Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 16 - Roasted Poblano and Black Bean Soup

This story has absolutely nothing to do with cooking, but I want to tell it anyway. I am the youngest of three kids. If you are a parent or the baby of a family with more than two kids, you can probably relate to how parents slip a little when it comes to acknowledging their youngest offspring. It is not intentional or malicious or because they love them any less. It is likely they are mentally and physically exhausted after raising the older sibs. Or perhaps with their wisdom, they realize that if not every single thing is a big deal with their kids, there is a good chance they will still be well-adjusted adults.

At a very young age I realized my mom had this affliction. There were fewer photos of me, I wore hand me downs, I got to stay up later then the older two did at my age. But the most obvious slippage was my birthday. Mind you, my mom always remembered my birthday, she just managed to get the date wrong most years. She would also make us our favorite cake for our birthdays, well kind of. I was a chocolate lover from word go. A couple of years inadvertently made my brother's favorite: Strawberry. I was a sassy little kid, so she never got a hall pass. I always gave her a hard time. For most of my childhood, there was a debate as to my real birthdate. We often celebrated today, the 16th. After several years of mentioning to my mom I was pretty sure the date was wrong, my birth certificate was drummed up only to realize the mistake…mom's recollection was two days off. So happy fake birthday to me! 

I'm not sharing this story out of bitterness or self pity. I'm actually pretty amused about it these days. Actually the older I get, the more I can relate to her little slips. I don't even have kids, but life gets busy and some things just fall out of the memory. I'm just grateful she was thoughtful enough to make a cake and later my favorite dinner on my birthday. I now usually call her on my real birthday to say "Thanks for going through labor to get me here, you did all the work". 

To celebrate my un-birthday, I decided to make something nice and sassy and spicy (as I have been accused of being by many members of my family). Today's Chow Locally ingredients are:

Poblano Peppers from Crooked Sky Farms - Poblano peppers are a fun summertime treat as they are larger and milder than many peppers. Sore on the countertop and then try stuffing with favorite ingredients. My note: I didn't stuff these as I have already stuffed some peppers this month. These had a bit more kick than I'm used to in a Poblano = Happy Kimmy.

Yellow Onions from Sleeping Frog Farms

Roasted Polbano and Black Bean Soup

6-8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large carrot, diced small (about 3/4 cup)
1 large tomato, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced small 
1 teaspoon hot chile powder (you can use mild if you like it less spicy)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 - 15 oz. cans black beans (do not drain or rinse you want those juices for flavor)
2 cups vegetable broth

In a 4 quart pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté until they are just soft and onions are translucent, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. Add garlic, tomato and poblano peppers and sauté for another minute or two. Add chile powder, cumin, black pepper, salt and coriander. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Add black beans and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. When soup just starts to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and vegan sour cream if desired (optional).

Monday, September 15, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 15 - Greeny Juice is Good for the Bod

After a weekend of a not so great eating and drinking habits, I wanted give my body a big green hug. Green juices are so great for you. They help hydrate, alkalize and detox your body. I pulled out the juicer and got to cleaning out the fridge and my Chow Locally box. This fine day I used the following produce from the box:

Tropicana Green Lettuce from Maggie's Aquaponic Farm - These delicate greens are ideal salad makers. They can be stored as they are in a glass of water in the fridge (keep roots somewhat submerged.

Lemon Cucumbers from Crooked Sky Farms - Lemon cucumbers don't taste lemony despite their appearance. However they are great for pickling or eating raw. Keep in a cool, dry place but use within a week. My note: I actually found these a bit more tart than regular cucumbers and in the juice it almost seemed like a hint of lemon.

Roma Tomatoes from Crooked Sky Farms - Roma tomatoes are a delicious variety that store well on the countertop or in the fridge. Use raw, roast, or cook into recipes and sauces! My note: I didn't have high hopes for these guys. When I got them they were a little anemic looking. But a couple of days on the counter and they were quite good.

Greeny Juice

Makes about 12-14 oz.

1 handful green lettuce
2 lemon cucumbers
1 handful kale
3 stalks celery
3 roma tomatoes
1 carrot
1 handful parsley, leaves and smaller stems
1 medium apple

Feed veggies through the juicer in order above. This helps push all the veggies through and get the most juice out of 'em. Drink immediately.

