Monday, March 2, 2015

Pesto Soup

Lots of nutrition in this soup - cauliflower, greens and beans plus a special surprise - Gnocchi.  I love me some gnocchi!

Pesto Soup
Isa Does It – cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

2            teaspoons olive oil
3            cloves garlic, minced
1            small head, cauliflower (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into florets
4            cups vegetable broth
1/2         teaspoon dried thyme
1/2         teaspoon salt
              several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1            tablespoon arrowroot or organic corn starch
1            cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
8            ounces frozen gnocchi, partially thawed (leave on counter for 30 min. or so)
1            small bunch Swiss Chard torn into pieces (I used Kale, coarsely chopped)
1            15 ounce navy beans, rinsed and drained
              toasted pine nuts for garnish

Preheat a 4 quart stockpot over medium heat and add the oil.  Saute the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute, being careful not to let it burn.  Add the cauliflower, 3 cups of the broth, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil stirring every now and again and boiling for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

In a measuring cup, vigorously mix together the remaining 1 cup broth and the arrowroot until dissolved.  Lower the heat a bit so that the soup is at a low boil.  Mix in the broth and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened.  Add the basil leaves and remove from the heat.  Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, then use a blender or food processor to puree in batches, be careful to lift the lid once in a while to let steam escape.  Taste for seasoning.

Return the soup to the stove over medium heat and add the gnocchi; cover and let cook for 3 minutes or so.  Add the greens and beans and cook until the greens are completely wilted and the beans are heated through, about 5 more minutes.  Be careful as you stir not to crush the gnocchi or beans.  Serves garnished with extra basil and pine nuts, if you like.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I'm always inclined to make some sort of Mexican dish on Fridays, I don't know why, maybe to celebrate the end of another work week or the beginning of a wonderful weekend to be spent with family and friends.  I serve this with a side of Cilantro Lime rice.

I ended up mashing the beans and sweet potatoes a bit which I think gave me more filling because I used large tortillas and only made half the recipe and got probably six enchiladas with some extra filling.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas
adapted Rachel Ray Magazine recipe

3            tablespoons vegetable oil
1            red onion, chopped
4            cloves garlic, minced
2            tablespoons ground cumin
2            tablespoons brown sugar
1            canned chipotle chile in adobo, chopped, plus one teaspoon adobo sauce
            (I had a jar of prechopped chile in adobo sauce)
2            cans kidney beans, rinsed (I mashed while cooking)
1            lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (I mashed while cooking)
1            can enchilada sauce
8            small (6 inch) flour tortillas (I used Chia Seed Tortillas from Trader Joe’s)
2            cups grated vegan cheese of your choice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium.  Add the onion, garlic, cumin, brown sugar, chipotle and adobo sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.  Add the beans, sweet potatoes (I mashed a bit in the pan) and 2 cups water; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender and liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

In the bottom of a 9 x 13” baking dish, spread 1 & 1/3 cups enchilada sauce.  Dredge both sides of the tortilas in the sauce.  Divide the filling among the tortillas, roll up and arrange in the dish, seam side down.  Top with the remaining sauce and vegan cheese. 

Bake the enchiladas until armed through, about 10 minutes, then broil until top is golden brown, 2-3 minutes  (I forgot to do this).  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Raw Chocolate Cream Pie

I enjoy looking for new ways to make something delicious the healthiest way possible.  I also like to add some good Raw meals into our mix a little more often, so I follow The Rawtarian blog and have several recipes earmarked and ready to go.  So many recipes, so little time.

Raw Chocolate Cream Pie

2            medium bananas
3/4         cup cashews
5            tablespoons cacao powder
1/4         cup agave
1/4         cup lemon juice
1/3         cup coconut oil
1            teaspoon vanilla
1/8         teaspoon sea salt

Add all ingredients into your blender.  Blend until creamy and smooth.

Pour mixture into a pie pan.  Smooth out with the back of a spoon.
Cover and put in freezer.  Ideally should be frozen overnight to firm up so that it can be sliced perfectly. 

This pie should always be kept in the freezer.  It will become soggy if in the fridge.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cauliflower with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Cauliflower is almost a staple in our house so I love discovering new ways to jazz it up.  I prefer to use jarred roasted red peppers but you can easily roast a red pepper over your stovetop.  Just hold over the flame with tongs and rotate as each side turns brown.

