Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO Day 2 - Spiced Up Sweet Potato Salad - Chow Locally Share Giveaway #1!

Each day I post a recipe, I will post the description and helpful info found on the Chow Locally Share box insert. That way you can learn a little bit more about the ingredients that you may not have known before. This week's box had a darn good variety. I love playing iron chef, so this theme makes me happy on so many levels. I'm starting off with a bang…a spicy bang. The box did not include the yams, but I did find some at my local Farmers Market. I am sure there will be some in future boxes!

The local produce items featured in today's recipe are:

Shishito Peppers from Crooked Sky Farms: This is a slightly sweet, Japanese variety of pepper that often can come with a kick when grown in hot, dry conditions. Store on the counter or in the fridge

Little Sweetie Onions from Crooked Sky Farms: These great onions are a staple ingredient for innumerable recipes. Store these in a cool, dry location, sigh as a pantry and away from any potatoes.

Spiced Up Sweet Potato Salad

Makes 6 servings

3 pounds garnet yams or sweet potatoes (approximately 4), scrubbed, unpeeled diced into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil

Spice Mix:

1 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
5-6 Shishito peppers*, minced (approx 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sweet yellow onion, minced
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Place diced yams in a pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes until yams are softened, but still a firm to the bite as they will be cooking further in the oven. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Make sure to drain well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a small bowl, combine chipotle powder, smoked paprika, Mexican Oregano, salt and pepper until will combined.

Place drained yams on a parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil and half of the spice mix. Gently toss yams to coat. Spread in an even layer on cookie sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Gently turn yams and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Remove yams from oven and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice peppers, onion, cilantro and remaining spice mix. When yams are cool, gently toss them in the dressing until coated. Let chill for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

OK! It's time for the first giveaway of the month! One lucky local reader will have a chance to win a Chow Share! Here are the fine print on what you need to do to be eligible to win:

1 - You must live or be in the Phoenix area.

2 - You must be able to pick up your fresh produce on the day specified for  the pick up location you chose. (I will contact you with details on pick up locations/times).

3 - Leave a comment about what your favorite produce is and why on this post by midnight (AZ time) tonight. Please leave a way to contact you if you win on the post as well.

The winner will be randomly selected and posted on tomorrow's post, so make sure to check back to see if you won!

Monday, September 1, 2014

2014 Vegan MOFO Day 1 - Chow Locally!

Happy MoFo 2014 to one and all. I'm excited to be back for my 7th year of the challenge. The past 4 years I have been able to post every day for the entire MoFo month. I have a lot of other commitments in my world this month, so if I make all 30 days this year, I am promoting myself to "Bad Ass" MoFo Rock star status.

I'm so jazzed for this year's theme: Chow Locally!

Chow Locally is an organization whose team is very passionate about getting local, fresh, healthy food out to people in the Phoenix area. The team works with local farmers and ranchers to bring together the best local food out there. Their service supports local farmers by providing more distribution channels than they could achieve on their own. Chow Locally has a unique way of distributing the freshest local produce. People sign up for their box online and select the most convenient pick up location. They have drop off points all over the valley including several farmers markets, Whole Foods Markes and YMCA's. Click here for a list of current drop off/pick up points to see which one works for you. I'm super excited because Chow Locally actually delivers to several locations within my company. My groceries come right to my work. It doesn't get any more convenient than that! If you are interested, you can coordinate a pickup location that is convenient for you as well.

I've tried other CSA's and co-ops that offer boxes. What I like better about Chow Locally is the flexibility they offer. You don't have to get a box every week. You can go onto their easy to navigate website and opt out of your box on any given week. You can also easily change your pick up location online. The cost of the box is very reasonable as well. The boxes are only $23.97 a week (this price includes the tax). Each week the boxes typically have 7-10 different produce items from various farms in AZ. Each box comes with an informative insert that tells which farm grew the item in the box. It also provides descriptions and helpful hints for using the produce. I highly recommend you go to their website to learn more about the team and their outstanding program and give it a try. I can tell you first hand the quality of the produce is excellent!

So how does this tie into MoFo? Well in a couple of ways.

First and most exciting, the folks at Chow Locally have generously offered to provide a box each week of MoFo for me to give away to a lucky local reader. Once a week, I will post a box giveaway. To be eligible to win a Chow Locally box you must live in the Phoenix area or be in the area to pick up your box. Winners will be chosen at random the following day. I will contact the winner via email to arrange a pick up location, so please make sure to leave an email contact in you comments. The first giveaway will be tomorrow!! Exciting!!

