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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Curry chickpea and apple spinach salad


Curry chickpea and apple spinach salad

Sometimes I love going into a meal without knowing what to make.  It allows me to think about my food.  Many times I will make and eat something I have made a hundred times before.  Other times, like today, I make something new, and it turns out great.  
I knew I wanted a salad at some point today, and I thought that would be a good base.  I just got a big tub of organic baby spinach, so it needs to be used.  I then took out some chick peas and kept adding more ingredients.  In the end I had a whole new recipe and it was so good. Fresh, crispy and full of flavor.  

Ingredients: (for 2)

In a large bowl, add the following

1 15oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces 
2 ribs celery, washed and diced into 1/4 inch pieces 
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large fuji apple, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 packed cup of baby spinach, chopped medium size
1/2 cup raisins 
1/2 cup of your favorite plant based mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Combine all the above ingredients, and mix very well.  


After mixing, cover and place in fridge to chill for about 1/2 hour.  
To serve, fill a plate with as much baby spinach as you will eat, and scoop the chickpea mix on top.  It is creamy enough that you don't need any additional dressing.
Enjoy!!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Easy creamy cucumber tomato dill salad

Easy creamy cucumber tomato dill salad

This may be the easiest recipe I have made so far.  Yet the flavor is so good, that I had to share it.  
I made this salad to go along with my veggie burger today, and it became the star of the show.   It took me to a happy place for sure.

Ingredients:

1 large cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half moons about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced very thin
4-5 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1/2-3/4 cup McDougall sour cream (1 package firm silken tofu, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, blend until smooth)
2 tsp. dried dill
salt and pepper to taste 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill for 1 hour.  
ENJOY!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Zucchini corn fritters

 Zucchini corn fritters

I have been purchasing some nice zucchini at the local farmers market, and have been trying to use them in different ways.  Yesterday I put them in fried rice, and they were wonderful.  
As I was sitting at work, I was thinking how I could use them for breakfast today.  I came up with fritters.  
Obviously they are not fried, but they sure are good.  They would be great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Make a double batch because I ate the whole recipe. :)

Ingredients:

2c shredded zucchini, lightly drained on a paper towel
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
1c frozen corn, you could also use fresh if you have it
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2c unbleached flour
2 tablespoons canned green chili's

In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, onions and corn and mix well.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir vigorously for a good minute.  You really want to mix this well and make a wet dough.


Let sit for 10 minutes, and while you let it sit, heat up a large saute pan over medium heat.
After about 10 minutes, stir one more time and then using an ice cream scoop, scoop 2 or 3 fritters in the pan.  With the back of a fork, smash down the mounds until they are about 1/4 inch thick.  
Cook on the first side until the edges are nice and golden brown and the top starts to dry out.  

Using a spatula, carefully lift the edges and then slide the spatula under the fritter, flip and cook on the other side another 7 minutes.  
Check to see they are done by feeling the center.  It should be soft but not mushy.  If it is, flip again and cook another couple minutes.
Remove and let sit until all are done.  Your goal is very crispy on both sides, so don't be afraid to make them a little darker. 
You can keep hot in a warm oven.
Serve with vegan sour cream or salsa, or both.  ENJOY.

  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Simple tomato basil soup

Simple tomato basil soup

I went to the farmers market today and picked up two pounds of tomatoes.  I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but they looked so good, I had to have them.
When I got home, I opened the fridge and saw I still had a bunch of basil.  Well, there was my answer.  Tomato basil soup.  Easy and tasty!  This recipe is enough for two, and you can keep it nice and chunky, or use an immersion blender and make it smooth.

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces 
2 lbs. tomatoes, washed, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.
1 cup veggie stock
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup loose packed basil, sliced thin (I measure after I slice)

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, saute onions, peppers and garlic until they start to become translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir often to prevent sticking.  Add tomatoes, stock, onion powder and cumin and stir well.
Cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 20-25 minutes covered.
After 20-25 minutes, remove lid and stir well.  The tomatoes should have broken down well at this point.  Remove from heat and add the basil, stir well.
Check for salt and pepper at this point.  Also if you want to puree at this point, do so. 
Serve right away with some nice crispy bread.  Most of all, enjoy!

