Jan 2, 2016

dinner to bento: caramelized onion and kale sautee

Before I get into today's post, I have to announce the winner of The Taco Cleanse (AmazonB&N)! The winner is: CHARJ! Congratulations! Contact me at zsusveganpantry dot com so I can get your mailing address.

With one of my girls in college and the other with a job and school, I have been finding the need to pack them lunchboxes. That adds another level of work to my day and I've been wondering how best to tackle that. With a potential new book in the works, I really don't have the luxury any more to make lunch in the middle of the day and then dinner at night.

What to do?

How about making dinner and then using some of those ingredients or components to make lunch for the following day (or the day after)? Sounded good to me! If all goes well, this will become regular blog posts that I can share with you.

I'm calling these Dinner To Bento.

My first offering is Caramelized Onion and Kale Saute with Brown Rice and Beans. After you cook the dinner, set aside some of the saute and rice and make them into Chipotle Burgers. The burgers can be served in wraps, on buns or on a bed of greens.

The easiest ways to cook brown rice fast is to use my method or a pressure cooker.

The ingredients are pretty simple: onions, garlic, sage, kale, broth, rice, beans and jalapenos. Slicing the onions as thin as you can (without taking forever) makes the onions cook faster. Get the rice on first and then start slicing the onions.

After cooking the onions about 8 minutes (keeping the pan covered and adding splashes of broth about every 4 minutes), add the sage and garlic. Another 10 more minutes and you will have caramelized onions.

Add the broth, beans and kale and continue to simmer until the kale is tender - about 10 minutes. By now the rice should be cooked and steaming under a kitchen towel (this goes for either method - once cooked, drape a kitchen towel over the pot).

Before you serve the saute with the rice and chile, set aside 1 cup of the saute (drained) and 1 cup of the rice.

Transfer the saute, mustard, chipotle puree (simply blend a can of chipotle en adobo until smooth and store in the fridge in a covered container where it will keep for months) and quick-cooking oatmeal to a food processor and pulse to chop.

Mix the processed mixture with the rice, form into patties and cook in a skillet until browned. Pack in lunchboxes the next day (in a microwave-safe container if you are planning to reheat it) with a bun or tortilla, a container of chipotle mayo and lettuce and tomato.

That's it! Two meals in one, yet different enough to transcend "leftovers."

Caramelized Onion and Kale Saute/Chipotle Burgers
Prep and cook time: 45 minutes  
Serves 3 to 4 

2 cups medium or short-grain brown rice
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 sprigs fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
6 garlic cloves, sliced
8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and chopped
2 cups cannellini beans
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
Sea salt and black pepper

1 cup drained saute
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats**
1 teaspoon chipotle puree*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup cooked medium or short-grain brown rice
1 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chipotle puree*

1. Cook the brown rice. 
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions (use a little oil if you like, but it is not necessary). Cover the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Stir, add a splash of broth, cover and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sage, garlic, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Repeat with a splash of broth, stir and continue to cook until the onions are caramelized, about 10 more minutes. 
3. Add the kale, beans and remaining broth to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and stir well. Cook until the kale is tender, about 10 more minutes. Mash some of the beans using a potato masher or large spoon and cook for another minute. Before serving, remove 1 cup of the sautee (drained) and 1 cup of the rice. Serve with the brown rice and slivers of jalapeno. 
4. For the burgers: Add the saute, oats, chipotle and mustard to a food processor. Pulse until combined but not pureed. Transfer to a bowl and add the rice. Mix well and adjust seasoning. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and form into patties about 1/2 an inch thick.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve on buns with the chipotle mayo.
6. For the mayo: Mix the mayonnaise and chipotle in a small bowl until well combined. 

** If you don’t have quick-cooking oats, process rolled oats in the food processor before adding the saute, mustard and chipotle. 

* Blend a can of chipotle en adobo until smooth and store in the fridge in a covered container where it will keep for months.

 © 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Dec 9, 2015

the only cleanse you will ever need!

Lemonade Cleanse, Master Cleanse, Juice Cleanse, Detox Cleanse, Smoothie Cleanse, Raw Food Cleanse, Fasting Cleanse……the list is long and painful to navigate. Which is the right cleanse for you, you may have wondered from time to time, and perhaps have even followed the road down the path of one or more of these diets.

