Roots Juice Bar: Restaurant Discovery

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Roots Juice Bar, 6 third street, Dover NH

Rushing around doing errands one morning, I realized I hadn’t made time for breakfast and I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee. I had haphazardly planned to stop for a leisurely cup of coffee at the opposite side of town, but I had forgotten my plan after I finished my errands in that area. I was downtown Dover when I was reminded by my complaining stomach how hungry I was, When I saw a restaurant sign of a place I had always thought about stopping at but never seemed to have the time to explore.

It was a restaurant called Roots Juice Bar, a vegan restaurant offering  fresh juices and smoothies, house brewed kombucha, assorted coffees and teas, breakfast, lunch and nibbles. All offerings were vegan. So I decided right then, this would be a good place to take a moment and catch my breath before continuing on with my busy day.

I parked on the street, finding a parking spot only half a block away. When I opened the door and walked inside, I was greeted by a cozy looking and pristinely clean restaurant with a few tables and a nice comfy decor.20170228_125042 The cashier/ordering counter looked inviting and friendly, as was the pleasant looking associate waiting to take my order.The time was 2pm  and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get breakfast; but she assured me they provide breakfast menu items anytime during the day. The restaurant hours are 8am to 4pm, monday through saturday. The kitchen area and food prep area were in full view, directly behind the cashier counter.

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Roots Juice Bar, 6 third street, Dover NH

I ordered a Breakfast Bowl, which was made with quinoa, strawberry, raspberry, cranberries, almond butter, cashew cream, fresh mint and chia seeds, priced at $8.00 a bowl. I ordered a cup of organic coffee with coconut whip, for $3.00. I could see them preparing my order, and it came out and was served to me within a reasonable amount of time. Everyone was friendly and accommodating.

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Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries and Mint

The breakfast bowl was delicious and refreshing, and exactly what I needed on that day. The quinoa was warmed and the berries over the top were cold, and the juxtaposition of the two temperatures was very pleasant. The different textures of quinoa and berries, rounded together with the creamy almond butter and then a pop of flavor as the mint asserted its herbaceous zing, was also very, very pleasant. Very definitely, I found this to be a flavorful surprise.

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Fresh French Pressed Coffee

When my coffee was delivered to me, I was once again, pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a solo cup of coffee, which might have been sitting in a coffee urn for longer than I might imagine, but lo and behold, the server bought out a french press. She had poured me a cup of the fresh, hot coffee and added the coconut whip. Left in the french press, was enough coffee to pour another generous half cup, at least. I was very pleased. The coffee was fresh, hot and delicious.

I was glad I stopped in and broke up my day to finally try a place, I had often seen but hadn’t yet found the time to explore. I will definitely go back and I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone in the area, who is looking for a friendly and healthful place to enjoy a tasty breakfast, lunch or snack, give Roots Juice Bar a try!

Thank you for visiting me today, at Vegan Mami’s good food kitchen. Remember to feed yourself and your loved ones good whole foods that are tasty and attractive. And remember to take the time to treat yourself, and give yourself some rejuvenating time, so you can share more of yourself with those that matter to you the most!

Saturday Morning Market Finds

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Tiger Eye Dried Beans

 

Welcome back to Vegan Mami’s Good Food Kitchen! Saturday morning I enjoyed a shopping trip to my local Farmer’s Market. I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of the market filled with like-minded shoppers, who crowd in around the different tables and displays offered by the farmers and  venders. Customers are generously plied with samples and antidotes about items for sale. The venders are talkative and happy to answer any and all questions about their businesses. And there is a general sense of community among everyone, and a sense of relaxation and enjoyment, as people visit with one another sharing their hauls and munching on an appetizing treat or two, maybe accompanied by a steaming cup of coffee or tea. They also crowd around  and enjoy the audible art of the performers, who are more likely than not, local musicians.

Today I purchased potatoes,  dried beans and bok choy. The bok choy, which I purchased from Heron Pond Farm, from South Hampton N.H., was on the smallish side (baby bok choy), and its leaves were dark green and gloriously generous. I could just imagine seeing them swimming luxuriously in a brothy bowl of soup!

