31 July 2011

Red Lentil Dal with Chickpeas

Red Lentils, anyone? Yes, please!
I was perusing my farmer's market a few days ago when I stumbled upon a rad little booth that was chock-full of dried legumes. You know how I love my legumes! I simply cannot resist. Alright, so I found red lentils at the booth. Now what? Google to the rescue. Make a dal.

I've never eaten dal, but the suggestions I found said it was a curry. Dudes, I can do curries. So, here is my version. Pardon me if it isn't authentic or whatever. It is, however, fucking yummy over some brown basmati rice. The only thing that would have made it better is some naan or some pitas. It would be lovely served sammich style.

Instead of using oil to sautee the veg, I decided to use veggie broth, which is a trick I learned in the Get Healthy Go Vegan Cookbook by Neal Barnard. It saves on fat and calories, and it tastes yummy.Give it a shot sometime.

Anywhooo, it makes 4 dinner size servings when combined with rice.

  • 3 small roma tomatoes, chopped (with the guts)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 very large carrot (or 2 medium carrots) sliced thinly
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2/3 cup dried red lentils
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • pinch cardamom
  • 1 tsp muchi curry powder (mine is super potent, so you may need to add more)
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch cayenne or chili powder
  1. Put a medium size pot over a medium heat burner. Add the 1/3 cup of broth, the onions, carrots and garlic. Stir occasionally to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the onions are translucent. I put a lid on mine to cook a little faster. It took about 5 minutes.
  2. Now mix in the turmeric, ginger, paprikas, coriander, cardamom, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the burner up to medium-high. Add the rest of the broth, the tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, tomato paste and mix well. Bring to a boil for about 4 minutes.
  4. Then put a lid on the pot and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now remove the lid and let thicken up for about 7 minutes, or until the dal is thick to your liking. 
  5. Mix in the curry powder (adding it too early can sometimes turn the curry powder bitter). Let sit out for 5 minutes or so. Then serve it up over some rice or quinoa. Mmmmm.

30 July 2011

Meg's First Time...Making Salsa, That Is

I've always loved salsa (I can eat it by the gallon), and I decided that since I suddenly have a shitload of Romas from my garden, I'd give it a shot. It was my first time, so I was a little nervous. Dudes, it was insanely easy. I still like jarred salsa to put into my recipes, but for a dip, I'm going to stick with homemade. This salsa goes spectacularly well with my super rad Spicy Vegan Queso Dip on some tortilla chips...or pita chips. I tried both. I couldn't resist. Give me a break. I love my chips. Don't even pretend like you don't!

You can eat your salsa right away, if you want. I let my fresh salsa sit for about 2 hours on my counter while I went out and played putt-putt golf. I lost, if you happened to be wondering. I have madd kitchen skillz, but zero sports skills. It's cool, though. I think the time away let the salsa marinate and get even more flavorful. But, do whatever you want. It's your salsa.

Makes a couple cups. Serves 2.
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled black beans
  • 5 roma tomatoes, chopped small. I hate the squishy insides, so I scooped mine out.
  • 1/4 cup slightly heaped diced onion, I used red, though you can't tell it.
  • 1 small jalapeno, minced. Seeding it if you want, I didn't.
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a large green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Dash of chili powder
  • salt to your tastes
Method: (is this necessary?)
  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust to your liking. You can eat it right away or let it marinate for a bit. Either way, it's crazy yummy.

28 July 2011

Guest Post - Geanna's Perfect Summer Green Smoothie!

I'm a big fan of using fresh, local, and seasonal veggies and fruits in my diet. Thus, I'm often looking for new and creative ways to try out the items I see at my local farmers' market.

Eating seasonally and locally is one of the easiest ways to eat a gluten-free and vegan diet. Not only is it great for the local economy and community, it's also good for your health and often cheaper, too.  

Plus, nothing beats something that was picked or harvested ripe this morning and sold to you this afternoon.

