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Green Vegetable Salad

5 Oct

The book Veganomicon had a hold of my heart this summer, but I think the fall might belong to my latest addition, Home Made.  I heard the author interviewed on Edible Radio, and this book sounded right up my alley.

I like this recipe because it ties together the end of summer: an abundance of herbs in the garden (literally) dying to be used, and the last of some of my favorite green  things from the farmers market.

The green veggies in their cooling water bath

The authors suggest serving this with some crumbled goat cheese which would be a nice addition, I think. The dressing is really a perfect, creamy match for the greens all on its own, though.

I’m sad to see the end of summer, but I do so love the fall. I’m heading back to France in just under 2 weeks, and fall is my favorite time to be there. Can’t wait to visit the cider makes and fromagers in Normandy, and I just love the air this time of year no matter where I am.

Green Vegetable Salad
From Home Made
Serves 4

3 cups of mixed green vegetables: fava beans, peas, snow peas, asparagus or a mixture thereof
2 ribs celery
1 cup mixed herbs like parsley, tarragon, mint, dill or any mixture of those

Dressing:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbs finely chopped dill
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup hazelnut oil

Cut the long vegetables, such as asparagus or green beans, in half. Blanch all veg for 2 mins, in turn, in a pan with plenty of boiling water. Finish with the fava beans since they will color the water purple. Rinse everything immediately under cold running water. Mix the vegetables, stir in the herbs (reserve some for garnish) and toss with the dressing.

To make the dressing, thoroughly blend all ingredients except the oil. Lastly, beat in the oil in a think trickle.

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry

1 Oct

Have I mentioned that I don’t like tofu? I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I hate it, but I seem to always eat around it if I order something vegetarian in a restaurant that automatically comes with it, and I never ever ever make it at home. But the one questions vegetarians are asked unceasingly is: “Where do you get your protein??” and until recently the answer has usually been tofu. Blech.

Luckily for vegetarians there is protein in literally everything (it is one of the building blocks of nutrition, after all), and though I could talk about the excessive consumption of protein in this country that has helped lead to our obesity epidemic (1 in 3 Americans is now obese), I will simply say that quinoa is a quick and delish way of getting a complete plant-based protein. So goodbye tofu!

This is one of my fave quinoa recipes. You really do want to use fresh pineapple in this. You will need the juice from a fresh pineapple to use in the quinoa, and this does taste best if you make the quinoa itself a day ahead and let it sit overnight to absorb all the pineapple-y goodness. But, if you’re pressed for time and can’t wait so be it. It will still be good. And, though this dish is the bomb as-is, I also think it would be fantastic with some grilled shrimp or salmon on top. Just no tofu!

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry
From Veganomicon
serves 4

Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh pineapple juice
1 cup cold water
1/4 tsp soy sauce

Stir-Fry
4 oz unsalted cashews
3 tbs peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 hot red chili, sliced into very thin rounds
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen green peas or cooked edamame
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced  into thin shreds
2 tbs finely chopped mint
10 ounces fresh pineapple cut into bite-sized chunks
3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs veg stock (or water)
1 tbs mirin
lime wedges for garnish

Prepare the quinoa first: Combine the quinoa ingredients in a medium pot. Cover, place over high heat, and bring to boil. Stir a few times, lower the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa appears plumped and slightly translucent. Uncover, fluff, and let cool. After it has cooled, place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. If you’re in a hurry chill the quinoa for at least an hour. When ready to use, break up any chunks of the cold quinoa with a fork.

Prepare the stir-fry: Use the largest nonstick skillet you have or a wok. Have all of your ingredients chopped and easily within reach. Place the cashews in a dry pan and heat over low, stirring until lightly toasted  4-5 mins.

Remove the cashews from the pan, raise the heat to medium, and add the peanut oil, scallions, and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle add the sliced chile pepper and ginger. Stir-fry for about 2 mins, then add the bell pepper and peas. Cook another 3-4 mins, until the bell pepper is softened and the peas are bright green. Add the basil and mint, and stir for another minute before adding the pineapple and quinoa.

In a measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, veg stock and mirin. Pour over the stir-fry. Stir to incorporate completely and coat the quinoa. Continue to cook 10-14 minutes until the quinoa is very hot (note: I didn’t cook it more than another few minutes because I felt like it was done). Serve with lime wedges.

Pineapple-Cilantro Popsicles

30 Aug

I bought some popsicle molds this summer, thinking they would be the perfect light treat on a hot summer day. Well, we haven’t seen a lot of hot days that warrant popsicle eating here in Seattle, so the new molds have sat on the shelf for two months.  When Dave flew back from a trip last week, he couldn’t stop talking about the cool popsicle ideas in the in-flight magazine and I knew it was time to break out the molds.

These would be really tasty with other herbs like shiso, verbena, or even basil.  It would also be fun to add a handful of strawberries or blueberries, or even some coconut milk.  These pops are a grown-up treat that even kids would love… or is the other way around?!

Pineapple-Cilantro Pops
From Spirit Magazine

1 ripe pineapple, cut into small chunks
handful of fresh cilantro leaves
⅓ cup sugar
juice of ½ lime
pinch of salt

Put pineapple, cilantro, sugar, lime juice, and salt in a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour mixture into 8 to 10 3-ounce ice-pop molds and add sticks. Freeze for 4 hours, or until frozen. Dip molds in tepid water to help remove the pops.

