Monday, June 29, 2009

Vegan Raspberry Brownies

A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers and good friends was having his birthday party as a barbecue. Since a lot of our friends are vegetarian and vegan, but some also eat meat, there was a wide variety of eats at this get-together. As usual when asked to bring something for a pot-luck, I arrived to the grill-out with desserts that everyone could eat, but did not compromise flavor one bit.

I got this recipe from a great vegan cook book, The Veganomicon. The recipe is originally for blueberry brownies...however, even though the blueberry brownies are totally out-of-this-world-delicious, I decided to use raspberry/blackberry flavors instead!

Raspberry Fudgy-Wudgy Brownies (spin on recipe from the Veganomicon)
I used Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate chips that were high cocoa content, and vegan. Make sure you use Turbinado sugar (or raw cane sugar) in these brownies too, to make them completely vegan - often times, refined sugar is processed through/with animal bones to make it 'refined'. Gross, I know. I also used Polaner blackberry preserves (for the spreadable fruit ingredient) and fresh raspberries instead of blueberries. =

Also, from my picture you can tell that I made the top of my brownies pretty...I did this by double-boiler melting a few more chocolate chips, and pouring them on top of the batter once in the pan (before baking). Pour in straight lines, and then drag a skewer or fork through the chocolate/wet batter "against the grain" of the line, and you'll get a really pretty swirly design. (I knew my latte-art skills would come in handy one day or another!) You could also whip up some kind of vegan frosting too, and I'm sure it would be totally out of control. In a good way.

Since I took the recipe straight out of the book, it's fair that I just put up pictures of some scanned pages, too. Here's the recipe (click to view larger if you can't read it!)

...Obviously, these babies were gone within minutes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lentil Curry on a Bed of Greens

My supplies for the week have dwindled, I'm down to the very end of last saturday's bounty from the Farmer's Market and get to plunder again tomorrow! But that leaves me with modest means for tonight, so here's an the old, reliable dinner fall-back: curry.

Lentil Curry on a Bed of Greens

Serves 1:

1/4 cup dry mixture brown & wild rices
1/4 cup dry french lentils
1 baby summer squash, sliced
3-4 leaves of lettuce
2 tsp olive oil
1-2 tsp curry powder (yeah I know, cheating, blah blah)
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the rice and lentils in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water, set to low/medium heat and let cook for ~20 minutes or until done (longer if you're making larger batches). Add 2/3 of the squash slices to the pot along with salt, oil, garlic, and curry and let cook for 5 more minutes, adding more water if needed. Tear up the bottom 2/3 of each lettuce leaf and make a small pile in the center of the plate, while placing the intact top 1/3 of the leaves around the edges. Place remaining raw squash on the edges of the plate, remove the pot from the stove and spoon the contents out onto the center of the lettuce pile.

Viola! Mix and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sweet Summer Basil

Meet Ferdinand, my new basil baby:

I got it at the Columbia Farmer's Market last saturday, since I was feeling a little garden-sickness away from Farm House. Now, truth be told, I don't know that much about basil, so I did some research. The interwebs told me some interesting things:

Basil likes lots of sunlight, warm conditions, and well-drained soil. It can tolerate a variety of conditions, especially pH, which makes it a popular addition to many gardens.

Apparently the yellowish leaves near the bottom of Ferdinand means that it needs more sunlight. Well, jesus. I keep it on the front steps, which are pretty much venus when it comes to sun, so I'm going to have to figure out what's up with that. Maybe I just need to get an oregano plant this week to keep him company?

Seriously though, it's doing pretty well, and with a little pruning should be in good shape in no time at all. Hopefully I'll have time this weekend to work on a small garden plot I have in the back yard and plant this sucker.

