Archive for the ‘Entrees’ Category

  • Vegan Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

    Date: 2012.02.17 | Category: American, Dairy free, Entrees, food and recipes, vegan cheese | Response: 0

    Low fat, guilt-free cheese steak sandwich!

    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!

    Roast beef Style Tofurky - Yum!

    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)

    daiya pepperjack shreds

    daiya pepperjack shreds

    1/3 cup Daiya cheese Pepperjack Style shreds*

    PUTTING IT TOGETHER:

    1. Start slicing the onion.
    2. Put a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the onions over medium heat.
    3. 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.
    4. Open the Tofurky package and separate the slices. Slice in strips.
    5. If you can digest bell peppers, take a half red or green pepper, remove the stem, the seeds and slice in thin strips.
    6. We used pickled pepperoncini  instead and it worked out even better because they were pickled and didn’t need much cooking.
    7. Mix the peppers or pepperoncini to the onion mixture. Cook the peppers for a few minutes or until they are more tender.
    8. Toast the bread if you would like, not if you are using French rolls.
    9. In the frying pan, create 4 separate portions and sprinkle some of the daiya pepperjack shreds and cover to melt in.
    10. 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.

    Your Vegan philly cheese steak sandwich is served!

     

    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! 

  • French Mushroom Tart

    Date: 2012.02.13 | Category: Entrees, food and recipes, French cuisine | Response: 0

    Vegan Mushroom Tart

    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!

    INGREDIENTS
    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)

    Vegan mushroom tart close up

    1. Place the puff pastry in the refrigerator the night before.
    2. Start cooking the mushroom mixture.
    3. Mince the onions. Pan fry it in a little olive oil.
    4. 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.
    5. Prepare the mushrooms. Wash and rinse them. Remove the stems and cube.
    6. 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

    1. In the meantime, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or by lightly oiling it. Turn the oven on to 350F.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Spoon the mushroom mixture in the middle.
    6. 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.

    Bon appétit

  • GRILLED PANINIS

    Date: 2011.10.01 | Category: Entrees, food and recipes, French cuisine | Response: 0

    
    

    Grilled paninis

    Most countries have a version of a grilled sandwich.
    France calls it Croque-monsieur, Americans call it grilled sandwich,
    Italian, grilled paninis, you get the idea. My mom makes the best
    grilled sandwich Italian style so I decided to create a vegan version.
    To get the full effect, you will need sliced vegan meat (the smoke turkey
    or ham type) and vegan cheese available in most grocery stores.
    You don’t need a fancy grilling machine. I make it most of the time with a heavy pan to press the sandwich down.

    Ingredients for grilled paninis

    INGREDIENTS per person:

    2 square slices of whole wheat bread (forget the white stuff!)
    3 slices of veggie meat (Yves’s smoked turkey is a great choice)
    1 Tbl Dijon mustard (don’t use the sweet American type)
    1 Tbl daiya cheese (or other vegan cheese of your choice)
    3 gerkins (don’t use relish, it is too sweet and slimy!)
    1 Tbl capers flattened (large ones are better but small one will do too!)
    Some vegan butter (Earth Balance)

    PREPARATION: 

    1. Lightly butter the bread slices on one side all the way to the edges.
    2. Spread mustard on the other side, then place the slices of vegie meat.
    3. Thinly slice the gerkins and capers and place on top of the vegie meat making sure that they are spread out evenly.
    4. Sprinkle the Daiya cheese or other vegan cheese of your choice.
    5. Cover and pan fry.
    6. Press the top with a heavy pan to make sure that all layers are melded together and the top and bottom are crisp.
    7. Serve immediately with a nice salad or an assortment of raw vegetables, some sliced avocado etc.

    Note: this is a thin sandwich, the type you will find in France and Italy not the gooey thick one that is usually served in the US.

    Bon appétit !

