Archive for Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Kale, Tofu & Apples in Peanut Sauce

I spent every day last week at a workshop; and while all the learning and such was wonderful, I was really super psyched about all the free and tasty catered food they provided every day!  Every morning, I replaced my usual fruit and protein shake with a delightful breakfast burrito!  And every afternoon, I chowed down on the delicious vegetarian-option lunches, which replaced meat with 25 slices of avocado!  And later each afternoon, I enjoyed a delicious mid-afternoon snack, or “second lunch,” as I came to know it, which was usually something along the lines of cookies and more burritos.

Thus, when I got home each day, I could do little besides eat cucumber slices and watch Conan on my DVR.  Not a whole lot of dinner happening last week.

As much as I love eating truckloads of avocado, I was excited to actually start cooking healthy meals for myself again this week.  This kale, tofu, and apple mishmash in peanut sauce is packed with nutrients and tastes scrumptious.

Kale, Tofu & Apples in Peanut Sauce

makes 2 servings

Ingredients

– 1 Tbsp coconut oil

– a big bunch of fresh kale, chopped (I’m talking like 5-6 handfuls)

– 1 6-oz. package of baked tofu (TJ’s makes a good one)

– 1 apple of your choice, cut into bite-sized pieces

– 4 Tbsp peanut butter (I actually used PB2, which is really good for cooking low-fat/low-cal peanut sauces)

– 1-2 tsp lime juice

– 1 tsp honey or agave

– 1 Tbsp almond milk

– a few squirts of Sricha

– sea salt

Directions

Heat coconut oil over low heat in a pan (I used my wok for this one).  Add kale and a couple of tablespoons of water, stir, cover, and steam on low for about 6-7 minutes.

Cut tofu into small bite-sized squares, and add to the kale.  Recover and steam a couple more minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, honey, almond milk, sricha, and a health pinch of salt.

Remove pan from heat and add apples.  Stir in peanut sauce so that everything is evenly coated, then serve!!

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Tasty Tuesday: Vegan Hummus Nachos, Inspired by the Seabirds Truck

This past Saturday, Yo Soy Liz and I were lucky to attend the Los Angeles Vegan Beer Fest at the Roxy, courtesy of the good people at Tony’s Darts Away and QuarryGirl. It was absolutely #1 on my list of “Best Beer Festivals of All Time,” and probably around #26 or #27 on my list of “Best Days of All Time.”

Besides all the great brew, there was tons of delicious vegan food to choose from: Doomie’s and Frankenstand, plus tasty truck fare from Seabirds, Mandoline Grill, Fresh Fries, and the Halla Truck.  My favorite treat that day was by far the jalapeno poppers from Doomies, with the hummus nachos from Seabirds coming in a close second.

Because I have no desire to do my own deep frying, I decided to recreate Seabirds’ hummus nachos as best I could.  This is a tasty recipe to have on handy if you don’t live anywhere near the O.C., which is where the Seabirds truck typically hangs out.  I love Seabirds, but the O.C. is not my favorite place in the whole wide world.  So until they venture up to L.A. more often, here you have it: hummus nachos right in your kitchen!

Vegan Hummus Nachos

Ingredients

– 1 wheat pita, sliced and separated

– sea salt

– extra virgin olive oil spray

– 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

– a dash of extra virgin olive oil

– 3 Tbsp hummus

– 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

– 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

– 2 Tbsp pico de gallo

– a few sliced pickled jalapenos

–  1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

– dash of lime juice

Directions

Here is a tip: never buy pita chips because they are the easiest thing in the world to make, and the homemade version is loads cheaper and tastier than store-bought.  Here’s what you do: slice and separate a wheat pita and lay the pieces on a foil-covered cooking tray.  Spritz with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.  Cook in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 7-9 minutes, until crispy.

In a pan, saute sliced bell pepper in a little olive oil for about 608 minutes, and set aside.

Mix hummus with almond milk and a dash of nutritional yeast (the yeast is not super important– I just like the little cheesy kick it provides).

Remove pita chips from the oven.  Arrange evenly on a plate, and pour hummus sauce over the chips, topping with peppers, pico, jalapenos, and cilantro.  Squeeze a tiny splash of lime juice over everything and CHOW DOWN.

