Tag Archives: celery

Tunaless Melt!

This could have made an amazing sandwich but it made an awesome wrap. I’ve been missing tuna melts, not for the fishy tinned tuna but for the melty goodness and crunchy celery. To make the filling I combined the following:

1 32oz tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp vegan mayo

1 cup of chopped celery

1/2 chopped onion

a generous pinch each of tarragon and thyme

1 tbsp marmite or vegemite

salt and flake red pepper to taste

I started by adding the celery and onion and microwaving it until the onion was soft.

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I actually used a fork to mush the chickpeas. I liked the texture it provided since it reminded me more of real tuna that way. Once it was all mixed together, I microwaved it until it was hot and then adjusted the seasoning.

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We combined this on a wrap with some Daiya cheddar which we melted by microwaving and then topped with some spinach and tomato. It hit the spot, EXACTLY!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Lighter Thai Yellow Curry

Brent and I are still trying to find lighter versions of our favorites and yellow curry is on that list. We recently became acquainted with PB2 thanks to co-author Melissa and have found it to be everything it’s advertised to be: a low-fat full-flavor version of the comfort food I know and love. This made this dish possible along with 2 bags of generic frozen vegetables. As a biochemist I’ve learned that the best ways to preserve labile (that’s how biochemists say ‘unstable’) compounds is by storing them frozen or dried and preferably both. Dried and frozen veggies, nuts and fruits are something I often choose over canned or ‘fresh’ (i.e. not from our farmers’ market). While tinned and fresh produce is often useful and tasty, you never know how long it’s been sitting on a shelf or in the back of a refrigerated truck while the nutrients have been breaking down due to natural processes that can be slowed or stopped by freezing or drying. There is still a lot we don’t know about how our bodies work and scientists discover new compounds that are important to health and nutrition more often than you might think. Variety and well preserved or fresh foods are the best ways to make the most of compounds we don’t know about just yet, as far as I’m concerned.  I digress… lets talk curry. We used the following

1 lb. bag of generic frozen seasoning mix (pepper, onion, celery)

1 lb. bag of generic frozen mixed vegetables (zucchini. carrot, lima beans, cauliflower)

1 13.5 ounce tin of chickpeas, drained OR 1 cup of dried garbanzos, soaked overnight and parboiled

2 generous pinches of cumin seeds

2 tbsp minced ginger

3 Thai chilis, sliced

1 pinch of cayenne (optional)

1 pinch of cinnamon

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp PB2 dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1 tsp coconut or turbinado sugar (more if you like sweeter curry)

salt to taste

We combined the cumin seeds with minced ginger in a deep skillet with the olive oil. We stirred it over medium high heat until it was fragrant. We started the rice at this point because we used brown rice with took about 45 minutes. The curry was ready about 15 minutes before the rice.

To this we added the seasoning mix of vegetables, peppers, cinnamon, PB2 in water and chickpeas. I stirred it until the vegetables were thawed and heated thoroughly.

Then we added the rest of the veggies and sugar and stirred until the vegetables were hot and tender.

This was a lighter curry and tasted divine. Thanks to PB2 we had something light and nutritious and good enough to share though I’ll probably make some tweaks in the future. Let me know if you get to try this and what you’d do to improve on it.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Raw Vegan Crackers 2.0

Brent and I manage to juice more often and that’s fine with me. I’m writing this because our cracker recipe has gotten more complicated and more delicious! Our juice varies but usually involves some combination of spinach, kale, parsley, mint, basil, apples, oranges, lemon, ginger root, carrots, celery, mango, beets and cucumber. When we don’t have time to make crackers, we just throw the pulp into a baggie and freeze it.

