Cook From Your Favorite Book–Part 2

So, it’s been a little while since I posted part one.  Part one had a link to all the the wonderful cook books that have provided sources of inspiration. In this post you will find photos of some the delicious dishes we shared and links to the recipes. I need to add some other words to my vocabulary because “delicious” does not always do these dishes justice!  Tempting, mouth-watering, delectable…. I wish I could fully convey to you to colors, the tastes, the textures, the aromas that we are treated to each month.  Cooking and eating without meat does NOT mean bland, boring or tasteless.  If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia Lowcountry, I invite you to join us and see for yourself. Some of the most talented and creative vegan-vegetarian-plant based-raw home chefs attend these gatherings. It is a true feast of the senses and the spirit.

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The Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake recipe can be found here. It is from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Oat flour was substituted for the all purpose flour used in the original recipe.  The Chickpea and Eggplant Kibeh can be found here.  Note the following changes to the original recipe: The fine bulgur was increased to 3/4 cups and the cumin was increased to 1/2 teaspoon. The sesame sauce was made by thinning hummus with meyer lemon juice instead of soy milk. Mushrooms were also added. Additional recipes can be found below.

Sweet & Sour Broccoli

Stir Fried Kale

Chewy Cherry Charger Balls

If you don’t see your recipe here…fell free to email it to me and I will add it. Enjoy!

Three Smoothie Recipes to Brighten Your Morning

Hello Meatless Mavens!

I have a confession, back in the olden days I used to be a Breakfast Barbarian. I knew breakfast was the most important meal of my day, so I thought the bigger the better and the more carbs the merrier. Oh yes, my mornings were incomplete without a couple of eggs, bacon, maybe a pancake (or two), and white toast spread with butter and topped with blackberry jam. In fact, the blackberry jam was probably the closest I got to ‘fruit’ back in those days. But once I became a vegetarian I started actually thinking about the food I was putting into my body. I realized most the food I ate consisted of carbs and more carbs with an occasional vegetable or fruit. Ugh!

So about 5 years ago I replaced my carb-laden breakfasts with fruit smoothies. I will tell you my mornings are much brighter and I feel so much better than when I was eating the SAD breakfast. The greatest concern I had when I switched to smoothies for breakfast was that I’d be starving mid-morning. I was surprised to find that I could make it to 1 pm without feeling hungry. I think consuming such nutrient dense food was the key.

Now there are a lot of pre-made smoothies on the market looking pretty in their plastic packaging. Plus they’re such an easy and convenient way to get your recommended daily fruit intake. Why bother making your own? First and foremost when you make your own you know exactly what’s in it. Second, many of the pre-made smoothies contain added sugar, preservatives and artificial colors, and they can be expensive. Finally, when you make your own you can mix and match a variety of ingredients to suit your individual taste

The recipes below can be made with a blender. Which is a good thing ‘cuz you will retain more of the fruit fiber. I always toss in a handful of spinach for extra vitamins/minerals. The surprising thing about spinach is that it doesn’t really change the flavor. And about two weeks ago, I started adding cilantro…I know that may sound bizarre, but I’m telling you it is Super Yum

So here are three recipes I like. Try one won’t you? Tell us what you think. Or share your favorite smoothie recipe in the comments below.

RED BERRY- DELICIOUS

¼ cup strawberries (hulled and chopped)

¼ cup raspberries

¼ cup blackberries

5 oz apple juice

Place all the fruits and juice into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass over ice. Easy peasy! Note: if you are using frozen fruit you probably don’t need to pour the mixture over ice.

KIWI KICKER

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and quartered

juice of ½ lime

½ cup strawberries

4 ½ oz strawberry-flavored yogurt or soy yogurt

3 ½ oz non-dairy milk

Place the kiwi, lime juice, strawberries, yogurt and milk in blender and blend until smooth. Serve in a glass over ice.

GRAPE-PINEAPPLE MEAN GREENIE

3 cups spinach (Try it! The spinach doesn’t really alter the flavor.)

1 cup grapes

1 cup pineapple

½ cut water

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

ALL HAIL KALE!

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Kale – beautiful and nutritious.

Let’s talk about kale shall we? A proud member of the cabbage family, kale is a righteous superfood just waiting to get inside your God pod and fill it full of wondrous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Kale packs a wicked nutritious punch. One cup raw kale has only 33 calories, no fat or cholesterol and provides 6% of your RDA for iron, 9% of calcium, 134% or Vitamin C, 206% of Vitamin A and an incredible 684% of Vitamin K! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming a diet rich in vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer. Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.

Kale is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese. The fiber content of the lovely cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

So, with all these fabulous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you’d be crazy not to incorporate more kale into your diet! Here’s how to pick it, store it, prep it, and eat it:

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When selecting go for firm, dark and richly colored leaves.

SELECTION

Kale is a cool weather vegetable. It can be found throughout the year in most markets, but its season runs from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring. When shopping for kale look for firm, dark and richly colored leaves (bluish-green or darker) with no yellowing or holes in the leaves. The steams should be hardy and moist. Smaller leaves tend to be more tender and have a milder flavor. In order to avoid harmful pesticides used during the growing of kale, choose organic!

