All Posts for October 2008

Vegan Recipes for Fall 2008

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Note: Vegan recipes contain no dairy or eggs, in addition to no meat, poultry or fish. (See Glossary)


Fennel for Fall

(I am just learning to use fennel and hope this dish whets your appetite to try it, as well. Thanks to my son-by-marriage, Jay, for passing his passion for fennel on to me.)



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Utensils: Cutting board, knife, cooking pot, fry pa, slotted spoon
Prep. Time: About 10 minutes
Cooking Time: About 15 minutes, if chick peas are pre-cooked

Ingredients
2 organic carrots, sliced into rings
one organic fennel bulb, washed & cut into chunks (Save “leaves” for garnish)
one – two cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
one cup cooked chick peas (You can use canned or soak dried chick peas overnight and cook earlier in the day or the day before.)
chives & sesame seeds for topping
1 – 2 Tbl. olive oil, salt & pepper

Directions
1. Cook carrots in a small amount of water over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
2. While carrots are simmering, chop up fennel bulb, mince garlic, and drain chick peas into a small bowl.
3. In a large, flat bottom saucepan, simmer fennel and garlic in a small amount of water or stock until tender, adding salt & pepper to taste.
4. Drain carrots and add to veggies in saucepan; cook together for a couple minutes and adjust seasoning. If more water is needed, add water from carrots.
5. When dish is done, use a slotted spoon to place on a platter. SPrinkle on some sesame seeds and cut chives and garnish with feathery leaves of fennel. Drizzle with olive oil for flavor. Serve immediately.
Note: Feel free to add some stronger herbs and spices, but be careful not to overpower the unique flavor of the fennel.


Tempuna




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(Since vegans don’t eat fish, I created this tuna like dish from tempeh, a soybean product made from the whole bean. See Glossary.)

Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl, grater
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Cooking Time: About 5 minutes for the tempeh

Ingredients
(Buy as many organic veggies as possible)
One package of tempeh, wrapping removed and cut in half crosswise
one carrot, washed, peeled, and grated
2-3 slices of a leek
one red radish, washed and grated
one celery stalk, washed chopped
(vegan) mayonnaise or tahini to taste
salt & pepper to taste
chives for garnish


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(Picture of various ingredients for tempuna. Feel free to delete items you do not enjoy.)


Directions
1. Steam tempeh for about 5 minutes to soften.
2. While tempeh is steaming, prepare the veggies for the dish.
3. Remove tempeh, cool slightly, then hand grate into coarse pieces.
4. Place tempeh in bowl and begin to add veggies. Mix in mayo or tahini a little at a time until the dish resembles the creaminess of tuna fish salad.
5. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve chilled as a spread on crackers or as a spread on a sandwich, sprinkling on chives for garnish. For a spicier version, add some cayenne pepper.



Halloween Soup

(This is the soup I substituted for the cauliflower sweet potato soup I had placed in Peak to Pique before I realized I already had a similar recipe posted in January 2007.)



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Utensils: Cooking pot, knife, hand held blender
Prep. Time: About 1/2 hour or as long as needed for squash
Cooking time: 10 minutes, once squash is cooked

Ingredients
About 3 lbs. red curry squash or squash of your choice
2 cups water or veggie broth
1-2 cups cooked black beans
1-2 tsp. curry powder

Directions
1. Place squash in oven to bake at 350 degrees, puncturing it in various places. (If you use precut squash, or microwave the squash, the time is reduced considerably.)
2. Heat up the stock in a small pot. Also, heat up the black beans in another small pot.
3. When squash is tender, cook slightly, remove skin and seeds and place chunks in a deep pot or bowl.
4. Add one cup of broth and begin to puree with hand held blender. Add second cup and curry powder and puree until smooth.
5. Warm again in the pot. When serving, place soup in bowl and then scoop spoonful of drained, warmed black beans on top of the soup.
(If you mix in the beans, your soup might turn a strange color, so keep beans separate until ready to serve.)

Note: Depending on the size of your squash, you may have to increase or decrease water or stock. ALso, when refrigerated, the soup tends to thicken, so you may have to add more liquid the next day if any soup is left after Trick or Treating.


