Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Dip - Forks Over Knives

This recipe is genius! It's everything 'guacamole' plus the beloved chickpea all rolled, or in this case, smashed, in to one. Seriously, if you need to impress, and you're totally OVER hummus and guacamole, (well, who can entirely ever be over those?) - try this recipe. You won't regret!

You can find the recipe HERE on the Forks Over Knives website. Don't change a thing! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Red Lentil Chili - Forks Over Knives

Once again, Forks Over Knives created an excellent menu for a Super Bowl party. Our tiny party only consisted of two people (sad), but our food was over the top (happy).

I love this beginning step of making soup - it's hard to believe that it'll finally come together into something warm and comforting. One kinda strange ingredient to this recipe is a puree of dates and water. I DID like the added sweetness. I DID NOT like the quantity. I think the amount of dates should be cut in half. 

Red Lentil Chili from Forks Over Knives. Recipe HERE

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Burritos Two Ways

Wrap it in a flour tortilla, and I'm a happy woman. Smother it in almond cheese and salsa - well, let's just say, it's a party. Even on a Monday night.

Here's the scoop:
Make rice and be sure to add a teaspoon of turmeric for that classic Mexican rice 'look.'  Add 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed.  Add 1 sweet onion, chopped.

 Add 1 small can of El Pato brand tomato sauce (this stuff packs a punch!)

Mix well and distribute evenly on large flour tortillas. I smeared some non-dairy cream cheese on the tortillas as well.  Roll up and place, seam side down, on a sprayed pan.

 Smear some almond cheese over the burritos.Smother some of the burritos with red salsa; keep some burritos plain for now.

Bake until heated through. Smother the remaining burritos with Salsa Suiza (recipe here)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Salsa Suiza

Perfection! Look at that color! 

This sauce is unbelievably good. I imagine you can make it with store bought green salsa; I made mine from tomatillos that I grew in my own garden.

Lucy loves the garden. 

The entire recipe was a trial by error event, and I didn't even write anything down- sorry!  Just keep cooking and tasting and straining and melting.

Recipes for green salsa abound. Take your pick.
 Basically, it's tomatillos, jalapenos, onions, and cilantro. Boil. Blend.

My green salsa recipe can be found HERE.  

First I made green salsa and canned it. Served it a few times with chips and whatnot, only to admit to myself that it wasn't near hot enough for our taste.

I opened every jar, reheated it with plenty more jalapenos and cilantro and I was still unpleased with the result. I think it was the texture that bothered me.

It was at that point that I remembered my favorite Mexican sauce - Salsa Suiza. A quick lesson on the internet showed me that it's called 'Suiza' because it's loaded with cream and is therefore supposed to be 'Swiss' somehow. I improvised with non-dairy cream cheese and the result was PERFECTION.

How much cream cheese? I really don't remember....maybe 8 ounces for a large Dutch oven?
 Give or take. 

Straining the entire batch resulted in this beautifully smooth and silky sauce.  

If you're gonna grow tomatillos in the garden, be sure to try this excellent recipe! My freezer is full of it and that's a good thing! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Curried Tomato Soup

It rained the other day and I felt the promise of spring on a cold wet day. The grey piles of snow melted for a day or two, revealing the green of lawn and garden. Yes, it was the promise of spring in the middle of February.

I'm already planning my vegetable garden. What will I do with all those tomatoes? Should I tear out the hydrangeas to make room for more? Maybe that's too drastic?

Speaking of tomatoes, here is an absolutely gourmet soup I made last fall. I still have a few servings tucked away in my freezer.  I think it is nice enough to serve to company and would be bang-up with a grown-up grilled cheese sandwich.

Here's what you need:
3 C chopped onion
2 T coconut oil
6 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 C minced fresh ginger
3 T curry
3 T garam masala
4 C vegetable stock
8 C fresh, ripe tomatoes (or canned, if you are in a deep freeze like I am here in Michigan in February)
1 C full fat coconut milk

Here's what you do:

Saute the veg in the coconut oil until soft. Add the spices and stir. Add the stock and tomatoes. Cook until well blended and the tomatoes are totally soft. Add the coconut milk. Allow to sit for a while with a lid on and the heat off to meld all the flavors. Blend until completely smooth.  For a beautifully silky soup, strain before serving. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mother Earth

Looking for a killer dip to take to your Super Bowl party? Try something different and be ready to bask in the glow of compliments. Why bring another bowl of hummus or guacamole when you can really reach deep into your hippie roots and bring something named Mother Earth.

