Potato Vindaloo Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound purple potatoes, peeled, 1/2 dice
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, 1/2-inch dice
  •  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • (up to) 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Cook and stir occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are softened.  [Side note:  If you feel like the vegetables are sticking to the Dutch oven, add a little water or vegetable broth and deglaze with a flat wooden spoon].

Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, cardamom, cayenne, and cloves, and cook for 2 minutes.  Deglaze by gradually adding in the water and scraping the bottom of the dish.  Add the bay leaves, mustard seeds, and bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, roughly 15 minutes.

Lastly, add the tomatoes and vinegar, and simmer uncovered until the sauce has thickened slightly, roughly 15 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves, stir in the fresh cilantro, and season to taste.

Serve with rice and top with additional fresh cilantro if desired.

Pasta and Lentils


 4 servings; makes about 7 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils

  • 6 cups water, or more as needed

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  •  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 ounces dried whole wheat pasta (we used rotini)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • I can diced tomatoes, drained

  • 2 cups greens (We used baby Swiss chard)

DIRECTIONS

Pour the lentils into a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven and add the water (to cover); bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Uncover; stir in the garlic, red chili flakes and oil, then cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in  the pasta, cover and cook until al dente, stirring regularly to keep the pasta from sticking and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a minimum of bubbling. Depending on the pasta variety, the cooking time may take about 5 minutes longer than indicated on the package, so begin tasting the pasta once the suggested cooking time has elapsed. Continue tasting every minute or two until it is cooked through but still firm. The resulting dish should resemble a thick soup; if the mixture seems too dry, add a little water to reach the desired texture, keeping in mind the pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it cools.

Once the pasta is done, add thyme and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally,  until tomatoes are hot.  Add greens, stir until mixed in, cover and let the mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then uncover and serve!

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Spinach Chickpea Paella

Adapted from the Washington Post: 

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth

  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

  • 2 large or 4 small shallot lobes, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup uncooked arborio, bomba or other short-grain rice

  • 3 cups (2 ounces) packed baby spinach leaves, chopped

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained (or if canned, use no-salt-added, drained and rinsed)

  • 4 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat until barely bubbling at the edges; reduce the heat to very low and cover. (Or heat the broth in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, microwave on HIGH until boiling, about 2 minutes, and cover to keep hot.)

Sprinkle the pine nuts into a  12 inch cast-iron or other heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan frequently to toss the pine nuts, until they are brown and fragrant, a few minutes. Immediately transfer them to a small plate so they don’t continue cooking and burn.

Return the skillet to medium heat and pour in the oil. Once the oil is hot enough to shimmer, sprinkle in the curry powder and let it sizzle and bloom for a few seconds, then add the shallot and garlic and saute until tender, a few minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until the rice grains are well coated. Add the spinach and chickpeas and cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts, a minute or two.

Pour in the hot broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is gently bubbling. Taste the liquid and add salt as needed, then cook, swirling the pan occasionally to keep the rice hydrated, until the rice has swelled and absorbed much but not all of the liquid (it should be slightly soupy), 8 to 10 minutes.

Scatter the red pepper strips on top of the paella. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the rice is al dente, or mostly tender but with a little resistance at the center of the grain, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Uncover and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes, to brown and crisp the bottom. Scatter the toasted pine nuts on top.

Spoon the paella out onto a plate, or eat it from the pan.

Roasted Carrot & Crispy Kale Salad with White Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 lb carrots
  • ¾ cup farro
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups curly kale
  • 2 Tbsp sweet white miso
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tsp mixed sesame seeds
  • 2 cups white beans, drained and rinsed
  • olive oil, coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper

Method

  •  Roast vegetables: Preheat oven to 425°F. Halve onion and thinly slice half.  (I use my mandolin to  slice thinly) Peel carrots, cut in half lengthwise and slice in quarters. Toss carrots and sliced onion with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2teaspoon salt, and some pepper  on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are golden and almost tender, 20–25 minutes.
  • Cook farro Meanwhile, combine farro, remaining half onion, 2½ cups water and 2 tablespoons vinegar  in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until farro is tender, 15–20 minutes; drain if necessary and discard onion.

