Monday, March 31, 2014

Vegan Lauki Kofta Curry.....Vegan Bottle Gourd Dumpling in Indian Gravy

I have been on a mission to cook with new and challenging ingredients.  Yesterday I came across opo squash, which is also known as bottle squash or calabash. 
It is quite interesting because not only is this gourd used in many different cuisines, but also has cultural uses.  For instance, in India, many stringed instruments use it as a resonator.  In Africa, the gourd is cleaned out and used as a food container or to carry water in.

As far as taste, opo squash is pretty subtle and mild, similar to that of a zucchini.

At Japanese restaurants, I am sure you have seen kanpyo on the maki menu.  This is actually dried calabash shavings.  As far as this specific recipe, the gourd is shredded and formed into a dumpling.  If you were wondering about the name of this recipe, this may clear things up.  In India Lauki=opo squash and kofta=meatball. 

I altered this recipe a bit, so technically it is not exactly a traditional Indian recipe.  But, the small changes were definitely delicious!  Typically yogurt is added in the sauce.  Instead, I used almond milk.  I also decided to add in sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes in the gravy.  The combination of that and the tomatoes really sweetened up the spicy curry! 

Typically I do not fry, as I rather bake.  But these are terrific fried and are not greasy at all!

Lauki Kofta Curry.....Vegan Bottle Gourd Dumpling in Indian Gravy

for the dumplings:
1 opo squash, shredded
1/3 c chickpea flour (or flour of your choice)
1 green chili (I used thai green chili)
1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 green chili minced
1 tbsp turmeric root minced
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1/4 c chopped cilantro 
salt to taste
regular flour (for rolling the dumplings)
oil for frying

Once the opo squash is shredded, salt the squash and squeeze out excess water with paper towels.  Note you may have to do this a few times because the guard has a high water content.  
With a mortar and pestle, take you ginger, garlic, turmeric root, tamarind paste and green chili, and form into a paste as much as possible.  
In a bowl, mix together the shredded squash, spiced paste and chickpea flour.  Note that the mixture will be sticky.  With your hands, roll them into small balls, while also rolling in all purpose flour.  Continue this process until your mixture is gone. 
In a deep fryer, (or you can pan fry) drop in a few dumplings at a time and fry about 1-2 minutes.  Add to your curry "gravy".

for the curry "gravy"

3 vine ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 c raw cashews (optional)
2 green chilies, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp turmeric root, minced
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp cinamin
4 cloves
2 tsp cumin
1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c vegetable broth 
1 tbsp coconut oil

In a pot, boil the cubes of sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Drain and set aside. In a large saute pan, heat oil and saute onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies and turmeric root for about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer this into a blender and add in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, almond milk and vegetable broth.  Blend until almost completely smooth.  Transfer back to saute pan and add in remaining mixture.  Simmer for about 20 minutes. 

Serve with your dumplings and homemade roti!

Grilled Sesame and Spice Baby Bok Choy

Ever wonder what to prepare for a side dish with your favorite Chinese entree?  Well stop right here!  This is a fun and different way to enjoy bok choy.  I paired this with the ever so flavorful Grilled Eggplant with Black Bean Paste and Sweet Soy.

As I am sure you can tell, I have recently become slightly obsessed with Asian foods.  I am super excited to really learn more about Asian traditions along with Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern nutrition....I just bought a book called "Healing with Whole Foods" that has to do with this topic.   I foresee many more Asian recipes and nutrition facts in the near future. 

Anyway, back to bok choy....Typically I steam and/or blanch this vegetable.  But I wanted to jazz it up this time around.  Sesame oil, Mongolian fire oil and rice wine vinegar along with fresh black pepper is all you need!

Grilled Sesame and Spice Baby Bok Choy


baby bok choy
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp mongolian fire oil (or chili oil)
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
s+p to taste

Preheat grill.  Rinse bok choy thoroughly and cut each one in half.  In a small bowl, whisk the oils  and rice wine vinegar together.  Brush each side of the bok choy with you marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill each side for about 2-3 minutes and serve!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vegan Russian Borscht for your Mushka!

