No meat, No wheat

Archive for May, 2015

Plantain Pancakes

Plantain Pancakes

Plantain Pancakes in pan.

  Blueberry Plantain Pancakes

This wonderful vegan gluten free recipe comes from my brother in law, Kenny. He is an incredible chef, and is always doing something interesting with food.  Both Kenny and his wife Lisa are fantastic cooks and have ample opportunities because they have a big family, lots of friends, and they love to entertain. When they come to our home, they really appreciate my cooking, and understand how much time and effort are involved in creating meals from scratch. Recently, Kenny told me he makes plantain pancakes for breakfast, often adding chocolate chips.  He stressed that the plantains should be green, as they have a completely different consistency, are far less starchy, and aren’t sweet like bananas when they are still green. You can tell plantains are ripe when they’ve become soft and have turned yellow and black. Since Kenny is allergic to nuts, he uses coconut flour and coconut milk in his pancakes; whereas, I would have thought to use almond flour. I suppose either will do the trick. Anyway,  I was so intrigued, I bought plantains the next day, and adapted the recipe to make it vegan (meaning I substituted flax meal for the egg), and it came out great. Now I have a new breakfast favorite, and make them often.  Let me know how you like them, and if you think almond flour or coconut flour works best in these pancakes.  Betayavon!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 green plantain
  • 3/4-1 Teaspoon coconut flour dash of baking powder and dash of baking soda
  • 1 “flax egg” = 1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal dissolved in 3 Tablespoons of water
  • tiny bit of coconut milk or water, to thin batter
  • 1-2 Teaspoons coconut oil for cooking
  • Raw Maple Syrup or Agave, if desired
  • Blueberries or chocolate chips, optional toppings or include in batter

Supplies

  • Microwave safe bowl for mixing
  • measuring spoons
  • mixing spoon
  • Cast iron pan
  • spatula

Instructions

plantain mashed with flax egg

Mash plantain with flax meal egg substitute

Using a sharp knife, cut plantain in half, and then using knife again, pry it out of the peel. This isn’t quite as easy when the plantain is green, so you may have to twist and turn it a bit. Then slice the half you’re holding in half lengthwise. Heat in the microwave approximately 20 seconds to soften, if desired, or skip this step and simply mash with back of spoon or fork. Add flax egg, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and keep mashing to eliminate the lumps, working all the ingredients together until uniform in texture. Slowly, add coconut milk or water to thin out the batter.  Make the batter as thin or thick as you like. You can add blueberries or chocolate chips, if you want, or just add  a topping after your pancake is fully cooked. Heat coconut oil in a hot cast iron pan. Cook the pancake on a low-medium heat so that you cook it “slow and long rather than hot and fast,” advises Kenny. Flip,and cook on the other side. Top with raw maple syrup or agave, if desired.

Plantain Blueberry Pancakes

Plantain Pancakes are yummy with blueberries  and raw maple syrup

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Arugula Mushroom Salad

I love arugula. Pairing this tangy tasting green with mushrooms worked out well, leading to today’s recipe: Arugula Mushroom Salad.  Betayavon!

Arugula Mushroom SaladI

Ingredients

2 cups Arugula, packed tight

1 cup white mushrooms

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup blueberries

Supplies

Colander

Wok or Cast Iron Pan, Large slotted spoon

Instructions

Wash, check, and slice mushrooms. Dry with a paper towel. Heat oil in pan and add sliced mushrooms, stirring. Cook til tender, about 4-5 minutes, and remove from heat.  Allow mushrooms to brown slightly, and don’t be surprised at how much liquid they will emit. Meanwhile, wash and check the arugula, and dry the leaves with a paper towel.  Place arugula on serving platter or salad bowl. Top with strained mushrooms, either cooled, room temperature or warm,  and sprinkle grated carrots, as much as you like, and scatter blueberries for additional flavor and contrast.

Aside

Watercress and Braised Tempeh

Watercress and Tempeh

Watercress and Braised Tempeh

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to like watercress. Truthfully, though, I just never cared for the taste. It’s surprising, because I love arugula, radishes, even sauerkraut. I can’t think of too many foods I don’t like!

If I hadn’t read that watercress was a Superfood, I’d never have given it a second chance. But I’m drawn to eating healthy foods, and never tire of looking for ways to enhance, or in this case, disguise the taste in the next soup, smoothie, or stir fry.  But somehow I never could until now.

Tonight I was glancing through one of my favorite old cookbooks, Vegan Planet, and checked to see if there were any interesting ways to cook with watercress, since I’d just picked up a beautiful fresh bag of it.  After successfully adapting that fabulous recipe, I wanted to share this success.

