2017/01/16
Apple Chips

One of my favorite snacks of all times has got to be apple chips. They're the best of both worlds - fruit + chips! However, they are always very expensive and typically coated in sugar or other weird things (acids usually) that I don't have any need for in my life. So, I make my own.

There is one big secret weapon here though... a dehydrator. I use an Excalibur one, but there are a ton of varieties available and you can probably use the oven, but mine doesn't have temperature settings as low as my dehydrator nor does it have as many racks. The Excalibur is an excellent dehydrator if you're looking for one and don't know where to start.

Ingredients

  • Apples (lots, different varieties)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

To prep the apples I use a few tools: an apple corer, a chef's knife and a mandolin. The process is pretty simple. All the apples you want to dehydrate need broken down, which means remove the core, then cut each apple in 1/2 or 1/3's and then carefully cut these down in to slices using the mandolin (or knife, but this is much slower). I cut them in to about 1/4" thick slices, it's almost as thick as my mandolin will go. I typically try to dehydrate at least a dozen apples at a time if going through all the effort.

As you break down the apples, toss them in a bowl/container more than large enough to hold them all. Coat with cinnamon regularly as you do your butchering and then mix to coat well once you're done. You can add as much or as little cinnamon as you like; I find there can never be too much but that's probably just me.

Once you're ready to dehydrate them, spread them out in an even layer on your dehydrator sheets. They'll take about 13-15 hours at 120-135 degrees F, which is best done over night so you can eat them for lunch the next day. When they're done, give them a little time to come to room temperature and then store them in an air tight container. They'll probably last years in a well sealed mason jar, which makes them good for emergency kits, but they won't last long as soon as you start eating them. Make sure you make extra because they'll be gone before you know it! Enjoy.

2017/01/10
Goto Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2-3 med or large bananas
  • 12oz water
  • 2 handfulls/cups of spinach
  • 12-16oz frozen fruit, slightly thawed
  • (optional) persian cucumber or two

This is the basic structure for my goto smoothie. They are absolutely delicious, simple to make and you can enjoy them every single day. You do need a pretty decent sized blender for this though so if yours is smaller than 48oz, you will need to downsize the recipe.

Although everything gets blended, you do get a better texture if you follow a few simple steps. The first is to take your fruit out of the freezer about 30 minutes or more before you are going to make your smoothie. This keeps it from being too icy, but it's also personal preference.

Add the water to the blender first and then the spinach and if using cucumbers, those too. Blend this up good.

Once that stuff is blended, add the bananas and then the frozen fruit and blend well, maybe even two times. That's it!

The flavors do blend over 10-15 minutes so if it's "too green" at first just give it a few minutes. You can also save half of this in the fridge, but I usually can't get enough.

Buying Ingredients:

I actually buy all my smoothie ingredients from Trader Joe's because it's cheap and convenient. They sell bags of greens which are the right size for about 2 smoothies. They sell bags of organic frozen fruits that are exactly 12 and 16 ounces. And of course they have bananas too!

2016/12/17
Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Ingredients

  • Baby Bok Choy (~2/person)
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ginger per ~3-4ish bok choy
  • 1 tbsp per ~3-4ish bok choy Sesame oil

Cut the chunk bottoms off the bok choy and rinse all the pieces well. Cut the leaves from the thicker stalk part and if the stalk is large, cut it in half as well.

Get a skillet hot and then add the sesame oil. Add all the stalks and the ginger; toss with oil. After a minute or two add the leaves and toss again.

Pour the soy sauce plus mirin in to the edge of the pan and then cover with a lid and let it steam cook for 2 minutes.

Remove the lid and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes on medium high heat. At this point garlic or onion or other mixins can be added.

2016/12/17
Stir Fried Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Green beans, rinse and remove ends
  • Sesame or Peanut oil
  • 1/4" fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic powder, Black Pepper, Chili powder, Salt
  • Sesame Seeds

Steam green beans for about 5 minutes to soften them and then cool them off with cold water or an ice bath. Set in a collander to dry and attempt to remove all water.

