Raw Southern Greens and Tempeh Salad (B)

August 19, 2006 at 11:18 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cruciferous rich, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Tempeh, Website / blog)

I was looking for a recipe with tempeh and basil and came across this recipe in a blog. I’d been wanting to try raw greens for a while, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

4 curly green or red kale leaves, or a mixture, stems removed
2 collard leaves, stems removed
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
dash cayenne

Chop the kale medium fine and transfer to a mixing bowl. Destem the collards, fold in half lengthwise, and roll tightly like a cigar. Slice into thin strips and chop medium fine. Place in the bowl with the kale and add the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Work the dressing into the greens with your hands. Marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. Stored in a sealed container, Southern Greens will keep for three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Excerpt from Blogger’s Notes

I didn’t have collards so I just added a little more kale. I also used some really pretty purple basil, cut down the lemon juice to 1.5 tsp and eventually changed it to lime juice (was pretty lemony, I like it better with less), and used a pinch of nice kosher salt. It was good, but it was still kinda less than spectacular. So, … I lightly sauteed up some tempeh, splashed it with soy sauce (would have used sesame oil if I had it, sadly don’t…) and cut it into squares. I pulled out my mortar and pestle and put the torn basil leaves, the garlic, lime juice, salt, and cayenne in the mortar, then mashed it all up. I dumped that on my kale, then poured the oil on top. After mixing it up well, I tossed the tempeh on top, mixed it up, and let it sit for about 3 hours (I made it in the morning for lunch at work.) It was divine! I was surprised what a difference the tempeh made. I don’t know if it was any different because of mashing the seasonings together, but something today was very spectacular, so I recommend you all try it.

My notes

I used half lacinato kale and half collards. I did as the blogger suggested and mashed the garlic and salt and basil in a mortar and pestle. It was kind of hard to get out since it was such a tiny bit so I just threw the ribbons of greens in the mortar as well and mixed them around, them dumped the whole thing in a salad bowl. I followed the rest of the recipe as written, except I was hungry so only let it sit about 10 minutes. I tasted it… Hmm, interesting. Not too hard to chew, a bit grassy but the lemon/olive oil mixed together well and gave it a nice flavor. I couldn’t taste the basil though, so I added another 5 leaves or so. Interesting. I like the basil, although I’m not sure it melds with the green flavors exactly, more like just sort of sits on top and waves. But at this point it kind of tasted like a typical lettuce salad, so I decided to add a medium tomato, diced, since I had one begging to be eaten sitting on the counter. That was nice as well. An unusual but surprisingly familiar tasting salad.

Since the blogger was so enthusiastic about the tempeh, I thought I might as well try it. I heated my little skillet to high, sprayed with canola oil, tossed in 2 ounces of cubed veggie tempeh and tossed it while it browned, then added some mirin and soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to flavor it. Once it was cooked I threw it into the salad. The hot tempeh contrasted nicely with the raw greens, although I don’t think I could really taste the tempeh, it did add a nice contrast in mouthfeel. And it made the dish more substantial. I actually ate the whole thing as a filling and tasty and very healthy lunch.

Rating: B

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Vegan Zucchini Bisque (C)

August 19, 2006 at 9:56 am (F (0 stars, dislike), Farm recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Tofu)

I’ve been wanting to try some recipes from the cookbook Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler (from the Farm). It’s been sitting on my shelf forever and finally I pulled it down, and found this recipe for zucchini bisque. Well…, bisque is a bit of a stretch. It’s really just a soup.

Saute:
* 2 Tbs. olive oil
* 1 medium onion, choped
* 1.5 lbs zucchini, sliced

Add to the suateed vegetables, cover and simmer 20 minutes:
* 2.5 cups stock or water
* 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
* 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Remove from the heat and cool 5 minutes.

Blend in a blender until smooth and creamy:
* 1/2 lb. tofu
* 1 Tbs. olive oil

Stir blended tofu mixture into sauteed vegetables. Heat, but do not boil. Add salt to taste.

Makes 6 cups.

My Notes

I only made half the recipe, and I used less olive oil (1 Tbs. total). I also added more nutmeg since I couldn’t taste it.

