Coconut veggie curry

I love curry! I hardly ever make Indian dishes because I don’t have a lot of spices specific to that kind of cooking, but this recipe was super easy & very delicious.

I’m sure it’s no where near authentic, but it was delicious and I am fine with that.

Yum yum.

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Coconut veggie curry (adapted from Budget Bytes)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp curry powder
1 small can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 lb frozen broccoli, cauliflower, & carrots
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh cilantro

  1. Add all ingredients up to broccoli & cauliflower. Simmer for 10 minutes until veggies are heated.
  2. Turn heat to low. Add in coconut milk & sugar. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add fresh cilantro & serve with brown rice or quinoa.

Cauliflower pizza crust + vegan cheese

Lately I have been determined to make the most delicious yet most healthy pizza. While I’m not 100% satisfied with my efforts so far, I think I am very close to perfection! Whatever that means. =)

One aspect of the pizza I’ve been playing with is the crust. If you’re in the food blogosphere, I’m sure you’ve heard how pumped everyone is about cauliflower crust. And you know me, I’m in love with cauliflower, so of course I had to give this a try!

I discovered there are two main types of cauliflower crust – those that have eggs & cheese and those that use nuts (aka vegan crusts). While nuts are wonderful for you, and I have no problem with them, they are ridiculously expensive. And given that I’ve been trying to cut back on my expenses lately, I don’t really like to buy nuts very often.

But I needed some sort of flour-like substance to add to my crust. I thought for awhile, and finally decided to cheat… I used flour. I know, the whole point of a cauliflower crust for many people is to have a gluten free option. But, for me, I was simply trying to make a healthier crust, and less flour is better than all flour!

Regardless, after doing some contemplating, I’ve decided I want to try this crust again, but with a few changes. Let me know if you try them out before I do!

  • Replace flour with oat flour. This one hit me after making the crust. Duh! Oat flour is the cheapest thing and way better for you than white or wheat flour. All you do is grind up some oats until they form a powder. They can be used 1:1 for other flours, though in baking, you have to be more careful about density and liquid absorption. UPDATE: This works great!
  • Double the amount of cauliflower and lessen the amount of flour. The original recipe seemed to include mostly flour once I had cooked down the cauliflower. Next time I want to maximize the amount of cauliflower in the crust. I tried this & it didn’t turn out that great. Better to stick with the original proportions. =)

Now, on to vegan cheese. This is something I’ve also been experimenting with in various forms. I’m not going to tell you about my last few experiments (they were pretty scary) but this time I think I mostly figured it out!

There’s a wonderful recipe floating around the web for coconut milk cheese, and that is what I tried this time. I had some issues with the cheese turning out a little lumpy, but otherwise the flavor was great. I’m guessing this was a problem of either- not boiling the milk long enough in the beginning or not mixing in the cornstarch completely. Regardless, I think it is easily corrected and I amended the instructions to help avoid this problem for others. =)

Here are some ideas I’m thinking of experimenting with in my next batch of vegan cheese:

  • Use blended cauliflower instead of coconut milk. I found this recipe which used cauliflower in cheese-making with success, so I’m thinking that would be a fun alternative! This was another idea that didn’t turn out that well. Coconut milk makes much better cheese!
  • Use miso instead of adding salt. As I mentioned in this post, miso is a great way to add salty flavor in a more natural, healthful way. I’m curious how it would taste in this recipe! UPDATE: Miso tastes great in cheese! It’s also yummy in homemade pizza sauce!

Alright, well, that was an incredibly long blog post! Let’s get on to the food, shall we? 😉

Yup, I made fruit pizza again. =)

Yup, I made fruit pizza again. =)

Cauliflower pizza crust (adapted from The Detoxinista)
1 bag frozen cauliflower (1 lb), thawed
3 eggs (flax or egg replacer)
1/2 – 1 cup wheat flour (or try oat flour– see comments above)
3/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp italian seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Pulse the thawed cauliflower in a food processor until a rice like texture. (If you forgot to plan ahead, you can steam the cauliflower first, drain off as much liquid as possible, and then add to food processor)
  3. Transfer cauliflower to a dish towel. Wrap up the cauliflower tight and squeeze to let all the moisture drain out.
  4. Dump the drained cauliflower in a large bowl and add eggs and spices. Slowly add flour, stirring all the while, until consistency is pizza dough like.
  5. Spray a pizza pan with olive oil (preferably one with holes in the bottom).
  6. Spread the dough out on the pan as thin as you want. Make sure there are no holes in the crust.
  7. Bake the crust at 400F for 30-45 minutes, until it turns a light golden brown.
  8. Add some homemade pizza sauce and toppings of choice. Bake another 5-10 minutes.

