Sunday, September 28, 2014

recent eats

happy autumn! september has been a busy month in the kitchen as i try to keep up with the csa and garden goodies. i'm making raw sauerkraut, freezing a lot of zucchini and bell peppers and drying some things to make our own vegetable broth powder. i've also got ginger kombucha tea brewing to give our immune systems a boost during the colder months and soon i'll be harvesting echinacea root for medicinal tea!

our meals have been simple but satisfying...lots of veggie bowls cooked in the trusty crock-pot. the first one pictured is rosemary french lentils with summer squash topped with nutritional yeast, hemp seeds and alfalfa sprouts. the second one was supposed to be red beans and rice but i stirred too much and it became risotto! still yummy though.

to be sure we're getting raw nutrition in too we're doing our smoothies a few days a week with spirulina and chlorella. some veg-loving friends and family came over and i made roasted beets, petite brussels sprouts and carrots with thyme (mmm!), a delicious loaded kale salad, and we ordered tomato pie from a local italian bakery.

dessert one night was a raw apple cobbler from sweetly raw. it was really good but we liked it warmed up a little. and that tomato sandwich was probably the best thing i've had on bread in a long time! for the spreads i used some leftover hummus and roasted eggplant and red pepper dip, then piled on raw kraut, avocado, raw eggplant bacon, and the juiciest heirloom tomato.

last but not least you see a hearty azuki bean, beet and barley stew with an assortment of baby sweet potatoes i found at natural health. the beans and barley were on sale and when i did some recipe research i learned that both are staples for a macrobiotic diet! (christina pirello healed her cancer with macrobiotics.) gotta love healing foods.

i hope you're enjoying your first official weekend of fall! the weather has been beautiful over here! today will be another busy one in the kitchen and garden, but i wouldn't have it any other way.=)


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

raw vegan zucchini rollatini

looking to wow your friends and show them how amazing raw, animal-friendly food can be? well do i have the dish for you! these bite-sized rollatinis look fancy, taste incredible and can be served as a nutritious appetizer or main dish.

john ate his right up and declared "these are great! the sauce mixed with the cheese reminds me of something my mom used to make." coming from a man whose a) mother is an exceptional cook and b) response has been an unenthusiastic "not bad" to many of the things i've been making lately, this really means something.=)

the rollatinis were actually john's suggestion. we love raw zucchini lasagna but it can be a bit of a production to make. these rollatinis do require the same steps (minus the walnut meat) but to me, they're worth it! you can also make some of the filling ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

soak: the first thing you want to do is get some ingredients soaking in water to make them easier to blend. for the cheese you'll need to soak 1 1/3 cup cashews, and for the tomato sauce 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes and one medjool date. they can soak anywhere from an hour to overnight, whatever works for you.

slice: next you want to slice your mushrooms thin and get them marinating. you'll want to use about 12 baby bella, cremini, or button mushrooms. mine were tossed with a drizzle each bragg's liquid aminos, extra virgin olive oil and some fresh thyme from the garden. if you don't have bragg's you can use soy sauce, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. fresh or dry herbs are optional.

blend: while your mushrooms are marinating, make your cashew cheese and sauce in a high speed blender. you could also use a food processor but your cheese may not come out as smooth. to lessen the clean-up and add a little creaminess to the sauce, i make the cheese first, pour it into a ramekin, then make the tomato sauce right in the messy blender.

cashew cheese
(this recipe makes enough cheese for about 16 rollatinis)

1 1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/4-1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 T nutritional yeast (optional, to taste)

drain the cashews and place all ingredients in a high speed blender. process until smooth. you can see that i stirred some leftover kale salad into the cheese. you could also add chopped chard or spinach, or nothing at all. it's up to you, but i do recommend the simple kale salad

tomato sauce
(adapted from delightfully raw by carmella soleil, also makes enough for about 16 rollatinis)

3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medjool date, soaked
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
fresh or dried herbs, to taste (optional)

drain the date and sun-dried tomatoes, and give them a little squeeze to remove the excess liquid. place everything in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
now we need to cut 16 thin rollatini strips. to do this you'll need two medium zucchini and a mandolin or v-slicer. spread about a tablespoon cheese and marinated mushrooms onto the zucchini strips like in the picture above, then roll carefully from bottom to top.

to serve your rollatinis raw, gently warm them in the dehydrator at 118 degrees for three to four hours. if you don't own a dehydrator, you could probably warm them in the oven on the lowest setting. the heat may be too much to keep them "raw", but they will still be good and healthy.

lastly, top with tomato sauce and chopped basil and enjoy your homemade, raw gourmet meal! yay for the garden still producing zucchini because i can't wait to make these babies again! do you think you'd give something like this a try?


