20141018_132206Fall is my favorite season.  One reason why is that some of my favorite foods are back in the store, like today’s featured vegetable Delicata squash.  It is a very sweet, finely textured, thin skinned squash that you typically only see in October and early November.  I always stock up on them and keep them for at least another month in my refrigerator.  Usually I just cut it in half, turn it upside down and bake it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and then scoop it out of the shell, put a bit of butter and salt and pepper on it.  Yum!

This recipe is not as easy but very nice and something to think about serving at Thanksgiving dinner.  You use a mandolin to slice it very thin, skins and all.  Thinly slice the pieces that couldn’t be done on the mandolin.  Then you saute it with onions and garlic until it is soft, about 15 minutes.  It’s very good!  I had never used a mandolin before and I’ve had one since last Christmas, so it was about time!  The trickiest part is cutting the vegetables to be able to fit onto the spiked holder that you push up and down over the blade.  Once you find the right size, it is a snap.

Mandolin

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Delicata squash, sliced between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch on a mandolin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • nutmeg to taste (preferably freshly grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t use any)

Directions

Heat a heavy skillet to medium high and add the oil and onions.  Cook until the onions start to brown a bit, stirring frequently.  Add the Delicata squash, the garlic and the nutmeg.  Cook on low, stirring frequently to avoid having the vegetables stick to the bottom of the skillet.

Note

If you have never tried freshly grated nutmeg, I urge you to try it over the bottled variety.  It lasts a lot longer and the smell is heavenly when freshly grated!

2014-10-18 13.56.55

 

{ 0 comments }

Cast Iron Skillet Stir Fry

by Mary Pomerantz

 

 

 

2014-10-14 21.58.57 (2)

 

I am in love with my cast iron skillets.  For years I avoided them because I thought that they were too high maintenance, keeping them well-seasoned when I don’t really cook with oil.  Boy, was I wrong.  When I had the opportunity to acquire a very old, very well-seasoned chicken fryer (yes, I know, sounds crazy for a vegetarian!), I jumped on it.  I took it home and cleaned it well as it had been used to fry meat and re-seasoned it.  I was so happy with how my meals came out, I bought two more at Costco for the ridiculously low price of $23!  One is bigger and one is smaller than the original pan.

One of the reasons why I wanted to start cooking in cast iron is that I wanted to toss my non-stick skillets.  I’ve been reading too many reports about off-gassing of chemicals and didn’t want to use them as I cook for someone who has a compromised immune system.  The fewer chemicals in our house the better off we both are!  But there are other reasons to love the new skillets:

  1. You can use no oil and still get perfectly browned food.  It has something to do with the heaviness of the pan and the way the heat conducts.  It’s amazing!
  2. They are very inexpensive.
  3. They last practically forever.  I am using the skillet that my Grandmother used!
  4. They are very easy to clean.  I use them for everything.  If something sticks, let it soak for about 10 minutes and then use a stiff brush to clean any remaining food particles.  Dry with a paper towel, put it on the stove to finish drying and rub a little coconut oil in it, wiping most of it off.  I re-wipe before I start cooking to get even more oil out.
  5. If there is an emergency, you can cook with it over any heat source.
  6. Easily bakes in the oven.
  7. Your food absorbs the iron in the skillet, making it a good source of this necessary mineral.

If you haven’t tried these gems before, I invite you to consider using them.  You may give away the rest of your skillets!

STIR FRY

I have been eating very simply for a few months.  Two days a week, I only eat vegetable stir fries with tofu or non-soy, non-gluten proteins.  I find the cast iron skillet to be a good friend for this way of eating.  I start out with onions, browning them and then add vegetables, varying them each time I make this dish.  I often use broccoli, mushrooms and spinach.  Today I used Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and summer squashes.  You could use celery, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, or almost anything that you like.  Add the vegetables to the onions at different times depending on how long it takes to cook them.  You can see what I mean by reading the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, cut in chunky slices
  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 cup mushroom slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut in slices
  • 1 yellow summer squash, cut in slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 4-6 ounces tofu, cut in small chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional – I didn’t use any but I eat low sodium)

Directions

Heat your skillet on medium-high heat and add the onion.  Let it cook, stirring occasionally while preparing the other vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium and add the Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.  Cover and let cook, stirring often.  When the sprouts start to get tender, push the vegetables aside and add the coriander and cayenne.  Let it toast for a minute and then toss the vegetables.  Add the tamari, garlic, tofu, squashes, and ginger.  Toss again.  Cover and cook until the squashes are tender crisp.  Turn off heat and enjoy!

