Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I really need to get my blogging act together, but I just realized that I don't want January to end without a post about Christmas! To add to the hurry, I only have a few more minutes before the deadline for the "Behind the Apron" Round-up hosted by Fiber over at 28 Cooks.
We spend Christmas with Daiku's family in St. Louis. We asked both our families not to buy us gifts this Christmas, and for the most part, they were really good about it.
Daiku's brother L. decided to wow us with a vegan chili as our present. We were so thrilled when we saw the smoky chipotle and mushroom chili he cooked for us, a recipe he found on the Vegan Chef website. This was some serious chili! Those members of the family adventurous enough to try it thought so too. Now this is my idea of a present!
Here was our contribution to the holiday meal:
A big salad of mixed greens, carrots, radishes, red onion, oranges, and toasted pecans with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Here is someone who really got into the festive mood: Daiku's cutie niece, G.
During our stay in St. Louis, we stopped by Calvary cemetary, one of the oldest cemetaries in the city, where notable people are buried going back to the 18th century. It was a warm, peaceful day, and we enjoyed seeing the antique headstones and reading each person's personal story. The above headstone is from the childrens section of the cemetary, and it was touching to see the love that these families showed for their lost children, which was constant through the decades.
We visited Daiku's sister, who lives in the hip city neighborhood of Soulard. Above you can see just one of the examples of the unique architecture that sets this neighborhood apart, and which residents work hard to preserve and maintain.
Daiku's sister, L., was kind enough to take us out to lunch in the neighborhood. We went to Tanner B's, a small neighborhood restaurant/sports bar, with a surprising amount of vegetarian options to choose from. We started off with this hummus appetizer. It was really fresh, and the warm soft pitas didn't last long between the three of us!
Both Daiku and I ordered the California burger, a chickpea patty topped with sprouts and avocados and served with a mustard sauce and corn/pea salad. I love whe veggie burgers are filled with veggies instead of being a scary brown! And these were freshly made, too.
So there you have the last installment of my holiday posts- I promise! We enjoyed spending time with both of our families and sharing some good food and good times (and some freakishly warm weather).
Onto Behind the Apron. As I'm sure most of you know, this is the event where we are invited to come out from behind our aprons and share a little bit about ourselves besides our food. (Although I'm no stranger to posting photos of ourselves on this blog!) Click here to see the original post at 28 Cooks.
Most of the food you see on this blog comes to you courtesy of Daiku (left) and me, Bazu (right). On our first date, 9 years ago this month, Daiku wowed me with a vegan curry. A boy that can cook? I was hooked! Between then and now, I fell off the vegan bandwagon, only to hop back on about 3 years ago. Daiku is not a vegan, though he can cook and eat vegan like the best of them and for the most part, that is how we eat at home together. We live with our 2 old cats, Bijou and Marble.
Daiku: is a professor of philosophy, loves old airplanes, used to own an art gallery in St. Louis.
Bazu: is a Ph.D. student, lover of trashy t.v., and votes Green.
Both of us: are eagerly awaiting the revolution!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
- Julia Child's Boston Baked Beans (for the slow cooker)
- Bob's Red Mill Coffee Can Boston Brown Bread
- 100% whole wheat bread
- and a special recipe for a one-day detox, courtesy of You Are What You Eat Magazine
As Julia herself says, because these are cooked slowly in a slow cooker, there is "no soaking, no fussing, just dump everything into the pot and away you go; come back the next morning and the beans are done."
Ok, this is really simple... are you ready?...
Put into your slow cooker the following ingredients in the following order:
2 cups small white beans, well picked over and washed (no soaking necessary)
5 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. salt (you can probably increase this to taste since you are leaving out the salt pork)
1 cup finely sliced onions
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 TB dark unsulphured molasses
2 TB Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 TB grated fresh ginger
6 grinds of black pepper
Stir around, and cook on low heat for 12 to 14 hours. This long cooking time ensures a deep, rich, almost caramelized bean. Your house will smell awesome!
