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!

Potato Soup

Last week I had a bit of a cold so I wanted to make something soothing. And what could be more soothing that a big creamy bowl of potato soup?

This recipe makes 6 servings.

Potato Soup
1 tsp of vegan butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
6 medium potatoes, pealed and cut into small chunks
2 stalks of celery, chopped fine
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cup vegetable broth
2 cups soy milk
4 cups water
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the potatoes. Cook until softened slightly. You can add a little water if they stick to the pan too much.

Add the onions and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the celery has softened. The potatoes should be softer by now too.

Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

Sprinkle in the flour and mix together well. Let the flour cook for a few minutes.

Pour in the vegetable broth, soy milk and water. Mix well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Take a potato masher and mash up the potatoes, while leaving some chunks for texture. The soup with thicken slightly as you do this.

Add the sage and rosemary sprigs.

Cook for 1-2 hours, until desired thickness is reached.

Remove the sprigs, some of the leaves will have fallen off.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I garnished with parsley.

Creamy, soothing and delicious!

Stuffed Pumpkin

source

This dish was fantastic and so adorable…too bad I forgot to take any pictures of it! I can at least post the recipe so you can make your own adorable little stuffed pumpkin.  I took this to my second Thanksgiving on Friday since we had to travel two hours. I just heated it up when I arrived.

Stuffed Pumpkin
1 small pumpkin (Mine had about an 6 inch radius)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cups cornbread stuffing (I used a box mix, but you can make your own as well)
1/2 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and dried well and cut into small cubes
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 of a small onion, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the stem off the top of the pumpkin and hollow out the inside (detailed instructions on my pumpkin craving post, just minus the actual craving part).

Coat the inside of the pumpkin with some olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the stuffing, tofu cubes, chopped celery and chopped onions.

Stuff the pumpkin with the stuffing mixture. Make sure to leave a little room at the top. Cover the stem with foil and place back on top.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. The pumpkin should be tender enough that a fork can easily pierce through it.

Now remove the stem, and cut into slices. You eat both the filling and pumpkin flesh. Goes lovely with some gravy.

Next time I promise to remember the pictures…

Mashed Cauliflower

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was very lovely, so nice to spend time with my new family.  I thought I would post some of the recipes I made. I am going to break it into four posts to make it easier.

Here is the recipe for mashed cauliflower. It has a lot less carbs than potatoes. Now, I am not going to lie…I did not have high expectations. Mashed Potatoes is one of my favorite foods and I thought nothing could replace it. But this was fantastic! It is just as good, if not better. And it was so easy.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 medium head of  cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Wash the cauliflower head and dry.

Remove the florets from the base stem.

Fill a large pot with water and add the florets.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, uncover and add a bit of salt. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash everything together well.  Try to get the cauliflower as smooth as you can.

Now your mashed cauliflower is ready to serve! I topped mine with vegan gravy but any traditional mashed potato toppings would work great too.

Five Layer Dip



*This is repost, since for some unknown reason, the first one got deleted.


I hope you all had a fun Fourth of July!

Once again, so for not posting very often. As I mentioned in my last post, I am moving to California. I am still staying with Michael’s parents and looking for a job (got some good leads so far!). Hopefully soon I will have a job and my own place so I get back to posting more. 

Yesterday Michael’s parents had a little BBQ so I thought I would make something nice for everyone too: five layer dip. I made this for a party before and it was gone within minutes. What’s not to love about layers of spicy beans, creamy guacamole, tangy Tofutti sour cream, fresh salsa and gooey cheese sauce? 


Some of the layers are from recipes I have posted before, so I will spare you the repeat and just post the links. 

Five Layer Dip:

First layer: Spicy Beans
16 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium onion
1 large bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jalapeño pepper, minced


Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. 


Chop the onion and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Mince the jalapeño. 



Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.


Saute the onions and peppers until slightly golden.






Add the beans, garlics, and red pepper flakes. 












Cook until the beans are heated through. Mash the beans into a paste as it cooks. 








Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and add the jalapeño. 


Remove from heat and set aside to cool.






Second layer: Basic Guacamole 
Third layer: Tofutti Sour Cream


Fourth layer: Fresh Salsa 
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 of a medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
Handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste


Dice tomatoes and onions, then add to a large bowl.



