I Am Whole Bowl

While most of the world is starting off the New Year listing the things that they need to do, need to be, or need to change let’s just take this moment to recognize that I, you, we are whole. Bottom line, appreciate our wholeness. This simple statement of gratitude will surely set the stage for your transformation.

What better way to appreciate our wholeness in the kitchen than to dedicate an entire recipe to the thought. Of course this was not an original thought but one kindly shared from Café Gratitude. I really like the I Am Whole bowl at Café Gratitude and found the need to replicate it in my own kitchen. I mean, who wants to only be whole while eating out, I want the same wholeness at my dinner table!

My first stop was the menu and I discovered the Café Gratitude bowl has sea vegetables and kale, steamed quinoa, house-made kim chee, carrots, and sprouts with tahini-garlic sauce and teriyaki almonds. For some reason or another I have hated quinoa for years but fell in love when I tasted the I Am Whole bowl. For the tahini-garlic sauce, I pulled out my I Am Grateful cookbook hoping to find the recipe there. Unfortunately it was not but the teriyaki almond and kim chee recipes were there! You can also buy both (teriyaki almonds and kim chee) from Café Gratitude.

From there, I shot over an email to Café Gratitude sharing my fondness for the I Am Whole bowl, my sadness that they are closing the SF Bay Area locations, and then asked how to cook the quinoa and make the tahini-garlic sauce. I then shot an email afterwards to see what sea vegetable is used.

With much gratitude for the New Year, I got a response with directions for the quinoa, the ingredients for the tahini-garlic sauce (no recipe because it is not published), and that the sea vegetable is sea palm. Much to my delight I began gathering my ingredients.

I made the bowl but omitted the teriyaki almonds and sea palm. I also ended up purchasing the Café Gratitude kim chee from a local store.

Disclaimer: I used a recycled pic because my pics were lost somewhere in computer land.  I will update when I make my next I Am Whole bowl!

I Am Whole Bowl

Place all ingredients in a bowl in the order as follows:

chopped kale, raw
quinoa (see recipe below)
tahini-garlic sauce (see recipe below)
Sea palm, soaked (I did not have any)
kim chee
carrots, julienned
sprouts
teriyaki almonds (I did not have any)
avocado (yummy addition)

Quinoa Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa1/2 tsp salt1 1/2 cups waterlove

Quinoa Directions:

Place the quinoa in a pot and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. This loosens the outer coating which can be bitter if not removed. An alternative is to soak the quinoa in hot water for 5 minutes.

Once your quinoa is soaked, use your hand to stir the quinoa for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the water and rinse 2 to 3 more times until the water is clear. Be sure to use a sieve while rinsing to prevent the quinoa from being washed away. Drain once water is clear.

Place the quinoa back into the cooking pot or into a rice cooker with the water and salt.

Cover the pot tightly and bring to a boil. Once the quinoa is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer. Let it cook for 20 minutes. If using a rice cooker, follow the rice cooker instructions.

After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and without removing the lid, let the quinoa cool down for 5 minutes.

Once done, fluff with fork.

Tahini-Garlic Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked1 tbs tahini2 tbs miso1 clove garlic
2 tbs water1 tbs lemon juice1 cup spinachhandful of parsley
1 1/4 tsp kelp powdersaltlove

Tahini-Garlic Sauce Directions:

Process/blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender to make a sauce. Add salt to taste.

What are you grateful for today?

Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole

Today I am fasting and Mr. Seasonal Vegan chefed it up in the kitchen with a recipe from the Jan/Feb 2012 Vegetarian Times mag. It was a recipe that I really wanted to make and I had to enjoy it from a distance. I was the one who asked him to choose a recipe from the book to share on Seasonal Vegan. To my delight and envy, he selected the stuffed grape leaves casserole.

It has been my goal to cook at least one recipe from Vegetarian Times if I am going to justify keeping my subscription. Ironically the person who turned me on to Vegetarian Times would get the magazine, look at the recipes and then bring the magazine to me to cook something! It was hilarious. So I vowed not to do the same and I have not been disappointed.

There are actually a few from the current magazine that I want to try out. Post fast I will make it a point to go back and make the stuffed grape leaves casserole and also try the others like the mac-and-cheese style cauliflower, the pistachio-crusted eggplant (will wait for summer when eggplants are in season) and a few of the soups.

