Bahn Mi Bowl-o-rama

It’s kind of funny. I cook all the time, but I fail to ever really think I’m creating new recipes or anything worth sharing, so I don’t post here.

I am hoping to change that this year.  Really.

 

I got pretty bored the other day and decided that I had some carrots, cucumber, and radishes that needed pickling, so I figured out how to do that.  Then, I thought, oh man, I could make something like a Bahn Mi with this.  And, the bowl was born.

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Here’s the basic info on pickling that I used.

Note: I used apple cider vinegar and agave, and added a crushed garlic clove, used whole peppercorns, and played around with the herbs/spices.  And I doubled this recipe.  I love spicy food, but they aren’t kidding about the heat, here!

The Bowl

Ingredients (for 1):

  • short grain brown rice (cook however much, but about 1/2 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 bunch of kale
  • pickled veggies
  • fresh cucumber (about 1/4 should be good)
  • fresh carrot (1 medium)
  • 1/2 package of tofu, pressed, dried, and cut into cubes
  • avocado
  • vegan mayo of choice
  • sriracha
  • lime juice

Really, aside from the pickles, this is a very easy recipe.

Directions:

  1. Make the pickles beforehand, so that they are cooled and pickley!  Also, preheat your oven to 425!
  2. Cook your rice!
  3. While rice is cooking, season your tofu cubes with salt and pepper and pop them in the oven.  Bake for about 25 minutes, until a little browned and crispy!
  4. Slice your carrot and cucumber up and set aside.  Wash and destem kale, then chop into ribbons.  I like to steam my kale quickly, but it will be just fine totally raw, if you chop it up small.
  5. Assemble!  Start with the rice, then kale, veggies (fresh and pickled), tofu, avocado, and mayo.  Drizzle (or pour, no judgement) sriracha and lime juice over the top.

That’s it!

Penne Alfredo with Kale and Mushrooms

While I was at the grocery store yesterday, someone mentioned they wanted pasta, and I came to the conclusion that I, too, wanted pasta.  I felt like a mushroomy, creamy, sauce was just what I was in the mood for, so I stocked up on crimini mushrooms and headed home.

Mushrooms are one of my favorite things to base dishes around, since I have found them to be very versatile, as well as totally delicious.  Before I stopped paying for cable, I used to watch a lot of Food Network TV shows.  A lot.  I actually attribute this to my ability to cook, since I really never did it beforehand.  Alton Brown’s show, Good Eats, was always a favorite, and one year I remember him making my favorite holiday dish from scratch – green bean casserole.  Since then, I have always made it with fresh ingredients, and it’s been super simple to adapt to my veganism.  I’ve made the mushroom cream sauce and mixed it with pasta before, but I recently decided to play around with it and try to get the flavor of an alfredo sauce with the mushrooms in it.  I feel like I nailed it, and was in the mood for this delicious sauce again last night.

Something about pasta with a cream sauce was just begging for greenery, however, so I added about half a bunch of lacitano kale. Really the only reason I used this kind of kale was because it’s so much easier to cut up into strips than curly varieties of kale, and I was going for that abundance of kale that only thinly shredded bits would be able to give me. Served with a side salad, this was a delicious, hearty, and vitamin filled vegan meal worthy of writing about.

kale mushroom alfredo

Without further ado, here is the recipe for my Penne Alfredo with Kale and Mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of the vegan alfredo sauce (recipe here)
  • 1 serving penne (or other pasta of your choice, but the sauce will stick really well to penne)
  • about 150g, or 1-1.5 cups, sliced mushrooms (I used crimini, but you could cut up portobello mushrooms or use white button.  Nothing with too strong of a flavor, though)
  • 1/2 of one large bunch of kale (I used lacitano, but any kind will work, and you can also adjust the amounts for your taste)
  • oil to saute the mushrooms and kale in
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • optional: some kind of vegan protein source (I used smokey tempeh strips, because I thought the smokey flavor would lend well to the sauce)

Directions (makes one serving):

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package.
  2. Follow the directions included for the vegan alfredo to make the sauce, but add the dried rosemary as well.  It works beautifully with the mushrooms and kale, and although optional, it shouldn’t be!
  3. In a large saute pan, cook your mushrooms until they’re browned and have expelled liquid.  Add the kale on top and cover, allowing it to steam for a while.  ***If using a protein, cook during this time.
  4. When the pasta, sauce, and vegetables are done, test for seasoning and combine ingredients.
  5. Enjoy!!

