Posts Tagged ‘green’

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St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Cobbler

March 19, 2011

Of course, had to make green things for St. Patrick’s Day 2011! 🙂

Here’s a super easy cobbler; recipe jacked off Paula Dean. It doesn’t get more simple than this and the results are exquisite! Comforting, sweet, fruity; rather reminiscent of what we call, in Spanish, Capirotada.

Also, building off the principles of Vegan baking, I subbed in some of these ingredients (via LIVESTRONG). (Sorry, Paula! :p)

Ingredients

1 Cup Self-Rising flour
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup diced peaches
1 cup diced pears
1/2 stick vegan butter
1 cup water
Pinch Cardamom
3-4 Pinches Cinnamon
2 Pinches powdered ginger
All Natural Green Food Dye (I use Seelect or make my own.)
Mint leaf for garnish
Coloured Sanding Sugars for Garnish (I made yellow and green). I don’t think India Tree Sanding Sugars are Vegan so make your own this way. I do!

For Pudding:

1 cup plain (or vanilla, your call) Almond Milk. (You may use Coconut Milk or Soy, as well.)
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp extract of your choice. I used Pistachio Extract).
1 tsp Agave Nectar
Pinch of salt
Minced pears, peaches, sweetened dried cranberries
1-2 drops green food dye

Here we go!

Slice up Vegan Butter, place in 9×7 baking dish (I use one of my favourite pyrex vessels). Place in oven to melt completely. (Baking dish is not set in stone. You may bake this in something similar sized and feel free to adjust ingredients to bake larger batches in larger vessels).

Meanwhile, combine peaches, pears, water & half-cup cane sugar in sauce pan. Simmer, allow to reduce by half. The water, fruits and sugar will make a nice syrup.

While that’s working its magic, combine flour, cane sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt in bowl and stir to combine. LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS & BETTERS! JUST LIKE MISS PAULA SAID, YOU WILL RUIN THIS RECIPE WITH THE WRONG FLOUR! If you don’t have self-rising flour, add a few teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt to whatever you’re using. 2 or 3 tsps of baking powder should do the trick.

Slowly pour milk into dry ingredients and stir as you go. Stir with a spoon or whisk, your preference, till lumps are gone but don’t beat it to death.

Carefully remove baking dish from oven. Pour batter directly onto the butter. DO NOT STIR!

Next, ladle fruit directly onto batter in a bit of a scatter. ONCE AGAIN, DO NOT STIR! (It’s good to get a good amount of syrup in there, too, so your cobbler will be nice and juicy if you prefer it hot. Personally, I don’t use too much of the syrup but feel free to play with the ratio and find your comfort zone with baking this dish).

Sprinkle some coloured sanding sugar over the top for a bit of drama on the finished product.

Bake at 375-400 F (190-200 C) for 45 minutes. May be served piping hot, warm, room temperature or cold. In the pictures below, I chilled mine in the fridge and served it cold. I love the set state’s appearance. :p ~Also, serve with whatever you like; ice cream, whipped topping, fruit compote, jam, drizzles, plain. I served it with pudding!

For Pudding:

COMPLETELY dissolve cornstarch in bowl with 1 cup of milk.

Combine arrowroot, other cup of milk, agave nectar & salt in sauce pan. Stir to dissolve arrowroot powder. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Stir in cornstarch slurry and continue to simmer until thickened. It’s gonna happen fast so watch for it!

Remove from heat, add extract, cranberries, pears, peaches and a few drops of green food dye. Stir to combine. Pour into dish and cover lightly with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface of the pudding. This prevents a film from forming on the top. Put in fridge to cool.

You can cool till the cobbler is done and top with semi-set pudding or wait till later and top fully set, cold pudding on a cooled cobbler. If, when you remove your pudding from the fridge and it seems it separated in any way, just stir it up again and it’ll be fine.

ADDITIONALLY, YOU MAY USE ANY STORE BOUGHT VEGAN PUDDING, such as Zen Soy. It will save you a lot of time. Vanilla is a good flavour to build on for this but Banana works awesome, too. Just dump your pudding in a bowl, add minced fruit, food dye, stir to combine, reserve till ready to serve.

Plate Cobbler. Top with pudding. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Post-Bake:

Plated & Ready for Face-Stuffing:


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Day 12 of Living Pescetarian – Olive Oil Poached Blacktip Shark & Horseradish Mashed Taters

July 23, 2010

So, as you can tell, I’ve spent quite a bit of time experimenting with various lifestyles to find what fits me best. I’ve always been into health and fitness but, as a Chef, it’s WAY TOO EASY to give in to excess and carelessness and just indulge in anything and everything, (which I’ve done in the past). Honestly, when I had at whatever I wanted, I would get bored. It’s not that I’m a big fan of conformity or break-back rules but I felt like a spoiled brat having at whatever dead animal I could find and it’s been bothering me for a long time now.

