Spiced Apple Muffins

Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine that began in India, but it's now practiced many other places in the world as well. It's based on processes and treatments that compliment the natural states of the body. It's about aligning one's lifestyle to the course of nature and working with natural systems rather than working against them. Sounds good, right?

One of the components of ayurveda is dietary recommendations. The goal is to eat in a way that allows your body to digest easily and get the most out of your foods. Ayurvedic practitioners strongly recommend beginning each day with a strong spiced tea (like chai) and spiced oats and/or cooked fruit because they will kick start the body and help provide sustained energy throughout your morning.

This month's issue of Yoga Journal features a few recipes to point you in the right direction, including an apple muffin recipe. I veganized the recipe and made a few adaptations to create a real power-packed breakfast muffin that is super delicious and a great addition to any morning meal. Here they are!


Spiced Apple Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup less 1 Tbsp soy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup Sucanat (or fine raw sugar)
2 Energ-G "eggs" or other vegan substitute equivalent to 2 eggs
6 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid state) or high quality vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chopped or pureed fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups peeled and chunked apples (I used 2 1/2 Washington honeycrisp apples)
2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F and oil 12 muffin cups. Combine soy milk and vinegar in a cup and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together soy milk mixture, Sucanat, egg replacer, coconut oil, vanilla extract, ginger, cardamom and clove. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix gently until evenly moistened. The batter will be pretty thick.

Rinse your milk bowl and add the chunked apples, agave and cinnamon. Stir to combine and then fold apples into the batter until just about evenly distributed.

Portion batter into muffin cups evenly and bake 30 minutes or until just browned on top.


Enjoy with a strong cup of spicy chai (with or without the milk of your choice) for a terrific breakfast or even an afternoon pick-me-up! If you have any "leftover" muffins, allow them to cool completely before popping them into a plastic freezer bag and freezing for up to a week.

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Crispy Cheezy Kale Chips

Kale is good for you. You can tell just by looking at it. It's a deep, dark green. It's hardy and hearty. And surely, it's difficult to get any kid or veg-hater to try it, much less eat it on a regular basis.

That's all true until you start making kale chips in your dehydrator. After that, you'll have all the picky eaters in your house downing the greens like they were candy. Really.

Today, I'm turning two bunches of organic local kale into a seriously tasty snack.


Kale Chips
Yield: About 4 cups of chips


2 bunches kale, washed and patted dry
Olive oil (or olive oil spray)
Sea salt
Nutritional yeast flakes
Optional: garlic or onion powder

Remove the thickest parts of the stem from each kale leaf. These just don't dehydrate well. You can chop them up and add to soups or salads, or feed them to any veggie-vore critters you might have in or around your house.

Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, keeping in mind that the "chips" will shrink a bit during the dehydrating process. You don't want to make them too small.

Lay the kale pieces on your dehydrator trays in a single layer. For me, two bunches translated into 4 trays. Spray with olive oil, salt liberally, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast flakes. (If you're not using a spray, you'll want to toss the kale pieces in a large bowl and use your hands to make sure they get coated before spreading them on your dehydrator tray and adding the nutritional yeast.) If using, sprinkle with garlic or onion powder as well. (The amount of nutritional yeast and garlic/onion powder depends solely on your taste. Use as much or as little as you like!)


Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 4-5 hours minimum, and as much as overnight. The length of time will depend on how much water is already in your kale, and how crispy you like your chips.


After dehydrating, let the chips cool to room temperature and store in a brown paper bag. That is, if you can manage not to eat them all by the time they reach room temp!

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Gingery-Peachy Smoothie

"Bodies in the sand... Tropical drink melting in your hand..." The Beach Boys couldn't have said it better. I'm not at the beach today, but I've got waves on my mind. Today is the first real "fall" day here in the Pacific Northwest and although I'm glad to welcome the changing season, I'm also not quite ready to let go of summer. To that end, I decided to whip up a little fruity smoothie action as an excuse to take a break this afternoon.

