Tag Archives: vegan

Creamy Curry Red Lentil (yes, lentil!) Soup

20 Sep

Hi Everyone!!!

I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus for a while, as there’s been a lot going on and was trying to squeeze the last few rays of sunshine from summer!

To be honest I’m also getting sick of “summer food” and this is another reason I haven’t been posting so often- most of my meals have been some sort of salad or grilled meat/veg/potato combo.  I’m excited for soup season!!!  Wohoooo soup!!  I’ve had quite a weekend, from finding out that I am really, REALLY allergic to dog dander, to the Food Star competition (which I did not make it to the final round but still had fun, more on that soon!), to preparing cheesecakes, cobblers, and cabbage and noodles for hundreds at the Scottdale Fall Festival.  By the time I arrived home Sunday night, I was tired, sore, and already feeling a little “phlemmy.”  To top it off I had aired out my apartment from said dog-sitting adventure and it was FREEZING.  Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m getting my annual cold.  I am such a delicate flower.

I ventured to Costco yesterday for the first time (again, expect a post soon as I am thrilled with my “haul”) and I picked up some red lentils for perhaps my favorite soup of all time.  Yes, I am perfectly aware lentils are on the “Paleo Blacklist” along with oats, beans, grains, etc. for phytic acid and lectin content.  But whatevs.  My opinion is that if it makes you feel bad, avoid it.  This is the case with beans, grains, and oats- in MY experience- but not rice, split peas, or lentils.  These are pretty low in phytic acid content anyway, and I always soak for at least an hour just to be safe.  Maybe I’m just biased as this is one of my favorite recipes from vegan days-gone-by and my idea of “comfort food.”  It keeps my tummy happy for hours and gives me plenty of flu-fighting energy!’

Creamy Curry Red Lentil Soup

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free
Raspberry & Coconut
Serves 8

  • 1 c. dry red lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 leeks, sliced paper thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. minced ginger
  • 32 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar (you can omit this but it’s “worth it” IMHO)
  • 2 T. fish sauce (sub Tamari if vegan)
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 4 c. (fresh) or 2 c. (frozen) spinach

Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear, then soak in a bowl of warm water for about an hour.  Drain and add to a pot with enough water to cover by about two inches.  Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer for ~10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced leek and sauté until beginning to brown, then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, and curry paste and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes before serving.  As with any curry dish, it makes for awesome leftovers and freezes well- the flavors meld together the longer it sits!

Fauxarbucks Frappuccino

11 Jul

 

Giving up half and half in my coffee has to be the biggest sacrifice I’ve made for my health. It happens to be my kryptonite- while I’m sensitive to dairy in general, a little tummy upset isn’t enough to keep me away from ice cream on special occasions, but put a little half and half in my coffee and watch out- I’d bet my life on a giant pimple within 24 hours. I’ve yet to find a substitute for cream in hot coffee. SO SAD during the freezing winter months where I have to walk by a Crazy Mocha and smell freshly ground beans EVERY MORNING on my way to work. Coconut milk + hot coffee= oily, lumpy mess. But blended and chilled? Heaven.
Fauxarbucks Frappuccino
By Raspberry & Coconut

  • 1/2 – 1 whole can coconut milk
  • 1/2 pot leftover coffee

Optional add-ins:

  • Protein powder or BCAAs for a pre/post workout shake
  • Maca, cocoa powder, vanilla, or cinnamon to taste.
  • Stevia if extra sweetness is desired- I am a HUGE fan of stevia (NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia is my favorite so far) but I find the natural sweetness the coconut milk provides the perfect contrast to the bitterness of the coffee.

Directions

Open a can of coconut milk and pour into a mixing bowl.  Using a handheld mixer or whisk, beat the coconut milk until the solids and liquids are combined.  If you’re using some of the coconut milk for another recipe, measure it out and store it separately- it should keep for about a week and a half in the fridge.   Whisk in your coffee and desired add-ins until foamy.  Store in the fridge for up to a week and remember to shake it before you drink it!

Thai Eggplant

18 Jun

Pittsburgh is truly a foodie paradise- there’s a plethora of wholesale and ethnic foods in the Strip District, farmers’ markets in every neighborhood, community gardens, and at least one absolutely phenomenal restaurant for any genre of cuisine you can imagine.   We’re surrounded by rich farmlands and woods filled with blackberry bushes and, if your timing’s right, fiddlehead ferns and wild morels.  There’s a grass-fed cattle farm and a buffalo ranch out by my parents’ place (45 minutes away) and a farm where you can pick your own blueberries.  I live in the sweet spot of the city- within walking distance I’ve got two Giant Eagles, a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and an Asian grocer.  Yesterday I walked to the Strip and back on my lunch hour, grabbed some raw oysters from a street vendor for a two-buck lunch and got all this loot from Stan’s market for $7:

This confession may strip me of foodie merit badge: I doubt I’ve tried even a dozen restaurants in the city.  I eat out once, maybe twice, per week and there are only three or four joints in the date night rotation.  What’s worse is that I’ve found my favorite dish at each and order it every time.  Yes, I’m a senior citizen.

Spicy Eggplant is one of those dishes.  Thai Cuisine gets it just right- the eggplant is crispy on the outside, caramelized and gooey on the inside and swimming in a sweet sesame oil sauce. A little experimenting in my kitchen, and while my recipe isn’t a replica of TC’s- it might just be better.

Stir-fries are great for weeknights because they cook quickly over high heat.  This recipe can be easily adapted to serve your vegan friends- just add a package of frozen edamame near the end for some extra protein.

Thai Eggplant
Raspberry & Coconut, June 2011

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 T. coconut oil
  • 3 Chinese eggplants, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Hot peppers- I usually use 3 jalapenos, but you could use Thai chilies or just Sriracha if you don’t have any peppers on hand.
  • 3 T. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
  • Chopped cashews and/or sesame seeds (optional)

Sauce:

  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 1 t. honey
  • 1 t. toasted sesame oil

Stir-frying veggies leaves them nice and crisp.  In this recipe, it’s only important that the onions, eggplant, and garlic are cooked thoroughly.  Chinese eggplant cooks much faster than “regular” eggplant.

Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium high.  Add coconut oil, onions, red peppers, toss, then add green beans and eggplant.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce while you’re waiting.

Toss the veggies and add garlic and peppers and cook a minute longer, stirring constantly. Add sauce and basil and cook until the sauce coats the veggies.  Toss in cashews/sesame seeds before serving and top with Sriracha for extra heat!

Side note- the fish wasn’t great.  It was cooked perfectly but I wouldn’t recommend the green curry rub- I usually do a dry rub with Penzey’s Cajun or chili powder.

 

Submitted to The Paleo Rodeo.

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