Miso Soup with Kale, Lentils, and Mushrooms

After a few days in which Río was miserable over his teething process and we all got precious little sleep, I craved eating something medicinal and restorative. Enter this wonderful soup, which packs a punch in protein, minerals (especialy iron and calcium) and satisfies without being too heavy.

I happened to have black garlic and dried porcini mushrooms at home, but if you don’t, regular garlic and fresh mushrooms will do just fine!

2 shallots, finely minced
3 cloves black or white garlic, finely minced
4 stalks green onions, both green and white parts, finely minced
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced, or dehydrated mushrooms soaked in warm water for a short while
3 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp miso
3-4 cups raw, chopped kale

Heat up a dry pot until, when you drop a bit of water in it, it moves around like mercury. At that point, add the shallots, garlic, and green onions. Stir around until translucent and a bit golden, then use a bit of the broth to deglaze the pan.

Add lentils, mushrooms, and the rest of the broth, lower the heat, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add miso and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add kale and cook just until wilted.

Moroccan Red Stew

This was absolutely delicious, and the reason there was no picture the first time I made this is that it was gobbled up before I had the chance! Good thing I remembered to take a picture the second time. It comes out a very vivid and appetizing shade of red, because of the tomatoes and the beets, and can be served over mashed potatoes, rice, couscous, or quinoa.

1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks (just the white parts), thinly sliced
7-8 garlic cloves
splash of vodka
1 cup vegetable broth
1 little basket of cherry tomatoes
1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds
1 beet, chopped and thinly sliced
3/4 cup yellow lentils, dry
1 cup chickpeas, cooked
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp baharat
2 tsp ras-el-hanout
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a Dutch oven on the stove until a drop of water at the center looks like mercury. Then, add onion and leeks and cook until the bottom of the pan begins to brown and the onions are translucent and a bit golden. Add a splash of vodka to deglaze the bottom, add the garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add broth, tomatoes, carrot, beet, lentils, chickpeas, and spices. Place lid on Dutch oven and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the dish is fragrant and the lentils are soft.

Risotto with Trumpet Mushrooms and Vegetables

I had just finished eating leftover mejedderah when Chad called me to announce we were going to have four guests for dinner–all four of them fierce martial artists just out of a four-day tournament! Easy peasy – a nice risotto, served with some vegetables and dip and gazpacho, did the trick.

For the rice I used whole-grain arborio, which is not very easy to find on the shelves but you can order it here. It has the glutinous quality of its white cousin with more nutritional goodness. I also had trumpet mushrooms, which slice beautifully into rounds, some greens, a heap of caramelized onions, and lots of stock.

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced trumpet mushrooms
2 cups greens (kale, collards, chard), chopped into small bites
2 cups brown arborio rice
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and toss about until caramelized (this could take you a good ten minutes.) Add the mushrooms, greens, and rice, and toss for a few more minutes. Then add 1 cup of stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook until almost absorbed. Then, add another cup of stock, plus the yeast and half the herbs. Repeat the process by which you let simmer until almost absorbed and then add another cup until all stock has been added. When all stock is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked, place in serving bowls and sprinkle the remaining half of the herbs. Enjoy!

Comfort Quinoa

My favorite meal when sick or upset used to be a simple bowl of rice noodles with some salt and pepper. But I’ve come to say a gentle farewell to this dish for two reasons: first, I’m realizing more and more that seeking comfort through food is masking r eal needs and emotions that require deeper solutions, in lieu of the sugar rush band-aid. And second, there are more satisfying things to eat. One of them is a new dish I made yesterday, which hits the right tomatoey-cheesy notes without being overly starchy. It’s very easy to make if you have leftover tomato sauce in the fridge.

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 large leek, sliced into rings, both green and white parts
1 cup mushrooms (I used maiitake), cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a pot, mix a bit, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for approximately 20 mins or until quinoa is fully cooked. Enjoy!

Green Chai Latte

One of the perks and perils of San Francisco is the stream of culinary novelties. A few weeks ago I set aside my skepticism about our continuous chase after “the cool” and went with a colleague to the David Rio chai bar, where I had a lovely cup of steaming chai. Only one of their recipes is vegan (why, when easily all of them could be, and just as tasty?) but they do have a really nice assortment of nut milks, including soy, almond, hazelnut, and macadamia.

Last time I was there, they had some bottled chai for sale, including an intriguing blend of their green tea chai with chia seeds. I’ve been ruminating on how to make a homemade version, and today’s blended treat came out delicious.

I put all the following in the blender:

2 cups vegan milk (this time I used unsweetened Ripple, which has a very bland and forgiving taste, but any nut milk would work just fine)
1 heaping teaspoon Matcha green tea
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
a drizzle of maple syrup, or pitted dates to taste)

After blending and pouring into a tall glass, I mixed in a few chia seeds and waited a few moments for them to expand and absorb the liquid. It was delicious: a creamy-but-refreshing afternoon beverage.

