Sunday, April 14, 2013

Japanese kale salad wrap

Hello! Happy days to everyone, I hope you've been well since the last time we spoke. Or the last time I spoke at you, rather. It seems that summer has arrived early in Louisville (again?!), which means I've been doing my reading on the porch these days. One author who can get me hungry in a pinch is Haruki Murakami, and I just happen to be reading his take on Orwell's 1984, aptly named 1Q84 since "Kyu" in Japanese is the word for 9.

To make a long story short: Murakami starts describing a scrumptious dinner, and I suddenly find myself famished! I held off hunger pangs long enough to enjoy the rest of the chapter, then raced inside to start dinner. As any reader of Murakami is well aware, classical music is a natural part of life, so my first stop was at my computer to switch on my Mozart internet radio station. With Piano Concerto no. 27 filling the air with crescendos, I took quick mental stock of my fridge and set to work on a tasty Murakami-inspired dinner. What I wound up with was a light, incredibly tasty kale salad that I tossed on some locally made organic wheat wraps and devoured along with fingerling potatoes. Here's how you can enjoy the same!

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bunch of kale (any variety), chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 cloves garlic, diced
1" x 1" piece of ginger root, diced
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2-3 tsp Bragg's liquid amino (or similar)
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp vegetable oil
 wrap of your choice

1. In a medium saucepan, heat all liquids and brown mustard seeds on medium heat. Use your own judgment on quantity of oils; I just used as much as looked right.
2. As mustard seeds begin to pop, add onions, leek, cucumber, ginger, and garlic
3. Mix ingredients well for 5 minutes, remove from heat
4. Place small handfuls of kale and carrot along the middle of your wraps
5. Dish onion/leek/cucumber mixture on top of kale
6. Fold wrap and eat!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mum's Favorite Lasagna

Happy days to everyone! I've been spending my longest vacation in memory at home in Connecticut with my family and friends, and haven't felt this rested in ages. One of the great perks of this rest, I've found, is the plentiful time to spend as you like. So why not spend it in the kitchen? With the suggestion by my sister of lasagna for dinner, I was dealt with a dish I don't often cook. But it's just noodles, veggies, and seasoning; what better chance for impromptu cooking could there be? The result turned out quite wonderfully, and Mum dubbed it her favorite vegan (even vegetarian!) lasagna ever.

1 package lasagna noodles, cooked
1 jar pasta sauce of preference (or make your own! 20 oz for dry, 30 for wet lasagna)
Vegan ricotta (I used Skinny Bitch recipe)
2 large carrots, diced
1 large vidalia onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped greens (I used arugula; spinach would  be nice as well)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of dry TVP, soaked in 7/8 cup warm water for 5 min, then drained.
1 tbsp herbs de Provence
1 tbsp Italian herbs (usually oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram)
1/2 bag of Daiya - or similar - pepper jack cheese shreds

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the TVP and seasoning to the onions and carrots, cook another 5 minutes stirring frequently
4. Add the greens to this mixture, cook for 2 minutes then stir in 3/4 of sauce and remove from heat
5. Spread the remaining 1/4 sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (13" x 9" pan works well)
6. Layer the lasagna noodles over the sauce
7. Add a thin layer of the sauce and veggie mixture over the noodles
8. Add a layer of ricotta over the sauce
9. Add another layer of noodles over the ricotta
10. Repeat steps 7 through 9
11. Top the noodles with the pepper jack cheese
12. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until hot. If cheese begins to brown, cover with foil.
13. Let cool 5 minutes, then serve with a heaping amount of bread!