Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Real Food Pyramid

How I try to eat everyday minus the meat, chicken, fish, dairy, eggs....(click image to enlarge - learn more at http://www.drfuhrman.com/)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

The background image for this blog is a photo I took of produce delivered to our home one day late last summer. My husband's nephew Jonathan is an organic farmer and we bought a share in his CSA  (Community Supported Agriculture) last year. All summer long we received weekly deliveries of fabulous produce grown less than 7 miles away from our home. I can't wait for the new season! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Vegan Pancakes (GF)

I love making pancakes on a Saturday morning and these gluten-free chocolate chocolate-chip pancakes hit the spot when you got the jones for something rich and chocolaty after you've been eating healthfully all week long. I always test my recipes on my unapologetic carnivore husband to see if they pass muster. I mean "unapologetic" in the best sense of the word since he has Celiac Disease and he is quite limited in what he can eat in the standard, readily available American diet. A lot of times when we eat out all he can eat are the animal products since almost everything thing else is laced with some form of wheat product. Anyway, enough about him, since this is a blog about veganism and lately I feel like he's eating more meat products around me as if  to rebel against my dietary changes.

I based this on a recipe I got from Isa Chandra Moscowitz's book, Vegan Brunch, which I highly recommend but I thought her recipe was not healthy or tasty enough. So I've modified this over the past two months to present you with this delicious gooey melt-in your mouth chocolaty recipe. I'm sure people can debate why I think this is more healthy. I took out the flax seed, soy milk, quinoa, maple syrup, canola oil and substituted coconut oil, almond milk and agave nectar, and I added the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. I eat plenty of  frigging flax seed and quinoa during the week so I think I can splurge one day out the week on CHOCOLATE CHIPS! (And by the way, cocoa powder has protein). This recipe uses four flours that you probably won't have around the house unless you keep a gluten free kitchen. You can feel free to just use all buckwheat flour, but make sure to use the tapioca flour (or cornstarch or arrowroot)  or you won't get a creamy starchy taste. These pancakes will also have a slight German chocolate cake taste to them because of the coconut oil.

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or cornstarch or arrowroot)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (100% cacao like Scharfen Berger)*
1/2 cup almond milk (or rice, soy or hemp mik)
1/2 -3/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons coconut oil ( melted since it's usually a solid at room temperature)
1/2 cup milk free chocolate chips ( I used Sunspire Fair Trade Organic 42% Cacao Chips)*
Cooking spray ( I use grapeseed oil)

* FYI both of these products are manufactured on equipment that also processes milk - so they may contain traces of milk.

Mix the flours, baking powder and cocoa in a bowl. Melt the coconut oil and have it cool slightly. Add the melted coconut oil, water, almond milk and agave nectar. Mix with a metal spoon until well blended. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. If you melt the coconut oil in the same large frying pan that you will cook the pancakes in (like I do) you will probably not need to use the cooking spray for the first couple of pancakes. But the cooking spray is a little easier to work with than the coconut oil so you might want to wipe the coconut oil out with a paper towel when the pan is cool if you're new to pancake making or are having problems with stickiness. When the pan is hot drop 1/4-1/2 cup fulls of batter into frying pan. I get approximately eight, 3" diameter pancakes. Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup or agave nectar.

And I really dig fresh fruit. In the photo at the top of my post I used starfruit, blueberries, strawberries and banana. Stuff I usually had on hand even before I went vegan.

I hope Isa Chandra Moskowitz doesn't sue me for not getting permission to base my recipe on hers (not sure if  that's really an issue). I recently noticed that she has a book called Veganomicon and it almost looks like I ripped her off some more since my blogger name is veganomica. She seems like a nice person and she probably won't sue me. It's not like I'm making money off of this blog.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Meaty" Vegan Tacos

I call these tacos "meaty" since this is how my husband, a committed carnivore, described them. After a hectic day of running around I wanted something quick, easy and satisfying for dinner. These took just under a half-hour to prepare and cook. The "meaty" taste comes from the rich textures and the strong "umami" (savory) taste of the caramelized sweet red peppers and smoked jalapenos (chipotles).  Using chipotles in adobo sauce cuts down on prep time since they pack a lot of flavor and you don't need to use other spices or cook the taco fillings long in order for the flavors to intensify.

2 sweet red peppers - sliced thin
1 small red onion- sliced
1 can 15.5 oz black beans - rinsed, drained
2 chipotles in adobo sauce* (you can use more if you're feeling adventurous),
      chopped, divided
2 cloves garlic - minced, divided
3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 avocado, peeled, chopped
5 or 6  6" corn tortillas  (you can use regular flour tortillas, but I use corn
        tortillas since my husband has Celiac Disease)
salt and pepper to taste

Makes two servings of 2-3 tacos each.

optional: lime juice, chopped cilantro, fresh tomato salsa (all tasty if you have them on hand, but not necessary)
* You can usually find chipotles in adobo sauce in the Mexican or Latin food section of the supermarket.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in frying pan. Add onion and sweet red pepper. Saute until soft and lightly browned (caramelized) about 15 minutes.  Add 1 minced garlic clove and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 chopped chipotle pepper. Stir and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While peppers are caramelizing, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in separate sauce pan, add 1 clove minced garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add black beans and 1 chopped chipotle. Cook until heated through for about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Warm up tortillas. Spoon beans onto tortillas, then add the sweet bell pepper mixture and top with chopped avocado. Add a squeeze of lime juice and you're done!

You can make these "your own". In the past I've made them with leftover lentil chili, black eyed peas, chopped green onion, guacamole, caramelized mushrooms and carrot, etc. You don't have to go crazy looking for items. Choose items that look fresh at your local supermarket. You can use tempeh or tofu, but I try not to rely on soy products too much.  It's good to stock the pantry with items like the chipotles in adobo sauce. They give you instant South of the Border flavor with minimal effort. Also, in order to get a nice "umami" taste from your caramelized veggies, make sure you use a large frying pan and don't crowd or cover  the veggies, otherwise they will be steamed veggies and won't taste very savory.