Tag Archives: garlic

Frieda’s Organic Polenta

This is a fantastic convenience food, and one that meets the no-fat vegan guidelines of Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.  Frieda’s makes several flavors, including Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic, Garlic & Basil, Mushroom & Onion, Green Chili & Cilantro, and Traditional.  You can buy this product in local supermarkets here in the Pacific Northwest, and online at Amazon.  It is worth a trip to Frieda’s own website, where they’ve got a nice searchable array of interesting new recipes that can be adapted for no oil, such as their Sauteed Vegetable Polenta  which I’ve adapted for this blog.   In any event, this is terrific stuff, and easy, affordable and convenient.

Vegetable Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

I have a wonderful friend who gifted me with a bursting bag of home-grown tomatoes every color in the rainbow.  Hoping to extend the bounty over time, I dried a thick layer of these little sugar disks overnight in my dehydrator, but ironically, the outcome was so delicious, sweet, succulent, that I had to wrap them into an amazing sauce and eat them all the very next day.  I discovered a great no-fat polenta; whipped up this fresh herb, sun-dried tomato ragu and garnished with a herb & garlic “creme”.  I really have to credit the amazingly sweet dried tomatoes with the huge flavor in this dish.  Frieda’s organic polenta is fabulous too.  Try it!!

Vegetable Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

1/2 C vegetable broth
1/2  red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 large fresh tomato, diced
1 TBSP Carlita Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa
1 16-ounce package Frieda’s Polenta (Original, Sun Dried Tomato, or Wild Mushroom)

Minced green onions, chopped cilantro or Italian parsley for garnish

Simmer the first 8 ingredients for 15 minutes over medium low heat.  Slice the polenta in  1/4 inch slices and brown in a non-stick pan on medium high heat.   Spoon 1/2 C sauce onto each plate. Place 4 polenta slices on the sauce and garnish with garlic cream, minced green onion and chopped cilantro or Italian parsley.

Garlic creme

2 oz. firm or silken plain tofu
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 TBSP fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 C plain non-dairy milk (soy or rice)
Salt and pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in your food processor until the consistency of thick cream.  Serve with polenta.

Linguine With Braised Fennel and Marsala

Linguine with Braised Fennel and Marsala

Pasta is one of my favorite easy dishes to prepare without fat.  Any super nice looking produce from your local market or weekly farmers market can provide the inspiration for a new flavor or texture combination.  I always feel compelled to just buy the thing that looks most interesting or particularly delicious that day, no matter what I had on the shopping list.

Today, that “thing” was a fennel bulb with its greens attached. It waved at me, and now its greens are building my homemade vegetable broth for the coming week, and it’s bulb is sliced and caramelized in Marsala with garlic, fennel seed, and lemon zest. I am kicked back in my garden with a little shot of limoncello and it isn’t much of a stretch to believe I’m actually in Sicily.

Linguine with Braised Fennel and Marsala

2 14 oz. cans chopped or crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. whole fennel seed
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 whole fennel bulb, halved and sliced
1 Tbsp. capers, coarsely chopped
1/2 C Marsala
1 Tbsp agave or honey
1 tsp. salt
dash fresh ground pepper
zest of one lemon
chopped Italian parsley for garnish
3/4 lb. whole wheat linguine

Instructions

In your favorite sauce pot, bring first 10 ingredients up to a quick boil, lower the heat and cover, simmering for at least 45 minutes.  Cook 3/4 lb. whole wheat linguine in salted water until tender.  Drain, reserving 1 C of pasta water. Toss linguine with braised fennel.  Add reserved pasta water and toss on low heat for 5 minutes.  Garnish with lemon zest and parsley.

Grilled Stuffed Portabello with Spinach, Garlic & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Grilled Portabello Stuffed with Spinach, Garlic, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Grilling without fat is my new puzzle to solve for the summer. I’ve got a winner this week with my no-fat vegan stuffed Portabello.  The ingredients I’ve used are succulent, but the real trick with this one is to grill it over some natural mesquite wood charcoal.  There are a lot of whole hardwood lump charcoal brands available.  I used Best of the West Natural Mesquite Briquettes, which I got at Fred Meyer.  A small 8 Cup tower of them burned to “ready” in 20 minutes and lasted perfectly for my batch of 4 mushrooms.

