Archive for category Vegetarian/Vegan

Going Keto

corn and padron peppersI am currently researching (my fave thing) and David is evaluating treatment options for his prostate cancer.  When we come to a decision, we’ll share some sites that really helped us.  But until then, let’s talk ketogenic diet!!  And, cuz that’s who I am, the recipe for this not-strictly-keto corn/pepper dish is below.  Just scan down if you want to skip the keto stuff!

While a diet that features unlimited bacon sounds like a gift from the nutrition gods, The Vino Man and I have decided that a ketogenic diet is not for wimps.  And while I am NOT a medical expert or a nutritionist, I’m happy to share a few of the roadblocks we hit resources that really helped us on this journey.  As a reminder, this is the book that started it all for us Fat is Fuel.  There’s also lots of great info on Dr. Mercola’s website Mercola.com

When you go ketogenic you are basically pushing a reset button on your body and teaching it to burn fat in addition to carbs.  Burning carbs is easier for your body.  Burning fat is harder.  Your body naturally wants to take the easiest route (thank you evolution).  Additionally, so many of the environmental toxins we absorb on a daily basis are fat soluble.  When you start burning fat, those toxins are released into your system.  Here’s a great post for newcomers to Ketogenic diets.

Roadblock:  Keto flu.  Sure most of the websites and books reference it.  But I don’t think they tell you quite everything.  And full disclosure – this hit me more than David.  But let me just say – Keto Flu Sucks.  Totally.  This is your body pushing back trying to get you to eat carbs.  AND it’s environmental toxins flooding your blood stream.  For me it lasted 7 days.  Stuffy head, streaming nose, insomnia, irritability and incredible muscle cramps (yep, they call it flu for a reason).  On day 4, I actually woke up at 2 in the morning, ready to give up and just go eat a damn potato.   On day 5, David and I were standing toe-to-toe in the kitchen screaming at each other because I put cream in his coffee.  Oh yes, fun times.

But if you do a little research (before you start the diet – not after:  learn from my mistakes). Part of the cause is electrolyte imbalance.  You can’t drink Gatorade (39 grams of carbs in a 1/2 bottle serving).  So at this suggestion of this great website, I ended up adding a little Himalyan Salt to my water bottle and I started taking Magnesium.  And eating Avocados.  Lots and lots of Avocados (potassium).  Much, much better. This website has a great recipe for an electrolyte balancing drink.  It does not taste particularly wonderful, but it helped.  This drink is from the ketodiet app.  There is a free version of the app which has some great keto recipes!

Additionally, this website gave the the great tip to have 1 square of 70% Cacao before bed to help release tryptophans.  I’m never going to say no to chocolate and it may be psychosomatic, but I do sleep better.  It has lots of other tips for surviving the start of your keto diet as well.

chorizo-and-spinach.jpgRoadblock:  Cooking Breakfast.  Well you know I love to cook.  But breakfast is just not my meal.  It’s not fun food.  It’s in the morning.  Just ughh.  But after your 8-10 hour nightly fast (also known as sleeping), we discovered it’s really, really important to get some calories in you (reference the cream screaming fit mentioned above).  We’ve figured out that we pretty much just have dinner leftovers for breakfast.  Or eggs.  Lots of eggs.  I actually had to google “how many eggs per day is too many?” when I felt like I was going to start clucking.  We are so thankful for our friend Angela – she keeps a flock and is a wonderful source of pasture-raised chicken eggs – which are better than any other eggs in the world.  We are also thankful for our friend and wine club member Kimberly who is very experienced cooking Paleo/Keto and loves to cook. She gave us the idea for this spinach, chorizo, avocado dish that is full of good fat and really sticks to your ribs.  Follow her on Instagram – @foodfamilywine.

RECIPE – Padron Pepper & Corn Saute (photo at top of page)

OK, corn is not strictly keto – certainly not during the induction (first) phase.  But when Talley Farms puts it in your harvest box, you just have to go for it.

2 ears fresh corn
3 C of whole Padron Peppers (or other small, mild pepper like Cubanelle, Banana or even small Poblanos)
2 T of coconut oil (the roadblock in my next blog post)
1 t. Avocado oil
1/2 onion, peeled and cut thinly in long strips (root to end)
3/4 t. sea salt
1 t. chili powder
1/4 C Feta cheese

Shuck corn. Remove the corn from the cob by placing a coffee cup in a bowl, put the stalk end of the corn on the cup, holding the tassel end of the corn and carefully slicing downward parallel to the stalk so that the corn falls into the bowl and doesn’t scatter everywhere. Or use this cool shucker thing – which I have ordered but haven’t tried yet.

