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Archive for the 'Vegan Recipes' Category

But…but…but…Peanut Butter Cookies!!

Despite all the press about salmonella, I have to say it:

I do love me some peanut butter.

To celebrate my salmonella-free jar of peanut butter bliss, I am posting my all-time favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.  It’s all-natural, but it’s not likely to help you lose weight, if that’s what you’re looking for.  It does, however, make a very delicious cookie.

Eat some cookies.  Move your body doing something you love, like cycling, snowshoeing, visiting a rock gym, sledding with the kids, taking the dog out, or shooting hoops.  Call it even, and love your life.  (Simple, right?)

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Dark Days Challenge: Darn Good Hummus, Grilled Focaccia, and a New Broccoli Waldorf

For several years, I was something of an anomaly in the vegetarian world.

I hated hummus.  For those of you unfamiliar with hummus, it’s a staple in Middle Eastern and Greek restaurants, as well as in many vegetarian kitchens.  A savory spread of garbanzo beans puréed with garlic, lemon, garlic, and tahini (a sesame seed paste), it’s a healthy and convenient dip for vegetables or for use as a protein-rich sandwich spread.  I loved the concept of hummus.  I just hadn’t had the opportunity to understand what all the fuss was about.  Frankly, whenever I tried to make hummus, it just wasn’t…well…good.

I tried to make it at home.  I even stepped out of character and followed several recipes to a T in my attempts to make something palatable.

I failed.

Then one day, I discovered cumin, and the world was reborn.

Now, we almost always have some hummus in the fridge.  As I mentioned, it’s great for both sandwiches and high-protein snacks, it keeps well, and it’s full of garlicky goodness.  This week, I decided it was time to share my love of hummus with you, so that you all can enjoy it as well.

Although I’m posting my basic hummus recipe, I actually switched this one up today and used tepary beans instead of garbanzos to keep it local for the Dark Days Challenge.  I served it with herbed, grilled focaccia (which I made using our CSA wheatberries and garden herbs) based on the recipe in Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible and a fantastic, mostly local, reinvented Waldorf salad.  I’ll be posting the Waldorf recipe later this week.  Lunch was very satisfying: both light and hearty, sweet and salty, chewy and creamy and crunchy.  It was also healthy.

I love when that all comes together.


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Peanut Butter Gets Uglier

Current stats:  501 reported illnesses and 8 deaths attributed to this outbreak

On Wednesday on up at the capital, senior state and congressional officials called foul on the Peanut Corporation of America, the manufacturer responsible for the recent salmonella debacle.  Specifically, they charge that the PCA knowingly shipped peanut butter contaminated with salmonella multiple times throughout 2007 and 2008.  You can read the FDA report on-line to get all the gritty details about the contaminations, as well as unacceptable plant conditions, but let me hit some highlights for you.

First up is the charge that PCA knowingly shipped products contaminated with salmonella.  Reading over the report, you’ll find one dozen instances from June 2007 through the end of September 2008 where one strain or another of salmonella was discovered.  Troublingly, the write-ups read almost identically: Peanut product manufactured on x date under batch z tested positive for salmonella by a private laboratory.  After the firm retested the product and received a negative status, the product was shipped in interstate commerce.

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Dark Days Challenge, Starring Orange Cauliflower

The Unicyclist and I didn’t get much in the way of fresh produce last week from our CSA share with Crooked Sky Farms.  The farm is not to blame, however.  The Unicyclist was on veggie pickup duty, and he managed to barter and swap our citrus and one set of greens for an important storage items for us: wheat berries!  The Unicyclist knows what’s up, which is why we now have three small baggies of wheat berries to make into flour and expand our local cooking possibilities.

I love the Unicyclist.  Not just for his bartering skillz, but those don’t hurt.

In any case, since he managed to barter some of our fresher goods for other people’s wheat berries, we decided we’d better make a stop by Crooked Sky’s booth at the Ahwatukee farmers’ market this morning to ensure we’d have enough produce to see us through until the coming Thursday.  I am awfully glad we went, because that’s where we discovered this beauty.

That, gentle readers, is Orange Cauliflower.

(I thought it merited the caps.  Don’t you?)

Isn’t it stunning?  Apparently, commercial Orange Cauliflower is a hybrid between a non-engineered mutant orange cauliflower and the standard whites.  It’s also a bit sweeter, a lot higher in beta carotene, and much more striking than its pallid (but also delicious) cousin.

I had to have it.

