What I ate: Week 5

The first week was interesting so another week. I get questions about cost of vegetarian meals and what I eat so I'll try to capture some of that here. 

Monday:

Breakfast: Oats cooked with water, served with pecans, walnuts, flax oil, flax seed, and cranberry sauce

Lunch: Farro served as 'farrotto' with mushrooms, mozzarella, rosemary, thyme, and parsley, served with steamed-than-satueed kale

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Tuesday:

Breakfast: Oats with cranberries, soaked almonds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and oil

Lunch: It was a cold, grey, damp day in Copenhagen and something comforting sounded nice so kitchadi! I made it with steel cut oats served over steamed broccoli and a roasted sweet potato. 

Wednesday:

Breakfast: oatmeal with cranberries, walnuts, flax seeds and oil. hemp seeds

Lunch: Leftover kitchadi, sauteed brussel sprouts and grated then sauteed beets

Thursday:

Breakfast: oatmeal with cranberries, flax seeds and oil, hemp seeds, and walnuts

Lunch: Braised then sauteed purple cabbage with parsley pesto with rye bread. I had one  piece of bread with pureed black beans and cucumber

Friday: 

Breakfast: Oatmeal :o) with cranberries, hemp seeds, flax seeds and oil, and walnuts

Lunch: Steamed then sauteed brussel sprouts with rye bread. I had one slice of rye bread with half of an avocado and a few cucumber slices with black bean puree on top

Saturday: 

Breakfast: the breakfast of the week!

Dinner: pan fried falafel (held together much better this time!) served with a cauliflower salad. I made the cauliflower into 'couscous' in the food processor, roasted it, and then mixed with soaked raisins, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and za'tar spice. I added psyllium husk to the falafel and loosely used Serious Eats' recipe- the only ingredients in the falafel are chickpeas, herbs, salt, psyllium husks so the flavor of the herbs and chickpeas really shines. 

Sunday:

Breakfast: The last of this batch of cranberries!

Lunch: More falafel and more cauliflower with a trial of beetroot-barley risotto

Other treats this week: I made Smitten Kitchen's grapefruit/yogurt cake. I made it with butter, added some grapefruit pulp into the batter, and reduced the sugar by half as I ran out. Very nice.  

Vegan (Purple!) Carrot and Parsnip Bread

As soon as I saw that purple carrots were a part of the weekly vegetable bag I knew I wanted to make some sort of baked carrot thing. I  roasted a few- they were lovely with the celeriac, parsnips, and beets- and then started thinking about what to make. I originally was thinking carrot cake but as I have never made carrot bread (and went to two birthday celebrations with delicious lagkager over the weekend) bread was the winner. I really like Smitten Kitchen's cake and bread recipes so I started there. She has a lovely recipe with olive oil and apple cider. She also mentions in the introduction that this bread is inspired by a meal which included a carrot parsnip bread. Intrigued. 

So a purple carrot and parsnip bread that is vegan. Appropriately austere for a Monday :o) But the delightful thing is this bread is anything but austere. It is moist and satisfying thanks to the oil and vegetables. It's also a bit surprising to have a slightly bite-y parsnip taste in what appears to be a typical, although purple, quick bread. I also cut back on the sugar from the original recipe, used flax eggs, and used about 1/3 spelt flour. Appropriately austere indeed.

I will note that my loaf didn't rise as much as I was expecting (neither did the second thursday loaf...) which I think is due to the inclusion of spelt flour.

 

Main Ingredients

  • 200 grams all - purpose flour
  • 90 grams spelt or wholewheat flour
  • 3/4Tsp fine sea salt
  • 2Tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4Tsp ground nutmeg or some fresh gratings
  • 1/8Tsp ground cloves or freshly crushed
  • 120mL olive oil
  • 100 grams dark brown sugar - i used muscavado
  • 14 grams ground flax
  • 74 mL warm water
  • 235 mL apple juice or cider
  • 255 grams of coarsely grated carrots and parsnip - i used 1/4 parsnip and 3/4 carrots
  • olive oil for baking pan

 

 Preparation

1Heat oven (on convection) to 160oC and prepare a loaf pan (mine is an american 9in x 5in) by coating with olive oil or lining with parchment paper.

2In a medium bowl, mix ground flax and water. Set aside to activate.

3Grate carrots and parsnips

4Shift dry ingredients into a large bowl (flour, salt, baking powder, spices). Stir to ensure they're evenly mixed and set bowl aside.

5Add olive oil, apple cider, and brown sugar into the bowl with the flax eggs. Whisk to ensure everything is mixed evenly and there are minimal clumps in the brown sugar.

6Add wet ingredients into dry. Fold until incorporated. Add grated carrots and parsnips. Fold until incorporated. About 1 min. Pour batter into cake pan and put into the oven.

