The Raw Cooked Vegan

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ultimate Vegan Nachos



I took this picture in the evening, which explains the color tone (you picture-foodies know what I'm talking about).

These are my Ultimate Vegan Nachos, bursting with intense, fresh flavor. I used black beans flavored with just a bit of olive oil and small potent detail...smoked black pepper.

I found this wonderful store at Tampa's International Mall, called The Spice and Tea Exchange. I was mesmerized with all the hard-to-find spices! I bought green cardamom pods, whole nutmeg, smoked black pepper and ancho chili powder. (Probably the best four spices I've bought in a long time). The smoked black pepper is what I used in the black beans. It gave it a wonderful smoky flavor.

Ultimate Vegan Nachos

1/2 can Eden organic black beans
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 pint organic grape tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 green onion (green part only) chopped fine
10 green or ripe olives, chopped
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
Tostitos Organic Blue Corn Chips

Dice onion and place in small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp olive oil and salt and smoked pepper. Set aside.

Rinse black beans under cold water. Transfer to bowl. Mash slightly with a fork. Add 1 tsp olive oil and salt and smoked pepper. Set aside.

Arrange blue chips on plate. Add black beans first, chopped yellow onions, jalapenos, green onions, tomatoes, olives and lettuce.

You can serve with your favorite salsa, or just as is (which I found perfect).


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Broccoli Corn and Onion Galette

My Christmas Brunch Galette

This was one of the best galettes that I've made so far. The crust is incredibly easy, has no dairy, no rising, no big mess! Unbelievable right? It is truly the best crust recipe ever. Just add herbs in the dough to customize your savory dishes, or leave it plain for sweet recipes. Try it!

Start by making the galette crust recipe and refrigerate for 1 hour (can be made a few days in advance as well).

Broccoli Corn and Onion Galette

1 and 1/2 cups (organic) broccoli, sliced thin and chopped
1 and 1/2 cups frozen (organic) corn
1 onion, chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 TBS olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 TBS all purpose flour
2-3 TBS water

In large skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Add broccoli, corn and sliced garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper and saute until nicely browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Add another TBS olive oil to skillet and add onion. Saute until browned. Sprinkle 1 TBS flour into onion, stir. Add water, then another TBS of flour. Stir broccoli and corn back into onion mixture. When heated through, remove from heat and set aside. Let cool.

Galette crust
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
8 TBS Earth Balance buttery spread-chilled
4 to 5 TBS iced water
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped

In food processor, add flour, salt and Earth Balance. Gently stir/mash with a spoon in the processor bowl first, so flour won't blow out the sides. Attach the lid and pulse, adding one TBS of water and a time until you get a dough ball that sticks together nicely when pinched.

Remove dough and gently pat into a 5 inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

When dough has chilled sufficiently, unwrap and place on floured surface. Roll gently with rolling pin to a 12 inch circle. Use a large, flat spatula to transfer rolled out dough to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.



Add broccoli-corn mixture to center of rolled out dough. Leave about 2 to 3 inches clear around outside edges. Fold edges in toward center overlapping on top of filling.



Brush edges of dough with olive oil and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm or room temperature.


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE. HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!





Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wild Rice with Artichoke Hearts, Corn, Edamame and Toasted Pine Nuts

This recipe is DELICIOUS!  I think this is rated up there with my Five Star dishes. 

Wild Rice with Artichoke Hearts, Corn, Edamame and Toasted Pine Nuts

1 Cup Cooked Wild Rice
4 to 5 Sundried Tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper (seeds and veins removed) chopped
3 to 4 Marinated Artichoke Hearts, chopped
3 TBS Pine Nuts, toasted
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup frozen Edamame beans
4 to 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
4 tsp Olive oil
Sea Salt and Pepper

Cook wild rice according to directions and let cool. In a large bowl, combine rice, sundried tomatoes, jalapeno and artichoke hearts. Set aside.