This mushroom can certainly be done in the oven, but it is a whole different animal after spending 20 minutes intimately mingling with hardwood smoke on my Weber tabletop grill.  This recipe is an adaptation of one from the Weber’s Real Grilling cookbook.

Grilled Stuffed Portabello with Spinach, Garlic and Sun-dried Tomatoes

6-8 C Chopped fresh spinach
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 C halved fresh cherry tomatoes
1/2 C water-packed or re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp. capers, drained and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 or 4 medium portabello mushrooms
2 C fresh bread crumbs (Dave’s Goodseed or your favorite no-oil vegan bread)
1 clove peeled garlic
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro

Instructions

1. Prepare the grill.  Make a stack of charcoal, enough for a single layer under your mushrooms, and light.  After 20 minutes, the coals should be ready to spread out in a single layer under the grate.

2. Gently rinse the portabellos and remove the stems. With a spoon, scrape out the black gills and discard.  Marinate the caps for 15 minutes with a few splashes of seasoned rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar.

3. Make the filling in a saucepan.  Put the first 7 ingredients together and heat over medium heat, covered with a lid, until the onion is soft, stirring occasionally and adding a small  amount of water when necessary to keep from sticking or burning.

4. Prepare the breadcrumbs in the food processor.  I use 2 slices of bread and 2 peeled clove of garlic.  Process and toast at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Chop your fresh herbs and set aside with the breadcrumbs.

5. Grill your mushroom caps for 10 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill and stuff each cap with your filling.  Return to the grill (which should now be on a low heat- maybe 300 to 325 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes, closing the lid and allowing the wood smoke to mingle with the mushrooms.

6. Remove the cooked portabellos from the grill.  Cover each cap well with toasted breadcrumbs and sprinkle with chopped herbs.

Farro Risotto with Garlic, Orange, and Sage

Farro Risotto adapted from “The Italian Country Table” by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

When I made the switch to no-fat vegan eating, I grieved for my long-favorite cookbooks  filled with the foods that had given me and my family such tasty memories over the years. After just a few weeks, I began to adapt those recipe treasures, and I am happy to say that with the right tools and a little creativity, many if not most things are possible!   Here is an adapted version of a delicious recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kasper out of my all-time favorite Italian cookbook “The Italian Country Table”.  Farro is one of many super satisfying, nutty whole grains I’ve come to love.  Cook this for a full hour and the flavors of orange, sage, garlic and fennel and wine will carmelize into heavenly sweetness.

Farro Risotto with Garlic, Orange, and Sage

1 1/2 C farro
1 C hot water
2 large onions, chopped
10 large or 20 small fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 4-inch branches fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 undrained can garbanzo beans
8-10 C hot vegetable broth (or same volume H2O with 2 heaping TBSP Better Than Bullion Vegatable)
Zest of 1 orange
4 cloves garlic, pressed or microplaned
1/2 C favorite white wine
Pepper & Salt or salt substitute
Fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped

Put dry farro in a 3 cup bowl and cover with very hot water for 15 minutes.  “Saute” onion, sage, rosemary and fennel by placing in a large pot or deep saucepan, tossing with 1 or 2 cups broth, and covering with a lid.  Simmer until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove lid. Add the garbanzo beans w/liquid, garlic, farro, and 1/2 the orange zest.  Cook on medium until liquid evaporates and begin adding hot broth 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid evaporates and your hot broth is gone.  The cooking time will take about 50 minutes.  Don’t hurry, the carmelization process is so important to the result, and besides, you can drink a glass of wine while you cook!  Test to make sure the farro is cooked to your liking.  It will have a uniform, chewy texture similar to cooked barley.  When all the liquid is absorbed and the farro is done,  stir in the remaining orange zest and white wine.  Season to your taste with salt substitute or salt & freshly ground pepper.  Simmer another few minutes until creamy and rich.  Serve with chopped parsley.