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Meatless Monday: Tofu Chopped Salad

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This is my version of the M chopped salad at M Cafe in Los Angeles. So stinking healthy, you feel light and airy after eating it.

Tofu Chopped Salad

Angelinos loved chopped salads, each bite is a colorful bust of textures and flavors. In this case it’s smoky chewy tofu, creamy avocado, crisp celery, earthy sweet beets and salty tamari almonds all tossed with creamy vegan ranch dressing.

Tofu chopped salad with vegan ranch

Tofu Chopped Salad

Serves 4

Dice all the vegetables the same size so your salad looks pretty and is easier to eat! You can buy roasted beets on the salad bar of any supermarket if you don’t have time to roast and peel them yourself.

4 handfuls of mixed greens

1/2 cup diced cooked beets

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced avocado

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1/2 cup diced seasoned cooked tofu (I used Thai flavored cooked tofu)

a large handful of Tamari or Bragg’s seasoned Almonds (available at health food stores)

1/2 cup of sprouts

Store bought vegan ranch dressing (I often thin this out with a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice)

Place a large handful of mixed greens into 4 bowls or plates. Toss all the chopped vegetables and garbanzo beans together then divide the mixture evenly over the salads. Top each salad with a haystack of sprouts and a sprinkling of almonds. Serve with store bought vegan ranch, on the side like we do in LA.

XO,

LEH

Meatless Monday: Allergen Friendly Almond Noodles

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Sarah’s INCREDIBLE peanut noodle recipe is starring this week on The Meatless Monday site as a featured Lunch recipe! Yipee! Check it the complete nutrition information of the MM site and if you have ever made this recipe be sure to give it a 5 star rating.

Peanut Noodles topped with vegetables

Last Summer I did a cleanse and ate only low allergen foods for 3 weeks. Naturally I craved satisfying meals so I adapted the magic peanut noodle recipe to fit into my cleanse and had really good results. This recipe below is Gluten Free, Peanut Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian and Vegan. If you are allergic to almonds then I’m sorry this recipe won’t help you any.

Allergen Friendly Almond Noodles

adapted from Sarah Lagrotteria’s Peanut Noodle Recipe

Ingredients

For sauce:

1/4 cup sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar or fresh lime juice (or a combination of the two is nice)

1 tablespoon Gluten Free Tamari

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced or 1 teaspoon chili paste (we like Sriracha)

2 heaping tablespoons almond butter (available at natural food stores)

12 ounces Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti or linguine (available at Whole Foods and Trader Joes)

3 large carrots, julienned (cut into matchsticks)

2 small or 1 large cucumber, skin on and large seeds removed, julienned (cut into matchsticks)

Any other vegetable of choice, cut into matchsticks.  Broccoli, kohlrabi, snap peas, celery or radishes are great. Shredded broccoli slaw or cabbage slaw mix from the grocery store are good and fast additions. It’s an anything-goes, clean-out-your-fridge kind of dish.

Fresh mint, Thai basil, basil, cilantro or any combo of the four, roughly chopped

Chili paste and sea salt, to taste.

Directions

Sarah’s Crisp Vegetables Tip- If the day feels particularly sticky, I recommend crisping your cucumbers and carrots in an ice bath before adding them to the dish.  Once you cut them into matchsticks submerge them both in a bowl of ice water in the fridge.  Let sit while you prepare the sauce and noodles and then drain just before adding to the dish.  Even a short soak in an icy water bath will give the vegetables more crunch.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat.  Cook the noodles according to the package directions.   Drain.

In a large bowl or in your blender, whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar or lime juice, tamari, garlic and jalapeno.  Add the almond butter and continue whisking until smooth.  You may need to add a teaspoon or two of hot water if the almond butter sauce is too thick. Add the warm noodles and gently toss until evenly coated.

To serve place a portion of almond noodles in a bowl and top with an assortment of the crisp vegetables. Then top with the freshly chopped herbs and serve with salt and chili sauce at the table for last minute seasoning.

Enjoy in good health!

xo,
LEH

Meatless Monday: Vegetable Calendars

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Seasonal Vegetables of California Calendar by Claire Nereim

Happy (first!) Monday, loves.

I’ve been pondering resolutions to share with you this wet January morning, but voicing resolutions at the outset has never worked for me.   It’s as if I give away the will to begin in the sharing.

So let’s share something else, something that grows in the sharing, like our enthusiasm for vegetables, especially the wonderfully ripe variety.  According to NPR, the Meatless Monday campaign is helping make 2011 the year when vegetables become the new meat.

