Beefless-Tips Stuffed Collards with Eggplant & Shiitake

September 26, 2009

CollardRollStuffed

I recently got to try some of Gardein’s new frozen line, and I experimented with some recipes using their meatless “meats”. They are low-fat and high protein, and taste incredibly authentic. If you are into the taste and texture of meat but want to avoid the ethical, ecological, and social implications of eating animals, this is a pretty great product made from a combination of soy, wheat gluten, quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut!

I think this recipe for Beefless-Tips Stuffed Collards with Eggplant and Shiitake is easy, delicious and full of nutrients. Enjoy!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (serves 2):

  • 1 small red onion
  • 6 medium shiitake mushroom heads
  • 1 cup chopped eggplant (about 1/4 of large Eggplant)
  • 1/4 cup mixed olives including juice
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tbs olive oil, for sauteing
  • 2 large collard green leaves
  • 1/2 bag (about 2/3 cup) Gardein Beefless Tips
  • salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash 2 large collard green leaves, and set aside on 2 plates.
  2. Bring a large, oiled skillet ( I prefer cast iron) to medium head.
  3. Chop the onion, mushrooms, and eggplant and place in the hot skillet. Add the olives and Gardein Beefless Tips.CollardRoll_Stuffing
  4. Saute on medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, until the eggplant turn golden and begins to fall apart.
  5. Add the red wine vinegar, and white wine and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the liquid cooks off.
  6. Divide the contents of the skillet in half, and scoop each half onto a raw collard leaf.
  7. Fold the leaf over, then flip so the midrib is on the outside and top:CollarRollInstruction
  8. Serve and enjoy!

TIP:

This would go great with some soup. Try my Savory Parsnip or Souper Easy Squash Soup

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Lobster Mushroom Tostada Tower

September 22, 2009

LobsterMushroom

Lobster mushroom is one of Earth’s strange and incredible inventions. But don’t be scared off by the fact that it’s actually not a mushroom, but a parasitic ascomycete (a parasite-fungus that is hosted by, and consumes mushrooms). https://i2.wp.com/www.gourmetsleuth.com/images/lobster_mushrooms_300.jpgWhen this delicious fungal-parasite takes over the mushroom, it engulfs it and turns it red, giving it a lobster-like appearance, and strangely, a subtle seafood taste. Thanks for mycological cannibalism, mamma nature!

This dish is like fancy-shmancy fish tacos, but vegan and minus the whole devastation of reefs and other ocean ecosystems. And unlike seafood, this mushroom will still probably be around in 2048. The crisp layering of toasted tortillas, the smoothness of the hearty kale-potato sauce, and the crispy-edged, pan-seared lobster mushroom sauteed with shallots and garlic all come together quite wonderfully. The texture of sauteed and seared lobster mushroom is tender, slightly chewy, and very satisfying. Lobster mushroom isn’t cheap, so save it for a special occasion.

This dish is vegan, soy and gluten free! Mercury free, too!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (serves 2):

  • 1 large or 2 medium Lobster Mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 med-large shallots
  • 2 small red potatoes
  • 1 packed-cup fresh green kale
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbs olive oil (for sauteing)
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small corn tortillas
  • 1 tsp/cube unsalted veg bullion
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp cashew cream (equal parts cashew and water, blended)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large oiled skillet to med heat.
  2. Half the potatoes and steam them along with the kale for about 12-15 min.
  3. Dice the garlic and chop the shallots and add to pan for about 5 min, mixing occasionally.
  4. Slice the mushroom in 1/2 in thick slices and add to pan.
  5. Saute for another 10-12 min, flipping the mushrooms once.
  6. Add the vinegar to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes, flipping the mushrooms again.
  7. Remove from the heat.
  8. In a blender or processor, combine the steamed kale, potato, almond milk, salt, nutritional yeast, and bullion until smooth.
  9. Half the tortillas and toast or pan fry until crisp.
  10. On a large plate, layer the tortilla, then kale sauce, then mushroom. Repeat for another layer, and top with the garlic/shallots and the cashew cream.