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Tasty Tuesday: Blackberry Quinoa with Feta, Artichokes, and Greens… It’s Good, I Swear!

I feel like all my recipes thus far have been along the lines of, “This is delicious, I promise!  You can’t tell from the picture/name/ingredient list, but this is totally good.  For real.”

Well, here’s another one of those for you!

No, this dish does not look that great.  I’m not into photography.  Sorry.  For three years, I had a food blog that I took pretty seriously –painstakingly photographing food as best I could with my little Canon handheld– but I’m only taking this blog semi-seriously, or “not seriously” if you want to get really technical.  So the photos are no good.

But honestly, this little quinoa salad is really tasty, and you should try it if you are intrigued by the ingredient list.

I have had this recipe from Lucullian Delights on my “to make” list for over a year.  Now, I don’t eat fish, but I still wanted to give it a try.  Here’s what I came up with, and it is dern good:

Blackberry Quinoa with Feta, Artichokes, and Greens

Ingredients

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa

– 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– salt and pepper

– a big handful of chopped mustard greens

– 1 cup canned artichoke hearts

– about 1/3 cup of crumbled feta

Dressing (sorry, don’t remember the measurements)

– Blackberry jam

– honey

– a teeny bit of water

– salt

– lemon juice

– extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

While it’s cooking, heat olive oil in a pan, and saute chopped greens.  When they start to wilt, add artichokes, salt and pepper, and cook until the greens are completely cooked and wilted (about 10 minutes?  I like mine to be more chewy, so maybe longer if you’re not into that).  Add the mixture to the cooked quinoa and stir in feta.

Prepare dressing by whisking all the ingredients together and add to the pot.  Go easy on the dressing!  A little bit goes a long way, so add a spoonful or two, then taste it before you add more.

Sprinkle a little bit of extra feta on the top and enjoy!

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Tasty Tuesday: Vegan Kimchi Pancakes

For the last three months, I have been working in Koreatown, which is 95% awesome because I get to go out to lunch everyday and spend money I don’t have on super delicious Korean food!

The 5% of non-awesomeness comes from the fact that Korean food is not the most vegetarian-friendly of cuisines.  Even though every meal includes lots of delicious and interesting veggies, they’re often accompanied by chunks of meat or simmered in fish broth.  I had been content stuffing my face with kogi-free bibimbop and kimchi, until I actually took a gander at a package of kimchi in the market.

I’m relatively new to the veggie game, so I’m still getting used to double-checking everything I eat.  I mean, pickled cabbage doesn’t seem like something that would contain tiny chopped-up baby shrimp and anchovies, does it?  Or am I just an idiot?

After inhaling boatloads of kimchi, I discovered that it often contains fish products.  FIDDLESTICKS!!!  Luckily for me, there is an Asian market just down the street that carries approximately 700 varieties of kimchi, and a couple of them don’t contain seafood– like this kind, which I started buying:

Of course, lots of people might turn their nose up at this type of thing: it’s prepackaged and presumably not as fresh or authentic as the kimchi that comes in giant plastic bags at the market.  But if you’re vegetarian, it does the trick; and it is still totally delectable without all the dead creatures adding “flavor” or whatnot.

You can also make your own kimchi.  There are lots of recipes online.  But honestly, it seems like a pretty time-intensive thing to tackle, when other people who know what they’re doing make it so much better.  So I’m sticking with my little jar.

One of my favorite ways to eat kimchi is in pancake form.  Kimchi pancakes are not that expensive to buy, but like any pancake, they’re definitely cheaper to make yourself.

I modified this recipe from Maangchi, and I served it with a side of sauteed seaweed stems.

Vegan Kimchi Pancakes

makes 4 big pancakes

Ingredients

– 2 cups kimchi, chopped

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed) (plus more for pan-frying)

–  1/3 cup white onion, chopped

– 1/2 tsp sugar

– 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

Stir first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Then, stir in flour.  Heat about a tablespoon of oil into a skillet on medium low.  Pour enough batter in to make a good-sized pancake, and spread evenly.  Cook about a minute and a half, then flip and heat for another minute and a half.

