Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Fattoush


Hello dear friends and readers!  It's been brought to my attention that Powered by Plantz is well over-due for a bit of love.  It's true, I haven't written since February.  Multiple factors have contributed to this little break - a new and ugly kitchen that's really hard to take photos in (I'll dazzle you with pictures of it soon, I promise), the start of a new business venture (Check out Dirty Bird Cold Brew Coffee!) and a totally unexpected, not-at-all-planned, holy what-the-whaaaaaa? pregnancy.  That's right folks, I'm pregnant, and have been so for about five and a half months.

Now I know that women do this whole pregnancy thing ALL THE TIME, but the truth is that it freaks me out and I haven't been quite myself.  To stay on the topic of food, let's just say that I've been eating my fair share of grilled cheeses (I'm so sad we're out of cheese now that I've just typed that), french fries, frozen veggie nuggets, and all matter of not-so-good-for-you food.  I'm not saying this to be down on myself, I'm just saying that I doubt you guys are really interested in a post about how to heat a veggie dog and stuff it in your face in under five minutes, or how to eat left-over pizza at 11pm, or how to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's for dinner.  Feel me?  I haven't been feeling terribly inspired in the kitchen, and I haven't been terribly vegan either.   Which is another reason I haven't posted in a while;  this has almost always been a vegan blog, and I'm on the fence about whether or not I want to switch that up.  For today, I don't have the energy to get into the debate (playing the pregnancy card!), I just wanted to share a simple recipe for an amazingly delicious and fresh fattoush.

If you're unfamiliar with fattoush, you're in for a treat.  It's a typical Lebanese salad that makes a great meal on its own, or rounds out a larger mediterranean spread of hummus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, falafel and the like. It's succulent and refreshing in the summer, and has a whole lot of zing thanks to generous use of sumac and lemon.  (I talked a little bit about sumac in this Cauliflower Tabbouleh post.)  Feel free to add/subtract vegetables to suit your taste, just don't skimp on the sumac, lemon,  mint, tomatoes and toasted pita.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
Juice of one big lemon
1 Tbsp sumac
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried mint, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
salt to taste

3 medium tomatoes -  large dice
2 to 3 small cucumbers, lebanese if you have them, cut into half moons
1 bell pepper, large dice
A few big handfuls of (romaine or other) lettuce, washed and chopped

1 pita bread

METHOD

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. 
  • Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers and set aside.
  • Cut the pita into 1-inch squares.  Spread on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated oven (about 350) until lightly browned and crisp. 
  • While the pita toasts, wash and chop your lettuce.
  • When ready to serve, add the lettuce and toasted pita squares, toss well and serve immediately.
  • Serves 2 to 4.
Be prepared to eat this whole thing in one go, as it will not keep well.  If you want to do advanced preparation, just hold off on adding the lettuce and pita until you're ready to serve.  Enjoy!



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gingerbread Protein Pancakes - Gluten Free!


I love buckwheat flour for pancakes and quick breads.  It's rich, flavourful and loaded with nutrients, protein and fiber.  In fact, it just beats the crap out of wheat flour in terms of the nutrition it brings to the body.  As a bonus, it's naturally sticky, which makes it a uniquely easy gluten-free flour to use.  (There's no need to add xanthan gum, guar gum or eggs to get buckwheat to stick together.)   I used a 50/50 mix of buckwheat and brown rice flours here, but if you don't have brown rice flour on hand, feel free to go 100% buckwheat.

And please note:  These pancakes are not only for the gluten-free people among us.  They're just some damn tasty pancakes that happen to be gluten free.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ultra-Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Bark


This chocolate is inspired by two things.  First; the disgustingly, wonderfully, alarmingly addictive product known as Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate.  It is pure evil in a bag.  I fell victim to a bag of it once and resolved never to buy it again, lest I snack myself into a diabetic coma.  Second; I'm currently following the Clean Program by Alejandro Junger M.D. (more on that below).  No sugar is allowed on the Clean program, which rules out most commercial chocolates.  Coconut sugar, however, is game-on (in moderation, of course) which makes this recipe possible.  Apparently, coconut sugar is high in minerals and has a relatively low glycemic index, making it a pretty decent alternative sweetener.  I find it to be a lot less sweet than regular sugar.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pistachio Date Bars



No-bake Pistachio Date Bars.  These babies take all of 20 minutes to make and are great as a late-afternoon snack, or as fuel for long workouts.  I made this batch specifically so that I could send some with a friend who's doing a cross country ski marathon.  I believe he's looking at two, ten-hour days of skiing, so he'll definitely need a lot of energy.

Many people shy away from coconut oil, thinking that it's bad because it's a saturated fat.  I've come to learn/believe that it's actually a GOOD fat, so I've included it here on purpose.  Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).  MCTs are digested easily, and unlike fats that are not MCTs, they are utilized in the liver.  Within moments of being consumed, they are converted to energy by the liver.  In other words; coconut oil provides more energy, more quickly than other fat sources.  Coconut oil has strong anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties.  All good things when fighting yeast overgrowth.  Coconut oil helps stimulate thyroid function, ladies, which in turn helps lower bad cholesterol.  It is also known to help regulate blood sugar.  I could keep going, but I'll stop before I bore you.  For more information on the value of coconut oil, check out Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe, Clean by Alexandro Junger, M.D. or Thrive by Brendan Brazier.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Roasted Eggplant and Asparagus Rolls


These have become something of a holiday party staple for me this year.  They're just so dang good lookin' and everyone loves them.  They're a no-fuss finger food that don't require plates, forks, or additional dips.  You can just pick them up and put them in your face (in two bites, of course).   I also like that that they're happy at room temperature and gluten free.  You can prepare all of the elements the day before, and then just roll them up an hour or two before before serving.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto


I don't know why it's taken me so long to post this recipe.  This is one of my absolute favourite things,  I put it on everything.  It makes just about every sandwich and wrap taste better, makes a nice base for crostini, and is a key component of these Roasted Eggplant and Asparagus Rolls.  

For best results, I use semi-dried tomatoes.  A semi-dried tomato is similar to a dried apricot.  It's dry, but still succulent enough that you can eat it out of the bag.  They seem to be quite common in Montreal; I find them at Anatol and Milano.  For my Kansas friends?  Good luck.  All I can ever find when I'm back there are super-expensive, very dry tomatoes, or super-expensive oil-packed tomatoes.  If you're using dry, rehydrate them in water until they soften up.  If using oil-packed, drain them and adjust the amount of oil you use accordingly.  If you have a garden, semi-dry your own!  If you need me to ship you a bag, tawk to me.  Whatever it takes to help you get this into your face, I'll help.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lentil and Tempeh Tourtière



During the holiday season in Quebec, tourtière is as much of a necessity as pumpkin pie.  French Quebecers have been mixing multiple meats in this traditional pie since long before the monstrosity known as the "turducken" was foisted onto the earth's population.  Indeed, enjoying tourtière with family and friends is a time-honoured highlight of the season.  I've been a vegetarian since before I arrived here, so I've never actually had it.  This year, however, I'm determined to not miss out on the fun.