Garlic herb spread

Garlic herb spread (for corn on the cob)

I do not normally miss butter.  I have found many ways around it.  But for corn on the cob, I do miss that wonderful slather that holds my salt and pepper and anything else I want on it.  I do like to slather chimichurri on it, but I don't want to get tired of it too fast, and it is corn season!
So I came up with this garlic herb spread, and my mouth is doing a happy dance.  I LOVE IT!  I of course had to make an ear of corn to try this out, and I ate it in no time flat.  I had that little bit of burn on my lip that eating good corn on the cob gives you.  
Try this recipe as is, and then make it your own.  Add different spices and herbs.  It is very good and will last a few days in the fridge.  It will get better as it sits too.

Ingredients:

1/2c chickpea liquid
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano 
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or more)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
In a small food processor, add the chickpea liquid, garlic and nutritional yeast.  Blend for 20-30 seconds.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend for 10 seconds or until well blended.  
Pour into a bowl and let sit for an hour to bring out the flavors.  
You can use fresh herbs also, I used dry because I have them on hand easier.
The spread should be thick and very flavorful.  Slather it on thin at first and then adjust as you feel/want.  
I hope you enjoy this and it adds another flavor to your summer!

  

Rice pilaf with garbanzo beans and orzo

Rice pilaf with garbanzo beans and orzo
(This is adapted from an original recipe.  It can be found here at : http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/basmati-rice-pilaf-with-prosciutto-garbanzo-beans-and-orzo-recipe.html)

From time to time, living a plant based life, you come across a recipe you would really like to try.  The only problem is that recipe includes oils and meats.  So, you have to get creative and adjust the recipe to fit the plantbased lifestyle.
I received a request last week from Julie to do just that.  I love when I get a challenge and can transform a recipe.  I wanted to tackle it right away, but because of life, found myself not being able to until yesterday.
I gave a full report to her yesterday about how to adjust the recipe to suite our lifestyle, and was very happy with the results.  I thought I would post the adjusted recipe, and the link of course above for the original.  This is not my recipe, just an adaptation, and that is what I am putting here.

Ingredients:

4oz. cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch chuncks, sprinkled with about 1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4c diced carrots (1/4inch cut)
1/4c diced red bell pepper (you can use green) (1/4 inch dice)
1 small onion (1/4 inch dice)
1c orzo pasta
1c rice (I just used long grain white)
3c low sodium veggie stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1c canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1/4c sliced scallions
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil

In a large, heavy bottom pan, over medium high heat, add the mushrooms and begin to saute.  
You will want to saute until they give up all their liquid (about 10 minutes).  Make sure to stir constantly.
Add carrots, onions and peppers.
Stir well, and continue to saute for about 5-7 minutes, until they begin to get tender.  
Stir in the rice and orzo next, and stir very well.  You will want to toast the rice and orzo for about 5 minutes.  Remember there is no oil, so it will not brown the same, but watch very close and stir constantly. 
Once you have toasted the rice/orzo mix, add the lemon juice to the stock, and add to the pan, add the beans also at this time.  Make sure you stir well and get any brown bits that have collected on the bottom.  Add your bay leaf and stir everything well one more time.
Bring to a boil, cover tight with a lid and reduce the temp. to low.  Do not open the lid from this point on until it is done.  Set timer for 18 minutes.  Now walk away.  When the timer goes off DON'T LIFT THE LID!  Instead take off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, removed lid, remove bay leaf, and fluff with two forks.  Fluff and fluff.  It will seem wet at first, but keep fluffing.  Now allow to sit with the lid off and chop some green onions and tear some basil.  Add right before serving and you are done.  It makes quite a bit, I got 3 meals out of it for myself.  It was great with corn on the cob!
(**Note** If you don't want to use mushrooms, you can use eggplant.  Also I waited until after to season with salt and pepper)

 




 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cinnamon apple breakfast bars

Cinnamon apple breakfast bars

I was looking for a breakfast bar that was super easy and super healthy.  Sometimes when I get home from a 12 hour graveyard shift, the last thing I want to do is cook.  (It doesn't happen often, but it does happen) But I am still hungry.
So I came up with this recipe.  The longest part of it is the cooking, but if you make this ahead, and just keep in the fridge, it only needs to happen one time for a few days.
This recipe isn't loaded down with a bunch of ingredients, but just enough to make it good.

