Saturday, May 7, 2016

Klunker's gyros

 Klunker's gyros 

A while back, I had a request to make gyros plant based.  There are a few recipes out there, most are made with some form of saitan (made from vital wheat gluten) or chickpea flour.  I am here to tell you now, I cannot stand the taste of either.  I know it is probably all in my head, but I just cannot stomach the aftertaste of either.  So, I knew I was not going to even attempt this recipe unless I could find a solution.  This meant that I would have to really spend some time writing this recipe.  

I already have the delicious pillows, the bread of this sandwich, my very own pita recipe. You will need that or your very own recipe.  Mine can be found here
You will also need some delicious tzatziki sauce.  I will include that at the end of this recipe.
The main part of this recipe is the "meat".  It has lots of ingredients and requires some time and effort.  I get many people who tell me they will not make a recipe because there are too many steps.  I hope that does not keep you from this recipe.  Once you make it and store it in the fridge, the rest is easy.  

OK, lets go with the recipe for the gyro "meat"


1/2 cup dry, red lentils
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
10 sundried tomatoes (dry)
1/2 cup oats (GF if needed)

2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon cumin 

10 medium mushrooms
2 green onions, cleaned
1/2 medium onion
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas 
1/2 cup aquafaba
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce 

OK, to start, you need to make all of the dry ingredients into powder.  That means taking the lentils, sun dried tomatoes, oats, flax seed and put into a blender and blend until a fine powder.  I did each one individually.

I then placed each one into a large bowl (illustration).  Then I took a whisk and whisk it all together.

Next, you want to put all of your wet/other ingredients into a food processor or blender.

Blend until a smooth paste.  It takes a good minute to really blend well.
Now, pour the smooth paste into the dry mix.

With a spoon, combine it all together and mix until smooth.

Now, pour the mix into a 9x9 silicone pan.  If you don't have silicone, line a metal 9x9 pan with parchment paper and pour into that.  Smooth it out with a spatula.

Let sit for 10 minutes.  While it is sitting, heat the oven to 375°.
After 10 minutes, place into the oven and set the timer to 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool to room temp.
Remove from the pan by turning over.  Make sure to run a knife along the edges.  I turned mine on to a cutting board.  Cut into 4 even pieces.  
Place into a zip top bag, and let chill for at least 2 hours, overnight is better.
While that is chilling lets make some tzatziki sauce.


1/2 block extra firm silken tofu
1 large cucumber, peeled and shredded.   Place into a paper towel and squeeze all the liquid out of it
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 teaspoons crushed garlic 
1-2 teaspoons dried dill
salt and pepper to taste.

Place all but the cucumber in a blender and blend well.  Add to the cucumber and mix well in a bowl.  Place in the fridge and chill.  You can blend the cucumber into tofu if you want, it will give you a smooth sauce.  I like mine chunky.  

Now, back to the gyro meat.
After it has chilled (I did mine overnight) take out and cut thinly on the diagonal.

Place the pieces into a dry frying pan and heat up on both sides.  I like to add just a little bit of brown to it.

To assemble:

Place one pita down.  Schmear it with the tzatziki sauce, add sliced tomatoes, lettuce and any other yummy thing you want.  I like avocado.  Then, pile on the "meat" you just worked so hard on.  
Now, there is only one thing left.  EAT THAT SUCKER!!

 I hope you make this recipe.  I know it is labor intensive.  But then again, we are talking about good food here..;)

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Klunker's creamy portobello and artichoke dip

Klunker's creamy portobello and artichoke dip 

I have been thinking about making this recipe for a long time.  I used to love going out to eat, and getting the artichoke dip appetizer.  I love the slight tang that it left in my mouth and the creaminess, oh the creaminess!!
Come forward to now, and eating plant based.  This requires that we get creative to achieve some of the "old way" recipes.  Sometimes it is just a matter of tweaking a few different things and you have it.  Other times, you have to just give up the food all together.  I almost gave up on this one, but thought I would give it a try to make sure.
Before you begin, you need to make a batch of my garlic lime aioli.  The recipe can be found here.  If you make that a day or two ahead, it gets really thick, and makes this recipe even better.  But, it will still work great if you make it the same day.
OK, lets get into the recipe.


1 cup garlic lime aioli (recipe link above)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped medium
2 large portobello caps, chopped medium
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 15oz. can of artichoke hearts in water, drained and rinsed and chopped up
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Juice of one lemon

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, until they just start to soften.

After 5 minutes, add the mushrooms, garlic, and artichokes.  

Saute for 10-12 minutes, or until the mushrooms wilt and everything is soft. Add the spices and liquid smoke.
Continue to saute for another 5 minutes, stirring well to combine the spices.
After 5 minutes add the nutritional yeast.

