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Spinach gomae

Spinach gomae

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Soy, Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Dips, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
My mouth is watering just writing about making this spinachy goodness!

Ingredients

  • 600g clean spinach
  • 60ml peanut butter (I prefer natural PB, but just use what you have (smooth, chunky))
  • 15ml tahini
  • 30-45ml rice vinegar (or mirin) (depending on how vinegary you like things)
  • 30ml soy sauce or tamari (tamari for gluten-free)
  • 15-20ml sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, honey, etc., but no artificial sugar)
  • 15-45ml warm water
  • 45g toasted sesame seeds for topping

Directions

Step 1 Wilt the spinach in a steamer or add a couple of centimetres of water to a pot. Stuff that spinach in. It will wilt in only a couple of minutes, so watch it carefully so it doesn't get mushy. (No one likes mushy vegetables.)

Tip into a colander and let it cool.
Step 2 In a blender, hand-held blender or food processor, blend together the peanut butter, tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and a bit of the water (add more if needed for a pourable, but thick consistency). Taste. Adjust.

Keep at room temperature until your spinach is ready to wear the glorious sauce.
Step 3
Drain. Drain. Squish and drain. Use a colander, time and your hands. Get squishy with it. Trust me…you'll want this to be as un-watery as possible.

Then form it into balls about the size of an orange and set them in little bowls. I love little bowls!

Pop them into the fridge to set for about 30-60 minutes.
Step 4 Pour over the sauce and top with the toasted sesame seeds.

Devour. You can most certainly try to eat this with chopsticks, but I bet you can't get it in your mouth fast enough…just fork it!

*I forgot to take a photo the last time...I was too busy inhaling the gomae. I'll add one some other time.
Step 5
Nutrition information - click on image to enlarge.

Curried and roasted butternut squash soup

Curried and roasted butternut squash soup

Serves 4-6
Cook time 45 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Soup, Starter
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (average to above-average size)
  • 1 head garlic (or adjusted to your taste (peas loves garlic))
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 cup water (optional)
  • 2-3 cups veg broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or to taste)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • ½ - ¾ tablespoon curry powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh, chopped ginger (or ground, dried ginger ¼ T)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt + pepper (to taste)

Directions

Step 1 Split butternut squash in half —lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and squash guts. Lay cut side down in baking dish.

Place whole head of garlic or break into cloves —leaving the skin on. Put that in the baking dish.

Seed the pepper and cut in half or into quarters. Pop that in the same pan.

Cut onion into quarters and it goes in the pan too.

Add water (optional) to the pan or line with baking paper. I find adding the water speeds up the baking time and helps steam the squash. Some people don't like adding water and prefer baking paper or covering the bottom of the baking dish with olive oil.

Bake at 225°C for about 35-40 minutes. Poke the squash with a fork, if it's done, the fork will glide into the flesh easily.
Step 2 Skin the squash and garlic. Add all ingredients to a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Add enough broth according to how thin/thick you want the soup —you can add a bit at a time and check consistency after the next step and add more if needed.
Step 3 Let your soup come to a low boil, then put heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
Step 4 Get your immersion blender* out and whir up your soup. I don't make a complete puree, I usually leave a few chunky bits.

*You can use a countertop blender, but be very careful. Using this method you should allow the soup to cool down considerably before blending as the heat under the lid produces steam which could pop the lid off, make a mess and possibly scald you. Not pretty or fun. Then you have to heat the soup up again if you make it past this stage successfully.
Step 5 Taste. Alter flavour and/or alter consistency.
Step 6
Serve with a red pepper coulis and Greek yoghurt swirl, homemade chunky croutons, zest of lime and swirl of Greek yoghurt, pumpkin seeds or a combination of any or all of these suggestions or none at all.

Shown here with homemade cheesy, garlic toast.
Step 7 Put it in your tummy...yum.

Homemade Frank’s hot sauce

Homemade Frank’s hot sauce

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Breakfast, Dips, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Website food

Ingredients

  • 25-30 fresh cayenne chili peppers (depending on size)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (depending on size)
  • 450ml white vinegar
  • 3.5ml salt

Note

This is a slightly different version of this recipe. I've added more peppers and garlic and offer alternative puree methods. It is easier to buy it, I know. But I can't get it here in the Netherlands. I have received numerous care packages from home containing –among other Canadian delights– bottles of Frank's. Then, my super, awesome friend started supplying me from the UK. Thanks everyone!

Demand over supply had me always trying to find replacements and then I stumbled upon a recipe (above) and have now perfected it.

Directions

Step 1
Wash and cut stems from the cayenne peppers. Cut off the tips too, if they're gnarly; otherwise, toss them in too!
Step 2 Roughly cut the peppers in 2.5 cm | 1 in chunks (yes, seeds too...they are the magic part!)
Step 3 Roughly chop the garlic in a blender or by hand.
Step 4
Add everything to a pot and let it come to a light boil, then reduce heat enough to keep a slight boil. Continue cooking (and salivating) for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The pepper flesh should be softer. Then, it blends easier.
Step 5 Remove from heat.
Step 6 Here you have two options:
1) Whir it all up with an immersion blender until you have a fairly smooth mixture.

2) Allow mixture to cool...and I don't mean cool-to-warm, I mean no heat. Pour into the blender and whir it up until you have a fairly smooth mixture. Do NOT try to puree in the blender while the mixture is still hot/warm. The steam created within the blender will pop the top off once the blender starts. And then...mayhem and possibly pain.
Step 7 Return mixture to the pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 8
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and mash the mixture to get the most sauce out. Don't waste a precious drop!
Step 9
Let it cool and then pour into a bottle. Store in the fridge. I believe it will keep for several weeks, but we use it so fast I have no idea how long it will last.

