Friday, January 20, 2012

Guest Entry: Stephanie Stonebraker the Plateful Vegan aka Hummus Queen

Stephanie the hummus queen
My co-worker Stephanie is kinda obsessed with Hummus. I thought it would be fun to share how deep down the Hummus rabbit hole she has traveled. There are some really tasty easy to make gems in here. No oil needed. Its really hard to find Hummus with no oil these days. Trader Joe's carries none, most Whole Foods only carry 1 or 2. Safeway and other conventional grocery stores? FORGET ABOUT IT!
Hummus is so super tasty and it is also a great dairy-free dip to eat while you watch the 49ers beat the NY Giants this weekend. :)


Hope you all enjoy.
To your health, 
Benjamin


About 2 years ago, I was inspired (in much the same manner as our gracious blog master Benjamin) to dedicate myself to a plant strong and plant-exclusive diet.  Since doing so, I’ve enjoyed a much more healthy, energetic and vibrant life.  I’ve also enjoyed about 1,000 pounds of hummus.  I’m sure that I’m not a unique herbivore in my love for the versatile dish, but it could be argued that my commitment may border on the obsessive.  To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s a peek at my regular diet:

Feeding my obsession is the fact that hummus can be made in so many different ways and to cater to whatever food mood I’m in.  I basically take any bean, a nut butter or paste, some spices and presto—a dip, spread, pizza topper, or salad dressing is born!  If you’re new to hummus or if you’ve only ever had store bought, I recommend giving homemade a try.  It’s easy peasy AND exponentially cheaper than buying.  Not to mention it’s fun and a really convenient way to get creative in the kitchen!

When making hummus, it’s important to first decide if you want to use dried beans or canned.  Personally, I don’t have anything against canned beans.  For my first few months of making hummus, I only used cans.  If you can get a good organic and “No Salt Added” canned bean there’s no reason why you can’t use it to make a great Hummus.  However, if you have the time and want to give dried beans a chance, you’ll find a slightly more rich flavor at a fraction of the cost.  Also, (and this may seem silly), dried beans are easier to carry then a bunch of cans.  This may not mean anything to you, but when I’m schlepping my groceries around I loathe being weighed down with a bunch of cans.  If you decide to go with dried beans, the best way to prepare them is to soak them for about 8 hours (or a day at work) and then boil on low for 1.5-2 hours. 

My Go-To Basic Hummus Recipe, makes about a pint
Ingredients:
2 Cans or 3 C of Cooked Garbanzo Beans (1.5-2 C dried)
1 T Tahini (Optional if you are trying to cook with less oil or fat)
The Juice of 2-3 Lemons
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
Spices:
1 t Sumac
1 t Paprika
1 t Tumeric
To Taste:  Salt or Bragg Liquid Aminos and Cayenne/Hot Sauce of choice
Put all ingredients in a High Powered Blender or Food Processor.  If you are using dried beans as a base, I usually find that you need to add a few tablespoons of extra water to thin it out.  1-2 mins in a HP Blender or upwards of 5 minutes in a Food Processor should do it, but the longer you leave it in, the smoother your hummus will be.

That’s it!  It’s so simple to prepare and now you’ve got one of the most versatile and delicious plant protein sources you can find!
 Now!  Here’s where the fun stuff comes:  variations!  There are so many different ways to dress up the basic hummus.  Here are just a few of my favorites:
Give homemade hummus a try!  You’ll find yourself the creator of a crowd pleasing snack!

-Stephanie


Monday, January 9, 2012

BAKED BUTTERNUT AND BARLEY RISOTTO WITH SMOKY MAPLE SAUSAGES (VEGAN)

Delicious, no added fat winter grub!


you don't need to have baby bottles in your kitchen to make this dish
BARLEY IS SO DELICIOUS!
 *FULL DISCLOSURE-I ADAPTED THIS RECIPE FROM REAL SIMPLE. SEE THE ORIGINAL HERE.
I READ THIS RECIPE FOR VEGAN SAUSAGE MADE FROM WHEAT GLUTEN THAT LOOKED SO INCREDIBLY EASY I HAD TO TRY IT.

