February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras!

I wanted to make something special for Mardi Gras, so I tried the jambalaya recipe in Veganomicon. If you don't already own this book, BUY IT. Seriously, even if you aren't a vegan, it has a lot of very yummy recipes. The jambalaya turned out just wonderfully, with the rice cooked perfectly. Although it was a pretty low fat option for Fat Tuesday!

Homemade Tortillas

I wanted to try to make some corn tortillas at home, and found a recipe in a Pueblo Indian cookbook I forgot I had. The recipe was very simple, but I thought it was a little flavorless. So, I tweaked it a little bit until they tasted just right.

-2 cups fine cornmeal (masa de harina)
-juice from 1 lime
-warm water
-1 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. chile powder

1. Pour the lime juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add warm water until the water and lime juice equal 1 1/2 cups.
2. Put the cornmeal into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and chile powder, and mix well. Pour in the water/juice mixture into the bowl, and mix well, until the dough clings to itself, and not the bowl.
3. Heat a dry cast iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat.
4. While the griddle heats up, form the first tortilla. This was my method, which worked really well:
Take a large (gallon size) ziploc bag, and cut along the sides, leaving the bottom seam intact. Form the tortilla dough into 1 3/4 in diameter ball. Place the dough ball into the middle of one side of the ziploc sheet. Fold the other side of the bag over the dough ball, so it's sandwiched between two pieces of plastic. Take a large, heavy skillet and press down on the tortilla dough ball. You can then easily peel the plastic from one side of the tortilla, and then the other.
5. Cook the tortilla on the hot griddle, turning frequently until flecked with brown.

February 15, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup, so I decided to try and make a pot. I found a few recipes online, but none of them were exactly what I was looking for. So, I decided to try and create my own recipe. And here it is:

-2 T. vegetable oil
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 medium onions, chopped
-2 cans corn, drained
-28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
-2 roasted red peppers
-1 medium zucchini, chopped
-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
-zest and juice from one lime
-1 T. cumin
-2 t. paprika
-4 cups water
-salt and pepper
-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the garlic, onion, and corn until the onion is soft, stirring frequently.
2. Add the tomatoes and juice, zucchini, roasted red peppers, jalapeño, lime juice and zest, spices, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a rolling simmer. Simmer until the zucchini is soft.
3. In small batches, blend the soup in a blender until smooth, but small pieces of vegetable are still visible. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add beans and stir, reheating the soup if needed.
4. Serve with tortilla strips, and you could also include slices of avocado, cheese, or fresh cilantro.

To make your own tortilla strips, cut corn tortillas into narrow strips. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a heavy skillet on high, and add the tortilla strips. Stir frequently until the tortilla strips are curled and crispy.

Raw Chocolate Mousse

This is another recipe from the raw foods class I took. Avocados help to make the mousse creamy, and it has a richly chocolate flavor. This recipe was perfect for Valentine's Day, served over some fresh strawberries. I froze the leftovers and enjoyed it the next day too!

-2 medium avocados
-1 cup rapadura or date sugar (I used date sugar)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
-3/4 cup organic cocoa or raw carob powder
-3/4 cup water, plus additional water to thin*

1. Process at the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add additional water, if necessary, to thin to the desired consistency.
2. Enjoy immediately, or freeze in ice cube trays. Thaw for 5 minutes before serving.

*I used fresh coconut water in place of the water, and added fresh coconut meat to the mousse when blending.

February 10, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

The recipe for this soup comes from my lovely friend Ashley's food blog. I made a few changes (mostly out of necessity), but it's pretty much the same. It's a very simple recipe, but the results are delicious. Smooth and creamy, and chock full of vegetables, I have a feeling this is going to become one of my favorite recipes.

-2 T. olive oil
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 carrots, sliced
-1 red potato, cubed
-About 15 oz. of roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped*
-4 cups vegetable stock
-1 t. agave nectar

1. Sauté the onion and carrot in the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Once the onion is soft, add the broth, potato, and peppers. Bring to a boil, then down to a fast simmer. Cover partially and simmer for 25 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender.
3. Once the potatoes are cooked, add the agave nectar. Pour the soup into a blender (in batches if needed) and blend it up (or use an immersion blender if you have one). Pour back into the pot and serve!

I sprinkled some roasted sunflower seeds over the top, and Ashley served hers with some homemade croutons. Yum!

*I didn't have a jar of roasted red pepper on hand, so I just roasted some myself. Two medium peppers worked perfectly.

February 04, 2009

Brown Rice and Spinach Soup

I came up with this recipe because I wanted to eat Italian wedding soup, but I didn't want to use pasta. Or meat, obviously. So, I substituted brown rice for the pasta, and beans for the meat for a simple, scrumptious soup!

-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
-1 large onion, finely chopped
-8 cloves garlic, minced
-1 cup brown rice
-16 oz. frozen chopped spinach (can use a 10 oz. package instead)
-10 cups vegetable broth
-2 cans cannelloni beans
-juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot, and add the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the onions are soft (but not browned).
2. Add the spinach, broth, and brown rice. Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer until the rice is fully cooked, approx. 30-45 minutes.
3. Turn the heat to low, and add the beans. Cook for a few minutes to warm the beans.
4. Stir in the optional lemon juice to add a nice brightness.

Quinoa Tabouleh

I found this recipe for a gluten-free tabouleh on the Whole Foods website. It's light and refreshing, but next time I may skip or reduce the cucumber. I also tossed in some chickpeas that I had in the fridge.

-1 cup quinoa
-1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
-5 green onions, finely chopped
-2 cups small grape tomatoes, halved
-1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, thinly sliced
-Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, more to taste
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-Sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

1. Cook quinoa and allow to cool.
2. Combine all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve room temperature or chilled.

February 01, 2009

Yumm! Sauce and Yumm! Bowls

Café Yumm! is a restaurant in Eugene, OR that my sister raved about when she lived there. She brought home a bottle of their unique sauce, which is eaten on a salad. I found a few recipes for the sauce online, played around with the amounts and ingredients, and I was pretty please with the results.

-1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)
-1/2 cup almonds
-1/3 cup nutritional yeast
-1/3 cup garbonzo beans

-1/3 cup soybeans
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup lemon juice
-2 garlic cloves
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp. curry powder
-1/2 tsp. oregano

Blend nuts, beans and oil in food processor. Then blend in yeast and liquids one at a time. Puree until smooth.

Once you've made the sauce, you can make yourself a Yumm! bowl. For mine, I layered salad greens, brown rice, black beans, chopped black olives, salsa, sliced avocado, and topped it with Yumm! sauce. Delicious!