  • Prep kale Remove stems from kale and tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Toss kale with white beans and 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Add kale  and beans to sheet with carrots and onions and continue to roast until kale is slightly wilted and crispy in spots, about 5 minutes more.

  • Make dressing Whisk miso, honey, remaining tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dressing is thin enough to drizzle.

  • Toast nuts & seeds Place pine nuts and sesame seeds on a separate rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, about 4 minutes.

  • Finish Transfer farro to a platter and top with vegetables. Drizzle everything with dressing and top with pine nuts and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Black Bean Mash (Or Black Beans on Toast with Avocado & Tomato)

Adapted from Vegan for Everybody

This makes a great breakfast, lunch or snack!  Paulo likes to eat just the mash with a side of brown rice.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 2 cups black beans (rinse and drain if using canned beans)

  • Pinch of pepper

  • 1/2-1  tsp chili powder, (I prefer Penzey's Chili 3000!)

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 1/2 tsp lime zest, plus 1 tbl lime juice

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Method

  • Place beans, boiling water, lime zest and juice, pinch of pepper, chili powder and cilantro in a bowl.  Mash with potato masher until coarse puree, leaving some whole beans intact.
  • Toast bread and spread mashed bean mixture evenly on toast.  Top with tomatoes and avocado ! 

 

Vegan Udon Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 package buckwheat Udon Noodles
  • 1 thumb ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 scallions, white and green, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut in to bite size pieces
  • 1 cup each carrot and red peppers, cut into match stick size pieces
  • ½ cup frozen edamame
  • 1 cup sliced shitaki mushrooms
  • 1 TBL sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Tamari sauce
  • 1 TBL thai chili sauce (or to taste)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  •  

Method

  • Place a large saucepan on a medium heat and add sesame oil. When hot, throw in the garlic, ginger, scallions, carrots, red peppers, edamame and broccoli and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Add in the mushrooms and saute for about another 2 minutes, not allowing mushrooms to lose their texture.
  • Next, add Tamari sauce, chili garlic sauce and vegetable stock.  Bring the soup to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook udon noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  • Add the noodles to your soup and serve up with a handful of chopped cilantro in each bowl!

 

Why Paulo & I Dipped Our Toes into Plant Based Eating

Oh my gosh!  September 9th was such a transformative day for me. I partook in Mindy & Bruce Mylrea’s One Day to Wellness workshop because I have been trying to “Raise my Healthfulness Game” in 2017.  This year I started with the goal of practicing meditation and mindfulness daily, while increasing my knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating.  When I read about the workshop, I thought it might be just what I needed. I had no idea it was going to be as educational and motivational as it turned out to be.  It raised my awareness game and seriously began our personal experiment into vegetarianism and vegan eating.

 

Bruce & Mindy spoke about their experience in what they called their “transition” to plant based eating, but they also presented significant amounts of the current research behind plant based eating.  More and more research is linking animal protein consumption to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  There is a significant amount of research that support a relationship between high protein diets and kidney disease. (Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is turning VEGAN!)  And it is difficult to ignore the impact of animal food production on the environment, not to mention concerns regarding the ethical treatment of animals.

 

So, Paulo & I decided it was time to listen to science and see how our bodies responded to a change in eating style.  Right now we are 3 weeks in to our MOSTLY VEGANISM.  Admittedly, learning to eat this way is taking some practice.  There is a lot of volume of food required and we are rethinking our meals and meal planning.  But, we feel good.  Maybe a few pounds lost and body fat is down.  We are committing to our plant based eating style for the next month and checking the results of our experiment at our next checkups!   For the next chapter, stay tuned!