Curry Sweet Potato Stew

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In my last blog post, I shared Jack’s food allergy diagnosis. It forced us into a wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and cashew-free diet. I am have been avoiding most of nuts—besides peanuts, he tested negative for those–until more testing is done too. The other day I realized Jack won’t be able to eat most Indian foods now because they contain ghee. My little Fijian baby loves going to Indian restaurants! So I decided to make my own little curry creation that he could eat.

Curry Sweet Potato StewIMG_6949

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs coconut oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, mince
1/4 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tbs mango powder
1/2 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs gram masala
1/2 tbs paprika
Red chili flakes, to taste
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups spinach, chopped
Salt to taste

Add the quartered sweet potatoes to a large pot of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and boil until tender.

While that’s going, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat.

Once it the oil is heat, add the bell pepper. Cook until tender.

Add shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook until the shallots are soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the curry powder, mango powder, ground coriander, gram masala, paprika, and chili flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain and return to the pot.

Mash them slightly. A few chunks left over are fine, we aren’t making a soup.

Add the spice and veggie mixture to the pot.

Add the coconut milk to the pot and mix well.

Season with salt as desired.

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And there you have it! A tasty pot of sweet potato stew!

IMG_6954The boys are pan-fried chicken and I had lentils. Jack decided he wanted lentils later too. A lovely warm dish for the fall!

Edamame Wasabi Dip

IMG_5340You know when you are standing in the grocery store staring at all the options, and nothing really looks good? You pick up one thing, and think “Meh” or “I always get this…” That was me last week. I picked up my favorite brand of hummus and was like nah. Then I looked at the guacamole, and was still like nah…. I went through all the dips and wasn’t feeling any of them. So I walked away from the case sad, my dip-needs unfulfilled.

I walked down the freezer and randomly threw a bag of frozen edamame it in the cart. I like to put them in fried rice. Then when I was in the bean aisle, I saw chickpeas and thought about making my own hummus recipe. As I set the can in the cart, I saw the frozen bag. Then I randomly imagined a creamy but spicy edamame dip! So here we are with this post….

Edamame Wasabi DipIMG_5343
 16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame
 2 tbs tahini paste
 1 tbs red miso paste
 1 clove of garlic, minced
 1 tps ginger paste
 Wasabi powder, to taste
 Salt, to taste

Steam or microwave the frozen edamame until thawed and cooked. Let it cool to slightly above room temperature.

In a food processor, add the bag of edamame. Pulse a few times to get it started.

Then add all ingredients except the wasabi powder and salt. Blend until smooth.

Add the wasabi powder until desired hotness is reached. I don’t want to give you a set amount because everyone is different. But I would not go too much more than a 1/2 tsp if you like it mild. Likewise, I would not go over a 2 tbs if you like it hot. Just a bit, pulse and taste until you get to what you want.

Add salt as needed.

Spread into a serving dish, and top with a little extra wasabi and miso if you wish.

Let it sit for at least an hour, then enjoy!

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I suggest serving with some cucumber sticks, pita chips, and carrots.

 

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

This morning my husband accidentally woke the baby up early. And guess who had to get up with him? Anyways, I got to watch my favorite cooking show of all time, Good Eats. And the episode featured my favorite vegetable, Brussels Sprouts. I’ve seen the episode before, but kind of ignored it since I loved my sprout cut in half and pan fried. But today I paid attention and saw him make the most delicious looking dish ever. Shredded Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries and pecans. I had all those ingredients in my fridge and couldn’t decide what to make, this recipe was just what I needed! I made it vegan and added a few ingredients too. This dish would make a fantastic healthy side dish for the Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels Sprouts
3 ounce raw pecans, chopped
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 ounces dried cranberries
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the brussel sprouts and remove any brown leafs. Cut off the tip of the steam. Cut the brussel sprouts into shreds (or use a food processor like Alton did).

In a skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the chopped pecans. It will only take a minute or two. The color won’t change much but you will be able to smell the aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the butter and brussels sprout shreds. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the sprouts soften.

Next add the cranberries and cook for one minute longer.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now dig into this delicious dish! Michael and I devoured the bowl. I even hoped Jack wouldn’t eat his  portion (I gave him just the sprouts, never give a baby nuts as they are a choking risk).  But he devoured his too! I will need to make this again soon, it was just so good!

