Category Archives: Vegan

Lazy Saturday

Saturday mornings are always met with excitement and a twang of bewilderment. The excitement comes in because I have the time to leisurely make myself a nice brunch, but at the same time, I spend most of my weak cramming down bites of oatmeal between hairbrush strokes so I can get out the door on time, so it takes a little bit of effort to break that habit.

As a nod to this week’s lecture on carbohydrates with an emphasis on whole grains and fiber, I decided to fill my belly with those things on this morning. I originally headed into the kitchen to make a breakfast quinoa bowl, to find my quinoa stash had been depleted. However, staring up at me from my pantry was a hearty bag of barley. One great reason to have a fiber heavy breakfast is that is keeps you full and helps prevent your blood glucose from spiking. The soluble fiber absorbs water and turns your stomach contents into a gel, and forces your body to slow down and digest everything appropriately. Since your stomach contents are emptying slower, and are buffered by fiber, glucose will be released much slower, making you feel better and aiding in insulin sensitivity. While the soluble fiber is doing its thang, the insoluble fiber acts as natures pipe cleaner to keep your GI tract clean and your colon happy.

I bet your digestive tract is smiling just reading that above paragraph!

Anyways, back to the stuff that happened between me finding the barley, and satisfied, pushing away an empty bowl, a little sticky from peach syrup.

I par cooked the barley in a pretty standard way. While barley cooked away, I stewed up a diced peach in coconut oil and maple syrup with some raisins. When the barley was almost there, I transferred it to the stewed peach mixture, added almond milk, and then let it simmer for a bit longer. Garnished with slivered almonds, coconut flakes, and some fresh almost milk.

Ya, so that just happened. Everything worked in perfect harmony and has left my body charged for the day ahead.

Coconut Peach Barley Breakfast Bowl
Materials:
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 peach, diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • slivered almonds, for garnish
  • flaked coconut, for garnish
Methods:
  1. Combine the barley and water in a small pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the barley is cooking, melt the coconut oil and maple syrup in another pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the peaches and raisins and cook until the peaches are soft and the raisins have plumped up, maybe 5 minutes.
  4. Once most of the water has been absorbed by the barley, transfer it to the pot with the peaches.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the non-dairy milk and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Spoon into bowl, and top with almonds, coconut, and additional milk.
  7. Enjoy!
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Aloha: Artichoke Panzanella

I’m the worst. I know. My promises to be better about writing have proven empty. But I had the best of intentions! Really, I swear! Enough with the excuses though, my new goal is to get you guys at least 2 lip-smacking posts per week. Keep me honest on this one! Feel free to send nasty messages about how disappointed you are in my lack of blog presence, and about how you are starving without my guidance.

Too much?

One exciting thing to report on before we dive in is my recent trip to Hawaii! My bestie and I took a long weekend and soaked up the tropical paradise that is the Big Island. Her sister is currently going to school there, so the three of us took the island by storm. And captured all of it with the action setting on my camera. Yolo.

Here is a little photo tour of my trip:

We started out at the Hilo Farmers Market treating ourselves to fresh Hawaiian produce.
And then indulged in these. Which was some of the best food I have put in my mouth. Ever.
Next we drove from Hilo to Kona, stopping at scenic outlooks like this.
We spent the afternoon at Hapuna Beach. Which as you can see, was miserable.
On the way back to Hilo, we drank from fresh coconuts.
The next day we descended into a volcano that was filled with lush beauty.
But then walking across the crater felt like walking across Mars on a windy and rainy day.
The wonderful trip ended with a day spent on this gorgeous black sand beach.
Hawaii ❤

Last week was filled with recreating Hawaiian dishes… and then not photographing them… but as I perfect them and make them pretty (slash not making them at 8 or 9 at night), I will get them to you post haste!

In addition to traveling to exotic places, I am teaching Introduction to Human Nutrition to 800 eager undergraduates at UC Berkeley this fall, which has both kept me quite busy and been a real treat. On the first day I learned that all undergrads at Berkeley think that “ummm some chicken and brown rice” is their example of a healthy meal. Welp. Looks like I have some work to do this semester.