Mince the garlic and jalapeños and, add to the bowl. 






Add the cilantro and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 


Fifth layer: Cheese Sauce


Assembly:
I suggest doing this in a large see-through (I know I did it in a pink one, it was the biggest one I could find) bowl or dish so you can see all the contrasting layers.


In the bottom of the large bowl, spread an even layer of the Spicy Beans. 



Second, spread on the Basic Guacamole.



Next, cover with as much sour cream as you like. 


Then, put the salsa on top of the sour cream.

Lastly, pour on the cheese sauce. Garnish with some red pepper flakes and cilantro. 



This was big hit! We munched on this while the grill heated up and it was devoured quickly. 


French Onion Soup

I have no idea why, but last week I was sitting in the couch watching TV and all the sudden wanted french onion soup. I have made Alton Brown’s recipe from Good Eats before and loved it. I didn’t feel like looking up his recipe so I did it off the top of my head. The real recipe calls for butter, beef broth, and wine. I don’t eat butter or beef broth, so I used vegan margarine, vegetable broth. I also used beer  because I did not feel like buying a bottle of wine and my boyfriend has plenty of beer in the fridge. The beer did give a different flavor, a little bit more yeasty/salty, but I liked it. Michael did not complain either.

Onions are amazing. They can help clean out your digestive system, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some research even suggests they have cancer fighting abilities. Ever why onions make you cry? Wouldn’t you try to blind your enemy if they were trying to cut you open and eat you!

This makes 2-3 servings.

French Onion Soup
2 large white onions, cut into thin half slices
3 tbs of vegan margarine
Pinch of salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bottle of beer (I used Long Board)
1 can of vegetable broth
3 cup of water
Salt and Pepper to better

Cut onions in half, then into thin slices. Mince the garlic.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the onions and a pinch of salt.

Stir everything together well and spread into a even layer on the bottom of the pan. Let it sauté for a few minutes, stir and spread out evenly again. Repeat until all the onions are brown and caramelized. This could take awhile, be patient and don’t crank up the heat.

Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two.

Add the beer and scrap up all stuff from the bottom of the pot.

Add the broth and water, and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cover. Let it cook for 30 minutes.

You can get all fancy and put in little ramekins and cover them with a cheese-covered crouton and bake in them in the oven. Or, do what I did and put a little cheese on top and serve them with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Roti and Cilantro Chutney

Here are the other two dishes from my awesome Indian dinner. Like I said in my last post, I had never heard of roti before. I have always had nice fluffy naan bread at Indian restaurants. But Michael said his family eats roti, which is more like a soft tortilla, so I thought I would try making them. I looked up some recipes and watched a few videos, and thought I would give it a try. I knew they were not going to come out perfect because I do not have a rolling pin and I used all purpose flour, not wheat flour like the recipes  call for. Also, since I had never had them before and do not know that much about Indian cooking, I had no frame of reference. But, being a good girlfriend, I went ahead anyways.  Michael said mine tasted right, but were too crunchy. I will try making them again, following the same recipe but actually following the method more correctly.

However, my cilantro chutney was amazing and Michael had no complaints. The aloo mattar was good on it’s own, but was fantastic with this chutney.



Roti
1/2 Cup Whole wheat flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of Oil

Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon vegan butter 











In a small bowl, mix together the flour, water, and salt into a soft dough. 


Add the oil and knead together until it is no longer sticky. 


Transfer the dough to flat surface and divide into 4 round balls. 


Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with some oil. 


Roll the balls into 1/8 thick rounds. 


Ok, so I had a hard time with the following steps….


Place the rounds into the skillet and cook for a few seconds until the edges begin to curl up and bubbles begin to appear on the top. 


Flip it over until the bubble appear on this side as well. 


Flip over again and begin to press down and rotate the roti. Repeat all the way around until it puffs up and becomes golden in a few spots. 


Remove from the skillet and brush with some vegan butter. 


Repeat with the remaining rounds. 



Cilantro Chutney
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 garlic clove
2 serrano peppers, chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 tbs of salt
1 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp of asafetida
Water, if needed


Put everything into the blender and blend until smooth.  


I was very satisfied in with this whole dinner, and can’t wait to try making more Indian food…and hopefully not “white people Indian food” as Michael called it. Hope you like it too!