  • NEW POTATOES AND LEEK STIR-FRY

    Date: 2011.06.16 | Category: Celiac, Dairy free, Entrees, food and recipes, gluten free recipes, heart healthy foods, wheat free | Response: 0

    Nature is such a wonderful thing we take for granted.
    Last fall, I discovered some potatoes that I had completely forgotten about and as a result had sprouted in the back of my pantry. I proceeded by cutting them into small pieces, each with a sprout and planted them in my garden covering them with thick layer of leave mulch. I knew that not much grows in the winter in the Northwest but hoped that something will come out eventually out of it. And it did. Beautiful leaves grew a few months ago and some potatoes even appeared. It was time to harvest. Wow, so many beautiful little potatoes. It was like a treasure hunt. And when I thought I was done, more were found.

    And the funny thing is that the original pieces of potatoes were still almost intact in the ground, and yet they had produced a whole family of little ones.  Next to the potatoes, some leeks also grew. And when you have potatoes and leeks, what do you do? You make potato leek soup, oven roasted vegies or a great stir-fry. We did all three.

    New potatoes are only harvested in the spring and summer so look out for them in the stores or better, grow your own. Eat with the season to  What is really unique about them is that they have a thinner skin and a high moisture content which gives them a creamy texture. They are usually used as side dish but why not making them the star of the show?

    You can lightly steam the potatoes and stir fry them with a little garlic, green onion, salt and pepper and any other condiment you like. Potatoes goes really well with rosemary for example for something different. That’s what we did in the photo. Super simple, quick and delicious. I added some vegan sausages for a little quick protein.

    Leeks are essentially giant green onions. They are from the same alium family. In terms of nutrition, leeks are a great source of vitamin C as well as iron and fiber, they are known for helping the blood and the heart.
    In terms of handling leeks, you always want to check and wash the dirt of the bottom after removing the roots. You can also stir fry the leeks with a little water and salt.

    The finished product:

  • WILD MUSHROOM FETTUCINI WITH WILTED SPINACH SALAD

    Date: 2011.06.02 | Category: Dairy free, Entrees, food and recipes, French cuisine, lactose intolerant | Response: 0

    Ok, so I may have spoken too fast. Summer hasn’t arrived yet. It looks like the seasons have shifted a whole month forward. April showers are now May showers and the temperatures aren’t exactly summer like these days. Apparently with the various large earthquakes and tsunamis, the earth’s axis has shifted more than one degree. So warm dishes are really nice until the sun decides to make an extended appearance!

    Every now and then, we have a craving for pasta but we wanted something a little more rich with a creamy sauce. Living in the pacific Northwest, we have a great selection of wild mushroom available at regular grocery stores. So I combined a vegan cream sauce my friend and chef Miyoko Schinner showed me a few years ago with these tender and full of flavors mushrooms.  Yum!

    And to balance cooked food with something fresh, I prepared my signature wilted spinach salad dish. The challenge with these 2 dishes is the timing. Got to work fast and get things lined up correctly. In real estate, it is location, location, location. When it comes to cooking, it is preparation, preparation, preparation!

    1. Cook the pasta
    Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
    The trick is that when it is almost completely done (taste to be sure but don’t burn your fingers or your tongue in the process!), pour out the water and rinse under cold water until the noodles are warm to the touch. Pour 1/2 Tbl of oil and mix with hands to prevent from sticking. Put aside and get started on the sauce.

    2. Prepare the mushroom sauce
    First the cream:
    Blend 1 cup of cashew nuts with 2 cups of broth in a blender (or you can use plain water too).
    Add some salt if you are using water. Add some black pepper and garlic powder. Make sure that the liquid is smooth (no small pieces of nuts should be left) Pour into a small pan.

    3. Pan Fry the mushrooms

    1. Gently wash the mushrooms. Any type will do (porcini, portobellos, white caps etc.) and cut in half if they are small or slice the shrooms, as we call them at home.
    2. In a frying pan, put 1 Tbl vegetable oil, 1-2 cloves of minced garlic over medium heat. Make sure that it doesn’t burn.
    3. Add the mushrooms making sure that they are not too crowded.
    4. Add 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar and quickly mix into the mushrooms to make them sweat and caramelize. Don’t overcook, they are full of water and only need a little tenderizing.
    5. Taste, add some salt if you need it. Remove from heat and put aside.

