Showing posts from 2012

Smoky Sweet Potato Miso Soup

It's finally somewhat cold in Northern California. I just ordered a 1/4 cord of wood. Yeah, burnin-stuff-cold. For reference the last 1/4 cord I bought lasted almost 3 years. Global warming! Yeah!

That means it's soup season. I came across a vegan smoky sweet potato soup recipe and through necessity and my desire to keep refined oils out of my food I made some adjustments. I didn't have enough veggie broth on hand so I decided to use some miso broth instead.

The basic method of the recipe is to oven roast some sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic and then add to broth, puree a bit before the final seasonings. Instead of oil I made a simple miso glaze and used that to coat the veggies before raosting.

I also decided that chipotle in adobo sauce was a tastier option than liquid smoke. I was right. Liquid smoke is pretty concentrated stuff so if you do use it be very careful not to over do it. Generally speaking I will use it in 1/8 tsp. quantities.

Hope you guys like…

No-Stir Steel Cut Oats

I'm just gonna say it. You've been had. Bamboozled, tricked, lied to, and deceived. What I am I talking about? How laborious it is to make steel-cut oats. If you want them to have that great texture there are no short cuts. Right?  There is the overnight/crock pot methods but I found them to be over cooked and mushy. You might as well just make rolled oats if the texture is lost in the cooking process. Most recipes for steel-cut oats seem so labor-intensive. I mean who wants to stir their breakfast for 30 minutes?

Well I am here to tell you that you don't have to. In fact you don't have to stir at all. This recipe is simple and super tasty. It requires very little work and I would argue that it can be done any day of the week. It does still take 30-40 minutes to make but you walk away after the first 5 minutes until its done.

While there is almost no nutritional difference (half gram of fat less in the steel-cut) between steel cut oats and rolled oats there is a major…

Roasted Cauliflower and Kabocha soup

It is fall, it is fall, the leaves are falling EVERYWHERE!!! That means it's time for soup and spiced dishes to warm you. Kabocha squash is by far my favorite hard squash. I was introduced to it by Mioko Schinner when she made a vegan shabu shabu during a Japanese cooking class she conducted at McDougall's. It is delicious simply steamed or roasted even with very little or no seasoning. I came across this delicious looking recipe for a sweet potato cauliflower soup over at Manifest Vegan which became the starting point for this recipe. I kicked up some of the spices and of course dropped the oil and subbed the squash for sweet potato. It came out very tasty and warming. Just what I needed on this chilly morning. 

Roasted Cauliflower and Kabocha soup1 head of cauliflower garam masala pimenton val de sol chile powder 1 medium to large kabocha squash peeled and diced 1 onion diced 2 cloves of garlic diced 4 cups of vegetable broth 3 cups of water black pepper black sesame seeds or pumpkin s…

Real Deal Vegan Chili with Beans

As a meat eater one of my favorite things to eat in the world was Texas chili con carne. You know the meat and chiles without any healthy beans to get in the way! I developed a pretty kick-ass version over the years. It combined some Mexican cooking methods that I learned from J. Wade Williams (a la Rick Bayless) and testing a few recipes from the web. The flavor breakthrough is all about using dried chiles and toasting them for maximum flavor. No chili powder from a jar!

So when I set out to convert that original recipe into a more life-sustaining dish sans the carne I knew I had to get it right. Flavor  is  of the utmost importance. But how do you get a meatless dish to taste like beef? I tried a few times and failed. I was attempting to replace the texture of chuck steak with chunk seitan. It was only mildly succesful. The real issue was not so much the mouthfeel of the seitan as much as it was the lacking in beefy flavor of the chili itself.
U my mami?This month I finally had a bre…

Tex-Mex Layered Enchiladas

When I first started this whole healthy eating "thing" I was told that most people cook 4-6 dishes that they love and rotate through them over and over. My first reaction was "not me man!" "Variety is the spice of life!",  and "my taste buds get bored"...and other such hyperbole. Well truth be told the following recipe is made at our place almost every week. With little variation. My wife is out of town this week so I took the liberty of experimenting with it a bit. But the basic bones of the recipe are so solid and simple that you would really have to work hard at screwing this up.

This is the recipe that I will make for J. Wade Williams if I ever get the chance to cook for him again. Its the kind of tex-mex'ish-californicatin'- sort-of-new-fangled-"mexican"-dish that I think he would love.

One thing before we get started...I make this in an extra deep lasagna pan. It's 3 inches deep. If you use a regular casserole dish y…

Sneaky Snacks and Indian Cauliflower Stew

I have this theory that if you cook your kids healthy food and you give them no other options they will eat the food. Call me crazy but as the adult in charge (at this stage of their lives) they don't have a lot of choices on what to eat. We  do that on purpose. Limit choices. Like between stuff that's good for them and stuff that is great for them. Its not to say that they won't get ice cream and cake on their birthdays, but the other 364 days a year they eat pretty damn well. They really don't have much choice. We don't force feed them. If they are not interested in eating what is prepared for them then they don't eat until the next meal is served. No snacks, no juice. Just the food we prepare.

My wife is out of town for a week so I am solo parenting (with some M-F daytime help from our live-in child-therapist-Reiki-practitioner-miracle worker Michelle who we trade room and board for 15 hrs a week of her services). I decided to take th…

Can you eat real food for one month? Of course you can!

I am super excited to have stumbled across this challenge on FB today. The basic premise is to not eat any foods that you could not reasonably recreate in your own kitchen for one month. I guess the main reason it spoke to me is I have been trying to identify where convenience foods are creeping into my diet. For me its stuff like pretzel/snack mixes, weird beverages trying not to be soft drinks (but they really are), or protein isolate foods (beyond meat, protein shakes, fake deli meats, etc.)

The reason I am concerned about these foods specifically is that the mindless snacking that I do is generally with foods like these. I usually don't mindlessly snack on steamed collard greens and brown rice while I am driving home from work. :) I generally eat very healthy meals when I cook. Its those in between times that seem to get me into trouble.

I recently saw the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and got really inspired by the story. If you haven't seen it the movie follows an obe…

Oil-Free Baked Falafel and Tahini sauce

My first real falafel experience was growing up in San Jose, Ca. I went to a performing arts magnet in high school for a few years to develop my inner DIVA on stage. My friends and I would often leave campus at lunchtime and hit one of the best falafel joints in the WORLD! The Falafel's Drive-In. It still rocks to this day. They still serve the same "special" everyday. A large Falafel sandwich and a banana milkshake. Fast forward to today and I can live without the milkshake but not the falafel! Of course traditional falafel is deep-fried in oil which is not how I like to get my eat on these days. When my love of falafel met head on with my desire to cook oil-free many would cringe with sad mushy balls that you may remember from college dorm cooking with dry powdered falafel mixes from the bulk bin of the Arcata Co-op. 
Well homey don't play that! 
The resulting recipe is delicious and much lower in calorie while not giving up the texture and flavor I love. I like to s…