Exciting, isn’t it?  Evidently we’re already delighting in an unexpected love affair with the humblest of partners.

Before I became frequent farmer’s market shopper I never knew what vegetables were in season.  If you’re trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet and face the same problem, you can invest in a calendar like the one above (so pretty!) or enter your home state at Sustainable.org for a list of what’s fresh in your area right now.

Though it’s UK-centric, I like Jamie Oliver’s calendar as well.

(Did you know the British call rutabagas Swedes?  Me neither.)

Here’s to a happy, healthy and veg-heavy 2011.  We’re thrilled to be sharing it with you.

xoxosl

Meatless Monday: Fried Eggs with Tomato Sauce

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If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may think that Sarah and I have an obsession with eggs topped with some semblance of tomatoes? This flavor combination can not be beat and the ease of this recipe below will certainly convert you to the egg and tomato team if you were not already a member.

Fried egg with tomato sauce

Simple pan fried eggs, served on toast, and all topped with warm tomato sauce and fresh basil. The yolk breaks into the sweet-tart tomato sauce, enriching the most sensational gooey sauce to be mop up by bread, ever. Breakfast, lunch or dinner this dish will not disappoint. I’m planning to make this dish on Christmas morning, the bright red tomato sauce and verdant sweet basil will be a colorful celebration of the day.

egg with tomato sauce

Fried Eggs with Tomato Sauce

Serves 1-2

2 pieces of toast (slices from a nice crusty loaf are ideal), buttered if desired

2 eggs

1/2 cup of good tomato sauce

4 large leaves of basil, sliced into ribbons

olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and crack the eggs into the oil. Allow to fry on one side being careful not to burn the whites. Season the eggs lightly with salt and pepper. Meanwhile toast your bread and warm the tomato sauce in a small pot uncovered. When the egg whites are cooked remove from the heat. Place each egg on top of a buttered piece of toast. Spoon the warmed tomato sauce over each egg and top with the ribbons of fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Meatless Monday: Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

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Like a lot of people, I started making chili in college.  In an apartment for the first time, I needed to learn to incorporate foods other than Instant Oats, peanut butter and fruit sandwiches and Wegman’s sushi into my diet.  Chili was an obvious addition — cheap, easy and even better the next day and the day after that.

Works for Meatless Monday for the same reasons.

And so I started paying more attention to recipes in the magazines I read while procrastinating.

(Side note: my favorite glossies back then were Shape and Self.  The quasi-athletic years!)

In a recipe for turkey chili with squash and chard I found this pearl of information— you can peel a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler.  Open sesame, the thick-skinned gourd that intimidated me with its hard, bulbous bottom was suddenly so Cooking 101.   I bought one the same day, followed the recipe and made the acquaintance of Swiss Chard, now a favorite friend.

I no longer have the recipe, but we make a vegetarian version that goes like this.  The cocoa powder adds richness and depth.

As our friend Vanessa pointed out, certain dishes just just taste better when stirred with a wooden spoon.

xoxosl

Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, roughly diced

2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed, stems removed and cut into a small chiffonade (you want the pieces of Swiss Chard to be short and small enough to fit in your spoon while eating.  Nothing burns more than a long piece that doesn’t quite make it into your mouth and lands on your lip or just below.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil followed by the onions and carrots.  Saute until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Add the squash and stir, 3 minutes more.  Add the chili powder, cocoa powder and cumin, stirring with a wooden spoon until the spices are evenly distributed and darkening.

Stir in the beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and let simmer until the squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the chard just a few minutes before serving.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve alongside bowls of sour cream or Greek yogurt, freshly chopped cilantro and shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheeses.   I like Jiffy Cornbread as well.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Root Vegetables

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Our dear friend Ben, who lives in New York, has been in LA for work all week. Last night we had him over for dinner.

Ben

He is a vegetarian so I roasted us a mess of root vegetables with shallots and rosemary and served them with a simple green salad tossed in my favorite viniagrette.

root veggies in oven

Cubes of peeled butternut squash, rutabaga, parsnip, turnips and fingerling potatoes roasting at 400 degrees in olive oil and salt and pepper.

minced rosemary and shallot

Half way through roasting I added some minced shallot and rosemary to the vegetables.

veggie dinner

The diversity of flavors and textures of the roasted vegetables satisfies a hearty winter appetite.

