As time goes on I like tempeh more and more, does that mean I am getting a vegan palate? I really had a craving for BBQ for the last few days but I didn’t want to make anything difficult so I made my sauce and just cooked the tempeh in it. I didn’t even grill it as Vegan Dad suggests but I will make it that way the next time I have the grill out. It is such a smart idea to make the sauce in the cast iron on the grill while you make everything else! I also made my own barbecue sauce that was terrific! No recipe though, I had to freestyle. I made cornbread muffins from Vegan Lunch Box but I used blue cornmeal and they turned out way too sweet. I don’t think it was from the blue cornmeal but the 2/3 of a cup of maple syrup I put in. It seemed like too much but I will never learn to trust my instincts when it comes to following baking recipes in a book. I also made macaroni with earth balance and fresh herbs that was good but screamed I can’t wait to get paid.
This pasta is a beautiful combination of recipes that Mr. Smurf made for us. The spinach pasta had a simple dressing of toasted pignoli nuts, parsely, lemon, and garlic and is a recipe from Dreena Burton‘s Eat Drink and Be Vegan. The balsamic marinated mushrooms from the Veganomicon added a special note of sweetness to the dish. It was fabulous, I love big spinach noodles.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip . ..
Tom Robbins Jitterbug Perfume
Does that mean that Beets are inherently Klingon? Especially when you consider that the Kingons were based on the USSR….
Obama doesn’t like beets but I think they are a perfect food, they are even the name of a fake pop band. Eastern European countries are especially known for their love of the beet, most notably used in Borscht. Most Westerners usually roast them in the oven or cut them up into salads or they roast them and then add them to salads. Beets are also used to sweeten some dishes.
Healthy types enjoy beets not just because of their taste but also because they have many desirable nutritional qualities.
RawVeg.info says they are both detoxifying and full of antioxidants
Beets are another high-antoxidant veggie, with an ORAC score of 1840, and a total antioxidant concentration of 1.98. They contain many healthful substances: betaine (aka: trimethylglycine, TMG), betalains, betacyanin, betanin, folate, iron, and fiber. Betaine helps convert homocysteine into methionine, preventing heart disease.
Beet fiber seems to be particularly health-promoting. Pectin, a soluble fiber in beets, binds toxins, heavy metals, and excess hormones that have been dumped into the gut from the liver. The toxins are passed out instead of being reabsorbed.
Some people say that beets can even extend your life.
I like to buy them at the farmer’s market with the greens attached because then it is two meals for the price of one. The beet greens have a similar nutritional profile to Swiss chard and mixed with the beet root they are pretty much an unstoppable force of goodness.
Cruising the net the other day I came across a very strange recipe that utilized both the root and the leafy part in a pasta dish. Beets and Greens pasta moved to the top of my list of recipes to try since I just got some at the farmer’s market on Saturday. The meal was quick, easy, and fantastic. Mr. Smurf gobbled it down like he had been standing in a line all day waiting for beets.The noodles turned intensely fuchsia from the beet juice which might even make it kid friendly. Beets are very earthy tasting though so maybe not.
I changed the recipe just a little bit and later realized how much it resembled a certain Klingon dish so I give you:
1 bunch beets, with greens, divided and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
.5 tsp dried red pepper flakes
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. each of basil and chives
Salt & pepper
½ lbs linguine
First, get a pot of water going for the pasta and then prep all the other ingredients. When the water is boiling add cook the pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, saute the onion and red pepper flakes until the onions are soft. Then add the garlic and the beet roots. After another minute or two when the beets are soft add the broth, the zest, and the beet greens. Cover and cook until the greens are wilted. Add the herbs, the lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for another minute before you toss with the pasta.
Enjoy with (vegan) Bloodwine!
As much as I have always loved olives I have always hated lettuce. Once, when I was maybe 11 my Mom picked me up some Taco Bell, she was headed out for the night and I was very excited that instead of a nice family meal I would get to eat my favorite fast food. When I opened up the package I found that although I had clearly said “no lettuce” my food was covered in nasty bits of shredded lettuce which I particularly detest because it is nearly impossible to remove and in addition to this insult, the main component of my order completely missing. She didn’t have time to go back to Taco Bell so I called and asked to talk to the manager. He apologized and said I could come back and get replacements and I said something like “Hey Mister, I am only 11 and I am not old enough to drive, you are going to have to deliver the food” and somehow, he did! I can’t imagine working at a Taco Bell and delivering some punk ass kid some food but this guy was one and a million and I was thrilled. Anyway, as I grew older I started to eat more greens, Spinach became a favorite thanks to the Zelyanitsa (Serbian Spinach Souffle) and Fettuccine Florentine and later I started to like all the other greens one by one. The key, for me, is that I usually only like them cooked.
