Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cranky Papa Palooza

As I've been busy packing and more packing my Dad has been
doing a lot of the dinner cooking. If theres something Cranky
Papa makes best its stews, curries, and chili! Take a look...

Coney Island Chili with Soy Parmesean


























Potato and Cauliflower Stew

















Oh yeah, I did make some Bombdiggity Baked Beans

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Green Olive Pasta

It is so sad, my refrigerator is so desolate right now.
I haven't gone shopping in ages, so the extent of my veggie
stockpile is potatoes and cabbage.

Since I wasn't feeling significantly irish enough today
to make a family stew or bake my gran's soda bread I
reached for the canned tomatoes.

We had been out at the beach all day and needed some
carbs asap. So whole wheat pasta it was, yet where is
the twist?

Green Olive Whole Wheat Pasta


Ingredients

1 can of tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mince
fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped
green olives
1 diced chili
or 2 tbsp chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1 pack ww pasta














Cook the minced garlic in the olive oil over a medium
heat, until fragrant. Add tomatoes (including liquid),
parsley and chili. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add
green olives and cook until most of liquid is cooked off.

In the meantime cook your pasta until al dente.
When draining reserve about 1 cup of water. Add sauce
to pasta pot and add in water. Combine well and season
with sea salt to taste. Serve topped with fresh minced
parsley or vegan parmesan!

On a side note here is a big friend we made out in the
ocean today.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Striking Gold

Its a great feeling when a recipe comes out perfectly.
Tons of tweaking and tasting, twisting and tossing...
I finally got my peanut-ginger muffins ready for my book.
Huzzah, indeed. Have a look see.

Now I need to make more jelly cuz this used up the last
little bit I had. I was thinking of ginger thumbprint cookies...
Any suggestions?


Friday, July 24, 2009

Three Little Piggies in Blankets

No recipes to relate today, I just wanted to post what I'm working
on for my book lately. I thought these cuties were a awesome,
classic, kid-friendly, vegan treat... I also have a great savory twist
version with italian 'sausage' and herb and olive-oil piggies.

Great for parties too, when I make these for parties they'd
fly. You ain't nevah seen a pig fly?





Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jazzy Ginger

How
do
you
heat
up
and
cool
down
at
the
same
time?












If you said ginger and ice cream, you were right.
I still have this jar of ginger jelly from my first- not entirely successful-
batch. So, I'm thinkin'... 'what can I do with this?'

Its really hot today and I have this little carton of So Delicious Creamy
Vanilla Ice Cream. Well Pop goes the jar, Plop goes the jelly, and
yum goes my tummy. The spicy sweetness was perfect with the cool
creaminess of the ice cream. Brilliant! It tasted so cute... yes things
can taste cute. Try it for yourself! The pre-made ginger ice cream
just doesn't cut it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sorrel and Sunshine Tofu

Its good to have friends in green places!
















Yesterday I received a beautiful bunch of sorrel. YAY
I haven't had sorrel since I lived in California. We had a fair
bunch there and our dog loved to eat it in one quick chomp.

Sorrel is European in origin and has high levels of vitamin
A and C. The younger leaves are fruitier tasting and will get
more of a tang as it ages. This is due to the level oxalic acid
in the sorrel and also why you should not cook it in cast iron.
So if you're making sorrel soup, double check what stockpot
you use or else it will come out tasting metallic.

Sorrel is sometimes used interchangeably with spinach, but
can also be used as an herb in ways.
Sorrel is most commonly used in soups or sauces for fish.

I decided that tonight I would breakdown and do some fried
tofu cakes and let the fishes swim on by.
I rarely make fried foods, but when I do...

I served this dish with some golden veggies and a pot of wild rice.
The veg came out so perfect; butternut squash, carrots and yellow
bell pepper quickly sautéed with some vegetable broth.
The natural sweetness complimented the sorrel dish perfectly.