Fruit and chocolate

For dessert I sliced some Fuyu persimmons and apple-pear and served them with chocolates brought back from Switzerland by my Dad and Monika from their recent visit. Delicious time.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 4-6

Look for pre-chopped root vegetables in the produce section of your grocery store if you are in a time crunch. You can replace or substitute any of the vegetables with others or more of the same depending what you have on hand.

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium sized cubes (about 2 lbs.)

3/4 lb of parsnips, peeled and cut into medium sized cubes

1/2 lb. of rutabaga, peeled and chopped into medium sized cubes

1/2 lb. of turnips, peeled and cut into medium sized cubes

1/2 lb. fingerling potatoes, cut in half the long way

1 red onion, peeled and cut into medium-large cubes

Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper for seasoning

1 shallot, finely minced (could use garlic instead)

2 sprigs of Rosemary leaves, pulled from the stem and finely minced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Peel and cube all the vegetables and slice the potatoes in half. Place the vegetables including the chopped onion onto the baking sheets and liberally season them with olive oil, salt and pepper, at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt per sheet of vegetables, possibly more. Then toss them well so each cube is coated in seasoning.  Place the baking sheets of seasoned vegetables into the oven and let roast for 15 minutes. In the mean time mince the shallots and rosemary. After 15 minutes pull the vegetables from the oven and sprinkle them with shallots and rosemary and stir well. Place both pans back in the oven, rotating which pan was on the lower rack. Roast for 15 more minutes. At this point pull each pan of vegetables and stir well and check for seasoning and degree of browning. All the veg should be soft to a fork or knife and developing a brown, crisp crust and sweet flavor. If they need more time for browning put them back in for 5-10 minutes as needed. If done, toss all the vegetable onto a large bowl or platter and serve immediately.

xo,
LEH

Meatless Monday: Cranberry Coconut Granola

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Confession: I am not cooking this year.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and my favorite meal in a year full of cooking, but we’re just not doing it this year.  We’re running off to the desert for a few days of relaxation under the sun.

Playing holiday hooky.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll be forgoing every bit of Thanksgiving.  I’ll get my turkey and sweet potatoes and I’m already getting my cranberries by munching on our cranberry coconut granola. Slightly sweet and coco-nutty, this granola is great for breakfast and snacking on a Meatless Monday.

If I were hosting Thanksgiving, I’d have it out for breakfast and leave it out as an antidote to the hunger pains that only a roasting turkey can cause.  If I were a Thanksgiving guest, I’d scoop some into a jar, top it with a ribbon and present it as a hostess gift for a delicious morning-after breakfast.  The perfect warm up to your leftover turkey and mashed potato sandwich.

xoxosl

Cranberry Coconut Granola

Yield: 10 cups

Ingredients

4 cups rolled oats

2-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

2 cups nuts of choice (we like sliced almonds or chopped walnuts)

1-1/2 cups dried cranberries

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8th of a teaspoon fresh nutmeg (2-3 swipes of a microplane zester)

1/2 cup coconut oil (make sure the bottle is marked good for medium-high heat)

Scan 1/2 cup honey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconuts, nuts and cranberries.  Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to combine.

Add the coconut oil and honey, stirring with a wooden spoon until the wet ingredients are mixed throughout.

Pour onto the prepared baking sheets, spreading the granola so that it will bake in an even layer.  Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, removing the pan from the oven 1-2 times to stir the granola so that it brown evenly.  Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.  Granola will keep up to 1 week.


Meatless Monday: Spinach and Cheese Quiche

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When one of our clients asked us to make a spinach and cheese quiche I realize I hadn’t made one since I was a little girl helping my mom prepare lunch for her girlfriends.  What an important, almost solemn task it seemed then.

Now I know quiche is an easy-peasy egg custardy delight.

If fresh corn were in season, I would have added one cob’s worth to the mix.

Meatless Monday for ladies who lunch, then and now.

xoxosl

Spinach and Cheese Quiche

Yield: 8 servings

*dough must be made and chilled at least 2 hours before baking

Ingredients

1 recipe pâte brisée

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 sticks butter, chilled ad cut into small pieces

1/4 -1/2 cup ice water

For filling

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 cups fresh baby spinach, cut into a chiffonade

1-1/2 cups shredded cheese (i like Gruyère but any Swiss or cheddar will work)

Directions

To make the quiche dough:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Alternatively, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the butter cubes and work to combine, using your thumb and forefinger to pinch the butter into the flour mixture.  Keep pinching until the mixture has a sand-like consistency.  Add a few splashes of the ice water and continue mixing with your hands until dough comes together in one ball, adding more water (up to the full half cup) bit by bit if necessary.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

To make the quiche:

Preheat the oven to 375°

Roll 1 ball of chilled dough into a 10-inch round about 1/4-inch thick.  Gently lay your dough into a 9-inch pie plate, gently pressing at the sides and crimping the edges as desired.

