Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bread


How do you feel about New Year's resolutions?  I'm a little obsessed with them at the moment.  I'm also a little obsessed with cranberries.  It's kind of a problem.

So how about those resolutions?  Big fan of 'em or resolution hater?  Do you prefer silly resolutions or serious ones?  I am one of those weirdos that is always working on goal lists so, of course, yearly resolutions are right up my alley.

I've always liked New Year's because it is a fresh start.  And, any holiday that motivates people (including myself!) to treat their bodies better and focus on their health?  That's a holiday to celebrate.

For 2010 I had the usual round of resolutions (work out more often, save money) along with a couple of more challenging ones: be more positive, give myself more credit, and live my life from a place of possibility rather than fear.  I really liked that last one so I'm keeping it for 2011.  It reminds me to try new things, push my own boundaries of what scares me, and always leads to great and unexpected experiences. 

What's on your list for 2011?  Would you be willing to share it with me?  Here is what I came up with:
  • Live my life from a place of possibility rather than fear.
  • Treat my body like the precious resource it is.
  • Connect more with those I love.
  • Take more quiet time for myself.
  • Push my athletic boundaries.
  • Have more fun.
Oh, and add cranberries to more recipes.  They're good.

This bread is an adaptation of my Not-Your-Average-Pumpkin-Bread recipe. As you may have guessed, this is also not-your-average cranberry apple pumpkin bread. Get ready.

What I love most about this bread is that I don't feel guilty when I'm eating it.  Since I usually end up eating a majority of what I bake (unless I promptly give it away), I try to use the healthiest and freshest ingredients possible. The only downfall about this bread is that it can be a little soft fresh from the oven, but I like it best after it's been sitting in the fridge overnight anyway.  See you in the New Year!

Adapted from Holistic Nutrition Bytes

1 1/2 cups flour of your choice (I used a combination of spelt and white whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
dash cloves
1 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with enough hot water to make 1/2 cup
2 Tbs water
1/2 cup agave
3 tbs applesauce
handful of chopped walnuts for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease loaf pan. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

Puree pumpkin, flaxseed meal mixture, coconut oil, water, agave nectar, fresh ginger, and applesauce in blender until smooth. Mix flour mixture with puree until just combined and pour into the pan.

Sprinkle a few walnuts on top, if desired.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until an toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quinoa Cakes with Sweet and Spicy Corn Relish


I don't know about you, but I probably had more sugar over this past month than in the last 12 months combined.  It's time to get back to some healthy eating in these parts.

In other news, there have been some recent changes around here.  You might have already noticed, but the web address has changed.  You can now find this blog at: www.fortheloveoffoodblog.com/

It's nice and official looking, huh?

If you are an email subscriber or reading this on a feed, everything should be up and running smoothly.  (If not, please leave me a comment or send me an email at: livelovefeast[at]gmail[dot]com)  And if you're not already a subscriber and would like to be, please venture over to the right side of the blog and sign up. You can also find a link there to the new Facebook and Twitter pages as well.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

These quinoa cakes are super delicious and adorable.  I really love cute finger food and these are the perfect remedy to keep you (and me!) away from the vegan brownies at a New Year's party.  They are also yummy at brunch or as an entree paired with a salad or some baked tempeh. They are gluten and soy-free and, contrary to what you might think of when you hear the word "cake," they don't involve sugar except for a little maple syrup in the relish.


My directions below call for a standard size muffin-pan for baking, but if you are serving these as purely finger food you might want to use a mini muffin pan (just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly).  The challenge with making these is that if they are not cooked long enough they will not hold together.  However, if you cook them too much then you end up with crunchy quinoa.  In my oven, longer than 25 minutes seemed to be when things started to get too crispy.

I cooked my first trial batch for 30 minutes and none of them fell apart, but the outside layer was a little too crunchy.  To remedy this, I put them (while still hot) in a glass storage container and let them cool in the fridge for a few hours.  The trapped steam softened the quinoa up perfectly and none of the cakes fell apart.  This is now my preferred method of making them, but if you will be serving them straight from the oven be sure to cook them for 20-25 minutes.  Just know that you will probably lose one or two to crumbling. 


Serves 4 as an entree or about 6-8 as an appetizer. 

Quinoa Cakes
Makes 12 quinoa cakes.  

1 cup quinoa, cooked and then cooled
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
egg replacer for 3 eggs (I used Ener-G brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cold quinoa with paprika, cumin, spinach, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add egg replacer and mix together.  

Add 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture to each muffin cup.  Press down a little on the top so it is flat and even. 

Cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the tops are just turning brown and cakes are fully formed. Remove from oven, cool, and then flip the muffin tin over onto a baking sheet.  Your quinoa cakes are ready!

Sweet and Spicy Corn Relish
Inspired by Herbivoracious' recipe. 

1/4 tsp lime zest
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 tsp red chile pepper flakes (if you want this less spicy, use 1/2 tsp or leave it out entirely)
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 cup corn kernels
1 small onion, diced finely
olive oil 
salt and pepper

Saute onion and red chile pepper flakes in a little olive oil over medium heat until the onion is just turning brown.  Add the corn and a little more olive oil as necessary.  Saute for about 5 more minutes. 

Mix the lime juice, zest, cilantro, maple syrup, and corn mixture together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over the quinoa cakes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies


There is nothing I hate more than last-minute baking... during the holidays... when your final product tastes like $*#&... and you have now run out of ingredients.  Not that I would know what that's like, or anything...

The nonprofit I work for has an awesome tradition of having the staff bake holiday cookies for our clients to take home.  There's nothing I would love to do more than give a small gesture of light in these dark times.

On my way out the door of the office someone asked if I had signed up to bake cookies for tomorrow.  With a guilty conscience, I replied no.  In my defense, I figured that no one would want vegan cookies which I would probably make with spelt flour and agave.  But, I soon learned that the person that I was talking to happened to be a wheat-free vegan... so all my excuses flew out the window.

I felt good on the way home knowing that I had just picked up a new tub of Earth Balance the night before.  I had the supplies, I had a little time, and I honestly wanted to do it.

Then I got in my kitchen and everything fell apart.  My oatmeal cookies wouldn't hold together... then a batch burned... heck, my bag of compost even spilled on the counter.  It was a rough night.

Around 10 pm, out of Earth Balance and almost out of patience, I asked Ashley to go to the store and buy cookie dough.  Yes, pre-made cookie dough.  It was an all-time low.

Instead, she returned with another tub of Earth Balance and some encouragement... and cookie dough as a back-up.  These are what resulted.

Happy holidays to you and yours.  


To spare you some pain and heartbreak, here are some important lessons I learned:
  • When a recipe says that your margarine (or butter) should be softened, don't melt it -- especially on accident.  Besides, that would be dumb.  Who would do that anyway?
  • Keep your cool.  In baking, the more you get frustrated the worse the result.  Take a mandatory time-out if you're starting to lose it. 
  • Different cookie sheets cook cookies differently... a little fun-fact I learned after my kitchen filled up with the lovely smell of burnt cookies.  Yum.  Cooking with cookie sheets that do not have edges require less time than cooking with cookie sheets that do.  Now you know.   
  • And finally, remember to give thanks to your kitchen-support team.  You know, the people that are willing to run out to the store at 10:30 pm at night for supplies.  You rock. 
Adapted from The Best Recipes Cookbook
Makes about a dozen and a half cookies.

1 1/4 cups Earth Balance, softened
1 1/2 cups (vegan) sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Egg-replacer for 2 eggs
2 1/4 cups oatmeal
1 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

In large bowl, beat earth balance and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  (I did this by hand but you could use a mixer at medium speed.)  Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and egg replacer; beat until just blended, occasionally scarping bowl with spatula. Stir in oats, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Use a little less than 1/4 cup of dough and form into a nice cookie shape and flatten just a bit. Place on the ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.  Bake 350 degrees until golden about 10-12 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wintertime Salad with Hearty Dressing


Have you ever heard of the Reverb project?  I came across it on another blog and instantly fell in love with it.  It is a series of questions and prompts posted daily in December to help you reflect on the past year.  It was started by Gwen Bell and you can join the fun by posting on your blog or adding your thoughts in my comments below. Since I haven't been answering the questions here daily I thought it might be fun to answer a few at a time. 

One Word. 
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

That's an easy one:  food.  I don't think you need me to explain more about that.  I mean, we are here together on a food blog, aren't we?

But, coming up with a word for 2011 was a bit tougher.  After much thought I finally settled on health, but happiness and friendships were close seconds.  Of course, if at the end of 2011 my word ends up being food yet again, I won't be disappointed.

Appreciate 
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? 

This year, more than any other year, I have grown to fully appreciate my body.  This year my body survived a gallstone diagnosis, digestive pain, a twisted ankle, a severe shoulder injury, constant shin splits, random foot and knee pain... and still managed to hang in there.  Thank you, body.  You rock. I express my gratitude for you daily by eating the most nutritious foods I can and giving you exercise and proper rest.