Ingredients:
1 8x8 or 9x9 glass baking dish
preheat oven to 350*

In a bowl, combine the following

1c rolled oats (old fashioned)
1/2c raisins 
1 small fuji apple, peeled and cored, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4c brown rice syrup
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (add on top after you have put in baking pan)

Add the first 5 ingredients in the bowl and combine well.  I stirred for a good minute to make sure everything was covered with the syrup.  Once it is all mixed, pour into your baking pan and press down well.  You really want to compact it in there.  I used the back of a spatula to press.  
Sprinkle with the sesame seeds evenly, and place the baking pan in the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes.  
After 30 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  Cut into 6 even bars.  You can eat one now, or cover with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for a few hours.  You can store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
They will not be hard, but soft and chewy, so handle with care.  
Enjoy!

  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chickpea kale burger

Chickpea kale burger

Let me start this recipe off by saying a couple of things.  First of all, if you don't already know, I don't like to make recipes that keep me in the kitchen for less than 5 minutes.  I try and make them easy to follow, but this recipe does require a little time and effort.  The end result will be worth it, and it makes enough that you will have a couple meals out of it.  Secondly, please follow the recipe as is the first time, and then explore and make it your own.  I encourage this for any recipe.  Making it your own is the way to make you love the recipe even more.  I know many recipes I have followed were great, but my mind goes further and I explore new options.  
This recipe is "hands on" and gives you the chance to take out some frustrations, as you will see in the instructions.  
One thing that sets this recipe apart, is that you add the beans while you are cooking everything else.
 

Ingredients:

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, chopped fine
4-5 large mushrooms, cleaned and chopped small
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into fourths lengthwise, and sliced thin
1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium eggplant, washed and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
1 bunch tuscan (dinosaur) kale, removed from vein, washed and chopped small (about 3 cups) 
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic Mrs. Dash®
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/8-1/2 tsp. chipotle powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (optional on the salt)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2c rolled oats
1/4c unbleached flour or rice flour for gluten free
1/4c favorite barbecue sauce
2-3 tablespoons veggie broth 

In a very large saute pan, over medium heat, add the first 7 ingredients at the same time.  Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the kale and spices, and stir well.  Keep stirring until most of the liquid has cooked off and the kale is well wilted and the eggplant is not mushy.  Nothing should stick, the kale and mushrooms give off a lot of liquid.
After it has cooked, remove from heat and pour into a large bowl, and let cool down. (about 10-15 minutes)
After mix has cooled down, add the rolled oats, flour, BBQ sauce and broth.  Now, with freshly washed hands, get in there and mix.  Squish between your fingers and really mash this up.  Once it starts coming together like a ball of dough, knead it around for about 5 minutes.  The idea is to break down some of the beans and really work the kale through the mix.
Now, wash your hands again, and form some patties.  I made them about 4-5 inches around and about 1/2 inch thick.  They will seem a little wet, but they stiffen up as they cook. (For best results, form patties, place on plate, cover with cling wrap and put in fridge for and hour or two.)
To cook, wash your saute pan you just used, and set over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, place a couple at a time in the pan.  Cook on the first side for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown, then carefully turn.  Cook on the second side for about the same, checking occasionally.  When both sides have a nice crunchy crust, remove from heat.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  
You can form the patties and wrap in cling wrap and freeze also.  You can cook from frozen.
Serve on your favorite bun and with your favorite condiments.
Again, I hope you enjoy these.  They require a little effort, but I was super happy to not have a mushy burger. :)
**You can bake in the oven also.  Preheat oven to 400*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad.  Place patties on pan and bake for 10 minutes, carefully turn and bake for another 10-15, checking often to make sure they don't dry out.  You want a crispy outer shell and a chewy inside.  
ENJOY!!
 
