Saturday, June 23, 2012

Spicy Korean Miso Vegetable Soup

I've been craving Korean food and wanted to create a dish that had the spicy and umami flavors of Korea, but be vegan & no oil, to comply with the Engine 2 diet.

I ventured out to Keeaumoku Street and found a wonderful Korean market with all of the vegetables, noodles, and sauces anyone would need to create such a dish.  I tried to read every label on the miso and chili sauces, looking for one that did not contain MSG - mono sodium glutamate.  Which equals to swollen ankles and a very bad migraine for me.  And I did, so here is the recipe I created for my rainy night, I want Korean food dinners.  I hope you try it.

1 cup water
1 diced onion

In a cast iron pot, boil water and add onion, saute for about 5 minutes to extract flavors from onion.  Add miso and gochujang pastes and mix.  Add 2 cups water, mix and bring to boil for 5 minutes.  You may add more water for your consistency preference.

1 tablespoon organic light miso paste
1 tablespoon organic gochujang paste
2 cups water

Add kabocha and cook for 5 more minutes, then add Tteokguk for another 5 minutes.

1 cup diced kabocha
1 cup Tteokguk (sliced rice cake) follow rinsing instructions or rice noodles

Add the remaining ingredients five minutes before serving.  Lower heat before placing egg in the middle of the pot and cook for another 2 minutes, slowly pour broth over egg.

1 cup mushrooms

1 cup firm tofu
2 cups sliced tuscan kale
1 egg per person (optional)

The egg gives the soup a creamy velvety texture.  And of course more protein.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 4, 2012

Cauliflower & Tofu Carrot Puree Curry

5 organic carrots
2 russet potatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 cauliflower cut in 6 wedges
1 cinnamon stick
salt to season water

Cut carrots and potatoes into 1 inch pieces.   Cook in salted water until fork tender.  Drain water and puree carrots, potato and garlic, until smooth.  Set cauliflower in ice water and put aside.

1 large onion diced
1 cup organic vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of dahl masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 can of organic light coconut milk

Saute diced onions in vegetable broth until translucent on medium heat.  Add masala and salt, cook for 5 minutes.  Add coconut milk and simmer for 15 minutes on medium low heat.

1 box extra firm organic tofu
1 teaspoon olive oil

Drain 1 box of extra firm tofu.  Cut into 10 pieces, dry pieces on paper towels.  Lightly oil grill pan and heat on medium high heat.  Grill pieces of tofu in grill pan until marks are on all sides of tofu pieces and set aside.  Drain chilled cauliflower and grill on all sides and set aside.

1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/2 cup cilantro minced

Before placing cauliflower and tofu in curry mixture, salt to taste.  Carefully place cauliflower and tofu, simmer for 5 minutes.  Before serving mix in tomatoes and cilantro.

Serve with basmati rice.

Eating Vegetarian on Vacation

I just came back from a vacation in San Francisco with some of my friends.  All of them carnivores.  Yes, this was a challenge, but not a defeat.

I went into this challenge with the idea that I might have to cave-in to eating meat and I have to say I did, only 2% of the time on vacation.  So I made it a 98% vegetarian vacation.  So out of 18 meals, 3 of my meals had a small percentage of meat, but mostly vegetables.  You don't want to be rude when eating at someone's home.

The main thing is stay strong and don't let the negative looks and comments make you weak!  Stay strong!  Most of my friends were supportive about my new lifestyle, but it is difficult when you have to be sensitive to someone's eating limitations.

Three things to consider:
  • Eat at restaurants & joints that serve vegetable options and they all seem to have something you can eat.  Even at a restaurant we ate at for Sunday Brunch called "The Pork Store" had an awesome vegetarian menu.  Tofu seems to be on a lot of restaurant menus now.
  • Ask the waiter if the chef would make a vegetarian entree and they will 99% of the time.
  • Stay at a vacation rental that has a kitchen, so you can cook some of your meals and prepare some vegetable snacks to carry in your bag.
Eating vegetarian on a vacation is a must, because you do not want to weigh yourself down on heavy meals when you are sightseeing.

I have a list of delicious vegetarian friendly restaurants in San Francisco:
  • Starbelly - the chef made me a mouthwatering roasted vegetable combo over polenta
  • Beretta - the fava bean spread on a toasted crostini was divine, salads all delicious, and the burrata margarita pizza memorable
  • Marcello Pizzeria - the pesto white pizza w/ meatballs (take off the meatballs, if you can)
  • Poncho Villa Taqueria - the mushroom quesadillas were to die for and the tofu tacos yummy
  • Slanted Door's "Out the Door" at the Ferry Building - the curry tofu w/ brown rice was tasty
  • Academy Cafe at the California Academy of Science Museum - the curry cauliflower w/ tofu and  grilled asparagus
I usually gain weight on my vacations, but this time I did not.  Not to forget to add a lot of walking to your itinerary!  You got to incorporate some exercise...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Stock

After being a vegan for almost 3 months, I am always looking for ways to add a little more flavor to my daily cooking and recipes.

