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Sarah Lawrence

Quick Veggie Pad Thai (gluten free vegan goodness)

After the ridiculous story that broke yesterday about pizza being qualified as a vegetable by the USDA for US School Lunches, I just have to write!  When the pizza industry rules the world, it’s a SAD day!   According to an ABC news article the details boil down to cost and big business influence where dairy, wheat and mystery meat are the standard.  Well, this momma doesn’t play that way... and I'm not alone!  I think it’s time that we stand up and say, “There’s a new sheriff in town!” and actually mean it!  UGH!  Stand with me and make a change in your family.  Start where you are able.  If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I adore Dr. Fuhrman.  His “Nutritarian” approach to eating literally changed my health in the span of a few months and has given me back a balanced, nearly pain free body despite my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis.  I make  nutrient dense foods the main players in my meals (I almost wrote that I “try” to make them the main players, but, as my inner Yoda reminds me: “Do or Do Not.  There is no Try.” LOL!)   Now, if any of you follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman, you may have heard this acronym that he uses “GOMBBS” --- it’s an easy way to remember a list of potent antioxidant rich foods that Fuhrman cites not only as being superfoods, but also as being part of a cancer preventative way to eat.  So, GOMBBS foods are Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries/Beans, and Seeds/Nuts.  There is a plethora of science backing the goodness of these guys.  You can read more about that here.  My vegetable rich, GOMBBS filled Pad Thai is an example of how I pack our family meals with all the goodness I can while still making something that tastes great, is high in fiber, gluten free and dairy free (to meet our requirements from allergy and intolerances). I used to make this dish with white rice noodles but have found brown rice noodles that offer more fiber than their counterpart while adding a pleasant nuttiness.  If you can find them, give them a try.  If not, use traditional white rice maifun.  Either way, know that you are making a meal that is colorful, flavorful and healthful!  This makes a generous 6-8 portions and it reheats beautifully for lunch or a meal another day. Enjoy! [caption id="attachment_500" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Quick Veggie Pad Thai"]Quick Veggie Pad Thai[/caption] Quick Vegan Pad Thai with Veg, Greens and Goji (serves 6, 15 minutes start to finish) 2 packages dry brown rice noodles (maifun) 1 package firm, cubed tofu (I use Nasoya organic), drained 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 lb cabbage or bok choy, shredded ½ lb carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal or into matchsticks ½ lb celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal or into matchsticks ½ lb onion, sliced thinly ½ lb kale, shredded ½ lb mushrooms, sliced ½ lb zucchini, sliced thinly on the diagonal or into matchsticks (optional) ½ cup peanuts, unsalted 1/3 cup gluten free tamari 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar 1 Tbsp tamarind paste 1/4 cup goji berries dash of sriracha or fresh red thai chili 2 dates green onions, for topping 1-2 Tbsp oil for the pan Put rice noodles into a large bowl and pour hot water over them.  You want the noodles covered with hot water so they soften. In the now, heat a wok or large cast iron skillet and add a bit of oil.  Toss in your garlic and tofu.  We want them to get golden, but not brown.  Stir often with a metal spatula and remove everything to a big serving bowl after about 5 minutes or when yours are golden and fragrant. In the same hot skillet that you just took the garlic and tofu out of, throw in all the veggies except the mushroom and get them going.  These guys are going to work for about 4 minutes. While the veggies are sweating, mix the tamari, vinegar, tamarind, sriracha, goji and dates in your Vitamix or food processor until you have a smooth sauce.  Taste it and adjust the seasoning to suite your taste if necessary. Check the veggies and give them a few good stirs.  Add the mushrooms into the mix.  We are looking for the veggies to get soft, but not mushy and the mushrooms end up keeping a nice toothsome bite since we're arriving to the party fashionably late.  Give the veggies another 3-4 minutes then transfer them to the serving bowl right on top of the garlic and tofu. Add a tiny bit of oil to your pan.  While it’s heating, drain the noodles that were soaking.  Add the noodles to the hot pan and immediately stir them around.  Pour the sauce over the top and use tongs or a big spoon to combine everything.  You want to keep the noodles moving so they don’t stick.  Once they’re hot and the sauce is fragrant tip the veggies, tofu and garlic back into the pan.  Add the peanuts.  Use tongs to combine everything.  Transfer the lot to the serving bowl or straight onto dishes if you prefer.  Top with the sliced green onion and extra peanuts if you like.  YUM!

