Monday, December 29, 2014

Parsley and Pear Juice

Parsley parsley parsley!  My favorite herb strikes again!  This weeks recipe is one of my favorite juices to date.  Pears are a marvelous winter fruit, who's season lasts quite a ways from the late summer into the winter.  The only problem with pears are that they are hard to find ripe in the store.  When choosing a pear lightly pinch the top end of the neck and if it yields, it is ripe.  Fortunately, for our purposes, underripe pears will provide juice that is just as nice.  The crisp refreshing juice from the pear, the tart sweetness from the apple are tempered nicely with the earthiness of the herb.  Overall, this makes for  a delightful winter juice to freshen up your morning!  Or afternoon.  Oh, what am I saying, it's probably good at any time of the day.









Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh Parsley
  • 2 Bartlett Pears
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples

Preparations: 
  • Wash and clean all fresh produce. 
  • Process the apples, pears and the parsley through a juicer.  I recommend placing the parsley between the pears while pressing it down through the feeding tube so that it is easier to process and can yield more juice.
  • Pour into a large glass and serve immediately.
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Sichuan Noodles

This week asian style cuisine is the name of the game.  Two classic seasonings to use are sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.  The sesame oil has a nice nutty richness and the vinegar adds a splash of tang.  When combined with peanut butter it makes a creamy, flavorful sauce, that pairs nicely with rice pad thai noodles and stir-fry veggies.  With the noodles and sauce as a base this recipe is very versatile. We prefer to add very light vegetables such as snap peas, red peppers, water chestnut and bamboo shoots.  Round it off with the more savory mushrooms and broccoli and you have a dish that will make anyone say YUM!












Ingredients: 
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Chili Paste
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • Mushrooms;  sliced
  • Red Bell Peppers;  sliced
  • Snap Peas;  whole
  • Brokkoli
  • Bamboo Shoots;  cut into strips
  • Water Chestnuts;  sliced
  • Thai Basil;  to garnish

Preparations: 
  • Wash and clean all fresh vegetables and cut them according to the instructions above.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta. 
  • Then heat a medium size pan with some vegan butter to sauté.  When the pan warms, clean and slice the mushrooms before adding them into the pan to brown.
  • After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and stir-fry them for about 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients:  Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili paste, peanut butter and water.
  • When the water boils, cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet.  Then drain the pasta, tip it into a bowl and toss it with the dressing and the stir-fry vegetables.  Plate the dish into bowls with some fresh cut basil and serve it immediately. 
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Macaroni and Cash(ews)

Everyone loves macaroni & cheese and this raw vegan cheese sauce is an easy and elegant version of the traditional comfort food.  Made with raw cashews, nutritional yeast and a mix of spices, this sauce first puzzled my non-vegan husband and then won him over after he had a little try of it—yum, yum.  The nutritional yeast that's in the sauce is an inactive form of yeast that's yellow in color and with a unique nutty flavor that's similar to cheese.  If you happen to give this recipe a go, please let me know in the comments.  I'm curious to know what you think of it.



Ingredients: 
  • 1.5 cups raw Cashews
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. Spicy Brown Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 pinch Turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice (about the juice of one lemon)
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1.5 tsp. Salt
  • Shell or Elbow Pasta of choice
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Milk

Preparations: 
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. 
  • At this time, also heat a medium size pan with some vegan butter to sauté the mushrooms.  When the pan warms, clean and slice them before adding them into the pan to brown.
  • Meanwhile, you can prepare the sauce.  In order to make the raw cheese sauce, combine the cashews, together with the nutritional yeast, mustard, spices, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor or high speed blender.  Then slowly add the water to the mixture to reach a more sauce-like consistency.  
  • When the water boils, add the pasta, and then cook according to it's instructions.  Everyone likes the pasta cooked differently.  My husband likes the noodles on the crispy side of al dente, while I would not mind if he would "forget" them in the pot a for a little while so that they are completely soft and slippery.
  • Next, combine the pasta with the mushrooms, spoon some of the cheese sauce with it and mix to distribute everything evenly.  I recommend adding the sauce gradually so that you can coat the noodles with just the right amount.
  • Serve the dish with some freshly chopped parsley and maybe a nice amount of cracked black pepper.
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts

THIS IS HOW I LIKE MY SPROUTS!  I'm a big fan of a simple preparation of vegetables that involves some herbs and a little roasting.  Adding cranberries and steaming the Brussels Sprouts in fresh stock and sherry vinegar showcases the delicate nutty flavor without the sulfur smell it might usually possess.  Like any type of cabbage, Brussels sprouts release natural sulfur compounds that can cause an unpleasant smell.  For this reason, it's important to cook the Brussels Sprouts correctly to keep this stench--yeah stench--in check.  If you are lucky enough to grow your own sprouts in the garden, the sulfur smell is not really a concern to you because it's not as potent in the freshly harvested sprouts.  Also, the vegetable loses much of it's bitterness after the first frost, so the longer you "forget" the Brussels sprouts in your garden patch in winter, the better.  Tenderized by the frost, the Sprouts can just be roasted with some herbs and they are good to go.  If you don't have a garden to grow winter vegetables, I recommend cooking them this way.





Ingredients: 
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cooling Oil
  • 1/2 cup dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 cup homemade Vegetable Stock

Preparations: 
  • Wash and clean the Brussels sprouts.  Peal the dark green outer leaves because they can be bitter and tough.
  • Cut the Brussels sprouts in half.
  • Place a oiled pan on medium high heat and carefully place the Brussels sprouts face down into the pan.  Leave them frying until the cut side turns golden brown and caramelized, add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of walnuts.
  • Immediately afterwards, de-glaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar and then add 1 cup of vegetable stock. 
  • Cover the pan and let the Brussels sprouts cook for 5 minutes.  This steams the sprouts and allows them to get tender.
  • Uncover the pan and allow the vegetable stock to reduce.  This will take about 3-4 minutes or until the remaining liquid has a syrupy consistency.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Pomegranate Salad

Spencer and I love pomegranates.  They are such little jewels of goodness!  And since they are in season we decided to make a salad with a little middle eastern flavor. We hope you'll like it.  And if you haven't already noticed it, this recipe has fresh mint in it and of course a whole bunch of fresh parsley (my favorite).







Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 1 Lemon;  juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh Mint;  finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. dried Mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parsley;  finely minced
  • 2 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. Walnuts;  soaked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Golden Raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  
Preparations: 
  • Prepare the Bulgur Wheat:  Warm 1 cup of water in a small pot.  Add 1/2 cup of Bulgur Wheat, the juice of half a lemon and then also add the empty piece of lemon into the pot.  Bring everything to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook until the Bulgur absorbed all the liquid. Carefully remove the hot lemon form the pot and test the grain for doneness.  It is done when the grain is soft but still has a somewhat tender texture.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and then stir to distribute everything evenly.
  • Add the other half of the lemon juice to the salad and then... Enjoy this yummy salad.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

On-the-go Breakfast Oatmeal

Breakfast in a jar.  I know, it sounds gimmicky, but it's what I have most mornings;  it's a practical grab and go breakfast and pretty yummy as well.  I understand there is a lack of breakfast recipes on this blog mainly because my breakfast choices are nothing extraordinary and rarely require a recipe.  I love a good mono-meal of fruit and I'm also a big fan of oatmeal in the morning.  Most of the time I'm actually having my breakfast on the train as the sun comes up.  At this time, I'm a little more awake and I don't feel rushed.









Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats;  I prefer the gluten-free kind
  • 2 cups unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 4 Tbsp. Applesauce;  the unsweetened kind or homemade
  • 1 Tbsp. Walnuts;  chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • fresh fruit of choice
  
Preparations: 
  • Layer the dry ingredients in the jar, then add the apple sauce and pour in the coconut milk.  
  • As a final step, add the fruit and close the lid.
  • If you take this breakfast to work or to school, don't forget to pack a napkin and a spoon.  P.S. the oatmeal is usually creamy and nicely cinnamon-y after about 20 minutes, but it will hold a nice flavor and texture throughout the day.
   