Melt the 2T of coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the Padron peppers.  Saute the peppers until the skin sears – 4-5 minutes – stirring frequently.  Sprinkle the salt over the peppers.  Add the Avocado Oil and the onions to the skillet.  Continue to saute until the onions lightly char and the peppers start to soften – maybe 3 minutes more.  Add the corn to the skillet and saute until the corn starts to take on color and char a bit – probably 4 minutes more.  Add the chili powder and stir.  Remove from heat and stir in the feta cheese.  The coconut oil, corn, cheese and peppers marry beautifully together!  We’ve done this as a side dish, but we’ve also filled a roasted portabella mushroom cap with this mixture and topped it with a fried egg – also AMAZING.

 

 

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Farmer’s Market Fresh Meal

pea pasta_sm

Lobster Ravioli, fresh peas and sugar snap pea pods make a fast healthy dinner.

We are so excited that the Avila Beach Farmer’s Market is back!  It makes dinner so much easier.  And ooooh, the spring goodness we can find there.  We were pulling a long day at the tasting room and Mr. Vino suggested hitting the Farmer’s Market for dinner.  I think that he was thinking to pick up some fish tacos.  Me, I hit the produce guys and the fresh pasta guy for this riff on a recipe from Cooking Light.  And oh, my – it was amazing with our new 2016 Beach Blonde Pinot Grigio!!

Pea and Snap Pea Pasta
6 oz fresh sugar snap peas (get 8 ounces cuz you are going to eat some of them while prepping)
1 C fresh shelled peas
3 T really nice olive oil
Juice and grated lemon peel from one fresh lemon
2 oz shaved Asiago or Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
Radish Microgreens (yep, back in the day we called them “sprouts”)
Lobster ravioli (or other delicate pasta like Pappardelle.  It’s vegetarian with plain pasta!!)

This is so dang easy it’s almost embarrassing and the whole thing comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Once boiling, add snap peas and cook until they turn really bright green (1 minute or so – don’t overcook).  Remove the snap peas with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl of cold water to shock them.  The drain on paper towels.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions.  Add the fresh peas during the last 30 seconds.

While pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.  When pasta is done, drain pasta and pea mixture.  Add pasta, peas and snap peas to bowl and toss lightly to combine.

Plate pasta and top with shaved cheese and microgreens.  Don’t have Asiago or Parm?  This also is really nice with Feta.

Fresh, healthy, delicious.

 

 

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Mushrooms du Rhone

Mrs. Vino’s Riff on Beef Bourguignon – only where’s the beef????20170423_200311
Make & Serve with 2014 Morovno Petite Sirah

Many of you know that Mr. & Mrs. Vino are trying for a more vegetable-forward diet. This has provided some super fun opportunities for Mrs. Vino to play in the kitchen. This riff on Beef Bourguignon uses a Petite Sirah (a Rhone varietal) instead of burgundy and hearty mushrooms instead of beef. And is vegegarian (you will NEVER miss the meat). This is easily converted to a vegan dish by using a slurry of 1 T water and 1 T cornstarch instead of the Beurre Marni to thicken. PS, Beurre Marni was a new technique for me, taught to me by chef Google. But I will totally use it again.

This recipe looks really long – but only because I had fun writing it. Took about 40 minutes total to prepare.

2 large Portobella Mushrooms
1 little blue Styrofoam package of Crimini mushrooms (or Baby Portobellas), sliced
1/2 C. Dried Shiitake mushrooms (I get mine from Costco and it is my new kitchen staple)
1 C. boiling water
½ Onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 C. vegetable broth
1 C. Morovino Petite Sirah
3 T Olive Oil (divided)
2 t. Herbs de Provence
2T Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Salt
2 t. Pepper
1T Butter, softened
1T Flour

In a large coffee mug or small bowl, rehydrate the dried mushrooms in the boiling water – this will take about 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the stems from the large Portobella mushrooms by breaking them off. Then remove the dark gills by scraping them out with a spoon. Put the mushrooms gill side down on your cutting board and cut the caps into thick slices (like 3/4” thick). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, drizzle with 1 T of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the mushroom caps 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using your kitchen tongs, turn the mushrooms over. Return sheet to oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

While Portobellas are roasting, heat 1 T of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft (4-5 minutes). Remove the onions and carrots to a small bowl. Add the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil, notch the heat up to medium high and add the sliced Crimini to pan. You don’t need to add more oil – no matter how much oil you add the mushrooms will absorb it. Just keep stirring the mushrooms around so they don’t stick and they will release their own juicy goodness. Saute the mushrooms for 5 ish minutes, until they start to brown.