Sorrel and Sunshine Tofu

ingredients

Tofu

1 lb extra firm tofu, sliced in to 1/4" slabs (pressed and drained)
1/3 cup of cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
dash cayenne
salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients except the tofu. Coat each side of the
tofu slices and place in heated pan of oil. Cook until each side is
golden brown. Allow to drain and keep in a heated dish until all
are cooked and sauce is prepared.

Sauce

3 cups fresh sorrel, stemmed and chopped
2 tbsp earth balance or olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp mince onion
1 1/2 tbsp chopped capers
3 tablespoons almond milk

Heat oil or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until
translucent, stirring to make sure it does not brown.
Add the Sorrel and stir, coating. The Sorrel will become wilted,
cook until it resembles a puree. Add the capers and almond milk
and cook a few minutes more. Keep on low until tofu is ready.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who says pizza needs cheese?

Not me, no Ma'am. Since my Sister was here we had to make pizza.
I made a quadruple batch of whole wheat dough to start with...

2 tbsp yeast, 3 cups warm water, 1 heaping tbsp sea salt, 1 tsp sucanat,
3 tbsp olive oil, and 8+ cups flour
I think 2 cups were unbleached white. I'm not sure exactly how much
flour I used. I usually just do it by feel, adding as much as I need to
knead it.

But the dough came out really nice, not too crunchy like the last
time. I think last time I added too much flour, so it came out like
crackers. Or I could just blame it on the oven, yes I'll do that.






























We had two large large pizzas. My Parents of course had cheese...
But mine was a mix of olives and peppers... if I had artichoke hearts
it would totally have been greek. I used green and black olives,
pepperonis, sweet peppers, portabello mushrooms, cashews and
a sprinkle of salt and nutritional yeast. Yeah, no sauce here. I wasn't
in the mood for tomato sauce, so I brushed the dough with olive
oil and minced garlic. Hmmm whats for dinner?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Garden Snack Club in Hilo


Garden
Snack
Club


Mint
Tea



















Thursday night after we came back from Punuluu and watching
sea turtles cuddle we all wanted to hit up a thai place for dinner.
Our usual haunt, Sombat's, was closed. So we headed over to my
Aunt's favorite place, Garden Snack Club in Hilo.

I'd heard a lot of good things about it and it was all true!

The restaurant itself is tucked away in downtown hilo on a little
one-way side street. It is cute and really clean and probably seats
only about 40, pushing it.

Their menu was pretty big, but super flexible. It basically showed
all the foods, but you had the option of whatever protein you wanted.
The tofu they use is organic, local, and amazing. Its an extra firm and
they serve it in HUGE chunks. The portions are enormous and they
warn to you think about ordering family style.

My Mom (of course was the only one to not order vegan).
She had a 'Thai Pizza' that was absolutely swimming in cheese.
Holy cow, literally. I don't have a picture though.

The rest of us started off with a nice fresh cucumber salad. It had a
nice spicy-zingy dressing and was topped with peanuts.
















I ordered 'Tina's Spaghetti', which was absolutely amazing.
According to the menu the sauce is sold in our local supermarket,
so I'm gonna go check that out. Definitely vegan, it was a thick,
creamy, peanut sauce over pad thai noodles and huge chunks of organic
tofu over a bed of fresh organic spinach.

I need to discect this recipe before I leave. Or I will have to ship
bottles full of the stuff when I move. Ack! Wine or thai sauce!
A compromise must be met.
















We finished it all off with a dish of red curry and jasmine rice.
It was loaded with delicious local veggies, tofu, and my favorite...
Pumpkin!

















The food was wonderful, the wait help was awesome, and we walked
out with a bill less than $50.00 for five people. Talk about a find.
Now I'm hungry again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ginger-King Muffins

These muffins rule beyond all else, no. I am not full of
it, but they are! Seriously, these muffins are full of it.
Ginger-jelly that is.

My most recent attempt at jam making ended in a
tiny jar of caramelized ginger and green apples.
We had it on peanut butter sandwiches yesterday and it
was fantastic, but there is a lot I want to do to the recipe
before I share it with you. Let me work out the kinks.