Place the prepared pie plate on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any overflowing custard.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender.  Layer the cheese and spinach into the bottom of your pie crust then pour the egg mixture on top.  Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Let cool until the puffiness settles and the crust is cool enough to touch before cutting into wedges.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until blended.

Meatless Monday: Rosemary Spiced Nuts

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Were you hoping for tonight’s Meatless Monday dinner recipe?  I hope you’re not disappointed. You won’t be if you actually make these nuts.  And I hope you will.  They kick off dinner with a woodsy pop of rosemary brown sugar.  And they have real heat.   They buddy equally well with cocktails or wine.  I can eat them all day straight from the bowl.

Sounds like the thing for your Thanksgiving cocktail hour, eh?

Plus, I roasted them for Lydia’s exquisite wedding this past Saturday and sharing the recipe lets me share two photos from her special day.

Adorable, right?  Lydia made the cute labels and I bagged the nuts in wax paper bags.  She stationed them next to iced tubs filled with individual bottles of sparkling lemonade—yellow and pink—French coke (made with real sugar instead of syrup) and those darling hot pink cans of Sofia Blanc des Blancs sparkling wine so guests had drinks and munchies to enjoy before the ceremony began.

Candy Stripe Straws

Our girl just thinks of everything.

You’ll have to wait until she’s back to hear and see more.  I can’t wait.

In the meantime, make these nuts.  They’re an amped up version of Ina’s and they never fail to win raves.

xoxosl

Rosemary Spiced Nuts

yield: 2 pounds

Ingredients

2 pounds raw mixed nuts of your choice. I recommend including cashews and pecans in te mix because the former is fantastic with the rosemary and the latter catches all the spicy brown sugar goodness in its crevices.

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne

5 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 °.

Place the nuts in one layer on an ungreased baking sheet and roast in the oven until fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

While the nuts roast, whisk the remaining ingredients into a brown sugar paste.

Remove the hot nuts from the oven and carefully scoop them into a large mixing bowl.  Pour the spice mix over the warm nuts, stirring gently to spice the nuts evenly.  Enjoy immediately or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Egg Salad

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Mayonnaise is the food I like least in the whole world.  I don’t care if it’s homemade, spiked with spice or masquerading as “aioli”–I don’t want an egg yolk and oil whip  polluting my sandwich or my fries and I definitely don’t want it in my sushi.

I don’t even want it in my fridge.

And yet.

I love eggs, especially the yolks, and I love olive oil.

Hence my joy in discovering Le Pain Quotidien’s olive oil-based egg salad, a no-mayo Mediterranean take on the deli favorite.  Capers and sea salt make it brackish and the olive oil softens the yolks to velvet— lovely against thick dark bread.   Cornichons add satisfying crunch.

I also like it with a scattering of sunflower seeds and crisp romaine.  Delicious on Meatless Monday and every other day of the week.

If you have access to a farmers’ market, I can’t emphasize enough how nice it is to have farm fresh eggs.  You’ll notice a difference in the density of the yolks and the overall flavor.

xoxosl

P.S. With plenty of veg and vegan items on the menu, Le Pain Quotidien is a great option for eating out on MM.

Mediterranean Egg Salad inspired by Le Pain Quotidien

Yield: 4 sandwiches or tartines (open-faced sandwiches)

Ingredients

6 large eggs, the fresher the better

3 tablespoons good quality olive oil

1/4 cup wild capers. rinsed

a handful of parsley, roughly chopped to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Cook the eggs until they are just hard boiled.  Fill a medium-sized pot with cool water to just cover the eggs.  Bring to a boil then cover the pot and remove from the heat.  Let sit 8 minutes total then uncover and drain.  Rinse eggs with cold water or submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

When eggs are cool enough to touch, gently crack all over and remove the shells.  The easiest way to do so is under cool running water.

Slice each egg in half and remove the yolks.  Use a fork to mash the yolks in a mixing bowl.   Neatly dice the whites and add them to the bowl as well.  Add the olive oil—you may use 1 tablespoon more or less, depending on how you prefer your salad— and gently stir to combine.  Add the capers and parsley and combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

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