Sauteed cabbage with roasted red pepper

Ingredients:

1 large red pepper (and olive oil to coat — about a teaspoon)
2T coconut oil
1/4t powdered turmeric
1/2t coarse sea salt
1/4 cup minced scallion
2T minced garlic
1T lemon juice
3 cups loosely packed shredded cabbage (I use coleslaw mix)
2T kalamata olives, minced
2T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Lightly oil and roast the red pepper in a oven on 450F.
When the skin has until lightly charred, remove the red pepper, cool, peel, seed and dice in 1/2″ pieces.
In a frying pan, bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high.
Add the scallion and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and turmeric and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the cabbage, red pepper and lemon juice.
Saute for 5-8 minutes or until the cabbage is wilted, but not soft.
Remove from heat.
Add the nutritional yeast, olives, and stir to combine.
Add additional sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Yellow potatoes roasted with thyme, sumac and black salt

Commonly used in the Mediterranean, sumac adds a unique, sweet and sour flavour and a beautiful red colour to dishes. This recipe easily doubles and makes a nice accompaniment to kale, collards, arugula, spinach, or other greens as a side dish or potato salad.

Ingredients

4 small yellow potatoes (about 2″ diameter), quartered
2T of olive oil (reserve about half a T for oiling the pan)
2t of lemon juice
1T of garlic, minced
1/4t of coarse sea salt
1/4t of black salt
1/2T of fresh thyme, stemmed, or 1/2t of dried thyme, rubbed
1t of dried sumac
1/4t of black pepper
Additional sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven for 450F
Mix everything but the potatoes in a small bowl.
Add the spice mixture to the potatoes and toss, coating evenly.
Lightly oil an oven pan and heat the pan in the oven for about 1 minute to warm the oil
Add the potatoes to the pan.
Roast on the middle rack for 10 minutes at 450F, stirring at 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 375F and roast for another 25-35 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned and fork tender.
Stir every 10 minutes to promote even browning.
Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes to cool.
Add any additional sea salt or black pepper.

Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a little extra sumac to add colour to the presentation. Substitute dill for the thyme or minced scallions for the garlic to soften the dish. Dress with a mix of 1T of sesame seed butter (tahini), 1t of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt for additional flavour and richesse.

Roasted kale soup with cabbage, scallions and green herbs

A little diced potato adds some traditional flavor and body to this soup but lengthens the cooking time.

For the soup

1T olive oil
1t coarse sea salt
1T minced garlic
1 scallion, minced (reserve 2-3″ of green for garnish)
1T of fresh dill, stemmed and minced
1T of fresh thyme, stemmed and minced
A dash of liquid smoke
1/4t of black pepper
1 1/2 cups of light vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
1 spring of kombu
1 bay leaves
1T of arrowroot powder whisked with 1T of water
1t of coconut oil
1/4t of purple dulse flakes
2T of scallion for garnish

For the kale and cabbage

1 cup of packed kale, finely chopped
1/2 cup of shredded cabbage
1T of olive oil
1/4t of sea salt

Bring the olive oil to head on medium high.
Add the scallions and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic, dill, thyme and smoke and saute for 1 minute.
Add the plant milk and the stock.
Reduce to low and bring to a very low simmer.
Add the bay leaf and the kombu.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, preheat the oven to 400F.
Toss the kale and cabbage in the oil and salt.
Spread the mixture in an even layer on a small baking sheet.
Roast for about 10-12 minutes, until the kale and cabbage are wilted.
Remove the bay leaf and the kombu from the soup.
Add the kale and cabbage to the soup, and stir to combine.
Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Whisk the arrowroot with the water until dissolved.
Add the arrowroot mixture to the soup, pouring slowly and stirring continuously until thickened.
Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes and bowl.
Garnish with sliced scallions and a pinch of purple dulse flakes.