I created this dip after tasting something similar at Marie Catrib's restaurant in Grand Rapids. The place is food heaven - tons of vegan stuff, and I'm not just talking about a bean burrito. They have a curried cauliflower mac and cheese that's to die for. Their lasagna puts everyone else's to shame. And then they have their Mother Earth. It's amazing. But so is mine.

It's all about technique here, so be careful with that food processor.

Here's what you need:
2 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 15 oz can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 T mayonnaise
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1/4 C red onion, diced - not minced
1/4 C red pepper, chopped - not too small, not too large
1/4 C green pepper, chopped - not too small, not too large

Here's what you do:
Place the kidney beans and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the beans are mushy, but definitely NOT creamy. They should still have some skin showing and they should still be chunky. Remove to a large bowl.

Place the garbanzos in the same food processor bowl and do the same. Keep them flaky and chunky, but also a bit creamy. Add them to the kidney bean mixture. Add the mayo, vinegar, lemon juice, and chopped veg. Mix well with a fork or wooden spoon. Mash up any beans that seem too large. Serve with hearty tortilla chips.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese. There's two words I never thought I'd put together. *Lentil* Bolognese.* What would Tony Soprano say? What would my friends say? What would you say?

No, it's not a classic Bolognese sauce; it's better. It's rich and thick and meaty and filling and totally satisfying. We stuffed ourselves. I'm going to put it in shells next time and smother it in a cashew ricotta.... oh my gosh. Who says vegans eat rabbit food?

Here's what you need:
3/4  C dried lentils (I used French, but I think regular green/brown ones would work here as well)
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1/3 C dry red wine

Here's what you do:
Cook the lentils in plenty of cold water. Allow them to simmer until tender. French lentils will take about 15-20 minutes, regular lentils will be quicker. When they are thoroughly cooked, whirl them in a blender until a total brown mess. It does not need to be perfectly smooth. You might consider thinning out the lentil blob with part part of the can of tomato sauce.

Sauté the onion and celery until soft, but not brown. Add the oregano, sauce, and red wine. Allow to simmer for a bit to cook off the alcohol. Add the blob of lentils, stir, and be amazed. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lentil Chili

Twice in the past few weeks, I have used French lentils, also known as Le Puy lentils, in place of ground beef. Both times I was more than pleasantly pleased. Those little blue spheres of goodness really impress! Of course you already know that lentils pack a wallop of nutrition in every spoonful. More protein than beef, I think..... well, for certain I know that lentils are easier to digest, have loads of fiber, and not a bit of cholesterol. They have tons of iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Plus, if you pair them with foods that are rich in vitamin C, that really boosts the iron absorption. But, surely you knew all that.  

So at first, the idea of lentil chili seemed like a major commitment in the legume department - you know, beans upon beans and then throw in some lentils. I resisted for many years. But as you know, when you try something for the first time, and it turns out that you actually *like* it, you wonder what all the fuss was about. I combined a few recipes to create this one. The spice combination is perfect as is. This chili is great for lunch and it freezes very well. 

Don't wait. Try this chili. Isn't there a big football game coming up soon where you could serve this? Adorn with the usual suspects: sour cream, grated cheese, avocado, minced onion, cilantro, tortilla chips.

Here's what you need:
1 C French lentils, rinsed and drained (I highly recommend French lentils for this soup)
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 chopped onion
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t smoked paprika
1 t chipotle hot sauce or 1/2 t chipotle powder
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t oregano
2 x 14 oz.cans diced tomatoes
4 C tomato juice
2 x 15 oz. cans red kidney beans

Here's what you do:
Cook the lentils in lots of fresh water. Watch them closely, stir them once in a while, simmer gently until done - about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, saute onion, peppers and garlic in the oil until the veg is soft, but not brown. add the cumin, paprika, chipotle hot sauce, chili powder and oregano. Stir to incorporate. Add remaining ingredients and allow chili to simmer for about 30-60 minutes. I always allow my soups to sit, covered, for a long time on the stove after the cooking time, to let the flavors really meld together.