Friday, June 11, 2010

Champagne Breakfast

For a long time my smoothies have fallen into a carrot-oriented rut. It was nice to discover that carrots were a tasty component for green smoothies made in the Blendtec, and it helped me up my raw vegetable intake without having to add loads of fruit to counterbalance bitter greens.

There are a few drawbacks, though. If you get overzealous with the carrots in a smoothie, the consistency can end up somewhat like baby food. And if you try to add water to the smoothie at the beginning, before you blend, it seems to affect how smoothly the carrot blends--that is, having lots of water in the jar I think makes the carrot more likely to separate into little shreds as oppose to puree.

My smoothies were getting bigger and bigger. While great for nutrients, it takes a long time to drink an entire, thick jar of green/carrot smoothie, and now that I am biking longer distances to work, something lighter appealed. So I'm abandoning the carrot temporarily in favor of this (named for its beautiful color).

Add to Blendtec jar:

2 Valencia oranges, peeled and sectioned (the ones from the farmer's market here are incredibly sweet)
7-10 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into large pieces
1 oz walnut halves, soaked in salted water overnight (releases nutrients)
1/4-1/2 cup cold water

Blend on Whole Juice Cycle once.

I also tried this this morning with an overripe peach that needed to get eaten, in addition to the oranges. Delicious!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Banana Apple Elixir

Dorky name, but trying to describe the wonderful taste and texture of this morning drink.

1 Granny Smith apple, diced, seeds and stem removed
1 Golden Delicious apple, diced, seeds and stem removed
1 very ripe frozen banana, halved
1 large carrot, sliced into coins
1 small yellow summer squash, sliced into coins
1 romaine lettuce heart, cut or torn into large pieces

Add first 5 ingredients to Blendtec jar with about a 1/2 cup-1 cup of water. Run on Whole Juice cycle once. Add lettuce and several ice cubes and a little water to the remaining space in jar and run on Whole Juice cycle again, so that the lettuce gets good and blended in.

I've found the heavy pulpiness of frozen bananas balances well with apples, though it does result in a very sweet smoothie. I don't bother coring the apples because it gets blended so well you don't notice, though it's typically easy to knock the seeds out. Summer squash like yellow squash or zucchini is a good way to add vitamins and fiber without influencing the taste very much.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vegan Raw Hollandaise Sauce

1 granny smith apple, cored if desired, and quartered
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon miso paste
a few pinches of chaat masala (optional)
1/2 cup of water

Add all ingredients to Blendtec and run on whole juice cycle once.

Yet another iteration on the savory apple-based sauce, I served this over some simple oven-roasted asparagus and really enjoyed the effect. Not sure if it really tastes like Hollandaise as I haven't had it in years, but I thought it paired well with the asparagus and had a rich, cheesy, slightly tangy flavor. This recipe probably made about 2 cups of sauce.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blended Mushroom Gravy over Turnip Cauliflower Mash

Turnip Cauliflower Mash

2 large turnips, peeled and cubed, peels reserved
one or two large cauliflower florets

Boil or pressure cook until very soft. Drain well, reserving the cooking liquid. Mash with a potato masher or stiff fork. Peeling the turnips makes them easier to mash, but cooking the peels into the gravy retains their fiber and nutrients while adding some body and flavor.


2 large handfuls of white button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
peelings from two large turnips

1 tablespoon dry rubbed sage
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon miso paste
cracked black pepper to taste
any other seasonings of choice

Place first three ingredients in a non-stick skillet and simmer or saute in water or broth until soft, adding more liquid as necessary (about 1/2-1 cup). Allow to cool until just warm.

Add pan contents and reserved turnip liquid to Blendtec. (Be very careful about adding hot liquids to the Blendtec; the steam can cause the lid to come off when you blend.) Add seasonings and miso. Pulse until completely blended. Add water to desired consistency, or if too watery, add a few tablespoons of cooked beans or your thickener of choice. Reheat if necessary and serve poured over mashed vegetables.