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Bok Choi

The dried beans, from The Root Seller located in Nottingham NH, were just lovely, and I was excited about trying them. I chose Tiger Eye, Flageolet, Jacob’s Cattle, Cranberry and Arikara Yellow. As soon as I returned home I set about soaking the tiger eye variety, to see how those cooked up and tasted.

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Bean Haul

 

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Tiger Eyes Soaking in Water

I boiled the Tiger Eye beans with 1/2 onion, one bay leaf and one smashed garlic clove and them cooked until tender. The beans were nice with a mild flavor and a texture similar to chickpeas (garbanzo beans). I cooked them a bit longer  to see if they would become creamy, but they still retained a small bite and seemed to begin breaking apart. Seems like they would be a versatile bean, working well in soups and stews and definitely standing on there own as a solo plate of beans. They would also puree well and make a nice bean dip or spread, in the same way chickpeas can be made into hummus.

I also purchased two five pound bags of potatoes from Riverside Farm Stand and Greenhouse  from Berwick Maine. I chose Yukon Gold Gem, and Rose Gold. I know from past experiences, my husband and I enjoy the Yukon Gold as an all purpose potato; using it for oven fries, mashed potatoes, in soups and stews, and baked potatoes. The Rose Gold, we had never tried before, and I thought it would be interesting to see what the difference could be.

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Spuds!

I cooked one potato of each kind in a saucepan filled with cold water, bought to the boil and then cooked over medium heat until the potatoes were tender. I cooked them this way, because I wanted them as unadorned as possible, even using no salt, to taste them just as they are with no condiments whatsoever. I wanted their individual flavors and textures to shine through.

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Potato Taste Test

The Yukon Gold Gem cooked up as I had expected, but it was not as gold as others we have had, and it seemed to share a bit of the floury texture of a russet potato. But it was definitely a waxy potato with very thin skin, which could easily be left on for cooking and eating.It was mildly sweet, with a rounded almost nutty, potato flavor.

And then came the Rose Gold! Wow! What a surprise! A waxy texture with no floury consistency whatsoever. The color was definitely a lovely rose gold hue, and the skin was also thin and suitable for leaving on the potato, if desired. The flavor was creamy and sweet and needed no embellishment at all. I imagined steaming them and having them with a salad; either cubed and tossed on top, or sliced and served on the side. I could imagine preparing these potatoes in any way imaginable and they would only improve the recipe. A new favorite, without a doubt!

All in all, it was a good, enjoyable trip to the Farmer’s Market. Even though it was not a good day for finding moneysaving values, I did find  items, that are local and of the highest quality as compared to what I would find in the chain grocery stores. My shopping haul total came to $31.80 cents. The dried beans were $5.00 a 1lb bag; I purchased 5 bags, which allowed me to get one bag free (special pricing from The Root Seller). The potatoes were $5.00 a 5lb bag, which is an average price for local  potatoes grown in the Seacoast area. The bok choy I chose came to $1.80 and I was very happy with that purchase.

Thank you for visiting Mami’s Good Food Kitchen today, and letting me share with you my market finds. Remember to feed yourself and your loved ones good, honest food. Eat as unprocessed as possible, as local as possible and always try new things!

Eat like it matters- because it really does!

Snow Fungus; The New Superfood?!!

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Welcome to Vegan Mamis Good Food Kitchen! Thank you for stopping by, today. I want to share with you a new item I found while shopping in my local Asian grocery store. It’s called Dried White Fungus. This is how I saw it in the store, on a shelf, nestled in its festive box:

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packaged dried white fungus

It looked like a gift, and I was intrigued. I could tell it was delicate because the package had been designed to guard the delicate little fungi from being crushed. I was drawn to it and decided it would be my next adventure into the culinary unknown.

Later, when I returned home and was able to do my research, I found  snow fungus goes by many names such as: snow fungus, white fungus, silver ear, white jelly mushroom and white wood ear. It’s latin name is Tremella Fuciformis, and it is a mycoparasite which means it isn’t cultivated on wood like oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and other mushrooms, but it feeds on the mushrooms that are cultivated on wood. (You can learn more about the mushroom world by going to TomVolkFungi.net).

