Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Cabbage Salad Rolls
Today I was going to make a cabbage salad for part of our lunch, but once I got out the ingredients the thought was boring for once (we love cabbage salad, so this was distinctly odd!). As a result I ended up fiddling around with the makings for the salad but somewhat reconstructing it and changing the flavourings a little (it was chilly out, so I wanted something warmish).
Six leaves of savoy cabbage, with the little V-shaped stem bit cut out of the base of each
1 oz sunflower seeds
1-1/2 tsp white miso
2 slices onion
3 cloves garlic
1 red apple
1 stick celery
1/3 of a thai chili (but make this to your own taste - thai chilies are hot!) - or use cayenne to taste
zest of half a lime
juice of half a lime
Tbsp raw cider vinegar
ground cummin to taste
salt and peppeer if needed
Garnish: I used a handful of alfalfa sprouts, but you could use anything you like :)
Put all ingredients except for the cabbage leaves and whatever garnish you're using into the food processor and chop to a fine texture. Mix well and taste for seasoning. You may need to add salt, pepper, lime juice or vinegar, whatever.
Put a couple of Tbsp of the stuffing onto the centre of each cabbage leaf, fold up the bottom and each side and roll away from you, snugly, until the cabbage forms a package for the filling. If it oozes out you have either not rolled tightly enough or you have used two much filling, so try again :)
Secure each roll with a toothpick if needed (I needed) and place seam-side down on a platter.
Garnish and serve. Eat with knife and fork or with fingers (like a wrap).
Here it is cut on my plate - but I'm so sorry the pic is so blurry. I'd have tried another photo, but there were no more models to pose for it!
We pronounced it a success! And of course it's raw :)
And now here's the apple blossom I immortalized on Saturday!
And those dear little baby maple leaves are so welcome when so many trees are still bare.
Two days ago when my dh and I went walking I had the sense to bring along a camera for once. We went along the river and through a park and saw the baby maple leaves bravely bursting from their buds on the trees, the apple blossoms (oh I could become rhapsodic!) and of course my personal favourite - the magnolias!!! These are on an old tree which I often admire just outside historic Eldon House.
It was a good thing we did enjoy the walk when we could, because by yesterday the chill had certainly settled in (I remind you: this is southwestern Ontario even if it is the end of April), and we were into warmer jackets and not in a mood for lingering on the river bank or elsewhere. This morning it was only 2 C when I took my little beagles out for their morning walk (well, run really - they were in a hurry!), so I enjoyed seeing these again and dearly hope that the minus degrees forecast for tonight won't destroy the blossoms.
And speaking of colder temperatures - and because I am new to even trying to be somewhat a raw foodist - I was intrigued to find a link to How to Make Raw Food Taste Hot , which may come in handy over the next couple of weeks here (if we are to believe our weather person) and for any readers in the southern hemisphere (helloooooo all readers in Australia!).
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Well I couldn't resist telling you all about the reason for the lovely green kale behind the photo of the beet, apple and seaweed salad I posted earlier! We eat a lot of kale here - any kind we can get our hands on. And this one was for the kale salad I've posted before as Raw Kale Salad, what else :) to which I added the garnish of a little crumbled/grated vegan blue cheez - or more correctly Sheese (which is the brand name) from Scotland.
I have never much cared for faux cheezes - except those individually wrapped Tofutti slices (and Tofutti is very good - esp. its cream cheeze and sour creme) in a huge sandwich which disguises the fact that they're not really the real thing. But someone on the Care2 network recommended Sheese and I found it at my local cheese shop and I had to try. Well, I dunno about you guys, but I thought it was wonderful. I always swear that I don't want to eat faux foods, but both my husband and I have made an exception for this product (and another, which is PC vegan chicken strips, but only VERY occasionally) - which I swear we could become addicted to really really quickly. It comes in many flavours, so you might want to see if it's in your shops. (And no, I don't own the company or get money from them for saying this!). Find them at: http://www.buteisland.com/ - and they have recipes there too, I see.
