I love recipe makeovers. Last week I “made over” a Julia Child recipe. This week it’s Martha Stewart. Often recipes makeovers are easy, like in this case, where I only substituted stevia for the honey and lime for the lemon.
One thing you can do to significantly reduce your bill = cook smart. Whether your stove is gas or electric, or if you’re in a tent in the woods with only one match: here’s how you do it.
Object Lesson A: Brussel sprouts and greens
Let’s say you have brussels sprouts and some greens that have wilted slightly and/or would taste much more satisfying cooked. You have a pot to cook in with a lid, and a knife of some sort.
Trim brussels sprouts of any soiled leaves. If you have a knife, chop off the base of the sprouts (which can tend to be dirty).
Boil sprouts in enough water to cover them. Cover with lid to bring water to a boil more quickly. Once the water begins to boil, lift the lid and add a few shakes of salt if you have it. This will help tenderize the sprouts and reduce overall cooking time. Boil covered for 6-12 minutes. If you like them a bit softer, err on the side of 12.
Turn off heat and remove sprouts with a spoon or strainer, leaving the vegetable water in the pot. Immediately throw your greens into the pot. Cover with lid, allowing the heat from the water/vapor to cook the greens. The salt in the water will also tenderize the greens, allowing them to cook quickly and serve while the brussels sprouts are still warm. Serve with the broth/leftover water to warm your insides and to maximize nutrient intake. The brussels sprouts and broth taste taste delicious as is, but also when lightly seasoned with lemon juice and black pepper.
More Cooking Smart recipes to follow…
I can hardly believe I’m actually attempting this recipe. Typically made with butter and chicken broth, petits pois a la francaise was never been on my list of things to veganize…until today. Continue reading
I’ve traveled a lot, in many situations where access to a blender was nil. Whether it was a motel room with a mini fridge, or a hospedaje with bars on the widows; a hostel dorm with a shared kitchen, a tent, or my car, I’ve managed to make every salad dressing on this list with as little as a pocket knife and a mason jar. That’s not to say they’re simplistic. These recipes can transform something as basic as shredded cabbage into a flavorful and satisfying meal.
Enjoy the flavors of this traditional Moroccan dish, minus the fat and carbs. This paleovegan version utilizes zucchini and yellow squash instead of potatoes, cutting out a total of 250 calories (that’s 130 calories from fat and 20 carbs) per serving.
Let’s face it: the usefulness of water and a cast-iron or non-stick skillet make the need for cooking in oil entirely obsolete. Second of all, and I’m sure I’m not the first to say this: potatoes are boring. They add nothing interesting to any dish, and other less carb-laden vegetables function just as well if not more effectively in most dishes.
This recipe could also be made in a crock-pot aka slow cooker. If I still had one, I would have tried that first.
Moroccan-Style Vegetable Tagine
1 yellow squash
½ cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Trader Joe’s Spices of the World brand, the ingredients of which are cumin, turmeric, coriander, chile pepper, mustard, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, saffron).
In a skillet (I used cast-iron, but I assume a non-stick would work even better considering the oil-free nature of this recipe) begin by sautéing the onion in 2 tablespoons water. Add more water in 1 Tbsp increments as needed. When onions begin to brown, sprinkle in ½ teaspoon curry powder. Add the chopped eggplant and stir. Continue to stir for 1 minute, adding water as needed. Fold in the chopped carrot, and continue to stir for 1 minute. Again, add water when necessary. Fold in the chopped zucchini and yellow squash. After about 1 minute, sprinkle in the second ½ tablespoon curry powder. Vegetables should be very tender but not “mushy”.
Serve atop a bed of kale, accompanied by lime slices, red pepper flakes, fresh mint, and salt if desired to add according to taste.