**Note: You want to be able to handle the dough without it sticking to everything. Keep adding flour until that is true. If you add too much, it will start to become powdery. If this is the case, add another vegan egg.

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Vegan coconut milk cheese (adapted from Sweet Roots)
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder (you can find this in your local Asian food store)
1/2 tsp vinegar of choice (white, balsamic, etc.) OR lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but adds a nice cheesiness)

  1. Boil coconut milk until no longer separated (really make sure this is the case before adding other ingredients!). Then add vinegar, agar flakes, and salt. Bring to a fast boil for just a moment.
  2. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a paste.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including cornstarch paste, one at a time while whisking. Cook another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from pan and put in a greased glass dish or parchment paper lined pan.
  5. Put in fridge & let cool for at least two hours.

Mashed cauliflower bowl

Have you ever had those mashed potato bowls from KFC?

They’re absolutely awful for you, I’m sure. But pretty delicious right?

I decided if KFC can put things on mashed potatoes & call it dinner, then I can too! Only, of course, I healthified it up and added my favorite ingredients. So, it tastes nothing like the KFC version, but it tastes yummy, so I’m fine with it.

And yes, one of those healthy ingredients was cauliflower. Essentially, this is a bowl of mashed veggies (aka cauliflower) with more veggies on top! Which is pretty darn healthy & quite delicious.

Mashed cauliflower doesn’t taste exactly liked mashed potatoes, but I think it’s pretty yummy too & a great substitution for a lighter meal.

Hope you like it as much as I did!

cauliflower bowl

Mashed cauliflower bowl (adapted from Fat Free Vegan)
2 bags of frozen cauliflower (1 lb each)
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp vegetarian broth mix
4 tsp cornstarch mixed with 4 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter of choice

2 cups spinach
3 Roma tomatoes, diced

  1. Steam cauliflower on stove for 8 minutes or until soft (cook in a covered pot with a thin layer of water on the bottom). Drain in a colander on the stove when finished.
  2. Combine milk, water, seasonings, & broth mix in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the cornstarch/water mix and stir until everything has thickened. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in another pan on the stove, saute tomatoes until softened and most water is gone. Add in spinach and cook just until wilted.
  4. Press any remaining water out of the cauliflower. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Add in sauce mixture from stove along with butter and blend all until well combined. Top with cooked tomatoes & spinach.

Mushroom gravy (adapted from Oh My Veggies)
Olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
8 oz mushrooms
3 cups prepared vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp flour mixed with 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp butter of choice
1/8 tsp black pepper

  1. Saute mushrooms in a medium pan with olive oil, onion powder, and thyme for several minutes, or until all liquid is gone.
  2. Pour in broth and bring to a boil for 15 minutes (or until gravy has reduced significantly).
  3. Add flour/water mixture to gravy mixture on stove. Turn heat down to low and simmer until slightly thickened (2 minutes or so).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in butter & black pepper. Pour over mashed cauliflower bowl.

Butternut squash & black bean burgers

Hi all!

It’s been a little while! I’ve been filling up on Thanksgiving leftovers and having dinner with friends, so I was excited to finally have something else delicious to share with you all.

Veggie burgers are definitely one of my favorites. This one has a bit of a Mexican flair to it.

The only thing I regret about this recipe is that I bought cheap-ish buns, which were only okay. Next time, I will have to search the bakery instead. Hopefully I can find something cheap but a bit more fresh!

I also made this wonderful creamy (and vegan!) garlic-y sauce for the burgers, with my most favorite vegetable, cauliflower. Given that it’s mostly vegetable, this is so much better for you than most condiments! Hope you enjoy!

