June 29, 2011

Recipe - Crispy Tempeh with Lemony Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

I will always remember this funny story a former co-worker of mine told me about her daughter: they were walking through the grocery store and my co-worker asked her daughter what she wanted for dinner. She was hoping for an answer like "frozen pizza" or something easy as it had been a long day. Instead, the little girl said, "I want chicken, couscous, and salad!" My co-worker was delighted that she had picked something so healthy, but also a bit deflated that she'd have to spend time in the kitchen.

Such was the story yesterday when I asked Johnny what he wanted for dinner. I hoped he would say "delivery", but instead he requested this meal I'd been talking about making the night before. I dragged myself into the kitchen to start cooking and after a few minutes I was in the swing of things. Watching Johnny dive face first into a plate of vegan food and proclaiming that he LOVED it was so worth the effort! And knowing that we saved some money and ate something way healthier than we would have had we ordered delivery always makes me feel good.

I first tried this recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz a few months ago when I got my hands on some fresh fava beans. But I didn't realize at the time all the prep work involved in cooking fresh fava beans, so I omitted them then and ended up with a bit of a mess. I was in love with the taste of the sauce, though, so I wanted to re-work it into another meal. I thought it would be great served on top of something crispy with a layer of mashed potatoes underneath. The nutty flavor of tempeh seemed like a good candidate. The result was similar to some Seitan Piccatas I've had and was really good! The sauce is definitely the star of the show with it's earthy mushroom flavor and hints of lemon and thyme. I served with some steamed garlicky kale - Johnny HATES cooked greens, but I don't think I will ever stop trying to force them on him!

Maybe we'll do delivery tonight...

Forgive the ugly photo, I'm working with a new camera!
Crispy Tempeh with Lemony Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes
Based on this recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Serves 3

For the tempeh:

1 8 oz. package plain tempeh
2 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

For the gravy:

2 tsps olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
1 10 oz. package mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (cremini work well)
2 tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 cups vegetable broth
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
Black pepper

For the mashed potatoes:

5-4 Yukon Gold potatoes, rinsed
3 tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup plain non-dairy milk
salt and pepper

Prepare the marinade for the tempeh: in a large, shallow bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon, garlic and thyme. Cut your tempeh into four equal rectangles and then carefully cut each rectangle into two slices so it's not as thick. You'll end up with 8 rectangles. Place in the marinade and toss to coat. Leave in the refrigerator while you prepare the gravy, occasionally turning the tempeh pieces.

Place your potatoes in a small saucepan with water to cover. Heat over high heat until boiling, then reduce heat and cover. Allow to boil for about 25-30 minutes, or until tender (test with a fork).

In the meantime, prepare the gravy: heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one more minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until they've started to release their moisture. Mix in the breadcrumbs and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Stir in the vegetable broth, lemon juice, and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The gravy should thicken, but you can add more breadcrumbs if it's not getting as thick as you'd like. Remove from heat and set aside (cover with foil so it stays warm).

Remove your tempeh from the refrigerator and pat each piece dry with a paper towel. Heat 2 tbps olive oil a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the tempeh pieces and fry on each side for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Fry in batches if needed so you don't overcrowd your pan, and add additional olive oil as you go. Set aside.

When potatoes have finished cooking, drain the water. In the same saucepan, mash the potatoes well with a potato masher or fork and mash in the Earth Balance. Add in just enough milk to make the potatoes creamy and mix well. Add in salt and pepper to taste and mix again.

Serve the mashed potatoes topped with 2-3 pieces of tempeh and as much gravy as you can handle! 

June 23, 2011

Sabor de Soledad Part II - Foods From My Childhood

For the second installment of Sabor de Soledad, I thought I’d kick it old-school and reminisce about my favorite foods from childhood. The 1980’s and early 90’s were strange times for food – lots of preservative laden snacks, sugary drinks, and microwavable treats. I still remember the day we got our first microwave – it was like looking into the future and knowing you’d never go back. Hope you remember some of these classics…

Giggles – These awesome sandwich cookies were unique because they made several combinations to suit all tastes: two chocolate cookies OR two vanilla cookies both glued together with delicious chocolate AND vanilla frosting. Each was made complete by the creepy little smiley face peering out at you from the cookie you were about to consume. I felt a bit cannibalistic every time I ate Giggles, but they tasted too good to stop.