There are so many other things to be grateful for too.  I am so appreciative to live in the Pacific Northwest and have access to some of the most amazing and delicious fruits and vegetables.  I try to express this gratitude by eating locally, seasonally, and organically if possible.  This earth is so beautiful and I hope to be a part of keeping it that way.


5 Minutes 
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

This is tough.  Let's see... The first time I tasted Ethiopian food.  Graduating from Antioch in June and feeling completely overwhelmed and confused by life.  My first bike ride to downtown Seattle... all by myself!  All of the delicious raw food I ate in July (remember this salad and this summer gazpacho? Yum.)  Finding an amazing job that fulfills my heart and soul.  Bringing home my cat. Getting together with great friends.  Picking blueberries in a field and freaking out at the sight of two garden snakes.  Using crutches for the first time.  Joining an amazing CSA.  Eating at Vita Cafe in Portland. Chopping off 8 inches of my hair.  Going to my first PCC Cooks class.  Getting a passport, even without going anywhere.  Going to a pumpkin patch.  This ice cream.  Learning to cook beans from scratch.  Watching the first snowfakes of 2010 fall.  Discovering Plum Bistro on Capitol Hill.  Oh, and starting this blog.  Thanks for spending the year with me.


I know that salad is not the first thing many people crave in the dead middle of winter.  However, if you use winter fruits and greens and pair it with a hearty dressing, it's almost better than soup.  This salad is sweet with a tangy twist because of the cranberries and vinegar in the dressing.  Instead of spinach you can use other greens like kale, but if they are thick greens I would recommend massaging the dressing into the leaves and letting it sit a bit to soften before serving.  Enjoy it while you're curled up next to the fireplace or, in my case, apartment heater.

Wintertime Salad:
Serves 4
4 cups spinach (or other greens)
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
2 clementines, divided into slices
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, sliced in half 
1 avocado

Hearty Dressing:
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup + 2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 Tbs water

Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat.  Add your onions and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk the garlic and onions together with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water, basil, and rosemary. Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  If necessary, add a little more water and/or olive oil.

Preparation:
Add one cup of greens to each plate and top with clementine slices, a handful of pomegranate seeds, some cranberries and a quarter of the avocado, sliced.  Drizzle dressing over the top.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Mushroom Gravy


This is the first time I have posted a recipe on this blog that contains mushrooms.  Depending on where you stand on the mushroom issue, I'm sure you are either delighted or disgusted.  I'll do my best to appease you either way.

For years, mushrooms have been one of the few foods that myself and Ashley have shared a mutual hatred for.  In fact, don't get Ashley started on a rant about mushrooms. More than one of our mushroom-loving friends have been subjected to her argument of "How can you eat mushrooms?  Do you know where they grow? Why would you eat something that grows in $h&t?" I guess you can't argue with that. 

Nonetheless, if you happen to be vegan and ever want to eat out in this town, you are constantly subjected to mushrooms.  As a result of this unavoidable repeated exposure, I have grown to like them.  At least, for the most part.  Ashley has continued to stand by her convictions.  But then came this gravy.

This gravy is so good that I didn't mention the mushrooms so that Ashley would try it.  If you are someone that also cooks for a picky eater, I am sure that you too have learned the art of food fibbing.  Well, it worked.  Ashley now has a new favorite food and I have my first mushroom recipe.


Adapted from this Easy Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy Recipe

1 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the Earth Balance and add the chopped onion and mushrooms.  Saute for two minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add the broth, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce.  Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat.

Add sage, thyme, basil, and salt and pepper, stirring constantly.  Allow to cook for 6 minutes, stirring regularly.  Pour into a blender and blend until smooth (you can also blend less for a chunkier gravy or skip this step entirely).  Return to the skillet and let simmer for 4 more minutes then remove from heat and serve. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Broccoli with Garlic Chili Sauce


For my job, I have been doing a lot of research on how parents should deal with children that have picky eating habits.  Apparently it can take 10 - 15 exposures before a child is curious enough to try a new vegetable for the first time.  The best practices are to be patient, engage children in new foods at times other than meals (like shopping at the market or food preparation), don't bribe them, and never force a child to finish their plate.  Instead, ask them to try a bite and leave it at that.  The more familiar a child becomes with a vegetable, the more likely they are to eat it and begin to love it.  Any parents want to weigh in on this one?

Since I don't have children, I immediately thought of how to use this information on the only picky eater in my life:  Ashley.  Ashley hates broccoli (along with most vegetables), but I am patiently working on it.  I figure this recipe will help. 

