Tag Archives: turmeric

Vegan Paella, for real this time

I made paella once before and a Latina colleague informed me that unless it contains meat, paella is merely veggie rice. I don’t think she’d be able to argue with this vegan paella, though.

We used Vigo yellow rice instead of making our own. Brent and I have become big fans of this vegan rice mix because it’s tasty, easy and costs less than $2. If you get to try it, it gets a little toasty on the bottom of the pan and don’t worry because this improves the flavor significantly.
IMG_2441I started by sauteeing some onion with a little olive oil and some flake red pepper. While that was cooking, Brent was cutting some Brussel’s sprouts and thaw the Ocean’s Best vegan shrimp.We also threw in some black olives that I cut in half.

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These all went into the pan until everything was steamy and hot and the onion was soft and the sprouts had begun to soften. I turned off the heat and added the red pepper. I put a lid over it and allowed it to steam until the pepper was just barely hot. I find bell peppers get bitter when cooked so I avoid cooking them completely unless the skin has been removed.
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We scooped some rice onto our plates and arranged the veggies to make the paella look delicious and that didn’t take much effort. It was really good and the shrimp definitely added what was missing from my last paella effort. Next time I might add daikon as an answer to sea scallops. Savory olives (instead of mussels), sweet bell pepper, herbal Brussel’s sprouts all brought out the light flavors in the saffron rice and sweet shrimp. YUM!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Daal Biryani

Bryani is a dish that’s a regional specialty in one of my co-workers’ home town, Hyderabad, India. She gave me her recipe which calls for lamb and asked me to know how the vegan version pans out. I told her I planned to use lentils and she corrected me, “daal” so that’s what I’m calling it. We used the following:

1 cup of lentils or black-eyed peas, soaked and drained
1 cup split lentils, washed and drained
2-3 chili peppers (we’re using 2 jalapeños)
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of turmeric, sliced

some curry leaves if you’ve got them
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 carton of silken tofu
juice from 1 lemon

2 medium onions, sliced into strips
4 smallish tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 medium white mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 pinch of cumin seeds
3 bay leaves

corn oil

1 cup of basmati rice

Put a tablespoon or so of corn oil into a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Heat it until they start to sputter, then add the onion, peppers, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, tofu and lemon juice into a large pot, add a little corn oil and stir fry. Add about 1.5 liters of water and use a hand blender to mix everything into a smooth creamy broth.

Chop your veggies while that heats to a simmer.

Now mix in the veggies, legumes and rice.

We added eggplant in addition to mushrooms. They’ll float to the top, this isn’t a problem; it means you won’t need a lid.. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice and legumes are tender. This will take about 1 hour give or take 15 minutes on low heat. You can also bake it at 350F/180C in your favorite baking dish for about an hour.

This is a great meal for hungry people who like curry. I don’t know how it measures up to the carnist version, but we managed to eat all of it within 2 days and considering it was almost too big for the pot I was using, this is really saying something. Brent wanted to add some chopped green peppers to the mix immediately before serving next time for a sweet crisp crunch and I agree that would add something. If you try it, let me know. Enjoy!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Panang Curry!

Curry is kind of awesome. This is a rich veggie curry rich with veggies. Is that redundant? Anyways, we like curry and will eat it whenever we get the chance so this is an easier version you can make if you’ve got a fridge full of veggies like we often do. You’ll need the following:

1.5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots/green onions
2 tablespoons minced ginger OR 1/2 tbsp powdered
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 generous tablespoons of peanut butter
1 finger sized piece of turmeric OR 2 tsp powdered
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste or to taste
1 cup water
1 can of coconut milk (2 cups of almond milk for a lighter version, just add 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut for flavor)
juice and zest from 1 lime

1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or molasses or to taste
1 14-ounce package firm tofu, drained, cut into cubes (optional)
1 sweet potato or white potato, cubed
1 bunch green veg, ripped or cut into bite size pieces (I used broccoli and a green bell pepper because I had them but kale works well too)

salt to taste

You can also add mushrooms, sliced carrots, or other veggies
1/2 cup roasted and salted cashews or peanuts (or cilantro for a lighter version) for a garnish


Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Cook shallots, ginger, turmeric and garlic until tender. Stir in the cumin and curry paste until fragrant. We like ours spicy so I added some red peppers.

Whisk in water, coconut milk, lime juice and zest, and brown sugar and let simmer. Season to taste with salt and adjust the seasonings.

Add tofu, potato and mushrooms if you’re using them and let cook on low heat covered for 20 minutes, or until the potato begins to soften. Then add the green veggies and cook until you like the texture.