Toast pine nuts in small skillet over medium heat. Watch constantly so they do not burn. Remove from heat once they are toasted. Add to rice.

In medium skillet, heat 2 tsp of olive oil and add corn, garlic and edamame. Salt and pepper generously. Cook until garlic is roasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and add to rice mixture. Add the rest of olive oil over top and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

This would also make a terrific stuffing for acorn squash or even dolmades!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pan-Roasted Veggies with Farfalle Pasta

This is a popular dish at my house. I was reminded of that fact when one of my daughters said "It seems like we've had this dish a million times over."

Maybe I roast vegetables way too often for their liking, but I think roasting veggies brings out a really nice flavor. A little olive oil and salt and pepper is all you need. You can pan-roast them in a cast iron skillet or oven roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

So much can be done with roasted veggies; panini's, in salads, pasta, rice, on flatbreads/pizza, or just as a side. I've made them all! I guess that's why my family thinks they've had this "a million times".

Pan-Roasted Veggies with Farfalle Pasta

12 oz Farfalle pasta
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
8 to 10 mini red/yellow/orange sweet peppers, left whole
Olive oil for pan roasting (approx 3 to 4 TBS)
Dash of red balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper

Boil pasta according to directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in cast iron skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add mini peppers and let roast until they start to develop a few black spots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly then cut into pieces, discarding stems. Add to pasta.

Add another TBS of olive oil to pan and add sliced onion. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper. Cook onion until done to your liking. Add to pasta.

Add a little more olive oil to pan and add sliced zucchini in single layer. Let cook until browned on both sides. Remove from pan and add to pasta.

Gently toss vegetables and pasta and add olive oil and dash of balsamic vinegar to your taste.


NOTE: As an afterthought, whole garlic cloves and fresh basil would have been really good in this.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Apple Cranberry Galette



This is a super-easy galette! The crust is so good, you will want to make this a keeper JUST for the crust. I based the crust recipe on the Garlic Basil Tart Dough, but left out the garlic and basil. A food processor will make this a snap.

I prepared the dough recipe first and while it was chilling in the refrigerator, I started the apple-cranberry mixture.

Apple Cranberry Galette

2 and 1/4 cups diced apple
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 TBS dried cherries
2 TBS dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
Dash of cinnamon
Turbinado or large granulated sugar for sprinkling

In a medium sauce pan, combine apples, fresh cranberries, dried cranberries and cherries, sugar and cinnamon over medium heat. Cook until cranberries pop, stirring frequently (about 10 to 12 minutes). Stir in walnuts and lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Galette Dough
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
8 TBS Earth Balance buttery spread-chilled
4 to 5 TBS iced water
(Parchment paper to line pan)

In food processor, add flour, salt and Earth balance. Gently stir mixture with a spoon in the processor bowl first, so flour won't blow out the sides when you start it. Attach the lid and pulse, adding one TBS of iced water at a time until you get a dough ball. Remove dough and gently pat into a 5 inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour (or overnight if desired).

When dough has chilled sufficiently, unwrap and place on floured surface. Roll gently with a rolling pin to a 12 inch circle. Don't worry if the dough splits a little along the edges. Just pat back together as best you can. Use a large flat spatula to slide under the dough and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Spread apple-cranberry mixture into center, leaving 2-3 inches clear all around.


Fold edges inward, layering as necessary. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar (I totally forgot this step). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Brush crust with oil half-way through. Crust should be slightly browned. 

Remove from oven and carefully transfer to rack until completely cool. This slices very nicely and holds together well. I served it with a scoop of Purely Decadent Coconut-Milk ice cream. Delicious!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Pan Roasted Polenta with Red Pepper and Onion


Polenta is simply ground yellow or white cornmeal. It is very similar in texture to Cream-of-wheat. I prefer to buy organic products, especially corn, when at all possible because they are GMO-free.

To begin, I cooked the polenta in a saucepan, according to directions. Then stirred in the rest of the ingredients. I transferred it to a rectangular glass dish, that I oiled lightly, then refrigerated it until I was ready to slice and saute.


