Filed under: ethos/philosophy, recipes | Tags: hemp butter, veganscene at may cottage
This is yet another tardy post but what can I say? The pace of our lives is fast, too fast, lately!
But guess what? We’re doing it! The vegan house share!! And we are psyched but also overwhelmed with the ominous and never ending list of DIY that we incurred upon arrival at the sweet May Cottage nearly three years ago. Oh, well. We’re working on it and now we seem to have lots of helping hands.
We’ve had nearly a dozen awesome, inspiring vegans write to us and tell us they want to check this place out and possibly move here. From the feedback we’ve received so far, there seems to be a real need and desire for some kind of affordable vegan community living and we’re thrilled that there are like-minded folks out there with whom we are able to share our time and space.
We can only accommodate a handful of those folks at present, but we’ve got a big plot of land and a few dilapidated dwellings onsite that, with a bit of love and a few fun days working together in the sunshine, will be perfect homes for more people.
I’m just a little bit sad that most of my time will be spent working in London. Part of me wishes I could stick around here all of the time, but alas…I will be up when I can!
Switching modes entirely, I wanted to share a really healthy and delicious food we’ve been making every week as of late. Thanks to a local green grocer that somehow gets massive shipments of just-out-of-date organic goods and then sells them for extremely low prices(!!!!!!!!), we have had a steady flow of ridiculously cheap hemp seeds. Usually hemp seeds are like four quid for 250g, but right now we are getting about a kilo’s worth for £1!!!! So while this recipe might not be as cheap for you, wherever you are in the world, it is still worth every penny.
Hemp seeds are good for you. They are probably one of the best sources of complete protein on this earth, full of vitamins, minerals, and an amazing ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 fats. Just google them if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
250 g raw hemp seeds
big handful of pumpkin seeds
sea salt to taste
2 or 3 big cloves of fresh garlic
half of a small onion
lemon juice from 2 or 3 wedges
tablespoon or two of cider vinegar
maybe a tablespoon of water
Blend hemp and pumpkin seeds in the food processor to a paste-like consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend some more. Keep in a sealed tupperware container or sealed glass jar for up to one week. Eat with crudites, crackers, and other dishes. Just make sure it doesn’t get too hot, otherwise you’ll damage the omega fats.
Also: for a really creamy raw hemp and pumpkin sauce/salad dressing/yogurty-dip, simply add more water (probably about a cup more).
Today, I couldn’t get into the city to work. There’s about nine inches of snow on the ground…
…and on the kale, the broccoli, the turnips, the beet root, the roof of the greenhouse…
I don’t think anything is going to survive. We didn’t expect a blizzard and don’t have greenhouse heaters or clotches…so we’ll see what happens, but I think the plants are dying. We will have to take this as a lesson. We’ll need to figure out some sheltered growing conditions for next winter and in the meantime, I’ll keep thinking that maybe the snow will melt away soon and everything will rebound.
I’m glad we got in a few crops of purple brussels before the major snow storm.
Hands down, the best way to cook brussels sprouts is roasted in the oven, after a coating of olive oil, freshly minced garlic, and salt!
Filed under: gardening, health, recipes | Tags: wheatgrass, wheatgrass in the food processor
I don’t have one of those awesome specialized wheatgrass juicers, so for the past week I’ve wondered what to do with a mop of long wheatgrass growing in the green house. I’ve read that wheatgrass fiber is not digestible by humans, so I felt I couldn’t just lob it in the food processor whilst making a green smoothie. A dear friend came to visit this week and she has had extensive experience with wheatgrass at a raw food wellness centre in Puerto Rico; she even washed her eyes out with it! She offered up the perfect solution: put it in the processor, add water, and strain. She said the end product wouldn’t be as concentrated as the properly juiced stuff, but that there would still be a very nutritious and digestible liquid. Cool!
To grow the grass, we simply soaked the seeds overnight, spread them out atop some compost, and made sure the seeds were always hydrated. The seed germinated and grew quickly. I can tell that several servings will grow from this little tray!
Filed under: recipes | Tags: pumpkin, pumpkin and coconut soup, wisley magic beans
I’ve been buying pumpkins repeatedly from the farmers market since they’ve been in season.
The first dish I made was a thick pumpkin and coconut milk soup. I started by baking the pumpkin for about 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius after cutting it in half, placing the halves in a casserole dish (insides facing down), and adding about a quarter of an inch of water to the dish (to retain moisture inside the pumpkin as it baked). I had a small pumpkin, so I also baked a few sweet potatoes for the soup at the same time. When everything was thoroughly roasted, I scooped the beautiful cooked pumpkin out and mashed it together with the potato. Next, I added the goop to a pot of sauteed onion and red curry paste. Once it was thoroughly mixed, I added a can of coconut milk and about a cup of water. I let this come to a simmering boil before adding a pile of cooked Wisley Magic beans, which I consider to be a delicacy, and some spinach. I seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper. What a delicious way to savor a pumpkin!