STORAGE

Never wash kale before storing, this causes the leaves to go limp. It will last for several days in the refrigerator, but try to use it within 1 or 2 days after purchase. The longer it sits, the more bitter the leaves. Remove any excess moisture and store in an air-tight plastic bag.

Kale freezes well and actually will taste sweeter and more flavorful afterward. To freeze for a long period, blanch the leaves in boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until the leaves turn a bright green. Place in a colander and run under cold water. Remove any excess water by patting dry with a towel or set leaves out to dry in the open air. Place in freezer bags or other container. When needed, remove as many leaves as needed and thaw to room temperature.

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Wash kale only when ready to eat or cook, never before.

PREPARATION

To prepare your kale for eating wash the leaves in a sink full of water to remove any dirt. If the stems are very small and tender they can be cooked with the leaves. Stems that are thick, but still tender, can be cut off and cooked for a minute or two before leaves are added. Any thick, tough stalks should be discarded.

QUICK KALE TIPS

Quick cooking preserves kale’s nutrients, texture, color, and flavor. Chopped kale can be added to salads, soups, smoothies, stews, stir-frys, salads, casseroles or even as a topping for pizza. Substitute kale for spinach or collard greens in recipes.

  • Create a simple and delicious salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
  • Braise some chopped kale, add sliced apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
  • Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

FIVE SIMPLE KALE RECIPES

Crispy Kale Chips

North African Chickpea And Kale Soup

Summer Tomato Crostata with Kale Pesto

Sweet and Savory Kale

Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad

Note: Kale contains oxalates, a naturally occurring substance that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. So, avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.

*Statements on this web site are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

July Gathering and…..Exciting News!

First, the “Exciting News!”

I had such grandiose plans when I started this blog a year or so ago.  As my blogging friends out there know, researching and writing posts could easily be a full time job. So, this blog sort of fell by the wayside and became somewhat neglected. That is about to change! The news? Well, we now have a fantastic writer who will be contributing new posts on a regular basis. She is a creative writer, an inspired photographer and shares my passion for great, wholesome and nutritious foods. We are blessed that she has offered her talents and her time. With her contributions, this blog may begin to live up to the vision I had when it was first conceived. Great things are in store for this blog. So Welcome MMH! Welcome.

Now, on to the food….Our monthly gatherings continue to grow. We welcomed new faces this month as well as some who returned after a short hiatus. The food…well, that goes without saying. None of the additives, preservatives, colorings, etc., but ALL of the flavor. Without meat of course. There are some creative cooks out there and the caliber of food that shows up month after month continues to inspire. My favorite this month…a tough call, but I loved the Tu-no Salad. Enjoy the pictures, try the recipes and we hope to see you next month!

The Raw Curried Cabbage Salad recipe can be found here. The Tu-no Salad recipe can be found here, and the recipe for the Bliss Balls can be found by searching this blog–they were included in an earlier post.

June Gathering with Farmbag of the Lowcountry

We were honored in June to have as our guests Erik Lyons and Steve Howard of Farmbag of the Lowcountry (aka Local Farmbag). Although there are several local farmer’s markets in the area, I found I was having difficulty making it to any of them. That is where Local Farmbag comes in. They deliver organic and/or locally sources fruits and vegetables right to your front door. You can also include into your bag “add ins” which could be anything from artisan breads and cheeses or free-range eggs. Every Sunday, Erik sends out an email with the contents of the bag for that week and recipes using the fresh produce. I must say, they easily accommodate substitutions.  Don’t like cantaloupe? No problem! They even let you choose want produce you want more of to compensate. So Erik and Steve came to our gathering, made a tasty fresh corn salad using, talked about Local Farmbag and answered lots of questions–boy, were there lots of questions! In addition to what they do, these guys know a lot about gardening.

Moving on to the food. Although the food was plentiful, as usual, I do not have a lot of the recipes. I just don’t. One the most talked about recipes was for a Coconut-Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie. This was not the bland pie commonly found on Thanksgiving tables. This pie was bold, earthy and flavorful. Another dish bursting with flavor was the Plantain and Pinto Stew. In addition to plantains, which I loved, it had mix of tongue tingling smokiness from cumin and heat from jalapeños. Beets are abundant in the lowcountry this time of year. The sweetness of beets, was perfectly paired with a tangy mint vinaigrette and the saltiness of cheese in this Golden Beet Salad with Parsley Mint Vinaigrette. You will see from the pictures that red beets were substituted.

Enjoy the photos and the recipes! See you in July.

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Chickpea- A Vegan Quarterly

This is going to be short and sweet, because the best thing I can give you, is a link. Chickpea is a quarterly magazine filled with vegan goodness. Cara and Bob, the duo behind the blog Hipsterfood, wanted to create a beautiful and inspiring food magazine to showcase the vegan lifestyle and bring together the vegan community. I think they have succeeded, not only on that level, but in creating a magazine that anyone who cares about healthy and nourishing whole foods will enjoy. The magazine looks great and is brimming with recipes and articles. They have published 3 issues so far, with a fourth on the way. I looked through the Spring 2012 issue—they are all available free online or you can order a print copy.  At 95 pages (yep!) you will have plenty of recipes to try and articles to read until the next issue arrives. Check out their blog too…it’s pretty cool.

