Wednesday, June 30, 2010

quinoa soup, veggie croquettes, and fingerling potato salad

     My grandma is in town and she is an expert in Bolivian cuisine.  Bolivians LOVE meat, and when I visit Bolivia, it is sometimes difficult to find veggie food there.  Their main diet consists of meat, potatoes and rice (among other things), and there are many staple dishes that are popular.  My friends and relatives always ask what it is that I eat, because without meat, it isn't a meal for them!  There is a plethora of veggie dishes that are delicious and filling and with an open-mind you can try so many different food.  There are endless vegan dishes that you can cook up!  My grandma made some quinoa soup for us and I will be sharing her recipe with you today.  In addition, I made veggie croquettes (from the veggie remains after juicing - see yesterday's post) with fingerling potato salad.

Quinoa Soup:

 - 2 cups of washed quinoa (approximately)
- a bit of cumin and garlic powder
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 carrots grated
-  1 pepper, chopped
-  1 cup of thawed green beans, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup of celery, chopped
- 2 russet potatoes, cubed
- parsley or cilantro for garnish

     Depending on how many people you would like to serve, add more or less water, veggies, and quinoa.  We served 6 people with this dish.  In a good sized pot, bring water to a boil and add the washed quinoa.  Saute the onion, pepper, and carrots with a bit of oil.  After the quinoa has been cooking for about 15 - 25 minutes, add the sauteed veggies, celery, garlic powder, cumin and salt.  Bring to a boil, and add the potatoes.  After the potatoes are cooked add the thawed green beans and simmer for a few minutes.  When serving, add some parsley and/or cilantro for garnish!
Note:  You can add as much veggies as you like, the more the better!!

Veggie Croquettes:

- 4 to 6 cups of veggie remains after juicing a variety of veggies (see yesterdays post!)

-  1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup of walnuts, chopped to small pieces
- 1 tsp of coriander
- 1 jalapeno chopped (optional)
- coconut milk
- whole wheat flour
- salt to taste

     Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make sure to take out any big pieces of veggie remains.Saute the onion and garlic with bit of extra virgin olive oil.  In a big bowl, add the onion and garlic, walnuts, coriander, jalapeno, and salt.  Mix well.  Add the coconut and whole wheat flour to the veggie mix a little at a time and combine it well.  Keep adding the milk and flour until you are able to form the croquettes without falling apart.  The mixture should feel a little "wet". Make sure to taste a little bit of the mixture to see if more salt is needed before forming the croquettes. 
     Prepare 2 trays with some foil paper and spray with some oil.  Form the croquettes and place them on the tray.  Bake them for about 20 minutes, making sure to flip them half way through.  Broil for about 2 minutes.  You can spread a little bit of earth balance butter on the croquettes after baking them!

Fingerling Potato Salad:

- 1 onion, cut into long thin strips
- 1/2 red pepper cut into long thin strips
- 1/2 orange pepper cut into long thin strips
- variety of fingerling potatoes (I used the purple and the white ones)
- 2 Tbsp of minced parsley (or cilantro)
- salt to taste

     Cook the potatoes and slice them into small "circles."  You can keep the skin or not.  Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil and add the peppers with some salt.  Make sure the peppers do not cook all the way through so they stay a bit crunchy.  Mix the onions and peppers, sliced potatoes, and parsley.  Serve the potato salad with the croquettes!!


♥ faby

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

veggie juice!! mmmmmmmm!!!!!!

     So here is a crazy about drinking veggie juice in the morning instead of coffee!!!!  There are so many people that depend on coffee so very much that they have to drink it everyday.  Now....if I have made it through grad school so far without coffee.....ANYONE can make it through their day without drinking that very un-healthy beverage!  Instead, consider having fresh veggie juice in the morning a couple times a week.  It is absolutely delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!  You can throw in any veggie you like...just make sure to juice some super awesome dark green veggies (like kale, for example) and some carrots and/or an apple for great flavor! 
     Coffee is soooooo harmful for you...especially because of all the caffeine it contains.  Caffeine has many negative effects on your health because it causes stress on your heart, nervous system and your immune system.  In addition, it is highly acidic and it can irritate your intestines.  Decaffeinated coffee is far worse since it causes even more acid build-up, which is very damaging to your intestines.  On the other hand, veggie juice is raw....and there are so many nutrients in it that will make your cells happy :)  meaning...your cells will be nourished and the energy that comes from nourished cells is completely different than the energy that you get from caffeine (which will later make you feel tired after that boost of unnatural energy).  There are only positive effects with fresh veggie juice!!  To make this amazing veggie drink, all you need is a juicer.  

