Thursday, April 30, 2015

Vegan Mango Lassi

This is one of my favorite drinks, but I'm not able to get it anywhere because everyone uses dairy. I really wanted to make one, so I went shopping to for the ingredients I needed to make an easy vegan version.

One warning, though: it's very filling. I sometimes make one for breakfast, before my morning workout.

Vegan Mango Lassi

2 mangoes
1 orange, peeled, with the membrane removed
2 small containers of vegan yogurt, peach or mango flavored
1 cup of So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 tablespoon of honey
a few shakes of cardamom, along with some for garnish

In a high speed blender, blend the mangoes, orange, and yogurt until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on low, increasing the speed up about 5 notches for a few minute, until smooth.

Pour into two glasses, sprinkle on a little cardamom, grab a straw, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pasta with Artichokes in a Lemon-Wine Sauce

Along with a lot of people in the world, I have an irrational fear of carbs, pasta in particular. It's great to eat when you're going to run a marathon the next day or race in the Tour de France, but if you're an average person, you run the risk of gaining weight if you're not careful. But when I was poking through my pantry the other day, I found a bunch of bulk items we got from Costco. One of them was marinated artichokes. But we had three large jars of marinated artichokes.

What to do, what to do?

I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it!

Be careful though... this tastes so good, you'll want to have it often.

Pasta with Artichokes in a Lemon-Wine Sauce

1/2 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
15 artichoke hearts, quartered and split
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of white wine

one package of the pasta of your choice

Get your pasta water pot boiling on the stove so you can take the pasta straight from the water to the saucepan when the time comes.

In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium high until it starts to stream. Add the prepared artichoke hearts to the pan. Make sure to turn down the pan to medium. Break the pieces apart with a wooden mixing spoon, making sure they are coated. When the pieces start to wilt a little, add the garlic and stir. The garlic should stick, which you want to happen. After 30 seconds, add the lemon juice and wine and stir gently.

When your pasta is cooked, strain it quickly and get the pasta in the pan and mixed thoroughly with the sauce, stirring often. You want to make sure that the pasta does not stick to the pan.

When the pasta is heated through, for about 2 minutes, it is ready to serve. Serve this with a nice crusty bread and some olive oil, so you can soak up every drop of this delectable sauce.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chickpea Curry Stew

The afternoon has turned wet and dank, and I needed something hearty to warm me up. I came up with this gem of an entree tonight due to the fact I didn't have enough ingredients to make another recipe idea I came up with for a Middle Eastern style dish. So, I worked with what I had in my pantry and went to town.

I hope you're as pleased as I was with the results.

Chickpea Curry Stew

2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 teaspoon of curry powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, with the membranes removed
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup of coconut milk

In a saucepan, heat up oil on medium-high heat until the oil streams. Turn down to medium heat and add the spices, stirring to mix. Add the chickpeas and heat for about 3 minutes until heated through. Add the chopped tomatoes and allow to cook for 3 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the coconut milk and lower to medium-low and allow to simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.

You can either eat this as a stew or serve it over rice, whichever you prefer.

Pasta a la Garlicky Olive Oil

Fran and I went to a restaurant last week in our neighborhood, a place where the locals seem to flock to. I ordered their olive oil garlic pasta, which while it was good, it was a plain and definitely needed something to jazz it up. I decided the next time I wanted that dish, I would make it myself.

And lucky for me, it's a cinch to make.

Garlic is the main ingredient in this recipe, so garlic lovers, rejoice!

Pasta a la Garlicky Olive Oil

1/2 cup of olive oil
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, garnish
chopped parsley, for garnish
cooked pasta of your choice

In a high edged saute pan, heat oil on medium high. When it begins to stream, add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and turn down to medium low heat, cooking for about 30 seconds, until you can smell the garlic. Add the tomatoes and heat through, for about three minutes. Add the pasta to the pan, carefully tossing thoroughly until all the pasta is coated, about a minute or so. Sprinkle the crushed red pepper flakes and parsley on top of each serving.

Serve immediately with a nice cold glass of white wine, along with a nice crusty bread, with a seasoned olive oil with the dried herbs of your choosing.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Asian Barbecue Asparagus Stir Fry with Brown Rice!

We never get Chinese take out anymore. The only place near us that was good ended up hiring a new chef whose food I don't like and they often got our orders wrong, and their delivery times varied. I had a hankering for Asian cuisine this evening and wanted to make something quick and easy. I had picked up a large bunch of asparagus from Whole Foods yesterday because I envisioned a stir fry in the near future. The deal between me and Fran is, whenever I make an Asian entree, he makes brown rice. Unfortunately, the brown rice always takes at least 10 minutes longer, so we have to get the timing just right, which can be tricky.

I pulled out all of the stops with this one as much as possible with what I had.

And it worked out very well. (Fran had two big servings!)

Asian Barbecue Asparagus Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed, then cut into 2 inch pieces at a diagonal
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch of ginger root, grated finely
salt and pepper, as much as desired
a sprinkle of Korean red pepper powder, or as much as desired
1/4 cup of Trader Joes Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine

Heat up the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat until it streams. Add the asparagus, salt, black peppers, and Korean crushed pepper flakes. Stir quickly, making sure to coat thoroughly with oil. When the stems start to get brighter green, in about 3-5 minutes, add the garlic and ginger. Mix thoroughly for about 30 seconds.

Spread the asparagus to the edge, clearing the middle of the pan. Add barbecue sauce and soy sauce in the middle of the pan, making sure to coat all of the asparagus pieces. When the sauce thickens, add the rice wine, stir quickly, and serve immediately over cooked brown rice.

A Fruit Salad Smoothie!

Lazy Sundays are the best, aren't they? Especially today since the sun is shining and there is a nice cool breeze coming in through our open windows. Fran and I are watching our favorite shows on Netflix and just bumming around our apartment. We did have a lot of things to do today, but our car window on the front passenger side is stuck open, so we decided to stick close to home until we get it fixed.

Luckily enough for me and Fran, I picked up many different fruits, along with a few other ingredients, at Whole Foods yesterday because I have been craving a smoothie for ages. Since we're sticking close to home, I figured it would be a great opportunity to make a delicious smoothie, one that's big enough to share with a friend or two.

This recipe is your special ticket to Flavor Town, so climb aboard!


Fruit Salad Smoothie

2 mangoes, diced
1 large navel orange, the membrane trimmed off
5 strawberries, sliced
1 cup of non-dairy vanilla yogurt (I suggest So Delicious Coconut Milk, original flavor)
1 cup of non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon of liquid sweetener (honey, syrup, or simple syrup)
1 cup of organic apple juice
a few shakes each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom

Use the double blade in your high powered blender. This is a very thin smoothie, so we need all of the help we can get. Add the fruit, yogurt, milk, and honey, blend for up to two minutes, starting from the lowest speed, increasing up to speed four or five. When it's broken down, add the apple juice and the spices, adjusting to your taste. Blend for another two minutes until the consistency is as you like it.