Now, what do YOU put hot sauce on?

Vegan, cheesy, spicy popcorn

Vegan, cheesy, spicy popcorn

Serves 2
Prep time 2 minutes
Cook time 8 minutes
Total time 10 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Snack, Starter
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot

Ingredients

Freshly popped popcorn

  • Popcorn kernels
  • 2-4 tablespoons Sunflower oil

Adding ingredients

  • Frank's Red Hot Original hot sauce
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Salt + pepper

Note

This combination of ingredients was from an old roommate of mine.  It makes a great snack that everyone loves and isn't high in calories.

_______________________________

Nutritional yeast is a light deactivated yeast that has a delicious, nutty, cheesy flavor. This is not the yeast used in baking!

Here is a great article to read more about nutritional yeast.

Directions

Freshly popped popcorn
Step 1 To a heavy, cast-iron pot add the oil and three popcorn kernels on a medium-high heat.
Step 2 After all three kernels have popped, add a couple of handfuls of popcorn kernels and cover the pot. Don't leave a gap with the lid, make sure it's on properly to keep the heat and steam in.
Step 3 As soon as you hear popping noises, give the pot a good shake and put it back on the heat. Repeat until you don't hear popping noise anymore.
Adding ingredients
Step 4
With the freshly-popped popcorn in a bowl, add the Frank's. Or try this homemade spicy sauce: http://spellitwithpeas.com/homemade-franks-hot-sauce/
Step 5
Add the nutritional yeast and S+P. Toss or stir to coat the popcorn. Then, devour.

Pesto, in many different ways

Pesto, in many different ways

Serves 3
Prep time 10 minutes
Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Dips, Lunch, Salad
Once again, I haven't really measured anything, but here is my hapless recipe for delicious arugula pesto that you can use with pasts, on sandwiches or as a dip.

Ingredients

  • 1 handful pine nuts
  • 1-2 clove garlic
  • a few handful arugula
  • 1/2 cup parmesan (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup mild/light olive oil (adjust to consistency)
  • salt + pepper

Note

If you want to use less oil, add warm water to replace some of the oil (but not all of it).

Directions

Step 1 Toast the pine nuts in the oven or in a pan. Be careful not to let them burn! Let them cool down.
Step 2 Roughly chop the garlic in the food processor.
Step 3 Add the other ingredients to the food processor, except for the oliveoil, just add a bit for now to give the pesto some moisture.
Step 4
Drizzle the olive oil into the food processor as it mixes the pesto and check the consistency. Add more olive oil as needed.
Step 5 Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6 On the first day, I used the pesto with some mushroom-filled ravioli. On the second day, I used in in veggie wraps. The wrap pictured contains arugula pesto, leftover rice, leafy greens, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, brown mushrooms and cheese.
Step 7
Nutrition

This post used to be called Arugula Pesto, but since I’ve added so many variations…I changed the title.

Let’s assume a constant of fresh basil, parmesan cheese*, garlic, salt + pepper. So, here are more combinations:

Fresh spinach, roasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts

Fresh spinach, roasted pistachios

Avocado, pine nuts

*Replace the parm with nutritional yeast or other suitable substitute to make these vegan.

Sweet potato fries and chipotle pepper dip

Sweet potato fries and chipotle pepper dip

Serves 2-4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Dips, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack, Starter

Ingredients

Fries

  • 2 1/2lb sweet potatoes (slice to desired size, but not too thick or too thin)
  • deep fry oil (if you deep fry rather than bake)
  • 2-3 handfuls cornstarch ((and a holeless bag))
  • 1 heaped teaspoon oregano (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or smoked paprika powder (or to taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon onion powder (or to taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • salt + pepper (to taste)

Dip

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (light, regular or vegan)
  • 1/2 cup kwark or greek yoghurt
  • chipotle peppers (here you can use a sauce, dried or fresh peppers or a powder...the amount will depend on which type of chipotle pepper you use)
  • salt + pepper (to taste)
  • 1-2 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder (to taste)

Note

We like to eat these about once a month. You can eat them with a veggie burger or other main dish or eat them by themselves. We tend to choose the latter. 🙂

Directions

Fries
Step 1 Cut the sweet potatoes, but not too thickly or thinly —leave the skin on if you wish.
Step 2 Immerse cut sweet potatoes into a microwaveable bowl of hot water. Microwave on high for about five minutes. You don't want the sweet potatoes to cook and get soft...it's just to get the cooking process started.
Step 3 Drain the water from the sweet potatoes, but don't dry them off. You will need the excess water still clinging to the potatoes to adhere to the dry ingredients.
Step 4
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Then add a handful to the bag along with a couple of handfuls of the uncooked, damp fries. And shake, shake, shake until the fries are coated. They should be lightly coated, not glommy.
Step 5
Now, you can either deep fry the sweet potatoes or bake them in a 425°F/ 220°C oven.

My experience shows that with the oven method, you will have to turn the fries and monitor them for done-ness. It takes a long time. Anywhere from 20-45 minutes.

I hate to admit it, but the deep fry route works a lot better and (of course) tastes a lot better than the oven method.
Dip
Step 6
Mix together all of the dip ingredients and adjust to taste.