The snow fungus has been used in chinese medicine for centuries and is credited as a beauty enhancer and digestive aid and possibly improving lung immune function. Now I am not a doctor, and I know nothing of these claims, but if you would like to see more information on this type of thing, you can find it at Ping Ming Health- Accupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine  http://www.pingminghealth.com/article/773/white-fungus-and-lung-immune-function

More benefit information is found at  http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/medicinal-benefits-snow-fungus

But I am learning about this snow fungus because it heightened my curiosity, and I’m always happy to try new foods and discover how I can use them. To begin, I had to reconstitute the dried fungus in water, which involved soaking the yellowish fungus in water for about 2 hours. It grew into a good sized ball and turned a beautiful white color with a soft and yet firm consistency. Before I could cook the snow fungus I turned it over and trimmed off the hard yellowed bits that looked to be part of a stem.

I read quite a few recipes from the internet and they were all a bit different, but the simplest recipe was to boil the fungus with jujubes (which are chinese red dates) and a handful of goji berries, for approximately one hour , or until you feel it is done. This procedure is meant to create a bowl of soup served warm or cold that enhances beauty; and really, who could turn that down? When cooked, the fungus had a crunchy texture that was at the same time, soft and gelatinous. Cooking it made the water thicker and slippery, as though I had mixed an arrowroot slurry into the soup pot. The fungus had no taste. The interest about it was in the texture. I had noticed some recipes called for adding sugar, other recipes added fruits to cook with the fungus, such as peaches or apples to add flavor.

This was not a culinary treasure in the taste department, at least not these recipes, but if one was interested in the purported benefits of the snow fungus, than its not a bad way to get it down. I tried the soup hot and cold, and the texture of the soup hot, was interesting but when I tried it cold, the next day, it was hard to eat until I became used to the extra silky body of the broth and the gelatinous and crunchy texture of the fungus.

 

I was determined to try another recipe, to see if I could make it more enjoyable. This time I made it as part of a stew. In a large pot, I put the snow fungus, torn into pieces, tofu, zucchini, onions, leafy greens, carrots, sweet potato noodles, a couple large spoonfuls kimchi and one green chile pepper. Then I filled the pot with vegetable stock to cover the veggies, and added a spoonful of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste). Bought everything to boil, and turned to low, covered with a lid and let it simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.

The flavor of the stew was good, and the snow fungus added its magic as it thickened the stew, ever so slightly, giving the stew juices a silky feel. The snow fungus stubbornly retained it’s soft chewy- yet crunchy texture. Although it added no taste, it added an interesting texture to the stew, and was not in the least disagreeable. So this recipe was a yes, and I could see myself making it again.

I have other recipe ideas to try with this beautiful little gem, but I will leave that for another time. I am sure I have not even begun to tap the possibilities. Thank you for visiting with me today, and remember to keep an open mind and try new things, and always

always

always,

feed yourself and your loved ones good foods, real foods, and foods that are as unprocessed as possible.

 

 

Potato and White Bean Cakes

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Potato and White Bean Cake with catsup and white kimchi

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen! I will jump right into sharing this recipe in the spirit it was created. When I woke up this morning, I knew what I needed to do. It would be simple and quick with a minimum of fuss but a maximum of flavor. No added oils or sugars and no dairy products. Not a sweet recipe, but a savory recipe; suitable for breakfast or snack, or really any meal at all.

So, here it is!

Potato and White Bean Cake

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Gather Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 10 oz. cooked potato (1 medium and 1 small)
  • 3/4 cup cooked white beans, drained and rinsed (canned is fine)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper (to add just a spark of heat)
  • 3 Tbsp of the sundried tomato soaking water
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • salt to taste (if you cook no salt, then omit the salt)
  • panko crumbs or bread crumbs

Use cooked potatoes. If you have none on hand and want to cook them quickly, use the microwave and put them on the potato setting. If you don’t use a microwave, cut potatoes small and boil or steam until soft, while getting the rest of the ingredients together.

Then put 1/4 cup, no oil, sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl and pour 1/2 cup hot water over them to rehydrate. Let soak while you collect rest of ingredients.

In medium sized bowl, put 3/4 cup drained, white beans and mash gently with a fork, leaving most in their whole bean shape. Add to this the crushed garlic, minced onion, dried parsley, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper and salt, if you are using salt.

Drain sundried tomatoes, saving the liquid, and mince, or chop fine the reconstituted tomato, and add to the bowl. When the potatoes have cooled off enough to handle, mash them lightly and add the potatoes to the bowl. I left the skins on, to add extra fiber to the cakes.