These pictures show one of my favorite summertime creations: the Perfect Green Smoothie. It's vegan, gluten-free, raw, soy-free, and just plain old delicious.

Kale is a very important step in the process...otherwise it can't be called a green smoothie!

I recently discovered how adding [melted] cocoa butter and unsweetened chocolate can really make the smoothie pop.

And, of course, serving it in a cute container is key. 

Perfect Green Smoothie
Serves 1

1/2 apple, cubed
~10 fresh strawberries, or less if they are really big (de-stemmed)
1/2 orange, cut up
1/2 banana, cut into one-inch slices (I used one I had frozen, but fresh will work as well)
 4 leaves of kale, de-stemmed and ripped in thirds
1 T. cocoa butter with 1 oz. unsweetened cocoa, melted together in a double broiler

  1. Add the apple, strawberries, orange and banana to a food processor and process until smooth. 
  2. Add the kale, a few pieces at a time, and process until mixed. 
  3. Finally, add in the cocoa and mix some more. Pour into a cute container and enjoy immediately.
Optional add-ins: fresh blueberries, almond milk, cashew cream, and spinach. 

20 July 2011

Blueberry Lavender Jam

Everyone should make this ridiculously simple, tasty jam. I command it. NOW! I got the basis for this recipe from Simply Gluten-Free , though I changed it up a bit. I had never ever made a jam of any sort before, so I was sort of nervous about making a pectin-free, preservative-free jam. I don't know if you've ever had the blueberry-lavender combo before, but it's lovely. I had a bloob-lav scone before and it really stuck in my brain as an awesome flavor combo that I'd have to try again. You'll thank me :)

I got a giant quart of blueberries at the farmer's market Tuesday for $5.00, so I knew I HAD to try making this. Making the deal even sweeter is that my lavender plant went wild this year since it's been so dry and hot. I trimmed a few stems off my plant and minced the fresh buds for this jam. Not only did they make the jam mind-blowing, but they made my hands smell lovely. If you don't have your own lavender growing, I don't know where you could buy fresh buds. But, you could probably just find an organic lavender tea (I love Traditional Medicinals) and soak the buds in a little water to re-hydrate them. Though, I don't know if it would be quite the same. Maybe I'll try that next time just to see how it would work.

You should know up front that this is not a shelf-stable jam. You must either eat it within a couple weeks, or freeze it. We actually ate half of it this morning on some biscuits, so I know it won't even have a chance to spoil at my house.

  • 1 1/2 pints (3/4 of a quart) fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup plus 1-2 TB organic agave nectar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 1/4 tsp fresh lavender buds, minced
  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot over a medium-high heat. Let boil 2-3 minutes, then change heat to medium-low.
  2. Use a big fork or a potato masher to smoosh your berries after they've been cooking a few minutes. Let the mix slow boil/simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. It'll get a "skin" over it when it's done.
  3. Remove the pot from the burner and very carefully ladle or pour the hot jam into a jar that can be sealed airtight. I used a couple tiny Mason/Ball jars for mine. The jam will seem a bit runny, but it will thicken considerably as it cools. Leave the jars out on a cooling rack for about an hour. 
  4. Then put the lids on and pop the jar(s) into the fridge to cool at for at least a couple of hours. Mine set overnight in the fridge and was perfect today. 
    I hope you like it as much as I do. It's amazing on biscuits, and I bet it'd be delicious on scones, too. So, make it already.

    17 July 2011

    Garden Update #4

    Howdy all. Yes, I said howdy. I hope you're all well. I'm doing pretty good. My job is keeping me pretty busy, and leaving me uninspired in the kitchen. So, I decided it was time to do another garden update. I had some pretty sad happenings with the garden last week. I had to remove all of my broccoli and brussels. They were terribly infested with caterpillars that seemed to appear overnight. They devoured my plants and, in my desire to have a totally organic garden, I decided to to stay pesticide-free and just pull them up. Such is life and I'll surely recover. In the mean time, here are some photos of my garden....