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Raw Sweet-Pesto “Pasta”

September 18, 2009

RawPestoPasta

The last recipe I did was a cooked, more traditional version of sweet pesto pasta – but for those of you who like it raw, I offer you my uncooked interpretation. Zucchini, squash (and even eggplant and carrots!) can be shredded into thin, linguine-like strips. If you suffer from gluten allergies, want to shrink your carb-footprint, or just want a lighter, healthier dish – check this cheap and easy (just like me!) recipe:

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (serves 2):

  • 1 med-large zucchini
  • 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove raw garlic
  • 2 dried black mission figs
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast*
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, shred the zucchini very thinly (using almost no pressure).
  2. In a blender, combine the basil, cashews, avocado, water, garlic, figs, vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, and Italian seasoning. Save the black pepper for putting on top!
  3. Pour the pesto over the shredded “pasta”, mix, top with the pepper, and serve!

Q&A

*Sometimes when I include Nutritional Yeast in a raw recipe, readers ask, “Is Nutritional Yeast actually raw?”.

The answer is no, it’s not raw. However, you NEVER want to eat raw yeast! Nutritional Yeast it is a really valuable supplement with a rock-star nutritional profile. So if you’re religiously raw – skip it. If not, it’s crucial – and tastes like yummy, nutty, cheesy goodness! According to Sundance Natural Foods:

Raised On Molasses
Nutritional yeast is grown on mineral enriched molasses and used as a food supplement. At the end of the growth period, the culture is pasteurized to kill the yeast. You never want to use a live yeast (i.e. baking yeast) as a food supplement because the live yeast continues to grow in the intestine and actually uses up the vitamin B in the body instead of replenishing the supply. (Brewer’s yeast is nutritionally the same but as a by-product of the beer-brewing industry it has a characteristic bitter hops flavor.)

It’s Good For Ya’
Nutritional yeast contains 18 amino acids (forming the complete protein) and 15 minerals. Being rich in the B-complex vitamins, it is vital in many ways and particularly good for stress reduction. The B-complex vitamins help make nutritional yeast such a valuable supplement, especially to the vegetarian. It is one of the rare vegetarian sources of B12.
One element of yeast is the trace mineral chromium, also known as the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). This is necessary to regulate blood sugar and is important for diabetics and people with a tendency toward low blood sugar.

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Sweet Onion-Petso Pasta & Garlic Sauteed Spinach

September 3, 2009

PestoSpinachPasta

There are so many incarnations of pesto – I thought this sweeter, creamier pesto was satisfying and indulgent, and went perfectly with some simple, garlic sauteed spinach. As usual, I recommend getting your ingredients organic and as local as possible!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (serves 2):

pesto pasta

  • 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups brown rice pasta
  • 2 Tbs raw cashew butter (or 1/4 cup raw cashews)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

spinach

  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop the onion, crush 2 cloves of garlic, and bring a large pan to medium heat, and saute them in 1 Tbs olive oil until golden.
  2. Pour in the wine and let the liquid reduce for about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the basil, cashew butter, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the sauteed onions and blend. Set aside the pesto.
  5. Boil the pasta until tender, and strain.
  6. Pour the pesto onto the pasta and mix.
  7. For the spinach, saute for 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat (in the same unwashed skillet you used for the onions) with the garlic and olive oil.
  8. Use basil leaves for garnish, top with some black pepper and nutritional yeast, and serve!

Savory Summer Roll with Cuke Salad

August 24, 2009

SavorySummerRollCukeSalad

This meal was easy to prepare and combines a refreshing, crisp salad of cukes, carrots, cilantro and onion with a savory, warm roll stuffed with sauteed onions, kale, rice-burger and roasted cashews. Best of all, it’s gluten-free and soy-free!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (serves 4):

Salad:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tbs spicy mustard
  • 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs agave (or preferred sweetener)

Roll:

  • 4 sheets of rice paper
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale (aka Dinosaur Kale)
  • 1 large spanish onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 rice burger patties
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil, for sauteing
  • 1tbs Italian dressing
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS:

Salad:

  1. Cut the cucumber in half, longways –  and then slice into half-coins about 1/2-in. thick.
  2. Dice the cilantro, red onion and garlic.
  3. Slice the carrots into think coins.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, and add the vinegar, agave, salt, pepper and mustard.
  5. Mix well and set aside to marinade while you prepare the rolls.