Dunkaroos – Another great in the pantheon of cookie/frosting combos! These were kangaroo shaped cookies that you dunked in the accompanying container of chocolate frosting. Add as much or as little as you like! I usually piled on the frosting to the first few cookies and was left with several unfrosted cookies at the end. Sadface. Dunkaroos and Toaster Strudel taught me the fine art of frosting conservation.

Handi Snacks – Butter crackers and spreadable cheese-like food product… could we ask for anything more? Served side-by-side in a small plastic container with that iconic red plastic “spoon”, children across America ate Handi Snacks with glee for lunch every day. The hardcore kids would throw caution to the wind and just eat the cheese part. Not enough carbs in the hardcore method for my tastes.

Shark Bites Fruit Snacks – Hands down, the BEST fruit snacks EVER. While most of the flavors were pretty standard (cherry, grape, etc.) what made Shark Bites the best was the coveted and elusive “Great White Shark” flavor. There was only ever one “Great White Shark” per pack of Shark Bites, but damn was he tasty! I’m still not even sure what flavor it was (lemon maybe?) but they somehow managed to make a fruit snack pure white and it tasted sorta… milky? Sounds gross, I know, but as a 9-year-old it was haute cuisine. Plus, the Hawaiian style packaging made me feel very exotic as I nibbled my fruit snacks by the pool.

Clearly Canadian – Probably one of the healthier products consumed in the 80’s, Clearly Canadian was popular with kids and adults alike. Sparkling water in many fruit flavors with way less sugar than soda? Sign me up! And guess what… they’re totally bringing it back! The first time I see this on the grocery store shelf, I may let out a “squeeeee”! Fair warning. Another beverage we sought out was Orbitz, a thick sugary drink with Orbs of Unknown Origin suspended in it. We thought the concept was so cool, so we walked to our nearest drugstore to buy it and were very disappointed to find that it tasted like crap.

Oh’s and Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereals – Why I was eating cereal designed for the elderly as a child is beyond me, but like my cousin, Michelle, I have always been an equal opportunity cereal enthusiast. Amidst all the Count Chocula and Fruity Pebbles, I found space in my tummy for Oh’s and Cracklin’ Oat Bran. My grandma kept her kitchen stocked with cereal for the grandkids and I’d happily consume a bowl of one of these after school almost every day. In fact, when I moved in to my very first solo apartment, my first food purchase was a box of Oh’s! Sadly, it did not hold the same magic from childhood and left a distinctly oily coating in my mouth. The “Oh!” turned into more of an “Oh….”

Sunny Delight – Another offering of my grandma’s kitchen was sugary, neon orange Sunny Delight. My brother (Logan), sister (Bree) and I guzzled this stuff like it was going out of style, often alongside grandma’s famous biscuits and gravy. Tip: If you start to feel a burning sensation in your throat after your first three glasses of the day, you gotta push through because the hallucinations don’t kick in until after the fifth glass. You’re welcome.

White Cheddar Popcorn – I don’t know if any of you have been to Tucson in the summer, but guess what? It’s freaking hot! The best place to take refuge in the 90s was the air conditioned haven of the Tucson Mall. My mom and Aunt Debbie would take us there to wander aimlessly for hours on end. Logan and our cousin Hunter took up residence in the video game store, because unlike an arcade, their display games were FREE. Bree, Michelle and I semi-stalked an employee of “The Great American Hero” sandwich shop who vaguely resembled Luke Perry. After a few hours, Mom and Aunt Debbie would wrangle us all to the flavored popcorn stand for a snack. The advent of White Cheddar Popcorn was mind blowing! An instant classic that is now frozen in time thanks to Smartfood.

Hot Pockets – My dad was responsible for packing our school lunches for awhile, which meant that a Hot Pocket wrapped in tin foil usually made its way into my lunchbox. While preparing them on my own, the hard part was having enough restraint to let them COOL after removing from the microwave… lost a few layers of mouth-skin to piping hot Barbecue Beef and Pepperoni Pizza fillings.

Bagel Bites – Another microwavable all-star and winner of my favorite commercial jingle from the 90s: “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime! When pizza’s on a bagel, you can have pizza anytime!” They were apparently working on a Little House on the Prairie time schedule of “evening” and “suppertime.” Bagel Bites are still being made, but somehow the appeal of cheese shreds and cubed pepperoni on a chewy mini-bagel has lessened over the years. These couldn’t hold a candle to the English Muffin pizzas our parents let us make for dinner sometimes – still love those things!