Pan Roasted Polenta with Red Pepper and Onion

1 cup organic polenta
3 cups water or broth (I used water)
sea salt (if using water)

1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of organic corn kernels
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TBS Olive oil
sea salt and pepper

In a stove top skillet, heat 1 TBS of olive oil over med high heat. Add onion and cook until soft (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add corn kernels and salt and pepper and cook until slightly brown. Stir in minced garlic and remove from heat. Set aside.

In medium sauce pan, bring water and salt to a boil. Using a whisk, stir water while pour-streaming polenta in. Continue stirring for about 1 to 2 minutes, until polenta starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Stir in the onion/corn mixture and roasted red pepper. Transfer to lightly oiled glass pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate.

Remove polenta from glass dish by setting a plate on top and then flipping it over. Gently shake polenta until it comes loose from the dish. If you are having a hard time, slice around the edges with a knife.

Cut polenta into 2" strips and pan saute in skillet with a little olive oil until browned on both sides.






Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tomato Tart with Roasted Red Pepper and Potato


This is my first experiment with a tomato tart. I needed something to "fill in" with the tomatoes, so I thought thinly sliced potatoes would be a nice complement. I also added roasted red peppers, sauteed leek and a roasted garlic "creme" sauce. I topped it with seasoned bread crumbs.


Thinly slice par-boiled potato


Easy pan-roasted garlic cloves. Leave paper on, then squeeze out pulp.


Saute leek in a bit of olive oil.

Creme sauce made with cashews & roasted garlic.


Almost put together. Just add creme sauce, tomatoes then breadcrumbs.


Tomato Tart with Roasted Red Pepper and Potato
(Note: This recipe is made with a prepared Garlic Basil Tart Dough crust-see recipe link below)

2 small Yukon gold potatoes
1 large tomato, sliced 1/4 in thick
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 leek, white part only, sliced thin
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
2 slices herb bread, torn into pieces
Olive oil 
Sea Salt and pepper

Prepare Garlic Creme Sauce (see below) and set aside.

In food processor, process torn bread slices until crumbly. Remove and mix with 1 TBS olive oil and Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Par boil potatoes for about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Slice thinly and set aside.

Heat a little olive oil (about 2 tsp) in a skillet and saute chopped leek with salt and pepper until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.

In same pan, add about 2 more tsp olive oil and pan saute potato slices until soft and slightly brown around the edges. Season with salt and pepper

In prepared Garlic Basil Tart Dough, layer potatoes in a circle, slightly overlapping until bottom is covered. Sprinkle leeks over top. Add roasted red pepper and pour about 1 cup of the garlic creme sauce over top. Add tomato slices and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Garlic Creme Sauce
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup whole, raw cashews
1 TBS nutritional yeast flakes
8-10 small roasted garlic cloves, peeled

Pour hot water over cashews and let set 30 minutes, until soft. Transfer to blender. Add roasted garlic cloves and nutritional yeast and blend at high speed until smooth, thick and creamy (about 2 to 3 minutes).







Garlic Basil Tart Dough


This is an awesome tart dough recipe I found at Ezrapoundcake.com. It was adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop. It calls for real butter, but I used Earth Balance and it came out wonderful!

I've always wanted to make a savory tomato tart and I know there are so many different ways to put one together. It's just a bit tricky to make it vegan, so when I found this crust recipe, I knew I could finally experiment. So here is the recipe for the crust, and the next post (click here) will be the awesome potato tomato tart I made with it!

Garlic Basil Tart Dough
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 TBS Earth Balance Buttery Spread (well chilled)
4 to 5 TBS iced water

In food processor, add basil and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Add flour and salt. Pulse to combine.

Add Earth Balance and pulse until pea-sized crumbs. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Process until mixture forms a dough ball. Add more water if necessary.

Remove dough from processor. Flatten into a 5 inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to several days).