Now mix all ingredients using your hands or a bean masher. A potato masher would work, too, but don’t mash too much, you still want texture, in your potato cake. Add the three tablespoons of the (saved) sundried tomato water and mix into potato bean mixture. You will be able to form mixture into patties. Make 5 or 6 patties, depending on the size you would like.

Once formed, you can pat panko bread crumbs on each side of the patty, and place on parchment paper sheet or silpat liner. I place this on top of my pizza stone which has been heating up with the oven. I find this helps me to crisp up the cakes and gives them a pleasing texture.

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4 cakes with 3 fun croquette shapes

Bake them in the oven, 425F for 15 minutes, turn them over and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping watch not to burn, but cooking until golden brown and crispy.

These cakes could be pan fried if you wanted to use a non stick pan.

Use whatever condiment you enjoy and you will be rewarded with a tasty and satisfying base for any meal. I enjoyed them at breakfast with catsup and white kimchi, but I could easily see them being enjoyed covered  with a  tomato sauce and served with a salad, or as a snack with a no-cheese sauce for dipping!

Enjoy!

Remember to feed yourself and your loved ones good food, as unprocessed as possible. Eat like it matters; because it really does!

 

No-Cheese Cheezy Sauce

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No-cheese cheezy sauce turned into nacho cheeze sauce

Welcome  to Vegan Mami’s Good Food Kitchen. This past weekend my grandsons came over to visit, and what a fun visit it was! Both boys are growing so fast and always playing so hard! Along with growing and using up their energy stores they bought with them their ever increasing appetites. One of their very favorite meals is macaroni and cheese. You know the kind, the one that comes in a box and has a very creamy, rich sauce.

Because I don’t have boxes of mac-n-cheese in my pantry or cheese in my refrigerator to make it from scratch, I decided to try a no-cheese sauce for them and see if I could get them to eat it and hopefully enjoy it. The following is the recipe I like to use when I want to make a sauce that is easy to put together, cheezy, versatile and  is healthier than loading cheese and butter into a recipe.

No-Cheese Cheezy Sauce

  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled. Or use powdered turmeric, 1/2 tsp.
  • 1 large onion, or 2 small, peeled and chopped into quarters

put all ingredients listed above into a medium saucepan and fill with water until all vegetables are covered. Put pan on burner over high heat until water begins to boil. Turn heat to medium and cook until veggies are fork tender.

With a slotted spoon, put all veggies in a blender, or food processor, with no more than 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Add 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast, and 1/2 tsp. ground yellow mustard. Carefully blend veggies until a smooth sauce develops. It will take about 30 to 45 seconds.

At this point you can add more of the cooking water if you think the sauce is too thick. Add salt and white pepper to your taste, and if you want a cheezier flavor, add more nutritional yeast, but only add in 1 tablespoon at a time and taste to see if the flavor is  where you want it. You should have approximately 3 cups.

To make macaroni and no-cheeze, cook your favorite pasta shape and put into a bowl, and spoon a bit of sauce over all and mix well. Very good, and very satisfying. Both boys enjoyed it and asked for seconds.

You can enjoy this sauce as a dip for your oven baked potatoes, and you will have a low fat and low sodium snack or side dish. Or you can ladle the sauce generously over a hot, steamed cauliflower sprinkled with bread crumbs, and enjoy a decadent dish!

Or, you can do as I did this afternoon, and bake your own corn chips by cutting corn tortillas into four wedges, baking them in a 425 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until they become golden brown and toasty. Remove from oven and set on serving plate. Take some leftover No-cheese sauce and stir in some chili powder seasoning, cumin, smoked paprika and a couple shots of your favorite hot sauce, all to your taste. You can add tomato salsa or black olives or chopped green or red onions, depending on what you like and what you have on hand. Mix all together and warm the sauce in microwave or in a pan on the stove. and voila! Your have just made a healthier alternative to Tortilla chips and Nacho Cheese sauce!

Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by, I hope all your meals are tasty, nourishing and healthy  and your heart is filled with love.

Local Values at Local Grocery Stores

Good morning, and welcome to Vegan Mami’s  Good Food Kitchen. Sit down for a moment and enjoy a nice, warm comforting cup of tea. Today I’m having a nice little herbal from Celestial Seasonings, called Watermelon Lime Zinger. Very light; very refreshing; it’s a delicious little tea.

