Monthly Archives: March 2016

Vegan Crepes with Grilled Pineapple and Orange Sauce

pineappleCrepe_Small

With the arrival of spring, I am already in the mood of making anything tropical.  I love tropical fruits like mangoes, papaya, pineapple etc.  All of a sudden I got an idea of making crepes with a tropical fruit.  Why not?  So drove to the grocery store and found a container of fresh cut pineapple.  That’s it; I decided this is going to be my breakfast the following morning.

You can also use fresh pineapple for this recipe.  But me being a bit lazy and to avoid all the peeling and cutting, I thought of going with an already cut pineapple – that is why they sell these right?  Anyway, I have been trying to make vegan dishes lately and decided make these crepes vegan.  So I used almond milk and no eggs.  I added a pinch of cream of tartar to give a texture which is similar to a crepe made with regular milk.  I also found almond milk consistency is quite similar to regular milk as opposed to soy milk.  Also it’s best to use the refrigerated almond milk (meaning the fresh ones) instead of those from the shelf.  Consistency of soy milk is a bit thick and has a distinct smell even in the crepes.

Even though it took some time to make the crepes, it was worth the time.  When it comes to the almond filling, the orange sauce and pineapple, the amounts are not carved on stone.  You can reduce or increase the amount of these ingredients.  It all depends on how much filling you want to add for a crepe and how much sauce you want to sprinkle.  So let’s get to the recipe.

pineappleCrepe_large

 

All the ingredients for this Crepe:

PineappleCrepe_Ingredients

Ingredients:

 For the crepes:

  • ½ cup all purpose white flour
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar

For the almond filling:

  • ½ cup ground almond/almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons castor sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk

Pineapple topping:

  • 1 ½ cups pineapples cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon vegan butter or margarine

Orange Sauce:

  • Juice or 2 large orange
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter or margarine

Extra topping:

  • About 2-3 tablespoon flaked coconut roasted
  • About ½ tablespoons walnuts chopped and toasted

Method:

To make the almond filling:

  • In a small bowl add ground almond, almond milk, and sugar and mix well to make a paste consistency. If the filling is way too sticky and thick, add more milk.  Set aside.

To make the Pineapple topping:

  • Add butter to a skillet and once the foam subsides add pineapple and roast on high flame until they are browned on almost all side – probably 5 minutes. If the skillet start smoking, reduce the flame and once the smoke subsides, you can increase it back.  Alternately you can grill the pineapple as well – I think it will give a much greater flavor.
  • Set aside

To make the Orange Sauce:

  • Add butter to a skillet and add brown sugar. Once it starts sizzling add orange juice slowly and boil on low flame until sauce thickens.

To make the crepes batter:

  • Sift flour, salt, and cream of tartar into a large bowl
  • Add a little almond milk at a time and mix well until there are no lumps until all milk are used and the consistency of batter smooth and slightly thick.
  • Heat a large skillet and add a little butter. Once butter starts sizzling add a spoonful of batter to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan.  Cook until lightly browned.  Flip and cook until golden or brown dots form
  • Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Continue making crepes until all batter is used.

To Assemble the Crepes:

  • Divide almond filling and roasted pineapple into 6 portions
  • Place a crepe on a plate and add a little bit of almond filling in the middle (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Fold crepe into a rectangle by bringing the edges together.
  • Place on a separate plate with folded side down.  Place 2 crepes on a plate
  • Add pineapple on the top and sprinkle with orange sauce
  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut and walnuts

Yields: 6 thin crepes

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Spinach Jicama Salad with Champaign vinaigrette

JicamaSalad

I have seen this vegetable (actually it is a root/tuber) in the farmers market with n other varieties of yams and had been thinking of buying.  I first got introduced to this at the Whole Foods Market lunch buffet.  They always make a salad out of this which is so delicious.  Finally I decided to buy this and make a salad out of it based on the taste I had at Whole Foods Market.  Since I could not identify each and every element of the ingredients, I modified it with my own mix of fruits and vegetables and salad dressing.  I really loved the texture and taste of this yam and planning to make more recipes which I will definitely post here.

Jicama

Jicama has a nice crunchy sweet texture which is similar to the Asian pears.  Jicama is a yam bean (Don’t ask me why they make it such bean and yam) native to Mexico.  You can read more about here. Hope you will enjoy this recipe as well.

This salad is so easy and worth making.  You can mix and match with different ingredients.  One example is I was thinking of using fresh pineapple instead of orange but unfortunately didn’t have it.  So let’s get to business.

