I've wanted to do a cleanse for awhile, mainly just to experience it. I toyed with Kaeng Raeng, but I just think that I would miss chewing. In fact, I know I would miss it--having gone for a good long time last fall without being able to eat solid food, I have no doubt that I would crash and burn on a smoothie or juice cleanse.
So, a couple of years ago, I saw that Chef Amber Shea Crawley had a cleanse that allows folks to actually eat real food. So, I bought the booklet. I was already familiar with banana "nice cream" so that wasn't a revelation. Coconut butter filled dates? That one got whipped up almost immediately. I didn't get to the whole cleanse until this week, though, as I knew Dani was going to be out of town and I would be busy. Having my meals plotted out for me with very little cooking sounded perfect.
The recipes in the cleanse are tasty. However, I do want to warn you that if you hate nutritional yeast you probably won't like the cleanse. Over the course of three days, you're eating a good 1/4 cup or better a day, and Nooch is a key component in the dressings and sauces at lunch and dinner each day. As she noted in the Facebook support group (which you can join after buying the booklet), there's really not a good sub for nutritional yeast in terms of the flavor and the nutritional profile. So, just a caution.
I'm a fiend for Nooch, so no problems there for me.
I did make a couple of adjustments. I'm not a fan of tahini, so I subbed almond butter and it worked fine (there is a hummus recipe in there that I swapped sesame seeds for the tahini, measure for measure--after all that's all tahini is).
I've had chia in the house ever since reading Born to Run, but I tend to like to use it baked in things, not straight up as pudding. So, I swapped the chia pudding (Day 3 breakfast) for Day 1's fruit salad. If you like rice pudding or tapioca and can handle those textures, I'm sure you'd like chia pudding.
I don't drink a lot of coffee these days--usually one good stout cup in the morning. And I drink it black. So, I kept my caffeine sources--coffee and tea. I did switch to Tulsi Rose tea in the evenings. And I wasn't worried about a little stevia. I also allowed myself to add an extra piece of fruit each day.
Would I do it again? Yes. With the adjustments this is actually a good, varied three days of vegan, somewhat raw, gluten-free eating that I don't have to think about. The portion sizes kept me full. The only time I really felt like I was pushing it was Day 2. I walked five miles (dog walks + orthodontist visit) and felt so good I decided to go ahead and do a 42 minute step routine. I was out of juice 30 minutes in, so I took a water break and finished up. Had I had a banana before hand, I think I would have been fine--it had been about four hours since lunch. Chef Amber does give you some "bulk up" options if you're especially active, so it wouldn't have been cheating. I can see myself doing this again after all of the holiday excess I know I'm about to engage in.
If you're interested in trying the cleanse, I recommend buying directly from Chef Amber's site (click on the cover above) as it's about $5 less than what Amazon charges.
When we were kids, my mom used to make pork chops and serve them with fried apples. This is my homage to that dish. I started getting apples often in my organics box and decided to do a savory preparation with them and this recipe was born.
Seitan does great here in place of a pork chop. To see how I make cutlets, check out this old post from way back Titled "Seitan for beginners." While I did the "chops" in the oven instead of the slow cooker (cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes on each side), you could totally do the cutlets in your crockpot while you were at work and come home and finish the dish.
Play around with coatings, too--tonight, I threw a cup of walnuts in the vitamin with a teaspoon of seasoned salt and a teaspoon of rosemary and used that mixed with a 1/4 cup of store bought bread crumbs (the dried kind that come in a cardboard tube container) and they were great. Pecan crusted would be good, too.
Seitan Chops with Drunken Apples
1 recipe of basic seitan cutlets, cooked and cooled, liquid reserved
1 T flax meal
Coating: Try fresh bread crumbs, finely minced nuts, panko, whatever floats your boat (seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary if you like).
Coconut oil for browning
3 apples, quartered, cored, sliced
1 onion, quartered and sliced
1 Shot bourbon (give or take)
pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper
In a large non-stick pan, heat some coconut oil (or whatever oil you like best. The coconut is nice with the apples, which you are also going to cook in the pan). Mix the flax meal with the reserved broth from cooking the seitan. Whisk and let sit until the mixture thickens, adding a little more flax meal if necessary (I'm sure you could use chia or egg wash, but I'm keeping it vegan here, and flax eggs are my go to for this). Dip the cutlets in the wet mixture and then dredge in your coating mix.
