Over the weekend, I made a delicious risotto with my friend Gene that I wanted to share with you. So, we started off with with a basic risotto recipe inspired by Lidia’s Italy and added our own vegetables.
Creamy Risotto with Broccoli, Arugula and Tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large minced onion
- 2 minced shallots
- 6 cups arborio rice
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 6-1/2 cups hot vegetable stock, plus water as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or as needed
- 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh tomatoes
- red pepper flakes
- Italian seasoning
First, you cook the onions in the olive oil until golden brown, then add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, next add the white wine and stir until absorbed. Then, gradually add ladles of broth to the rice, continually stirring until each ladle is absorbed. Steam fresh or frozen broccoli and set aside.
Then, add salt, pepper, butter, tomatoes and arugula to the risotto. Continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is al dente or as tender as you would like and the vegetables are cooked. Finally, stir in the broccoli and the Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
This recipe is a little labor intensive, so be prepared to stir…and stir some more. But, when the rice is cooked, it’s well worth the cramp left in your arm! Give this recipe a try—even non-vegetarians will like it! Plus, it makes lots of leftovers which are great for lunches or a quick dinner.
You can put almost anything you want into a risotto—I’ve had asparagus which is really good. Do you have a favorite risotto recipe?
I started reading this new book called The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend a couple weeks ago to broaden my outlook on why we eat what we eat in this country. Plus, I’m always reading books about animal rights, vegans and vegetarians that I figured I needed to hear what the meat-eaters are saying.
So, what do you think of when you or people you know waste food? For me, I think about how so many people don’t even have food and how wasteful it is that I didn’t feel like taking my $15 pasta leftovers home. I always think of “waste not, want not” and feel horrible about throwing away food (which is one of the reasons I try to only buy food I know I’ll eat).
Well, in The Compassionate Carnivore, I wanted to share a fascinating point that Friend makes about wasting food: when you waste food you’re needlessly killing animals. Wow. I never thought about food going to waste in that way. It really makes me think that when you eat a hamburger you’re actually eating a cow and when you don’t finish your meal a cow was killed for no reason—how wasteful. Friend makes this point to help readers realize that if they’re going to eat meat, they should finish their food. To me, it just makes sense that if you’re going to take an animal’s life to put food on your plate, you should eat every last bite and cherish the food you are consuming while recognizing all the hard work it took to get that meat on your plate.
So, what are your thoughts on wasting food? Wasting meat?
I have a confession…I’ve never made guacamole before today (gasp!). I’m embarrassed considering how much I love guacamole and how easy it is to make. So, if you’re like me (and I know some of you are) here’s an easy recipe if you want to give a whack at making your own sometime. This recipe makes about two servings of guacamole and its easy enough to make you can make another batch when this one is already gone.
Add as little or as much of the ingredients below until it tastes how you like your guacamole.
- onion powder (or real onions)
- cayenne pepper
- lime juice
Just chop up the tomato and garlic and add it to the avocade and mush with a fork. That’s it. Easy and delicious.
Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or use it as a spread on a sandwich. Yum!
Do you ever make guacamole? Do you have a favorite recipe? Share with us!
It’s Meatless Monday and I usually post dinner foods or topics of interest. But, this week I had to share an incredible smoothie recipe I made last week. This smoothie could be for breakfast, a snack or even dessert. OK, so did you ever eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches as a kid? The sweetness of banana mixed with the nutty flavor of peanut butter all piled high on thick slices of wheat bread—it just doesn’t get any better. Well, I’ve made a smoothie recipe that replicates this exact taste, but better because its cool and refreshing and you can drink it from a straw (awesome!).
So, here’s what I used to make this Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich Smoothie
- frozen bananas
- peanut butter
- ground flax seeds
- plain soymilk
Add ingredients to taste and blend. Just make sure you add enough banana so it’s nice and cold. The texture from the almonds and ground flax seeds is so delicious with the creamy banana and peanut butter. Once you’ve got your smoothie how you want it, sit back, sip and reminisce about being a kid again.
This is on my top 5 smoothie list—it’s that good! Do you have a favorite smoothie? Share with us!