       Nina & Spencer

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cinnamon, Beet + Orange Juice

Looking for extra oomph?  Try juices made with oranges and beets.  I like to drink my fruit and vegetable juices when I am getting home from work in the late afternoon.  It's a good pick-me-up.
Beets are tremendously vibrant in color and they yield a good amount gorgeously red juice;  however it's crucial to spice the beets and to combine them with fruit juices.  Otherwise, your juice will turn into a nice, red glass of...mud (just saying).  We juiced one very large beet with some oranges, added carrots to add sweetness, one stalk of celery for a bit of a salty flavor and a good amount of cinnamon to blend all the flavors.










Ingredients:
  • 2 large Carrots;  trimmed
  • 1 large Beet;  trimmed
  • 4 Oranges;  peeled
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
 
Preparations:
  • Wash and clean all fresh produce.  Then cut the greens of the carrots and beets.
  • Process the carrots, celery, beets and oranges through a juicer.
  • Add the cinnamon to the juice and stir to combine.
  • Pour into a large glass and serve immediately.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Perfect Vegan Pancakes

Let's be real, pancakes are a dessert kind of food I normally don’t eat for breakfast.  I like mono-meals of some type of fruit, juices and smoothies or oatmeal concoctions so basic that there is really no need for a recipe.  Sadly, Spencer and I usually don’t get to spend our mornings together so that we could share a leisurely breakfast because we have alternate days off from work.  So, those very rare occasions of lazy mornings together then definitely call for a special treat at breakfast—like pancakes. 
Pancakes

I like very fluffy pancakes, but I don’t like the idea of adding a boxed mystery egg-replacer into my pancake batter.  To me, one of the most exciting parts of this recipe is that the egg replacement is made with flax seeds.  Not only does it help with the consistency, but in my opinion it also adds flecks of flavor to the cakes. 

pancakes1

Instead of maple syrup, we decided to dress our pancakes with a homemade raspberry sauce and some banana slices.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseeds
  • 5 Tbsp. Water
  • 2 cups Flour (the type you prefer, even gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2.5 cups Coconut Milk (unsweetened and unfortified)
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice;  freshly pressed
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • about 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil of choice
Preparation:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax seeds with water and set it aside for about 20 minutes.  During that time you will notice that the flax seeds jelled up and formed a very speckled egg-like texture.  Add the coonut milk, the vanilla extract and the lemon juice to the mixture.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Make a large hole into the dry flour mixture and then pour the wet ingredients into it.  Now, carefully stir the ingredients together but try not to over-mix the batter.  There is no need to whisk until all the clumps are smooth—clumps are fine—because over-mixing will flatten the pancakes.
  3. Preheat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Before you scoop the batter into the pan, please make sure it is hot enough.  High heat is essential for the pancakes to rise to the desired height and texture. 
  4. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop small amounts of the pancake batter onto the hot frying pan.
  5. After about 2 minutes, or when you see small bubbles at the top, flip the pancake to cook it on the other side for about 1 minute.
The pancakes are best when they are served fresh and hot.  If you would like to serve a whole lot at once, keep them warm by stacking them onto a plate and covering them with a lid or bowl.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Breakfast Smoothie

This smoothie is bananas!  Frozen bananas make an excellent addition to any breakfast smoothie. When blended, they add a smooth almost ice cream like texture.  I also like to add rolled oats to my breakfast drinks in order to add sustenance.  Adding the rolled oats will ensure that the smoothie is filling enough to get you through the whole day.  Combined with the juicy pieces of pineapple and the juice of freshly pressed grapefruit, this concoction will provide you with the energy needed to start the day!


