The Pink Ticket

A playground of many muses.

The Pink Ticket - A playground of many muses.

Pre-summer kitchen creative: S’mores Bars Vegan Style

S'more Bar Gooeiness

S’more Bar Gooeiness

S’mores. It is what has been on my mind since the hint of summer peaked around a cloud a few weeks ago. I don’t trust people who don’t like s’mores; it’s subversive, or something nefarious. Whatever.  Nothing beats summer s’mores and a glass of sangria, unless you can find a way to enjoy this gooey summer treat without choking on campfire smoke or inhaling something toxic “just to get the fire really going” (or is that just my dad?).  Anyway, apartment life makes s’mores a little more challenging.  Stove tops work, so long as you don’t let the melty marshmallow fall onto the burner.  I bought a mini blow torch last year but that left a weird chemically aftertaste. Then, as if in a sugary, hazy, humid, thunderstorm warning vision it came to me.  Probably the AC is just set too low and the thought of turning on the oven seemed reasonable, but I whipped through my notes and viola! A vegan s’mores bar that is everything it should be–someone pour the sangria!

Resistance is futile!

Resistance is futile!

I love, and often, make graham crackers ala a Post Punk Kitchen recipe.  So obviously I started there.  Making only a slight adjustment by swapping the baking soda for baking powder and swapping whole wheat pastry flour to get more of a fluffy texture for the graham crust.  I ignored everything else in the recipe.  However I’m linking to the recipe itself again here as you should really make these for reals!!

Graham cracker crust (Adapted From Post Punk Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used hemp, the original calls for rice)

Filling
1 cup Ricemellow creme
1 cup vegan mini chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare an 8×8 inch baking pan by spraying with nonstick spray.
  • Mix all graham cracker crust ingredients until well incorporated and divide in half.
  • Roll out one half of the graph mixture to roughly fit the bottom on the pan and lay into the pan.  Using your fingers, spread it out as evenly as possible, pushing the edges up the side of the pan.
  • Spray a rubber spatula with nonstick spray and spread the ricemellow creme over the bottom crust as evenly as possible.
  • Top with chocolate chips.
  • Roll the second piece of dough to roughly the same size as the pan and overlay the filling.  It may not completely cover, and that’s ok.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until top is slightly golden.  It will be soft but firm to the touch.
  • Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!!

Project 52: The Recipes Week 21; Green Garlic Soup

Green Garlic Soup

Green Garlic Soup

One of my favorite spring harvests, aside from asparagus (of course) is green garlic. Easily mistaken at your local farmers market for leeks, it might go unnoticed, but its flavor is exquisite. I always try to score enough to make my green garlic mayo, and everything I make all spring, and enough to freeze for the summer.  The latter never happens as it seems as soon as I grab a bunch or two, I find new and delicious ways to use it up.

Of course, I save the outside leaves to use in making veg stock, but none of the tender stalks have ever made it to my freezer “for later.”  This week I grabbed the last of the bunches available in a late run over to the farm for the end of asparagus season, and the start of strawberries!  (Not to mention the chard, the kale, the greeeeeeeens!)

I had good intentions. Seriously I did. I put the stalks in some water and said to not a cat listening “I’ll freeze these up tomorrow.”  And then tomorrow came, and I thought, Hmmm, you know what that might be good in? A soup.  I love a garlic soup and so why not some green garlic soup?  I added a few baked potatoes that I had left over to thicken and add a little depth–it was perfect. Garnished with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes as pictured, this was hard to stop eating once I started.

Green Garlic Soup
4 stalks green garlic, trimmed and sliced (up to about 2-3 inches into the green)
1/2 sweet onion
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Russet potatoes, baked, cooled, and chopped roughly
salt to taste

  • In a medium stock pot over medium high heat, add onion and let brown. They will stick to the pan–this is ok, once slightly browned (about 1-2 minutes) add a few splashes of water to loosen from the pan and add in the green garlic.
  • Continue to add a few splashes of water to keep from sticking, cooking until the whites of the garlic start to look translucent.
  • Add coconut oil and stir to coat. Continue cooking and stirring another 2-3 minutes until greens are softened (add more water to prevent sticking as needed, but the coconut oil should prevent most at this point).
  • Add the potatoes and broth.
  • Bring to a slight boil, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender or carefully transferring high speed blender (working in batches to prevent burning yourself) blend until smooth and creamy.

Add more broth or water if a thinner consistency is desired. Salt to taste just before eating.