Traditionally, Boston Baked Beans are best served with Boston Brown Bread, steamed old-school style in a 1 lb. coffee tin.
This is copied straight out of the website:
Boston Brown Bread is different from the other breads because it is cooked by steaming rather than baked in an oven. It has a wonderful, satisfying flavor and is traditionally served with baked beans.
Mix the rye flour, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a fork to lighten and mix. Add the molasses and buttermilk, and blend well. The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.
Butter a 1-quart pudding mold or a 13-ounce coffee can and pour in the batter, filling the mold no more than two-thirds full. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in a deep kettle. Add boiling water half-way up the mold. Cover the kettle and steam for about 1-1/2 hours over medium heat, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the bread. Remove mold or can from kettle and cool on rack for 5 minutes. Then remove bread from the container and serve warm.
yield: 1 9" x 5" loaf
As a novice home bread baker, I was impressed by this simple, detox-friendly, and delicious bread.
4 to 5 cups whole wheat flour
1 TB. Active Dry Yeast (1 pack)
1 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees Farenheit)
2 TB. nonfat dry milk (I substituted 2 TB. soybean powder here and it seemed fine)
1 tsp. sea salt
2 TB. honey or molasses
2 TB. vegetable oil (I used detox-friendly extra virgin olive oil)
Pour water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Allow yeast to dissolve (about 5 min). Add milk, salt, honey, oil, and 2 cups of flour. Stir well. Continue to stir adding a little flour at a time until dough becomes stiff and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough onto floured board and knead 5-7 min., until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape dough and place in oiled 9" x 5" loaf pan. (Note: I chose to bake it free-style, without a loaf pan. I oiled the dough, placed it on a baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap and kept in the oven to protect it from the cold.) Allow dough to rise in warm place until doubled. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 45-50 minutes or until done.
(Click here for another recipe I wrote about from this magazine, for "butternut, peanut, pea, and spinach coconut curry with cashew salad" which you see here)
What I like about this is that each step comes with an explanation of how exactly it is helping your body. This is ideal, obviously, and we can't do this every day, but it is a good guideline to keep in mind.
- Start the day with a large glass of warm water with lemon juice (to hydrate, alkalize your body, and aid in liver and bowel function).
- Eat some fruit or make a smoothie (berries are especially helpful)
- After 1/2 hour or so, have a breakfast with complex carbs
- Take a brisk walk in the fresh air (to re-oxygenate)
- Drink a large glass of vegetable juice mid-morning (to replenish lost minerals, provide your body antioxidants, and to hydrate)
- Drink nettle tea throughout the morning (aids liver and kidney function, provides minerals and chlorophyll)
- Lunch needs to be a large raw salad (especially with sprouts). If you're really hungry, add in a bowl of brown rice or quinoa.
- Mid-afternoon, have another vegetable or fruit juice (add any combination of : greens, spirulina, or bluegreen algae)
- Drink dandelion coffee in the afternoon (helps liver function). You may also opt for dandelion tea or nettle tea instead.
- 1/2 hour before dinner, drink a large glass of warm water
- Dinner should involve another raw salad (try different ingredients than what you had for lunch to get a wide variety of nutrients) with a large bowl of vegetable soup with miso sprinkled with kelp or nori flakes
- In the evening, take a relaxing bath with lavender essential oil
- Have an early night, and keep eating those fruits and veggies tomorrow!
Enjoy these recipes. Please let me know what you thought of them!
Monday, January 29, 2007
A week or so later, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a gigantic package on my doorstep. Inside, I found :
3 full-sized packs of flatbreads (klassic 3 seed, seeded spelt, and seedlander), a package of cheddar crackers (not vegan, but the ingredients specified that the enzyme for making the cheese was vegetarian), and a neat yellow tin.
You too can request this free sample- it's like Christmas in January! These crackers are so flavorful and delicious, and healthy, with whole spelt flour, and various seeds such as sunflower and flax. They are also ultra-crunchy.
