Posts tagged ‘vegan’

Still Soup Weather!

46F was our high today. With sprinkly rain and gloomy clouds. On April 23. That is cold, friends! Winter has not seemed to get the memo: GO AWAY. The trees are blooming, the birds are singing, the clocks have changed, and my sweaters are looking worn and tired. I have a new spring dress that is begging to be worn. The weather is just not cooperating with me here! Where is SPRING?

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The only thing that can make a dreary and cold day better is soup, and this one hit the spot! This soup was inspired by a recent trip to the Asian food market. I was excited to see inexpensive Kabocha squash, so picked one up along with a bag of baby Bok choy. As I paid for my purchases, the squash rang up as “Japanese pumpkin.” And the idea for what would become of the Kabocha squash was born: miso soup! The bok choy and the squash seemed to be natural soup add-ins, and the mushrooms were a last minute thought to add texture and more body. Tofu would also be a natural addition, but I did not have any on hand and do not always love how soggy it gets in leftover soup. I used a “minute miso” paste to create this soup, which made prep minimal. I have never worked with real miso paste, so am not quite sure what modifications that would add, but most bottles come with general instructions on how to create the basic miso broth! Overall, this soup comes together in 35-40 minutes, with most of the cook time added from the roasted squash.

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Is your town’s weather uncooperative as well? Then give this soup a try!

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Kabocha, Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy Miso Soup

Vegan, serves 4 as main course or 6-8 as starter

1 clove garlic, minced

8-oz package white button mushrooms, sliced

6 heads baby Bok choy, stems cut off with leaves roughly quartered and separated

1 kabocha squash, sliced into 1-inch strips

1/4 cup miso paste

4 cups hot water

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame seed oil

Half the kabocha squash, and then cut into slices. Toss lightly with half of the sesame seed oil, then lightly salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400F oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute sliced mushrooms in garlic and remaining sesame seed oil. Add the soy sauce, then cook until half of the liquid is absorbed. Add the bok choy, then turn off heat.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a kettle. Measure out 1/4 cup miso paste and add to a large 4-cup measure. Add boiling water to bring the total volume to 4 cups. Stir, then pour over the vegetable mixture. Stir the greens until they are well wilted.

Once the kabocha squash is finished roasting, remove from oven and gently peel back the skin with a fork. Cut into chunks and add to soup. Bring soup back to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir and serve warm.

April 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm 2 comments

Winter Comfort Food

If seasons had personalities, I have decided that winter is mean and spiteful. It always decides to dump 18 inches of snow on you when you least expect or want it, canceling flights and travel plans and trapping you inside! Then you are cooped up and cold from all of the snow shoveling, there is nothing to stand between you and your insatiable carb-y comfort food cravings. Not like this happened to me recently or anything…

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Comfort food does not have to be a diet deal-breaker, however. Take this rice bowl inspired by Post Punk Vegan Kitchen for example! The brown rice provides a starchy base to give the dish a healthy weight. The black-eyed peas and soy chorizo come together to give the warmth and heartiness that marks all good chilis. The original recipe doesn’t call for the chorizo, but I splurged at the grocery store in my pre-blizzard stocking up. I love the added flavor and texture that it gives the beans, which I successfully cooked in my slow-cooker! (Seriously, this trick is life-changing. Play around with this tutorial. You may never buy canned beans again!) The greens add volume and nutrition that is missing from many comforting favorites. My favorite part, however, is the hot sauce! I interpreted the sauce to use what I had on hand, and I could literally eat this from the food processor. I love anything spicy! There is so much flavor and heat to this dish that you don’t miss the cheese that marks many heavy winter favorites.

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You can’t get me, winter blues!

Question: What do you crave when it is cold and snowy?

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Spicy Winter Greens with Black Eyed Peas and Rice

inspired by PPK, serves 4-6

Beans:

1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked in 4 cups water with 3 bay leaves for 5 hours on low in a slow cooker

1 package soy chorizo, crumbled

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp liquid smoke (optional)

Crumble the soy chorizo into a hot frying pan and brown. Add the drained cooked beans, chopped parsley, and liquid smoke and stir.

