Friday, August 17, 2007

Iced Coffee

This week we had quite the excuse to have iced coffee with our breakfasts, as our air conditioning broke. In Florida, the summer heat can be intense, and this week the heat index was around 108 degrees. So we didn't do much cooking. But iced coffee was quite a welcome treat. Oh, and yes, the air conditioner is now fixed!

Iced Coffee

In blender jar add all of these ingredients:

a double shot of espresso (we have an espresso machine)
sweetener of choice, to taste (I used a squeeze of agave nectar)
milk: pour milk on top of the espresso until it reaches the one cup mark on the blender container

ice cubes (I used three from a typical ice cube tray)

Blend the ingredients well until the ice cubes are well crushed. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Great Vegetarian Food near the National Mall

The more I visit DC, the more I am introduced to new places to eat. Here are a couple of vegetarian-friendly choices located a close walking distance of the museums on the National Mall. Above is Teaism, which has two locations close to the Mall, one near the Whitehouse and one near the National Archives/Navy Memorial Metro stop. Pictured above, I ate a delicious Veggie Bento Box and for dessert a Chocolate Salty Oats Cookie.

Another place we found vegetarian food is in the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe inside the National Museum of the American Indian. Above is one of many options, a yummy Quinoa Tort with Cilantro Dipping Sauce. Fuzzy in the background is a Black Bean Tamale with Peanut Sauce.

Vegan Treats in DC

Pedro and I made a trip to DC the end of last week and visited my sister. One place we went to was the vegan bakery Sticky Fingers. The cookie is Lemon Coconut and the cupcake is Chocolate Raspberry. They are my favorites of what I tried. I appreciated that these two items were not too sweet and had richly pronounced flavors.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tempeh with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Capers

I have seen fish cooked in a sauce similar to this one, so I decided to try a vegetarian version with tempeh. It turned out so well! It was nice served with creamy macaroni and peas and a salad.

Here is the recipe for the tempeh:

Tempeh with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Capers

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
12 pitted Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 splash of wine, we used red
1 package of tempeh, cubed
freshly chopped basil, oregano, or other herbs

1. Combine sauce ingredients in an oven-safe dish. You have the option of browning the tempeh before putting it in the sauce or after. I browned it after. Here is what I did:
2. Place the uncooked tempeh in the tomato sauce and put it in a 350 degree oven to bake while preparing whatever dish you are serving alongside. Let the tempeh cook for at least 20 minutes, or longer. Take tempeh out of oven after it has baked.
3. Heat a bit more olive oil in a skillet. Place each piece of tempeh (without the sauce) on a hot skillet and let the tempeh brown on two sides. Then I poured the sauce over the tempeh and let it simmer for a few minutes. Toss in freshly chopped herbs and then serve.

Alternate method, if you don't want to use the oven:

Brown the tempeh, add the sauce and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Toss with freshly chopped herbs and serve.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Broiled Figs and Goat Cheese

I purchased some organic fresh figs this week as a very special treat, thinking about a recipe that Ana of Kitchen Space posted. You can find her recipe here. I varied it only slightly, because I wanted to make use of some goat cheese that I had. So, my addition was to top the figs with goat cheese before putting them in the broiler. It was a fantastic treat! We ate the figs with crepes, but they would also have been good by themselves or drizzled with maple syrup or honey or maybe balsamic vinegar. I must admit the reason I chose to eat them with crepes is because I can't get crepes out of my mind since watching the Throwdown With Bobby Flay show on Food Network where Chef Flay challenges the chefs of Flip Happy Crepes in Austin. It reminded me of many fond memories of eating crepes on the streets in Europe.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Live Oaks

We went to Live Oak, Florida on Saturday to visit Magnolia Farms. I happen to love the live oak tree. I have one in my front yard, and even though it dumps more leaves than you can imagine, which I have to rake, I adore it. In the above photo are some live oak trees on the farm. Below is another shot of a live oak tree.

Magnolia Farm CSA open house

This weekend, Pedro and I visited Magnolia Farms for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) member meeting and open house. We are so glad we went. It was great to see the farm, talk more with the farmers and meet some of the other members.

As you can see by the photos, we were especially captivated by the animals.

This goat looking at me innocently, is taking a short break from munching on the tree branches.

It is not growing season right now in the hot, dry fields, but there are still a few things growing. When I look at the dirt, I marvel, as it is the same dirt I have in my yard, that I find impossible to grow anything in. When I talked about the poor dirt in Florida with the farmers, I discovered that it is difficult for them too. I have a lot of respect for the hard work involved with farming.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Soba and Tempeh Stir-Fry

I used 100% buckwheat soba noodles for this dish. And you can use whatever vegetables you want, as long as you cut them into sizes that will finish cooking at the same time. Or if you blanch the vegetables, such as cauliflower or broccoli, before adding them to the stir-fry, it helps. This time, I used cauliflower, summer squash, zucchini, shredded carrots, and red bell pepper. Here is how to assemble this dish:

Soba and Tempeh Stir-Fry, adapted from a recipe from Candle Cafe

Ingredients for the marinade:

2 cups water

1 cup (or up to 1.5 cups) smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
1/2 small red onion, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
up to 1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes, to taste (amount depends on how spicy your flakes are)
1 tablespoon ketchup (optional, I skipped it)
1/4 cup shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/4 cup agave nectar (or substitute a few tablespoons of honey)
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Other ingredients:

1 package tempeh
1 package soba noodles
oil for stir frying
onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
assorted vegetables cut into appropriate stir-fry sizes
chopped cilantro
fresh lime juice
hot sauce
ground roasted peanuts, optional

1. In a blender, blend the marinade ingredients.

2. After blending the marinate, cut a package of tempeh into cubes. Place tempeh pieces in a nonreactive dish and coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least a half hour, or overnight.

3. Cut assorted vegetables into appropriate sizes for a stir-fry, plus mince some garlic and ginger, and chop some onion. Examples of vegetables to use are cabbage, bok choy, string beans, red or green bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, summer squash, etc.

4. Boil water for soba noodles. After water comes to a boil, add salt and a bit of oil, then the noodles. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, until just tender. Drain and set aside.

5. Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or similar pan over high heat. Remove tempeh from marinade, saving the marinade. Drain excess moisture from the tempeh and add it to the hot wok. Saute about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and onion and whichever vegetables need the most time to cook. After five minutes, add the softer/quicker-cooking vegetables and saute 2 more minutes. Add marinade bit by bit until it has the desired consistency, tossing to coat the vegetables and to heat the marinade, for 5 or 10 minutes until flavors have developed.

6. Season with some fresh lime juice, fresh chopped cilantro, and hot sauce if desired, for extra kick. Or add a bit more sesame oil or shoyu, to taste.

7. Serve stir-fry over the soba noodles, or add soba to the stir fry and stir gently to coat with the marinade. Optionally garnish with additional chopped cilantro and ground roasted peanuts.