Posts tagged vegan

our rationale, and mushroom cabbage wraps

2014-08-27 19.32.42

Honestly, any diet that allows me to serve a fruit swimming in a shallow lake of butter and maple syrup or honey is a diet that I can on board with. And I realized that on Tuesday I didn’t really describe WHY we are doing what we’re doing. At the risk of offending anyone, I’ll admit that we aren’t doing what is referred to as the “paleo” or “ancestral” diet, primarily because the science doesn’t convince me, but secondarily because I think the entire thing is pretty illogical. However, the fact is that our diet–like, I think, most Americans’–has revolved around grains and meat. This is natural, considering that grains are a “staple” food–they make up a fairly large percent of, I think, most diets worldwide. But while some people may not have a problem healthily integrating their grains with large amounts of vegetation, we are not those people.

We, like many, can make entire meals out of macaroni and cheese, or bread and a roast chicken. This isn’t because we don’t enjoy vegetables, though. On the contrary, when prepared properly they can be just as enjoyable as grains, and sometimes even more enjoyable on their own. I guess it’s because grains are easy and we’re so habituated to them being a staple, and because preparing grains, meats, and vegetables all deliciously without restoring always to one-pot meals can get exhausting. And finally, we eat far too much refined sugar.

I wanted to make this a change of habits, not just a change of ingredients. If I just swapped out the ingredients, we would no doubt be eating copious amounts of cauliflower “rice,” almond flour, and coconut flour. And let’s be honest, even if those options are healthier, would it really be healthy to have a diet comprised heavily of those items? I doubt it.

As I suggested, there may be a few exceptions to the “no-substitute foods” as time goes on. One is granola, which we are using to top our fruit crisp in the mornings, and which has been made of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pineapple, dates, and coconut flakes. Another is crackers, which I will be making out of lentil and/or chickpea flour. Another is our homemade “Larabars,” since my husband was making a meal out of his Clif bars until now anyway and it’s what works for him. And finally, at some point I will probably dip into the vast pool of grain-free, nut-free bread options, choosing something with as few ingredients as possible (I’m looking at you, sweet potato buns or butternut squash flatbread) to help me conquer those insistent bread snack cravings without messing up what I’m trying to do here…

Which is ultimately to see. Just…to see. If it does anything. If it changes anything.

For day three (of 42):
Breakfast: cup of garlic soup with poached veggies and egg; “baked” apple with maple syrup and butter

Lunch: skipped

Snack: a little of my parents’ leftover chinese food (mostly onions, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms); a half-portion of our leftover pumpkin chipotle chili from last night

Dinner: mushroom cabbage wraps

 

Mushroom Cabbage Wraps

(serves 2, with some leftover mushroom mixture. might perhaps serve 3 or 4 with additional cabbage leaves. if you don’t have any pre-cooked vegetables, mince or process the same amount of raw veggies, and cook with the onion mixture until softened before adding the mushrooms.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t fresh ginger, grated
  • ~20 mushrooms (enough to fill a 10-c food processor bowl)
  • 2 c cooked vegetables (we used carrots, celery, radishes, turnip)
  • 1/4 c teriyaki sauce
  • 2 T chile-garlic sauce
  • 1 T soy sauce (or to taste)
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 2 t rice vinegar
  • 2 t lime juice
  • 1 small cabbage, leafed
  • carrot and daikon pickles, if desired
  • fresh green onion, if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook several minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
  2. Meanwhile, add mushrooms to food processor and pulse until chopped finely, about 10-15 one-second pulses. You may have a few mushrooms that stay stubbornly whole–if that happens, remove the chopped mushrooms and re-process the whole ones.
  3. Add mushrooms to saute pan. Stir frequently, cooking until the mushrooms have released their liquid and cooked it off, and are beginning to brown and crisp again.
  4. Meanwhile, add cooked vegetables to the food processor and pulse until chopped, about 2-3 one-second pulses. Add to mushrooms and stir until well combined.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (to taste) into the mushroom vegetable mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until it has reached the taste and texture you desire. It should be wet enough to hold together on a spoon, almost like sloppy joes.
  6. Serve with cabbage leaves for rolling, as well as the carrot and daikon pickles, green onion, or any other garnishes you desire. In the picture I snapped, you can see my husband has helpfully added chicken to his, which you can certainly do (although I prefer pork).

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the crust goes… crustless

Here at The Crust life has been going through a lot of ups and downs. Jobs found, jobs quit, jobs found again. We’ve moved three times. It’s no wonder my poor little journal here fell by the wayside. And in the meantime our eating habits haven’t exactly been wonderful. Just four or five posts ago I promised to take my diet in a different direction, but life got in the way again. This time the hubs and I are in it together, and we’re trying it on for six weeks.

