Tag Archives: whole foods

In Sickness and In Juice

20 Apr

Two evenings ago, I met a friend for dinner at my favorite D.C. restaurant, Palena. Since the two things that I love best about Palena are their burger (topped with a slice of truffled cheese — and the best ever or tied with Michael Mina’s in San Francisco that comes with duck confit fries ) and their perfectly wood-burning oven-roasted chicken over lemon-wilted greens, I realized that weekday veganism, at least for this Wednesday, would be going out the window. We began our meal with lovely house-baked bread and fresh butter, an asparagus and ramps salad with burrata (similar to mozzarella but has soft curds inside), split the burger and the chicken of my dreams, and finished with an incredible goat cheese sorbet with rhubarb compote. To say this meal was far from vegan is quite the understatement.

Later that night, I started to feel a tickle in my throat and woke up in the middle of the night coughing. Uh oh! This didn’t feel particularly like allergy symptoms but I couldn’t rule allergies out since my glands weren’t swollen. I finally fell back to sleep, and when I woke up yesterday morning, I had a scratchy throat and felt not great overall. I haven’t been sick with a cold since long before my cleanse back in March and I didn’t want to be sick for the weekend. Since cleansing, and learning how much what I put in my mouth affects my general well-being, I haven’t wanted to take any medicines. I have been trying to let my body heal itself. Could it be that all of the meat and dairy had made me exhibit cold symptoms??

gorgeous tie-dye looking juice

Yesterday morning, I looked in my fridge, saw that I had some random veggies from my lasagna making and from salads, and decided to juice. With hopes that a high dose of vitamins from all the veggies would cure my impending doom, I made a large carrot and orange juice for breakfast, and an enormous purple cabbage, zucchini, spinach, cucumber, lemon, and apple juice for lunch. After drinking my juices (and spilling some of my purple elixir on the carpet of the Macy’s dressing room–sorrrrry), I won’t lie to you and say that I felt magically cured. My throat was still scratchy. I ate an orange in the afternoon for more vitamin C and when I arrived at home I felt a bit better. I made dinner (seitan, pinto beans, and avocado) and ate a whole mango, followed by banana “ice cream”. When I woke up today, I felt 100% better.

This morning on the Today show, I heard criticism about a children’s book promoting veganism, and wondered how something that is obviously so beneficial for children ESPECIALLY could be looked down on. (I mean really, just take a look at Bill Clinton.) I’m not going to say that I will never eat meat — I am a girl who loves a rare filet with some sautéed spinach and a glass of Brunello or a creamy baked mac and cheese with some BBQ — but I will say that I am 100% sure that meat and dairy products don’t promote health and that plant-based foods do. I am not a nutritionist, and I’m sure that a nutritionist would disagree (because nutrition classes are based on USDA guidelines — and USDA promotes agriculture, i.e. the “A” in USDA), but I am a person who can feel the effects of plants vs. animal-based foods and I say bring on the veg!

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

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Recipes: Kale and Roasted Beet Salad with Vegan Pistachio Pesto AND Chia Pudding Dessert

4 Apr

So after my amazing dinner at Barbuzzo, which I devoted a whole post to, I decided that I needed to recreate this delicious salad that I had. The salad was Roasted Beets with Kale, Grapefruit, and Goat Cheese with a Pistachio Pesto. The combination of the flavors was so incredibly different that I just had to veganize it and make it immediately. I would like to report that my first attempt to make the salad was a SUCCESS! Thankfully the cleanse left my taste buds in prime working order so that I could mentally take notes to plan what I might need to make this at home.

A typical pesto includes basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and lots of parmesan cheese. Not very vegan friendly. I swapped in a little bit of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor and extra nutrients (like B-12), and used some arugula for a peppery bite. Here is what I came up with and man…it is delicious.

Vegan Roasted Beet Salad with Kale Chiffonade, Ruby Red Grapefruit, and Pistachio Pesto (serves 3 with lots of extra pesto leftover for spaghetti squash or pasta)

  • 2 handfuls of basil (about 1.5 cups packed)
  • 1 handful of arugula
  • 3/4 cup of roasted, salted pistachios (shelled — that means no shell)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp. of nutritional yeast powder (I found this in bulk at my local organic market)
  • 3 large pinches of kosher salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 lbs of small/medium beets (I found great ones at the Penn Quarter farmers market)
  • 10 leaves of kale
  • large ruby red grapefruit

Preheat oven to 425. Rinse beets, making sure to remove any excess dirt. (They live underground so fresh beets are dirrrty — like Christina Aguilera.) Pat dry with a paper towel, place on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with EVOO. Fold the aluminum foil around the beets to create a pouch. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until a fork slides easily into the beets. Once cool, the skin of the beets will easily slip off.

