Tag Archives: food

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.
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Veggie Bites of Wisdom #50

29 Apr

Veggie Bites of Wisdom - KarmaFree Cooking

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

Vegetarian already?  Here are 8 more ways you can help the Earth

24 Apr

The vegetarian lifestyle is better for the environment than eating meat.  There’s no question about that…  we’ve been saying that for years now.  But just because we’re already following a plant-based diet, doesn’t mean we can’t do more for the Planet.

ReduceReuseRecycle

There used to be a time back in the 80s when the moniker was Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.   But now, we can incorporate more Rs into the mix – like Re-purpose, Restore, Repair, Replant and even Refuse.  Like Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, who believes you should feel free to refuse to buy something you don’t actually need in the means to simplify your life.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 2.57.04 PM

Not all of you are vegetarians… but some of us are.  And even though we stress the impact a vegetarian lifestyle has on the environment, I want to share some ideas anyone can easily implement within their lifestyle to give the environment an added boost in the right direction.  We can be agents of change and example to others on how to live a more conscious and sustainable life without sacrificing any comforts.

REDUCE the amount of energy you use.  Some easy things we can do is turn off the lights in the rooms we’re not in, unplug the electronics we hardly use and even turn off the breakers you are not using at home.  For example, I have 220 electric plugs all over my house, but I only use one of them for my air conditioner, which I rarely use either.  When I turned off all those live 220 breakers, my electric bill came in at $25 less each month from then on.  That’s a savings of $300/year just for turning something off I wasn’t even using!!!!

REDUCE the amount of water you use.  Don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth, shave or when you do the dishes in the sink.  And if you’re lucky to have a dishwasher, run it only when it’s full. Repair leaky faucets and toilets.  Sweep away your driveway and sidewalks instead of cleaning them with a hose.  Take a shorter shower and install faucet aerators to cut down on water usage without any loss in pressure.

REDUCE your carbon footprint by supporting local organic farmers.  One way to support your local economy and help the planet as a whole is to support your local farmers, particularly local ORGANIC farmers.  If you know of a CSA farm near you, join.  Or even when you visit your regular supermarket, choose products grown locally.  They’ll usually be fresher, in season, their flavors stronger and you’ll be in tune with nature’s rhythm.   For example, lately I am buying arugula lettuces, mushrooms and sprouts grown locally in Puerto Rico.   Same goes with papayas, mangoes and pineapples.  Of course, I still buy strawberries and blackberries not grown in PR, but I try to make a point to show my demand for good products grown here.

REFUSE plastic bags and REUSE your eco-bags when you go grocery shopping.   Still grocery store people in PR look at you kinda weird when you bring in reusable bags to store your shopping, but it’s getting better each day.  I just now carry a bag filled with eco-bags in the trunk of my car and I use them every time I go to the grocery, specialty food or the health food store.    I still need to work on bringing one when I go to the mall…

REHOME clothes and things you no longer use or need.  Instead of throwing old stuff out, donate your older clothes to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or even give it to a friend who might find it useful.  I have a friend who used to give me all the clothes when she grew tired of them or no longer fit because we were almost the same size, and she had great taste when shopping.  I give most of the clothes I no longer wear to a family friend who takes them all to the Dominican Republic.   The idea is that what you might find no use for any more, might have extra few years in someone else’s hands.

REPLANT trees and grow your own garden, if you can. I have always lived in apartments, and the only reason why I would live in a house is to have trees.  I once had a ficus tree in a huge pot in one of my balconies. Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide and refresh the environment.  If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, plant some local fruit trees or set of a vegetable garden and enjoy its bounties – papaya, breadfruit, mangoes, star fruit, avocados… these latter ones take about 7 years to bear fruit, but time flies.  And even in an apartment building you can grow your own herbs and even your own vegetables in pots.  I even looked into those contraptions where you can grow tomatoes hanging from the ceiling.  My next project, a lemon tree in a pot!!!

RECYCLE your electronics.  We’re running out of space to put garbage.   Landfills are now huuuuge mountains that have become part of our cities’ landscapes.  Do not pollute and contribute to the waste fields with electronics.  Instead, take them to places like Best Buy or the Microsoft Store for recycling.

RECYCLE your white paper, plastics, cardboard and glass.  This might sound so elementary, but people in Puerto Rico still do not have a recycling consciousness.   You see it in businesses where they pile all the garbage together and do not divide between recyclables and organic waste.  People throw their regular garbage in a recycling bin because they do not see the difference – to them is just a receptacle for me to get rid of whatever I have in my hand.  Maybe I should be grateful that at least the trash goes somewhere and not on the streets.   But if you are part of the group that do not actively recycle, PLEASE DO.  It’s not that difficult and most cities already pick up recyclable goods once a week.  Whenever I am eating out, I bring with me anything that’s recyclable to make sure it actually gets recycled.

Cosas-reciclar

Bring protecting the planet to the next level… whether you’re 100% vegetarian, vegan, plant-based or not.  These are ideas you can implement within your current lifestyle and help even more to preserve our natural resources.

Would you share some other eco-friendly ideas you have easily implemented??  We would love to hear from you…

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