ITS FROM THE POST PUNK KITCHEN AND CAN BE FOUND HERE.
ISA CHANDRA'S SMOKY MAPLE SAUSAGES
SO I MADE THE SAUSAGE SATURDAY NIGHT AND IT WAS REALLY EASY. I LEFT OUT THE OIL SO THEY WERE A LITTLE BIT DRY. IT DAWNED ON ME THE NEXT DAY THAT A LOT OF GREAT SEITAN IS BRAISED IN SOME TYPE OF SAVORY LIQUID. THEN I SAW THE CLIPPED RECIPE MY WIFE HAD FOUND FOR THIS RISOTTO. I REALIZED THAT WE COULD MAKE THE RISOTTO TASTE BETTER WITH SOME SMOKY SAUSAGE FLAVOR AND TEXTURE AND THE BROTH THAT THE RISOTTO COOKS IN WOULD FIX THE SOMEWHAT DRY SAUSAGE.

WIN-WIN!

WHEN MY WIFE CLIPPED THE RECIPE FOR A VEGETARIAN RISOTTO I WAS IMMEDIATELY EXCITED BECAUSE F MY LOVE A BARLEY. ITS SO EASY TO COOK, HAS TONS OF NUTRITIONAL VALUE(HEALTH BENEFITS OF BARLEY) KEEPS YOU FULL FOR A VERY LONG TIME, AND HAS A REALLY  BEAUTIFUL TEXTURE WHEN NOT OVERCOOKED.

I WAS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE TERM RISOTTO. TO ME RISOTTO IS  THAT SUPER CREAMY, VERY RICH, WINE, MEAT, AND CHEESE LADEN DISH. HOW CAN THEY CALL THIS RISOTTO?

THEN I MADE IT. AND WOW! THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH REALLY BREAKS DOWN IN THE POT AND MAKES THE TEXTURE OF THE DISH VERY CREAMY LIKE RISOTTO. NOW I WOULDN'T SAY THAT THE RICHNESS IS ON THE LEVEL OF A TRADITIONAL RISOTTO BUT THAT IS NOT MY AIM. IN MY PAST LIFE I WANTED EVERY BITE TO BE AS RICH AND CONCENTRATED AS IT COULD BE. AND THAT'S WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU ARE COOKING WITH OIL, BUTTER, AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS. VERY CONCENTRATED FLAVORS FROM VERY CONCENTRATED CALORIES.

YOU CAN UP THE RICH LEVEL BY PUREEING SOME CASHEWS AND STIRRING THAT IN WITH THE "PARMESAN CHEESE. I DID NOT DO THAT BECAUSE I WANT TO KEEP THE ADDED FATS AT A MINIMUM. HONESTLY-ITS REALLY GOOD AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO ADD ANYTHING EXCEPT THE CHILI FLAKES!

THIS DISH ALSO PASSED THE 3 AND 6 YEAR OLD TEST, EMPTY BOWLS AND HAPPY CHILDREN. :)

I HOPE YOU ALL ENJOY IT!

TO YOUR HEALTH!
-BENJAMIN





BAKED BUTTERNUT AND BARLEY RISOTTO WITH SMOKEY MAPLE SAUSAGES
Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  50 minutes
Servings:  6-8

½ CUP PLUS 2 TBLS DRY WHITE WINE (VERMOUTH, SAUVIGNON BLANC,  DRY REISLING, ETC.)
1 SMALL BUTTERNUT SQUASH –PEELED, SEEDED AND CUT INTO 1 INCH CUBES (3-5 CUPS)
1 ONION, FINELY CHOPPED
BLACK PEPPER
1 ½ CUP PEARL BARLEY
4 CUPS LOW SODIUM VEGETABLE BROTH
5 OUNCES BABY SPINACH
2 (COOKED) SMOKEY MAPLE SAUSAGES, HALVED AND SLICED (CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE)
½ CUP VEGGIE PARMESAN (PROCESS EQUAL PART ALMONDS AND NUTRITIONAL YEAST UNTIL FINELY GROUND)

