FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
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Easy Easy Quinoa Burgers!!

August1

This was the second time I made these and they were a big hit with my boys!!  London thought they looked like the “Nuggets” he sees his friend Janey eating at school, and so he was double excited when I cut the patty up into bite size “nuggets” for him.  He ate two burgers by himself and asked me to put them in his lunch this week.  This made me swell with burger pride, as you can imagine.  Getting a 2.5 year old to eat quinoa is tricky, and by tricky I mean I have to trick him.  So for him to request this is slightly monumental.  The only thing he ever requests for school is Pizza or Pancakes.  Neither of which he has ever had in his Tiger Lunch Bag.  Back to the burgers…

First of all – I made these because I had way too much leftover Quinoa and couldn’t bear to eat it plain again.  I remembered I had a burger recipe somewhere in my notebook, and I am glad I found it.  The recipe was for Greek style burgers but I made a more Italian version because we just had Greek Souvlaki two nights ago – too much Greek!!  Here is what I did:

put all of the following ingredients into a food processor:

two small raw carrots – cut up

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1 can of rinsed and drained Great Northern White Beans

1/4 cup dried breads crumbs (Italian are great if you can find organic!!)

Egg Replacer (the equivalent of one egg – lightly beaten)

1 teaspoon Bragg 24 Sprinkle (or Italian Spices of your choice)

salt to taste (I almost never cook with pepper, but go crazy if you like it)

The original recipe calls for pulsing your food processor until combined but still chunky – I blend it until it is really smooth and almost paste-like.  Make the mixture into patties with your hands, if it’s too sticky cool it off in the fridge first.  I used leftover Quinoa so it was already cold.  That helps. In a large skillet or frying pan heat up about two tablespoons of olive oil and cook burgers on medium heat until browned and cooked through on both sides, about 10 minutes per side.

I served these without buns or bread because they are already pretty high in Carbohydrates, but my husband went for some toast slices anyway and he was very happy.  I made guacamole and grilled some onions, green peppers, red chili pepper, and garlic to serve on top.  I also used my leftover Souvlaki Cilantro dressing on it (cilantro, soy yogurt, lemon, olive oil) which I thought was a great flavor profile for the rest of the dish.  But really – it’s a fried patty – you can eat it alone and it would be good.  Wrap lettuce around it, or put BBQ sauce on it, or cut it up and throw it in a salad.  It’s versatile.  Go crazy.  And remember to always choose organic products – it’s always worth it!!  Enjoy!

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I could eat these everyday for a month.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces “Can I please have more burger? Can I please have another burger? I want more food.”

Vegan Enchiladas

July28

I WISH I had a picture of all the steps I took to make these little lovelies, but I don’t have any.  I was too busy cooking and eating.  I hate when I get caught up in the moment and forget that I might want to post my creation.  Oh well – use your imagination… They didn’t LOOK particularly special anyway.

Timing: I have made these three times now and I can tell you they came out amazing both times and I did something different each time.  One time I made them for a big dinner party I threw and I made three trays – one for kids (with cheese) , one mild and one super spicy.  They went over huge with everyone in the room.  BUT let me just say – they are time consuming, so get a glass of wine going and don’t be afraid to do everything but assemble early in the day so you don’t put any stress into your food and onto the plate.  Assembly also takes time.  Don’t think you can do whip these up in under an hour.  Give yourself about two to three the first time you make them.

First the sauce: I have learned that sauce is sauce is sauce is gravy.  (Vegan Gray is so easy to make.  I’ll do a post on that soon.) Enchilada sauce is nothing more than regular gravy (however you make it) with the addition of tomato paste, Cumin, Oregano, Chilli Powder and fresh chiles if you want to add more heat.  (My Momma taught me that – I called her with no idea what I was doing and she gave me a quick rundown and I was off… as usual, Mom comes to my rescue in the kitchen.)  I don’t measure. I know that’s not much help, but use your nose.  You’ll figure it out.  And taste it!!  If it’s boring add more spice.  Make the sauce first so it has time to thicken and the flavors can blend a bit.  When you think you have it where you like it, set it on a flame-less burner and come back to it when you’re ready to put the dish together.

