Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir Fry

Haaaappy Birthday Russell! This dish, again from Veganomicon, was my lame excuse for a gift for one of my best friend's birthday. In my defense I made a delicious asian salad and peanut butter brownies as well! 
Quinoa is the grain of the gods and a vegan dream. Not only is it a perfect protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids, but it is delicious and can be used in place of rice, cous cous or almost any other grain. It has a super nutty flavor, but you have to make double sure you soak it first or it will be very bitter. You can either soak it in a strainer in a bowl full of warm water for about 20 minutes, or you can just rinse it really well a few times through if you are short for time and ready to cook. But it's worth the soaking. 
Okay, so after you finish soaking the quinoa put it in a pan with 1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice,  1 1/2 cups of water and a few splashes of soy sauce. Bring it all to a boil, stir it a few times and then reduce it to a simmer for about 12-14 minutes. Make sure once it is done that you fluff it with a fork instead of stirring it because you don't want to squish the grains. Pop it in the fridge (or freezer if you are me and have no time) and let it cool. 
Then chop up all of your ingredients while you LIGHTLY toast your cashews. Please don't burn one side of them like I did because it makes everything a lot less pretty. Then add your oil, scallions, garlic and after another minute chili flakes and ginger. After another 2 minutes add your bell peppers (I just used the assorted baby bell peppers from trader joes to add color and different flavors) and edamame. Stir fry it all up for a couple more minutes and then add your spices, pineapple, quinoa, soy sauce and veggie stock and stir it all up. Then just let it stir fry for another 10-ish minutes and you are good to go! We mixed in some siracha sauce to spice it all up and then dug in! 

This dish is SO good and really delicious. I was surprised because I had been wanting to make it for a while and I'm go glad I did. Despite the number of steps it was actually really easy so you should make it! Do it! Go.

Sushi? Vegan? No Problem.

There is a beautiful little asian market about 6 blocks from our house and we love to bike there and check out all of the neat vegan and not-so-vegan stuff that they have. Also, Veganomicon has literally the most scrumptious sushi recipe known to man and we had been dying to try it forever. So here it is!
Sushi is deceivingly easy to make. You can put all kinds of veggies and tempeh nori deliciousness in there and it is so fresh and healthy. Really all you have to do is buy sushi rice (hello Market of Choice bulk foods section), buy seaweed sushi rolling sheets (hello local asian foods store) and buy whatever fixin's you want to go in the middle. You do have to have those little bamboo rolling mats, but we happened to have bamboo place mats purchased at World Market that sufficed just fine. Then you just cook the rice, lay the sheets out, spread the rice out over the seaweed, cram as much veggie goodness into the middle as you can and then roll it all up. Even my sister who doesn't cook much except pasta and cous cous was pro at it. Plus you can make so much in one sitting that you can eat it for like 4 days afterwards. 

That is vegan sushi. It's not as pretty as they make it in the fancy little sushi shops, but it tastes even better because you put your heart into it. Go vegan! Eat sushi!

Chickpea Noodle Soup with Shiitakes and Baby Bok Choy

This Chickpea noodle soup is quite possibly more delicious than its chickeny counterpart. It is another beautiful veganomicon comfort food with an asian twist. The shiitakes and baby bok choy are additions of my own that I think complement the earthiness of the miso paste and soba noodles sooo well. Plus they are both in season so you can get them at your local farmers market for cheap! The original recipe called for cremini mushrooms, but I personally think shiitakes are better. In everything. Yummm shiitakes.
First you want to start by sautéing your carrots in the garlic and onions. After a few minutes add the mushrooms and cook those up for a lil' bit. I added my herbs right after I added my mushrooms, streaming in oil to make sure everything got nice and evenly cooked. When the veggies are almost done throw the boy choy in and then deglaze the pot with some soy sauce. 
I used water and "better than chicken" bouillon cubes for my base (but you add the miso paste at the end so if you just use water that's cool). So, after you add your water/stock/bouillon base put your chickpeas/garbanzo (SAME THING) in. I just got canned ones but if you want to get raw ones and soak and prep them that is entirely up to you. Let your soup come to a boil and then break the noodles in half/thirds/sixteenths and throw them in the pot. After that you just kinda gotta wait until everything is all cooked together, add your miso paste and you are ready to eat. YES. Delicious AND easy. And healthy! And vegan! What else could you ask for? :)

Okay, here is my ever so slightly modified recipe:
Olive oil
1 big can of chickpeas
1 Onion, finely chopped
How ever many carrots you want
lots of garlic (I used three big cloves), minced
2 cups shiitake mushrooms
2 heads of baby bok choy
thyme/oregano/rosemary/pepper/whatever spices appeal to you
Approx 1/2 cup red (yellow would work here too) miso paste
6ish cups water/broth
6 oz (quarter sized roll) soba noodles

Live Long and Prosper! With delicious soup!