Now, I'm a firm believer that smoothies, and for that matter all things tropical, should be based on approximation. For that reason, the "recipe" listed below contains references to quantities like "about," "at least" and "ish." If you've ever learned to cook a dish from a Southern gal, you're already familiar with what these terms suggest. However, for those of you uninitiated with the ways of "guess-urement," I've provided some notes to help you along.


Ginger-Peachy Smoothie
Yield: About 2 8oz servings


1 banana, fresh or frozen
Approximately 2 Tbsp lime juice
At least 1/3 cup non-dairy milk of your choice (I used vanilla almond milk) (up to 1/2 cups - see note below!)
About 1/2 lb frozen peaches (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 tsp-ish pureed ginger root (use fresh or jarred minced ginger)
Optional: agave nectar to taste (see note)

(And here's my favorite thing about smoothie recipes... Are you ready?)
Put all ingredients in blender. Pulse til you reach desired consistency!

Now, about that note I promised. I actually have a few to share.

On liquids: The question of consistency in smoothies is one of personal preference. I tend to like my smoothies a bit thicker than most folks (think milkshake!) so I'll always add a little less milk than others might. Consider also that the amount of liquid you'll need to add will be in direct ratio to the water content of the fruit you're using, the size of your banana, and so on. There's no right or wrong answer here, just do what feels right.

On sweeteners: I don't have a killer sweet tooth, so I rarely add sweetener to fruit concoctions like this. The vanilla almond milk I use is also unsweetened. However, if you're looking to add some sweetness or turn this into a dessert dish, you can add agave nectar if you like. Or... you can use a sweetened vanilla milk. Or... substitute part of the milk for a vanilla yogurt, which will also contain some sugar. Or... (and here's where the dessert part really comes into play) add some peach sorbet or vanilla soy/rice cream in addition to the other ingredients. In the end, my best advice is "sweeten to taste... and then taste some more!"

P.S. Dear beach fans: This (and any other) fruit smoothie becomes an especially wonderful treat with the addition of a bit of dark rum. Just sayin'.

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup

If it seems like I've been roasting a lot of things lately, it's because I have! This week, it's red bell peppers. I love red bells in stir fry or stuffed and grilled, but I'll share those recipes a little later. Right now, we're roasting roasting roasting!

Yesterday, I had a dozen or so red bell peppers that were a little worse for wear. Some had soft spots where they'd been bumped or dropped and others were intent on becoming science experiments. Looking them over, it was clear to me that they had to be processed immediately. If I waited another day, I might lose the whole lot. Roasting peppers is a great way to handle not only the volume of produce, but also to put them into a ready-to-use form that can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. First, I'll share my roasting methods and then we'll dig into a super simple and delicious late summer soup recipe.


How to Roast Peppers




  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil on a baking sheet. (You can use parchment paper if you want, but you'll still need the oil!)

  2. Wash, halve, seed and de-stem your peppers. If they have gnarly spots, just cut 'em off!

  3. Place peppers, cut sides up, on the baking sheet and wiggle them around to coat the bottoms in oil. (My dozen peppers fit snugly on 1 large Sautébaking sheet. If you're roasting more, use two sheets or work in batches.)

  4. Flip the peppers over (cut side down now) and add salt and pepper.

  5. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. Peppers will look deflated and have some black char marks. This is a good thing.

  6. Remove from oven, and transfer the peppers (using tongs or another implement of safety) to a glass bowl or dish (a lasagna pan would be a good choice). Cover with foil and allow to rest on the counter until the peppers have cooled to nearly room temperature.

  7. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, pick through them and remove the skins. It's A-OK to leave some of the black charred-ness with the flesh, but you'll want to discard as much skin as possible.

  8. Your roasted red peppers are ready to be used, or you can freeze them (in a zip-top bag with the air squeezed out). Since I knew I'd be making soup later in the day, I stuffed my peppers into a glass jar (with their liquid) and stored them in the fridge.







