Tag Archives: vegan

portobello mushroom sliders & roasted red pepper pesto

my weekend
new friends (thanks nick)
sunny san diego: always brings out the BEAST in me
eyes closed, bass pounding, menthol cigs and the heavy weight of a hand on my shoulder
my arms, back, neck, thighs
good vibes
consequences now

this classy recipe makes up for my weekend behavior

Balsamic-Marinated Portobello Mushroom Sliders with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
& Raw Kale Salad

2 large portobello mushrooms, gills scooped out, quartered
good balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
dinner rolls or mini brioche buns, brushed with olive oil (and garlic salt!)
spinach or arugula
asparagus cut in thirds
parmesan cheese
1 large red pepper (or a jar of roasted red peppers in oil)
8 – 9 large fresh basil leaves
1bsp lemon
1 tbsp roasted pinenuts
e.v.olive oil, salt, pepper
kale, stem removed, sliced
dried cranberries
slivered almonds
soy sauce
scallions, sliced 

in a mortar & pestle, crush a few leaves from a sprig of thyme and a clove of garlic with about 3 – 4 tbsp of good olive oil. whisk in about 1.5 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. drizzle over portobello mushrooms, toss, and leave alone to marinate. Toss asparagus and arugula, separately, in olive oil, splash of lemon juice, s/p.
meanwhile, in an oven at 350F or over a gas stove, char the red peppers, when cooled, peel. Or take 1 pepper from a jar of roasted peppers and place in a small blender. add basil, pinenuts, lemon juice, and a good drizzle of olive oil (3 tbsp). blend until smooth. add olive oil, salt and pepper as needed. Set aside
roast asparagus at 350F for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan, roast for another 5 minutes.
in a grill pan or over a grill, grill mushrooms and bread

meanwhile, toss kale, cranberries, almonds, avocados and scallions in 2:1 parts olive oil and soy sauce. add pepper as needed.

to assemble, roasted asparagus, arugula, mushrooms, dollop of red-pepper pesto, and a slice of avocado
serve the kale salad on the side


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Autumnal Root-Vegetable, Chickpea, and Squash Curry with Coconut Rice

I hope all you Americans voted yesterday in the midterm elections! Aside from politics, November is also the official start of the Holidays… aka OVER-EATING. Oh no! It’s okay, we will be careful this year. ha. ha.

Anyways, what’s so great about the Fall is the array of vegetables that are available now and that are in season. A great way to eat sustainably is to eat locally, thereby eating in-season produce. As we enter winter, less fresh vegetables will be available (to my northern and east-coast neighbors) BUT storable vegetables, including root vegetables and squash will remain popular. Let’s not forget frozen vegetables which retain a lot of nutrition, dried spices, and a variety of canned produce; all of which are incredibly important when fresh options that you want are out of season or are too expensive.

Today’s recipe is a late fall recipe which I think is more appropriate for other states because we Californians are still experiencing 80 – 90 degree weather in the midst of an encroaching winter. I love this curry because it really exemplifies how wonderful root vegetables are. It has incredibly complex and developed flavors from slow-cooking, and is good for you. Despite having such an extensive ingredient list, this curry is a mostly set-it-and-forget-it recipe. You can definitely just dump everything in a deep pan and saute it but having made it both ways, using a slow-cooker is absolutely the way to go as all the vegetables were incredibly buttery and there was no sign of powdery potatoes.

BTW, check out my bad-ass jack-o-lantern (although it started to get some cracks in it). That was about 4 hours of work and a bloody thumb. I composted the innards!

By the time I took this (I was working on Halloween!), there was a huge ball of fuzzy mold growing in there and only realize after I dumped a flashlight in there. So nasty.