***UPDATE***
These burgers can be made into a "sausage" patty too!  Also great as a burger but you can eat for breakfast too!  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, chopped fine
4-5 large mushrooms, cleaned and chopped small
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into fourths lengthwise, and sliced thin
1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium eggplant, washed and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
1 bunch tuscan (dinosaur) kale, removed from vein, washed and chopped small (about 3 cups) 

Spices (all dried)
1-2 tsp. red chili flakes
2 tablespoon dried parsley
3 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 round tsp. fennel seed
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika 
2 tsp. dried dried basil
1-2 tsp. salt (optional)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2c rolled oats
1/4c unbleached flour or rice flour for gluten free
2-3 tablespoons veggie broth 

Follow instructions in the original recipe, except add the spices in the update instead of the spices in the original.  I added the spices while sauteing the veggies to let them warm up a bit.  
Also do not add the liquid smoke or the barbecue sauce to this recipe. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Klunker's zucchini bake

Klunker's zucchini bake

Finally, the farmers market is back up and running for the year.  I look forward to the farmers market every year.  It is so nice to buy local, and most of the farmers are organic.   I love when they bring zucchini to the market.  Not that the zucchini at the store is bad, but they always bring the bigger size, and I love using those. 
Yesterday I picked up some green and yellow zucchini.  I didn't know exactly what I would do with them, but I knew I was excited to have them.  Today I woke up and had an idea for them, but it was a new recipe, so I didn't know how it would turn out.  
I am trying to make more dishes with nutritional yeast.  I am not a fan normally.  I cannot just put it on things without masking it.  I applaud those who can, but I cannot (yet).  I knew I wanted a cheese taste for this recipe though, so in it went.  I was not disappointed at all, and happy with the flavor.
This is a super easy recipe, very few ingredients, and you can make ahead, cover and just put in the oven when you are ready.

Ingredients:

1 large green zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 large yellow zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced into thin rounds 
4-5 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 tablespoons veggie stock

In a separate bowl, combine the following:

3 full teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 tsp. dried oregano 
1 tsp. onion powder
3 large cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped fine
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper (optional)
2 tsp. dried parsley 
2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
Stir this all together well.  Because you are using fresh garlic, you will need to get in there with your hand and mix well.  You want it to be like a crumble.

Preheat oven to 375*
1 8x8 glass baking pan

After preparing your veggies, layer them in a pan.  I put one slice green zucchini, one yellow, one onion and then the tomato. (see picture above to get an idea, make it look pretty :) )
After you have made a pretty looking arrangement, evenly pour the crumble mix on top.  Push it into all the cracks and even lift some of the slices and get some of it down into the veggies.  
When you are happy with it, take the two tablespoons of veggie stock and drizzle on top of the crumble and veggies.  Try and get it evenly.
Now, place the pan in the oven (or cover and store in fridge until ready).  Bake untouched and uncovered for 1 hour.  
You want the top to be nice and crispy and dark brown (but not burned).  
I turned on the broiler the last 5 minutes and watched close.

After it is done, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  
It is ready to serve.  I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.  Make it one time as is, and then get creative and make it your own with different veggies and ideas!  :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Simple fajitas

Simple fajitas 

Lets me honest, most of the time we want a meal that will take less than 30 minutes to make, especially during the week.  A lot of the times, that takes us to either making the wrong choices or we eat something that fills us up, but there is no satisfaction of a great meal.  I think it is important to enjoy all our meals, but if we are going to cut the satisfaction and enjoyment factor out, it shouldn't be from dinner.
Having stuff on hand and even prepping ahead (maybe on a Sunday?) makes dinner time so much easier.  A little prep work can make things so easy during the week.
For these fajitas, you could cut all the veggies ahead, make the spice mix, and use your favorite store brand salsa.  It literally took me 15 minutes from start to finish for this meal.

Before starting the main part of this meal, make the spice mix.  It makes one less thing you have to prepare and it lasts a few meals.  The ingredients for the spice mix are:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/2-1 tsp. chipotle powder (depending on how hot you like it)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic Mrs. Dash®
Mix all together, and store in a zip top baggie.  

