Tag Archives: asparagus

Chocolate Rosepetal Chipotle Tofu!

This was definitely an experiment. I love rose and I’ve got an abundance of rose petals so I decided to give them a go in something savory instead of sweet for a change. You’ll need the following:

4 tbsp rose petals
1 carton of water packed tofu, cut into slabs
1-2 tablespoons Earthbalance or other vegan butter
1 large pinch of chipotle pepper or to taste
salt to taste
4 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1 tsp agave or rice nectar
1 generous pinch of chocolate powder
1/2 cup almond or soy milk (more if needed)
a dry white wine to deglaze your pan and that will also compliment your meal, you’ll need about half a cup

I started with some frozen tofu that I sliced into 2 slabs. I covered each side of each slab lightly in Butler’s Chik-Style Seasoning and a gentle sprinkle of cracked black pepper and sauteed them in 1-2 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter until they were lovely golden brown. I set them aside while I began to deglaze the pan.

I added 1 cup of white wine, the rose petals and almonds and swirled it until the almonds started to soften. Then I added the chipotle and chocolate powder. and waited until most of the wine had burned off before adding the almond milk. If it starts to curdle, don’t worry, just add more milk. The almond milk helped to keep the spice of the chipotle from overpowering the rose petals. When it has heated through and you’ve had a chance to adjust the salt pepper and agave nectar, it’s ready.

Pour it over the tofu. Brent made some mushroom wild rice and we steamed some asparagus and had an exotic dinner with some interesting flavors.  Still, something was missing (maybe shallots) and I might leave out the almonds next time (and put them in the rice instead). I’ll let you know what happens if we make this again.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Mushroom Wild Rice: What’s not to like?

We served this along with Brent’s BBQ butternut squash ribs and the savory earthy mushroom wild rice was an excellent addition to the sweet, spicy, smoked tartness of the “ribs”. You’ll need the following for the rice.

1 1/2 cups of wild rice blend

1 cube of vegetable bouillon

3 cups of water

salt and pepper to taste

Brent did this part while I made the mushrooms because I’m too impatient to make rice. We buy our rice at our local farmer’s market and I like to add extra long grain wild rice to a basic wild rice mix but any rice will do. I collected the following veggies to saute:

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2 tbsp olive oil

2-3 small red chilis, minced

2 cups mushrooms

1/4 cup fiddleheads or chopped asparagus (optional)

1/4 tsp sage

1/4 tsp thyme

I sauteed the garlic, onion, peppers and herbs in olive oil over medium heat until it became fragrant and then I added the mushrooms.

I stirred until the mushrooms were reduced and then I added the fiddleheads and turned the heat to low to allow the fiddleheads to soften lightly. They can turn brown quickly, so be gentle.

We mixed the mushroom mixture into the rice and served. The herbal flavors of the thyme and sage brought out the earthiness of the mushrooms and complemented the flavors in the fiddleheads. The nutty and savory flavors in the rice rounded the whole thing out and made it really rich and decadent.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

 

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The Lazy (and lucky) Vegan: Gardein and Surprises

Have I mentioned yet that I love love love Gardein products? I had heard of them long before I turned veganese because one of my favorite hangouts, The Yard House, serves their products. They have a Thai Chicken (or rather, Gardein) Noodle Salad and I fell in love with the ‘chicken.’ It was almost unbelievable how much it seemed like real chicken. Also great is their Firecracker Gardein ‘wings,’ which could probably fool a lot of carnivores.

The best part about Gardein is that I can find a variety of their products in just about any grocery store. WIN! At any given moment, I am sure to have Gardein something or other in my freezer. It’s perfect to have on a day like today when I don’t have any leftovers, I’m too lazy too cook, I’m low on ingredients, and I am too exhausted to stop anywhere after work. Gardein to the rescue!

These crispy tenders are AWESOME. I had three left in the bag, so I threw them in my toaster oven to cook.

 

Meanwhile, I chopped some tomato, cucumber, and green onion to make a salad. To spice it up, I finely chopped a pickled chili pepper. I finished off the salad with about a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt.

Then, my bro showed up with some Korean food. The spiced up cucumber is my favorite, but it is unfortunately not pictured because it went right into my belly. But I still had oh-so-yummy soy bean sprouts, a spiced up pepper, brocolli, and shredded asparagus, all seasoned very deliciously. Thanks, bro! You made my pathetic dinner super duper awesome!

Here’s an closeup of the Gardein crispy tenders. It’s also a closeup of my bright orange fingernail. I am in dire need of a manicure. What do you think of that color? I was trying it on so it’s only on my thumb. I’m thinking it’s a little too crazy for me. Oh, wait. Wrong blog. Sorry. Ahem.