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creativecalligraphy

Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” and Greens

I confess, I used to love cheese.  Back in the day, I enjoyed more than my share of pizza and I admit to having an affair with feta one summer.  Risotto was something that was easy to make and scrumptious to eat because it satisfied both vegetarian and non alike.  But that was then!  Cheese really hurts me now and anything that hurts just isn't worth having.  While I don't miss the cheese, I do love things with a creamy texture and that hint of salty goodness that pairs well with a great glass of wine and some fresh bitter greens.  I toyed around with a few different rices and quinoa (quinoa is a great high protein sub for brown rice in this dish, BTW, though you have to adjust the liquid way down), and my kids like the brown rice the best both for the slightly chewy bite and the nutty flavor. What's nice is that this pan of delight, when dished up and on the table is about $1 a serving when you have the greens fresh from the garden and tomatoes a plenty!  The indulgence is the Daiya, which at nearly $5.50 for 2 cups, is only a sometimes treat on my menu.  If you haven't tried Daiya yet I recommend it.  It is the first vegan cheese I've had that melts well and stretches and doesn't taste like glue!  The Daiya cheddar is versatile and adds that bit of cheesy umph that some dishes need. Great 1 cup add-in's per your palate: diced mushroons, peas, asparagus, red pepper, artichoke, minced kale, spinach Leftover risotto can be shaped into patties or croquettes, coated in gluten free breadcrumbs (or panko if you're not GF) and baked in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp.  Truly lovely served with artichoke hearts and raw baby spinach.  Consider this a two-fer!  Enjoy! (and let me know what you think if you try it!) [caption id="attachment_408" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegan Brown Rice Risotto"]Vegan Brown Rice Risotto[/caption] Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” (40 min, serves 4-6 as entrée w/salad) 2 cups brown rice 1 cup dry white wine 6 cups vegetable broth 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp olive oil 1 cup Daiya Cheddar shredded vegan “cheese” ½ cup almond milk pepper, to taste 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced ¼ cup fresh sage or basil, minced Heat your olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and garlic.  Stir to coat with the oil and let them work over medium low heat for a few minutes.  You will smell them and they will become soft without browning. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the oil, onion and garlic.  Turn the heat up to medium high and pour in the white wine.  Cook until the wine evaporates, then add 2 cups of broth.  Stir well and leave the pan for a few minutes.  You will be stirring frequently to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.  However, this is not as labor intensive as traditional risotto because it doesn’t require constant stirring.  Plan on adding 2 cups of broth, stirring and checking the pan several times before the next broth addition.  You don’t want the rice to do dry in between additions of broth, so watch your pan and add the 2nd dose of broth while the rice is a bit saucy.  I checked the pan every 8-10 minutes and that was perfect, but you will need to get a handle on your stovetop to know what is the perfect balance for you. Add the 3rd and final dose of broth along with the daiya cheese and stir well to combine.  The cheese will make the sauce very creamy.  Daiya contains enough salt that you will not need to add additional salt. After 10 minutes or so, check the texture of the rice by tasting a bite.  If it is cooked, you can stir in the almond milk and shut off the heat.  If it is not, continue cooking for a few more minutes, check it again and then proceed with the almond milk. Season with pepper and serve topped with the tomato and herbs. *To make this a great meal serve this alongside a salad of fresh greens.  I especially love arugula and endive with this because they have such a bright bite to them! [caption id="attachment_409" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato"]Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato[/caption]

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creativecalligraphy

Easy Vegetable Sushi Roll (gluten free vegan goodness)

[caption id="attachment_315" align="alignright" width="300" caption="YUM!"]YUM![/caption] Oh how I love sushi!  It's so healthy and is super easy to make at home.  Hope you'll give this one a whirl.  It's worth it! Play with vegetable combinations.  Some of my favorites are avocado, cucumber, carrot, scallion and mung bean sprouts.  Try sweet variations with fruit like mango and kiwi to make a fun roll for kids.  Be creative and enjoy your food! p.s.  For another fun veg roll recipe, click here to check out my fresh Spring Rolls in the "It's All in a Day!" post.  They are fun to make and you can use whatever veg you have on hand. Vegetable Sushi Roll  Basics: Bamboo sushi mat or bamboo placemat or a piece of parchment paper 2 sheets of raw or toasted nori 1 carrot, cut into long, thin strips (julienned) 1 cucumber, seeds removed and julienned to match the carrots Condiments: wasabi paste pickled ginger soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s amino acids (gluten free if you need it like me!) Rice: 2 cups cooked sushi rice (I used leftover steamed thai rice) 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1/2 tsp stevia powder 1 tablespoons rice wine Rock and Roll: Combine rice wine vinegar, stevia and rice wine in a small bowl until the stevia dissolves.  Reheat your leftover rice for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Put the rice into a large bowl.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the rice while you gently stir the rice.  The object is to cool the rice while coating it with the vinegar dressing. Now that the rice is ready, let’s get moving.  This is a quick meal considering we’re using leftover rice. Lay your nori shiny side down on the mat of your choice.  A bamboo mat makes rolling much easier, but if you don’t have one you can use a stiff placemat or even a piece of parchment paper.  I don’t want equipment or lack of it to stop you! Nori, face down; time to spread half of your rice.  Scoop about ¾ cup of rice onto the nori.  Rice should be sticky and glossy but not wet.  Moisten your hands with cool water and use your fingers to spread out the rice into a thin layer.  We are aiming to cover the nori with an even layer of rice.  Starting with wet hands means that the sticky rice won’t stick to our fingers right away. [caption id="attachment_311" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Veg Sushi Step 1"]Veg Sushi Step 1[/caption] Once the rice is laid out we’re going to place our veggies.  So, lay out a row of julienned carrot and cucumber about 2 inches from the bottom of the nori sheet.  We want the veggies to be even from side to side so everything stays together and looks pretty when we cut this into slices. [caption id="attachment_312" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Veg Sushi Step 2"]Veg Sushi Step 2[/caption] Magic time is upon us!  Lift the bottom edge of the sushi mat and begin to roll toward the top edge.  You need to press firmly on the roll to keep it tight.  Continue rolling to the top edge and press the mat at the top to seal the roll.  Repeat the procedure with the second sheet of nori.   Using a serrated knife, slice each roll into 6 or 8 pieces and serve with a dab of wasabi, braggs or gluten free tamari and a heap of pickled ginger. [caption id="attachment_313" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Veg Sushi step 3, rolled and ready to slice"]Veg Sushi step 3[/caption] Want to check out another version of my veg sushi roll on Food.com?  I’ve been making this stuff for a while now and it just couldn’t be easier!  Click here: http://www.food.com/recipe/tofu-maki-vegetarian-sushi-41104#ixzz1GWvr2Up2 [caption id="attachment_314" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegetable Sushi Platter"]Vegetable Sushi Platter[/caption]