Watercress and Braised Tempeh

Ingredients

16 oz. tempeh

4 Tablespoons of Organic Veggie Broth or water

2 Bunches of Watercress, washed, checked, and tough stems removed

2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons Capers

2 Tablespoons wine

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons Wheat Free Low Sodium Tamari

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Supplies

Wok or large cast iron skillet

Large Spoon for stirring

Colander

Measuring Spoons

Instructions

Wash, check, and remove tough stems from two large bunches of watercress. While that’s draining in the colander, you can move on to the next step.

Heat 1 T. Olive Oil in pan set to med-high heat. Cut the tempeh into  3″ cubes and add to the hot oil. Turn the pieces over, and add the Veggie Broth or water. It it sticks to the pan, add a bit more water. Cooking the  tempeh like this, all by itself, enhances the tempeh’s consistency, making it softer and easier to chew. I always  encourage you to spend the ten minutes it takes for this important step.

Next, add the capers and the wine and simmer, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the minced garlic and the tamari,  stirring until the flavors combine, about 1 minute. Finally, add the watercress and cook, stirring just until it is wilted, which will happen quickly in about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of your pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.

Transfer the watercress to a platter or dinner plates and top with braised tempeh. Drizzle sauce over the plate and serve hot.

 

 

Not Milk?

Not Milk?    

Double Blind Not-Milk Taste Test

Double Blind Not-Milk Taste Test

Let’s be clear-you can’t undo the influence of your past. And surveys were a big part of my family’s life. If you didn’t know me prior to reading my blog, my “About me” page explains that my mother ran a Marketing Research firm out of our house. Can you imagine what it was like for us as teenagers, cringing because people we’d have to see in school the next day or around the neighborhood, were coming and going to and from our house to view or sample new products, and then, describe in great detail what they’d seen, thought, would or would not recommend, etc, etc, etc.

While observing and often conducting these surveys to help my mother,  I am fortunate to have absorbed many valuable interviewing techniques that have an important place in my writing and interviewing style.  Recently, while researching several new recipes that  required some sort of not-dairy milk, I decided to buy some of the newer options, and I was shocked to see  just how many new types there actually are. I felt a survey coming on, though it was a bit challenging to decide which not-milks to bring home.

Before I’d left the store with the not-milk bottles and boxes that were piling up in my cart,  the idea for a double blind taste test using my family members as the subjects, had sprung, fully-formed, into my imagination. And this is exactly the  way I imagined it.

milk survey

Can I have my breakfast now?

As to why I couldn’t just drink a glass of each type of not-milk and just decide which I liked best for each recipe? Why go to all this trouble with the survey? To be honest, I don’t like milk, and I suppose I never really did.  There are only two things I ever thought milk was good for, besides moistening my cereal: to wash down a PB&J sandwich, and with peanut butter Tandy Kakes.

 So now,  if you read on, you’ll find out the results of the not-milk survey we conducted, when a panel of cereal lovers took part in a double blind taste test in my very own kitchen. And, you will glean the final analysis of our Double Blind Not- Milk Home Taste Test.

100% of participants rated Calif Farms Vanilla Almond Milk as their #1 favorite. Comments such as: rich, sweet, creamy, and smooth were given.

75% of participants rated Calif Farms Coconut Almond Milk as their #2 favorite, commenting that it is worth the extra calories because it tastes so good, is very smooth, and is so creamy.

25% of participants thought the Flax milk was good in their cereal and rated it as their #2 choice. Other comments about this were: watery, intense taste, and boring.

50% of participants rated Cashew milk as their #3 choice, and 50% as their #4, and said it had no taste, was bland, tasted watery, and even- it might be muddy water (remember they were blindfolded, so maybe someone got suspicious).

50% of participants rated tetra boxed Almond Milk as their #4 choice, and 50% said it was their #5, or least favorite of all surveyed. The comments collected:  too thin, doesn’t have much taste, not a fan, no flavor, were a real surprise, as prior to this survey, this was the favorite in this household! So that’s what expanding the options did-it caused us to be discontent with our old favorite (which still sits on a shelf in the cabinet for when we run out of our new favorite!).

I asked each participant what would each of the not-milks they tasted be good for, and the answers have helped me tremendously in creating new recipes in the weeks leading up to Shavout.

Please be sure to check my blog often, and I hope you’ll enjoy my yumzer creations, some of which, use not-milk. Betayavon!

Arugula Mushroom Salad

I know I say this a lot: I love mushrooms. Here’s why- I love the way they taste and their meaty texture. When my family wants to barbeque, they eat their burgers and I eat grilled portobellas. I keep inventing new and delicious ways to enjoy mushrooms. Here are some of my favorites:

baby bellas, shitake, and plain old button mushrooms. I’m inclined to buy the stuffing mushrooms because the they unusually come in a large sized container and are more cost effective. I’ve had great success with marinating mushrooms. I make wraps and sushi with mushrooms. I love them sautéed with basil on a crispy gluten free pizza crust. I make stir fries and creamed soups with them. I prefer mushrooms cooked, and seldom eat them raw. I find they’re not too difficult to clean, and making a lot at once so we can eat them throughout the week seems to work well for my family. And while it’s true that I eat mushrooms because I love the taste and texture, it so happens that they’re also good for you. I am happy to tell you that mushrooms are on the list of superfoods.