Asparagus "Salsa"

As someone who works in the service industry with food every day and whose place of employment is an actual urban farm as well, I always am craving really fresh-tasting food once I am done with my work day. I always keep a variety of vegetables in our apartment (from farmers markets and such), many of which are seasonal, for this exact reason. Last week I bought an amazing bundle of asparagus from the weekly farmer's market at my job from Jenny at Harvest Moon Organic Farms. I'm pretty sure that the deliciousness of their asparagus is to blame for the current kick I am on. Right now the amount of asparagus I am eating is bordering on ridiculous. I am using it in everything!

Here is a great example of something cooked yet "fresh" that beautifully utilizes such a lovely (and seasonal!) farm vegetable.

"Salsa" with potatoes, spinach, and tortillas!

Color is key for me. Color in your life and surroundings keeps you healthy and happy as a person, the same way that keeping color in your diet keeps your body healthy as well.

In an effort to clear my fridge of some vegetables that were nearing their end, I thought of this lovely summer combo and then thoroughly enjoyed it on my back porch.

Basically all you need is...
  • 1 potato (your favorite kind; I love red russet when I don't have crazy potato varieties to choose from)
  • 1/4 can of black beans (or fresh if you are ambitious)
  • 1/4 cup corn (frozen for right now, since corn isn't in season yet)
  • 1/2 a tomato, gutted and chopped
  • 5 stalks of asparagus
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • rosemary
  • a handfull of spinach
  • flour tortillas (this would be about 5x tastier with a whole wheat tortilla but I didn't have any)
  • ...and I didn't have them, but lime, avocado, and cilantro would be perfect!

-Start the potatoes first, because they take the longest to cook. Cook them however you like to cook your potatoes; fried, steamed, baked, etc. I sauteed mine and then flash-steamed them at the end...but if you have the time, slow-cooking is always better.

-While those are cookin' away, chop the stalky ends off of the asparagus (save them for your compost pile though, or make vegetable stock out of your unused vegetable "butts"!) and then chop the stalks in to diagonal "spears". Using a little olive oil, sautee the spears until they look a little greener.

-Add the corn next if it's frozen, otherwise wait a little longer and add the corn and black beans at the same time. Stir those together until they are just about done, and add the tomato at the end with chili powder, cumin, and a tiny bit of salt to taste. You don't want to over cook the tomato because then it will be mushy and missing the "crunch" that fresh tomatoes offer but is often over looked!

-The potatoes should be done shortly after your salsa is, so throw in your rosemary with your potatoes and then cut up some tortilla and plate it. Put the spinach next to it, and then plate your. Garnish the salsa with the lime, cilantro, and avocado if you chose to use those ingredients! Then plate the potatoes...and voĆ­la, you're done! (This plate was big enough for two, so I still have half of it sitting in my fridge.)

Enjoy outdoors, I promise it's better that way.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lemon Quinoa with White Beans and Kale

I'm here working in Columbia, Missouri for the summer. Not only am I a vegan, but I'm also a student, which means I'm on a budget. Buying in bulk + Farmer's market = survival. Today I threw together a simple mix of items for a quick dinner, and oh man, it was so much tastier than I expected! Great for a hot summer day.

Lemon Quinoa with White Beans and Kale

Serves 1:

1/4 cup dry quinoa (incan red if you have it)
1/2 cup white beans, cooked
1 leaf of kale, chopped (or torn up, lazy-style)
1/2 small to medium tomato, chopped
1/3 of a lemon, juice of
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic (admittedly this is excessive, I love the fuck out of garlic)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

Ok, yeah, I bought the beans dry and had cooked a ton of them earlier in the week, just waiting to be used. But you can also use canned if the time commitment is really just too much for you to handle.

You can cook it all in one pot. Mix the quinoa with 1 cup water, bring to a boil and then back down to a simmer and let cook with the lid on for 10-15 minutes or so. Then add your chopped up kale, put the lid back on and simmer for another 5 minutes. Take the lid off, stir in the beans and the remainder of the ingredients and cook on medium heat until as liquidy or dry as you desire.