A few days later, we were ready for more roasted gourd, but this time I did not want it mashed into a soup. I wanted to eat it whole and stuffed!
First I made a quinoa stuffing that took only slightly longer to cook than it would to make plain quinoa. It tasted like a tangy white wine (quinoa) risotto. I briefly sauteed onion,fresh oregano, thyme, powdered cumin, and the pumpkin guts I garnered from the halved gourd before roasting. After about 20 minutes (and just in time for my quinoa to boil!) I added the cooked Q, a handful of presoaked raisins, and raw broccoli to the pot. Next, I did something a little bit daring…maybe experimental, but something that ended up creating the flavor for the dish: I got a coffee mug and put a small table spoon of molasses, a big table spoon of miso, a capful of cider vinegar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and just-boiled water, mixed it, and poured it over the quinoa. I put the lid on the mixture and let it sit on very low heat for a few minutes. Then I got my pumpkins out of the oven, stuffed them up with the mixture, sprinkled some dried parsley over the top, and baked the pumpkin halves for another 20 minutes.
The pumpkin was served with a side of seasoned Wisley Magics and a heap of ginger-beet-tomato salad. I made the salad a day before we consumed it, so it could soften and marinade in the fridge. Besides the three ingredients mentioned, it contained a few capfuls of apple cider vinegar.
It was a great dinner but also a sad dinner because we ate the last portion of Wisley Magic beans growing in the yard. They were truly great beans, being that they were hugely plump and creamy. I don’t think there’s anything in the shop that can replicate them. And that said, I will remember them fondly until I grow the next generation….
Filed under: recipes
I’m not sure what kind of leaves these are. They’re waxy and red, too waxy to be beet leaf but smaller than rainbow chard. I picked the leaves up at the farmer’s market.
The smoothie was just a mango and a pile of these leaves. It looks like a berry smoothie, and the leaves are surprisingly mild, so it kind of tasted like one, too.
I do realize there’re only so many posts I can make about kale. However…
A few weeks ago, we found a used dehydrator on e-bay, so we took the plunge. A dehydrator is a simple box with a heating system, fan, and thermostat. The dehydrator blows warm air over raw food, evaporating moisture content in the food, hence providing a dried and warmed edible that is still technically raw, since it was never heated above 118 degrees F.
There are lots of ways to use a dehydrator. One of my main goals with the device was to make raw kale chips.
First I made a basic tahini dressing, roughly 4 tablespoons of tahini paste, 2 cloves raw garlic, lemon juice, splash of olive oil, and sea salt whizzed together. I combined that with about 1/2 cup water. I coated about 325 grams of fresh kale leaves with this tahini, then placed them in a warmed dehydrator for 4 hours at 110 degrees F.
When they were brittle and ready to eat, the tahini turned into a thin coating of paste that was unlike anything I’ve tasted because it was very cheesy, savory, and tangy in a unique way. It is very different from “hydrated” tahini, indeed.
These kale chips were one of the tastiest snacks I’ve ever had. It is an easy way to get lots of greens in the old system.
The blog has taken a back seat as I’ve been mulling over and working toward big things, things that soon I will put down in words and up on this blog as a way to solidify my reasons and aspirations.
Right now, I just want to share my thoughts on marinating tofu and tempeh. I’ve actually thought quite a lot about it, as it goes. For instance, I think the best time to marinade your tofu is right before bed. This way, it will have just enough time to soak up the flavors by the time you eat it the following night, about 19 hours later.
There are lots of ways to marinade: simple one-or-two ingredient marinades, dry rubs, or the marinades with dry and wet ingredients.
When I have time, I marinade by mixing together dry herbs, rubbing the mixture onto an unsliced block of tofu, slicing the tofu, applying the dry mix to the new slices, and then adding grated ginger, garlic, and fresh lime juice.
The marinated tofu slices pictured here did not have fresh ginger or garlic because we were out of both! It was still a tangy, interesting marinade and included cumin, 2 Indian spice blends, cayenne pepper, paprika, powdered ginger, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and lots of lime juice.
After the tofu slices marinated for about 18 hours, we fried them lightly on a hot cast iron pan and ate them.
Lately, we’ve been revisiting our eating habits. I mentioned in a previous post that Daley and I are excluding refined sugar, flour, and margarine from our diets. We have also been trying to increase our raw food, and specifically leafy green, intakes. To this end, we have introduced the green smoothie into our lives, specifically in the part when we eat our first meal of the day.