The Filling: I always like use whatever I have in the house but I will say don’t use mushrooms – yuk.  I tried that once and pulled them all out once we were eating them.  Here are some basic ingredients: saute diced onions and minced garlic (always – with everything) add chopped up zucchini or other summer squash, corn (frozen is fine, but add it last) carrots (must be cooked first – I usually chop and steam them) black olives, chopped chiles or jalapenos,  if you have and eat Kale put it in – small shredded Kale is great in stuff like this – you can’t taste it but your body loves you for it.  Saute away until everything is soft and cooked well through, add some of your sauce to start getting it juicy and looking like pot pie filling, add chopped cilantro when your mixture is done cooking and cools off just a bit.  Turn off burner and set aside.

Tortillas: Of course you want to use corn tortillas for Enchiladas, but I personally don’t make them. I’m assuming you don’t either, so – open your tortilla package up and get a wet dish towel.  Put 4-5 tortillas in the towel and wrap them up so they are completely covered.  Put them in the microwave for I think 30 seconds or so on high.  You just want them warm enough that they are soft and wont break or tear when you roll them up.  This is the only thing I have used a microwave for in about 10 years, so I really don’t know the full technique.  I also recommend that if you have time and want to steam them DO THAT!  Always avoid that creepy, mysterious “cooking” box if possible (how does it do that??).  Use the batch that you just steamed right away.  Spoon some filling into the tortilla, roll it up so the stuff isn’t falling out but also isn’t too tight to have any food inside, put the seam side down in a large baking pan so it won’t pop open, repeat until you have either no filling or no tortillas left.  Put sauce down on the bottom of the pan before you start filling the tortillas.  Not too much, just enough so that the tortillas are covered and juicy all around. Line them up as close as possible together and generously apply tons of sauce on top.

The Oven: Put your lovely pan of happiness in a preheated oven at about 350°. Bake about 20-30 minutes or until it looks bubbly and yummy.  If you must add cheese on top, use a combo of shredded Jack, Pepper Jack and Cheddar and you only need it on top.  Don’t worry about adding it inside each tortilla – there wont be room anyway.  Sprinkle the cheese on top before it goes in the oven and let it get bubbly and crispy.  But trust me – we didn’t miss it.  And why not give your body a break from the non stop barrage of dairy you load up on everyday??

Serve: If you like sour-cream with your enchiladas I encourage you to try either plain yogurt (SO much better for you) or plain soy yogurt (even better yet!) We used to be sour cream addicts and now we use these two things as replacements and don’t miss the sour cream at all… unless your referring to the pounds we no longer see on the scale.  I also like to make  black or pinto beans and mash them up with a little almond milk  (makes them feel and taste like re-fried beans without any added oil, or fat – so yummy and easy.)  I also serve this with brown rice that I have sauteed up with a little of my enchilada sauce so it’s wet and Mexican (that sounds a bit X-rated, but it’s not THAT good).  Sprinkle a little finely chopped cilantro on the whole plate and wait for the praise!!

Husband Rating 5 star:  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “You could serve these in any gourmet Mexican Restaurant and they would stand up to anything else there.”

Orzo Salad

May4

This was a quick salad I made with random items in the fridge (where 50% of my ideas come from) when my mother in law was over and I hadn’t planned out any food because I too busy with the Whopping Cough.  Suddenly I realized it was the middle of the day and there was nothing to eat for lunch.  So I threw this big pasta salad together with fresh veggies and pantry stuff in about 15 minutes.  Super easy and it was so good I made it the following weekend for a BBQ we were invited to.  Here’s what I did:

Boil one package of Orzo Pasta, drain, rinse, throw in a big salad bowl.

While the pasta is boiling, put a steamer pot over the water and quickly steamed cut up carrots (2 or 3 medium), and broccoli (about 1 cup cut up small)… throw those in.  (or steam them separately – cut them small, thin, and evenly so they cook fast)

One cut-up yellow (red, green, whatever) bell pepper

3/4 cup chopped Kalamata Olives

Cheese of your choice – I used low fat string cheese because that’s what I had in the house – I just cut it into bite sized rounds.  about 1 cup or so.  Whatever ratio you like.  It’s a salad – who cares?

2-3 leaves of finely cut up Kale.  Health it up – you won’t even taste it and it looks great!!

mix together with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.  I also added sea salt, and Braggs 24 seasoning (love that stuff).