I created this main course salad for lunch today using ingredients I had in the refrigerator.

Arugula Mushroom Salad

Arugula and Roasted Mushrooms with Julienned Carrots and Blueberries

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup, fully cooked

Split Pea Soup is one of my comfort foods, and I make it often. It requires very few ingredients, is very inexpensive, and is an easy soup to make.  I love it for lunch with just a salad and an apple. It is so thick and hearty, it can be a main course for dinner, but I usually serve it before a meal.  It’s a Shabbos favorite in my house. This easy to make soup can also be made in a crock pot, but I’ll share that recipe another time. If you don’t like an ingredient I’ve listed, just leave it out, and the results will still be good. Betayavon!

Ingredients

1 pound dried green split peas

2 large carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1-2 large parsnips, chopped

Parsnips give a sweet and  distinctive flavor

Parsnips give a sweet and distinctive flavor

1 large onion, chopped

8 cups of water plus two more cups of water, total 10 cups of water or more, if thinner soup preferred

Salt, pepper, to taste, and option of dried or fresh dill, if desired

2 Tablespoons mellow white miso paste, if desired

Supplies

Large bowl

Large pot with lid

Spoon for stirring pot and removing foam on top

Cutting board and knife

Instructions

Empty bag of dried split peas into a large bowl and cover with cold water. The split peas will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Remove any stones or dirt that rise to the top. Visibly inspect the peas and discard any that seem irregular. Pour water out into the sink and refill the bowl, just until the peas are covered. Repeat this step at least three times, until the water that runs out of the bowl into the sink and the peas are completely clean.

split pea soup ingredients in pot

Add cleaned dried peas to chopped veggies

Split Peas, veggies, and water in pot

A great one pot meal

While the split peas sit in the bowl, chop the root vegetables and put into a soup pot. Now take the dried peas and add them to the pot with the vegetables. Add eight cups of water, and bring to a boil. As the soup comes to a boil,  remove any white foam that forms on the top, using a long handled spoon. My mother used to say she had to “shum” the soup, to skim off the white foamy layer which helps removes the gas from the beans.  This is a good technique to use with any beans you cook. Lower light under the pot so the soup simmers. Cover and let the soup simmer, but stir every so often.

After about an hour, the soup is already getting dense;  it is a lot thicker, and will continue to absorb the liquid and thicken as it cooks longer. Add two more cups of water, and let the soup simmer another hour.  If a thinner soup is desired, add another cup of water. Add salt and pepper, to taste, along with dill, and the white mellow tasting delicious miso paste, if desired. Betayavon!

Split peas soup-easy and delicious

Split pea soup-easy and delicious

Braised Kale

Kale, Squash, Rice

Braised Kale with onions and garlic, butternut squash, and brown rice

Braised Kale

There’s something sweet and smoky about kale that I love. It doesn’t have the bitterness of some dark leafy greens, and you don’t have to do a lot to it. Once you get over the initial shock of the sheer volume of the bunch you’ve bought home from the market, consider that although this will be time consuming to soak, clean, and check, you’ll have a potful to enjoy all week. There are many delicious ways to enjoy this versatile vegetable, but here’s one of my favorites.

My husband and I like braised kale. It’s a simple, sweet side dish that pairs well with brown rice and butternut squash. How’s that for a colorful plate?

Ingredients

  • One head of kale, washed and stripped off the center hard vein
  • One large onion, chopped
  • Four-six cloves garlic, sliced
  • Olive oil, 3 Tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Supplies

  • Colander
  • Large bowl
  • Cutting Board and sharp knife
  • Large pot with tight fitting lid
  • Spoon for stirring
Braised Kale

You don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to make something this delicious

instructions

In a large colander, strip kale from hard center vein. Discard the veins and place the kale leaves in a large bowl of water to which you add a tiny drop of dish detergent. Swish the kale around with your fingers or a large spoon for just a few seconds.  Soak for 20 mins, and rinse until all the soapy film and any dirt from the greens are gone.

Heat oil in large pot and add chopped onion and garlic. Cook on medium-low. Stir and cook for 5 mins, until soft but not brown. While they’re cooking, tear the kale leaves into pieces about the size of your palm.   Add the kale to the pot.  Your large pot will be full before all the kale begins to wilt and shrink. Stir, and cover. In a few minutes of cooking,  the amount of kale begins to reduce in size. Keep the lid on and cook on a low light to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the kale is wilted and soft. Add salt and pepper to taste, and additional garlic powder or fresh sliced garlic, if you want. Betayavon!

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