7Bake for 55-70 minutes checking with a tooth pick or cake tester. Allow to cool in pan for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a cooling wrack.

8Enjoy!

 

 

What I ate: Week 4

I'm interested in what I eat everyday- the rhythms of the weeks and seasons. When I was cooking lunch at the yoga studio every day, someone remarked that I had one of the most varied diets of anyone they had ever seen. We shall see :) 

What did I eat in week 4?

Monday:

Breakfast: oatmeal with pecans, ground flax, flax oil, and cranberry sauce. A staple

Lunch: shaved and sauteed brussel sprouts (the food processor was already a bit dirty from carrot grating), buttery potatoes and parsnips, red lentils with turmeric, and sesame seeds for looks.

 

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Same as Monday. My current cranberry sauce stores are running low 

Lunch: slightly steamed then sauteed kale (plus stems!), roasted hokkaido squash, the rest of the red lentils, a few black beans to taste, and roasted seeds from the squash. 

Wednesday: 

Breakfast: Same. I am a creature of habit. 

Lunch: round 2 from Tuesday but with buttery potatoes and black beans instead of red lentils. 

Thursday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with homemade apple butter, pecans, flax, and ghee

Lunch: Tried roasting purple cabbage which works ok and ryebread with toppings- I had two pieces with 'hummus'ed black beans and cucumber slicer

Friday:

Breakfast: Bircher Museli- tried over the weekend and tried again today. Made with milk, yogurt, oats, grated apple, and pecans. 

Lunch: Olive Oil braised chickpeas with lemon, thyme, and lives served with carrot/cucumber/tomato/tahini salad and roasted savoy cabbage

Saturday:

Breakfast: Surprise! Oatmeal :)

Lunch: Roasted chickpeas, fennel, and cabbage, with olives, lemon, parsley

Dinner: Homemade pizzas! This time we tried frying the dough on the stovetop and the toppings were sauteed spinach, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and mozzarella. 

Sunday:

Breakfast: So predictable.... oatmeal! 

Lunch: Pizza! A pan pizza with potato slices, rosemary, marscapone, pinenuts and sauteed leeks. 

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Other treats this week: oranges! The oranges from Spain are so good right now- I've eaten a lot. Carrot-Parsnip bread. Lovely apples from KBHFF.  Also! Homemade sweetened condensed milk and irish cream :o)

Notes: I think it's really interesting to see my food laid out like this. As I was writing it I remembered that the parsnips were added to buttery potatoes to test the possibility, that we were trying to eat through the potato stash before the Wednesday vegetable bag arrived, that the black beans were cooked with cumin and were so amazingly tasty- creamy almost. 

Creamed Spinach

I hope you had a lovely weekend with family and friends- no matter what or how you celebrate. In Denmark, the 2nd Christmas day (26th Dec :o) ) is winding down and I'm thinking about all of the delicious food that was made and enjoyed over the last 5 days. 

The cooking for all of the various meals- ceremonial and not- was a group effort and most days we ended up with 4-7 different dishes to try. There was a bounty of tasty, nourishing, and, importantly, delicious food. 

This recipe for a basic creamed spinach was a hit at the main Christmas meal and again on the 1st Christmas day lunch. It's one of those dishes that surprises people- it still surprises me. When I think of 'creamed spinach' I have memories of overcooked, sad spinach swimming in a not very tasty cream sauce. The ratio of my memory is nearly 50% spinach, 50% cream. 

In this version of the recipe, I barely cook the spinach at first and I rely on vegetable stock with just a touch of cream and cheese. The result is a dish that is creamy and comforting but also tastes decidedly like spinach and lacks the heaviness of most gratins. It is also a quick and forgiving recipe. This spinach can work as a side dish or even a main dish with a piece of toast or maybe some beans.  

Serves 2-5, Prep time 10-15 min, Cook time 30min

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg fresh spinach
  • 45g butter
  • 10g flour
  • 200mL vegetable stock- try homemade (recipe coming)
  • 30mL cream
  • 65g grated hard cheese- almost any will work
  • Salt 

Preheat oven to 175 C

Wash the spinach- with this much it's much more efficient to simply add spinach to your clean sink, fill with cold water and swish around. Dirt and debris will naturally sink. With the sink still full of water, gradually add handfuls of spinach to a very large cooking vessel. (I needed to cook in batches). The idea is to slightly cook the spinach at first so before you begin, prep a bowl/sink/vessel  by filling it with cold water to shock the spinach (stop cooking).

Cooking part 1: Cook the spinach, covered, over high heat. The water that remains on the leaves from washing provides enough liquid to steam/blanch the spinach. Stir a few times to ensure the leaves on the top also get cooked. After 2 (baby spinach) to 4 (adult (?) spinach) minutes, drain the spinach in a colander and submerge in the cold water bath. Repeat this step until all spinach is cooked. 