 I love the word Mushka.  It reminds of a tiny cute little one.  But, in all actuality it means little fly in Russian and/or Polish. why do we use it as a term of endearments?

Anyway, when I think of borscht, I imagine a large russian woman wearing a white apron and a babushka, slaying over the stove top, stirring a cauldron full of this stew.  Don't know why, just makes sense to me.

This is a terrifically earthy beet soup with a slight sweet and sour element to it.  It is hearty, but you feel great after enjoying a nice bowl.  The cabbage, vinegar and lemon have a nice cleansing affect. 

This recipe makes a large stock pot full of soup.  Great for leftovers and freezing!  I actually think my freezer is full of frozen soups.  I guess we will never go hungry if there is an apocolypse.

Vegan Russian Borscht 

2-3 large beets peeled grated or shredded in food processor
1.5 c chopped mushrooms
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces or shredded in food processor
1/2 head cabbage chopped
1 onion chopped into small pieces
3 tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4-1/3 c red wine vinegar
1 lemon juiced
4 tbsp evoo
10 c water
6 cup vegetable broth
plenty of fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp of your preferred sweetener
salt to taste
1 tbsp fresh dill chopped

A few hints or helpful tips before you get started:  If you have a food processor with a shredder attachment, use it to shred the beets and potatoes!  So much easier and faster!!  Give your self a little break!  Next, to easily peel beets, boil them in water for just 1 minute and then peel.  And remember another one of my tips with beets:  cover your hands with either gloves or a plastic are now red dye free!

In a large stock pot, heat evoo and saute onions and mushrooms until onions are translucent.  Add in beats, potatoes, cabbage and mix and saute for just a few minutes.  Add in all the remaining ingredients except for dill in lemon juice.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for about 2 hours. With a food processor or blender, transfer about half of your soup and blend until smooth.  Return to pot and stir completely.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add in lemon juice.  If you would like the soup to be more sour, add more red wine vinegar.  Serve with sprinkled dill on top.
You can enjoy this both hot and cold!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homemade Vegan Thai Green Curry with Vegetables

Curry.  What exactly is curry?  I mean there are curries upon curries out there.  The range from southern Asia to Southeast Asia, to New World Countries, such as Trinidad or Fiji.  A bit more food for thought; the term curry is the western world's term to describe the variety of dishes amongst these reasons.  Just a few countries that are known for curries:  India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa.....ok- you get the idea.  There are a butt load of curries out there!

I particularly love this homemade Thai green curry recipe!  The flavors of lemongrass, tamarind, turmeric, galangal and thai chilis make for a great balance of flavors!  If you are not familiar with some of these ingredients, I will explain.

Lemongrass is a stalky plant that has a lemony-lime flavor to it and is typically found at Asian markets.  A favorite lemongrass soup of mine is Tom clean and healthy!  If you cannot find this plant, replace with lime or lemon juice.

Galangal is basically a Thai or Indonesian form of ginger.  Both are rhizomes.  The few differences are that galangal is larger in size, much harder to break down and has less juice than ginger.  If you are not able to find this, use the ginger we all know. 

Yeah, this seems like a lot of work, but trust me!  There is nothing like a real, homemade traditional Thai curry!  You may be surprised of how much you adore these exotic ingredients and may be inclined to use them in the future....heck, I sure am!!!

Homemade Vegan Thai Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu

for the green curry paste:
4-5 green Thai chilies (if cannot find, use 2 jalapenos)
1 stalk lemongrass minced
1 piece turmeric root (the size of thumbnail)
1 piece galangal or fresh ginger root (the size of thumbnail)
1/2 c fresh coriander or cilantro chopped
1 tsp ground star anise
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 c thai basil
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar

for curry ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
1/2 large eggplant cubed
1 large zucchini sliced and halved 
 1 hefty handful pea pods
1 c cooked jasmine white rice

To make the curry paste, use a mortal and pestle and ground until completely combined.  Or, an easier method is to place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree.
Transfer curry paste puree to sauce pan and add coconut milk.  Bring to slight boil.  Add in vegetables, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Add in additional seasoning to taste.  You may have to add a bit more coconut milk if you have it on hand.  If not, simply add in your go-to non dairy milk.   If the dish is not salty enough, add more tamari or soy sauce.  There should be a perfect balance of heat, salt, sour and sweet.  Adjust accordingly...

