Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Black Bean and Polenta Breakfast Plate

I love cereal in the morning, but my organic barley, flax and (insert trendy healthy berry here) rarely keeps me full past 10:30am. When I have a little extra time in the morning, ie, I haven’t hurled my alarm clock across the room; I enjoy a heartier meal of Polenta and Black Beans. Polenta, once classified as peasant food, is a healthy low carb, gluten free, mixture of corn meal and water. Ready made polenta can be found in most grocery stores in either the Latin American or Italian sections.
Here is a healthy meal that’ll keep you going well into the lunch hour.  Using canned black beans and heat-n-serve polenta cuts down prep time but not the flavor.

Here’s what you need:
  • 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 tbsps. finely diced red onion
  • 1 tsp. of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. of dry basil
  • a generous pinch of Ground Cheyenne pepper
  • Prepared polenta
  • Olive oil
  • 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Salt

Here’s what you gotta do:
1)   Combine the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, basil, and Cheyenne pepper in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and set the salsa aside.
2)    Heat a lightly oiled pan to a medium heat.
3)    Slice the polenta into ¼ inch rounds. Cutting roughly 6 rounds per person you intend to serve (more for big eaters).
4)   Add the polenta rounds to the heated pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
5)    While the polenta rounds are browning, combine black beans and cumin in a medium sauce pan. Add salt to taste and cook on medium heat until hot.
6)   6) After the polenta has browned and the beans are thoroughly heated, place 6 polenta rounds on a serving plate and top with a ¼ portion of the black beans and tomato salsa.

Serves 4 (or 2 really greedy people )

                                                        Life is Delicious...Go taste it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tempting Tempeh Reuben

Chicago has become one of my favorite foodie haunts.  Besides being the birthplace of the deep dish pizza,  it is also home to a wonderful vegetarian dive: The Chicago Diner. This hipster hangout cranks out some of the best vegetarian comfort food I’ve ever tasted. My last trip to the unpretentious little diner left me stuffed and inspired.  I’ve tweaked The Chicago Diner recipe for their Radical Reuben sandwich just a smidge.

Tempeh - Protein packed meat substitute made from fermented soy beans and grains.
* The tempeh has to be prepared a day ahead or at least six hours before mealtime.
What You Need:
  • 1 lb. of Tempeh (sliced thinly)
  • 1 cup of Pickle juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of Beet juice (Borscht will work here)
  • 1 tsp. of crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. Pickling Spice
  • 1/8 tsp. of ground black pepper
  • 6 drops of liquid smoke (optional)
  • Thousand Island Dressing  (or you can mix up a vegan version below)
  • 8 slice of Rye or Pumpernickel Bread
  • 4 slices of Gruy√®re or Swiss cheese (Galaxy Nutritional Foods makes good soy cheeses)
  • Sauerkraut (to garnish)
What you need to do:
- In a medium saucepan combine the water, pickle & beet juices, garlic, pickling spice, black pepper, and liquid smoke.
- Bring liquids to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Put tempeh slices in a baking dish.
- Strain and pour the beet mixture over the tempeh, cover the dish and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours to marinate thoroughly).
** Okay, so you have to wait…it’s worth it!
What you do the next day (or 6 hours later):
-       Preheat your oven to broil.
-       Drain the tempeh slices, and set aside.
-       On a baking sheet, arrange 8 slices of bread, broil till lightly toasted (you can skip this step but I’m not a fan of soggy bread)
-       Top 4 of the toasted bread slices with the tempeh and cheese. (Setting the other slices of bread aside.)
-        Broil for about 5 to 7 minutes (watch carefully to avoid making this dish a blackened Reuben sandwich)
-       Transfer Seitan-topped bread slices to serving plates, and garnish with sauerkraut.
-        Spread remaining 4 bread slices with the Thousand Island dressing ( or Vegan Reuben Sauce), and place on top of Sandwiches.


                                                                   Life is Delicious...Go Taste it!

I LOVE Collard Greens!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOOOOVE Collard greens. They are perhaps my favorite comfort food. But they are not always vegetarian friendly. Every southern aunt will tell you that you absolutely have to add smoked ham-hocks to tthe collard greens. Oh, no! Collards are a fibrous green , so the purpose of the ham-cocks is to provide the fat that the helps break down the green into the soft palatable soul food that we enjoy.  The ham-hocks also add a smokey flavor that can’t beat, or so I was told.
Fall semester finals are here and my nerves are wrecked. I need comfort food to get me through. No problem, just  replace the fat from the ham-hocks with olive oil. But it still needed that smokey flavor. I phoned a friend on this (my mom). The solution: liquid smoke. Duh, the flavor of mesquite in a bottle (what will they think of next?) Thank goodness they thought of fake bacon. That’s right folks.  The salty flavor would come from Morning Stars fake bacon strips. Yum! Here’s the breakdown:
2 lbs of chopped Collard greens
½ of a large red onion
2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
6 strips of Morning Star vegetarian bacon (or any fake bacon product)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
I teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Bragg’s liquid aminos (optional)

The Unusual Suspects
Now here’s what ya gotta do:
-Heat olive oil in  a wok or large frying pan. When the oil is hot add the garlic.
-When garlic is just turning brown add onions. Cook onions till brown.
-Add chopped fake bacon strips.
-When everything is nice and brown and the bacon strips start to crisp, add the collard greens. Stir fry over a medium heat until the greens are wilted. This will smell like heaven but don’t eat it yet!
-While this browning is going on, in a large pot, dissolve the bouillon cube in the water and bring to a light boil.
-When greens are wilted add this to the pot of boiling water, and bring to a boil. Once the greens are a full boil, add the cumin and liquid smoke. then bring the heat to low.
-Let the greens cook for about 2o minutes on low.
*I like to add Bragg’s liquid amino just before serving. It’s sorta like soy sauce but more flavorful. Hot sauce would be nice too.

Study Aid in a Bowl
                                                                                                       Life is Delicious…go taste it!