Chop the spinach. In small batches, remove the spinach from the water bath, squeezing out as much of the water as possible. Roughly chop the spinach into more bite-sized pieces. 

Cooking part 2: Heat your cooking vessels over moderately high heat. Add the butter. When the butter is melted, add all of the chopped spinach and about 2 teaspoons of salt. Cooking, stirring, until most of the water is gone. The spinach will start sticking to the bottom of the pan. When this happens, add the flour and stir until no longer visible. Add a bit of vegetable stock at a time, stirring and cooking- scraping up any stuck spinach or browned bits. Add the cream and stir. At this point the spinach should be 'wet' but there shouldn't be liquid standing in the pan. If there is, cook a bit longer. Remove from heat.

Taste! A very important step for any baked or gratin type dish. Now is your chance to change how the final product will taste. Add more salt and a bit of pepper if you like. 

Cook part 3: Stir in half of the cheese to the spinach, transfer to baking dish (a small gratin dish should work) and cover with remaining cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes- increasing the heat for the last 5 minutes so the cheese is sufficiently brown!

 

Notes:

This dish can be made vegan by using another oil for cooking and relying on only vegetable stock for the liquid. It will be delicious.

Spinach can be blanched and chopped in advance, dish can set assembled but not cooked for about 30-60 minutes

I suspect frozen spinach could be used but you'll miss out on some of the prana of fresh vegetables. 

The kind of cheese will affect the flavor so try your cheese before hand. 

What is sattvic food?

Sattva is one of the three qualities recognized in Ayurveda, India's ancient whole body approach to medicine and healing, with the other two being Rajas and Tamas. According to Ayurveda each and every being and thing has a balance of these three gunas. In the simplest terms, the three gunas can be described as follows:

Sattva is the quality of balance, harmony, purity, and constructive. 

Rajas is the quality of passion, activity, movement, and sometimes restlessness

Tamas is the quality of imbalance, chaos and disorder

Sattvic food is then food that helps promote a state of balance, harmony, and purity. Sattvic food is generally easy to digest, soothing, nourishing, and promote a quiet steady state of mind. In yoga, we're hoping to spend the most time in a mostly sattvic state. By eating sattvic foods along with other activities, we help to cultivate a sattvic state within us. 

In general sattvic food is vegetarian and focuses on un- or minimally processed food prepared with love. These include fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products so long as they are fresh and from an animal who has not been harmed. A sattvic diet avoids onions, garlic, nightshades, overly spicy food, overcooked or reheated food, and preserved food. 

While I don't maintain a strict sattvic diet, I've found that I am a more peaceful and quiet person when I adhere to the sattvic diet as much as possible. To that end, on this site, you will only find vegetarian dishes and the main focus is on sattvic foods. I cook mainly without onions and garlic (an idea that shocked me at one time) and I bake without eggs. As with most obstacles, what once seemed strange is now common and what once was a barrier is now an opportunity. If you have questions about ayurveda or a 'yogic' diet- please ask! And share! I'm still learning!

Rice Salad with Nuts and Cranberries

When I found this recipe, I was looking for a grain based salad for a vegetarian dinner at the yoga studio. This recipe fit my requirements of being fairly 'low maintenance' and adaptable to the ingredients I had on hand. As with a lot of my cooking these days, the recipe in the book is more for inspiration and guidance than absolute rule. This one is inspired by a  recipe from Ottolenghi in Plenty More.  I've adapted the amounts for a smaller gathering. 

Ingredients:

  • 300g brown rice, rinsed
  • 100g quinoa, rinsed (soaking optional)
  • 50mL olive oil or ghee
  • 60g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 30g pinenuts
  • 30g parsley, chopped
  • 10g tarragon, chopped
  • 50g arugula, rinsed (can also roughly chop)
  • 60mL lemon juice
  • 50g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook both rice and quinoa as you normally do. I used a rice cooker for the brown rice, and the 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts water (will add additional directions soon!) When finished, fluff and let cool a bit
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil with pinch of salt, almonds and pinenuts in skillet/wide pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and watching, until the nuts start to take on some color and become fragrant. Remove to a small plate.
  3. Place grains, arugula, nuts, lemon juice, herbs, cranberries, remaining oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and some pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix gently with hands or with large spoon. Taste for seasoning and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

Notes:

Ottolenghi adds fried onions and garlic. I'm sure these would be lovely additions but as I tend towards more sattvic food, I've left them out. 

To make this recipe a bit more 'sattvic' you can soak and peel the almonds before using and be sure not to over toast the nuts or over salt the salad!

Any color quinoa will work in this recipe- I wanted a bit of contrast with the other ingredients so I opted for black.