Lunch at Work: Mung Bean Wraps

8 04 2013

Mung beans make an appearance at lunch very often for me. Especially in the winter when lunch consists of Cleansing Kitchery or Bean Soup. Lately, I’ve been making a version of Moroccan Goodness using mung beans. They are just so easy to use, full of goodness and if you soak them overnight, they cook up fast.

Two things I look forward to in the foodie world are 1) the monthly Alive magazine and 2) the bi-monthly City Palate. I picked up both new issues two weekends ago and spent some lazy moments this weekend flipping through them. Beans are on the menu in Alive this month which was perfect timing because even I get tired of the same thing for lunch now and then. It was time for a change and time to experiment in the kitchen. Eating monotony often means I’ve also been lacking in kitchen adventures which results in little to no blogging. Newly inspired, I tried the Mung Bean Pate Wraps. I had to alter the recipe because I found it bland. I can’t blame the recipe because I made mine without garlic and shallots, which is where a lot of the flavour would come from. However, I don’t like it when recipes depend on these ingredients for flavour. Even with onions and garlic, I don’t think the tomato flavour would have come through. So here is my more sattvic, pumped up version. Of course, add a bit of garlic and shallot or onion if you’d like.

  • 2/3 cups dried Mung Beans
  • 1/3 cups Walnuts
  • 1 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

Soak the mung beans overnight or for several hours, the more you soak the quicker they cook. Rinse them off and bring to boil in about 3 cups of water and then simmer. If you soaked them overnight, they’ll be soft in 15-20 min, if you didn’t soak them, cover them and check them every 10 minutes until they are soft. Rinse them off in cold water. In a food processor blend the mung beans and the rest of the ingredients together. Blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon or more of water if you find it too thick. I buy a big jar of sun dried tomatoes at Costco, one of the few vegetable things that aren’t organic in our house, but you know, how can you resist the price and the amount you get!

Sun Dried Tomatoes

I smeared the pate on a spelt wrap, added some goats cheese and sliced yellow peppers for lunch. Delicious. Easy to pack to work, I just rolled up one of the wraps in plastic wrap so it wouldn’t dry out. I put the pate and cheese into a small container the peppers in another container. Sliced cucumber and other veg like carrots on the side. Lunch is served (and had my colleagues saying ‘that looks yummy’ today at lunch).

Mung Bean Pate

Have you tried mung beans yet? What’s your favourite way to use them?

Eat well, Be well,

Nat

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Steel Cut Oats, Muffin Size

29 01 2013

I’ve done it. I’ve found a new weekday breakfast (and managed to get a blog post up in January). Anyone that knows me, I’m a creature of habit, same breakfast Monday thru Friday. Whole soaked and sprouted grains with cinnamon and toasted mixed nuts and seeds. Oatmeal with natural peanut butter and maple syrup on the weekends, yummy. That and a green smoothie, I’m good to go.

I love oatmeal and whole oats. Oatmeal is a bit of a pain at work though because you have to add the hot water, cook it and then you’re left with a messy bowl after. The sprouted cooked whole grains (kamut, spelt, soft wheat etc) are great because you can make a weeks worth at a time. It freezes, it packs well, there’s no water required and they don’t clump, but a spoon and bowl are required. See my post about Kamut for Breakfast from awhile back. If you practice or workout in the morning, you probably eat when you get to work or school so it makes for a rushed breakfast before meetings or class (or you eat in meetings if you have tolerant colleagues, I do ;-)).

In November’s Alive magazine there was group of recipes that featured oatmeal. One recipe looked like cooked oatmeal in a muffin wrapper, I was intrigued. I tried it and it is now my go to breakfast. They are filling and nutrient dense. Here is the original recipe, I skipped the compote and made a few edits based on my experience and likes. I’ve made these every week since. They take no time at all.

IMG_1761

Muffin Size Steel Cut Oats

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oats (soak them in filtered water overnight in the fridge and then rinse and drain them)
  • 1/2 cup Oat Bran or Spelt Flour (I’ve tried both, I am sure you could try a GF flour of some sort)
  • 1/2 cup or more of chopped Walnuts (I’ve added pecans as well)
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar (I added this to original recipe, they were a bit bland)
  • 2 Free Range Eggs (you could try the flax meal egg substitute for vegan)
  • 1/2 can of Pumpkin Puree, about 1 cup (use the unsweetened plain one)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Almond or Soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

