Good afternoon friends!
It is an unbelievably beautiful fall day here in Denver. I’m gonna keep this short and sweet so I can get back to playing outside.
As promised, I want to introduce you to the wonders of jackfriut. You will likely need to make a trip to your local Asian market to pick it up. If you don’t currently have an Asian market, find one, and if you can’t find one, then move. Buy unsweetened, brined, unripe jackfruit in cans, jars, or frozen. This fruit is surprisingly ‘toothsome’ and can stand in for tempeh, seitan, or tofu. I get asked all the time if I miss meat. I clearly don’t, but sometimes I miss the flavors of dishes traditionally made with meat. Jackfruit can help out with that. Matt and I were first introduced to jackfruit through a recipe for “Sweet & Savory Jackfruit ‘Carnitas’ Tacos” from Vegan Eats Word by Terry Hope Romero. I posted a link to her book last week. Recently, we made vegan “crab” rangoon wth jackfruit (recipe posted last week). It was amazing. We’ve also made “crab” cakes with jackfruit. I don’t remember which recipe we used but I’m sure a Google search would turn some up.
My cauliflower quest was continued by an adventure with cauliflower “steaks”. Honestly, I used to dislike cauliflower, but when it’s roasted, it is amazing. I followed a recipe from The Simple Veganista (http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2013/04/blackened-roasted-cauliflower-steaks.html?m=1). If you want to make this recipe (which I suggest you do), find the biggest head of cauliflower that you can. The Whole Foods near us only had pretty small conventionally grown cauliflower (evidently you can’t get organic cauliflower this time of year or at least that’s what the hipster working the produce department told me). Since the head was small, I only got two steaks and the rest was florets. It still was delicious. Our oven is still broken so Matt cooked them on the grill pan (flat side). Instead of using the broiler for the red peppers, I roasted them right on the gas burner. It was pretty to cool and filled the house with a lovely, smoky, smell. I have to say I might never buy jarred roasted red peppers again now that I know how easy it is to make your own. We served this dish over quinoa (make sure you get fair-trade, but that’s another post). This recipe calls for parsley to garnish and you might be tempted to skip it. Don’t. Before I met Matt and became aware of what it’s like to actually cook food, not just to heat things up, I thought parsley was just sort of there. Now I know better and I am obsessed with parsley. It makes everything just better. It is also so good for you. I will add it to my green juice blends (again another post). Check this out to see why you should eat parsley: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100.
Since our oven was broken, I didn’t get to the Baked Pumpkin Kibbe. I found work-arounds for other dishes last week, but not for that one. The oven is getting fixed on Thursday and I plan on giving the dish a shot then. Stay tuned.
On to the menu!
Carrot Soup With Fennel Pesto & Cranberry-Walnut Chickpea Salad
Carrot soup is amazing. We have a couple recipes we like. This one has the fancy twist of fennel. We got some great looking carrots at the farmer’s market this morning that I’m looking forward to using. This recipe is from Vegetarian Times, which is standard reading in our house. http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/carrot-soup-with-fennel-pesto/
Chickpea salad is another of our staples. I was first introduced to it from a recipe in The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. My friend Diana lent me this book when I first decided to experiment with veganism and CPG’s chickpea salad recipe is great. This one is a little fancier and it’s also from The Simple Veganista. http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2013/11/cranberry-walnut-chickpea-salad-sandwich.html?m=1. I’m going to add some farmer’s market arugula for some peppery bite. Ah, arugula! We will be growing arugula in our cold-frame this winter.
Raw Spaghetti Bolognese With ‘Meat”balls
For a while Matt and I were trying to eat one day fully raw per week. That hasn’t happened recently, but we still incorporate raw meals into our diets. If you’re going to introduce raw food into your diet, I suggest investing in a spiralizer. We got ours for around $20 from Amazon. There’s a lot of information out there about the benefits of incorporating raw food. I’m not going to get into that right now. This recipe is from the blog of a woman named Kris Carr. Some other raw food blogs that I follow are: This Rawesome Vegan Life, Fully Raw, Learn Raw Food with Jennifer Cornbleet, Raw Food Network. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.
Lentil-Quinoa Balls with Mushroom Gravy
I love lentils: french green, red, brown, black. I love them all. We have some really nice mushrooms from the farmer’s market that will make this dish special. This recipe comes from the Vegan Cuts Fall Harvest e book. Here’s the link if you want to get a copy for yourself: http://vegancuts.com/fallrecipes.
Pineapple Fried Rice with a Thai Kick
This recipe is also from Vegan Eats World. We are going to make it with Matt’s homemade tempeh. In order to really make your Thai food taste authentic, you need to get either Thai sweet soy sauce or Thai Golden Mountain sauce. Regular old soy sauce just won’t do it for me. Another reason why you need to find an Asian market.
Clean Out the Fridge Stir-fry
These are the meals that challenge me the most. Every couple of weeks we concoct something solely from what we have left in the fridge. It’s tough for me without a recipe. I’d say I’m batting about .500 with these meals. But, not only will that average keep you in the Majors, it’s likely to win you some sort of award, so I’ll take it.
That’s all folks. Oh, one last thing. November 1st was World Vegan Day. I don’t want to be preachy, as I think everyone needs to “do the good that they can” but reducing the amount of animal products in your diet is one of the very best things you can do for your health and that of the planet. I first came to plant-base eating for environmental and health reasons. The compassion came later. And while I don’t live that compassion in ever aspect of my life (ex. I still own leather shoes), I’m trying to do the good that I can.
There is a Sanskrit devotional mantra that I was first introduced to in a Jivamukti yoga class years ago. I try to have this guide me. It goes: Lokha samasta suhkino bhavantu. It translates to: “May all beings everywhere be happy & free & may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness & freedom for all.”
With that, go forth and do your thing.