Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sopa Verde de Elote Recipe (a.k.a. green corn soup)

Alright, I'm going to try blogging. I'm going to do away with standards of trying to be impressive by weaving together the sensory elements of time, place, season, weather, scent, food, and just say 'Hey, I made this!', and maybe if I'm feeling particularly verbal toss in a 'and this is why you should as well!'  I'll use whatever photos I have even if I feel like I could be happier with them.

Here I am with a veganized version of a recipe that originated with Diane Kennedy (a valuable scholar of regional mexican cuisine), got passed along with other authors, and veganized by me.

It is a stunning green soup, with a comforting full, vegetal body, sweet and springy, though best in mid summer when fresh corn starts coming in.   It is hard to describe as it is def't unique, but I feel it is the kind of dish I'd like to see more of at restaurants not just for its stunning vibrance, but also its thick, full bodied character.  With frozen ingredients, it is actually quite easy to make, coming together pretty quickly.

Sopa Verde de Elote Recipe

4 tablespoons neutral cooking oil of choice (I use canola)
1 small-med zucchini, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, smashed & minced
4 cups corn kernels (frozen optional)
2/3 cup green peas (frozen optional)
a small handful of fresh cilantro, plus more to serve
1 small green (serrano, jalapeno, etc.) chile, charred and peeled*
3-6 Salad greens (Radish, romaine, iceburg, etc.)
2 1/2 - 3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups water

Accoutrements: toasted nuts, lime-cashew cream, lime wedges, cilantro, chopped roasted serrano, etc.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven, add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and fry the onion and garlic, without browning, until soft.  Kill the heat.

Blend the corn kernels, peas, cilantro, chile, and lettuce leaves in a high power blender with 3 cups of water. Really aim to get the mixture very smooth, then add the zucchini.  You can either pulse it, or puree it depending on preference.  

Add the puree to the pot and cook over medium-high heat for another few minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly. If you'd like, another 1 1/2 cups of water, or more, depending on the consistency you like. Add the salt, plus more to taste, if needed. Serve with lots of the suggested toppings.

Serves 4-6.

*To char the chiles: place whole chiles on a hot skillet or grill, cook, rotating regularly, until blistered and charred on all sides. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover, and let steam for a few minutes. Now the chiles are ready to peel.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 10 min

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Edamame Beet Hummus

What started as an effort to clean out my fridge/freezer, resulted in a brilliant red spread that cuts it as a veggie dip, sandwich spread, or a hell of a good April Fool's Day cupcake frosting.  Comes together relatively quickly if you have some extra roasted beets lying around.  While it is def't a different beast than chickpea based hummus, it is good for the carb conscious trying to get more vegetables into their diet.

Edamame Beet Hummus

1 cup frozen shelled edamame
2 medium (1/2 lb) medium beets, roasted and peeled
1/4 cup stirred tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspooon kosher salt
1 teaspoon toasted cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Suggested serving: Sliced cucumbers, pita chips, celery, and olives


Boil the beans in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Quarter the roast beets. In a food processor, puree the edamame, beets, tahini, juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.

To serve: Transfer to a small bowl and drizzle with remaining oil and a few grinds of pepper, surrounding with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate for later consumption.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Caraway-Mint Cabbage Slaw with Garlic-Lemon Dressing

This recipe quickly became a staple of mine during a cleanse I was participating in, where the bulk of my diet was to be comprised of at least 50% raw, minimally processed vegetables.

Easy to make, easier to eat, full of flavor and zing!  It is also a healthier take on coleslaw, made healthier/vegan without the mayonnaise.  Using a mandolin on its finest setting will make very quick work of the cabbage.  You can also use just about any leafy herb that you'd like, such as cilantro, if mint is unavailable.

Caraway-Mint Cabbage Slaw with Garlic-Lemon Dressing

Serves 4-8
2-4 lg. garlic cloves
6 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 head white cabbage, cored and finely shredded (about 3/4 lbs)
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 heaping Tbls. toasted caraway seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and half of the caraway seeds in a blender, blend until smooth.