BreakfastSmoothie  

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Ruby Red Grapefruit;  juiced
  • 1/2 cup Banana;  frozen
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple;  frozen
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats (we used a gluten-free variety)
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk (unsweetened and unfortified)

Preparations:
  • Combine all ingredients and then process the mixture with an emersion blender or in a full sized blender until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the smoothie into your favorite glass and enjoy!
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Pea Falafel with a Zesty Cream Dressing

 Falafel1
 

Ingredients:
  • 1 cups (250 mL) Garbanzo Beans;  rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups dried Peas;  soaked overnight, then rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley;  stems removed
  • 1 small Red Bell Pepper;  finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbsps. Flour
  • 6 Tbsps. Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tbsps. (20 mL) vegetable oil of choice;  for frying
  • 6 Tbsps. Vegan Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup English Cucumber;  finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 Lemon;  juiced
 

Preparations:
  • Soak the dried peas in water the night before making the recipe.
  • Wash and clean all fresh produce.  Also, rinse and drain the peas and garbanzo beans.
  • In a food processor, combine the peas, beans, parsley, bell pepper, sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Pulse the mixture until it is finely chopped.  Then add the flour and pulse until the mixture holds together.
  • Cover and set the mix into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, remove 1 Tbsp. of Zest from the lemon and then juice half of it.  Cut the remaining half into wedges.
  • Stir the lemon zest and the lemon juice together with the sour cream and 1/2 cup of very finely chopped cubes of English cucumber.
  • After 30 minutes or longer, take the falafel mixture out of the refrigerator and scoop the dough out one tablespoon at a time in order to form little balls.  Coat those balls one by one with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and then flatten each one slightly.  Set the falafels on a tray, cover and chill for another 20-30 minutes.  Keep the patties chilled right up until you are ready to cook them to ensure that the are keeping their shape and so that they develop a crispy exterior when frying.
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of oil over medium heat.  Add the falafel patties into the hot oil and cook them for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through.
  • Serve with the cream dressing, lemon wedges and a salad of choice.  We added salad greens as well as peach and tomato slices to our falafels.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Mushroom Pizza with Walnut Pesto

How to coax a Neapolitan-style vegan pizza pie from your home oven? If you have a great pizza dough recipe that works for you and cooks well in your home oven—great!  If you don’t, I recommend purchasing dough from your favorite pizzeria. Using premade pizza dough lets you have the take-out classic in your own kitchen and you get to customize the toppings to your own preference.  Since I don’t get on with vegan cheeses, I particularly enjoy this walnut-pesto version.
But then again, my husband would say that I like to toss a heap of fresh herbs into every dish.  If you love parsley as much as I do, I recommend sprinkling some fresh leaves on top of the pizza.  This sprinkle of freshness nicely compliments the earthiness of this dish.  Yay, for fall pizzas!

Mushroom Pizza


Ingredients:
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) assorted Mushrooms;  sliced (we used Portobello and Crimini Mushrooms)
  • 4 Tbsps. of oil (vegetable oil of choice)
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) toasted Walnuts
  • 1 cup (250 ml) fresh Parsley;  stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed Lemon juice
  • a drizzle of Balsamic Reduction
  • a handful of fresh Parsley leaves (optional)


Preparations:
  • Preheat the oven to 500 °F.
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid and they are tender.  This might take 10 to 15 minutes.  At 2 minutes, I recommend adding 1/2 cup of water to the mushrooms.  Remove the mushrooms from the heat and set aside.
  • In a  food processor, add the walnuts, parsley, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and 1 cup of the sautéed mushrooms and process until smooth.  You may have to stop once or twice in order to scrape down the bowl if necessary.
  • Dust a large baking sheet with flour.  Roll out the dough and then press it evenly into the pan.
  • With a spatula, distribute a generous layer of pesto onto the pizza dough.
  • Then sprinkle the mushrooms over the pesto.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is risen and golden brown.  Let cool for 2 minutes before drizzling the pizza with balsamic reduction and tossing fresh parsley leaves on top.
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Homemade Salsa Verde recipe made with fresh tomatillos and fresh paquillo peppers.
SalsaVerde
 