Steel Cut Oat Muffins 2

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together (drained oats, oat bran or spelt flour, walnuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and coconut sugar). Whisk the wet ingredients together (eggs, pumpkin, milk, maple syrup). Mix the wet with the dry. Line a regular sized muffin tin with muffin papers (I prefer this over greasing them because they are easier to pack to work).  Put in the oven, middle rack, let bake for 25-30 min. The recipe called for 20 min or until set. The first time I made them, liquid was still bubbling out of them at 20 min, I was really skeptical. I ended up baking them for 30 min and they turned out, but a bit dry. Now when I make them I bake for 25 min and then cool, in the muffin pan, for 15 min to finish setting. Remove and put on cooling rack. They sweat a little, so they need to be on a cooling rack. Freeze half, fridge the other half and take two to work a day (along with your green smoothie).

Steel Cut Oat Muffins 3

Other notes:

– I haven’t tried this yet, but I will experiment with ripe bananas and home-made apple sauce. Might need to adjust the amount of oat bran to soak up extra liquid from the apple sauce.

– I freeze the other half of the canned pumpkin. Put the lid back on the top of the pumpkin and freeze. Take out hours before using to defrost. You’ll need to drain the pumpkin a bit to rid some of the liquid. Or, just make a double batch with a can of pumpkin and freeze them. They freeze great!

– If you try alternatives, let me know!!!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Chocolate Coconut Almond Meal Cookies

23 12 2012

Well it’s here and gone, the winter solstice and we all survived the Mayan’s end of the world prediction. Phew ;-). I hope this post finds you well and settled in for a break during the holidays. The winter solstice, being the shortest day of the year, is a turning point, the first official day of winter and now the days slowly gain more light. It is a time of reflection and as a dear friend said to me recently I hope you “are able to step back, rest and reconnect with the deeper voices of life this solstice season.”

This time of year is a cookie occasion. Filling tins and gift bags with baking to share with family and friends. I didn’t imagine myself to be a cookie maker, but alas here I am, blocking my calendar for a ‘bake day’ in early December. This included cracking open wine in the afternoon, maybe unique to me, no? I bet that’s why there are ‘bake days’ ;-). I started the day off early making Walnut Kifli with grandma Anne. These cookies get lots of hits on my blog this time of year, so I know there are other Hungarians out there enjoying this traditional recipe, that’s fantastic.

photo 3

Once the kifli were done, it was home to the test kitchen. I wanted to make a ‘not so bad for you cookie’ and use up a bunch of almond meal from the Almond Milk I make weekly. I found a recipe on Naked Chef, but was not convinced by it. Once I got the cookie dough made, it was quite wet, a bit bland and I had to bake them longer to set. I tried two kinds, regular and chocolate. The regular didn’t turn out but the chocolate were okay. I added coconut to the chocolate ones and dipped them in ganache with a sprinkle of sea salt, much better.  I wasn’t convinced at first, but B liked them and then mom liked them. So here they are. I will definitely make them again, and experiment with flavours.

To make vegan: grind up 2 tbsp flax seeds and add to 1/3 cup water. Mix together and let sit while you prep the rest. This is an excellent egg substitute and is really good for you.

Flax meal

To make gluten-free: experiment with your wheat free flour. I think this recipe could be gluten-free, but haven’t tried. Let me know if you do.

Chocolate Coconut Almond Meal Cookies (adapted from The Naked Chef)

  • 2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed soaked in 1/3 cup Water
  • 2 cups raw Almond Meal (remember you can keep almond meal in the freezer to use later)
  • 2 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt + a few grains for garnish
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup Honey
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup grated and unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the almond meal, flour, baking soda, salt, coconut sugar, cocoa powder and shredded coconut together. Add the ground flax mixture, coconut oil, honey and vanilla, mix together. Roll into balls using about 2 tbsp of dough. They do puff up a bit so they should be kept on the small side. Bigger and they stay raw inside (as per my experience). Bake 15-25 min. Test one batch in your oven to make sure they are cooked in the middle. I had to bake for 23 min,  depends on the size of the cookie balls you roll. Let cool.

I melted 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler and added a few tablespoons of almond milk, stir well. Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate and sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt. They save well in the fridge or freezer. The recipe is supposed to make 36 cookies, but by the time I got this all figured out I didn’t have a lot to offer folks…oh well, next time.

Chocolate Coconut Almond cookies

Enjoy the holidays and happy solstice!