Serves 2-3

Project 52: The Creatives Week 20; Daisy Chains

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Suddenly, there were daisies aside the road
magic and happy on such a sad day
their brilliant white petals almost luminescent
begging to pull the car over to the shoulder
pluck and weave them into a buggy crown
to be ensnared in a flying curly mess of hair
unrepentant in the pre-summer sun.

Memories instead follow along
a dusty paved stretch of dangerous curves
and trucks with too big exhausts sound
the speed and insecurities of a nation.
Remember when the roads were dirty dusty?

The heat of the seat pressing against skirted legs,
bruised with summer enthusiasm
when chains of daisies were clumsier
and stayed by practiced balance
until the wind took us away.

Project 52: The Recipes Week 20; Taco-Style Chickpeas Wraps

Chickpea wraps

Chickpea wraps

Chickpeas, how do I love thee? Yeah, ok, enough already. We all know chickpeas are my absolute favorites. Someone at the gym asked me one day how I could eat chickpeas “all the time”–didn’t I get bored?  Bored? There is no way to get bored with chickpeas.  Their versatility lends them to sweet, savory, and spicy dishes.  The only boredom that comes from the ubiquitous garbanzo are those who only deem them suitable for hummus.  And so, I give you another view of recent lunching activity–Taco-style Chickpea Wraps.  Just like it sounds, the chickpeas are seasoned with taco spice and they are wrapped up in a hazy goodness of garlicky mayo, tomato, taco sauce, and yes, Swiss chard.  The combinations are as endless as is the imagination on how you can cook up these favored legumes.

Taco Chickpeas

4 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup chopped green garlic*
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 cups water

For the wraps:

Engine2 Ancient grain tortilla (pictured), whole wheat, or any favored brand of wrappage

sliced tomato, chopped Swiss chard or any other greens of choice, onion, peppers, olives–mix it up

Taco sauce

Earth Balance Mayo, Just Mayo, Veganese Mayo… (I added green garlic to my Earth Balance for a garlicky kick, if you don’t have it or can’t find it, puree a clove into yours with a pinch of sea salt)

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the green garlic with a few splashes of water to prevent sticking (use water or broth as necessary during the saute process to prevent or counter the sticking).  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is softened and slightly browned.
  • *If you don’t have, or cannot find green garlic, sub a few green onions and a couple cloves of garlic.
  • Add chickpeas, spices, and water.  Reduce heat to medium low and mix everythign well, smashing some of the chickpeas as you go. You want most of them intact.
  • Cook until all liquid is absorbed and remove from heat.
  • Wraps can be assembled while the chickpeas are warm, or after they have completely cooled–this is up to personal preference.
  • To assemble, warm the tortilla to allow it to be easily manipulated.
  • Spread the garlicky mayo, add greens and other veg of choice, scoop chickpeas and top with taco sauce.  Wrap and enjoy!!

This can also be enjoyed as a salad… or open faced wrap as I often do because I get carried away with the vegs!

 

Project 52: The Creatives Week 19; Airwaves

Sometimes I think of the radio; the way it collected dust. And awe. The last time I saw that big, heavy, wooden half oval masterpiece it was sitting just before the hallway entrance, situated between the living and dining rooms.  It was always beyond my five year old comprehension how the television had antenna with tin foil and still the channels were all static, but the radio was just a pretty and “rabbit ear” free and those sounds came through with such clear power.

It belonged to my grandparents; well, probably just my grandpa.  All the records were his, and if you opened the top of the radio, there was a turn table. It was exciting to set that needle down, and hear the popackle as it glided across the surface, picking up dust and hopping scratches. My first tastes of Hank, and much later, the Stones. Grandpa would have turned in his grave had he known.  And jazz never sounded so steadfast; suffering its remaster.

Somewhere along the line my first teacher in life lessons disappeared. Maybe it wore out, maybe it got sold off when the house went up for sale. I can’t remember, and no one else can seem to, either.

Project 52: The Recipes Week 19: Steamy Seitan Mushroom Saute

Steamy Seitan Mushroom Saute

Steamy Seitan Mushroom Saute

Over the weekend, plagued by sheer exhaustion and the knowledge that the week ahead was going to be spent eating in restaurants (I post tonight from the lobby of the Hyatt in Minneapolis before heading to dinner), I wanted comfort food–something hearty and something I wouldn’t normally make for myself. And yet, I still wanted something healthy and alive… something that didn’t seem counterproductive to the hour plus workout and heavy lifting of my morning.

