Tag Archives: lemon

Hot pot!

When Brent and I are feeling particularly lazy but still want to eat something healthy, we make hot pot. This is an East Asian fun thing that can be enjoyed by small groups of friends or just your family. We use a simple electric wok that’s resistant to tipping over and fill it with our favorite kind of broth. It’s a great way to use just about any vegetables that are available in our refrigerator – broccoli, green beans, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, tofu, tofu skins, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, noodles (we use thin rice noodles and konjac noodles). Napa cabbage, spinach and Romaine lettuce are favorites.

After that, all you need is some fresh veg chopped into bite sized pieces and maybe some dipping sauces. Our broth recipe is as follows
1-2  liters of water

1-2 cubes of bouillon (we use “chicken” or mushroom)

1 tbsp of Szechuan peppercorns (we like spicy, what can I say)

2 star anise pods

15-20 goji berries

10-15 scallion onions, chopped into 2 inch pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

a pinch of ground cumin

2-3 pods of allspice

1 coin size slice of ginger (optional)

juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)

1 tbsp chili or garlic flavored canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

I combine everything but the scallion onions in my pot and boil for 30 minutes or more until it’s fragrant and steamy. Then I add the spring onions and take the pot to our table. You put the veggies into the soup pot and wait for the liquid to return to a boil. Then we remove the vegetables without chopsticks, wait for them to cool or dip them in sauce or not (I like a home-made chili-lime-peanut sauce, Brent prefers a garlic chili sauce) and DEVOUR! Just be careful that the hot liquid doesn’t splash anyone and that the contents don’t spill onto anyone. It’s HOT (hence the name *hot* pot)! This might not be a dish for the faint of heart, but it is for the hungry, adventurous and lazy. Just put down a towel for all the drips and splashes.

As versatile as this particular dish is, there’s something for everyone. Just don’t get hurt when you realize someone ate your mushroom.

This is Christie, signing off!

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GAZPACHO!

Sounds funny, tastes delicious… This is a simple cold summer soup that is loaded with good nutrients and packed with flavor. It should be a staple in your diet whether you’re vegan or not. Ours is made from the following ingredients:
2 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed (I like 2 different colors, in this case yellow and red)
1/2 cup of cilantro stems
2 cucumbers
juice from 1 lemon
5 tomatoes, stems removed
1 jalapeño (optional for the brave)
6-8 scallion onions, chopped just as the bulb turns green, stems diced
4-5 strawberries (optional)
hot sauce and salt to taste

Brent cut up the vegetables into sizes that fit easily in our food processor. The skins can be left on the cucumber for a richer flavor if they’re organic, otherwise I remove most of it if not all.


The tomato, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, lemon juice, scallion bulbs and cilantro stems all went into the processor and was blended until smooth. Afterward I added salt and hot sauce to taste, garnished with scallion onion (you can use cilantro too, if you like). and served with grilled cashew cheese sammiches. It hit the spot after a day in the muggy Florida heat. Let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Mushroom Spinach Risotto

I admit I’ve been delinquent in my duties as a blogger. We had to move (our former land lady disagreed with us on an appropriate time frame for air conditioner repair in Florida in the summer). I can’t find my camera, but that’s no excuse. I’ve got a phone. Brent is pretty awesome and cooks for both of us when I’m too exhausted from work or moving or all the bologna that goes with all of that, so I wanted to treat him for being so proactive in the kitchen with some comfort food.

I started by making some creamy cashew cheese.

3/4 cup of dry cashews soaked overnight in water (hemp hearts can be a suitable substitute if you’ve got a nut allergy)

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 pinch salt

I blended this up until it was creamy and put it into the fridge until I was ready to make my risotto. We ate a lot of it with crackers. Oopsie!

To make the risotto I assembled the following additional ingredients.

1/2 cup arborio rice (this is more than enough for 2 people)

2 cups spinach (our was frozen)

1 and 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 cup of white wine (I like chardonnay for this recipe, but I used pinot grigio because we had it)

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 quart of water

1 cube of vegetable bouillon

1 onion, diced

1/2 tsp garlic paste or chopped garlic

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

I started by microwaving the bouillon and water, stirring to dissolve the bouillon cube.


I then put the rice into my pan with the wine and herbes de provence over low heat until the wine cooked off and some of the liquid was absorbed. I continued to add the broth while I started to sautee the onion in the olive oil.

After the onion was soft I added the mushrooms. Once they started to soften, I added the spinach and turned off the heat once it was wilted.

Once the rice had absorbed most of the broth and was mostly translucent except for a little opaque bit in the middle of the rice grain, I added the nutritional yeast, garlic paste and then combined that with the sauteed vegetables.

Then I stirred in 1/2 cup of my cashew cheese and adjusted the salt and pepper to taste. Hey, guess what… it’s ready. The addition of cashew cheese makes this dish more reminiscent of the cheesy delightful artery clogging dairy rich dish but it’s way better for you and super ultra mega tasty.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Stock!

This post is about making stock for soup, mashed potatoes, French Onion soup, gravy, risotto or whatever you would normally use soup stock for and it’s crazy simple. Even if you like to compost (or have bunnies to ‘process’ your leftover veggies) this is a great way to get more out of your veggies before you throw them in your bin. Get yourself a big old freezer safe storage container. Every time you peel the skins off onions or garlic, cut the ends of carrots or celery, stems from parsley and other herbs, stumps from mushrooms or broccoli… really anything. I add lemon peel from time to time for certain recipes like pho and orange peel for zesty soy curls. Dump it into the container (I like to use a freezer bag) and store in your freezer.