Brown in the skillet on both sides. The seitan is already cooked--you're going for color and crispness here. Remove the browned cutlets to a baking sheet (I set my oven to 200 and put the cutlets in there to stay warm while I make the apples).
In the same pan (add a little more coconut oil if it seems too dry) thrown in the onion and apples. Sauté until the apples have cooked down and everything is tender. Turn off the heat (unless you want a flare up) and pour in the bourbon. Add the pinch of cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat back on and let the alcohol cook off and deglaze the pan.
Serve the warm apples on top of the chops.
The earliest dish I remember mastering is fried rice. I may have learned to make something else before this (maybe egg salad or a grilled cheese), and I had already made cookies, I'm sure. But in my memory, this is the first true dish I learned to make.
What I remember my mother telling me at the time is very much true of most of the cooking I do today. When I asked for her recipe, she said something like "Well, there's not really a recipe. It's more like a technique." She then tutored me on the steps she generally uses and I was off and running.
Today, I needed lunch and Dani was asleep after a 24 hour shift. So, as I finished up work at the day job, I tried to figure out what I'd make. So, here's the version I made today. Feel free to do your own thing. Play with the rice types or use quinoa. Mix up the vegetable choices. Add eggs to it if you must. Just have fun.
Basil Scented Fried Rice
Serves 4 (unless you can't stop eating it)
1 cup brown basmati + 2 cups of water went in the rice cooker about an hour before lunch time. Ideally, I'd have rice in the fridge ready to go, but fresh is fine too.
Once that was cooked, I started the vegetables:
2 Japanese Eggplant, quartered and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
3 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic (two were quite small)
2 Anaheim chiles (seeded and chopped)
1 good handful of basil
lemongrass and ginger pastes
No chicken broth powder
I sautéed the vegetables until just tender and then added the snow peas and ginger and lemongrass pastes for a minute before I added the rice to the pan. I also did a sprinkling of no-chicken broth powder and gave it stir, added the rice and chopped basil leaves, some soy sauce, and let everything hang out for a couple of minutes. Don't scorch the rice, but you want things a bit dry (you don't want soupy rice here).
I garnished my bowl with some raw cashews, chili paste, pineapple chunks, and lime juice.
What was your first cooking adventure? What do you like in your rice bowl?
That beautiful blue bowl in the picture above was a gift from Kelly Duke. I swear the right dish makes everything taste extra good!
You might not be vegan, but it's hard to look at that plate of food and not be at least a little tempted, right?
Not only is that dish vegan, but most of the ingredients came from Aldi, which has been getting a lot of press lately. It occurred to me as I was making dinner for Taco Tuesday that very little of what went on the plate didn't come from there. Here's what came from Aldi:
I put in the tortilla picture at the end to even it out, but even the plastic wrap came from Aldi. Essentially, the only ingredients that weren't from Aldi were spices. The recipe from Vegan Richa requires some chipotle chili powder (or a canned chipotle in adobo) and some smoked paprika. I had those in my cupboard, along with cumin. If you were Aldi restricted, though, they do carry regular paprika, regular chili powder, and cumin in their spice section. The only spice you won't likely find there in any way is coriander seed, and you could sub fresh cilantro or just leave it out. I used yellow onion because that's what I bought but they do carry red.
My point here? Aldi has some great buys, and some of it is organic (the lettuce mix, salsa, and tomato paste here are all organic). So, if you have an Aldi near you, why not give it a try? There are lots of good items once you get past the initial chips and candy section when you walk in the door.
Work has been busy the last couple of months, so I've not been doing a lot of experimentation that I could share with you. I did get my hands on a used copy of Andrea Chesman's 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains, and one of the pictures you see above (the third one of minestrone soup with greens) is inspired by a recipe in the book. I added a can of tomatoes to the soup (who does minestrone without tomatoes?), but otherwise was pretty faithful to the recipe.
The other dishes up there include my spin on an old Reynolds Wrap recipe for "Cuban Spiced Pork Chops". I used to make that years ago, and I've since veganized it. I cooked the black beans in the pressure cooker with a good bit of cumin, garlic, and smoked paprika and chipotle powder. I then made the seitan "chops" in the slow cooker and cooked them in the drained bean broth. Once those were done, I threw the beans, a cup of orange juice, some chopped onion, and cut up sweet potatoes in and pressure cooked it all together for about 15 minutes (I could have gone less, the sweet potatoes were pretty soft).