Send your address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Dr. Kracker!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
As per usual with too many pictures, I'm going to do my best to keep the words to a minimum.
P.S. I know I promised you all recipes from the last food round-up, and I will bring you those in a separate post within a few days- I have not forgotten!
Here we go...
Salad with: home-grown mung bean sprouts, apples, raisins, celery, red and garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, and a flax oil vinaigrette
Daiku's French-style lentils, with raisins and molasses added in for a sweet twist
This week's bread baking experiment: whole spelt bread. Very nice! And softer than the whole wheat bread from the previous week.
Pretty much becoming my favorite vegetable: fennel braised with tomatoes and garlic, served with kalamata olives.
That was a side with this whole wheat fettucini with cannelini beans and kale. Pasta with beans and greens- does it get much better than that?
Taco night would be incomplete without homemade pico de gallo (front) and guacamole (back)
Throw in some baked plantains too, while you are at it!
And don't forget fire-roasted poblano peppers! So sweet and smoky at the same time.
Typical detox breakfast: cream of buckwheat topped with walnuts and pecans, raisins and cinnamon, and tahini. I find that the tahini makes me feel very full and satisfied, probably because it's such an energy-dense food. On the side, a smoothie made with frozen cranberries, soymilk, and bananas. Ever since learning on Jackie's blog that you can use frozen cranberries in smoothies, I've been hooked. It's so delicious and healthy, and the bananas mask the tartness well. Try it!
Diann's white chili with baked tofu (I baked the tofu with nutritional yeast and veggie broth powder). This chili was SO good, and such a fun change of pace from normal red chili- thank you, Diann!
Served with whole wheat biscuits. (Modified from a recipe from the Vegan Family Favorites cookbook)
Greetings from Virginia! Here I am with pomelos the size of my head at a local Korean grocery with an insane selection of produce. (Living in Syracuse and trying to eat seasonally most of the time, I occasionally go crazy in the winter wishing for fresh produce!)
Some chinese broccoli from above-mentioned market, cooked with garlic and sesame seeds.
Which went with these falafels.
More cooking at my mom's house: fresh pesto (I made it with basil and walnuts), whole wheat penne pasta, and mushrooms sauteed with caramelized onions.
What this potato salad lacked in color, it more than made up for in flavor- I made the dressing with a mixture of vegannaise, horseradish, and Trader Joe's "21 seasoning salute". Tossed with potatoes, onions, and a touch of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. I absolutely love potato salad.
My mom raved over this focaccia. I made it using a recipe I'd used before: the Vegan Chef's olive, onion, and rosemary focaccia. I made it using- gasp!- white flour! So not quite detox-friendly, but oh so good.
I brought back some goodies from Trader Joe's when I came home from Virginia, since I know Daiku misses it as much as I do. Here is some gnocchi I brought home, for which Daiku made one of my all-time favorite sauces: kind of a puttanesca without the anchovies. Tomatoes with capers, black olives, and lots of red pepper flakes. Ultra tangy and spicy, it balanced the soft soothing gnocchi perfectly. Yum!
We had the gnocchi with frozen spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil, served with sea salt.
Then came... the wisdom teeth. These mango gels made up a large part of my diet this past week! They are made with agar instead of gelatin, and come in lots of intriguing fruit flavors (e.g. lychee, watermelon, etc.) They didn't take a lot of chewing and they cooled and soothed my mouth. Look for them in Asian grocery stores.
When I saw this on Carrie's blog, I just had to have it. Tomato lentil dill soup- all my favorite things! Too bad this was a test recipe for Dreena's next book. Oh well, I couldn't have the actual recipe, but I could approximate something like it! I went heavy on the dill, and the flavors of lentils and tomatoes went so well with it. Soothing, and didn't take much chewing.