Since my Sister is here from Taiwan I've been bringing
down breakfast with me when I pick her up. The other
day it was blueberry-orange scones and today it was
whole-wheat ginger jelly muffins.

I used Nava Atlas' recipe for the basic muffin from the
Vegetarian Family. Pretty good, I plan on tweaking it quite
a bit. Yet for this purpose it did quite swell.

Now, don't get me wrong... I love muffins. I'm just not a
muffin person (and thank god I'm not shaped like one).
I'm more of a flakey scone or pastry sort of person to be honest.
I'm one of those jerks that always steals the tops of the muffins.
I guess I'm one of the reasons they created those muffin top pans.

The jelly itself was surprising. It is zingy and sweet, smooth,
yet holds little bits of crisp ginger. I'll get more root so I
can perfect this recipe soon. Then I can process a whole batch.





























Ginger-King Muffins

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons flaxmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup soymilk

First mix all the dry ingredients together (including sugar).
Make it into a little concave crater of flour-y stuff in your bowl.

Dump in the apple sauce, oil, and just enough milk to make a
decent batter. Should be smooth, yet stiff. Be really really
careful not to over mix your batter.

In a prepared muffin tray (you may grease a tray, use liners-
I personally use and love silicone trays. No grease, no trouble)
Drop a couple tablespoons of batter in the bottom of the cup.
Make the batter a little concave and drop in a big tablespoon
of jam in the center. Make sure it does not reach the edges.
Then cover it up with more batter. I like lots of jelly personally,
but you can do whatever you like.

If any empty cups remain, put a couple tablespoons of water
in it. This made about 10 muffins but said it would yield 12.
Don't you hate that? I do.

Bake at 350F preheated for about 20-25 minutes.
You can fill these with other things of course, I also did plum
jam, fresh bananas, and chocolate chips.
My next attempt is peanut butter muffins with the ginger
filling. Onward!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Italian Tofu
















This is one of the few ways that I've been able to sneak my mom garlic.
This marinade is simple, easy, and you can use the resulting yummi-
ness in many ways. You can use the tofu slices in sandwiches as a
lunch meat like I did yesterday, you can slice them up in a salad to
serve along side a pasta dish, throw them in the pasta, or just pack
them up for a quick protein fix on a long day. Great for hikes! I love
them particularly on paninis. However, you can serve them grill and
just as is with an italian theme meal!

I use this as a way to finish off a bottle of good white wine when there
isn't enough for a full glass. I also use it as an excuse to open a bottle
of good white wine when I want a glass.

Italian Tofu- Marinade Style

Ingredients

1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced or pureed
a large pinch of each basil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram
or a 1/2-1 tsp of italian seasoning
one 14 oz block of extra firm or firm tofu

Slice tofu into 1/4 thick slices. Press and drain your tofu for at least
30 minutes so it will be able to absorb the marinade properly.
Come on just do it. Whisk the marinade ingredients together.
When done draining, place the tofu in to a deepish container or baking
pan and pour marinade over. Refrigerate a least three hours, but
overnight is best.

Once the tofu is marinaded well you can bake it at 375F, turning until
browned on both sides... or grill it, using the remaining marinade by
pouring it over the tofu while cooking. Allow to cool before storing
or serve immediately

Thursday, July 16, 2009

B-egg Salad Sandwiches

Whenever we went to the beach or park picnics when I was a kid
we always had egg-salad sandwiches. Not really the most wholesome
of things, but what was when we were kids?

On my last major hiking trip I made this adaptation for day-one
of the trip. If not paying attention, one wouldn't even know it wasn't
real hard boiled egg!

One thing I hate, especially in 'egg' salad, is celery.
So my recipe obviously doesn't include it, but I suppose you could throw
it in if you so desired! Another thing that people traditionally add to
egg-salad is pickle relish, but I didn't have any on hand.
I'm hoping to make my own pickles soon, so maybe that will be added
on the to the to-do list... *gears turning*

















B-eggin for more Salad Sandwich (filling)

Ingredients

14-oz firm tofu
3 tbsp nayonaise
2 tsp mustard
dash of dill
dash of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Drain and press the tofu for about a half hour and crumble into
a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Adjust the seasonings
to taste.

