Thursday, January 24, 2013

Banana smoothie

We share a lot of biology with monkeys. And they eat bananas. Doesn't it follow that bananas are well suited for human consumption?

Well, regardless, this is delicious, and simple, and it will knock your socks off.

Banana Smoothie

Ingredients: 5-10 ripe bananas, water

Start with ripe bananas. I mean ripe. At least this ripe:

Peel them and put into the blender. Add water, at least 1 cup but it will blend easier with 2+cups.

Blend until smooth.


Bounce around the room.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

vegan sushi

I always assumed sushi was hard to make. How did they get those rolls to come out so tight and clean?

I was delighted to discover that it's not hard at all. Vegan sushi in particular is easy, because with vegan sushi there's no worrying about keeping the raw fish clean and fresh.

Restaurants generally make sushi with a particular kind of rice called "sushi" rice. In short, it's stickier. But of course I make it with brown rice, because white rice is not a whole food.

You can use any grain of rice; long, medium, or short grain. Short grain will be the stickiest, and thus the easiest to work with. I have the best luck with pressure-cooked rice, but any cooking method should be fine as long as it's not too watery.

The baseline ingredients; you need these no matter what:
  • nori sheets. That's the seaweed that wraps everything up. They usually come toasted, and that is my preference. I like these. They tend to come perforated for easy cutting (yep, just like paper!), but if you have a sharp knife it really doesn't matter.
  • Cooked brown rice. Just make a couple cups so you have enough to experiment with.
For the innards, you can play around and make it a bunch of different ways. I have found the following to be both delicious and highly nutritious (I call it "whole-carrot sushi"):
  • 1 tsp flax oil (per roll) (not a whole food -- but most would say it's quite healthy. If you're strict, it's fine to leave it out.)
  • <1 tsp nutritional yeast (per roll)
  • 1/8 cup lightly toasted or raw sunflower seeds (unsalted)
  • 1 carrot, steamed
The magic:
  1. Lay the nori sheet out on a clean dry cutting board. There may be a rougher and smoother side to the nori sheet. If so, put the rough side up so the smooth side ends up on the outside. It doesn't really matter much for functionality, so if you get it backwards, that's okay.
  2. Look at the perforations on the nori roll. Line them up so they go vertical. Again, not critical.
  3. Put rice on the lower 60% or so of the sushi roll. Spread it out with a wooden spoon, or (better) your freshly washed fingers. I aim for about 3/8 of an inch thickness.
  4. Dribble the flax oil into the rice, sprinkle on the nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds, and lay the carrot in horizontally.
  5. The moment of truth is when you roll it up. This is when you discover if you put the right amount of rice and/or fillings. To roll, start at the bottom and simply roll it up like you would a yoga mat. If all goes well, the warm moisture of the rice will work like magic to "seal" the nori in a nice loop.
  6. To cut it, use a large, well-sharpened knife (I recommend the accusharp sharpener). Cut firmly and decisively, just watch your fingers. If the knife is sharp enough and you make a good cut, it doesn't matter whether you hit the perforations or not.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Almond Milk

It was a big surprise to me when I learned how easy it was to make good almond milk. Making your own has the advantages of being much cheaper and free of added preservatives and other ickys.

  • 10-20 almonds
  • (optional) 1 date
  • 1 liter water
  1. It's best to soak the almonds overnight as this makes them more digestible, but you don't have to. To soak, simply put them in a bowl with clean water on the counter overnight. In the morning, rinse them off and then store any that you're not going to use right away in the fridge. I like to soak 1-2 cups at a time so I have plenty ready to use.
  2. Fill your vessel with water, about 90% full. Then dump this water into your blender. The reason we leave 10% is because when you add the almonds and blend, the mixture froths up a bit and takes a little more space.
  3. Put almonds and optional date (remember to take the pit out!) into the water. The date makes it a little sweet, which some people like (most almond milks you buy are a little sweet). You really only need about 10 almonds for a liter of water to get a nice solid white color and decent consistency. I like to go for 15 or so for a thicker consistency. 
  4. Blend the heck out of it. A good blender such as this one is helpful here, but most blenders will probably do fine so long as you're patient. I blend for about 5 minutes.
You're done -- it's that easy!

Since your homemade almond milk is all-natural, the solids may separate out a bit after it sits for a while. You can just shake it before you use it. Or, if this bothers you, try using fewer almonds or blending for longer.

You can also use the same process for making sesame or hempseed milk.

Update: You can also fortify your homemade almond milk by throwing in a vitamin B12 pill! Yeah.

Friday, July 22, 2011

chickpea miso soup

I like to cook large batches of beans and store them in jars in the fridge. Then I can quickly make beany dishes such as this one.

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • (optional) 1 scallion, sliced
  • a pinch of instant wakame flakes
  • 1 tsp chickpea miso (or whatever miso you have around)
  • 3 cups water
  1. Turn the heat up on a large saucepan. Add the water and then everything else except the miso. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften.
  2. Turn the heat off and remove the cover. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Add  the miso and stir well. Serve!
This makes enough for two large servings. I like to have the first with breakfast and the second with dinner.

It's also good with sliced cabbage cooked into it just like the carrots.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

buckwheat greenola

That's right, greenola. I was inspired by Go Raw's Spirulina Energy Bar, which I discovered on my recent cycling adventure between Whole Foods Market stores.

Loaded with vitamin B12, this is easy to make and to experiment with variations. It also goes great with my homemade almond milk.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups whole buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup millet
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup Spirulina (or less)
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 date (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pecans or your favorite nut
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
In a medium or large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients with a spoon. It won't look incredibly green yet. Don't worry, it will soon enough!

In a blender, blend all the wet ingredients together until smooth. Add more water if necessary to get it all to blend.

Pour the wets over the drys and mix well.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes, 1-2 hours is best. This is to let the seeds and grains soften and in some cases begin sprouting. Meanwhile, heat oven to 215. Prepare two baking sheets using parchment paper, silicone baking mats (I have these and they work great), or a little coconut oil.

Spread the mixture onto the baking sheets thinly. "Bake" (really, it's more like dehydrating) for 2 hours, then check it and stir a little to break apart the clumps. Repeat until it's all dried out.

  • If you're pressed for time you can bake it at 300-325. I like keeping the temperature lower because that leaves more of the nutrients intact.
  • If you're a raw foodie and have a dehydrator, you can use that instead of baking.
  • Bake it overnight on your oven's lowest temperature setting.