More soft food. (I sound like a nursing home resident, don't I?!) An avocado salad with marinated red onions, modified from a recipe from Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food" magazine. My mother-in-law gave me a huge stash of these magazines over Christmas, and you can find some fun veggie recipes after wading through a lot of beef and pork. Martha! Eat more vegetables, for god's sake! Without bacon!
A classic meal at our house: black-eyed peas, turnip greens, whipped sweet potatoes. This is Daiku's plate, since it has crunchy things: pecans and crackers. Oh how I miss crunchy food!
Fun Friday-night dinner: seven-layer dip with corn chips. The layer you can see: tofu sour cream with leftover marinated onions, olives, jalapeno, and cilantro. The layers you can't see: refried beans, pinto and black beans, salsa, and guacamole. Lovely.
Finally, I was excited to at last see these raspberry oranges at the supermarket last night. I tried these for the first time last year, and got hooked. They are this beautiful ruby color on the inside, their skins have a red blush on the outside, and if you concentrate very carefully, they actually have a faint raspberry aftertaste. Magical!
Have a great weekend, everyone.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I am really proud to announce that I've been invited to be a member of the blog, What do Vegans Eat? (Thanks, Josh!) In case you guys have not checked this blog out, it is a giant compendium of vegan foods- the perfect place to direct someone who is curious about vegan eating and cooking from around the world. Please check it out, and from now on, look for my posts there too!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Unfortunately, all questions of food and detox are going to be on hold here for a little while. I had two of my wisdom teeth taken out today. I'm sure all the pain-killers I was injected with and I'm taking right now are not exactly detox-friendly! Nor are the soft things I'm eating: soy yogurt, pudding, and little fruit gels. But as soon as the bleeding and drooling stops, as soon as the pain goes away and the swollen chipmunk cheeks go down, I'll be back to eating and blogging like normal.
Thank you all so much for stopping by!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I apologize for not having done the regular Friday food round-up this week. I decided at the last minute to come back down to Virginia to help my mom move into a new house. It has been a hectic few days!
I just wanted to share some thoughts about my on-going detox with everyone, and hopefully I will hear back from some of you about your own thoughts and experiences. At the beginning of this detox, I expected great things- a meteoric rise in my energy and activity level, a lightening of my mood, and noticeable improvements in my weight and appearance. As we completed the third week of the detox, however, I was beginning to get a little disappointed that nothing *major* was happening. I did not lose much weight, I was not overcome with any startling feelings of well-being or energy... things seemed pretty so-so.
And that put me in a bit of a funk. How could I be so strict and observant about what I put in and on and around my body and not see measurable results? These questions bugged me until I got to my mom's house. There I noticed a subtle change inside of me. Whereas the usual array of goodies and snacks usually lure me in, I have managed to go the entire trip so far without breaking my detox. Surrounded by candy, white bread, chocolate, chips, and other processed foods, I was able to calmly munch on my fruits and homemade trail mix.
This was not major, but it definitely marks a difference in how I approach food. This must mean that my blood sugar is pretty darn stable these days, I am neither attracted to nor haunted by sweets and other junk. The detox has allowed me to truly rid my body and mind of the need for foods that are not good for me.
And that is something to celebrate!
Click here and here for previous posts in this blog in which I discuss The Great American Detox Diet by Alex Jamieson.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
From the Organic Consumers Association (OCA):
Organic standards for personal care products (e.g. lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.) are currently being developed by a task force. The OCA is fortunate to have a staff person serving as a voting representative for consumers on this task force. Unfortunately, we are the only voice for consumers on this task force made-up almost entirely of industry representatives. Please take this short 19 question survey to help us know better how to vote in a manner that creates a standard that protects your individual needs and desires, as a consumer of personal care products. You can have an important and effective hand in helping to sculpt organic standards simply by taking this quick anonymous survey now.
Please also forward this message.
(P.S. the OCA website is a great one to check out if you are not familiar with it- very informative, including information for activists: http://www.organicconsumers.org)
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Back in August when I started this blog, one of my first posts was called "Is this everything that's wrong with America?" In that post, I discussed Smuckers "Uncrustables" which are one of the most vile processed foods I'd seen in a long time.
