Nutrition Facts

Dear Readers, I confess I am too lazy to calculate the nutrition facts of my recipes.  Besides that, I tend to think that if I’m eating unprocessed grains, veggies, fruits, and beans, I don’t need to worry about calories.  It’s processed foods like oils, sugar, and white flour that really rack them up.  In fact, I lost about eight pounds without trying just by giving up cooking in oil.  No small accomplishment, considering it was right around Christmas.  Hooray for whole foods!

BUT… That said, it’s nice to know sometimes how things stack up.  Nutritionist Jeff Novick recently posted this link on Facebook, comparing his bean burgers to some fast-food beef burgers, as well as frozen veggie burgers.  Jeff’s burgers are pretty similar to mine in terms of ingredients, so the analysis stands.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Lentil Curry Burgers

I may have perfected the Penny Parsnip Patty today.  Me and Dorothy (the food processor–we cook up a storm!) whipped these up this afternoon.  They’re my first lentil burger, and the first I’ve tried to make by machine.  It went well!  Give these a try:

Lentil Curry Burgers

Ingredients:

2 c cooked lentils, well drained (regular brown or green, NOT red)

1/2 c rolled oats

1/2 c cooked brown rice (use up those leftovers!)

1 medium onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbls curry powder

1/2 Tbls cumin

1 Tbls fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste (I used some Slap Ya Mama)

1.  Start by toasting the spices in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for about a minute, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant.

2.  Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until you have a nice thick paste.  There should still be some small chunks.  Be careful!  A friend warned me recently that he over-processed some bean burgers and ended up with soup.  Alternatively, you could mash by hand, mincing the onion and parsley beforehand.

3.  Let the mixture rest for a few minutes, then shape into patties.  I make mine about 1/2 c in size. Much bigger than that and they fall apart when you flip them over.

4.  Let the patties rest a few minutes, then heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high and brown the patties, 3-5 minutes for each side.

Eat up!  These would be good with some chutney (I’m working on something) or yogurt sauce, if you eat yogurt.

Test-Driving My New Baby

Yesterday, I took my jar of pennies to Manhattan and bought my very first grown-up appliance: The Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor.  Just about everything else I own has been bought second-hand or a gift, so I felt an immense amount of pride and pleasure handing over the cash I have been carefully saving for the past few months.  I grinned the whole way home on the subway, lugging this heavy box.

Upon arriving home, I immediately unpacked it, washed all the parts, and read the instructions, all the while plotting what to make first.  Burgers?  Hummus?  Cole slaw?  Then while surfing the net, I came across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Dreena Burton’s Plant Powered Kitchen.  Sold!  A new kind of hummus, and I get to put my new toy to the test.  Since you can read the recipe on Dreena’s site, I’ll take you through the process briefly in pictures, and tell you about the minor adjustments I made.

I subbed apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice because I forgot to buy lemons, and used 2T of tahini instead of the cashew butter.

Getting started!

Next it was time to blend!  Here it is before I added the raisins.  I decided at this point that it wasn’t yellow enough for me and needed more turmeric.  The processor ran so quietly and smoothly!

Almost done!

 

 

Finally I added the raisins.  I used 3T, and I think next time I will use only 2.  It’s just slightly sweeter than I’d prefer.  All in all, completely delicious, and came together in less than 15 minutes!  I’m enjoying it now with fresh raw okra, and excitedly thinking about what to twirl around tomorrow.

Train Food

I’m posting from the Ethan Allen Express on Amtrak, traveling from NYC to Vermont. Since you can’t always be sure that there will be healthy or satisfying food on the train or at your destination, I like to pack a meal when I travel. Amtrak tells me there is a vegan burger in the snack car on this train, but I don’t trust it to be any good, or cost-effective for that matter. Add to that my recent memory of a friend having eaten an Amtrak hamburger and promptly throwing it up, I further resolve to never eat the food produced on these trains.

I had to use up some veggies before I left town, so here I sit with the little container of delicious I cooked up this morning. You could use fresh garlic and ginger in the sauce if you wanted to, I just didn’t have any lying around.

sweet potato

It is hard to take a good photo with a cell phone on a moving train.

Sweet Potato, Tempeh, and Mustard Greens with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cake of tempeh (I like Trader Joe’s, which is only $1.79 and made from a blend of soy and grains for a milder flavor)

1 bunch of mustard greens, coarsely chopped

Sesame seeds, optional

salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large deep skillet, heat about an inch of water over high flame. Add the sweet potatoes, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

2. Add the onion, tempeh, and pepper and saute over medium heat until the onion is soft, adding a little more water if necessary.

3. Put the mustard greens in the pan. They’ll take up a lot of space at first, but don’t worry, they’ll shrink down a lot. Cover and let them steam a few minutes, then gently stir, cover again, and let them wilt completely.

For the sauce (amounts are approximate; please taste and adjust accordingly!):

3 or 4 Tbls tamari or other soy sauce

2 Tbls apple cider or rice vinegar

2 Tbls smooth natural peanut butter

1 Tbls maple syrup or honey

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp chili powder (could use a pinch of cayenne if you like things hot!)

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. Whisk together all ingredients until well blended, then pour over the hot vegetable mixture, stirring to coat. Top with sesame seeds and some black pepper, if you like.

Wheat Berry Salad

Recently, my mother took a class at the local community college about cooking with whole grains. One of her favorite new recipes was a wheat berry salad which I had the opportunity to try when I was home for a weekend last month. Reaction: Wheat berries are YUMMY! Hearty, chewy texture, nutty flavor, fills the belly. However, I thought the dressing left much to be desired. Too oily and too sweet for my palate. Thus, I created my own, sans oil and sugar.

Oh, one more great thing about wheat berries: They are super cheap! I got mine from the bulk bins at my local natural food store for $1.49/lb. Thus, this recipe cost me about a dollar to make. Just my style.  But if you really can’t find them, you could make something similar with brown rice or bulgar wheat.

Forgive me, I didn’t measure much.

Wheat Berry Salad

1 c hard red winter wheat berries

1 carrot, grated

Handful of raisins or dried cranberries

small handfull of chopped walnuts

salt and pepper

dash of cumin and marjoram

Vinegar, maybe 2-3 tbls? I used apple cider vinegar, but I think red wine vinegar  or malt vinegar would be really lovely. Lemon juice would also be good.

1. Cook the wheat in 3 c water for 40-60 mins, much like you’d cook brown rice. When they are the right amount of chewiness for you, drain off any excess water.

2. Toss all the other ingredients with the warm wheat and taste. Adjust seasonings and eat up!

If you wanted to bulk this up a bit, I think some baby spinach leaves and chickpeas would be a great addition!  I’ll let you know how it looks in leftovers.

Leftovers

I made much more tomato salad than I could eat this week.  Also, I felt that it was less-than-great after being in the fridge for a few days.  Refrigeration does funny things to good tomatoes!  My mother always told me it was a sin to waste food, so obviously I had to do something with it.  Thus, pasta sauce.  You’re on your own for amounts, but I would guess I had a little less than 2 cups of leftover salad and added about 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes.

Easy Leftover Marinara

Ingredients:

leftover tomato salad, or any tomatoes you have lying around that are getting too soft

garlic, crushed

sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

fresh basil, roughly torn

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  This is easy: combine all ingredients but the basil in a small sauce pan and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the basil and serve over your favorite whole-grain pasta.