Gardein products contain soy and gluten, which really sucks because some of my favorite people won’t be able to tolerate it. It is such amazing stuff that has saved me a couple times when I almost cracked under the pressure of a chicken wing craving.

Happy Monday Evening! And remember… Turning Veganese loves you. –Melissa

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Fiddleheads and Ramps: Wild Harvest!

Nothing screams spring to me quite like fiddleheads and ramps. Fiddleheads are the newly budding tips of ferns that are common to the Northeast and ramps are wild leeks. The two make a fabulous pair and can make any meal visually stunning and delicious.
Fiddleheads are the easier of the two to recognize. They can be harvested from several different varieties of ferns: cinnamon fern, royal fern, zenmai and vegetable fern. These grow all over the world but aren’t cultivated by farmers. If you decide to harvest your own, the rule is to harvest fewer than half the fiddleheads from any one plant to allow the plant to survive the assault and produce again the next year. Be careful that you know your ferns, some are thought to be carcinogenic; specifically ostrich fern and royal fern. That being said, this isn’t quite as harrowing as hunting wild mushrooms. Note which varieties of ferns grow in a particular area when they develop fully and then you’re set for the next spring when you go fiddlehead hunting! Caveats being made, these vegetables are an incredibly tasty,  nutritious and filling addition to any meal and they also can be stored by freezing.
The flavor in ramps varies from root to tip. The bulbs have an intense and unique flavor that marries the best elements of onion and garlic. The stem is reminiscent of scallions and the leaves remind me of spinach with a touch of asparagus flavor. Subsequently, I advocate using as much of the plant as possible since the entire plant is harvested and the whole thing is delicious.
When I was a kid we would make this dynamic duo into a salad with chicken and toasted nuts. I loved the flavors but was terrified of chicken and egg products that sat at room temperature for hours and hours. Horrifying thoughts aside, Brent and I decided to try it with soy curls instead and were delighted with the result.
To start you’ll want to gather the following ingredients.
1.5 cups dry soy curls
3 cups water
1 cube veggie bouillon
15 ramp bulbs, peeled and ends chopped off
chopped ramp greens
ramp stems, the red sections, chopped
1/2 cup fiddleheads
1/2 cup vegenaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp flake red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup chopped toasted nuts (optional)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Prepare the water and bouillon in your microwave in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the water at one minute intervals until the bouillon dissolves with light stirring. Add the soy curls. Heat as before until the water is mostly absorbed. Saute with olive oil until lightly browned and crispy. I like to refrigerate this dish in order to cool it, but this salad is also delicious when warm.

Separate the bulbs, stems and greens from the ramps. Saute the bulbs

and fiddleheads until the fiddleheads start to get tender.
Add the greens and stir until they wilt. Refrigerate to cool, if desired.
Combine the soy curls, greens and red stems with the rest of the ingredients. We used Follow Your Heart grapeseed vegenaise. It’s pretty awesome. We also omitted the cranberries. Serve on toasted bread.If you don’t have ramps and fiddleheads, substitute asparagus for the fiddleheads, spinach for the ramp greens, green onion for the ramp stems, and leeks for the ramp bulbs. Wow… that’s way more complicated. If you’re sensitive to soy, seitan or chickpeas would make a great substitute for soy curls. If you’ve got an allergy to pecans, toasted sunflower seeds have a great flavor and crunch.

Really, this stunning and delicious. It was crisp herbal flavors married to the nutty savory soy curls all mellowed out by lemon and vegenaise. We had it with a crisp glass of red wine and savored a lazy Sunday.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!
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Where do you get your protein?

I come from a family that loves meat and dairy. Sound familiar?

My dad doesn't really look like this.

My dad is an avid bow hunter. My mother is down with Paula Dean. My brother and I were certainly a product of them. That is, I freaking loved meat and cheese. Upon challenging myself to be vegan, I had to re-educate myself about what food was good for me. Being disgustingly close to a scientist/vegan makes for delicious amounts of good information.

Ultimately the question from my family is always — always — “How do you get your protein?” Without going into an anthropological diatribe reminding you and them how our LCA likely survived best on nuts and plants gathered rather than from the often rotten scavenged meats the males would kill themselves to get, I will throw down a quick list of vegan goodies that are high in protein.

Peas

Peas are the overlooked powerhouse of the western diet. Not only are they jam packed with vitamins and minerals your body craves, but they offer a generous dose of protein to keep you strong like young bull (5.9g/100g).  Protip : Stay away from canned peas… or canned anything for that matter.

Beans

They don’t just make you toot; they make you strong. A cup of cooked beans can yield 12g of protein. That’s pretty gangster if you ask me. I prefer black beans when I get the choice (read : when cooking). I like the flavor more than green beans, and I stay away from refried beans. While that seems limiting, the nutritional benefit is nothing to scoff at and there are loads of ways to prepare them.