The next photo is an indulgence of mine. We are eating more raw (I know - am I letting you guys down? Sorry. I'll probably get over it! I do these kinds of things now and then!!) and so the top of our stove is getting used for everything but cooking lately. Yesterday we brought the groceries home and dumped them on the stovetop while we put them away. I put the last item in the refrigerator and turned around to find that my dear little cat had actually dared to jump up there and had decided that the shopping bag would make a nice little hidey hole :)
Here I am, gnawing and crunching away at raw fruits and vegetables - and loving it. I had recently bought a kilogramme of beets ('beetroot' to any of you in the UK and what I used to call them until recently), which we usually cook for salads, soups, other dishes. But I ran across a recipe that suggested one could grate them raw with apple for a salad, then use a raw vegan almond 'mayonnaise' to dress it and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Simple :) Being me, absolutely determined to pervert the course of true cuisine, however, I went in a slightly different direction:
RAW BEET SALAD
3 Tbsp wakame seaweed, soaked and finely chopped
1/2 kg beets, peeled and grated (I used a food processor attachment to my wand blender to do mine)
1/2 kg apples, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos / All-Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning (instead of Tamari, which I'm sure would taste fine)
handful of Italian parsley
good pinch of cayenne
ginger root (your choice how much), finely chopped
squeeze or two of lemon (optional)
salt and peppe (if needed) to taste
GARNISH: sesame seeds (optional - but they look pretty against the colours of the
Throw all into your blender, except for the garnish. Chill and serve with those sesame seeds if you like. Good food.
NOTE: the dressing (everything except the first three ingredients and the garnish) is entirely up to you. We love to use seaweeds in salads and soups and anything else we can stick them into - or much them on our own, but if you don't care for them (have you TRIED them all? Wunnerful!), then by all means skip.
Friday, April 25, 2008
This soup I invented because I didn't want to serve even the very delicious Raw Tomato Soup twice in a row. I had seen in Brigitte Mars' book Rawsome! a recipe for Carrot-Ginger Soup which needed carrots, some left chopped, not pureed, white miso, grated ginger, garlic and water. I figured I could branch off from that and brought out a few more ingredients (and skipped the garlic for this one), fiddled with proportions, kept tasting and came up with:
SUNSET SOUP (Raw)
1 cup chopped raw carrots
1 cup chopped raw butternut squash
3/4 cup raw cranberries (ok, I'd frozen mine from a while ago, but they were still raw)
1 Tbsp grated ginger root
1-1/2 to 2 cups water (This is approximate. Fiddle around until it's the right consistency for you.)
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp Braggs amino/all-purpose seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt (if needed) to taste
Zest the orange, remove the white pith with a sharp knife and discard, slice and chop the orange flesh, removing seeds as you go.
Put all ingredients (including the orange zest, unless you want to reserve a few strands for garnish) into your blender and puree, adding more water if needed to get to the right consistency for you.
Garnish if you like with some of the orange zest - and a few dried cranberries would be pretty, I think.
Okay, here we go, guys! It's letting me upload one photo (only one, it seems, although I tried for another for a 'soup show' item, as it were). So this keeps me happy for now - Yesssssssss!!!!!
RAW TOMATO SOUP
NOTE: not all my condiments are strictly raw - eg. the soy sauce and nutritional yeast, but I see them used in raw cookbooks.
I adapted this from recipe from a Tomato Soup in Kate Wood's _Eat Smart Eat Raw_ book.
1-1/2 sticks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried basil
2-1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp low sodium soy
a handful of parsley
juice and zest of half a lemon (or more to taste)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
4 rehydrated sundried tomatoes
and as much water as I needed to make it work
fresh black pepper to taste
more salt, if you like, to taste
GARNISH: Well, maybe a little parsley and a twist of lemon? I also rehydrated a little wakame for garnish (that's the funny dark green circle of love around the lemon and lemon zest) - love any excuse for using sea vegetables! - but you can skip these if you like.
Chop what needs to be chopped and dump everything except the garnish in the blender, puree and chill. Garnish and serve. Delish!
Anyway, armed with a couple of books, advice from some cyberpals who like to eat raw or mostly raw (and encourage it for the health benefits too), and a refrigerator full of vegetables and fruit, I've been using the stove top because of its cool flat surface lately more than for the heat elements hidden somewhere there under that black glass (how do they DO that?!). I've yet to find a secondary use for the oven that would also allow me easily and quickly to change my mind and turn a salad into a casserole. You see? Here I am, covering all bets (or my derriere, depending upon your preference).
I have to confess, however, that I haven't really experimented much. I don't have a dehydrator for a start, I make do with NOT the horrendously expensive kitchen gadget that would put my blender to shame, and I have no juicer. My nod towards a food processor is a gadget that holds at most a couple of cups of veg or whatever and comes as an attachment to a wand blender I find useful. My attempts at sprouting were dismal, although I remember doing it way back when and finding it no problem. (Note to Self: Keep Trying!)
