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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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





The Beanpod and a Podcast

1 11 2011

I had the great pleasure to visit Fernie this past weekend with some very special and remarkable gals. We did the same trip last year and I had forgotten how nourishing the mountains and good friends are on the soul. I needed it, really needed it. You know who you are, thanks ladies.

On our tour we hit up main street for some shopping, tea, coffee and treats. You can not go to Fernie without visiting the new chocolatier called Beanpod. Seriously, so good. The quality of this chocolate is exceptional. T schooled us on how to taste chocolate, she learned on a tour she got the day before. Although we were super sad that they had sold out of their Salted Caramels, I took home a dark bar with almond and a dark salted bar, they are both incredible. The girls got coffees from there as well, not only are they roasting chocolate beans, but also coffee beans. You must go if you are in Fernie.

On another note, driving home from yoga practice on Sundays, I listen to the Vinyl Cafe on CBC. A couple of Sunday’s ago I was so moved by this story of Stuart Maclean visiting Fromagerie du Presbytere just outside of Montreal. Apparently it is national vegan day today and this post is in no way meant to disrespect 🙂 but I couldn’t help but share the podcast with you. Stuart Maclean has such a beautiful way of telling stories, this one of a small cheese producer, who won best cheese in Canada, Grand Champion this year with their Blue St. Elizabeth. I am now on the hunt. His retelling of meeting the brothers who walk the warm milk from one farm to the other to make cheese each day is delicious. They have line-ups of hundreds of people long on summer nights for their fresh curd. Stuart also meets Marie Chantal, a young cheese maker (and best in the country), who use to go from farm to farm to make cheese out of her van for dairy farmers  who otherwise would have to discard their overproduced milk (they have limits).

I highly recommend you spend 10 minutes listening to the podcast and let me know if you get to try this cheese. You can find the podcast here. Skip ahead to the 26 min mark, but the rest of the podcast is lovely as well. You can’t beat Stuart Maclean.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Peonies, Dad, Lettuce and Asparagus

19 06 2011

June is slipping past us and a sign that the weather is different is in the peonies. Our wedding anniversary is on Tuesday, June 21 and peonies were the flower of the day. At our wedding in 2008 I was able to cut one to bring with me, placing it on a chair as a symbol of those who were no longer with us. White peonies are my favourite. Big white flowers with their enveloping scent. A sign summer has arrived. We have three beautiful peony plants in our yard, and they are tall with big flower buds, but no sign of blooming, maybe by Tuesday? We’ll see. The sun is peeking out from the clouds and the rain has stopped (sort of) today, crossing fingers we’ll dry up a bit.

Memorable Peony

June is also the month for Fathers Day. Wishing the fathers out there a wonderful day. Here’s one of my dad and I from the archives…food related of course. 🙂 Love you dad.

Me and Dad

How’s the miracle lettuce you ask? Well it is a miracle. Growing and should be ready to eat in a few weeks (you can see the little spinach sprouts on the left and more lettuce on the right in the picture below). Can you believe it? I am going to leave the plants in this fall and see if we can have an early harvest again next year. Must have been all that snow that insulated it, it’s good for something!

Growing 'Miracle' Lettuce

Nothing says spring like asparagus. In Alberta we are seeing local crops at the farmers market. Asparagus is a flowering perennial that is picked before it flowers. Only in the spring is asparagus in season and lucky for us in Alberta we see asparagus from April through July because of all the ‘springs’ we can take advantage of! I picked up some local asparagus at the Kingsland Farmers Market on Friday and roasted it last night. It is so nice to grill asparagus, but it was pouring rain outside. If you are in Calgary enjoy the local harvest, it is good for you. Asparagus is full of vitamins and minerals.

  • A bundle or two of Asparagus, snap the ends off
  • Olive Oil
  • Course sea salt
  • Course cracked pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Creme Balsamic Vinegar
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet, in one row. Drizzle with olive oil. I used my Piri Piri Olive Oil, I use it on EVERYTHING. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Roast in oven for 15 min, turning over half way. Don’t over cook, I like them bright green and a bit firm. Take out of the oven, place in a dish, shave or sprinkle with parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have creme balsamic, use regular, but I highly recommend getting a bottle of the creme, it’s so good on fresh tomatoes and basil in the summer. (and check out my attempt to use the photo app Hipstamatic to capture the asparagus)
June 21 marks the first day of Summer, the Summer Solstice. Wishing you a lovely and bountiful season.
Eat well, Be Well,
Nat




KFM: Red Cabbage

8 02 2011

If you like red cabbage, you’ll really like this recipe, if you don’t, try it, it might change your mind about cabbage. Red cabbage is so sweet and in a Calgary winter it is one of the few ‘close to home grown’ veggies besides root veggies that you can find. We picked up this big delicious red cabbage at the Kingsland Farmers Market last weekend and last Monday, the New York Times health section printed this recipe (a good link to follow on Twitter). Match made in heaven. I usually saute cabbage in a bit of olive oil and butter and fresh ground pepper or use it raw in salads in the summer. The NYT recipe was easy, sounded good so we tried it. It was the perfect accompaniment to our dinner on Saturday night.