You can try adding a dash of curry power or cayenne instead for another
twist. Serve on any bread, with any fixings you like. I love tomato,
lettuce, and cucumber on toasted sourdough.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Miles from Mexico, throw me a rope




























Mexican food is my comfort food and mixing it up is my hobby.

Day before yesterday my Dad made some crazy baked black-eyed
beans from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. They were
super spicy and unfortunately, he and I are the only spicy eaters
in the house. So we had to find a way to add them into as many
meals as we could to use the huge pot he cooked up.

So I made some cumin spiced sweet potatoes, steamed some
jasmine rice and grilled up some corn tortillas for some funky tacos.
I topped them with fresh tomatoes and black olives and served them
along side some banana salsa.

Since then I've been in the mexican mind set, but there was no
bean and rice combo or salsa that could cure it. I needed fusion!
So I got my Mom to abandon her idea of going to Chinese Food
(ack I hate Chinese Food!) and to go to a new little local "Mex"
food place in town. Bueno Burrito is a converted former subway
and has the same basic system. You get a burrito and go down
the deli-like line telling them what you want.

They do have some set menu items and I got their jorgina burrito.
The was a spinach wrap with coconut jasmine rice, black beans,
steamed veggies, guacamole, and the works of lettuce, tomato,
cilantro, onion, jalapenos, and papaya salsa. Whoo-hee.
I am a happy camper.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I've Gone Bananas!

Its been a few days since I've been able to post, but lately I've
been going wild with bananas. We had a good haul from one
of our trees and they all just ripened at once. They are sweet
william bananas, so they are on the smaller side but really
really flavourful.
















I cannot tell you how bored I am of banana bread and quick
breads. I made a butt-load of papaya bread and I was the only
one eating it, so I let off on baking that stuff very often.

Last night I made a Banana Salsa, which was pretty wild
and have just resorted to making smoothies.
I had some frozen strawberries that were super sweet and
ripe when I froze them, so I blended them up with some
of the bananas I quick froze. About two bananas, a handful
of strawberries, and 8 0z of plain unsweetened soymilk.
Ahhh classic. The key to the best smoothies is freezing
the fruit first. It is so much more refreshing and the body
is a lot nicer. Warm, frothy smoothies are the worse.

But I went bananas over this...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Peanut and Black-eyed Stew

Last weekend my Dad made a huge huge pot of black-eyed beans.
So after I got home with my brothers I wanted to make something
quick, easy, and something that would make a dent in that bucket
of beans that was smiling at me from the refrigerator.
We just had hoppin' john not too long ago and I came across this
in my copy of Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes. I think the recipe
is actually called "African Groundnut Stew" because of the
peanuts.

My version had to be twisted a little because I had no onions on
hand and chillies would have been too spicy for my little brother.
And I used cashews instead of peanuts... and I cut it in half
because there were only three of us... ha ha so I messed with it alot.




















Ingredients

1 clove garlic, minced
1 small green bell pepper, cleaned and chopped
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2- 2 cups butternut squash, seeded-peeled-cubed
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp cashews chopped
3/4 cup cooked black-eyed beans

Cook the garlic, pepper and spices in a tsp of oil for about a minute.
Add the squash and 3/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat. Mix the peanut butter and 2 tbsp water and add to the
pot. Allow to simmer until the squash begins to look tender, about
15-20 minutes. Add the cashews (or originally peanuts) and the beans
and allow to cook for about 10 more minutes or until hot all the way
through. Serve over rice!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My attempt at soup art!

I was totally playing around this this one. After I got that soylatte
in Kona with the fancy flower I went on and watched a sorts of
crazy coffee art videos. On a whim the other night after I made
a spicy carrot-ginger-curry soup I thought I'd give it a try.
Well, it didn't pop into my head until after I thought I was gonna
die from the soup being too spicy and adding some soygurt to
cool it down. So I grabbed a kabob skewer and tried to make
a swirly-gig. Well, I think they actually use a special utensil to
make their art, but it was fun to give it a try.






