    Looks messy, but it's because my tomatoes are going wild!

    Cherry tomatoes.

    Cherry tomatoes...lots and lots.

    Some heirloom tomatoes.

    Lil jalapeno! They are growing so slow.

    Bigger jalapeno.

    Summer squash. Also growing very very slowly.

    Some of my many romas.

    I thought my peas were all done. They all dried up except this tiny plant with a giant pod.

    A ripe cherry tomato and one of my red onions.

    This is in my backyard. Very cool little guys at my feeder.

    07 July 2011

    Please Welcome Geanna and Her First Guest Post!

    Hello again my lovely readers! I am staying true to my word about introducing gluten-free foods and posts by my guest bloggers a couple of times a month! I'd like to introduce to you Geanna, another vegan blogger I had the pleasure of befriending via Twitter. Here's a little more about Geanna:

    Geanna writes a blog about how to live an eco-conscious life while eating gluten-free and vegan along the way, found at www.greenveganliving.com. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and in her spare time, enjoys gardening, exercising, being outdoors, baking, cooking, and entertaining friends. She is a part-time librarian and also loves to read and craft when the time allows. Talk to her on Twitter @greenvegnliving, or email her at greenveganliving [at] gmail [dot] com. 

     So, without further ado, here is Geanna's first guest post with a yummy recipe!!


    Everyone likes a good burrito, right? Nothing beats a warm, humongous wheat tortilla wrapped around seared seitan, grilled vegetables, and melted, stringy Daiya cheese. However, for gluten-free vegans like myself, this presents a very large problem. At best, I can scrape the vegetables out of the burrito, but at worst, I, like many others, suffer from Celiac Disease, and my body will absolutely HATE me if I ingest even a smidgen of gluten. Thus, I learned early on in my gluten-free journey that I can easily and happily eat tacos (both soft and crunchy) and most anything else including corn tortillas.

    I bought the lovely cookbook Viva Vegan! when it came out about a year ago, but I looked at it only once or twice before it ended up, dusty, on my cookbook shelf. I felt that I had made a mistake in purchasing it because in any quick browses, I found that recipes often called for wheat flour or seitan. It was only recently that I began discovering again just how many delicious and completely gluten-free recipes there are inside.

    The book usually is the starting point for my inspirations. I look at a recipe, decide what can part of it I want and what part needs to be changed, and go from there. The other day I bought spicy tempeh from Turtle Island Foods (who also make Tofurky). There was a recipe on the back of the box [link: http://www.tofurky.com/recipes/recipe_details.asp?RecipeDataID=50] for Spicy Tempeh Tacos and I knew immediately that, combined with some inspiration from Viva Vegan!, I was going to have a really delicious dinner. 

    After flipping through the cookbook, I decided to make the Homestyle Refried Beans (found on page 86) and I adapted the recipe for Corn Tortillas with ingredients I had on hand. This deliciously spicy meal was made even better with gluten-free beer from a local brewery in Portland.

    Corn Tortillas [adapted from Viva Vegan!]
    (serves 2)
    ¾ c. corn flour
    ½ + 1/8 c. warm water
    1 t. salt

    1. Mix together the ingredients into a bowl. Scoop out 1/3 c. portions and flatten with hand before putting into a hot skillet. Flatten some more into the skillet, taking care to keep the tortilla whole.
    2. Let cook a minute or so, then flip the tortilla with a stainless steel spatula. Let cook on the other side before removing from the pan and serving. Serve hot.

    05 July 2011

    Blueberry muffins...an experiment in veganizing

    This Saturday, I purchased a heaping pint of blueberries from the farmer's market for $3.00, and I've been munching them the last few days, noticing last night that they were starting to get a little soft. So, what is a chickpea to do when she still has about a cup of blueberries left? She makes muffins. I've made them before, but it's been ages, so I started looking around online. Sadly, none of the vegan ones were looking all that great. I found this basic muffin recipe from the King Arthur Flours website and decided I needed to veganize it. The result? Yum. Maybe next time I'll add a little streusel, but this time, I went basic. I wanted to make sure the recipe translated into a tasty muffin on it's own. It did! So damn tasty. Or, maybe it's just that I haven't had bloob muffins in a really looooong time. Whatever the case, they rocked, especially with a little Earth Balance slathered on.