JicamaSalad1

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Quarter of a Jicama (4 oz)
  • 1 orange (I used navel orange)
  • 1 ripe avocado

For the salad dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Champaign vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • With a sharp knife peel orange and cut the bitter pith from the orange. Cut in between the membranes to release the segments.  Just take one or 2 segments to make one tablespoon of juice.  Cut the rest of each segment into half diagonally and set aside
  • In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, Champaign vinegar, crushed pepper and salt and set aside for about 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile wash and drain spinach and dry thoroughly
  • Peel Jicama and cut them into thick strips – about less than ¼ inch thickness and about 1 ½ to 2 inches long.
  • Half the avocado and remove the seed. Scoop out the flesh carefully and cut them into thin slices
  • To serve divide spinach into 2 bowls and arrange them in the bottom of each bowl. Now add orange segments, Jicama slices, and avocado over the spinach bed.
  • Sprinkle salad dressing over the salad and serve immediately
  • Serves 2

Spicy Curried Couscous with Kidney beans and Vegetables

SoyChunkCousCous

Today I thought of making some thing simple – meaning cooking couscous is so easy, just boil the water and add couscous and let stand.  This is kind of a one pot meal that can be eaten for lunch or dinner.  Also a good recipe to pack in a lunch box for office.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ dried red beans
  • 3 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 small red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 cups torn kale leaves – stems removed
  • 1 cup soy chunks
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon spicy chili sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper (optional)

Method:

  • I used soaked and squeezed out soy chunks which I used for the recipe Thai Style Soy Chunk curry.  So the 1 cup I mentioned was soaked and drained soy chunks and not the dry soy chunks.
  • Soak red beans overnight and cook until tender (I cooked in pressure cook which needed about 15 whistles)
  • In a covered saucepan bring 1 cup water, olive oil and salt to a boil
  • Turn off flame and add couscous and mix lightly and cover and let stand.  Fluff with a fork
  • Add cooking oil to a skillet and when hot, add red and green bell pepper and sauté until slightly charred.  Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add rest of the cooking oil and sauté kale until leaves are wilted and cooked.
  • Add soy chunks, cooked beans, chili sauce, chili powder and ¼ water to the skillet and cover and cook stirring occasionally on low flame until all the water is absorbed.
  • Add sauteed kale, and bell peppers to the skillet and mix well.
  • Add cooked couscous to the vegetables and season with salt.
  • If needed, add ground black pepper
  • Yields: 2 main dishes

Blueberry Tea Bread

blueberrybread3

Here I am sitting and baking another tea bread – I don’t have any regrets in spending time baking tea breads/loaves.  Yes, I love these tea breads.  Even though they are so called “tea breads”, I eat them for breakfast.  Just one thick slice of this bread replaces a bagel, normal bread or any other stuff.  I started making these so that I can avoid those yummy pastries, doughnuts, bagels etc for breakfast.  Instead eat these fruit and nut filled loaves which does not have too much fat.  I have to admit, I ate this twice already – one slice for breakfast and again one slice with afternoon tea around 4:30 PM.  Week days are out for this kind of relaxed evenings.

This tea bread is very easy to make and there are no big steps in this.  All you need is the normal items that you may have in the pantry with some fresh blueberries.  If you don’t have blueberries you can try fresh cranberries (which of course comes only in fall).  I have not tried with raspberries, but thinking of trying it next time.

blueberryBread1

 

blueberrybread2

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil (preferably canola)
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • Grated rind of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose white flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line parchment paper to a 9×5 inch loaf pan and grease lightly.
  • Sift together white flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside
  • Lightly beat eggs and add sugar, oil, orange juice, vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add orange rind and mix well
  • Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until there are no lumps (the dough will be quite sticky. So I used a spatula to mix in since it will cut through the dough and mix well)
  • Mix in blueberries and walnuts. Make sure not to overdo since you don’t want to crush the blueberries.
  • Fold batter into a prepared pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes or a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let bread cool in tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  • Makes one 9×5 inch loaf.

Potato and Cauliflower with Green Peas

MethiCauliflower

It was last Friday I made this curry which I did not get the time to post it.  Since it was a Friday night, I wanted to post something simple, quick but delicious which would go well with Naan bread.  I have tried many varieties of potato and cauliflower curry.  But I have been thinking of posting a cauliflower recipe with green peas since I have seen this kind of recipe in many Indian restaurants.  But I went ahead and gave a little more twist to make it a little more flavorful.  I added some fenugreek leaves just before removing from stove and it came out pretty good.  Hope you all get to make this and enjoy as well.

