Category Archives: Veggies and Salads

Middle Eastern feel

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Summer is almost here. As I signed up for long evening classes this year, I need to come up with practical food ideas for recess so that I don’t resort to buying next door junk. Here is a good idea for a cold salad with Middle Eastern feel. Garbanzo beans, carrots, tahini and cilantro fit well together and make a great curry salad. Soak and cook some more garbanzos to make hummus afterwards. Salad recipe here…

Taboulistic

TabouDSC_6320RAW cuisine is so immensely creative. Replacing cooked grains or pasta for similar tasting ingredients solves the common sogginess of traditional Tabbouleh (Tabouli) Salad. No matter what I used to do, my grain tabbouleh was sweating. This new recipe has an unusual twist, can be made as RAW recipe and tastes great. Instead of cracked wheat or couscous pasta, it uses chopped cauliflower… See recipe. 

Happy Colors

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Happiness lies in colorful food. There is rarely a baby that is not a happy eater of sweet and comforting root veggies. Even Smiley face yellow carrots are among the many colors of Heirloom varieties.
Asides from Vitamin A and B, carrots offer many healthy benefits. One of Europe’s oldest used vegetables, carrot seeds were found in Switzerland and Germany as early as to 2000–3000 BC. Continue reading

The one that didn’t make it…

BSproutDSC_5151Thanksgiving has to include a brussels sprout… I had this unusual recipe but did not have time to include it this Thanksgiving. It requires cutting the little heads in half and then deliberately slicing them to fine shreds. For this side dish, had to make a couple of changes as I did not have cranberries or pistachios at home. Pistachios do well with the sprouts, several recipes list this combination, instead I used sliced almonds and vegan parmigiano. Also, instead of cranberries, I used soaked raisins, chopped even smaller. Although a bit more work, this variation on brussels sprouts recipes is well worth the effort. See recipe

Mindful Thanksgiving

KaleDSC_5139 For an alien, Thanksgiving is a strange ritual. Based on harvest festivals, to unify a Nation beyond religion, every year in every US household an imaginary feast is staged, that native Americans supposedly held for starving Pilgrims.  …For most Americans today, that means eating Turkey with a given order of sides, which makes Thanksgiving about consuming a bird, which has been industrially altered since Pilgrim’s times. Likewise all our food species, plant or animal alike, have been modified for optimum output, scientifically enhanced for maximized industry gain. Thanksgiving to me is not only being thankful to have food on the table, but also being mindful about what has happened to our food and what might happen in the future. Continue reading

The mother of all slaw

SurowDSC_4645Ever wondered where Cole Slaw is rooted? It must be from somewhere East… In Poland for example, there is Surówka, which means literally ‘raw’ salad, but then there is the German ‘Rohkost’. It is made in varieties with shredded carrots, apples, raisins and cabbage and likely other raw vegetables, plus fresh herbs, such as dill. You can add some sauerkraut to add some beneficial culture. The dressing can be salty or sweet, with plain lemon and spices. But you can also dress it up creamier, for example, add some cashew cream or tofu and replace the sugar from the recipe with a date or alternative sweetener in the blender. It is so fresh and tasty, much fresher than the usual tired and oily slaw. See recipe

The plant based traveller

PierogDSC_3873Last week I was in Poland. With mom, aunt and sister, we went as far as Gdansk in search of our family roots. I must confess, I am a miserable ambassador for vegan food when abroad. I don’t have a vegan food guide or plan ahead for 100% acceptable food. And Poland surely can be a challenge with its hearty old world fare. Noticing a vegetarian chain restaurant on the way, I also liked to discover local possibilities – for example Pirogi. In a good restaurant, there was always a meat free Pirogi version on the menu (this one here for example is with mushrooms and sauerkraut, others come with chanterelles or potatoes). Aside from the accidental bacon bit decor, eat your pirogi, dig into the surowka (raw cabbage salad,) that is complimenting many hot dishes and you have an acceptable meal, wash down with a local Vodka, repeat. Pirogi even come as dessert pastry filled with fruit blends. Definitely worth an experiment at home.

Picnic time

PestoDSC_3913.1Don’t use your stove during the heat. If you cook pasta beforehand, you will have a great base for cold pesto dishes for lunch and dinner that also work well as picnic and party food. This sundried tomato pesto tastes well warm or cold, if you add fresh tomato and basil, you will have a wonderful cold salad. My pesto will always have some wild herbs in it. See recipe

Orzo rediscovered

OrizoDSC_3558Warmer days ask for lighter fare. With humid heat around 32˚C the cold and succulent salads are back as a great alternative to warm lunches. Prepared in advance, they are easy to take anywhere and are very filling. Short before our first CSA pickup, salads seem to be harder to come by at Whole Foods. Armed with some watercress and organic chickweed from the garden, we have an even more nutritious alternative here… a new twist on the good old orzo salad. See recipe