Since using oil in my cooking is very minimal, I use water and a lot of vegetable broth (home made and organic boxed) for my vehicle in cooking - for sauteing, poaching and in soups.

I've found that roasting vegetables is the best cooking method for extracting the sweet & caramelized flavors out of every vegetable.  So why not roast the vegetables for making stock?

Went to the Sunday Manoa market this morning, Sunday is my cooking and stock making day.  I bought carrots, beets, celery, sweet peppers and onions for my roasted vegetable stock.

I cleaned and cut all of the vegetables to 1 inch pieces and tossed them in 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and Herbe de Provence.  Then laid on a baking pan and baked in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

In a cast iron pot, place roasted vegetables (except the beets) and cover 2 inches above veggies with filtered water.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a slow simmer for 1 hour.  Cool broth, then strain and store in containers.  Good for 6 days if refrigerated or 3 months if frozen.

This roasted vegetable broth will have a sweet caramelized flavor that you will love in all your recipes.  Use stock instead of water in all of your savory recipes that ask for water.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Clean & Cook Collard Greens

Until about 2 years ago, I always thought collard greens was a southern vegetable recipe that had to be cooked for hours with hamhocks.  The final product was a tasty, salty and over cooked gray in color, side dish that went with fried chicken and grits.

But in fact, it is one of the top leafy greens that is considered to be a superfood.  Greens that have all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals that can ward away cancer cells.

And most of all it is a silky, delicious, leafy green that does not need to be cooked to death!  A light saute with water or olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper is all you need.

Just picked from my backyard garden.

Collard green leaves grow off a very sturdy stock, so you will be supplied with a large amount of leaves from one stock.  After the stock is too tall, I would cut the stock in half, and in a matter of weeks, you will have new leaves and another branch to enjoy.

Remove the firm stem by cutting with a knife.  Save, the cores for vegetable stock or the neighbor's dog.  Chloe, my neighbors poi dog loves these stems as snacks.

After the stem has been removed, roll the leaf and cut into strips, about 1/4 of an inch.

After you've cut all of the leaves, place in salad spinner, to rinse and soak for 2 minutes.  Strain and spin. Then it is ready to be light sauteed in either water or olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


This year surely went by fast.  I know we always say that every year, but it did this year.

The year began with a couple of tsunami warnings and a huge message that life is really precious and short.  With the earthquakes in Japan and the many lives lost, we here in Hawaii had to really think about our own destiny.  What if?

My family went through my sister's experience with cancer.  She went through chemo in January and her surgery in February.  Her recovery was positive & steady.  She is now back at work and free of cancer.  With her faith in God and determination to fight this, she was able to overcome cancer.  Evelyn is a great example of strength and positivity.

My mom is the firecracker she always is.  But I can tell that she is slowing down a bit and still needs some encouragement to keep active and positive.  I really give her a lot of credit to keeping strong after my dad's and brother's passing and keeping herself as together and beautiful as ever.  But of course, that means that she is that harder on me too.  Oh well.

My sons and their families continue to grow and mature.  Keola made a decision to go back to college and finish up what he started years ago.  He gave himself one year to do it and he did.  In June, he graduated from the University of Hawaii in Manoa.  Keola's sons, Moses is 6 and Shayden 5.  Keleko's son, Elijah turned 7 and daughter Kalena 2.  I am a proud mother and grandmother.

In August, I moved from Wilhelmina Rise to Manoa.  Downsizing 3/4ths of my belongings was a feat, but very gratifying.  The realization that material things really don't define oneself, but ones actions and the impressions you make do.  I am really enjoying my time in my new space.  I have landlords that are family to me.

Three of my closest friends lost their jobs this year and are making the best of their situations.  I really don't know if I could've handled something like that the way they all did.  Being positive and staying true to looking for something that makes their heart sing.  Hang tight!  I want to find a job that makes my heart sing and also compensates for what I bring to the table this coming 2012.

I have to say that this was a year full of challenges and changes, but also a year of many celebrations.  I thank the Lord for my many blessings and my wonderful friends and family that fill my life with joy, fulfillment and headaches.

Please enjoy some of my pictures of 2011.  Happy New Year!