After taking out of the fridge; I'm ready to roll it.
Remove dough from refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface. roll into a 12 inch circle working quickly. Add flour to top if it sticks to rolling pin.

Use a flat spatula to lift the dough up and into a tart pan or spring form pan (I used a 9 inch spring form).

Flatten crust with fingers working evenly and work up sides about an inch or so.

Poke bottom of dough several times with a toothpick and bake at 350 degrees in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stuffing with Roasted Red Peppers and Chestnuts

This is before heating in the oven

This was so fun putting together, I can't wait to have some tomorrow! Every year, I usually make a stuffing, not by a recipe, but what I think will taste good.

This recipe has lots of stuff in it; Roasted red peppers, chestnuts, butternut squash, leeks, portobello mushrooms, onion, celery and rosemary bread.

Stuffing with Roasted Red Peppers and Chestnuts

3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 leeks (white part only), chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 TBS olive oil
3 TBS Earth Balance buttery spread
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced and chopped
4 whole, roasted red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups cooked butternut squash, diced
10 to 12 roasted chestnuts
5 cups (loosely packed) rustic bread
1/2 cup to 1/3 cup vegetable broth
Sea Salt and pepper to taste.


Saute the celery, onion and leeks in 1 TBS olive oil. After about 5 minutes, add the 3 TBS of Earth Balance and 2 tsp Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until celery is soft and onion and leeks are slightly brown. Remove from pan and into bowl.

In same skillet, add the other 1 TBS olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook until soft and brownish black. Remove from pan and into bowl with celery mixture.

Add chopped roasted red peppers to bowl (and any juice that remained after roasting). Stir to combine.

 So far so good.

Add chopped butternut squash, chestnuts and torn bread. Add the veggie broth, a little at a time, until it's moist enough for your liking. Put stuffing into a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit, until heated through.

I won't be baking mine until tomorrow, so I've refrigerated it.

.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Whatever!


This was literally a "Flash-in-the-pan" dinner for me. Everyone else ate BBQ baked beans that I made yesterday (recipe posted Sept 22nd under BBQ Baked Beans). I wasn't in the mood for leftovers, so I threw together some items that sounded edible into a skillet with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It took me about 15 minutes flat from pan to table.

If you can't tell what's what, I had several brussel sprouts, two jalapeno peppers (which I seeded, but still made me choke as they were cooking). Once it was pan roasted how I wanted, I put it in a bowl, added some chopped avocado, green olives and sundried tomatoes in oil. Wallah! My Dinner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fennel and Rosemary Focaccia


This is a nice focaccia bread that originated from a recipe in a Mediterranean cookbook by Anne Sheasby. I used fresh fennel, instead of red onion. If you're not intimidated by baking yeast breads, this should be a pretty easy one for you.

I have a bread maker with a dough setting (I know that's cheating). I just throw the ingredients into the bread machine and turn it on. About an hour or so later, my bread has kneaded and risen. I take it out and roll it flat, top it and let it rise one more time.

However, if you don't have one of these machines, then there are only a few more steps involved.

Fennel and Rosemary Focaccia
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp rapid rise yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
3 TBS olive oil
1 fresh fennel bulb, green tops removed and sliced thin
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
Coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast, then make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the water and 2 TBS of the oil in the center of the well. Mix thoroughly to make a dough, adding a little more water if it seems to dry.

Knead for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth and pliable.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness into desired shape. Carefully transfer to lightly oiled, flat baking pan, (I used a baking stone). Brush top of dough with remaining 1 TBS oil. Push thumb into dough and make "dimples" across the top of the focaccia. Add sliced fennel and rosemary and push lightly into dough as well. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place for 1 hour.

Remove plastic wrap and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle top with coarse sea salt granules and bake 25 to 30 minutes until done.

Before baking.

When focaccia is done, carefully loosen from pan with long knife or spreader. Transfer to cooling rack. Once cooled, I cut it into rectangles, then cut each piece in half, lengthwise for a panini, or just dip the pieces in seasoned olive oil.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Braised Romaine



I thought I was on to something here, but apparently braising romaine is nothing new. I was utterly impressed with myself after risking my prized romaine hearts to the burner. After tasting this, I decided I would cook the whole package!