Posted in Food, Meatless Monday, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tagged Banana, Meatless Monday, Peanut Butter, Refreshing, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian
I started reading this new book called Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy, Ph.D. and wanted to share this video with you.
The video above defines carnism and outlines some of the reasons why it’s an invisible ideology. This invisible belief system she mentions is particularly interesting to me because I’ve been vegetarian (vegan some days) for two years and many people ask me why I am vegetarian and I’ll say many reasons: health, environment, moral, I’ve never really liked meat, etc. There’s many reasons—I choose to eat the way I do. But, one reason is different—moral. But, when I try to talk to them about how meat is farmed in this country, they just don’t want to hear it. They’re unbelievably uncomfortable when they find out how their food is raised, killed, butchered, etc. People just want to eat mindlessly without knowing the real system their food is coming from. It seems crazy to me, to be able to eat and block out the truth.
So, what do you think?
It’s Meatless Monday again! I wanted to share this AMAZING Green Beans and Rice with Sesame-Orange Sauce Recipe I tried from One-Dish Vegetarian Meals. This recipe doesn’t have tofu in it, but I added some extra-firm tofu (I love tofu!) and it really made the meal complete!
Green Beans and Rice with Sesame-Orange Sauce from One-Dish Vegetarian Meals—Serves Four
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Asian chili paste, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons safflower oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and halved diagonally (I used frozen haricot verts and didn’t halve them)
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
- 4 to 5 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, chili paste, brown sugar, tamari, lemon juice and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Heat the safflower oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic, green beans, and onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the water, cover and steam until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the sesame-orange sauce, stir and cook until hot, about 2 minutes. Stir in the arrowroot (or cornstarch) mixture and continue to cook for 1 minute, or until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Serve immediately over the rice, garnished with the toasted sesame seeds.
Since I added tofu—I ended up making a bowl of additional sauce to use as a marinade and then cooked the tofu in it’s own pan so it could cook evenly without being cramped in with the green beans. I’d recommend giving this recipe a try—I think it’s so tasty that it rivals that of restaurant and take-out food.
Did you know that cornstarch can be used as a thickener for sauces?
Also, Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday. I’m not having a family cook-out today, so I think I’m going to make a quinoa and edamame salad and maybe some soup for dinner. What food are you going to enjoy today? Please share below!
Posted in Food, Meatless Monday, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tagged Asian, Green Beans, Labor Day, Meatless Monday, Orange, Sesame Seeds, Tofu
I got a bunch of vegetables at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning that I wanted to cook up, but wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. So, I decided to make a variation on my friend, Lauren’s Zucchini and Cinnamon Quinoa Pilaf. Here’s her original recipe:
Zucchini & Cinnamon Quinoa Pilaf
time 30 minutes
yield 4 servings
- 1 cup rinsed quinoa
- 2 Tbsp. safflower oil
- 1/2 fresh lemon
- 2 cups water
- Half a zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup chickpeas, drained
- 3 baby portabella mushrooms, minced
- 1/3 cup shoepeg or white sweet corn, drained
- 1 heirloom tomato, chopped
- 1 large yellow wax pepper, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 Tsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tsp. kosher sea salt
- 1/6 cup celery, chopped
- Pour quinoa and water into a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl and cover loosely. Microwave for 5 minutes on high. Fluff with a fork and spritz with some lemon juice, then set aside when done.
- Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add safflower oil, salt, zucchini, celery, onion, tomato, mushroom, and yellow wax pepper and sauté.
- Stir in chickpeas and shoepeg corn, as well as the cumin and cinnamon, and continue to let simmer until the chickpeas and zucchini begin to brown. Add in some more lemon juice while simmering.
- In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with your quinoa.
My recipe involved using the same spices as above, but with the addition of some black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, basil and smoky sweet seasoning blend. For the veggies in my recipe I used the eggplant, squash, tomato and peppers I got at the farmer’s market and added some red onion and frozen sweet corn. Everything else was pretty much the same. It turned out spicy and sweet—it’s a great meal to make to eat up some extra veggies.