Don't fear my out of state blogatrons: I am planning a couple of other giveaways for you during the month. So make sure to keep coming back to get some new recipes and see what other fun is in store.

Second - I will be posting recipes using the produce from the box I get each week. This is a fun way to give you some new ideas on how to use those local ingredients. I am so thrilled to be partnering with Chow Locally this year! It is a win win win to be sure. Come along with me as I Chow Locally!

Here is a shot of the share I got last week. Make sure to come back and check out the recipes I created from this week's share.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Raw Seaweed Salad

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few years back. I am one of the lucky ones who has a mild case . One of my health goals is to support my thyroid and maybe even get off the medication that will surely kill my thyroid completely one day. Sea vegetables provide a great source of iodine which is one of those fabulous thyroid supporting nutrients. I keep looking for yummy ways to incorporate sea vegetables into my meals and this one is going to stay in the rotation.

I am taking a raw food class. Our weekly assignment is to try a raw recipe we have never prepared before. We were super busy working in the garden the other day. It was super hot. I wanted something cool, quick, raw and nutrient packed. So I decided to do my homework and make a dish that would fill the bill all in one shot.

This salad is quick to make. It is raw, full off veggies and anti-oxidants. The lemon makes the flavor nice and bright. The sesame seeds give a nice crunch. You can find Arame at Asian markets, Whole Food and online. Vitacost carries a non-GMO arame. This is where I usually get mine.

Raw Seaweed Salad

Makes 2 servings

1 cup arame
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon nama shoyu (raw soy sauce) if you are not raw, you could substitute soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon filtered water
1 teaspoon non-pasturized red miso
1/2 tablespoon cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced small
2 Tablespoons raw sesame seeds

Soak the arame in a mixing bowl with enough filtered water to cover for 5-10 minutes to rehydrate. Drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together ginger garlic, nama shoyu, lemon juice, water, red miso and olive oil until smooth.

In mixing bowl with arame, toss the dressing, carrots and red bell pepper until evenly combined. If serving immediately, stir in sesame seeds and serve. The salad can be chilled for up to two days in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, stir in sesame seeds.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cooking from My Cookbooks - The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet

The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman has just about every kind of burger you could dream of. Seriously, she even has recipes for breakfast and dessert burgers! I was once again looking for something quick, easy and tasty. I opted for the Ortega Burger (page. 124). The burger is very soft and fall aparty. But don't let that scare you off. Just use extra caution when flipping if you decide to cook it in a pan. Baking is really the best option for keeping the bugger together. The flavor is yummy! I decided to serve it on corn tortillas like some type of Mexican slider. I sautéed up some fajita veggies and topped it off with home made salsa and beautiful creamy avocados.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cooking from My Cookbooks - The Candle Cafe Cookbook

I feel like I cheated on this one. There are so many intriguing recipes in this book. It was a busy week, so I opted for an easy and once again very healthy recipe. I love miso soup. This is a good version and super quick to make. Once I get through my first round of my books, I am going to return to this one for sure. Serve this with a seaweed salad and you have a super food bonanza!

Magical Miso Soup (Page 43). by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza with Barbara Scott-Goodman

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cooking from My Cookbooks - Appetite for Reduction

I love this book. Isa is one of my personal favorite recipe creators. Her dishes are always creative, full of spice and so delicious. This book gives you all that along with reduced fat and calories. I pull this one out often. This fine day, as I like to do, I wanted to make something I hadn't made before. I had a friend who was recovering from a surgical procedure. I wanted to make something for her and her family that was healthy but super flavorful that would reheat well. I checked out a couple of recipes that fit the bill, cooked 'em up and packaged them for the trip. Of course, I had to try some myself. I loved the creamy "Broccoli pots" on their own. They were a great compliment to the tangy, pungent piccata. The recipe for the potatoes called for russets (which I did use) but I think red and yukon golds would work just as well. Another guilt free success!

Chickpea Piccata (Page 115). Caulipots - Broccoli Pots version (Page 54)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cooking from My Cookbooks - Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast

I have posted a couple of times about Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast. I did the program last year and lost 8 pounds in two weeks. My energy level was great and I felt fantastic. I have drifted back to some not so great eating habits. When I want to give my body a treat and some love, I pull out her book and make some of her clean and simple recipes. This one is one of my go-to's for breakfast. It really is so simple, anyone can make it. It's a good reminder to give your body some raw love often.

Simple Strawberry Shake (Page 125-126).