To this day, I still get excited when my mom pulls out the wok. When the wok comes out, I know to expect something good for dinner. My favorite thing she would make (and still makes when I come home) was Hekka. Hekka is a Japanese Hawaiian stir fry. Mom used to make it with strips of steak. Now she veganizes it for me. We just nix the steak and feast on the awesome veggies. I add portobello mushrooms to help mimic the meatiness. So here is how to make the best stir fry (and one of my favorite meals) in the world. And psst, don’t tell anyone but it is REALLY healthy!
- Napa Cabbage (cut into strips)
- Matchstick Carrots
- Shitaki Mushrooms
- Portobello Mushrooms (cut in strips like steak)
- Bamboo Shoots
- Water Chestnuts
- Shōyu or Tamari
- Corn Starch
In a wok with oil stir fry veggies. Add broccoli and spinach last, so they don’t over cook. When thickening and to season, make a slurry of Shōyu or Tamari with the cornstarch in order to add to stir fry.
Serve over Steamed Jasmine Rice. Asian Cucumber Salad makes a great starter to this meal.
Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salad
This recipe is great for summer. Chris and I do this every year when tomatoes and corn are in season.
(Adapted by my husband, Chris, from a Robert Irvine Recipe from Food Network)
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 pound frozen corn kernels or about 4 ears fresh (do not use canned corn – it becomes gummy)
- Garlic Powder to taste
- Onion Powder to taste
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- Salt (preferably fresh ground or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 (24 total ounces) cans of black beans, drained
- Fresh Tomato
- And Fresh ¼ cup of Fresh Cilantro
Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees F.
Cut Corn off Cob. Sauté Corn in Pan with Canola Oil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, and Black Pepper until slightly tender. Place in the oven until roasted (but not dried out) about 10 minutes.
Once you pull the corn out of the oven place in a bowl. Toss with Can of Black Beans. Then toss with simple homemade vinaigrette (see below). Garnish with fresh tomato and cilantro. Then serve. (Makes 4 servings)
Simple Homemade Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup of Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 cup of Canola Oil
Put vinegar and spices in bowl. Then whisk oil in until it emulsified.
Each year around Christmastime, my hubby, Chris makes Caramel Corn. Be warned: it is very addictive and scrumptious!
- Popcorn kernels (and popcorn popper)
- 2 c. Brown Sugar
- 1 c. Vegan Butter (like Earth Balance)
- 1/2 c. Light Corn Syrup
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
Make 30 cups popped popcorn. Mix and bring to a rolling boil the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Add baking soda and vanilla. Mix well. Pour over popped corn and blend thoroughly. Bake 1 hour at 200° stirring every 15 minutes. Store in airtight containers.
Summery Purple Peruvian Potato Salad
- Purple Peruvian Potatoes (quartered)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 heaping tsps creole mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Truvia
- Garlic Powder
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender then drain in collander. While potatoes are cooking whisk together all the ingredients of dressing except the olive oil. Then slowly pour in olive oil whisking until emulsified. Drizzle dressing over warm potatoes. Toss together to coat. Then serve.
7 Layer Taco Dip
When I was a kid and we were having a party, often times my mom would make what she called, Taco Pizza. It was this 7 Layer Taco Dip. She served it on a large round pizza pan — hence taco pizza It was one of my favorite hors d’oeuvre. It has all theses yummy layers that come together as a cacophony of flavor in your mouth. I am going to a gathering tonight and this is what I am taking.
- 1 small can of refried beans (I use vegan friendly ones)
- 8 ounces of vegan sour cream mixed well with one packet of taco seasoning
- 1 large tomato chopped and drained (I place the chopped tomato on a paper towel to absorb all the excess water)
- Guacamole (see my homemade recipe below)
- 1 can of sliced olives drained ( I used a can of large olives that I had on hand and chopped them myself and drained them on a paper towel)
- Vegan Rice Cheddar (hand shredded)
- Pickled Sliced Jalapeños
- Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
For the first layer, spread the refried beans in the bottom of a 9 X 13 lasagna pan. Then, on top of the beans, spread the sour cream/taco seasoning mixture. Next layer is the tomatoes spread out. Then slather the homemade guacamole over the tomatoes. Next are the sliced olives. Then hand shred the rice cheddar over top of everything. Then dot with the jalapeños. Serve with Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. This can be made up ahead of time. It allows the flavors the opportunity to marry together. This dip is a colorful, flavorful, and festive dish for any fiesta. Enjoy!
