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Vegan Longrice Soup

1 May

One of my friends on Facebook suggested this soup as something very traditional to Hawaii…  And, coincidentally,  it was one of the hits of the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival at the Yoga Center.

It has quite a few ingredients, but it’s not a complicated recipe at all.  It’s all about making a very flavorful broth to enjoy with some veggies and noodles.  The cellophane noodles are great because they’re made from mung beans and are naturally gluten-free.   This might not be traditional, but I suggest you break up the noodles a bit before adding them to the soup…  I find that if you leave them whole, they’re a hassle to serve and eat.  Don’t kill the messenger, but I also like shorter noodles of pasta…  (ducks head in protection of potential tomatoes thrown her way).

I guess you could use only vegetable stock and avoid the hassle of boiling vegetables for the stock… but I like the idea and flavor the fresh veggies give to the stock. And the ginger needs some time to infuse its flavor into it too.  Don’t be afraid at the amount of stock this needs… this recipe will serve about 10-12 people.  You’ll need more stock than you’ll think you’ll need because the noodles soak up some and people will go back for seconds.  Mark my words…

Hawaiian Soup

VEGAN LONGRICE SOUP

4 cups water

1 quart vegetable stock

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1 large onion, quartered

6 cremini mushrooms, halved

2 bell peppers, seeded and halved or quartered

4 garlic cloves, smashed

Half of a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

A 6-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 large carrots, grated coarsely

1 bunch of watercress leaves

2 packages of cellophane noodles

A bunch of scallions, sliced thinly

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted Sesame Oil, optional

Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional

 

  1. In a large stock pot, add the water, vegetable stock, bouillon cubes, onion, mushrooms, peppers, garlic cloves, parsley and ginger.  Cover pot and bring stock to a boil and lower heat to medium to simmer for about 30-45 minutes for the veggies to release their flavors. After the stock is done, turn off the heat.
  2. Remove the cooked pieces of onion, parsley, pepper, ginger and any loose garlic cloves you can find.  The mushrooms will be so small that you can leave them in.
  3. Add the shredded carrot and the cellophane noodles.   Move the noodles around so they hydrate and loosen up.
  4. Add the watercress leaves and sliced scallions.  It will stay warm for about 1-2 hours.  Garnish with extra scallions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, optional.

Hawaiian Poi

27 Apr

I was first introduced to the concept of poi on a Top Chef episode, when a finale was held in Hawaii.  When I saw the taro root, out of which poi is made, I couldn’t believe they were talking about my beloved malanga lila.

Malanga Lila - KarmaFree Cooking Photo

When researching poi for this Hawaiian Festival, I learned it is mashed taro root, and can be eaten  as thick or loose as you want it to be.  One-finger poi means you only need 1 finger to scoop it out and eat it with your hands, just like three-finger poi is looser and needs 3 fingers to be able to scoop it out using your hand.

My Hawaiian friend, Kenny, told me his favorite way to eat taro root is steamed with coconut milk.  And even though poi is traditionally mashed with just with water, I thought it would be interesting to mash it using coconut milk and meld two Hawaiian traditions into one dish.

This might not be traditional poi recipe…  but it is my interpretation.  Hope all you Hawaiian people approve.

Taro Root mashed with Coconut Milk

HAWAIIAN POI

2 large taro roots, peeled and cut into large chunks

About 1 cup to 2 cups of coconut milk

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

½ bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 small red onion, sliced thinly

Olive oil

Butter or dairy-free spread, like Earth Balance

Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

 

  1. In a large pot, boil the taro root pieces in salted water.  Cook them until they’re soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.  This will take about 30 minutes.  I usually turn off the stove at 30 minutes and let the taro or any other root vegetable to finish cooking in the hot boiling water for about 10 extra minutes.
  2. While the taro root cooks, take a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle some olive oil.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic.   Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until softened for about 10 minutes.   Set aside.
  3. In another skillet over medium heat also, drizzle some olive oil and sauté the sliced red onions and the flat leaf parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  The idea is to soften the onions and cook them a bit, but you still want them to look “purpley”… we’ll use this to garnish the mash in the end.  Set aside.
  4. When the taro is cooked, drain the taro root pieces and return to the pot you boiled them in.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the taro root pieces while they’re still warm.  Doing this immediately after draining will be much easier than if you let them dry out. Drizzle some olive oil and butter or vegan butter substitute and mash away.  Add the cooked onions, pepper and garlic mixture and mix it all in well.
  6. Slowly add the coconut milk and continue mashing until you get a smooth consistency, just like mashed potatoes.    Add as much coconut milk as you need to reach your desired mashed consistency.  Season one last time with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving plate.  Garnish with the sautéed red onions and parsley mixture

Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival

26 Apr

Manolo gave me a challenge… Why don’t we plan a Vegetarian Festival with the flavors of Hawaii??  Hawaii??  Why??  I asked.   He replied: “Well…  I did this Rice with Pineapple the other day and I think it’s pretty awesome… so I thought it would go well within a Hawaiian-themed festival.”