The ratios don’t matter much, but you’ll find the stronger flavors will come out (celery in particular) in the crackers and will complement the spices well. If you’re not using any sweet fruits or vegetables, you might consider adding a little molasses. Typically we juice everything that we can make into crackers (which is just about everything except for cucumber) and then empty the pulp into our blender. If you’ve made enough juice for one person you’ll add the following (and this doubles nicely)
1/3 cup of flax meal
2-4 teaspoons of soy sauce or suitable substitute
2-3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp flake red pepper
water as needed
We blend this up until the consistency is uniform and somewhere between a batter and a dough. Taste it and adjust the seasonings. It took me a while to get used to the idea of eating this raw or dehydrated so I understand if you’re wary. We use a spatula to spread it into the non-stick trays that go with our dehydrator and let it go overnight.

Sometimes I sprinkle sesame seeds on top but this isn’t necessary. You’ll have to put some pressure on each seed to make sure they don’t fall off once the crackers are dry. It’ll take some time adjusting the thickness of the dough when you spread it out in your dehydrator but you’ll end up with light crispy crackers that are great for you and awesome with hummus, bean dip or spinach artichoke dip. We store them in a giant plastic bag to keep the Miami humidity from softening them.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Hearty Blackeyed Pea Stew!

Step over Fergie, turnips are here!

This was an incredibly simple stew. I add a lot of extras because lately I’m obsessed with having as much variety in my diet as possible. I used dried black eyed peas because I find their texture is similar to canned beans and not unpalatable to people who prefer the texture of canned.

1 lb. dry black-eyed peas
1 large turnip, cubed
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 large celery root, skinned and cubed
1 finger sized piece of turmeric, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp olive oil
salt and chili paste to taste
 
Soak the peas in filtered water for 4 hours, overnight if possible but it’s not necessary. Rinse them thoroughly. In a pot add 1 tsp olive oil, garlic and turmeric and heat until the garlic and turmeric become fragrant. I also added some cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds but they’re not necessary. Add the peas and 1 liter of filtered water. Bring to a boil. Let it cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or till the peas are halfway done. Add more water if required. Add the coriander, turnip, sweet potato, and celeriac (celery root) and cook for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat, add lime juice. Garnish with cilantro if you like.
If you want, you can substitute 4-5 stalks of chopped celery for the celery root, 4-5 chopped carrots instead of sweet potato and potato for turnip. Celeriac or celery root can be hard to find so regular stalk celery is fine. I am digging the unusual veggies lately. It’s also been raining sideways thanks to our first notable tropical storm of the season so we’re having our equivalent of a snowy winter day… at 80 degrees F. This was a hearty stew that kept both of us fed for a day and I kept sneaking spoonfuls between meals. Don’t tell Brent.
This is Christie, signing off.
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Pumpkin Seed Salad Sandwiches

I was never a fan of tuna salad: a lot of the ingredients creeped me out, particularly tuna and mayo. Mayonnaise is a creamy mix of oil and eggs which never comforted me conceptually. This was even before I became obsessed with microorganisms starting in high school, afterward, anything containing animal products, mixed up and possibly left out for hours and hours at room temperature turned my stomach. Even so there are a lot of things about tuna salad that I like, other than the promise cruelty and fishy smells. We decided to make pumpkin seed salad sandwiches for dinner today taking all of the things that are awesome about tuna salad and omitting the parts that stink… literally. We combined the following in a food processor:

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds (soaked 8 hours)

1/2 cup of flax meal (more if you want a dryer mix)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 generous tbsp tahini

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 dash hot sauce

juice from 1 lemon

I ran my food processor until the mixture was still chunky but relatively uniform and then I added a generous bunch of dill. I ran it until the dill was all mixed in and then added 2 stalks of celery that Brent chopped.

We put it on some bread that we toasted with some Follow your Heart gourmet cheddar cheese. This cheese was okay. The texture was pretty good and the flavor was reminiscent of the cheap orange cheddar that I was never particularly fond of anyways. It got soft when toasted but didn’t really melt like dairy cheese.

Back to the issue at hand, we smothered our sandwiches with our lemon dill spread and I have to say they were fabulous. If I had this to do over again, I might add a few tablespoons of veganaise  but it doesn’t need it. I might also try substituting sunflower seeds for pumpkin seeds but that’s also an arbitrary change.

