Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

This is another one of those insanely easy side dishes that would be well suited for taking to a summer picnic.  I made the quinoa earlier in the week during a cooking frenzy so when it was time prepare this recipe all I did was toss it together and eat.  It's filling, delicious, and just spicy enough to keep things interesting.  I of course made it vegan my using dairy free butter spread but I'm sure it's even better with the real thing.

I didn't change a thing so this very short post is brought to you by my love for 101Cookbooks where you can find the recipe for this simple salad.  Go check it out if you've been hiding under a rock and haven't discovered this trove of healthy whole food recipes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

White Bean Dip

This is what dinner looks like when I neglect to plan out recipes ahead of time.  Don't get me wrong, it was delicious but more random than I'm used to.

The fella and I were both hungry and uninspired.  All we had were a couple random vegetables and a bunch of dry beans that no one wanted to put the effort into boiling.  Then while looking through the oddities of my cupboard I found one can of white beans neither of us could remember buying.  Not one to look down upon random dinner providing beans, I whipped them into a dip I remembered seeing in my food blog browsing earlier in the day.  And tada we had protein and an almost balanced meal.

I'm not a fan of raw garlic (it's not a fan of me either I found out in my elimination dieting so at least the feeling is mutual) so I cooked mine before adding it.  But if you're a the garlicky-er the better type and loss in a few cloves raw, this is the easiest dip imaginable.  It's like hummus for when you're all hummus-ed out or not in the mood to plan ahead for soaking chickpeas.  Especially on the forbidden corn chips this dip was extraordinary. 

White Bean Dip

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups (or 1 15-ounce can) cooked white beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 a lemon, juiced 
salt and pepper, to taste

If you decide to cook the garlic, saute it briefly in the olive oil over medium heat just until it is no longer raw before tossing in the food processor.

If using canned beans, drain and rinse them, then place in food processor.  If using dried beans, cook 1 cup of white beans of your choice using your preferred method and put in food processor when cooked through.

Put all of the remaining ingredients in the food processor with the garlic and beans and pulse a few times until the mixture is very smooth.  Check the seasoning to see if more salt, pepper or thyme is needed.  Also add additional liquid at this point if you would like the dip to be thinner.  Blend again until well combined. 

Modified from an original recipe at Affairs of Living blog.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Adzuki Bean and Mango Curry

In case you've never tried adzuki beans let me tell you that you're missing out.  They have the texture of a black bean and a flavor along the lines of a sweeter version of a kidney bean.  You can use them in place of any similar sized bean for something different. 

The only problem is these pretty pink beans are a bit hard to track down.   I get mine in the bulk pins at Whole Foods (I know it's a gluten free no no but I wash then thoroughly and have never had a problem.)  Eden Organics also has them canned flavored with seaweed at all the local groceries I go to so they are out there if you look.

Putting beans regardless of how unique they are with mango in a curry might sound odd.  I thought so too until I actually gave it a try.  The sweetness of the mango mellows the spices and gives this curry a really interesting mouthfeel making it seem much richer than it really is.  With the coconut milk included this either becomes a weight maintenance only dish or a curry to eat while skipping the rice.  To make this for a low fat/high fiber meal just sub out the coconut milk for some vegetable broth and add a bit of tomato paste to get a thick sauce without the fat.

I found this Adzuki Bean and Mango Curry recipe over at the City Life Eats blog along with a handful of other really tasty ideas for recipes for us picky allergic eaters.  It's sometimes a hard blog to navigate but this recipe is perfect so I'm just sending you over there to check it out since I didn't change a thing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate Chips

This is my attempt at modifying another recipe from the Lisa's Kitchen blog to make it gluten and sugar free.  I was hoping to make it 100% Montignac friendly as well but I couldn't justify putting almond flour in something with a cup of peanut butter in it so I used brown rice flour instead.  That means this is a decent treat for dessert on the maintenance phase since it just has a hint of carby goodness in it instead of a refined flour.

My version isn't perfect as its a little dry so feel free to play around with the ingrediants and let me know if you could up with a different flour ratio.  Besides slightly dry baked goods are an excuse to have ice cream along side it and ice cream makes everything better.  And we all know how well peanut butter and chocolate go together so there really isn't anything else I should have to say to sell you on these yummy bars.

Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate Chips

7 tablespoons of melted vegan shortening (I used Earth Balance butter flavor spread)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (divided use)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
scant 3/4 cup chickpea flour
scant 1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate finely chopped (or 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

Grease an 8 inch square pan with shortening. Line with parchment paper, leaving some overlap. Grease the paper in the bottom of the pan with more shortening.

In a large bowl, combine the melted shortening, agave nectar and 1/2 cup of the peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gently beat in the flours, arrowroot, baking soda and cream of tartar. Stir in the chocolate and remaining peanut butter.

Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until it passes the tooth pick test.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cherry Chutney

Is it dessert or is it a condiment?  After thoroughly enjoying it a little at a time over the last couple of days I'm still not sure.  What I am positive about however is that it was easy to throw together, its tasty and very very interesting.

 Though I'm not sure what the original recipe has in mind I'm going to go along with the idea that this is mostly likely a dessert because I've liked it a lot after dinner with a scoop of whiskey flavored ice cream on top.  The ice cream was an experiment that went wrong in the texture department as it froze but is still tasty enough on top of other things.  The sweetness of the ice cream gives the cherry and vinegar combination enough kick in the dessert direction.  Originally this recipe calls for some tangy cheese as a topping which sounds intriguing and would probably bring this back over into the condiment/side dish category.

Which ever way you do it this is a very unique treat.  I was lazy and used frozen cherries rather than pitting endless cherries for this recipe and I can't taste any downside to the laziness.  I'm also cheap so rather than using a fresh vanilla bean I fished one out of my homemade vanilla and used part of that boozy goodness to make the chutney which I recommend.  But then I condone adding alcohol to most things. 

Cherry Chutney

3 cups (or 400 grams) red cherries, pits removed
3 cloves
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 dried Szechuan pepper, crushed up a bit
3 tablespoons fruit vinegar (I used raspberry and fig vinegars from Vom Fass)
1 vanilla bean, scraped

In a medium size pot over medium heat mix cherries, cloves, agave nectar, Szechuan pepper.  Cover and let cook for 5-10 minutes or  until the cherries start to soften and turn into a jam like consistency. Add vinegar and reduce liquid for an additional 5-7 minutes. When the cherries are soft and look like a jam remove mixture from the heat, let it cool and serve in small bowls.  Serve topped with ice cream, whipped cream or some tart crumbly cheese.

Recipe adapted from one at the Citron and Vanille Blog.