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Monday, February 28, 2011

GOT SOME LEFTOVER COOKED QUINOA? THIS SOUTH AMERICAN SOUP IS A GOOD USE FOR IT!

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As you might have gathered, I'm experimenting with "veganized" South American food lately-- especially Peruvian (my dad's background) and Ecuadorian (my youngest grandson is part Ecuadorian).  I've also been experimenting with various ways to use quinoa, the "Mother Grain" of the Andes. (See this post for a hot quinoa beverage.)  One day, recently, I had some leftover cooked quinoa, and everything else in the house that I needed to try this common type of Andean soup.  It's an easy soup to put together, and open to many variations. I took the liberty of adding some colorful and delicious butternut squash to the soup, which  fed us heartily for several lunches!

You know, it's interesting that alot of Andean food is meat-based (and in Peru, chicken and seafood are used frequently), but in the time of the Incas, the diet was heavily vegetable and corn-based.  It is estimated that the Inca cultivated around seventy crop species.  According to http://peru-facts.co.uk/inca-food.html, "The Inca diet was mainly vegetarian based and involved them eating vegetables such as potatoes as their staple diet. Although potatoes were the main source of food for the Incas other food such as quinoa, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes and manioc were also heavily involved within the Inca peoples diet."



Printable Version

BRYANNA’S VEGAN VERSION OF ECUADOREAN-STYLE QUINOA SOUP 
Serves 10
"Veganized" from a recipe at laylita.com which contains beef.

1 Tbs olive oil 
1 cup chopped onion  
4 cloves garlic, minced           
4 to 6 canned Italian tomatoes, chopped       
1 tsp ground achiote (annatto) OR paprika with a pinch of turmeric  
1 tsp of ground cumin
2 cups reconstituted textured soy protein chunks (1 generous cup dry, simmered for about 15 minutes in 2 cups flavorful broth)
     OR seitan chunks (homemade or commercial), OR commercial "beefy" strips, such as Gardein, President's Choice, Lightlife, Yves, etc.
10 cups vegetarian broth (you can use a "no-beef" broth, such as Better Than Bouillon No-Beef vegetarian base, OR a lighter broth with 1 Tbs Marmite added)
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cubed         
2 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 cups cooked quinoa (not too soft!) 
2 cups peeled and trimmed, winter squash in 1/2-inch cubes
OPTIONAL: 4 Tbs minced parsley (or 4 tsp. dried
2 Tbs minced cilantro (or 2 tsp. dried)           
 Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Garnishes:     
Hot sauce or South American ají (such as Ají Amarillo paste or Aji Rocoto paste or huacatay sauce)
OPTIONAL: Avocado chunks tossed with a bit of lime juice.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, achiote or paprika, and cumin, and stir-cook cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add the soy protein or seitan chunks, and stir-cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

Add the potatoes, peas, cooked quinoa, and squash.  Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes and squash are tender. Add the chopped parsley, chopped cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve with hot sauce or aji and the optional avocado, if you wish.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 181.6 calories; 10% calories from fat; 2.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 548.1mg sodium; 873.8mg potassium; 32.9g carbohydrates; 5.4g fiber; 5.2g sugar; 27.5g net carbs; 10.7g protein; 3.0 points.

Salud!

Monday, February 21, 2011

TWO MORE DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS SOUTH AMERICAN GRAIN BEVERAGES

Best Blog Tips Last May I experimented with a Latin American fruit and oat "smoothie", and we really enjoyed it.  I began researching and discovered a myriad of Central and South American beverages made with grains. Indeed, South Americans seem to love grain drinks, and I think it's a fabulous idea to use different grains to thicken and enrich beverages.  So, way back in May, I promised that I would  experiment with more of these drinks, but the book sort of got in the way of much experimentation!  However, I'm on a bit of a Peruvian and South American cooking roll, so I decided to try two beverages today.  I'm very happy with the results and I hope you'll try them!



Printable Recipe

BRYANNA’S AGUITA DE MANZANA (PERUVIAN QUINOA AND APPLE BEVERAGE)
 Servings: 5
  NEWS FLASH: I've decided that this makes a MUCH better hot drink than a cold one!
"Aguitas" are Peruvian fruit drinks, but this one is also made with quinoa. This silky-smooth fruit and grain beverage can be served hot or cold. I thought it was too bland when made only with apples, but I had noticed one recipe online using quince as well as apple. I don't have any quinces around, but I know that they are sour and thought some acidity might add some kick to the drink. So, I added some orange and lemon, and that was perfect. Once you make this, it can be refrigerated and enjoyed cold, or heat up for a "hot toddy". BTW, it contains more than twice as much protein as commercial rice, almond or oat milk, along with a respectable amount of fiber. 