Eat well, Be well, Nat





Veggie Enchiladas

9 11 2012

Whoa, November. Another year is quickly speeding to the finish line and it seems winter has shown up a wee bit early. It’s hard to ignore the changes in our climate. Besides the dump of snow we got here, hurricane Sandy and the follow-up storm has many folks stopped in their tracks, the devastation is clearly unbelievable. We need to reflect on the impact climate change has had on our environment (while some continue to deny it). Hopefully we not only sort out a recovery but how to adapt and rethink how we interact with our world.

Back to food (and dreaming of warmer days already)…growing up, Mexican food was a staple in our house including taco night, dad’s nachos (he makes good nachos) or going to Chi Chi’s with family and friends. Like many Canadians, trips to Mexico started as teens to escape our long winters. No all-inclusive for us, we always had an apartment and mom cooked with local ingredients. Later on, travelling there on my own, staying with friends, I learned the art of making great guacamole.

I can hardly call this veggie enchilada recipe a ‘recipe’ because it’s so easy. If you can, pick up fresh corn tortillas and pepper sauce from a Mexican store. I get mine from Sabores at Kingsland Farmers Market. I think the enchiladas are $5 for a stack and they last me two enchilada dinners. I just freeze half for a second dinner. The corn tortilla is what separates an enchilada from a burrito, so for gluten-free folks, it’s the way to go. Pick a filling, roll up and cover with sauce and a bit of cheese and bake. You can make your own pepper sauce, recipes are plentiful, pick a red or green, but I cheat and buy them to make this an even easier dinner to throw together. Here are two simple ways to get your enchilada on, veggie style.

Filling #1: Mexican Veggie Ground Round

  • I package Yves or other Veggie Ground Round (I season my own, but you can use the Mexican one if you’d like)
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp ground Mexican seasoning or Taco seasoning – season to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground Chipotle seasoning
  • Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 1/2 small Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Red or Yellow Pepper, sliced
  • 6 White Mushrooms, sliced
  • Heat the veggie ground round, season to taste
  • Saute the onion, peppers and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until softened and move to enchilada construction

Filling #2: Refried Beans

  • 1 can black or pinto Refried Beans, warm in a pot over the stove, season to taste
  • Sautéed veggies from filling #1
  • Move to enchilada construction

General ingredients:

  • 10-12 Corn Tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups of salsa or pepper sauce of your choice – I buy a red sauce from Sabores, it’s perfect but I have also used a canned Mexican green sauce bought in the Mexican section of your grocery store
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese or vegan alternative of your choice. Monterey Jack and Mozzarella work well

Enchilada Construction:

  • Lightly coat a 9×13 glass baking dish with a non-stick spray.
  • Before assembly, you have to soften the tortillas, work with them at least at room temperature, but they may crack. I did some research and there are two ways of making them easier to roll, heat in oil or lightly steam in microwave, I chose the latter.
  • Wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel (wet and squeeze out water), put in the microwave for 30-60 sec. Now work fast.
  • In each tortilla, place 2-3 tablespoons of the bean or ground round filling and then a small amount of the veg on top. You don’t want to over stuff. Practice makes perfect.
  • Roll softly, they don’t have to be tight, place seam side down in the pan. You don’t have to tuck in the sides like burritos, just roll them up. If they crack, don’t panic, try again. Tuck them beside each other to keep in place.
  • Cover with sauce and then cheese.
  • Bake in the oven until golden brown at 375 for 40-50 min.
  • Serve with fresh guacamole, salsa, sour creme or whatever you’d like.

The best part about these is that they make great leftovers (if there are any). Ole!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Spicy Pickled Beans

4 09 2012

This is my 131st post. Amazing. Not surprising, as I look back and start to draft this post, what I have to say is similar to previous years at this time. The cycle of life continues; the garden grew, now it’s harvest time, final yard projects on the go and prepping for next year, boxes of BC peaches to slice and freeze, apples from the in-laws to cook down, Plum Clafoutis in the oven and… life goes on.

Blogging is interesting. I am not sure how much of it is for me to capture my recipes and experiences or for the benefit of others. I’d like to think that people get something out of what I put into cyberspace. I see the hits and the comments. I especially like when I see hits and get comments for recipes and stories that are traditional. Right now the trending post is for Hungarian lesco, that’s very cool and so seasonal. I have spent most of my kitchen life learning from the women around me, my mom and my grandmothers. I guess I paid attention (or didn’t have much choice ;-)). In fact, as I get older and see the world changing, not always for the better, I pay closer attention to the function of things and how I might be more self-sufficient. In the absence of little people of my own, this blog is my way of putting these teachings out there. Cyberspace has provided a new way of foraging, I think this is good, as long as we develop the disciplines to look beyond the headlines and dig a little deeper.