 

 

Lemon, coconut milk panna cotta with blueberries and a chocolate, teff brownie crust

Teff is a versatile, nutrient dense cereal grass commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine. If you’ve had injera, you’ve likely had some teff; cooked as a whole grain, it’s also an easy to prepare and flexible alternative to corn meal in many savory, polenta style recipes.

In this application, the grain is cooked whole to give it a soft, chewy cake-like texture. Along with the cocoa powder, the white miso, and the blueberries, it provides a rich but not too sinful dessert. No baking required.

Ingredients

For the teff brownie:
1/4 cup of teff
1 cup of water
3T of cocoa powder
3T of agave nectar
2t of black strap molasses
2T of coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

For the panna cotta:
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk*
1T of white miso
1T of lemon juice
1T of agar flakes
3T of agave nectar
Pinch of sea salt

For the blueberries:
2 cups of blueberries
2t of lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup of sugar
1T of arrowroot powder dissolved in 1T of cool water***

Instructions

Prepare the teff, the panna cotta and the blueberries in that order.

For the teff, in a pan with a lid, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
Add a pinch of sea salt, the teff, and the coconut oil.
Reduce to very low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat, add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
Spoon the teff out into a 6″ pie plate (or similar) to cool and smooth with the back of a spoon.
It will be a little gooey and sticky at this point still — that’s expected.
Refrigerate uncovered while you make the panna cotta.

For the panna cotta, bring the coconut milk to a light boil (you won’t need a lid).
Add all of the ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
Simmer lightly for 15 – 20 minutes to dissolve the agar.
Aim to reduce the liquid to one heaping cup.
Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
Pour over the brownie and return to the refrigerator uncovered.

For the blueberries, warm a pan on medium heat.
Add half of the blueberries, lemon juice and sea salt, and stir to combine.
If the blueberries are slow to start, or don’t produce much moisture, add 1 to 2T of water to the pan.
Once the blueberries have started to lose their moisture, add the sugar.
Stir to combine, and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the remaining blueberries and cook for another 5 minutes.
Whisk the arrowroot with the water.
Add the mixture to the blueberries slowly, stirring continuously until thickened.
The blueberries should be quick thick.
Let stand to cool 5 minutes.
Pour the blueberries over the panna cotta.
Refrigerate for about 15 minutes uncovered.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

*To reduce the amount of fat from the coconut milk substitute a cup of unsweetened soy milk. The result will be lighter but not quite as rich.

**Although manufacturing processes are changing, some commercial table sugars are still filtered/bleached using animal bone charcoal. As a rule, organic sugar, beet sugar and a number of other types are not filtered using this kind of a process at all. Agave and other liquid sweeteners also provide substitutes, although you may need more thickening agent in this recipe.

***You can use corn starch in place of arrowroot powder if that’s what you have on hand. Add the mixture slowly and no need to add the whole amount if you don’t need it.

Dark beer and tomato braised portobello mushrooms with caramelized onions

Thinly sliced mushrooms in a flavourful, sweet, full-bodied gravy. These goes well with potatoes, pasta, or as a filling for hot sandwiches.

Ingredients

2T cooking oil separated
(2) 1/4t of coarse sea salt
1 medium vidalia onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2t dried, ground cumin
1t dried, ground coriander
2T minced garlic
1t of black strap molasses
4 large portobello mushrooms in 1/3″ slices (about 350g)
1T of lemon juice
1T of tamari
3 medium tomatoes, very ripe, cored and seeded (about 500g)
1 1/2 cups of dark beer*
1 cup of vegetable stock
1T of arrowroot whisked with 2T of cold water
2T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
About 3-4″ of scallion green for garnish.