So, I’ve been looking into ways to adapt to a program! I love programs! Exercise programs, scheduling daily goals, etc. I feel a gleaming sense of accomplishment when I hit achievement-high-marks, large or small. Yet, I’m not OCD about it. I’m not spastic or neurotic. I LOVE living care-free but I prefer to do it within some sort of reason. Does that make sense? lol ~I guess it’s all about finding a balance. Which perfectly describes my dietary quest!

Balance! Over the years, (some recently documented on this blog), I’ve done the raw vegan thing, the vegetarian thing, tried quite a few detoxes/cleanses and then I came to Pescetarianism, which builds heavily off a classic Mediterranean diet, (which I LOVE!) ~And, I think I’ve found a home. 🙂

Firstly, I grew up and still live in Texas. All the stuff you see and hear about reguarding our INFATUATION with meat and smoking everything TO DEATH, (gogo BBQ overdose. . .?) is true. My dad was always a BBQ maniac, had to slap EVERYTHING on that grill and smoke it into oblivion. I mean, the animal is already dead. No need to kill it again! ~I’ve had my fill. :p

~Anyway, did you know there’s only ONE Vegetarian restaurant in my city of San Antonio, Texas? Sad, huh? It’s called GREEN and it’s fantastic! As a tourist city (and one of the largest Metropolises in the United States), San Antonio has plenty of places that offer vegetarian and vegan selections but the general atmosphere is pretty carnivorous.

I’ve wanted to change that influence within myself for a long time. I’ve researched my choices and former lifestyles ENDLESSLY, (researching is quite the hobby of mine, as anyone who knows me can confirm), and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t NEED all that meat! As far as proteins go, the insane amounts of vegetable proteins out there do a body well, (Quinoa, Chia, Tempeh -Oh-My!), and Pescetarianism allows dairy & eggs so it’s not like there is any deprivation going on here. Also, I’ve been interested in eliminating growth hormones from my body. As a Chef, I know from where to source hormone free, free range, pampered product but if I’m going out somewhere, there’s no way I can know if what I’m eating meets the personal standards I’ve set for myself. But does that beg the question if going Pescetarian has anything to do with waxing Philosophical?

Kinda yes, kinda no. It may sound selfish, but my first intention is to better my own body. And I just don’t feel like I need all that meat. Granted, I LOVE seafood. Just love it. When I was on my raw vegan stints and vegetarian stints, while I was fulfilled, I had an outstanding longing for the seafare I’ve always enjoyed. As it goes, some of the healthiest proteins and fats come from the sea – even non-fishy sorts like seaweed! – so I feel I’ve found a middle ground in my desire to better my body and lessen my carbon footprint.

But this brings us to point of endangered species of the sea. I’m quite concerned about the way commercial fisheries operate and the manner in which we’re depleting things like Blacktip Sharks. The photo of a shark steak in this post is probably the last you’ll see from me because I feel really bad we’re fishing them into extinction. 😦  As with most things, the human race is overdoing it and I’d like to help fix it or contribute to making it better anyway I can. ~By the way, that was a damn good dish I made, (Olive Oil Poached Blacktip Shark Steak). >.> C’est la vie. . .

Granted, I still have LOTS of researching to do. I know where to source lots and lots of farm raised seafood and I’m a pretty damn good fisherman myself so I’m a step up in that reguard. But my feeling is, if I’m going to do this Pescetarian thing, I’m going to do it the best, most responsible way possible. That’s through education, information & respect for the world I live in.

Will this be where my dietary adventures stop? I don’t know, honestly. I know it’s working for me NOW. Does that mean I’ll fall back on old habits? I’d like to say NO, but I’m not perfect. And! If I fuck up, I’ll be sure to let all of you know because that’s part of taking responsibility for one’s actions. Will I end up a full-blown Vegetarian, even Vegan, one day? Probably lol. And that’d be pretty cool. I never felt better than during Raw Vegan Adventures but I just LOVE cooking things. When I’m fixing things in the kitchen, it’s not just work or technique. It’s passion AND very therapeutic! It’s just what I do. Also, I don’t intend to stop preparing what others want. These decisions I’m making are for me, personally. I have NO intention of forcing my choices on anyone else by saying, “Oh, well I don’t eat steak anymore so I refuse to cook you one!” ~I feel decisions like these are arrived at after a bit of a journey and it’s out of my boundaries to place any restrictions on how another person lives their life. I’ll be a travel-pal to any person along any journey they want or desire company on. While we’re on whatever road we’re on, if they want some hot wings, I’ll fix ’em some hot wings. And they’ll be the best goddamn hot wings ever. 😀

