a journey from the heart

Posts tagged ‘cooking’

Carrot Soup

I heard from a friend yesterday, inquiring as to if I am still posting food recipes and I had to own up to my extreme laziness of late. What started as a nine day adventure of being “off the grid” has become more of a lackadaisical approach to anything technology based outside of the office. So, for Tom, one of my favorite recipes, newly adapted. (Over the next week I will post tales of being off the grid, and some other new recipes!)

Our weather has finally taken a turn toward autumn, and thus the return of the soup pot. While I have become better at making smaller quantities (I learned how to cook for fifteen, but that’s another story for another day), I still need a fairly decent sized pot. Ten quarts is my smallest soup pot. Of course the upside to that is leftovers. And if you don’t know it yet, soup (and sauce) is always better the next day. Marriage of the ingredients is key!

So without further ado….

Ingredients:

Carrots (I use 2 lbs.)
Potato (any variety you prefer; for a thicker soup)
Almonds (great texture; they add a little crunch)
Onion
Garlic
Fresh ginger root
Curry powder (recipe)
Cracked red pepper
Salt
Coconut milk (14 oz)
Olive oil
Butter
Water

As always, let your own tastes guide you. And, you don’t have to chop anything too finely as this soup will be puréed.

Chop your onion, garlic, ginger, and if you didn’t by sliced/chopped almonds, also chop those. Put all these ingredients in your soup pot with some olive oil and a pat of butter. Over medium heat, sauté until the onions are translucent.

While your sauté is sautéing, chop your carrots and potato. Add the carrots and potato, curry powder, and enough water to just cover your soup. Bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots and potato are fork tender. Turn off the heat, move to a cold burner, and let cool for about 45 minutes.

Once relatively cool, pour soup into a large bowl. Ladle soup into blender and purée, pouring puréed soup back into the original pot. Repeat as many times as necessary until all the soup is puréed.

Return to low heat, adding the coconut milk, stirring regularly until warmed to desired temperature. Serve warm, garnished with a few cracked red pepper flakes and cilantro (parsley is also an option).

I used to make this recipe with heavy cream instead of coconut milk, with cinnamon and nutmeg instead of curry powder. Garnish with thin slices of apple, lightly sautéed in butter and brown sugar.

Either way… Bon appetite!

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Car-campin’ cookin’

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I am recently home from a great week of car camping in the Olympic National Forest. Steven and I went with his mom, grandma, sister, her three kids, his two plus a friend, and my brother. It was a large, rambunctious, game playing, day hiking, cold creek bathing, (not all parties participated in all activities) group. And they all eat meat, packaged n’ processed food as the main part of almost every meal, including snacks. Except for me, the glaring exception.

So, what is a vegetarian, whole foods eating, lover of really good food supposed to do when faced with a week with omnivorous, processed food eating folk? Bring her own food! Lovely fresh fruits and vegetables, home-made Vegan Blueberry Muffins, hard-boiled eggs, pasture raised at Living Earth Farm, whole grains and organic canned beans. And lots of ice for the ice chests.

I made a rather tasty vegan chili one night, but alas, forgot to take pictures. However, I did take pictures of the Chana Masala. It was so yummy that even Steven’s 19 year old, self-proclaimed carnivorous son enjoyed so much he went back for seconds and thirds!

So, without further ado…

One-Pot Camp Stove Chana Masala…

Ingredient list:
Olive oil
Onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped
Curry Powder*** Currying Flavor
Tomato, diced
15 oz can chickpeas (well drained and rinsed)
Sweet potato, diced
Carrot
Celery
Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
Fresh spinach, lightly chopped
Sea salt
Cracked red pepper
Cilantro (optional – oops, I knew I forgot something)

Sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in olive oil until the onions are slightly transparent. Add a little water (to cook the sweet potato) sweet potato, chick peas, tomato, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and cracked red pepper. Simmer until chickpeas have softened and sweet potatoes are just fork-tender (about 6-7 minutes). Add chopped spinach and continue to simmer until wilted (about five minutes).

Serve hot.

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Bon appetite. Even in the woods!

Tootin’ Good Time

Last night I really wanted a burger. You know… a big, fat, juicy, cheesy burger. But alas, during my feast of healthy foodie documentaries last week I watched one, “Vegucated”, that turned me off (and a bit green, no pun intended) from eating mass produced meat. I didn’t learn anything new (I’d seen it all before), but somehow over time I didn’t so much forget, as become lazy.

Being on a whole foods kick means getting creative and making burgers in a totally new and different way. I made black bean and quinoa burgers, and let me just say… Yum! Are you ready?