The Plan:

  • vegetarian 6 days per week
  • grain-free, refined-sugar-free
  • no soy protein replacements
  • no (well, few) “replacement” baked goods using alternative flour
  • Breakfast: fruit crumble with granola topping of coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. OR soup (miso or broth base with vegetables and poached egg)
  • Lunch: nut-free energy bars for hubs, fruit and nut butters for me
  • Dinner: lettuce wraps, stuffed vegetables, chili, stews, roasted veggie bowls, etc.
  • Snacks: cheeses and lentil/chickpea flour crackers, fruits, nuts

Yesterday was our first day. For me:

  • Breakfast: garlic broth with poached vegetables and stirred in egg (like egg drop)
  • Lunch: apple with peanut butter
  • Dinner: roasted broccoli and sweet potato bowl with beet greens and miso dressing
  • Late Night Snack: pineapple; leftover half-poblano stuffed with corn, goat cheese, and chickpeas

And today:

  • Breakfast: skipped – I still fast when I can
  • Lunch: grapes, apple, peanuts
  • Dinner: pumpkin chipotle chili
  • Late Night Snack: roasted pumpkin with maple syrup and tahini

No pictures tonight, I’m afraid, but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things gradually. To make up for it, double recipes!

 

Stuffed Poblanos with Grilled Corn, Goat Cheese, and Chickpeas

(serves 4 as a light meal; add a salad or, if you like, some roasted chicken. if you are sensitive to spicy foods, feel free to use bell peppers or even tomatoes or zucchini)

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano or anaheim peppers
  • 2 ears corn
  • 5 oz. goat cheese (herbed or peppercorn work nicely here)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 c. creme fraiche or yogurt
  • 1/2 red onion, minced

Directions:

  1. Grill corn directly over the heat, turning every few minutes, until well browned–even slightly charred. Let cool and shuck into the bowl of a food processor. Add goat cheese and chickpeas, and pulse several times until it resembles a chunky paste.
  2. Stir creme fraiche and red onion into goat cheese mixture.
  3. Halve peppers and remove seeds. Fill pepper halves with goat cheese mixture.
  4. Grill 10-20 minutes, or until peppers have softened and charred slightly.

 

Pumpkin Chipotle Chili

(serves 4; in order to make this meal quicker, I “cheated” a little and added a can of refried beans–or in my case a package of delicious seasoned red beans–in order to get a thicker texture and richer taste without an hour of simmering)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin
  • olive oil
  • ancho chile powder
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • chili powder
  • 1/2 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Peel the pumpkin, cut in half, and remove the seeds and pulp. Set aside half of the pumpkin for another use (I roasted them along with the seeds to eat later). Dice the other half of the pumpkin. Separate the seeds from the pulp, toss with a little olive oil, sprinkle with ancho chile powder and smoked paprika, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake about ten minutes, watching to see that they don’t burn.
  2. Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin and cook, tossing often, until lightly browned on all sides. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook a few minutes, until softened, and then sprinkle with chili powder to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan over high heat. When hot, add cherry tomatoes and cook, shaking the pan often, until blistered and some have popped open.
  4. Add chipotle peppers, chicken broth, refried beans, black beans, and cherry tomatoes to the pot. Stir until well combined. Heat to boiling, then cover and reduce heat. Cook for about ten minutes, until pumpkin is cooked through.
  5. Divide into four bowls and top with avocado, shredded cheese, green onions, and pumpkin seeds.

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day 2

Yesterday was better on the vegan front, if not quite successful. I was able to fast until about 7:30pm, and I might have made it a bit longer except that we were nearby a place we wanted to eat and knew we could get good food that would (technically) fit into the diet. That’s the interesting thing about a vegan, wheat-free diet. It doesn’t leave a lot of options, but one of those is french fries 🙂 So we went up to Burger Bar in Union Square here in SF and split an order of regular fries and one of sweet potato fries. Of course, we gave in and ordered the aioli so technically it was a vegetarian meal.

Then a couple of hours later I tried out the peanut butter and 100% fruit jam on brown rice cakes, and yeah… rice cakes are not any better than I had remembered them. Sort of like chewing on styrofoam, but on the other hand it successfully conveyed PBJ to my mouth, so I’ll keep them around just for that. I was still hungry after that, so I snacked a little until I went to bed. I think they key is definitely more hydration, because that keeps me less hungry – and I need to remember my vitamins! That and choosing vegetable-heavy dishes, because they’re better for me and are far less caloric if done right. That didn’t happen today because I was out of the house, but in the future that’s the way I’m trying to eat more. French fries and PBJ might technically be on my list of foods, but it definitely isn’t in the spirit of this new diet to eat that way.

Food Diary, 9/5/12

  • 7:30pm, fries + aioli – 480 cal
  • 10pm, PBJ rice cakes – 460 cal
  • 11pm, manchego + 2 dates – 330 cal
  • Total ~ 1270 cal

Recipe: Lime Corn

This corn oddly tasted quite a bit like lemon bars – you could almost eat it for dessert if you wanted to.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 tbsp. butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat butter or oil in saute pan over medium heat. Cut kernels off corn cobs and add to the pan. Salt and pepper to taste and cook until kernels are crisp-tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Add lime zest and juice and mix to combine thoroughly.

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