33  stock-footage-aloha-form-hawaii

Just like Manolo… he gets an idea in his head, and then the rest of the world needs to accommodate to it.   “Oh… and the decorations would look so pretty!!!! Don’t you think, Madelyn??”   And that’s how the idea about this Hawaiian Festival came about.  Because… I have never been to Hawaii, Manolo has never been to Hawaii and the closest we have been to something truly Hawaiian are our friends Kenny and Tim, who one is from Hawaii and the other lives currently in Maui.

Hawaii Festival - ENG

So I went to the internet and social media to gather some ideas of what a traditional Hawaiian Luau would be like and how could I make it into a vegan, gluten-free affair.  My friends were enthusiastic about the idea and recipes started to flow.  What surprised me the most was that many of the ingredients in Hawaiian/Polynesian cuisine are the same as in Puerto Rican cooking – taro root, breadfruit, sweet potatoes… with a few unexpected twists, such as nori, gomasio, rice vinegar, and macadamia nuts…

During the next few weeks I will be sharing with you the menu of this Vegetarian Hawaiian Luau.  But this post will serve as an anchor and summary of all the recipes served that Sunday at the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand.   Let’s all travel through our taste buds…

Alohas and Mahalo!!!

23  shaka-sign

 Lomi Tomato

Longrice Soup

Poi

Tofu Mushroom Poke

Lau Lau

Eggplant Musubi

Roasted Breadfruit with Spices

Haupia with a Carob Drizzle

Banana Mango Bread

Lilikoi and Grapefruit Juice

Green is for Spinach…

2 Mar

I did not grew up eating “greens” …  I only knew spinach was something “kinda gross” that Popeye ate out of a can to become strong and powerful.

I can’t recall when my perception of spinach changed, but I am thankful it did.  Spinach is now my go to salad green, especially baby spinach, that’s so ready available in every supermarket nowadays.

So in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to celebrate my love for spinach.  Cooked, raw, frozen and thawed… all this recipes take advantage of the goodness of spinach.  I hope that if you’re still on the fence about spinach, to give a few of this recipes a try… they might change your mind too.

Spinach Recipes Collage 2015 - ENG

 

Spinach Salad with Strawberries

Spinach Salad with Figs, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Fried Quesadillas

Spinach Pinwheels

Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach Croquetas

Smoked Gouda Rissotto with Mushrooms and Spinach

Bucatini with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Tomatoes

Spinach and Almond White Lasagna

Kick-butt Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Quinoa Pasta with Baby Spinach and Lemon Vinaigrette

Sweet Plantain Canoes Filled with Creamed Spinach and Pine Nuts

If I had a Valentine… what would I cook for him?

15 Feb

I love going out to dinner to a nice, fancy restaurant as much as the next girl… especially, if someone special is inviting.  But experience has taught me that on Valentine’s Day or around that date, it’s the WORST TIME to go out to dinner.  There may be some exceptions, of course…  but usually during this time, restaurants are extremely crowded, putting extra pressure on all the staff.

To me,  it’s more romantic to plan something special at home.  Make something you know you’re extremely good at and that you know your partner will love – for the awesome flavors, but also for the effort and care you put into it. Besides, when you have dinner at home… dress code is optional. ;)

Unfortunately, this year, I am spending Valentine’s weekend with a nice construction crew who’s remodeling my tiny, little kitchen into a very chic and modern tiny, little kitchen. And to top it all…  no romantic Valentine for me this year.

But… let’s play pretend.  If I had a romantic Valentine to invite over for dinner, what would I cook for him to let him know how much I care?

This is my menu…

Vegetarian Valentine 2015

Start with a Spinach, Arugula, Figs and Blue Cheese salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Main course would be the exquisite Baked Pasta with 4 Cheeses,  that usually floors anyone who has it for the first time.

On the side, and because we’re in Puerto Rico, I need to have sweet plantains with vanilla and cinnamon.

And for dessert, I would make a batch of Carob Syrup to dip some strawberries in…  I would even add a pinch of cayenne to keep things interesting.

 

Do you like my menu??  What are your go-to dishes if you want to show someone you care?

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