Serve with steamed jasmine white rice.  

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Vegan Dal and Channa Dal Curry with Spinach and Cashews

    Magically delicious with a touch of fire.  Who doesn't love a great homemade Indian dish?  Quick, lets have some food for thought and feed that brain!  Dal is a Hindi word that basically means lentils.  Chana dal is a chickpea or split chick pea.

    Combining both the yellow lentils and chickpeas is not only tasty but you also get twice the amount of protein!  The addition of spinach was my favorite part!  The texture of the spinach after combined with the curry sauce is so creamy it melts in my mouth.

    Dal and Channa Dal Curry with Spinach and Cashews

    1 c dal or yellow lentils
    1 c water or vegetable broth
    1 can chickpeas
    1 c fresh packed spinach
    1 c raw cashews

    for the sauce:
    2 c chopped tomatoes
    1 c chopped yellow onion
    1 jalapeno seeded
    2 tbsp chopped ginger
    1 garlic clove
    2 tbsp garam masala or curry powder plus more to taste


    Bring water or broth to a boil and add in dal.  Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for roughly 20 minutes or until liquid is disolved.

    In the meantime, prepare the curry sauce.  In a blender, blend the ingredients of the sauce.  Add more seasoning to taste.  Transfer to sauce pan and turn to medium heat.  Add in 1/2 c - 1 c water, depending on how you would like the consistency.  Add in chickpeas and cashews, and stir.  Turn to low, cover and simmer.  When dal is done, stir into the mixture.  Finally, add in spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted.

    Serve with rice or naan.

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Vegan Grilled Eggplant with Black Bean Paste & Sweet Soy Marinade

    I must admit, going to international grocery markets and buying produce and items that I have never heard of is kind of a hobby of mine.  It is so much fun to discover new healthy foods.  Plus, the mystery of what to do with it excites me.  And of course, I want to know what it will taste like when I juice it.  I am like a small child on a playground for the first time.  Exploring, discovering, touching, smelling.....okay maybe not so much like on a playground, but you get it.

    I picked up some beautiful yu choy sum, baby bok choy, eggplant and fermented black bean paste at the market in Chinatown, along with some other produce that honestly either I cannot pronounce or cannot remember the exotic name.

     Vegan Grilled Eggplant with Black Bean Paste & Sweet Soy Marinade

     Anything fermented is great for you, especially us vegans or vegetarians!  B12 is typically found in animal products or bi-products.  But because bacteria produce B12 and the fermentation process requires such bacteria, we are able to get a generous amount of vitamin B12 through fermented foods. 

    It may be an acquired taste, but personally, I love it!

    Ingredients/Directions: (yields 2 servings)

    1 large eggplant sliced into 1/4" pieces
    1 tbsp evoo

    for the sauce
    3 tbsp black bean paste
    3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
    2 tbsp sesame oil
    1 tbsp agave nectar
    1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
    1 garlic clove minced

    With a brush, lightly coat each slice of eggplant on both sides.  Heat grill, or in my case, a breville. grill each side for 3 minutes, remove from heat and coat each side with your black bean sauce.  Transfer back to the grill and grill each side for two more minutes. 

    Serve with sauted Asian greens.  In this case, I used yu choy sum and grilled bok choy.

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Spring Cleaning for your Body!!!....Firey Tomatillo-Carrot Juice!

    It is officially the first day of spring!  So, why not start your first day of spring off fresh and clean!  Consider it spring cleaning for your body!!

