Friday, July 27, 2012

Field Roast with Mushroom Gravy

Admittedly I have been all but absent from my kitchen lately.  It has been so hot in the Northeast that I have not felt much like cooking and life has been really busy. I have been traveling a bunch, both for pleasure and for business and really have not had much time to be creative in the kitchen.

Yesterday I was able to get it together enough to defrost the Field Roast Celebration Roast I have had in the freezer for quite some time.  Believe it or not, I have never had the Celebration Roast before (crazy, right?).  I was not particularly optimistic about liking it but in all honesty, I have not been to the grocery store lately and there was not much in the house in terms of dinner so I had to make do with some pretty meager rations.

What a wonderful surprise this was!  Not only did I like the Celebration Roast- I loved it!  I am excited to come up with other, decidedly more creative ways to use this product.

I had not planned on blogging this recipe but a few of my Facebook friends asked for the recipe so I am going to try to document it here.  Measurements are approximations as I did not measure anything while I was cooking.  If you try it just use quantities that feel right to you!

Field Roast with Mushroom Gravy

1 Field Roast Celebration Roast
1 tbsp olive oil
5 shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 tbsp fresh thyme
~1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk (or other non dairy milk)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat add the vegan butter. When melted add the flour and stir, cooking for a few minutes until light brown in color.  Add the mushrooms, onions, vegetable stock and salt and pepper. Stir well and allow to cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the coconut milk and reduce the heat to low allowing the mixture to cook until the consistency of gravy.

While the gravy is cooking add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a second skillet over medium heat.  Slice the Field Roast (I used three slices) into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices.  Add to the olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown.

Top with gravy and serve.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gnocchi, Tomatoes and Parmela!

While I do not particularly miss cheese occasionally I do think about Parmesan cheese.  I have tried a couple of vegan Parmesan replacements but figured it was just as easy to go without. Let's face it they are nothing like Parmesan, or at least what I remember Parmesan to be like.

Sure, I occasionally use some Nutritional Yeast on my pasta but that is not really a Parmesan replacement; it is just another nice topping for pasta.  After hearing so much about it I finally broke down and tried Parmela.  I really had no expectation of Parmesan but what I got was definitively Parmesan!  

With just a few (recognizable) ingredients (nutritious ones to boot) these folks have really nailed it. I am in love with this product! The salt, the bite, the whole thing. I have even given it to a couple of omnivores who have confirmed tastes like Parmesan.  This is probably the best vegan "replacement" product on the market.  

With a couple of garden tomatoes and basil this was a delicious summer meal. Run out and get yourself some Parmela!

Gnocchi, Tomatoes and Parmela

1 lb gnocchi (I used Wegman's brand)
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 handful chiffonade of basil
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Parmela for sprinkling

Heat the olive oil and garlic over low heat for a few minutes. You can also do this in the microwave. You do not want the oil to get to hot, just enough to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor.

Prepare the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain, return to the pan and add the olive oil, cherry tomatoes and basil. Toss to coat.

Top with Parmela when serving.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Music, Sesame Seed and Middle Eastern Food

I am not sure I have ever talked about my son's music here before.  But, given that we are in Connecticut dropping him off for a week of intensive jazz study it is probably the right time.  He's thirteen, he is talented and he works really hard at music.

He plays the Sax, is self taught on the clarinet, flute and piccolo. He studies piano. He recently cleaned up on jazz solo awards, won the John Phillips Sousa award for music and has been accepted into the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra.  He is kicking butt and I am so proud.

When we got to Connecticut it was dinner time and we were all hungry.  A quick search on Google yielded a place called Sesame Seed. They had  a great Middle Eastern menu and the place looked eclectic and interesting so we decided to go.

What a really nice surprise.  As you know, I grew up with a Middle Eastern Father and we ate Middle Eastern all the time.  I know good Middle Eastern food, and I will tell you this place serves good Middle Eastern food. Very good.  The hummus was literally the best I have ever had (sorry, Mom).  The falafel was amazing, too.

The place was oddly charming, cluttered with all sorts of "stuff" from old games, telephones and needlepoints to photos, model cars and instruments.

When we come back to pick my son up I think we will make a point of swinging through Danbury and eat at Sesame Seed again. If you are close you really owe it to yourself to check it out!

Sesame Seed is located at 68 W Wooster Street in Danbury, CT.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Recipes from Avocado Lovers- Simple Bean Burrito with Avocado

I was recently asked by the folks at Avocados from Mexico to do a post helping to promote Mexican Avocados. They have just launched a new recipes section on their site geared toward foodies who love avocados. It is a community site where folks can upload their favorite avocado recipes (among other things).