The picture on the end is my take on Seitan PIccata with a side of chard with quinoa. You can probably spot the preserved lemon bits on top, as well. The chard recipe is from Vegetarian Times, and you can find seitan piccata recipes all over the Internet. Once you learn the method to the sauce, you can piccata just about anything.
None of those recipes, though, are friendly to the gluten intolerant. So, I leave you with a gluten-free beauty, my most recent Paella. I used short grain brown rice here, as I was out of arborio and I won't get my Vitacost paella rice (which I'll blog about here later) until today. This weekend, I declared that all I wanted to do was drink Spanish wine and eat paella. We wound up drinking a bottle from Portugal, but it was so good I didn't care. We also got a lot done around the house, including a porch makeover.
The trick to using the short-grain brown rice, it turns out, is to parboil it first. I have Susan Voisin over at FatFree Vegan Kitchen to thank for that tip. I swapped out asparagus for green beans here, and there are artichoke hearts and red bell pepper in there to boot. I wound up with leftover saffron broth (I infused all four cups at once), which is going in the freezer for a later round, but like piccata, paella is really more about method than it is about what goes in (well, other than rice and saffron--those are must haves). And, get a paella pan. You'll be glad you did.
First, the unadorned version:
I have a fondness for cake. Gingerbread has always been one of my favorites, as is carrot cake. There's just something about the sweet and spicy all in one bite that I find hard to resist.
Back over the holidays, I spotted a bottle of molasses at Aldi, and ever since I bought it I've been wanting to make my favorite gingerbread, which is based on an old Cooking Light recipe. I don't often have eggs around, and since both siblings are no longer eating gluten, I wound up veganizing these and making them gluten free (no one will ever know if you don't tell them). A couple of notes--I like these as muffins because they are portioned out and easy to grab. And, really, who doesn't love the extra crust? These are just fine, too, without powdered sugar on top or you could go wild and frost them as you wish. Also, I didn't bother with the cloves and threw in a dash of Vietnamese Cinnamon, but that's just me.
Makes 8 robust muffins
1/4 c. hot water
1 T. (heaping) of flax meal
1/4 cup coconut oil (or you can use whatever oil or shortening you like)
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup plant milk (I used vanilla soy)
1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour mix
1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Powdered sugar (optional)
My cooking has been a bit different of late because of a few factors, including travel and lots of holiday visits (Thanksgiving at my mom's house, Christmas at D's dad's house). Another change here has been that I finally decided that though it seems like a luxury I would try out KC Organics Door-to-Door. So, a lot of the cooking I've been doing has been dictated by what I get in the box. If you live in KC, Chicago, Colorado, Michigan, or Milwaukee, you might give this service a try. Here's why:
So, what seemed like a luxury at first has turned out to be pretty cost effective, really. I have yet to price things out, but I don't think I could buy non-organic and get the variety I get in a box and spend less. Check out the site and you'll see some samples of what the different boxes contain.
As a result, I've been letting the box dictate what I cook in a way. That led to Sicilian Chard over Quinoa and Spinach Potato Tacos this week. Both of these recipes are keepers. I will admit that I made a few adjustments in the chard recipe--I used a bunch of chard and a bunch of Lacinato kale because that's what was in my fridge. The kale also helped cut the earthy taste of the chard (which I like, but it can be overwhelming). I would think kale alone would be fine if you don't like chard. Also, dark raisins were what I have and I used walnuts for the pine nuts. Because my preserved lemons were done and this dish is very tagine-like (olives, dried fruit, quinoa is very couscous like), I decided to chop one up and use it. Incredibly tasty!
The Spinach-Potato Tacos are from the folks at Forks Over Knives and they are quite tasty. I didn't have any cilantro, but I did have a jar of green salsa that went well with these. I also can recommend the FoK app for your phone. It's great if you are in the store and need to figure out what to cook for dinner so you can grab the ingredients. They add new recipes every week, too, so if you balk at the $4.99 price tag just know the app will grow over time.
A guest post today from my sister Debbie, who is working on cleaning gluten out of her diet. You can see her blog here. Enjoy! --Angel
Recently, my husband was told he might be a Celiac. Looking at the laundry list of symptoms, I came to realize I actually seem to have a lot more of the symptoms than he does. Adding to that, I am the one who cooks and largely shops for the kitchen. I would much rather just adapt to living gluten-free than have to fix food for each of us, and I have been tinkering around with some gluten-free ("GF") cooking--mainly trying to bake breads. I haven't had what I consider much success. The breads are dense and sometimes come out wet in the middle and well-done on the outside.
