Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tempura Fried Green Onions- Vegan

Holy Geez, have I been swamped lately!  I almost didn't post this, but the kiddos are napping and I figure I've got just enough time to get this over with before life takes over again.  This isn't so much a recipe as a "Hey, you should try this."  All I did was dip the white parts of green onions (roots removed) in Kikkoman brand tempura (vegan!) and fry.  Well, there's a little more to it, but not much.

Here's the recipe, if you can call it that:

Tempura Fried Green Onions
-Prepare Kikkoman Tempura Batter as instructed, but add 1/8 tsp each of garlic powder and ground ginger.  Optional, but I think it really made these pop. 
-I also twice-fried mine, because the first time 'round the batter tends to be pretty thin (doesn't seem to be a problem with the non-vegan tempura batters.)  To double fry, just fry once, let drain and cool on paper towels or 100% cotton dish cloth, then dip and fry again.  Remember, tempura batter has to stay cold, so whatever batter you use, make sure you have a bowl of ice under your batter bowl to keep it chilled while you're working.  
-Sprinkle with salt and serve with whatever you'd like.  I ate mine with soy sauce, but truthfully, would have loved sweet chili sauce even more.  Darn my town store for not carrying it. 

These are so delicious.  Oh, and you can use the green parts if you'd like, I just prefer the white.  You can also make little bundles by bending the green onions in half and tying them around themselves (this actually works best when they've been sitting in the fridge for a while and are starting to get rubbery, as they bend well and don't snap.  Well, that's all I have to say about that. <--- (Forrest Gump reference.)  'Til next time.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Better Than Bagged Lettuce

Have you been keeping up with all of the bagged lettuce scares lately?  E coli, listeria, salmonella, the list goes on and on.  But just as importantly, bagged lettuce does not taste as good as fresh!  It just doesn't.  After years of lying to myself, I feel I can finally say this.  It smells and it does not taste good.  But do you know what does?  The real deal.  So if you've been led astray by "convenience" lettuces and are wondering why you just don't enjoy salads much, come with me.  There's a whole world of flavor that we've been missing out on.

 Here's what you're going to need:

  • Lettuce with a decent shelf life (I've had the best luck with romaine, red leaf, iceberg, or bibb- spinach and spring mix not so much)
  • A plastic knife (optional- you could just tear with your hands.  But whatever you do, do not use a metal knife.  It will rust the leaves.  I found this plastic lettuce knife at Ross for under a dollar.) 
  • A colander (or you could just use the basket of your lettuce spinner)
  • A lettuce spinner
  • A clean, dry, lint-free dish towel (paper towels will do)
  • A sealed container for storage in fridge
Shall we begin?

So, you've got your lettuce.  In my case, romaine and red leaf, my favorite combo at the moment.  Remove any wilted outer leaves and cut or tear about an inch off of the tops.  Then do the same for the bottoms- this is where your plastic knife comes in handy.  

Discard your scraps or give them new lives.  I sometimes add the tops and outer leaves to green smoothies, and the bottoms are quite good roasted with a little olive oil, garlic, and s and p (you would want to cut off the very ends, though.)  Where were we?  Right.   Now cut or tear your lettuce into manageable pieces- I cut mine into about 1/2" wide strips.  Transfer to a colander and give it a good rinse.   Then really go to town with your lettuce spinner- you want it as dry as possible.  The dryer it is, the longer life you'll get out of it.

Spin, spin, spin city.  As you can see, my lettuce spinner is fairly small, so I had to do this in two batches.  No worries, though.  I actually prefer it to having a giant one take up valuable storage space.  Anyways, now your lettuce is dry- as dry as you can possibly get it.  Good.  Line your storage container with your dish towel and then add your lettuce.  Cover the lettuce with the dish towel, then snap on your lid.  Your lettuce should stay fresh for a week.  If you change your dish towel daily it could last up to two- but if all goes as planned, you'll have eaten it long before that, right?

As for adding other veggies to the lettuce, I wouldn't.  Especially onions- the acid will definitely make your lettuce go bad sooner.  But I do keep cut onions, bell peppers, carrots, and whatever else I'm into at the moment in the fridge ready to be tossed with my lettuce.  Well, folks, I'm all out of space.  Until next time.

Update:  Also works fantastically well for kale.  Those bunches at the grocery store are always sopping wet and bound to go bad quickly.  Remove the thick, woody stems and give them the same treatment, preferably as soon as you bring them home.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Potato Skin Bruschetta

There is an Italian restaurant nearby that serves up some pretty awesome bruschetta.  A few things I've noticed about it:

  • The tomatoes are peeled and of good quality (not mealy or freakishly red like those at Taco Bell- seriously, what's up with that?)
  • They're not skimpy with the fresha pepper.
  • They are skimpy with the fresh basil, and even if you ask for more they still won't bring much.  

