Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Absurdly Healthy Black-Bean Brownies

I've been playing around lately with a lot of variations of Chocolate Covered Katie's Chocolate-Chip Blondie recipe.  This black-bean and chocolate version is perhaps my favorite so far.

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (rinsed well if canned)
1/2 cup + 1 T sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup flour (I used rice flour)
1/4 cup ground flax
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 handful chocolate chips

The Process:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350°, and spray an 8x8 square pan with oil.
  2. Combine everything except the walnuts and chocolate chips in a food processor and process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add walnuts and pulse a few times to mix them in.
  4. Spread batter in pan, and bake 35-38 minutes, until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the brownies with chocolate chips, and try to let them cool before you gobble them up.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Grilled Asparagus and Crimini Pasta

This was  a great no-fuss meal for a hot day.  
Asparagus and crimini mushrooms were brushed with a little garlic-spiked olive oil and tossed on the grill for a few minutes.  Then I sliced the veggies and tossed them with spaghetti and the leftover garlic oil.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Potatoes with Cashew Cream Sauce

Cashew Cream Sauce strikes again...this time on potatoes.  Simply boil some cubed potatoes until soft.  When they're a few minutes from done, toss in some chopped broccoli.  Drain, and stir in cashew cream sauce.  Devour.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cashew Cream Sauce

I love nutritional-yeast based uncheese sauces, but cashew-based sauces are a little more subtle and versatile.  This one is great tossed with spiral pasta and fresh peas, fava beans, or edamame.  (Sorry for the blurry photo, this was taken with the cheap point-and-shoot while the good camera was being repaired.)
I adapted this recipe  from Epicurean Vegan's "Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese."

The Ingredients:
1 1/4 c raw cashews
1/2 c nutritional yeast
2 T cornstarch
2 T arrowroot
1 T onion powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1/4-1/2 t salt
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t pepper
3 3/4 c almond milk
1/2 c olive oil (or half canola and half olive oil)
1/4 c red miso
1 T + 1 t lemon juice or vinegar

The Process:
  1. In a food processor, grind cashews to a powder.  Add nutritional yeast, cornstarch, arrowroot, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and pepper, and pulse a few times to combine. 
  2. Transfer mixture to a blender for the smoothest-textured sauce, or continue in the food processor: add almond milk and oil while blending, and continue to blend until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Heat mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.  
  4. Remove from heat. Remove about 3/4 cup of sauce to a small bowl and whisk with miso until miso is dissolved, then return it to the saucepan, whisk in the lemon juice, and serve.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Go Team Vegan

Waves to Wine is an annual fundraiser for the National MS Society.  The two-day ride goes north from San Francisco through Marin and Sonoma counties.  Riders pledge to earn at least $350 in donations for the National MS Society, whose important work includes direct support for people diagnosed with the disease as well as funding MS research.

My husband and I have signed up for the ride as Team Vegan.  We will be riding 175 miles in two days, both to raise money to support the MS Society AND to demonstrate that even the most active people can thrive on a vegan diet (and get plenty of protein). 

Any other vegan cyclists out there?  Consider joining Team Vegan.  Or if you have an extra pile of money sitting around, consider donating.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gnocchi with Fava Beans

I harvested all my fava beans recently, and ended up with this lovely bowlful of Spring:


I think favas are best prepared very simply, so after I blanched and peeled them, I just tossed them with some cooked gnocchi, grated carrots, onion greens, and a little olive oil.  So good.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Microwave-Steamed Artichokes

My artichoke plants have started producing, so I spent some time scouring the internet for quick and simple artichoke recipes.  I was skeptical of the microwaved artichoke at first, but as soon as I took my first bite, I went to the kitchen and popped a second artichoke in the microwave.  They only take about 5 minutes, and I don't think I could distinguish the result from a stovetop-steamed artichoke.

The Process: 

  1. Rinse artichoke(s), and snip the thorny tips off the leaves.  Cut off the stem and an inch or so off the top.  Rub a little lemon juice on the cut parts if you care about them oxidizing.
  2. Put about a half inch of water in a deep bowl. Put artichoke(s) in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Microwave on high until the bottom leaves pull off easily, or until a fork goes in easily when you stab the artichoke's bottom.  I have a very low-powered microwave, and it took about 5 minutes for one artichoke.
  4. Artichokes have a lot of inedible parts, so remember to compost!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jicama Mint Kiwi Summer Rolls


The 80° weather in my area has put me in the mood to celebrate summer early, with iced tea and summer rolls on the patio.  The rolls are filled with: 
  • grated jicama sprinkled with liquid aminos and a little lime juice
  • peppermint leaves
  • thinly-sliced pear
  • sliced kiwi
Simply dip rice paper wrappers in warm water for a few seconds, line up filling down the center of the wrappers, then fold the ends up and roll.

I served the summer rolls with "Asian Inspired Edamame Salad" from Colleen Patrick-Gooudreau's Color Me Vegan.  This is my new favorite salad; it is simple, quick, keeps in the fridge for a few days, and is easy to pack for lunches.