Sunday, January 18, 2015

Recipe: Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup

I recently appeared on the cooking segment of WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" entertainment program and talked about making a Vegan Resolution for the New Year.  I also demonstrated how to make one of my favorite cold weather recipes, Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup.  This is the perfect soup for a dreary winter day when you just want something that will warm you up quickly.  It has a light, yet savory broth made with fire-roasted tomatoes and seasoned with dried basil and oregano.  And it's satisfying, too, since it's loaded with fiber and protein from cannelini beans and red potatoes, plus calcium and iron from the huge bunch of kale.

I like to serve the soup garnished with a drizzle of parsley oil, my "go to" flavor enhancer.  Just drizzle a little bit on top for an extra kick of fresh garlic and parsley that will get the taste buds going.  You can also top the soup with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts for a little bit of crunch.

This recipe and others like it can be found in my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats.

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup (serves 4-6)
1 Tbl olive oil 
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
6 cups water 
2 carrots, peeled and cut into half moons 
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 in. cubes 
15 oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil 
1 Tbl dried oregano 
1 tsp sea salt 
15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 Tbl toasted pine nuts
1-2 Tbl olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
large bunch shredded kale, collard, Swiss chard or spinach 
sea salt, fresh crushed black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, sautĂ© onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add water, carrots and potatoes and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.  Add beans, tomatoes, herbs and salt.  In a separate pan, heat pine nuts until fragrant and lightly browned, then set aside.  Heat olive oil in pan, and cook garlic until fragrant.  Stir in greens, sprinkle with salt, and cook several minutes or until wilted.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with sauteed greens and toasted pine nuts.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Going Vegan on WWLP-TV's "Mass Live"

I was really excited to be invited to appear on the cooking segment for WWLP-TV's entertainment program, "Mass Appeal." This was my first appearance, but host Seth Stutman made me feel right at home.  We had a fun time chatting about vegan cooking and I provided some "easy peasy" tips for achieving a Vegan Resolution in 2015.

One of my favorite "go to" recipes this time of year is Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup.  It's easy to make, plus it's packed with protein, calcium and iron as well as lots of fiber so it will keep you feeling warm and satisfied on these cold winter days.

If you missed the show live, you can catch the segment right here. Soup's on!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Month of Menus

As we wind down the year, we wind up the action at Well on Wheels headquarters. Life has been busy with planning events, cooking demonstrations, holiday dinners, and... buying a house (details to follow)!  Amidst all of the flurry of activities, I've also been cooking weekly meals for my lovely and loyal clients.  Here's a peek at the past month of menus.

 Week One

 Black Bean with Fire-roasted Tomatoes in Adobo, Chili Spiced Zucchini, and Brown Rice

Soy Sesame Baked Tofu with Cabbage and Carrot Sautee on Brown Rice

 Chickpea "Tuno" and Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw

 Week Two

 Tofu with Peanut Sesame Cabbage on Brown Rice

Summer Vegetable and Cannelini Bean Sautee with Dijon Cream Sauce on Baked Polenta

Temeph and Kale Sautee with Curried Butternut Squash Risotto

Week Three

Buffalo Tofu and Cauliflower with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Tofu, Broccoli and Carrot Stirfry with Brown Rice

Pan-fried Tempeh with Wild Rice Pilaf and Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Week Four

Baked Tofu with Cranberry Compote, Cider Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Sesame Green Beans

Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce, Snow Peas, Shiitake and Toasted Pistachios

Cajun Tempeh and Collards on Brown Rice

Week Five

Malaysian Coconut Tofu Curry with Brown Rice 

Pan-fried Tempeh with Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Kale, Kabocha Squash and Aduki Bean Sautee with Brown Rice

Week Six

Triple Green Tofu Stir-fry with Brown Rice

Tofu and Summer Squash Scramble with Home Fries 

Tempeh with Dijon Agave Glaze, Quinoa and Green Beans Amandine

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cooking Demo at Case Memorial Library

(photo by Carolyn Stanley)

It's a packed month of cooking demonstrations at Well on Wheels headquarters.  I kicked off the fall leg of the "Easy Peasy Vegan Eats" book tour with a primarily raw demo at Case Memorial Library in Orange, CT.  It was a full house of guests eager to learn how to make quick and easy recipes with seasonal veggies.