Looks like a rorschach test! What do you see...?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spanish Rice es agradable

When there is nothing else to scratch together?
Make rice.
When you have nothing to serve over it?
Make Spanish rice.





























I love using up all the left over rice this way.
We mostly eat jasmine in our house, but I love
it with brown rice too. Just make sure to be
adding back in water or vegetable broth so
your rice doesn't stick or dry out and feel like
gravel when you're eating it. Sometimes to
retain the moisture I will add tomato sauce,
left over pasta sauce, or even left over salsa.
I chop up some garlic, onions and cook that until
its fragrant then I add fresh tomatoes, bell peppers
and corn to put in with a tablespoon of chili power,
some cayenne, and salt and pepper.
Pineapple is super good thrown in there if you
have any too!

I served ours with black beans, soygurt, cilantro,
black olives, jalapenos, or whatever you have a hankering for.

What is in a Snickerdoodle?

A cookie by any other name would taste as sweet.


This was actually my first time making snickerdoodles. To be completely honest, when my friend told me
that these were his favorite I wasn't quite sure what
kind of cookie a snickerdoodle was. After a short reminder
it brought back memories of those enormously oversized,
squishy cookies that kids could get for free at the vons
bakery counter. So considering I had mixed emotions
(and a very little bit of confusion) surrounding the
creation of a snickerdoodle cookie, I feel this came out
quite well!

According to Lynne Olver snickerdoodles have no clear
origin. They are thought to be more of a modern adaptation
of German sticky buns or spiced cakes through the Pennsylvania
Dutch. The word snicker is probably derived from the German
word Schnecke, which translates to snail. I rather like that...
snail-doodles!

From what I've learned in making and reading up on these
lovely little guys is that they are characterized by the
soft texture and crackled surface. The dough, similar to
a regular sugar cookie, is rolled in cinnamon and sugar
before baking.

Aside from that, I think I'm all the better for these...
well maybe not my tummy, but the rest of me is better for it.

Snickerdoodle or 'SnailDoodle' Cookies

ingredients

1 cup of earth balance
1 1/2 cups of raw sugar
[2 tbsp flaxseed meal plus 6 tbsp water until frothy]
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Cream earth balance, sugar, and flax.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, tartar, soda
and salt. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet mix.
Chill the dough and an ungreased baking sheet for at
least 15 minutes. Mix the extra sugar and cinnamon in
a small bowl. Scoop the dough into rounded teaspoons
and roll in sugar mix. Place on the chilled sheet with
plenty of room, no need to press down because they
will flatten out and spread on their own.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 10 minutes
and remove from the pan immediately after baking.

These are so taste and disappear so quickly I doubt
the name 'snaildoodle' is entirely suiting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Plan B PB&J
















It never fails that I'll wake up a little too late to make something
decent to pack for lunch. I'll have it all planned out in my head
when I'm drifting off to Z-land... mmm pesto pasta, beet salad,...

But I also forget that I have a horrible problem with sleeping through
everything, not to mention my alarm. I grew up next to a train track,
so I think that has something to do with it. I'll sleep through
earthquakes, phone calls, movies, alarms, frat-parties, you name it.

Because I'm always flying out the door, I have perfected the art of
jazzing up the classic peanut butter and jelly. When I was little and
my parents were shoving us out the door into the car,
we'd get a toasted peanut butter sandwich with granola and
bananas if we were lucky.

So what I do now to my little brother is very similar...
except he doesn't like it toasted (gawhat!?) Oh well.

I add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and whatever dried fruit we have
on hand- usually raisins, cranberries, blueberries, and currents.
I'll also sprinkle on some flaxseed meal and sliced apples.
I'd have been one hungry college kid if it wasn't for the ol' pb&j,
so jazz it up a little folks.

