Green is Golden (and Delectable!)

Colorado, the harvest of zucchinis is upon us.

I will be the last to complain. Zucchini is one of my most favorite veggies. You can grill it. You can steam it. You can stuff it and saute it and…

make bread with it!

Today was supposed to be a “come-in-for-a-couple-hours” work day, but it turned in to an almost 7 hour day before I knew it. So cooking a big meal was out of the question for tonight. My fix was to bake my zucchinis and spinach and beet tops into a healthy, happy loaf of sweet bread (and a great way to rid my fridge of wilting greens).

I also got a few tasty muffins from the deal. I hear breakfast calling.

The recipe was adapted from here… but I feel like my version is different enough to post.

Enjoy!

Too-Good-to-Be-Healthy Zucchini Bread

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5 TBS flax seed plus 1/2 cup water, mixed to a paste

2 medium zucchinis, shredded

1 ripe banana, mashed (very ripe is good)

2 cups shredded spinach or beet tops (or other leafy greens)

1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1/2 cup canola oil (or other light oil)

1 1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar

1/s tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

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Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all purpose unbleached flour

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 1/2 tsp baking soda

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PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients together until well mixed. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, salt, baking soda and powder. Add slowly to wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Fill two bread pans evenly, or (as I did) fill one bread pan, and plop the remaining dough batter into greased muffin tins.

BAKE the muffins for about 30 minutes, and the loaf pans for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the loaf comes out cleanly.

Oh… and you can always add CHOCOLATE! A few handfuls of dark chocolate chips make this healthy bread taste way more sinful than it is. I love when that happens.




16 July 2010. Tags: , , , , . colorado, Food and Recipes. Leave a comment.

A Day Off = Grilled Pizza!

This has been a great week. I am really enjoying work (I pretty much get to talk to people all day), I just spent 2 1/2 fantastic hours at a Whole Foods cooking class (where I met some amazing people… more on that later), and I have been enjoying delicious, healthy meals with the newest roommate in my long history of housemates.

This past Sunday I had the day off, so I felt it was time to make some vegan pizza. But wait! Let us take it a step further: Grilled Vegan Pizza. With homemade vegan sausage. And homemade cheese sauce. And… okay, that’s all.

I first made the dough using a whole wheat crust found here (note: I subbed the white flour for wheat). I lightly grilled it and set it aside. Next it was time for the toppings.

I had made homade veggie sausages a few days prior for a Fourth of July hot dog bonanza (we’re All-America over here!) and used those for one of the toppings. I simply crumbled them up and sauteed them on the stove to give them a nice ‘n’ toasty look and taste.

Next, I (and Caleb… he helped too!) grilled some zucchini and onions and set them aside.

Now for the sauces.

I was lazy and just used the rest of my canned marinara, but I used this recipe from a VegWeb submitter for Cashew “Cheese” Sauce:

Ingredients

2 cup soy milk (I actually used coconut)
4 oz. pimento (I used 2 tsp of Miso paste in favor of these)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3-4 tablespoon yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely grated, then add additional ingredients. Process until completely mixed and smooth in consistency. Pour the mixture into a sauce pot and heat on low/med until it thickens and begins sticking to the spoon.

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To assemble, the entire masterpiece, Caleb and I just took the marinara, coated the crust (while on the grill), and layered on fresh basil, veggie sausage, zucchini, onions, and topped it off with the “cheese” sauce. We let it grill for about 10 minutes or so (it may have been a little crispy, but I kind of like that, so it was okay), and then dug in!  To top it off, we also grilled some fresh peaches. Not bad for a sunny Sunday evening.

8 July 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Food and Recipes. Leave a comment.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These delicious little delights are actually not that bad for you. They are high in protein and made with… wait for it…

Silken Tofu!

I know, it sounds weird, but it made them light and fluffy and delicious without use of excess fat. The recipe is not my own, it’s from SusanV. You can find the original, fat-free recipe here.

But I used the higher fat version (the second recipe on the page) because I want to find a really good cookie recipe… not a “health-nut” one. Oh, and I added about a cup of chocolate chips just to up the flavor. These are so good. They didn’t last long. Oops.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Earth Balance Margarine, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup okara (or 4 ounces firm tofu, blended in a food processor until smooth)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

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Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Beat in the okara, pumpkin, and vanilla extract, until well-blended.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time to the wet ingredients, stirring well after each addition. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop rounded tablespoons of dough at least two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 10-14 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

12 June 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Food and Recipes. 1 comment.

The Bored Chef

(SURPRISE! A new layout that a little lighter on the eyes.)