Usually I cook from recipes, but sometimes it’s fun to improvise and experiment. Have you ever made a dish like this before? Share your tips below!
Squash is in season and what better way to use it than make a soup? Last week I made this wonderful Sunny Summer Squash Soup from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’s Recipe. I got most of the produce from the farmer’s market, including the squash, potatoes, garlic, onion and red chili. It uses potatoes to help thicken the soup and a red chili to add a little kick. I made the soup very smooth—but added some red peppers and bread to give it some texture. I also added all the optional ingredients—it was my first time trying tahini (sesame paste) not in hummus. Turns out, I like it.
Here’s the recipe if you get a chance to pick up some squash this week:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small hot pepper, seeds removed and chopped
- 2 ribs celery, strings removed and chopped
- 2 medium (12-14 ounces) gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 1/2 pounds small yellow squash, chopped (or young zucchini)
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tablespoon tahini (optional)
- salt and white pepper, to taste (optional)
- Garnish: slivers of red bell pepper
Heat a large non-stick or enamel-coated pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, covered but stirring every minute or so, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes (add a little water if it tends to stick). Add the garlic and hot pepper and cook for another minute.
Add all remaining ingredients except the optional ones. Cover and cook until the potatoes are completely tender (they will mash if lightly pressed with a spoon), about 25-40 minutes.
Remove half of the soup and put it into a blender and puree at high speed until completely smooth. (Be careful–hot liquids can erupt from your blender; I always remove the center cup from the lid and cover the opening with a kitchen towel.) Once it’s blended, pour the soup into another pot. Add the remaining soup to the blender, along with any optional ingredients you choose to use, and blend well. Add to the other half of the soup, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish with slices of red bell pepper, and serve.
Do you have a favorite summer soup?
This week, instead of posting a recipe I thought I’d talk about an interesting book that I just finished reading: The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD with Thomas M. Campbell II.
The book discusses a major comprehensive study conducted in China and Taiwan which gives great insight into the differences between a Western diet full of animal proteins, fat and cholesterol versus a Chinese diet full of plant protein, fiber and carbohydrates and their effects on common diseases of affluence. Campbell discusses diabetes, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, obesity and heart disease and the implications of animal proteins, high fat intake and eating a Western diet have on our health.
Campbell also discusses why we’re all so confused about what to eat, what’s healthy and why diet fads don’t work. He specifically addresses the low-carb diets that are full of unhealthy animal proteins, fat and cholesterol. He even addresses the relationship and politics of medicine, pharmaceutical companies, government, education and the food industry.
Things I found fascinating in the book:
- Studies show that it’s possible to “turn off cancer” with proper nutrition—whole food, plant-based diet
- Eating a “low-fat” Western diet will not make you healthier or prevent any diseases (read more on the Nurses’ Health Study about this)
- The “American” diet is getting more people sicker than ever—despite all the dieting craze that so many people participate in
- You can make a big difference in how you feel and change your health by eating differently—it’s something that’s not controlled by genetics
- Genes do play a role in disease, but certainly not the only role
- The whole of what we eat is much greater than individual parts
- If you’re eating a plant-based diet you should make sure you are obtaining enough vitamins D & B12—if not, you may have to take supplements
If you’re suffering from disease or know someone who has a disease such as diabetes, heart disease, or precursors to diseases such as high cholesterol or being overweight—I’d really recommend checking out this book. It’s amazing to read through this and feel that you can take control of your health three times a day. Eating a plant-based diet sure is much cheaper than taking medication and is a way to improve the overall quality of your life. Plus—imagine if you really could stop cancer growth or lower your insulin dependency by just changing your diet. It seems worth a shot to me.
“The science is clear. The results are unmistakable. Change your diet and dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.”
Personally, I think this book has made me want to eat even less animal products than I already do (right now I’m vegetarian, but eat vegan a lot). I’ve been exploring many vegan food options lately to lower my animal protein intake to stay healthy and fight disease. And I’ve been loving every moment of it.
Have you read The China Study—what did you think? Or do you think you’ll read it?