Red Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, and in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and radishes. It is high in vitamin C, fibre and phytochemicals, those chemical compounds found in fruits and vegetables that are cancer fighting. If I wasn’t so excited about the cabbage on Saturday night I would have remembered to take a photo of it :). It made for great left overs the next day, just warmed it up.

I have changed some of the ingredients based on taste. Next time I would use four eggs for that much cabbage. As well, I sprinkled some cheese on the top, or nothing would have ‘browned’ as it said. If you want the original recipe, it is in the NYT link above.

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small – medium Onion, finely chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced small
6 to 7 cups shredded Red Cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tbsp chopped fresh Dill or 2 tsp dried Dill Weed
2 tsp sweet or smoky Paprika (I used 1 tsp of both)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper (add this for some zip)
3 Free Range Eggs
1/2 cup organic Milk
1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 tsp Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about five to 10 minutes. Add the red pepper. Cook, stirring, until the pepper is tender and the onion is beginning to color, about five minutes. Stir in the cabbage, dill, paprika and cayenne. Add salt to taste, and cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to wilt, about five minutes. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and continue to cook for another five to 10 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Remove from the heat.
***If you don’t cool this mixture  and add the eggs, the eggs will cook, not good. I put the whole pot outside to cool it down to avoid this. Something the recipe didn’t mention

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, and whisk in about 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Whisk in the milk, and stir in the cabbage mixture and the cheese. Scrape into the baking dish.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 10 minutes or longer before serving. Add fresh cracked pepper to the top to serve.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Advance preparation: You can make this through Step 1 hours or even a day before assembling and baking. The baked gratin will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, and it can be reheated in a medium oven.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Lunch at Work v.3

16 09 2010

This week I ate bean, cheese and corn quesadillas for lunch, well for three days anyhow. We had Mexican last Friday after work and I had opened a can of Amy’s Organic Black Bean Refried Beans so I had to use up the beans. I had one cob of corn left, so I used that too. I made three quesadillas by slathering a thick layer of beans onto whole grain tortillas, then sprinkled some cheese, corn and a little shake of dried cilantro (which is not the best, but in the absence of fresh cilantro, it does the trick, well sort of).

Fold the filled tortillas in half and on a heated non-stick skillet brown each side, melting the cheese and fillings together. To cool without sweating, place on cooling rack. When they are cool, cut into three triangles, stack and wrap up for lunch. I placed them in a container with fresh garden carrots and tomatoes. When lunch came, I didn’t worry about warming them, just dug in when the time came. Satisfying as they are or pack a little bit a salsa with you. Ole!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Roasted Peppers

4 07 2010

A long weekend usually includes sharing time with friends. We had some good friends of ours over for a BBQ on Friday, the sun didn’t stay out but that didn’t stop us from filling the BBQ with veggies and ah sorry, steak for the boys. Tony got to use all the new BBQ tools I bought him for his birthday.

Jess brought over a yummy goat cheese appie. Round slices of goats cheese drizzled with olive oil, balsamic, garlic and herbs. Spread it on fresh pita oiled and grilled on the BBQ. Use the thicker ones, Greek pita? Yum.

A perfect and accidental accompaniment to this was roasted peppers. My mom makes these (funny, Jess’s mom makes the goat cheese one). I roasted two red and one yellow pepper over the gas stove, you can do this on the BBQ as well. Fire them until they are black all over. Stick them in a paper or plastic bag and let them sweat for 30+ minutes. Once they are sweated, remove and scrape the blackened skin off them, I used a knife. Poke a hole in them, squeeze the juice into a bowl. Once the skin is removed, remove stem, cut down one side and scrape the seeds out. Slice into thin slices and place in the bowl with the juice. Drizzle some olive oil, minced garlic (which I omitted), salt, pepper and a few basil leaves finely chopped. My mom uses a small amount of anchovy paste as well for flavour, I skipped this.

Toast slices of a french banquette in the oven, lightly oil them with olive oil. To make a quick garlic toast, when they are toasted and warm, rub a garlic clove on them when they come out of the oven.

Serve the toasts with the peppers and in our case, the goats cheese. We dug into the goats cheese so fast I forgot to take a picture.

I hope you enjoyed your long weekend.

Eat well and Be well,

Nat