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Easier than You Thought: Almond Milk

As I’ve pointed out before, processed and prepackaged foods usually have something in them you’d prefer not to be eating.  In the case of many non-dairy “milks” such as soy, rice, or almond milk, that’s the seaweed-derived thickener carrageenen.  Carrageenen is interesting enough to me that I’ll devote an entire post to it in the near future so you can revel in all the gory details, but for the moment I’ll just say that I have not been favorably impressed with the results of the research on carrageenen.  Because our household attempts to keep dairy consumption as a pretty small part of our diet, that meant that I took some time last weekend to whip up some homemade almond milk.  It’s surprisingly simple, and it does have some side benefits beyond carrageenan avoidance, as you’ll see at the end of the post.

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Dark Days Challenge Recipe: Sunchoke and Mesquite-Candied Squash Salad

Laura over at Urban Hennery decided to make this week a theme week in the ongoing Dark Days of Winter local eating challenge.  Specifically, she told us all to seek out some type of local produce we had either never cooked or never eaten before, figure out what we were going to do with it, cook it up all proper-like, and devour.

I was a little nervous about the challenge.  See, as members of a CSA, farmers’ market fiends, and foragers, the Unicyclist and I have eaten dandelion greens, rapini, turnips and turnip greens, squashes of all shapes and sizes, purple spinach, purple potatoes, golden beets, watermelon radishes, cactus fruit, cactus pads, mesquite pods, daikon, burdock, zucchini flowers, pansies, purple beans, teparies, tat soi, I’itois onions, bok choy, kohlrabi, and a whooooole lot more.  Frankly, although there are probably edible things growing in the Phoenix area that we haven’t yet eaten, finding them might prove to be quite a task.

Fortunately, the fates smiled on us in our CSA share this week, and we got a tiny basket of sunchokes from the farm. While I’ve eaten sunchokes before, the Unicyclist hasn’t.  Best of all, neither of us had cooked them before. Serendipitous much?  I apparently have some good karma stockpiled somewhere.  I just hope I don’t use it all up on produce.

Anywho, I’m sure at least some of you are wondering what the heck a sunchoke is.

Those are sunchokes.

For starters, they’re dirty.

And knobbly.

And just plain weird-looking.

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Recipe: New Moon Quinoa Coconut Cookies (gluten-free and vegan and diabetic-friendly, oh my!)

I don’t really have a good reason for calling these New Moon cookies, except that I personally think they are both novel and out of this world.  Oh, and they’re round.  Like the moon.  And they’re brimming with quinoa, which is also orbish.  So, they’re round at several levels.  And tasty.  And that’s what matters.

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About that Muhammara Recipe…

At long last, the moment you’ve been waiting for…or at least the one I’ve been promising you for the last several days.

But, really, this one is worth the wait.  Try it.  You’ll see.

First, what is muhammara? It’s a rich and tangy spread from the Middle East that complements pita triangles, roasted vegetable kabobs, and raw, crunchy vegetables beautifully. I bet it would even go fabulously with a chunk of meat if that’s your thing, but it’s so flavorful that I think the the warm chewiness of fresh pita and clean taste of vegetables are the perfect canvas for it.

The spread is tangy, sweet, rich, and bright, though you can add different notes to it with fiery peppers or smoked paprika if that’s more to your liking. In any case, it’s amazing. Make up a batch for a New Year’s party as a healthier alternative to creamy, heavy dips.  Your guests will love the color and unique hints of pomegranate.

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Dark Days Challenge Recipe: Sweet and Savory Kabobs

Early this morning, awakened by the dulcet tones of one Mr Hippo singing to the sunrise, I got up, got dressed, and headed to the farmers’ market to see what I could scavenge for our Dark Days Challenge meal.  The fridge was a little bare, since our CSA pick-up last week was canceled due to the holiday.  However, the Unicyclist and I had an inkling of what we wanted: kabobs.  Rich and savory kabobs to slather with the leftover muhammara from our Christmas Eve shindig.  Last night over dinner, just as we’d decided this, the Unicyclist was struck with a bolt of inspiration.

“What about dessert kabobs?”

Brilliant.  And timely.  As everyone knows, nothing makes a party like food on a stick, so consider these recipes my belated Christmas gift to you.  Both the savory and the sweet kabobs we made would be a wonderful, healthful addition to any New Year’s Eve fiestas.

Let’s get into it.  First: the ingredients.

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And So it Begins…Christmas Sweets in the Making

Audience, meet my Darkest Mint Stars:

And have you yet made the acquaintance of my diabetic-friendly, cinnamon-sprinkled, maple-kissed mixed nuts?

Did I mention yet how delicious December was going to be?  Mmmm…

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