{ 0 comments }

soyrizo

 

My wife’s heritage is Mexican.  When she became a vegetarian, she was craving some of the dishes that she grew up with.  This is a version of Huevos con Chorizo that has been veganized.  It can be served with or without Pepperjack or vegan Pepperjack and is delicious either way.  When served to some of my in-laws, they thought it was the real thing and wondered if we were no longer vegetarians!  The dish owes much of it’s flavor to Soyrizo found in tubes at Natural Foods Grocery Stores such as Whole Foods.  If you like something spicy and savory for breakfast, you will really enjoy this dish!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound tub of firm tofu (Chinese Style, not silken)
  • Package Soyrizo (soy sausage product found in natural food grocery stores)
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 large red onion chopped
  • Serrano pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Small amount of grated or ground nutmeg, just a pinch or two
  • Teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, oregano, cumin seed, and coriander seed ground together
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 to 3 Teaspoon V-egg or nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup Vegetarian Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

General Directions

 When making this dish I cook the three main components separately.  The potatoes take the longest amount of time.  While the potatoes are cooking cook the soyrizo and then the tofu.

 Potatoes

In a large pan, such as a wok, heat 1-2 Tbsp Olive or Canola Oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt. Cook potatoes, turning occasionally, until soft but still a little firm. When potatoes are finished add nutmeg, black pepper, and more salt to taste. The potatoes should taste good on their own.

 Soyrizo

While the potatoes are cooking heat a non-stick skillet to medium high heat. If needed add a little oil or spray with non-stick spray. Add soyrizo and cook until color darkens and the soyrizo firms up a bit. Turn occasionally to prevent burning. When finished store in a bowl for later use.

 Tofu Scramble

After the soyrizo is finished cooking use the same pan to cook the tofu.  Spray the pan with oil or add 1 tsp of oil. Add the onion, pepper, and cumin seed and sprinkle with salt.  Cook until the onions are soft.  Crumble the tofu into the pan, add about 1/2 tsp salt and cook for a few minutes until some of the water from the tofu is gone, stirring for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, tumeric, spice mixture, chili powder, and V-egg or nutritional yeast. Stir until well mixed.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the broth has cooked down.  The tofu should taste good on it’s own.

 Finishing Off

When everything has finished cooking add the cooked soyrizo, tofu, and cilantro to the potatoes.  Mix together over medium heat until the mixture is warm.  Add more salt and pepper or chili if needed.  Serve with warm tortillas.  Jack cheese or vegan cheese, cilantro and hot sauce are optional garnishes.

 

{ 0 comments }

Vegan Pad Thai

by Chris Pomerantz

Pad Thai

I love Pad Thai but find it hard to find a vegan version in Thai restaurants and so I decided to make it myself.  Trying to find an authentic sauce took some trial and error.  The taste that I found difficult to duplicate was the fishy flavor that the traditional fish sauce imparts to the Thai dishes.  That is, until I discovered ume plum vinegar.  Umeboshi vinegar (also called ume plum vinegar) is the by-product that comes from making umeboshi.  Umeboshi are those pinkish, pickled fruits used in many Japanese dishes.  The ume vinegar imparts a salty, sour and sweetish flavor to dishes and does a nice job of replacing the fish sauce.  When making this dish, feel free to add or remove vegetables to suit your palate or to use up what you have on hand.  Bok choy, red pepper or mushrooms would all be wonderful in this dish.

INGREDIENTS

Stir Fry

  •  8 oz dried Pad Thai rice noodles, OR enough for 2 people (linguini-width)
  • 1/2 cup soft tofu
  • 4 green onions, white parts sliced and kept separate from green
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated galangal OR ginger
  • 1 fresh red or green chili, sliced
  • 2-3 cupsheads chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of zucchini, thinly sliced in half moons
  • 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, OR substitute cashews

 Sauce

  • 3/4 to 1 1/2 tablespoon. tamarind paste, to taste (available at Asian/East Indian food stores)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (or faux-chicken)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Ume Plum Vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili sauce (to taste), OR 1/3 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoon coconut palm sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

 Other

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable or faux chicken stock
  • Lime wedges for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and switch off heat.  Soak noodles in the hot water for 4-6 minutes, or until limp but still too firm to eat.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Tip: Noodles must be under-cooked at this stage in order to come out right (they will finish cooking later when they are stir-fried).