    I have been juicing everyday and this is by far my favorite creation!  If you have a juicer, this is a must try!  And if not, go out and buy one!  It is a staple appliance in my kitchen.

    I actually have been ditching the fruit lately and concentrating on vegetable juices.  I feel clean, light and energized.  I can literally go all day just drinking these.  The recipe may sound a bit odd, but trust me, once you try it, you will get it!

    Fiery Tomatillo-Carrot Juice

    The tomatillo and lime make it a bit sour but the carrot naturally sweetens it up.  Jalapeno gives it just a slight kick that will surely wake you up.  Your taste buds will be having a field day!

    And don't get me started on the health benefits of raw turmeric root!  anti-inflammatorty, antioxident, cancer fighting, liver detoxifier....the list goes on.  Add it to all your juices!

    Ingredients to put in your juicer: (yields 2 juices)

    4 tomatillos
    6 large carrots
    1 jalapeno seeded
    1 lime
    1 medium sized turmeric root
    1 inch piece fresh ginger
    3-4 garlic cloves

    Vegan & Gluten Free Orechiette

    Wow- that was quite the grocery shopping adventure.  I think Ryan and I just set a new all time record of how many stores we had to go to for certain items.  We successfully hit 5 different markets in about 2.5 hours.  With that said, I don't think we will be needing to go to the store for some time.  I may even dare to say that we over did it.  Oooops.  Our refrigerator is literally jammed packed with fruits and veggies.  It kind of makes me smile though.

    Homemade orechiette has been on my to do list for about a month now.  It is time consuming, so it was perfect to make on my day off.  I think making the dough and forming the pastas took roughly 1.5-2 hours.  So, make sure you have some time laid out to complete them!

    So, instead of using semolina flour, which is typically used in pasta making, I used Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Fava Flour.   Not only does this make it gluten free, but is also high in protein, providing 6 grahams per serving.

    Vegan & Gluten Free Orechiette


    2 c chickpea flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    3/4 c warm water
    2 tbsp evoo

    ***note add a bit more water if dough is too dry.  add about 1 tbsp at a time while forming dough***

    Combine the chickpea flour and salt.  Using a clean cutting board, place chickpea flour on it and create a well....meaning, create a little hole where you are going to add in the liquids.
    Slowly pour in evoo and warm water and quickly begin to combine with hands.  As you can see, the liquid will begin to escape if you wait too long....sneaky little guys!

    Continue combining with your hands.  This is where you will notice if you need to add more water or not.  Do this for about 5 minutes or until all the flour and water are combined nicely and your dough is not too dry and grainy.  Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.
    Allow the dough to sit for about about 30 minutes.  After that time, the dough should be nice and shiny and have a good elasticity to it.  Now it's time for your exercise!  Knead the dough for about ten minutes.  Put your body into it!  My massage therapy skills really definitely came in handy here.
    Once done, divide the dough into about 5-6 sections.  Roll each section into a nice tube about 1/2 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut tube into 1/4 inch discs.
    Now it is time to shape those little ears.  Oh right, orechiette in Italian literally translates to "small ears".  orecchio (ear) + etto (small)....a little food for thought.
    With a small butter knife, press down on each little disc, and then, with your thumb gently press the dough over, creating an ear shape.

    That is the time consuming part.  But once you are done, it is like magic.  A feeling of true accomplishment.  You can either boil them right away and serve with your favorite sauce or freeze them.  I would recommend that if you freeze them, eat within 2 months.

    To cook, bring salted water to a boil and cook for just 2-3 minutes.  You will know they are done because they will rise to the top.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    A Little Bit Sweet, A Little Bit Sour.....Vegan Macrobowl Bibimbop

    I've already done a macrobiotic Buddha Bowl, but wanted to change up this macrobowl with something a little bit different.  It is reminiscent of the Korean dish Bibimbop, but a bit tweaked for it does not have egg and some of the flavors are a bit different.

    My favorite part of this recipe is the addition of the Napa cabbage slaw.  It gives a whole new taste profile to this dish.  A nice sour contrast to the chili and sweet soy flavors.  A rainbow of flavors, if you will.

