Monday, March 22, 2010

Raw zucchini linguine with creamy pesto sauce

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Happy spring!!! It's finally here! Spring is by far my favourite season. The smell of wet earth, flowers growing, the warmth of the sun and enough sunlight to actually see you home after work! When it comes to food, it's also the time that we get to welcome fresh, light foods back into our lives after a winter of heavier, root vegetable fare.

Here's an easy, light dish dish that speaks of warm weather and blooming herb gardens - even if they're only on an apartment balcony.

To make the pesto
1/4c pine nuts
2T flax or olive oil
1/2c basil
1 clove garlic

Blend together.
Add a bit of water as needed to achieve consistency you want.

To make the pasta
2 zucchini
1 avocado, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped

Using a knife, cut the zuccinni in thirds, but don't cut all the way through. With a vegetable peeler, peel thin slices of the zucchini - because it's cut in thirds, the pieces will be thinner and more like linguine. I didn't use the core of the zucchini (the part with seeds) - I save it for soups.

In a bowl, toss the zucchini linguine with the pesto sauce until well coated. Then add the chopped avocado and tomato and toss until mixed well.

Serve and enjoy!

Tip for keeping pesto for extended periods of time: My friend Manuela gave me this tip. Put a layer of olive oil over the pesto in a jar or container. Then put it in the fridge. The layer of oil will harden over the pesto (coconut oil will also work nicely as it hardens at pretty warm temperatures). When you want to use more pesto, just scrape the layer away.

Manuela is full of great tips like that. Whenever I clean my bathroom of dust anywhere, the dust and hair always clumps up and stays on whatever it is I'm cleaning. It's always such a pain in the bum, especially when you have four cats. She's the one who enlightened me about using a microfibre cleaning cloth first to remove all the dust and hair easily before washing! My life has never been the same! Thanks Manuela!!

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vegan Quiche Yum Yum

When I was younger I loved quiche. Loved it! And it was one of the dishes I mastered and loved to make as a kid as well (the others being chocolate chip cookies and meringues). When I became vegan, I wasn't quite ready to give up on quiches, and trying to make one was actually one of the first vegan things I tried. I had an excellent recipe in university, particularly the one time that I mixed up the ingredients and put all the oil that was meant for the crust in the filling - yum! Sadly though, I misplaced the recipe and haven't been able to find it since.

We were originally supposed to have one of his exciting salads for dinner. But, he went out and I ate all the lettuce (it's not my fault! You can't leave me alone with a head of lettuce! It's one of my many weaknesses!)...So, I had to find something else I could make for dinner, fast. Luckily, he had also bought medium firm silken tofu instead of our usual extra firm tofu (pffft! what a tofu amateur!). What else is there really to do with medium firm tofu then make a quiche??

To make
1 12.3oz package, medium firm tofu
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch
1 tsp tumeric (this is more for colouring, so you can add less to make it less yellow)
3 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Drain and press the tofu. The easiest way to do this is to put it in a mesh strainer over a bowl and pile things on top of it - I put a large mug filled with rocks. Let it sit for like an hour. And you can help it out by pushing down on the mug.

Set oven to 350F.
Blend the pressed tofu and the rest of the ingredients until smooth in a food processor.

I wanted a spinach quiche so I sautes chopped red onion in a pan until translucent, then added whole leaves of spinach and sauteed until just wilted. I stirred the veggies into the quiche mixture and then spread in a loaf pan. You can use any veggies though - like cherry tomatoes, black olives, sauteed mushrooms...

Cook for 25 minutes.

Serves 2-3, so feel free to double the recipe if you want more!!!

Enjoy with a green salad (well, what's left of it... :P )!

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Raw dinner with kelly!

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Carrot and cucumber salad with a spicy peanut dressing, sprinkled with hemp seeds.

Recently my husband went to Costa Rica for a week. Lucky boy, but I missed him tons. I had this plan to do all this stuff while he was away. Yeah...didn't happen. Instead, I was reminded that I am so not good left to my own devices. I eat crap and watch way too much tv and then feel sick from eating too much and so poorly and generally can't wait for him to come home. BUT one thing that helped both the missing him and the eating crap blues was having someone over for dinner!

So I had my buddy kelly over! Yes, the very same kelly who this blog is named after! yay kelly!
We had...
  • mushroom soup with zucchini soba noodles and marinated enoki mushrooms
  • a carrot cucumber soup with spicy peanut dressing
  • raw sushi filled with almond pate, carrots, cucumbers, avocados and enoki mushrooms
  • big girl ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Which were raw cookie dough base with coconut ice cream filling.
When we started the soup Kelly said " raw food filling?" I gave some vague answer, but then halfway through the soup I was STUFFED. She made it part way through the soup and through  her salad. Of course, we both made room for dessert...

Mushroom soup
I made this one from gliving but without the kombu, and with some soya sauce added. I marinated the shitake mushrooms and some enoki mushrooms for an hour in the sesame oil, soya sauce and 1/2cup of water. And I topped my soup with enoki mushrooms and green onion. It was unbelievably delicious!!! Mine definitely did not photograph as well as the one on gliving, and seems to be much creamier based on the pictures...

Don't let the picture fool you, this was a deliciously creamy soup with a light gingery mushroom taste.

Carrot cucumber salad with spicy peanut dressing
This. is. the. easiest. salad. ever!! And I ate it constantly while the boy was away.
Using a handheld peeler, peel thin strips of carrots and cucumbers. It's like the cheap girl's spiralizer!!
For the sauce, I made this peanut sauce but watered it down to salad dressing consistency and added chili pepper flakes.

You can easily make this sauce raw, but I always balk whenever I see the sodium amount in nama shoyu!!

