for both the pods and the peas but you must remove the thin skin from the pod very carefully, peeling it from one end to the other. Otherwise, it will be too tough to eat. It takes a little extra time but it is well worth the work. Plus you get to do it with loved ones.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 people):
4-5 cups of sugar peas (with pods)
3-4 shallots or 1-2 medium white or yellow onion
2 or more large garlic cloves
1 Tbl of sunflower or olive oil
1 Tbl raw sugar
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Bay leaf
Sea salt and pepper to taste
First you shell the peas, then you remove the thin skin from the pods.
Mince the shallots or onion and set aside.
Remove the skin from the garlic cloves but do not crush or mince.
Heat up a shallow pan with a little olive or sunflower oil.
Add the onions and stir for a few minutes on medium heat.
Pour the pods and peas, the whole cloves and mix with the onions.
Add the herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf) the sugar, salt and pepper and stir over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add a little water to make sure everything cooks evenly, cover and lower the heat for 10 or 15 minutes. Remove from the stove, taste to make sure everything is tender and seasoned to your liking. You can also drizzle a little olive oil if you want.
You can serve it on its own with some wholesome bread or with a side of herbed quinoa or rice. Place the intact garlic clove on top. It will melt in your mouth!
Bon appétit everyone!
Hi everyone, it is good to be back. Ok so it has been a while since I have posted a recipe. I took a short sabbatical, I had to focus on something else! Did you miss me? Hopefully the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true!
So summer has finally arrived. Honestly, I feel quite blessed to live in the Northwest considering the surreal heat wave that has blasted the rest of the country (only California, Oregon and Washington have been spared!) We may have less sun but regular moisture is a nice thing to have with global warming wrecking havoc all over the world. But I digress… summer means salads and what is a party without a vegan potato salad? Well, this one is guaranteed to make people talk and come back for seconds! Don’t say anything, just bring it and watch what happens!
I must say that I have been enjoying fresh salads from our garden with all kinds of lettuce, some kale, fresh peas… what a blessing to be able to walk anytime to a patch of fresh fruit and vegetables and harvest our treasures as they make themselves available to us. I have also been craving lately for salads with more sustenance. So I decided to add fresh broccoli, some carrots, some peas even. I also happened to have some oven roasted potatoes I had made for a dinner the day before. So I thought, why not combine them together. Now, since I love chipotle sauce, I decided to try it on it. I can put it on just about everything. Wow! The result was a wonderful rich flavor with crunchy bites… I think that you will love the combination of raw and roasted vegies with a fun chipotle sauce.
INGREDIENTS (for 2-4 people):
1 cup of Broccoli cut in small pieces (top mostly)
1/2 shredded carrots
4 medium potatoes roasted (with rosemary, salt, olive oil)
Fresh peas cut in small pieces
Optional but great complement for color and flavor:
1/2 cup of fresh corn 6-7 sticks of jicama
1 Tbl dried cranberries (for a splash of red and some sweet bites!)
1/4 cup of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
1 cup of Vegenaise* (vegan mayonnaise)
3 Tbl non-dairy milk
2 Tbl chipotle liquid
dash of salt
Vegenaise is the best tasting vegan mayonnaise on the market. The good news is that if you make a potato salad or coleslaw for a pic-nic, you never have to worry about food poisoning from the mayonnaise because there are no eggs.
If you want to make a chipotle dip, use less non-dairy milk. If you want to make salad dressing add more.
You can use more chipotle if you like it more spicy. Taste and add accordingly. Chipotle usually comes in small cans and can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. I pour the chipotle in a small ziploc bag and freeze it since I only need a small amount. A little goes a long way. Make sure to double the recipe because it will go very quickly!
Bon appétit everyone !
Sorry for not having posted for a while. I am taking advantage of being in the South of France visiting my parents to try out some new French inspired dishes. While I do not miss any of the cow cheese I used to enjoy when I was a carnivore, goat cheese, on the other hand, was more delicate, naturally low fat and milder in flavor. So I attempted to recreate a dairy-free version from scratch. It turns out that organic firm tofu lends itself really well to the recipe. Truth be told, I wasn’t able to get the exact consistency of goat cheese, but obtained something in between what could be used as ricotta (if kept more moist) and soft goat cheese. Not bad at all! The taste is quite nice and the result is great addition to a vegan caesar salad or on top of spring mix. I can’t wait to harvest the tomatoes in my garden and make this stunning vegan goat cheese with homemade rosemary crackers!