Of course I said yes as I love avocado, they taste great are super nutritious and healthy, a superfood if you will.

As you know, I love to cook with my daughter. Something good always comes of our cooking expeditions and this was no exception. She did most of the chopping-  and I must say her knife skills are really amazing for a nine year old. I guess it was a good idea to buy her that nice set of knives she wanted for Christmas.

The burritos were great- very simple, what you would expect of a burrito really. The addition of the fresh avocado was a nice. We thought about guacamole but decided to keep it simple and let the avocado speak for itself.

If you are interested in ideas to use avocado why not head over to Avocados from Mexico and check out their Recipes from Avocado Lovers? There are some really interesting ideas, not all vegan, but many that could easily be veganized. And you can submit your own recipes too, just click the link below!

Submit a recipe to the Recipes From Avocado Lovers website from Avocados From Mexico

Simple Bean Burrito with Avocado

6-8  8" whole wheat tortilla shells
1 can vegetarian refried beans
4 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup vegan cheese shreds
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Mexican avocado, sliced and rubbed with some fresh lime juice
Hot sauce (optional)

Place the refried beans on the tortilla. Add a layer of onion, jalapeño, cilantro and vegan cheese. Be careful not to add too much or they will be hard to roll.  Roll into a burrito by folding the shell over itself in half, covering the beans. Then fold the ends in from the left and right sides and while holding the burrito roll or flip it over.

Once the burritos are rolled place them either in a panini press, in skillet or in a 375 degree oven seam side down until they are warmed through.

Top with avocado slices and hot sauce if desired.

*This sponsorship is brought to you by Recipes from Avocados From Mexico who we have partnered with for this promotion.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Colorful Chickpea Salad

My go to lunch, far and away, is a chickpea salad sandwich. I have posted a couple of different ones in the past- you may remember my Ultimate Chickpea Salad Sandwich and my No Tuna Salad Sandwich.

I make chickpea salad all the time, but I never really do the same thing twice- typically it is just using up whatever veggies are in the fridge so I end up with a slightly different version every time. Today I was feeling a really colorful chickpea salad (I tell my kids they need to eat the rainbow every day!).  After grabbing a variety of veggies, a knife and a cutting board in next to no time I had a fabulous, nutritious lunch!  And, I have a bunch leftover too so I have lunches for the weekend!

Colorful Chickpea Salad

1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, roughly chopped (equal to one can)*
2 radishes, chopped
1 ear corn, cooked, kernels removed from the cob (you could use canned as well)
1 carrot, cut into ribbons with a peeler and then chopped
4 snap peas, chopped (pods and peas)
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tbsp vegan mayo (I love Vegenaise)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Serve as a sandwich or over greens as a salad.

*Note: if using canned chickpeas drain and rinse them well. I rough chopped the chickpeas with a knife but you could also pulse them in a food processor a few times to chop them.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Avocado Pea Tea Sandwiches

I love avocados. For so long they got a bad rap as a fatty, not so good for you food.  Thankfully, the world has come to realize that they are not only delicious, they are also deliciously nutritious, too.  Even Subway, has jumped on the avocado bandwagon offering it on its sandwiches and advertising it as a "superfood".

I recently ran across a recipe for avocado-pea spread for tea sandwiches. Not a combination I would have put together, since I had avocados, peas and little cocktail breads I decided to try a version of it.  They were delicious- the creamy spread with the crunch of the fresh vegetaables was perfect- even my 13 year old son enjoyed them!

Avocado Pea Tea Sandwiches

2 avocados, pitted and insides removed
1 1/4 cup frozen shelled peas, thawed
Juice of one lime
Sliced radishes
Sliced cucumbers
Mini cocktail bread or thinly sliced sandwich bread
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the avocado, thawed peas and lime juice in a food processor.  Add salt and pepper.  Pulse until very smooth.

Place a layer of the spread on the bread. Place a layer of cucumber, a layer of radish and top with sprouts. If using sandwich bread, remove the crusts. Slice diagonally and serve.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mushroom and Kale Veggie Burgers

For whatever reason I was just not in the swing of the Independence Day celebrations happening all over the U.S. yesterday. I had pea and avocado tea sandwiches for lunch.My kids and I made cupcakes.  I did not go to any barbecues and did not use my grill.  But, as the day wore on I figured I better at least make a burger. That seems very July 4th like to me.