Combine the cabbage, mint, and parsley in a large bowl. Dress with the lemon-olive oil dressing, season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Orange kissed beets with walnuts and cumin

Beets, beets, beets, beets, beets, beets (stick with it, totally worth it).  I'm always looking to eat healthier, and raw beets take care of that in spades (plus they're in season!).  Unfortunately, raw they tend to be a bit too earthy/tough.  However, I think I have found a solid combo for making a tasty, healthy, (obvi vegan), preparation for them.  This dish works in any season, due to the diversity of ingredients (toasty walnuts, hearty beets, poppy lemon, toasted cumin, and bright orange). 

Orange kissed beets with walnuts and cumin

Serves 4-6
This is a forgiving recipe, so all of the quantities are really just loose suggestions. Season to taste!

  • 3/4 cup/75 g walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium large beets (about 12 oz/400g), peeled
  • 1 t cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • a couple of handfuls parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 c or so fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Peel the beets, and either grate them or use a matchstick cutter on a mandolin (I used the smallest setting on a spiralizer which made quick work of them).

Place beets in non-reactive bowl (glass or plastic) and toss in the rest of the ingredients until evenly distributed.  Let the ingredients marinade in the citrus blend for about 20 minutes, periodically tossing around again.  This will help lighten up the earthiness of the dish.

When plating, feel free to adorn with another drizzle of olive oil, more chopped nuts, or fresh parsley.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Blueberry Lavender Lemonade - Sugar optional!

Blah blah blah, summer, blah blah blah, fresh berries like whoa, farmers markets double rainbows naked swims, blah blah blah... I've actually been making some amazing food like whoa, but I've also been on a dietary cleanse that restricts me to mostly fresh fruits and vegetables so my standard for "amazing," may be a little uncalibrated at the moment.  Regardless, I'm honestly going to try to get a few blog posts in before I head out to Burning Man for the summer (where I'm camping with TottenKitten!). Wish me luck, I know I said the same thing my second to last post, in uhm... April.

Anyway, on this recipe. I'll post the notes here. You can ditch sugar for your sweetner of choice (a blend of erythritol and stevia is pretty solid, or a blend of stevia and sugar). Refreshing, perfect for summer, all that jazz. Oh, speaking of jazz... It goes great with a little bit of champagne or sparking water! 

Lavender Blueberry Lemonade

  • 1 cup/130g sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender blossoms *
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Step 1: Combine 1 c water and the sugar (or sugar sub) into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stir until sugar is dissolved. Kill heat and add the lavender. Cover and let steep for about 10 minutes (if you over-steep this, it will become too medicinal tasting), strain into blender bowl and let cool.

Step 2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Strain if desired (but I like the blueberry solids, personally), and pour into glasses with a few blueberries to accessorize your beverages.  You may also mix with some sparking water or spirits.

* You can get lavender blossoms from any number of places. I picked mine up at the Copley Square Farmer's market in Boston.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spicy Vegan Refried Beans with Ancho chiles

So, my blog isn't going to be the most interesting place for a few posts.  I've been really into making tasty bigger things that require tasty smaller things to be made first, so here I am with some basics.

Recently, I got into tortas, a classic Mexican sandwich that is griddle-baked with a variety of fillings such as beer-braised beef short ribs, chipotle chicken, garlicky shrimp and goat cheese. Unfortunately, they don't tend to be the most vegan-friendly option.... as you can tell.  So I've been poking around and working off of other recipes to make my own. 

Step one of a torta is refried beans... Good refried beans. So... bam!