In between all of that excitement, I managed to whip up this utterly delicious artichoke panzanella. I have lived in California for over a year now, and I haven’t quite taken advantage of the fact that I live in the artichoke capital of the USA. I was originally thinking of an artichoke risotto, but then decided that I wasn’t that dedicated to being in the kitchen that long… and then the word panzanella popped into my head. And man oh man am I glad it did! First of all, for bread I used a super non-traditional walnut whole wheat bread that ended up adding so much awesomeness to this salad. Seriously though, I think the toasted bread pieces soaking up the deliciousness from the rest of the salad was my favorite part.

I also tossed in some black beans and a peach to cling on to the tastes of summer, along with some tomatoes straight from my garden. To cut through the other decently sweet ingredients, I used dandelion greens as my greenery. No one talks about this much, but dandelion greens are actually one of the healthiest greens out there, chock full of calcium, protein (for a vegetable), and a whole host of disease fighting compounds.

Then I thought it was getting a little too gourmet, so I smothered it in Kens Steak House Italian Dressing. This salad was both filling and packed with healthy goodness. This recipe provided me with a solid dinner and then a solid lunch the following day. It works great as a weeknight meal, but also a fancy salad to impress guests. I can’t wait to make it again!

Artichoke Panzanella

Materials (2 meal salad or 4 side salads):
  • 2 large artichokes, prepared as seen here in this great tutorial 
  • 2 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 loaf of hearty bread of choice (I used Walnut Levain from Acme Bread)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 peach, pitted and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bunch dandelion greens, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup your favorite italian vinaigrette
Methods:
  1. Put the artichokes in a medium stock pot with the water, bay leaf, and cloves of garlic and then juice the lemon and toss in the leftover lemon.
  2. Cover loosely, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain and remove bay leaf, lemon, and garlic.
  3. In the meantime, remove the crust from the bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Heat up a few swirls of olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (I used a cast iron) over medium-high heat and toss in the bread cubes.
  5. Toast the bread for 8-10 minutes, tossing every couple of minutes, until it is nice and crispy.
  6. Toss the artichokes and the bread with the remaining ingredients and let sit for 10-30 minutes before consuming.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

Raw Taco Salad

Remember that raw phase I went through? Ya, i’m trying to forget it too. But sometimes I accidentally eat completely raw meals.

This was one of those nights. I had read somewhere about using walnut “taco meat,”but the post I read it in used it to be raw. I immediately closed the window and moved on with my life. Now I know I have talked about my cravings before, but the weirdest habit of mine is craving things that I have never eaten. And well, that happened. I was craving this “raw taco meat” made from walnuts. On my way home from work that day I picked up some walnuts and guacamole to adorn the rest of the salad ingredients that I already had at home.

Another element that I am going to bring into this salad is massaged kale. Every time I told someone I made a massaged kale salad, I was greeted with confused stares. But man oh man, everyone needs to hop on the massaged kale salad train. Basically, it is exactly what is sounds like: you coat it lightly with some olive oil, lemon juice (but tonight I used lime juice, since it was a taco salad), salt, and pepper and then get to massaging. You get the benefits of it being cooked almost, meaning it is much more palatable and you pre-break it down for your digestive system, but you also get the benefits of it being raw, meaning all of the precious nutrients are left untouched.

And finally, I have also been playing a lot with using peaches in savory dishes. Peach or mango or pineapple salsa? Yes, please! I also had some peaches, so onto the salad they were going.

Anyways, this raw taco salad of sorts was phenomenal and an absolute synch to throw together! Literally I was raving about the salad after every bite that I took. And then I made it for lunch each of the following days. It packs really well since you don’t have to worry about the kale wilting. The salad doesn’t need much of a dressing since the walnuts are flavor packed as well as the guacamole brings its Mexican goodness to the party. Raw food, you win this round… in the tastiest of ways.

Raw Kale Salad
Inspired by Roost Blog
Materials:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup your favorite guacamole
  • 1/2 peach, diced
  • 1/8 cup red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime
Methods:
  1. Place walnuts, spices, soy sauce, and lime juice in a food processor and process until the walnuts take on the consistency of taco meat.
  2. Toss kale in lime juice and olive oil with a few shakes of salt and pepper and then massage, as if you were kneading dough, until kale has wilted and taken on a supple texture.
  3. To assemble: Place kale in salad bowl, top with scoop of guacamole, sprinkle walnut taco meat around, top with diced peaches and red onion, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  4. Enjoy!
    • Probably audibly.

