Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vegan Cooking Class to Benefit Animal Rescue

On Sunday, November 20th, we will offer our first vegan cooking class at Aquarian Yoga Center. Please join us at 2pm for a
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic recipe used for cleansing and fasting. It is delicious, easy to digest and assimilate, and easy to make. Vegan chef Trish Sebben-Krupka will show you how easy it is to make kitchari, explain its health benefits, and teach you how to customize it for your health and body type. At the end of class, we’ll enjoy a delicious meal together. Kitchari is the perfect food to enjoy as your body transitions to winter, and a fantastic healing food for seasonal ailments.
This is a donation-based class.
All of Trish’s proceeds will be donated to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Society. Please register in advance – email to reserve your space in this class.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Squash

We're entering Week Five of our CSA, and I have to admit that we're already experiencing a bit of summer squash fatigue. We've enjoyed romanesco zucchini, pattypan squash, traditional zucchini, yellow squash, cousa and yellow zucchini in a variety of ways: roasted, stuffed and sauteed, in lasagne, pasta sauces, casseroles, breakfast scrambles, and tacos. The freezer is filling up nicely, bringing me closer to my goal of enjoying several meals a week from the summer growing season throughout the winter.

During the early flush of zucchini love, I made zucchini tacos. Nothing could be simpler. For about four servings, I sauteed a large onion in some olive oil, then added six smallish zucchini, seeded and diced, along with salt, pepper, a little garlic and chile powder. I made a quick pico de gallo with the first tomatoes from the farm, and a jalapeno picked fresh from our front lawn, where jalapenos and cherry peppers grow among the wildflowers. I finished the dish with warm corn tortillas and some broccoli slaw, along with a squeeze of fresh lime and a few drops of hot sauce. Ten minutes of work, and lunch was complete.

I'll be on my way to the farm shortly, and I know more summer squash await. I reminded my husband last night that what seems tiresome to us right now will surely be appreciated on a cold December night, so this week I'll be freezing a casserole of onions, tomatoes, fresh herbs and summer squash topped with a light bechamel, and also plan to serve this simple salad of Lebanese zucchini (cousa) with hot peppers.

Roasted Cousa with Pepper Salad

Cousa is a Lebanese summer squash similar to zucchini. This fast and easy dish is a twist on a traditional Lebanese recipe, replacing fried squash with warm, roasted squash, topped with a zingy salad of peppers and scallions.

6 medium cousa, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal ½” thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienne sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienne sliced
1 hot cherry pepper, seeded and julienne sliced OPTIONAL
½ bunch (about 4 oz.) fresh scallions, white and green parts, sliced on the diagonal
½ cup loosely packed, torn mint leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Toss sliced cousa in a large bowl with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Place squash on rimmed baking sheets, and roast for 10-15 minutes, until squash is lightly colored but still firm. Arrange squash on a serving platter.

Meanwhile, toss peppers, scallions and mint with lemon juice and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top warm roasted cousa with pepper salad. Serve immediately.

Serves four to six

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spinach and Tomatoes - eat what's in season!

Please check out my latest article for One Green Planet! Tomatoes and spinach are fresh and plentiful at your local market now...I hope you enjoy these delicious and easy to prepare recipes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

New article available at One Green Planet!

Stop by One Green Planet today to read and share my article...Artichoke Paella. This is the first of a monthly series that I will be writing. Thanks for checking it out!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Romesco Sauce

It's official. I am obsessed with Romesco sauce. It's just so delicious - a toasty blend of almonds and savory ingredients - perfect as a dip for crudite, a sauce for roasted veggies, or a topping for a veggie burger. Make some and enjoy!

1 slice crusty country bread (such as panella)

olive oil for frying

1/2 cup blanched almonds, toasted

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 ripe plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon parlsey

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Toast almonds in a hot oven, and set aside. Fry bread in a little olive oil, and set aside to cool. When almonds and bread have cooled, place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Pulse 5 or six times to combine. Add tomatoes, parsley, paprika, roasted bell pepper and apple cider vinegar. Turn the machine on and process to combine well. With the machine running, add olive oil. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 48 hours.

Vegetable Stock

Did you know that those little boxes of vegetable stock at the supermarket are, like, $3 each? Or more? So that every time you want to make a pot of soup, someone is getting $6 of your hard-earned cash! And those stocks in a box or can DON'T EVEN TASTE GOOD! I suggest that you declare your freedom from nasty stock in a box. All you need is a freezer, a plastic bag or large container, a pot, water, and some herbs that you probably already have lying around anyway.