Stir to combine well.  It will get gooey and thick at this point.  Make sure you stir well.  
Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes.  You want it warm but not hot at this point. 
After 10 minutes, add the garlic lime aioli. (now, if you didn't make this ahead, you can use whatever sour cream substitute you want, but it will alter the flavor.  If you use a sour cream sub, add the juice of one lime)
Stir well, and add the lemon juice.  Stir one more time.
You can eat now, at room temp.  You can also put into a small, oven safe dish and sprinkle with some bread crumbs.  Place into a 400° oven and warm up to hot.  
Serve with toast points, crackers, anything crunchy.  I served with some of my homemade bread that was toasted.  IT WAS AMAZING!!

I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I did. As always, I love feedback.
**Just a side note.  You could add spinach or kale to this also, be creative and enjoy your creation.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Buddha bowl

Buddha bowl

This post is going to be a little bit different.  I want to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart, and something I eat many times in a week.  It is simply called a Buddha bowl.  It is to me, the poster child of healthy, plant based living.  It is beautiful, healthy, delicious, and so easy to make.
What is a Buddha bowl.  Well, the general description is this: 
Buddha bowls, sometimes referred to as glory or hippie bowls, are hearty, filling dishes made of various greens, raw or roasted veggies, beans and a healthy grain like quinoa or brown rice. Sometimes they also include toppings like nuts, seeds and dressings for added texture and flavor. (©
In a nut shell, it is a big bowl of happy food that is just waiting to fill you up and it is something you can feel good about eating.  You are in control.  There really is not right or wrong, as long as you are keeping it plant based and no oil.  You can explore new and exciting ways to combine food.
So, how do I "Buddha bowl" a meal?  Here are MY steps.
First, I choose a bowl from my collection. I have a huge bowl collection, and we will discuss that another time (my wife mocks me. hahaha)
The first thing I do is choose a grain.  Normally that is either rice (yes, you can do brown) or quinoa.  I start that cooking per directions.
I next choose what green veggie I want.  I am a sucker for baby bok choy.  My favorite way to eat it is just cutting it into 4 pieces, and steam for 8 minutes.  I also love to saute some baby spinach with garlic and soy sauce.  Sometimes I have the spinach fresh too.  You don't have to cook your greens for this.
Next, you want another type of veggie.  For me, 99% of the time, that will be mushrooms.  I slice, dice, or leave whole, and just saute them with salt and pepper.  I like to put a little char on them.
Now, here is where many will part ways, but there are many options.  Lets pick a bean to eat with this meal.  I am a lover of tofu.  I don't apologize or try and defend that choice.  Does it mean you have to love it or eat it?  NOPE.  Just like all my recipes, I make them how I like them.  IT IS YOUR CHOICE TO EAT IT.  If I make a recipe that you don't like the ingredient, or it doesn't fit your lifestyle, by all means, don't make it.  I am simply sharing. :)
OK, back to beans.  You can use black, white, orange, green, soy, any kind will do.  My staples are black, chickpea and tofu.  You can heat them up, or eat cold.
In the picture above, I made salt and pepper tofu.  After draining the tofu, I cut into cubes, put into a zip top bag, added salt and pepper and gently tossed around to coat.  I dry fried in a pan, but you could bake too.  
Finally, we come to toppings.  You want a sauce of some kind.  It can be as easy as sriracha or your favorite kind of hot sauce.  I like to make many different sauces.  One of my favorite, and the one in the picture above is a very simple spicy peanut sauce.
Here are the ingredients: 

1 tablespoon PB2 peanut powder and enough water to make it creamy (or you could use peanut butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
depending on how spicy up to 1 tablespoon sriracha 

a dash of low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin

I also like to top my bowl with freshly cut green onions and some sliced avocado, again, you choose.
Now, just assemble it.  You want it to be in thirds.  1 third you want your grain, 1 third your greens, 1 third your beans, and then put the other veggie on top.  Drizzle with your sauce, add anything else you want on top (sesame seeds work well) and poof, you have an amazing meal.  
You can eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can alter the ingredients and this can be a daily thing.  All that matters is that it looks and tastes good to you.  
You can make it Asian one day, Indian the next, and Ethiopian the next.  It is an easy way to get in a big meal and one that will make you happy and healthy.  You can make the ingredients ahead, and just put it all together when you are ready to eat.  Have fun with it and enjoy eating.  :)

Homemade bread

Homemade bread

I don't know how many people know, but I dislike baking bread.  First of all, it never turns out the way I want it to, and secondly, well, it's really the only reason I have.  I always follow the recipe, and yet I end up with a flour brick and it tastes like something I would never eat.
So, I decided that maybe I should write my own recipe, and see if it would work out the way I wanted.  Why the hell I waited so long to do this is beyond me.  This bread turned out just like I enjoy.  Crusty on the outside, and tender on the inside.  Not too dense, but not a slice of puffy air.