Greens:

1 lb bunch collard greens, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 tsp garlic powder

salt to taste

Saute red onion in olive oil until soft. Add half of the greens and all of the water and heat until wilted. Add the other half of the greens. Season with vinegar, garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat until greens are soft and water is evaporated.

Hot Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot

1/3 cup water

1 tsp garlic powder

Drain cashews. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

To serve:

Fill bottom of bowl with 1 serving cooked brown rice. Top with greens and beans. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp hot sauce. Enjoy!

February 21, 2013 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Stuffed Delicata Squash

Recipes come to you in the strangest and most inappropriate of places… the shower, during exams, during church… However, after a long time of feeling stuck in a rut in the kitchen, I was thankful for some new ideas this weekend! When I first started receiving my Boston Organics box, I would often have no clue what to do with some of the vegetables. Collard greens, kale, delicata squash? I had never seen some of these things! In fact, my lack of random veggie knowledge is what introduced me to the blog world. However, this is my third fall receiving the box, so few veggies take me by surprise anymore. This has led to me repeating recipes (not always a bad thing) and feeling rather un-creative in the kitchen. Lately, I have started playing with new spices and flavor profiles instead of new veggies to keep my meals interesting! And thus, this recipe was born.

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I originally wanted to use peas to mimic an Indian rice dish that a friend of mine makes, but none were to be found in my freezer. I saw, instead, a half of a zucchini leftover from another dish that was just begging to be finished. Summer and fall squash does not make for the most seasonal of combinations, so replace as you wish with peas or some other green veggie! The candied ginger is homemade and adds a great sweetness, and together with the cranberries play off well from the spicy garam masala. The Indian flare takes this out of my comfort zone, from more typical Italian and American herbs to a more exotic (to me) flavor profile. A sprinkle or two of goat cheese would also be welcomed if you aren’t looking to keep this vegan! This recipe invites playfulness, so try it the next time you are looking for some kitchen fun!

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Stuffed Delicata Squash

serves 4

2 medium delicata squash (about 1 lb)

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup zucchini, shredded

1 tbsp candied ginger, minced

2 tbsp dried cranberries

1/2 cup chickpeas

1 tbsp garam masala

pinch salt to taste

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mix with shredded zucchini, ginger, cranberries, chickpeas and garam masala. Adjust salt to taste. Split delicate squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon. (You can save the seeds to roast like pumpkin seeds, but there is a lot of string to pick through). Fill each squash with several spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish and cover. Bake in a 350F oven, covered, for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Serve as a main dish with a side salad or as a side for a special meal! (Note: the delicata squash has a “delicate” skin that can be eaten!)

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October 25, 2012 at 7:00 am 5 comments

It’s Fall Y’all: Apple

Recently gone apple picking and have a sudden abundance of apples and no idea what to do with them? Or did the bargain bags at the grocery store simply look too good to pass up, but now you can’t stomach one more apple with your lunch? Yeah… me too! The hallmark of fall in New England to me is the apple craze that covers the region. Such an abundance of great, local fruit is too good to pass up! Even friends who never bake suddenly come running for ideas of what to do with their bounty. I haven’t had the chance to go apple picking this year, and am probably a bit late in the season. I gave up on the idea when a friend posted this on Instagram at the beginning of the week!

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“Apple Death Valley”

I have started getting more great local apples in my Boston Organics box, though! My most recent apple obsession is homemade apple chips. I have loved the store-bought variety for years, but they are so expensive and laden with hidden sugars if you aren’t careful. When I saw this idea, I could hardly wait for apple season! It is simple: take a mandoline to thinly slice your apples, coat them in cinnamon, and then bake them at 225F for 2-2 1/2 hours. The result is a naturally sweet, crispy fall snack that livens up your standard after lunch snack!