MethiCauliflower1

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ inch piece ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
  • 12 oz potatoes cubed
  • 8 oz cauliflower florets
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Tandoori powder
  • ¼ cup chopped Fenugreek leaves
  • ¼ cup green frozen peas
  • Strand of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Few drops of lemon juice (optional)

 

Method:

  • Add oil to a covered saucepan and once hot add mustard seed, garlic, and ginger and fry until garlic and ginger are golden brown
  • Add potatoes and mixed well
  • Add water, coconut milk, chili powder, and salt and cover and cook on medium flame for about 8-10 minutes
  • Add cauliflower florets, curry leaves and Tandoori powder and cover and cook for 5 minutes
  • Now add Fenugreek leaves, and green peas and cook for another 2 minutes and let stand covered for 10 minutes
  • Season with salt
  • Serve warm with rice, Naan bread or Roti.
  • Add lemon juice just before serving.

Note: You can find Fenugreek leaves in Asian/Indian stores.  They come in small bunches.  They have a bit of bitter taste with strong flavor.  Make sure you don’t add too much of these leaves since it will completely change the flavor of the curry and give you bitter taste.  Fenugreek leaves are usually sold in the name of Methi leaves (Hindi) or “Venthaya Keerai” (Tamil)

fenugreekleaves

Spinach & Black Beans pasta with Ground Almonds

Almond_Pasta

This is a new type of pasta I tried today.  I have been trying diary free meals and did not have any diary free cheese in my pantry.  So thought to substitute with ground almonds which gives a nice crunchy taste to this pasta dish.  This is an easy recipe packed with nutrients to have and relax on a Friday night.

Almond_Pasta1

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz pasta (cork screw, penne etc.)
  • 1 lb tomatoes (tomato on the vine is preferable since it is juicy and sweet)
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 10.5 oz can black beans
  • Half of 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 teaspoon basil pesto
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ cup ground almonds

Method:

  • Cook pasta and drain. Set aside. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Bring a large pan filled with water to a rolling boil. Add whole tomatoes and cover and boil for 5 minutes.  Then turn off flame and leave in the pan covered for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove tomatoes and let cool to room temperature. Peel and chop tomatoes into rough big chunks.
  • Slice mushrooms thinly and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil. Roast in a toaster oven for about 10 minutes.
  • Thaw spinach to room temperature and squeeze out water as much as possible.
  • Wash black beans thoroughly and drain (washing is to remove any substance added when canning)
  • Add oil to a large skillet and once hot add onion and garlic and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add tomatoes, mushroom, black beans, spinach, pasta, reserved water and mix well and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Transfer pasta mixture to a 2 quart glass dish (oven proof) and sprinkle with ground almond. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the almonds are golden.

Tempeh in Coconut Milk

Tempeh_coconutmilkcurry

Tempeh – I know a lot of people might not have heard about it.  I have tasted fried Tempeh a while ago in a restaurant.  Since then I have been looking for this product and finally found this at Trader Joe’s and I was quite happy to convert this Tempeh into delicious dishes.

Tempeh is very nutritious packed with a lot of nutrients. Tempeh is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different textural. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole soybean give it a higher content of protein and vitamins. It has a firm texture compared to tofu.  Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian dishes as an alternative for meat.  .You can read more about Tempeh here.

Today (for the first time) I made a dish that is similar to a Thai red curry.  I am planning to cook more varieties including adding to Quinoa or Bulgur dishes.  Keep an eye for more Tempeh recipes.  For this dish I sautéed the Tempeh prior to making the curry, which gives extra flavor.  But this step can be avoided

tempeh_coconutmilkcurry1

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Tempeh
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • ¼ inch piece ginger
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
  • ¼ cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Tempeh Cubes:

Raw_Tempeh

Fried/Sauteed Tempeh cubes:

fried_Tempeh

Method:

  • Cut Tempeh into about 1/4 inch bite size pieces.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a skillet and once hot add Tempeh and sauté until golden brown on all sides.  Set aside
  • Thinly slice onion and garlic.  Chop ginger into fine pieces
  • Add rest of the oil to a saucepan and once hot add garlic and onion and sauté until lightly golden.  Now add ginger and sauté for another minute or two
  • Add Tempeh, coconut milk, water, Thai red curry paste, salt and cover and cook in medium flame for about 10 minutes
  • Add green peas and soy sauce and cook for further 3-4 minutes.  If the curry becomes too thick or dry add a little water or thin coconut milk to make gravy.
  • Let stand covered for 10 minutes for the gravy to get infused into Tempeh
  • Add lemon juice prior to serving (optional)
  • Serve warm with white rice.

Note: the curry will be delicious when it has some thick gravy.  So make sure to make it with gravy rather than dry.