2 .  Combine ‘pad Thai sauce’ ingredients in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the paste and sugar (note that if your tamarind paste is thick, only add 1 tablespoon, only adding more if it is too thick.  Note that this sauce should have a very STRONG flavor that tastes sour-sweet first, followed by salty and spicy.  Set aside when thoroughly mixed.

3.  Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus the white parts of the green onion (reserve the rest for serving), garlic, galangal/ginger, and chili.  Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

4.  Add the broccoli plus stock.  Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and slightly softened.

5.  If pan is dry, push ingredients aside and add a little more oil to the middle.  Add the drained noodles and 1/3 of the sauce.  Add the zucchini.  Stir-fry everything together 1-2 minutes using 2 utensils and a gently tossing motion (like tossing a salad).  Keep heat between medium-high and high, reducing if noodles begin to stick or burn.  Keep adding sauce and continue stir-frying in this way 3-6 more minutes, or until sauce is gone and noodles are soft but still chewy (‘al dente’) and a little sticky.

6.  Add the tofu when you add the last of the pad Thai sauce.

7.  Switch off heat and add the bean sprouts, folding them into the hot noodles.  Taste-test, adding more soy sauce for more salt/flavor.  If too salty or sweet for your taste, add a good squeeze of lime juice.  If too sour, sprinkle over a little more sugar.

To serve, scoop noodles onto a serving platter.  Sprinkle with reserved green onion, cilantro, and ground nuts.  Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side.  Serve immediately and enjoy!.  (Thai chili sauce can also be served on the side for those who likes their noodles extra spicy).

Serves 2-3

{ 2 comments }

World Vegetarian Day

by Mary Pomerantz

In honor of World Vegetarian Day today, you might be interested in reading “Vegetarianism and Spirituality” by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj.

http://www.sos.org/explore.html#/book_125

10255917_700889769976023_6783944084012351973_n

{ 0 comments }

Tofu Transformation

by Acooba Scott

Without a doubt, one of the best qualities of tofu is its mutability. From omelets and scrambles, to cutlets and sauces, tofu has the magical ability to take on the semblance of whatever it is called to be. One of the things I enjoy is taking one dish, and transforming it into another – very helpful when dealing with leftovers. For today’s magic trick (uhm, transformation), I’m taking Tofu Pate (http://www.sosvegetarianlife.com/savory-tofu-pate/) and transforming it to Tofu Patty!

DSC_1593

Simply take the prepared Tofu Pate (omit the olives and other garnishes, or simply stir into the mixture), and shape into patties. Use about 1/4 cup for a standard size patty (think English Muffin size), and 1/3 cup for a larger patty (think Hamburger Bun size). Pan fry on a lightly oiled, heavy pan (I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan) for 3 or 4 minutes, until browned at the bottom. Flip over carefully and fry the other side until golden brown. Serve atop a salad, alongside rice or potatoes and vegetables, or burger style with all the trimmings. Enjoy!!

{ 3 comments }

Butternut Squash Muffins

by Acooba Scott

Well, September has turned the corner, and we’re definitely heading into pumpkin season. Although I enjoy everything pumpkin – pie, cake, muffins, coffee, etc. – I like to throw in a little twist now and then. So just to be contrary, here is a recipe for Butternut Squash Muffins. The flavor is a little milder than pumpkin, but it adds moistness and body, is absolutely delicious, and it’s vegan too! Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry EnerG Egg Replacer powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (ok to use 1/2 if concerned about sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree (can be found canned at health food stores)
  • 2/3 cup cold pressed vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Lightly grease muffin tins, or line them with paper muffin cups. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, Egg Replacer powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir well and make a well in the center. Add squash puree, vegetable oil, and water. Stir just until blended. If desired, stir in walnuts and dried fruit or chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (except for maybe melted chocolate! :-))

 

{ 2 comments }

Eggplant Stew

 

 

I don’t use a slow cooker very often.  In fact I had one that quit on me and I replaced it two years but hadn’t used it yet when this recipe caught my eye.  I love eggplant but never really liked ratatouille because usually, to me, the eggplant wasn’t cooked soft enough.  This recipe cooks everything in the slow cooker and comes out perfect!  I adapted it from Haylie Pomroy’s “Fast Metabolism Diet Cookbook,” eliminating the exotic ingredients and replacing them with what I had on hand.  It was delicious.  You could serve it over rice but I ate it by itself.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 15 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more if you like it spicy
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional
  • a few drops of stevia or equivalent amount of sugar, optional (I used the stevia but next time will eliminate it)

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in the ingredients in the slow cooker except for the olive oil.  Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on slow.  These are general times.  I found that I had to cook it on high for 5 hours in order for the Brussels sprouts to be tender.

