Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ozōni - New Year's Good luck mochi soup

This is an old post for poetry month, but my oldest boy asked for his grandma's new year's soup recipe, so I'm reposting.

Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu, Mino-chan. (Happy 2012 Isaac No'eau Minoru)

The phone starts ringing at 6 am,
never mind that we've been sleeping for two hours,
never mind that we're thick headed with dreams,
groggy from days of food preparation for New Year's eve,
lightheaded from the sulfuric pungency of the firecracker showers,
the phone will keep ringing until we pick up.
"Soup's ready,"
my mother-in-law's voice on the other side
chipper and alert in that way that people that are retired
can be alert at 6 in the morning.
"Take your time. . .come when the kids get up,"
that's what she always says,
that's never what she means.
We urge each other out of the cocoon of blankets,
knowing that if we wait too long,
say 7 am,
the phone will start ringing again.
Eyes thick with maka pia pia,
ears still ringing from the fireworks,
the five of us obediently arrive
for our bowl of ozōni,
clear broth soup
with a soft mochi sunken under
bright green mizuna
and floating hokkigai,
a New Year's tradition,
a luxury of simplicity,
a samurai's sustenance on the battlefield.
We sip unconsciously,
let the hot saltiness of the broth
clean the residual sulfur in our throats,
nibble at the crisp mizuna stallks
that taste like lazy summer afternoons
and pull long taffy like pieces of mochi
into our mouth
feel the glutinous melting,
the satisfaction of stickiness.
Another year begins,
started with clear broth, water to purify,
greens to cleanse,
mochi to hold us together,
a familiar first step.
- 4/7/11

Grandma Ikeda's Ozōni (New Year's Mochi Soup)
5 cans chicken broth
1 can hokkigai (Japanese surf clams)
Mizuna (Japanese water greens) chopped and kept uncooked on the side

Heat the chicken broth and put in the hokkigai. Put the raw mizuna on the bottom of the bowl, the soft mochi on top and pour the hot broth over it. 

Note: if using fresh pounded mochi, just put it in. If you're using frozen mochi, cook it in a separate water bath until the mochi is soft but not disintegrating, so don't do this until everyone is up and ready to eat or you'll have mochi water. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Easy Shabu Shabu

Have some chopped up veggies and an electric skillet and you've got dinner - shabu shabu is a super easy Japanese version of hot pot. Serve it with some ponzu sauce and enjoy your family around the dining room table.

The broth: water, 2 large strips of kombu (seaweed), slivers of ginger, shiitake pieces (I also added some dehydrated daikon). Get the broth simmering in the pot to get the flavor out of the ginger and broth (about 1/2 an hour at a slow boil). Take out the konbu and ginger before serving.

The cooking options:
Any kind of choi (bok choi, choi sum, ung choi)
won bok, mustard cabbage, purple spinach
any kind of fungus (shiitake, wood ear mushroom, Chinese black fungus)
any kind of noddle (optional - glass noodle, udon, mochi strips)

Stir it in the broth, swish it around, let it cook, take it out and dip in ponzu. Choose to go vegetarian, or not.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Pearl's Bakery in Mountain View

As we head into 2012, here is what I learned about this nutritarian lifestyle:

  • I cannot live by non-oil, non-sugar vegetables at all times
  • Saying that, I also don't believe that eating sugar and grease and fat means that I have fallen off the wagon. 
  • There is no wagon. 
  • There are 24 hours in a day in which we try to do our best to listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves the best we can. 
  • If we F*%$# up, tomorrow is another day.

When you're having one of those days, take a trip to Mountain View. Just outside of Mountain View, as you're heading to Glenwood is Pearl's Bakery and Cafe (on the left). They serve decadence on a dish and lots of it.  The owners are super nice and there's seating outside for a leisurely coffee cake and tea or my favorite, the half order of biscuits and gravy with a white chunky gravy with homemade southern sausage. The biscuit is crunchy on the outside, flaky on the inside, and the gravy, OMG, addictive!

There's lots of parking and about 4 tables outside. You can also buy plant starters, and on the day we went, they had some fresh mahi caught that morning in fisherman boxes.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours
Keahiloa (Ahi)
Isaac No'eau (DJ Frizel)
Kalamapono (Tom)
Ken (Big Spazz)
Cat (Rubber Slipper Contessa)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Thai Dinner

Fried tofu for tofu lettuce wraps

Green onion bao

Stir fried eggplant with soybean sauce

Bok Choy with garlic and mushroom sauce

Red thai curry with choi sum, pumpkin, potato, onion, straw mushroom

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coconut Date Balls with PB Chips

This holiday is kicking our butt - it's rainy and damp in the house, which makes us hungry for soup and pasta and other stomach warmers (not raw salad). And with all the holiday ads and recipes, we just want to eat dessert - cookies, fudge, brownies, cake, custard - all no-no's if I'm actually going to stay on my plateau and not fall off, so made these "gift worthy" coconut date balls to fool us into thinking we're eating decadence.