So, why do we subject ourselves to these regiments? Why put ourselves through weeks of relative torture? What are the benefits?  Most of the time, we cleanse because we are feeling tired, run-down, lethargic, foggy, slow and burdened by one thing or another. Maybe the environment we live in or the foods we consume has our plumbing bogged down and we need a roto-rooter, of a sort, to get things moving again.

Very recently, I, too, felt these familiar and most unwelcome side-effects of living and, I, too, wondered how to fix my plumbing. But the more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that my entire LIFE needed an overhaul, not just my body. What now, I thought? Was there a cleanse for this type of massive spring cleaning? I was crestfallen at the prospect of finding just the right cleanse. I felt doomed to this life of mediocrity and eternal blah-ness.

I felt stuck and hopeless.

Then magic came through the wires of my dial-up and right into my e-mail box: The Taco Cleanse (Amazon, B&N).

I had heard rumors about this miracle cleanse through the air-waves of Vegan Month of Food in 2013, but I didn’t feel the massive oppression in my life then as I had of late and, therefore, just ignored the titillation that surrounded the Taco Cleanse. But now, I recognized that I NEEDED THIS CLEANSE.

I received the book a few weeks ago and immediately dove in.

The first thing the authors presented was an easy self-diagnosis of symptoms to see if, indeed, the Taco Cleanse was for me. Pointed questions, such as “Do I get hungry on a daily basis?” {YES!} “Do you experience a range of emotions? {BOY, DO I EVER!}. Bottom line was, I needed this cleanse!

Then I dove into the research that was presented by the esteemed Taco Scientists. The wealth of knowledge had my head spinning, but I knew that I was on the right track! Taco Cleanse was for me!

Very helpfully, the authors provided a week’s plan for the tacos that I needed to consume right off the boat. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Supplement were suggested. I especially enjoyed the Supplement aspect of the cleanse -- such delicious and nutritious elixirs as Avocado Margarita and Everyday Mexican Martini had me sleeping like a baby, something that was sorely lacking during these last few years of my life.

Now that I have been on The Taco Cleanse for more than a few weeks, I have decided to delve further into the book and begin the author’s Life-long Recommendations to further enhance my life using the beneficial flora and fauna of The Taco Cleanse. This includes Taco Yoga, Taco Salutations, Taco Mudras and Planting a Taco Garden.

I have been feeling TACO times better as of late. My energy has been returned TACO fold times and I feel exuberant and joyous at last!

I want to spread the Taco Love far and wide and give everyone the opportunity to partake in the Taco Cleanse, should you be experiencing any of the symptoms I mentioned above. Here is a run-down of one of my days on the cleanse, to show you how well-fed, delicious and decidedly un-cleanse like this cleanse is. Below is an excerpt from my Taco Journal (which the authors whole-heartedly recommend keeping).

December 7, 2015

7 AM
I wake up, feed the kitties, shower and launch into Taco Yoga and Taco Meditation. 

7:30 AM
It’s going to be a fine day; I can already tell!

8 AM
I head downstairs, prepare my daily schedule, drink a cup of tea and prepare my first taco of the day. This morning I decide on the Supreme Bacon, Scramble and Cheese Breakfast Taco. The authors mention to keep it simple and adhere only to the mentioned ingredients in your taco. Difficult to do as I like to add a bunch of toppings; we’ll see!

8:40 AM
I followed directions and they are right (as usual!) and the taco starts my cleanse off on the right hand (you use your hand to eat tacos, folks). I prepared the bacon and the scramble mixture the night before, so this taco took about 20 minutes to cook and assemble. Yum.

10 AM
I spent the last hour planning my Spring Taco Garden. The authors are right again! So much peace and contentment it is to plan the growing of my future food. I’ve ordered some organic seeds for the spring and can’t wait to begin getting dirt under my fingernails. Hmm. That’s making me hungry. I’m going to need a taco soon!

At last, taco time! For lunch I decide on Frito Pie Tacos. I don’t know what it is about it, but the crunch from the Frito chips sounds really appealing. I think my body is missing in the nutrient “crunch” and I feel the need to oblige it. Incredible that this cleanse even accommodates the crunch factor! 