Rolls:

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Bring a skillet to medium heat, and add the veg oil.
  3. Cut very ends of the kale off (just 1 inch) and then cut the bunch in half. Place it in the hot water.
  4. Boil the kale only for 1 minute, because we still want it to be slightly crisp. remove the kale from the water but SAVE THE WARM WATER and set both aside.
  5. Chop the Spanish onion into rounds about 1/4-in. thick and add place in the skillet.
  6. Dice the garlic, and burger patties and place in the skillet. Add the cashews, but set a few aside for garnish.
  7. Pour over the Italian dressing, and let everything cook over medium heat until golden brown.
  8. While step 7 is sauteing, dip your rice paper in he warm water. It will quickly become soft and elastic.
  9. On a cutting board or working surface, lay out the rice papers and evenly divide the kale and the sauteed combo onto them.
  10. Roll them up, plate and sprinkle nutritional yeast and the remaining cashews on top. Scoop some Cucumber salad for each plate and serve side-by-side.

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: Deconstructed Curry vs. Now Now Every Children

August 4, 2009

by featured contributor, Troy Farmer

IMG_5949

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Some things in life need to be torn down and rebuilt to truly reach their most revered state. Sometimes you have to break something into its most basic parts, examine those parts, and then throw everything you thought you knew before out the window, simplifying and revising the whole’s place in the world. Such is the case with the Minneapolis band, Now Now Every Children. The sounds they produce come from the most conventional of sources—guitar, keyboard, drums, voice—but it’s been stripped of its form and any gaudy pretense and built into something more raw, basic, and beautifully simple that does what music is supposed to do: Make a visceral connection with its listener and move them.

https://i1.wp.com/www.afternoonrecords.com/nownoweverychildren/myspace_may/images/topper_01.jpg

At its core, Now Now Every Children is the duo of singer/guitarist/keyboardist, Cacie Dalanger and drummer/multi-instrumentalist, Brad Hale—two now barely twenty-somethings who started writing songs together after marching band practice in high school. This is one of those handy facts that people writing an article on the band or interviewing absolutely love to bring up, so I won’t pretend to be an exception. That said, listening to their songs with that keen bit of knowledge, you can definitely hear a little bit of the marching band influence in the drumming—less in a beginning of Destiny’s Child’s Lose My Breath kind of way, more in that it seems to have fostered a less traditional way of playing. Indeed, Hale lets his drums take the spotlight that would usually be reserved for guitars or another tonal instrument rather than just providing a backbone for the band’s songs. His syncopation and diversion from the run-of-the-mill, 4/4, gotta-get-the-song-to-the-end rock drumming is a welcome change and gives NNEC’s songs a unique vibrancy and life.

The other facet of the duo’s music that gives it an irresistibly enjoyable quality is Dalanger’s voice. Husky, low, and brooding, it seems completely disconnected from her diminutive body and young age. On top of that, she sings with a slight but strange almost-accent that further separates the songs from the usual. The overall result, when built into structures dressed with some sparse, well-cultivated keyboards and guitars, is an interesting, wholly-enjoyable collection of songs that pull you towards them in an often melancholy manner.

