Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Breakfast breakout

"May I eat this for breakfast?"

Oh wait. I'm the adult around here.

Chocolate covered coffee beans. Check.
Earl Grey tea. Check.
An avocado. Check.
On a silver tray with a Lotus candle from Tokyo Milk. Pretty.
Forget food. Forget calories. Forget food groups!

Anyone else feel like indulging taste and color when the rain pelts Seattle? Have a great one. Let's just say this was ...

Well worth it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just the thing to warm a cold vegan

Today we're featuring a cool-weather food: curried pea soup, to be exact.

Don't think of it as your mother's traditional soup. Here's what's in it today, though it looks similar to the goopy, glue-ey green-ish stuff your mama probably served in the winter:

1 tbsp curry paste (I look for the jar with the lady on it from Thailand - green, yellow, or red is fine.)
1 chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic

*Browned in:
1-2 tbsp oil (I use Asian-taste corn oil)

*Add to the pot:
 2-3 c split peas, rinsed and sorted
2 bouillon cubes (I use a vegan brand)
2 bay leaves
Pinch of nutmeg
Trader Joes Smoke Seasoning (imagine smoked meat)
8-9 c water (Like thinner soup? Use more water. Prefer it thick? Use 7-8c.)

(optional: 1 c hulled barley or other grain)

Taste it when it's simmered for an hour, uncovered. If it needs salt or soy sauce, add some. Same for pepper.

For fun: garnish with popcorn, peanuts, red peppers, chopped tomatoes, or leafy veggies.

Servings: 4-6, depending on the bowl size
Taste: 4/5 Rich, nourishing, warming, savory
Time to prepare: 10 minutes. Cook for an hour-ish
Calories: 300-500 calories per bowl, (or more, depending if you cheat and use more oil)
Beauty: looks better with red pepper garnish or tomato. Pea-soup green is ugly.
Improvements: Pea soup tastes best with ham hock broth. Sadly, that's out of the question for a vegan.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Front porch pleasures: Lia's treat

Guess what showed up on my front step yesterday? A fall basket, lined with a white napkin and beautifully arranged. Lia, the artistic friend who dropped it off, beat a hasty retreat, but I was thrilled to show it to three women who were over for tea and study.

I pulled out the parchment-wrapped homemade bread first.

Then I found two bags of tea.

There was a jar of homemade paprika spread. (We LOVE this, having met it in England, imported from Eastern Europe. )

Lia included in a jar of her homemade pickled vegetables. Along with a brick of cheese
and an exotic sausage.

Last but hardly least, home-baked pumpkin bread.

I felt like jumping in the car and picnicking in the park. Thank you, friend. What a delightful feast which will take us a few days to consume! Won't last long though. I'm enjoying the bread and paprika spread as I write...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weather change and my food response

When the weather changes to Seattle fall, we get grey skies and rain. My mood shifts within a few days to depression and fatigue. Unless...

Indian food - oh yum
I'm eating vegan again. Ingesting only eating plant-based foods. It works for me, though my leaving the traditional American diet is purely based on my body's health not on vegan philosophies of care for the planet or animal rights extremists' preferential treatment of animals over humans.

Mexican lunch - can't wait!
Many websites provide info on what vegans DO eat. Some of the best and easiest recipes are at the websites below. If you deal with seasonal depression or ill health, consider giving your food a change in nutrition for a chance to heal. Remember that it takes 2 weeks to remove dairy toxins from your system, about 3 weeks for beef, and up to 4 weeks to shed pork residues - so you might want to put yourself on a 4-week challenge to see if your body benefits from a pure plant diet. I'd love to hear from you if you do!

Enjoy. And if you eat out, you can usually find vegan options at ethnic restaurants - Mexican, Chinese, or Indian meals anyone?

Dr. McDougall Medicine
Forks Over Knives
Vegan 101
101 Cookbooks blog - more gourmet recipes

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cabin brunch

I'm in love with "Pastor Rohde Pancakes." Per person, our good friend and retired pastor, Erwin Rohde, used this formula to feed his guests (makes about 4 X 4" pancakes for each person):

1 (very-high-) heaped tbsp. of pancake mix
1 egg
water or milk to make the consistency of crepes (more liquid) or pancakes (less liquid)

Mix together until it's no longer lumpy. Optional: add nuts or fruit. I bought huckleberries ($12/lb!) at the local grocer and stirred them in.

