Navy bean and kale soup

20160223_125634 1I needed to use up quickly a bunch of kale that was starting to wilt, and what better way to do so than via a soup. I used my electric pressure to make this soup, but it can easily be made on the stove.

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks, diced. Regular onions will work, also, but I prefer leeks
  • 1/2 cup dried navy beans, soaked. You can use prepared beans, just cut down on the cooking time for the soup.
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped. I used the standard green curly type.
  • 4 cups (or so) of vegetable stock
  • Frozen corn (I didn’t measure, so just go with what you like).
  • Crushed tomatoes. I used about 1.5 cups.
  • Dried tarragon and sage, to taste
  • Salt (and pepper, if using) to taste

Preparation

I simply put everything in the pressure cooker, put it on the soup setting, and cooked for 30 minutes. With cooked beans, I would adjust the cooking time to 10 minutes. I use the natural release method to bring the pressure down. You could saute the leeks before placing in the pressure cooker, but I had only a few minutes to prepare this soup, so I didn’t.

If cooking on the stove, then certainly saute the leeks. Cook until the beans are cooked to your liking.

 

 

 

 

 

Hamburg, Germany, bans coffee pods

The city of Hamburg has banned the use of single-use coffee pods in state-run buildings as an effort to reduce waste. I very much hope other cities will follow this example. I know that some people get up in arms at the thought of being told what they can or cannot eat or drink, but the amount of waste generated by these pods is serious. I am tired of the old “they can be recycled” argument; as I’ve stated before, even assuming that all the pods are recycled, which may not be the case (the linked article says that only 5% of the Keurig pods were recycled in 2014), the amount of fossil fuels needed to create these pods, let alone recycle them, must be considered. I’ve been using a French press and an AeroPress for years. I’ve timed the speed of using these two devices, versus the single-pod machine, and it doesn’t amount to much more than a minute or two. Have we become so lazy that we can’t invest an extra two minutes to making a cup of coffee? Further, I have yet to like the taste and quality of the coffee produced by any of these single-pod machines.

Baked portobello mushrooms

This recipe is modified from The garden of vegan. The dish doesn’t look particularly appetizing in the photograph. My cat Atticus was sitting in the spot where I normally take the photographs and, naturally  (for me at least), I didn’t want to disturb him. I served the mushrooms with mashed potatoes and a side serving of sautéed kale.20160215_174336

Ingredients

4 portobello mushrooms

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup Braggs, tamari, or soy

1/2 cup water

3 gloves garlic

1tsp of dried rosemary

1 tsp dried oregano

1 onion, sliced

Place the mushrooms upside in a dish. Mix the remaining ingredients in a blender,  with the exception of the onion. Place the sliced onions on the mushrooms, and pour the gravy over the mushrooms.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The age of plastic

This post discusses some of the findings conducted by  Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, about the use and impact of plastic. The post contains the following quotation from the study:

“We now make almost a billion tons of the stuff every three years. If all the plastic made in the last few decades was clingfilm, there would be enough to put a layer around the whole Earth. With current trends of production, there will be the equivalent of several more such layers by mid-century”.

These figures are truly frightening.  I am often so dismayed by the amount of plastic used for everyday items. One of the my bones of contention is the increasing use of plastic bags to hold vegetables in grocery stores.  I always take cloth produce bags with me so that I can fill them with bulk vegetables such as green beans, brussels sprouts, and so forth.  I have seen the rise of the use of plastic bags to contain vegetables that have been traditionally sold in bulk. Besides the waste caused by the plastic, it bothers me that I have no control over the amount of vegetables I can buy. This is one of the many reasons why I buy most of my fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets. When I ask produce managers about this practice, I usually get one or both of these answers: “Some customers say that they think it’s unhygienic to sell vegetables in bulk;” or “but the plastic bags are recyclable.” While I am sure that some people do, in fact, believe in the first point, I suspect that most customers actually don’t like the use of all this wasteful packaging; besides, most people wash fruit and vegetables before they consume them. I think some North Americans have become obsessed with the notion of hygiene to an unhealthy degree, if you will excuse the play on words. The recycling mantra is a myth, since even assuming that all plastics that can be are recycled (which apparently is not the case), the recycling process consumes large amounts of fossil fuels, as does the manufacture of plastic in the first place.  I have actually seen stores where individual bananas were sealed in plastic, never mind the fact that I can’t think that too many people would actually eat the banana peel. When I encounter these situations, I always make it a point to express my concern to the appropriate managers, and encourage them to look for alternatives.  I make it clear also that I support vendors who minimize packaging. I know that one voice doesn’t carry much weight, but a collection of single voices can.

Here are some good resources for people who want to reduce their use of plastic:

 

 

 

 

Soba noodle salad with tahini sauce

This salad is very easy to put together, and can be served either cold or warm

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For the salad 

  • Soba noodles, to the amount necessary, depending on number of servings.  You can use buckwheat or udon noodles, too.
  • Firm tofu
  • Red bell pepper
  • Mushrooms, of a variety of your choosing.  I used king mushrooms this time.
  • Sesame seed oil

For the dressing

  • Tahini sauce.  The amount varies, depending on the number of servings.  For two servings, I used 2 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar.
  • 3 tablespoons of Braggs, or regular soy sauce
  • Freshly grated ginger.  I used this sparingly, but add as much as you like.

While the noodles are cooking, saute the diced tofu and bell pepper in the sesame seed oil.  When they are cooked to your satisfaction, add and saute the mushrooms.  Salt to taste.

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Place the dressing ingredients in a blender and mix well.  If the dressing is too thin, add some more tahini sauce.

Toss the noodles with the vegetables and dressing.  If you want to eat the salad cold, cool the noodles and vegetables, then add the dressing.

Vegan eats, week of February 1

Here are three items I prepared this past week.  I cook every day, but I don’t always remember to take photographs, so here’s what I have.

Bean Bourguignon

A simple casserole containing red kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, some vegetable stock, carrots, onions, garlic, and green beans, and a lot of red wine. I’m enjoying using the cast-iron enamel pot I bought myself for Christmas.

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Rosemary focaccia

I simply used my standard pizza dough recipe (I make it in my bread maker, as it turns out perfectly every time) and added dried rosemary and oregano (I didn’t have enough rosemary, so I added the extra herb).  I brushed the top with olive oil and sea salt, and baked at 400F for 25 minutes.

1.5 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp yeast

2/3 cup water

1-2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil (use more to brush the dough before baking)

The bread machine does all the work.  Lazy, I know, but the dough comes out consistently well,  so why not?

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Roasted fennel salad with shallot dressing

I can’t take credit for this recipe, as it comes from Veganomicon.  Because I don’t want to violate copyright or intellectual property, I won’t list the recipe, but the salad contains roasted fennel, curly endive, and toasted hazelnuts.  The dressing contains roasted shallots, vinegar, maple syrup, tarragon, thyme, and olive oil.

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