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.
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
Originated from the Quechua ch’arki, the term “jerk” refers to dried protein. In the Andes aka the highlands of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, the protein in question was alpaca or cuy (guinea pig) meat.
In the Caribbean and in Afro-Caribbean culture, the term “jerk” generally refers to a spice blend used to season protein. On the Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica and Belize, you can sometimes find jerk tofu on the menu at local restaurants. From personal experience I can vouch for the existence of jerk-seasoned tofu cooked by locals as opposed to vegan expats in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica and in Punta Gorda, Belize.
Etymology of jerk:
jerk (v.2) as a method of preserving meat, 1707, American English, from American Spanish carquear, from charqui (see jerky). Related: Jerked.
jerky (n.) 1850, American English, from American Spanish charqui “jerked meat,” from Quechua (Inca) ch’arki “dried flesh.”
Spanish spellings include charque and charqui, from which the English word jerky derives.
Jerk Tofu with Cranberry-Pepper Relish
1 x 16oz package vacuum packed super-firm or extra-firm tofu *I used Nasoya, but in the past I’ve used Wildwood (I recommend using one of these brands for this recipe, if possible. I don’t have experience with other brands of vacuum-packed tofu). Tofu packed in water, or in any other sort of packaging other than vacuum-sealed, even when the label reads ‘super’ or ‘extra’ firm, has an entirely different texture and will not work for this recipe.
½ tsp curry powder (I used Trader Joe’s brand; ingredients: cumin, turmeric, coriander, chile pepper, mustard, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron)
½ tsp garam masala (I used Whole Foods’ brand; ingredients: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander)
½ tsp caraway seed
1 tsp garlic, minced
3 drops stevia liquid or 1/16 tsp pure stevia powder
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/8 tsp salt (I used sea salt, but if I’d had it on hand I would have used pink Himalayan salt; that said, regular table salt would work just fine).
½ cup water
for the cranberry-pepper relish
½ cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp red pepper flakes
In a jar, combine all ingredients except for the tofu. Seal the jar, and shake to combine. Set aside.
Slice tofu into slabs of approximately 1cm thickness. Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet. Shake the jar before pouring 1/2 the marinade over the tofu cutlets. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Turn on the broiler to low, and proceed to cook the tofu. After 5-7 minutes, remove the tofu from the oven, flip, and evenly disperse the remaining marinade. Return tofu to the oven for 5-7 more minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the tofu to absorb the residual heat for 5 minutes.
Serve immediately, or let cool for no less than 10 minutes before storing in the refrigerator. In a tightly-sealed container, these jerk tofu cutlets will last 1 week approx.
This post is inspired by the many Thai restaurants I have dined at in the United States. Of all the options available in those circumstances, I always felt torn between eggplant and peanut-based dishes. Since I’ve had great difficulty finding eggplant lately, I decided to invent a Pad Thai-influenced low-carb dish without the tofu (since it’s not sold in the proximity of my current abode) and obviously without egg or noodles. Green beans aka string beans work swimmingly as a replacement for pasta/noodles in my experience, and kale increases not only nutrition but also adds to the flavor profile of most dishes. I’d write more, but the WiFi isn’t exactly ideal.
Thai-inspired Paleo Bowl
1 cup green beans, stemmed and cut into thirds
1 cup dino kale, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, shelled
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/4 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 Tbsp thai-style chili garlic sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Place shelled peanuts into a plastic ziplock bag and crush with the back of a can opener or similar device. Remove from bag and set aside.
Add chopped kale and green beans to a small or medium pot and boil in 3 cups water. Add a pinch of salt, cover, and cook on medium-low for 5 minutes.
Add crushed peanuts to a wok or skillet with the 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp minced ginger, diced onion, 1 tsp maple syrup, and 1 Tbsp thai chili garlic sauce. Heat for 1 minute on medium, to sauté.
Reduce heat to low. Add 1/4 teaspoon tamari and stir.
Add a portion of the kale/green bean mix to a serving dish. Top with the sauteed peanut/onion mixture. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and lime juice. Serve.