2 cup of organic firm tofu
2 tsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbl light miso paste
2 tsp onion powder
2 medium roasted garlic cloves
4 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1. Cube the tofu and place in medium pan. Cover with some water with a little salt and bring to boil. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes without a lid. Drain and let it cool of. This step will make the tofu more firm.
2. Process the remaining ingredients minus the fresh basil until pureed.
3. Pour into a bowl and add the fine strips of fresh basil, mix again.
Taste, add salt and pepper if needed.
4. Line a ramequin or a small glass container with some ceranwrap.
5. Spoon the tofu mixture making sure that it is pushed evenly all the way to the top. Refrigerate for a few hours.
6. When it is time to serve, flip the dish and remove the plastic film preserving the shape and place on a salad or serve with crackers.
NOTE: If you don’t eat soy products, no worry, you can use pine nuts, see recipe at the Vegenista.
Bon appétit everyone
Every now and then I like to make Yakisobal noodles. You can find them in most grocery stores in the refrigerated section, usually near the tofu and other vegetarian products. How convenient, since this recipe calls for tofu! They are ideal for a quick meal, all you have to do is to briefly soak them in some hot water for them to soften.
I had some beautiful Swiss chard so it was a perfect combination with the noodles. The whole thing took less than 15mn. Ok, so it took a little multi-tasking but it isn’t difficult.
1 package of yakisoba noodles per person
1 sliced onion
1 cup of broccoli flowerets
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 package of extra firm organic tofu
1/3 cup of soy sauce
1 Tbl sesame oil
2 Tbl rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp chili paste
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
1. Pour hot water in a large pot and place the noodles in it. Cover and leave for a few minutes. Stir the noodles and drain them. Discard the sauce package that comes with it. Way too much salt and sugar in it!
2. Rinse the tofu and pat dry in a clean towel. Cut in cubes.
3. Chop the onion, shred the carrots, separate the broccoli in small pieces and thinly slice the celery. Set aside.
4. Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan.
5. Pan fry the tofu, sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce until golden. Set aside.
6. Pour a little of the sauce in the frying pan, add the onion until lightly tender. Add the celery, carrots and broccoli and a little more of the marinade if necessary.
7. Pour the noodles and the remaining marinade and quickly mix all the veggies. Taste, add more sea salt or soy sauce if needed. Remove from heat and cover.
8. Wash and rinse the Swiss chard. Roll the leaves and make thin slices.
9. Heat up 1 tsp of vegetable oil or a little water with some sea salt and quickly heat the chard until lightly tenderized. The goal is not to turn it into welted leaves but to just soften them.
10. Place some of the chard on one side of the plate and the the noodles on the other.
If you are ever tired of chocolate chip cookies and want something a little less sweet and more exotic, go for an eggless coconut macaroon. Crispy on the outside, moist and a little chewy on the inside, these little white rocks are incredible. They are easy to make too. When I was still eating dairy products, I used to make them with sweetened condensed milk and they were really rich. After that, I forgot about them but with a little experimentation, they turned out just as good and a lot less decadent! So why not indulge and make a big batch? You can also make variations adding some chocolate or some orange peel or anything else you enjoy in your sweets.
2 cups of coconut milk
3/4 cup of dry sweetener (organic sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups dried unsweetened coconut*
1/4 cup of arrowroot or cornstarch
4 Tbs water
*if you have shredded sweetened coconut, use less dry sweetener or it will be too sweet.
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper.
- Mix the coconut milk with the vanilla and sugar.
- Mix the arrowroot or cornstarch with the water and pour into the coconut milk.
- Add the dried coconut and mix well.
- If the mixture is too wet, ad a little more coconut.
- With the help of a soup spoon, make little bundles and shape them with your hands until they resemble a little pyramid.
- Bake for 20-25 mn until lightly browned on top and bottom.