He made half the recipe since it was a solo dinner and his first response was that it was sweet (due to the raisons) but he really liked it. He did not count the grape leaves and said that he would have added more. Also, he used water instead of tomato or vegetable juice and did not add the ½ cup parsley because we were out. Finally, he forgot the lemon but added it later commenting that it was not needed but gave the dish an added zing.

He served the casserole with a simple beet green salad with olives and Brazilian nut parmesan (I Am Grateful recipe) and mushrooms sautéed with cilantro.

I had water and lived vicariously through his enjoyment of this winter vegan meal!

Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole

Ingredients:

15 jarred grape leaves1 tbs oil1/2 large onion, finely diced1/2 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup unsalted hulled pistachios, chopped1/2 cup chopped mint1/2 cup raisins
1/8 cup lemon juicelemon slice for garnishoil to brush top of casserolelove

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Dip grape leaves in large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add onion. Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Add rice and 1 ¼ cups water and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to med-low. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup water, pistachios, mint, raisons, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 1 ½-qt baking dish with oil. Pat grape leaves dry and line bottom and sides of the dish with grape leaves, allowing leaves to hang over the sides. Spread half the rice mixture over the grape leaves. Top the rice with more grape leaves and then add the remaining rice mixture. Cover the casserole with the remaining grape leaves and seal by folding over the grape leaves that are on the edges.

Brush top with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes covered and an additional 10 minutes uncovered. You want the grape leaves on top to darken and the casserole to look firm and dry.

Dip knife in cold water and cut straight down with tip of knife and remove servings with spatula.

Garnish with lemon and VT suggested drizzling with pomegranate molasses (which we did not have).

The recipe did not disappoint! Let us know what you tried in the recent Vegetarian Times issue and how you liked it!

Seasonal Vegan Sites and Recipes no.1

Seasonal Vegan Inspirational Sites and Recipes

There are so many sites on the web with good cooking that it is a challenge to share only a few that provides inspiration to the Seasonal Vegan kitchen. But there are a few sites that call me back again and again and some are not necessarily vegan. With creativity and a cook’s advantage it is all so easy to veganize recipes so I don’t discriminate.  :) I will admit that it is a tad bit more challenging to make recipes gluten-free.

So here are a few sites that I like:

Veggie Belly for yummy spice filled recipes and colorful pictures. Sala also makes some fun recipes for the kiddies.

Healthy Happy Life for colorful and healthy vegan meal inspiration. Kathy does great with sandwiches, wraps, and fun recipes that kids will love.

A Veggie Venture because there are tons and tons of vegetables recipes and I fell in love with the cauliflower Spanish rice years ago.

The Gluten Free Vegan is a new site for me but the recipes look awesome and they are gluten-free and vegan! That does not happen often.  I have an affinity to all things southern (vegan that is) and the deep fried pickles will be accompanying a vegan po’boy one day soon.

Oh and I almost forgot… Golubka! Yum is all I can say about this site.  I think the Mediterranean dolmas is first of many recipes from Golubka on my to make list and the edible puzzle looks quite fun.

That’s my handful! Of course there are many more I have found and will find in the future and I will share whenever I find a yummy recipe to feature our seasonal vegetables.

What are your favorite sites and why?

Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers

Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers

The Book:

Brought to us by Sur La Table and Janet Fletcher, Eating Local provides simple yet tasty recipes to showcase your locally grown produce.  Amongst the tantalizing recipes, the book features 10 farms that participate in community supported agriculture.  This is a fantastic addition to any cookbook collection.

Recipes:

With over 150 recipes, the book is geared for the everyday kitchen and are not laden with hard to find ingredients.  Though I found many recipes, here are a few that I plan to highlight in my kitchen over the next few months:

Carrot – Zucchini Bread with Candied Ginger
Golden Beet and Blood Orange Salad
Brussels Sprouts with Caraway and Lemon Zest
Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini Sauce
Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisons
Summer Squash Carpaccio with Arugula, Pecorino, and Almonds
Pita Sandwich with Grilled Zucchini and Red Pepper Hummus
Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm Ketchup
Warm Cornmeal Shortcake with Farm Stand Berries
Fresh Fig and Lemon Preserves
Grilled Eggplant Cannelloni with Ricotta and Prosciutto
Grilled Sausages with Baby Turnips and Turnip Greens

Pictures:

The pictures are AWESOME!  The book features many pictures of fresh produce and the featured farms which provide loads of inspiration to get fresh local produce into your skillet.