 I'd love to hear about any successful variations you come up with!

1/2 lb.    apples, cored, peeled and chunked  
1/2 cup    quinoa  
2 1/2 cups    water  
1/4 teaspoon    salt  
Additions:  
1 cup    water  
1/4 cup    brown sugar  
1 medium    organic orange, grated zest and juice  
1 tablespoon    lemon juice  
1/4 teaspoon    cinnamon  
1/8 teaspoon    ground cloves  
  
Place the prepared apple, quinoa, 2 1/2 cups water and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.



Turn the heat down to Low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the cooked mixture into a large blender.

Add the remaining ingredients. Put the lid firmly in place on the blender, removing the center plug in the lid (to let steam escape) and cover the hole with a folded tea towel (held in place with your hand), so that you don't get an explosion of hot liquid.


Blend continuously until a smooth mixture results and you can't see the little quinoa "tails" in it. Serve immediately for a hot drink, or refrigerate and serve cold. It can be reheated.
  
 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 149.5 calories; 6% calories from fat; 1.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 106.1mg sodium; 276.3mg potassium; 33.9g carbohydrates; 3.2g fiber; 15.2g sugar; 30.6g net carbs; 2.8g protein; 2.4 points. 

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The Second Beverage:




BRYANNA’S PERUVIAN-STYLE HOT CHOCOLATE WITH OATS
 Servings: 2  This recipe was updated and simplified on Oct. 26, 2013.
  
This is my version of a Peruvian hot chocolate recipe made with oatmeal. The original recipe called for bar chocolate and evaporated milk (ubiquitous in South America). But the oats make such a rich, thick drink that is much lower in fat (and less expensive), and the cocoa tastes as luxurious as chocolate. I've played with this recipe for some time now, and this is the version we like the best.  My granddaughters love it! PS: I keep a jar of homemade oat flour in a jar at all times so that I can make this at a moment's notice.

NOTE: you can cut the recipe in half if it's just for you, or double it for a group.
 
2 cups    nondairy milk  of choice (a plain commercial almond milk beverage is good in this)
2 Tbsp   oat flour (For Oat Flour, grind rolled oats to a powder in a dry blender or clean, dry electric coffee/spice grinder.)
6 to 8 tsp    unsweetened, organic fair trade cocoa powder  
6 to 8 tsp    brown sugar, packed  
ADDITIONS  
North American Traditional:  
1 teaspoon    pure vanilla extract (or you could use 1/2 tsp pure peppermint or almond extract instead)  
South American Traditional:  
1/8 teaspoon    cinnamon  
2 pinches    grated nutmeg  
Mayan-Style:  
In addition to the cinnamon and nutmeg, add a drop of pure almond extract and a pinch of cayenne pepper.   
 
Mix the first 4 ingredients together in your blender at high speed until VERY smooth and a bit frothy. Strain the mixture through a fine tea strainer to remove any large particles of oats, pressing with the back of a spoon after it's all run through. 

In a microwave-safe bowl or pitcher (with room to froth up) in the microwave on 100 % power for 3 minutes, or until very hot, thickened and frothy on top. (ALTERNATE METHOD: Heat the mixture gently in a small sauce pan over medium heat until hot and thickened, stirring frequently.)

Stir in your chosen Additions (or sprinkle on top), pour into 2 large mugs, and serve immediately.


Enjoy!     


Thursday, February 17, 2011

ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOM SOFT TACOS WITH LIME AND CHILE CREMA

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A hurried shot of dinner last night-- tortillas get cold fast!