Comforting Stew

This thing is a real marvel on days in which you need some warm and hearty nourishment–spiritual, emotional, you name it! This thing hugs you from the inside when you feel like you need a nice, loving, kind hug. We made it with homemade seitan sausages, but I figure any fake meat will work. It tasted so rich and wonderful.

2 large carrots
1 large zucchini
2 large or 3 small Russet potatoes
1 white or yellow onion
1 seitan sausage, the size of a hot dog
1 cup tomato juice
1 heaped tablespoon ras-el-hanout
1 tsp olive oil
a few drops of Bragg’s liquid aminos

Heat up olive oil in a pan and slice up the seitan sausage and half the onion. Brown the sausage and onion, and add a bit of Bragg’s to flavor.

When that’s done, cut all other veg into cubes. Place in slow cooker or in Instant Pot (my beloved pressure cooker) and add the browned sausage and onion. Add tomato juice and, if you’re worried it might be too dry, add some water. Slow cook on high for about 5-7 hours, or in the Instant Pot on high pressure for 45 minutes. Bon appetit, and if you need a hug–here’s one, from Mission Terrace straight to you.

Chamin 3.0: Extreme Departure from Tradition

It’s finally raining a bit in San Francisco–just in time to help our new olive tree, whom we named Habibi, to adapt to its new surroundings, and to irrigate our newly-in-the-ground purple cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Of course, this also means putting up a new chamin pot.

My prior forays into the world of chamin produced this wonderful pot and this delectable version. But today, the slow cooker includes:

1 cup azuki beans
1 cup mung beans
1/2 cup brown rice
1 sugarpie pumpkin, lightly roasted in the oven
1 big onion, chopped and lightly browned in olive oil
5 shiitake mushrooms
1 package of kale

Not quite Eastern European, but very delicious. I seasoned it with cloves, cracked cardamom pods, and a couple of spoonfuls of dried vegetable powder, and covered with hot water for a long cooking time (4 hours on high, 10 more hours on low). The nice thing about layering the ingredients neatly in the pot  is that you can serve yourself whatever you like and leave behind things you like less. In my case, this is not a problem, as I like everything!

Chamin 2.0: Halloween Version

I really hope some of you got to make my four-color chamin recipe from a couple of weeks ago–it really rocked. I’m posting yet again about chamin because I’ve made some seasonal improvements to the recipe and it came out even more wonderful (and more nutritious!) than the previous installment.

Essentially, what I did was replace the white potatoes with a squash and more carrots, making the meal more orange and less white. I also did away with the rice and put in mung beans instead. It came out phenomenal, and I’m thrilled to have a hot meal for the rest of the week!

Vegan Mac-n-Cheese

I was craving something creamy and delicious this evening and settled on a vegan version of mac-n-cheese. This is not my recipe; I made it using Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s classic recipe.

A couple of small substitutions: the pasta is Tolerant lentil pasta (boosting the protein component of the meal) and the seasoning, rather than standard pizza seasoning, is Pike Place dipping herbs. I didn’t sautee the onion and garlic in oil before adding to the blender (I’m sure it would have improved the sauce, though not by much, as it was damn tasty as it was). Other than that, the recipe’s there and I can attest that the results are, indeed, comforting, creamy, and fantastic.

House Anniversary Dinner

On Friday night we celebrated one year since we closed on Casa Corazones, and were very happy to host our realtor, who is a classy, hardworking, wonderful person, for a nice colorful dinner. No pix remain, but here is what I cooked:

Inauthentic but Tasty Posole Soup (big pot, lots of leftovers):
– 1/2 pound dry hominy corn (I like the variety from Rancho Gordo)
– 1 can chickpeas
– 6 carrots
– 1 bunch dino kale
– 1 onion
– 4 garlic cloves
– stock/dried vegetables and water
– fresh parsley

Cook posole according to instructions. Then, add other ingredients, cover with water/stock and cook for 45 mins. I served the soup with freshly baked Bialys from a local bakery.

Salad
A fresh romaine lettuce with 1 avocado and 1 red grapefruit.

Steamed Asparagus
This one’s a no-brainer, of course, but consider steaming it above the soup, so you get two things done at once.

Greens, Mushrooms, and Tempeh
A nice stir-fry of chard, button mushrooms, and sliced tempeh. I happened to have a marinated variety on hand, but you can easily marinate your own in soy sauce or Bragg’s Aminos with some orange juice, garlic, ginger, spices, and hot sauce.

Caramelized Cherry Tomatoes
I found two tomato baskets for cheap at the grocery store, so I halved each of them, placed them with the sliced side up on a tray, drizzled them with olive oil and added fennel seeds, sumac, and nigella seeds. They were ready after about 20 mins, and I garnished them with fresh oregano before serving.

Tiny Bite-size Baked Potatoes
The little potatoes were cute and inexpensive, so I bought a lot of them and baked them whole with garlic, rosemary from the garden, some truffle salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Berries
Our guest brought fabulous cakes and I bought chocolate-mint vegan cookies. All the desserts were served with a big tray full of berries of all kinds, which I drizzled with juice from one tangerine and sprinkled with lavender tips.

This was a fun lesson in serving an entirely vegan meal without advertising it as such.