Bold, Beautiful, Bellini































Summer fruits are like heaven.
I have issues in being able to save enough of the fresh fruit
I buy to actually do something with it or make recipes.
I forgot that I wanted to use some blueberries in the
sparkling wine I brought for the Fourth of July, but used them
all in my Vegan Blueberry Cheese cake. Oh well, they went to good use.

I had watched the movie I Really Hate My Job not too long ago
and in the last scene all the characters leave to go get a Bellini.
Well, the craving for Bellinis really set in and I haven't been able to shake it.

Ideally they are made with peach puree and an Italian Prosecco
(sparkling wine), but quite often the puree is substituted with schnapps
and cheap champagnes are used. They are named after the artist Bellini
because the colour of the drink is reminiscent of the colours used by Bellini.

Instead of making a puree I sliced up some fresh peaches and
allowed them to soak, absorbing some of the wine for a
few hours. Chilled, this was so amazing. The wine took on some
of the sweetness of the peaches as well, making this a beautiful
summer treat.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake

















My goal was to create something red, white, and blue for
Independence Day. Well, the crust still needs some work.
But if you insert your usual graham cracker crust, I can
update later with a better version of this cranberry-almond
crust. I just want it to be more colourful.

When making a cheesecake out of silken tofu, the result
is nearly custard-like. The combination of the vanilla
"cheatcake" and the fresh blueberry sauce was otherworldly.
It is fresh and light and there was absolutely no oil or fats
in the whole thing, so the only guilt is the sugar itself.
Come on, it was a holiday. Let's celebrate.




Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

for the cheesecake
12 oz firm silken tofu
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice

blueberry sauce
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup of water
1/2 cup vegan sugar
a chunk of fresh, peeled ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder





For the cheesecake combine all the ingredients in a blender
or food processor and blend until smooth... thats pretty much it.

Pour over a prepared crust in a spring form pan and bake in a
preheated oven (350f) for 30-40 minutes or until it begins to
brown on top and appears set when jiggled.

Remove and allow to cool completely before applying sauce.

For Sauce:
Combine blueberries, chunk of ginger, water and sugar in a
saucepan over medium heat. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cook until blueberries begin to burst (not as exciting as it sounds).
Dissolve starch in the lemon juice and add to the blueberry mix.
Continue cooking/stirring until it begins to thicken up.
Remove ginger, stir stir stir, remove from heat.

Apply the sauce to the cake before it totally thickens up, but not
while its still boiling hot.
















note: you may lightly grease the pan to allow for easier removal,
but I did not and it was fine. Just use a knife to gently cut the edges
free, while continually wiping the blade clean to avoid too much
sticking.

a little sketching



My down time with a cup of coffee...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Braised Kale and Figs





I've been playing around with kale for a while.
I bought three huge bunches at the farmers market,
which encouraged me to cook it up quickly. The longer your
greens sit, the more bitter they become. I usually
cook it up with raisins and serve it over pasta.
However, I was in luck this past Sunday.

I went over to the west side of the island with some
friends and we went to Costco. (yes yes I know, but
we have very few choices in Hawaii. Unfortunately,
Costco is often the lesser of evils.)
While we were there I was stunned to find a large
flat of fresh figs for $8. I was so excited. Its the first
time I've ever seen fresh figs in Hawaii. Its been almost
a decade since I'd had one.

Figs originate from Western Asia, but spread through the
Mediterranean. They were brought over to California in
the 1500s by explorers and became an established crop
in the missions of Southern California. Figs are really high
in dietary fiber (two figs contain the same amount of fiber
as a half a cup of beans), as well as high levels of potassium,
and manganese.

So, aside from munching them
constantly I figured I'd give them a whirl with some
braised kale. I wish I could make this more often, its
across the board gorgeous.