Makes a dozen:
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
5 Medjool dates, pitted (a little more than 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup unsweetened cherries
1t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. sea salt (this is the key for balance - reduce it, but don't eliminate it)
1-2 T. water as needed to form the balls
1/4 cup chocolate chips, rough chopped (dark, coccoa nibs, peanut butter chips)
unsweetened coconut

Put the nuts in a blender or food processor until it's chopped up fine, but not yet butter. Put the nuts in a bowl.
Blend the dates, cherries, vanilla and salt. Blend until almost smooth. Mix the date mixture in with the nut mixture and combine. Use water if necessary. Add the chopped chocolate and form into balls with your hands. Roll in coconut and put it in the freezer for a little while to solidify it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wiki White Bean Soup

Even in Hawaii, we've been leaving and coming home in the dark, so I'm always looking for fast meals to whip up for dinner. This one gets its heartiness from the cannellini beans and the creaminess from taking some of the soup and beans and putting it in the Vitamix. I used some parmesan because we're not on a 6-week challenge right now, but when we are, I can just replace the parmesan with vegan parmesan. I promise with the parmesan  it tastes like French onion soup without the fat and salt.

2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. dried oregano
2 cans (14 1/2 oz.) + 2 cups vegetable broth (I used 2 cups of water with 2 of my veggie bouillon)
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lemon
coarse salt and ground pepper (optional, I didn't use the salt)
1/2 a bag of spinach
basil for garnish, chiffonade
parmesan cheese for garnish

Water saute scallions, garlic and oregano until the scallions are soft.
Stir in broth, and beans; cook until heated through. Put about 2 cups of broth and beans into a blender, mix and put it back in the pot. Stir in lemon juice and spinach until it wilts. Before serving, sprinkle with parmesan. 15 minutes and dinner is on the table.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cauliflower with Garam Masala

Cauliflower used to make me gag because my mom loved cauliflower raw. Ugh! This is the same woman that ate asparagus in cans. Double ugh!

But then God's got a sense of humor and sends us children who love what we hate and hate what we love. Take our youngest. He loves, loves, loves cauliflower. He pops it in his mouth like candy, but I still can't stomach it so roasting is the only way I'll serve it. The roasting transforms the cauliflower to buttery, nutty goodness and is the only way I'll eat it.

We tried it with curry powder, plain with olive oil spray, and our newest exotic version: cauliflower with garam masala. Garam masala is a common spice in Indian foods and it has a warm exotic smell - cinnamon, cardamom, ginger - it's spicy but not spicy hot.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Rough chop 1 head of cauliflower into florets, put it in a pan and spray olive oil or use about 1/2 T. of olive oil and stir it around to moisten the florets.

Roast uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower pieces start to brown.

Sprinkle the roasted cauliflower with garam masala (about 1 T.) and toss again. Salt is optional, but we didn't need it. Yum.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jambalaya with Vegan Corn Muffins

The original recipe, here,  is from the Peas and Thank You blog as well as her cookbook. She has a cute story about dating disasters, love and Disneyland (and how they all come together in this jambalaya).

My story is this: we tried it with the wrong sausage and it was just meh, so we adjusted the spices, put in the asked for Tofurkey sausage and adjusted the corn muffins to get rid of the sugar and oil.

Vegan Corn Muffins

1 1/2 c. cornmeal
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce (add a little more since I got rid of the 2T of oil)
2 T. of date paste
1 c. soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix wet ingredients into wet ingredients and combine, but don't overbeat.

Put mix into a sprayed muffin tin by the heaping tablespoon. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

2 Tofurky sausages (kielbasa), sliced into rounds - this is the key - try not to substitute
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped (we used the fire-roasted bell pepper from Trader Joe's)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup of water and 1 veggie bouillon cube OR 1 cup vegetable broth
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
2 t. basil, dried
2t. oregano, dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 T. tomato paste

Saute the sausages until brown and add the onion, celery and red pepper (if using the roasted bell, put it in after the celery ad onion are tender).  Add spices and garlic and let the spices and garlic get a tad crisp.

Add the tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil and turn it down and cover to a slow simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the rice and tomato paste and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Your muffins should be done and cooled, and dinner's on the table.

Big Spazz tip: tabasco or homemade chili pepper water will bring a nice kick to it. Sweating while eating is like exercising while sleeping - easy on the joints and still good for the body and soul.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vierra's Sweetbread Banana Pudding

Vierra's sweetbread out of Waimea is only sold as fundraisers. They sell sweet bread and cinnamon bread with white glaze. It must be good because people came up to us at our pickup site to try and buy loaves. We ended up selling loaves from the no shows.