Vegan Corn Muffins


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This is a vegan variation of a recipe from Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine, Ceres Press. It is my favorite cookbook for basic recipes, like a natural Joy of Cooking. Thanks to the Goldbecks for permission to use their recipe. It is also gluten and dairy free. I substituted almond milk for milk and maple syrup for honey. Vegans do not use honey, because it is food taken from the bees. The book describes this muffin as sweet with a cakelike crumb, but I believe it is more of a breakfast muffin, not a dessert muffin.

Utensils: Bowl, measuring cup and spoons, muffin tin
Prep. Time: About 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes for regular muffin tin; about 35-45 minutes for large muffin tin

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups cornmeal (I used 2 cups cornmeal and then used 1/2 cup quinoa flour for extra protein)
1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil (I used macadamia)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups non-dairy beverage

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine the dry ingredients.
3. Make a well in the center and add oil, maple syrup, and non-dairy beverage. Stir until batter is smooth.
4. Pour into oiled muffin tin, filling almost to the top.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 12 regular-sized muffins or 6 large muffins (add 5- 10 minutes baking time.)

Note: I add sunflower seeds to some of the muffins and pumpkin seeds to others.

Adventures in Eating: Is Vegetarianism for You?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

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(Hot air ballooning, which we witnessed in Reno, NV last month, is an adventuresome activity, so I thought I would include some balloon pictures in this column, since a meatless diet is also an adventure in eating.)

When World Vegetarian Day came around once again on October 1st, I thought I would attempt to eat vegan all day, that is, no animal products whatsoever. I almost succeeded, but late in the evening, I forgot and ate a dish of yogurt. But the awareness was there, which is important.

Since I have been a vegetarian for more than 30 years, with a few lapses, going vegan was not so difficult for me. But I recognize that changing one’s diet is not easy, so this essay is not intended to “convert you,” but rather “alert you” to choices you may not have considered.
Since there are all shades of vegetarianism, from “flexitarians” to “piscatarians” to vegans and fruitarians, I thought I would provide a little background information just in case you want to go veggie for a day.

I think the term “flexitarian” was coined to define someone experimenting with a meatless diet. S/he may eat vegetarian at home, but not in a restaurant, or may eat meatless two meals a day, or some flexible meal plan that works for now. That person may never become a full-fledged vegetarian, but may improve his/her diet along the way. Or maybe a vegetarian diet will be the choice. Either way, there is food awareness.

A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats no meat but does eat eggs and dairy. The sub-category is either a lacto-vegetarian (dairy but no eggs) or an ovo-vegetarian (eggs but no dairy). A “piscatarian” is another made-up word that defines a person who eats no meat, but does eat fish, and probably dairy and eggs, although I am not absolutely sure about the dairy and eggs.

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A vegan eliminates all animal products and animal byproducts (ex. honey) from the diet, emphasizing Ahimsa (harmlessness) in all aspects of life, including no fur, wool, silk, or leather, no pets, rodeos, or fashion shows with fur, leather, or silk. Macrobiotic enthusiasts are often vegetarians, but not always, just as Seventh Day Adventists are sometimes vegetarians. Fruitarians eat only foods that can be picked without destroying the whole plants, so they will eat apples, but not cabbages. The most extreme vegetarians I ever read about are breatharians, who claim to live on breath. Right!

Whatever kind of food plan you want to employ, remember to eat as close to the whole food as possible. Thus, I prefer Edamame beans (green soybeans) over soy milk and a whole apple over applesauce, even if it is organic. The closer to Mother Nature, the more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are left intact. I have known vegetarians who exist on meatless junk food. Where is the benefit to that? I have also known meat eaters who eat very consciously with respect for their bodies, the health of the animal, and the health of the planet. Better that than a junkfood veggie, I think.

So when you choose an eating plan, stay conscious of where your food comes from, whether or not you enjoy it, whether or not the produce is local and organic, and how you can enjoy it as unprocessed as possible. As Michael Pollan states in his book In Defense of Food (to be reviewed soon), “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too Much.” These seven words are gems that you can count on to lead you to
real foods that support your body and the planet.

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If you have any questions about experimenting with a meatless diet, feel free to contact me directly at menupause2006@yahoo.com. If I don’t have the answer you seek, I may be able to send you to the right place for an answer. Happy eating!!

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