In full transparency, when I’m that tired and wandering aimlessly around Whole Foods looking for inspiration, little usually comes to me except to buy a bag of frozen yucca fries and grab something from the salad bar. But it was 85 degrees and I didn’t want to have the oven battle the air conditioning.  The hot bar had some seitan stir fry, but it was almost swimming in oil–to the point it gagged me.  But the idea of seitan set me off and I ended up with this fabulous dish, which actually serves two and as I learned the left overs didn’t really taste as good the next day–so share or half the recipe for one.

The recipe is quite versatile–add in as many veggies as you want or have on hand. (I just had asparagus so, you know!)  Cheers!

Steamy Seitan Mushroom Saute over Mixed Greens
1 – 8 ounce package of plain/traditional seitan (I use Upton Naturals)
1 – 8 ounce package of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped asparagus
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped
6-8 cups mixed salad greens
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Water, as needed

  • Heat a large stainless steel or, preferably, cast iron skillet on medium temperatures.  Add garlic, onion, and mushrooms and cover.
  • If needed, slice seitan into bite sized chunks.
  • Let mushrooms cook covered for about 2 minutes. Remove cover and stir, adding water to the pan to loosen anything that has stuck.
  • Add seitan and cover for another minute then tossing in pan, using water to loosen any bits that have stuck.  Reduce heat slightly and continue process of covering and stirring for 3-4 more minutes until mushrooms and seitan are browned nicely and the onions are translucent.
  • Add in the asparagus and a couple teaspoons of water and cover again.  Allowing the asparagus to steam for about 90 seconds.
  • Remove cover and turn off heat.  Allow to sit for about a minute.
  • Prepare plate(s) with the mixed greens.
  • In a small bowl add the tahini, vinegars, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and nutritional yeast.  Whisk until all well incorporated.
  • Drizzle a about half the tahini dressing mix on the greens, then add the seitan mixture.  Top the seitan with the remainder of the dressing.

Serve immediately.

Project 52: The Recipes Week 18: Cookbook Review

Cooking through The Plantpower Way

Cooking through The Plantpower Way

Every once in a while I get a cookbook I’m utterly impressed with the recipes. This isn’t to say that I don’t like most of the cookbooks I come by, but there are some that just don’t hit me as “I have to make these things … all of them now” books.  There are currently about 30 or so cookbooks on my shelf, of those, I have two that I go to regularly:  Isa Does It and Superfood Kitchen. Now, though, there will be a third in the regular rotation: The Plantpower Way.  In fact, I like it so much I want to give a copy to one of my readers.  Consider it a mea culpa for the lack of a real recipe this week.  But first…

So there was a plan for a recipe this week. Asparagus is in season and it’s the only time of  year I will really eat fresh asparagus. I’ve been hoarding it from the local farm, actually. While I eat the majority of it raw, I also do like to roast some up nice and toasty with just a touch of salt.  So I thought, hmmm, perhaps a balsamic glazed asparagus.  Alas, the attempts were not worthy keeping.  It happens, and I ran out of time.  Instead, you get a recap of the menu plan from this week that pretty much only included recipes from The Plantpower Way.

I’ll start with the veggie burgers… I’m partial to the No Meat Athlete Veggie Burger formula that’s pretty free form and has never failed me.  I’m a skeptic when it comes to a new recipe but the photo of the burger and the ingredients appealed to me.  These might be a new favorite.  I baked mine (instead of pan frying) so that they were simply ready to go during the week, but they held up fabulously and were quite bun worthy (if you use buns, I served mine either solo with some BBQ sauce or with some sauteed mushrooms over greens).

Lunches for the week were black bean soup.  Not a huge fan of most soups, I do love black bean soup…and one that I could pretty much make in just my Vitamix.  Sold. I really enjoyed this soup and made the Brazil nut cream to top it with (I also added a few chunks of avocado). As it turned out, I liked the Brazil nut cream on the burgers better.

Finally, I couldn’t decide between making the lavender lemon balls or the superfood energy balls.  So I made both.  The lavender lemon balls are a new favorite.  Lavender is one of my absolute favorites, and when it comes to sweet treats lately, I’ve been looking for new twists.  This fit the bill.

The superfood energy balls are worth the mess they make of my fingers when trying to eat them.  They remind me of eating chocolate brownie batter from the beaters as a kid–except way better for you.  These and the lavendar lemon balls are raw, so no baking required, and I can see making these often during the summer just for that reason.