Spicy Vegan Refried Beans with Ancho chiles

  • 8 oz dried black beans
  • 8 oz dried kidney beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium onions, 1 split in half and tooth-picked, one chopped
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 T chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce

1. Place beans in a large bowl and add 1 gallon water. Stir in two tablespoons kosher salt. Set aside at room temperature and let rest overnight. The next day, drain and rinse beans. Transfer to a large Dutch oven. Add bay leaf, split onion, and 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until beans are completely tender and skins are loose, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Discard onion and bay leaves. Drain beans, reserving liquid.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeƱo (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add beans and chipotle (if using) and cook, folding with a wooden spoon until homogenous. Add 2 cups of reserved bean liquid. Mash beans with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached, adding extra cooking liquid as necessary to loosen to desired texture. If smoother texture is required, use a hand blender or a food processor to process beans to desired texture. Season with salt to taste.

---> future nom preview    

Soon... we will get here. Till then, all miiiiine. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My 5 Minute Morning Green Smoothie

As I've mused before, since getting back from South East Asia I've been slowly dragging my carcass into the realm of the living with being good about light yoga, upping my workload slowly, amongst other things.  Of course, none of that will do me much good if I'm not sweeping the steps of my body's temple with high fiber green vegetables! 

I have generally had a bit of a hard time with smoothies, finding there is either too much added sugar in the form of flavored non-dairy milks, agave, bananas, dates, etc. lacking in actual vegetable content aside from a cursory couple of de-stemmed kale leaves or dash of spirulina.  

The flipside is me going overboard and forgoing flavor in the name of "healthy," and end up chewing through a thick, fibrous, muddy beet, kale, cinnamon, acai, maca, almond, jalapeno, parsley, grapefruit sludgefest that tastes about as good as the dirt they're all grown in. 

Finally I seem to have found a tasty medium that tastes pretty damn good (For something so healthy), isn't packed full of freaky banana sugar (one banana has approximately 15 grams of sugar in it, thats a tablespoon!), is predominantly vegetable based.

Oh, also, it takes like less than 5 minutes to prepare (though a bit longer to thoughtfully sip as you review your various morning rages), as there is barely any prep involved beyond DUMPING STUFF IN TEH BLENDER!

So, what all goes into this?  Well, lets get onto the recipe below for that.

5 Minute (AMAZING) Green Smoothie
Makes 2-4 servings to fuel you, and maybe company, throughout the day.

  • 1 large, organic cucumber, ends trimmed*, and cut into 3-5 chunks
  • 1/2 a small bunch organic parsley or cilantro, stems included
  • 1 mottled banana (the browner the skin, the less starchy), peeled and halved
  • 2 organic kiwis, ends removed, and halved, skin on**
  • 3-5 leaves organic kale, torn in half lengthwise
  • 1 head organic romaine lettuce, bottom cut off and then cut into 3 or 4 sections
  • 1 Organic apple, quartered (I use fuji, but any should work)
  • 1 inch knob of ginger
  • *optional* juice of 1 fresh lemon or fresh lime
  • *optional* A dash of spirulina
Place about half of your ingredients into an uber blender (I use a BlendTec but Vitamix should work), add about 1 cup of water and pulse it a couple of times to create space for the rest of the ingredients.

When you have created space for the rest of the ingredients, load them in and pulverize (my blender has an automatic Whole Juice timed setting).  

If you can't fit _everything_ in (I can usually just eek everything in, sometimes barely), feel free to save it for the next day.  *I usually sacrifice half a cucumber if something needs to go.

From there, enjoy your breakfast! If you are flying solo, it should make enough juice to fill a couple of ball jars to give you some green boosters throughout the day.  Generally since I've gotten back, half of it has been my breakfast and I try to eat mindfully throughout the rest of the day.

**Yes, kiwi skins are edible and under appreciated!  Also as a nice touch, add the kiwis after the juice has been prepared, and blend it just a little more, this makes sure the black seeds are still whole and lend a nice crunch to the smoothie.


Obviously this can be tailored to your personal preferences, but I've found that the lighter water heavy vegetables like romaine and cucumber really help give refreshing body to smoothie without making it too vegetal, overwhelming the qualities of the apple and kiwi.  The banana also really helps round out the body of the drink, as I learned one morning when I forgot to add said fruit and was wondering what the drink was missing... Speaking of missing, I'm all out of romaine... erk!