Ingredients:
  • 6-8 medium Tomatillos;  husked and rinsed
  • 2 medium Paquillo Peppers;  stems and seeds removed
  • 3-5 stalks fresh Chives;  finely chopped
  • 1/4 bunch fresh Cilantro;  roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Cooking Oil
  • 1 fresh Lime;  juiced
  • Salt and Pepper;  to taste

Preparations:
  • Peel away the papery husks of the tomatillos. Then wash and clean all fresh produce.
  • De-stem and de-seed the peppers.
  • Sprinkle the tomatillos and peppers and then bake them on a rimmed baking sheet in a very hot oven or below a broiler, until they are soft and turn blotchy black. The color of the tomatillos will also turn from lime green to olive.
  • After 5 minutes flip the peppers and tomatillos in order to roast them evenly on all sides.
  • Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let cool.
  • Transfer the roasted vegetables into a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos and peppers have exuded during the roasting.
  • Add the chives and the cilantro and run the blender until you’ve reached a coarse puree.
  • Scoop the salsa into a serving dish and season it if necessary with salt and pepper.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Edit: Birthday at the Corn Maze

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes and gifts last Monday.  After work Spencer and I took the train to Provo and visited a corn maze. I’ve never been to one and it was the perfect day and timing for this kind of outing.

Pumpkin

Truth be told, we’ve been going through some rough couple of weeks and October has been tiring and frustrating experience.  We moved out of our apartment and we are currently staying at my cousins home while trying to find someone to take over our lease and hunting for a save place for me to live. All this started at the end of September, after three weeks of daily asthma attacks whenever I was in our apartment and painful sleepless nights, it was time for me to escape the toxic environment and break our lease.

Our next door neighbor kept sneaking in a dog into the pet-free building, the management did not clean the hallways and stairs for more than two months, not to mention the ever present smell of people smoking pot.

CornMaze

CornMaze2

CornMaze1


Wishing everyone a good week.
HappySundayNina

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vegetable Stock

I don't like to buy vegetable stock and I much rather go without than braving some mystery liquid from a box, can or broth cube.  It's easily made at home and it is a kitchen staple at our house.  Of course you can make this stock out of fresh produce, but if you eat a lot of vegetables, I recommend collecting the vegetable and herb trimmings in the freezer so that you can make the stock out of perfectly good bits you might otherwise discard. 

VegetableStock


Ingredients:
  • Vegetables;  ends and trimmings
  • Herbs;  ends and trimmings
  • Cooking Oil or Vegan Butter
  • 1/4 cup White Wine
  • Peppercorn; whole or crushed 
  • 1 fresh Lemon;  peel the zest of the lemon 
  • Salt;  to taste

Preparations:
  • Put the trimmings, as you have them into a bowl in the freezer.  This way, you won't have to worry that they spoil.  For a mild stock, I prefer the peels and trimmings of carrots, celery, onion, herbs, mushrooms, cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, squashes, basil, parsley and cilantro.
  • Once you have enough, you are ready to make you stock. 
  • Transfer the vegetables into a medium size pot and sauté them with just a little bit of cooking oil or vegan butter.
  • Add the white wine, water, peppercorn and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat until the liquid is at a simmer, cover the pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  • Take the pot of the heat, add a good amount of peeled lemon zest and let the stock cool.
  • Strain out the solids, add salt to taste (if desired—you can always season later).  If you have immediate use for it, store the stock in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  This way the stock is good for a couple of days.  I, however, prefer to store vegetable stock in ice cube trays in the freezer.  This way, there is no need for me to use all the stock immediately, the stock will stay good for months and I can pull out as many or as few cubes as I need for my cooking.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Roasted Pepper Soup

It’s no secret that I love soup and that I like to make hot bowl whenever the weather or my body feels a bit gloomy.  In this recipe, we are making the roasted peppers into a silky yet spicy soup seasoned with cumin, crushed red pepper flakes and cilantro, and finished with fresh orange juice.