Irish Spring

IrishDSC_3224It is Irish Parade time, Westchester will have it’s own St. Patrick’s Parade this weekend, which is last minute for me to cook Irish food. Of course Irish food must contain potatoes, or not? A typical Irish dish, Colcannon, can be made with plantains, a sacrilege, I know, as a relatively cheap item is replaced with a more exotic kind. However, if you are cutting back on nightshades, this recipe is worth a try and it will give you a load of kale with it. See recipe

Mardi Gras

There is nothing traditional except color. I must admit, this is a wacky and not very festive combination, but despite the looks it is really tasty. The real recipe of the bake is with white or savoy cabbage, white beans and potatoes. However if you like a stronger taste with more character, try red cabbage and juicy black beans which also won’t discolor. Serve with quinoa burgers and tartar sauce. Cabbage blend recipe
The quinoa burgers or croquettes are quite tasty with tartar sauce. The recipe is adjusted to be non crumbly as the original German recipe was more like granola. Quinoa burger recipe

Alternative grains

Another wheat alternative is Buckwheat, also called Kashi. The name comes from its resemblance to the triangular, but bigger beechnuts. A short growing season makes buckwheat perfect for colder climates or as a second crop. Historically, with increased output of wheat and other grains in colder climates, buckwheat has lost its importance over time, but has become recently more popular  as they offer an alternative to a gluten free diet. In general, it is a good idea to include buckwheat in our diet. Recipes I have seen use buckwheat pasta together with vegetables as a salad. To avoid eating the dish cold in this season, I lightly sauteed the vegetables and topped everything with marinated, fried tofu. See recipe

Smooth Sidekick

Savoy cabbage is a native in the Savoie region. The big Mediterranean winter vegetable is milder than other cabbages and sometimes eaten as salad. Some outer curly leaves are dark green, however the inside is usually pale, still with curly leaves. Some varieties grow pointy tops, some stay flat round. The very mild and sweet flavor of Savoy cabbage is often combined with strong and salty flavors in meat. But its fast preparation quality makes it also perfect for veg’n dishes. I like to combine it with grain meat and home fries. The big leaves are also superior for stuffed cabbage leaf recipes. See recipe

A fresh Start

Still in the old year, we are craving the New Start. Cleaning the fridge, I find a red cabbage patiently waiting, time for a fresh lunch salad with red cabbage. A recipe suggested all kinds of ingredients I did not have, so I just added what was available with and Asian style dressing. See recipe

Fall Fare

Fall salads need to be more creative. The season for good tomatoes and cucumbers is gone, as are light greens. Everything moves to more durable salad greens, root vegetables cabbages and exotic fruits. This week marks the last CSA and market day. Trying to extend my measly greens, I was surprised how well radishes and cabbage go with oranges and avocado. This is a very satisfying blend. See recipe.

Superfoods

Kale is the new Super Food. The list of nutrients and benefits to  circulation, skin, immunity and energy is long. If you knew only cooked kale in winter, you will be surprised that steamed kale can make a wonderful salad or side dish any time of the year. Truly a keeper is following recipe of steamed kale with creamy dressing, from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book ‘Eat to live’, which I will write about soon. See recipe

The green cowboy

If you don’t have an ingredient, be creative… Sometimes replacing creatively brings us a nice new recipe. Here is the ‘Cowboy’ salad with a twist in ingredients. A smoother much more refined version in green. With the season the possibility of weekend salad combinations is endless. See recipe

How the cowboy got better

Cowboy foods are made of beans, lots of them… Food such as dried corn, rice and beans were easy to bring and prepare in the wild.
Each grown culture with food rich in beans, peas and lentils, has discovered methods that would help digestion and fight gas. Which refutes the old assumption that veg people necessarily fart. Our cowboys slurping their bean soup around the campfire, were most likely unaware, which wild weed could spice the dish and help with the after effects. But maybe the concert was part of the fun, so why bother?
It already helps to soak or sprout beans and grains several hours before cooking. Continue reading

Summer cabbage

Cabbage is for Russian winters… however our summer farm share was brimming with early heads of durable white cabbage. Thank god, they store so well, they survived our travel time.
After several kinds of slaws, you may want a nice sauté. This mix with squash, sage and thyme just makes good use of last week’s CSA package. For a variety in starch you may want to use quinoa instead of traditional potatoes. Veg. style sausage meat is optional. See Recipe

Beat the Heat

We are in the midst of dog days… Heat around the 90’s and high humidity. I catch myself thinking twice if I should use oven and stove. Not primarily to save energy, but to keep the carefully balanced inside temperature down. In that sense using a pressure cooker for grains and beans is a blessing as it really reduces cooking time.
Today’s CSA pickup had some surprise ingredients such as optional okra. What about an African Stew? At least the heat helps to make it feel very authentic…   See recipe