Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Recipe Round-up. part 1, Alfredo Sauce

I did not take pictures, but this weekend i made a couple of really good things! Non Vegan Fiance approved! The best part is, I've discovered a way to have cream sauce again!!!!! I don't have pasta often or crave creamy stuff, but sometimes you do and in that case tofu just doesn't do the trick. AND i got to use the lovely king oyster mushrooms ive wanted to try for FOREVER but can never find, i found them at a high quality very expensive italian market downtown but they were worth every penny and i wish i could have them all the time.

Creamy King Oyster Mushroom/Spinach Spaghetti Alfredo (serves 3-4)
1pkg spelt spaghetti
1bag baby spinach (fresh)
3 king oyster mushrooms
3clv garlic
1 shallot
1/4cup earth balance butter
1tbs olive oil
1-2tbs fresh thyme, oregano
4tbs fresh parsley
salt and pepper
Cashew "Alfredo" Sauce
1/2cup raw cashews
1/4cup soy (i used eden rice/soy blend)
2-3tsp garlic powder
1/2-1tbs black pepper
1/8-1/4tsp salt
1tbs nutritional yeast
1tsp dried thyme
1/2tsp dried basil

equipment vitamix or high powered food processor
Prep. cashew cream. make the cashew cream ahead of time, if you use your vitamix you wont need to soak the cashews ahead of time, they will blend right up. Adjust liquids for consistency, and spices for flavor and to cut the sweetness. The sweetness will mellow when it is in the actual dish. Keep this on the thick side so it will stick to the pasta nicely. Set aside or refrigerate till ready to use.
Fill a large pot with water, salted. bring to boil. set aside, cut up your king oyster mushrooms (use the whole thing), into chunks, mince and puree garlic, shallot- chop up fresh herbs, set aside *water should be boiling by this time*
Cook. add the pasta to the pot of water, it should take 10min to cook, heat oil and melt butter in a skillet; add garlic and shallot for a couple seconds, then add mushrooms note* to time things right your water should have boiled before you start cooking the mushrooms*
saute those mushrooms till they are soft and butter has been absorbed, add more as needed, then add your spinach and let wilt (this should take about 8min)
Add the cashew cream and stir it all together for a few minutes to heat through
Serve. twist a couple scoops of the sauce into the noodles and garnish will a good handful of chopped parsley

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Live Clean

This is a bit of a detour from the regular food posts, but i do have a passion for the green lifestyle and am always looking for products for face, body, and hair that made from natural ingredients. I have tried quite a few shampoos/conditioners of this variety, but this one is by far the best at contains 98% organic/natural ingredients, is paraben, sulfate free, and vegan!

This particular kind containing Moroccan argan oil really makes a difference on damaged hair, it instantly smoothed mine and added shine, no straightener needed. Right now i am using their "Purple Jewel" set, and i have tried the "Fresh Water" but i think this one is on the list next.

Green products we can feel good about?! That's beauty!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

10min Creamy Broccoli Soup

There are some days when i feel really lazy, really hungry and just cant think of anything to cook. This dish is so fast to prepare you wont be tempted to snack on your naughty treats while waiting. It also boasts plenty of fiber, protein, iron and calcium. Deeply rejuvenating and replenishing after a long day.
The original recipe was passed to me from a friend based on Martha Stewart's creamy broccoli soup, i didn't like that version much so i created this one and its much more delicious in my opinion! Hope you enjoy

pics to come...

Creamy Broccoli Soup (FAST!)
note: i never measure, so adjust as you see fit
1lg head Broccoli (about the size of cauliflower bushel)
4cups Veggie Broth* (i mixed a powder into mine) more powder =more saltiness
2tbs fresh Parsley
1/2cup Rolled Oats (uncooked)
1tbs Raw Cashews
1tbs Nutritional Yeast
1/4tsp Nutmeg
good pinch Black Pepper

equipment: vitamix or food processor, or immersion blender
Prep. cut off most of the stems on the broccoli, leave in big florets
Steam. broccoli for about 5-7min? can be semi raw
Blend. steamed broccoli, add 4cups of broth to start and adjust to texture *note. if using water + broth make sure it is hot water, i added more water to balance out seasoning; add oats, spices, nuts, yeast, parsley; season to taste, enjoy

Tips. ~Vitamix is the easiest way to do this because then you dont have to cut up the broccoli into small pieces and can add everything organically.
~Steaming is the best way to retain the most nutrients, but you can boil the broccoli in the broth ahead of time if you prefer

~add steamed or raw kale or spinach
~increase the nutmeg for an earthy kick
~add a handful of fresh basil
~increase the cashews


My fiance is Yugoslavian and has been introducing me to several lovely culinary delights from his country. This one is one of my absolute favorites, i adore ajvar! What is it? it is a chunky spread made of roasted red peppers, water, and salt. thats it! and it is SO delicious. Its such a nice change from sweet things on your morning breads and no doubt has several creative uses. The best brand is Yugoslavian of course, but you will find many different varieties that may contain oil, eggplant, tomato or any combination at European grocery stores. This one is called Bakina Tajna which means, from Grandma's Kitchen. I love that! if you can find it in your area, give it a try, maybe i'll make my own one day.