Autumnal Root-Vegetable Curry with Coconut Rice
Serves 6 – 10

for all canned items, try to find no-salt added or low-sodium
3 tablespoons Madras Curry Powder (spicier, better flavor, imo)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled

(optional: 1/2 jalapeno or serrano, seeds removed)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 large yukon gold potato (some people love sweet potatoes/yams), chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped in quarters
2 c. banana squash (they’re in the supermarket sliced into pre-packaged slices because they grow up to 4 feet in length), chopped, or substitute with butternut
1 14 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo) drained
1/2 to whole 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/3 c. frozen peas, defrosted
3/4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 bag fresh spinach
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
1/2 c. packed fresh coriander, chopped

For the rice:
2 c. brown basmati rice, soaked for 20 minutes and drained
3 c. water (or a combination of water and left-over vegetable stock and coconut juice)
1/2 c. coconut milk (omit if using juice)
1 bay leaf

1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c. fresh coriander, chopped

In a food-processor, combine the first set of ingredients from the Madras curry powder to the vegetable stock. Process until smooth, adding salt slowly. Heat a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add the processed sauce and saute until it has reduced. Pretty much running your spoon through it will leave a streak. Boil for a minute until fragrant. Add onions and carrots, saute until they just begin to soften. Remove from heat and add to the slow-cooker. Combine the rest of the vegetables and 3/4 c. vegetable stock. Toss until combined, adding more salt as needed. I added another tablespoon and a tsp black pepper.

Cook, covered, in a slow-cooker for 6 hours on high or until vegetables are tender.

For the rice, bring coconut milk, water, bay leaf, and rice to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 30 minutes, until water has been absorbed. I used an Asian rice cooker and did not let the rice soak in water before hand. Brown basmati takes significantly longer and a bit more water than normal brown rice so I had to set it for two rounds in the cooker although it may come out amazingly with 1 round for others. Others, when cooking over the stove, may let it boil for 5 – 10 minutes longer before reducing the heat. When done, toss with coriander and set aside.

Check potatoes, they will be firm but oh-so buttery and delicious. Stir in about half a bag of spinach, fresh coriander, until wilted, and 1/2 14 oz can of coconut milk. Serve over hot basmati rice.

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Green Beans with Tofu and Shiitake Crumble

I went to the pumpkin patch recently and talked to the farmer there about owning and humanely killing my own chicken. He said, get back to me on the 31st and we’ll talk about selling you my chickens. I don’t know if he mentioned showing me how to kill and butcher one but my grandma has done it. I’m excited. If I’m going to eat chicken meat, I should be able to kill it myself or at least watch the process. Granted, I’m being pretty over-confident right now. I’m sure it’s going to totally gross me out and I’ll probably just settle for being happy to eat humanely-killed meat that I didn’t slaughter. WOO! …Or turn out like my dad, who watched my grandmother kill chicken, and now does not eat poultry (only red-meat; my father is a terrible person). Anyways, details about this later.

For the last Meat-Free Monday, I experimented with tofu. Braised Tofu was on sale and I grabbed that instead of extra-firm… but I’m sure that extra-firm will be just fine for this recipe. I thought it would crisp up a little but texturally, the tofu didn’t turn out crispy or chewy like meat, however, the reserved tofu strips were nice and caramelized. But just for reference, using ground tempeh or seitan would definitely be a better soy-protein substitute. Tofu still provides tasty results.

Green Beans with Tofu and Shiitake Crumble
1/2 lb fresh green beans, tips removed, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin or bean sauce
1 tsp mirin or rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 pack braised tofu or extra-firm tofu, ground seitan or tempeh
7 – 10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, minced
1/2 tbsp corn starch with 4 tbsp water
sesame oil
cilantro or green onions for garnish

Start by pressing the liquid from the tofu by wrapping it with paper towels and placing a heavy object, like a skillet, over the whole or halved piece of tofu. Let sit for 10 – 30 minutes then crumble 3/4ths of the tofu with your hands. Chop the rest into strips. Mix crumbled tofu with minced shiitake.

In a small bowl, mix together minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin, vinegar/mirin, and sugar. Set aside.

