Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spicy Peanut Stew with Cool Cucumber Sauce

As I’m sitting here, tummy full from eating this fabulous dish, I realize that I couldn’t even wait for it to digest before I shared this awesome recipe…That’s how good it is! (Incidentally my “Awesome Recipe Gage” is also Josh. Not only was he a member of the “Clean Plate Club”, I think he may have gone as far as to actually lick the entire plate clean before placing it in the dishwasher.) With that being said, if you are going to make anything I have posted on here so far, MAKE THIS! (Unless of course you are allergic to peanuts, then you will probably die)

I found this recipe in the May/June 2007 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine, which by the way is an excellent magazine for those who are looking for tasty, healthy recipes. Each recipe is clearly labeled either “vegan” or “vegetarian.” However, my only gripe is that some of the vegetarian recipes could be made vegan with a few simple substitutions like soy milk for regular milk, or vegan margarine for butter. So, if you are vegan and see a recipe you like, don’t discount it completely, look to see if an ingredient can be substituted without compromising the integrity of the dish!

Anyway, the Spicy Peanut Stew with Cool Cucumber Sauce is an African dish. According to the article, “The basis of all African meals is a soupy stew served with a starch…This West African Version gets its distinctive taste from creamy peanut butter and chili-laced chopped tomatoes.”

Spicy Peanut Stew

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium Onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 lb butternut or acorn squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
½ lb cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups cooked brown rice (I used basmati rice)
1 head watercress, stems removed

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more, or until vegetables are soft.
2. Add potato and tomatoes. Increase heat to medium and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in 2 cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer partially covered, 10 minutes. Add squash and cauliflower, and cook 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender.
4. Whisk together peanut butter and ½ cup warm water in a small bowl. Add to stew and cook 4 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Spoon over rice, and top with watercress.

Cool Cucumber Sauce

½ cup chopped roasted peanuts
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (about ½ cup)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 Tbs. lime juice
1Tbs. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. salt

Toss together all ingredients in small bowl. Serve as a garnish on top of the Spicy Peanut Stew.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pesto Anyone?

So, being gluten and dairy-free one might think that pasta or anything Italian is completely out of my diet.


There are so many new products out there that can take the place of conventional pasta. As a matter of fact, bionaturae makes a great organic gluten free pasta made of rice flour, rice starch, potato starch and soy flour.

My favorite dish is to make this pasta with my homemade Pistachio Pesto. The good thing about pesto is you can make it in large batches, spoon it into ice-cube trays and then just thaw them out when you need them!

Pistachio Pesto
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cloves pressed garlic
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (unless the pistachios are salted, then you can use less)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined.

Prepare the pasta, drain and place in a fry pan with some olive oil. Spoon as much pesto in the fry pan with the pasta as desired, sautee on medium to low heat until the pasta is covered in pesto.

You can also use the pesto in other ways. Like, try mixing it with Vegenaise and use it as a spread for your wraps or veggie burgers! YUM!