Sunday, March 11, 2012

Asparagus Frittata

Eggs need not apply. This frittata is vegan and just as delicious, if not more than the traditional egg laden version. This recipe was sent to me by a dear friend, who clipped it out of the Hartford Courant. Unfortunately, I could not find the original post to credit the chef, so I changed it up a bit. I never follow a recipe down to the T, anyway. This is my version:


1 bunch of fresh asparagus (snap off the tough ends and rinse)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
Olive oil to saute vegetables
1/2 cup soy cheese, such as Daiya

1 lb of firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp oil
salt, pepper, onion powder (1 tsp)
1/2 a teaspoon turmeric (for color)

Rinse and chop veggies and sauté in a couple tbsp of olive oil until soft.  Meanwhile, place rained tofu in blender or food processor with water, turmeric and spices. Process and drizzle in oil until smooth and creamy. take veggies off heat and mix in cheese. Toss until cheese is melted then add tofu mixture and spoon into 9 inch greased pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees until set, 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serve with salsa if desired.

Rinse the asparagus.
Saute veggies in oil.

Process tofu until smooth.

Breakfast Burrito made the next day with the leftover frittata!

Leslie's Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I have to be honest: I have never been a fan of quinoa (Keen-wah), couldn't pronounce it, and thought the taste was blah. Obviously, I did not know how to cook it properly.

My wonderful friend, Leslie, shared this recipe with me and now I can introduce you to a very flavorful way to use quinoa, that will satisfy even the omnivores.


6 medium sized bell peppers
1 cup organic quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 medium diced onion
1/2 lb fresh chopped mushrooms (I used baby portabellos)
2 cloves of diced garlic
2 Tbs butter, margarine or olive oil
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 12 ounce jar of salsa (I used medium heat)
2 Tbsp dry sherry (I didn't have any, so I skipped this)
10 oz of mozzarella cheese (I used pepper jack Daiya)

Cook Quinoa in water or broth according to the directions on the package. Meanwhile, steam the peppers for about 10 minutes to soften them up a bit, while still retaining their shape and color. In a skillet pan, use the butter or oil to saute your onion, garlic and mushrooms until they are softened. Add diced tomatoes & salsa to the vegetables and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add Sherry and simmer another 10 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Add quinoa to mixture and cook for a few minutes to incorporate flavors. Stuff the peppers and sprinkle tops with cheese, if desired. Place peppers in an oven proof casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. This recipe makes enough quinoa to stuff many more peppers, about double the amount. I spooned the extra quinoa around the base of the peppers in the baking dish, but could have easily stuffed about 4 more peppers with it.

Bean Burgers

Top: Baked.  Bottom: Fried

I started making my own bean burgers years ago because of my desire to stay away from all processed foods. This recipe is a mere guideline and can be altered as desired.

Ingredients: (I use this term rather loosely)

2 cans of your favorite beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 an onion
2-3 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 bell pepper, any color (red will be sweeter)
Parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, spices
Olive oil

Start out  by sautéing, in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, half of a diced red onion, one large bell pepper (any color will do), a few cloves of minced garlic and a small handful of fresh parsley. Cook for medium heat until the veggies are softened.

Black Beans
 Use two cans of your favorite beans such as black beans and start out by draining and rinsing them. Place them in a food processor and pulse or mash with a fork until beans are broken up. Process the cooked veggies as well.

Processed beans
Processed veggies.

Mix the two together and add a little flour (about 1/4 cup) to help the patties hold together. Let your imagination run wild and add spices such as cumin and coriander for a Mexican flavor, or curry spices for an Indian version. Use garbanzo (chickpea) flour to make them gluten free. 

Place patties on parchment paper and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the burgers after 15 minutes. They should brown slightly and hold their shape when done.

The burgers can be fried as well. I suggest, that if you are going to fry them, that you make a small test patty to see if it holds together in the oil. If it starts to fall apart, add more flour to the mixture and test again. Quite frankly, I think they taste better baked and it was less of a mess. This recipe makes about eight large burgers. Store in the fridge in a sealed container or wrap separately and freeze for later use.

Baked Beans

You will not find any ham hock in this vegan version of baked beans. What you will find is a rich bold flavor partly due to the molasses in the recipe. Serve with my vegan corn bread.

Vegan Slow Cooker Baked Beans
1 lb. dried beans (I used Great Northern)
1 large onion, diced fine 
1 cup water
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce 
1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

The night before, pick through the beans to remove any stones, then place in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover the beans by two inches. Soak overnight.
In the morning, mix together all ingredients except the beans, and onion  in a large bowl.
In the bottom of minimum 4-quart slow cooker, layer the diced onion, then add the beans.
Pour the liquid mixture over the beans, then add up to an additional 3 cups of water until the tops of the beans are just submerged.

Cook the beans on high for 6-8 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. I left mine in the pot on low for around 12 hours. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Green Juice

The inspiration for this green juice comes from Joe Cross from the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. He is a 43 year old,  Australian businessman that was told by his doctors that he would die if he did not turn his life around. Click here to read an article about his juice journey to wellness.

Joe Cross in an article by Paige Hansen on the Take Part site.

Do not let the color fool you, with the addition of apple and lemon, these juices have a very mildly sweet and tart flavor. Personally, I find the color and chemicals in certain green soft drinks much more offensive. What you have here in this very unassuming glass is a juice teaming with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein (yes vegetables have protein) and carbohydrates. 

The basic recipe from Joe Cross contains kale, cucumber, celery, green apples, parsley, lemon, and ginger. Watch Joe make his Green juice in this advertisement.

There is no exact recipe in my book. If you hate celery, leave it out. Add carrots or don't.

Green juice with the addition of carrots.

Tomatoes & carrots in this one

Joe's recipe

 For this juice I added extra green apples.