Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HH's Vegan Fat-Free Curried Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Soup

My dad has been living in Minnesota for about 30 years, so he is my source for Minnesota wild rice. I just went to see him in November at the beginning of their long winter and ever since I've been making wild rice soup at least once or twice a month.

I bought 2 bags of what I though was butternut squash only to find out it was sweet potato, so I tried the Happy Herbivore sweet potato soup here. She is right, if you make it on Sunday and eat it the next day, the curry and garam masala winds its way into every part of this soup for a depth and spice.

The wild rice ladled on top also adds a nice texture to an otherwise textureless soup. 

I also doubled the recipe and used the peeled cut up frozen sweet potatoes. It will make 4 cups of soup. Enough for a side. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ugly Yummy Vegan Zucchini Tots

There is no reason why these zucchini tots should be yummy, but the crunchiness is irresistible, even if it can't keep itself together.

The original recipe with egg and cheddar are here. I made one batch on the left with the original recipe. Notice that they are able to stay together on their own without the mini silicone wrappers.

Here's the veganized version. 
Ugly Yummies
1 cup zucchini, grated
1 ground flaxseed egg (1 T ground flaxseed and 3 T water - mix and set aside until it turns gelatinous)
1/4 yellow onion, diced (I like to dice it a little larger to give it the yummy crunchiness)
1/4 cup faux parmesan
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (it's a lot of dry ingredients, I'm going to try 1/4 cup daiya soy cheese and the faux parmesan instead of the breadcrumbs) 
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Use mini cupcake holders, make egg and set aside.

Grate zucchini, squeeze out excess water and chop onions. 

In a bowl combine all ingredients. Use a melon baller or spoon to fill the cupcake liners.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes until the top is browned and set. Ono!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods

Title: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun
Author: Teressa Marrone
Storey Publishing, LLC
To be published July 11, 2014
Thanks to Net Galley and Storey Publishing for an advanced reader copy


     The length of a title says something about the length of the book. At 352 pages, Marrone can use the first 67 pages just to talk  about the basics of drying foods including temperatures and creating your own home dehydrator how to's. If I could put this much detail in my dissertation I would be a happy camper. This is a textbook of preservation knowledge and most useful for those people that want to make dehydration a passion project or a money maker. Everything you need to know or didn't know you needed to know is right here.

Ready to dehydrate? Chapter 4 starts with fruits, from apples to watermelons. True to the methodical, throrough nature of the rest of the book, the author takes you alphabetically through the fruits starting with an intro, preparation methods, drying methods for the three common types of drying: dehydrator/convection oven, sun drying or non-convection oven. In addition, for each fruit, get information on the doneness test, yield and ways to use it. Thorough.

I like to read food books like novels rather than like manuals, so I am a sucker for author's voice. Here's my favorite example of voice:
Grapes (Raisins) First a bit of advice: If you have to purchase grapes from the supermarket, it's probably not worth your time to dehydrate them. Raisins are available everywhere, at a good price. . (89).
Not just thorough, practical! I love that. Seriously, though, this really is a textbook on drying and dehydrating: fruits, vegetables, herbs & spices, meat & poultry, leathers, baby foods & prepared foods, snacks, cereals gift foods. I think this is a must have door stop type of reference rather than on my e-reader.

Admittedly the amount of words were just too much until I looked at this as a way to preserve food, not, like my kale chips, as a way to eat food dehydrated because raw is yucky. It appeals to my thrifty nature of not allowing what we have in abundance to spoil.

Now if I could just get free electricity.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Kombu Broth for Miso Soup

One of the mother broths in Japanese vegetarian cooking is the kombu or kelp clear broth. It's a good broth to cook kabocha (pumpkin) in or make miso soup, vegan ramen broth or udon dashi. You can also add goodies and just use it as a clear broth soup.
It's pretty simple. Kombu (thick kelp that comes in a sheet) put in about 8-10 cups of cold water and 2 pieces of kombu. Put it in a glass container and let it sit for about 30 minutes, but I have left it in for half a day. 

It's not heated because kombu has naturally occurring glutamates (like MSG) and it is heat sensitive.  After about half an hour, take the konbu out and discard. The broth will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. If there is a white film at the bottom, it has spoiled and toss it.

For the clear broth, I took the kombu out and added dehydrated daikon (turnip), dried shiitake mushrooms and some wakame/hijiki. Once the broth heated up, I took the mushroom, daikon and larger pieces of wakame, rough chopped it, added frozen edamame and some tri-colored somen. 

Eat like this with green onions or add about 1/4 cup miso dissolved in broth first and added in. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oil-free dressings of the week

I am trying some of the recipes from Healthy Girl's Big List of No-oil Salad Dressings. One has potential, but for the other one I cannot figure out what I am going to do with it yet.

Balsamic Vinaigrette is adapted from "Chef AJ's Husband's Favorite No-Oil Balsamic Vinaigrette"

1 c balsamic vinegar
4 T nutritional yeast
3 T low sodium soy sauce
3 T Hawaiian lehua honey (or date syrup or maple syrup)
1 T Dijon mustard (Big Spazz made his own mustard with mustard seeds and beer)
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Put in a blender. We like the vinegar shoyu honey combo probably because we're Asian so it suits our palette.

Cashew raisin is the Cashew Currant recipe here. Maybe the problem is that my almond milk from Costco is the unsweetened vanilla so it has a little after taste. Not sure. I will probably try this with some plain veggies steamed with this as dipping sauce, but the sweetness may throw it off. 

I tried this with a red bell pepper and the sweetness made the bell pepper taste salty. Weird.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Rosemary and Macadamia Nuts

Our new favorite roasted brussels sprouts recipe (in other words, something boy 3 will eat)

2 lbs. of brussels sprouts, brown bottoms cut off, and halved if the sizes don't match up
1 shallot, sliced
3 T. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, coarse chopped
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare brussels sprouts, and shallot. Toss with oil, salt, pepper and rosemary and put on a large baking pan.
Bake for 40 minutes, tossing once or twice so it cooks evenly. In the last 5 - 7 minutes sprinkle with macadamia nuts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Basil Vinaigrette

I send Big Spazz off to work with a salad that looks like this and then jazz it up with a new oil free dressing or some "fat" just to keep it lively. It's a way for me to keep notes on what he likes and doesn't like. After 26 years of marriage, we're still learning.

He does not like avocado in his salads as the "fat" although he does like pesto, curry pea edamame salad and his homemade pastrami (haha).

The togarashi dressing I made the other day is a little too spicy. It actually gets spicier the longer it sits in the refrig until by day 5 it was much too spicy for my taste buds.

I adjusted a recipe for a raisin balsamic vinaigrette and took advantage of the extra basil I had after making this week's pesto. The handfuls of basil makes the dressing look like green goop or a pesto shake, but I like it.

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (the original recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of white balsamic vinegar but I ran out of my white balsamic)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup raisins
1 large clove garlic
3 fists of basil leaves chopped up
3 tsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp Chia seeds
1 tsp miso

Put it in a Vitamix or other high speed blender and whir it up.
I will try this again with 1 T of dijon or 1 tsp of tahini next time.