Veggies on the counter

Little Energy Bites, Three Ways

Posted in desserts by veggies on the counter on January 12, 2015

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The other day I was going to dinner at my brother’s and was asked to bring dessert. My first plan was to bake a cake – a carrot one – but I didn’t have much time and ended up improvising these raw truffles with the ingredients I already had at home. By now you already know that I’m the kind of cook who likes to “freestyle” in the kitchen, combining ingredients, adjusting here and there, and tasting as I go. The truffles I bring you today were made just like that, with the sort of approach I usually use when cooking savoury dishes.01_collage02_final_resized

Turns out, everyone at the table loved the truffles. The cashew, currant and turmeric version is inspired in one of my all-time favourite protein bars, while the one with sunflower seeds and maca powder in it is my brother’s personal favourite (he likes warmer, toasty flavours). I’m particularly happy with the hemp seed, coconut and lime combo though, because it’s fresh and exotic at the same time.

Needless to say, you don’t have to stick with the ingredients I used and should feel free to make your own combinations too. Instead of sunflower seeds, you could use toasted hazelnuts, and if you’re not a fan of maca, you could probably substitute it for a combination of spices such as ginger and/or nutmeg (although not in the same proportion). The possibilities are endless here, just have some fun mix and matching and I’m sure you’ll come up with something delicious.

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Little Energy Bites, Three Ways

makes 24 truffles, 8 of each flavour

Sunflower Seed, Figs & Maca

55 g / 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

95 g / about 12 small dried figs, chopped

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon Maca powder

1 Tablespoon Water

pinch of salt

cocoa powder for coating

Add the sunflower seeds to the bowl of a food processor and run the machine until they’re finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and process once again until a paste comes together. Form 8 truffles with your hands. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Cashew, Currants & Turmeric

78 g / ½ cup cashews

40 g / 1/3 cup currants

1 ½ Tablespoons brown rice syrup

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

zest of one orange

pinch of salt

Pulverize the cashews in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and run the machine until a paste comes together. Shape the mixture into 8 balls.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Hemp Seeds, Coconut & Lime

60 g / 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon raw shelled hemp seeds

2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup

5 Tablespoons dried shredded coconut, plus extra for coating

zest of one lime

pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in the food processor and run the machine until you get a paste-like mixture. Shape the mixture into 8 truffles – this mixture will be a softer than the other two, but the truffles will harden in the fridge. Roll the truffles into shredded coconut (I like to mix some extra lime zest with coconut). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

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Tempeh Lemon Curry

Posted in main courses, Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on August 3, 2014

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I know I haven’t been around for a while but, hey!, I’m still here, and today we’ll talk curry. I realize this is the first curry recipe I write about on the blog, and to be honest I don’t know how that happened because it’s the kind of dish I cook often. I know there are a lot of vegetable curry recipes on the internet and that you probably don’t need another one, but I’ve made this curry countless times and think it’s a good one to have on your repertoire.

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The variations in here could be endless. I’ve made it before with spinach in place of the cabbage and it turned out good, but I prefer to use the latter mainly because of the texture it brings to the whole thing. A word on tempeh: it’s well known that steaming tempeh for 15 minutes before actually cooking with it, removes its bitterness. To be honest, I don’t mind the bitterness and I think it goes practically unnoticed in here, camouflaged by the bold flavours of all the spices and the lemon. Having said this, if you want to steam it first (or even sub it for tofu), go ahead.

Enjoy the curry, have a great summer (guess what: here in Portugal has been raining) and I promise to come back soon! (:

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Tempeh Lemon Curry

(serves 4)

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. ground coriander seeds, roughly pounded in a mortar and pestle

1 tsp. mustard seeds, roughly pounded

1 tsp. caraway seeds, roughly pounded

2 medium carrots, cut into cubes

1 Tbs. fresh ginger

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 large zucchini, cut into half moons

1 cup / 250 ml coconut milk

4 cups shredded cabbage

250 gr tempeh, cut into cubes

½ teaspoon

1 tsp. rice syrup

2 Tbs. mirin

zest of one lemon

1 handful toasted cashews, coarsely chopped

1 handful fresh mint, coarsely chopped

juice of ½ lemon

In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onion, garlic cloves and coriander, mustard and caraway seeds. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until the onion has softened and the spices have toasted a bit and smell fragrant.

Add the carrots, fresh ginger, turmeric, chilli and zucchini to the pan. Give everything a good stir and add the coconut milk. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the tempeh cubes and fry until golden brown. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the tempeh with a pinch of salt and add it to the pan with the vegetables.

Now, add the cabbage to the pan as well, pressing it gently with the back of an wooden spoon so that it’s covered by the coconut milk. If, at this point, the curry looks as if it hasn’t enough liquid, add up to 1/3 cup of it, but keep in mind the cabbage will release a lot of water too. Cover the pan and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted. Add the salt, rice syrup, mirin and lemon zest. Stir everything together and finish off with the lemon juice, toasted cashews and mint.

Recipe adapted from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by Peter Berley, published by William Morrow Cookbooks, 2008