    If you have a Cuisinart with a shredder attachment, you are in luck because this saves you tons of prep time!  Simply place the sweet potato and zucchini in, length wise down and start shredding.  No cutting or using a mandolin needed!

    Vegan Macrobowl Bibimbop

    Ingredients: (yields 2 servings)
    1.5 c cooked brown rice
    1 sweet potato shredded into strips
    2 medium zucchinis shredded into strips
    1 large portobello mushroom sliced or mushroom of choice
    1 tsp chili paste (ideally gochujang)
     1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
    1 tsp agave nectar
    1 tsp sesame oil

    for the slaw:
    simply marinate for 15 minutes the following:
    1/2 c shredded cabbage 
    2 tsp sesame seeds
    1 tbsp chopped red onion
    1/2-1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

    In a small bowl, whisk together chili paste, soy sauce or tamari and agave nectar.  Marinate the sweet potato, zucchini and mushrooms SEPARATELY with the marinade.  In a sauce pan, heat sesame oil, and quicly saute each vegetable for about 3 minutes.  Once completed one veggie, transfer to plate, add in more sesame oil and repeat until all veggies sauteed.

    In a bowl, spoon in brown rice first.  Place in a handful of each vegetable, following with the slaw.  Enjoy!

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Vegan Coconut Fudge Beet Cupcakes

    Yummy yummy yummy I got fudge in my tummy.  Yes, you read that correctly....these deliciously moist fudge cupcakes are made with beets!  It may sound strange, but if you think about it, it really is not.  It is very much like using applesauce in a baking recipe instead of eggs.

    So, veggies for dessert?  Heck yeah!  And, I'll show you how it is done!  If you are not in the mood for cupcakes, just pour the batter in a cake pan and make a cake instead!

    Don't forget, you can always play around with this recipe.  I love the combination of coconut and chocolate.  But if you are not a fan of coconut, replace it with something fun, such as walnuts, pecans, etc.

    Vegan Coconut Fudge Beet Cupcakes

    Ingredients (yields 12 cupcakes)
    1 large beet
    1 c unsweetened original almond milk (or nondairy milk of your choice)
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    3/4 c sugar
    1 c flour
    1/2 c cocoa powder
    1/4 c shredded coconut
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    pinch of salt

    Preheat oven 375.  Lightly oil beet, cover with foil and roast in oven for 1 hr - 1.5 hrs.  After an hour, poke with knife.  If you can cut through it without much pressure, remove and peel by rubbing off the skin with paper towels.  Cool off beets in refridgerator. Once cooled, blend completely in food processor and set aside.

    Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners and make batter.

    Whisk together all wet ingredients, then mix in dry ingredients and pureed beets.  Continue to mix until thoroughly combined.

    Pour into cupcake liners to about 3/4th's full.  If you have extra coconut flakes, take each cupcake with a pinch. 

     Bake for about 22-25 minutes.  To make sure they are done baking, do the toothpick test.  Once done, allow to cool completely. 

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    Tex Mex Couscous Stuffed Poblano Pepper!

    Call me a dork, but I love a good deal.  A good deal of any kind is great, but when you see something on special at the store and it is actually on your grocery list its even more of a bonus!  Sure, couscous isn't an expensive item, but when I found a large canister for just 99 cents I kind of wanted to jump up and down with joy.  A little pathetic, maybe?  But it is the small things in life that bring me joy!

    Sure, we all know the Mexican dish, Chile Rellenos, or Stuffed Poblano Peppers.  They are oooewy-goooewy with goodness...unhealthy goodness that is.  I thought, why not substitute cheese or vegan cheese with a grain and beans/veggies?  Turns out that is was a great idea!  Completely satisfying and guilt free!

    Cooking couscous is quick and easy!   If you want a quick, go-to grain, choose this!  The ratio is 1:1.25 and just takes about 5 minutes to cook once water is boiled.  I used whole wheat couscous because it has more health benefits than regular couscous.  The fiber content is tripled and brings a great taste to the dish as well!