OK! IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME! On lucky commoner will have a chance to win a lovely, pesticide free box of local produce. I'm posting late today, so I am going to give all of you a little more time to comment. Please comment by midnight, Wednesday, September 17th for this week's  CHOW LOCALLY share box giveaway.

Here is the fine print on what you need to do to be eligible to win:
1 - You must live or be in the Phoenix area.
2 - You must be able to pick up your fresh produce on the day specified for  the pick up location you chose. (I will contact you with details on pick up locations/times).
3 - You must leave a comment about what fresh fruit or vegetable you absolutely will not eat and why. Please make sure to leave a way to contact you should you be the lucky one.
4 - If the winner is unreachable by Sunday, September 21st, an alternate winner will be selected at random

Sunday, September 14, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 14 - Watermelon PIzza

This is going to be short and sweet. Literally. I had watermelon left over from a Chow Locally box from a couple of weeks ago. Someone posted a picture of watermelon pizza on FB. I loved the idea. My grandson and his cousin came over for a swim today. This was THE perfect healthy and fun snack. There is no recipes. I recommend using a watermelon that is about 6-8 inches round. Slice the entire circle of watermelon to about 3/4 inch thick. Top with your favorite fruits either diced, sliced or in the case of blue berries whole. Make it look like pizza toppings. Want some "parmesan"? Sprinkle with flaked coconut. Let the kids choose which toppings they want so they can personalize their own.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow and comment for the next Chow Locally share box giveaway!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 13 - Raw Tacos

This week was the last night of my raw foods class at SWIHA. The class was really informative and fun. As always there were so many inspirational people in class. Some of their own health tranformaion stories blew my mind and reminded me of how much what we put into and on our bodies matters. Our instructor, Janet, is truly passionate about raw food and its ability to heal and keep people healthy.

For my final project I wanted to make a WOW dish. I have had the raw tacos from Pomegranate Cafe in Ahwatukee and loved them. This is my attempt at recreating them. They aren't exactly the same, but they were pretty, delicious and RAW! When I eat traditional Mexican food, I always feel bloated, heavy and tired. After eating these you will feel satisfied, energetic and not at all bloated. These are great for an entree or a pot luck!

NOTE: This recipe does require a dehydrator.

Chow Locally produce used:

Yellow Onions from Sleeping Frog Farms
Roma Tomatoes from Crooked Sky Farms

Kim's Raw Tacos

Makes 15-20 small tacos

2 cups raw walnuts (soaked and dehydrated)
16 oz. cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unpeeled zucchini, very small diced
2 tablespoon minced white or yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 large lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons tamari or nama shoyu
1/3 cup chile powder (I like it hot, but you can use mild, medium or hot)
1 teaspoon mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

15-20 leaves radiccio or other firm cabbage, lettuce or green for the shell NOTE: If leaves are large, tear them down to "taco shell" size, about 4 inches or so.

Pulse walnuts in food processor until they resemble a very coarse meal. Don't make them too fine or the final texture will be too soft. Transfer walnuts to a mixing bowl. Place mushrooms in the food processor and pulse until they are in very small pieces. Add mushrooms and remaining ingredients to mixing bowl. Combine well.

Spread mixture evenly on a dehydrator tray lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Dehydrate for 2 hours at 110 degrees. Remove tray from dehydrator. Carefully scrape taco "meat" from the tray into a bowl. Crumble mixture.

To assemble tacos, place 2 tablespoons taco "meat" on each lettuce leaf. Top with your favorite taco toppings. I highly recommend tomatoes, avocado, chives (or green onions). Add a generous amount of Salsa Fresca and your favorite raw cashew sour cream (I used Judita Wignall's version).

If not serving immediately, the taco meat will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Just warm it up in the dehydrator for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 12 - Salsa Fresca

Dang! I still haven't gotten to the giant pattypans yet! Oh well. Sometimes raw food classes move you in a different direction. I can't blame the raw food class really. I just veered my own way. There were some beautiful chives in last week's box that were going to go bad if I didn't act. So in a Superwoman style saving mode, I rescued those green, lush beauties. Oh and I am using this salsa as part of my final project for my raw food class!

