Monthly Archives: May 2014

Roasted Potato and Asparagus Salad

What glorious weather we’ve been having here on the west coast. It’s warm and sunny. I can wear flip flops, shorts, tank tops. The days are long. The flowers are blooming everywhere. And, we’re currently in the middle of a long weekend. Love it! The weather forecast, this weekend, was for cloudy skies on Saturday and rain on Sunday, but we got nothing but sunshine, warmth and big, fluffy white clouds (which, I think, are called cumulus clouds). I spent this morning at my community garden plot. I planted 3 kinds of potatoes, 2 kinds of kale, some zucchini, some spaghetti squash, lots of onions and garlic. All this gardening, exercise and outside time made me really hungry, but I wanted something simple and easy for supper. I decided to make this salad:

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I found this salad over at Dishing Up the Dirt, but I changed it up a bit. I’m not really a big potato salad fan, but this version really works for me because it’s a warm salad plus it’s got lots of greens going on so it’s not so … well, potato-y!

Here’s how I made it:

8 small potatoes (new potatoes are best if they are available in your part of the world), cut into about 1 inch pieces

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed off, cut into 5cm pieces

2 or more large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, chopped a few times

about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill

1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

4 green onions, chopped

juice of one lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. capers

1/2 tsp agave nectar

3 tbsp. water

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

Toss the potatoes well in the olive oil then roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Pull the pan of potatoes out of the oven, add asparagus and toss together. Return to oven and roast for another 15 minutes or so until all is tender and a little bit browned. Have the spinach ready in a big bowl. Dump the pan of potatoes and asparagus into the bowl of spinach and toss everything together. The heat from the roasted vegetables will wilt the spinach. Add the dill, walnuts and the green onions and toss again. While the vegetables are roasting, you can make the dressing. Put the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, capers, agave, water, oil, pepper flakes in a small blender or use an immersion blender like I did, and blend everything together until smooth. Taste and adjust – you might want to add a bit more sweetener if your lemon juice is too overpowering. Pour dressing over potatoes and mix. Serve immediately while still warm, or wait for a bit and serve at room temperature. Yum!

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Asian-Style Spaghetti With Stir Fried Vegetables

I don’t know if this is a good name for this dish, but it was suggested by “Tom” in an attempt to acknowledge that I used spaghetti noodles in a chow mein-type dish. See …

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This dish came about when I wanted to make a noodle dish that satisfied “Tom’s” love of Asian-style noodle dishes, but carried more nutritional value than those white udon noodles or those fried chow mein noodles. I decided to use organic, whole-wheat spaghetti noodles. We liked this dish so much that we ate it 2 nights in a row! Here’s what I did:

In a wok or frying pan, saute together:

1/2 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. minced or shredded ginger

2 cups shredded cabbage

Just use a bit of water to saute these ingredients. If you’re new to water sautéing, start out by sautéing the onion in a hot pan. Add 1 tbsp. water to prevent sticking if necessary. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to saute, adding 1 tbsp. at a time of water to prevent sticking. If you like, you could use veg stock instead of water.

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Break some organic, whole wheat spaghetti noodles in half (I used about 1/3 of a package), then cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes (you want them to be not quite cooked so they can finish cooked in the pan with the onion-cabbage mixture and the sauce), then drain and rinse. Throw the noodles into the pan with the onion and cabbage mixture along with 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil and toss together. Make this sauce (adapted from the recipe for Omaha Yakisoba in Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz):

1 tbsp. tamari

1 tbsp. Bragg All Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning

1 tbsp. coconut soy-free seasoning sauce (I used Naked Coconuts)

(You can use 3 tbsps tamari or soy sauce, if you like. I used the three sauces because I like to cut the salt, but keep the soy sauce flavour, plus I’d just bought the coconut sauce and wanted to use it!)

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp. white cooking wine

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

(If you have mirin, use 2 tbsps of that instead of the wine/vinegar combo – I didn’t have any mirin when I made this, so I substituted!)

Whisk the sauce ingredients together and pour into the noodles. Toss, turn down heat to very low, cover and sit to allow the noodles to soak up the sauce, while you make the stir-fried vegetables.

Here’s what I used for the vegetables:

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 1 carrot

1 stalk of celery

1 stalk zucchini

1/2 red bell pepper

1 head of broccoli

1 cup edamame beans

3 green onions

2 huge handfuls of spinach

Stir fry all these vegetable in a wok or big frying pan, starting with the carrot and adding in the order listed, using a water saute. Towards the end, add a few splashes of soy sauce/tamari/Bragg soy seasoning/coconut seasoning sauce.

Dish up the noodles and vegetables, sprinkle on some sesame seeds and serve.

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Try This Smoothie

Last week I went to a Nutrient Dense Eating workshop put on by Feedlife. I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about a plants based diet and for opportunities to convince friends and family to explore plants based eating. One of the dishes prepared by Eden Elizabeth and Colin Medhurst at Feedlife was a Mega Nutrient Smoothie. This one had some things that I’ve put in smoothies before (cucumber, kale, apple) and some things I haven’t tried in smoothies before (ginger, lemon peel, celery). Putting lemon peel in as well as the flesh and juice of the lemon was emphasized because many of the important nutrients in fruits and vegetables lie just under the skin/peel. Also, I found out that combining cucumber and celery  makes a complete protein.

Here’s the smoothie recipe I created this week, based on what I learned at Feedlife:

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1/3 of an English cucumber, coarsely chopped (leave unpeeled if organic)

1/2 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped

small slice lemon, including peel, pith, flesh and juice, coarsely chopped

1 thumb ginger, coarsely chopped (unpeeled if organic)

leaves from 1 stalk of kale, coarsely chopped

1/2 apple, unpeeled, coarsely chopped

1 banana, chunked

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1/2 – 3/4 cup almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve. When consuming this smoothie, sip it slowly. Think about how long it would take you to eat all the ingredients and take that long to drink your smoothie.

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