Sunday, July 31, 2011

Macrobiotic Meal.

Brown jasmine rice, steamed carrots and green beans, baked yam, gingered black beans with miso-sesame dressing and a wakame salad that I forced myself to eat. I hate seaweed.

So. I'm trying to cut back on overly processed foods and fat. I've been a giant stressball these past few months and my diet has been poorly because of it. I've been leaning far too much on white bread, frozen veggie burgers, sweets, sweets and more sweets. I have a macrobiotic cookbook called The Self Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner that emphasizes macrobiotic eating as a way towards a balance of your mind, moods and body. It favors whole grains such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, barley etc as a staple and to be eaten with fresh, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, beans, sea vegetables and some minimally processed soy foods like tempeh and tofu. Easy enough I thought. I'd like to eat several meals a week like this but I'd have to do more research to make it interesting. Tonight's dinner was pretty basic and kinda boring. But at least it's a starting off point.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chickpea Salad Melt

This takes me back to when I was living at my college dorm in the mid 90's. The decor was very dated as was the food in the dining halls. The starchy greasy food made me gain the Freshman 40. Awesome right? Well, one of those foods was the tuna melt. Toasty bread, mayonnaise-y tuna salad and melted cheese on top. I decided to re-create that dish today, vegan style.

The first thing I did was make the tuna salad equivalent. I made chickpea salad out of mashed chickpeas, chopped celery, red onion, vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise brand), garlic powder, onion powder, a touch of mustard, salt and pepper. The proportions are up to you, taste as you go. If you want a "fishy" taste, you may add dulse or nori flakes. Next, I made the "cheese" sauce. The recipe I used is very similar to the "Cheese Sauce" recipe you'll find here. It's the 3rd recipe down. You don't have to make the whole amount, cut the recipe in half if you want. You can always store the rest in the fridge for later. Ok, so after that, I assembled the sandwich. I buttered a slice of whole grain bread with Earth Balance margarine, spooned some chickpea salad on top, dolloped a couple TB of cheese sauce and put it under the broiler for several minutes so the toast browned and the sauce got all bubbly.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Buckwheat Pancakes

This morning I made the buckwheat pancakes from the Vegan Brunch cookbook. They were easy to prepare and are gluten free. I used a combination of buckwheat flour and corn flour. These were really good with Earth Balance margarine, maple syrup and a blob of apple butter. Yummy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tofu Bean Burgers, BBQ Pinto Beans, Raw Slaw, Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

Stayin' in for "Carmegeddon" weekend and to prepare for it, I made an array of comforting foods to enjoy.

These tofu-bean burgers are the best. I try not to eat too many frozen veggie burgers so homemade is the way to go. Recipe here. I topped them with grilled onions and a homemade thousand island sauce.

This came to be when I noticed way too many cans of plain pinto beans in my pantry. I flipped through my "366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans and grains" book and saw a recipe for Slow Cooked Spicy Barbecue Pinto Beans. I loosely followed the recipe in which I mixed tomato sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, onions and garlic with the beans and let them slow cook in the oven.

Beautiful 'Raw Slaw' from the "Urban Vegan" cookbook. Since all the other dishes are kind of hearty and rich, I wanted a lighter coleslaw with an oil and vinegar based dressing. This one is perfect.

And dessert is always something I like to have on the weekends. This is the Mexican chocolate cake recipe with shop bought chocolate fudge frosting (I think it's Pillsbury).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Piro Aloo: Spicy Potatoes

The kind folks from Wisdom Publications sent me an advanced reader's copy of a new veggie cookbook coming out called "Veggiyana: The Dharma of Cooking"* by Sandra Garson. It just came in the mail this morning and I was so eager to cook from it that I picked out one of the simple recipes for lunch. I've only glanced through the book and already I know I'm going to love cooking from it. The recipes are wholesome, nutritious and simple and express the author's premise that fueling the body with the right foods are the keys to a healthy mind and body. There are 108 recipes (the number of beads on a buddhist mala) from around the world including salads, stews, dhals, noodles, rice and vegetable dishes.

This is a Nepali potato dish called piro aloo which is beautifully spiced with arbol chili powder, cumin, garlic, turmeric and green chiles. I overcooked my potatoes a little so they didn't get as crisp as they should have. But no matter, this was so delicious and reminded me of a spicy exotic version of home fries! As you know I love cooking Nepali food so I will be adding this dish to my Nepali repertoire.

*Note: This is a vegetarian book as some recipes require eggs and dairy. There are a lot of vegan recipes though!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gardein Mandarin Orange Chick'n

I've had gardein meatless products before so I was sure this was going to be good. I found it in my grocer's freezer and all you have to do is saute it frozen straight out of the bag until it gets browned and there's a sauce pouch that you defrost in hot water and goes into the pan at the end. Took about 8 minutes to do, just like it says on the bag!

Here we are on top of steamed rice with a side of broccoli and a healthy squirt of Sriracha. It was very tasty. The sauce was pleasant and not too sweet and the texture of the fake meat was nice and chewy, not quite like real chicken but close enough for me. Yum. I don't eat fake meats often so this was a treat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vegan Red Wine Bolognese and Vegetable Biriyani

Yesterday's dinner was this comforting bowl of rigatoni with red wine bolognese sauce. I used TVP (textured vegetable protein) which gave it the perfect "meaty" texture. The parmesan-like topping is almonds/miso/nutritional yeast/salt.

Tonight's dinner was this simple vegetable biriyani from Flavors of India cookbook. It is flavored with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.

Red Wine Bolognese Recipe

2 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. oregano
2 cans diced tomatoes (I puree them in a blender first)
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup TVP
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, carrot, celery and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add herbs and stir for a bit. Add tomatoes and red wine and sugar and bring to a boil. Add TVP and cook for a couple minutes. The hot liquid will soften and rehydrate the TVP. Add a little water if too thick. Lower heat to simmer covered for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vegetable Pakora

This is the first time I made vegetable pakora (deep fried battered vegetables) and they came out so good. The recipe is from Flavors of India and it was super easy.

Here are the vegetables mixed in the batter made from garbanzo flour, water, lemon juice, baking powder and spices.

Out of the oil.


My cousin Andrea enjoying the pakora. She loved them.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hawaiian Veggie Burger

Happy 4th! Today we made veggie burgers and I made mine hawaiian style. I have been craving this for a while now. Before I was veggie, I loved Island's Restaurant Hawaiian burger which had a sweet teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple. I created my own by using the sauce recipe from here, cooked up a Boca vegan burger and added grilled onions and pineapple. It was so good and satisfied my craving. I also made homemade baked fries on the side.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Potato Kibbe (Potato & Bulgur Pie)

Got this delicious recipe from a fantastic cookbook, "Classic Vegetarian Cooking From The Middle East and North Africa". It's a mashed potato and bulgur dish with a layer of sauteed onions and almonds in the middle layer. I think mine could have been crisper and browner on the top but I was so impatient to eat that I have burnt roof of mouth as result!

Served with a lemon garlic sauce (vegan mayo, lemon juice, garlic, salt, parsley).