As for me, personally, I’m doing a few things differently and already feel tons better for it. 🙂

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Olive Oil Poached Blacktip Shark w/ Horseradish Mashed Taters

*Recipe for an intimate dinner for 2*

2 Blacktip Shark Steaks
2 cups Extra Virign Olive Oil (maybe more or less, we’ll see)
Herbes de Provence
Grains of Paradise or Freshly Ground Mixed Pepper Corns
Sea Salt
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Basil
Fresh Lemon (Zest + Juice)
Earth Balance (your choice!)
Prepared Horseradish
Chopped Scallion for garnish
Fresh Parsley for garnish
(like in the photo, Fresh Blackberries for garnish)

Marinade the shark steaks in about a cup of olive oil, 2 tsp’s fresh lemon zest, 4-6 large fresh basil leaves, torn to release fragrance and 4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary. 30 mins to an hour before preparing works but overnight is best, if you can swing it.

Next, heat a large stew pot or saucepan over LOW heat. Remove shark from marinade and season well with sea salt, pepper or Grains of Paradise & Herbes de Provence. Add olive oil marinade to cooking vessel, followed by the steaks. If anymore olive oil is needed, add now so that the steaks are JUST submerged. Cover and pamper these babies for a good 10-12 mins. Again, we want our oil WARM. You should be just about able to stick your finger in it, so low to med-low. We want to poach, not deep fry. This is something you’ll have to play around with and get just right based on your stove and your sense of timing! If you need to let these things poach to 15 mins to be comfortable with their level of done-ness, go ahead but after awhile, you’ll get the hang of it!

*Good Vid on Poaching Fish like Halibut in Oil*

For the mashed taters! (Again, being from the South, I call ’em Taters!) Dice 1lb potatoes of your choice. Peeling is OPTIONAL. I like skin in my mash so I never peel them but it’s up to you. Start with a pot of cold water, add potatoes, about a tsp of fresh rosemary, 10-12 fresh basil leaves, 2 tsp sea salt, 2 tsp fresh ground mixed pepper or Grains of Paradise, half a lemon’s juice and – after being careful not to get seeds in your pot – go ahead and add the lemon chunk so it can boil, as well. Cover and bring to a boil. Remain covered and boil for 10-15 mins, or until pierced easily. Once done, drain and remove the lemon chunk.
Next, add to the pot 2-4 tablespoons of your choice of Earth Balance (I used their Vegan Butter sticks, which have a STELLAR flavour), about 1/2=3/4 cup of your desired milk, (I used unflavoured Soy), and as much Horseradish as you can take. Generally, you want to add by the tsp and taste-test. For this recipe, I used 4 tsp and the horseradish DID NOT overtake the flavour of the mash. It was back there, the fragrance of it, but not stinging the tongue. It was so fantastic! But based on what brand of horseradish you buy, this effect will vary and take some experimentation to get correct!

When butter and milk are hot, (not boiling, just hot), remove from heat, add horseradish and rice your taters into it. You may also remove the liquids to a huge bowl and do the combining there, such as rice the taters into the bowl or mash them by hand or with an electric hand mixer. Be sure to get the rosemary and basil in there. You can even add freshly minced garlic or garlic powder! Once that’s done, adjust seasoning to taste.

Uncover the shark. They should look like Mother of Pearl; this delicate, gentle white colour.

To plate, carefully lift steaks with WIDE spatula and allow to drain most of the excess olive oil off, but not all. That oil is part of the prize and part of the flavour. Pile up mashed taters, lay the shark beside, kinda overlapping, spray with lemon, sprinkle with chopped scallions, garnish with parsley & blackberries and Bon Appetit!

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GOOP Day 2 Recap

May 27, 2010

This gets easier and easier every time I hop on GOOP. It’s already Day 4 and I have no idea where the time went. It’s such an easy, fulfilling regimen (at least for me). I hope everyone gives it a go at some point.

Here’s how Day 2 went!

Day 2 Morning Water

My morning water w/ lime.