For now, here is a VEGETARIAN recipe (contains cheese)- if you get Daiya where you are, that may be a worthy cheese substitute but i do not have any where i am. I created this sandwich for him because i have converted him into a flexitarian- and he eats vegan/vegetarian with me all the time. For me, the cheese is a bit too much for my stomach.

Roasted Red Pepper (ajvar)/ Artichoke Panini

2 slices Whole grain bread; or foccacia, sourdough
1 Artichoke heart; comes from water packed can
2-3tbs Ajvar
pinch oregano, red pepper flakes
1tsp earth balance butter, mixed with minced garlic
1slice Swiss Cheese; or daiya white cheese

Prep. heat up your panini maker! or grill pan, spread garlic butter on one slice of bread, and ajvar on the other
Assemble. drain and slice artichoke heart, layer on the bread with butter, sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes, put cheese on top, then ajvar bread on top of that
Grill. till your cheese melts, or if not using just till crispy

~focaccia bread or Italian ciabatta bun works best
~pesto spread instead of avjar + roasted red peppers sliced
~hummus instead of butter

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fresh Herbed Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette/ Summer Salad

I LOVE summer and as soon as the weather starts getting warm i find myself wanting nature-fresh salads that are filled with juicy vegetables and hearty beans. Salads are typical vegan food, but as you can tell its not all there is to eat on a plant-based diet and they are certainly not my favorite. When i make salads, i make an effort to infuse them with lots of flavor and experiment with adding fruits, cooked vegetables, and savory dressings. On a hot summer day, this is a perfect fix.

Fresh Herbed Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
suitable for any salad combination, and lots of flavor
2tbs Fresh Herbs (i used; a lot of basil; thyme, sage, oregano and mint), just a few leaves of each
2clv Garlic*
1 Lemon zest, juice
2tbs White Wine Vinegar*
4tbs Grapeseed Oil*

Prep. finely chop your fresh herb combination, whichever you choose, zest the lemon and mince into tiny pieces as well as juice it
Pureed Garlic*. you want to do this to avoid eating raw chunks of garlic; start by mincing it as well as you can, then add a pinch of coarse salt. follow this video for how to
Oil/Vinegar. i don't really measure, only by taste, in a small jar the lemon juice filled 1/4, the vinegar filled 1/4 then the oil 1/2
Emulsify. with a whisk, or if using a small jar add lid and shake it up, Taste* and modify ingredients, i added more oil and a few drops agave nectar at the end, you can also use honey or maple to sweeten; add salt and pepper

Salad Combo
for my salad pictured here i have
-romaine lettuce
-steamed snow peas
-yellow pepper
-sweet onion
~sesame seeds

~green lentils taste great in here
~fresh tomatoes/red peppers/green onion
~add minced shallots to the dressing
~use as a dressing over steamed or grilled vegetables

Green Words of Wisdom in my opinion, a sunny day and connecting to nature is the best way to ground your energies and remind yourself to be in the present moment. i always find that when i connect to and appreciate nature, my body craves and appreciates food more. that same feeling prompted the creation of this salad dressing which comes with herbs grown in our garden, as well as many local ingredients in the salad. I truly wish we could experience more fresh produce here in Canada because consuming foods straight from the earth that we know is coming from a safe and healthy place, creates the best feeling within. Eating fresh brings us back to ourselves.
Enjoy your day everyone! and remember to get outside xoxo Green-Love Goddess

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tastes Like Summer Lemonade

I have been obsessively drinking this stuff for days so i thought it would be only fair to share it. Lemonade is lemonade right? simple? No- this one is special, and best of all its homemade so if you are one of those people who buys minuite made lemonade concentrate in the summer, no need! By the way- i didn't know myself that its not JUST lemons in that stuff, its other fruit juice concentrates. This stuff is pure lemons, antioxidant rich and refreshing.

This recipe comes from French Cooking at Home on the food network, so i can't take credit. I made it for my lemonade loving fiance but found i enjoyed it much more myself, the mint is a necessary addition. In my opinion, the lemon zest syrup ups the lemonade flavor and provides just enough sweetness/tartness.
Lemon zest syrup
zest of two lemons
2cups water
2cups sugar
for one large glass
2tbs lemon zest syrup
1tbs fresh mint leaves
1 lemon; juiced
water to the top
Prep. in a sauce pan, add water sugar, and the zest of two lemons (don't have to fine zest)
Boil. for about 5-10min till sugar is dissolved, and lemon zest is infused
Cool. reserve for your lemonade later
Serve. by adding about 2tbs lemon zest syrup to the glass (to your taste), mint leaves (crush with spoon a bit), ice, juice of 1 lemon, and fill with water.
Great way to get your water AND antioxidant rich lemon with little sugar!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

This is SPICY and will knock your socks off! well- not really, but for some people it might be so beware. However, it is a great summer soup full of fresh flavors, i like it before dinner when i'm cooking and ravenously hungry, but it could be served at any occasion. Its perfectly hydrating. For the best results, use the freshest organic/local ingredients you can find.
I cant take full credit for this recipe cause the original idea was from my friend Jeannie, but ive since changed the recipe so this is my take.