This is absolutely delicious and I believe it will be a hit as a side for my Thanksgiving dinner! It is definitely worth a try if you've never had this. So simple and super fast.

Braised Romaine

1 Heart of Romaine (or 2, or 3...)
1 TBS Olive Oil
Sea salt and lots of fresh ground pepper
Dash of rice vinegar (1/2 tsp or so)
Slivered almonds

Wash and pat dry Romaine. Cut off hard end and slice once down the middle, lengthwise so that most of the leaves stay together.

Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add sea salt and pepper (it should sizzle a bit). Lay Romaine halves cut side down and press with a spatula. Braise for about 3 or 4 minutes, flip and press down again. Remove after another minute or two (you still want a slight crispness).

Drizzle rice vinegar across the top and sprinkle on sliced almonds. That's it!



NOTE: If making several romaine hearts, repeat the oil and salt and pepper between each one.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Israeli Couscous


I love this couscous! I made this with a fantastic Greek dressing recipe I found on All recipes.com (which I'm saving forever~it is so good).

Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous) is a small, round, semolina and wheat based pasta which comes toasted, rather than dried (like typical pasta). It has a nutty, chewy texture and it holds up well in sauces, dressings or soups.

Israeli Couscous
1 cup dry Israeli couscous
1 and 1/3 cup water
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 and 1/2 cups frozen organic corn, thawed
3 TBS chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Dressing:
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add couscous and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or so. When done, remove couscous from pan and onto a plate to cool completely. Chop bell pepper and parsley, set aside.

For the dressing, combine ingredients in a lidded jar and shake vigorously until combined. Let dressing set for at least 15 minutes to soften the dried herbs (or you can make the dressing ahead of time~).

When couscous has cooled completely, combine it with the thawed corn, red pepper and parsley in a serving bowl. Pour dressing over top and stir to combine.

NOTE: I didn't quite use all of the dressing, so maybe about 1/3 of a cup.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chickpea Kuri Curry


It was hard to get a good shot of this dish with curry sauce smothered all over everything, but it was so, so good!

This is a similar version of my Tempeh Curry recipe, only using chickpeas instead of tempeh. I roasted a Red Kuri squash, but you can use butternut, kabocha or buttercup. Red Kuri squash taste similar to kabocha, in my opinion.

Chickpea Kuri Curry

2 cans Eden chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 and 1/2 cups cooked Red Kuri squash (or squash of choice), diced
1 large crisp apple, diced
1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup raisins


Perfect Curry Sauce



2/3 cup Vegenaise

2 tsp white balsamic vinegar

1 tsp garam masala spice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp curry powder
1 TBS maple syrup (or other similar sweetener)

(This made more than I used on the ingredients, but add according to your taste)
Combine chickpeas, apples, squash, walnuts and raisins in large bowl.

In lidded jar, combine curry sauce ingredients and mix or shake jar to combine well. Pour over chickpea mixture and combine.


Note: Add more ingredients! It can only make it better.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Apple Carrot Pancakes


What started off as a quest for a healthy waffle, ended up a delicious, healthy pancake. I did quite a bit of experimenting. The waffle iron I received as a gift from my Mom was begging to be used. I used it a few times over the years, and when my husband challenged me to create a healthy waffle, I went for it.

Here's what happened on the second batch:




This not only stuck, but I had to pour water into the grooves to soften it and then painstakingly clear it out with a rubber spatula. I read the booklet that it came with and tried everything! This non-stick electric beast was sticking a third and fourth time (sorry Mom).

So, I ended up with wonderful, crispy pancakes!