Jello 1-2-3 – Johnny’s family lived in South Africa during most of his youth, so he missed out on a lot of American 80s culture. I casually mentioned Jello 1-2-3 in conversation one day and a look I’ve come to know too well spread across his face: “I grew up in South Africa and have no idea what you’re talking about”. After setting aside my feelings of pity, I explained the phenomena of Jello 1-2-3: you mixed it up just like regular Jello, but as it cooled it settled into three layers, the bottom-most being regular Jello, the top being frothy and creamy, and the middle being a combination of the two. Sure, it didn’t taste that good. Sure, the layers never set up properly. But it was the magic of it all, I explained to Johnny, which had us hooked. He looked at me silently for a minute and then went back to watching TV.  

Cool Ranch Doritos – If “Grease” was the word in the 70s, “Ranch” was the word in the 80s. Everything was either dipped in ranch or flavored like ranch… it was classy. My love affair with Cool Ranch Doritos was intense, but brief. It was only after I realized that CRD breath (not to mention CRD fingers) was the worst smelling breath a girl could have that I switched to the less offensive O’Boises Potato Chips. I’m not sure who still consumes this zesty cousin to regular Doritos, but every time I pass them in the convenience store, I instinctively reach for a piece of gum.  

Berry Blue Kool Aid – Kool Aid is so weird. You’d think commercials featuring a hopped-up fatty Kool Aid man bursting through perfectly good walls to hawk his wares would be enough to deter parents from buying this stuff. But Kool Aid is cheap and easy to make, so its hooks remain deeply entrenched in the back of America. Berry Blue Kool Aid was introduced in the 80s and seemed to be even more radioactive than the other flavors. I vividly remember pouring the blue powder into our Kool Aid pitcher, adding in several cups of sugar, stirring in water and marveling at the color that was about to leave a stain around my mouth. Now THAT’s what I call refreshment!

Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellys – When I was a kid, we walked uphill both ways to school and Jelly Bellys were a boutique item. You couldn’t find them just anywhere, you spoiled brats, you had to visit a Jelly Belly store to get them. When my Aunt Debbie heard about Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellys, her curiosity was too strong to resist. We all made the trek down to our local Jelly Belly store on University Boulevard and we each hesitantly popped one in our mouths… some were in love, some were vomiting within minutes. Jelly bean flavors are so subjective, ya know?

Big League Chew – Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to allow kids to decide how much bubble gum was enough? How some poor child didn’t choke to death while chomping on an entire package of Big League Chew is a mystery. I remember the cartoons of sports figures on the packaging being kinda creepy. But there was a certain satisfaction in stuffing your face with shredded bubble gum. Bree and I were also big fans of Bubblicious and Fruit Stripes gum, an obsession which only increased after a clerk who resembled Dennis Quaid in “Great Balls of Fire” started at our neighborhood 7-11. We’d beg our mom to take us to buy gum and would hide amongst the racks of beef jerky and powdered donuts to spy on him. What little pervs.

Combos – I loved Combos as a kid and I really have no idea why… These are round little snack crackers or pretzels filled with a variety of chalky paste in different flavors. “Combos” include Cheddar Cheese Pretzel, Cheddar Cheese Cracker, Nacho Cheese Pretzel, and Pepperoni Pizza Cracker, my fave. I don’t know how these snacks have managed to stay in production, they don’t taste good and they nearly made me choke every time I ate them. My guess is that the occurrence of people who eat Combos is directly correlated to perpetrators of violent crime.  

Steak-umms – I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten a Steak-umm, but their marketing campaign was fierce. I remember Steak-umms commercials monopolizing the airwaves at MTV for years, and they always featured cool teenagers. To me, Steak-umms represented acceptance, but for some reason my parents never bought them. Is a Steak-umm just the meat part of a cheese steak sandwich? Seems like a rip-off to me. Hey Steak-umms eaters, you could be getting an entire meal wrapped in a convenient crust if you came over to the Hot Pockets side… just saying…

Squeez-its – Another sugary drink, but these were packaged in little plastic bottles that you squeeeeezed. You can also fill the empty bottles with water and use as water guns.