Every now and then, I feel like having a tuna salad or a tuna melt. But how could I make a tuna melt without tuna? Very easily, actually. And I never have to worry about bones, mercury poisoning, innocent dolphins being caught and killed as collateral damage from the large nets that are used to capture tuna! At the rate we are raping the oceans, there won’t be any left very soon! So making mock tuna is a win, win, win!
One of my favorite way to make it, is to use chick peas because it gives a nice rich texture and flavor. You get all the good protein and none of the saturated fat that usually comes with it. And I guaranty that everyone that tries it, will love it and ask for seconds. So make plenty, it keeps well!
INGREDIENTS for +4 people
2 cans of chick peas (or prepare yourself the day before)
1/2 cup vegenaise (eggless mayonnaise)
2/3 cup minced celery
1/3 cup minced dill pickle (not sweet relish!)
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 green onions, minced
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kelp powder*
1 tbl capers (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
*Kelp powder and all seaweeds are so good for you. You will need some for this salad if you want it to taste like the ocean but not so fishy! You can use other seaweed if you don’t have kelp. A good place to find it is at Whole Foods in their bulk section or in the Asian section of your local grocery store (most carry a mix of seaweed, toasted sesame seeds) or in Asian stores where you will find a greater selection and much lower prices!
The key to making mock tuna salad when using garbanzo beans is to create a mixture that resembles real tuna salad. To accomplish this I use a potato masher instead of a food processor. The risk you run if you use a food processor is to end up with something that looks more like hummus than tuna. Not that hummus isn’t delicious but it isn’t what we are making today!
- Start rinsing the chick peas under water and pour into a large bowl.
- Start mashing them with the potato masher. It will take a minute or so to go through the 2 cans. The goal is not to pulverize everything but to end up with something you cannot identify as chick peas. So look for whole beans and go for it.
- Add the Vegenaise, the celery, the relish and mix with a wooden spoon.
- Add the remaining ingredients, mix some more.
- Taste, see if you need salt and pepper.
- It is ready to enjoy at this point.
- If you want to scoop on top of a salad (like on the photo) I would refrigerate it for 30mn. Same for a sandwich.
If you want to make a vegan tuna grilled sandwich, you can make it immediately. Toast some bread, spoon the tuna on it, sprinkle with some Daya cheese, cover with a lid and let it melt for a few minutes on medium heat or just put in the oven.
What about a vegan ‘tuna’ casserole? Actually for the tuna casserole, I would use tvp instead of chick peas but that’s me!
The fun never ends!
Who said, you can’t have your tuna and eat it too?
I just did!
Now, why would a vegan, ever care to create a veganized version of a Philly cheese steak sandwich? Even though I have had my fair share of food containing animal parts and by-products while growing up in France, I must confess that I have never tasted a steak sandwich during my carnivorous years in the US. For some reason, it didn’t appeal to me! But yesterday, my girl friend suggested I made one for lunch using some Tofurky deli slices she had bought. I thought why not? I did a little research online since I was a neophyte in the art of steak sandwich! But how complicated could it be?
Turns out, it is fairly simple and doesn’t require a lot
ingredients. So I was able to whip out a really delicious, low fat
counterfit thereof! That was pretty cool! I didn’t have French
rolls on hand, so I decided to go for an open sandwich. It is less
bread that way. We were good to go!
INGREDIENTS for 2 people:
4 slices of good French bread (toasted or not)
1/2 package of tofurkey roastbeef style
1-2 medium white or yellow onions sliced
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl soy sauce
4-7 peperoncinis per person
1/2 red pepper (if you digest them)
1/3 cup Daiya cheese Pepperjack Style shreds*
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
- Start slicing the onion.
- Put a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the onions over medium heat.
- Sprinkle some balsamic vinegar and mix with the onion, then add the soy sauce. Cover and mix from time to time. Add a little water if needed until the onions are translucent.
- Open the Tofurky package and separate the slices. Slice in strips.
- If you can digest bell peppers, take a half red or green pepper, remove the stem, the seeds and slice in thin strips.
- We used pickled pepperoncini instead and it worked out even better because they were pickled and didn’t need much cooking.