While mushrooms are sauteing, use the back of a fork to cream together the butter and flour in a small bowl. If you were to then roll it into pea sized balls, you’d have Beurre Marni – great for thickening soups and sauces. Me? Really? Roll into pea sized balls – not likely. Just leave the mixture in the bowl for now.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the Petite Sirah to the pan and deglaze for a minute (aah, I love the sound of a good deglaze). Drain the Shiitakes (reserving the liquid) and add them into the pan with the carrots and onions. Add the vegetable broth and the reserved liquid in which you rehydrated the mushrooms (mushroom broth) to the pan. Reduce heat back to medium. Add the Herbs de Provence and simmer strongly (not quite boil) for 10 minutes until liquid starts to thicken. At this point, your roasted Portobellas are probably ready. Turn the heat off in the oven, but leave them in to keep warm until the sauce is ready.

Back to the Beurre Marni. Instead of rolling it into ridiculous pea sized balls then adding them to the sauce, just use the fork to add the butter/flour mixture to the simmering sauce in small increments – stirring between additions. Continue at a strong simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add Balsamic vinegar. Stir, then add salt and pepper to taste.

I serve Mushrooms du Rhone over a hearty pasta, but it’s also great over polenta, mashed potatoes or a toasted hearty bread. Arrange thusly. Pasta/bread/polenta/potatoes on plate (choose one, not all). Slices of roasted Portobella on top of pasta, or whichever. Spoonfuls of mushroomy sauce atop Portobellas. Top with a sprinkle of chopped parsley for extra credit. Green salad on the side. Serves 4.

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Putting Forks Over Knives

This January, Vino Man and I decided to move to a more plant based diet.  Better for us.  Better for the environment.  Tasty-licious.  This move was made easier when we signed up for the amazing Talley Farms Fresh Harvest Program and started picking up a box of amazing, seasonal, locally-sourced produce every week. (Info on Talley Farms Fresh Harvest, here.)  That, too was good for our bodies.  And good for our pocket book – the Jr. share is less than $20/week (I was already spending that much on veggies at the grocer).

In honor of our Tenth Wineversary, we decided that our monthly newsletters would feature some of our great wines in the past.  So we dipped into the cellar and pulled out a Double Gold Medal Award Winning 2009 Dolcetto.  We hadn’t sampled it in a while, and thought it would be a great opportunity to see how it was aging.

But in our new more veggie-based world, we wanted to try the Dolcetto with a Vegetarian duck-tofumeal.  Big wines and plant based meals pose some challenges, but I’m always up for a food challenge.  Having recently been introduced to an incredibly amazing product called Kimbo Veggie Smoked Duck (Tofu), I thought it would be a great experiment.

Full disclosure.  I usually hate tofu.  It’s my “Bête Noire”.  In my 40 years of cooking (and I grew up cooking Asian-style dishes) I have never been able to successfully execute tofu.  Until now.

The recipe below is VERY quick and easy.  Came together in about 15 minutes (excluding preparation of the rice).  The Veggie Smoked Duck is available at larger Asian-style markets.  My friend Judy brings it up from SoCal for me by the box – cuz the Vino man loves this too.  Enjoy!

smoked-duck-tofu-stir-fryOh yeah, the Dolcetto?  Well Damn.  That Dolcetto is good stuff.  The 2009 is prime right now – even smoother than when you put it in your cellar.  It was great with this dish and will still absolutely hold up to lamb, steak and meatier dishes too.  We recommend that this wine be consumed this year – before the fruit begins to fade out.

VEGGIE SMOKED DUCK STIR FRY

1/2 large head Napa Cabbage, shredded (or thinly sliced)
1 bunch broccoli – cut off florets, then peel and slice the stalk (it’s the best part)
1/2 large onion – peeled and sliced thinly from root to tip
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 C. frozen Edamame (shelled), defrosted
1 1″ piece of ginger, grated
1/2 C. Garlic Hoisin Sauce (We like Soy Vay)
1/4 C. Sake or dry white wine
1/2 package of Kimbo Veggie Smoked Duck, sliced, then quartered
2 T Canola oil, divided use
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
Brown Jasmine Rice

Prepare your rice via your preferred method.  I like my rice cooker – perfect rice every time.  When there’s about 10-15 minutes left on your rice, start your stir fry.  Preheat your oven to 250 degress.  In a large heavy bottomed skillet or wok, heat 1 T of Canola oil over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Add the onions and saute until they are limp and lightly brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir constantly, as you are using pretty high temperatures.  You need to keep the food moving or it will scorch. Add broccoli florets and stems and saute another 3 minutes. Then add cabbage and Edamame and saute 2 minutes more.  Add the garlic and half the Hoisin and all the Sake/wine.  Stir for about 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.  Put the veggies in your serving dish and place in the oven to keep warm for a few minutes.  Put the second tablespoon of oil in the saute pan and heat till shimmering.  Lower heat to medium.  Add the smoked duck and the second half of the Hoisin sauce and heat until just warmed through – 2-3 minutes.  Pull out the veggies, top them with the smoked duck, then sprinkle with the green onions.  Serve atop the rice with the Morovino Dolcetto vintage of your choice.  Amazing.

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