    Tex Mex Couscous Stuffed Poblano Pepper

    Ingredients (yields 4 servings)
    4 poblano peppers
    1 c whole wheat couscous
    1 1/4 water
    1/2 c black beans
    1/2 c corn
    1 c salsa
    3 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1 tsp chili powder
    1-2 tsp favorite hot sauce
    1 tsp cumin
    3 tsp nutritional yeast
    1/2 tbsp evoo

     Preheat oven to 400.  Brush poblano peppers with evoo and bake in oven for about 20 minutes, turning them once half way through.
    While peppers are baking, cook couscous accordingly (boil your water, add in couscous cover and remove from heat.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, fluff with fork).  In a bowl, mix couscous with salsa, cilantro, corn, black beans, seasonings and hot sauce.  Set aside.
    Once peppers are baked (slightly charred on the outside), remove from oven, slit them in half and remove the seeds.  Be careful....they are hot!
    Take a caserole dish and spoon in a thin layer of salsa on the bottom.  Next, spoon in couscous mixture into each pepper and place into baking dish.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
    Once done, serve with more salsa and vegan sour cream if desired.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Vegan Enchilada Casserole....AKA Mexican Lasagna!

    This recipe is just straight up awesome!  It's cheap, easy and tickles my taste buds!  Basically, it is deconstructing an enchilada and forming into how a lasagna is made.  Instead of lasagna noodles, you are using corn tortillas.  And, instead of tomato sauce and Italian veggies and such, you are using enchilada sauce, beans, corn, refried beans and chilies. 
     Having a potluck dinner or some sort of team dinner?  Ditch the go to lasagna recipe and opt for the enchilada casserole instead!  Definitely a crowd pleaser!  Serve with chips and tasty quac, and a simple salad and you have a perfect dinner for a large group. 

     And, don't forget, it is cheap!  Even better when entertaining a large family or group of guests!  I was able to make this dish spending less than $1 per serving!  I mean, you can't get much better than that!

    If you want to go a bit "crazy" and in some soy chorizo and trick those meat eaters!  Everyone is happy today!  It's fiesta time!

    As far as the enchilada sauce goes, well the choice is all yours.  You can go with the canned sauce or you can make your own.  Personally, I never liked the canned stuff.  Not sure why, but just never did anything for me.  Tonight I made my own and was well worth it!  Don't worry- it is simple and quick!

    Vegan Enchilada Casserole
    Ingredients (yields 1 casserole dish)

    12 corn tortillas
    1 jalapeno chopped (seeds removed)
    1 c onion chopped
    1 large green bell pepper chopped
    2 large tomatoes chopped
    1 garlic clove minced
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tbsp evoo
    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
    1 can green chilies
    1/4 c sliced black olives
    1 can vegan/vegetarian refried beans
    1 chunky salsa
    2 cup enchilada sauce (recipe below) or 1 can enchilada sauce
    sliced olives and chopped scallions

    In small sauce pan, mix together refried beans and salsa over medium heat until completely mixed and warm.  Turn off heat and set aside.

    In saute pan, heat evoo over med-high heat and saute diced onion, garlic, jalapeno and bell pepper for 3-5 minutes.  Add in tomatoes, seasoning, beans, corn and chilies and mix thoroughly. 

    Place your enchilada sauce in a large plate and dredge both sides of the corn tortillas in the sauce.  In an 8 x 12 baking dish, start off with one even layer of dredged corn tortillas.  (Think of how you would layer noodles in a lasagna dish)  Next, spoon evenly a thick layer of your refried bean/salsa mix.  Then, spread over your bean/corn/vegetable mixture.  Repeat this process once more and then top with dredged tortillas.  Garnish with black olives and chopped scallions.