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creativecalligraphy

Spicy Raw Tomato Sauce, Act 3

Have I mentioned how much I like a good leftover?  I'm not joking.  Today I am looking at the 3rd and final act for the batch of Spicy Raw Tomato Sauce that I made the other day.  I'm thinking of using it as a soup base, though the idea of adding a bit of this workhorse into some white bean puree for a spicy white bean dip is weighing on my mind. Since we have a snow storm on the way I am declaring the soup idea the winner!  Having a pot of soup on hand is a good thing when snow is a-comin!  In the event that we need to get all frontier minded and hunker down, I know that I can reheat soup in the cast iron pot on the wood stove (and I swear it will taste 10 times better coming out of that pot than anything else!)
 
Here we go:
Act 3 Soup
(makes about 8 big bowls of soup)Act 3 soup, thick with rice and lentil
2.5 cups Raw Spicy Tomato Sauce 12 cups water 2 cups brown rice (not cooked) 1/2 cup brown lentils (not cooked) 2 tsp ground cumin 3 Tbsp broth powder    1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 Tbsp tomato paste Add all ingredients into at least a 4 quart stockpot (you want to have enough room to stir without sloshing!)  Simmer over medium heat for one hour or until the rice and lentils are cooked.  Easy peasy! The rice takes on a golden tint from the turmeric in the tomato sauce.  There is still a hint of ginger while the rest of the spices and the onion make just a nice savory vegetable soup base.  Add in's could be anything from carrots and celery to more tomato or leftover beans.  Think minestrone, think vegetable soup.  If you have meat eaters, you could add in leftover chicken for a lightly spiced chicken vegetable soup.  Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste, try a bit more broth powder or salt and pepper.  Top each bowl with minced cilantro or a swirl of coconut milk if you want to get fancy. The beauty of cooking this way is that we waste very little.  I like to call  cooking it by the seat of your pants.  In the same way that aviators are said to "fly by the seat of their pants" aka without a flight plan, instruments, radio, etc., so can we cook!  We can be culinary renegades, working without the guidance of a cookbook, leaving Food TV behind!  I cook this way all the time, and, only occasionally do I have something crash and burn. It just so happens that I had something bite the dust last night.  I love rice paper wrappers and have tried to use them in a few different ways... so far, the only successful way I've found is to rehydrate them and use them as fresh wrappers for raw spring rolls.  I sure want them to be able to do more though... yes, I do!  So, the little experiment that I did last night involved rice paper wrappers and steam.  I now know that those two things don't mix, but it took a solid try to figure out because nobody tells you these things... well, I'm telling you now, but no one told me! Anyway, the sad story is that I made a handful of these fresh rolls in a sort of dumpling style and purse style and in the traditional roll.  I prepped my steamer basket and had my shallow water at a low boil.  The perfect steam environment was within my grasp!  A little oil on the steamer to prevent sticking (so I thought) and away I went.  The lid shut on the steming pan, I began to smell the little goodies.  My children even commented how nice things were smelling in the kitchen.  We were all getting a bit excited and, truth be told, you could have caught any one of us wiping a little drool from the corner of our mouths as we salivated like hungry wolves near the fragrant pan.  A few minutes passed and I removed the lid.... and along with it came a few of the rolls because the rice paper stuck like glue to the lid... and I thought I could rescue the few that were still laying there in tact... so I got the tongs and went right in there with confidence... until I found the plump shiny parcels completely and totally glued to the steamer basket.  It was a steamer basket casket and it was a sad sad sight.  I share this with you because it's important to validate that trying and experimenting is worthwhile even when you fail.  Without the failures we can't find our way to the successes.  For me, the key is not taking anything too seriously in the kitchen.  

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