The Best Cauliflower Ever
Recipe by Daphne Brogdon – Food Network

4            tablespoons olive oil
1/2         large head or 1 small head cauliflower, but into florets
              salt and pepper
3            cloves garlic, chopped
1            roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped (I bought jarred from Trader Joe’s)
2            tablespoons soft tofu
1/2         teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2            tablespoons breadcrumbs
1            tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.   Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooing, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until softened, 1 minute.  Add the roasted red pepper and sauté for another few minutes, until heated through.  Transfer to a blender or food processor.  Add the tofu and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds and cook another minute.  Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Quinoa

The original recipe doesn't call for Quinoa but I like the added texture and punch of protein the quinoa gives.

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Quinoa

4            sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4            large carrots, peeled and diced same size as sweet potatoes
1            large red onion, peeled and quartered
4-5         cloves garlic, skin on
1/4         cup olive oil for roasting
1            teaspoon kosher salt
1/4         teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4         teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4         teaspoon ground black pepper
4            sprigs thyme – or a pinch of dried
8            cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups water/4 cups veg. broth)
            --can also replace some of the stock with nut or soy milk
1/2        cup dry quinoa
1            cup walnuts, lightly chopped
2            tablespoons brown sugar
2            tablespoons vegan butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lin a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and toss your chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic in olive oil, salt, thyme, pepper flakes, paprika and black pepper.  Roast for 35-40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes and carrots are fork tender.  I moved them around after about 20 minutes.  Make sure the onion doesn’t burn.

While veggies roast, candy the walnuts.  Chop walnuts into nice size pieces, then place in a pan with the brown sugar and vegan butter over medium heat.  Stir constantly, until the vegan butter and sugar are melted and combined.  Continue to cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

Remove vegetables from oven and add to large soup pot.  Pinch garlic out of its skin and put in pot whole.  Add liquid (stock and nut milk)  You can add the liquid in stages to insure the desired amount of liquid.  Puree the soup (I used an emulsion blender – but you can process via blender in batches).  Once the soup is blended and smooth, add 1/2 cup quinoa and cook until the quinoa is nice and thick.

Serve with Walnuts on top!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Black Bean Burger

This Black Bean Burger has a bit of a kick to it because of all the wonderful seasoning.  I recommend baking, as the original recipe calls for, but then pan frying a bit at the end.

Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from recipe on web

1            15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3         cup chopped sweet onion
1            tablespoon minced garlic
3            baby carrots (2 regular sized) grated
1/4         cup minced finely diced green pepper
1            tablespoon cornstarch
1            tablespoon warm water
3            tablespoons chile-garlic sauce or hot sauce – or to taste
1            teaspoon chili powder
1            teaspoon ground cumin
1            teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
1/4         teaspoon salt
1/4         teaspoon ground black pepper
2            slices bread (I used Gluten Free), torn into small crumbs
3/4         cup unbleached flour, or as needed (add in slowly so doesn’t become too dry)
            vegan cheese for melting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet.

Mash black beans in a bowl; add onion, garlic, carrots, and green bell pepper.  Mix.

Whisk cornstarch, water, chile-garlic sauce/hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, seafood seasoning, salt, and black pepper together in a separate small bowl.  Stir cornstarch mixture into black bean mixture.

Mix bread into bean mixture.  Stir flour, 1/4 cup at a time, into bean mixture until a sticky batter forms.

Spoon “burger-sized” mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, about a 3/4” thickness per mound.  Shape into burgers.

Bake in the preheated oven until cooked in the center and crisp in the outside, about 10 minutes on each side.

***I recommend  lightly frying after baking because they seemed a bit dry and this makes them juicier.  After baking, move to a large oiled non-stick fring pan.  Cook on one side approximately 5-8 minutes, then flip.  If using vegan cheese, sprinkle on the cover pan and cook for a few more minutes.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pistachio-Apricot Chocolate Coins

A fun little Sunday kitchen project - Chocolate Coins!  I actually made these for the holidays but think they are appropriate all year long, it is chocolate after all.

Pistachio-Apricot Chocolate Coins
Adapted from magazine recipe

1/2       cup vegan semisweet chocolate cips
2          teaspoons vegan shortening
            chopped pistachios
            chopped apricots

Melt chocolate chips with shortening in the microwave.  I put in twice at 30 seconds a pop.  Stir around until smooth.  Spoon into 1 - 1/2”” circles (about 20) on an oiled parchment lined baking sheet.  Let cool slightly, then top with chopped pistachios and candied orange peel. Refrigerate until firm.

***Make sure the chocolate doesn’t set too much before adding the topping or they will fall off when cooled.