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Trail mix with homemade apple chips, pumpkin pie roasted almonds and almond butter granola!

In case that isn’t enough for you, here are some apple recipes I tried out last year…

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Cran-Apple Oats

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Sugar-Free Apple Crisp

…and some recipes I have my eye on!

Apple Braid

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Question: What is your favorite apple recipe?

October 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm 5 comments

It’s Fall Y’all: Pumpkin

Fall is definitely my favorite season. This was confirmed so many times this week: making fall snacks rich with cinnamon, taking a walk through Beacon Hill in the crisp chill of autumn with smells of fireplaces and fall leaves in the air, seeing all of the rich reds and oranges and yellows that fill the trees on my way to work. I love this season! This past weekend, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen making some fall treats to last me for the upcoming weeks. So look forward to some fall themed posts coming your way! Unfortunately, finding time to write about what I have been creating has been my limiting step as of late…

First up: pumpkin! It is all over the blog world right now – pumpkin in every baked good, breakfast treat, soup, and stew… wherever you can think to look, you can find pumpkin! I decided to be adventurous this year and roast my own pumpkin…from scratch! I did this once before I was blogging, and thought it was a fun process… boy, did I forget how much extra work it is! The beauty of thick-skinned pumpkins and squashes is that you can buy them, keep them as a centerpiece for a few weeks, and then roast them when you have time! Small, sugar pumpkins make the best for roasting, but the seeds of carving pumpkins are delicious too!

To roast a pumpkin, slice the top off, scoop out the seeds and strings, and then season with a bit of butter, salt and pepper. Roast it until it is soft at 350F – about an hour and a half. Then, peel the skin off and use the flesh for soups, stews, or puree to make your own un-canned pumpkin! The interesting thing about pumpkin is that the flavor is very mild. Most people associate pumpkin flavor with pumpkin pie, but the pie is made by the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Take that away and pumpkin itself is pretty mild. That also makes it very versatile if you have an open mind about what it should taste like!

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For a great pumpkin soup, try this spiced up version: Coconut Pumpkin Soup. This was my first pumpkin soup adventure and I would make it again! I am not quite sure what the equivalent of canned pumpkin would be since I used the whole pumpkin method. It has a great Thai flavor profile, thanks to the coconut milk (I used the lighter, boxed kind, 4 cups, in place of cans), coriander, and ginger. You can adjust the spice level by using less chilis. Use vegan margarine or oil instead of butter and it is vegan as well! Also, if you aren’t a soy sauce fan, I’d suggest adding a pinch or two of salt to the soup while cooking! This is a great alternative for a fall soup with great homestyle bread, or as an appetizer.

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While you have the oven going, why not roast the seeds? Rinse them and shake them in some olive oil, salt and paprika. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast them at 350F for 20 minutes, stirring them once. This is easier than most people thing, and make for a great fall snack!

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Another great fall snack is pumpkin pie roasted almonds. I made them this weekend and seriously cannot stop eating them. If you are an almond fan, this is a healthier (and cheaper) way to have a sweet and salty snack than most of the pre-packaged varieties!

In case that isn’t enough for you, here are some pumpkin recipes I tried out last year…

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Pumpkin Brownie Pie

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Almond Oatmeal

…and some recipes I have my eye on!

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Garlic Knots

Pumpkin Scones

Question: What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

October 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm 1 comment

Snapshots from Life

Life has had more than a few new adventures for me in the last several months. I passed the first step of my board exams, started my third year clerkships (and completed the two hardest rotations!), and have begun to transition from being a book-based student to an apprentice. My days look dramatically different, and there has had to be some change to accommodate that. While I will never fully be able to settle into routine since my clerkships rotate on a close to monthly basis, I am starting to get the hang of “going to work” every day. I have never been happier to wake up each morning, excited to see what challenges face me and new things there are to learn. My days might be long and arduous, but even on the most difficult of days I know that I have made the right decision.