Heat 1-2 tbsp. butter and 1-2 tbsp. oil in a med-hot saucepan. Sometimes the butter splatters (too much moisture,) so have a lid ready to contain the heating fat. Drain excess fat into a glass measuring cup or similar non-melting container.

To the remaining fat in the pan, add 2 tbsp. - 1/4 c. batter and swish it to the edges (crepes) or let sit and cook (pancakes). You'll know it's ready to flip over to bake the other side when the top is dry (crepes) or bubbles form (pancakes).

Remove to a plate and cover with a clean dishtowel to keep hot and moist until serving.

Repeat by adding fat from measuring cup to pan, draining back excess, adding batter, etc.

VEGAN: use egg replacer instead of the egg. Still tastes great!

Between flipping pancakes, I fried an egg like Mom used to do:

To butter and oil melted in a separate med-hot pan (drain excess fat as above), break in an egg.

Turn off the heat and cover the pan, letting the steam cook the top of the egg and the bottom heat cook the bottom. Takes 2-4 minutes, with minimal peeking so you don't lose the steamed heat!

I put the fried egg on the pancake stack, stabbed the egg to release the yolk, and - oh yum!!! a lovely protein- and -fruit-rich brunch.

Taste: savory, sour-sweet (hucks). Perfect for an 11am meal!
Time to make: 10 minutes
Calories: 4-500, made with water, and with 1 egg. Syrup is extra.
Tea: jasmine green

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Repost: nut squares - OH YUM


These Nut Biscuits are very easy to make with only a little pre-thought prep-work involving soaking of the ingredients and then a quick whizz of the blender using the 'S-blade' and there you have it.....

1 C of each of your chosen nuts (I used pistachio, almonds, pine, pecans and hazelnuts)
1 C dried figs (soak for a few hours)
1 C pitted dates (soak for a few hours)

You will need to soak the nuts for at least 2 hours before making this recipe although longer is preferable.


Nuts and seeds naturally come coated with a layer of enzyme inhibitors that can hinder the absorption of these vital amino acids needed. This can be easily dispersed and eradicated by the simple process of soaking.

It is best to soak the nuts and seeds needed for a recipe for at least 2 hours prior to usage in order to release the enzyme inhibitors. By doing so, the nuts and seeds will be easily absorbed, digested and circulated around the body where needed.

Nuts and seeds are crucial for the body to maintain it’s optimum health levels due to their vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids, omega 3 and 6.

Once the nuts have been soaked, rinsed and drained well, add them to a blender and blitz them until they are to the consistency you desire. Add them to a large mixing bowl.....

....Then add the soaked/drained dried figs and dates to the blender (again using the 's-blade') and blitz until a gooey sticky paste has been formed. Add this paste to the nuts in the bowl and mix up together....

....... simply flatten out the mixture onto a baking tray layered with a stretch of parchment paper and leave in the freezer to harden.......

..... After a few hours, you can take this biscuit mix out of the freezer and slice up as shown above....

..... These can be wrapped individually and kept in the freezer until needed. They are great for 'on-the-run' breakfasts or snack treats (the healthy way).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Let us wrap

After an overnight fast in preparation for an annual physical exam (my first in 16 years), I'm hungry. Time to go to Yakima Fresh Market for a $20 splurge on fruit and veges.

I look over my loot as I unpack it and consider what I'm hungry for. Quinoa with this stuff? I start cooking 1/2 c. quinoa with 2 c. water and set the timer for 10 minutes.

I wash, slice, and chop leaf basil and the vegetables - cabbage, tomato, onion, red pepper - and grate the carrots and ginger. Into a bowl they go!

Meanwhile, I spot a package of sprouted grains and beans in the cupboard. They only need 5 minutes of cooking and a 10-15 minute "rest." When the timer beeps, I measure 1/3 cup of grains and break 5 stalks of asparagus into the pot. Lid on. The timer gets reset for 5 minutes.