I was trying to come up with a recipe for no oil bread, so I didn't have to keep spending $7 dollars for store bought.  Yes, it takes time, and yes, it does require some effort.  BUT, I can make this a couple times a week, and save a bunch.  Plus, I know everything that goes into it.
So, lets go to the recipe and steps.  It's long and boring, but after you make it one time, you will see that is actually was easy and the end result will make you happy.

Before you start, turn your oven on to the very lowest setting and preheat. When it gets to temp, turn it off and don't open the door.  JUST WALK AWAY!


3 cups whole wheat flour 
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (set the 1/2 cup aside for later)
1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used black)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (optional and you can adjust down)
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
3 1/4 cups water warmed to 108°-110°f (use a instant read thermometer if you have one, otherwise just 
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses 

This is the brand of whole wheat flour I use if you want to know.  I got it at Smith's (Kroger)

In a large bowl, combine the two flours, the oats, sunflower and sesame seeds, and the salt.  With a whisk, combine well.

In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast, maple syrup, and the molasses.  Mix until the yeast is dissolved and the molasses is dissolved into the water.  Set aside and let "bloom" for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the liquid to your flour mix.  Stir with a wooden spoon until you can't, and then get your hands in there and knead.  You want to work the dough for 8-10 minutes, until semi smooth.  Form into a ball, and flatten the ball.

Now, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and a kitchen towel over that.  Place the bowl into your warm oven, and close the door.  NOW WALK AWAY, and clean the mess you just made.  It needs to rise for 2 hours. (don't complain, I can hear it now.  Just do something else around the house.  Run errands, its not like you have to babysit it)
After 2 hours, take it out of the oven, and take the covering off.  
It should be huge by now, so let out your frustrations and punch that sucker down.
On your counter or work surface, sprinkle out that 1/2 cup of flour, and plop the dough in the middle.  Now, once again, lets knead.  10 minutes this time, and then your kneading is done.  The dough will be just a little tacky. Now, cut in half and roll each half into a nice ball.
If you want oats on the outside, sprinkle some down and roll the dough in it.
Place both halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment or with a silicone pad.
Slice 3-4 slices on the top (see illustration below)

Now, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 20-25 minutes. (I placed on top of my oven so it was nice and warm)
While it rests, Place a metal lasagna pan or comparable pan in the oven on the bottom rack and fill half way with water.  Turn the oven on to 450° and close the door.  Let heat up for 20 minutes, and don't open the door until you are ready to bake.

Uncover the bread, and gently place in the oven, do it fast so all the steam doesn't escape.  Close the door and bake for 24 minutes.
After 24 minutes, open the oven and step back, it will be steamy.
Remove the bread and place on a cooling rack.
Avoid the temptation to cut right into it, and let it cool for 30 minutes.

After the bread had cooled, place each one in an air tight container, or a zip top bag. (I used the gallon size)
This recipe gives you two good sized loaves, and that should last you a few days.
Now, cut the bread and schmear it with all the good, healthy stuff.

I hope you give this a try.  IT TAKES EFFORT, IT TAKES A LITTLE TIME, but you made it all by yourself and you know all the ingredients.  Take time for your health.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

Easy Korean black bean potatoes

Easy Korean black bean potatoes

Well, this will probably be one of the easiest recipes you will make.  Honestly, you can throw this together so fast, IF you make your potatoes ahead.  
I always have three main Korean sauces in my fridge at all times.  

These are the three sauces that I use all the time.  They last for months in the fridge, and they add amazing flavor to so many of my dishes.  Having these on hand will allow you to throw together 
Lets concentrate on the last one, the black bean paste.  Talk about a unique flavor.  It is earthy and deep.  It is not spicy, just full amazing flavors.  
I ate this for breakfast, but you could use it for any meal, as a main dish or a side.  Add some mushrooms or other veggies.


5 medium yukon gold potatoes, precooked (I steamed) and cut into bite sized cubes. ( I find that this works better if you let them sit overnight in the fridge)
1 heaping tablespoon black bean paste (see illustration above)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons water

Place a large, nonstick saute pan on medium heat.  While it is heating up, cut up your cooked potatoes.   When the pan is hot, add the potatoes and spread out evenly.  Now, don't touch them.  Let them start to brown.  
In about 10 minutes, check a few and see if they move easily.  If they are sticking, wait another minute or so.  Then gently turn all the pieces.  You want to try and get all the sides browned up.
When you are happy with the potatoes being browned (it can take 10-20 minutes) make a clearing in the middle of the pan, and add the black bean paste, garlic, maple syrup and water.  
Mix around with either your spatula or a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Then start adding the potatoes into the mix, and make sure you cover all of them. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring the whole time to make sure everything is evenly covered. 
Serve right away.  You can garnish with some chopped green onions and sesame seeds if you want.
One variation of this would be to add 1-2 tsp. of the gochujang red pepper paste, and then it becomes a spicy blend.
This really does come together fast.  I hope you are inspired to have some of these ingredients available in your fridge.  It really does make meal time fast and delicious.