Friday, May 20, 2011

Asparagus and Jicama

Asparagus and Jicama - I felt like I was on a European Vacation!

I don't know why, but I felt a decadent pleasure eating this veggie dish - like I was sitting under an umbrella at a Parisian street cafe.  It was quick and easy to make and counts as a keeper in my book.

I used the following ingredients:

extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice

Why no amounts?  Because it is fun to just wing it with this recipe

I used equal amounts of asparagus spears, and julienned jicama, and with a healthy fistful of each, two diced shallots works.

To save washing dishes, I used my large skillet and added the asparagus and some water to steam, put a lid on it and steamed until they just started to wilt and change color.  Then I removed the asparagus and drained the water.

Next I put about a tablespoon of evoo in this pan, and added the diced shallots and the julienned jicama and sauteed until the jicama started to get transparent and bronze - for my taste buds, I gave the jicama a BAM of cayenne - this is optional.  Then I added the asparagus and mixed everything up and finished off with a healthy squeeze of lemon.

Easy peazy, lemon squeezy -- a real taste treat.  (I had never experienced cooked jicama - but it was like an exotic french fry.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roasted beet and wild rice salad

You can't beat beets!

When I was a kid, I would gag and hurl my beets.  I hated beets.  Probably because my mom would try to hide thing in between cranberry slices.  I would be happily eating my cranberry and all of a sudden find the taste of a beet amongst them - yuck!  Although now days -- I might even create a cranberry beet recipe -- but that's for another time.

I am still in beet mode - roasting them in tin foil to preserve that earthy yet sweet taste.  Here is another awesome recipe for roasted beets using wild rice.

Into a bowl I tossed:

3 med sized roasted beets, diced
2 cups wild rice 
handful of dried cranberries
I had 2 tangerines so I peeled and separated them; Mandarin oranges would work; so would a navel orange - peeled and sliced
1 cup of shredded leaf lettuce
sesame seeds would be good (but on this cleanse, I left them out

Now - the dressing really kicks up the flavors and sends this salad into awesome category (just a notch down from orgasmic!)

Into a smaller bowl, I squeezed 2 oranges (using a mesh cup to catch the seeds)
2 T vinegar - I used my pomegranate balsamic, but red wine would work too - improvise!
1 T of toasted sesame oil (it must be the toasted kind, can't improvise here)
1 teaspoon hot sause
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger - in the produce section of my regular supermarket, I buy ginger in tubes (same for cilantro) just for these kinds of recipes.

Mix together and dress the salad.  I garnished mine with a lime slice and gave it a squeeze just as I was about to eat it.  With or without -- it's great!

Greek Lentil Salad

Greek Lentil Salad - a showcase for that little powerhouse of nutrition

This is a refreshing and yet filling summer salad.  I used the following ingredients:

1 cup lentils - green ones are nice, but red or brown will do
handful sweet onion in large chunks because you are removing it later
2 bay leaves
a large shallot bulb chopped
juice from one juicy lemon, about 2 to 3 T
1 diced cuke, if non-organic, please peel
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
large handful of fresh mint
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Cook lentils, onion, bay leaves in 6 cups of water, bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.  I cover my pan.  Drain and remove onion and bay leaves.

Mix all of the above ingredients in a mixing bowl, add sea salt (and pepper if you like) and mix.  It gets better as it sits. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lentil tacos, jerk veggies, and red quinoa beet and sweet salad

Jerk is not always a bad word -- try this recipe for jerk beans and asparagus

I use these green stalks (beans and asparagus) not only as a side dish but as a snack between meals.  You can use either veggie, or both - maybe julienne of zucchini would be good too. 

In a large skillet, add:
1 teaspoon of olive oil
a thumb size of fresh minced ginger
1 or 2 minced cloves of garlic

and saute for about 30 seconds, then add

1/4 teaspoon or slightly more of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
and a splash of water

Sizzle for a minute and add:

sea salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
grate nutmeg - less than 1/4 teaspoon
and less than 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
the veggies

Continue tossing to coat, add tiny splashes of water when mixture is too dry - saute for about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.

I kicked mine up with a splash of lime when I served them and since I ate them as finger food, the lime was nice to rinse my fingers off when I was finished.  So Jerk away and enjoy.