    Enchillada Sauce:
    combine the following over low-medium heat:
    2 can tomato paste
    1.5 c water
    2 tbsp chili powder
    1 tbsp evoo
    1 tsp cumin
    3/4 tsp garlic powder
    3/4 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce
    s+p to taste

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Ay Yai Yai! Beer Battered Avocado Tacos with Corn/Black Bean Salsa and Chipotle Crema

    Avocados are dreamy to me.  I love the smooth, silky texture, the subtle flavor and the healthy fat that they give.  They are also high in fiber and pretty versatile!

    Huh?  An avocado versatile?  Yup yup!  Sure is.  Clearly, they are prevalent in Mexican cuisine, but can also be used in desserts and creamy sauces.  Don't believe me?  Try this raw vegan vanilla pudding that I made a few months ago!

    Because we eat Mexican food at least once or twice a week, I am starting to become tired of the same old veggies and vegan soy chorizo that fills tacos and burritos alike.  We need some options here people!  And, here is one right now!  Pan frying the beer battered avocado pieces brings this taco to life!  Perfectly crispy, crunchy on the outside and delightfully creamy on the inside.  Confused?  Think along the lines of avocado fritters.

    Beer Battered Avocado Tacos

    Ingredients:  (yields 3-4 servings)

    for the beer battered avocado tacos
    1-2 avocados depending on the size
    1.5 c flour
    1 12 oz beer
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
    1/2 canola oil (used for pan frying)
    taco shells

    for the salsa:
    1 can corn
    1 can black beans
    1/4 c chopped red onion
    1 chopped jalapeno (seeds removed)
    3 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1/2 tbsp evoo
    1 lime juiced
    1 tbsp favorite hot sauce

    for the crema:
    simply mix sour cream and chipotle peppers in adobo together.

    Start by making your corn salsa.  Drain and rinse both corn and black beans and throw into mixing bowl.  Add in remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly and season to taste.  Place in refrigerator while making the beer battered avocados .

    Preheat pan with canola oil to about 450.  For the beer batter, in a mixing bowl, add in dry ingredients and slowly stir in the beer until completely mixed.  The consistency should be that of pancake batter.  Once mixed, dredge avocado slices with flour, then dunk into batter.  Place battered avocado in hot oil and fry on each side for roughly 1 minute or until crispy.  Remove from pan and place on stack of paper towels to dry and remove excess oil.  Repeat until all avocado is prepared and pan fried.  

    Warm your taco shells either in the oven or microwave, and then prepare your taco.  Add in your battered avocado, top with corn/black bean salsa and top with your chipotle crema.  Deliciouso!

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    What??? Grilled Vegan Ramen with Vegetable Stir fry

    As I have mentioned in another Ramen recipe, people have been doing some odd things with the all time college favorite noodle.  After reading through some odd preparations, I decided I really had to try grilling it.  Mainly because I could not fathom how this would work or how it would taste.

    What was interesting, was that it not only worked, but also tasted pretty good!  It is crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inner part of the ramen block.  Very interesting and intriguing texture!

    The most important thing in this recipe is the marinade!  I went for a teriyaki marinade and soaked each side of the ramen block in a good amount of sauce for at least 10 minutes on each side.  You want to make sure the noodles are smothered in your marinade and literally just soaked.

    Grilled Vegan Ramen with Vegetable Stir fry

    1 head broccoli chopped into florets
    1/2 c sliced mushrooms
    1 tsp fresh ginger minced
    1 clove garlic minced
    1/4-1/3 c teriyaki marinade
    chopped scallions (garnish)
    1/2 tbsp sesame oil

    Preheat grill.
    Put each block of ramen in a shallow bowl, and pour marinade over.  After 10 minutes, flip and marinade for another 10 minutes. 
    While ramen is marinating,  heat sesame oil in a wok, and add ginger, garlic, broccoli florets and mushrooms.  After cooking for about 5 minutes, stir in 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce.  Turn to low and start grilling the ramen.
    Place ramen on grill and cook for 3-5 minutes, then flip and grill the other side for the same amount of time.  Transfer to plate, top with the veggies and pour any additional teriyaki sauce on top.