I don't know about you, but I could live off of broccoli.  Broccoli is my go-to vegetable and it's hard for me to grow tired of eating it.  I understand that not many other people have this kind of love-affair with broccoli.  In fact, I can easily name a handful of people in my life that have been creeped out by my weird broccoli habits... you know, just the usual raw broccoli for breakfast, sneaking broccoli into a Storm basketball game for dinner, and (ok, I will admit this was not very good) drinking a broccoli smoothie.

If you are a broccoli fan I'm sure that you will love it with this garlic chili sauce, which is just the right amount of sweet and spicy.  If you are not a fan, just try a bite.  I promise to be patient. 


Adapted from this Sweet Garlic Sauce recipe
Serves 4.

4 cups broccoli florets (and chopped stems, if desired)
2 cups vegetable broth
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1-2 Tbs agave syrup (depending on level of sweetness desired)
2 tsps cornstarch

Bring your vegetable broth to a boil.  Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper and agave, stirring well. Add the cornstarch, a little at a time and mix well to avoid making clumps (I found this easiest to do by using a whisk).  Cook for 6 - 8 minutes on low heat until sauce thickens. 

Meanwhile, steam your broccoli florets (and chopped stems, if desired) for 3 minutes until tender.

Serve broccoli and garlic chili sauce with quinoa, brown rice, or some tempeh.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Glazed Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Cakes


What I'm about to tell you will change your life.  Whether it is a change for better or worse depends on how you feel about sugar. 

I wish someone had warned me.  I wish someone had told me that I was hand-crafting my own demise.

See, there are these things called donuts.  Maybe you've heard of 'em?  But then there are these other things called hot fresh donuts - straight from your own oven!  That's when everything started to fall apart.

I got this crazy idea to make some donuts for a holiday get-together.  Donuts would be nice, I thought.  Something special.  So I crawled out of bed that morning, flipped through some cookbooks, and started baking.  Since I didn't have a donut pan, I thought it would be cute to make little donut cakes.  I even managed to finish two batches before heading out the door to work. 

I'm sure this all sounds great.  I made some donuts, everyone loved them, whoo-hoo.  But you don't understand.  They are very addictive.  And they keep calling my name.  It's now my sixth sense... I hear donuts. 

I promise that I have done other things this week besides make donuts and eat them.  But, you don't want to hear about any of that.  You want to hear about how I've been stuffing my face with glazed cinnamon-sugar donut cakes and eating too many sweets.  See, far more interesting. 

The beauty - and danger - of these is that you don't need any fancy donut equipment.  No donut pan. No special fryer.  Just a simple muffin pan and an oven.  See, told you I'd change your life today. 


Donut recipe from Vegan Yum Yum
Makes 20 donuts

Donut Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (vegan) sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tiny pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Egg replacer for 1 egg (I used Ener-G brand)
4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon with a whisk to mix thoroughly. 

Combine the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, egg replacer, and margarine in a small saucepan over low heat and mix until the margarine is melted.  The mixture should not get too hot - you should be able to stick your finger in the mixture and feel slightly warm (if you burn yourself it's too hot for the dough).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  It should form a very soft dough or thick batter.

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out the dough into an ungreased, nonstick mini-donut (or muffin) pan.  Smooth out the top of the donuts with your fingers.  This will make for more even, prettier doughnuts. 

Bake for 12 minutes until they are almost browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean.  Invert the pan over a cutting board and release the donuts. 

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes while you are assembling your glaze and sugar (see my recipe below).  Brush with glaze (you can do the entire doughnut or just the tops) and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Serve warm.

Glaze
1/2 cup powdered (vegan) sugar
1 Tbs soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and brush on donuts.  

Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup (vegan) sugar
2 Tbs cinnamon (depending upon your taste)

Mix together and sprinkle over glazed donuts. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random Act of Kindness Sugar Cookies

I think there's something really nice about doing nice things for other people.  Unexpected nice things to be exact.

The other morning I came home from the gym to find Ashley not only awake and out of bed at 7 am, but cleaning the apartment.  Not to exaggerate, but that was the highlight of the week.  I asked her what she was doing and she told me that she wanted to do something for me that I would really appreciate.  There is nothing that I appreciate more than not having to clean up my own mess.

Of course, I had to return the favor and show Ashley appreciation - in her terms - by baking cookies.  In fact, if I had to describe Ashley in two words they would probably be: sugar and cookies.  Maybe butter and bacon would go somewhere in there as well. 

Since these were for a non-vegan sugar hound, I stuck with the less-than-helathy all-purpose flour and white sugar.  I guess sugar cookies wouldn't be the same with agave anyways.


Adapted from Joy The Baker's Giant Vanilla Sugar Cookies

makes 1 dozen 4-inch cookies or 2 dozen 2-inch cookies
Note: the original directions call for a mixer, but I did mine by hand.