Apple Carrot Pancakes

3/4 cup walnuts, ground fine in food processor
1 and 1/2 cups carrots, processed in food processor
1 cup apple, diced small
Dash of cinnamon

1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour 

1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/4 cups rice milk
3 TBS sunflower or vegetable oil

Process walnut and carrots separately. Add to bowl. Add chopped apple and sprinkle with cinnamon.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, rice milk and oil. Mix well. Add carrot/apple/walnut mixture and stir to combine.

Heat skillet over medium heat with 1/2 tsp oil. Make sure pan is hot before adding batter. You know what to do...flip and serve!

Makes around ten 5" pancakes.

These are freezable. Let pancakes cool on a cooling rack, then layer with a piece of parchment paper in between each pancake and store in ziploc. You can actually put them right in the toaster to re-heat.







Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pagelli's Italiano


We checked out Pagelli's Italiano at Wiregrass for the first time. The picture above is the Bruschetta Flatbread (minus cheese), with a generous amount of chopped tomatoes, garlic, olives and fresh basil. The toppings were great. The only suggestion I would have is that the flatbread be toasted a little crisper.

Pagelli's has "happy hour" from 4 to 7, which has appetizers (including pizza) for 1/2 price. So that would be $5.00 for wood-oven pizza (big enough for two or three people), $5.00 flatbreads and $3.25 for wine and beer (if you're interested).

  

Pagelli's Outdoor Patio
We sat out on Pagelli's patio, over looking the shops. I'm pretty sure I'll be back, but next time I'm going to try the wood-oven pizza.

According to their website, starting October 7th, they will have world renowned tenor Maurice Lomonaco entertain guests in five languages! Now that ought to be interesting.


Wiregrass is an outdoor shopping center, with a great atmosphere. It has anchor stores such as Macy's, Pottery Barn, Barnes and Noble and Dillards. If you live in town, or are visiting the Tampa/Wesley Chapel area, here is a link to The Shoppes at Wiregrass: 

http://www.theshopsatwiregrass.com/go/mallEvents.cfm

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kabocha Curry Coconut Soup


Okay, by now you may be getting tired of soup recipes, but just can't help but crave it this time of year. Florida was supposed to get a "cold front" last weekend, but it ended up being a breezy 78 degrees and then back up to 80. Regardless of the temperature, I still think it's totally appropriate to make soup in November!

I had an awesome soup awhile ago at the Rolling Oats Cafe. It was a butternut squash curry type of soup and I ended up taking a quart of it home. I talked with the chef there, who said he based it on a recipe from an old book by Deborah Madison. He made it with "coconut milk and lots of leeks." So I went on a quest to find this recipe. I came across a Thai Winter Squash Stew by Ms. Madison with leeks in it. It's not exactly the same since her recipe called for adding fried tofu in peanut oil, peanuts and Serrano chili's and a few other ingredients I didn't have on hand.

I really love the coconut-curry flavor of this soup. I added the spice of jalapeno pepper with sweet kabocha squash. It turned out wonderful!

Kabocha Curry Coconut Soup

4 medium leeks, white part only
1 medium kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) peeled and diced
2 TBS extra virgin coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 TBS fresh ginger, chopped fine
1 jalapeno pepper, (most of the seeds and veins removed)
1 TBS curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
3 TBS soy sauce
1 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk.
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups of water
1 TBS chopped cilantro

Cut the green parts off the leeks and wash. Chop into small pieces and set aside. Chop the ginger, jalapeno and mince the garlic so you have it at the ready.

In a large stock pot, heat the coconut oil over med-high heat (coconut oil is ideal as a high-heat cooking oil). Add the leeks and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno and ginger. Stir for 1 minute. Stir in the curry powder, brown sugar and soy sauce. Reduce heat to medium. Add the water, coconut milk, kabocha squash and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Note: If you like your soup really spicy, leave more seeds from the jalapeno. I removed 2/3 of the seeds and veins and it was still quite spicy.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

French Lentil Soup


I have to say that I'm getting better at soup-making. I tend to like brothy soups over thicker based ones. Although if you check out my "Smoky Pea Stew" recipe, which was originally intended to be brothy, it ended up as a really wonderful stew. I consider stew a totally different beast than soup.