Chile Picante Corn Nuts – Corn Nuts were forever immortalized in the movie “Heathers”, but my Mexican friends and I had been happily munching on Chile Picante Corn Nuts covered in fresh lemon juice for years by that time. It was a bit messy to dig into the narrow Corn Nuts aluminum bag and find your hand covered in lemon juice and Chile Picante coating, but it was worth it. Oh, the joys of being a disgusting little kid!

Peanut Butter Boppers – Toeing the line between candy bar and granola bar, people in the 80s no doubt considered these “health food”. Boppers were essentially comprised of a granola and chocolate chip exterior and a thick peanut butter interior. Eating them made me feel sick, but in a good way. There is a box of Boppers stashed in the family refrigerator in “The Lost Boys”, which always confused me because we kept ours in the cabinet. Were we doing it wrong? Another tasty peanut butter treat from the 80s was the PB Maxx. Copious amounts of peanut butter = good decision making in the 80s.

I could honestly go on forever, but I’ll draw the line there. I’d like to take a moment to thank the universe for not giving me cancer despite how badly I’ve treated my tummy in the past. (True story: I once at a peanut butter blizzard with Nerds mixed in. Wow.)

Add a comment and tell everyone what your favorite 80s and 90s foods and drinks were IF YOU DARE…

June 21, 2011

Recipe - Spicy Chickpea Soup with Orzo and Lemon

Hi guys! It's been so damn long since I posted anything, but it's not entirely my fault! I've been wanting to post this recipe since last week, but I took a picture of the finished product with Johnny's cell phone and he went off on vacation before I had a chance to upload the pics to our computer. Anyway, I'll go ahead with the recipe and will add the pic in when he returns from Tucson.

I've been feeling a bit like the world has gone mad lately. What with pics of Anthony Weiner in various states of undress violating my vision, Casey Anthony's murder trial being dissected on every station, and reading that two dudes were arrested for conspiring to kill Joss Stone (ummm... really?), I've had the overwhelming urge to just unplug and get back to basics. Like Susan Powter needs to pop up and shout, "STOP THE MADNESS!" 

So while you may think I've joined the ranks of the stark-raving lunatics to be posting a soup recipe in the middle of such a cruel, cruel summer, but don't count me out yet. This is one of the easiest meals I have ever thrown together, and less time spent in the kitchen + only one stovetop burner used = a might fine summer recipe in my book!

Chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes, whole wheat orzo... simple and filling food, like the kind you should be eating everyday! This soup is very low in fat calories and is also a great source of protein and fiber. The lemony taste is unexpected and the tiny orzo noodles make it feel like comfort food. I served it with a toasted slice of Ezekiel Genesis bread buttered with a bit of Earth Balance and it was a very satisfying and healthy dinner. It also makes 8 servings so you can take the leftovers to work with a sandwich or wrap. I love soup for lunch because it satiates my hunger, but not so much that I develop narcolepsy in the afternoon.

And best of all - Johnny was a fan! I knew going in it wouldn't be his favorite meal ever, but was pleasantly surprised by how much he liked it. Considering how easy to make and healthy it is, this will be a repeat offender for sure.

BTW, I am using the word "chickpea" rather than "garbanzo bean" because apparently that's the thing to do on the East coast. Wonder why the difference?

Look! I finally caught a picture of the elusive Chickpea Soup!
Spicy Chickpea Soup with Lemon and Orzo
Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (get no-salt added if you can)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
4 tbsp powdered vegetable broth
7-8 cups filtered water
1 cup whole wheat orzo
3 cups fresh spinach
Juice of one lemon

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions are cooked through (but not browned), add the spices and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and broth. Add about half the water and stir. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the orzo and continue simmering for another 20 minutes. As the soup cooks, add additional water as you see fit (depending on your taste, you may want a thicker stew or a thinner soup). Once the orzo is fully cooked, remove from heat and stir in the spinach and lemon. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes so the spinach wilts. Serve hot.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories 232; Total fat 5.5g; Saturated fat 0.5g; Trans fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 399mg; Carbohydrate 38.4g; Dietary Fiber 9.9g; Sugars 1.7g; Protein 9.5g; Vitamin A 17%; Vitamin C 13%; Calcium 3%; Iron 12%

A little bonus to tell you about my newest obsession... I've been hearing about coconut butter for years, but held off on buying any because of the cost. I finally made the leap and bought a small jar of Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter at Whole Foods this week for about $8.00. Thanks to the brilliant Jessica at The Domestic Vegan, I already knew what I wanted to do with it - stuff some into a medjool date for a tasty little dessert. I popped one into the micro for just 5 seconds to loosen up the butter a bit. And then I died and went to heaven! People, do not deny yourself this goodness! It was like a chewy date filled with coconut icing! Surprisingly sweet and even one was very satisfying (though I, of course, went back for a second). While coconut butter is pretty high in fat, you don't need much to pack a punch. Plus, it's got some protein, fiber, and fatty acid benefits to it that have made it all the rage in the health-food world. And if the cost is a deterrent to you, take a note from Matthew over at Vegan Heartland and make your own. Sometimes my fellow vegans are freakin' geniuses. Peace out!