So, you're ready for soup, are you? Let's go!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Yield: 4 appetizer servings or 2 side dish servings

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock (I prefer an organic, low sodium variety)
1/2 Tbsp dried Italian herb blend (or 1/2 tsp each basil, rosemary, oregano, and parsley)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
8 roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped

In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, sauté shallot and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 6-7 minutes. Add veg stock, herbs, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add roasted red peppers and bring to a steady simmer.

Using an immersion (stick) blender, standard blender or food processor, puree the soup. I use my standard blender and work in batches before transferring soup back to the sauce pan. Blend until the soup is as smooth as you like; there's nothing wrong with texture!


That's it, you're done. Serve immediately! This soup is fantastic with pesto pasta, green veg of all varieties and, of course, grilled cheeze sandwiches.

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Eggplant-Tomato Lasagna

Due to the abundant supply of eggplant and heirloom tomatoes currently on hand, I decided to make another yummy eggplant-centric dish for our Friday night dinner. This lasagna was inspired by the delicious Rustic Bread & Eggplant Lasagna from Vegan Yum Yum, but I substituted her grilled sourdough for "no boil" lasagna noodles and added some zucchini as well since I had it available. The result was a fresh, flavorful stack of veggies and pasta that delivered the full taste of summer right to our mouths. Perfect!

Eggplant-Tomato Lasagna

2 globe eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise in 1/2 inch thick slices
1-2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
olive oil and salt for roasting
1-2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in 1/4 inch thick slices
4-6 "no boil" lasagna noodles
approx 1 cup of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce (Newman's Own "Sockarooni" Spaghetti Sauce would be a great choice)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
olive oil, salt and pepper for finishing

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay out eggplant slices and tomato slices, drizzle with olive oil and salt liberally. Allow to rest 15-20 minutes before putting in the oven. This will allow the salt to work on the eggplant, bringing out the moisture. Bake for 30 minutes.


In the meantime, spread about 4 Tbsp of tomato sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Spread half of your zucchini slices out in a single layer, followed by half of your lasagna noodles and another layer of sauce. After the eggplant and tomatoes have cooled a bit, build a layer using all of the eggplant.




After the eggplant, add another layer of noodles, sauce and the rest of the zucchini followed by the tomatoes. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the entire dish, and salt and pepper according to your taste. You won't need a lot of salt since the eggplant and tomatoes have already been salted. Top with breadcrumbs--as much or as little as you like.


Bake 30-35 minutes or until lasagna noodles are cooked through. Serve on with a little extra balsamic vinegar or even balsamic syrup. This dish pairs nicely with an Australian Shiraz.

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Baba Ghanoush!

It's eggplant week here in the old homestead, so it was a no-brainer that the first eggplant recipe I'd want to share with you, dear readers, is for my favorite Arabic dish: baba ghanoush.

Baba ghanoush (or ghannouj) is a dip or spread made from roasted eggplant and tahini (sesame paste). It's rich, smoky, creamy, and works as a fantastic side dish paired with pita. I also like to serve it with large carrots and zucchini that have been cut on the bias to create "chips" used for dipping. In Egypt, you might find baba ghanoush served with diced onions and tomatoes as a salad. It can also be used as a topping for other dishes - let the imagination run wild.

This is a great dish for folks who think they don't like eggplant but love hummus and other Middle Eastern/meditteranean foods. It's also a great way to sneak some veggies past an unsuspecting picky kid!

Baba Ghanoush

1 lb eggplant (1 medium globe eggplant or about 4 small Italian eggplant)
Olive oil for drizzling
Coarse sea salt
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Handful of cilantro, chopped (can be omitted if you're not a fan)
1/4 cup olive oil

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, from stem to end. On the cut side, use your knife to score the "meat" diagonally every 1 inch or so, and then score it the other way to create diamond shapes. You'll want to score it deeply, almost down to the skin, like this:


Drizzle cut side with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Salt is important here, as it helps draw out the moisture in the eggplant so that it does not turn to mush! Let the eggplant chill out while the oven preheats to 400°F.