{ 0 comments }

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

by Mary Pomerantz

Cauliflower Leek Soup

When September hits, my thoughts turn to soup – my favorite meal.  You can chock a lot of nutrition in one tasty dish!  Chop, put the vegetables in the pot, throw in some herbs and spices, walk away, come back in 20-30 minutes and presto, you have a meal!  This one is one of the best soups that I have made.  It could be because I’ve been eating very low fat meals and this recipe throws caution to the wind and uses three different types of “good” fats.  I find that when I have a little fat in a bowl of soup, one bowl fills me up.  And it stays with me for a longer period of time.  In any case, this one was a definite hit with the family and I will be making it again!  The recipe was inspired by Haylie Pomroy’s cookbook, “The Fast Metabolism Diet Cookbook.”

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 leeks, the top part with only the tender part of the greens, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  •  15-ounce can of garbanzo beans or 2 cups cooked
  • 1 15-ounce can of pinto beans or 2 cups cooked
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley (or dried)
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini

Preparation

Put all of the ingredients except the spinach, olive oil and tahini in a large soup pot.  Place over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, olive oil, and tahini.  Let the spinach wilt and serve.

Note: The recipe calls for this to be pureed.  I am not a fan of pureed soup and I left the vegetables whole.  It was a delightful soup!

By the way, do you know how easy it is to make your own vegetable broth?  I don’t like using commercial vegetable broth because it has too much sodium.  What I do is to take all of my onion peels and ends of vegetables and keep a bag going in the freezer.  I also add frozen veggies that have gone beyond their prime.  If I make a soup, I make up a batch before I start the soup.  Just place the veggies in a big pot and fill the pot with water.  If the bag of veggies is full, make a big pot for 2-3 recipes.  If it is only half full, make a smaller pot.  Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for an hour.  Strain the veggies from the broth and use in any recipe calling for broth.  Freeze what you can’t use.  I put it in canning jars filled about 2/3 full and keep it in the freezer for those times when I can’t make it from scratch.

 

{ 0 comments }

Asian Inspired Green Soup

by Mary Pomerantz

Asian Inspired Green Soup

Yep, dieting again.  Ugh!  You’d think I would have learned my lesson and kept eating a healthy diet instead of all of those cookies last winter.  But noooo.  I justified it by saying I was baking them for my husband who has a sweet tooth.  He’s an easy scapegoat!  The good thing about dieting is that I eat a lot of produce and that has to be good, right?  Today’s recipe is chock full of green things – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy.  You could add some carrots for color or any other vegetable that appeals to you.  It is very simple to make and will serve a small army or there will be several servings for lunches for the next few days!

Even though we have been advised to eat at least three servings of leafy dark green vegetables a week, many of fall far short of that recommendation. Why are these superfoods so powerful? They are packed with minerals and vitamins that protect us from disease and age-related problems. One of the vitamins that abounds in greens is Vitamin K. A cup of cooked greens delivers nine times the minimum requirement and many of us do not get enough of it. Here are some of the benefits of Vitamin K:

• Regulates blood clotting
• Helps protect bones from osteoporosis
• May help prevent atherosclerosis
• Helps protect us from inflammatory diseases including arthitis

It’s best to put some oil on your greens as it helps us absorb their nutrients.

Greens are low in carbs and high in fiber making them good for low glycemic diets. So eat them to your heart’s content. Your body will thank you!

Ingredients

  • 3 quarts of vegetable broth (or water with vegetable bullion)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 stalk of bok choy, chopped
  • 1 package of sprouted tofu, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tamari (no wheat) sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Preparation

Put a large stock pot on medium high heat and add the vegetable broth and onions.  Cook for 7 minutes and add the Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.  Cook for 7 minutes and add the bok choy and broccoli.  Cook for 5 minutes and add remaining ingredients.  Heat through, taste and adjust seasonings.

{ 1 comment }