Soy Beans

I had to put these separately as they provide such an insane amount of protein. 68g per cup, is what I’m reading. Unreal. I also had to put this separately as I know some folks who are allergic to soy. That really really really sucks.

Lentils

I love lentils. Lentil soup is amazing. Lentils with rice and quinoa is killer. What’s more is how they provide such an unreal amount of nutritional substance. 18g protein per cup? Yes please. Protip : If you sprout lentils before consumption (soak for more than 8 hours) you get all of the essential amino acids. By themselves.

Seeds

Here’s a fun one. Pumpkin seeds can provide 74g protein per cup. Eat them like sunflower seeds and crack the shell. Or eat them whole when cooking them in something. Better still, grind/blend up the seeds and make the pasty substance into something delicious!

Nuts

Nuts are awesome for protein, but the consequence for all that delicious flavor is a lot of extra fat and whatnot (20g protein per cup, but 48.11g fat too). That’s not to say that one should avoid nuts, but if looking for a lean way to get protein, nuts should be used sparingly. Almonds are a solid go-to and are now made into all sorts of goodies.

Asparagus

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have asparagus. Not a lot of fat, but not a whopping amount of protein either (2.95g protein per cup, .16g fat per cup /underwhelmed). But consider that the human body isn’t meant to get 200g protein a day, folks. Rather, the average should be somewhere around 50-60g for men, 40-50g for the ladies. Then again, I’m not a nutritionist, and these numbers vary on height and weight. This should give you a nice jumping off point, though.

Final Thoughts

By being vegan, you don’t have to sacrifice protein. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your body effing needs it. I hope this post helps point you to the threshold of the myriad of options you have as a vegan to get your protein. Protein doesn’t just come from milk, cheese, eggs, meat. Some of the best protein comes from anything but meat and dairy. That said, this is not a comprehensive list by any means. There are loads of other protein sources out there. What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

Peas out, my vegans.

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Smoked Pumpkin Seed Spread

Thursday nights are raw nights at the Alldestroyers’ household (Alldestroyers is an anagram of both our last names, I’m a nerd. Don’t judge me). Today I  decided to finally try making my own spicy spread, trying to replicate smoked salmon but without the fishiness.

We started our sprouts in advance and started soaking the pumpkin seeds the morning of this dinner.

Otherwise, I started with the following:
1/3 cup of shelled pumpkin seeds, soaked 6 hours in distilled water
1 tbsp of tahini
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
juice from 1 lemon as needed
pinch of nutmeg
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (I ended up using chipotle to add spice since it’s also smoked)

We put it in the food processor and monitored it while Brent got the rest of the materials we needed to make salad rolls.

Overall they were a hit. Not fishy at all and definitely smokey and satifsying. I think we ate 4 rolls between us. Considering that this was after a grueling double session of Brazilian jiu jitsu, this is really saying something.
We put asparagus, home grown sprouts, carrot, cucumber, spinach into these wraps along with our awesome smoked pumpkin spread. We dipped them in raspberry salad dressing and the combo was faboo! Check out my customer appreciation photo: it was so good it actually blew Brent’s shirt off.

There’s a good chance I’ll use this recipe again to serve on crackers with “cheese”, as a dip for veggies, or as a regular sandwich spread.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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GREEN Vegetables with Risotto!

I was planning to make more risotto ever since I saw VegHotPot’s risotto verde last week. I love risotto but can’t stomach the cheese so I gathered together some organic arborio rice and veggies in preparation for making my own vegan version. This is basically the same as the last time just with different veggies.

1/3 cup of arborio rice (this is more than enough for 2 servings)
1/2 liter of water
1 cube of veggie bouillon
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil salt to taste
herbes de provence
white wine
I put about half a liter of water into my sauce pan along with a bouillon cube. While I was waiting for the water to boil, I added the onion, garlic and olive oil to one of my fry pans and Brent heated them until they began to sputter.

I set aside the following veggies that Brent chopped as necessary for my risotto:
zucchini
asparagus
edamame
scallions

I added the veggies and turned the heat to medium-low while my extraordinarily good looking sous chef began cooking the rice. We put the rice in a fry pan with a cup of wine and a generous pinch of herbes de provence. I turned the heat to low.

We added the broth one ladle at a time until the rice began to get tender and the liquid was mostly absorbed. It should be translucent except for a little bit in the middle that should still be opaque white when it’s done. You might not use all the broth. I mixed in my veggies and added a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and another tablespoon of vegan parmesan. Both of these are optional but dramatically improve the dish. Omit the edamame if you want this to be soy-free and the vegan parmesan if you’re adverse to nuts.

It really ended up being vegetables with risotto instead of risotto with veggies… but it was delicious. Just look at my evidence of ravenousness.

This attractive dish was loaded with vegetables and good flavors. If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. Let me know what you do with this idea!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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