Due to my unemployment, cooking has been high on my list of boredom-breaking hobbies.

I know I should be saving as much money as possible, but I figure that I need something to keep me from wanting to just sleep all day. Plus, I have been very good and have been shopping for only on sale items (and saved 60% on my fresh produce yesterday!). So here are a few of the recipes I have made over the past several days:

Fresh Summer Salad

This salad was born out of a few fresh ingredients I needed to use in a hurry, and the abnormally hot days that we have experienced here in Colorado. I wanted something fresh, cool, and quick. This was the perfect fix. I used a hand peeler to shred the veggies, but I am fairly certain a shredding blade on a food processor would work just as well (I’ll let you know when I get my food processor… Don’t worry, economic majors, I used a gift card). Here is the unofficial “recipe”:

1/4 zucchini, shredded

1/4 yellow squash, shredded

1 small carrots, shredded

1/4 cucumber, shredded or sliced thin

1/4 cup sauerkraut

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 leaves fresh kale, chopped (can also use spinach)

1 Tbs Veganaise or Nayonaise

fresh grind pepper

pinch of salt

lemon juice

Mix the zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumber, sauerkraut, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add pepper and salt to taste. Mix well. In another bowl, add rinsed and chopped kale (or spinach), Veganaise, and a squirt of lemon juice. Mix well to coat the kale leaves. Add the mixed vegetables and enjoy this summery salad!

NOTE: if using kale, allow for the dressed leaves to sit for about 5 minutes to begin to soften the tougher leaf. If using spinach, immediately add the mixed vegetables to the dressed leaves and enjoy.

Polenta with Asparagus and Chickpeas

This is a recipe that I borrowed from SusanV… but I made a lot of changes to it due to my lack of ingredients (and funds). Click on her link to find her recipe. Here is my “abridged version”:

Polenta

2/3 cup pre-made garlic and basil polenta

1/4 cup vegetable broth

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Chickpeas

1/4 medium onion, chopped fine

1 glove minced garlic

1 can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)

1/4 cup vegetable broth

dash of  fresh pepper

dash of salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

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Asparagus

5 stalks fresh asparagus

pinch of salt

dash of fresh pepper

Place the polenta in a small pot, turn heat to medium, add vegetable broth, and mash the polenta into a desirable smooth consistency. This may take a while, so allow it to gently simmer while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

In a larger pan  on medium-high, spray with cooking spray, add onions and garlic, and saute until soft and semi-translucent. Add chickpeas, vegetable broth. Stir and simmer over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until most of the broth has boiled down. Remove from heat and add pepper, salt, and lemon to taste.

Gently steam the asparagus for about 4 minutes. Toss lightly with salt and pepper.

Assemble the polenta on the bottom, chickpeas next, and asparagus on the top. Enjoy! Yum!

The third and final recipe for today…. will wait until next time. This post has been long enough. BUT… just know that the next recipe will be delicious PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! They even have a low fat option if you so wish.

10 June 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Food and Recipes. Leave a comment.

Carrot Pasta!

Today, I was in the mood for something that was super quick, super yummy, and super healthy. I found such a food in this simple adapted recipe of Carrot Pasta. Most veggie pastas involve lots of oil, but I chose to steam my vegetables to get the most benefit from them and to not add unneeded fat. Yum!!!

Carrot “Spaghetti” Recipe

1-2 large carrots, peeled with veggie peeler into long strips

1/2 bunch spinach

1/8 onion

1 glove garlic

1/2 dried basil (or a few leaves of fresh basil, torn)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 cup marinara sauce

Directions

Steam the carrots, spinach, and onion for a few minutes until carrots and spinach are tender, but not mushy.

In a medium pan, begin to heat the marinara sauce while the veggies are steaming. Once tender, add the carrots, spinach, and onion to the sauce and stir to coat. Add the basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 3 minutes on medium-high to evaporate some of the water from the tomatoes. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Kale Chips

2 stems of fresh kale

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

1 tbs olive oil

dash of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

De-stem the kale (cut out the large middle vein) and cut into small chip-size pieces. In a large bowl, toss the kale with vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt. Evenly coat all pieces, then transfer to a large nonstick baking sheet, ensuring that the “chips” are not overlapping. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the chips are slightly dark and crispy, but not burnt. Enjoy immediately!

7 May 2010. Tags: , , , . Food and Recipes, travel. Leave a comment.

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