Ingredient list:
Onion
Garlic
1 can black beans
2 1/2 – 3 cups cooked tri-color quinoa
Lime juice, freshly squeezed
Cilantro
Red bell pepper
Basil
Oregano
Cumin
Coriander
Thyme
Rosemary
Cracked red pepper
Coarse sea salt
Breadcrumbs
1 egg (optional)
Avocado

Sauté onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and cracked red pepper in a little olive oil. Set aside to cool.

Rinse your canned beans very well to reduce your sodium intake as most have about 4x the sodium content you need – sodium should be 1:1 or less to calories.

In a bowl (using a hand-held) or in a food processor combine black beans, cilantro, lime juice, herbs and spices, and cooled sauté mix. Process until a little chunky (not completely puréed). Form into patties (6-8) and place in fridge to cool.

After about 10-15 minutes remove patties from fridge and lightly cover in breadcrumbs. (I like to either make my own or buy plain breadcrumbs and season them myself.) Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.

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Serve warm with fresh avocado, hot sauce, or your favorite sides.

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End result: Delish! (Yup, even the boyfriend thought so.)

A few things to keep in mind:
1. Without the egg as a binder the burgers were a bit crumbly. Next time I would use the egg (I have found a local farmer who raises her hens as I would raise mine if I could actually raise my own).
2. When you think you have enough seasoning, add more. The beans, quinoa, and breadcrumbs are quite bland alone and take quite a bit to flavor.
3. And finally, get creative; next time I will be adding jalapeños.

Here’s to your health and wellness.

Trying New Things

Today is my third day of mostly whole foods and it has been quite an interesting adventure thus far.

Yesterday I tried soy milk for the first time. Unsweetened soy milk that is…and all I can say is, “Blech”!

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Suffice it to say I will not be drinking that again anytime soon. While I like soy beans a lot, I will try almond milk next. I plan to attempt to make my own soon, so stay tuned….

Tonight, however, I had a great time preparing Bok choy for the first time. My boyfriend and I chopped and sautéed all the veggies, cooked some tri-color quinoa and mixed it all together. Yum!

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I’m not much for using measuring cups or spoons; I usually let my palate and mood dictate food prep. So here instead is my ingredient list:

Onion
Garlic
Fresh ginger
Red bell pepper
Sesame seeds
Bok choy
Spinach
Asparagus spears
Portobello mushrooms
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Cracked red pepper
Coarse sea salt
Olive oil
Tri-color quinoa

Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, lime juice, and cracked red pepper on a little olive oil. Add all other veggies and sea salt with 1/4 cup water, cover and steam for about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup cooked quinoa, mix and serve.

Bon apetite’

Adventures in Eating

I have begun a new adventure in eating. Well, that’s not entirely true. I am returning to a journey I have taken a various times over the years. This time the adventure begins at the age of 43, recognizing that if I want to get to 100 I am going to have make some modifications to what I eat and how I eat it.

Now let me just say, I am a foodie. I love good food. I love healthy food. I like junk food (okay, some of it I love). If its made with cheese, or chocolate I am in heaven. I have been a blinking-vegetarian (one who eats fish – they don’t blink) and an omnivore, more often the latter, but I have never been a vegan. Regardless of which wagon I was on I always loved fresh veggies and fruit, and the less cooked the better.

I have read books, watched documentaries, hung out with cooks and chefs, (I’ve waitressed in quite a few restaurants) and in good friends’ kitchens. I have spent time with hunters (I’m too squeamish) and fisherfolk (I love to fish). And I have been inspired by vegetarians and vegans alike.

Last week I watched a fantastic documentary, Hungry for Change, and then proceeded to also watch about a half-dozen others, all related to the foods we eat and our quality of life. Inspired by all the yummy food and stories of health and reclaimed health, I have decided that now is the time to embark (once more) on a whole-foods adventure. I’ll share my recipes, my successes, my flops and my discoveries as they occur. It should get interesting as I prepare to go camping for a week with my family who eats mainly processed foods and as I gear up for a week-long backpacking trip in September.

I invite your recipes and your stories. Bon apetite!

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Tonight’s supper:

Sautéed onion, garlic, cracked red pepper and almonds in the naturals oils of the onion and almonds. After about 5 minutes I added sliced carrots and kale with about a half cup of water and a pinch of coarse sea salt to steam. After about 5 more minutes I added some fresh squeezed lemon juice, pearl tomatoes, yellow bell pepper and broccoli. A final 5 minutes to steam and viola’!

On the side, long grain rice, cooked with no butter or oils, seasoned with a smudge of coarse sea salt and fresh ground black, red, green and white peppercorns.

Not only did it look and smell great, but it was quite delish. Even the boyfriend enjoyed it!

Here’s to your good health.