When both sides are golden and slightly crisp (but not crunchy), remove from pan, and repeat with the next batch of batter.

I love pancakes!  I love kimchi!  I love not eating animals!  Long live vegan kimchi pancakes!!!

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Tasty Tuesday: Brussels Sprouts, YUMBO!

You might be wondering, “Kirby, why are you making Brussels sprouts?  I thought Tuesday was supposed to be tasty.”

I made Brussels sprouts for dinner tonight for two reasons:

1. This past weekend, my diet consisted of:

  • Potato pancakes
  • Hefeweizen
  • Pizza
  • A quesadilla
  • Mai Tais
  • Hash browns
  • Another quesadilla
  • A boat of curly fries (it was literally a giant mass of curly fries in the shape of an oil tanker).
  • Diet Pepsi

2. Brussels sprouts are actually very delicious!*  They have a bad reputation because of whiny kids’ slanderous complaints over the years; but Brussels sprouts are quite tasty, along with being super nutritious.

Roasting is definitely the best way to wrangle Brussels sprouts.  This concoction is nothing fancy; but it’s a yummy way to heal your body after a weekend of primarily beige foods.

Brussels Sprout, Chickpea, and Cranberry Bake

Ingredients

– about 2 cups Brussels sprouts, stems removed and quartered

– about 1 cup canned chickpeas

– 1/4 cup dried cranberries

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– a squeeze of lemon juice

– sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

– 2 Tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs

– 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

– pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, cranberries, garlic, oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and transfer to a baking dish.

In a smaller bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, and seasoning, and sprinkle over the mixture in the dish.

Roast at 400 for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then chow down.

*I would like to clarify something: while Brussels sprouts are good, they are in no way better than pizza or quesadillas.

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Tasty Tuesday: Avocado + Pomegranate + Blue Cheese = Where have you been all my life?

Last weekend, I went to the California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria.  I had a great time celebrating avocados, and I enjoyed the following items:

Item Name

Tasty?

Tasted like avocado?

Chips and guacamole Yes! Yes!

Avocado honey ale from Island Brewing Company

Yes!
Avocado ice cream Yes!
More chips and guacamole Yes! Yes!

This pretty much sums up the humble yet mysterious avocado: it is always tasty, but it is also an enigma of subtlety.  Therefore, wacky avocado dishes don’t always showcase the awesomeness of the friendly green fruit itself.  You don’t want to overpower the avocado with something that steals its thunder.  But you also need to pick something bold so that your dish won’t drown in blah.

First, some fun avocado facts:

1.This was the first Google image result for a search of “sexy avocado.”

2. Avocado comes from the Aztec word “ahuacatl” which means “testicle.”  Yumbo!

3. Avocados are prehistoric, yo.  Woolly mammoths were fans of avocados because their giant guts could handle the big undigestible seed in the middle.

4. I love avocados.  🙂

It seems to me that the key to making a good avocado recipe is to use ingredients with contrasting textures (ie. crunchy) and flavors (ie. spicy).  This is why it’s hard to beat chips and guac as the world’s most perfect food.

This is one recipe that embraces the greatness of guacamole, but is also unique.  I by no means invented it: I’ve seen it on restaurant menus and food blogs all over the place.  You can make a full-blown guacamole as the base, but I just used avocado, shallot, and lemon juice because I feel like pomegranate and blue cheese are pretty assertive flavors.  I just want a party in my mouth, not a rave. JEEZ.

Avocado + Pomegranate + Blue Cheese

Ingredients

– 2 ripe avocados

– Seeds from one pomegranate

– 1 shallot, minced

– 2 squeezes of lemon juice

– salt and pepper to taste

– crumbled blue cheese

Directions

Mash avocado.  Stir in pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, shallot, salt, and pepper.  Put in a bowl and sprinkle blue cheese on top.  Serve with your chip of choice.

Yep, that’s about it!  Nothing fancy, but super yummy.  You can make this as an appetizer or snack.  You can also be like me and just eat tons of it, turning your snack into dinner–or as I call it, “sinner.”

Give it a try: you will like!

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