"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

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Vegan day 86: Kale, sweet potato and white bean soup

Back to CLEAN START by Terry Walters. I have to admit- we rocked this recipe out! Feel free to cook with friends or family- it makes it more fun working together to knock out a good recipe! There isn’t a picture in the book for this one- but ours came out spectacular

I have to say these are favorites of mine all around- kale I cannot get enough of, sweet potatoes I am in love with and beans– well they are really good for you (and your stomach will eventually get used to them in case you are newly vegetarian and wondering lol).

Kale, Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup

Onion– 1 small yellow diced
Ginger– 2T grated
Extra virgin olive oil– 1T
Celery– 3 stalks diced
Sweet potato– 2 diced ( the recipe called for one peeled fyi- I am in the habit of leaving most skins on for extra nutritional value)
White beans- 3 cups (we used canned for convenience)
Mirin– 3T (Mirin is a cooking wine made from rice- we didn’t have this on hand nor did we have any sake so it was a toss up between brown rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar- I believe the brown rice vinegar won)
Kale– chopped
Vegetable stock– we used water because I was out of veggie stock- I can’t even imagine this soup with more flavor!
Nutmeg, black pepper, sea salt and gomasio or toasted sesame seeds

(I altered the “how to” a little) Begin with a medium to large sized pot and add in the oil, onions and ginger. Next you can add the celery, sweet potatoes, beans, spices and water to cover. I let this cook until the sweet potatoes were on the softer side. Lastly, I added the chopped kale. As if that wasn’t a meal in and of itself- I made a side of quinoa and served it together! Incredible!

Walters, T. 2010. Clean Start. Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well. New York, NY: Sterling Epicure

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday 26th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 85: Kale chips

Kale Chips

(They should be crispy and crunchy- these are in case you cannot tell from the picture)

Go to any health food store and you will see many variations of kale chips. Sure they are tasty but they do have extra ingredients- honesty, you can make it yourself at hardly any cost! Some kale chips have cheese added therefore those in particular are also not vegan. I do like to eat things fresh out of the oven – that’s why I make my own! I do love my snacks so I try to stick with the healthier ones. 

The first time I made these I massaged the olive oil on each kale piece- nice.. but I found an easier way. I washed my kale well and then patted it dry. I cut the kale into pieces to resemble 3 to 4 inch size chips. Sometimes I included the stem and sometimes I cut just the leaf part. I put them in  a mixing bowl, added 2T of olive oil and massaged the oil in covering both sides of the leaves. Next they were placed onto a baking sheet covered with tin foil and slightly greased with coconut oil. Sprinkle sea salt on top- put them in the oven and keep an eye out. I think it was just under 10 minutes. Add nutritional yeast after for extra flavor or nutrition. Nutritional yeast is a great source of vegetarian protein and B vitamins!

If you like video instructions– try these:

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Sunday 25th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 84: Trinity roots rice

Healthatarian— when I thought of this word, it was all about eating for health purposes- making choices to increase nutritional benefits. This begins with eliminating or reducing foods that take away from health. I have finally come to enjoy eating healthy- fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouts and lean proteins. I further believe in herbs– the kind we drink as teas, take as tinctures or supplements and those used for culinary purposes. Culinary herbalism is an art that goes back throughout history. Cooking or preparing foods with spices and herbs not only gives it flavor but added health benefits- some would even say medicinal! This is one reason that I may use herbs like ginger, ginseng or astragalus in my meals. Really, I am a beginner in the world of herbology and it’s simply FASCINATING! I am currently enrolled in Holistic Health which I will be extending through to an HERBALIST program- I absolutely love it. There is so much to learn though– and one day I came across an online class at CULINARY HERBALISM lead by K.P. Khalsa. He is a co-author of one of the book: The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs. One of the recipes in this online class called for TRINITY RICE. I made it the first time with ghee. Ghee is clarified butter made by melting butter and skimming the top off. Ghee is not vegan so this time I substituted it with my favorite extra virgin coconut oil. Next time I make it- I will use half what I did this time. Butter.. ghee.. oil.. it’s still FAT and FATTENING in quantity (ghee probably having the least amount)- I am open to suggestions for vegan alternatives! “TRINTY ROOTS” is the name given to the 3 popular basics in herbology and in cooking: onions, garlic and ginger! 