June 14, 2011

A Sunday in the Village

Johnny and I had an amazing Sunday. We wandered down to the East Village and ended up walking around for three hours! Think "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed and you'll get the gist. :-)

We started with breakfast/lunch at Quantum Leap, one of our very favorite casual restaurants. It's a vegetarian diner (though they do have fish, too) and they have tons of vegan options. They serve breakfast almost all day on the weekend, but this time I was in the mood for something savory, so I got the Vegan Flame Grilled Burger with fries and a yummy little side salad. So fresh and delicious! Johnny got French toast and scrambled eggs with "soysage" links and really loved it.

I want more now please.
We then walked over to 10th Street and paid a visit to Obscura, the antiques store featured on the TV show "Oddities" on the Discovery Channel. What a cool little shop! As the name suggests, they feature many out-of-the-ordinary and macabre antiques such as old medical equipment, taxidermied animals, and pretty much anything related to death and dying. Mike and Evan from the TV show were not working that day, but the lady attending the shop couldn't have been nicer. They encourage people to look around even if they don't plan on buying anything. Johnny was very close to buying some foot bones from a human skeleton they just got in, but decided against it (much to my delight!).

Walking down 6th Street, we stumbled upon the most incredible place, The Creative Little Garden. It's nestled between two tall buildings on a non-descript block, but upon entering you truly feel transported to another place! It is so quiet and serene with trickling fountains and birds enjoying the feeders. There are hundreds of plant varieties all meticulously kept and lots of benches and tables so people can hang out and have lunch there. 
It's just like being in someone's awesome backyard!
The Creative Little Garden is open to the public and is even available to book for private events. It would be the perfect place for a small wedding or party, but is equally as awesome for reading a book or sipping some tea. I highly recommend stopping by if you're ever in the area.

Johnny signing the guestbook.
We also stopped in this awesome little shop called Sustainable on Avenue A. What a cool place! They sell all recycled and eco-friendly items and lots of organic beauty products, too. Their prices are surprisingly good and I got a sweet little messenger bag made from a recycled rice sack! They also have a cute little cafe in the back with fair trade coffee and lots of vegan treats.

Next, we took a walk over to the famed Tompkins Square Park. This place always reminds me of the movie "Kids". It's so quintessentially New York, a mixture of druggies passed out on the lawn and parents with their kids on the playground a few steps away! The fact that it's located smack dab in the middle of the East Village means that you can take people watching to a whole new level here. We focused our sites on the dog park instead and laughed our butts off at how cute and funny the mutts were. Can't wait till the day when we can adopt a pup of our own, but in the meantime, it's fun to watch them where we can.

Finally, we made our way over to Lula's Sweet Apothecary on 6th Street and sampled some delicious vegan ice cream treats. This place is so, so amazing. I got my favorite flavor, Drumstick, which is vanilla cashew-milk ice cream with pieces of cone, chocolate chips, and peanuts mixed in. Yummers! I also bought a Rescue Chocolate, a vegan chocolate bar made by a charity in Brooklyn. 100% of the net proceeds go to animal rescue efforts and they're not cheap, but they are for such a good cause! I got a Peanut Butter Pitbull bar and Johnny and I inhaled it later that day. One of the best candy bars I've ever tasted!
Stay away from my Drumstick if you know what's good for you!
All weekends should be so good! Did you guys do anything fun this weekend?

June 13, 2011

Recipe - Asian Salad with Mochi Croutons and Carrot Ginger Dressing

Well, hello there! How is everyone today? I am so excited to have so many new followers to The Odd Couple Eats! I want to kick things off this week by posting a recipe for a delicious summer salad. Now that temperatures are rising it can be SO tough to find the energy to cook dinner every night. Salads are the way to go because they don't heat up the kitchen and you have endless ingredient options so you won't get bored! While this isn't the most low-cal or low-fat salad, it is high in healthy fats and has TONS of Vitamin A. Sorry, but if I'm having a salad for dinner, it's gotta have some goodies in it!

This salad was inspired by one that I had at Spring Street Natural, one of my favorite restaurants in SoHo. I loved the idea of an Asian salad with pineapple and crunchy cashews, but wanted to add a bit of protein and something more healthy than fried won ton strips. I came up with this version that uses garbanzo beans and mochi croutons. What is mochi? Glad you asked! Mochi is kind of like a dough that is made from whole grain brown rice. It's wheat, gluten and dairy-free. You can either bake or pan-fry it and it's lots of fun because it puffs up when you cook it! You can add different things to it to make it either sweet or savory and you can also find flavored versions of it. I use the Grainaissance brand of plain mochi and either bake or fry small pieces of it to use in salads or soups. It's way more nutritious than bread croutons and is very versatile! I buy it at Whole Foods and it's just a few bucks per package. You can also find a coupon on the Grainaissance web site here.

You can add or omit ingredients to the salad as you see fit. I was really hoping to find some jicama to shred and add to the salad like the one at Spring Street Natural, but I couldn't find it anywhere! I added some water chestnuts instead, but if you can get your hands on jicama, go for it! Because the dressing is homemade, it is a bit high in (healthy) fat, but the trade off is that it has no preservatives and much less sodium than bottled dressing. If you're watching your fat intake, feel free to use a bottled low-fat or fat-free Asian dressing (just try to find a natural one) or take out the cashews and avocado... though to do so would thoroughly depress me. C'mon, live a little!

Johnny slept through dinner last night, but I will try to recreate this salad and have him give it a taste later in the week. He is a fan of mochi and pineapple, so my guess is that he'd be pretty into this salad. :-)

Asian Salad with Mochi Croutons and Carrot Ginger Dressing
Makes 3 big salads (the kind Elaine loves!)

Carrot Ginger Dressing
Adapted from this recipe from Goop

1 large or 2 small carrots, rinsed, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 large shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
2" of ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
1 tbsp shoyu or soy sauce
1/4 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
2 tbsp canola oil
A few tbsp of filtered water

Mochi Croutons
1/2 package plain mochi
2 tbsp olive oil
Shoyu or soy sauce

Half head of Romaine lettuce, rinsed and torn into bite-sized pieces
Several sprigs of cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed
1/4 dry roasted cashews (unsalted)
2 carrots, shredded with a peeler

Make your dressing first. In a food processor or blender, combine the carrots, shallot, and ginger and process until finely chopped. Add the miso, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and hot sauce (optional) and blend again. While blending, drizzle in the canola oil and enough water to achieve the consistency you want. Transfer to a container and chill until ready to use.

To make the croutons, cut 1/2 package of mochi into small squares. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Once warm, add 1/2 of your mochi squares leaving enough room around each so that they don't touch. Cover the pan and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the mochi (I do this using two spoons) and add 1 more tbsp of olive oil and a few drops of shoyu or soy sauce to the top of each square. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes more, being careful not to burn. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the second batch of mochi. (If you have a large covered pan, you can probably cook in one batch.)

To assemble the salad, divide the remaining salad ingredients between three bowls and toss with the Carrot Ginger dressing. Top with the mochi croutons and a sprinkle of Gomasio or sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 663; Total Fat 40g; Saturated Fat 4.9g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 545mg; Carbohydrate 72.5g; Dietary Fiber 11.2g; Sugars 11.3g; Protein 11.2g; Vitamin A 467%; Vitamin C 85%; Calcium 7%; Iron 17%

June 9, 2011

Welcome Kind Lifers!

I am absolutely stunned and humbled that Alicia Silverstone featured The Odd Couple Eats on her blog, The Kind Life! There are so many awesome vegan bloggers out there and it's a great feeling to be recognized. Thanks to everyone at The Kind Life for all the awesome work they do, they've inspired me since the minute I chose to go vegan.

Welcome to all who have come here via The Kind Life, it's great to have you! I actually haven't posted many recipes in the past few weeks, we've had some out-of-town visitors (first my lovely mother-in-law, and this week my awesome parents) so I've been taking it easy and eating out waaaay too much. Come Sunday, I will get back in that kitchen and whip up some new summer treats to share.

As always, my door is open for comments and suggestions!