Organization:

I like that the recipes are organized by main ingredient.  Since many fruits and vegetables cross seasons, this set up makes it easy to find all of the beet recipes in one wop.  This is especially useful when you get your local CSA or produce box and it contains 6 lbs of them!  Who wants beet salad all week when you can open up Eating Local and sample a few of their recipes?

Extras:

Your Urban Homestead – Tips on how to plant your own garden with resources to get you started.

An Urban Barnyard – Yes, I said that right!  The book provides tips on raising your own small animals for eggs and meat.

Warm Potato Salad

It looks like summer in California so my psyche was craving summer food. I found this warm potato salad recipe in The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook and it was so fitting for a warm winter day. I split the recipe in half because I only had 1/2 lb of small potatoes left over from my vegetable box and I added in a half of a turnip that I had left over.

Feel free to play around with the recipe and add in other root vegetables that you have on hand. The original recipe called for parsley but I opted for cilantro and I replaced the red wine vinegar with red wine and the rice vinegar with raw apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is actually the only alkaline vinegar and I have been slowly using up all of my other vinegars and substitute ACV whenever a recipe calls for vinegar. I almost forgot, I used red onions instead of shallots.

The recipe was tangy and delicious. The vinaigrette had a lighter feel than traditional mayo potato salad dressing and is low fat. The warmth was welcoming.

My recipe is about 2-3 small side servings.

Warm Potato Salad

Ingredients:

1 pound small red or white new potatoes, 1 1/2 inch diameter1 tbs Dijon mustard1 tbs whole-grain mustard2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tsp red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar2 tbs minced shallot4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil2 tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp salt1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground love

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let stand until just cool enough to handle. Cut each potato in half (or quarters, if the potatoes are large) and place in a warmed serving dish.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, the vinegars and the shallot until well blended. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make a thick dressing. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the warm potatoes, mix gently and serve immediately.

Kiwifruit a.k.a The Kiwi

Sometimes called kiwi for short, this southern China native made it to the United States in the 1960’s by way of New Zealand. During its travels the kiwifruit went through a few name changes before being named after the kiwi, a New Zealand bird. Though the name change was to “kiwifruit”, most people refer to the fruit as “kiwi”.

The sweet and tangy kiwifruit has gained popularity over the past 20 years. About 98% of the kiwi grown in the United States is produced in California from October to May. Because the kiwi has a variety of nutritional benefits some refer to the kiwifruit as a new superfood.

How Kiwis are Good for Your Body

The nutrition benefits of kiwis are numerous. A serving of kiwifruit has over twice the daily allowance of vitamin C which is almost twice the amount as two oranges of equal weight. The kiwi is high in fiber which aids in digestion, lowering cholesterol, and keeps your heart healthy. Kiwifruit also is high in potassium which aids in your physical performance with one serving having more potassium than a banana. The kiwi is also a good fat free source of vitamin E and is also a great source for folic acid.

How to Select Kiwis to Eat

When selecting a kiwi go for plump and fragrant fruits that give to slight pressure. Pass on any kiwis that are soft, shriveled or blemished. The unripe kiwi is tart with an astringent taste and these should be allowed to ripen to enjoy the kiwi’s natural sweetness.

How to Store Kiwis

Storing kiwis depends on how ripe they are when purchased or picked. To ripen kiwifruit store them at room temperature or place them in a bag with an apple or banana. Ripe kiwifruit can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

How to Eat Kiwis

An easy way to enjoy kiwi is to cut the fruit in half and eat the flesh with a spoon or wash the kiwi and eat the flesh and the fiber dense and nutrient rich skin (yes, eat the fruit whole). If eating the skin is not your thing, you can peel kiwifruit and enjoy.

Recipe Inspirations:

I eat my kiwis alone either before or after a workout but there are many people out there who have made wonderful kiwi recipes that maybe one day I will give a try. Here are a few recipes for inspiration:

- Heather at Sweetly Raw made an awesome looking Zingy Kiwi Coconut Cream. The ingredients are simple and coconut is one of my favorites.