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Butternut squash & black bean burgers (adapted from A Slo Life)
1 can black beans
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Cook butternut squash as desired. I peeled mine, scooped out the seeds, and cut mine up into cubes. I cooked it in the microwave for about 15 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Add squash & beans to a food processor. Pulse until in very small chunks, but not quite smooth.
  3. Pour squash/bean mixture into a large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Form into patties and fry in a small pan until a little crispy on both sides.

Creamy garlic sauce
1/2 cup cauliflower
3/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk of choice
2 tsp herbs de provence (you could also use Italian seasoning, though the flavor will be a bit different)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

  1. Steam cauliflower until tender.
  2. Heat garlic on stove in a little olive oil. Cook for 30 seconds or just until fragrant.
  3. Add cauliflower and olive oil to food processor. Blend and slowly add milk of choice until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Add additional ingredients and blend to combine.

Creamy mushroom soup

As promised, I definitely made more delicious things with cauliflower. This time it’s a vegan soup!

Same idea as the alfredo, you just add a bit more milk of choice in order to thin it out to soup consistency. Super easy and yummy.

Mmmmm mushrooms.

Mmmmm mushrooms.

On a related note, has anyone else told you the best way to clean a food processor or blender? Apparently, you add a little soap and water, and let it run for a few minutes. Presto, much cleaner food processor! I can’t believe I didn’t know this until now but it certainly makes my life easier. =)

On an unrelated note, I just found this amazing product that is supposed to provide all the nutrients you need in a drink! It’s based on science, not crazy diet fads, so I am thoroughly intrigued. The idea is that it could replace food altogether and make cooking a hobby, which I think is really interesting. I do love cooking, and certainly would never give it up, but the idea of having a quick, cheap drink for breakfast or lunch with oodles of nutrients is pretty awesome. I just ordered some & am going to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes once I receive it in early 2014!

Anyway, back to the soup!

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Creamy mushroom soup (adapted from Healthful Pursuit)
2 cups cauliflower, frozen or fresh
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup  milk of choice
2 teaspoon onion powder
8 oz mushrooms
2 tbsp butter of choice
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

  1. Add broth and cauliflower to a pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in a separate pan with a little olive oil, for several minutes or just until tender.
  3. After cauliflower is softened, add to food processor with onion powder and butter; blend until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the milk and continue blending until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Pour cauliflower mixture back into saucepan and stir in mushrooms. Heat several minutes until soup is desired temperature. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Cauliflower alfredo sauce

Have I told you how much I love pasta?

The answer is a lot. Mmmm. Creamy, delicious things are my favorite. I’ve been searching and playing with a basic creamy base that would satisfy both my healthy tendencies & my vegan boyfriend.

The answer is cauliflower! This vegetable is so wonderful that both vegans & carnivores are embracing it to make creamy goodness.

Some vegans advocate for cashews as a creamy base, but I don’t particularly love the expensive price or texture (perhaps because I’m just using a regular old food processor and not an amazingly efficient Vitamix). Other recipes use tofu, which I’ve had some success with. But the food that wins for both simplicity and healthiness is, in my opinion, cauliflower!

You can use blended up cauliflower for anything, from this alfredo sauce to a healthier mac & cheese to a thick creamy soup (stay tuned for a good soup recipe this coming week). Trust me, even if you don’t love cauliflower, you will love using it in this way!

If you want to add more or less butter or salt, feel free to play with the measurements. The less, the healthier of course. But, you’re already making an incredibly healthy dish so feel free to liven it up a little. =)

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Cauliflower alfredo sauce (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
2 cups frozen, thawed cauliflower OR 1 medium head of cauliflower
3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter of choice
1 cup milk of choice
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Optional: 2 cups ish of cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, veggie versions)

  1. Cook garlic in a tiny bit of olive oil for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Steam cauliflower for 10-15 minutes (click here for four easy ways to steam vegetables).
  3. Add cooked cauliflower, garlic, salt, and butter to food processor. Blend thoroughly. Add milk slowly, blending as you go until you reach the desired consistency. Add more or less milk as needed.
  4. Pour over cooked pasta, preferably with some delicious sauteed veggies added in. If cheese was added to the sauce, heat until cheese has melted, stirring as you go.
  5. Taste, and add more butter or salt as desired.