    Putting it all together

    1. Heat up the cashew cream sauce over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir the sauce until it thickens a little. As soon as you see that it does, remove from heat.
    2. Place the pasta in a large frying pan, mix the caramelized mushrooms, then pour the sauce over and gently mix for a minute or so. Immediately serve. Save some cream sauce and mushrooms because you will be asked for seconds. Guaranteed!


    4. Wilted Spinach salad

    Looks and tastes fancy but it is so easy to make and preserves most of the nutrient in the spinach.
    The trick is to heat 2-3 Tbl of extra virgin olive oil (regular olive oil will also do, but treat yourself to good things from time to time). I know, virgin olive oil should be consumed cold, but it is also nice now and then heated.

    1. Place the washed and dried spinach in a large bowl
    2. Slice some red onion thinly if you like raw onions
    3. Sprinkle some pine nuts and some nutritional yeast (1-2 Tbl)
    4. Heat up the oil in your smallest pan, on high heat for less than a minute depending on how quickly your stove heats up. Watch it because it happens very quickly. Don’t let it smoke. It is all in the timing.
    5. Pour it immediately over the spinach and quickly mix it until all the leaves are coated and shinny.
    6. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice (optional) and serve.

    Bon appétit!

  • KALE SALAD WITH BRAISED TOFU

    Date: 2011.05.23 | Category: Entrees, food and recipes, gluten free recipes, Salads, Snacks, Soy-Tofu, wheat free | Response: 3

    Summer is almost here so it is a good time to increase the amount fresh foods, salads in our diet. I have grown kale for many years and because of its hardiness have enjoyed it all year around. Several of my favorites, Russian Red and Scotch curly kale are great for salads. Dinosaur kale works great steamed or in stews. Don’t take my word for it, try it out.

    Kale is the star of the dark-green leafy vegetables family.
    It is so easy to grow that everyone should have a patch with some in their garden. If you don’t have space or time to grow some, get some at your local farmer’s market. Make sure to wash it well to remove any dirt.

    Is Kale a superfood? You bet it is.

    It is rich in manganese, iron, copper, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B6 and E. A daily portion of kale gives you a massive 192% of your daily vitamin A needs and 89% of your daily vitamin C requirements (helps reduce free radicals, inflammatory diseases, arthritis and asthma. That’s impressive.

    Kale belongs to the brassica family (cauliflower, collars greens and broccoli), known for its powerful anti cancerous and antioxidant properties. 
    Wait, it is also rich in fiber so that it prevents and reduces clogging of arteries, stabilizes blood sugars (great for diabetics) and relieves constipation and diarrhea.

    WAYS TO EAT KALE:
    In your morning shake (Frozen banana, fruit juice, berries, protein powder…)
    1) As a salad
    2) Sauted
    3) As chips

    Harvest from the garden

    As a Salad:
    Because it is quite fibrous, use lemon juice with a little sea salt and olive oil to tenderize it overnight.
    If you don’t have time, you can use wooden spoons and bruise the kale when tossing the kale with the lemon dressing. Now, I don’t believe in harming anything in life, but a little kale bruising is as far as I would go to make it tender and tasty.

    Basic salad dressing:
    Juice from 1 lemon
    1 Tbl olive oil
    1 Tbl flax seed oil
    1 Tbl nutritional yeast
    Garlic powder
    To add some omega 3, add some flax seed oil to the dressing

    Sauteed Kale
    Mince some garlic and a little olive oil.
    Chop some of your favorite kale, add to the garlic.
    Sprinkle with a little salt.

    Kale Chips
    Forget commercial processed chips and make your own healthy version packed with nutrition.

    Preheat your oven to 350F.
    Wash your hands.
    Cut of the stem and tear off a large bunch of curly kale into small pieces.
    Spread the pieces onto a baking sheet making sure that they don’t overlap.
    Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are crispy.
    Remove from oven and put into a large bowl.
    Drizzle 2 Tbl of olive oil, 2 Tbl of nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (you can use garlic powder too).
    Toss gently with your hands
    Serve immediately.
    Keeps in an airtight container at room temperature. But do not refrigerate.