Well, I have now come accross something that is so vile, so outrageously bad, that it makes Uncrustables look like wholesome, organic food that anyone would be proud to feed their kids.
First, some background. Do you remember the old Simpsons episode where they discover that the milk they were getting at school was actually "malk" or rat's milk? (The mafia was selling "malk" instead of milk to save money.)
Well, I have found actual malk in the real world. I saw this as I strolled a supermarket outside of St. Louis back in December:
Vitamite was sitting right there in the milk section. It uses milk vocabulary such as "homogenized" and "pasteurized" to further the illusion that is is some sort of lactose-free milk.
But a glance at the ingredient list reveals something far creepier. (Yes! Creepier than cow's milk!)
Water? CORN SYRUP SOLIDS?? What is this? It is some sort of laboratory creation with the worst of the dairy (caseinate) AND soy (isolated soy protein, which should never be consumed!) worlds, along with a bunch of artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and preservatives to round out the deal.
What is really sad is that Vitamite was pretty inexpensive, so I can see how a lower-income parent might believe that it is a lower priced, yet decent alternative to milk for their kids.
It angers me that so many things that don't bear any resemblance to food get marketed and sold in this country, leading to a society of overfed, malnourished, and seriously sick people. (Hint, you want a lactose-free and cheap milk? Try soymilk! Or rice milk. Almond milk. Oat milk. Hazelnut milk...)
Has anyone seen this product? Does anyone know more about it?
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Thank you so much for your comments about my last entry! I promise to post more about Iranian food and recipes in the future.
I apologize that my friday food round-up is being posted late on a saturday, but I was away from home yesterday and did not get a chance to blog. This was our second full week of detoxing, and we were still fairly strict (no refined sugar, no refined flours, no refined oils, etc.) Next week, I suspect we will start re-incorporating some refined flour (even some of the recipes in Alex Jamieson's book call for wheat or spelt flour that is not whole, so I'm guessing that is ok!).
I don't want to be repetitive, so for more information about our detox, click here for last week's entry.
In the interest of keeping the length of this entry down, I'm not providing recipes (unless it's a web recipe I can link to), but I promise if there is a lot of interest in any particular food, I will post the recipe later.
On to the food!
A mediterranean white bean dip with kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, basil, and herbes de Provence. Eaten with Wasa crackers, which have pretty much become a staple for us. If you toast Wasa crackers on low heat (~ 200 degrees Farenheit) for a few mintues, they are even better.
Early in the week, I was tickled pink to receive a book of recipes from Amey. That same night, I made her Croatian potatoes and chard. Words can not even begin to describe how sublime this dish is. Run, don't walk, to Amey's blog and make this recipe RIGHT NOW! To accompany the dish, there was tempeh sausage (recipe here) and sprouted grain bread. The sausage was such a revelation! I'll never buy sausage again, since this is so quick, easy, tasty, and nutritious. This meal was so filling and satisfying, I thought it would be the perfect thing to have at a ski lodge after a hard day in the snow, as you sit cozily by a fire...
One day, while strolling the produce department at the local supermarket, I came across this beautiful Savoy cabbage. I had to have it...
...and made a huge cole slaw with it. But BEWARE! Savoy cabbage is pretty much inedible when it is raw! I can't believe I didn't know this, but for your own good, cook savoy cabbage and save cole slaw for some other variety!
All was not lost however. The cole slaw was merely the accompaniment to a fantastic recipe from the Great American Detox Diet book, the vegetable loaf. This loaf was so crammed with tasty grains, lentils, and vegetables, with a distinct Italian flavor (red bell pepper, olives, etc.) I highly recommend this recipe. In the photo, you also see homemade ketchup (no sugar!) from the same book. I didn't love this recipe as much, but could imagine tinkering with the spices to get something I like. This loaf also made great leftovers.