- The Kiwi Mango with Strawberry Coulis from Helen over at The Raw Palate is a bright and colorful way to serve 3 yummy fruits.

- Brittany at Real Sustenance has not just one but two raw kiwi cheesecake recipes. One is a 2-Layer Mango Kiwi Cheesecake and the other a Kiwi and Lime Cheesecake.

- I found a cooked recipe too at Lite Bite for an Eggless Kiwifruit Muffin.  How yummy does that sound!?

As you can see, kiwifruit is an awesome fruit to add to your winter diet. They are especially an added benefit to any workout.

What are your favorite ways to eat kiwis?

Winter Season

When it turns winter you know its official, the cold weather is here and you are in it for the long haul!  What better way to enjoy the winter than with foods that build your body.  Just like in fall, in winter you will look to hot soups and stews to keep you cozy and a few extra calories may be needed to keep your body warm.

Because the nights are longer and the days shorter, winter is a time that your body focuses on rebuilding.  Proteins from nuts and seeds, starches from root vegetables, and also Vitamin C from citrus fruits will keep you prepared and ready for the cold days.  If you eat a variety of winter fruits and vegetables, your body will be equipped to fight the maladies the winter season brings with it.

Cold winter air can be dehydrating so drink plenty of water and eat potassium rich fruits and vegetables to keep your electrolytes up.  You can find potassium in winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes (especially the skin), and kiwifruits.

You may find that many farmers’ markets are closed during the winter months but don’t let that halt your seasonal eating.  You can find seasonal vegetables at grocery stores, co-ops, purchase directly from a farm, or you may find another farmers’ market that may be open.  Thanks to an increase in interest of seasonal eating, there are several ways to continue supporting your seasonal eating during the winter.

Winter foods that you will find at your farmers’ markets, local farms or grocery stores:

Fruits: Apples, cranberries, persimmon, grapefruit, oranges, pomegranate, kiwifruits, and pineapple.

Vegetables: Sturdy greens, roots, winter squash, kale, celery, and pumpkin.

Roasted Yam with Jerk Chickpeas and Fresh Chard

I really can’t express the joy I feel when creating some awesome meal from my farm box. This inspiration came from Claim Jumper’s jerk chicken and sweet potato that I had a few years back. Unfortunately, I did not know that there is over 1400 calories in their dish! Yeah, after seeing that, I did a rough estimate on the calories in this recipe and it was nowhere near 1400 calories.

Yams are loaded with Vitamin C, B6, and potassium. And yams are not only rich in fiber which slows the rate in which sugars are released in the bloodstream, you will also get an added benefit from yam’s source of source of manganese which helps with carbohydrate metabolism. Woohoo, plus in every direction!

This lunch was awesomely filling and honestly, I could have split it in two. I would have used fresh jalapeno in the salad in lieu of the habanero but I did not have any on hand. Each bite had a bit of all flavors. The yam was nice and sweet and the contrasting spice and savory flavors in the jerk was a good match. Enough of my chatter, here is the recipe! » Read More

Welcome

Hello World! :)

Welcome to Seasonal Vegan! I am so excited to invite you into my home and kitchen to experience the delights of seasonal eating. My goal is to provide a place for you to come and find recipes, ideas, and support in your choice to eat in season. Seasonal eating is an important decision as it supports many aspects of our communities.

Understanding that each fruit and vegetable has a season lets us focus on eating them when they are high in nutrients. This totally changed my world of cooking. To know that Mother Nature has this in-depth knowledge of our changing physical needs was enough to put me on track to focus on seasonal eating. Vitamin C in the winter, detoxifying foods in the spring, water filled vegetables and fruits in the summer and bounty in the fall. This caught my attention and I wanted to explore more.

In addition to having the right foods at the right time, when we eat in season the time picked and travel time of produce is shortened significantly so that we are getting the fruits and vegetables on our tables a lot sooner. Imagine loads of unripe fruits and vegetables picked, traveling thousands of miles, processed with ethylene gas, and waiting for lengths of time in the grocery store for you to buy them. Now picture your local farmer picking ripe fruits and vegetables the night before or day of the farmers market and driving short distances to provide you with the best of the season’s produce. Which would you choose?

So, welcome and explore.  Seasonal Vegan is here to bring out the seasonal chef in you with recipes from across the world.