This recipe has French lentils, which are tiny and black when dry, but have a bit of green tint as they're cooked. Lentils are a complex carbohydrate, high in fiber and packed with nutrients; one cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the daily allowance of folic acid. That's more folic acid than any other natural food!

Okay, so I'll get on with this awesome recipe. Here it is:

French Lentil Soup

1 Large or 2 small yellow onions, diced
3 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS Earth Balance buttery spread
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups French Lentils
6 cups water
1 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetable base
2 large kale leaves, washed and torn (remove center vein)
1/2 cup mild salsa

Measure lentils and sort through. Rinse in fine mesh strainer. Set aside. In large stock pot, heat oil and Earth Balance over medium heat. When hot, add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, onions and potatoes. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kale and stir until starting to wilt.

Add lentils, water, garlic powder and bouillon. Stir and let come to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in salsa. Let set 10 to 15 minutes.

That's it! A very easy and delicious soup.


Tip: Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What a Vegan Eats



November happens to be Vegan Mofo, or Vegan Month of Food. The idea is for bloggers to write as much as they can, in the month of November, about vegan food. The challenge is to try and write every weekday this month! (I will be falling back on that word try if necessary)

So, I'm in and it's November 1st! I've decided to make today's post about what I eat (generally speaking) on any given day as a vegan. I've taken pictures here and there of some of my breakfasts, lunches and dinners and here they are:


My typical breakfast food
 Above is my typical breakfast. I have a toasted lavash half with almond butter and sliced organic apples. This particular day I had some banana slices that were left over from oatmeal that I made for my daughters. I love the combination of almond butter and apples so much, that I rarely stray from this breakfast combo. I drink black organic coffee that I fresh-grind every other day or so (beats Starbucks hands down).


This was either my lunch or dinner, not sure. But I do remember it was fabulous! It's a lavash, dry-grilled in a skillet with my Hummus Perfection, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. Wow, that was so good.




The veggies above were part of dinner that I served over brown rice pasta. I roasted carrots, potatoes, yellow squash and bok choy. I actually steamed the bok choy separately and just served it on the same plate. For the vegetables, I washed and scrubbed them, cut and placed in a porcelain-coated roasting pan with shallow sides. I drizzled olive oil over the top and seasoned with fresh ground sea salt and pepper. I baked at 400 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then shook the veggies and baked another 15.


 
Here is my dinner plate. It has the brown rice pasta topped with the roasted veggies. At the bottom of the plate is my Red Quinoa Salad, and to the left of that is my Cashew Raw Slaw. I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over the pasta too.



Above, we have one of my lunches with Tabbouleh, Cashew Raw Slaw, and Spicy Orange Moroccan Salad.




Hmmm. Lets see, we have a mish-mash of stuff here. The white stuff is mashed cauliflower with garlic. The greens are sauteed kale (with some olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper). The bowl above the greens is my Butternut Zucchini Explosion. The big green bowl is a salad tossed with romaine, apples, hearts of palm, chickpeas and some hemp seeds. I also see the Chickpea Salad (half-eaten as the appetizer). Oh, and a glass of organic red vino.
This was taken a few weeks ago on a day my sister came over for "movie night" and joined us in the vegan dinner.


This was my dinner on a day the rest of my family were eating non-vegan. It's funny, I typically get this particular look from one of my daughters when we all sit down to eat, and I'm eating different food. I'll describe the look as "what your eating looks really good, can I have a taste?"
I end up doling out some tastes to her, even though she has other food to eat. But, I don't mind at all. As a matter of fact, I'm so grateful my family likes my vegan food, because I love cooking it, it's delicious, healthier and kinder to the planet. 



Monday, October 25, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salad


A year or two ago, I decided to make "custom" cookbooks for my family members and good friends. I bought these small, rectangular photo albums and printed out 30 or 40 of my favorite recipes with pictures. Well, the other night, I got a phone call from someone who received one of them asking about a small detail for one of the recipes. It was the Black Bean and Corn Salad. Wait a minute...I forgot about that one...what a great one to put on my blog!   