125 calories, 9g carbs, 0g total fat, 12g dietary fiber, 8g sugar, 5g protein, 1089mg potassium, 4% iron, 40% Vitamin C*, 20% Vitamin B6, 8% Calcium, 25mg sodium**
*Vitamin C content increases according to the amount of lime juice added
**Sodium increases if salt is added
Mint helps to ease cramping and nausea. Sometimes during a detox or cleanse, the body responds with nausea or stomach cramping. While ginger stimulates, mint soothes. Both help in instances of food poisoning or the stomach flu; ginger stimulates the production of bile to move the undigested or offending substance through the system to provide eventual relief, while mint soothes the stomach (making the process less painful).
Mint-Infused Berry Smoothie
1 cup frozen raspberries
5 frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
2 cups water
20 fresh spearmint leaves
1 lime (juiced)
a few drops liquid stevia extract, optional, to taste
Combine berries with 1 cup water and purée until smooth. Add the banana, lime juice, and 1/2 the mint (10 leaves). Blend until smooth. Taste-test to determine whether to add more mint leaves. Adjust to your liking, blending after each addition. If desired, add a few drops liquid stevia extract.
Per serving (recipe serves 2): 120 Calories; 32 carbs; 1g fat; 2g protein; 9g fiber; 17g sugar.
Inspiration behind the invention of this recipe stemmed from having a ripe avocado on hand and little more than a can of artichokes and wilted kale leaves, a fork, a couple of plastic containers, and a serving dish or two. Post recipe-development I looked throughout the blogosphere for vegan artichoke-spinach and/or kale dip. Much to my surprise I found several—some of which also use avocado as a base. Differentiating them from the recipe that follows, most call for a blender to combine all the ingredients. In my experience with developing recipes in the past, blenders don’t always function as the optimal appliance in the case of dips or any other dish for which the desired texture resembles something other than a purée. Don’t get me wrong—blenders and food processors work great in many cases, but mostly in the context of specific ingredients or single-ingredient recipes i.e. nut butters, tahini, nut and seed “milk” and “cheese”, vegan alfredo or creme/cream/crema, the mock-guac I blogged about the other day in which I substituted peas for avocado, or the recipe for raw vegan sun-dried tomato & sunflower seed pâté I created in college and would have shared the recipe for years ago if not for the fact that the nearby co-op mysteriously began to sell a pâté identical to it about a month after I invented it—which seemed very ‘twilight zone’ and seemed to border on plagiarism, yet I never shared recipe “secrets” and I certainly hadn’t blogged about it, since of course back then I only blogged on Blogger.com and god forbid, Myspace. I think I had a live-journal also, but that’s beside the point. I wonder if it still exists? Also beside the point. That said, management of one’s social-media persona has morphed into a conundrum that if not properly managed can open a pandora’s box of all the skeletons in one’s closet that suddenly grow wings and orbit your brain like flying monkeys or planets that circle the sun in an alt-universe where you are the sun and desperately want fewer planets to be your responsibility.
Now for the recipe:
Artichoke Dip w/Avocado + Kale
1 x 14oz can artichoke hearts
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp raw tahini
1 cup baby kale leaves, wilted
Drain artichoke hearts and mash with a fork to achieve a stringy texture. Set aside. Add the avocado and mash. I used a very ripe avocado that was soft enough to scoop out from the skin very easily—so I didn’t need to chop it first before mashing. If the avocado you use feels too firm to mash easily, I recommend chopping it first. However, I don’t know how well a less-than perfectly-ripe avocado would perform in this recipe.
Sprinkle in the kale leaves gradually, stirring/mashing to combine with the avocado-artichoke mixture. Squeeze in juice from the lime gradually also, tasting periodically to gauge the flavor. For the cayenne, do the same. Bear in mind that some people might have a different definition of “hot” than you do, if you plan to bring it as an appetizer to a party/gathering, potluck, or food-not-bombs event. It always comes as a surprise when strangers remind me that fewer than 100% of the individuals that populate the earth enjoy cayenne added to everything.
Serve with raw vegetables, and enjoy.