Braised Kale and Figs

ingredients

1 large bunch of Kale, cut to ribbons!
1 clove of garlic, minced
5 medium fresh figs, cut into quarters
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
water
salt to taste
crumbled walnuts (optional)

cook garlic in a tablespoon of water over medium heat until fragrant.
Add the kale and about a 1/4 cup water, you may need to
add more if it starts to look dry. Cook until Kale looks like its starting
to wilt and look tender but not soggy. Add figs, vinegar, and a dash of salt
(and walnuts if you like)
Continue cooking until figs are tender and kale is soft, but still bright.
Excellent served with toasted ciabatta bread.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Red, White and Bluesli


My patriotic breakfast. Of course we'll be doing the downright
vegan BBQ tonight, watching fireworks from the rooftop.
But I had to start the day right.

Call me weird but I don't let my muesli soak overnight
or at all. Ha ha, yes I basically eat raw oats and it is awesome.
I do let it soak sometimes if I have the foresight to think
about breakfast before I go to bed. However, this morning
I just threw together some rolled oats, oat bran, flax meal,
fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower
seeds and dumped it on a bowl of plain soygurt. Oh boy. I be
thinkin I want some mo'.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Sweet and Sour Pearl Onions





























This recipe is great if you're crazy for onions and pretty good if
you're not. I found it sometime ago in a generic vegetarian cook
book, so I'm afraid I can't cite my source. I'd like to try it again
with greens instead of onions to see how it turns out.
But the straight up recipe was very good and an excellent side
dish. I served it over couscous with a side of spicy hummus.

S&S Pearl Onions

1 pound of pearl onions, peeled and whole
1/4 white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 cup raisins
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a deep pan and add 1 1/4 cups of water.
Bring all to boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered
for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little
water now and then to keep it from drying out too much (depends
on your stove). Onions should be translucent, plump and soft.
Serve hot or at room temperature!

Add a flourish with flowers

















I finally got to the farmer's market early enough to buy some
eatable flowers for my younger brother who was incredibly eager
to try them.

Flowers, which have been eaten for centuries, are now making a
culinary come-back. Indeed, they are being seen more and more in
haute cuisine. Flowers add not only a beautiful appeal, but possess a
wide variety of delicate flavours. One must be careful to not overpower
them with other items in the dish, especially strong dressings.
Imagine a little spicy bite or sweet tang completely destroyed by a
powerful balsamic vinaigrette.

If using as a garnish in a salad it is important to keep the dressing very
light and mild. I personally feel they are best to just trim dishes.

I of course will being using them more as we get into the summer
months. Perhaps I will be getting up early enough from now on to get
them regularly or heaven forbid- Grow them myself! Although, I kill
just about every plant I get near. RIP herb garden. A local organic-vegan
farmer produces them here in Hawaii and also supplies them to our
local natural health food store.

The most commonly seen eatable flowers are daisies, pansies, roses,
violets, and of course lavender. But there are so many others to utilize,
as long as you are positive as to what you are picking and they are not
treated with any sort of pesticide, &c. You should absolutely check out
more on the subject.

A great quick source is Please Eat the Daisies by David Heeran.
More soon to follow... and in the meantime, be sure to stop and to
eat the roses!








Mystery Fruit





We found these on a a little squash like plant outside my
friends house. Can someone give me a hint as to what
it could be?...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Simply Sassy for Salsa

When everyone is away,
with garlic Gwen will play.

Summer time always gets me
in the mood for mexican food.
Something about sweating
from the hot weather makes
me wanna sweat from my food
too. So when everyone left for
work today, I took a break
from packing and diced up a
very simple salsa.
Salsa is one of those things
that you can never go wrong
with. I made a good sized
batch so I had it with chips,
tocos at night, a breakfast
burrito, and spanish rice the next day. I really must make
some more for vegan huevos rancheros for my bday (a tradition).

Sassy Salsa

3 firm tomatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper, any colour
2 hot peppers
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Dice all your veggies and toss with the lemon juice and cilantro.
Season to your taste. The heat can be adjusted to your desire.
I love using Hawaiian chili peppers or Habaneros, but other hot
peppers are just fine.
Like soups, chili, and curry salsa is even better the next day,
so plan ahead or make a lot.