Strong Arms for Kids

 
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That's right!  Crepes!  Not just any crepes, but whole wheat crepes with fresh tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and a secret ingredient.  This is one of the best breakfasts I have had in a long long time.  Not that I could ever get sick of having smoothies for breakfast but when I need to take a short break from them, this is a fabulous substitute.  This can also make an excellent dinner, that's easy but tastes like you spent hours working on.  I adapted this recipe from a random website I found called Vegetarian and Vegan France

Recipe:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup white flour

pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 cup soymilk

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch spinach leaves (washed and trimmed)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (this is the secret ingredient)


1 large tomato, chopped


1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms


3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

fresh chopped dill

Put the flour and salt into a bowl and add the egg. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of the sunflower oil.

Heat a little oil in a  frying pan, pour off the excess and then quickly pour in about 3 tablespoons of the batter. Tilt the pan so the base is evenly coated with batter, then cook for a couple of minutes until the underside is browned.

Loosen the crepe, then over with a long palette knife and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes until browned.

Slide the crepe out of the pan onto a plate and keep hot. Don’t worry if the first one isn’t perfect, the other ones will be better!

Repeat with the remaining oil and batter mixture to make 8 crepes in all.

To make the filling, heat the oil in a large pan. Add the spinach, garlic, nutmeg, tomatoes, mushrooms and salt and fry for 2-3 minutes, tossing the spinach until it just begins to wilt and the mushrooms are soft. Stir in the feta cheese and warm through.


Divide the filling between the crepes – spoon it on to one half of each crepe and fold over loosely. I added a fried egg on top and sprinkled it with fresh dill.  They are good both with and without the egg on top, all depends how hungry you are.

 
 
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I don't know about you, but I love podcasts.  Especially when I lived abroad (and hope to do again someday), I got most of my news and entertainment from podcasts.  Now I get all of my news from the Daily Show, and don't have much time to listen to podcasts but there are still two podcasts I listen to/ watch religiously.  The first one is "Stuff you Should Know".  If you haven't heard of this podcast, seek it out as soon as humanely possible.  The two guys that make the show could be talking about how to unstick gum from the bottom of your shoe and they would still be entertaining.  I am just waiting for them to get their own radio show and become the next "Opie and Anthony" but not as jaded and obnoxious.  The other one is a video podcast called "Delicious TV".  A couple of times a month, she comes out with a short 3-5 minute video on how to make something vegetarian, healthy and delicious (hence the name).  When I watched the video for the polenta casserole, it looked really interesting.  Polenta always sounds like such a good idea and I try really hard to like it, but I usually never do.  And once again, I didn't really enjoy the polenta, but I think if I used only a thin layer of polenta, instead of the inch on the bottom and inch on top that was recommended in the recipe, I would have enjoyed it much more.  Don't skip out on the yogurt sauce when making this recipe.  It is the key ingredient (for me anyway).  Also, I think making a Mexican version of this casserole would be really delicious, as well, with beans, peppers, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.  

Here is my adapted version of Delicious TV's Eggplant Polenta Casserole:

Ingredients

For the polenta:
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp olive oil

Boil the 6 cups of water.  Add the 2 tsp of salt.  Slowly whisk in the cornmeal.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Once it is done, turn off heat and mix in the 2 tbsp of olive oil. 

1 eggplant
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes
fresh chopped basil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the eggplant into one inch cubes.  Place cubes on baking sheet and place in oven.  Bake the eggplant until the cubes are brown and soft, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in frying pan.  Add the onions, saute a few minutes until onions soften and add garlic.  After a minute, add the mushrooms.  Cook for a couple of more minutes then finally, add the stewed tomatoes.  If the tomatoes are whole, use a spatula to chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces.  Once everything is done, take the eggplant out of the oven and mix all the ingredients in a bowl, with the fresh basil and salt and pepper. 

Now lightly oil a casserole dish.  Place a thin layer of the polenta on the bottom.  On top of the polenta put the eggplant mixture.  Finally add a top layer of polenta over the eggplant mixture.  Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  Once the 20 minutes i up, take of the aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes.  Once the polenta has a nice golden color, take it out of the oven. 

While the casserole is baking, put 1 cup of yogurt in a bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of soymilk, to make a thinner consistency.  Add 1 tsp of granulated garlic, 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and whisk together. Place sauce on top of casserole before serving. 
 
 
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I am always excited to find a new way to cook with my new favorite food item (tempeh) and when its a lot different from a new marinade and it actually comes out as well as it sounds, it makes me even happier.  I adapted this tempeh pie from the website 500 Vegan Recipes.  The pie is packed with flavor and holds together perfectly. 

Tempeh Pie

For the filling:
2 teaspoons orange zest, about 2 oranges
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice, about 2 oranges
1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional, to taste
2 teaspoons ground ginger
8 ounces (227 g) tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon (15 ml) peanut oil
2 cups (380 g) frozen chopped spinach

1/2 package frozen peas

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil
1 tablespoon (75 ml) fresh orange juice


To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk zest, juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, optional red pepper flakes, and ginger.
Stir in tempeh. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Cook marinated tempeh, along with marinade, on medium heat until it browns up, for about 8 minutes. Add spinach and peas and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

To make the crust:
To make the crust, spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes. 3. Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, orange juice and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

5. Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.



Yield: 4 servings
 

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