Some whole wheat pancakes on the new cast iron griddle. I made up this recipe, and for being made with 100% whole wheat flour, they managed to be pretty fluffy and good.
Here they are with some maple syrup. I seasoned the pancake batter with pumpkin pie spice and saffron, and was surprised at how much they tasted like "komach" which is an Iranian stove-top cake. I think I'll call these "komach pancakes."
In some foodie circles this might be sacriligious, but I have to state that I am not a fan of Julia Child. Not only does she come across as hysterically anti-vegetarian, but many of her recipes, veg or not, are duds in my mind. That being said, there is one Julia Child recipe that gets made quite often around here, which is Boston Baked Beans. (We just leave out the ham hock...) Into the crockpot go some navy beans, molasses, onion, garlic, ginger, mustard, etc. and overnight, you get some sweet, spicy, stick-to-your-ribs beans. Mmmmm.
From the crockpot to the pressure cooker, here we have some New Orleans red beans, courtesy of Daiku. In both these and the baked beans, we tried replacing salt with kombu seaweed (kelp), but ended up needing salt at the end anyway. Kombu is still good because it neutralizes the enzymes that cause beans to be so... gassy... but I wouldn't recommend it as a salt substitute.
With the red beans, you see some homemade bread.
Ever since starting the detox, I have been searching in vain for a bread that is 100% whole grain AND vegan AND made without sweeteners and preservatives. Guess what? This is pretty much impossible, so I set about making my own. Here is my loaf after it had risen, about to go into the oven- look at those gluten strands! How fascinating is bread? I just love the stuff, and get so excited when I bake my own.
Here it is out of the oven. I got the recipe from the back of the Arrowhead Mills whole wheat flour bag. I replaced the dry milk powder the recipe called for with soybean powder, and it worked out great. Instead of the loaf pan the recipe called for, I decided to make it free style, and it turned out ok. Molasses gave it a hint of sweetness, and it was dense but satisfying.
The quest for 100% whole grain bread continued with these homemade pita breads. (recipe from Fatfree Vegan here). Only one of my pitas puffed up all the way, so I am anxious to try this recipe again, maybe with whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour instead of whole wheat.
Here are two of my all-time favorite salads:
Tomato, cucumber, onion, red bell pepper, parsely, dried mint, olive oil, and fresh lime juice.
Fennel and orange atop home-grown sprouts, with a citrus dijon vinaigrette.
More whole grains! We tried brown rice pasta for the first time, topped with a simple mushroom ragu. At first the rice pasta freaked us out because it gave off a lot of starch in the water and seemed very sticky. But guess what? This stuff tasted great. It could not be called al dente, but there was something so child-like and satisfying in the toothsome texture. And, unlike regular pasta, of which I usually eat 2 (or 3!) bowls, this one serving of rice pasta was quite satisfying. Definitely something to try. Does anyone have any tips for cooking rice pasta to make it less sticky?
A couple of desserts:
I don't show you this picture because it's pretty (it's not- check out the burned cinnamon on top!) but because this dessert was so simple and good: organic red delicious apples filled with walnuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup. I put some water in the bottom of the dish and microwaved the apples and the result was sweet apples with an apple cider-like sauce on the bottom. So good!
Another recipe from the detox book: crispy rice bars. I used puffed kamut instead of rice, and mixed with a peanut butter/brown rice syrup mixture along with some sunflower seeds and sliced almonds. The fact that I used a smidge of coconut oil to grease the dish gave them a heady coconut aroma and flavor and these were addictive!
Finally, I leave you with my favorite meal of the week, minestrone soup. I know that minestrone is a simple and commonplace soup, but this version was just so packed with veggies and came out so well, it really stuck out. Here are the veggies, herbs, spices, and other ingredients that went into this soup:
olive oil, onion, garlic, shallot, carrot, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, canned diced tomatoes and juice, spaghetti squash, kale, butter beans, garbanzo beans, red beans, whole wheat penne, fresh parsley, capers, dried basil, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.