Soooooooo what I've been doing happily is varying salads and salad dressings, still trying to keep away from added oils (maybe a tsp of sesame oil for flavour here or there, but it is rare). My condiments are not as yet entirely raw, and probably never will be, but I'm not letting that bother me :)
I photographed several of these salads, and in the spirit of waste-not-want-not I tried to stick them in here along with a rough description of what went in each. Sad to say, Blogger will not let me upload anything right now :( So I shall have to wait until a more auspicious day. Miserable luck, dammit!!!! (Now how often - lately, that is - have I sat down with a clear morning free to spend on the blog! Not ----ing often, I tell you.)
Meanwhile, we had a lovely raw beet salad for lunch which will have to wait for another day. Your loss!!!! Heh heh heh!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
This recipe has been adapted from one in Kate Wood's Eat Smart Eat Raw and it's definitely a keeper for our house, although I'll probably continue to tweak it a bit :)
For each avocado:
1/2 oz sunflower seeds
1/2 oz pumpkin seeds
1/2 medium carrot, chopped
4 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 tsp white miso
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 slice onion
1/4 thai chili (you might want to adjust this down a bit - we like it hot!)
a shake or two of dried basil (or use fresh - I didn't have any)
juice of half a lime
Garnish: handful of alfalfa sprouts, slice or quarter of lime, few strands of lime zest
Puree all ingredients except for the avocado and the alfalfa sprouts. halve the avocado, remove seed. Fill the hollow in each half with the mixture and then spread it across the avocado. Garnish with the alfalfa sprouts, top with the lime zest and add the lime to the plate for squeezing.
NOTE: You may have some of the stuffing left over - just refrigerate and use it for dip or sandwich spread or whatever in the next day. Delish.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I'm putting this in as representative of all the quick and easy dishes to be made with bok choy - apart from just steaming it up, which is also delicious - and a package of medium or firm tofu. If we can find the very tiny baby bok choy, that's our favourite. They're so delicate and are just brimful of good things! Also, they don't take much time :)
For best results, I like to cut the tofu into manageable strips and gently press out any excess liquid between my palms before cutting into bite-sized pieces. Then I mix a quick marinade: a little Bragg's Amino or some low-sodium soy sauce, a little finely minced ginger and garlic (the jarred stuff works fine if in a hurry), a TINY shake of crushed chilies OR half a tsp or so of sambal oelek (a fiery Indonesian condiment which is mostly chilies but has other flavourings in it - excellent to keep in the fridge!). I stir this altogether in a bowl large enough to hold the tofu pieces (we use about a third of a package for two of us) and leave it to soak up the flavours while I do the rest.
Here I have taken a couple of big slices of onion, some sliced mushrooms and some finely chopped garlic and cooked them in a pan (large enough for the whole dish) with a little more soy sauce and some water. When the onions are soft, I am ready to add the rest of the ingredients.
While the above veg are cooking, I prepare the bok choy. I like to cut the tiny bunches in half lengthways and add them to the pan over medium heat again, turning them gently to coat them in the flavours of the mushrooms and onions.
Next comes the tofu with its marinade, turned gently so that all is mixed together and left just long enough to warm through. The bokchoy leaves will wilt, but the stems should remain nice a crisp.
Easy-peasy, as someone I know likes to say :) I usually serve with brown rice or noodles.
NOTE: If you like a thicker sauce, you can add a tsp of cornstarch to a little water and stir into the tofu marinade before you add it to the pan.
Somewhere I have other similar recipes photographed - perhaps using snowpeas instead of bok choy - or using a mix of vegetables that were in the fridge - anything other than those bags of frozen 'oriental' or 'stir-fry' vegetable mixes that one sees in supermarket freezers. They are limp before they even get started.
CURRIED VEGAN 'CHICKEN' IN TOMATO & COCONUT SAUCE (SRI LANKA)
This dish was inspired by one from, I believe, Charmaine Solomon many years ago now. Her original recipe was of course not vegan in any way. I have tweaked it to suit our tastes as well as veganizing it :) Note: the dish is from Sri Lanka, and although it doesn't have the couple of dozen red chillies that I am told would have been in the original, it is still HOT and SPICY.
