The Raw Cooked Vegan

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)

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:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bread and Eggplant Lasagna

VEGAN YUM YUM. This is a recipe from Lauren Ulm, blogger extraordinaire and author of a fantastic vegan cookbook (now my favorite). Her book is called Vegan Yum Yum. She is incredibly creative and has some of the most appetizing recipes and photo's that will make your mouth water (even if you are not a vegan!)

Check out her awesome website at: 

Or check out her book here:

This lasagna recipe came from her website (it's not in her cookbook) and is made with bread instead of pasta noodles. I did not stray from the recipe at all, other than using rosemary artisan bread I bought at Super Target (love that store) instead of sourdough. I also used an heirloom tomato I found at my local Health Food store.

This recipe is not that complicated at all and the results will impress you and/or your guests.

Bread and Eggplant Lasagna

3 TBS olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2  28oz cans Organic tomatoes, blended (I used organic pureed)
2 tsp salt
4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2-3 medium eggplants, peeled
olive oil for drizzling
8-10 slices sourdough or rustic bread
1 cup breadcrumbs (or two slices, toasted and processed)
1-2 large, ripe tomatoes

Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

In a large skillet with high sides, or a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add tomatoes, salt and herbs. Cook (constant bubbling) for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use spatter screen if desired (recommended).

Prep two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Wash and peel eggplant. Slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in one layer on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Drizzle olive oil over both sides of eggplant and salt.

Bake eggplant for 40 minutes until soft and browned.

Toast bread in toaster or brush with olive oil and "grill" in skillet (I toasted mine brown).

In baking dish or cake pan (I used 8 x 11 and filled it to the brim), spread 1 and 1/2  cups of sauce into bottom. Layer bottom with bread slices without overlapping.

Place half of eggplant on top of bread, followed by another 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce.

Add second layer of bread. Add second half of eggplant and all of remaining sauce, making sure all bread is completely covered by sauce.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top.

Place fresh tomato slices on top of lasagna, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Bake 35-40 minutes, uncovered at 400 degrees. Remove and let set 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smoky Split Pea Stew

I based this recipe from one I found in February's Vegetarian Times. It was originally named 'Smoky split pea soup' but I found that after I made mine, it resembled stew. I improvised with several ingredients. For example, it called for one teaspoon of canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce. Well, I didn't have that, but I did have a jar of medium chipotle salsa in my cupboard. I also replaced one 14oz can of diced tomatoes with 5 sundried tomatoes. It also called for soaking the split peas overnight. Split peas don't usually require pre-soaking so I didn't (perhaps that's why it came out like stew?). Well, regardless of all the improvising, I was quite happy when it came out tasting FABULOUS!

Truthfully, everyone loved it and one family member actually said it tasted like there was meat in it (no honey, you were chewing sundried tomatoes).

Oh yes, one last thing. I highly recommend smoked paprika. I can't believe I haven't used this stuff before!

Smoky Split Pea Stew

1 cup split green peas
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 TBS medium Chipotle salsa
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (3 cups)
2 medium sweet onions, diced (3 cups)
3 ribs of celery, diced (1 cup)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
5 sundried tomatoes in oil, cut into small strips (I hydrate my own and coat with olive oil, sliced garlic and sea salt)
sea salt and pepper to taste

6 cups water
2 tsp Better than Bouillon vegetable base

Rinse split peas thoroughly in a strainer (you can soak them for several hours or overnight if you want). Heat oil in large stock pot over medium heat. Add paprika and chipotle salsa and stir. Add diced sweet potatoes, onions and celery. Stir and season with salt/pepper. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic. Saute 2 minutes.

Add drained split peas to pot with the 6 cups of water and 2 tsp veggie bouillon. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Add sundried tomatoes and simmer another 15-20 minutes until peas are tender. Remove from heat and let set, covered for at least 30 minutes.

If you make this dish, please let me know how it turns out for you! I would be interested to know if you loved it as much as we did, or if you improvised ingredients with anything else.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Red Quinoa Salad

After making this, I gave it a "5 star". I totally made a hit with the right ingredients and I plan on making this many more times. This recipe is just slightly similar to last month's post of Quinoa Tabbouleh, but with a few changes of ingredients, I created a totally different dish!

If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, here is a repeat of the information in my Quinoa Tabbouleh post about it:

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) is one of the most nutritious grains out there. It's actually considered a seed (but I will call it a grain here). It is an ancient Inca grain that is 12 to 18 percent protein (almost twice the amount of brown rice). It's gluten-free, has a high magnesium and iron content and is a great source of fiber. It's a tiny little grain, comparable to the size of sesame seeds. Quinoa has a coating on the outside called saponin, and you will need to be sure to first soak, then rinse it thoroughly with your kitchen sprayer through a fine mesh strainer, otherwise it can leave a bitter-like taste. (I have never had that problem). Check the quinoa product when you buy it. Some boxes already "pre-wash it", so you don't have to rinse. It's not at all complicated, so don't let the rinsing stuff scare you off.

I'm using red quinoa here. Although there is no nutritional difference between red and white quinoa, the tastes are slightly different. The red is a bit heavier and chewier in texture than the white. This salad is great for wraps or just a great item to bring to work in Tupperware (or sneak into your kid's lunch box).