We also included some sprouts that we started on Sunday. They’re usually ready by Thursday and make a difference for any wrap, salad, or sandwich by adding texture and spice. I also found some delicious multi-grain bread at a local farmer’s market so the guy was able to have a simple sandwich for the first time in a while. It was definitely a welcome change.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Tofu Burgers with portobello mushrooms!

I’ll make just about anything into burgers. I just like the format. In this particular case we tried using a beloved burger recipe as a stuffing for portobello mushrooms. Whether you want patties or stuffed ‘shrooms, all you need to do is gather the following:
12 oz silken tofu
2/3 cup quinoa flakes (rolled oats work too)
1 tbsp flax meal
2 small carrots, grated
2 small stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
tamari or soy sauce to taste

I shredded my carrots and celery in my food processor. I put everything into a bowl with the tofu and then Brent went to work mooshing. Watch him showing this future burger mix who’s the boss. You can also use a food processor but Brent is an expert moosher. Add more quinoa flakes if you find they’re not firm enough.

Shape into patties. Heat a skillet or grill and grill the burgers until each side is crispy and golden brown.

We decided to use it as a stuffing for portobello mushrooms and that’s just another option. We baked some portobellos drizzled lightly with balsamic vinegar at 350C/180F for 10 minutes.

We then stuffed each mushroom cap with the burger mix and baked an additional 20 minutes.

We topped with cheese and baked another 10 minutes. This is Heidi Ho organics, chipotle cheddar. We liked that it was low calorie (about half that of dairy cheese) and it had a nice chipotle flavor but it wasn’t particularly cheesy and didn’t melt like some other vegan cheeses. This didn’t stop us from eating the entire block. It was tasty, just not cheesy.

These burgers were definitely a hit. We ate all three and then fried up the rest of the burger mix and dipped it in buffalo sauce. They came out crispy and tender. Double win! If you try it, let us know what you think. Until then, stay tasty!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Cooking Challenge: Buffalo (Chicken) Dip

I must confess that:

  • I was never a fan of Buffalo anything.
  • I never tried Buffalo Chicken Dip until last New Year’s weekend aka My Weekend of Debauchery.
  • I kind of forced my sister to take part in this cooking challenge and now we have a crapload of leftover Buffalo Chicken Dip.
  • there is no more vegan Buffalo (Chicken) Dip left. I ate it all. /burp
  • my loneliness is killing me now don’t you know I still believe that you will be here and give me a sign… hit me baby one more time.

I don’t know where my sudden craving for buffalo chicken dip came from. All I know is that I had to have it this past weekend. As a bonus, it would be a good vegan vs. traditional cooking challenge. I found a lot of vegan recipes online and liked spabettie’s the best (check out her blog for amazing recipes that I can’t wait to try). I didn’t have soy curls, which probably would have taken this to another level, so this is what I ended up using:

Vegan Buffalo Dip

1/2 cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese
1/3 cup Tofutti sour cream
1 cup vegan cheddar, grated (use Daiya if you’ve got it)
5 stalks celery, diced

Combine all the ingredients in an oven-safe bowl or dish. I used two small bowls. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, covering with foil at the 20 minute mark. Serve with celery, tortilla chips, eat it with a spoon… whatever tickles your fancy. The dip might seem soupy but don’t worry: it’ll have a good dipping texture to it after it cools off a bit. I got so excited while making this and then stuffing my face with it that I didn’t get any good photos. I suppose I could make some more this weekend, but having “everything in moderation” still applies to vegan junk/snack foods.

This dip is totally potluck-worthy. I don’t think non-vegans would be able to tell the difference, but you should caution anyone you serve it to in case they have a soy allergy, which my sister has. This is something that should be shared and not completely devoured by oneself while in the midst of a stress/PMS-induced craving attack. Trust me: you might regret it, even though the dip is delicious.

Let me know if you try this out with soy curls. And be sure to check out spabettie.com! xoxo… Melissa

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