Cupcakes galore

It is the weekend (or it was while I typed out this post), and that means baking and leisure cooking. I kicked off my Saturday with this awesome Harissa spiced zucchini and tofu “frittata” and then continued on with some Chocolate Orange Ginger Cupcakes.

I know that I am going to be a little late/completely miss the cupcake bandwagon, but I made 2 batches of cupcakes this weekend, and have plans to make many more this week because I. Can. Not. Stop.  This has it’s pluses and minuses. A plus is that I really enjoy baking, and I am looking forward to getting creative with cupcakes. However, I am going to Hawaii next week… so maybe eating 2+ cupcakes a day isn’t an awesome pre-bathing suit plan?

I loved many things about these cupcakes. First of all, they rose so nicely and had this beautiful domed top that was perfect on its own and didn’t need frosting. And I actually really don’t like frosting, so I just put a smear of the recommended glaze and sprinkled on some crystalized ginger for the win. They were chic, classic, and completely delicious.

The coffee ended up being a pretty prominent flavor, so I may recommend water instead if you don’t want the coffee thing going on. Also, feel free to up the orange zest and ginger for an even more in your face flavor punch. Either way, they were totally moist and fluffy and delicious and everything you want a cupcake to be. I will warn you though, I did eat maybe 4-6 of these bad boys within 24 hours of making them. Ya…


Chocolate Orange Ginger Cupcakes

Adapted from Kohler Created
Materials:
For the Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons crystalized ginger, ground up
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
For the Topping
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • crystalized ginger, roughly chopped
Methods:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  3. Add coffee through orange juice and thoroughly mix.
  4. Slowly, while mixing, add in vinegar.
  5. The batter will foam a bit a turn white, set aside until mixture darkens again.
  6. Divide batter between 12 cupcake liners and place in oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, cool in pan for 5 minute, and then move to cooling rack.
  8. To Decorate: Mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice until fully dissolved, brush tops of cupcakes with the glaze, and sprinkle on crystallized ginger.
  9. Enjoy!
    1. You will probably want to eat 1 or 2 immediately, you know, to test them out.

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My guess is that it is that time of the summer when everyone is getting pretty sick of zucchini. When you think you can’t possible find another way to use it and these little green gems are haunting your dreams.

As I was watching my zucchini plant take over my life earlier in the summer, I planned ahead. I gathered an arsenal of recipes and spaced them out throughout the summer. While many probably skip straight to the zucchini bread to use up this abundant summer time crop, I strategically decided to save it until last. And the day finally came for my first loaf of zucchini bread. I had been making chocolate zucchini cookies all summer, and have fallen in love with the combination of chocolate and zucchini. Therefore chocolate chip zucchini bread it was.

I have had a bit of a rough week, and therefore my garden was being a bit neglected (i’m sorry, garden!), but when I finally got out there the other day, I discovered this HUGE zucchini which was hiding behind some foliage. Oops.

But that is ok, because it gave me the prompt I needed to bust out this amazing zucchini bread. The timing was perfect, seeing as macho M was returning home the following day, and would most likely consume the bread. In its entirety (well, the half that our new roommate K and I didn’t finish). The zucchini and applesauce means it is über moist, the whole wheat flour gives it a hearty edge, and the chocolate chips means it is just plain delicious! Awesome A was quoted as saying “this is seriously the best thing I have ever eaten.” While she was probably just being nice because I was having an awfully rough night, it was some pretty seriously good eats. So try out this twist on zucchini bread for your final zucchini harvests!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Eating Clean Recipes
Materials:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini, squeezed and drained of extra liquid
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Methods:
  1. Grease 8×4 inch loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together almond milk and vinegar and let set for about 2 minutes, until thickened.
  4. To the milk mixture, add the sugar, oil, applesauce, zucchini, and vanilla and stir just until moist.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly into loaf pan.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. Remove and let cool.
  9. Enjoy!

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas for Mediterranean Tacos

My lab has developed this lovely tradition of a lunch club, where once or twice a week one person cooks lunch for everyone. So far our menu has ranged from a spiced wheat berry salad to Indian food to zucchini glory. And part of the reason you haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks is due to a lunch club related kitchen disaster that happened last week. I don’t want to talk about it.

Ok, if you insist. I tried to make pita bread. Ended up with pita hockey pucks. I tried to made dolma. Ended up with a pile of torn grape leaves and an abundance of super tasty filling. I tried to make falafel. Ended up with a soupy unpalatable mess. I e-mailed my labmates at 9:30 after 4 hours in the kitchen telling them I hated strongly disliked them and I wasn’t bringing them lunch.