Place eggplant cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven, cut side down, for about an hour or until the eggplant starts to collapse and the bottoms turn a dark caramel color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool considerably before attempting to handle.


When the eggplant is cool, the skin should fall right off. Scoop the insides into a food processor, discarding the stem and skin. Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin and cilantro and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse to combine.

Baba ghanoush can be served immediately, or refrigerated for several days.

Pita Chips

4 pita shells, cut into 8 wedges
Olive oil spray
salt
pepper
paprika

Preheat oven to 375°F and spray your baking sheet with olive oil. Lay out pita wedges in a single layer and spray liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. Serve warm chips with ice cold baba ghanoush!

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Waffles with Peach-Nectarine Chutney

The first week of September is National Waffle Week. To celebrate, my dear omnivore and I decided to make waffles for dinner. I had also brought home some over-ripe peaches and nectarines that just begged to be cooked down into a nice waffle topping.

You can buy the waffle/pancake mix of your choice but commercially made vegan mixes are difficult to find, at best, and quite pricey. You can make your own waffles from scratch in just a few minutes and save yourself a small fortune. This is a basic "naked" waffle recipe, which I prefer, but a quick web search will yield tons of results for both savory and sweet waffles of a vegan persuasion.

Waffle Mix
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat your waffle iron before you get started. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Pour the soy milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don't worry about lumps, if any.

Spray both sides of your iron with a non-stick spray (I use an olive oil mister) and pour the batter into the iron - the amount of batter will vary depending on the size and style of your waffle iron, so check the instructions. My iron makes 6-7 inch round waffles and takes approximately 2/3 cups batter for each waffle. This recipe yields 2 waffles of that size.


Peach-Nectarine Chutney
2 over-ripe peaches, pitted and diced
2 over-ripe nectarines, pitted and diced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sucanat (brown sugar can be substituted)
1 Tbsp dark rum (optional, but oh so lovely)

Toss your diced fruit with lemon juice to coat thoroughly. In a medium saucepan, combine fruit with sucanat and rum (if using) and cook on medium heat until the fruit gives up quite a bit of juice. Using a potato mashed, smoosh the fruit until the texture is to your liking. Stir and serve over freshly made waffles!

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Curried Macaroni & Edamame Salad

We're getting ready to head out on an epic 4-day camping trip with a large group of friends and friends of friends. The forecast is calling for rain, so I wanted to get a jumpstart on some of the food prep. Cold macaroni salad is always a great option to prepare ahead of time, as it keeps well and just tastes better and better as the flavors are allowed to marinate and combine.

For this trip, I made a variation on my standard curried pasta salad, adding a few things to help keep the flavors nice and perky even after a couple of days in the cooler. This is my "massive huge batch" but you can easily halve or double the recipe depending on the size of the army you're feeding. You'll notice that many of my measurements are approximate or list a range, and I think that's completely acceptable when you're talking about food meant to be eaten in the out-of-doors.


Curried Macaroni & Edamame Salad
1/2-3/4 lb elbow macaroni or any other small shaped pasta, cooked according to package directions
1-12oz bag frozen edamame (shelled)
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
3-4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbp Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or light soy sauce)
4-5 scallions, chopped
1-2 Tbsp sun-dried or regular tomato paste
2-3 Tbsp Indian curry powder
liberal amounts of salt
pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil on low-medium heat and cook garlic for 30-60 second, until you can really smell the garlic. Remove from heat.

Stir in vinegar, Bragg's, scallions, tomato paste and curry powder until you have a big sloppy slurry.

In a large bowl (or the pot you cooked your macaroni in), combine cooked pasta, edamame and your garlicky slurry. Stir carefully (so as not to break the pasta) until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This salad can be served warm, but I prefer to toss it the fridge (in a sealed screwtop container) before transferring it to the cooler for our woodland adventure.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and remember the folks in the labor movement who brought you the weekend and the 40-hour work week!

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Oatmeal Raisin Lentil Cookies... That's right, I said Lentil!