I picked up some beautiful Romaine at the Farmer’s market and I was thinking about trying the Ceaser from the Veganomicon but Mr. Smurf adores Ceaser Salad and I was worried he the vegan version wouldn’t work for him and I still don’t really like lettuce so I wasn’t sure what to do. He told me his favorite was at a place he used to work where they grilled the Romaine so I did a search and came upon Susan V’s very similar situation. She has a ridiculously easy recipe for Grilled Romaine that I tried. Basically, you cut the lettuce in half, grill it on a George Forman, and then sprinkle on some balsamic white vinegar and sunflower seeds. I also had some carrots and bread that were on their last leg so I made some croutons and chopped the carrots as well. It was a good thing too because for some reason my grilled romaine wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Susans’. Maybe I didn’t have the heat up high enough because it didn’t really carmelize. I was excited to see that she is part of a event called Tried & Tested where other bloggers can make her recipes and write about how it went. Folks, even though it wasn’t as pretty it tasted great! This was a way for me to actually enjoy lettuce!I also made my first stab at a Muffuletta Pasta recipe that has been invading my mind when I am really hungry. On my first trip ever to New Orleans with Farmer Smurf we went to a pasta place that had this on the menu and it was delcious, smoked meats and olives were heavily involved and I was in love. The version that I made yesterday had onions, lots of garlic, green olives, bacon bits (many brands are somehow vegan), and the parsley sauce I made the other day. It was good but I need to work out the ratios. Mr. Smurf thought it was a weird mix if flavors and then he later went on to make a wrap with hummus, rice, chorizo, salsa, and kale which I thought sounded very strange. To each is own!
May the 4th be with you!
I have been working on a recipe for Green Chile Macaroni, this version was more like Macamole but it was really freaking good anyway but the real one is forthcoming. The tempeh was just marinated in apple cider vinegar and soy sauce and then dipped in cornstarch and pan fried. They looked exactly like those chicken strips at fast food places.
Sunday morning was a race against time to get to Whole Foods before they stopped selling breakfast tacos. If you know me at all then you know that I love the Whole Foods taco. It takes vegan breakfast tacos to a whole new level with a wide range of choices and terrific tortillas. At my office it is common practice that if you are more than 15 minutes late you must stop at Whole Foods to get tacos. Anyway, on Sunday I was speeding there because although Dan and I have shared a multitude of breakfast tacos together he had never tried the Whole Foods version because we usually don’t venture downtown early enough on the weekend (and by early I mean before noon). At 11:35 I was just finishing up my yoga session when I looked at the clock and realized that I was going to have to book-it. Luckily, there was zero traffic on Sunday morning and I shot right up to 6th and Lamar only to be foiled by the seemingly thousands of people in the Whole Foods parking lot. It was total chaos! There was excited holiday shoppers mixed with large groups of tourists and organic moms with their organic babies in PVC-free strollers all slowly walking or rather ambling around seemingly with no particular goal. I finally made it to the counter and bought my tacos with seconds to spare and all was well with the world.
While I was at Whole Foods, I stopped in the bulk section to pick up some chocolate chips (damn you Isa and you fantastic cookies) and I checked to see if they had Puy Lentils which neither the co-op or the health food store by my house carry. Success! They did so I bought a bag and brought them home fueld with a desire to finally create one of the recipes that I had felt just out of grasp merely one day earlier. Of course, I didn’t have anything specific in mind so I started thumbing through the Voluptuous Vegan and came across a lentil recipe that claimed to be phenomenal. The technique is that you cook the lentils with a bouquet garni of fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary and when it is done you push half the lentils through a strainer to remove the hulls and fibrous materials. Then you saute that with some red pepper flakes and garlic and add it back to the other lentils. It was very flavorful but still missing an assertive component so I decided to roast some mushrooms in the oven with balsamic, soy sauce, and garlic. I made some pasta a covered it in the lentils and the mushrooms, a side of nice ass greens and a wonderful ridiculously healthy meal was created. I think the only other really earthy ingredient that I could have added would have been chestnuts… or truffle oil… or maybe some Bulgar instead of the pasta…
I have never owned a real casserole dish, in the past I have always used a very old 8X8 glass baking dish for nearly all of my baking needs. Since I started preparing recipes from the VEGANOMICON I bake things in the oven and make a lot more casseroles than any other time in my life so I really need a new dish. I saw this beauty and I had to have it and now I have been using it left and right, forcing items into is sleek oblong shape.
I have wanted to make this recipe for Pumpkin Sage Crusted pasta since I first read about it; pasta with cashew ricotta mixed with caramelized onions and pumpkin combing for the sauce and then a crusty top of bread crumbs, walnuts and sage. Somehow I managed to hold off until the dish was weather appropriate. In my case in Austin TX that means the time when we get to where pants and turn off the AC because *gasp* it is only 85 degrees outside. My partner’s parents are coming in a couple weeks and I thought I would give this one a dry run to see if it would meet the not-in-laws approval.
This dish was fantastic! It is everything that I ever wanted but never find in Vegan Mac and Cheese. The problem with Mac and Cheese is that it is trying to be mac and cheese (which I used to love to make) and it will never be the same as its dairy counterpart. The Pumpkin Pasta, on the other hand, isn’t trying to be anything but a yummy, gooey, noodley casserole with a crispy top and so it succeeds by not having to compare to its non-vegan version. I usually find that the key to good vegan food is to
- not try to be something else
- utilize the wonder that is vegetables
and here the vegetables really shined. There are few things better in this world than caramelized onions and I realized I should really cook with pumpkin more. The cans are cheap and easy to work with and don’t seem to contain a lot of strange preservatives like some processed canned things and you don’t have to peel anything with is what is usually annoying about winter squashes. I served this dish with roasted asparagus and it made 6 meals. Six actual meals, not 6 “servings” which isn’t usually very correct for us. I think I will make it again for the family or at least the next time I am feeling sorry for myself. I think it would be a great recipe to southwesternize too, using cumin instead of sage for the topping and mixing jalapenos, sauteed peppers and maybe a can of tomatoes into the sauce. Me Gusta calabaza!