Sweet and Tangy Baked Beans

These baked beans are incredible. No joke. And they happened to already be vegan! My mom always made baked beans this way when I was growing up. When I had just plain beans out the can at my friends’ houses, I would think why? why would you eat something so boring? Michael loves them too. I could make these everyday and he wouldn’t complain. I could go on and on, but please make them for yourself and see. 

This recipe makes 6 serving.

Baked Beans
55 oz can vegetarian baked beans 
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard powder 
Salt and Pepper, to taste as needed 
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Make sure you work in the mustard powder, painful to bite into a pocket of that stuff. 
Baked for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. 
It it cool slightly before serving and then enjoy! It’s a great summertime treat, I took a big tray (made 3 times the amount) to a family picnic. I love it with a juicy Tofurky Brat

Homemade Applesauce

This recipe to accompany my last post, Vegan Potato Pancakes. Applesauce is soooo easy to make. And it tastes so much better fresh. I used Golden Delicious apples because they are my favorite, but any red apple will do. I also don’t use that much sugar because I honestly don’t think it needs it. Apples are sweet enough as it is, just a little bit more sugar makes it a treat.

This recipe makes 4 servings, but can be easily multiplied to make more.
Applesauce

6 red apples (I used Golden Delicious)
1 cup water
2 tbs of sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Peel the apples and cut the fruit off the core. Chop the apples. Don’t worry too much about size and evenness at this point, just get them smaller.
Put the apple pieces and all remaining ingredients in a pot. 
Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer then cover.
Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the apples are so tender you can’t even stab them with a fork without them falling apart. 
Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

You can leave it this if you want it really chunky. For smoother sauce, pulse it in the blender for minute. I left a few chunks in mine.

Serve it as side dish, a snack, or even dessert!

Roasted Fennel Carrots

I decided to make a healthier side dish for burgers instead of fries. I randomly threw some spices on some carrots and roasted them. They came out so good I could not believe it. Michael instantly told me to put them on my blog! I used the organic carrots from my veggie box delivery.

This recipe calls for mango powder. The powder it made from dried green mangoes. It’s a common spice in Indian cooking.  It’s kind of tart and zesty. I bought it awhile since most of the Indian foods Michael ask for call for it (I am trying to not make “white people Indian food” as he calls it) and I am learning to love it. It can be found in Indian Grocery stores and most health food stores. It’s worth adding to your spice rack.

This recipes make 2 servings, but can be easily multiplied.
Roasted Fennel Carrots
1 medium bunch of carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tbs coconut oil (warmed if necessary so it is liquid)
1 tsp mango powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1/2  tbs whole fennel seeds
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
If using fresh organic carrots, cut the top greens off. Wash well.
Chop the carrots into larger bit-sized pieces, about 1 inch or so.
In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and toss to coat well.
Roast in the oven until soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
A healthy side dish loaded with flavor!

Corn Chowder

One of the best things at the restaurant I used to work at was the Corn Chowder. Creamy, sweet, a little spicy and tons of flavor. So I decided to make my own version at home since I had lovely fresh organic corn from my vegetable box delivery.

This recipe makes 4 servings.
Corn Chowder
4 ears of fresh corn (frozen will not work for this)
Olive oil
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 cups soy milk
2 to 4 cups water
Salt and Pepper
Chili Powder
Cilantro, chopped
Avocado, optional
Salsa, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the husks and clean off all the silk.
Remove the kernels from cob. I did this by holding the cobs vertical and cutting straight down with a knife over a plate. You can leave the kernels for roasting and cut them off later, but I think this is easier.
Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and spread the kernels down in an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Some might go a little blacks, that is totally fine.
Set aside and let the kernels cool completely.
Meanwhile, remove the stem from the poblano and chop into small pieces.
Peal the onion and chop as well.
Remove the stem (and sees if you want less heat) from the jalapeno and chop too.
In pot over medium heat, add a little olive oil and saute the chopped veggies until softened. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Next, get out your blender or food processor. Add the corn, soy milk, and two cups of water. It should be smooth, but with a little texture. Add additional water as needed.
Once you get the desired texture, add the puree to the pot with the veggies. Turn on the heat to low.
Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Once it is heated through, remove from the heat and add some cilantro.
I topped mine with some sliced avocado and salsa. Serve it with a warm tortilla or chips on the side too. So good and pretty light on calories too. In fact, you can probably skip the olive oil all together and it would still be great.