The longer it sits the better.  Overnight is great, but eat it cold or right after you make it when it’s still slightly warm. The thing is – put whatever you want or like in this, and do whatever you want with it.  It’s salad.  Be adventurous.  Great replacements are vegan cheese or Ume Plum vinegar, Sesame Oil, rice pasta… the list goes on.  I imagine every time I make it will be a slightly different dish.  But the above ingredients worked great the first time!!

Remember: ALWAYS USE ORGANIC EVERYTHING!!!  If you have the money to buy diet pills, fancy face creams, detox powders and $150 jogging shoes, you can buy organic food.  It’s more important for your health than anything else you will spend money on!!!

Husband Rating 5 star:  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Yum.”

Holiday Granola

January14
Photo by Zeke K copyright 2009

Photo by Zeke K copyright 2009

What makes it Holiday Granola?? Nothing but the bow I guess, AND it just happens to be what I made and gave out as gifts this year to friends. Zeke wants it to be my new tradition, but as you know you it’s not a tradition until it’s been done a few times, so… time will have to tell.

In the meantime (so much time in this post) here’s what was in it if you got it, or if you want to know what Zeke eats for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!! (It’s too much sweetie. You need to shake it up)

preheat oven to 325゜

4 cups of uncooked oatmeal

1/2 cup rasins

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries, or blueberries… whatever you like)

1/2 cup spelt flakes (I get these from whole foods. They are made by Arrowhead Mills and they are good. I like all Arrowhead Mills products, especially their flours.)

1/2 cup coconut

1/4 cup ground flax seed (I love Bob’s Red Mill)

1/4 cup cornmeal ( I usually use Blue Corn Meal from Arrowhead Mills. More nutritional value in the blue I think.)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/4 cup safflower oil

1/4 cup agave

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Mix all wet ingredients together with a whisk and pour into big bowl of dry ingredients stirring it up so it’s all coated. Spread it all onto a large cookie sheet in an even layer and bake it at 325 ゜ for about 20 minutes, take out and mix it up and respread in an even layer and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Careful – it burns quickly once it’s done so keep an eye out once you hit about 25-30 minutes.

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Take a holiday from your ordinary granola and crunch into happy goodness”

Vegan Ranch Dressing that’s better than any Ranch out there!

January13

I got this recipe from the RFD cookbook, but I have made some changes to it because I don’t usually have some of the stuff it calls for.  So I can’t take the credit for this (like most of the stuff on this blog.)

This is for my Momma, who keeps asking me for it, and Ms. Mundy who also keeps asking me for it. Here you go, ladies:

3/4 cup veganaise

4 ounces vacuum-packed firm silken tofu (okay – this can be tricky to find but it HAS to be Mori-Nu Silken – it does NOT have to be firm though.  And buy the organic one!!!! It will last in your cupboard unopened for ages so buy it if you see it even if you’re not going to need it right away. I have only ever seen it in health food stores and Whole Foods. It’s not refrigerated so it can be tricky to locate. It’s usually in the Asian Food section. Ask someone. Don’t bother making this recipe without it. Trust me – I’ve tried. Gross.)

1/4 cup minced onion

1/4 cup unsweetened plain soy-milk (I use whatever non dairy liquid I have in the house; almond milk, rice milk, etc… Just make sure it’s not flavored.)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder (or double up fresh onion)

1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (or you can replace that with 1 Tsp white wine/champagne vinegar)

1 teaspoon agave

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon sea salt or more if you have a problem with salt like we do.

1/4 teaspoon white pepper or fresh black pepper (I don’t usually use this because Zeke hates pepper these days, but I love it in this recipe and load up on it when he’s not involved – which is never.)

fresh chopped chives

Mix all ingredients but the chives in a food processor or a blender until smooth. (Add in chives after this step.) I have stopped wasting time chopping and dicing and just put it all in my Cuisinart and blast it until it looks like salad dressing.  Saves TONS of time and makes no difference as far as end result.

Make about 2 hours ahead of time if you can, and up to 2 days in advance if you think you are going to eat most of it shortly after.

We use it for salad, pizza crust, chip dip, sandwiches… whatever you use traditional ranch for. It’s SO good!!!