Portobello Steak with Mixed Green Spaghetti Squash

I’ve had a George Foreman grill for years.  When I ate meat, I probably used it… twice ever.  Just in the last 4 months, I’ve used it close to 10 times.  Why?  I discovered the joy of cooking portobello mushroom caps on it.  After they’ve been marinated and grilled, they’re easily one of the tastiest things I can make at home.

A word about spaghetti squash – it doesn’t taste like spaghetti, so don’t get your hopes up, if you haven’t had it.  That’s usually the first question people ask me when I tell them I had some of it for dinner.  It’s a squash, and it tastes like one.

Anyway, I hadn’t been on a serious grocery shopping trip in close to two months.  I went out of town for Thanksgiving, then for work, then Christmas showed up pretty quickly, and I went out of town again for New Years.  So, yesterday, I did the first half of my grocery shopping.  I decided to make something new with my spaghetti squash, and that lead to this!

ingredients

Ingredients: spaghetti squash, portobello mushroom, beet greens, kale, Beyond Meat chicken-free strips, lemon, garlic, an array of spices, and not pictured: balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash (I boil mine, but you can bake them or even microwave them!  Just make sure they’re cut in half first)
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap
  • 4-5 beet green leaves
  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • 1 serving Beyond Meat chicken-free strips
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • however many cloves of garlic your heart desires
  • assorted herbs and spices (I used basil, parsley, rosemary, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper)
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
1. Boil a large pot of water (large enough for your spaghetti squash. I always just cook the whole thing). If you don’t have a grill, preheat your oven to 450 (for your mushroom)
2. Zest your lemon (set half aside) and squeeze half of the juice into a container that will fit your portobello mushroom. Add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Mix together, and add your cap, gills down. I always do this in a sealed tupperware so I can flip it around and get the whole thing coated. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes in the marinade. If you’re putting the mushroom in the oven, go ahead and do that right after the 10 minutes is up.
3. Take your leaves, then pile and roll them up to chiffonade (this is a fancy word for “cut into strips”). Here’s a picture:

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4. Sauté your greens with olive oil and garlic. They’re going to need a little time to soften.
5. When the spaghetti squash is done, remove it from the water. I like to place it in a bowl and use my fork to scrape it out. Here’s another picture:

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6. Right about now, I would put my mushroom on the grill. It only needs about 5 minutes on the GF, closer to 15 if you’re baking.
7. Take the scraped squash and drop it in with your greens, and add the Beyond Meat chicken-free strips. Mix them together, and remove from heat. Add the rest of your zest and lemon juice, as well as any spices you want.
8. When your mushroom is done, remove it from the grill or oven, and slice as desired. Plate, and enjoy!

(note: unlike meat, you can use your marinade without heating it and pour it on top of your mushroom.  It’s delicious!  I showed a friend this, and she totally thought I was eating a steak.)

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Meatless, Not Beetless, Monday

My life has become a lot more hectic lately, so I haven’t been very creative in the food making.  Sorry!

 

Last week, I decided that I would finally try to go to one of the farmers markets in my area.  It was not as big as the one I used to go to when I lived in Orange County, CA, but it was pretty well stocked.  I only bought a handful of things, but among them were 3 kinds of kale and a bunch of golden beets.  I love beets.  I remember the first time I ever had them was in a salad at a Claim Jumper around 10 years ago, and I thought to myself “WHAT ARE THESE NUGGETS OF PURPLE MAGIC?!”  I don’t always buy beets, but when I do, I get really excited to eat them.  If you haven’t tried them, you should.  They’re sweet and delicious.

So, my beets, their greens, and the copious amounts of kale lead to the creation of this recipe for Monday night.

 

Coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, faro, Gardein beef less strips, kale, beets, zucchini

Ingredients: Coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, faro, Gardein beefless strips, kale, beets, zucchini

 

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 small beets, and their greens
  • 1/4 cup farro, dry
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 6-8 leaves of kale
  • 1 serving beef less strips, or any protein alternative of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Prep:  Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 450.  Clean beets, and cut off the ends.  Wrap them in aluminum foil, and roast until soft.  This will depend on the size of your beets, but takes usually in the 40 minute range.  Once they are roasted, their tougher outer skin will peel right off, and they’ll be beautiful and delicious.  Then you can slice them up!

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  1. While the beets are cooking, cook the farro according to package directions (it’s a 2.5:1 water to farro ratio)
  2. Wash, dry, and chop up all of your greenery and the zucchini.
  3. In a large skillet, add the coconut oil and cook your protein.  Remove from the oil when cooked, and add your greens and zucchini.  When the greens are melted and the zucchini is soft, add in the faro, protein, and sliced beets.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to your personal taste, really), and serve up!

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