German Potato Salad

Last weekend Michael was a groomsman in a college friend’s wedding. That meant a trip to Lake Tahoe! I went there for the first time in March for his sister’s wedding and instantly fell in love with the area. We are already trying to plan a camping trip back there soon. The day before the wedding they had a BBQ at park right on the lake and requested everyone bring something to share.

Brunt Cedar Park in North Lake

I instantly thought German Potato Salad. My mom found the recipe in Cooking Light years ago and made it often when I was a kid. It’s WAY better than traditional potato salad. Light, but still creamy. Salty, but a little tang. However, the real recipe for German Potato Salad has bacon and uses the bacon fat to make a sauce. I still wanted it, so I decided to make a vegan version. I figured if it did not come out right, we can always just buy a veggie platter on the way to the BBQ.

I decided to use Bac-O Bits ( they are made from soy, check out my Mac and Cheese post) instead of bacon. However, I had some trouble deciding what to use instead of the bacon fat. Normally you cook the bacon, reserve the fat and use it to make a roux for the sauce. I thought about adding some olive oil instead, but the flavor would be wrong. And the more I thought about it, what is the point of making this dish healthier if I was going to load it up oil? Good fats are an important part of healthy diet, but there would be plenty of other food with adequate fat at the BBQ. No need to add more. So I decided to just skip oil all together and just use some water.

This recipe makes 15 servings.

German Potato Salad
5 lbs bag of red potatoes, washed and quartered
1 small onion, chopped
1 container of Bac-O Bits
1 cup water (add more as needed)
3 tbs flour
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbs brown mustard
4 stalks green onions, sliced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Fill a large pot with cold water. Add the quartered potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough for a fork to easily pierce.

While that cooks,  saute the onions until soft (I did this was just a little water, but you can use a little oil).

Add the bacon bits and cook for a minute, just to warm them up.

Next add the water and flour. It should make a lose paste. Stir out any clumps.

Add the vinegar and mustard. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the pot.

Add the sauce and mix well to coat every potato.

Add the sliced green onions, mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let this sit for at least 2 hours, overnight would be better. I actually made this two days beforehand (mainly because there was no way I could make it at the hotel) and it was prefect.

This dish is served room temperature, and it has no dairy so no need to worry about it spoiling in the sun during your BBQ.

Veggie burger, water melon, chips, and German Potato Salad!

Everyone liked my potato salad, the Step-Mother-of-the-Bride thanked me for bringing it!

Beautiful weather, wonderful view of the lake in the distance.

Congratulations Jeff and Rachel! Your wedding was beautiful and I wish you a long, happy life together!

Organic Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Lemon Quinoa

I decided that Michael and I need to eat more organic vegetables. I wish we could afford to buy all organic, especially from a farmers’ market so we could support the local agriculture. Unfortunately, for a young couple just starting out, that is out of our budget. Then I randomly thought of farm delivery service. Most of them allow you to select a package within your price range and it comes right to your door. So I simply Googled “organic produce delivery Bay Area” and a bunch came up. I decided to go with Farm Fresh to You. I like how professional the website is (I hate when business have website’s that look like 1995) and thought the farm’s story was nice. I also thought the prices were reasonable and I liked that you could chose the frequency of delivery. And you can customize your deliveries by adding produce to your exclude list. For  example, I am not a fan of peaches, so I added peaches to my exclusion list. Now I will open the box and go “Ick, peaches!”

I selected the Veggies Only box every other week. Friday morning when I stepped out the door to go work, there was the box. When I came home from work I checked out all the lovely produce. Sweet peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, avocados, eggplant, nectarines (I modified my order because I did not want something), baby beets, and carrots. It all looked good, but the minute I saw the beets and carrots, I thought only one thing: roasted salad. I LOVE roasted beets. So good and so easy to make. And, roasted carrots are so sweet. Nothing not to love.