But alas, I wasn’t going to be defeated and I was still stuck on the idea of a Mediterranean lunch… but I decided to simplify it. I bought the hummus and some flat breads. And instead of turning the chickpeas into falafel, I decided to roast them and enjoy them in all their chickpeay glory.

Holy moly. I am going to roast chickpeas all the freaking time now. I had to do everything in my power to not eat all of them directly off of the baking sheet. It killed me to transfer the contents to a tupperware container and have to wait 18 hours to eat them. BUT, after those 18 hours… I got to smother them with garlic hummus, adorn them with fresh veggies and a squeeze of lemon juice, and wrap it all in some fluffy flat bread. And then I put it all in my mouth. And it was glorious.

I kept the flavors pretty standard Mediterranean with some cucumbers, garden fresh tomatoes, olives, red onion, mint, and lemon juice. My Danish labmate gave me a 5.3 out of 6 (silly Danish scale)… but only so that I would keep trying. This was some seriously good lunch time eating and so simple. Save your tastebuds from the work week lean cuisine monotony with these yummy Mediterranean Tacos!

 Roasted Chickpea Mediterranean Taco
Materials:
For the Roasted Chickpeas
  • 2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • juice from 1 lime
For the Rest
  • 1 package flatbread
  • Your favorite hummus
  • 2 small cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup lettuce, torn apart
  • assorted olives
  • 1 lemon
Methods:
To make the Chickpeas
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the chickpeas with the remaining ingredients and allow to marinade for about 30 minutes.
  3. Spread out evenly in 1 layer on baking sheet and place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.
To assemble the tacos
  1. Smear flatbread with hummus, top with remaining ingredients as desired, top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  2. Enjoy!

Frozen Friday: Cherry Chocolate Chip

Even though the Bay Area weather is trying desperately to convince us otherwise… it is, in fact, summer and definitely ice cream season… so it is ice cream that I bring you, as promised. Since it is Friday, and I am feeling a little less eloquent that usual (does she think she is normally eloquent? I would give it high school English capability at best)… I am going to give you my assorted thoughts on ice cream and the like in bulleted form.

– I want to master the basics of ice cream before getting too crazy. I had some charming chocolate, I did the banana business… but I still need to master a solid fruit ice cream (solid as in quality, not solid as opposed to liquid fruit… umm i’m not sure liquid fruit exists...)

– Reckless R has gone and left me for a week. It has been horrible. He is never allowed to leave again. On the bright side, he left 14 bags of cherries in the fridge to rot. Thanks R. I had it in my head all week that I was going to use these cherries to make cherry ice cream. Unfortunately, by the time I got to them… many of them were covered in a lovely white fuzz. I sort of went through and picked out the ones that were still ok. Normally, this isn’t something I do… because even though I can’t see it, I know that the seemingly fine cherries have mold spores on them. Yuck. But I did it, because I was dead set on cherry ice cream, and I tend to do the things that I become fixated on. It was happening.

– I made these amazing cookies earlier this week. I didn’t even get to photograph them because they went that fast. But I will absolutely be making them again. They were amazing. Anyways, I had chocolate chips left over from the cookies, so the cherry ice cream just became cherry chocolate chip. This is a decision I was pleased with.

– I left work at 4 yesterday, and I was eating this ice cream by 5. In that hour, activities included (but are not limited to): cursing R for leaving so many rotten cherries, making this ice cream in its entirety, feeling bad about cursing R, cursing my drier for not drying the pants I wanted to wear last night, accepting it and just wearing wet clothes out last night, and photographing this ice cream.

– With ice cream making being so easy and quick, i’m not sure I will ever go out for ice cream again (blasphemy)! I can have homemade ice cream that is quicker than standing in line at Ici.

– This ice cream was so delicious. It was creamy and fruity and decadent. Cherry chocolate chip, i’ll have some right now.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Material:
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup pitted and chopped cherries
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Methods:
  1. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender and blend until fully blended and it takes on a nice and solid purple color.
  2. Mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacture’s instructions (mine churned for 15 minutes).
  4. Transfer to freezer for roughly 30 min to an hour to finish firming up.
  5. Enjoy!
    • Despite the fact that you may live in SF and are currently wearing a sweater.