Garnish with cashews/peanuts/cilantro and serve as is or with rice or quinoa. Using almond milk instead of coconut milk makes  a huge dent in the number of calories added from fat (even compared with light coconut milk) and makes the flavors more intense. We hope you get to try it!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Tofu Rogan Josh

So… Indian food… awesome… yeah. I’ve got a few Indian colleagues and one of them gave me her recipe for lamb rogan josh and I did my best to veganize it.You’ll need the following:

1 package water packed tofu, pressed and chopped into bite-sized chunks.
1 package of baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 green bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1-2 tbsp corn oil or other oil suitable for frying
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, minced
1 pinkie sized piece of turmeric, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
15-20 curry leaves
2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 14oz tin of peeled plum tomatoes
1 lime, juice and zest, cut in half
curry leaves, to taste
salt and pepper to taste (garam masala works instead of pepper)

Getting the ingredients together was the hardest part. Finding fresh curry leaves was a mission but we did… did you know they grow on trees? I didn’t know that before our quest for curry leaves. They’re pretty important for this dish so I recommend seeking them out.
To start, add the onion to a large pot with the corn oil and fry it on high temperature until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic, turmeric, curry leaves and ginger and keep frying. Add the dry spices and zest and keep frying.This should look and be very dry. When the spices become fragrant and everything in the kitchen smells awesome

Add the tomato, 1/2 lime juice and cream cheese and mix. If you’ve got a hand blender, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, before the tomato gets too hot, put it all in your blender and mix until smooth.

Add the tofu and mushrooms and allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes so the tofu takes on the flavors of the dish. Stir in the green bell pepper and coriander 10 minutes before serving.

So we served this with quinoa and red wine and it was not too far off from what I’ve had in restaurants: tart, creamy, herbal and rich. Did I mention I love Indian food?

It was loaded with veggies, protein and exciting herbs. Even if it wasn’t authentic, it’s still delicious and good for you. We hope you get to try it.

This is Christie and Brent, 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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Saag with Sweet Potato

Brent and I really love Indian food. We make several versions of Americanized favorites including saag. Typically saag is a spinach based sauce flavored with cilantro, chili and turmeric and usually includes chunks of potato, mushroom, and/or paneer. Paneer is a bland home-made cheese so we use tofu that we’ve marinated in lime juice instead. Today, however, we’re using cubes of sweet potato because we had a random sweet potato floating around the apartment (I just had a funny mental image). We put the following into the blender for a creamy base:

1 box of MoriNu soft silken tofu (If you’ve got a soy allergy, soak 1/2 cup of cashews overnight, drain them and add to your blender. This actually tastes marginally better but adds a lot of fat)

1 thumb sized piece of turmeric or 1 tsp powdered turmeric

5-7 cloves of garlic

a generous pinch of cinnamon

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeño pepper or generous spoon of chili paste

1 tablespoon of coconut sugar

This mixture was blended until creamy. Then I added the following greens in the following order, blending thoroughly between:

1 bunch cilantro (stems and leaves)

1 bunch of Swiss chard or mustard greens

1 bunch of spinach

The cilantro goes in first because the stems need to get cut finely. The stems have a lot of flavor. Swiss chard will make a milder saag, mustard greens will make it spicier. Spinach is just a wondrous vegetable. EAT IT!!! Frozen greens work fine for this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I transferred the contents of the blender to my big pan and rinsed out the blender with almond milk (use soy if you’ve got a nut allergy) and put the milk into the pan. I started to heat it and added 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized pieces. A carton of water packed tofu or a few handfuls of mushrooms are great veggies to add to your saag.

Heat the saag through and stir frequently until the potato is cooked. It should be thick and make giant messy bubbles if unattended (hence the stirring).

This will take about half an hour. Add water, salt, spices, and pepper as needed. I also use a garam masala spice mix  that an Indian colleague brought me from his home Hyderabad instead of pepper. Cracked black pepper is better for most tastes. It looks like sewage but tastes like awesome!

We served this with quinoa that we prepared in the microwave with several green cardamom pods. I love saag and know it’s not for everyone. It’s very herbal and spicy and is too vegetal for some. That being said, We ate the whole pan and all the quinoa too… I’ve got a blood donation coming up and I need the iron and vitamin K!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Vegan Breakfast Burritos!

I like breakfast. I also like burritos. Whoever thought of the breakfast burrito is on my “AWESOME” list. The word “burrito” means, “little donkey”. I like to make my burritos about the size of a small donkey. Do you see where I’m going with this?

We had some more chili tortillas and decided, “what the heck.” We made a tofu scramble. I prefer silken tofu but otherwise this recipe is pretty standard.
1 box of soft silken tofu

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 pinch of sun dried tomato flakes

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 pinch paprika

1 pinch turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

Stir that up in your non-stick skillet until it’s hot and awesome. More importantly…

We cooked up some black beans. What breakfast burrito would be right without beans? We used the following:

1 onion, diced

6-8 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of dry black beans, soaked overnight in an excess of water OR 1 can of beans, drained

salt and chili to taste

We heated the onions until they started to turn translucent. Then we added the beans and a jalapeño and just waited until they were hot and tender.