Add basil, arugula, garlic, pistachios, salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to a food processor. Blend together until mixed into a puree and slowly stream in the EVOO while the food processor is running. When the mixture is thick and dense, but well-emulsified, scoop into a bowl and set aside.

Line up kale leaves and roll into a cigar shape. Slice even sections of the “cigar” which will leave you with a chiffonade cut. Here is a great tutorial if you need help with your knife skills. Place in a medium bowl, drizzle with vinegar, squeeze lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt. Set kale aside.

Slice wedges of grapefruit and remove the peel, seeds, and outer white pith. Squeeze the excess juice over the kale and cut the wedges of grapefruit into smaller segments.

Place a heaping teaspoon dollop of pesto atop the kale and mix together making sure to coat all of the greens. The pesto will be pliable with the addition of the vinegar and grapefruit juice, however if you find the pesto to be too sticky to coat the greens, add more grapefruit juice.

Place the kale on a plate and top with sliced beets and grapefruit and a small dollop of pesto. Enjoy. As you can see, I served my salad with crispy tofu nuggets. I’ll write up the recipe for that after I do some more tweaking.

Here’s a picture of a perfect bite. And you can see that lovely chiffonade of the kale. Trust me, the cut of your vegetables makes a HUGE difference in the way that your taste buds register them.

Not to toot my own horn..or Barbuzzo’s but, this salad is amazing — the sweet earthiness of the beets and the dark green flavor the kale is contrasted by the rich creamy and garlicy pesto and the sweet citrusy grapefruit.

Obviously I needed a sweet to go with this meal, and after my boss turned me on to chia seeds, I’ve been dying to use them. Chia seeds are a miracle food that originated in South America with the Aztecs and Mayans. They are known to give energy, provide sustenance, but most importantly they are a SUPER food. They are a complete source of protein and contain tons of fiber and are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (which is something that vegans can have a hard time getting).

One of the most important things about chia seeds is that they are extremely hydrophilic, which means that when they are exposed to a liquid, they soak it all up and balloon in size. This makes them perfect for a pudding. I found some great looking recipes for Chia Seed Puddings, and obviously put my own spin on it to create something fabulous.

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding with Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Fresh Berries (makes 3 servings)

  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 2 cups of plain soymilk
  • 1 tsp. good vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of raw coconut, toasted (sprinkle on baking sheet and roast in 325 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and fragrant)
  • 1 tbsp. sucanat
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of fresh berries
  • cardamom pod to grate over the top

Stir the chia seeds and soymilk together, and refrigerate for an hour until gelled and set. This is what it looks like when set.

When set, stir in sucanat and vanilla extract. Spoon into individual bowls and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, toasted coconut, berries, and a couple grates of cardamom. Enjoy.

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

Recipe: Tasting the Fruits of My Labor (Roasted Veg Sandwich with Homemade Vegan “Mayo”)

26 Mar

This weekend, I decided to undertake the seemingly impossible task of baking bread. As I slowly started to reintroduce foods into my diet post-cleanse, I figured the best way to introduce a complex carb was to make my own bread. I woke up on Saturday morning, met my college advisor who happened to be in town with one of her classes, and toured the Royalists to Romantics exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Combining one of my favorite professors with one of my favorite artists (Élisabeth Vigée-LeBrun) was a beautiful way to start a bread-making Saturday.

After a few errands to Whole Foods and Bed, Bath and Beyond, to pick up the last essentials for my baking adventure, I was ready to begin. With my Spotify playlist plugged into my speakers, a bread recipe open on my computer screen, and my kitchen counters cleaned, I was all set. I decided to try the Multigrain Wholegrain Bread recipe from the Holy Cow Vegan blog.

After attempting to bloom yeast that was a non-starter, I had to run back out to the market to buy another package of yeast. FINALLY, it worked on my second try. Here is the recipe:

Vegan Multigrain Wholegrain Bread

Mix in a bowl:
4 tsp active dry yeast and 1/2 cup warm (not hot!) water. Set aside about 5 minutes or until the yeast starts to bloom.

Mix in another bowl:

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm soymilk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tbsp olive or canola oil

Add the soymilk mixture to the yeast. Then add:

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour

Mix by hand or in a stand mixer until combined. Add:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour

Knead for 10 minutes on low speed or by hand. Keep about 1/2 to 1 cup of whole-wheat flour on hand to add in case the dough is too sticky. You want a smooth, elastic dough that does not break easily.
Oil a bowl and place the dough in it, turning it around once to ensure it is coated all over with oil.
Set aside in a warm place to rise for an hour. Punch down the dough and set aside and let rise again for another hour.
Here are pictures of the bread before and after rising.

Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down, shape. If you’d like to make it in loaf pans, divide the dough into two halves, tuck the edges under for a smooth top, and place in oiled loaf pans coated with some cornmeal.

Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 more minutes.

Remove the loaf to a rack and allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding.

The bread came out looking gorgeous and I just couldn’t wait to dig in.

Now, I had the ends of my sandwich ready…but still needed to create the insides. Back when I was juice-fasting, I had the idea of creating a vegan mayonnaise, because what kind of sandwich would we have without that creamy glue holding it together? Here is my recipe:

Healthy Homemade Vegan “Mayonnaise”

  • 1 cup raw (unsalted, not roasted) cashews, soaked in 1.5 cups warm water
  • 1 package of silken tofu
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

In a food processor, puree the cashews with 1/4 cup of the cashew water until smooth. Add the tofu and blend. Add the mustards and vinegar and blend together. While the processor is running, drizzle in the EVOO. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

The mayo is super creamy and really does taste like mayo. The good EVOO makes it taste rich and creamy. I promise you won’t miss the eggs!

I roasted off some veggies (sprayed them with EVOO and sprinkled salt and pepper and placed under the broiler).

 

Finally, it was time to assemble my sandwich. With the help of Gordy’s Pickle Jar’s Sweet Pepper Relish,  and Maille L’Ancienne grainy dijon mustard, I spread my mayo on my freshly cut bread and laid the veggies on top.

It is SUCH an amazing feeling to eat something that you made from scratch completely. It is so rewarding and completely worth the effort that I put in to dig into a sandwich and know exactly where every morsel came from.

That has got to be the epitome of clean eating. YUM.

Here are a couple pictures of my masterpiece!  

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

And the journey begins….

7 Mar

So, like many others, after watching Joe Cross’ documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and the recommendations from some fasting friends, I’ve decided to start my own “macronutrient” journey into the world of green juices. After a tedious hunt at all of the Bed, Bath & Beyond’s in a 50-mile radius, I was finally able to track down the Breville Juice Fountain Plus at a Baltimore-area BBB store. (Gotta be able to use the 20% off coupon, right?) Phew. Easter candy is out in full swing, and after a few (read: bags) too many of Cadbury Mini-Eggs, I was more bloated than ever and knew something needed to DRASTICALLY change.

Last Sunday, I decided to commit to a week of eating vegan in order to do a pre-cleanse before the actual juice cleanse begins. I went to Whole Foods, got one last grass-fed cheeseburger and a serving of their AMAZING croissant bread pudding, stocked up on all of my fruits and vegs and decided to get rolling. I got 8 lbs of navel oranges, 2 cartons of strawberries and blueberries, 5 mangoes, 5 avocados, 10 bananas, 2 lbs of broccoli, and a lb sack of carrots. After saying goodbye to my wallet at the register, and hello to nutrition, I was ready to begin.

So far, this week I feel AMAZING. It is Wednesday (the third whole day of my clean vegan eating) and I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I am going to give you a sample of my meal plan just so that you know what I have been eating to get me through.

Breakfast:
fruit salad of mango, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe

Lunch:
quarter cup serving of short-grain brown rice
pinto beans cooked with carrots, mushrooms, onion, and garlic in organic crushed tomatoes with a can of tomato paste added
navel orange

Snack:
peanut butter by the spoonSful
banana

Dinner:
salad of organic baby spinach, grape tomatoes, raw carrots and broccoli, pinto beans, a WHOLE avocado, a little Cava hummus, and a dressing made of dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and a little EVOO

Here is a picture of the delight that I am currently dreaming of eating tonight:

I have to tell you…not thinking about calories and just eating whatever I want, as long as it is a vegetable or nut, is fabulous. I am currently down FIVE lbs since Sunday and feeling great. Stay tuned to see how the week shapes up and the countdown to my juice fast (beginning on Saturday…eek!).

-the happenstance gourmande