Wednesday, April 4, 2012

CURRY CAULIFLOWER SOUP

It is an overcast day here, and I have some cauliflower in the refrigerator. I need something easy, filling, and interesting. So, out comes the Crockpot and the curry! I have some fresh bread rising as I type this. I am always surprised that my kids like curry, but I guess it makes sense. Curry leaves a sweet spice on your tongue well after it has been consumed.

Ingredients:
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups refrigerated coconut milk
2 cups water
1 med. head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 med. sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 package of extra firm silken tofu (Mori Nu)
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:
Place everything except the tofu and cilantro in the Crockpot, stir, and cook on low for 8 hours. Puree in batches with the tofu, and serve with cilantro on top. Don’t forget about the freshly baked bread!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

SWEET POTATO CURRY


At the end of the week, I am at my most creative. Mostly from necessity. That’s when the cupboards are bare and I have just have my staples and a mish mash of stragglers hanging about in my refrigerator. That’s when curries abound in my house. I love a good curry, and so do the kids - it is a little sweet, and not at all spicy. Sweet potatoes seem to beg for it as well. Pair it with some lentils and kale, and you have yourself a balanced meal with a complete protein and a lot of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention that it just plain tastes yummy!

Ingredients:
14 oz. can light coconut milk
½ cup dried lentils
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. curry powder

Directions:
Combine coconut milk and lentils in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add sweet potato and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add kale and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle curry and salt over top of kale mixture and continue cooking over low heat until the lentils are ready. When the lentils are ready, pour the lentil and coconut mixture into the frying pan with the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Remove from heat and serve.

ENCHILADA-DEE-DAS

I had some eggplant, tofu and wrinkly cherry tomatoes in the kitchen. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, make enchiladas, of course! Even without the cheese, these were absolutely addictive. My kids gobbled theirs down and my husband finished off the batch! So, I guess it was a winner.

Ingredients:
1 box silken tofu (Mori Nu)
1 bunch cilantro
1 ripe avocado
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
1 tsp. lime juice
½ tsp. salt
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 bag of Quorn chick’n strips
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup frozen corn
8 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
12 whole wheat tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place the eggplant strips on the sheet. Spray the tops with the non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until starting to brown a little on the edges. Chop into small cubes. Spray a 8”x11” casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a blender, add tofu, cilantro, avocado, garlic, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and chick’n strips. Cook until chick’n strips start to brown and the onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add cumin and paprika, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add eggplant and spinach and cook until the spinach just starts to wilt, about 2 more minutes. Add green chilies, tomatoes and corn and stir until just combined. Remove from heat. Spoon mixture into tortillas, roll and line up in casserole dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the tops and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with the tofu cilantro mixture.

BREAKFAST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I refer to these as breakfast cookies because my children occasionally ask for cookies for breakfast. I guess this isn’t so unusual. But, I usually acquiesce – and I don’t feel bad about (which is probably the unusual part). The reason? Well, these are packed with fruits and veggies, so I don’t feel so badly about throwing some chocolate chips their way too. Here is my best attempt to put together a healthy version of a beloved favorite.

Ingredients:
2 Tbs. flaxseed meal
4 Tbs. water
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 apple cored
1 carrot
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 small beet, peeled and cubed
2 tsp. maple extract
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 cup Earth Balance (butter substitute)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Place flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes. In a blender, combine the flaxseed meal mixture, spinach, apple, carrot, sweet potato, beet, maple extract and maple syrup and puree until smooth. In a mixer, cream butter and sugars until creamy. Pour in fruit and vegetable mixture from the blender and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add to mixer and blend thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop heaping tablespoons full of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until done (lightly touch the tops and if they aren't completely soft, they are done - don't let them get too brown). Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks until cool enough to eat. They don’t look exactly like the chocolate chip cookies to which you have likely become accustomed; however, they look a lot better than a bowl of veggies for breakfast!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

GREEN GARLICKY STICKS

In keeping with our belated St. Patrick’s Day meal theme, I decided that nothing goes better with fresh green pasta (topped with fresh green spinach pesto) than fresh green garlic bread. These are lovely and tasty.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups very hot water
1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
2 ½ tsp. active yeast
Garlic salt for dusting
 
Directions:
Pour hot water and spinach in a blender and puree. Pour spinach mixture and olive oil into a bread machine. Top with the flour. In one corner, pour in the sugar. In the opposite corner, pour in the salt. Dig a small well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast. Set the machine on “dough” setting. Start. (Mine takes 1 hour 50 minutes). When the timer goes off, let sit in the bread machine for 15 minutes. Take out and divide dough into 12 sections. On a lightly floured surface, gently form each ball into long sticks. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS KEY – spray the loaves with water every 3 minutes until done. After the first spray, lightly sprinkle the sticks with garlic salt. KEEP SPRAYING EVERY 3 MINUTES. Remove from oven. Spray one last time. Serve warm (though they are great cool as well).

INCREDIBLE (as in Hulk) DOUGHNUTS

We decided to make some cream-filled green doughnuts for dessert at our St. Patrick’s Day dinner celebration. The spinach only adds color and vitamins; it doesn’t change the doughnutty flavor.

Ingredients:
Doughnuts:
2 Tbs. flaxseed meal
4 Tbs. water
1 cup refrigerated coconut milk (heated 1 minute in microwave)
¼ cup hot water
2 Tbs. Earth Balance (butter substitute), melted
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
5 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbs. vital wheat gluten
3 tsp. instant active dry yeast
 
Filling:
½ cup water
1 Tbs. + 2 tsp. agar agar flakes
14 oz. canned coconut milk (not light)
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla powder
½ tsp. lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 banana
 
Directions:
Make the filling first (it takes a few hours to set in the fridge – I like to make it the night before). Soak agar agar in the water for 15 minutes. Put remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until incorporated. Pour agar agar into small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, stir constantly for 3 minutes. Immediately add mixture to the blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a Tupperware container and chill in the refrigerator until set. When ready to use, whisk it briefly. To make the doughnuts, combine flaxseed meal with 4 Tbs. water and let sit for 10 minutes. Puree spinach with ¼ cup hot water, warm milk and flaxseed meal mixture. Place all of the liquids in the bread pan of bread machine (except the filling), top with flour. In one corner, pour in the sugar; in the other corner, pour in the salt. Sprinkle on the nutmeg and gluten. Dig a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast. Set on the “dough” setting (mine takes 1 hour 50 minutes). When done, roll the dough out approximately 1/3” thick on a lightly-floured surface. Using a floured drinking glass cut out the doughnuts and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the doughnuts and let rise for an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the bottoms of the doughnuts are just golden. Remove from oven and let the doughnuts cool for 5 or more minutes before piping the filling into the doughnuts through the sides. When the doughnuts are cool, dust the tops with powdered sugar and serve.

SPINACH PESTO

What better to go with our green pasta than green pesto? This is a super easy, super yummy, super green recipe. You can store the portions you don’t use in the refrigerator (just add a little extra olive oil to the top to keep the top from discoloring), and topped freshly cooked pasta whenever you are in the mood for a quick, healthy, delicious dinner.

Ingredients:
4 cups lightly packed spinach leaves (4 oz.)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
Pinch of black pepper
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2/3 cup olive oil
 
Directions:
If you haven’t toasted the pine nuts, place them on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 6 minutes. Place spinach, lemon juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the pine nuts and pulse a few more times. With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Spoon desired amount over freshly cooked pasta or on crostinis.