Red Quinoa Salad

3/4 cup red quinoa (soak 10 min or so, then rinse in fine mesh strainer)
1 and 1/2 cup water
6-8 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 packed TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1 roasted red pepper
4-5 Sundried tomatoes in oil (I hydrated my own and coated with oil, salt and garlic)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
Dash cayenne pepper

Bring water to a boil, add rinsed quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to med or med-low and let simmer 12 to 15 minutes. Check once to make sure water does not evaporate (add more if it does). Remove from heat and let set 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, let cool completely.

In a lidded jar, combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, rosemary and cayenne pepper. Shake to mix.

In large serving bowl, combine quinoa, basil, parsley, sundried tomatoes and roasted red pepper. Pour olive oil mixture over and toss to coat.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Veg Fest

Veg Fest at Curtis Hixon Park (UT in the background)

Children's Museum looking across Curtis Hixon Park

 Today was Tampa's first annual Veg Fest. My sister and I checked it out earlier in the morning (we know how hot it gets mid-day) and I took some great pictures of down town Tampa.

They had several food vendors such as Grass Root restaurant, Vida de Cafe, Loving Hut, Joe's Oat Patties, Nature's Food Patch Market, and Whole Foods Market. My sister got a tropical smoothie from Vida de Cafe, which was great.
I sampled some "soy" ice treats made from pumpkin, soy and organic sugar. It was like eating a creamy cold piece of pumpkin pie!

Looking across the river at UT

Some families enjoying the water misters and the cylindrical Sykes building in the background 

Awww. This little girl's name was Lillie Bean up for adoption.

A vendor at St. Pete Market

By the time the heat was starting to get to us, we decided to head to St. Petersburg to the Market, which was "opening day". Wow, was it swarming with people. Then again, I haven't been there when it wasn't wall-to-wall people. St. Pete market is a world of smells, flavors, produce, crafts, people and lots of many of those that we saw "meetings" of dog petting. It was like a big friendly neighborhood!

After roaming through the crowd there, I was going to get a smoothie, but the lines were a half-mile long, so we walked down the street to check out an eatery for lunch (hoping for some air-conditioning~yes, we are wimps).

We found a cozy little place called Central Cafe and Organics. It was kind of a walk-in type place where you place your order at the counter (reminded me of a gelato shop for some reason), and then you could sit at a table outside on the sidewalk, or in the room next door, which was open to the air. We chose to stay inside where the we ordered our food since there were three stools by the window and it had AIR!!

We hogged two of only three stools inside and grabbed a cold one to go with our wrap and salad. Yum! We both had the same thing which was a half of a grilled veggie wrap with a house salad.

After eating our lunch, we headed out. My sister mentioned earlier that she wanted to see "The Pier", so when we started driving back toward Tampa, we inadvertently turned down the street the Pier was on! So, obviously we drove there to check it out.

St. Petersburg Pier
We walked the pier to the end building you see. It was full of tourist shops and eateries. The view was beautiful, but the heat was getting to us. We snapped some photos and headed back home.

Lisa and I

Tons of Pelicans!

This was so sweet, a father and son fishing off the pier.

It was a food, fun and sun day for us. We had a great time and hope you enjoy the pics.
Peace Out

Friday, October 1, 2010

Spanish Bean Soup

Well, as I promised, here is my Spanish Bean Soup recipe! Living in Florida, you find Spanish bean soup and Cuban sandwiches around every corner. I've had some of the best Spanish bean soup living here but since becoming vegan, I haven't really found anyone who makes a meatless version. Oh, wait a minute...I do now!

Honestly, this one turned out DELICIOUS! I added kale to this recipe because...well, I had an abundance of kale and I actually like kale. That's why you see it in so many of my recipes. It's also really good sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper. Pretty simple for a side green.

Confession Alert: I have to admit, my first batch of Spanish bean soup was a bit of a disaster because I put a teaspoon of red pepper (cayenne) instead of paprika (whoops). Wow. Hot city. They look identical in the jars! But when you don't READ the label end up with awfulness (is that a word?). I couldn't even tell if the other flavors in the soup were tasty. There is obviously only one thing to do in that situation...START OVER.

Okay, here are some of my recommendations on making this soup. First, I highly recommend "Better than Bouillon" vegetable base. This gave my soup a really nice flavor, especially when simmered with cumin, oregano and garlic.

Second, I recommend garlic powder as opposed to fresh minced. In recipes that are simmered in broth, I think it just flavors it more intensely, without the fresh garlic "bite". You can find some really good, potent organic garlic powder at your local health food store, or maybe even your main grocery store if they carry organic herbs and spices.

Third, I definitely advise you to saute the potatoes and onions until they are nicely browned. I added this last to the soup, right before serving it. That way, the potatoes aren't boiled into blandness. There you have it. Delicious, vegan Spanish Bean Soup!

Spanish Bean Soup

3 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, diced small (1/2 in cubes)
2 medium onions, diced small
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS Earth Balance buttery spread
Salt and pepper to taste

6 cups of water
5 tsp Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
2 and 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or canned)

2 large kale leaves, deveined and chopped

In a large stock pot, add water, bouillon, paprika, cumin, garlic and oregano. Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add chickpeas and kale 1/2 way through.

While broth is simmering, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium to med-high heat. Add diced potatoes and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. When potatoes start to stick, stir in Earth Balance. Cook until potatoes are done and it's nice and browned. Scrape all the bits from the bottom of pan and make sure to put this in the soup!

When broth is finished, remove from heat and stir in potato and onion mixture. Serve.