The Chow Locally featured ingredient for this recipe is:

Garlic or Onion Chives from Taylor Herb Garden - Chives can be used in so many different ways fro dips to salads, to cooked meals. Store in the crisper with a damp towel.

Salsa Fresca

Makes Approximately 2 1/2 cups 

3 cups fresh tomatoes (I recommend heirlooms), roughly chopped
1 fresh medium hot Hatch green chile or medium green chile*
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup garlic or onion chives, very thinly sliced

Place tomatoes, chiles, garlic, lime juice, sea salt and black pepper in blender. Pulse until peppers are minced. Make sure not to puree! When you are using those precious heirlooms you want some of that beautiful tomato texture and flavor. Pour mixture into a medium non-reactve bowl. Stir in chives. Refrigerate for at least two hours to let flavors meld. Overnight is even better.

* If you prefer hot salsa, substitute hot chiles or jalapeños

OK so salsa is the ketchup of the southwest. Enjoy this on EVERYTHING! If you are raw, this one is for you! Freshness and flavor abound!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 10 - Black Bean and Red Potato Stuffed Marconi Peppers

Today's recipes features the following Chow Locally veggies:

Dried Garlic from Sleeping Frog Farms - Garlic is a staple ingredient for so many recipes and can store for a long time. Keep with onions in a cool dry place in the pantry (I keep mine in the fridge during the hot summer)

Dried White Onions  from Sleeping Frog Farms - These great onions are a staple ingredient for innumerable recipes. Store these in a cool dry place and away from any potatoes.

Marconi Peppers from Crooked Sky Farms - These large peppers are quite versatile and can be used in salads, salsas, pastas and more. Roast, grill or fry to your heart's content. Store on the countertop. My notes: This variety is actually a sweet red variety from Italy. It is also very tasty raw. I'd love to try them red!

I am on a spicy Southwestern kick this week. I had it in my head to make some potato stuffed Hatch chiles. The shape and size of these were similar, so I figured, let's stuff 'em! I got some red potatoes over the weekend and the farmers' market. To make it a complete meal black beans were added to add some protein action. These can be served as a fun side dish or as an entree. 

Black Bean and Red Potato Stuffed Marconi Peppers

Makes 12 side dish and 6 entree portions

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled 1/2 inch or so dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1 - 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed.
6 Marconi peppers (can substitute Anaheims or Hatch Green Chiles)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place potatoes in a steamer and steam until very tender, about 30 minutes. While potatoes are steaming, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions just start to brown, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ancho, chipotle, smoked paprika and salt. Saute for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside until potatoes are done.

In a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, onion mixture, nutritional yeast and non-dairy milk. Mix on lowest speed of hand mixer until fairly smooth. I personally like mine a little bit chunky. Add more non-fairly milk of they are too stiff. Be careful not to mix too fast or too long or potatoes will get gummy. Fold in black beans. 

Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and pith. I like the way they look if you can keep the stems on. Over stuff each pepper half. Place stuffed pepper halves in lightly oiled 9 x 13 baking dish. Lightly spray tops with olive oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes until potatoes just start to brown. Let sit for 5-minutes. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO - Day 10 - Berry Berry Kale Smoothie

I'm interrupting the Chow Locally program today. I had a crazy busy day yesterday, so I am posting a backup post for today. While it does deviate from the theme, it DOES keep in line with my goal of including more raw food into my world.

I made this smoothie a couple of weeks ago and I think it may be the best one I've had. This is an excellent way to sneak some kale into the bellies of unsuspecting children (and adults as well for that matter). Use organic whenever you can. Make sure to use organic strawberries for sure as they are on the Environmental Working Groups dirty dozen list again this year. I couldn't find the smoothie pic, so enjoy this bonus butterfly from our East Coast trip.

Berry Berry Kale Smoothie

2 Servings

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 medium banana
2 cups kale, lightly packed
3/4 cup filtered water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted medjool dates
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup ice (optional)

Add all ingredients to blender. Blend on high until smoother. Drink and be happy!