    Braised Tofu
    Slice firm tofu and pat dry in a clean cotton towel.
    Coat the tofu in some arrowroot or cornstarch with a little salt and garlic powder.
    Pan fry the tofu in a little oil until crisp. Flip each side.
    Sprinkle some soy sauce towards the end.
    You can also grate fresh ginger to the soy sauce for additional flavoring.
    Serve the salad and place the braised tofu on top.

    Et voilà !
    Bon appétit

  • VEGETABLE STEW OVER POLENTA

    Date: 2011.04.24 | Category: casserole, Celiac, Entrees, food and recipes, gluten free recipes, wheat free | Response: 0

    Earth Day Portland

     

    What a glorious day today was.
    Quite appropriate for Earthday.

    I love Portland. As in most cities accross the US, Portland had its celebration of all good things for the earth, found locally, built sustainably, with respect to the earth and all its inhabitants, in music, artful displays, bringing together young and old, two legged, lots of four legged…what a party! And when time came to eat, we found a vegan hot dog stand! Pretty cool or what? Most of the other choices were mostly vegetarian (there was one stand barbecuing animal parts). We had three options: Vegan kielbassa, beer brat and regular hot dog, all made by Tofurky! With all the toppings of course. And on the way out, a few hours later, a vegan bake sale that raised money for several animal sanctuaries. Usually, we try to cut down on sweets, but given the cause, We had to pitch in, someone has to do it! It is my story and I am sticking to it.

    Once home, we had a craving for something stewy. I had a few vegetables, some cornmeal. Plenty enough to make a nice vegetable medley with some rich polenta (we had rice the day before!)

    VEGETABLE MEDLEY INGREDIENTS:

    1/2 onion sliced

    2 cloves of garlic
    1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
    1-2 Tbl soy sauce
    1 medium zuchini diced
    2 medium tomatoes diced
    1 pepper (bell or poblano)
    1 can of white beans rinced
    1 cup of firm tofu diced
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp oil
    salt & pepper

    VEGETABLE MEDLEY PREPARATION:

      1. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and stir.
      2. After 1 minute, add the balsamic vinegar and stir to caramelize them. Add salt, garlic, stir some more.
      3. In a separate frying pan, heat a little oil, and pan fry the pepper and the tofu and the cumin.
      4. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the tofu is browned and the pepper lightly softened, remove from the heat.
      5. Add the tomatoes and zuchini to the onion mixture and gently heat up for a few minutes.
      6. Add the peppers. Turn heat off and cover.
    1. Now time to prepare the polenta

    POLENTA PREPARATION:

    3 cups of water

    1 cup of cornmeal
    1 Tbl vegan butter
    1 cube of vegetable bouillon
    2 Tbl nutrtional yeast
    salt & pepper to taste
    1. Bring the water, broth, vegan butter, salt and pepper to a boil, turn down to medium heat.
    2. Add the polenta in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly. Don’t add it too quickly, because you risk making the polenta lumpy.
    3. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, over very low heat. Be careful because the hot polenta will turn into molten lava in no time and may spatter as it cooks, so use a long-handled wooden spoon and long sleeve (just kidding for the sleeves). Stay at a distance from the stove to be on the safe side. It may take up to 15mn for the polenta to be cooked.
    4. Try it and if it tastes gritty, it isn’t ready.
    5. Add the nutritional yeast at the very end when it is cooked, this will provide a cheezy taste to it and lots of vitamin B.
    6. Immediately spoon the polenta while it is soft next to the vegetables.

    Bon appétit

  • CROSTINI DI POLENTA (Polenta sticks)

    Date: 2011.03.22 | Category: appetizer, Entrees, food and recipes, Vegan, wheat free | Response: 0

    Pronounced “Po-len-tah”, this native dish of Italy is made with ground yellow or white cornmeal. Unlike grits, which is corn that has been soaked and processed to remove the tough outer hull, polenta has the hull and is therefore more nutritious and less processed.

    If you are tired of rice, pasta, quinoa or other grains, you can make something really good with this simple staple. Try to buy organic cornmeal because 80% of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified to be fed to cattles and other farm animals (there isn’t enough grazing land to feed 10 billion of them!) Come to think of it, it is outrageous that this ancient plant native to the Americas, that was available in so many diverse types has been reduced to a patented engineered seed that has taken over the market.  Don’t get me started on this!