My personal life has also started to change as well. I have been dating my boyfriend for 5 months now and could not be happier. He has been a friend and constant source of encouragement for me as I face the shifting demands of third year of medical school. While we are best friends and have a lot in common, our thoughts on food are pretty opposite. He is a carnivore by nature and would be happy eating steak and eggs for the rest of his life if he could. He has been following the Paleo diet for the past few months, successfully losing 20+ pounds and gaining a substantial amount of muscle. This has forced me to do some reading and further research into healthy diets, and has left me with a softer and more moderate view towards food choices. My view on vegetables will never change: they are the cornerstone of a healthy diet, whether you are trying to lose or sustain your weight. However, there is good evidence to support that a sugar and carbohydrate heavy diet can be just as dangerous as a diet rich in red meat. I have also learned that diets lower in dairy consumption have also been shown to be healthier. My conclusion, not far off from where I started, is that life is all about balance. A healthy lifestyle is more than what we put in our body, it is also about gaining joy from what we eat and with whom we share our meals. Where does that leave me? I guess I am moving towards a more “flexitarian” lifestyle. I still cook and eat vegetarian/vegan meals at home. My diet is still based off of real foods. I have started using less dairy and wheat and have shifted to more whole grains like quinoa and farro. When I am in a giving mood, I will make my boyfriend a “side” of meat. When we go out, I will often choose the seafood option from the menu, since these tend to be healthier, less cheese-laden, and more creative. Living in New England means there is too much good, locally caught seafood to pass up. I am learning to let go of the rigid definitions of healthy eating that I have held, and to embrace enjoying food more fully as a cultural and creative outlet.

Outside of the hospital, I have still had time for a few fun adventures. To tie up a wordy post, I will leave you with a few pictures of the summer I squeezed in around rotations!

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Girls night out and reunion with a few of my college friends!

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Hiking in Western MA

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Spending time with my neighborhood family

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My birthday beach picnic!

September 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

Red Wine Risotto

Sometimes, there is nothing more satisfying than making a delicious and healthy gourmet meal at home after a long day at work. Other times, I cannot stand to be on my feet for two more minutes and will gladly eat eggs or chips and salsa for dinner. Needless to say, my attitude towards cooking has been slightly bipolar over the past month while on my surgery rotation. The mornings are early, the days run long, and it is a physically demanding job. After running around on my feet all day, standing perfectly still while retracting or driving the camera in the OR, and constantly being questioned to flesh out my comprehension of disease and surgical interventions, more often than not I come home completely exhausted.

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However, sometimes cooking a meal at home is exactly what the doctor ordered to remedy a stressful day. Cooking is my creative outlet. A place where I can experiment and the results will only cost food. The kitchen is now a place where I am confident that I know that I am competent, a feeling that is fleeting as a third year student. This recipe was born from a stressful day on my surgery rotation. My friend came for dinner to vent about our day, and we found solace and comfort in the creative process and constant attention that this risotto required. I have seen red wine risottos before, and had good results using farro as a base in the past, so decided to combine a few recipes I have made in the past to achieve this most delicious result. Hands down, this is the best recipe I have made all summer. It is perfect for the chilly fall evenings that are creeping around the corner, and can fix even the worst of bad days in just a few bites. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

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Red Wine Risotto with Farro and Mushrooms

serves 4

8oz package mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup red wine

1 small onion, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cup farro (or arborio rice)

1/2 cup red wine

4 cups veg stock

1 tbsp dried parsley

shredded Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

Begin by heating garlic and olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms for several minutes, until they begin to soften. Add 1/4 cup red wine and simmer until liquid reduces. In a separate pot, saute onions in remaining olive oil. Add farro and remaining red wine. When all liquid has absorbed, add 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Add the broth in 1/2 cup increments until all of the broth has been added and absorbed. The farro should have a chewy but soft consistency when fully cooked. Stir in the mushrooms and parsley. Heat through for 2-3 more minutes. Serve over wilted spinach with Parmesan cheese to taste.

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September 8, 2012 at 10:04 am 3 comments

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