Although I’ve included vegetables and greens in the fresh juices I’ve made, I don’t have too much experience with whole fiber green smoothies.
We’ve had three solid mornings of green smoothies in a row so far.
I am enjoying the taste of my smoothies and thinking the green breakfast benefits my over all feeling of wellness. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but I feel awesome after I consume one of these. I would like to make it a habit, and since prep and clean up takes only a few minutes, I can rely on this as my go-to breakfast. Previously, my breakfasts would usually be some sort of salty left overs or bulgar wheat, as well as a piece of fruit. I would never include greens in my first meal of the day, let alone raw greens.
Now before you think about gagging and go back to your bagel, I want to tell you that this delicious smoothie is composed of about 60% fruit and 40% green leaf de jour. This means that we enjoy a fruity, mild, fresh, and non-offensive concoction. You don’t taste the greens very much at all. Of course, if we tinkered with the percentages, we’d have more “green” tasting results. We’ve been using about 200 grams of greens (baby spinach or kale leaves, although we plan to use others), some berries, and a base that is either peaches, a mango, or a few bananas, and water. We drink a big mug full each.
Fine tuning our diet is an ongoing process, and the saying “what you get in is what you get out,” definitely applies. The more I choose whole foods, and especially the raw green ones, the better I feel. I haven’t kept the date, but it’s been at least 4 weeks since I’ve consumed refined sugar. I’m doing great- mostly I fix a craving with whole dates or by using date puree in a recipe. Sometimes that recipe includes cocoa if I feel like eating a chocolaty food. On one occasion, we purchased a pricy bar of raw cacao sweetened with agave nectar. I do feel like we’ve cheated a bit with the agave, since it contains just as much fructose as high fructose corn syrup. But I am learning more and more that naturally sweet fruits are a satiable and healthy way to get sugar in the system.
Along with the smoothies and exclusion of refined foods, I’ve been taking care to have plenty of sprouts sprouting, as well as some waiting to be eaten in the fridge. I’ve also been taking more salads for lunch at work, and we usually eat one as a preface to dinner at the end of the day. I’m still eating my far share of cooked whole foods, but definitely trying to up my percentage of raw. On that note, I’d love to embark on a 10 day, all raw cleanse soon! After all, if I am what I eat, I should be eating living foods to be alive.
I’d like to give a shout out to The Raw Family, as they provide a really great (and free!) resource with information and recipes regarding green smoothies.
Alright, this is the link from which I got an awesome cashew cheese loaf recipe. The author does a great job in pictures and recipe, and I was inspired to start the process for my own “loaf” immediately after reading. That was no big deal since the first step is soaking cashew nuts overnight. The whole process is simple, yet takes about a day or longer, because most of the time you are allowing your cheese to stand and do its own thing.
While the cheese was on its final twenty minutes in the oven, I gathered salad leaves from the veggie plot and swung into the chopping board to produce a medley crudites and colorful salad. I also whizzed up a raw tomato and date dressing that consisted of three medium sized tomatoes, one pitted date, a pinch of fresh oregano, a clove of garlic, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a splash of cider vinegar.
A few years ago, my teenaged brother in law scratched his head, screwed up his face, and asked me, “What do vegans eat, cardboard?” Yeah, OK!
Lately, I have been trying to completely exclude margarine, white flour, and refined sugar from my diet. It has been an inspiring challenge, and I am happy to say that seeds, nuts, and dates- all ‘whole’ foods- when combined, make very satisfying substitutes for traditional sweets that contain lots of refined, unhealthy ingredients.
You can use any kind of nuts or seeds. For my most recent batch, I used cashew nuts and brazil nuts. The recipe takes all of 10 minutes, as there is no baking or measuring involved. I simply use even amounts of nuts and seeds as I do dates. If I happen to use slightly more nuts and the mixture is a bit dry, I add small amounts of water, by the tablespoon, to make it sticky.
First I grate my nut and seed mixture. I use the grater attachment on the food processor for a chunky texture. If you don’t have a processor, wrap your nuts in muslin cloth and bang them on the counter until they are in small pieces. It may even help to use a hammer-like tool. Next, put the broken/grated nuts into a bowl.
At this point, I use the steel blade on the food processor to puree my dates into a thick paste. I don’t think you can get a puree going manually. The closest you’ll get to that will probably be a hand grinder.
After the dates are pureed, I add the two mixtures together using a spoon and/or my hand. Once everything is well blended, I roll them out into balls and chill in the fridge. They’re good at room temperature, but I prefer them cold!