For two persons:
1/2 pkg fake chikken strips (or more if you're hungry), cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
10 curry leaves (these are an aromatic leaf, used in some curries; I get mine dried)
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne or ground chillies (ADJUST to taste and expectation)
1 tsp ground coriander seed (or a little more if you really love this taste)
1/2 tsp ground cummin
1/4 tsp ground fennel
2 tsp paprika
salt to taste (1/2 tsp to 1 tsp, but remember the chikken strips are salty and so might the tomatoes be)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 a 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, with juice (sodium-reduced if possible)
5 cardamon pods, gently hit to slightly split them
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 big strips lemon zest or 1 stalk fresh lemon grass if you have it
1/2 can thick coconut milk
GARNISH: Lemon or Lime wedges, cilantro (coriander leaves), etc.
Over medium high heat, in a pan to hold the whole recipe: Cut the fake chikken into bit-size pieces and set aside.
Put the ingredients up to (but not including) the tomatoes in a little stock and let them soften and mix their flavours. Stir well.
Now is the time for the rest -
Add the tomatoes, whole spices and lemon zest (or lemon grass), lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan for around 10 or fifteen minutes or so.
Add the pieces of fake chikken and make sure the pieces are well coated. Warm them through. Then, shortly before serving add the coconut milk and stir BUT do NOT cover the pan while you warm the dish (the dish will otherwise curdle).
Serve with rice and appropriate accompaniments and enjoy!
VEGAN 'CHICKEN' WITH YELLOW PEPPERS
This dish looked prettier on the platter than is apparent from my photography, and had a pleasing texture. It was a simple stir-fry (well, stir-steam) of all the usual things you'd expect to find in such a dish at your local Chinese restaurant, allowing for regional differences: onions, garlic, yellow bell peppers, probably some celery or bok choy stems, etc., the 'chicken' pieces (cut into thirds by me) added towards the very last, and all married in a light soy sauce and cornstarch sauce - enough to glaze the ingredients. I served with wild rice mixed with brown rice. There were no leftovers.
Next I tried the so-called 'beef' strips.
VEGAN 'BEEF' IN CHINESE BLACK BEANS
This 'stir-fried' dish had much the same composition as the 'chicken' dish above, except, as you see, for the substitution of green bell peppers for yellow and the addition of mushrooms. The sauce, however, was somewhat different in that Chinese preserved (salted) 'black' soybeans were used (not to be confused with the black turtle beans that are used in some southwestern USA and/or Mexican-style dishes!). After soaking a Tbsp or a little more of the beans in hot water and mashing them in with a few cloves (heh heh we LOVE lots of garlic here, although a couple of cloves is what this recipe usually gets) of garlic, the mixture was stirred into the pan with the vegetables, the 'beef' pieces (cut into bite-size bits) added towards the end.
This also had no leftovers, although imho the fake beef has a texture that is not as appealing as the chicken - but that might be a matter of mood.
[TECHNICAL SIDENOTE: I am still having trouble with adding photos to this blog, so I am doing it through Photobucket. If you encounter any problem whatsoever, please leave a comment to let me know. Many thanks!]
Friday, April 11, 2008
Here we have STUFFED ACORN SQUASH - with steamed baby bok choy. I stuffed the squash (having steamed it up in the oven first) with a sort of unfried rice mixture: leftover brown rice and various chopped vegetables (the usual suspects) spiced up a bit with (inevitably with me) chilies, ginger, garlic, etc. I think I sprinkled a sort of crumb topping on the whole thing before putting it back in the oven to brown a bit, thus utterly confounding any attempt to identify the dish according to any one or two ethnicities! Another time I used Indian spices and a sprinkle of raisins in the rice mixture (quinoa or barley works well too - or a combination of wild and brown rice) but skipped the crumbs. These things tend to be a bit different every time with me - always an adventure to come to our dinner table. This served two of us for lunch (our main meal), preceded by a leafy green salad.
Need I say, all this was as usual done with no or minimal salt and no added oil or other fat.
Stand by, if you will, for my experiments with faux/fake vegan chikken and beeef. I say experiments, because I've never taken these products seriously and always claimed to dislike them :)
Right now, however, I find that blogger won't let me click in to add a photo - and this is sooooo annoying, since that's what I'm here for :(
Thanks to all who have been patient with me while I've been slacking off - and thanks to everyone who has kindly left comments. I shall be posting as soon as the site allows!!!