    But I digress, what is nice about it, is that you can make it in all different ways. You can serve it soft like mash potatoes for a rustic meal (a little like grits). Want to impress your guests? Make thick slices, balls, patties or sticks for an appetizer. Can you see the possibilities?

    It is quite versatile, you can serve it with your favorite sauces, maybe a tomato sauce, a curry or mushroom cream sauce. In the photo, I simply pan fried it until it is golden brown and crispy and served it with a dipping sauce. You can also grill it. You can even serve it sweet for breakfast on a cold winter day. When cooked polenta takes on a smooth, creamy texture But don’t stop there, pour it into a dish, let it cool off. Then you can slice it. 

    TYPES OF POLENTA
    There are 2 kinds of polenta (cornmeal). Most stores carry the regular kind but you can sometimes also find instant polenta, which cooks much faster. I don’t mind using the regular kind, because I am in the kitchen usually preparing the sauce while it cooks. This way, it is nice, cooks over medium heat. No rush, no stress. That’s my motto and I am sticking to it!

    COOKING THE POLENTA
    Similar to other grains, you need to boil water, add salt and grain, and simmer until tender (approximately 30-45mn). The ratio for the basic recipe is 3 parts liquid to 1 part polenta. You will need to stir every 10mn to keep it from sticking or turning lumpy. If you want a softer result, add a little more water.

    Basic ingredients are:
        3 cups water
       1 tsp. salt
       1 Tb vegan butter
       1 cup cornmeal

    NOTE: For fancier versions, you can use vegetable or mushroom broth, instead of water.
    You can also add spices, herbs, chopped olives to change its flavor and appearance (you can see the herbs in the close-up photo above).
    Get creative.

    When the polenta is cooked, transfer it to a greased loaf pan.
    Let it cool off for a few hours or refrigerate, then cut the polenta into slices.
    You can either pan fry it or use an electric grill (like in the photo) and grill the sticks with very little oil for a low fat version. That’s pretty cool.
    Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
    E tutto (that’s it, in Italian!)
    Buon appetito!

  • PIZZA SOPHIA

    Date: 2011.02.09 | Category: Entrees, food and recipes | Response: 1

    Why order pizza when you can make your own and tailor it to your taste? Because it is easier? Maybe if you are in a hurry but not if you get a little organized. Home made is not only cheaper but so much fun when you have friends over. Everyone can participate and make their own creation. You can allocate various section to the pizza(s) to all kinds of creative arrangements. Then you can vote which one was the most popular.

    I once made a super “meaty” version for some guests we had over for dinner a while back. One of them, I knew was a hunter and major meat eater so I went all out with an array of vegie meats (vegie ham, sausage and ground meat). The result was awesome and it was a great success. His son loved it and couldn’t even tell the difference. Actually one of the greatest thing about meat analog products is that no matter how much you are eating, you don’t experience the usual digestive coma you get when you eat too much food with animal products in it. Plant-based is just lighter and so much easier to break down.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR/CAUTION:

    This being said, as with all good things, they should be consumed in moderation. Vegie ‘meat’ products are great for people transitioning to a plant-based diet, but because they are processed, shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities and at every meal. The good news though, is a little goes a long way and there are similar in prices to animal products, minus the body parts, blood, bones, tendons… you get the picture!

    THE BASIC DOUGH RECIPE:
    This will make 3 12 inch pizza crusts

    Ingredients:

    1 TB dry active yeast
    1 1/2 cup warm water
    3 1/2 cup flour
    1 Tbl olive oil (optional)
    pinch of salt

    Preparation:

    1. Put the yeast in a small bowl. Add the warm water and stir. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
    2. In a separate larger bowl, pour the flour. With your hand make a mound in the middle and dig a hole in the middle. Pour the yeast mixture, add the oil and the salt in the hole. Gently move the flour over the wet mixture and using your hands, mix to form the dough. You will need to sprinkle some flour on the working surface (a wooden board or clean counter will work fine). You can stop kneading when the dough doesn’t need more flour and isn’t sticking to your hands.
    3. Lightly oil a large bow with olive oil and place the dough in it. Score the top of the dough in the form of a cross to prevent cracking during the rising. Cover with a cotton towel and place in a warm area of the kitchen for 1-2 hours to let it rise.
    4. When the dough doubled in size, you can punch it down to remove the air bubble in the middle.
    5. Sprinkle flour on a working surface. Cut the dough into 3 equal parts.
    6. Start with the first one, you can use a rolling pin also lightly floured to roll it out.
    7. Once it has been flatten a little, you can use your hands to stretch it. I wouldn’t try to flip it over your head the first time. Just hold it over the top of your hand and move it around gently where it is thicker until you have the right thickness.
    8. You can use a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza pan. Depending on the size of your tray, you may need to use 2 dough balls to cover it all.
    9. If you only want to  make one pizza, place the other 2 dough balls in a ziploc bag and freeze. Make sure to thaw them 6 hours prior to using them.

    TIP: If you are in a hurry and prefer skipping this step, you can buy  already made pizza dough in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe. While you are at it, buy several packages and freeze them. They keep forever and are inexpensive. Stick to plain dough, there is an herbal one but it doesn’t work as well.

    TOPPINGS:
    You can buy tomato sauce (plain, with mushrooms, basil, herbs etc.) or you can use pesto or both!
    As a minimum I always have thinly sliced onions, some mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, pitted olives,fresh sliced tomatoes, zucchinis and some vegie meat. Sprinkling some Daiya cheese at the very end will provide a nice melting effect. If you want to add fresh sliced tomatoes, only put them after the pizza is cooked, this way the slices are just warmed and not mush. Same for fresh arrugula leaves or basil.

    Other topping ideas:
    Hawaiian: Use vegie ham and pinneaple.
    Greek: use spinach, red onions and Calamata olives marinated tofu (as replacement for feta cheese) for a Greek version.

    If you have a big crowd, make it in sheets and cut in square, you can serve more people this way!

  • SPICED BEAN SNACK

    Date: 2011.02.04 | Category: Entrees, finger food, food and recipes, Snacks | Response: 0

    Finding good tasty and healthy salty treats can be tricky especially if you are travelling.
    I for one, have always preferred salty to sweet food.
    Have you ever noticed how there isn’t much salty snacks or treats out there?
    It is a conspiracy, I tell ya!
    All the protein bars are sweet goowy lumps with the usual culprits, the all-pervasive peanut butter, chocolate. You have cookies, muffins, bars, but not much salty stuff. Sure you have potato and corn chips, roasted salted nuts and pretzels but it works if you want a mega dose of sodium in your system and virtually no nutritional value. That’s not what I am looking for! That is until I found this amazing recipe and played with it.
    This is the coolest thing. Check this out:

    You can use any beans you like. I used 1 can of garbanzo beans (good source of healthy fat), a can of black beans, a can of red beans. If you use canned beans, rinse them well several times making sure that you don’t damage them in the process. If you prefer cooking your beans, do it the day before.

    1. Pour all the rinsed beans into a large bowl. Sprinkle with garlic salt, any dried herbs you like (garlic, pepper, French herbs) and some olive oil is perfect.
    2. Mix gently with your hands making sure again that you don’t damage them.
    3. Pour on a baking sheet making sure you have a single layer and the beans don’t overlap.
    4. Bake for 40mn at 350F. After 20mn, mix it up a little so that the beans are cooked all over.
    5. Let it cool before serving and tasting. You can pour them on a paper towel if you want to remove some of the oil so it is cleaner to handle when you eat them. Store the mix in a ziploc bag after they are completely cooled off. It keeps forever, well just about!
    6. Some of the beans will be dried, others will be lightly crisp. No two bites will be alike.
    7. Since I discovered this great recipe, I always carry a small ziploc bag with some in them in my purse, just in case I need a little energy boost.

    That’s is such a cool way to get a shot of protein!
    Get creative, you can try all kinds of seasonings (Mexican, Indian, Chinese etc).
    If you like a little cheesy taste, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top.
    Go to town and let me know if you have come up with some really cool seasonnings.
    I am counting on you!

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