My recent cyber-foraging brought me to pickled beans. I found this recipe on The Naked Kitchen. I have been meaning to start canning, but I didn’t make time for it again this year. I feel like it deserves more than just a quick session. I want to give it my good solid attention and get the right gear. However, I have known you can pickle without the canning fuss, so when this recipe popped up on Twitter, it was perfect timing because I had a container full of green beans (and T is known to eat a jar of pickles in one sitting, it’s legendary in his family, so I should learn to pickle things). It took me all of 5 min to do this, I waited 5 days to eat them. T says they go great in Caesars ;-).

Spicy Pickled Beans, adapted from The Naked Chef

  • 2 glass canning jars – mine were larger than the recipe (and old ones from my grandma) so I ended up doubling the ingredients. Measure the volume of your canning jars first to see if the vinegar, water and ingredients are enough. If so, go with these ingredients
  • About 1 pound Green Beans – I trimmed the little ends off, but you don’t have to
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper, cut in half, no seeds (I used a hot pepper from the garden, forget the name, it was hot!)
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 4 fresh Dill or 2 tsp Dill Seed
  • 1 1/2 cups White Vinegar (NOT my favourite ingredient and I’d like to investigate pickling with other vinegars. Any ideas? Let me know)
  • 1 1/2 cups Filtered Water
  • 2 tbsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Stand the beans up in the jars, add half the garlic, mustard seeds, dill, red pepper flakes and jalapeno to each jar. Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil on the stove. Pour into the jars, place the seal and lids on. Let cool to room temperature, overnight is fine. Place in the fridge. Wait. 5 Days or so. Eat.

I’m going to pickle everything now.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Banana Ice-Creamy

16 07 2012

We just finished some hot, hot days, feels good. Garden is growing. Been picking spinach and swiss chard for my morning green smoothies. I have a bunch of pok choy I have to do something with. Strawberries are a daily treat and I froze a bunch of soska (sorrel) for soup later in the season. Again, I planted my radishes too late, oh well. Grandma Anne dropped by (she’s 86) and we did a garden tour and assessment. Comparing tomatoes, rhubarb and sorrel and my plans for the perennial bed in the front. I already miss my peonies, they’ve all bloomed, they are my favourite.

Hot days warrant ice cream and on one of those hot days I remembered one of the first raw food recipes (if you can call it a recipe) I learned was banana ice cream. It is so ridiculously easy it’s just worth a try. For vegans, it is spot on. Seriously, try it.

Take ripe to over ripe bananas, slice them up, freeze. Once the bananas are frozen, take them out of the freezer and leave them on the counter for about 5 minutes, so the pieces easily come apart and soften ever so slightly.

Put the bananas into a food processor (I haven’t tried this in my Vitamix, but I imagine it would work, maybe not as smooth, not sure). Turn it on, let it go. Stopping now and then to push the bananas down on the sides.

Your done. If it’s too soft, I pop mine back into the freezer for another 10 minutes to harden up.

You can add other fruit, flavouring, honey for sweetness, but it’s perfect on its own. In discussing this with some fellow Health Food Junkies on the weekend, I’ll try adding some unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened shredded coconut next time. So go and cut up some bananas for the next hot day (it’s a bit dreary here now, but much needed).

Eat well, Be Well,

Nat





Spicy Black Bean Dip

10 06 2012

A dip, a spread and filling all in one. This dip is delicious. I was looking around the internet to make a simple bean dip for a gathering and found one, but once I mixed the ingredients together, it was, well, bland. I changed the measures and added some spice and here we are.

The original recipe asked for a 2/3 cup cilantro, I left this out as not everyone at the gathering likes cilantro. Cilantro is one of those herbs that you should ask before adding to a recipe, especially as garnish. With or without cilantro, this bean dip is yummy. I spread it on whole grain wraps, folded in half and grilled to make a quesadilla for lunch. I just let it cool, cut it into three triangles and stored in the fridge.

  • 2 cups cooked Black Beans (1.5 14oz cans – save the rest for a salad)
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic (optional, I added a bit of garlic powder)
  • 4 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Pepper sauce or powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 cup filtered Water

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor, blend until smooth. Taste and adjust for flavour and add extra water if you want the consistency a bit thinner, I didn’t have to. If you want to add the cilantro, add with the rest of the ingredients before blending or just stir in chopped cilantro once you’ve blended the rest.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat