Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yeti Spicy Split Pea Soup

Yeti soup? Is that vegan? I decided to call it yeti soup because it is impossible to photograph properly. I do not know why, but cameras go all blurry when attempting to take a picture of it! Any clearer pictures just didn't look...right, much like the famous fuzzy being.

Blurry, but I promise it tastes better than it looks!

Anyway, this soup is SPICY! I wasn't expecting it to be so spicy because dried peppers, especially jalapeno peppers, lose their heat when cooked for long periods. I think the pressure cooker does something special with this. I love it, but it you don't order your Thai food in the neighborhood of medium + to hot, you're going to want to tone it down a bunch! It was excellent and flavorful, which is never really my expectation with split peas, to be honest.

1.75 cups of yellow split peas, picked through for stones
.25 cups of red lentils, picked through for stones
1 large onion, diced
1.5 cups chopped carrots
4 cubes of un-chicken bouillon (or enough to make 8 cups of broth, if that's not 4 for the brand you have)
8 cups of hot water
1.5 TBS minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 TBS jalapeno (if you like it hot!)
1.5 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Rogan Josh seasoning (a standard curry powder would probably stand in here just fine)
1/4 tsp Berbere (I'm not sure what would be a good stand in here, but in a pinch you could use more Rogan Josh or curry)


Place all of the ingredients into the pressure cooker, making sure to stir to get the bouillon cubes to incorporate into the water. Then cook on low pressure for 35 minutes. Release the pressure instantly, stir, and serve. It thickens as it sits, but never gets as thick as traditional split pea soup. Don't add salt before you taste it; it's salty enough.

Nutrition (per 1/5 of the batch, about 2 cups in each serving)

Calories: 256
Carbs: 53 (18%)
Fat: 2.8 g (6%)
Protein: 18.5 g (24%)
Fiber: 20 g (82%)
Sugars: 6 g (16%)
Vitamin A: 160%
Vitamin C: 14%
Calcium: 5%
Iron: 18%

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Berry Smoothie and Spoonbread

Spoonbread is a different take on cornbread. It's soft (you could eat it with a spoon, hence the name), it's savory, and it's versatile. This spoonbread recipe requires a small amount of blended soft silken tofu - about 1/4 of the block. I've put the other 3/4 of it away "for later" so many times, and I never seem to get around to using it. This morning I decided to use it as a smoothie base. For any tofu-phobic people out there, you really can't taste it in either recipe! It adds body (and protein) to both recipes, but the flavors around the tofu dominate.


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup hot water
2 TBS margarine
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup of soft, silken tofu puree (just stick the block in the blender and blend until it's smooth and sorta fluffy looking, then take 1/4 cup of that)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 TBS flax meal mixed with 1/4 cup water and set aside to set up

Heat oven to 375. Mix the cornmeal, water, and margarine, whisking until the margarine has melted. 
Add remaining ingredients, then pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 slices. You can make it in a smaller pan for thicker, even softer slices, but you may need to increase the bake time. Serve with maple syrup, margarine, jam, or whatever you fancy. I love strawberry conserves on mine, personally!

Berry Smoothie: 
I don't know how I managed to have no bananas in the house, but it happened! I used the agave to give the sweetness, but if I'd had a ripe banana, I'd probably have used that instead and increased the liquid.

Remaining tofu from recipe above (approximately 3/4 of a block)
1 bag of mixed berries (I used a 16 oz bag of Berry Medley from Trader Joe's)
3 TBS agave nectar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious coconut beverage) 

Add agave and milk to the tofu that's already in the blender, then add the berries on top (putting liquids in first makes the whole thing easier). Blend until smooth, then serve!

Spoonbread Nutrition 
(for 1/12 of the pan)

Calories: 71
Fat: 2.5
Potassium: 22 mg
Carbs: 11 g
Fiber: 1.2 g
Sugars: 1.2 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin C: 2%
Calcium: 1%
Iron: 2%

Smoothie Nutrition
(for 1/3 of the recipe)
Calories: 188
Fat: 3.7 g
Carbs: 33.4 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sugars: 20 g
Protein: 6 g
Vitamin A: 8% 
Vitamin C: 45%
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 12%

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tasty Sweet & Sour Stir Fry

My daughter's post-camp dinner request was sweet and sour stir fry, which is one of her favorite things. I like it because you can choose almost any vegetable and it will work (we've used broccoli, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, regular bok choy, kale, onions, peppers, celery, and anything else I've had on hand, really). I often use pan fried tofu, but this time I used Soy Curls. Soy Curls are REALLY GOOD and if you see them, they're worth picking up. They're shelf-stable, have a nice texture, and take on the flavor of whatever it is you're putting them in.

