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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sweet Potato, Brown Rice, and Shiitake Soup



Serves 3 – 4
Takes about 45 minutes

I thought up the idea for this soup and was craving it before I had even actually made it. It turned out to be just as good as I had hoped. I eat rice with soup but I don’t often cook the rice into my soup. It adds a nice chewiness.

Ingredients:

¾ cup brown basmati rice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth (a boullion cube works fine)
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
7 oz shitake mushrooms, diced
6 – 8 green onions, finely sliced
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste (depends on saltiness of your vegetable broth)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. When hot, add in the garlic and ginger.  Saute until the garlic starts to lightly brown, about a minute or two. Add rice, vegetable broth, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir so that there are no lumps of tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer for 25 minutes.
2. Add in the sweet potatoes and raise heat so that soup starts to bubble again. Cook on medium heat for 8 minutes.
3. Add shitake mushrooms. When soup starts to bubble again, cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the green onions, thyme, nutritional yeast, and turmeric. Cook briefly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Scones



Apple Cinnamon Raisin Scones
Makes about 12 scones
Takes about 45 minutes

True to form, I will not cook overly sweet pastries for breakfast.  I feel like these are the perfect compromise.  The apples and the raisins sweeten them without having to add a huge amount of sugar.  They are still not health food but they won’t leave you disgusted by what you just ate.  I like eating them for lunch, as well as breakfast, and you can stick them briefly in the toaster to heat for days afterwards.

Ingredients:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/3 cup soymilk
½ cup apple juice
1 apple, diced (skin still on)
½ cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Add in the wet ingredients and mix.  Stir in the apples and raisins.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oil.  Use a large spoon to drop 12 clumps of dough onto the baking sheet (depending on the size of your baking sheet, you may need two).  You can use your fingers to make the clumps somewhat triangular if you like your scones that way.
4. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned.  Allow the scones to cool before eating.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie



Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
Makes 1 9-inch Pie
Takes about 1 hour, 30 minutes (not including roasting sweet potatoes)

I was a little tired of the traditional pumpkin pie one Thanksgiving so I made this instead and it was met with unanimous enthusiasm.  The taste is very similar to pumpkin but the pie is a brighter orange and just a little different tasting.  The maple syrup and candied pecans make it heaven.

Ingredients:

Crust:
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ cup coconut oil, at a temperature where it is solid
3 tbsp cold water

Filling:
3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, well roasted
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp each cloves, allspice, nutmeg, ground ginger
½ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup soymilk
3 tbsp xylitol or sugar

Candied topping:
1 tbsp shortening, margarine, or coconut oil
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp sugar

1. To make the crust, combine together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the coconut oil in pieces.  Use a fork or your fingers to work the oil into the flour until you end up with crumbles.  Add the water and work it into a dry, flaky dough.
2. Sprinkle flour on a clean surface.  Gently press the dough flat and then use a rolling pin to roll it into a coarse circle (you want it to be about 11 inches in diameter or so).  Be gentle because the dough will break easily.
3. Transfer the crust to the pie pan and fit it to the right size.  Use scissors to cut off any extra that hangs over the sides of the pan.  Crimp the edges of the crust by pinching.  Cover the crust with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to use (you can leave it for several hours if you want or use it right away.  If you want to save it for longer, freeze it and then thaw in the refrigerator right before you want to cook it).
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and place the flesh in the blender.  Add in all the rest of the filling ingredients and blend until smooth.  Pour the filling into the pie crust.
6. To make the topping, in a pan on the stove, melt the shortening or margarine.  Add the pecans and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar caramelizes.  Disperse the pecans over the top of the pie.
7. Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and then bake for another 15 minutes.  Allow pie to cool before eating.  It is best if it is allowed to chill for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.  


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Roasted Siracha-Lime Soybeans



Roasted Siracha-Lime Soybeans
Makes about 2 ½ cups of beans
Takes about 1 hour (not including soaking)

These make a great snack with a lot of protein and pack a flavor punch to boot.  I started making these to kick my pistachio habitat (too expensive).  They are super easy to make and since dry soybeans rarely cost more than $1.50/lb, it’s a very cheap snack if you’re on a budget.

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup dry soybeans
1 tbsp siracha
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp lime juice
¾ tsp smoked paprika

1. Soak the soybeans overnight.  Make sure to add a lot of water since they swell to a large size.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
3. Drain the soybeans and remove any loose skins (these burn).  Spread them out on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until shrunken and lightly brown.  Use a spatula to move beans around around 15 minutes or so to ensure even cooking.
4. Meanwhile, combine the siracha, oil, lime juice, and paprika in a bowl.  Mix.
5. Add the soybeans into the other ingredients and stir to coat.  Spread them back out on the baking sheet and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Allow soybeans to cool before serving or storing.  If beans start to get soft and lose their crunch after a couple of days, pop them back in the oven for a few minutes and they should crisp up again.

Kimchi Miso Udon



Kimchi Miso Udon
Serves 4 – 5
Takes about 30 minutes

Kimchi is a Korean condiment similar to sauerkraut.  It is made up of spiced and fermented napa cabbage, often with other vegetables such as scallions or daikon radish.  Make your own kimchi or use vegan store-bought (check the label carefully since many traditionally kimchi recipes use anchovies).  Either way, this soup makes for a healthy, fast meal that packs a flavor punch.  Store noodles and broth separately to prevent the noodles from going soggy.  Many people have kimchi recipes available so I won’t repeat it here.  I recommend the recipe on the blog “I Eat Plants”, available at the time of this writing.

Ingredients:

12 oz dry udon noodles
1 tbsp fresh, finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
5 cups of water
3 tbsp golden miso
3 tbsp rice vinegar
8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
1 ½ cups kimchi

1. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package and set aside.
2. Heat the sesame oil in a pot.  When it’s hot, add the ginger and sauté for a couple minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. 
3. Add the water and miso in.  Use a spoon, fork, or egg beater to make sure the miso gets fully dissolved.  Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to heat over medium low heat until everything is warmed through.  Don’t let the soup boil or get too hot!  You don’t want to kill off the beneficial bacteria in the miso and the kimchi. 
4. The soup should be served warm but not very hot.  Place some udon noodles in each bowl and ladle the soup over it.  Reheat on the stove rather than in the microwave if possible.