This morning as I was going through my mail, I noticed some really good prices in the circulars of the local grocery stores in the Seacoast NH Area. Right away, my attention perked up when I noticed sales on the produce pages of the circulars. I don’t usually bother with the rest of the circulars because I am only interested in whole foods or produce and other items that might be of value.

First, in the SHAW’s advertisements, I noticed

  • fresh  collard greens or kale,  .99 per bunch
  • Pricing good Dec. 9th thru Dec. 15

 

Second, in the Hannaford advertisements, I noticed

  • clementines, 5 lb box  $3.99
  • cauliflower head, $1.99 each
  • Hannaford brand light or dark kidney beans, 15.5oz can  .69 each
  • Hannaford brand frozen vegetables, all varieties, 16 oz    .99 bag
  • 25% off all selected holiday merchandise (excludes candy)
  • pricing good Dec. 11th thru Dec. 17

 

And lastly, in the Market Basket advertisements,

  • Roma Plum tomatoes  .99 lb
  • Idaho potatoes  1.99 per 5 lb bag
  • Eggplant  .99 lb
  • European Seedless cucumber  .89 each
  • Brussel Sprouts  $1.99 lb
  • Red Onions  .69 lb
  • Green Beans .99 lb
  • Zucchini squash .99 lb
  • Celery with leaves 1.29 bunch
  • Butternut Squash .49 lb
  • Yams .49 lb
  • Jumbo Stuffing Mushrooms 40 0z pkg, $6.99
  • Ginger Root, $1.49 lb
  • King Arthur Flour 5 lb bags, 2 bags for $4.oo
  • Pricing good Dec. 11th thru Dec. 24th

Easily I could see Market Basket was the clear winner in the store offering more discounts in the fresh produce section. So if you’d like to save a few pennies and need to stock up on your fresh veggies, I would definitely suggest you start off there.

Remember, the healthiest way to shop is by having a list and sticking with it as close as possible and keeping your pathway to the parameter of the store. The prepared foods containing chemicals, sodium and other unwanted and non-nutritive ingredients, are usually in the middle isles. Of course there are exceptions, such as dried beans, rices, pastas, oatmeal and some canned products; such as tomatoes or canned beans or jarred tomato sauce. Just read labels and make sure you know what you are getting, and that it’s something that you are willing to pay for, and is something you are choosing to feed your family or yourself. While it’s important to enjoy our food, it’s also important to remember food is necessary  to nourish our bodies and help keep us healthy. And being as healthy as we can be in this life is undeniably the best path to be on.

So thank you for dropping by and letting me share my information with you.At the very least, I hope this encourages and reminds you to look for ways to get more fresh produce into your life, and onto your table. And remember, be patient with yourself and your family as you try a vegetable that may be new and out of the ordinary from what you are used to; sometimes it takes more than a couple tries to know for sure if you and your loved ones will become accustomed to it.

Happy Shopping! Always remember to feed your body good foods, prepared well; and feed your soul happy and loving thoughts!

Kimchi and Veggie Soup with Carrot Zoodles

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figure friendly and tasty; kimchi and veggie soup with carrot zoodles

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen, I hope you are keeping warm and happy during this cold and hectic time, while you are preparing for the holiday season. Have a seat and let me serve you a warm, spicy bowl of soup. It won’t add extra holiday pounds or leave you with the feeling of needing to work it off after the celebrations are over. It will fill your belly with a warm soothing glow, and you’ll feel lighter and more energized; maybe helping  you to feel ready to face another round of gift shopping, gift giving or celebrating.

This soup comes together quickly and simply. No need for simmering for hours on the stove top. What takes the longest is prepping the ingredients to add to the soup pot. One of the ingredients I used is braised king oyster mushroom, which was a leftover from a previous meal, but you could easily use any fresh mushroom you have on hand.

Let me walk you through how to put this together:

  1.  Put two cups water into a soup pot. Turn heat to medium-hi , to begin heating water. Spoon in 2 tsp of your favorite veggie-based powdered stock. I used mushroom powder. Mix together.
  2. Then add in ginger, garlic, onion, kimchi and mushrooms. Bring to boil and cook for 20 minutes.