Veggie Juice:


I used:

bok choy
an apple
small beet
red cabbage

There goes some carrot juice!

Some yummy green juice!!
 There's that beet! 

With a juicer, throw in veggies of your choice, and don't forget to juice some carrots and/or an apple!  Make sure to use a strainer and mix the juice well so that all of the juices are combined.  The juice turned out to be "reddish" and that was because of the beet...otherwise it would have been green!

On the other side of the juicer is a bin that collects the veggie remains.  Here is what it looks like:


Don't throw this away!!  You can use it to make croquettes :)  I will be sharing this recipe with you soon.
This juice is delicioso!! Try it! I dare you :)

♥ faby


Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Kind Diet, Summertime Succotash, and Red Lentils!

     So I have been a vegan since June 1st of this year and a vegetarian for 11 years.  I never liked meat and when I was 14 years old, I decided to stop eating it because I just couldn't stand the taste of it...idk what it was but there was this taste in meat that would not be covered with any type/amount of spices.  I never really cared for milk, either.  A few months ago, I found out that Alicia Silverstone (a vegan) had written a book called The Kind Diet.  I was so intrigued because I always wondered how to be a healthy vegan (since I thought it would be so hard to replace important nutrients with a plant-based diet...not true btw)....  I read the book and it was incredible!  There is so much information that will leave you shocked and wanting to read more.  She has taught me so much about food and health, and it all leads to the conclusion that one can achieve their most optimal health by eating REAL FOOD, that is, whole foods that are not processed.  This can without a doubt be achieved with a plant-based diet.  She has opened my eyes to so many yummy foods that I am truly enjoying.  Today, I will be sharing a side dish recipe that I found in Alicia's is called Summertime Succotash.  I will also be sharing my red lentil recipe with garbanzos.

Alicia's Summertime Succotash: (with a few minor changes)

1 tbsp Earth Balance "butter"
1 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 garlics, minced
fresh fava beans, peeled....about 1 and 1/2 cups
4 ears of corn (cooked and corn kernels shaved)
1-2 cups of sweet orange and red cherry tomatoes
3 tbsps of chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsps of chopped fresh basil
The recipe calls for balsamic vinegar, but I didn't use any.

     Saute the onions and garlic with the butter and oil until translucent.  Add the fava beans (aka lima beans) to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the corn and tomatoes, only for a don't want the tomatoes to release their juices.  Stir in the herbs after you have removed it from the heat. 
     When possible, it is best to use fresh tastes soooo much better...but of course when one is in a hurry definitely use frozen.

Red Lentils with Garbanzos:

1/2 yellow onion, cubed
2 garlic cloves
2 cups of red lentils
1 cup of cooked garbanzos
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
3 small carrots, diced
salt to taste

Bring approximately 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add red lentils, onion, garlic, and salt.  Let it cook until soft.  The longer you cook it, the more they become smashed.  A few minutes before the lentils are done (5 - 10 minutes before)...stir in the diced veggies and garbanzos.  I originally hadn't planned on using garbanzos..but we had some left over in the fridge.  Garbanzos gave it some extra texture!!

Serve the lentils and succotash with a side salad ( I grated some carrots and radishes, thinly sliced onions, and a green-small-leafed plant called verdolaga that we had growing in our garden).  I don't know what it is called in English...sorry!  I tried searching for it online... it is often eaten in Bolivia.
Now for the garnish, I sliced (making sure not to slice all the way to the bottom) a bigger red cherry tomato and then a smaller one.  Place some parsley on top and you are all done!