Heat up a skillet to sautee in; it should be moderately hot. Add some oil when it is ready then add the fresh ginger as an aromatic.

Add the green beans and coat with the seasoning. Toss with the nice hot oil. Continue to cook for 7-9 minutes to get crispy and browned on the outside. Before plating, toss with sesame seeds.

2016/12/17
Roasted Dill Carrots

Dill carrots are a super simple go to recipe for any night.

  • Carrots (4ish/person)
  • Dill weed
  • Dry minced onion
  • Vegan butter

Chop the carrots in to uniform pieces and put them in to some sort of baking dish/pan where they can lay on top of each other slightly and can also be covered.

Put a few cuts of butter on top of the carrots and then sprinkle a nice layer of dill weed and then minced onion. Cover and put in to a 375 degree F oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes stiring every 15-20 minutes. They are ready when they are fork soft.

Goes well with potatoe dishes and breads.

2016/12/17
Roasted Russet Potatoes

Lately I have been finding a lot of good looking bags of organic russet potatoes for cheap and they have been making great hearty winter dishes. They are also very simple to prepare and naturally taste buttery and delicious.

Ingredients

  • Organic Russet Potatoes (2-3/person)
  • Pepper, Thyme and Garlic powder to season
  • Olive oil

To prepare, peel the skins off all the potatoes and rinse them clean. Cut them in half and then cut those halves in halves and then turn 180 degrees and cut in half again. You should have made a cross cut to get 4 pieces per half. Toss these in to a bowl to use to coat with seasoning.

Coat with olive oil and spices. Mix very well, make sure everything is spread evenly. Pour into a baking pan that has some sort of edge, but can let them be spread out as one layer. The more sides that are touching, the less crispy they'll get (but they'll still cook either way).

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees until the outsides start to get crispy and then cover and bake for another 15 minutes. Stir every ~20 minutes while cooking. They may start to stick as they crisp. They're done after about one hour usually.

2016/11/20
Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients

  • Loaf of bread (Sourdough or Whole Wheat work well)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Dry herbs: Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder/granules
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • carrots, diced
  • celery, diced
  • (optional) fried onion bits

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F

Dice the bread in to squares, something like 1/2" big. Put them in to a large mixing bowl and toss with some olive oil, black pepper and garlic granules. Put in to the oven on a large tray or in a baking dish. These should bake for about 25 minutes, but after about 12-15 minutes shake them up.

If not diced yet, dice the onion, carrots and celery. Put in to a mixing bowl. Get a large skillet heating up to medium high heat and have some oil handy. Once it's hot add a decent amount of oil and then the veggie mix. Spread out evenly and sauteƩ.

While the veggies cook, put the baked breadsquares back in to the mixing bowl. Sprinkle with a fair amount of the dry herbs and mix up. Once the veggies are done, add them to the bread. Mix a bit then add the vegetable broth in increments. Mix it throughout and if it begins to get soggy don't add any more. If it seems to dry, more can be added or water can be used to sub any part.

Mix well and then put in to a baking pan to bake. Put in to the oven for about 25-35 minutes, watching for it to be browning. About 5 minutes before it's done you can add the fried onion bits to the top layer for bonus.

Ready to serve once it's a little crunchy on top!

2016/11/14
Vegan Panini with Fries

I love sandwiches and this is a classic. Very cheap and simple as well. I use Sourdough bread, Tofurky Deli Slices, Organic Baby Spinach and Follow Your Heart vegan cheese slices. The slices and cheese come in a few varieties and of course you can vary the greens or add more veggies to create tons of sandwiches.

On the side, I really like Trader Joe's frozen oven fries. They're quick and convenient. Salads are easy to make too for more greens.

To assemble the sandwich I use two large slices of bread, then do a layer of cheese (1 1/2-2 pieces), a layer of slices (5 slices), a nice layer of greens and some pepper if you like that. Griddle on both sides with some moderate pressure now and then to get a nice crust. Use a vegan butter or some olive oil if desired.

The fries cook for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, at 425 degrees F. Pepper and garlic powder are good toppings, so are chives or green onions.