The soup was okay, but tasted a bit too oily. I think maybe if I had blended the zucchini with the tofu the oil would have combined better and given it a better texture. Or maybe using soymilk instead of blended tofu would help. I any case, I ate it all, but I’m not sure I’d make it again.

Rating: C

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Steamed and Sauced

August 19, 2006 at 9:43 am (Dark leafy greens, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Sauce/dressing, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

Steaming is supposed to be one of the healthiest way to cook vegetables, but I find that steamed vegetables are often rather bland. The solution? Add a small amount of a strongly flavor sauce. This maximizes flavor, health, and has the added advantage of being extremely easy. Once you make a sauce it will often keep in the fridge or freezer, ready to be used on a number of different vegetables (or grains or other dishes) at a moment’s notice. I’d like to eventually have at least two sauces that go well with every vegetable. Here’s my repetoire so far. I’ll keep updating this as I get new ideas. Additions/suggestions are welcome!

Asparagus:
Beets: mustard vinaigrette | japanese carrot dressing
Broccoli: sesame soy dressing | japanese carrot dressing | sesame noodle dressing
Brussels sprouts: mustard lemon yogurt
Cabbage:
Carrots:
Cauliflower: salsa verde | lemon mustard vinaigrette
Chard: guacamole
Collards: soy mayo
Fennel: mustard vinaigrette
Green beans: mustard vinaigrette | pizza sauce | italian salsa verde
Kale: tahini sauce
Mushrooms:
Spinach:
Zucchini: pesto? | italian salsa verde?

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Kale Chips (C)

August 19, 2006 at 9:28 am (Cruciferous rich, F (0 stars, dislike), Quick weeknight recipe, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog)

This is a recipe I got from an online forum. It sounded so odd I had to try it.

Kale Chips (this makes 4 servings)

3 cups of chopped kale (2-3 inch pieces)
3 Tbsp Oil (I use grapeseed oil, you can use olive oil, too)
1 Tbsp Vinegar (I use umeboshi, you can use apple cider vinegar)
Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. With your hands, mix kale and oil+vinegar in a bowl until all of the kale is coated.
2. Spread out on an oiled cookie sheet in a single layer. For this I need 2 cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 15 min – 20 min at 375 until crispy.
4. Salt to taste & enjoy!

My Notes

I’d been eyeing this recipe for a while but was truly terrified. Finally I worked up the courage to try it. I used 1 tsp. ume vinegar and 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and 1 Tbs. olive oil, and what looked to me like 3 cups of kale, but was obviously a lot less than the recipe called for since it all fit easily on one cookie sheet. I only cooked them for 10 minutes, but I think it was too long because some of them tasted a bit too crispy, almost burnt. Plus they were much too salty (even though I didn’t add salt, just the 1 tsp. of ume vinegar~yikes that stuff is salty).

They weren’t quite as scary as I imagined, but I don’t think I’d make them again. Okay, maybe just once more, with less salt and cooking them less. If I’m really desparate to use up some kale.

Rating: C

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Fruited grain salad (B)

August 19, 2006 at 9:14 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Grains, Other)

A friend made this Vegetarian Times recipe and liked it.

Fruited Grain Salad

1 cup wheat berries, rinsed
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup millet
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
6 scallions (white and light green
parts only), chopped
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced fresh fruit and/or berries
(such as peaches, raspberries,
blueberries)

IN LARGE SAUCEPAN, bring 4 cups lightly salted water to a boil. Add wheat berries. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add barley, cover and simmer 20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in dry medium skillet, toast millet over medium-high heat, shaking pan and stirring until grains darken and “pop,” about 5 minutes.

After wheat berry-barley mixture has cooked 50 minutes, add toasted millet, cover and simmer until all grains are tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff grains with fork and let cool.

In large bowl, combine grains, orange zest, scallions, parsley, mint and dried-cherries. Toss well.

In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over grain mixture and toss Well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Just before serving, top with fresh fruit and/or berries.

My friend’s notes

The millet never really got bigger from the water, as the wheat berries and barley did. But they weren’t hard, hard crunchy. Just mildly crunchy, so I guess that was OK.

The flavors with the orange zest, lemon juice, scallions and mint just really went well together. My dried bing cherries were a bit large, so I chopped them up to mix things better.