Instructions

Core and seed the tomatoes and chop coarsely; then puree them in a high speed blender.
In a large frying pan with a lid, Bring the oil to heat with the sea salt on medium high.
Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the cumin, coriander and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
Add the molasses and stir to combine.
Reduce heat to medium low.
Spread the onions evenly in the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes stirring frequently until they have browned.
While the onions caramelize, bring the other 1T of oil and 1/4t of sea salt to heat in a frying pan on medium high.**
Add the portobellos to the pan and saute until the portobellos start to lose their moisture.
Reduce the heat to medium low and saute until the pan starts to brown (about 10 minutes).
Add the lemon juice and tamari to the portobellos and deglaze.
Add the portobellos to the onions once they are ready.
Stir to combine thoroughly and return the pan to medium high heat.
Saute together for about 2 minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes and stock to the pan.
Stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the beer, stir to combine and cook until the liquid reaches a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until until the sauce is thick and has reduced by two thirds or more (expect at least an hour).

Whisk the arrowroot and the water and add slowly to the pan, stirring
continuously until thickened.
Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Plate and garnish with the scallion.

*The quality of the beer is very important to this recipe. Pick a well-balanced one. I use dunkel for the malt flavour. Also, it’s uncommon, but some beers are still filtered using isinglass and other animal products.
Be sure to check!

**Unless you have an enormous frying pan, if you fry the portobellos with the onions in the same pan, you’ll overload it. Your portobellos won’t be quite as soft or rich, but they should still be good and everything will taste fine. You can also try slow cooking the ingredients together if you prefer not to have multiple pans on the go.

Couscous and baby kale salad with apricots and sun-dried tomatoes

This salad provides a simple light lunch or a solid appetizer.

Ingredients

1 cup of water
1/4t of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of whole wheat couscous
1 cup of packed baby kale greens
1/4 cup of boiling water
1/4 cup of dried apricots
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the dressing

2T of packed sun-dried tomatoes
2T of olive oil
2t of lemon juice
1t of dried thyme, rubbed
1t of dried mint, rubbed
1t of ground cumin
1/2t of ground coriander
1T of garlic, minced
1t of ginger, minced

Directions

Add the apricots and sun-dried tomatoes to a small bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of bowling water to rehydrate.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil with the sea salt and add the couscous.
Cook as directed (couscous will often cook without heat if it’s left to stand, but it varies).
Add the soaking liquid from the apricots to the couscous and stir to combine.
Add the remaining ingredients to the sun-dried tomatoes and apricots.
Toss to combine.
Add the baby kale greens.
Toss to combine.
When the couscous is finished, plate and add the kale, apricots and sun-dried tomatoes if you’ll eat immediately or toss to combine to pack up.

If you pack it up with hot couscous, the kale will wilt a bit. If you don’t like wilted kale, toss the couscous in a little olive oil and chill before adding the other ingredients. Additional greens, raisins, figs, walnuts, pepita seeds and other add-ins will give it more flavour, texture and nutrition.

Chai panna cotta with warm marmalade custard

The chai and marmalade give this simple, no-bake dessert a rich set of complementary flavors.

Ingredients

2 cups of coconut milk, 1/2 cup reserved
2T of agave nectar
1T of white miso
1T of agar
4 bags of chai tea*
1/2t of cinnamon
1/4t of cloves
Additional agave to taste
3T of marmalade (I use a seville marmalade)**
1t of arrowroot powder whisked with 2t of water

For the panna cotta, bring the coconut milk to a light boil (you won’t need a lid).
Add the coconut milk, miso, agar, agave, cloves and cinnamon.
Stir thoroughly to combine.
Add the tea bags.
Simmer lightly for 15 – 20 minutes to dissolve the agar.
Aim to reduce the liquid to around one heaping cup.
Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
Remove and gently squeeze the tea bags.
Stir, and pour into two ramekins and cool uncovered for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Cover and chill at least 4 hours to setup.

When ready to serve, heat the 1/2 cup of coconut milk on medium in a small sauce pan.
Reduce by about 1/3.
Turn out the panna cotta from the ramekins carefully.
Add the marmalade.
Stir until dissolved.
Whisk the arrowroot with water.
Add slowly to the marmalade mixture, stirring continuously until thickened.
Spoon the custard over the panna cotta.