6cups Watermelon; or about 1/2 large*
2lg Organic Tomatoes; fresh ones with lots of flavor are best, mine were local
1/2cup Fresh Parsley
1 Lime; juiced
1lg or 2 Cucumber;the fatter juicy ones- peeled, seeded
2-4 Basil Leaves
1tbs Red wine vinegar
1 Fresh Red jalapeno pepper*; i added the whole thing
1/4cup Fresh Mint*; mine was wild from my plant

Prep. i used my food processor for this but you may be able to do it by chopping things finely by hand; it should be "soupy" though, so be sure to get the liquids right if doing that way
Puree. add all ingredients except for the mint and pulse several times to break up *note: the jalapeno will make it QUITE spicy, use half or de-seed if you cant handle heat; Mint- add enough mint to cool the heat to your liking, a small handful significantly cooled mine off, you may also add more watermelon to do this
Serve. ladle into bowls and garnish with tiny watermelon chunks if you used the food processor method, this also helps keep it cool
for maximum flavor, marinate a couple hours in the fridge, and keep cool after you have made it- have your watermelon pre-cut and in the fridge if you are serving right away so it is cool

~italian parsley instead of regular
~raspberry vinegar instead of rrw
~increase the basil for a different flavor
~use Tabasco sauce instead of jalapeno
~half watermelon, half honeydew or strawberries

Healthy Bread

My friend "truebody" gave my this recipe but i did modify it a bit so its kind of revamped, the recipe was neither of ours to begin with. Either way, im still THRILLED whenever i realize that i can make bread by hand successfully! wohoo!

Bread is tricky, and i dont know how to make it really so just do your best and hope for the best! there is room for a little moderation in this recipe, contrary to belief that if you measure wrong or time wrong in baking you will screw it up

1cup Warm water
1tsp Active Dry Yeast
2tsp Honey or maple (up it for more sweetness, this wasnt that sweet)
1cup Warm water
1tsp Salt
2tsp Bran
1cup Rolled oats
4cups Stoneground light spelt flour*note

Prep. combine 1cup warm water, yeast, honey and rest for 5-10min
combine flour (sift if you would like lighter bread, i did not), salt, oats, bran
add other cup of water to yeast mix, stir a bit, add to dry mix, form ball* note: this makes for a very heavy loaf which may not taste that great the next day, experiment with adding white flour for lighter texture not sure why, but when i make bread its very sticky* and i find i have to add 1/4-1/2c more flour- i dont measure this, just keep mixing till it will hold a ball shape and doesnt stick completely to your fingers
Rise. lightly coat a bowl with oil, plop ball of dough in there, cover with tea towel and give it at least 1hr to double in size; *note: if you have time, try a double rise to add more lightness
Bake. 350F for about 40minutes, keep and eye on it
i had mine with earth balance butter and homemade plum jam.mmmm

~use any flour your like, i like spelt, but you could you could use wheat or mix with white
~add cracked wheat, flax, more bran instead of oats

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tomato-Zucchini Basil Polenta Stacks

So hopefully this works, its my first shot at actually posting a picture of my creations and it is my intention to post more often because great food should be shared!! this blog was intended for that but if you read below you will find a lot of talking-because i like to talk! but enough of that, back to the food. I have never tried polenta, i found this precooked all you have to do is slice and cook however you like, so this works out great with my style.

4 slices of Polenta (scarpone's brand at the store)- it will be in a tube
4 slices of Lg Tomato (mine was local from the farmers market)
1sm Zucchini squash or Zucchini if available; sliced thin to fit
1/2tsp Nutritional Yeast* optional
4 Fresh Basil leaves (reserve for the end)

Balsamic Reduction
4tbs. Balsamic vinegar
1tsp Agave, honey or maple

Prep. arrange slices on a non-stick baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and s/p except for the polenta, leave that as is
Bake. the polenta, tomatoes, and zucchini @325 or 350F for 20-25minutes, flip the polenta halfway* through to give it more depth; *sprinkle nutritional yeast on top at this point*note: watch the tomatoes, they may become too soggy, take them out early if needed
Reduction. combine the balsamic and sweetener and simply heat till syrupy and sticky*note: do not do this until your polenta stack ingredients are done as it will harden quickly
Assemble. lay down 1 polenta round, place a couple zucchini, 1 tomato slice, 1 leaf of basil, then another polenta, 1 tomato slice, drizzle with balsamic syrup, top with basil slice

~eggplant instead of zucchini
~can fry the polenta instead of bake for a crispier base
~thin slice of buffalo mozzarella would go nice for vegetarians