Per serving: 100 Calories, 10g Fat, 200mg Potassium, 3g Sugar, 3g Carbs, 3g Fiber, 5g Protein.
Day 4 in the paleo vegan mono diet challenge, I ventured outside my original plan to focus on cauliflower as the key ingredient or the “star” in recipes I develop this week. Today I decided to mix it up a little…but later realized I hadn’t strayed as far from the rules as I’d originally thought.
In theory, this recipe still adheres to the guidelines; the cauliflower crust is literally the foundation of the dish. I still managed to limit the ingredients to 5, if you count “grilled vegetables” as one ingredient. For this recipe I grilled 5 different vegetables including tomatoes (technically not a vegetable, but it functions as one in this recipe), all of which I used merely because I had them on hand. I encourage experimentation with different combinations of vegetables.
Considering my current goal of minimalist cooking (with 5 ingredients or fewer) I wish I’d limited the toppings to grilled tomatoes and a little basil. Anyway, whichever vegetable topping or combination you try–I hope you enjoy working with this virtually hassle-free recipe. As long as you have the cauliflower and dry ingredients for the crust, with 1 or more vegetables to grill for toppings; olive oil, garlic, and some herbs–I think it could serve as a reliable go-to recipe. Let me know of combinations you try. Take photos! Send them to me, and I’ll feature them here. Tell me about your blog or other endeavors so I can credit you and perhaps talk about guest blogging on paleoveganista.com, if you’re interested.
I used frozen cauliflower because I predicted that raw cauliflower might yield too grainy a texture. When I’ve tried to make cauliflower “rice” with cooked cauliflower, the blender quickly turned it into a puree. The crust for this recipe requires a rice-like (but not too grainy) texture, so as I predicted the frozen variety worked best.
Grilled Vegetable Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
For the crust
1 pound frozen cauliflower florets, left to thaw in the fridge overnight
3 tablespoons ground chia seeds or flax seeds (flax meal)
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3-4 crimini mushrooms, sliced. *Tip: Crimini is merely a fancy term for brown mushrooms–the type sold at chain grocery stores. These tend to cost less than half the price per pound of portabella mushrooms–yet they’re the same thing, only smaller.
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 small zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
1 tsp crushed basil leaves
1 tsp oregano
Add 3 Tbsp ground chia or flax seeds to 1/3 cup warm water and set aside.
Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a small bowl or container. Add the garlic, rosemary, basil, and oregano. Set aside. Lightly salt the vegetables and let sit while you make the crust. This will help absorb excess moisture as they cook.
Remove cauliflower from the refrigerator and pulse in a food processor until a rice-like texture is achieved.
Use a cheesecloth or thin towel to squeeze out excess moisture from the cauliflower “rice”. Then transfer to a large bowl and add the chia/flax “egg”, the almond meal, the extra tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds, salt, and garlic. Stir well to mix until it forms a dough. If it is too crumbly, add an additional tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds, and 1-2 tablespoons water. Press the mixture into the parchment-lined 8″ round cake pan. If you don’t have a round cake pan, press the crust into a baking sheet or oven pan and use your hands to create a rounded or whatever shape you like. Make sure the crust is at least 1/4″ thick throughout. *Note: the parchment paper is important for removing the crust from the pan so it doesn’t fall apart.
Bake for 25 minutes at 400*F or until slightly golden around the edges. While the crust cooks, place the sliced, salted vegetables on a sheet pan, and brush with the garlic-herb infused olive oil. Next, turn them over and brush the other side.
Heat your grill to its highest setting and make sure it’s fully preheated before adding the vegetables. Turn the vegetables as they start to get grill marks or until the edges begin to darken.