A while back, I was catching up on reruns of what is arguably my favorite food-related TV show, Good Eats. In the episode aptly titled "Pantry Raid 6," Alton Brown whips up a really interesting batch of cookies using cooked lentils in the batter. Piqued my curiosity, for sure!

Maybe you've only had lentils in Indian cuisine or maybe you haven't tried them at all. They're an ancient food, dating all the way back to 9500 BCE or so, and they are packed with protein. I mean, packed! Lentils rank in at the 3rd highest protein content of all plant-based foods (soybeans and hemp hold the #1 and #2 spots, respectively). This makes lentils a great way to sneak protein into foods that are otherwise lacking in it. Oh yeah, and they taste AMAZING too!

Now, AB is not exactly known for vegan recipes, so I've adapted his original recipe to make it vegan. I've also made a few other substitutions based on taste. For example, his original recipe calls for shredded coconut, but since I know that my dear heart doesn't really care for coconut, I've omitted it from this batch. See my notes at the bottom, but do what you will.


Oatmeal Raisin Lentil Cookies
2/3 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cups pastry flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour here)
3/4 cup vegan margarine (like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Energ-G replacer egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dried berries (I used 1/2 raisins and 1/2 blueberries)

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, cook lentils in water for 30-40 minutes. Whisk until they are the consistency of mashed potatoes. (The original recipe calls for a food processor here. You can do that if you like or if your lentils are not mashing well, but I didn't think it was necessary.) Once mashed or smashed or processed, set lentils aside to cool while you proceed with the next steps.

Preheat your oven to 375°F and prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice with the pastry flour. Mix thoroughly.

In a large bowl, cream margarine and sugar thoroughly with a hand mixer. Add Energ-G egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add the lentil mash into the creamed mixture and mix to combine.

Add the flour mixture, one-third at a time, mixing in between until thoroughly combined.

Add oats and dried fruit. Using a spoon, stir to combine.

Spoon by 2-3 tsp lumps onto parchment paper. The cookies will not spread, so you can crowd them quite a bit! This recipe yields around 4 dozen bite-size cookies. Bake 15-17 minutes or until, as AB would say, "GBD" - golden brown and delicious!


Notes:
AB's original recipe calls for 1 cup cranberries and 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut. You can really use anything you want. I had a taste for raisins, but it turns out there was only 1/2 cup left in the house, so I supplemented with blueberries. You could add 1/2 cup chopped nuts instead of the coconut, or leave it out altogether as I did.

Enjoy your lentils!

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Vegan Substitutions

The most difficult thing about vegan cooking is not, as you might think, getting a balanced meal or packing in enough protein. Those are easy! Instead, the real challenge lies in duplicating (or near-duplicating) classic recipes intended for the omnivores of the world.

What you may not realize is that our grandmothers and their grandmothers have been making vegan substitutions, especially in their baked goods, for generations--without giving it a second thought! If they happened to be out of eggs or milk, or couldn't get them in the first place, they might substitute something else in its place. What, dare you ask? Well, wouldn't you like to know?

Now, I'm not exactly a pastry chef but I do a little baking from time to time. This list of substitutions is tried and true, and I've compiled it not only from my personal experience but from expert advice as well. Heck, I've even seen Paula Deen touting some of these substitutions!

Replacing an egg
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup plain yogurt (soy works!)
2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1/4-1/3 cup mashed banana

Replacing buttermilk
Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to 1 cup soy/rice/almond milk and allow to rest before using

Replacing heavy cream/half and half
Equal amount soy creamer or whole fat almond milk
For 1 cup heavy cream, melt 1/3 cup vegan margarine into 3/4 cup soy/rice/almond milk

And, if you're looking to make your recipe a little healthier, vegan or not:

Replacing oil/butter/margarine/shortening
* Vegan butter/margarine/shortening options exist, but are pricey. If you're looking to stretch your budget, use 1/2 of the vegan version and substitute the other half with one of these options:
Applesauce (works in all recipes)
Pureed prunes (best in chocolate/spice recipes!)
Mashed banana (works in all recipes)
Plain yogurt (soy works!)

