Monthly Archives:

September 2011

Mexican Roasted Green Beans

One of the most prominent caveats I find as a food blogger is that when I want to make something ordinary, I tend to feel like I should be cooking up something more exotic instead. However, sometimes I want nothing more than chili, or spaghetti, or scrambled tofu, or standard recipes I’ve made over and over again. Like tacos, which are a three or four times a month happening in my house purely for their taste, simplicity and quick ability to fill me up.

Luckily, the urge to keep churning out new and noteworthy recipes has its benefits too. The ordinary recipes, due to lack of use, rarely become boring, and the new additions to my diet are nearly always a surprising delight. Having variety keeps food exciting. And cooking. And food blogging. And while yes, sometimes I find myself in a recipe rut, overall the push towards creativity is a welcomed one that more often than not produces fruitful results.

So after my latest craving for tacos, my food blogging hobby motivated me to whip up something a little less conventional on the side. I still stuck with the simple theme because that’s one aspect of consistency in my weekday cooking regiment. Again, the results were stimulating, both for my taste buds and perseverance to keep cooking away. Below, my latest recipe. Roasted green beans with a garlicky, spice-filled flair. Two thumbs up from both my roommates.

Click here for recipe…

Dijon Tempeh Bacon

I’ve been craving tempeh bacon ever since I made it the first time. I’m often tempted to buy the pre-packaged brands for a quick fix when I pass them in the store. But rarely do I actually reach for those over-salted, bland-in-comparison varieties, instead opting for plain tempeh so I can make my own. Homemade tempeh bacon is by far superior in flavor and is really quite simple to make. If you can get past the marinade time, tempeh bacon is as simple as a little flick of the wrist. Throw some seasonings into a bowl, give it a good whisk, and voila. All that needs to be done from there is a quick baking session to crisp those soy strips up, and then meatless (but delicious) bacon is all yours.

I varied my last bacon recipe just a tinge so I could test out some new flavors. Equally effortless, equally delicious. Enjoy.

 

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Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream Shell

So I jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon a couple months ago and have been testing it out on various ingredients ever since.  It may seem odd that coconut oil has become a craze, given its particularly high saturated fat content.  That’s the artery-clogging fat they’ve been making us fear for years.  But as Errol Schweizer, Whole Food’s global senior grocery coordinator, told the NY Times, annual sales growth of the product is definitely on the rise, seeing stats well into the double digits at Whole Foods.  So why is this 90% saturated fat-filled item being let off the hook among foodies, and that goes for healthy foodies too?

Well, some recent studies have shown that not all saturated fat is the same.  That which fills coconut oil may not be the deviled fat that fills bacon.  Instead, coconut oil consists primarily of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), known as lauric acid.  This kind of saturated fat has actually been shown to increase the levels of good HDL.  Like other forms of saturated fat, it also increased the bad LDL levels, but it doesn’t create a negative imbalance between the two levels.  Recent research has shown that this might be the most important factor in maintaining a heart-healthy diet.  One’s diet shouldn’t necessarily exclude saturated fat but rather maintain a healthy ratio between the various dietary fats. Click here to continue reading…

Vegetarian Gumbo

I’ve been happily continuing my summer job with the CSA once a week while I’m back at school. Every Saturday, I become one of the first kids on campus to see the morning sun, as I hop a train over to my CSA’s spot at the Glenside farmer’s market. It’s not quite the same as working on the farm, but I’m still dealing with veggies for hours at a time and tons of interesting people while I’m at it. The weekly gig makes me feel like I get to carry a little piece of summer with me. And since I dread the winter months, any part of summer, work-filled or not, makes me happy. Better yet, I also get to carry a huge bag of early fall produce with me as I catch the train that takes me back home.

Last week, the star ingredient in my bag was okra. I was never fond of the slimy stuff as a kid. But now okra gets me excited because it means only one thing –  Gumbo. All its sliminess gets dissipated when swimming in a hearty stew of gumbo goodness. Instead, the diced circles of okra add a smooth thickness to the flour-traced broth. For this gumbo, I added a bunch of other garden veggies I once helped plant and pick at the farm, like peppers, green beans and corn, making it my epitome of garden gumbo. Feel free to add other veggies you have on hand, like eggplant or mushrooms. Serve it up alongside a thick slice of bread, or a flavor-soaking grain of your choice. A nice ale would do it justice too, but none of that college crap that keeps people in bed till Saturday afternoon.

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Vegan Eggplant Stuffed Peppers

Looking back over my last few meals (and posts), I’ve realized roasted has trounced the classic steam in my kitchen, and has become my new go-to for veggies.  The oven becomes a miraculous tool in terms of drawing flavor from veggies.  It’s not only the mastermind behind metamorphosing batter into sweet confections of sugar and flour.  The oven is also the ultimate sugar-engineer of vegetables.

Take a bite of raw garlic, and your taste-buds might scream from its pungency.  But give the bulb a roast, and each creamy, sweet clove will graciously go down with ease.

Olive oil, heat, and a little salt.  It’s that simple.  And this trick holds true for eggplant, onions, peppers, and a slew of other veggies, including beets, which when even when raw one wonders how they could become any sweeter.

So here we go again, another roasted vegetable inspired meal.  I’ve gone back at it with roasted eggplant and garlic, sealing them all up with a few other ingredients inside a pepper.  Then, I put the oven to use once more, and baked the whole dish.  Topped with Daiya, this was yet another satisfying, vegan roasted meal.

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