Left over beets? A wonderful salad awaits.

The recipe below, with the baked beets and onions provided a cup of left overs so I created this salad.  If you did not make the baked beet/onion recipe and want to make this salad, first, bake the beets by wrapping them in foil and placing them in an oven for an hour at 350 degrees.  Let them cool about 30 minutes, then peel and slice.

To make this salad, I made a batch of quinoa - a wonderful grain, high in fiber, B vitamins, folate and magnesim.
Quinoa instructions:
Wash thoroughly in cold water, rinse, add a cup of quinoa to 1 1/4 cups of boiling water.  cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes, and fluff.

To make this sweet and savory salad:

To the quiona, I added
the sliced baked beets 
a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
the zest of a lemon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 finely chopped scallions,
vinegar to mix -- I used a champagne pomegranate vinigar
and a sweet add in: I used dried cranberries - maybe diced apple would work, maybe mandarin orange?

Blend it up - it improves as it sits.  I brought some to work to share and it was so good, I am sorry to admit that I kept it for myself.  I'll make a larger batch next time.  ps.  If you like radishes, try adding that too -- I have yet to develop a taste for radishes so obviously, I left them out.

Eat healthy - savor the flavors that Mother Earth places before us, and never get bored.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beets! Can't Beat 'Em!

Here is a delicious and healthy beet recipe which I used on Day 3 of my Cleanse.

I had 3 medium beets and 1 Vidalia (sweet) onion.  I wrapped the beets in foil (individually) and left the onion with its skin on, making a small X on the root side with a knife. I roasted them for an hour at 350 degrees and then let them sit for about a half hour to cool. 

Then I unfoiled the beets and peeled them, slicing them, and placed them in a bowl; peeled the onion and sliced it into 1/2 thin rings and tossed it into the same bowl.

Salt and pepper and then a generous splash of vinegar.  Red wine would be good.  I used a champagne and citrus blend and then another splash of white balsamic.

As they sit, for an hour or so, the flavors marry and your side dish is an earthy and yet fresh treat.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Incredible Edible Lentil Shepherd's Pie

This meal is for my dinner at the hospital on Day 2 of the Cleanse.  I made it today because I am working the day shift tomorrow on Mother's Day and wanted to eat something healthy.  The food at the hospital cafeteria could literally kill ya.

To make this incredible edible lentil shepherd's pie,  I used the following ingredients:

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 diced onion
2 cups organic fresh shitake mushrooms
1 heaping cup of diced zucchini
1 to 2 cloves of garlic (to taste) minced
Fresh Market sea salt and herb seasoning (thyme, rosemary and basil)

I sprayed a large stir fry skillet with olive oil and then added the teaspoon of evoo and as I was heating it, I added the onions and began to sautee them.  If they got a little dry, I added a splash of water.
Then, after about 5 minutes, I added the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and seasoning and sauteed until things started looking tender - I sprayed on another coat of olive oil.

Two carrots, diced
1 cup French lentils (the green ones)
3 cups vegetable broth

I tossed this into the skillet and brought it to a near boil, then covered it and simmered for about a half hour.

While this was simmering, I took:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and placed it in a large sauce pan covering it with water and season salt.

I brought this to a boil, and cooked it until it was tender to the stab of a fork.  Then drained it and placed it in my Vita Mix (or food processor).

I took a few ounces of the broth from the veggies and as I processed the cauliflower, I drizzled this into the mixture and processed until it looked like mashed potatoes.

By now the veggies were done.  To tell, eat a lentil and if is to your liking, its done.  I added a mere splash, a whisper, a hint of vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional) and:

1 cup frozen peas

If I were plating it and serving it at this time, I would do as I did in the small bowl (photo above), ie, fill the bowl with the veggie mixture, and then drop a dollop of the mashed cauliflower on top.

I also make a larger serving that I can dig into for future lunches/dinners this week, again, veggies first, cauliflower on top.

I lighted sprinkled the cauliflower with a southwest seasoning just to kick it up a little.  If I weren't on this cleanse, I would probably top it with Panko whole wheat crumbs, spray with olive oil and heat until the top got golden brown.

As I was eating the first batch (from the small bowl), by stirring in the mashed cauliflower, it got deliciously creamy.  This would be a great winter comfort food dish.   It's a keeper. 