 

Dad and Dave enjoying dessert

Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes

7 Jul

My husband and I saw Forks over Knives about a month ago, and it inspired us to try a more vegan diet. We don’t make a lot of meals with meat at home (and I have already cut out eggs and most dairy), but we thought we would just put a little more thought into making some creative vegan meals. I asked a friend for a cookbook recommendation, and he suggested I check out Veganomicon.  I am so glad I did, because it is full of really flavorful, easy-to-make recipes.

This is the first recipe I made from the book, and it is a winner. Depending on what you serve along with it, one half potato is a good-sized serving. But if you are hungry, I would serve both halves. I served one half alongside a green salad, some roasted asparagus, and a glass of sauvignon blanc.


Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes
From Veganomicon
Makes 8 potato halves

4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed, baked, and cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk, vegetable broth or water
3 tbs peanut oil
1 tsp yellow or brown mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice (about a cup)
1 medium-size carrot, cut into small dice (about 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup frozen peas, rinsed
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Slice the cooled baked potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato in the skin. The easiest way is to hold the potato in the palm of your nonwriting hand use a teaspoon to scoop the potato into a bowl. Go slowly and carefully so as not to break the potato, but you don’t have to be a perfectionist about it. Mash the potatoes up with the soy milk and set aside the skins.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and coriander seeds. The mustard seeds should begin to pop; if they don’t pop in a minute or two, turn the heat up. Let the seeds pop for about a minute, add the onions and carrots, and saute for 7-10 minutes, until the onions begin to brown.

Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for a minute more. Add the cumin, turmeric, and salt with a splash of water, stir well, then add the potatoes, mixing everything well. Add a little water if it looks too dry. Cook until the potatoes are heated through, then add the peas and cook until those are heated through. Add the lemon juice to taste and stir to incorporate.

Brush the insides of the potato skins with a little bit of oil. Then scoop the filling into the skin, pressing gently to hold the filling in place.

Line the potato halves on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. You can garnish with some chopped fresh cilantro, if so inclined, and serve.

Tri Color Bean Salad with Lemon, Mint & Parsley

27 May

I know I talk a lot here about my love of France, and really what isn’t there to love about that place?  But my husband and I also fell in love with a place closer to home: a small town in Eastern Washington called Walla Walla.  Now, if you know anything about wine you have probably at least heard of Walla Walla, and many of the best wines from this state are grown there.  It also happens to be an adorable town with a charming main street, dry weather (something that is a wonderful reprieve from the wet weather we have here in Seattle), and it happens to be perched at the foot of the Blue Mountains, which makes for stunning scenery all around you.

The vineyards at Abeja Cellars in Walla Walla

Needless to say, we spend a lot of time in this town.  We know the area well, love the restaurants, and just plain enjoy the slow pace of small town life.  One of our favorite things to do while visiting is head over to the Farmer’s Market that happens weekend mornings.  On a recent trip with some friends we ended up trying some new things at the market, and my husband went crazy for a bean salad we had.  While eating it I tried to decipher the ingredients so that I could make it for him again at home, and it seemed to me most like tabbouleh with beans instead of couscous.

And so, here is my re-creation, inspired by the woman from Walla Walla.  It is the perfect accompaniment to summer grilling, or just alongside a sandwich.  Beans are super healthy, and so are herbs (which happen to be little antioxidant powerhouses).   I like my tabbouleh the traditional way, which is heavy on the herbs. These are a nice reprieve from the same old potato salad or coleslaw that show up at every summer event.

The version in the picture below is one I made with basil instead of the Tabbouleh dressing, so it is less green and herby than it usually looks. It tasted great, though, so feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand.

Tri Color Bean Salad with Lemon, Mint & Parsley
LaFemmeCooks

15 oz can each: black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans
1 tomato, diced
3-5 green onions, diced
2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Juice from one large lemon
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Will last in the refrigerator for about a week.

Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou

26 Aug

I was craving shrimp recently when I came across this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.  The green-hued, herb-flecked quinoa stopped me in my tracks, and I knew I had to make this ASAP. If you haven’t had quinoa before, you will find that it is a great, healthier replacement for rice in many recipes.  Hailed as probably the best plant-based source of protein, it has a delicate nutty flavor that pairs nicely with just about anything.

It was such a hit in my house that I have made it a few times since, and it will definitely be in regular rotation.  Pistou is easy to make and freezes well, so you can make a big batch of it, pop it in the freezer, and then take it out when you are ready to use it.  I also used a nice smokey pimenton (from World Spice here in Seattle) in the rub for the shrimp, which really knocked this dish out of the park and reminded me of the importance of using the best quality ingredients for every aspect of a recipe.

Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou
From Food and Wine September 2010

1/2 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
2 tbs flat-leaf parsley
1 tbs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tbs finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 1/4 cups water

In a resealable plastic bag, toss the shrimp with the first 6 ingredients, 1 tbs of the oil and 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper until coated.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425.  In a food processor, pulse the basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic and cheese.  Add 2 tbs of oil; puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and the remaining 1 tbs of oil.  Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender, about 15 mins.  Let stand for 5 mins.

On a baking sheet, roast the shrimp for about 8 minutes, until curled and pink.  Cut the shrimp into thirds and add to the quinoa with the pistou.  Toss well and serve.

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