The beans and scramble made their way into the tortilla along with some salsa and cilantro. This was one of the better breakfasts we’ve had in a while. It was savory, spicy and loaded with delicious garlic and cilantro. We forgot the Daiya but neither of us missed it.

This breakfast is loaded with balanced protein to keep you going and a good serving of carbs to get your started. There’s virtually no fat and no cholesterol which is great because the fiber will help you digest all the other deliciousness for a strong body. Happy breakfast!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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WTFennel!?

Fennel is something I periodically see at my farmer’s market and when I made daikon a week or so ago, I mused about adding the anise flavors in fennel to the turmeric and paprika infused radish. Well, I went and did it.

We separated the bulbs, stems and leaves. I froze the leaves for later and put the stems and bulbs into a bamboo steamer.

I cooked my daikon as before, adding a few chopped leaves to  the reduction I made while deglazing the pan with a crisp pinot gris diluted.with water. This works without the wine too but I dig wine. I poured it over the fennel before serving it.

We also steamed some rutabaga. When it was soft we mashed it and mixed in some Daiya and Earth Balance buttery spread. I would do it again, It was a weird alternative to mashed potato. I like weird, especially when it involves buttery dairy-free cheese. Next time that I mash rutabaga I plan to make 2 changes: substitute nutmeg for Daiya and use a food processor instead of my favorite mashing man for a more even texture. They’re kind of fibrous.

This was definitely an experiment. Overall I was pleased with how it worked out, especially using so many ingredients that aren’t common in my kitchen.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Curried Raw Pate with Mango

Raw night strikes again!

Mango is in season so I wanted to make something especially mangoriffic. OMG they’re beautiful!!! Mango are available in Florida starting May well into October and a range of varieties are common in the supermarkets and farmer’s roadside stands. This particular variety is called “Philippine” and have a soft honeyed flavor with a light acid content. Mango are a great source of vitamin C, antioxidant polyphenols, vitamin A and carotein. They’re also rich in prebiotic fiber: that means they can help keep your digestive tract healthy. Mango is the national fruit of India so it’s no mystery that curry is a great flavor element to complement this nutritional powerhouse.

In my blender I combined the following:

1 cup of pumpkin seed pits

1 tbsp of curry powder

t tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp raw tahini

1 tsp chili paste (or to taste)

water as needed

tamari (or salt) and pepper to taste

I blended it until we had a fragrant spread. We added it to a cabbage leaf (yes, I’m still wrapping just about everything up in cabbage leaves in order to facilitate eating it) with some spinach, cilantro and fresh sliced mango. I’m a big fan of how the herbal flavors in cilantro bring out the complex flowery, honey tastes in the mango and how the acid in the mango accentuates the cilantro’s minty and peppery overtones. The myriad of spices in the curry marries everything together for an awesome meal.

It was a perfect storm of flavor in our mouths.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Sea Scallops, BEGONE!

I love sea scallops. Brent does not. Fortunately we both like daikon radish and we had a giant one hanging out in our fridge like a pale behemoth obscenity. I decided to cook it the same way I used to prepare sea scallops.You’ll need the following:

1 daikon radish, sliced thick

1 pinch turmeric

1 pinch sweet red paprika

juice from 1 lemon

olive oil

1/2 cup of veggie broth

additional water as needed

If you want to deglaze the pan after for a delightful sauce, I recommend using a cup of veggie broth and white wine with a pinch of herbes de provence, but that’s optional.

I sliced my daikon into 1-1.5 inch thick slices, they really look like sea scallops to me. That’s what inspired me. You don’t need to remove the skin.

I put the rest of the ingredients (only half the lemon juice) into my sauce pan and heated to a simmer. Then I put my daikon slices into the pan.

I turned them periodically with some awesome bamboo tongs that my sister got me for my birthday. They have been indispensable in my kitchen since I got them. The daikon slices will start to take on the color of the turmeric and soften.

When they’re suitably soft, let the water evaporate and allow the daikon slices to brown around the edges. The awesome thing about daikon is that they get more tender the longer you cook them. Sea scallops become tough and rubbery, bordering on inedible and approaching unpalatable if you cook them too long and that’s just sad. Also, all seafood contains cholesterol. Daikon has none and will keep in your refrigerator for longer than 2 days. WIN!

Serve them up with a sprinkle of sea salt and the rest of the lemon juice. The sweetness of the tender daikon balances beautifully with the tart lemon and herbal flavors the sea salt brings out, all without any of the fishy smells that make me think twice about putting something in my mouth. If I had this dish to do over, I would use the fond made from deglazing the pan over some steamed fennel and mashed potato.

This is Brent, jealously guarding the plate of daikon. Don’t worry; he shared.

This is Christie, signing off.

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