Vegalicious Lentil Tacos

Vegalicious Tacos!

Here is a recipe that is vegan, great for the 21 day cleanse and O SO DELICIOUS, not to mention, pretty easy to make.

You will need the following ingredients:

4 c water
1 c lentils
2 T diced onion
salt, seasoning of your choice
2 T tomato paste
1 T evoo (extra virin olive oil)

3/4 c cherry or grape tomatoes
2 T diced onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 diced fresh jalapeno
1 T lime juice
hint of fresh ginger (optional)

as much cilantro as you like
something to put the taco in - you could use a tortilla; I used leaves of Boston Lettuce; Romaine would work well too.

First I got the lentils cooking by bringing 4 cups of water to boil, then added the lentils and onion and salt (I am not a pepper lover, but you could add it now if you liked it) and I used a shake of cumin and some southwest seasoning that had cayenne and chipotle.

While the lentils were cooking, about 30 minutes, I made the salsa by adding the following to my Vita Mix, or a food processor would be great too:
the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime and cilantro.  (if you have it, toss in a hint of ginger to kick it up, if not, no worries) - give it a brief whirl and voila - an awesome fresh salsa!

After the lentils are cooked (al dente, not mush), drain.  Put 1/2 the mixture into your food process or Vita Mix and add the tomato paste, while processing, drizzle the oil into the mixture, and if you are a cilantro junkie like I am, toss a handful in at the last moment. 

Then blend this mixture with the drained other half of the lentils.  This is your taco filling.

To plate, I used Boston Lettuce, added the lentil mixture, topped with salsa, and then of course, for my taste, more cilantro and a hit of fresh lime.

It was heaven!

Let the 21 Day Cleanse Begin!

The Story Behind the Garden of Eden Vegan Blog

For those of you who knew me prior to December 30, 2009, I was a veteran of the fast food culinary institute. My son, when he lived with me would ask if I had ordered the "Shabbat pizza" yet as the sun was setting Friday nights.

My idea of a good meal was a McFish sandwich, fries with extra salt, and a medium diet coke.

Everything was better covered in a rich creamy sauce and the idea of a naked baked potato was as foreign to me as walking naked in Manhattan.

In June of 2009 I decided to formally become a vegetarian. Although I had dabbled with this, it was not until I read Skinny Bitch that the gauntlet was thrown.

Now being a vegetarian does not sign you up for good health. I was proof of that. Chubby when I started, I indulged in pizza, french fries, cheese, cheese, butter, cheese, pizza......and became very over weight, tipping the Toledos at 200 pounds at 5'4". And taking an assortment of meds for cholesterol and GERD and who knows what else.

As the decade was waning, and with my 60th birthday approaching in the year 2010, there was a perfect storm that snapped my beak and got me in gear. The same friend who gave me Skinny Bitch, turned me on to the John McDougall website. At the same time, there was a Grand Round lecture at the hospital where I work on the book Eat to Live, and at the same time, I was tired of how I looked and felt and needed to make a change.

I regret that I did not start this blog when I changed my lifestyle, but it is better late than never.

My weight is down about 35 pounds, my size has gone from a tight 16 to a loose 12. And I am on no meds, although my vegetarian doctor and I will review my blood work within this month to see if I need anything (like b12) boosted.

I began as a Vegan Minus. Or what I call a Garden of Eden Vegan.

As you know, a Vegan eats no animals nor animal products - none. But then I subtracted oil, sugar, and processed foods.

That is a big subtraction -- but it is this subtraction that helped with weight loss, lack of cravings, increased energy, health, and vibrancy.

Now I am dabbling in raw foods and have signed up to learn with Russell James (google him).

I like the taste and health aspect of raw foods, but worry about the increased calories. So I will (hopefully) use the raw creations as a supplement to my Gan (Hebrew for Garden -- I am in a Hebrew mood today) Eden Vegan lifestyle.

My doctor said that I should write a book about this since most of her patients need it. I said, "Who, or how many, would want to do this?" We shall see. It has been easy (no cravings) and exciting as life and energy unfold before me, just as it was meant to be. (It didn't unfold over a fried fish sandwich, extra tarter sauce.)

Join me or not. Walk with me the whole journey, day trips, part of it, or not. This is my 60th year -- buckle up life, here I come.