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





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





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





Lunch at Work: Three Bean Soup

5 02 2012

Okay, I looked at the calendar, it says it’s February but you’d never know it with the weather we are having. Soup for lunch is a staple for me in the ‘winter’ but this winter is a bit funky. Enjoy it while it’s here but be a little concerned about what it means in the bigger scheme of things. Anyone that doubts climate change should go outside for a walk on February 5, in a light jacket. I saw kids playing basketball at the park across the street yesterday.

We go to Costco about once a month to pick up our toiletries and such. More and more organic foods are arriving there which is super exciting. I noticed a few months ago a new addition to the TruRoots products, sprouted bean mix.Until recently Costco was only selling their quinoa but now has the bean mix and chia seeds. Nice. The bean mix is super good and quick. The beans have been sprouted and dried so you can have cooked beans in about 15 min. It has lentils, mung beans and adzuki beans in it. I made up this super simple soup and have eaten it a lot for lunch this ‘winter’. I skip the onion completely but if you want, add it in with the carrots and celery for a proper mirepoix. The veggie stock has onion in it anyhow.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 large Carrots
  • 2-3 stalks Celery
  • 2-3 medium Parsnips
  • 2 cups TruRoots Bean Trio
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Small bunch of Parsley
  • Sprig or two of Thyme (remember you can keep parsley, thyme, rosemary etc in the freezer)
  • 5 Pepper Corns
  • 2 cubes of low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 9- 10 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 can of Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium Zucchini
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste

Prepare the veggies by chopping them small. For soup I like to cut my carrots and parsnips into half-moon like shapes, celery the same, unless it is quite big, then I might cut it lengthwise first. Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the carrots and celery and cook on medium heat until they start to soften. Add the parsnips, beans, spices, stock and water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15 min. Check the beans for softness. Add the tomatoes and zucchini, simmer covered again for another 10-15 minutes. If you think you need more liquid, add a bit more water or next time add less beans. This ends up being a thick and hearty soup which I like at lunch. Experiment, add other veggies of your choice.

My Sunday-post-primary-practice-yoga-ladies were talking today about the cost of food and the ‘healthlessness’ of our society these days. An important element to this is that we have lost our means of being resourceful people in regards to eating. I hear all the time that vegetables are expensive. I don’t say they aren’t but in relation to what? Being compared to processed foods like KD and ichiban, not a fair comparison. It’s what is more nourishing that matters. This soup costs less than $10 and it feeds me for five or more days (I added it up below). I’m full and have done good for my mind and body. The other options? Probably the same price at way less value. And if you’re buying lunch every day, totally different story. This post is for my Sunday ladies, love our time together. 🙂

Eat well, be well,

Nat

  • Bean Trio $15 (enough for about 6-8 pots of soup)
  • Bag of organic carrots $4
  • Organic celery stalks $3
  • 1 Organic zucchini $2
  • Bag of Organic parsnips $4
  • Organic Parsley, Thyme $4 (and freeze left overs for later)
  • Bay Leaf, pepper corns $4
  • Box of organic veggie stock $5
  • Can of organic tomatoes $2
  • Oil of some sort, salt and pepper – nil (I assume most people have something of the sort)
  • Water – nil
  • 1 hour of time
  • Total: $43 and you have ingredients to make more soup or other things. Don’t buy organic and maybe save a bit more, but not much these days. Shop local and within season.




Butternut Squash Moroccan Style Soup

19 01 2012
How are you enjoying the weather :). If you are in Calgary then you are probably getting a bit tired of the extreme cold. However, I see my friends in the West are getting hit with snow. The cold makes you slow down which isn’t a bad thing right?
I made this soup up the other day and ate it all this week for lunch. I wasn’t feeling like the usual butternut squash soup, although so delicious. I wanted to use other veggies and add some protein to it. It’s got a bit of Moroccan flair with the cinnamon. Cinnamon goes great with any squash. Squash is abundant right now and full of vitamins. I picked this one up, yup you guessed it my favourite market KFM. I did this soup sans onions and garlic, but if you like that, add it in. I was going for a warming sattvic like soup. Try it and let me know if you like it.
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil, Ghee or Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 2 large stalks of Celery, diced large
  • 3 large Carrots, diced large
  • 3 medium Parsnips, diced large
  • 1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut up into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Black Pepper Corns
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 cube or tsp Low Sodium Veggie Stock (or veggie stock if you have it)
  • 7 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 398 ml can (or more) cooked Chickpeas
Heat the oil in soup pot, add the carrots and celery, sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 min. Just so they start to sweat a bit. Add everything else but the chickpeas and bring to a boil, cover and turn the heat down to a good simmer for about 30 min or so. Test the veggies for softness. Add the chickpeas and cook uncovered for about 5 min, so everything is warm. Serve on its own or over rice of your choice. I had it with a fragrant jasmine rice a few times. Perfect for these cold days in Calgary (or anywhere).
Eat well, Be well (and stay warm),
Nat




Chipotle Veggie Chili

27 11 2011

Nothing warms up the soul like a bowl of chili and this recipe’s got heat, that’s for sure. I think I added one too many chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so that’s your fair warning. I searched for hearty veggie chili recipes and found one called ‘Ultimate Vegan Chili’ and when I saw the use of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I knew it had to be good. If you like the Spicy Black Bean Soup from my blog, you’ll love this chili. I love it because it is another way to use those yummy chipotle peppers. Remember you can freeze what you don’t use and thaw a bit to use again.

I hate chili that relies on onions for bulk or main ingredient, so I didn’t go that route. I used a small onion and added celery for the texture. The original recipe called for seitan, a gluten based protein substitute. I couldn’t find any, but I wanted to try it. I figured for all those out there that are gluten intolerant, it wasn’t necessary to use it, so I opted for soy based veggie round. Here is my adaptation of the chili:

  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 4 stalks Celery, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 (not 3 like I did) Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, minced
  • 2 cups finely chopped Mushrooms (use crimini, button or Portobello)
  • 1 pkg veggie ground round like Yves Original
  • 1 small can Tomato Paste (or 3-6 Tbsp if you have some in a tube. I bought Italian tomato paste in a tube from the farmers market. It’s handy, just keep it in the fridge)
  • 3 tsp Smoked Paprika (a good addition to your spices)
  • 2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 2-3 tsp Mexican Chili powder seasoning
  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 14oz can Diced Tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 3 19oz cans of cooked beans, drain half the liquid (choose from Pinto, Black and Kidney and mix it up)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped Carrots
  • 2 Tbsp Tamari, Soy Sauce or Braggs
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot over medium-high heat, add the onion and celery and saute until soft and the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and chipotle peppers and cook for another minute, stirring. Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked down and liquid is released, about 4-5 min. Add the veggie round, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, chili powder, salt and water, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 min.

Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Chili is ready when carrots are tender. Serve with slices of a toasted baguette (we love the Turkish bread from Cobbs) and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese (or your vegan choice).

Eat well, Be well,

Nat