Archive for the ‘Dairy free’ Category

  • EGGPLANT CAVIAR

    Date: 2011.01.31 | Category: Dairy free, French cuisine, heart healthy foods, RECIPES, Vegan Appetizers | Response: 0

    Ok, so after an extended trip to the South of the border (3 Mexican recipes in a row!), we are going over to Europe, to the South of France where I come from, for a delicious appetizer. Traditionally, this eggplant recipe is served cold in the summer but you can also serve it warm in the colder months. It calls for the big round purple ones but you can also used the long Asian ones. There are many varieties of eggplants and all are beautiful and delicious. The only thing is to make sure that they are firm and without blemishes otherwise, you will get a lot of seeds and little flesh.

    Some cool nutritional facts:

    1. Eggplants are rich in water (92%), in minerals (magnesium and zinc) and high in potassium (260 mg/100), making it a great natural diuretic.
    2. They are also rich in easily digestible fiber if steamed or baked (forget deep frying!)
    3. The skin is high in anti-oxydants.
    4. They are good for people with type 2 diabetes because they are high fiber with a low glycemic index.
    5. If you track your calories, you will be happy to know that it is one of the lowest calorie vegetable (18 kcal/100 g), making it comparable to tomatoes, endives or lettuce.
    6. More recent studies even states that it can also help lowering cholesterol. Apparently, they have discovered that eggplant captures the fat and prevent it from seeping into the blood stream. That’s why, if you try to fry it, you will have to use a ton of oil because its fibers absorb everything! So skip the frying and instead steam or bake and let the fiber absorb the internal fat!

    No wonder, it is one of the star of the Mediterranean diet!
    So why not splurge and start incorporating it in your diet?

    INGREDIENTS (for 4 people):
    – 2 eggplants
    – 1 medium onion
    – 1 tomato
    – 3 Tbl olive oil
    – 3 Tbl lemon juice
    – 1 garlic clove
    – Fresh basil an parsley (optional)
    – salt & Pepper

    PREPARATION:

    1. Preheat oven to 300F
    2. Place whole eggplants on a baking dish and bake for 35mn until the flesh is soft when you touch it.
    3. Remove the eggplants from the oven. Without burning your finger, slice them in half lengthwise, and with the help of a soup spoon, scoop out the middle.
    4. Place the flesh in a thin thieve to drain the excess water (remember it is a sponge).
    5. Slice the onion and the garlic thinly.
    6. Gently heat a little olive oil and add the onion and garlic until golden. You can add a little water if needed. Note: If you can digest raw garlic, skip this step.
    7. Blanch the tomato. Boil some water, make a cross on top of the tomato. Drop it quickly and remove it so that you can easily peel it. Remove the seeds and dice it.
    8. Place the eggplant, onion, tomato and remaining ingredients, except the olive oil in a blender or a food processor and blend. Add the remaining olive oil and blend again. Taste and season more if you need.
    9. Pour into a nice dish, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
    10. Serve with crackers, on sliced french baguette and with cut raw vegetables.

    Yumm!

    BONUS RECIPE:

    If you have even less time or don’t have a food processor, you can slice the eggplants with the skin, place them in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle with a little garlic salt and drizzle with some olive oil and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon. On a lightly oiled baking tray, sprinkle with a little garlic salt and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake at 350F for 15mn, flip the slices and drizzle a little more olive oil, bake for another 5-10mn. Serve with rice, or quinoa, or in a sandwich. It is soooo good and sooo simple!

    Enjoy!

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  • TOSTADA SALAD

    Date: 2011.01.28 | Category: Dairy free, Mexican, RECIPES, Salads, Vegan Entrees | Response: 0

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In the mood for a happy salad? Why not try a tostada salad? It is fresh, nourishing with an explosion of flavors and textures. I used fresh kale and romaine but you can use romaine only. If you use kale (curley especially), you may want to chop it smaller and use a little lemon juice to tenderize it because it is bulky and chewy. But it is totally worth it because it is packed with lots of minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium), vitamin A, C and K and even protein. It grows all year around so look for it or even better grow it yourself.

    INGREDIENTS:

       1 head of romaine lettuce (per person) and/or
    4-6 fresh kale leaves
    1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
    1 tomato chopped and seeded
    1/2 avocado slices
    1/2 cup of beans rinced per person (I used white beans on the photo)
    1/2 cucumber peeled and sliced

       Large round Corn tortilla chips for the shell
    Tortilla chips to mix with the salad

      
    Optional vegies:
    1 green, red or even better orange bell pepper diced
    2-4 radishes chopped (optional)
    1 cup of corn kernels

    1/2 cup of mild chiles (fresh or canned)

    DRESSING: (for 2 people)
    2 Tbl vegenaise (eggless mayonaise)
    3 Tbl salsa
    1 Tbl lemon juice
    1 Tbl olive oil
    1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
    Salt & pepper to taste

    PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
    1. Wash and dry the kale or the romaine lettuce.
    2. If you are using canned beans, wash and rince them well.
    3. Drizzle some of the olive oil on the beans with a little sea salt.
    4. Prepare the salad dressing minus the remaining of the olive oil.
    5. Chop the romaine lettuce and/or the kale.
    6. In a large bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, the pumpkin seeds, the cucumber and other chopped vegetables. Pour the dressing and mix well.
    7. Lay a large round tortilla on the bottom of each plate.
    8. Spoon some of the beans on the tortilla, then serve the salad part.
    9. Crush some corn tortilla chips and sprinkle over the salad.

    Que bueno!
    Enjoy!

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  • HOLIDAYS SWEET TREATS

    Date: 2010.12.24 | Category: Beverages, Dairy free, RECIPES | Response: 4

    True to my motto “Life is short, eat desert first!”, here are 2 sweet treats for Christmas.
    Soy Nog, is an eggless and dairy-free version everyone, young and old can indulge guilt-free. For one, you avoid the whole raw egg and salmonella poisoning ordeal!
    Who would want that and it would kind of ruin your Christmas holidays!  Soy nog is also much lighter before or after a big meal. Unlike its original counterpart, young and old can safely drink it, no alcohol, low fat, low cholesterol, what’s not to like?
    Plus, it is a no brainer. You can make a rich version or a lighter version depending on the meal you are serving or the occasion. And who said that you can only have it around Christmas?

     
    SOY NOG
    Ingredients:
     
      1 quart of vanilla soy milk (if you use plain soy milk, add more sweetener)
    1 cup vanilla vegan ice cream or vegan vanilla yogurt
    1 Tbl maple syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 Tbl artificial rum flavoring (optional)
    1 Tbl ground nutmeg
    Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
      Pour into nice cups and sprinkle with nutmeg.
    NO BAKE CHOCOLATE CAKE
    What is better than a no bake dessert after a rich meal?  This recipe is by no mean an original one, because I have seen many different versions going around. A cross between a cheesecake and a chocolate mousse, this is a treat for chocolate lovers. Save on electricity too since you only need to refrigerate it! Every bit counts these days!
    Crust:
          4-5 pitted dates
    1 cup of nuts (almonds, walnut etc.)
    ½ cup rolled oats
    3 Tb vegan butter or coconut oil
    1 Tb sugar
     
    Preparation:
    Pulse the nuts, dates and oats in a food processor a few times until finely chopped.
    Then add the vegan butter or coconut oil and sugar, pulse again.
    Ligthly oil a 9-inch pie plate and press the mixture evenly on the bottom and sides

    Filling:
       ¾ cups raw cashews
    ½ cup water
    1 package (12oz) silken tofu drained
    ¼ cup vegan margarine
    12 ounce vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
    ¼ cup agave syrup (or brown rice syrup)
    2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
    1 Tbl orange peel

     
    PREPARATION:
    Start by melting the chocolate chips in a double boiler. You don’t need a fancy pan. I just use a smaller pan that I insert into a larger one that I filled with some water. That’s it. This way, you save on space and money, what a deal!
    NOTE: Don’t ever use a microwave!  If you knew and could see what it does to the food, you would remove it altogether from your kitchen (that’s what I did).You don’t have to take my word for it, there is plenty of information online, people just don’t know (http://www.relfe.com/microwave.html).
    1. In a food processor, first grind the cashews until you have powder,
    2. Add the water to get a smooth cream, then add the agave tofu, vanilla, orange peel and blend.
    3. Add the melted chocolate in batches until well mixed.
    4. Pour the filling into the crust, smoothing the top.
    5. Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.

    This pie is great with herbal tea or chai tea.
    Stay warm and dry, depending where you live!

    Enjoy the holidays
    Many blessings to all
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  • SOPHIE’S NUTLOAF

    Date: 2010.12.22 | Category: Dairy free, RECIPES, Vegan Entrees | Response: 2

    What to make for Christmas dinner this year? I thought we could buy some already made mock meat but they can be a little intense texture wise, a little expensive and not always practical if you are serving a big table. So this time I decided to try a nutloaf.  Sure, it isn’t exactly fancy food but there is something hearty about it that sounds just about right for this holiday. Everyone’s budget is a little tighter, so making things from scratch can save money. It can also be a creative project for the entire family.  So why not make this good old American classic a special dish? 

    What I love about it is that you make the loaf (make extra ones to freeze) then you can dress it in all kinds of ways. Start with a rich gravy (see recipe below) with garlic mash potatoes but why stop there? Break out some tomatoe sauce, green onions, garlic, capers, and any herbs you like, pour it over the slices of nutloaf and either heat up in a pan or bake for 10-15mn at 370F and voila, you have a rich Italian dish (see second photo).  You can make it Mexican with salsa, cilantro, chiles, vegan cheese. You can also prepare a coconut curry sauce and serve it with vegetables for a touch of India or Indonesia but obviously not for Christmas dinner! Don’t forget that you can always use leftover slices for sandwiches, melts etc. Get creative!
    This recipe makes between 8-10 slices of nutloaf.

    The ingredients below are to make the basic recipe, but you can add other vegies you have on hand, as long as they are diced for added flavor and texture.

    Ingredients:
    1 12oz firm tofu package
    ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    3 Tbl ketchup (Annie’s organic)
    2 Tb Dijon mustard
    1 cup of chopped onions
    3 cloves of garlic
    ½ cup walnuts
    ¼ cup of rolled oats
    1/4 cup gluten flour
    1 cup mushrooms sliced
    Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
    2 tsp paprika

    Preparation:

    1. Ligthly oil a loaf pan. Turn oven to 380F.
    2. In a food processor, blend the tofu, ketchup, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, mustard (depending on the size of your processor, you may have to do this in 2 batches, I had to).
    3. Slowly add the rolled oats, then the gluten flour, pulsing in batches.
    4. Pan fry the garlic, then chopped onions, then add the sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper for a few minutes.
    5. Mix the tofu mixture with the sauteed mushrooms. Add a little water if needed.
    6. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan, flatten to make sure it is level.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top making sure it is spread evenly.
    7. Bake for 1 hour. Let it cool off before slicing.
    Note:
    The loaf will be moist and a little dry at the same time, so make sure to have some gravy or sauce with it (see the vegan mushroom gravy recipe below).
    If you want it moistier, add more vegies and reduce the amount of gluten flour.
    If you are gluten intolerant, substitute the gluten flour with a mix of oat and tapioca flour.
    You can also add some ground flaxseed to bind everything together.
    You can’t mess this one up!
    VEGAN MUSHROOM GRAVY
    Ingredients:
      3 Tbl onion powder
    2 Tbl oil (or vegan butter)
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper
    5 cups diced mushrooms
    1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari)
    2 cups plain soy milk
    2 cup water with vegetable broth
    1/2 cup wheat flour (or GF flour if you don’t eat wheat)
    Instructions:
    1. In a medium pot, heat up the oil, add the garlic, mushrooms, pepper and soy sauce for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Slowly add the soy sauce and Soy milk, continue to simmer.
    2. Mix the flour and into the water with broth with a whisk making sure that there are no lumps.
    3. Slowly stir this into the pot, constantly whisking until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
    4. Reduce heat to low and let gravy simmer for another 5 minutes.
    5. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
     Pour the gravy over the nutloaf and serve immediately.
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  • RUSTIC APPLE-PEAR TARTLETS

    Date: 2010.12.15 | Category: Dairy free, French cuisine, RECIPES | Response: 0

    There is nothing better than a light desert after a satisfying meal. It is a way to delay a little longer the inevitable end of a pleasant moment, maybe over a cup of herbal tea or coffee.  And if you take this philosophy of life a little further, you have my motto: “Life is short, eat desert first!” But American pies, cakes and the likes tend to be a little too sweet and heavy for my taste (especially after a meal), so most of the time I end up skipping it altogether. But there are so many ways to create delightful bites of sweet pleasure for exactly that occasion!


    Take the traditional French tart, lightly caramelized on top, tender in the middle and flaky on the bottom, yum. Well, yesterday, I noticed 2 pears that needed some TLC, so I decided to make a tart, but as I was in the process of assembling the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have enough vegan butter and pastry flour (what kind of cook doesn’t have enough flour, really!) So I did the unthinkable, I used vegetable oil and some chick pea flour instead! I had no idea how this was going to turn out. I had only 2 pears and 1 apple to work with, so it wasn’t enough to fill an entire cookie sheet, so I decided to make individual tartlets instead, the rustic kind. No two alike, each its own unique creation! In other words, I was improvising big time.

    Believe it or not, it came out really nice with a light flaky crust. The chick pea flour gave the crust a nice golden color and to my surprise, no extra flavor. And if this wasn’t good enough, I looked it up and found out that a half cup of chick pea flour also provides 10 grams of protein, lots of calcium, magnesium, potassium, so my tart was nutritional too! How about that! You can have your cake and eat your nutrients too! It gives a whole new meaning to sweet!


    Note: The dough will feel a little weird when you use oil instead of chilled butter. It resembles a soft fatty ball. I only chilled it for 5 minutes (I didn’t have all day to bake!) I didn’t want to add to much flour for dusting not knowing what would happen with the texture, so when I tried to roll it, some pieces stuck to the board. So I had to do a little patching here and there but you can’t see it after you bake it.

    INGREDIENTS:

    DOUGH:
    1 ½ cup of wheat pastry flour (plus 1/4 cup for dusting)
    ½ cup garbanzo bean flour (also called besan or chana in Indian stores)
    ½ cup vegetable oil (Canola ok but not olive oil!)
    4-5 Tbl iced water
    ½ tsp salt
    2Tbl sugar


    FILLING:
    3 ripe pears (or mix of pears and apples is fine too)
    1-2 cups of sweetened apple sauce
    Juice from ½ lemon
    1 tsp arrowroot* (or 2 tsp of cornstarch*)
    Sugar for dusting


    PREPARATION:

    1. Heat up the oven to 390 F. Ligthly oil a cookie sheet.
    2. Put a few ice cubes in a small glass.
    3. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
    4. In another bowl, combine the oil and the iced water.
    5. Mix wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
    6. Make a ball and put into a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 10mn.
    7. In the meantime, peel, core and slice the pears and apple. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with natural sugar. Juice the lemon and mix the arrowroot in it. Pour it over the fruit and gently toss to coat evenly.
    8. Take out the dough from the fridge, dust a surface and gently roll it. It could stick to the pin, so be gentle.
    9. To make individual tartlets, roll out the dough thinly, there is no need to prebake. Just take a jar or the lid of a glass jar and cut out circles.
    10. Place a little apple sauce in the middle (sprinkle a little sugar if the apple is not sweetened), then a few slices of pears, gently lift the tartlet with a spatula and put in the palm of your hand, use your fingers to fold the edges in a few places. Sprinkle again with a little sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet.
    11. Bake at 390F for 15mn until golden.
    12. Remove from oven and put an even thin layer of apricot or peach jam over it while it is cooling off. This will create a nice glaze for your tartlets. Makes between 6-8 tartlets depending on the size of the tartlet you make.

    NOTE: If you have more fruit, you can cover an entire cookie sheet. If the dough comes appart, just patch it. Poke a few holes all over and bake for 15mn at 380F. Then cover with a layer of apple sauce, then neatly layer the pear and apple slices. Sprinkle with more sugar. Bake for 20-25mn at 390F.  See step 12 for adding the glaze.

    * Cornstarch: I stopped using it, because I found out that more than 80% of the corn grown in the US is used for animal feed in factory farms and a good part of it is genetically modified. Virtually no testing has been done on the safety of human consumption of GMO corn. The excuse being that most is being used for animals so why bother, but numerous by-products are made from this same GMO corn (corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, corn meal, corn chips, apparently, white distilled vinegar is also made from corn…) and end up in practically everything that we eat. If that wasn’t bad enough, most cornstarch also contain aluminum in the form of Sodium Aluminum Sulfate (Rumford and Magic baking powder are the only aluminum free brands I am aware of).


    So I now use *Arrowroot. This West Indian root was traditionally used to treat wounds caused by poison arrows so it cured poisonous substances and healed the wounds. I may just try it next time I cut myself! Make a little paste by mixing a little powder with some water. I will let you know what happened! I don’t know about you but I am all for moving my pharmacy into my kitchen.

         Usage: Substitute 2 tsp of arrowroot to 3 tsp of cornstarch.
         Use 1 tablespoon of arrowroot with 1 cup of liquid to thicken a sauce or as a gelatin substitute.

    Unlike cornstarch, your dish can be refrigerated, frozen and thawed nicely without turning into a jelly like mush.
    It is a little more expensive than cornstarch but so worth it.
    Actually, if you buy it bulk it is almost the same, minus the aluminum and the GMO!
    What a deal!

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