 

3.  Now it’s time to add the zoodled carrots, bring quickly back to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the carrots, you want them to be mostly firm and not soft.

4.  Add in the bok choy, tamari or soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Bring to boil, cook 3          minutes. Turn off heat and garnish with chopped scallions (or green onions). Ladle soup into bowl and if you use sesame oil, sprinkle just a few drops for added flavor and serve!

.List of Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp veggie broth powder or Mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp shredded ginger
  • 2 sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kimchi (I used spicy), chopped, and use the juices accumulated while chopping.
  •  a handful of chopped mushrooms, fresh or braised ( I had braised 4 large king oyster mushrooms in a 350 degree oven in a water bath, flavored with soy sauce and garlic powder, for 45 minutes to use in another dish the night before. The one mushroom I had leftover I chopped up and added to this soup).
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and zoodled.
  • 2 heads baby bok choy, leaves cut in half lengthwise.
  • 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • chopped green onions, or scallions

Equipment Used:

Special equipment I used is this treasure of a clay pot that I found at a yard sale summers ago, for only .25, an amazing and wonderful find!

Also, I used a kitchen gadget called a spiralizer, which changes the texture of veggies and can either give them a noodle-like form or ribbon form. There are so many things you can do with this item, it amuses and amazes me. I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond. The one I used, is from OXO Good Grips and retails for $39.99. But there are many manufactures that make the same thing, and in different configurations, with varying prices for all, and don’t forget store coupons, which I used. I actually  paid $20.99 for my spiralizer, which made me quite happy.

Thank you for visiting my kitchen today! I hope you enjoyed your soup and feel ready to get on with your busy day!

Remember to take care of yourself, feed yourself and your loved ones well, with healthy delicious foods, so we can look forward to enjoying many more crazy holiday seasons!

Magic Mushroom Powder

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Mushroom Wakame Powder

Thank you for stopping by Mami’s Good Food Kitchen, today I will share with you a magic seasoning powder I make that lends an umami flavor to some of my dishes.It’s quick and simple, and can be mixed with any other seasoning you enjoy to give it your own spin.

You will need:

  • a blender (I use a vitamix, others will work but may take longer)
  • 4 cups dried mushrooms, wiped clean  (a mix or just shiitake)
  • 1/4 cup shredded wakame seaweed
  • recycled jar to store powder in

After wiping the dried mushrooms clean, put them and the wakame in the blender. Cover the blender and use tamper to help push the mushrooms and wakame down to help them blend better and uniformly. Blend on high until mixture becomes a soft, dry, silky powder.

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mushroom and wakame powder

If you want to add any other spices or salt, you should add them before you blend everything, to ensure the same texture throughout. You could add  dried thyme, or granulated garlic or onion powder, or even dried rosemary, depending on your taste and how you intend to use the powder. I  blend only the mushroom and wakame because I season dishes differently depending on what I am making and  I like the freedom of choosing various seasonings.

A teaspoon or two in a soup will add a depth of flavor; or put some in the rice pot,while cooking  rice, or in the bean cooking liquid. If you are making seitan, a couple spoonfuls mixed in with the vital wheat gluten will add a nice umami flavor to your faux meat.

Store in a recycled, cleaned jar, in a cool dark place or wherever  you keep your other powders and spices. Kept dry, it should last indefinitely.

Till next time, take care and remember to serve your loved ones good, tasty  foods, made with love and care.

What, No Turkey!?!

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Roasted Pumpkin with Stuffing

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen!Pull up a chair and have a cup of tea, while we have a little chat.

Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m sure you’ve seen all the advertisements suggesting you order your turkey early, or the advertisements telling you of the best places to go to get the best prices on your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Or maybe you’ve endured the countless requests to donate turkeys, or money for turkeys for people who are having trouble making ends meet or even putting food on the table. All presented with the unspoken and underlying belief that Thanksgiving is all about the Turkey. And it has been all about the turkey, since the first pilgrims celebrated the Harvest Festival in 1621. Or should I say, it has become all about the Turkey. People stress themselves out looking for the perfect turkey to cook in their oven in the most perfect way. Buying such a huge bird that it could easily feed many more than  actually expected for dinner. I know, I know, it’s about the leftovers.