Dalanger and Hale followed up the release of their first two EPs last December with their debut full-length, Cars, on local indie superstar label Afternoon Records (http://www.afternoonrecords.com/news.php). The title track is one of the more upbeat tracks and likely the one that will make you fall in love with the band. Sleep Through Summer keeps the beat up, steadily building on meandering keyboards and chunky, shoe-gazey guitars to a lovely wall of noise finale. Have You Tried roots itself in Dalanger’s voice and a gentle, slow organ line, showcasing the group’s ability to rely on simple, stripped-down sound. First two tracks, courtesy of Afternoon Records, third via Bradley’s Almanac, a great Boston-based music blog (http://www.bradleysalmanac.com/).
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Cars:

Sleep Through Summer

Have You Tried

You can purchase Now Now Every Children’s LP and earlier EP’s via Afternoon Records’ site – http://www.afternoonrecords.com/nownoweverychildren.html

To pair with NNEC and the theme of stripping things down to the most bare part to make something new, we have for you a Deconstructed Curry that’s based on the premise that, in between all these rainy, unseasonably cool days, when it actually does feel like summer outside for a split second and we get to grill out, sometimes we want a little more than your basic veggie burgers, tofu pups, and kabobs. So the idea is to create a dish that makes good use of the grill to keep the heat outdoors and away from the kitchen, bases itself in the taste of traditional Thai curries, but attempts to avoid being overly heavy so we can enjoy it without collapsing in a sweaty heap at the end of the meal. Sorry. You likely don’t want to read ‘sweaty heap’ when considering food and the like.

IMG_5943

Most of the work for this will be done in prepping the curry paste, which is based on a Massaman curry, a curry that’s Muslim in origin and features warm, sweet spices and rich coconut milk. It’s actually easy enough to make, but it employs a bevy of somewhat obscure spices and ingredients. Most of them should be easy enough to find at your local Asian market. If you’re in New York, I highly recommend a trip to Kalustyan’s on Lex in Manhattan (http://www.kalustyans.com/). They specialize in Indian and South Asian spices and, really, even if you already have everything to make the curry, it’s worth a visit just to be blown away by the sheer number of spices they have there. That place is amazing. And yes, you could always do this on the quick with a can on vegetarian curry paste (watch out for shrimp paste in some brands).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

For the curry.
• 1 tbsp fresh Coriander
• 1/2 tbsp fresh Black Cumin (not ground, regular fresh cumin will work too)
• 1 tbsp White Peppercorns
• 2 stalks Lemongrass with the rough outer layers removed, bottom 1/4 inch cut off, divided and thinly-sliced, employing only the tender, fragrant parts
• 6 cloves Garlic, peeled
• 2 large Vidalia Onions, peeled and sliced (can substitute any large sweet onion or an equal amount of shallots)
• 7 dried Red Chilies, sliced in half and soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes (remove seeds for a less spicy curry, keep them in for a spicier one)
• 1 tbsp Kelp Granules (finely chopped nori sushi wrappers will work too)
• 1 tsp fresh Cardamom Seeds
• 1/2 tsp freshly-grated Nutmeg (already ground works, but fresh nutmeg, in general, is pretty great stuff, so it’s recommended)
• 1/2 tsp ground fresh Cinnamon (again, recommended but can be substituted with pre-ground)
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 5 Cloves
• 2 Kaffir Lime Leaves or (these can be hard to find, but some markets have them in the frozen section, if you can’t find them and see fresh Ngo Om leaves, these Vietnamese leaves can be substituted with the peel form 1/2 lime)
• possibly 2-4 tbsp Vegetable Broth or Water to help blending
• 1 can (14 oz) Coconut Milk