RoastedPepperSoup

Soup
  • 4 large colorful Bell Peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. Cooking Oil
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 4 cups homemade Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Cilantro;  chopped
  • 1 fresh Lemon;  juiced
  • 1 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt;  to taste
 
Preparations:
  • Wash and clean the peppers.  We used a variety of yellow, orange and red peppers.
  • Roast the peppers until the skins are black.  You could roast them on a grill or by baking them in the oven at 425°.
  • When they're cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins, cores and seeds.  Then rough chop the peppers.
  • In a medium size pot, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil.  Add the cumin and roasted peppers and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Finally, add the Orange Juice and Cilantro.
  • In a blender, puree the soup in batches until it is smooth.  After that return the soup to the saucepan and season with red wine vinegar, lemon juice and salt.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. The garnish is optional, but if you like you could add sliced peppers, chopped cilantro or a dollop of vegan sour cream into the soup.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Cucumber-Radish Rolls

These Cucumber-Radish Rolls are a lovely, simple celebration of freshness.  I don’t often find healthy and yummy appetizers and hors d’oeuvres at parties – and wish I did!  The crunchy cucumber slices are perfectly paired with a creamy avocado mousse and quick pickled radish slivers.  Rolled up, the fresh little rolls make a bite size warm weather snack.  I love these and if I get an invite to a party or potluck I might just bring them along.  This appetizer is quick and simple to make, but it will also disappear quickly.

CucumberRolls

Avocado Mousse
  • 1 large Avocado;  remove the pit
  • 1 large Green Heirloom Tomato
  • 1 Jalapeño;  de-seeded
  • 1 Lime;  juiced
  • Salt and freshly cracked Pepper;  to taste

CucumberRoll
  • 1 large English Cucumber;  thinly sliced with a mandolin 
  • 3 large Radishes;  thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. Vinegar

Preparations:
  • Wash and clean all fresh produce.
  • Prepare the avocado mousse:  Combine the avocado, heirloom tomato, jalapeño pepper, and Lime Juice into a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth and then season with Salt and Lime Juice to taste.
  • Use a mandolin to cut the cucumber into long thin slices and to slice the radishes into even thinner, almost see through slivers.
  • Quick pickle the radish slivers in white balsamic vinegar by placing them together into a small dish.  Do not let them sit longer then 5 minutes.
  • Lay out each cucumber slice and layer a coat of the avocado mousse all the way across.  For each roll, place 3-4 radish slices on top of the mousse.  Start to roll on one side until you reach the end.  Be sure to have some avocado mousse at the end (without any radishes) to act like glue to seal them up.
  • Dress up the cucumber rolls with some extra radish slivers, plate the rolls in a splatter of extra avocado mousse and serve immediately (or refrigerate until it’s time to eat the appetizers)!
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Stuffed Peppers with Avocado Mousse

I suppose, veggie stuffed peppers do require the right kind of stuffing to outshine traditionally stuffed peppers.  But, I think our bulgur wheat stuffing hits just the right balance of bright vegetable flavor and firmness.  The creamy avocado mousse with sun-ripened green heirloom tomatoes and lime takes this dish over the top, smothering the stuffed pepper in a decadent, but healthy cream topping.  Seriously, no cheese required!  Darn, that avocado mousse is dangerous... I could top that on just about anything that could do with a little cream.  Like I've said, it would go well with anything.

