Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Roasted Potatoes

1 lb of waxy skinned potatoes (red, yukon, white, etc.), cut into small pieces
4 cups of large mushrooms (your choice of variety), sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2-1 bunch fresh parsley (curly or flat), chopped
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, paprika optional

Put the chopped potatoes, mushroom, parsley, and garlic into a mixing bowl.  Add olive oil to coat the mixture, then sprinkle in the seasoning.  Mix well with your hands or your favorite utensils.  

Bake at 450º on a sheet pan or casserole dish covered in parchment until the potatoes are both fork tender and covered in roasty golden goodness.  Stir while baking a few times to keep the veggies from sticking.  This particular batch took about an hour to bake, but the time will vary with your oven and the size of your potatoes.

Make sure to transfer to a serving bowl or container shortly after you take them out of the oven so that you can soak your dish.  Roasting juices are hard to clean off after they've dried.  Also, these are unlikely to burn as long as you keep an eye on them after they start to roast.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I had a Beyond Meat Beast Burger for the first time today. I defrosted the patty in the microwave for a minute and a half, then cooked it in a pan for about two minutes on each side to crisp it up. For the last minute, I let a sandwich slice of Daiya provolone get gooey and delicious. Made the sandwich with toasted bread, avocado chunks, and mustard/mayo/ketchup. 

While I cooked the patty, it smelled like carne asada.  Thankfully, he texture was hearty, but not gristly like real meat. The flavor was smoky and tasted like grilled food, but it didn't taste like real meat. I appreciate this because too much realness in a veggie meat makes me queasy. Overall, the sandwich was deelish.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes made with +Bob's Red Mill Organic Pancake and Waffle Mix

1 C of pancake mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C sweetened vanilla almond milk plus 1tb to replace the egg
1 tb canola oil
1/4 C dried blueberries

Alton Brown's show GOOD EATS, though not vegan at all, offers great technique and some cool science behind yummy food.  Check out his pancake game here.  It is true that most people over mix their pancake, especially when there is no egg to help cushion the flour from the wet ingredients.  Leave some lumps and let your batter sit for a minute or two before pouring onto your griddle.  The pancake will cook best in the middle of the griddle on a medium flame and is ready to flip when the edges look dry and there are some bubbles/holes on the top.  The second side is done when the center of the pancake starts to look a bit like a cone in the middle.  

If you find that your batter is too thin, you can sprinkle in a small amount of mix or quick cooking oats, folding gently so you don't overmix.  If it's too thick, add a scant tsp of milk.  

I chose to use dried blueberries for a couple of reasons.  Thawed frozen blueberries work well, but are very juicy and tart.  Save them for your smoothie.   Fresh blueberries, even at room temperature or warmed in the microwave, contributes to uneven cooking of the pancake, which leads to raw and burned areas on the same cake.  BUT I'm only speaking from my own experience.  If you have luck with fresh or frozen berries, please tell me how you did it,  :P dried berries are more expensive than frozen.

I keep my pancakes on a warm plate while I cook the rest, and serve them with maple syrup warmed with a pat of Earth Balance Buttery Spread.  2 pancakes per person, maybe with a slice of protein.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Platanos Machos Fritos (Fried Bananas)

1/2 to 1 platano per person
Canola or corn oil for frying
Side dishes

Platanos Machos look like a caveman style banana.  They have the same shape as Chiquita bananas, but are bigger, rougher, and thicker skinned.  Since they are starchier, they fry up very well.  Pick a platano this is still a little green, if it's too ripe it will stick to your pan.  

To peel your patano, I find it helps to cut off the ends, then score skin on the outer curve to peel.  Slice in rounds or angled cuts about a half a cm thick.  in a pan large enough to hold your sliced platanos with space between them, heat canola or corn oil.  You should use a few Tb, maybe the same amount you would use to fry potatoes.  