1 TBS sesame oil
3 servings of soy curls, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2.5 cups chopped baby bok choy
2 cups shredded cabbage (I used bagged coleslaw shreds)
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS cornstarch
1 cup vegetable broth
3 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS catsup
2 TBS tamari (or soy sauce)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder


Mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Make sure the whisk the broth into the cornstarch slowly so you don't get any clumps. Set aside.

Heat 1 TBS sesame oil in a large pan, then add the soy curls and carrots. Cook for about 8 minutes until the carrots have softened somewhat. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to prevent sticking/burning while you cook. Add the baby bok choy and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the edamame and cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes. Cook until everything is softened sufficiently, then stir up the sauce and pour it onto the vegetables. Cook for another few minutes until the sauce is thick and the flavors have come together. Serve over rice or rice noodles with some Sriracha on the side.

(for 1/3 of the pan - a large serving)
Calories: 338
Fat: 17 g
Carbs: 28 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sugars: 12.7 g
Protein 21.1 g
Vitamin A: 175%
Vitamin C: 109%
Calcium: 17%
Iron: 102%

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lemon Pepper Garlic Scape Pasta

The first time I encountered garlic scapes was in a produce box from the CSA I belonged to at the time. The winding tendrils and subtle garlic fragrance enchanted me and I was eager to use them in everything. I rarely see scapes, but when I do, I always have to buy some. I wanted to make a quick dinner before going out to watch fireworks, and pasta is always good for that.

3 servings of pasta, cooked and set aside
2 TBS margarine (olive oil would work, too, but you'll want to add a little salt)
1 bunch garlic scapes, flower and soft tendril part diced - about 1/2 cup (there's a stiffer part like on asparagus and you just need to snap it off. It's good for use in vegetable broth making, so set it aside for later if you make broths). 
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 cup peas
1/3 cup white wine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Parisien Bonnes Herbes
1/2 tsp cracked pepper (or more to taste)
1 TBS nutritional yeast

Heat the margarine or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the garlic scapes and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then add the peas, wine, lemon juice, and herbs to the pan. Cook until the peas are done, then add the noodles to the pan, stirring to ensure each noodle is coated. Add in the pepper and nutritional yeast and coat the noodles once more, making sure everything is heated through. Serve! Garnish with a large scape segment and more pepper, if desired.

Berry Nutty Oatmeal

I once had a stepfather who liked to say something (or someone) was "pretty twice: pretty ugly, and pretty likely to stay that way." This oatmeal could easily be described as such, but it's a third and fourth kind of pretty: pretty tasty and pretty healthy, too!

It's a simple, filling breakfast for when you want something interesting, but you don't want to put a lot of time into it. I made one serving because I'm the only oatmeal lover around this morning, but the recipe would easily double (or triple or quadruple). It's heavy, but I like a big breakfast. If you don't, you could probably eat half and be satisfied.

1/2 cup rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats - these are the oats with the 5 minute cook time. Other oat types will be way less awesome here, I promise).
1 cup water
2 TBS walnut pieces
1/2 cup mixed berries (I used Trader Joe's organic mixed berry blend)
1/2 TBS agave
1/2 TBS coconut shreds
1 TBS flax meal

Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, then add the oats and walnut pieces. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the berries and cook for about 3 more minutes, until the berries are warm and the liquid has largely evaporated. Drizzle on the agave, sprinkle the coconut and flax on top, then eat! You can add almond or soy milk if you'd like, but I enjoyed it without that. The picture I took after I added the flax meal was too blurry, so this is before the flax:

Nutrition (for entire recipe)
Calories: 379
Fat: 16 g
Carbohydrates: 50.7 g
Fiber: 12 g (48%!)
Sugars: 13.3 g
Protein: 10.3 g
Vitamin A: 5%
Vitamin C: 30%
Calcium: 5%
Iron: 20%