StuffedPepper

Avocado Mousse
  • 1 large Avocado
  • 1 green Heirloom Tomato
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper;  de-seeded
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

StuffedPeppers
  • 2 large Bell Pepper;  capped and de-seeded
  • 1 ear of Corn;  de-seeded
  • 1 stalk Celery;  minced
  • 1/2 cup homemade Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh Parsley;  chopped
     
Preparations:
  • Prepare the Bulgur Wheat:  Warm 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vegetable stock in a small pot. Add 1/2 cup of Bulgur Wheat and bring the everything to a boil.  At this point, lower the temperature to a simmer and cook until the Bulgur absorbed all the liquid.  Test for doneness.  It is done when the grain is soft but has a tender texture.
  • Set the oven to 350 ° F and roast the corn on a greased baking sheet.
  • In a medium size bowl, mix the parsley, celery and corn to the bulgur wheat.
  • Clean the peppers and carefully take their caps off by slicing with a pairing knife just around the stem.  Trim the seeds off the cap and then remove the rest of the seeds from the inside of the peppers.  I like to give the peppers a final rinse at this point in order to flush out every last seed.
  • Rub the inside of each pepper with olive oil and then sprinkle your favorite spice mix on the inside walls.
  • Carefully stuff the filling into each pepper and place them onto a baking or casserole dish.
  • Fill the baking dish about one finger high with water, cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 ° F.  I recommend removing the foil of the dish for the final five minutes of cook time to encourage browning of the peppers.
  • While the peppers bake, prepare the avocado mousse: wash and clean all produce before combining the avocado, heirloom tomato, jalapeño pepper, and lime juice into a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth and then season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
  • To plate the pepper, spread one heaping spoon full of avocado mousse onto the plate and place the pepper on it’s side in the pool of mousse.
  • Enjoy!

SignatureEnd
       Nina & Spencer

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Let's Explore: Vegan Hike to Sunset Peak

Last Saturday, I joined another Vegan group hike and I’m excited to share my favorite pictures from the day.  We started our hike at the Catherine pass trail head at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

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^ There we are picnicking at 10420 ft.; Lake Catherine to our left and the tippy top of Sunset Peak (10648 ft.) to our right.

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^ It’s a beautiful and not at all difficult hike.  That being said, I was going very, very slowly because I had several asthma attacks during the night (our neighbor snuck a dog into our pet-free apartment building) und so especially when we were hiking up my post-asthma lungs felt full of water and feverish.  It is not a pleasant feeling to exercise when I’m unable to breathe out.  All I want to do is inhale a big gulp of fresh air, but my lungs feel so heavy and full, I only have space for a tiny sip.  So if I want to breathe properly, I have to force myself to keep going and to breathe out as much as I can so that I can empty my lungs.  Emptying my lungs a is really painful process, but it is the quickest way to feel better.  Exercise just forces me to do it faster despite the pain.
I don’t normally get the wet feeling in my throat and lungs unless I had several asthma attacks.  But when I do, I know that exercise first makes the wet inside me sulfurous before it lifts it out of me.  So, it’s a good thing… like a forceful little detox.

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^ Sunset Peak

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^ The destination of our hike, Sunset Peak, wasn’t looking to sunny that day.  In fact, this big gloomy cloud kept hovering over the mountain and I decided I could skip walking the very last bit to the summit.  Look how tiny the person in the distance seems—that little black speck at the summit.  I bet he felt like he could touch the sky.

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^ Looking down at Lake Catherine.  These pictures don’t quite show how high the peaks are and how steep and far down I could fall of the rock. What a lovely view.

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^ Cute, cute, cute.  I’m not sure what this little guy is, but with his tummy almost touching the ground he sure looked well nourished and ready for a long winter’s snooze.

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^ I suppose I got too busy looking at chipmunks and admiring wildflowers.

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^… and taking photographs…

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^ I’m falling behind as my group walks on!

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^ I’m clearly loosing my group.

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^ Beautiful! But now that I was all alone, just the loud sound of crickets coming from the meadows next to the narrow path, I definitely wasn’t hoping to spot more animals.  Right around this point, I was actually pretty worried I’d cross path with a rattle snake and I don’t know how I would have handled that.

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^ Luckily, no unfortunate events occurred and the rest of the hikers kindly waited for me at the end of the trail.

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I hope everyone had a nice weekend.
HappySunday♡Nina