Heat a large wok or deep pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil and add the reserved tofu strips. Saute until golden brown, flipping only a few times (~5 minutes). Add the green beans with 1/4 of sauce mixture until green bean skins begin to pucker, about 6 – 7 minutes. Keep moving or they will burn. If you feel they are burning too much, add a little water, cover, and steam green beans. Season with pepper. Remove from wok and set mixture aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil and saute the tofu and mushroom mixture until tofu has browned. Add the rest of the sauce mixture and stir fry for a moment until garlic and ginger are no longer raw, about 1 minute. Add cornstarch and water until absorbed or thickened. Add chopped cilantro or green onion, if desired, and toss for a minute.

Spoon crumble over green beans. Garnish with cilantro or fresh green onions. Serve with a bowl of brown rice.

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Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa

I’ve done it. I’ve made the best recipe for Quinoa ever. The stuffing is so good that I’ve eaten about half a cup plain. This is a recipe with many parts so it will take some time to complete and look forward to a messy kitchen. I got the idea for acorn squash from Food Wishes— but I’m not a huge fan of sweets (I know right?) so I wanted to add some sort of stuffing that balances the caramelized sweetness from the glaze. I think the combination of sweet and savory really did it.

A lot of people have never heard of quinoa and I don’t blame them– it’s not readily stocked in supermarkets so if you have a specialty store near you, definitely give it a try. Quinoa is a seed of the Quecha (idk) plant much like how rice is the seed of a rice..plant? Anyways, I like to say that it’s the couscous of the grain/seed group– but I don’t particularly like couscous as much as I like quinoa. Quinoa has that slight “crunch” like brown rice has a slight bite– a completely different texture than couscous (which is a pasta). It’s also extraordinarily good for you (and gluten-free as far as I know). You know how white rice essentially has no nutrition for you? Well quinoa has a good amount of the amino acids needed for humans therefore, a really high protein content (especially for a grain) making it a popular choice for vegans and vegetarians.

Quinoa Stuffing:

1 c. quinoa cooked with 2 c. water or stock (I used 1 c. water, 1c. chicken stock)
1/4 c. each minced onion and yellow bell pepper
1/2 – 3/4 c. diced eggplant, placed in a bowl over a paper towel and tossed with lots of salt
1 medium ear’s worth of fresh sweet corn removed from cob
2 tablespoons garlic

3 – 4 tbsp apple juice
1 green onion chopped, green and whites

4 – 5 large, fresh basil leaves, chopped
olive oil

Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash, cut in half (be careful)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp butter
1 heaping tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp apple juice for each half
sprinkling of freshly ground pepper

Begin prepping your quinoa ingredients– chopping everything up. Then, bring the quinoa and liquid to a boil in a small pot, cover and bring down to a simmer. Simmer until quinoa has “blossomed” and white rings are visible  and is fluffy. ( I burned the bottom a little but it was still good).  When it is done, fluff it with a fork and add some apple juice for fragrance.

While the quinoa is cooking, preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the acorn squash in half– be careful, I nearly gutted my stomach like, twice. Clear out the seeds with a spoon or your hands and cut criss-cut slashes through the flesh. Brush each with some apple juice. Place skin side up and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. While baking, make the glaze. Cook the maple syrup, butter, and brown sugar into a small skillet– it will boil and froth, keep stirring for a few minutes until it’s syrupy, season with pepper. Remove the squash and divide the glaze among the halves, brushing the syrup into and around the slashes. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until soft and glaze has reduced a bit, taking the squash out every 10 minutes to reglaze.

Find time between this somehow (haha), and over medium-high heat, cook the onions, bell peppers, drained eggplant, and corn in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until onions have softened considerably. Add garlic and saute until fragrant and cooked through. Add basil and saute. I usually don’t add any more salt because the eggplants are pretty salty.

Mix the quinoa, vegetable mixture and green onions together, season to taste, and mound into the squash.

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