Start with a ripe avocado. (You can tell it is ripe when you can press it and it yields. If it does not yield, it is not yet ripe. Put it back in the windowsill to continue ripening. If you shake it and hear the pit rolling it is REALLY ripe. Eat immediately ;o)) Cut around avocado until you have cut it in half. Take blade of knife and hit against the pit until it is wedged in the pit. Spin pit and it will pop out. Hold 1/2 of avocado in hand and make slices one way and then slices the other. Turn peel inside out and slice under avocado to pop out diced pieces. Mash avocado. Roll a lemon or lime. Cut lemon or lime in half. Squeeze juice on tope of smashed avocado, taking care to not get any seeds. Like I said, I don’t measure, but the other ingredients include: fresh cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and a scoop of your favorite salsa. Mix altogether. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips (or your favorite tortilla chips). So yummy!
Oatmeal cookies have been part of my life since I can first remember. Each year my mom, my Aunt Lynette, and I (and whoever else happened to be in town) would get together to make Christmas cookies. One of the cookies we always made were oatmeal. Sometimes they had chocolate chips, sometimes raisins, sometimes walnuts, sometimes, peanutbutter chips, and sometimes butterscotch chips. If Aunt Lynette chose, she always chose butterscotch! Tonight, I did a vegan spin on these Better Homes and Gardens classic. I pulled out that plaid covered cookbook that takes me back to my mom’s kitchen, and I made vegan oatmeal carob chip cookies. Here’s what I did:
Happy Goodness . . .
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- 3/4 cup of Earth Balance (or vegan butter of choice)
- 1 cup of brown sugar (packed down)
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
- 2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer (OR a 1/2 cup of applesauce)
- 1 tsp of vanilla (we make our own)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- most of a bag of the 10 oz. bag of vegan carob chips
In large self mixing bowl let Earth Balance beat for about 30 seconds. Add in brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Beat till combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add in already whisked up 2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer OR Applesauce. Also add the vanilla. Beat till combined. Add in flour little by little till all incorporated. Then with a wooden spoon stir/fold in the oats and the carob chips.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons approximately 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on a wire rack. After initial cooling, transfer to paper towels to finish cooling. Makes about 4 dozen.
Today, I decided to give cooking spaghetti squash a try, and it turned out marvelous! I also had on hand some beautiful fresh tomatoes out of my friend Vivica’s garden. (Thanks Vivica and Sasha!)
Preheat Oven to 375 F. Get big @$& knife (or hatchet or whatever means necessary). Cut (or hack)spaghetti squash in half length wise. This process takes serious muscles, perseverance, and a good knife. Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff and discard. (Think similar to a pumpkin.) Put halves on sheet pan, cut side up. Dollop tablespoon of Earth Balance in each half. Salt and Pepper each half. Bake for about an hour.
While spaghetti squash is baking get out large skillet. Use a garlic press to press about 4 cloves of garlic (peeling cloves first, of course). Cut up a lot of fresh tomatoes (I think I used about 8 to 10 medium sized ones). In heated large skillet add canola oil, pressed garlic, fresh tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. I did not measure. I just added seasoning until it tasted right. Simmer chunky tomato concoction until tomatoes break down. I cooked mine on low to 2 or 3 simmering until the spaghetti squash was done, which gave it plenty of time for the water to cook out and the flavors to fuse. (This sauce would be wonderful to add some fresh basil to toward the end of the cooking process.)
Once the spaghetti squash is done baking use oven gloves to remove pan, and so you can hold onto the squash halves. Use fork to gently string the spaghetti squash from the peel, incorporating the Earth Balance, salt and pepper. Divide spaghetti squash into 2 bowls. Spoon on sauce. Voila! Serve. This is great with a glass of red wine.
For kids (and picky husbands), I would recommend boiling up some whole grain pasta in salted water. Give them a mix of half pasta and half spaghetti squash with the above sauce. Chris and I both ate this sans pasta and it was lovely and flavorful.