We can't do our normal butter fried sweetbread (we already did that with last month's malasadas), so modified the Banana Caramel Bread Pudding from Choosing Raw.

Serves 8
4 large, ripe bananas (the riper the better)
1 cup date paste, packed
3/4 cup nut milk
3 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 round of Vierra's sweetbread cut into cubes
coconut milk

10 ramekins for baking

Preheat oven to 375. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
Blend bananas, date paste, milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon until smooth. 

Pour over bread and mix well.

Divide the soaked bread evenly into 8 ramekins. Pour 2T. of coconut milk over the top of each.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bread looks golden and carmelized.
Big Spazz likes it because it has the strong taste of banana, without being overly sweet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Show You How: Date Paste

Date paste is used for baking goods without sugar, sweetening dressings and sweetening smoothies. Unlike my date sugar which was an utter fail, this is pretty fail proof.

Take one cup of pitted Medjool dates and soak it with 2/3 cups of hot water
Let it soak for an hour, then put it in a Vita mix or blender to get one cup of date paste. It will be thick and gooey with a caramel taste.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mushroom Soup with Barley

Mushroom are my favorite go-to food. I love mushrooms in everything, but especially as an earthy, meaty ingredient in soups.  This is a fast mushroom soup with barley that is hearty enough for dinner with a salad and if you want, some crusty bread.

1 tray of white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped (red onion only if you have it)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
coarse salt (optional) and ground pepper
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth or 4 1/2 cups water and 4 homemade veggie bouillon cubes
1 cup quick cooking barley (if it's regular pearl barley, just precook it and add it in)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
parsley (optional)
vegan parmesan (optional)

In a large dutch oven, saute mushrooms, garlic, onions and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened.

Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to boil over high. Reduce heat to a simmer and add barley.
 Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add parsley and lemon juice and serve with vegan parmesan garnish.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Shopper:


Island Naturals' customer appreciation Sunday (15% off of everything but sale items and produce) is the best time to buy pantry items that are too expensive to buy without some kind of discount (prices are pre-discount):

  • Tofutti plain cream cheese $4.89 -- use for pantry scones, tofu ricotta gnocchi
  • Soyrizo $5.49 - for tofu scramble and slow cooker 'uala enchilada
  • Tofurky Italian sausage $6.29 for spaghetti diablo and sausage and pepper subs
  • Tofurky kielbasa $6.29 for quinoa jambalaya 
  • bulk peanut butter $3.49/lb. for 'ono 'ono shake green smoothies, hail to the kale dressing with PB substitute
  • Wheat gluten $8.79/bag for making seitan
  • Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk $2.99 for vegan eggnog
  • Taaza's Jewel Dal (Indian convenience food) $3.99 on sale for 2 dinners

Kilauea Market

  • Green onion bao $2.89 for 9 pieces (for Sunday pupus)

  • coconut milk $1.79 (cheaper here than Island Naturals or Kilauea Market) for Thai curry and banana caramel bread pudding
  • konnyaku $1.95 for miso soup
  • mochiko (rice flour) for gift giving (Big Spazz's famous peanut butter mochi, peanut butter cup mochi or truffle mochi
  • straw mushrooms $1.29 for Thai curry
  • Hershey's baking cocoa $3.99 for 'ono 'ono shake green smoothie

Friday, December 9, 2011

Whole Wheat Pizza & Chopped Salad

I've been slammed with my end of the semester projects so Big Spazz has been a champ taking all the domestic duties, including trying new, healthy recipes for us.

Here's his whole wheat pizza dough recipe:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. instant east, or 1 package quick-rising yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. hot water
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil (he was going to leave it out, but he was concerned about the texture of the dough)
coarse cornmeal, for sprinkling on the cookie sheet

We used our stand mixer with the dough hook (above).  In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine flours, yeast, salt, and sugar and whisk together. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Mix on low until the dough forms a ball, then increase speed to 2 for just a minute to knead.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes before rolling. (We put it in the refrigerator for a day)

When ready to make the pizza, place a pizza stone on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500 or highest setting. Sprinkle the coarse cornmeal on the pizza pan.  Lightly flour your hands. Flatten the dough with your palms, then pick it up and hold it by the edge, rotating the dough in a circle to stretch it out. Roll it out and put it on the pizza pan.
Add toppings of your choice (pizza sauce, stir fried peppers, wilted spinach, stir fried mushrooms and onions (we made a cheese one for the boy).
Bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 - 14 minutes.
Servie with chopped salad with fat-free Italian dressing and marinated veggies and red onion.