Now, for the fajitas:

1 medium zucchini, washed, and cut into french fry size sticks (see image)
1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded and sliced into thin slices
1 yellow bell pepper, washed, seeded and sliced into thin slices
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half, then sliced into thin slices
1 large portobello mushroom, sliced into thin slices
1 package (10) large corn tortillas
1 tablespoon fajita seasoning (above)
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed, dried and chopped (just the leaves)
Salsa of choice

Place a large, non stick pan over medium high heat.  Let the pan heat up for a minute so its nice and hot.  When the pan is hot, add all the veggies at once.  Seems odd I know, but it works the best.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes, and you will see that the veggies are starting to get soft.  Go for another minute and add your fajita seasoning.  Stir well to distribute.  Now keep stirring for another 2 minutes, then remove from heat, add the cilantro and stir again.  Set to the side, and warm up your tortillas (I use the microwave, but the oven is good too).  And there you have it.  In about 10 minutes (if you prepared your veggies and spices ahead) or 20 minutes if you prepared fresh.  Now eat!  This should serve two, or if you are like me, 1.  ENJOY!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Klunker's cheesy grits

Klunker's cheesy grits

Until today, I was not a fan of grits.  I have had them several times, mostly plain with some butter and cream. (pre-plant based).  I did not like them at all.  I always expected them to taste like a good bowl of creamy wheat.  Of course they never did, so I just decided to leave them off my menu.
Well, about a week ago, one of my McDougall family members Darlene asked me if I would come up with a recipe for spicy, cheesy grits.  Of course I said yes, because I love a cooking challenge.  I put this one off for a few days, because I knew already that I didn't like grits.  
Alas, I jumped in and came up with this recipe.  As I sampled it, my hate for grits began to melt away.  I all of the sudden had a creamy, spicy and yes, cheesy flavor in my mouth that I really loved.  
The other thing to remember, is that I am not a fan of nutritional yeast.  I just cannot get around that flavor.  But I was a trooper and added it to this recipe, and I couldn't tell.  I actually got a cheesy flavor.  
Since I am not grit savvy, I used Quaker® quick grits.  I don't know if there are long time grits, but this seemed to play the part just fine.  
I know there are many versions of cheesy grits, and I am sure they are all good or even great, but I wanted to throw my version in the mix too.  If you try them, I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Make the "cheese" first:
1/2c cooked sweet potato, peeled and mashed
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 full tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1/4c cashew milk (or milk of choice)
several dashes of your favorite hot sauce
(blend everything in a blender until smooth, since sweet potatoes vary, you may need a little more milk)  Then set aside

For the grits:

1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 T chopped jalapenos (I used canned)
2c mushroom stock (you could use veggie stock)
1/2c uncooked grits


Alright, lets get cooking.  After all your ingredients are prepared, place a medium sauce pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes.  If they stick, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add the garlic an jalapenos next.  Saute for another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add the mushroom (or veggie) stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.  When it reaches a simmer, whisk in the grits slowly.  You don't want lumps.  Make sure to keep whisking to keep everything smooth.  You will cook for 5-7 minutes.  When the grits are nice and smooth and thickened, add the sweet potato mix, and whisk in.  If it is too thick for you, you can add some more milk to thin it out.  Heat until hot, and then serve right away.  Garnish with some more jalapeno on top. :) 
I hope you give this one a try, and if you like it, let me know. :)

Klunker's potato asparagus salad

Klunker's potato asparagus salad

I have really been missing a good potato salad.  I have tried a few recipes, and they were wonderful.  But it lacked what I was looking for.  Something sassy and full of flavor.  
So I set out on making something new, and I had a pound of baby yukons and asparagus to help me along the way.  
I used my delicious mustard dill sauce, found on this blog,  as the sauce to hold this all together.  When I was done, I was in potato salad heaven.  It was spunky, and had so many wonderful flavors exploding in my mouth.  I am going to be honest, I ate the whole recipe over the course of the day.  
So before you begin, look over the mustard dill sauce and make that already.  (http://www.klunkerskitchen.com/2015/05/mustard-dill-sauce.html)

Ingredients for the potato asparagus salad:

1-1 1/2 lbs. baby potatoes. (or fingerling potatoes) I used baby yukon golds, washed.
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and washed, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 stalks celery, tops and bottoms trimmed and stalks washed and chopped small
1/2 red onion (or yellow onion), peeled and chopped fine ( you can also sub with shallots)
1 large dill pickle, chopped the same size as the onion and celery.
1 whole recipe of mustard dill sauce