1/2 cup Earth Balance, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola or sunflower oil
1/2 cup vegan sugar, plus additional for sugaring tops
1/2 cup vegan powdered sugar
Egg-replacer for 1 egg (I used Ener-G brand)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil, or grease generously with cooking spray.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the Earth Balance in a large bowl on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the vegetable oil. It may not fully incorporate with the Earth Balance, but that’s ok. Add the sugar, powdered sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla, beating on medium speed until each ingredient is completely incorporated.

Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt all at once using a wooden spoon or the mixer set on low.
The dough will be soft.  Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes just so it’s easier to handle.
For large cookies, dollop 2 Tablespoons of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. For smaller cookies use 1 Tablespoon for each cookie. Press the dough evenly with your fingers or palm to 1/4-inch thickness. Generously sprinkle sugar on top of the cookie dough.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes for larger cookies or 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely. The cookies will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Simple Roasted Vegetables


Some weekends are so amazing and so epic that you have to document them.  Through words, pictures, stories, or never-forgotten memories.  Then there are the other weekends.  The low-key, lazy, restful ones that you forget about as soon as they are over.  Sometimes it's good to document those too.  The ones that involve plaid flannels and fuzzy socks.  That's a good weekend in my book.


Ashley's had a cold all week and it's finally gotten to me too.  I came home on Friday, slipped on some PJs, and never looked back. 


I realized today that you know a lot about my life, but there are some things I've been hiding from you.  I'm sneaky like that.  Like how the past few weeks I've spent more time lying on my couch than in the kitchen.  I promise it's nothing personal.  Or, how I adore chocolate... and once in a while "forget" to check the label to see if it contains dairy.  Forgive me, please?


Or how I cannot be trusted with my credit card in plant shops.  Our entire apartment and porch is overflowing with green plant life and I still cannot make any promises when I go to a store involving any plants, garden gear, or cute pots.  It's one of my biggest weaknesses and it drives Ashley crazy. 


I also have a big weakness for roasted vegetables, especially this time of year when root vegetables are plentiful and oh-so-fresh. I used Brussels sprouts, carrots, and yams in this batch, but potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, onions, and fennel are all delicious as well.

Simple Roasted Vegetables
Serves 2

4 cups of vegetables, sliced (It's best to cut Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli florets in half, and cut any other vegetables into about 2-inch pieces)
1 - 2 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Other spices as desired (fresh thyme, dried sage, and dried basil are all delicious) 
1 - 2 Tbs oil (for high heat I usually use canola or grapeseed oil)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss vegetables with oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, and any other spices desired.  Lay flat on baking sheet in a single layer.  Cook for 25 - 30 minutes, turning vegetables 2-3 times while cooking.  Vegetables are done when they are tender, but not mushy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Miso Soup for the Soul

This soup is what you turn to when you do something bad.  Something bad?  Yes, something bad.  Something bad involving eating five mini cupcakes before dinner.  Just because they're vegan doesn't mean that you can get away with that.  Trust me.

I started a new job this week and I've been counting my blessings daily.  I'm so fortunate to have been with such a great organization previous to this and now have this amazing opportunity in front of me.  I'm still working in the nonprofit sector, but my new job involves coordinating a whole foods farm-to-table meal program for local day cares, shelters, and senior centers.  The organization just a got a grant through the USDA so they are expanding their program to include nutritional education with the kids and more involvement with local farms.  I honestly can't believe I'm getting paid to be a part of this.  It's awesome work. 

How about we talk about food some more?  I suppose you don't have to do something bad to deserve this miso soup.  You could simply make it because you want to do something good for your body (unlike me today).  This soup is easy-to-make and combines the medicinal benefits of sea vegetables and miso.  Since miso is a living food, boiling it will destroy its beneficial enzymes, which is why the recipe calls for adding it in at the very end.  This recipe calls for wakame, which is a thin piece of seaweed that can be found fresh or dried.  It's different from nori (the dry, brittle sheets of seaweed used for sushi rolls), but you could also substitute nori if that's what you have on hand. 

From Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source by Terry Walters.

Serves 4.

6 cups water
3 carrots, sliced thinly into matchsticks
12 ounces extra firm silken tofu, diced
3 inch strip wakame, broken into small pieces
dash of tamari or shoyu
1/4 cup miso
2-3 scallions, chopped

In large pot over high heat bring water to boil. Add carrots, tofu, wakami, and tamari, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

In separate bowl, dissolve miso in 1/3 cup water. Ladle soup into individual bowls and stir 1 generous tablespoon of dissolved miso into each serving. Top with chopped scallions and serve.