Maybe its because I’ve always been such a rebel. Always fighting against tradition or always fighting against what I’m expected or supposed to do. Or maybe its because I think outside of the box, but in anycase, I’m going to share with you what is important for me on Thanksgiving and why I say,”forget the turkey- It’s still Thanksgiving!”

Let the turkey live! I choose not to eat animals because I believe the animal protein is harder for my body to digest, and I believe as long as there are other means to get our protein, we shouldn’t be needing to kill animals to be healthy and fed. So, what does Thanksgiving mean to me? It is a festival or celebration about life and the abundance in our lives. A time to come together with others with love and gratefulness. It’s about being kind and counting our many blessings. A time for examining the past year and remembering and cherishing memories made this year and in years past. And Thanksgiving is about sharing. Sharing with those in need and sharing with those we love. Sharing things we are all grateful for, and for sharing a meal that nourishes our souls and bodies and celebrates our abundance.

For my centerpiece this year, I will have a roasted pumpkin filled with stuffing. Slow roasted and toasty with the crunchy part of the stuffing some people love to munch on and the soft stuffing which has cooked into a savory soft bread pudding texture inside of the pumpkin. The bonus is the pumpkin flesh that becomes soft and melty and compliments the stuffing and the flavor of the Bell’s Stuffing Seasoning.

To begin, I prepare my ingredients.

  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 3 baby onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (or black raisins, or cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Now it’s time to cut open and clean out that pumpkin! You can do it!

Now for the rest of the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsp Bell’s Seasoning (mixture of Rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 3 cups of dried cubed stuffing (could make your own if you don’t want packaged)

and for the stock:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp  no-chicken stock powder
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (can be omitted if following a no fat diet)
  • 2 cups water

Next step is to water saute the onions, carrots and celery. When they have softened, you can add in the seasonings (Bell’s Seasoning, thyme, garlic powder and white pepper). While you are sauteing the veggies, put 2 cups water into small saucepan and place on stove. Turn to high and heat water, when it reaches a boil, whisk in the non-chicken stock powder, and the Earth Balance, if you are using it.

The next step is to add the bread crumbs to the saute pan with the veggies and seasoning. Stir until all is combined. Then take the saucepan holding the stock mixture and pour about 3/4 of stock mixture into bread cube mixture. Mix all together and add more stock if you like your stuffing moister.20161111_164022

And finally, you can spoon the stuffing into the emptied pumpkin, filling it all the way, and even mounding it, to ensure the crunchy bits that will form on the top. Also wrap the lid in aluminum foil, so it doesn’t burn while the rest of the pumpkin is baking. Any leftover stuffing you can spoon into a loaf pan (I used a glass one here), and bake it with the pumpkin, spreading it thin if you like it crunchy, or putting it in a smaller ovenproof container if you want it softer.

Bake in a preheated oven, 375 degrees fahrenheit, for approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Keep checking in the oven when you reach 50 minutes, the pumpkin will tell you when it’s done, it will be soft when poked with a fork, and the stuffing should look crunchy and browned, but not too dark…20161111_20155820161111_180436

Maybe mine came out a little too brown. I’ll remember, next time.

But it was good. Very good. I served it with mashed potatoes and gravy, and a big, green salad. I could imagine for Thanksgiving dinner, I would add more of the usual fixings, like green beans, or broccoli or cranberry sauce…you can add whatever else you would like on your menu.

Another change one could make, would be to change the squash out. The Pumpkin was good, but Buttercup Squash or Red Kuri Squash, or Kabocha, which are all squashes in the Hubbard Squash family,  would also work very well in this recipe for taste and for appearance. They are also pretty winter squashes and their taste is deeper and sweeter, with a silky texture. I always like to say, recipes are not rules, but merely guidelines and you should make things the way you know you will like them.

Thank you for visiting me today, at Vegan Mamis Good Food Kitchen. I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe and our talk about what Thanksgiving means to me. Let me know what you are Thankful for this year, and how you will celebrate this beautiful holiday. Take care and remember to feed yourself and your loved ones real food, good food, made with love, to keep everyone healthy and fed!

Easy Chickpea Frittata

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Chickpea Frittata with potato and onion

Today for lunch, we had a simple and filling meal. Chickpea frittata filled with caramelized onions and potatoes, served with hot sauce, and steamed broccoli. It was reminiscent of before we became plant-based, and I would make us my version of  Italian Frittata, or Spanish Tortilla, made rich and delicious with eggs and cheese.