When your container is full of veggie scraps, dump the contents into a pan, cover with water and simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain the liquid into a container and freeze for whenever. Now the veggies are extra mushy for composting or your sink disposal.

The stock will have no added fat or sodium and full of flavor. I like to store the stock in zippered freezer baggies too. If the bag is full enough for about 1/2 inch thickness when lying on its side, then you’ll be able to thaw it quickly.

This is Christie, signing off.

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Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

It’s 2013 and time for me to get excited about food again — in a healthy, vegan way. This easy-to-make raw salad is a good start!

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My food preparation philosophy is pretty solid. As much as I aspire to be a more creative and fancy cook, I want things to be simple, to use as few ingredients as possible, and find several ways to prepare meals using items that I always have in my kitchen and pantry. I also don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food. Thus, this recipe is a classic “Melissa” recipe. I didn’t even come up with it myself. It’s based on this recipe.

Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained and then cubed
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos — my first time using this in my own cooking!
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
scallions
fresh cilantro
sesame seeds

I placed the cubed tofu in a bowl. I added the lemon, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and sesame oil, and then mixed it very gently to coat all the cubes. I set the bowl aside and then prepared the avocado. I added the avocado to the bowl with the tofu but I didn’t mix it in. I topped everything with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. I also sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper onto everything.

I was a little skeptical, but everything melded together really well! There was the tartness of the lemony tofu mixed with the creamy avocado, and then final fresh kick from the scallions and cilantro. I experimented a bit by eating it in a whole wheat pita:

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The pita unfortunately muted the flavors too much for my taste, but the rest of the giant pita was great to munch on in between bites of the salad.

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Easy, quick, versatile, and no cooking necessary: a classic Melissa recipe, indeed! –Melissa

 

 

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Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

Life is thus that I am basically a Lazy Vegan 24/7 and haven’t had a chance to sit and plan and be creative with my cooking. I really want to turn things around, so I decided to make a different sort of chickpea salad to eat with my Boca Chik’n Patty sandwich.

Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz canned chickpeas (I would have used dry beans if I had planned ahead)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of one lemon

I drained the chickpeas and set them aside. I then mixed all the other ingredients together in a bowl.

I mixed the beans with the dressing. Note: I only used about half of the dressing.

To make things a little more interesting, I added some grated carrot, sesame seeds, ground coriander, and dried parsley flakes. I’m sadly lacking fresh herbs at the moment and certainly would have added fresh cilantro or parsley instead.

I added some crushed red pepper after plating the salad. This ended up being a delightful and hearty meal! –Melissa

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Piccata revisited

Melissa is the author of the best piccata vegan or not. We decided we wanted some so we changed up a couple of the elements and were pleasantly surprised. We started by preparing some tempeh according to Melissa’s recipe and setting it on low to simmer.

We sauteed some spinach with garlic and flake red pepper.

Next we sauteed some polenta.

I served it all up hot with extra lemon caper awesomeness poured over the top and a sprinkle of paprika.

It was delicious and did not last long. I ended up having to make another batch immediately after this one disappeared. What this really translates to is a recipe that’s robust and reproducible. A huge “THANKS!” goes out to co-author Melissa. She’s pretty rad.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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A Different Kind of Tofu Scramble

I’ll usually make a tofu scramble for breakfast on the weekend, but I wasn’t quite feeling it today. That said, I had a pressed block of tofu that was ready to be eaten. So I decided to make a different sort of tofu scramble.

This was easy and turned out great with just a few ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained using the wonderful TofuXpress
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dill (I love dill)
chopped green onion or chives
salt and pepper to taste

I ‘crumbled’ the tofu with a fork and then added the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, green onion, and salt and pepper. I mixed it all up really well and then let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I served it on toast with a side of tomatoes.

This recipe reminded me of when I was in Israel a couple years ago and had the same thing for breakfast every day: bread with feta cheese. It’s kind of cool that I accidentally made a tofu-based vegan feta! I gobbled this up really quickly and am already planning to make it again with my next block of tofu.

Great on toast, great as a salad topping, great vegan deliciousness! –Melissa

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Hemp Cheese

I’ve been making cashew cheese for months now but wanted to try this with hemp seeds (nutrition data pictured at left). Hemp is a much more sustainable seed product than cashews or almonds mostly because they use less water to grow, ounce for ounce and has twice the protein for about the same amount of fat, Hemp is also rich in omega fatty acids and iron. This is also suitable for most people with nut allergies as well as soy-and dairy sensitivities. To make this cheesy spread I combined

1 cup of hemp seeds

juice from 1 lemon

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 generous pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp of water

I then blended the mixture until it was creamy. This took a while but the end product was worth it. We ended up with a lightly sweet cheesy spread. I suspect you could also bake it to make a harder cheese like I normally do with cashew cheese. I was feeling peckish and impatient so that didn’t happen.

You can also add your favorite vegan pesto spread for a pesto spread, some herbes de provence, dairy-free ranch seasoning or whatever your favorite dip is.

It’s great on our home-made gluten-free vegan bread or in combination with a sprinkle of fresh herbs on crackers. It also makes a great high protein pasta sauce. Let me know if you get to try 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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