In a large pot, add your potatoes and fill with cold water until they are covered by at least an inch.  Place on stove and turn on heat to medium high.  Cover and bring to a boil.  When they are at the boil, take the lid partially off so they don't boil over.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on how big they are.  Check them with a sharp knife after 10 minutes,  and go up from there.  You want them to be soft, but not mushy.  As soon as they are done, remove from the water with a slotted spoon, and into a colander to drain and cool.
In the same water over heat, add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until just done.  When they are done, drain the water from the pot carefully (I just use another colander) and then fill the pot with cold water and let them sit for a few minutes to stop the cooking.  Then drain and set aside.
When the potatoes have cooled enough to touch, slice each one in half and add to the bowl.  Add the asparagus to the large bowl next, and then the rest of the ingredients, including the mustard dill sauce.
Gently stir all the ingredients together until they are all well coated in the sauce.  If the potatoes are still warm, they will absorb some of the sauce as they cool.  Take your time and don't rush, you don't want to break the potatoes.
After you have mixed well, cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour or longer for the flavors to meld.  
This is great as a side, but is also amazing as a meal.  It has great starch in it and flavors to accompany.  Most of all, enjoy.  I know this will be a once a week if not more dish throughout the summer.  :)



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Caribbean mango hot sauce

Caribbean mango hot sauce

This recipe was inspired because I had a bunch of mangoes that went ripe all at the same time.  I wanted to try something that was a condiment, and this seemed like the perfect chance to try something from the Caribbean region.  It is hot, it is sweet, and it is so good!  You can control the sweet and the hot, but I love it hot.  Since I will only be using this as a condiment, I was not as worried about having it a little sweeter.  All of which comes from natural maple syrup.  
I hope you give this a try and become a convert like I did. 

Ingredients:
6 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut away from the seed.
2 Serrano peppers, washed, top trimmed off and sliced in half lengthwise.  You can take the seeds and ribs out for less heat.
1 medium red bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into chunks.
3 large green onions, washed and sliced into 1 inch pieces.
1/4c unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt or salt of choice (optional)
1 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks in 100% juice.  No added sugar. 
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 to 1 cup of maple syrup. (you can adjust this or use whatever form of sweetness is the equivalent)  Remember this is a condiment, so the amount you are using is not very much per serving. :)
Juice of 3 large limes (add after cooking)

In a large saucepan, add the first 9 ingredients and place on stove.  Set the stove to medium, and stir all the ingredients together.  They will give up a lot of liquid, so don't worry.  Cover with a lid and let come to a simmer.  When it is at a simmer, stir again and make sure the peppers are submerged.  Cook for 10 minutes, covered.  Check after 5 minutes and stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.  
After 10 minutes, removed from heat and with an immersion blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth.  Return to the heat and add the maple syrup.  Stir well and heat for another 5 minutes, uncovered.


Remove from heat and add the lime juice, stir well, and let cool to room temperature.  
After cooling, do a taste test and see if you want to add anything.  Now that it is cool, you will want to run through a fine strainer to make nice and smooth.  Do this a little at a time.  I place my strainer over a pitcher and scoop some of the hot sauce, and push through with a rubber spatula.

When you are all done, you will be left with an amazing condiment that is great on pretty much anything.  
I hope you enjoy this spicy trip to the Caribbean.  :) 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Klunker's gallo pinto




Klunker's gallo pinto

I love when I get a new request for a recipe.  It opens up new flavors that I may not have explored before.  Today I got a request for gallo pinto from one of McDougall family members Cyndi.  I was excited to try and recreate this.  I can see this becoming a regular in my home, mainly because it is something my wife would eat, and that is a plus.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 large cloves or 3 small cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce 
2 cups cooked rice (I used white long grain, but you can use brown)
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed well

In a large saute pan, add the onions and garlic and saute over medium heat.  Saute for 5 minutes or until soft.  (I like to make mine a little on the brown side)
Add the spices and worcestershire sauce.  Mix well and continue to saute until all the liquid is absorbed by the onions.  
Add the beans and mix well.  Cook for another  minute.
Finally add the rice and mix well.  Keep stirring until the rice is hot. (about 5 minutes)
Take off heat and serve.  You can add a wedge of lime, some fresh chopped cilantro.  Also great is some chopped tomatoes and avocado.  
Enjoy!!