Here's what you need to do: Whenever you are chopping vegetables, save the scraps. I particularly try to save the scraps from onions, carrots and celery, as that will form the base of your stock. Save the skins from the onions, too, as they lend a nice golden color, like Grandma's chicken soup. You also want to save your parsley stems, as well as the scraps from any of the following "stock-friendly" veggies: tomatoes, mushroom stems, zucchini, red or yellow bell peppers (no green! yuck!), leeks, potato peels. Avoid the cruciferous vegetables - cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and the like - as well as asparagus, as they will lend a dominant and somewhat unpleasant flavor.

When your scrap bag is full, and you are doing other stuff around the house for a few hours, it's time to make stock. Aim for a ratio of one part onions, one part carrots and celery, and one part "other stuff". I usually throw in a fresh onion, as well as some fresh carrot and celery. I also like to add a splash of tamari, a bay leaf, a few branches of thyme, and a few peppercorns. If I have dried mushrooms in the house, either porcini or shiitake, I will include a small handful of those as well.

Now add your veggies to your biggest soup pot, fill it with water, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. At this point you can go do other stuff. Unlike animal-based stocks, you don't need to worry about standing around skimming it all day, as there won't be any impurities to remove. Your stock is done when you say it's done, usually after about three or four hours of simmering at a very low flame.

I like to cool the entire pot in a sink full of ice water, and then let the whole thing sit in the fridge overnight before straining. This is partly because I am lazy, and partly because I think it develops nice flavor that way. Once you've strained your cooled stock, pack it into freezer-safe quart-sized containers (such as glass jars -don't forget to leave an inch of head space at the top of the jar to prevent cracked glass and ruined stock!), and freeze what you won't be using within the next four days.

Voila - instant stock, nearly free, and you get to stick it to The Man when you stop buying all those $3 boxes of the nasty stuff.

Red Lentil Soup

A few weeks ago, my friend Janet took me on a tour of the Middle Eastern markets of Paterson, NJ. After wandering around grocery stores, spice markets, bakeries that are also jewelry stores (!), and shops with gorgeous samovars, textiles and aisle after aisle of extremely impressive hookas, we stopped for lunch at a lovely Turkish restaurant. The waiter found my questions regarding ingredients somewhat amusing, and served me a big, beatiful salad and a bowl of utterly delicious lentil soup. The soup service was absolutely charming, with lemon slices, tiny bowls of crunchy croutons, dried crushed mint, and crushed red pepper, all ready for me to garnish it as I liked. Here is my version of the soup, spiced my way and open to your own interpretation.

To serve 6-8:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
2 teaspoons coriander, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ras el hanout
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 cups light vegetable stock
2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup short-grain rice (such as Arborio)
1/2 cup crushed, peeled tomatoes
juice of 1/2 lemon
white wine, to taste
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
water, as needed

Heat oil in a your favorite soup pot. Add onions, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ras el hanout, and crushed red pepper. Saute, stirring often, until onions are very soft. Add vegetable stock, lentils, rice and tomatoes. Cook over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, or until rice and lentils are very soft. Add lemon juice and a splash of white wine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. If the soup is too thick for your liking, thin it with a bit of water. If you want to be fancy, you can puree the soup in the blender or with an immersion blender, or you can just serve it the way it is.

Serve hot with little bowls of lemon slices, crushed dried mint, crushed red pepper, and toasted croutons or fried pita.

Falafel Burgers

Yum - try this easy falafel burger for a quick weeknight dinner. Serve it on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and tahini, or on a warm pita with a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion sprinkled with lemon juice and ground sumac. And, yes, you do need all that olive oil. Trust me.

The following recipe will make 4-6 burgers.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 14.5 oz cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
safflower or canola oil for frying

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium saute pan. Add onion and cumin. Saute, stirring often, until softened and golden. Add cinnamon, and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, puree chick peas with onion mixture and lemon juice. Stir bread crumbs in by hand. Taste and adjust seasonings. You might want a little more cinnamon.

Use an ice-cream scoop or your hands to form 4-6 equal patties, flattening with your hand to about 4 inches.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons canola or safflower oil in a non-stick skillet. Saute burgers in hot oil, turning once, about three minutes per side. Place in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until very hot.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Southwestern Veggie Skillet

I love eating a huge breakfast from a cast-iron skillet. It reminds me of the Short Stop, a funky little train-car diner where we used to get all kinds of fattening, greasy and terrible-for-you foods when we were kids. Many of these foods were served directly in their own iron skillet, so you didn't miss out on a bit of that saturated fat. My version is actually quite good for you (although it's a little higher in fat than something I would eat on a daily basis, it's the good fat, so I suggest you loosen up, particularly if it's Sunday morning), especially when served with a side of Irish steel cut oats cooked with maple syrup, blueberries and strawberries. If I had a cute little diner of my own, I would cook this delicious skillet of breakfasty, potato-ey goodness while back-talking sassily to my customers, chewing gum and wearing a fabulous beehive hairdo with a pencil stuck in it and a paper hat, like Chrissie Hynde in the Brass in Pocket video. But you can feel free to just wear your pajamas.