When the oil is hot, add your slices gently, the oil will splatter.  Fry until golden brown on each side, turn when they move easily if you jiggle the pan handle.  If you find that they are sticking, carefully use a spatula to lift and turn them over.  Season and serve with yummy sides.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


1 jar of nopales
1 8oz can of mushroom slices/pieces
1 8oz can of jalapeños, or fresh slices, to taste
1-2oz sun-dried tomato packed in oil, sliced
Fresh or dried herbs to taste
1/2 to 1 bag of veggie chicken strips
2 tb oil
Your favorite sides.

(This recipe doubles very well)

First, drain the nopales and rinse VERY VERY well under running water.  They tend to be starchy and salty, so wash 'em good.  I used Embasa Nopales here because I hate onions, but Doña Maria makes nice prepared nopales that are already seasoned.  I don't have a cactus or a grill, but making your own from scratch is easy with tweezers and a potato peeler.

Next, saute the mushrooms in oil until they're warmed through.  Add the nopales and stir to help reduce some of the residual liquid on your ingredients.  When the mixture is more dry, add the tomatoes, jalapeños, veggie chicken, and any dry herbs you may be using.
When the liquid cooks off a little, add any fresh herbs you may be using.  When the herbs are wilted and completely incorporated, you're done.

I used +gardein Teriyaki Chik Strips here and discarded the sauce.  Beyond Meat frozen strips also well in this dish.  Any protein you use will be good in this dish will taste good, but I like the strips because they make nice tacos.  

If you use dried herbs, use maybe a tsp or to to start, then taste before adding more.  Fresh work well in this, but know how strong each herb tastes in relation to the others you use.  Here, I used dried oregano and thyme, and fresh parsley and cilantro.

You may have noticed that I didn't list any salt or pepper among the ingredients.  Jarred nopales are very salty, even after being rinsed.  I used canned jalapeños and mushroom, drained but not rinsed, which adds more salt to the dish.  If sodium is an issue for your diet, used fresh ingredients whenever possible.  Mushrooms can be sauteed the day before, they keep well overnight.

Some good sides for this dish are corn tortillas, tortilla chips, beans, rice, israeli couscous, polenta slices, avocado slices, or Johnny Cakes made out of masa harina.  Let me know how you serve nopales, I'd like to hear it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Reuben Sandwich

Toast up two slices of bread. Rye is traditional, but you can use whichever you like.
Smear the bread lightly with Vegenaise.
Top one side with some Gold Mine Raw Sauerkraut.
For the other side, top with a slice of Tofurky Deli Slices. I put my slices in the microwave for a few second to melt some Daiya Mozzarella Shreds to a lovely gooey texture.
Add Follow Your Heart Thousand Island dressing in the middle and nosh.

Friday, February 6, 2015

SouthWest Style Pasta Salad

1/2 lb spiral type pasta
Red veggies:  bell pepper
Yellow veggies:  corn, squash, bell pepper
Orange veggies:  carrots, bell pepper, pumpkin, kabocha
Green veggies:  bell pepper, zucchini, parsley, asparagus, cucumber
Sliced black olives
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

What you see in the picture is green bell peppers, boiled carrots, corn, and olives.  Since the SouthWestern flavor profile has bothersome ingredients, you may want to use ingredients that complement the spices and chiles you would find in a more traditional version of this dish. This will add a familiar taste to the salad without irritating your system.  I listed a few ingredients above that work well with the flavor and the pasta (so that it doesn't get sticky or mushy).

Boil your pasta to a firm al dente, strain, and rinse in cold water.  While the pasta is cooling off, prepare your veggies.

Add your cooled pasta to your mixing bowl, season, coat with oil, and mix well.  Add your chopped veggies and mix well.  Chill and nom.  