We donated unopened gluten-containing food items to the local Salvation Army food kitchen and distributed partially used items to friends and family who don't have any problems. It was a LOT of stuff. When you start thinking of cutting gluten from your diet, it becomes clear just how ubiquitous gluten is in our foodstuffs. Before this latest transition, we had been following a largely plant-based diet for the past two years. Getting rid of gluten cuts quite a range of vegetarian meat replacements out of one's diet. But not to fret, we will endure this as well.
Anway, I was commiserating with my spouse about the lost joys of pizza, french bread...you get the idea. I was searching the internet for recipes and came across one for Farinata Genovese on www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com. The recipe is an adaptation from one of Mark Bittman's recipes. Farinata is a Ligurian (province of Italy) flatbread made with chickpea flour. It's very simple as you basically mix a little chickpea flour with water, salt, and olive oil and let it rest for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. I'm thinking that since I loved the recipe letting it sit for an hour, I wonder what letting it sit for 12 will do for it. Ok, on with the cooking!
Farinata Genovese with Eggplant, Squash, and Peppers
1 cup Chickpea Flour
1-3/4 cup Water
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt or 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
1 teaspoon, ground Black Pepper
At least 5 tablespoons Olive oil, divided (I used my garlic-infused olive oil)
1/2 large Onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary
1 eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced
1 yellow crookneck squash, sliced
3-5 small brightly colored sweet peppers, sliced
smoked mozzarella cheese (or cheese/vegan cheese of choice)
1. Mix the chickpea flour with the salt. While whisking, add 2 TBS of the oil and then slowly add the water. Once mixed, cover and let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour up to 12.
2. While the chickpea mixture is resting, prepare your mise en place. Wash and discard the ends of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Lay the eggplant onto a platter and lightly salt the tops of each layer when building the platter. Treat the squash the same way as you did the eggplant but add some garlic powder as well as salt.
3. Heat about 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet and spread it around. When the skillet is hot, add one layer of squash to the skillet and saute about 1 minute. Flip the squash and cook another minute. You are looking for a nice sear on each piece. Place the cooked squash on a clean platter. Proceed in this manner until all the squash is cooked. You may have to add 1 TBS of olive oil between each batch.
4. Cook the eggplant in the same manner as the squash until all the eggplant is cooked.
5. Preheat the oven to 400°F for at least 8 minutes.
6. Add about 3 TBS of olive oil to the skillet and saute the thinly sliced onion until brown and caramelized but not burnt, about 1-2 minutes. Spread the onions evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
7. Stir the chickpea mixture and add directly over the onions in the skillet and swirl to make sure it covers the entire bottom of the skillet.
8. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and the center is cooked.
10. Bring the skillet out and sprinkle the ground black pepper and rosemary over the baked farinata. Drizzle olive oil over the base. Layer the seared eggplant over the base. Layer the squash over the eggplant. Spread the cut peppers over the squash. Grate enough smoked mozzarella cheese to make a thin covering over all the vegetables.
11. Return to the oven and bake an additional 8 minutes at 400°.
12. Cut the finished farinata and serve in wedges while hot.
4-8 servings; serve with a crisp green salad with a lovely balsamic vinegarette. Buon appetito!
I've been making versions of this soup for several years, first with chicken as in Emeril's recipe, then with seitan, later with soy curls. The thing is I like this non-meat (of the animal or vegan kind) the best! If you don't have a variety of lentils, just use the plain ones you find in any grocery store (brown). As you can see from the picture above, my latest batch used green, brown, and red. The red lentils fall apart, thickening the soup as it cooks. The brown get soft, and the green French lentils hold their shape and are firmer I did this in the pressure cooker set for an hour of cook time. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you'll need to pre-soak or hot-soak the chickpeas before proceeding.
6 ounces dried chickpeas, rinsed and sorted (soaked overnight or by hot-soak if you're using traditional stove top cooking method)
6 ounces of lentils (I used 2 ounces red, 2 ounces brown, 2 ounces French green), rinsed and sorted
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (if you have an Aldi, this is the time of year where fire-roasted are on the shelf, but plain will do)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup brown rice (mixes of brown and wild are nice, as is red cargo rice)
Juice of a lime
Lime wedges and cilantro or parsley and hot sauce for serving
*Stovetop: If you are cooking this on the stove, do not put the rice in at this point. Cook on the stove, covered, for an hour and check the doneness of the chickpeas. When they are tender, stir in the rice and cook, covered for an additional 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add lime juice and serve as above.