Monday, September 15, 2014

it's good to try new things / maple balsamic tempeh

happy meatless monday! we finally tried tempeh and i've been so excited to share!

for those unfamiliar, tempeh is a fermented soybean product high in protein and low in fat. it's a little nutty in texture and flavor and absorbs marinades really well. because it's fermented and less-processed, it is said to be a healthier alternative to tofu and other meat substitutes.

tempeh has always turned me off in the past because of the way it looks, but i kept hearing how good it was and coming across tempting recipes. the local health food store was selling packages of non-gmo tempeh half-priced, and lord knows i can't resist a good health food sale!

to be safe, we tried angela liddon's recipe for maple balsamic tempeh (she has never let us down!) and we really enjoyed it. i was surprised because john is generally not a fan of tofu or fake meats, but he ate all his tempeh. though when i asked him about it again today he said it was good but something he'd just like to have once a year haha! we're having it next time it's on sale johnny boy.

when deciding what to serve with our tempeh, i immediately thought kale salad! i had just made roasted red peppers and we had organic baby bella mushrooms in the fridge. topped with chopped basil from the garden, i knew john would be more open to trying tempeh on an italian-style salad, and the flavors went really well with the balsamic vinegar in the tempeh.

simple kale salad

1 bunch of kale
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
1/2 a lemon
salt, to taste

  • remove stems and chop kale into small pieces.
  • add olive oil, garlic, sweetener of choice, juice from half a lemon and salt.
  • with clean hands, massage all ingredients until all kale pieces are saturated.

roasted red peppers

simply place red bell peppers under the broiler and cook until skins are wrinkled and charred, turning every few minutes to make sure all sides are cooked. place peppers in a brown bag, close it tight to hold in heat and wait about 20 minutes. peel the skins, remove the stem and seeds, then cut peppers into strips. store in the fridge as is, or add olive oil and chopped garlic for flavor.

Marinated Balsamic, Maple & Garlic Tempeh
posted at Smith's Vegan Kitchen
from the Oh She Glows cookbook

1            8 oz. package tempeh
1/2         cup balsamic vinegar
2            cloves garlic, minced
4            teaspoons low-sodium tamari
1            tablespoon pure maple syrup
1            tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • Rinse the tempeh and pat dry.  Slice the tempeh into 8 thin (1/4”) pieces, then halve them on the diagonal to make a total of 16 triangles.
  • In a large glass baking dish, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, tamari, maple syrup and oil.
  • Add the tempeh to the dish and gently toss to coat with the marinade.  Cover the dish with foil and marinate the tempeh in the refrigerator for a least 2 hours, or overnight, gently tossing the tempeh every now and then.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread the marinated tempeh triangles in a single layer in the baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake the tempeh in the marinade for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and flip the tempeh in the marinade.  Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the tempeh has absorbed most of the marinade. 

so there's that. trying new foods keeps things interesting over here and i like that it helps us get a wide variety of nutrients in. have you tried anything new lately? have you tried tempeh? what did you think? got any good tempeh recipes to pass along? (too many questions for a monday?=)


Friday, September 12, 2014

september snippets

delicious and nutritious black bean burger with raw sauerkraut, tomato and eggplant bacon
(side of bubbie's pickles)

garden tomatoes and calendula blooms

strawberry-vanilla kombucha in its second fermentation

 loving this time of year...savoring the last days of summer and its harvests...
walking barefoot in the garden as much as i can
and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

roasted heirloom tomato soup

made with the ingredients you see here plus hemp seeds, oats and olive oil, this soup was fresh, flavorful, and packed with so much nutrition! it was one of those throw-everything-in and taste-as-you-go soups, but if you'd like me to tell you how i made it, just let me know!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

mushroom rice pilaf

dinner was on the simple side but so delicious, i had to share! our csa had organic cremini mushrooms for sale and i wanted to use them in a way that was new to me but not too involved.

on my recipe search this fresh mushroom rice pilaf caught my eye. i've made a million rice and veggie dishes but have never cooked everything together in a seasoned broth. what a difference!

the recipe was doubled and adjusted a little to suit our tastes and cooking method (rice cooker). good thing i jotted my changes down because this tasty recipe is bound to make the rounds!

mushroom rice pilaf

4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cups seasoned stock of your choice
1 1/3 cup white or brown rice, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

in a pressure cooker, saute olive oil, garlic, mushrooms and green peppers about five minutes, stirring occasionally. pour in your stock and rice, lock the lid and bring the rice cooker to pressure for seven minutes. turn off the heat, but don't remove the lid.

set the timer and allow the pressure cooker to sit for fifteen minutes. (this is a trick i learned to conserve fuel. so much heat is locked inside that the rice will continue to cook). at the end of fifteen minutes remove the lid and serve your yummy pilaf with sliced green onion and fresh basil.

soon we should be getting winter squash from the csa. can't wait to try something like this acorn squash with wild rice pilaf for fall!


Monday, September 1, 2014

garden harvest white bean wraps

posts two days in a row? i know, i can hardly believe it myself!

inspired by this recipe, i made us deliciously fresh wraps with creamy avocado and white bean dip stuffed with some garden pickings, button mushrooms and homemade raw sauerkraut.

the greens are rainbow swiss chard and arugula seedlings thinned from fall plants we started a few weeks ago. the arugula seeds were saved from last year and the sprouts are so good!

the whole wheat wraps were made by yours truly, well, with some help. i couldn't get the dough rolled out so the italian stallion came to my rescue. you do it like-a this! he said, like i used to help-a my ma make-a stromboli! haha, i added the accent but he really did say that. cutie.

the wrap was so filling i had to put the other half away for tomorrow. work days are much better when you have yummy leftovers waiting for lunch, wouldn't you agree?

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