For tea time, I had Parsley Tea. Actually, I’ve been guzzling this stuff all I can stand because parsley is a natural diuretic and fantastic for eliminating water retention. So, if you find yourself frumpy with bloating issues, fix up some parsley tea to help get it all out. Hound down lots of watermelon, too!

Parsley is also high in antioxidants. However, word around the campfire is pregnant women should steer clear as it can contribute to premature labor.

I like this page from Your Cup of Tea.

Breakfast = Avocado, Strawberry & Mint Smoothie. Made w/ 1 Avocado, 4 Strawberries, 4 roughly chopped mint leaves & 1 cup Almond Milk, topped w/ Flax Seeds. All Organic.

My local Sun Harvest ran out of raspberries but I bought some blackberries and strawberries. 🙂 *As of 6:12 A.M. CST, their website is acting fussy but here’s a link to the weekly ad: http://www.mygroceryads.com/ads/tx/sun_harvest_san_antonio/

I used my own salad recipe for lunch.  It features a decorative Chayote Carpaccio, baby spinach salad w/ julienned carrots & a focal sauerkraut stuffed strawberry. To do that, I fanned the strawberry and stuffed some sauerkraut in the center. It may sound odd but the combination of tart/sour and tart/sweet make for a miraculous treat! Everything is organic and sprinkled with red wine vinegar, (my favorite of all vinegars).

Dinner ROCKED! I had the salad Gwynnie suggests on the GOOP menu here (scroll down some). (Salad w/ Carrot & Ginger Dressing). Salad assembly is simple. Torn lettuce, sliced red onion rounds, cubed avocado (that’s a how-to vid), and Ginger/Carrot dressing. However! Instead of using the blender, I fell back on my Mexican roots and whipped out the Molcajete!

Chef Charlie’s GOOP’d Up Ginger Carrot & Cilantro Dressing

1 large carrot, peeled & diced

1 shallot, peeled & diced

1 clove garlic, chopped (no need to mince, it’s gonna get smooshed to all Hell soon!)

1 tbsp. grated ginger

1 tsp Herbes de Provence

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar (or whatever your favorite vinegar is)

1/4th cup organic vegetable stock

Sea Salt & Grains of Paradise (or black pepper or mixed peppercorns if unavailable) to taste.

*I keep fresh ginger root in the freezer. It makes it super easy to pop out and grate with a small hand or box grater. Also, if you leave the frozen ginger to thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter for a bit, you are able to squeeze all the juice out once it’s soft. So, you can adapt that into this recipe. Instead of adding grated ginger, u can squeeze 1-2 tsp of juice into it.*

Heat olive oil in pan and saute carrots over med-low heat till carrots are soft, 6-8 mins or so. Cover to help the process, stirring occasionally.

Uncover. Add garlic, shallot, ginger, Herbes de Provence and saute till fragrant, 2-3 mins.

Add vegetable stock and simmer 2-3 mins.

Dispense mixture into molcajete. Add sea salt, Grans of Paradise or (freshly ground pepper), chopped cilantro, vinegar and get to mashing! It’s a bit of a process but it’s fun! Do it gently so you don’t make a mess! Once it’s reduced to a balance between clumpy and runny (see pictures above), it’s ready for storing or application.

You may adjust the recipe for the size of batch you’ll be making. You may allow to cool (as I did before distributing over the salad) or use warm to wilt the greens. Refrigerate unused portion for up to a week.

So, GOOP is going fantastic! I’ll try to post Day 3 pictures later today. I need to do some writing!

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Marinaded Tofu Salad w/ Flax Seed & Blueberries

May 26, 2010

Marinaded Tofu Salad w/ Flax Seed & Blueberries

Ingredients:

4-6 oz. cubed Tofu
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. brown rice vinegar
2-3 tbsp. flax seed
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Handful Baby Spinach
Palm-ful blueberries
Palm-ful Carrot Ribbons
Edible flower garnish

Everything organic!

Marinade cubed tofu in Organic Soy Sauce (Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu Unpasteurized), flax seeds, brown rice vinegar & sesame oil for up to 24 hours. I prepped mine in the morning and had it in the evening.

To plate, lay a small bed of baby spinach, pile tofu, sprinkle additional flax seeds, some blueberries and garnish w/ carrot ribbons shaved with a vegetable peeler and an edible flower. :p

Peeler

You can learn more about Organic Brown Rice Vinegar here:

http://www.mitoku.com/products/ricevinegar/index.html

And you can buy, among other places, here:

http://www.simply-natural.biz/Kyushu-Brown-Rice-Vinegar.php

or here:

http://tinyurl.com/yhczckp <~ Amazon.com link

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