Trinity Roots Rice

Onions- 2 medium sized
Garlic- 2 cloves
Ginger root- 1 inch peeled and chopped finely
Rice- 1 cup (I used brown)
Ghee 1/2 cup – 3/4 (not vegan) therefore you need a substitute in a lesser amount. I used 1/2 cup of extra virgin coconut oil- next time I will do only 1/4!
Tomato- 1 chopped
Vegetables 4-5 cups- I used bell peppers, and extra tomatoes kale

Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in the vegan oil of choice until they are soft. Then add the vegetables, rice and 4 cups of water. Cover and simmer on low heat.

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Saturday 24th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 83: Open-faced portabella mushroom sandwich

Open-faced portabella mushroom sandwich

Portabella mushrooms- whole or sliced
Potato flour to thicken (just a pinch- other flours would work too)
Olive oil
Ezekiel bread (2) slices

Portabella mushrooms are on the sexier side of vegetables! They are incredible and hearty on their own, mixed with other vegetables, served on the side or even as “burgers.” I bought some the other day and was wondering how I should prepare them. I haven’t advanced yet to the portabella bun-less “stacked” veggie masterpiece that I was served in Vegas last year and that I chef friend of mine replicated- no I’m not there yet. I settled for my childhood version of an open-faced sandwich with some type of gravy!

Honestly, it was delicious and fulfilling! I sautéed the onions and garlic in some olive oil. After they had softened, I added the mushrooms, some tamari (1-2T) and a little water. It was coming along nicely but I wanted it a little thicker so I decided to add some flour- just a tiny bit!

I toasted 2 pieces of ezekiel bread and spread some vegenaise on them. I topped the mushrooms and the mixture over the bread! So delicious!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Friday 23rd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 82: KIM CHEE

I went to a class today: The Miracle of Lacto-Fermentation at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health, taught by Peter Berley. 
I enjoy making my own food from scratch when I can.. also my own beauty products like skin cream, facial cleansers and scrubs. There is something both fun and empowering to creating what you will use or consume. I’m into sprouting too lol- but I have never fermented any foods such as cabbages or pickles. I have always wanted to do this for the benefits of building healthy bacterial flora. Our intestinal flora has been and continues to be compromised thanks to antibiotic misuse, processed foods and GMOs.

I was going to blog this at a later date when I actually fully prepared KIM CHEE by myself but a few friends asked for the “how to” and besides, I did my share of chopping and squishing! I’ll take you through my experience before I forget the details– umm ginkgo hello! lol

(as per Peter Berley)

Nappa cabbage 5 pounds
Apple 1 cup peeled and grated
Carrot  2 cups peeled and grated
Scallion 2 bunches, thinly sliced
Daikon radish or turnip, thinly sliced
Sea salt or kosher salt 4 T
Garlic 1-2 heads, peeled and left whole
Onion medium size, chopped roughly
Soy sauce 1T (to replace traditional fish sauce)
Korean red pepper flakes (or dried or fresh chills)

~We cut the cabbage lengthwise and removed the cores. Next, we sliced the cabbage crossway into 1/2 inch strips. 

~The carrots and scallions were chopped and thrown into a big stainless steel mixing bowl with the cabbage. 

~Today, Peter advised us to make a brine instead of crushing the cabbage with sea salt into a mix of part cabbage and part juice which is common. This entailed measuring out enough water to cover the cabbage mix plus a sea salt ratio of (1 and 1/4 cup salt to 5 quarts of water-adjust accordingly- this is the same as one tablespoon of salt per cup of water)

~Let the brine soak into the cabbage for 2 hrs and then drain it off keeping some to add back to fill the pickling jar. Basically, the cabbage will fill the pickling jar and may need some of that brine to keep it submerged.   

~While the cabbage mixture was soaking in the brine, we prepared other ingredients in a food processor: we mixed the apple, daikon, garlic, onion and red pepper flakes– wow- lots of chilis!

~Finally we mixed the drained cabbage bowl with the food processor content. Gloves work well here

~The soy sauce is sprinkled in last. Traditionally, fish sauce is used- I was “vegan-ly” crushed to hear that– now I most definitely have to make it myself!  

~Once mixed together, we packed the KIMCHEE into a pickling jar (adding the drained brine back to submerge it completely and left it to ferment for 7 days.