The timer dings. I turn off the gas heat to let the quinoa, bean, and grain mixture settle for 10 minutes. Might as well tidy the kitchen. Knives go back on their magnetic strip, dishes in the DW. There's time to halve and remove the stems from two big romaine lettuce leaves ... and make a cup of tea, too.

Combining the grains and chopped vegetables makes a beautiful arrangement beside the lettuce. I sprinkle on thick soy sauce for flavor ... and plate the food. (See the large tablespoon in the photo for perspective.)

I'm ready to wrap and eat! Half the salad makes 4 substantial lettuce rolls. I'll save the rest of the mix for supper.

Rating: 4.5
Taste: nice combination of bitter (lettuce, asparagus, and cabbage) with savory and sweet (basil, ginger, quinoa, carrots).
Calories: 350-400? for all 4 rolls. Bulky calories!
Time to prepare: 15 min.
Tea: Trader Joe's Well-Rested teabag (sadly). Nice spearmint smell to clear the nose between bites.
Beauty: 4.5 Tighter rolls might be prettier. The color is fabulous and the sizes and textures vary.
Improvements? Perhaps add smashed fresh walnuts and chopped fresh apricot, or - Chinese mustard or wasabi peas, blueberries, and pine nuts. Maybe tonight!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

best breakfast ever?

Do you like okra? I love it. W hates it. I got some at Ranch99 Market yesterday.

This morning I woke up starved for okra. So I washed some and let it drip almost dry. I soaked dried onions in water from the hot tap for 2 minutes.

Then I fried chopped garlic and the drained onion in 4 tsp. olive oil, added okra, turned up the heat, and sprinkled on smoked paprika. Tossing ingredients around the pan around prevents burning on high heat.

hurry hurry i'm hungry ...

In the meantime, I cooked some Asian "Oil noodles" (wheat, water, bit of oil) for 2 minutes. Drained them and put them in a bowl.

I lifted the cooked okra, caramelized onion, and garlic into the noodles and drizzled Bango (Indonesian kecup) on them, moving the ingredients around until everything was mixed.

Might have been my best breakfast ever. Mind you, I was hungry for okra! And fresh veges are a joyful thing to eat.

Rating: 5
Taste: savory, liked the rosy gold of paprika and the smokey flavor with the sweet-salty Bango, which is a thick soy sauce. Undercooking okra makes it pop open in the mouth without being slimy. Yum.
Calories: 400 (120 noodles; 150 oil; veges 130)
Time to prepare: 10 min.
Tea: Trader Joe's Earl Grey Teabag (sadly). Hit the spot.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dissertation celebration

"... so... do you want to go to ..." he asks me when I tell him I passed my dissertation defense.

YES YES YES I DO. I'm ready right now. We're at the door when they open at 5pm for dinner.

Cafe Juanita in Kirkland is our "very special very very special occasion" restaurant. He's saying, "This is a big deal and I'm proud of you" by offering.

CF is a little place with exquisite seasonal food. The exterior is plain and squat. The ceiling tiles, if painted mocha, would disappear into welcome oblivion. (yeah, I'm that visual and it's that ugly; bugs me every time.) You'd never dream that such a jewel lives in Kirkland, WA, especially driving by.

We never know what the menu will be but it's always interesting. Creative. Mind-blowing, even. And that's before we taste what we order. The chefs are in love with flavor, color, and design, thrilling the senses. The servers are attentive, too.

We start with a small plate of four kinds of bread and crackers. I sigh over the potato bread. They bring replacements ... twice.

We share Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Escarole, Pinenuts and Currants. I barely remember to snap a photo before eating it all, rolling it around my mouth to capture all the flavors. My husband and I smile at each other and remember why this is a fantastic place to eat.

It's an a la carte menu, so we order Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin, Lime and Pinenuts

and Lacinato Kale with Garlic and Chili Flakes

to go with our splurge, the Blackmore Wagyu Flatiron with Gorgonzola, Cipollini Agro Dolce and Caramelized Endive. 

For a usually vegan foodlover, it's a taste of heaven.

Toasting a place that never disappoints, thank you to Holly Smith and the staff at 4-star Cafe Juanita! And company that loves and encourages, thank you hon!