Finally, the last thing I made this week (which was actually the first) from the book was hemp milk.  It is something that simply never occurred to me to do, despite being the most obvious and simplest of the non-dairy milks to enjoy. I ended up making this several times, blending in some frozen citrus to ease the “pain” of having to take iron supplements this week. A spoonful of sugar, or in this case: hemp, makes the medicine go down quite easily.  I’m traveling next week and think I’ll be making hemp milk in my hotel to avoid having to scrounge up some sad, dusty box of soy milk.

Now, onto my giveaway… you can get multiple chances to win a copy of The Plantpower Way, which I will be honest it’s much more than a cookbook as it is also a lifestyle guide.  To be eligible for a chance to win:

Sign up for the PlantStyle newsletter,

Like the PlantStyle Facebook Page,

and comment on this post as to why you’d like a copy of The Plantpower Way.

The winner will be chosen May 22, 2015.

Project 52: The Creatives Week 18, Saturday to Wednesday

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Saturday morning

She eyed the slick, glossy containers. She wore little-to-no make-up but had an obsession with the creamy colors, not to mention the colors themselves. Oh, what she could do with the colors, if she’d apply them ever. At least $236 worth of cosmetics cluttered her bathroom sink, medicine cabinet, and dusty zippered bags stowed safely behind the towels. It was the same with nail polish; the catchy names spoke to her desire for abandon of a perfectly manicured life. She was keenly aware of the irony. She didn’t care.

And there was a sale. This time she knew, without a doubt, she’d wear this lip color. Coconut nectar. The name oozed a smooth, sweet, natural kissability. So what if reality was that it was brown and brown is typically boring? There is nothing boring about coconut… when you have coconut, you have tropics and hulas, you have rich, indulgent fats that no one can seem to agree if they are good or bad. Yes, coconut was that hazy place between good and bad and brown had never been so enticing.

Wednesday, 11:10 a.m.

She runs to the bathroom, already late to her next meeting. The stainless steel coffee mug smeared with what was left of coconut nectar around the rim hastily thrown onto the counter. Hands washed, she doesn’t even stop to see how frayed her hair has become. Her phone headset had gotten tangled stuck; she imagined she lost half a head of hair yanking it off her head.

Fifteen minutes late, she enters the conference room, waiting the blank stares of her untimeliness. No one notices, they haven’t started yet. Someone brought donuts… the ultimate divergence and epitome of avoidance. People finally sit; there are graphs meant to impress and outlines of the meetings to come. She looks around the table; the earnestly disinterested are easy to spot. And who are these women with fresh lipstick? Where do they find the time? And more importantly, how do they remember to reapply during the day? She’s not even sure where the pretty tube of brown coconuts went after she smeared some on at the red light.

Project 52: The Creatives Week 17, Night Purples

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I want to get lost in Brooklyn with you.
Have sardonic words warp into, through,
and over– around streetlamps
laughing at our naivety
and swaying better judgement.
Windows down
our reckless lust and radio battling
the wind for champion rights;
and we laugh wildly at those sitting, sterile
windows up with only manufactured cool–
Life lived on a December tomato
red, artificial ripe with the flavor
of stale air.
But you and I we’ll keep following
the purple
night,
chasing moons
we’ll never
reach.

Project 52: The Recipes Week 17: Single Serve Pear Crisp

Pear Crisp

Pear Crisp

One of my guilty pleasures is a single serve apple crisp on workout nights. This week, faced with a pear getting a little too ripe, I decided to change things up–including the whole way I make a crisp.  I’m glad that I did, too.  The change in the way I made this brings out the natural sweetness of the pear while not being too heavy on top of this more delicate fruit.  I used a small, 4 inch cast iron skillet to bake mine in, but any 4 inch (approximate) baking dish will work.

Single Serve Pear Crisp
One ripe pear, cored and sliced
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Tablespoon brown rice syrup*
1 Tablespoon unsweetened non dairy milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts, optional

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare baking dish by lining with parchment or spraying with a nonstick spray
  • Layer pear slices in the baking pan, covering the bottom and criss-crossing remaining pieces. Sprinkle with 1.2 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
  • In a small bowl, add oats, syrup, milk, vanilla, remaining cinnamon, and walnuts (if using).
  • Mix until the oats are sticky and everything is combined.
  • Sprinkle the crumble on top of the pear slices.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until top is golden.
  • Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.

Serve warm.

*I only tried this with brown rice syrup.  Maple syrup or agave may be substituted but isn’t as thick so may not yield exact same results.

Pear Crisp, Serve Warm

Pear Crisp, Serve Warm