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 oz. fingerling potatoes, sliced into rounds
1 large onion, halved and sliced
6 oz. button mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 medium zucchini, seeded and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
1 cup diced tomato
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
hot sauce

Heat your cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add onions, mushrooms and smoked paprika, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook 5 minutes more. Stir frequently, but not too frequently. You want everything to brown.

When it's all getting nice and brown and delicious-smelling, toss in your zucchini, the white parts of the scallions, and the tomatoes. Cook until the zucchini begins to turn golden brown, about 4 more minutes.

Remove from heat, and top with sliced avocado, green parts of the scallions and cilantro. Serve with lots of hot sauce.

Note: You can certainly fancy this simple recipe up in many ways. If you have a nice chile lying around, say a poblano or a jalapeno or whatever, chop that up and add it with the mushrooms and onion. If you wanted to throw some of that nice, melty tapioca cheese on top and run it under the broiler for a minute before adding the avocado, green onions and cilantro, I won't argue with you. Tofu sour cream and/or whatever kind of salsa you have lying around, like maybe some black bean salsa, would be nice. But sometimes simplicity is the thing, and you really don't need any of this stuff. And finally, if you are like my friend Danya, and you eat like a bad-ass paleo cave woman, then you can replace the fingerlings with some diced, blanched sweetpotato.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Tea Biscuits

St. Patrick's Day is here, and that means soda bread of all kinds. These tea biscuits are quick and easy to make. This is definitely not a real Irish soda bread, which is traditionally made with flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk, and never fancied up with currants, caraway or buttery goodness of any kind. My Nana made a very traditional soda bread when we were kids, and although I still use her recipe at times, I've come to really like this moister, lighter version quite a bit, too.

Don't try to substitute for the soy milk - I made a batch with rice milk, which I prefer for non-cooked uses, such as cereal and tea, and it just doesn't sour the same way. You will also need to consider your flour - a high-protein flour will make a tough biscuit. Although I prefer King Arthur all-purpose flour for many recipes, I do keep Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour on hand for dumplings and the like, and it works very well here, too. If you wanted a whole wheat version, whole wheat pastry flour is a good substitute. Do not substitute regular whole wheat flour, unless you're planning a hockey game and need a puck.

Some people say that they hate caraway seeds, but those people are freaks. It's my opinion that people who don't like caraway seeds are using too many. A heaping teaspoon will perfume your biscuits with light caraway flavor, without punching you in the face while screaming CARAWAY! If you really and truly cannot stomach caraway seeds, then fine, I still disagree with you, but leave them out. And if you don't have any currants, I don't mind if you want to use raisins. I also don't mind if you want to soak those currants or raisins for an hour in a big splash of Irish whiskey and a little boiling water to get them nice and plump and boozy. Just drain them well before you mix them in.

Start souring the soy milk before you do anything else, to give it time to get nice and thick. Serve these biscuits to your old lady friends (and all of your other friends) with a nice, hot cup of tea, and they'll thank you, dearie.

Irish Tea Biscuits

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy milk (combined soy milk and vinegar will equal 1 1/4 cups)
3 cups low-protein all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick butter substitute (1/2 cup), well-chilled
1 heaping teaspoon caraway seeds
3/4 cup Zante currants

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix vinegar or lemon juice with soy milk. Allow to stand while you prepare remaining ingredients.

Grease a sheet pan or standard muffin tin.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with a fork. Cut butter substitute into small pieces, and rub into the flour mixture using your hands, until it resembles coarse crumbs. (If you want to do this step in the food processor, partially freeze your butter substitute, and pulse into the flour mixture five or six times. Remove to a medium bowl to finish the recipe.)

Mix in the currants and caraway seeds. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the soured soy milk all at once. Using a rubber spatula, mix, turning the batter until the flour is just incorporated. Do not overmix!

Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Work quickly, as you need to get these into the oven while the baking soda and soy buttermilk are reacting with one another. If using a sheet pan, lightly pat each piece into a circle. If using muffin tin, simply place dough in the wells of the muffin tin.

Bake for 14-15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden brown.

Serve warm. With more buttery spread and maybe some homemade jam if you want to get really crazy.

Makes 12.