I really enjoy the white bean gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance. This mushroom gravy is a good alternative if you want a gravy that doesn't rely on flour for thickening, but aren't in the mood for beans. (Or in my case, had way too many cheap mushrooms that needed to get used up). I think some red pepper, cooked celery or garlic might have improved this gravy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Broccoli Raab Pesto

Broccoli Raab Pesto

About half a pound of broccoli raab greens
1/2 cup of pine nuts
Three medium cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of water or lemon juice
Salt to taste

Blanch greens in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse in cold water. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid for use later in recipe, if desired. Drain and squeeze all excess water from greens and coarsely chop. Add greens, garlic, olive oil, nuts and water to Blendtec and pulse until well blended. It may take awhile to get completely mixed--when it looks well integrated and creamy, it is ready.

This experiment came about as a result of a great deal at the Farmer's Market that resulted in two gigantic bunches of broccoli raab, and a Christmas gift of pinenuts (I had let my family know there are certain kitchen items I consider somewhat of a luxury). The bunches were so big that I was having trouble fitting them in my crisper drawer, and the leaves were getting unhappy fast. So I chopped off the upper parts of both bunches, saving the lower stalks for another use (though a number of stems still made it in, and probably don't hurt), and put them to work in this recipe.

I was impressed by the bright color and thought it tasted great and not much different from basil pesto. So far we've used it on vegan pizza, and as a garnish on a blended white bean soup.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Prickly Pear Pear Smoothie

2 prickly pears, peeled and sliced (this is a helpful guide with nice pictures)
1 large Bartlett pear, quartered and seeded, then roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, trimmed and chopped
1 medium head of romaine lettuce, washed and torn or chopped into large pieces
about 1 cup of water

Add all ingredients to Blendtec, water last. Run on Whole Juice cycle twice (add ice cubes on the last cycle if you want ensure a perfectly cold drink) and serve.

One advantage to frequently perusing the Reduced for Quick Sale (RQS) Rack at Harris Teeter is that you often find things for very cheap that you might not normally buy -- in my case it's usually some interesting produce often associated with Mexican cuisine. I got a bag of prickly pears for dirt cheap and immediately thought of trying them in a smoothie (along with the extremely ripe marked down organic pears I also got from the rack).

Peeled prickly pears have a smell that reminds me of berries. They also contain numerous edible but not exactly chewable seeds which would probably be nearly impossible to remove. I found this ruby-colored green smoothie very tasty. I thought the prickly pear complemented the carrot, though the Bartlett did overpower a little and I could have added more lettuce, as it was very sweet.

P.S. The next day I made this again and added several more leaves of lettuce and more water, and it was even better.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cashew-chatel Cheese

2 cups raw cashew pieces
1/3 cup large flake nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons of miso paste
juice of half a lemon
1/2 - 1 cup water (to desired consistency)

Add all ingredients to Blendtec. Based on the recipe for Peanut Butter in the Blendtec Recipes Book, cycle blender up to Cycle 1, and allow to finish cycle. (It may appear as though nothing is happening.) Then cycle up to Cycle 5 and allow to run full cycle. Between cycles, scrape mixtures towards the blades. You will notice that the mixture near the blades gets creamier and smoother with time. Repeat process until mixture reaches desired consistency. Adding water may speed the process but will make it thinner. I added about half a cup of water and my "cheese" was spreadable, but a little thinner than your average nut butter right out of the blender. A day later we discovered it had firmed up closer to a cream cheese consistency (see picture above).

This turned out well, and went great on a freshly homemade bagel---"cheesy," thanks to the nooch, with a nice texture. The sweetness of the cashews really still comes through, more miso probably wouldn't hurt. You could also replace some of the cashews with cooked white beans, but I would recommend making your nut "butter" first, and adding the other ingredients later, as it can be a challenge to get the nuts thoroughly ground up. Soaking the nuts overnight might also ease the process.