Pickling jars

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday 22nd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 81: Vegan SMORES

I get excited when I see marshmallows! It all goes back to when I was a little girl. I would sell chocolate covered marshmallows on the neighborhood street corner like kids sell lemonade- the only problem was that I ate at least half of them. That could have been where my sugar habits began but my Mom and Dad both said NO- they caught me with chocolate all over myself at about age 2! I was sitting on the living room floor in my party dress with a box of chocolate all over me and my little black poodle, Monique licking the chocolate off my face. For the record- no chocolate for dogs!

Most of my childhood though, I was a sugar kid with the focus on candy not necessarily chocolate. It actually wasn’t until I went healthy that chocolate became an everyday love affair

Let’s get right to the calculations though- your average chocolate bar, one of mine being ALTER ECO 85% organic dark chocolate is about 250 calories per serving with 2.5 servings in the bar. That means you have to break 1/3 of that bar into 1/2 lol- and then, and only then- you can eat chocolate every day! hehe

The marshmallow craze started with selling them on a street corner but it also extended through many a day of fluffernutter (check out the commercial haha)  sandwiches, marshmallow rice crispy treats, sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving with marshmallows and summertime SMORES. Thanks to toaster ovens and microwaves- SMORES can be any season now! (For the record- I dumped my microwave years ago – so toaster oven it was for me.) 

I am a fan of Sweet & Sara
I tracked them down after searching for vegan graham crackers (no honey) to make Alicia Silverstone’s peanut butter cups– an earlier blog. This company has an amazing marshmallow sampler (no gelatin).

So here I am looking for a snack- I had vegan graham crackers, vegan marshmallows and vegan chocolate– so I just had too! I really better go for an extra long walk tomorrow or maybe even a jog!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Wednesday 21st 2012 blog]

Vegan day 80: HanGawi- Korean and Vegan in NYC

Voted BEST KOREAN restaurant in NYC (ZAGAT 2012)and it happens to be vegan! I love this kind of dining! This is the sister restaurant of Franchia, which I wrote about in an earlier blog.

I loved my experience at Franchia, so as one might expect- I couldn’t wait to go to HanGawi. 

I knew it too would be on the more expensive end and authentic- as we had to take our shoes off. I was catching up with an ol’ friend who happens to like mostly upscale Japanese places so I thought this would be perfect- and of course I’m on a mission to go to all the vegan hot spots- so vegan was a must!

I adore those restaurants where it’s “shoes off”– where you sit on pillows at a table and your feet drop below- so cute! HanGawi’s mission is conscious food for your body and soul: seasonally balanced through forces of yin and yang!

This experience as with Franchia, began with a choice of wonderful teas– this time I went with a high-end green tea. Green tea’s really have a huge range in costs and qualities.

I would enjoy a green tea class somewhere – kind of like wine tasting but green tea tasting lol– and cooking with green tea– and using green tea medicinally. That would be fun! I don’t know enough about it but one thing for sure-
it’s healthy!
mushroom sizzler

 This restaurant too had those stone rice dishes– oh my- I just had to have that again! And so- the ordering began! 

This is just the reason I try not to go out to eat- because I seem to think that I am an Ancient King who’s only purpose in life is to eat and indulge- and I did!  

vegetable stone bowl with brown rice

We ordered a kimchi salad to start and kale pancakes that were to die for! If only I could make those- and mark my words- I WILL! For entrees, we ordered the mushroom sizzler on a hot stone plate and the stone bowl mixed vegetable dish with organic brown rice. 

I absolutely DID NOT NEED DESSERT! I had already broke the “take leftovers” rule- since there were none! I had to though- I haven’t really dined out all month so it was deserving! The dessert was impressive to say the least– a sampler- as if! lol

My only issue was the balancing of “tea-ware”. I think I spilled my tiny cup like 10 times. They give you a big thermos of boiling water that you use to fill your small pouring cup which then goes over the tea leaves in the tiny teapot. Next you steep that and then pour into the tiny teacup. I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland or something! 

Final notes: I prefer the tea experience and the flavor of the stone rice bowl better at Franchia- the rest of the dishes, the dessert and the ambiance- HanGawi! Both places are simply amazing and worth the trip- vegan or NOT!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Tuesday 20th 2012 blog]