I hope these tips help when your pantry is running low and it's time to whip up that next batch of cookies!

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Chai Latte Tapioca Pudding

Over the weekend, we had lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant on the planet, A Taste of India in the University District of Seattle. During our meal, the party at the next table ordered a round of chai. I don't do cow milk, so restaurant chai is typically out of the question for me. Instead, I live vicariously through the scent, that familiar sweet-spicy-warm aroma that spreads so easily through a public dining room.

I'll admit, I did nearly fall out of my chair as I attempted to lean closer and sniff in more of that lovely forbidden stuff. Nearly, but I didn't.

Instead, I came home pondering the world of chai, the world beyond my teacup, and thought about other things of a chai-nature. Well, tapioca pudding may not have been the first thing that came to your mind, but it was for me. So, I decided to dig up and dust off my old vanilla tapioca recipe and give it a little spin through India, via chai latte.


Chai Latte Tapioca Pudding

1/2 cup small pearl tapioca beads
1 cup water
2 cups non-dairy milk of your choice (I use vanilla almond milk-- see Note)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch allspice
pinch salt

Note: If you're using a flavored/sweetened milk, no extra sugar is needed. If you're using a plain milk or light coconut milk, add up to 2/3 cup sugar (to taste) at the same time you add the milk.

Step 1: Soak tapioca beads in water in a lidded container in the refrigerator.

Step 2: When it's cooking time, bring your milk and spices (and sugar, if adding) to a boil in a medium saucpan. Drain off any excess water from the tapioca (a little left behind is okay) and add it to the boiling liquid. Stir thoroughly.

Step 3: Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until all of the tapioca beads are completely clear, with no white showing at all, and liquid is reduced to a thick gluey sauce (approximately 20-25 minutes).

Step 4: When the beads are clear and the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat. If you prefer your pudding warm, you're done and ready to serve it up! If cold pudding is your preference (and it's mine), move the pudding to the refrigerator for 4 hours. You can spoon into individual custard cups if you like, or just pour it into one big bowl.

The recipe yields about 4-6 servings, depending on your appetite.

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Israeli Couscous with Tempeh and Red Wine

You're all familiar with couscous -- the tiny round semolina pasta served with every Moroccan dish under the sun -- but have you tried Israeli couscous? Instead of semolina, Israeli couscous is made with hard wheat and it's approximately twice the diameter of its smaller cousin and is prepared in a very similar fashion.


When shopping, you might also see Israeli couscous referred to as "pearl couscous." I'm partial to the Harvest Grains Blend that Trader Joe's sells, which contains Israeli couscous, orzo, split chickpeas and red quinoa. The cooking instructions call for chicken broth, but vegetable broth or salted water works just fine. In a pinch, you can substitute plain orzo pasta for the couscous in this recipe.

This is a easy two-dish dinner that can be made for just one person, or for a small army. It's one of my favorites for both of those reasons. I'll list the recipe for 1 (generous) portion, and you can double or triple as needed.


Israeli Couscous with Tempeh and Red Wine

1/4 cup Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe's
6 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, sliced Lyonnaise style (root to tip)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 of a green or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 serving tempeh, chunked or in small strips
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 cup red wine (use whatever you usually drink)
1/2 cup vegetable broth

In a small saucepan, cook Harvest Grains in water according to package instructions (or substitute orzo pasta here if you prefer).

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and bell pepper, and cook until shallots are translucent and soft (approx 10 minutes). Add tempeh and scallion, and sauté until the tempeh pieces pick up a bit of color on both sides (approx 5-7 minutes).

Add red wine and vegetable broth to the tempeh. Turn the heat to medium high until the liquid begins to bubble, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to approximately 1/4 cup.

Serve Israeli couscous alongside the tempeh-veggie mix on the same plate. Garnish with fresh chopped scallions.

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