8 servings is a lot, and I have LOTS of leftovers. The 2 cups of fresh fruit I put on the side, dished the grain mixture onto the plates and then spooned the fresh fruit over top. This made it easier to store the grain mixture leftovers, I think, and I will put new fresh fruit on the leftovers when I serve that. We used peaches and blackberries last night, and I served a lot more fresh fruit with the salad than the recipe indicated. For 3 servings last night I put out about 1.5-2 cups of fruit, which is how much they suggest for like 8 servings.

I also reduced the olive oil to only 6 tbsp (from the 8 tbsp called for).

Very yummy and I will make it again.

My Notes

I only made half the recipe, and I let it cook a little longer since the millet wasn’t done after 15 minutes. It took more like 25 minutes I think. I also didn’t measure the water carefully, and might have used more than was called for.

I used significantly less olive oil (maybe only 1 Tbs?), couldn’t find sour cherries so used raisins, and was out of parsley so used more mint, and didn’t have any orange zest. I also used more lemon juice then called for. Okay, so I can’t really say I followed the recipe :). I also didn’t mix the fruit in so it would be easier to store.

I’ve been eating it for breakfast with blueberries and peaches, and sometimes with yogurt too. It’s pretty mild tasting, but the combination of grains have quite a nice texture. The millet has a dry texture that reminds me of a bulgur wheat salad, the wheat berries are kind of silky and pop in your mouth, and the barley is softer and fluffier. An interesting combo. The lemon juice and mint gave it a very light taste, and the sharper scallions made an interesting contrast to the sweet raisins and fruit.

Half the recipe made slightly more than 6 cups cooked, and the stats are not low but reasonable. 3/4 cup (with no fresh fruit) has 184 calories.

I’ve enjoyed this, but I’m not sure I’d make it again the way I did this time (i.e. not really following the recipe properly). If I make it again I’m going to try to make sure to have orange zest and cherries around.

Rating: B

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Huevos Rancheros Tostadas (B)

August 19, 2006 at 8:50 am (Beans, breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Mexican & S. American, My brain, Necessarily nonvegan, Quick weeknight recipe)

I don’t eat eggs very often, but I wanted to try this idea for breakfast tostadas from the AMA Family Health cookbook. It called for cheese as well as eggs but I figured cheese and eggs in one meal is overkill (literally?), so I decided to make my tostada cheeseless. And the recipe didn’t call for beans. What? Tostadas without beans? Sacrilege. So I ended up making up my own version of huevos rancheros tostadas.

1 corn tortilla
1/2 cup refried beans (I used homemade refried pintos)
1 egg
1 Tbs. picante sauce
1 large lettuce leaf

I spread my cold refries on my frozen corn tortilla and placed them in the toaster. Meanwhile I heated my little stainless skillet on high, sprayed it with canola spray, and cracked a (pastured, local, organic) egg into the pan. By the time I flipped it and the second side cooked the toaster oven was beeping. I removed the tortilla from the toaster, added the picante sauce, placed the fried egg on top, and topped it with the lettuce leaf.

It was a fast, filling, and tasty breakfast. 1/2 cup of beans is a lot for one little old corn tortilla, so if you’re not as hungry as I was after my jog, you could just use 1/4 or 1/3 cup. I’m guessing that with canned refried beans this might be a little less tasty, as they are often quite bland. In this case adding some actual ranchero sauce would probably help.

The AMA recipe suggested whisking eggs and egg whites with a little skim milk, a jalepeno diced, some salt and pepper. I like the idea of the jalepeno. I’ll have to try that next time. It also suggests topping them with fruit salsa and cilantro, or adding some chopped nectarine to jarred salsa, which seems like an interesting idea for next time.

Rating: B

Update March 2008:  I made a similar tostada ranchero for a snack today, but this time I used leftover homemade chili instead of refried beans.  I put one corn tortilla in the toaster oven, fried up one egg, then placed the egg on the tortilla and topped with 1/3 cup of tofuless chili and sprinkled on a bit of feta.  It hit the spot.  Derek didn’t care for it though.  He said the egg didn’t do anything for him, it needed salsa, and was too messy, then he complained that toasting the corn tortilla gave it a stale taste.  He prefers soft tortillas, so I guess I should have known that toastadas wouldn’t have been his thing.  Next time, he suggested, just give him a plain bowl of chili.

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