With these notes in mind, I set out to create some bruschetta, but having no decent bread in the house (or even at our little town store) I decided to give it a bit of a twist.  Potato Skin Bruschetta.  And it was awesome.

When my Grandma was still around (and what I wouldn't give to have her back again) we shared a little secret.  After family meals were over she would take whatever potato skins were left on the plates and roast them up with a little garlic and a whole lot of butter.  There was often hardly any potato left on the skins.  Potatoless skins, you might call them.  They were awesome, too.  But you want a little potato left on these.  1/4" border will help them to keep their shape.  On to the recipe.

Potato Skin Bruschetta

Yield: 1 serving 

For the Bruschetta:
4 Roma Tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 2)
4-6 basil leaves, julienned (you can guess how much I used)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Other ingredients:

1 Russet Potato
2 tbsp Pinenuts
Garlic oil/ butter/ earth balance (your choice- I used garlic oil)

Preheat oven to 400F and bring a large pot of water to boil.  Pierce potato several times with a fork and roast for about an hour.  Meanwhile, remove stems from tomatoes and use a paring knife to cut an X across their bottoms.  Place in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove.  When they are cool enough to handle their skins should be easy to peel off.  Scoop out their seeds and membranes using a small spoon or your fingers, and chop.  Add to a bowl and mix with rest of bruschetta ingredients.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Briefly toast your pine nuts in a small frying pan with no oil, medium heat just until fragrant and set aside.  When potato is finished, remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.  Increase oven temperature to 475.  Scoop out flesh from potato, leaving 1/4" border intact, reserve flesh for later use.  Brush both inside and outside with butter or oil of choice.  Place flesh side down and roast for 6 minutes, then turn over and roast another 6 minutes until edges are golden.  Top with chilled bruschetta and pine nuts and serve immediately.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fasolakia: Greek Stewed String Beans

Man, oh man, do I have a recipe for you!  But- I can't take credit for it.  It comes courtesy of Susan Tweeton's blog, "Please, DON'T Pass the Salt!"  I've been a fan of Susan's ever since I discovered her site.  It's full of low and no sodium recipes that could fool even the biggest of salt addicts (me.)  I'm pretty particular about green beans- I tend to like them best roasted or sauteed, but this recipe seemed to call out to me, and I'm so glad it did.  Best of all- my kids love it!  They're no stranger to vegetables and enjoy a pretty good variety, but up until today they were of the opinion that green beans are to be tossed, not eaten.  So thank you, Sue, for this awesome recipe.  My arm workout (mopping this merciless tile floor) will have to wait.

The only changes I made were to use tomato paste instead of sauce (I never seem to have any sauce on hand.)  Tomato paste is more concentrated than sauce is, so I halved the amount and added more vegetable stock to thin it out. (4 oz. tomato paste, 1 1/2 cups broth.)  I also added one chopped jalapeno (along with the onions while they were sauteeing) because it was dying a slow and painful death in the crisper.  I ate this plain, but I'm sure that it would be even better with crispy bread or over rice or noodles.  Sue also recommends sprinkling a little feta over it. The recipe below is the original, and here is the link to the original post.

 (Greek Stewed String Beans)
By Susan Tweeton of "Please, DON'T Pass the Salt!"

A flavorsome combination of green beans stewed in a tasty tomato sauce. Simple, healthful, and delicious. A wonderful holiday alternative to the usual cream soup based green bean casseroles.

2 pounds string beans, fresh or frozen
2 onions, chopped
2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil (I use about 1/4 cup now)
1 - 8 ounce can (no salt added) tomato sauce
¼ - ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 teaspoons mint (or a combination of dried mint, oregano, & dill)
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-2 inch chunks (any kind of potato will work)
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup water or low sodium broth (I used low sodium chicken broth)
2 teaspoons salt (I omitted)
Pepper to taste

In Dutch oven, sauté onion lightly in olive oil. Add tomato sauce, string beans, and remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 60 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Check after 30 minutes; add more water or broth if necessary. Serve hot or room temperature.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Curry Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

I have a confession to make... 

I've been gravitating toward a vegan diet lately.  I don't know if this is just a phase, if it has something to do with how the planets are aligned, or if it's because I've been discovering some really awesome vegan blogs lately, but it's happening.  Might as well roll with it.  Moving on...

A few months ago I was thrust out of paradise and back into suburbia with dreams of pepper jelly dancing in my head. Thankfully, the vessel that transported me provided a little something something to make the experience easier.  No, not alcohol, although traveling with toddlers, I really could have used it.  No.  They dished out the most. amazing. airplane food I have ever had.  "Well, that's not saying much."  Let me rephrase- this food was 'thirds' good, and I'm not talking airline portions.  And J2 would not keep his greedy little hands out of it!  If ever I have wanted my child to eat cake instead of pasta with veggies it was then.  The flight attendant made her way to the aisle next to mine.  "Ham sandwich or curry pasta," she asked.  "Curry pasta?" chuckled a female passenger, as if this was the most hilarious and disgusting thing she'd ever been presented with.  "No, I'll take the sandwich."  I looked over at the teenage boy in front of her, hastily slurping his pasta up, saying, "Mmmm... Mmmm!"  Wise beyond his years. Here is my vegan version of what that poor woman missed out on. 