I had heard of using Besan, or Chickpea flour as an egg substitute and although I didn’t expect it to taste just like eggs or have the same texture, I thought it would be at best, an interesting experiment.

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Chickpea flour and batter

Besan, ground chickpeas made into flour, is commonly used in Asian countries  such as India and Pakistan. It is a good source of Protein,  Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. Because I believe in the whole-plant foods philosophy of eating, I would normally eat the chickpeas in there unground, whole form. But once in a while, you’ve got to answer that basic instinct that says “hey, I’d like some comfort food here, today!” And the rain was beating down on the roof, and the weather felt cold and showed no promise of letting up, so I thought today would be the perfect day to give this a try.

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Onions and Potatoes

I began by peeling and slicing one large yellow onion and two medium-sized potatoes. The onions were sauteed in water, to which I added a splash of white wine vinegar. I let them cook slowly in a non-stick pan while I  boiled the potatoes in a separate pot, stirring the onions occasionally to make sure they didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After they were cooked, I set them aside as I got the batter ready.

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Chickpea flour batter

Next I measured out one cup chickpea flour and poured it into a medium-sized bowl. In this bowl I also added:

  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Black Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

The black salt is used to flavor the batter as an egg, due to its eggy aroma. So, if you don’t have black salt, or don’t want to use salt, simply don’t put it in. Same with the pepper. If you prefer black pepper, or don’t want to use it, it’s optional. Put together the ingredients however it pleases you. Add 1 cup cold water, and whisk ingredients until well combined and there are no lumps. Set batter aside.

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Cooking in pan!

Heat a nonstick skillet. If you are cooking low or no fat, Just be warned that the frittata may stick a bit, but if you are skeptical of your pan, I would just put a dime-sized drizzle of whatever oil you like to use and spread it around the entire pan with a spatula. I was afraid at first the whole thing would stick in the pan, and I tried to turn the frittata too soon and it did look like it was going to stick in the skillet. I let it cook longer, and when I did invert it onto the cutting board, it hesitated for just a second or two until gravity coaxed it to let go of the skillet.

So, once heated, arrange the cooked potatoes in the pan first. Then layer the cooked onions on top of the potatoes. Than take your bowl of batter and pour that over the entire contents of the skillet. It may look to you that you should have more batter to cover the potatoes and onions generously, but I just barely had enough, and after it was done cooking, I realized it was the perfect amount of batter to hold everything together.

Cover the skillet with a lid, and let it cook slowly, on medium low for 12 to 15 minutes. Now comes the hardest part of all (and I didn’t get a picture because I don’t have enough arms to hold my camera and flip the tortilla). Uncover the skillet and remove from the burner. Take a wooden cutting board and place on top of the skillet. The board has to be big enough to hold the frittata. Using pot holders or kitchen towels, pick up the skillet by the handle with one hand, the other hand you will have on top of the cutting board. Flip quickly, so that you end up with the skillet on top and the cutting board on the bottom. Place the cutting board on the counter top right next to you. If you didn’t hear the thump of the frittata releasing, gently knock on the bottom of the skillet. You may need to knock a few times but you should hear it release onto the board.

Gently slide the frittata back into the skillet, and continue to cook on low, another 10 minutes, uncovered.

When 10 minutes are up, turn off the stove and put cutting board on top of skillet, again. Using the same technique as you used for the first flip over, flip the frittata onto the cutting board, but this time, take skillet away as soon as frittata is on the cutting board, cut as desired, either in squares or wedges, and serve.

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Finished Frittata

I served our frittata with steamed broccoli and hot sauce. It was very tasty and satisfying. It was comforting and although it wouldn’t fool anyone into thinking they were eating eggs and cheese, the frittata was very flavorful and nutritious and definitely something I would cook again. My husband also liked it, and was pleasantly surprised with the familiarity of it.

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Frittata with hot sauce

Thank you for visiting me at Vegan Mami’s Good Food Kitchen, where I like to serve food that nurtures the body and brings love to your heart. Take good care of yourself and your loved ones, remember to eat real foods in their whole forms, as often as possible. Your health depends on it!