Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Black Bean, Brown Rice & Kale Salsa Bowl

I'm trying out the "no sugar, no flour" lifestyle after two friends have had great weight loss success following this plan.  As you are relying on grains and starchy vegetables for carbs on this plan and there's lots of fresh vegetables and proteins to prepare, you have to commit to a fair amount of food prep (no grabbing a quick bagel!).  This Black Bean, Brown Rice & Kale Salsa Bowl was actually a quick and easy dinner recipe that fit the bill.

I "cheated" by using Trader Joe's frozen organic brown rice, canned black beans, and Casa Sanchez Medium Salsa Roja.  With fresh dinosaur kale, cilantro and some sliced black olives, it was a hearty vegan bowl of goodness that kept me satiated till breakfast.  Using fresh salsa as a base also allows you to add a lot of flavor without having to saute onions and garlic in oil, thus making this a very low fat dish to boot.

Here's the easy recipe...

Black Bean, Brown Rice & Kale Salsa Bowl:

1 bunch kale, stems removed, torn into strips
1/3 cup vegetable stock or water
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
Fresh Salsa ( your favorite), as desired
Sliced black olives
Chopped cilantro

Put the kale strips into a wide saucepan or high-edged skillet and add the vegetable stock or water. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until the kale is almost tender.

Combine the remaining ingredients with the kale and heat, stirring thoroughly. Add the fresh cilantro and enjoy!

(4 servings)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chickpea, Broccoli & Olive Salad

Although I love hummus, chickpeas aren't my favorite legume.  I enjoy their nuttiness, but they seem to  require a strong flavor profile to make them truly appealing.  So for this salad, I sauteed the chickpeas in olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, sumac and harissa to add plenty of flavor. I added tiny broccoli florettes, but cooked them lightly to make sure they retained their crunch appeal, then added briny sliced black olives.  Fresh lemon juice and a combination of champagne and sherry vinegar added depth and I adjusted the heat with cayenne pepper.

The final steps included feta, pine nuts, chopped cilantro, a little lemon olive oil and S&P to taste.  

The result was a chickpea salad I couldn't stop eating!

Another great option for a high-protein, healthy salad on-the-go!  I got my sumac and harissa from Williams-Sonoma, but if you don't have these spices on hand, don't let that stop you from trying this recipe.  Fresh lemon juice and cayenne will make this dish sing, but don't skip the cumin.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Leek & Potato Salad

While the weather here in Northern California has been oddly inconsistent the last few days, it certainly has a Spring feel. But there's still some wonderful root vegetables at the Farmers' Market, so here's a transitional picnic recipe of Leek & Potato Salad.

This flavorful salad makes the most of delectable root vegetables while avoiding that creamy mayo fat-fest. The leeks are braised in a saucepan, first with butter (or vegan butter), then a little white wine is added to impart depth and flavor. Add some water and allow the leeks to cook until soft with some salt and pepper. Dice some new potatoes and place them in a saucepan with water and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until not quite tender. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Add the potatoes and some capers to the leeks and cook for two minutes.  Whip up a vinaigrette of olive oil, champagne vinegar, dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Add to the potato-leek mixture and allow to marinate for 1 hour. The leek to potato mix should be 50/50.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Millennium Cooking Class: Easter 2013

Last weekend,  I enjoyed an eggless Easter extravaganza at another delicious and entertaining cooking class at Millennium, San Francisco's most delectable vegan restaurant. Executive Chef extraordinaire Eric Tucker led the Spring-themed culinary celebration, highlighting the season's fabulous Farmers' market offerings.  Some participants were following a gluten-free diet, always a good thing in my opinion, as the recipes frequently involve a fav tasty ingredient of mine, chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour.

Even though in claswe traditionally start off by making dessert first, we'll start this story with salad, more specifically with two Beet & Avocado Salad variations.  Above,  the architectural offering of spiral cut root vegetables over an Indian-spiced guacamole with a quick saute of cumin seeds, curry leaves, and minced garlic.  The dramatic red sauce is a roasted beet vinaigrette, again with Indian spices (cumin seeds, mustard seeds, crushed cardamom pods, turmeric and chile), combined with grapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar.  Thrown by that last combination of ingredients?  You're in good company - I was too! But, you know, Eric knows a thing or two and it was darned tasty!  The other group combined their Indian Beet Vinaigrette with grilled avocado, fennel, and grapefruit (pictured below):

Next we have two versions of edamame gnocchi with mushrooms, the version below used chickpea flower, along with edamame and potatoes, and was served with a side of stinging nettle-pistachio pesto, which was absolutely delicious. Keep in mind, you need to blanche those pesky stinging nettles to get rid of the sting, so use tongs:

The second version used fresh yuba (tofu skin) which may just be the most delicious fried food on the planet. Our group had the happy accident of including the green tea togarashi (side) ingredients (sesame seed, chile flake, nori, green tea and salt) into the edamame, but it all came out well in the end.  A reduced Oolong tea, tamari and chile sauce was spooned on top :

A dengaku (Japanese method of miso-glazed grilled foods) of asparagus, mushrooms and spring onions, served in a lettuce leaf spoke to the Spring season:

English pea pakoras with carrot marmalade were our fried seasonal indulgence:
The plate was rounded out with Kimchi griddle cakes blackened eggplant:

Indian papadom crisps (made with chickpea flour) accented the salad plate:

Dessert is always a vegan-fest at Millennium classes.  This time around we made Strawberry Cashew crust tart with black pepper pastry cream (coconut milk, vanilla bean, agar), and served this with a Thyme Ice Cream (not pictured).  Yum!

Thanks to Eric, Ann, Thomas & newbie Alan and, of course, my fab classmates for making this class another awesome cooking experience. 


Here are links to my posts on my many previous Millennium cooking classes:

*Sept. 2012 Cooking Class
*June 2012 Cooking Class

  • Chile Class 2011

  • July 2011 Class

  • Mushroom Cooking Class January 2011

  • Sept.2010 Cooking Class

  • July 2010 Cooking Class

  • June 2010 Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class 2010
  • Chiles Cooking Class 2009

  • July Cooking Class 2009

  • June Cooking Class 2009

  • Spring Cooking Class 2009

  • Mushroom Cooking Class

  • Holiday Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest 2008

  • Indian Summer

  • Southern Comfort Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class

  • Chiles Class

  • Tomato Class