Monthly Archives: April 2017

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Recipe: Sweet and Salty Fried Tempeh (Tempe Me Goreng)

Back in December I spent some time in Bali, Indonesia, and the food was fantastic! I’ve never seen such an amazing raw, vegan and gluten free scene. Not even in NYC!

One of the local dishes I tasted that I really enjoyed was a fried tempeh. For those of you unfamiliar with tempeh, it’s a fermented soy product native to Indonesia, but also widely consumed by vegans and vegetarians in the states as a protein or meat substitute at times.

I couldn’t get enough of this tempeh, it was sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy. I mean, what more is there to ask for? And, as luck would have it, I took a cooking class at the amazing Paon-Bali and this dish was on the menu. This dish traditionally uses sweet soy sauce, which is not gluten free, but in the class they had us substitute the sweet soy sauce for palm sugar syrup. If you have palm sugar syrup lying around, give it a try! For this recipe, I substituted the sweet soy sauce/palm sugar for coconut aminos and brown rice syrup.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Sweet and Salty Fried Tempeh

2 packages tempeh, thinly sliced*
1/2 cup + 2 tbs refined coconut oil, separated
5 red chilies**, seeds removed, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tbs kefir lime leaves***
3 tbs brown rice syrup
3 tbs coconut aminos or 2 tbs tamari (adjusted to taste)

*While not super important, the type of tempeh you use matters. If you’re new to tempeh, don’t worry about it, but if you’re familiar with tempeh and different brands, try to choose a softer variety. I’ve found that the whole grain ones are firmer, thus don’t work as well. The tempeh in Indonesia is very soft (and white!), the closest I’ve seen here is Barry’s Tempeh.

**if you can’t find red chilies, you can use whatever you can find locally, just adjust depending on your desired level of heat, the red ones are relatively mild.

***I use the jarred ones from Whole Foods, it’s difficult to find fresh kefir lime leaves. If you can’t find the jarred ones, you can use 1 tsp lime zest.

Procedure:

  1. Heat 1/2 cup coconut oil in a wide saucepan or wok.
  2. Once hot, place about 1/3 of the tempeh in the pan, you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. You can deep-fry the tempeh or pan-fry the tempeh, up to you. Both ways work well, I just prefer not to use so much oil since it ends up in the trash. To deep-fry, make sure the oil is deep enough that the tempeh is entirely covered. To pan-fry, use less oil and wait until the tempeh is cooked on one side, and then flip. In either method, wait until both sides of the tempeh are slightly brown (burned tempeh tastes icky) and remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Continue until all the tempeh has been fried.
  4. In a separate pan, heat 2 tbs coconut oil. Once hot, add the garlic, shallot, chilies and scallions. Cook 3-5 minutes, until slightly browned, then add the kefir lime.
  5. Add the tempeh to the pan, along with the coconut aminos/tamari and brown rice syrup. Stir so the tempeh is well coated.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Enjoy!!

Fried sweet and spicy tempeh

A version with jalapeno and thai chili and no scallions. Feel free to experiment!

 

 

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Eating (vegan and gluten free) in Austin, Texas

I recently took a trip to Austin, and I had to share all the wonderful food I found. I’m gluten-free (non-celiac), dairy free, and mostly vegan (I do eat eggs occasionally), so you know I’m always worried about how I’m going to eat while I’m traveling. Well, I’m happy to report that eating in Austin was not only easy, but super enjoyable. Below are some of my favorites. Let me know if I missed any and I’ll be sure to check them out next time!

Case De Luz

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This place is special. You walk in through a magical garden of lights to a room filled with smiles. If you’ve lived on a kibbutz or in an ashram, it has that kind of feel. The menu is set and consists of a soup, salad, steamed veggies, greens, a grain and bean. There’s usually some type of pesto, tahini or nut-based sauce that comes with the veggies. Your meal comes with cold drinks (I had hibiscus) and hot tea (kukicha). They also have a-la-carte desserts. I only had the pecan pie (twice), but once I find something good I tend to stick with it! The whole place is vegan and gluten-free, so no need to worry about cross contamination. And, the price tag is quite impressive – just $12. The staff is kind and if you go alone, you’re more than likely to make some friends.

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Counter Culture

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I have a special place in my heart for Counter Culture because they were my refuge when my Airbnb turned out to be a disaster and I needed a place to chill, eat and charge my phone while I figured sh*t out. Their walnut and beet burger is fantastic. I had it with a collard wrap, but they also have a gluten free bun. Their chickpea “tuna” is also fantastic. They have tons of raw (vegan/gf) desserts to choose from as well.

Curcuma

The best Aryuvedic food truck you could ask for. Right in the center of East Austin, the ladies at Curcuma are so warm and welcoming. The sweet potatoes toasts are delicious, my favorite was the “ricotta”.

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Bouldin Creek

OMG, the sweet potato pecan tamales… I only ate here once, but those tamales will be on my mind for a while! Definitely go for 3 instead of 2.  The staff encouraged me to order the pecan pesto (top right), which was good, but the tamales definitely didn’t need it. My server also allowed me to try the regular and refried beans 🙂 I liked the refried best. There’s a huge selection of vegan food, less selection for vegan and gluten free, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything eating these tamales, that’s for sure.  There’s also plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

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True Food Kitchen

Wow. We had the vegan butternut squash, smoked onion and almond ricotta pizza on the gluten free crust. One of my favorite meals, for sure. The crust was out of this world, not like some of the gf crusts that are super thick or dense. Apparently its made with tapioca and rice flour. All I know is that I would go back for this pizza any day. We also had the mezze salad bowl (warm) and the flourless chocolate cake (gluten free and vegan if you leave off the caramel sauce). The staff was sooo informative and friendly.