In order to keep from going into a carb coma, make sure that at least half of the total volume is veggies.  1/2 lbs of pasta serves 8 at 30g carbs per serving, but this doesn't include the veggies.  If you need to keep an eye on your blood glucose levels, just use a 1/4 lb of pasta and keep the serving to 8 portions.  Adjust the proportions of ingredients to favor low GI veggies (lots of cucumber, peppers, and parsley; less corn, carrots, etc.)

This will keep in your fridge for at about 5 days.

Friday, January 16, 2015

IC Friendly Red Pizza

1-2 pizza's worth of your favorite dough
2 roasted peeled seeded red bell peppers, puréed
1/4 C water
4-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Fresh basil, shredded with your hands (use dried if you prefer)
If you have access to other fresh herbs, you can also add thyme, oregano, tarragon, parsley, etc. 
1 tb olive oil
Salt to taste
(Optional, red and black pepper to taste)
1 bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds
1 can of sliced olives
(Optional, artichoke hearts packed in water, mushroom slices, seasoned wheat gluten, or any of your favorite pizza toppings)

Purée the red bell peppers in a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender. You may need to add a little olive oil to get things moving. Set aside.

Warm your olive oil in a sauce pot over a medium low flame.  When you can feel heat from the oil, add your chopped garlic and turn the heat all the way down. Let the garlic infuse the oil for ten minutes or so.  When your kitchen smells like grandma's house, turn the heat to medium and pour in the bell pepper purée. 

Add your herbs and water, and simmer (stirring occasionally) until it thickens to a pizza sauce consistency. Take off heat and salt to taste. If your sauce is bitter, you can sprinkle in some sugar. Making sure all the seeds and skin are removed cuts down on bitterness.

My favorite dough recipe, made in a bread machine:

3/4 C semolina flour
3/4 C spelt flour
1 3/4 C bread flour or AP flour
3 tb sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tb olive oil
1 1/4 C plain unsweetened almond milk, warm
1 envelope of yeast

Using the dough setting, add the ingredients according to the manual for your machine. I add salt and sugar first, then liquid followed by the semolina and spelt. Next comes the yeast and finally the wheat flour. I let the dough mix for a bit, then use a scraper to push down the flour and dough pieces that stick to the side. Wait until the first mixing cycle is done to decide to add more flour or almond milk. A good dough ball will be round and firm, but not sticky (too wet) or flaky (too dry). To fix a dough ball, add a tb of flour or almond milk to get it right. 

This dough is ready to bake when the bread machine is done, or you can knead and store in a zippy bag coated with olive oil for the next day. This will develop the gluten and make your dough chewy and puffy. When you roll out your dough, you may need to let it rest if the gluten gets fussy.  You'll see this if the dough keeps shrinking back to its original size.  Letting it relax in the fridge for a few minutes will make rolling it out easier.  The higher the gluten content of your flour, the puffier our crust will be.  Bread flour has a high gluten content, AP flour has less, pastry flour has low gluten content.  You may need to play with different types of flour to get the crust you like.

Top your pizza with a few tb of sauce, olives (and other veggies), a handful of cheese shreds, and bake at 450° for at least 10 minutes. Check the crust for crisping, depending on the thickness, it may take 20 minutes or so to cook through. The thicker the crust, the lower in the oven it should go. You may need to broil the top to get the cheese to melt. If your crust is golden, take the pizza out of the oven while the broiler fires up so that the bottom doesn't burn. 

Serve hot, keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rocket Salad with Kite Hill Cassucio Cheese

I needed some superfoods after Christmas, so this is what I came up with.  

2 handfuls of wild rocket, or arugula
1 persian cucumber, diced
1/4 C red bell pepper, chopped
2 tb sliced black olives
1-2 oz Kite Hill Cassucio cheese, diced (check the ingredients, if they're bothersome, use garbanzos)
1 tb orange infused olive oil (aranciolio)
Salt and pepper to taste

Lay greens on the plate, then cucumbers and bell peppers.  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Top with cheese and olives.  Nom, nom, crunch, crunch.