May Gathering & Recipes

The most popular posts are by far the ones where I post recipes.  Why is that?  Well, I think because of the role that food plays in our lives. Yes it nourishes us, but more than that, most people enjoy coming together over a good meal–breaking bread, if you will, while sharing stories and uniting over the things we have in common.  And that is why we gather each month. To come together with old friends, welcome new friends and to enjoy great food that does nourish our bodies, but also our hearts and spirits. If you happen to live in the Hilton Head/Beaufort/Savannah area, or will be visiting, we invite you to join us.

In May we gathered at The Preserve around the pool.We were honored to have Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture as our guest speaker. Not only is she a dear friend, she is a bright light with a remarkable story and a wealth of knowledge.

Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture speaking to the group about the benefits of acupuncture.

Cheryl treats emotional, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological and other conditions. If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia lowcountry and would like more information, send me a message and I will pass it on to Cheryl.

The food again this month was outstanding. I’m running out of adjectives to describe the great food. One stand out for me was the Three Sisters Farm Arugula & Sorrel Pesto. I loved the peppery bite from the arugula and it was just so fresh tasting. I think that may have been my first introduction to sorrel as well. But there were many other fantastic dishes.  Eating without meat is never boring!…at least not with this group!

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In addition to the recipes posted, there were Almond and Pecan cookies; Squash with chickpeas and marinated with basil, mint, dill, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil…; Roma tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil…; and an amazing Chocolate-Almond Biscotti based off of the Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti found from Veganomicon. You can find that recipe here.

Enjoy and we hope to see you soon!

Recipes from our Return To Roots Gathering

February’s gathering was a great one. We were joined by the dynamic and engaging Executive Chef Cathryn Matthes from Delisheee Yo. If you aren’t familiar, Delisheee Yo is located on Hilton Head. She began as a yogurt/smoothie shop but has quickly expanded to include lunch, Super Food snacks, and organic juices.  They also make and sell their own Kombucha. We were treated to a spring roll demonstration and taste test and a short how-to of making Kombucha. We are hoping to have her back this month for an actual Kombucha demonstration.

Chef Cathryn demonstrating making vegetarian spring rolls:

Kombucha (yum!)

Now to the recipes…The food was amazing as usual. But with a packed house, we had quite the vegan and vegetarian spread. I won’t have all of the recipes here, but if you see something that you are interested in, post it in the comments and I will try to track down the recipe.

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Other recipes:

Adrienne’s Cucumber Salad
Solyanka (Vegetable Casserole)

No-Bake Vegan Chia Cheesecake

Happy Cooking!  Next meeting 3/24/12–Look for flyer this week!

Kitchen Failures: Adventures in Attempting Recipes from Well Known Blogs

Saturday was our Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry’s monthly gathering.  As usual, the food was great and plentiful.  I made a Vegan Cheesecake with Chia Seeds that was well received. What most people don’t know, is that I actually made 2 dishes–one that made it to the gathering, and 1 that did not.

I love to cook- always have.  Whereas when I was a child and found most of my recipes in my mother’s cook books or Bon Appetit, now I find a lot of recipes on the internet. And there is no shortage of food blogs and recipe sites so a google search for a particular ingredient will yield thousands of results.

A few months ago, I came across a blog called Green Kitchen Stories.  I like the name, the recipes sound delicious and the photographs are beautiful. I decided to try making her Gluten Free Spinach and Carrot Muffins.  This was a Kitchen Failure.  I followed the recipe faithfully, but my muffins and her muffins do not appear to be related…maybe distant, distant cousins. Was it the recipe? My interpretation of the recipe? A difference in ingredients?…who knows.  If you want a good laugh, here are pictures of one of my muffins:

From the side...see how it didn’t rise?

From the top...

The inside....not exactly light and fluffy.

You’ve seen the beast, now go to her website and check out her beautiful muffins.

Now I cannot attest the the flavor or texture of her muffins, but mine needed salt. The onion and nutmeg flavors were pronounced, but worst of all was the texture! No matter how many “5 more minutes” I added, the texture retained a certain wetness.  They weren’t moist and springy the way you want a muffin to be.  Could that be because they were gluten free? I doubt it.

This is my question to you:  How many of you try recipes from food blogs.  How often do you leave comments about how good something looks?  Have you or would you leave a comment if your attempt did not turn out well?  What was your last “Kitchen Failure”? What do you think?

How to Make Nut Milk & What to Do With The Pulp

The popularity of non-dairy milks appear to be on the rise. Browsing your local supermarket, you are likely to find almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, oat milk and others. Making milk from nuts–you don’t have to limit yourself to almonds–is simple as this video from the blog My New Roots shows. And if you are wondering what to do with the left over pulp?  Try this Raw Nut Hummus–looks divine.

My New Roots – How to Make Nut Milk from My New Roots on Vimeo.