- Mix the peppers or pepperoncini to the onion mixture. Cook the peppers for a few minutes or until they are more tender.
- Toast the bread if you would like, not if you are using French rolls.
- In the frying pan, create 4 separate portions and sprinkle some of the daiya pepperjack shreds and cover to melt in.
- Place the bread on plates and quickly serve the steak mixture being careful to keep the melted cheese on top. It may require a spatula and a spoon to transfer successfully.
*if you can’t find daiya pepperjack style shreds, don’t worry, if you only have regular daiya cheese, just add some sea salt, black pepper, paprika and a touch of chili powder.
Bon appétit !
By the way, this sandwich is cholesterol free (only animal products and by-products contain cholesterol), low fat (just the oil for stir-frying the onions and what’s in the cheese on top!) I used no mayonnaise or dressing for the bread because it doesn’t need it! You actually could lose weight on this! Un-believable!
So enjoy and indulge because there is nothing to be guilty about!
You saved a cow, made a great sandwich in the process, discovered a delicious new lunch dish… Life is sweet!
One of the great advantage of living in the Northwest is the availability of wild mushrooms almost all year around! I had some friends over and wanted to feature them in a classy way. So I adapted an old classic French tart made with mostly caramelized onions and incorporated the mushrooms. The result was divine! I should have doubled the recipe because no piece was left. It was a success!
4-5 cups of mushrooms (shitake, porcini*, chanterelle, white caps etc.)
1 large yellow or red onion
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl soy sauce
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary ground
1/2 tsp oregano
1 package of Puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm is a popular one)
some soy milk* I used some dried porcini mushrooms that I re-hydrated in hot water and reused the water to add extra flavor my mushroom mixture.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
(this part requires gentle hands and staying in the kitchen to watch over the oven during the pre-baking period)
- Place the puff pastry in the refrigerator the night before.
- Start cooking the mushroom mixture.
- Mince the onions. Pan fry it in a little olive oil.
- Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce on the onions and mix. They will caramelize. When all the liquid is absorbed, pour a little water to deglaze them. Cover and lower the heat.
- Prepare the mushrooms. Wash and rinse them. Remove the stems and cube.
- Add the mushrooms to the onions and mix well. Sprinkle with salt pepper, rosemary and oregano. Cover and lower the heat for 5 mn. Remove the cover and let the juice evaporate. Taste and season again if needed.
HOW TO WORK WITH PUFF PASTRY
- In the meantime, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or by lightly oiling it. Turn the oven on to 350F.
- Open the package of puff pastry. Carefully unroll the dough. If it is too soft, put in back in the fridge until it has hardened a little.
- Place one sheet down on the baking sheet. Use the other sheet and cut small strips to create an edge all around if you want a square tart. Poke holes everywhere.
- Bake for 10 mn. It will puff a lot. Take it out push down to let the heat escape. Return to the oven for another 8-10 mn. Watch so that it doesn’t burn. Take out. Let it cool off for a few minutes.
- Spoon the mushroom mixture in the middle.
- An hour before you plan to serve, bake again for 20 mn covered with aluminum foil. Remove the foil and bake for another 10mn. Serve immediately if possible. Goes great with a spinach or kale salad.
I have bought dog cookies for years until I tried making my own and since, I never went back to the store version. I know what is in them, I can vary the recipe depending on what I have on hand. My 2 furry kids love peanut butter! I usually make a big batch over the week-end and they last for a few weeks or as long as I keep them in an air tight container!
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup of soy flour
1 cup quick oatmeal
1/3 cup of soy milk powder + 1 cup water*
1 cup of peanut butter
1 Tbl baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 315F
- Combine and mix dry ingredients.
- Mix the peanut butter and milk and add to dry ingredients.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4″ thick and cut into pieces or use a special bone shape cookie cutter for an extra touch.
- Bake for 25 mn untill lightly brown.
- Leave the cookies in the oven after you turned it off so that they get harder.
- Let them cool off before storing them in an air tight container.
* You can substitute the soy milk powder and the water to a cup of soy milk.
Waiting for a treat requires great concentration!
Be one with the cookie!