Friday, March 11, 2011


Lunch today was leftovers from last night's dinner: sweet potato gnocchi with home-made seitan, broccoli, and garlic, in a vegan alfredo sauce

This batch of seitan turned out a little different - the spices were 1/2 tsp each finely powdered garlic and onion, and a pinch each of sage and cumin.  I added maybe a tablespoon extra of wheat gluten and kneaded it twice, letting it rest between and after.  Instead of pulling off chunks, I sliced it as thin as I could, so that the pieces more closely resemble cutlets.  I'm going to try this seitan in a sandwich next.

Carrot Apple Beet Ginger Juice

I have no photos on this one; it's simply a note about a realization.  I have beet juice about once a week for its cleansing qualities (whatever that means).  Really, it's because Boston Organics keeps putting them in my bin, and I'm too lazy to figure out how to cook them.  Also, while I've had delicious beet dishes in adulthood, it's hard to disassociate beets in my mind from the slimy, vinegary canned version.

At any rate, drinking beet juice (even with a 1:3-4 ratio of beets:carrots/apples) can be an intense experience on the digestive organs.  It's not pain, but there is a very odd, uncomfortable sensation that brings awareness to the abdomen.

I've been using ginger in various forms (ginger candy, ginger tea) to help with nausea and upset stomach for about a year now, with great succes.  So in anticipation of the weird abdominal sensations, I tried putting a bit of ginger in with my juice.  I used a piece about an inch long and half-inch in diameter, about the size of my thumb between the first knuckle and the second, and put it in the juicer with a quartered apple.  Add a jumbo carrot (about 3-4 small carrots) and 1/2 medium beet, and you get a sweet, vibrant juice with a subtle bite.

Voila!  No digestive problems.  I also drank the juice while eating a sandwich (with yesterday's bread!), but I think it's the ginger that really made the difference.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Multi-Seed Whole Grain Bread

I got a bread machine some weeks back.  When I say "got," I mean I got one from a fellow freecycler.  It's used, but it works pretty well, except that getting the loaf out of the pan is a bit of a chore.  A lot of bread is left in the pan, and I don't love the hole that the paddle makes.  The breads I've been making lately have been collapsing.

Today, I finally realized how to solve these problems: make the dough in the machine, and bake the bread in the oven.  Duh.  Now you're asking why I don't just do the whole thing by hand.  Well, as much as I've been assured otherwise, all the kneading and waiting and punching seems like just too much for me.  Anything that can make things easier for me is worth it.

I had stopped taking photos of the process of breadmaking because I hadn't come up with anything good enough or interesting enough to share.  Until today.  That's why there are only photos of the finished product here.

Put the following in the bread pan first:
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp honey*
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp bulgur wheat
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1-1/4 cup water

Then add according to your bread machine directions:
2-3/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tsp yeast

This is my old bread machine.  Thank you, Freecycle!

Prepare on the dough cycle.  Punch the dough down and transfer from the bread machine pan to a greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake on 350 F for 45 minutes.You could try bake on the whole wheat cycle if you want, but my guess is that there will be some collapse.

Can I just say, wow?  Beautiful, golden brown on the outside, nutty and chewy on the inside, altogether delicious!  I wanted to eat the whole loaf.  For now, I ate the end pieces and froze the rest.  The only change I might make is to leave out the bulgur wheat, since it doesn't stay soft once the bread has cooled.  You'd probably have to substitute a little flour for it.

Nutrition:107 calories, 15g carbs, 4g fat, 4g protein.  Plus, fiber and other stuff.  The database I'm using to calculate the nutrition doesn't give any other information.

Adapted from

*Yeah, yeah.  I know some people don't consider honey vegan.  Use agave if you prefer.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creamy Ravioli with Tomatoes and Capers

This is less a recipe than an unpaid advertisement for Rising Moon Organics ravioli.  They have a bunch of vegan options, and they seem to be on sale at Whole Foods and food coops on a fairly regular basis.  Also, they are delicious - which is apparently not an easy thing to do; I tried another brand at WF, and it was terrible.  On the other hand, preparing them is very easy.  Anyway, if you are not yet aware of this stuff, give it a try.

I used the Garlic & Herb variety this time, but the three shown are my favorites.

Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.  In this case, I used these small (1-1/2-2" diameter) tomatoes and cut them in quarters.  (Darn blogger editing won't let me put two photos side by side.  Let me know if you have advice for editing!)  Put cut tomatoes in serving bowl.

Cook the ravioli according to package directions (half a package is one serving).  Drain and return to pan.  Add the Vegan Alfredo Sauce and some capers (maybe a tablespoon) and heat on medium for a few minutes until hot.  Pour over tomatoes in bowl, stir, and serve.  The tomatoes don't heat all the way through, but they hold their shape and fresh flavor.

Approximate nutrition info is 426 calories, 61g carbs, 14g fat, and 15g protein.