I demonstrated how to use a spiralizer to make zucchini spaghetti.  This was tossed with a luscious pumpkin seed pesto which one attendee said tasted just like it was made with parmesan cheese.

 (photo by Carolyn Stanley)

Lucia with the endless zucchini noodle! (photo by Carolyn Stanley)

The other dish I made was a gluten-free twist on a Mediterranean favorite,  Tabbouleh.  Instead of bulgar wheat, I substitute a combination of red and white quinoa.  It cooks just as quickly and has a soft, yet chewy texture.  Combined with the same essential ingredients of cucumber, tomato, onion, fresh mint, parsley, lemon and LOTS of garlic, the finished dish is colorful and flavorful.

(photo by Carolyn Stanley)

When I asked at the end how many people think they could eat this way, nearly everyone in the room raised their hand and heartily applauded afterward.  I'm always thrilled when this is the verdict!

(photo by Carolyn Stanley)

The next day I received this lovely email from one of the attendees.  It made my day.
"Thank you for coming to demonstrate how to prepare vegan meals at Case Memorial Library Thursday night. I learned a lot. Your presentation also helped to push me closer to a vegan diet. First I have to get to a vegetarian diet!"
I feel so very fortunate to get to do this.  Thank you, Sue Cook, for organizing this event and Lucia for your fabulous introduction and assistance in cleanup duties.  Thank you also to Carolyn Stanley for taking the candid photos - I'm glad you were able to get promoted from the waiting list to attend!

CT Style: Edamame Succotash

"Sufferin' succotash!!"  How can you not think of Sylvester the Cat saying that whenever you hear the word succotash? That's what we kept saying off camera while on the set of WTNH TV's "CT Style."  I was back again to tape the cooking segment and featured this quick and easy "work night meal" recipe.

This traditional Native American recipe is made with corn and beans, which together form a complete protein.  I chose to do a contemporary twist on this dish by substitution edamame (soy beans) for the standard lima beans, plus I added some cherry tomatoes for an extra pop of seasonal color.

You can see the full segment and get the recipe here:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Easy Peasy Vegan Cooking Class

This week I had the pleasure of teaching a seasonal cooking class featuring recipes from my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats.  This was for the North Branford Adult Education program, which is part of the Connecticut Shoreline adult education system ERACE.

Nine students gathered with me in the school's cafeteria to learn about vegan cooking, where to get your protein, iron and calcium, and how to make quick and easy recipes that everyone will enjoy. I was happy to hear that most everyone was familiar with the health benefits of a plant-based diet and had come to the class wanting to learn more about what to eat to reverse conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diverticulitis.  I think everyone was also pleasantly surprised to learn that healthy food could also be pretty darn tasty, too!

The menu featured recipes made with fresh local ingredients I picked up from the City Seed farmers market in Edgewood Park.  The gorgeous heirloom tomatoes were from Rosedale Farm in Simsbury and the luscious peaches were from Rose's Berry Farm in Glastonbury.  Using these fruits and vegetables when they're at their peak provides the most nutrients and flavor.

For our main dish I made Three Sisters Stew which incorporates squash, corn and beans into a tomato based broth seasoned with cumin and oregano.  The dish was served on top of creamy polenta and garnished with a drizzle of parsley pistou and a sprinkling of toasted spiced pepitas.

The colors, tastes and textures create a culinary balance that leaves one feeling satisfied.

For dessert I modified a recipe for Gooey Toffee Apple Crisp from my cookbook, substituting peaches for the apples because they just looked so tempting.  They soften up in the oven and meld nicely with the crunchy topping.  A dollop of vegan coconut milk ice cream would be the perfect accompaniment, but this was a nice refreshingly sweet ending to the meal on its own.

Thank you to Pat Cardozza and ERACE for inviting me to give this class and for everyone who attended.  I will be creating more meals like this in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned for more Easy Peasy classes and events!