    In addition to this tasty muffin, I learned a couple tricks from their website.
    • Add the fruit to the dry ingredients so they don't fall to the bottom while baking. Totally worked.
    • Turn the heat super high during the pre-heat, then once you put the muffins in the oven, drop the temp. This will make your muffin tops rise rounded.
    • Oils aren't necessary to the muffin, but I added half to keep them moist. 
    I did alter the recipe slightly, as veganizing requires one to do. Plus I added a different extract instead of lemon. So, without further ado, here is my altered version of the King Arthur Basic Muffin Recipe.

    Makes 6 muffins

    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (or just cut the wheat and use all unbleached. Whatever)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 cup almond milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar
    • 2 TB oil or melted butter (optional)
    • scant 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract
    • 1 flax egg (1 TB ground flax, 3 TB warm water mixed and set aside 3-5 minutes to thicken)
    • 1 cup fresh blueberries (you might be able to use frozen, but I haven't tried)
    1. Preheat oven to 500 (yes, 500) degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 6 liners and set aside.
    2. Mix your flax egg in a small bowl and set aside. Then, in a large liquid measuring cup add the milk and vinegar and set aside to "curdle." This makes a version of buttermilk. Let set 3-4 minutes. 
    3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk until it looks homogenous. Now gently stir in the blueberries. 
    4. In a bowl, combine your egg, milk, extracts and oil. 
    5. Add the wet bowl to the dry and stir until just combined. Some chunks are okay!
    6. I used a 1/4 cup scoop to fill the muffin papers 3/4 of the way full. Then put them in the oven on the middle shelf. Once you close the door, turn the temp down to 400 degrees F.
    7. Bake about 18 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You know that, though. Let them cool about 5 minutes otherwise you'll burn yourself on those hot blue orbs. Not that I'd know anything about that.......

    01 July 2011

    Taco Quesadilla, or, Sometimes You Surprise Yourself

    I've always loved quesadillas, and was really craving one for lunch today. As I was digging around for some onion to put in my quesadilla, I found the bowl that held some amazing tempeh taco leftovers from two days ago. The lightbulb came on! I had to combine two of my favorite foods into one. And, OMG, it was fucking rad! I was starving otherwise I would have grabbed the real camera and did a photoshoot, but you'll just have to live with the iphone photo for now. I seriously can't believe how wonderful these are. I used Daiya pepperjack and cheddar for my filling, along with some fresh onion and the tempeh taco filling. On top of being insanely yummy, it took all of about 6 minutes to make. So easy and delicious. It's not really a recipe, but whatever. I just wanted to make you jealous with my rad lunch.

    For 1 quesadilla, you need:
    • 2 small (taco-size) tortillas
    • 1/4 cup Daiya pepperjack
    • 2 TB Daiya cheddar
    • 1 heaping TB diced red onion
    • 1/2 cup tempeh taco filling (or taco filling of your choice)
    • cooking spray
    What you do:
    1. Heat a nonstick skillet or nonstick grill pan over medium heat. Spritz the bottom with the cooking spray then add 1 of the tortillas. 
    2. Top tortilla with half the cheese, all the onion, and the taco filling. Then top with the rest of the cheese, careful to keep it from the edges so it doesn't melt out and burn in the pan. Put the other tortilla on top of the cheese and press down with your hands. 
    3. Cook about 3 minutes. Then, lightly spray the top with cooking spray and, using a spatula, gently flip the quesadilla over. Cook another 3 minutes, or until the tortillas are lightly golden and the cheese is melted. See?! So easy. SOOOOO delicious. Dig it, dudes.