Yesterday we had to go to town on various bits of business, and we decided to have lunch at a little cafe, the Roadrunner Cafe, that's been in Courtenay for years, attached to a motel, but never really attracted our attention.  But I've been intrigued by their new sign "Tortilla Factory" for some time, so we thought we'd go check it out for lunch.  It's under new management, a couple and their daughter, it looked like, and the female half of the couple, and the cook, is from Mexico.  It's very diner-like inside, with colorful, but kitchy, Mexican décor.  The menu is small (they serve breakfast and lunch and close at 2 PM) and not terribly vegan-friendly, but, as they advertise, they have a few vegetarian entries and lots of gluten-free choices.  One, the Veggi-Lover's Quesadilla, can be made vegan, though, by asking for no cheese and more veggies in the filling.  It comes with mildly spicy pureed beans and fresh salsa.  (BTW, the tortillas are served soft, not fried, so nothing is greasy!) There is also a cheese quesadilla with a bean sauce.  Hmmm, I wonder if they would do the veggie quesadilla with the bean sauce??  One can only ask!  Anyway, the service was friendly, the tea was nice and strong and came in a Brown Betty teapot, and the price was right!  Of course, I had to take home some fresh tortillas!  (Those of you south of the border or who live in Vancouver, may not realize how hard it is to purchase fresh tortillas in small BC communities!)


Their tortillas are now sold at the local HFS, Edible Island, and they make blue corn ones, too!


On the way home, I asked DH for some dinner ideas, and he suggested crepes with asparagus (we had some asparagus in the fridge).  But I was still over-the-moon about the fresh tortillas, and wanted to eat them immediately, so I asked, why not asparagus in tortillas instead of crepes?  He was all for it, so this is what I came up with in a very short amount of time (making it up as I went).  It was very fast and easy and very tasty!


You could use more filling, if you like, and eat it with a knife and fork!

Printable Recipe


BRYANNA'S ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOM SOFT TACOS WITH LIME AND CHILE CREMA
Serves 3

12 small fresh corn tortillas
Crema:
1/2 cup tofu sour creme (commercial, like Tofutti, or homemade)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tsp. or more hot chile sauce or paste of choice 
Filling:
4 tsp. olive oil
8 medium white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly-sliced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. asparagus, cleaned, trimmed and cut into 1" lengths
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. hot smoked paprika (pimenton) (you could use chipotle powder for more heat)
OPTIONAL:  about 1/2 cup grated vegan cheese (I used white Daiya)
Garnishes (optional):
chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
hot tomato salsa
sliced avocado tossed in lime juice
hot sauce

Make the Crema before you start anything else.  (I had to make the Tofu Sour Creme, as well, but that only takes a few minutes and the rest will keep in the fridge for another meal.)  Whisk everything together.  If you have a small squeeze bottle, scoop the Crema into that.

Heat the tortillas in a tortilla warmer, or warm them in a covered casserole in the oven, OR in the microwave for a minute or two (if you use the microwave, heat them AFTER the Filling is done). Here's some advice on heating tortillas from Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo (author of "Heirloom Beans").  Here's advice on using a terra cotta tortilla warmer in your stove's oven, and here is advice for using it in a microwave.  You can use other types of covered casseroles or tortilla warmers.  You can also wrap them in foil and use the oven.  You could wrap them in cloth and use a bamboo or other steamer.  Here is a page with examples of the many ways to heat soft tortillas: http://ask.metafilter.com/16385/Warming-Tortillas.

To make the Filling, heat the oil in a large wok, stir-fry pan or skillet (preferably well-seasoned wok or cast iron skillet, or nonstick pan).  When it's hot, add the onion and mushrooms, sprinkle with salt (to help release the juices) and stir-fry like crazy!  Add a small splash of hot water if it's sticking.  When the onion wilts, add the garlic and stir-fry a bit more.  Add the asparagus pieces and stir-fry, keeping the asparagus moving.  It's okay of it chars a bit.  Sprinkle with a little more salt and the cumin and paprika.  Add about 1/4 cup of veggie broth, white wine, or water.  Cover and cook over high heat just until the liquid is gone and the asparagus is crisp-tender.

If you use the vegan cheese, you can add it before serving or sprinkle it on top of each serving.  My Daiya cheese was frozen, so I crumbled it on top of the vegetables and put the lid over it for a minute to melt it.

Quickly microwave the tortillas if you haven't got them warming already (see above).

For each serving, place 2 hot, soft tortillas on a warmed dinner plate and top each with another tortilla (so you have 2 stacks of 2 tortillas each).  Scoop 1/6th of the filling down the middle  of each torilla stack. Drizzle of squirt some of the Crema over each mound of filling.  Serve immediately and let the dinners add their own garnishes before folding the tacos and eating (leaning over the plate) with lots of napkins!  Very satisfying!


Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

NEW VEGAN TRUFFLE CHOCOLATE RECIPES FOR YOUR VALENTINE

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 Rum and orange marmalade truffles rolled in ground pecans

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I've had quite a few inquiries about my easy vegan chocolate truffle recipe from a February 2007 blog post.  Several people asked about making them without the Earth Balance (non-hydrogenated margarine).  I provided some suggestions for alternatives, such as using nut butter, and I wanted to try that for myself.  I also wanted to re-vamp my old recipe using silken tofu, and this would be a better bet for anyone allergic to nuts, of course.  So, below I have posted the results of my truffle-making experiments over the last two days-- a basic recipe utilizing nut butter, and a basic recipe utilizing silken tofu, with some variations for both.  After trying these, you can let  your imagination run free and make up your own versions!

Now, I want to say that I am NOT a good candy-maker.  I don't make candy very often and it always makes me nervous!  But I have found making truffles to be quite easy and even pretty fast.  (And so satisfying when everyone ooh's and ahh's!)

The main thing is to use high-quality chocolate (and other ingredients) and to be careful when melting the chocolate.  (You don't have to worry about that in the second version below-- the one made with the silken tofu-- because a hot mixture is poured over the chocolate in a food processor and it melts as you blend-- couldn't be easier!)  But, with the nut butter version, you need to melt the chocolate first.  Chocolate can become lumpy or grainy if overheated!  I give you 3 different methods of melting.  I use the microwave one, but remember that microwaves vary according to their wattage--  the higher the wattage, the hotter and faster they are!  Mine is a 1200 watt oven, so it works pretty fast.  I check it every 30 seconds and use 50% power.

Remember these 3 things when melting chocolate:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
Keep the heat low so that the chocolate doesn’t burn or curdle.
Make sure no water gets into the chocolate as it’s melting, as it may cause the chocolate to seize.

NOTE: See why these are called "truffles" in my older truffle post!

There are many brands of dairy-free, organic, fair trade chocolate and cocoa for you to choose from, by the way-- Cocoa Camino, Dagoba, Equal Exchange, Green & Black's, Trader Joe's, and more!  Read the labels, please.  Here's a list with more, and another list.

Well, have fun with these and Happy Valentine's Day!



A plate of mixed truffles--Amaretto truffles rolled in crushed espresso beans or almond flakes; Hot and Spicy Truffles (with chipotle powder and cinnamon) rolled in Drinking Chocolate; orange marmalade and rum truffles rolled in chopped hazelnuts and some rolled in cocoa powder.



VERSION #1:
Printable Recipe
BRYANNA’S BASIC VEGAN NUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE RECIPE
Makes about 14  truffles-- you can double the recipe! (Margarine-free and soy-free)

1 cup (6 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped, or chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade)
1/4 cup nut butter of your choice
1/4 cup liqueur, liquor, strong coffee, juice, Italian non-alcoholic flavoured syrup for coffees and sodas (Monin or Torani), jam or marmalade, or even vegan "dulce de leche"
2 tablespoons nondairy milk or creamer

Optional additions:

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon spice of choice
grated zest of 1/2 a medium organic orange or 1 organic lime
whatever else strikes your fancy!
For Finishing, approximately 1/2 cup of:
 Drinking Chocolate mix (this should be dairy-free; my favorite is Cocoa Camino, but other organic, fair trade brands are Dagoba and Equal Exchange)
unsweetened cocoa powder 
crushed espresso beans
crushed cocoa nibs
finely chopped, slivered, ground or flaked roasted nuts
lightly toasted grated or flaked coconut

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, or you can melt it in a microwave-proof bowl or measuring pitcher in 30-second intervals at 50% or lower power until soft (it will actually finish melting completely when you stir it!). Or you can melt it in a heat-proof bowl in a 200ºF oven (a toaster oven, perhaps?) for 5-10 minutes. Cook until just chocolate melts, stirring often.  Do not overheat. With an electric mixer, beat in the nut butter. Gradually beat in the liquid(s), beating constantly to keep the mixture creamy and smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours, until firm.

With your hands, roll the mixture into approximately 1" balls. Roll balls in the finishing mixture of your choice, shaking off excess. If your hands get too warm, wash them off in very cold water and dry thoroughly before resuming.


You can place the truffles in little candy cups, if you like-- gold foil ones are nice.