I took a look in the refrigerator. Mushrooms and kale. Seemed like a good start. A quick search of the web turned up a bunch of nice recipes. I used this one for my inspiration.  I changed it up a bit- as you know I can't follow a recipe exactly.  I also wanted to use some peppers I had in the fridge and so these burgers were born.

It was a great meal- loaded with flavor, packed with nutrition and enjoyed by both myself and my daughter. Her exact words: "Ooh, Mom, this is GOOD".  I call that success.

After dinner we did head out to the deck to watch some fireworks so in the end I guess I sort of participated in the Fourth this year.

Mushroom and Kale Veggie Burgers

1 cup oats
4 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped
6 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp red miso
1/2 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil for sautéing the burgers
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil and onions.  Saute until soft- about eight minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until they release their liquid.  Add the kale and garlic, re-season with salt and pepper and  saute for a few minutes until the kale is wilted. (Note: do not add too much salt as the tamari and Worcestershire add a fair amount of salt).  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the oats in a food processor and pulse a few times.  Add 3/4 the mushroom and kale mixture along with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until a ball starts to form and the ingredients are well incorporated.  Remove, place in a bowl and add the rest of the mushroom mixture.  Mix with your hands to incorporate.

Form four patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before cooking.

When ready to cook, place the refrigerated patties in a skillet with a few teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook until browned on both sides and warmed through.

Serve with your favorite condiments (I used a little bit of sriracha sauce, my daughter ketchup and mustard).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nuvia Cafe

I was recently offered some samples of Nuvia Cafe to try. I gladly accepted as I am a huge coffee lover. Mind you, I do not drink instant coffee except on the rare occasion I want decaf and find myself on an airplane.

Nuvia is billed as "healthy" coffee. I have never really thought of coffee as "unhealthy" but OK, let's go with it!

According to the company "Nuvia is a Sumatran Arabica Coffee infused with a trifecta of legendary ingredients: Ganoderma (an immune enhancer), African Mango (a natural appetite suppressant), and Pomegranite (a super antioxidant). The Sumatran coffee beans are roasted to perfection yielding a superior flavor that is rustic, yet rich and full bodied".  

The package states that it supports energy health, immune health and appetite suppression. Sounds good to me. Sounds good to me. Well, except for the appetite suppression part. I am all about eating :) and have long since "stopped chasing skinny".

I have been drinking this coffee while I am out and about on business travel- particularly sitting
on airplanes- something I do far to much of.  I think it has a really smooth flavor- but not for the faint of heart- it is a fairly strong flavored coffee (which is just fine by me). And even with the other ingredients in there I cannot taste them- just tastes like a good cup of coffee.

I keep some in my bag for those times you cannot get a decent cup of coffee, which for me includes the office at work. When I don't feel like going out to Starbucks or Dunkin' I grab one of these and I am good to go.

The coffee is not cheap at $30/box but for those times you cannot get out to get a good cup of coffee this does the trick!

To learn more about or purchase Nuvia Cafe click here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pasta, Shitake and White Sauce

Remember the sauce from the Zucchini Pizza I made for Vegan Pizza Day? Since the recipe made far more than was required for the pizza I used the rest of it on pasta.  Topped with some sautéed shitake mushrooms it was fabulous!

I still have a little bit leftover and it is going to be my dinner tonight. Yum.

Pasta, Shitake and White Sauce

1 lb pasta
5 ox shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
White sauce (see below)

For the sauce:
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 small red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened Almond Milk (I used So Delicious Almond Plus Original)
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella shreds (I used Galaxy)
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp basil, chopped fine
Vegan parmesan (optional, I used Parmela)

To prepare the sauce first measure out all of the ingredients.  This will make the process much easier. On the stove over medium heat melt the vegan butter in a sauce pan and add the onion and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook until soft but not browned (about four minutes). Add the flour and stir until absorbed. Add the white wine, vegetable stock, almond milk and bay leaf.  Stir constantly until it starts to thicken- about ten minutes. Remove the bay leaf and add the vegan mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to stir until smooth.  Add the cornstarch/vegetable stock mixture and stir until sauce is nicely thickened.  This whole process could take as long as 20 minutes.

While the sauce thickens boil the pasta according to package directions.

In a saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil, shitake mushrooms, white wine, salt and pepper. Cook for about five or six minutes or until the mushrooms get soft and release their liquid.

Drain the pasta, top with sauce, mushrooms, chopped basil and, if using it, the vegan parmesan.

Note: the sauce was inspired by this recipe.