As it is, this salad is low carb, fiber rich, full of healthy fats, vitamin C, and other stuff that is good for winter stricken bodies.  Also, it is IC Friendly.  But if you like, you could add more veggies, croutons, wonton strips, nuts, seeds, or use limonoilo instead of aranciolio.

IC Friendly Pozole

Pozole is a lot like menudo as it has hominy cooked in a spicy broth.  From what I've been told, the difference types of soup is the meat you make it with,  Menudo has tripe while pozole has pork and chicken.  Pozole can be red, made with red chiles, or green, made with tomatillo and green/yellow chiles.  If you want to make this recipe green, use yellow bell peppers that you've roasted, seeded, and peeled.

1 jar of roasted bell peppers (about 3-4 peppers)
1 large can of hominy (the really big one that looks like it's about a gallon)
Thyme (I used about 4 heaping tb dried)
Oregano (if you use fresh, start slow, you can always add more)
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 boxes of sliced mushrooms
(optional ) 1 C of your favorite chik'n substitute, sliced (unflavored wheat gluten/seitan works well.  I used +gardein Crispy Mandarin Orange Chik'n without sauce, but it has soy)
1/2 - 1/4 C maseca (masa harina)
Canola or corn oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Water or IC Friendly broth for cooking

Traditional IC Friendly garnishes include shredded cabbage, avocado, radish slices, oregano, and thyme. *

You're gonna need a big soup/stock pot for this quantity of pozole, but I guarantee it's worth it.  Everybody will want some too and it will last until the end of the next day.  **

The first thing I do when I cook with hominy is drain and rinse it.  Just dump it in a colander, run the faucet, and leave it to drain while you cook.  Then, put your mushrooms in a dry pan to sweat.  Cook them until they're soft.  They don't need to dry out, the juices will add flavor to your broth.

Add the bell peppers to your pot with a 1/2 C of water and bring to a boil.  Put the peppers with the water into your blender (or you can use a boat motor), keep the pulp or strain if you like, then back into the pot with 2 quarts of water.  Add your garlic, herbs, salt, pepper if you can tolerate it, and bring back to a boil.  Taste your broth to see if it needs more herbs or salt.  Add the mushrooms, chik'n, and hominy and cover with more water, about two inches over the hominy.   Boil for about 15-30 minutes, stir so it doesn't stick.  It;s ready for the roux when the hominy is tender, but still toothy (al dente).

While the soup boils, make your masa roux.  For masa roux, I like to use 1 part oil to 2 parts maseca. Heat oil in a saucepan, then sprinkle or sift in the maseca.  When it's cooked through, ladle some broth from your pot (about a cup) and add water to thin.  Work out any lumps and stir while you bring to a boil.  If your hominy isn't soft when the roux comes together, set the roux to warm and stir about every minute so that it doesn't burn or stick.

When, the hominy is soft add the masa roux and stir so that it mixes evenly.  Bring back to a boil, stir well, and serve with hot corn tortillas.  What you see in the picture is pozole topped with shredded cabbage and avocado slices.

*If any of the ingredients in this recipe are bothersome for you, substitute them for something else.  For example, parsley instead of oregano or diced zucchini instead of mushrooms.  

**to make a more manageable quantity, use these proportions:

1roasted, peelers bell pepper
1small can of hominy
1 tb thyme and 1 tb oregano
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 C to 1 C sliced mushrooms
(Optional)1/2 C chik'n, sliced
1 to 2 tb maseca
1 to 2 tb canola or corn oil
Salt and pepper to taste

The hominy and herbs will be cheaper at the Mexican market, and they may have better corn tortillas.  My favorite are dark yellow, grainy, thick, and smell like fragrant masa.  They steam very well.  I've seen hominy that has been frozen in supermarkets before, but I've never used it before.  If you have massive leftovers, freeze them in a zipper bag for no longer than a month. The Middle Eastern store may have large jars of roasted peppers at a good price.