Anyone reading this who happened to receive one of my cookbooks, may or may not have this recipe...or you may have a different version of it since I love to tweak, change and ad-lib so much (sorry, that's just the way I am!)

Anyway, here is the version I have in my own (now tattered) custom cookbook:

Black Bean and Corn Salad

2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 to 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
3 cups organic frozen corn, thawed (or 4 fresh cobs-blanched)
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or canned)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (seeds and white membranes removed)
8 to 10 sundried tomato halves in oil, snipped into strips
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (2 or 3 TBS)

Dressing:
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt (use 1/2 tsp if using canned beans)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime (about 2-1/2 TBS)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except dressing.

In a medium sized, lidded jar, combine dressing ingredients and shake thoroughly to combine (or whisk in a bowl). Pour over bean and corn mixture. Toss gently. Let marinate for at least 2 hours in refrigerator.


 PS: The question my family member had about this recipe was "could you exchange fresh tomatoes for sundried" (Yes!) and how much 1 bunch of cilantro was (in my mind it was about 2 to 3 TBS) not the 'whole' bunch (sorry). 

My Version of "Bunch"

I also recommend if you are making this a day ahead of time and are using fresh tomatoes, to wait and add them about an hour before serving. Refrigeration tends to make the tomatoes lose their flavor.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pane Rustica Restaurant


My daughter and I had lunch at Pane Rustica in Tampa. This place is hidden amongst a slew of stores in a nondescript strip center. You would never expect to find such an incredibly successful restaurant that serves fresh, inventive and delicious tasting food inside this kind of store front unless you heard about it through the grapevine. They have been so successful in what they do, that they recently expanded their space to include a chic new bar, including two new dining areas for private parties or big groups. Their original space still remains with a walk-up lunch counter (pictured above). The place reminds you of a laid back cafe with an Italian-rustic kind of feel. The walls are pale yellow with an old-world plaster finish.

Pane Rustica makes their own bread, pastries, muffins and cookies from scratch and have fresh brewed herbal teas, coffees, wine and beer. They also have a fantastic lunch selection of prepared flatbread pizza's tempting you at the counter that include spinach and caramelized onion or arugula and roasted vegetables or whatever else the chef happens to create that day. 

During lunch, you can order anything to go at the walk-up counter, or call ahead, or order right there and eat in. The staff will bring your food to your table wherever you choose to sit. However, if you come for dinner, it transforms into a sit-down, formal setting with a hostess seating you and waiters and waitresses taking your orders.

It is not a vegan place, but there are plenty of options to make it work for you. The ingredients are fresh, and they are more than willing to accommodate a vegetarian or vegan without hassle! 

I ordered the grilled vegetable sandwich, minus the goat cheese medallion and requested it as a "salad". They state on their menu that they can make any sandwich into a salad. This was the first time I ordered this (as a salad) and it was FANTASTIC! Here is a picture:




The Grilled Vegetable Salad had a base of mixed greens, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, fresh red pepper, fresh cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion, fresh green apples, a few blueberries, blackberries, a dollop of hummus on endive and fresh basil on top (I may have missed one or two things). I ate every bit of this with the balsamic dressing they served on the side. They also had a warm piece of fresh bread that I shared with my daughter.

My daughter had a slice of flatbread cheese pizza, which I have a picture of her biting into, but you won't see that photo here...she objected to me posting it. It is her favorite item and she always orders it. Aside from the wonderful flatbread pizza they serve here, they also have a tantalizing selection of Gelato. My daughter is a HUGE fan of Gelato, but unfortunately she indulged in a bake sale at school earlier, so we passed.



A nice mother-daughter lunch at Pane Rustica





If you want to learn more about Tampa's Pane Rustica and the husband and wife owners, click here:  http://panerusticabakery.com/