Now I would just eat the salad for dinner, but Michael would not be happy. “I know all you eat is vegetables, but I need more food!” Our lemon tree had a brunch of ripe lemons, so made him lemon chicken. Since I had so many, I thought I would make lemon quinoa as well.

Another side note, I also decided Michael and I are going to eat only healthy fats. So only olive oil and coconut oil from now on. Obviously Michael still eats meat so he has animal fat too. That is his life choice and I respect that.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad:
4 beets (I had one large and 3 medium)
1 bunch of carrots (I had Nantes specifically)
1 tbs olive oil, divided
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 squirt of fresh lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Alternately, you can do this on the grill. But you REALLY need to watch them and turn them regularly. They tend to go from uncooked to burned-beyond-all-recognition in an instant.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the beets. Wash well. Cut a small silt in the top of the each beet. Place each beet in it’s own piece of foil. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.Wrap each beet up with the foil so it is covered completely. *Side note: I do not put olive oil on them before roasting. You are going to be peeling the skin off later, so I feel it is just a waste and add excess calories.

Cut the greens off the top and the root strings off the bottom of the carrots. Wash well. Cut into 1/4 of inch sized pieces. In a small pan or baking sheet, toss together will 1/2 tbs of olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper. *I do add olive oil to the carrots for roasting since they will not be peeled and loosing the flavor.

Place beets in the oven right-side-up. Cook for 30-40 minutes. They will be ready when a knife can be inserted in the middle with no resistance.

When the beets have 20 minutes left, add the carrots to the oven. When the timer goes the carrots should be   golden (it is okay if they are a little black) and soften,  and the beets will black on the outside but soft on the inside.

Set both the beets and the carrots aside to cool. This salad is served chilled or room temperature.

Once the beets are completely cooled (unless you like burning your hands on hot beet juice), take a spoon or a peeler (or your hands if you do not mind pink fingers) and peel off the charred skin.

Cut the beets into bite-sized cubes.

In a small serving bowl, add the beets, carrots, remaining olive oil, Italian seasoning, and a squirt of lemon juice. Mix together well. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Lemon Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes.

Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

I let mine cool for a bit, that way the flavors could set in more. Plus, it was hot and I did not want to eat a lot of hot food.

A lovely summer dinner. The beets and carrots were so good. Organic really does make all the difference. I really encourage everyone to not only eat more vegetables, but eat organic ones. Good for you, supports the local economy, and support sustainable agriculture. Another cool thing about Farm Fresh to You, you can adjust your delivery dates. We are going to a wedding in Tahoe in two weeks, when the next box delivery will come. I do not want my veggies to spoil, so I adjusted the delivery to this week instead. So look out for some more organic recipes soon!

Roasted Bell Pepper and Spinach Sandwhich

This is the sandwich to go with my gazpacho recipe. Not too complicated but tasty!

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but can easily be multiplied.


1 red pepper pepper
Olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach (frozen is fine)
2 rolls (I used torta rolls)
Mustard
Horseradish
2 slices of vegan swiss cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rub the pepper with some olive oil. This does not really help with the roasting process, just adds flavor.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the upside is lightly browned.

While the pepper roasts, sautee the slices onions and spinach in a pan over medium heat, with a touch of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, set aside.

Remove the peppers from the oven and turn them over.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

The skin should be charred now and the pepper should practically be falling apart.

Place your pepper in a zip-lock bag. Let it sit and cool for 5 minutes.

Now the skin will be soft and cool enough to peel off. I usually peel the pepper in the bag, so there is less mess. Just peel off all the charred skin either with your fingers or a small knife.

Now cut the pepper in half. The steam and attached seeds will come out easily.

Wipe away any remaining seeds.

Set the two pepper halves aside.

Now we can assemble….

Heat a pan (the one you did the spinach in is fine) over medium-high heat.

Take spread of mustard and horseradish on each roll.

Add a slice of cheese on one side of each roll.

On half of the bell pepper on top of the cheese for each roll.

Add the spinach mixture on top of the pepper pepper.

Top with the other piece of the roll.

Squish the sandwich down a bit, this will help it all stay together

Place in the hot pan. Cook a few minutes, until the roll is crisp and golden.

Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Now you have a tasty grilled sandwich to go with your soup!