VARIATIONS:

1.) BRYANNA’S VEGAN HOT AND SPICY CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Makes about 14 truffles-- you can double the recipe! (Margarine-free and soy-free)

1 cup (6 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped, or chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade)
1/4 cup peanut butter, or other nut butter of your choice
2 tablespoons Kahlua, rum or strong coffee, or rum-flavored Italian non-alcoholic syrup for coffees and sodas (Monin or Torani)
2 tablespoons nondairy milk or creamer
Additions:
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder (or you can use ancho, or any favorite)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped cocoa nibs (for crunch!)
For finishing:
1/2 cup of Drinking Chocolate mix (this should be dairy-free; my favorite is Cocoa Camino, but other organic, fair trade brands are Dagoba and Equal Exchange)

Follow the directions in the basic recipe.

2.) BRYANNA’S VEGAN RASPBERRY ALMOND TRUFFLES
Makes about 14 truffles-- you can double the recipe! (Margarine-free and soy-free)

1 cup (6 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped, or chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade)
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons good-quality raspberry jam
2 tablespoons nondairy milk or creamer OR raspberry liqueur or raspberry Italian non-alcoholic raspberry-flavored syrup for coffees and sodas (Monin or Torani)
Finishing:
chopped, slivered or flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Follow the directions in the basic recipe.

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VERSION #2:
Printable Recipe
BRYANNA’S BASIC VEGAN SILKEN TOFU GANACHE-BASED CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Makes about 15 truffles-- you can double the recipe! (Margarine-free)

1 cup (6 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped, or chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade)
1/4 cup TOTAL liquid-- any combination of liqueur, liquor, strong coffee, juice, Italian non-alcoholic flavoured syrup for coffees and sodas (Monin or Torani), jam or marmalade, or even vegan "dulce de leche"
Optional additions:
1/4 to1/2 teaspoon spice of choice
grated zest of 1/2 medium organic orange or 1 organic lime
whatever else strikes your fancy!
For Finishing, approximately 1/2 cup of:
Cocoa Camino Drinking Chocolate (this should be dairy-free; my favorite is Cocoa Camino, but other organic, fair trade brands are Dagoba and Equal Exchange)
unsweetened cocoa powder
ground dark chocolate
crushed espresso beans
crushed cocoa nibs
finely chopped, slivered, ground or flaked roasted nuts
lightly toasted grated or flaked coconut

Break the chocolate up (not necessary if you use chocolate chips) and process it finely in a dry food processor.  Leave the chocolate in the processor.
           
Blend the tofu and total liquid together in a small blender container or with a hand/immersion blender until VERY smooth.  Heat it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until almost to the boiling point, or microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl for about 45 seconds at 50% power, or until very hot, but not boiling.  (If the mixture seems to curdle at all, blend it again until smooth.)
           
With the motor of the food processor running, pour the hot mixture in through the feed tube.  Process until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate melted. 
           
Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and refrigerate.  Allow to chill for about an hour before shaping. 
           
With your hands, roll the mixture into approximately 15/ 1" balls (they don't have to be totally round if you are making them look like real "truffles"). TIP: If your hands get too warm while you roll, wash them off in very cold water and dry thoroughly before resuming.  Roll the truffles in the finishing mixture of your choice, shaking off any  excess.

You can place each truffle in little candy cups, if you like-- gold foil ones are nice.

VARIATIONS:

#1) BRYANNA’S VEGAN ALMOND/ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Makes about 15 truffles-- you can double the recipe!  (Margarine-free)

1 cup (6 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped, or chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade)
1/3 cup extra-firm silken tofu
2 tablespoons nondairy milk
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur, OR almond-flavored Italian non-alcoholic syrup for coffees and sodas (Monin or Torani)
For Finishing:
1/2 cup crushed espresso beans and/or lightly-toasted flaked almonds

Follow the directions in the basic recipe.



#2.) BRYANNA’S  ORANGE MARMALADE/HAZELNUT (OR PECAN) TRUFFLES
Makes about 15 truffles-- you can double the recipe!  (Margarine-free)

1 cup (6 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped, or chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade)
1/3 cup extra-firm silken tofu
2 tablespoons good-quality orange marmalade
2 tablespoons rum OR rum-flavored Italian non-alcoholic syrup for coffees and sodas (Monin or Torani
Finishing:
1/2 cup finely-chopped or ground lightly-roasted hazelnuts or pecans

Follow the directions in the basic recipe.

Enjoy!