Approximate cooking times:
Tomatoes, quartered: 4 to 5 minutes
Zucchini strips: 5 to 7 minutes
Mushrooms: 5 to 7 minutes
Onion, sliced: 5 to 7 minutes
Bell pepper strips: 6 to 8 minutes
Carrot slices: 10 to 12 minutes
Once vegetables have cooked, brush the cauliflower crust with the remaining garlic-herb olive oil and layer with grilled veggies. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Day 3 of the paleoveganista mono-diet challenge. For those of you that haven’t read yesterday’s post or the one before it, my diet this week will focus on cauliflower and little else. Inspiration for this endeavor comes from a practice in the raw food community called mono-eating or mono-dieting. My version of a mono-diet in this case does not focus on raw dishes, since in winter months I tend to lean toward eating steamed or lightly cooked vegetables. The cooked dishes I’ve shared so far during this cleanse contain very little fat (no more than 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil per recipe) or seasoning apart from lemon, black pepper, sea salt or kelp, and nutritional yeast or garlic in some recipes. In addition to cauliflower-based main dishes, I have continued to eat raw or steamed greens i.e. kale, collards and chard, to stay balanced nutritionally. I have continued to eat raw cauliflower as a snack between meals to maintain the 20% raw diet I adhere to in winter.
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
1 tablespoon softened coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the cooking liquid into a wide-mouth jar*. Be sure to drain well but reserve all the liquid. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Add coconut oil or olive oil and mash with a potato masher until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*I drink the reserved liquid to avoid wasting the nutrients that cook out of the cauliflower when boiled. I consider it important, especially during a mono-diet or a cleanse/detox to drink the vegetable water. Warm, flavorful, nutrient-dense liquids tends to ease the transition from a high-calorie to a lower-calorie diet). The flavor will resemble a mild vegetable broth. For a richer or “meatier” flavor, try adding coconut aminos, Bragg’s liquid aminos or miso paste, and/or nutritional yeast.
For the holidays or your next picnic, this recipe functions perfectly as a low-carb, paleo alternative to mashed potatoes. Some variations include:
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash
Before following the above recipe, slice off top of a garlic bulb so that the inner cloves are exposed. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes; set aside to cool. Mash roasted garlic cloves along with the cauliflower, using the potato masher.
Fresh Rosemary Cauliflower Mash
Finely chop 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary and mash with the cauliflower using the potato masher.
Cheezy Cauliflower Mash
Following the basic recipe (above), add to the cauliflower before mashing:
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp soy-free chickpea miso
Curried Cauliflower Mash
Following the basic recipe (above), add to the cauliflower before mashing:
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or more for extra heat
Chipotle Cauliflower Mash
To prep the chipotle puree: Add 1 can chipotles in abogado sauce into a medium bowl. Use the potato masher to pulverize until it resembles a paste. Add 1/4 cup chipotle paste to the drained cauliflower and mash as specified above. For chipotle-garlic cauliflower mash, combine this variation with the roasted garlic version, above.
The first day in my mono-diet challenge week #1: cauliflower. I’ve had an interest in mono diets for years now and have loosely followed one before, about 8 years ago and again 2 years after that. The term “mono diet” might raise red flags in the eyes of some people as an extreme elimination diet or unhealthy obsession. Granted, some people do take it to the extreme i.e. nothing but bananas for 1 week. In contrast, my version of a mono diet takes 1 whole food and builds basic dishes around it using 5 ingredients or fewer. I’ve decided to start with cauliflower, an in-season vegetable that thrives during the winter months. To kick off this week, I chose to roast a whole head of cauliflower. Unlike other recipes for whole roasted cauliflower, this one does not call for oil.
This recipe works great for 1 person (providing leftovers to eat throughout the day, making it very easy to stick to a mono diet) or to share. It also makes a great main dish to cook for the entire family. Cut into it like you would a quiche or a pizza, and serve with greens. *On a mono diet, I never eliminate raw greens. The calorie-free nutrients they provide help to maintain nutritional balance and avoid nutrient deficiencies that might otherwise occur from eating only 1 food for 7 days. In any case, I prefer for my vitamin and mineral intake to come from vegetables and greens rather than isolated sources such as multivitamins or supplements. However, if you take a daily multivitamin I would recommend continuing to take it during periods of mono-eating.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of Cauliflower, leaves & tough core removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Combine the lemon juice, garlic, and almond milk with the salt and pepper. Evenly coat the cauliflower head with the mixture. Place in a large shallow roasting pan and place in the center of the oven.
Roast for 25-35 minutes, occasionally rotating the cauliflower to ensure it cooks evenly. Remove from oven, let cool, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.