For the rest of the meal:
• 1 large Vidalia Onion, peeled and quartered
• 2-3 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks that will be small enough to eat but large enough that they don’t fall through your grill
• 3/4 lb Green Beans, trimmed
• 2 blocks of Tofu, cut into large triangles or squares
• 5 leaves Basil
• 1/2 package (8 oz) of linguine-size Rice Noodles (size M)
• 2 cups Vegetable Broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. First, the paste. Begin by soaking the chilies.
  2. Next, take the coriander, cumin, and white peppercorns and toasting them in a heavy skillet for about 7 minutes, getting them fragrant and lightly browned, but not at all burnt.
  3. While that’s going on, prep the rest of the ingredients as noted above.
  4. Once that’s done, add everything to a blender or food processor and blend and mix until you have a smooth, uniform paste. I like to try to rely on as few appliances as possible in the kitchen, so I do this in a blender, which usually means adding all the ingredients except for the onion, which I only add a little bit of so that the whole thing doesn’t overflow. It also means using a little broth and a whole lot of mixing to get a good consistency.
  5. Once that’s done, set the paste aside in the fridge to chill. Not that this is really going to make a lot of curry paste, so feel free to either plan other meals around it or halve the recipe.
  6. Now use the basil leaves to rub down the pieces of tofu and then plate and cover them with the basil to get that herb’s essence.
  7. Next, microwave or steam the potatoes for 4-7 minutes to the point that they’re less raw, a little tender. They’re the ones you’ll need to watch on the grill to make sure they’re completely done. Or you can just put them on the grill way, way earlier. I like to then use an oil pump mister to get a touch of olive oil on the onions, potatoes, green beans, and tofu and then salt them, but that’s totally optional.
  8. Now get grilling! I usually start with the potatoes, keeping them over the high heat and turning them often. After about 5 minutes on the grill, the onion quarters should start to fall apart. When they do, gently roll the layers out onto the grill so more of the onion is making contact with it. The tofu can also go over high heat, just watching to make sure they don’t burn and turning the pieces once to crisp. The green beans need the least amount of heat and can go on last, when you’re about 5-10 minutes from plating. I keep them on a sheet of aluminum when I grill them so they don’t just fall into the flames.
  9. The coconut milk can be put in a small to medium cast iron skillet and put right on the grill, not over too much heat, so that it begins to boil and condense. I like to keep mine on the warming rack of the grill the whole time, bringing it down to the main grill once I can watch it and want it to start thickening up.
  10. While you’ve got everything grilling, you can add anywhere from 4-8 tablespoons of your curry paste to the skillet, depending on how you like your spice to milky ratio, stirring it in and letting it continue to thicken but not burn.
  11. Back in the kitchen, while everything’s grilling, you can start to cook the noodles according to the package directions, keeping them just a bit al dente.
  12. Drain them and add them to a lightly-oiled heavy skillet on medium heat. Stir the noodles to keep them from sticking and, after 2 minutes, add the 2 cups of broth and 1-2 tablespoons of the curry paste from the fridge, depending on how flavorful you want the noodles on their own. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly, and remove from heat, covering them until you’re ready to serve.
  13. Once everything’s ready on the grill, plate the noodles, bring ‘em on outside, and top them with the vegetables and tofu.
  14. Now take a serving spoon and dress with as much curry sauce as you like straight from the grill. You’re ready to eat! Feel free to visit your nice, cool kitchen for naps, card games and the like.

Until next time, here’s wishing you a delightfully deconstructed summer!

——-

Troy Farmer Learn more about contriuter, Troy Farmer!


New Potato Salad with Mustard Agave Dressing

July 24, 2009

by featured contributor, Chef Matteo of 4CV

NewPotatoSalad3

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 pounds small new potatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • water for boiling
    —————–
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 bunch chives, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • DIRECTIONS:

    1. *Leave skins on and wash potatoes thoroughly.
    2. Place potatoes sea salt thyme and rosemary in large pot. fill with water an inch above the potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer.  Continue cooking for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are just fork tender.
    3. Drain potatoes, discarding the herbs, and allow to cool until you are able to handle them with your bare hands, 3-5 minutes. at this point you have the option of peeling the potatoes or leaving the skins on.
    4. Slice the potatoes in quarters and place in a large bowl along with the grated carrot, minced chives, and capers. seat aside.

    DRESSING: WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tbls agave nectar
    • 3 tbls Dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp mustard seed
    • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, agave, Dijon, and mustard seed until smooth and emulsified. season with sea salt and black pepper.
    2. Pour dressing over potatoes and gently fold ingredients together.
    3. Chill at least 20 minutes before serving to allow flavors to combine.  enjoy.

    ——–

    MatteoAction

    Chef Matteo aims to bridge communities through organic, gourmet, vegan fare, in hopes of facilitating increased mindfulness and compassion in and of the living. More on Matteo…