Note: only dress the salad when serving/eating it. Because of the cucumber, when the salad sits it becomes watery. So, I like to keep the undressed salad in a container and when I'm ready to eat it, dish some out, leaving the water behind, dress it and enjoy!

Sushi rolls

 I took this picture the next day because my photos were so terrible. But the avocado had started to brown a bit.

To make
raw seaweed (I used roasted because I couldn't find any raw)
almond pate (I have no idea why it's called mock salmon pate, doesn't really have anything in common and really I think just freaks people out a bit. I just put everything in a food processor as I don't have a juicer.)
cucumbers, julienned
carrots, julienned
enoki mushrooms

shiny side of seaweed down on the rolling mat. Spread the pate in a thin layer over the seaweed, leaving a bit of space at the top and bottom. put your fillings near the bottom and roll, baby, roll! Use a sharp knife to cut. I didn't have any that were sharp enough, so I used a serrated knife.

Taken the night of. Food photos really don't work so great in dim lighting...

Little tip: because the pate is so wet, your sushi will not keep very long once rolled. But, it's super easy and fast to roll, so if you're not going to eat many, store the ingredients separately and roll as you go.

Grown up ice cream sandwiches

I love ice cream sammys. And when I was younger, my mom used to make them for us. For a fancy dinner (whatever, we're fancy darnit! kelly wore a dress and everything! And my cats didn't go on the table or try to stick their faces in our food once! THAT'S FANCY!), I felt a tart-style dessert was more appropriate. I used all the same elements of an ice cream sandwich, giving it a delicious cookie base and filling it to the top with coconut ice cream from ani phyo's raw desserts. Definitely one of the most delicious desserts I've ever had!!!

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

steel cut oats (or, what I'm having for breakfast)

I'm a girl who likes, as my husband calls it, a "serious" breakfast. If I have cereal or a piece of toast with nut butter and honey, within an hour I'm starving. Normally I have scrambled tofu with tomato, red onion, garlic and olives. Sometimes I have it with toast as well. But sometimes a girl needs a bit of variety. Of course, when a serious breakfast is required, finding different things to fit that bill can be seriously difficult.

Enter steel cut oats. I heard about them, and bought some. Then I put off making them for about a year, under a misguided impression of how difficult they'd be.  But, when I finally did get around to making them, I couldn't believe how easy and delicious this healthy breakfast is.

 Topped with chopped apples, blueberries, dried cranberries, walnut halves and cinnamon.

Steel-cut oats are whole oat groats, which have been cut into two or three pieces rather than rolled into flakes. Incredibly high in fibre, whole oats are the perfect way to prevent heart disease and diabetes and to lower cholesterol. Whole oats are also an excellent source of maganese, selenium, vitamin B1 and protein. All these things combined with the naturally sweet taste and chewy texture of steel-cut oats, make for one wonderful bowl of breakfast.

To make
2c water
2c soy milk
1c steel-cut oats

1/2T cinnamon
1/2T nutmeg

Bring the water and milk to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the oats and spices into the simmering liquid and lower heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until mixture thickens. Stir, and continue to simmer until the mixture is creamy and pudding-like (about 7-10 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand for a bit.

Serve each bowl topped with blueberries, 1T of ground flax and a drizzle of agave nectar.

Enjoy your delicious and nutritious breakfast, and the feeling of not being hungry again in an hour!

 Topped with walnut halves and cinnamon.

Lasts in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days. When you reheat, just add a bit more soy milk (or nut milk) and mix in.

There is currently some uncertainty around whether oats contain gluten. Personally I avoid rolled oats, as they're often rolled in wheat flour. However, I've never had a problem with whole oats or the steel-cut variety. If you are celiac, you may not want to take the risk until more research is done on the matter.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

lentil carrot salad

I went to Cuba recently for a very belated honeymoon. And let me tell you, Cuba is no place for vegans. And especially especially no place for vegans who cannot eat gluten. I was very lucky that my hotel at least had an amazing salad bar. And even luckier that I love love love salad. But even still, seven says of salad, 2x a day, everyday...well, it can leave a food-happy vegan girl a little...unsatisfied. And this is coming from someone who ate salad for a year straight. But at least that salad had beans.

I think I could have made it through a little better if there had been coconuts, the soy yogurt that's supposedly ubiquitous in cuba, or even cuba's "famous dish" of beans and rice. But, nada. I tried, quite hard and in my brand of broken spanish I might add, to monetarily convince someone - anyone - to send some soygurt my way. No one was having it. And you should have seen the looks of confusion and, dare I say it, concern at my sanity when I asked for beans and rice. And other than my last day there when some beautiful cuban soul gave me a coconut, no one was giving me any of those either!

While the salad bar got me through the first half of the week, by the fourth or fifth day, what got me through was the excitement of the meal that awaited me upon my return. I knew my mom was going to leave me something delicious - specifically this beautiful salad - for when I returned at some ungodly hour of the morning. Oh especially when I was on that plane dying from my most horrible choice I ever made in cuba - chicoticos, an evil corn puff chip thing full of "authorized flavours", i.e. PARASITES - I was so so excited for an incredibly delicious lentil carrot salad.

To make
2 cups green lentils, cooked, rinsed and drained
1 cup carrots, grated (using the grating disc of a food processor)
1/2 c parsley or corriander, chopped
1/2 cup chives, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
olive oil, dash
hot sauce or cayenne pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste

Mix everything together and enjoy a satisfying, hearty and unbelievably tasty dish. For an extra treat, add some sundried olives and chopped sundried tomatoes and serve on a bed of greens.

Oh, and just so you know, my story had an unhappy ending: came home to no salad and a nasty strain of some stomach bug due to the evil chicoticos. Well, at least I still have an awesome tan.

Pixie stealing some lettuce. Notice how in the first picture her tongue is sticking out? Silly cat.

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