Steam some artichokes to serve as scoopers for the food, too :)

  ♥ faby

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

♥ Hearty Quinoa

The bottom layer in this cute little heart is called quinoa (the tiny little puffed up circles).  Quinoa is a very cool little seed that is extremely packed in nutrients.  Why you say?  Well, it is known as the "Mother Grain of the Andes" since the Inca were able to survive on it because it is high in protein and iron (and other nutritious elements).  The protein  it contains is complete (unlike beans, or any other legume, that need a grain, for example, to complete the protein).  In addition, quinoa has a similar makeup to milk, so it has a high portion of calcium and phosphorous.  The great thing about quinoa is that it can replace white rice (not a very nutritious food) and it cooks fast!!   
     It has become more popular, especially in the US....even Costco is selling it!  There are a couple types of quinoa that grow in different environments, but most often are grown in very very high altitudes.  One category of quinoa is found in the salt flats of Bolivia (my beloved native country!).  This past January I took a family trip to the salares (salt flats) and let me tell you that is was absolutely breath-taking!!! To the right is a picture of the amazing beauty that can be found in Bolivia: 

When it rains a bit, there is an incredible reflection of the sky on the ground.  It was as if we were driving on clouds!! 

If you ever want to be adventurous and explore South America, I suggest visiting the salares of Bolivia.  I guarantee that you will be amazed!!

Now for some yummy food containing quinoa!  I made my own rendition of a recipe I found in The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.  I have to admit that I was first intimidated by the beautiful artworks of food that were displayed in this cookbook.  As it turns out, it was not that difficult!  I hope you try it!

♥Hearty Quinoa:

To make the quinoa, cook it and then let it cool to room temperature.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients and combine.  Set aside. 
-  Rinse 2 cups of quinoa and cook it with 4 cups of water
-  Bring to a boil
-  Simmer for about 30 min. (more or less)
-  mince 2 jalapeños (optional)
-  1/4 cup of minced cilantro
-  some extra virgin olive oil
-  juice of 1 lime
-  some salt to taste

Sweet Potatoes:

-  peel and dice 4 - 5 medium sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes
-  place in baking sheet with some olive oil and sea salt
-  cook in oven at 400 degrees for about  30-40 minutes or until lightend browned
-  set aside

Tortilla Strips:

-  5-6 small corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch strips
-  fry in canola oil and sprinkle some cajun seasoning after frying
-  set aside

Avocados:  2 avocados diced and some alfalfa sprouts (or any sprouts) to garnish when assembling the hearts

Use Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette from yesterdays post for the dressing.

To assemble the "hearty quinoas":
The cookbook called for circular molds, but since I didn't have any, I used heart shaped cookie cutters (a bigger one and a smaller one).  Fill the heart mold with the quinoa mixture and press down with pack it in until you have a smooth surface.  Place the diced avocados on top of the quinoa and then the sweet potatoes (in a gently fashion).  Carefully remove the mold and top off with the crispy tortillas and alfalfa sprouts.  I served this dish with some steamed yellow squash, zucchini, and broccoli that were mixed with sauteed red onions with a bit of sea salt. 
You can use any cookie cutter shape you like or have....this dish can even be good for valentines day!

He is my brother, Chris, right before chowing down the tasty hearts!  There are so many flavors packed in this little dish that will leave your taste buds very happy! 

♥ faby

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rainbow Salad

Anybody who knows me well knows that I love COLOR!! For some reason I have always been fond of rainbows because of the amazing array of colors that heighten my visual sense.  I believe good food lies in not only the texture and flavor, but in the different colors that are displayed on the plate!  Here is a dish that I made, which I found on the Little House of Veggies blog for rainbow salad.

I made it for dinner today and my family absolutely loved it...above is just the salad...but the whole meal consisted of marinated tofu, brown rice, and an absolutely scrumptious salad dressing that is to die for!!

Marinated Tofu:
2 packages of extra firm tofu
1/2 cup of light soy sauce
1/2 cup of water
1 garlic clove
some grated ginger (about 1 to 2 tsp)

Cut tofu in small triangles and place them in the marinade for a couple hours.
Fry them in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil until golden-brown.

Rainbow Salad:
red pepper
yellow pepper
red cabbage

Slice veggies and place them in a platter according to color!

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
In a blender, combine:
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 clove of garlic
1/4 tsp of coriander
1/4 tsp of chilli powder
a handful of cilantro (a little more than a cup)
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbsp of agave nectar
1/2 tsp of salt

Drizzle the dressing on the salad with the marinated tofu and you have a delicioso dish!

  ♥ faby