12:40 PM
This particular taco was supremely satisfying and so, so delicious! Yum and Crunch!

3 PM
After working on my next book, I decide to take a well-deserved break, but I can’t think of what to do! So I pick up my trusty Cleanse book and discover the Taco Crossword in the back! Serendipity! 

3:15 PM
I decided that this was a great way to test how far I had come on my taco cleanse. Educational and Fun. What a relaxing way to spend some time.

5 PM
Grumble, grumble. Tummy is asking for another taco. The possibilities are endless in this taco manual, and after some searching and salivating, I decide on the Infinite Fish Taco

5:40 PM
I salted my cabbage, made the slaw and fried up some tofu and threw this easy taco together in no time. In fact, it was ready just in time, as my taco alarm was going off and I needed to supplement with tacos as soon as possible. Truly worth the wait, however, and my taco-senses stopped tingling. 

7 PM 
At this time of night, I like to focus my taco energy and therefore indulge in a half hour of Taco Mudras. Again, the Taco Mudras guide is available in this manual that is dubbed The Taco Cleanse. Thank goodness!

7:30 PM
Normally, after the mudras I like to indulge in a detoxing libation, such as Mind-Limbering Michelada (it does wonders in helping me sleep!), but on this eventide, I have the inexplicable hankering for another taco! Luckily, the taco scientists address this issue, and instruct us to give into the cravings no matter what time of day or night, so, I am throwing caution to the wind and going downstairs to whip up a Tater Tot-cho Taco

8:15 PM
This hit the spot! It might not be a delightful brew, but definitely an indulgence that was not really an indulgence at all, but more like a mind-blowing necessity! I am going to sleep like a kitten tonight!

There, see?! The Cleanse has done wonders in my life and I am sure it can do the same for you! The delightful authors (Wes Allison, Stephanie Bogdanich, Molly Frisinger and Jessica Morris) and their delightful publisher (The Experiment) have given me the permission to publish a taco recipe from The Taco Cleanse (and what better way to start than with a breakfast taco – although, as the taco scientists point out, breakfast tacos are meant to be eaten at any time of day!)

Not only that, but I have a copy of The Taco Cleanse up for grabs! To enter for your chance to win just leave a comment telling me why you think The Taco Cleanse would help you. If you like me on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter, leave a SECOND comment for another chance to win! Easy as vegan tacos!

Contest ends on Monday, December 21, Midnight. Contest open to US and Canadian residents, courtesy of The Experiment publishing.

All the best and luck to everyone!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Bogdanich

Mighty Migas

What started out as a way to use up leftover corn tortillas has become a staple of brunch tables. Migas tacos are transformational because they contain two superfoods: corn and flour tortillas. If you’ve been afflicted with collywobbles or gripe, try eating at least one migas taco a week. Because your homemade corn tortillas are probably too delicious to leave any leftovers, tortilla chips stand in here.

·         1 tablespoon cooking oil
·         ½ cup (70 g) chopped onion
·         1 jalapeno, sliced into rings
·         14 to 18 ounces (397 to 454 g) firm tofu, drained
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         ½ teaspoon ground cumin
·         1/8 teaspoon black pepper
·         1 cup (37 g) crumbled tortilla chips
·         1 cup (170 g) seeded, chopped tomato
·         ¼ cup (15 g) nutritional yeast
·         ¼ cup (60 ml) unsweetened plant milk or water
·         ½ cup (48 g) vegan cheddar, optional
·         8 Flour Tortillas

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and jalapeño for 2 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Crumble the tofu into the pan and sprinkle with the salt, cumin, and pepper. Cook until the tofu is dry and browned on at least one side, about 10 minutes. Try not to stir too often as this prevents browning. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the cheese if you’re using it, and stir thoroughly. Cook until the tomato softens and the liquid is completely absorbed. Serve in the flour tortillas.

Credit line: Recipe from The Taco Cleanse: The Tortilla-Based Diet Proven to Change Your Life, copyright ©Wes Allison, Stephanie Bogdanich, Molly R. Frisinger, Jessica Morris, 2015. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com