HEAT OVEN TO 400⁰F
HEAT DUTCH OVEN OVER MEDIUM HIGH HEAT. ADD ONIONS, SQUASH, AND ¼ TEASPOON OF PEPPER AND COOK , STIRRING OFTEN, UNTIL THE ONION STARTS TO BROWN AND SLIGHTLY STICK, ABOUT 2-3 MINUTES.  ADD 2 TBLS OF WINE AND SCRAPE THE BOTTOM OF THE POT LOOSENING ANY STUCK BITS. CONTINUE TO COOK 2 MORE MINUTES OR UNTIL ONION IS SOFT.
ADD BARLEY AND SAUSAGE TO THE VEGETABLES, CONTINUE TO COOK FOR ONE MINUTE. AND THE REMAINING ½ CUP OF WINE AND COOK FOR A MINUTE UNTIL WINE ALL BUT EVAPORATES.
ADD BROTH AND BRING TO A FULL BOIL; COVER POT AND TRANSFER IT TO THE OVEN.
BAKE UNTIL BARLEY IS TENDER ABOUT 40 MINUTES

STIR IN PARMESAN AND SPINACH. TASTE AND ADJUST SEASONING WITH PEPPER AND SALT.

SERVE WITH ADDITIONAL PARMESAN AND CHILI FLAKES (BOTH OPTIONAL)


Friday, January 6, 2012

REAL PEASANT FOOD FOR THE BODY & SOUL

IT AIN'T FANCY, IT AIN'T FROM A RECIPE BUT IT WILL NOURISH YOUR BODY AND SOUL
AS A WINE AND CHEESE BUYER  I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO TRAVEL IN EUROPE WITH SOME OF THE MOST RESPECTED IMPORTERS AND BUYERS IN THE BUSINESS. I HAVE WINED AND DINED AND VISITED COUNTLESS WINERIES AND CHEESE PRODUCERS ALONG THE WAY. I RODE TRAMS TO THE TOP OF THE ALPS IN SWITZERLAND AND ATE OYSTERS IN THE MOONLIGHT IN THE GRAND CRU VINEYARDS OF CHABLIS.

THIS WAS MY LIFE AND IT WAS GOOD.

I ALSO REMEMBER THE FANCY DINNERS THAT JUST SEEMED TO GET MORE AND MORE DECADENT (FOIE GRAS 4 WAYS, 6 WAYS, WITH ROSE PETALS OR PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY?) OR JUST SILLY FANCY (MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY, VEGETABLE ASH, SCENTED AIR) OVER THE YEARS.

DON'T GET ME WRONG, THESE MEALS WERE VERY TASTY. HOWEVER ON A DEEPER LEVEL JUST WERE NOT SATISFYING ME AS MUCH AS I WANTED THEM TO. THEY WERE INTELLECTUALLY STIMULATING AND CERTAINLY ON THE PALATE THEY WERE VERY COMPELLING. HOWEVER SOMETHING WAS MISSING. WHEN I WOULD RETURN HOME I WOULD FIND MYSELF SEEKING OUT MORE AND MORE "ETHNIC FOOD". MORE SOULFUL CUISINES. AT THE TIME IT ENDED UP BEING A LOT OF PHO AND OTHER ASIAN CUISINES.

I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS CRAVING FOR MORE SOULFUL, SIMPLE, "FOOD OF THE PEOPLE" TONIGHT AS I WAS GETTING READY TO MAKE DINNER.

DR. MCDOUGALL'S TALKS ABOUT THESE STAPLE SIMPLE FOODS IN HIS UPCOMING BOOK THE STARCH SOLUTION. HIS MAIN PREMISE IS THIS-

All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of once thriving people include Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice, Incas in South America eating potatoes, Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn, and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat. 


AFTER THINKING ABOUT THIS I REALIZED THAT MANY OF US LIKE COOKING. WE LIKE COMBINING INTERESTING FLAVORS AND MIMICKING THE FANCY STUFF THAT WE IMAGINE MIGHT BE SERVED AT A 3 STAR RESTAURANT.

MOST OF MY POSTS AT THIS POINT ARE FOR THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE!

HOWEVER SOME PEOPLE HATE TO COOK AND UNFORTUNATELY RESORT TO CONVENIENCE FOR THIS REASON ALONE.

REGARDLESS OF WHAT CAMP YOUR ARE IN YOU GOTTA EAT! AND IF YOU PICK THE RIGHT THINGS TO EAT YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT REVERSE DISEASE AND FEEL GENUINELY SATISFYING AND SATIATED.

I NEVER THOUGHT TO POST SOMETHING AS UNREFINED OR UN-BLOG WORTHY AS THE ONE BOWL MEAL I HAD TONIGHT...UNTIL, WELL, TONIGHT!