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Snap Kitchen

There are at least 3 Snap Kitchen locations in Austin. They are 100% gluten free and have many paleo and vegan options (that are clearly labeled). Lots of selection, lots of great dishes like this kale, hummus, brown rice and sweet potato bowl. I also really liked their black bean sliders. Only downside is everything comes in plastic (BPA free) and the only way to heat the food is in the microwaves they provide. I just ate my food cold or took it with me to go and ate it room temperature. Not the end of the world, but a bit of a downside. Definitely great options for bringing to the airport!

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Thai Fresh

I went for the ice cream. You got me. Cashew and coconut milk based ice cream in 10+ flavors. I tried the horchata, gluten free cookie dough, mint chocolate chip and a few others. They had a cookie batter flavor, turmeric, and a handful of other super unique and delicious ice creams. They also have a ton of gluten free and vegan baked goods. I was eyeing the lemon bar, but it just couldn’t happen that day. Next time, I’m definitely getting it.

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Blenders and Bowls

I saw at least 2 of these during my stay. I’m not really into smoothies or smoothie bowls, but sometimes it was just super hot, and I was craving something cold. I got the green smoothie bowls both times I was there, it has the least fruit and sweetener of any of their stuff, but it’s still pretty sweet. I also got one of their pre-made veggie wraps which was really good and perfect to take with me on a hike.

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There were also a number of places that had gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options that just required some modification. I had delicious Tacos at Torchy’s (an Austin staple), Veracruz (check them out on Food Network) and Whole Foods (their taco bar piles free steamed kale on any taco!)

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Veracruz chips, guac, amazing salsa and migas.

 

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Recipe: Super Simple Swiss Chard

People always ask me for my favorite health tips. While I really like to customize my recommendations to each individual, eating more greens is always on the list. Leafy greens, including Swiss chard, are some of the most nutrient dense foods. They’re also rich in fiber which is one of the most important keys to good gut health.

A lot of people don’t like greens because they find them bitter, or they’re unsure how to cook them. I totally get it. Sometimes I don’t really want to bother with chopping up veggies or aromatics like onion, ginger and garlic. So, today I made this super simple Swiss chard (it was becoming do or die for my Swiss chard, I was a little overambitious grocery shopping last week). The curry paste is store bought, but it’s really great quality and tastes great. You can read more about the curry pastes I recommend here.

This can be eaten as a side dish, or with quinoa and a fried egg to make a complete meal. You can also add any other veggies to this to make it more substantial. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

1 bunch Swiss chard
1/2 tbs coconut oil
2-4 teaspoons Thai kitchen red curry paste
3/4 cup coconut milk*
salt to taste

*use leftover coconut milk to make this awesome DIY leave in hair conditioner.

  1. Separate the leaves and stems of the Swiss chard. Dice the stems and thinly slice the leaves. Keep them separate**
  2. Heat oil in a wok or saute pan. When hot, and the curry paste and a pinch of salt and stir.
  3. Add the chard stems and cook for 3 minutes, then add in the leaves.
  4. Saute on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk.
  5. Cook on low heat until the chard is tender and cooked through. I cook it for about 10 minutes total, but it depends on how soft you like your greens.

**I cut and cook the greens and stems together when I’m cooking for myself. It takes less time and I’m fine with the stems being a little firmer. Feel free to experiment with both ways.

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Are You Ready for Passover? Zucchini Latkes Recipe

It’s that time of year folks… Passover!

I love potato latkes, they’re a family tradition. Actually, I love anything that resembles a latke (for those of you who don’t know about potato latkes, they’re basically potato pancakes).

Just for fun, this year I’m trying out zucchini latkes. Maybe I’ll even bring them to the Sedar! This is an adapted version of a zucchini fritter recipe from the Natural Gourmet Institute. Enjoy!

Zucchini Latkes

Ingredients:

3.5 cups shredded zucchini (about 3 small zucchinis)
1/3 cup arrowroot*
1/3 cup rice flour
1 tbs dill, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1 shallot or 1/2 small red onion, minced
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 egg or flax egg (1 tbs ground flax + 3 tbs water, left to sit for 10 min)
salt to taste

*I ran out of rice flour when making this recipe, so I used half arrowroot and half rice flour (I always have arrowroot around for DIY body/beauty products). Feel free to use all rice flour and let me know how it goes. Next time I’m going to try it that way.

1. Add a tsp of salt to shredded zucchini and place in a colander. Mix and let it drain. After 5 minutes, squeeze out any excess water.

2. Add the arrowroot, rice flour, dill, lemon zest (optional), shallot or onion, egg or flax egg and a touch of salt to the zucchini and mix well.

3. Heal oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, make a ball with 1 tbs of the batter, flatten it and place in the pan. When the bottom has browned, flip it. Blot with paper towel and taste. Add more salt, lemon zest or dill to taste.

4. Form the rest of the batter into 13 balls. Flatten and place in pan. Be careful not to overcrowd so you still have space to flip them.

5. Eat with apple sauce, cashew cream or a tahini.

You can garnish with dill leaves if you like (or not, but you’ll probably have extra), just try not to eat them straight out of the pan and save some for your guests!

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