*The quality of the tea is what makes this dish. Choose one you like with a good balance of spices.

**If you don’t keep marmalade on hand, a little vanilla extract (1t) and some agave nectar (2T) will give you a nice vanilla custard instead. In that case, use 2t of arrowroot to compensate for the other binders in the marmalade. And just a reminder that some sugar is bleached using animal bone charcoal. Organic sugar is typically unbleached.

Tofu and red potatoes in coconut milk with cremini mushrooms, savoy cabbage, garlic and ginger

The tofu, potatoes, mushrooms and cabbage are slow cooked together in broth and then finished in coconut milk to give this very simple, inexpensive dish a rich finish.

Ingredients

About 220g of tofu in .3″ slices
2 medium red potatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 medium sized cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (about 250g)
3 cups of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
3 scallions, minced (reserve about 3 – 4″ of one green for garnish)
1 cup of boiling water
2 bouillon cubes
1/2t of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk
3T of garlic, minced
1T of ginger, minced
1t of dried ground cumin
1t of dried ground coriander
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Add the tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, mushrooms and sea salt to a slow cooker.
Dissolve the bouillon in the boiling water, add to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
Cook covered for about 4 hours, stirring here and there.
At the 4 hour mark, preheat the oven to 400F.
You should have about 2 cups of liquid left. If you don’t, add a little water.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine and pour everything out into a shallow oven pan with sides (I use a 9×13″ pan).
Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically, or into the mixture is starting to brown lightly.
Remove from the oven, let stand 10 minutes to cool, and serve.

The scallions are very thinly sliced on an oblique angle to give them good volume. The dish is plated here with lightly sauteed mixed greens and some red pepper, a great way to add some additional colour and nutrition to the plate.

Grilled polenta

Polenta provides an inexpensive, easily seasoned and versatile base for a wide range of dishes. This version provides a side dish that’s a little crispy on the outside, but moist and flavorful on the inside.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1/2t of coarse sea salt
2T and 2t of cooking oil (reserve the 2t for grilling the polenta)
2t of garlic, minced
1T of nutritional yeast
Additional seasoning to taste*

Directions

Bring the oil to heat on medium high in a heavy bottomed pan on medium high
Add the sea salt and the garlic and saute the garlic for 2 minutes.
Add the water and bring to a soft boil.
Add corn meal slowly, stirring as you go.
Reduce heat to low and cook for roughly 40 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
The polenta will be done when it’s quite thick and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Add the nutritional yeast and any additional seasonings.
Let stand five minutes to cool.
Spoon the polenta into two lightly oiled ramekins, and smooth the top with a spoon.
Let cool for about 30 minutes uncovered in the refrigerator to setup.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Carefully turn out the polenta.
Lightly oil the polenta and grill directly on the middle rack until the polenta browns a little here and there (about 10-15 minutes, turning once).

*I use sea salt and black pepper, but green herbs, particularly basil, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, and other high flavour seasonings add variety, nutrition and colour.

**If you’re anxious about grilling something directly on your oven rack, use a lightly oiled pan with the drier top of the polenta down.

Lemon, artichoke and caper spread

When they are emulsified with olive oil, artichokes take on a very fluffy texture, making this a very flavourful alternative to oil-heavy spreads. Shown here with lightly breaded seitan.

Ingredients

2 artichoke hearts, quartered (about 1 cup)
2t of cooking oil
1/4t of coarse sea salt
1T of lemon juice
2T of olive oil
2t of capers
2t of garlic, minced
1T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the oil to heat on medium high, add the sea salt and the artichokes.
Saute until the artichokes are very light browned.
Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes to cool.
Puree with the remaining ingredients in a high speed blender, adding the olive oil very slowly to ensure proper emulsification.
Chill covered for about 30 minutes, and then season to taste.