THIS ISN'T FOOD PORN, IT DOESN'T LOOK AMAZING AND YOU AREN'T GOING TO IMPRESS YOUR NEW GIRLFRIEND WITH YOUR AMAZING COOKING SKILLS BY MAKING THIS DISH. 

WHAT WILL YOU GET OUT OF IT?

ALL THE NUTRITION YOU NEED, A FULL BELLY, YOUR PALATE WILL BE HAPPY BECAUSE THESE ARE THE TYPES OF FOODS THAT HUMAN BEINGS TRULY CRAVE.IT WILL ALSO GIVE YOU PLENTY OF ENERGY.

FOR ME I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT EATING FOOD LIKE DOES NOURISH NOT ONLY MY BODY, BUT MY SOUL AS WELL. 

WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN? 

I EXPERIENCE A DEEP FEELING OF SATISFACTION COMBINED WITH LONG-LASTING SATIETY. ITS HARD TO PUT INTO WORDS BUT I KNOW HOW IT FEELS. 

PEASANT BOWL NUMBER 1

COOKED BROWN/WILD RICE WITH BROWN LENTILS (I JUST MIX THEM ALTOGETHER AND COOK THEM IN THE RICE COOKER WITH WATER. 1 CUP OF RICE/LENTIL MIX TO 1.25 CUPS OF WATER)

THE FOLLOWING COOKED FOR 5-7 MINUTES OR UNTIL SOFT IN A NON-STICK SKILLET (USE SOME BROTH OR WATER TO KEEP FROM STICKING) MINUTES 

CHOPPED VEGGIES (CAN BE FRESH OR FROZEN)
ONION
CARROT
BELL PEPPER
BROCCOLI
GARLIC

THEN I ADDED:
A CAN OF BLACK BEANS
A FEW CHIPOTLE PEPPERS IN ADOBO (CHOPPED)
A CAN OF MILD GREEN CHILES

THROW IT ALL TOGETHER IN A BOWL AND SEASON TO TASTE WITH TAMARI AND SRIRACHA.

IT CRAZY SIMPLE. VERY INEXPENSIVE AND WILL KEEP YOU HAPPY AND HEALTHY!

I HOPE THIS INSPIRES SOME OF YOU TO SIMPLY COOK TO LIVE, ENJOY SIMPLICITY, AND DON'T OVER THINK IT.

TO YOUR HEALTH,

BENJAMIN


HAD TO SNEAK IN THE RECENT FAMILY PHOTO FROM CHRISTMAS ON THE BEACH IN OCEANSIDE


Monday, January 2, 2012

looking for great fat free vegan recipes?

Mary and Heather McDougall
Rip Esselstyn of Engine 2
From Dr. McDougall's website
peanut butter cup smoothie 
 

As many of us try to clean up our diet and reduce or eliminate animal foods and added fats/oils we find ourselves cooking more than ever before.

Over the last 9 months I have been on this journey.

here are some of the websites that I go to frequently for recipes.

Often these will get me going in the right direction. I rarely make a recipe as written (ask my wife!). I am always adding this taking out that. As long as you aren't baking it usually works out.

Dr. McDougall's newsletter recipe archive-this is a huge resource of recipes. Some can be a tad bland so I may kick up some flavors here and these but there are some great recipes here.
Some of my favorite's are-
Layered Tex-Mex lasagna (its really more like enchiladas) Even though the sodium is too high we skip making our own sauce and use the no oil frontera red chile enchilada sauce. 3 pouches for this recipe.
http://www.fronterakitchens.com/shopping/product/red-chile-enchilada-sauce/
Tofu Loaf-Tastes like meat loaf.
Mashed Potatoes-a staple.


FATFREE Recipe Collection-This is also a massive archive. I like to browse by category.

The Healthy Vegans-These guys are McDougallers and write a pretty good blog. Some of the recipes are hit or miss but absolutely worth checking out from time to time.


Engine 2 Diet- Rip Esselstyn's Plant Strong Movement. Great story about a firefighter fighting cholesterol and disease. Some good recipes and support as well.

Happy Herbivore-Lindsay Nixon's website and cook books are a great resource. Check out the peanut butter cup smoothie! 

Post Punk Kitchen-Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Blog. Appetite for Reduction is one of her many cook books. I like this one the best because it is focused on lower fat recipes.

Hope these links prove useful. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section.

To Your Health,

benjamin

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