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Thanks to the garlic no one will ever kiss you again.  Thanks to the taste you won’t care!”

Quick Lunch Casserole – just threw it together

September18

So I just made this casserol strictly because I didn’t want to leave the house or make a big deal out of cooking a big lunch. I was also secretly hoping it would be good enough and big enough that I didn’t have to also cook dinner tonight. It worked – we will be eating this again in about four or five hours from now for dinner.

pasta-casserole
Here’s what I did:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • boiled 3/4 package of Trader Joes Organic Brown Rice Spiral Pasta
  • heat olive oil in sautée pan and then sautéed one small red onion – chopped in easy big pieces
  • before the onions were done I threw in about 7 Dino Kale leaves chipped up (I cut out the fat part of the stem first)
  • transfered the onion and Kale to a casserole dish and used the same pan for…
  • one package of vacuum packed tofu cubed and sautéed in more olive oil – cooked until brown on outside (or chicken, sausage – whatever meat you like to eat in a casserole)
  • rinsed cooked pasta in cold water and threw it in the dish
  • mixed all ingredients in dish with about 3/4 jar of Trader Joes Organic Marninara
  • Threw the Tofu on top of that and mixed in a handful of shredded Organic Mozzarella Cheese (TJ’s – of course)
  • Then added the rest of the mozzarella package to the top of the casserole and baked it for 30 minutes at 350.
  • let is rest for about 15 minutes and then dive in.
  • You can add salt before or after but it needs it – along with some ground pepper to taste.

The whole thing took me about 30 minutes to make. Super easy one. Pretty healthy too.

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Perfect combination of flavors, textures, and happiness!”

D-

Lentil Squash Soup

September18

I just made this one up from stuff in my fridge… thought I’d share it because it was literally gourmet good, super easy, super healthy, very filling, and FAST!! Please use all organic ingredients whenever possible. It’s so important for you and the world!! Okay – here you go:

Lentil-Squash Soup
1/2 cup red lentil
1/2 cup regular lentil
2.5 cups water or veggie broth
about a cup of red curry squash peeled and cubed
about a cup of acorn squash peeled and cubed
3 cloves of garlic, cut up randomly
3/4 onion (I used yellow)
dash of sea salt

throw it all in a pressure cooker and rock it on high for five minutes and then let it natural release. If you don’t have a pressure cooker than I’d say just cook it all in a pot until the veggies are all really soft and lentils are done (they cook fast anyway)
Then I pureed it (blender would work), served it with drizzled olive oil on top and finely diced chives. Salt and pepper to taste (We used Braggs Liquid Amino Acid instead of salt on the soup, and we didn’t use the pepper and didn’t miss it at all but I think it also would be good with it on top.)

Then if you REALLY want to go nuts and make it the perfect healthy meal – (also SUPER easy) serve it with a Millet Loaf instead of fattening and unhealthy bread. Zeke and I had it for lunch the next day and it was even better. You just have to thin it out a bunch when reheating. Use water or Veggie Broth. Easy.

Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Hot Steamy Bowl of Yum!”

D-

Cucumber Bruschetta Side Salad

September8

So easy – so gooooooooood and gourmet. Here it is:

  • 1- Hot House Cucumber, peeled and cut into fours and then sliced in whatever thickness you like. I did about 1/4 inch slices
  • 2- ripe and good medium sized Red Tomatoes (I used Heirloom, although they are not always easy to find) chopped up into approximately the same size pieces as the cucumbers
  • 1- medium sized Green Heirloom tomato. cut like the tomatoes above.
  • 1/2 red onion diced very small
  • about a 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • olive oil, salt to taste and a dash of Champagne White Wine Vinegar.

I served this as a dinner salad in a coffee cup on the plate with the rest of dinner. It looked super fancy because my coffee cups are small and petite looking. I wouldn’t use a big coffee mug – different vibe… wrong vibe. This salad is pristine and delicate even though it’s very hearty and basic. You can use a pretty glass, or desert bowl – whatever, just keep it off the plate – it’s juicy!

Always use organic ingredients whenever possible – it tastes better, better for you and good for the planet. Win-win-win! All the above ingredients are available organically.

Enjoy!

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Move this side salad up to the front because it’s going to be better than anything else you serve!”

D-

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