Curry Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into medium florets
1 crown of broccoli (about 1 1/2 cups) medium florets
drizzle of olive oil
light sprinkling of salt and pepper
1 lb pasta of choice
Curry Olive Oil Bechamel (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400F.   Drizzle vegetables with just a touch of olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.   Meanwhile, prepare sauce.  Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions on package.  Gently toss roasted veggies and pasta with sauce.

Curry Olive Oil Bechamel
1/4 cup olive oil (coconut oil would be even better, but not as wallet friendly)
1/4 cup flour
1 can (13.5 oz) full fat coconut milk
2 cups good vegetable stock (really, it will make or break this dish- highly recommend making your own- easy and so good
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (a lemon zester works well for this)
2 1/2 tsp curry powder 
a dash or two of sriracha
salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil to large saucepan and bring to medium heat.  Use a miniature whisk to stir in flour and heat for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.  Increase heat to medium high and slowly whisk in coconut milk and vegetable stock.  Keep whisking until mixture begins to bubble and add all ingredients except for salt and pepper, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, about 10-15 minutes until sauce is thick and no gritty flour taste remains.  Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Southwestern Grilled Green Onion Salad

I love grilled green onions.  Oh, how I love grilled green onions.  When we have barbecues we make two bunches- one for the guests, one for myself.  Veggie burgers?  Psh.  I'll pass.  Give me some of these salty, sweet bad boys, some corn, and some garlic bread and I am one happy camper.  But sometimes it's too much trouble to fire up the grill, and this is where my new best friend comes in.

 Photo cropped because I have an ugly stove... and maybe because I'm a messy cook...

Ahhhh... a cast iron grill pan.  I've been dreaming of one of these for ages.  Look at the lovely grill marks- and the charring!  No, that's no mistake.  The charring is the best part!  Those little blackened ends are smoky barbecue-y goodness.  So anyways, I think  we've pretty much established that I love these babies for who they are.  But I wanted others to love them, too, and not just as a steak topping.  So I created this salad, in which they play a starring role- and steal the show, as far as I'm concerned.  

I'm not afraid of salads.  I know of vegan and vegetarian blogs that practically apologize every time they post one.  Yes, there's a stigma that all we eat is salads- but when they're this good, why wouldn't we?

Southwestern Grilled Green Onion Salad
Yield: one big, filling serving

1 bunch green onions
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup cooked or canned (drained) corn
1 cup drained black beans
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lime
dash of sriracha
1 tbsp olive oil + more for cooking
 salt and pepper to taste 
1 avocado, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.  Place tomatoes in 9" baking dish and coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 25 minutes, stir, then start on your green onions (below) and cook tomatoes for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Green onions- Bring your grill pan to medium high heat.  Chop the root ends off of the green onions and massage just enough olive oil onto them to coat and make them shine.  Sprinkle salt and pepper- the same amount as you would for corn on the cob (I like them really well seasoned.)  Cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through.  Allow to cool enough to handle, then chop into 1 inch pieces.
Place green onions, corn, black beans, and cilantro in bowl.
Prepare dressing- Mix together garlic, lime juice, sriracha, and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over veggies, toss, then taste again to see if more salt and pepper are needed.  Very gently fold in avocado, so as not to smash it.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Brown and Wild Rice with Quinoa Vegetable Stir Fry

It really is a wonder that I haven't yet done a post about broccoli- a vegetable that never lasts long in our household.  I am absolutely cuckoo for it.  Want to know what else I'm cuckoo for?  This stuff:

Although I never would have imagined I would be.  When my husband brought it home one day, stating that it looked like "one of those weird things you vegetarians like," I was sure I would hate it.  But it's wonderful, saves so much time, isn't too terribly expensive, and added a lovely rich flavor to this stir fry that even he loved.

Brown and Wild Rice with Quinoa Vegetable Stir Fry

Yield: 4 servings

1/2 - 1 cup salted cashews (I prefer a full cup- adds a nice nuttiness and texture)
2 cups broccoli, separated into florets
olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 green onions, chopped (keep whites separated from dark green)
dash sriracha 
2 packages brown and wild rice with quinoa, cooked according to package
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Toast cashews in medium sized frying pan with no oil over medium heat for just a minute or two until fragrant.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Drizzle a little oil in pan, enough to coat, and add vegetable broth.  Bring to medium heat, then add broccoli and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender- about 6-8 minutes, then set aside.
Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil in a large frying pan and bring to medium high heat.  Add peppers, onion, celery, and carrot, and whites of green onions.  Let cook about 5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger and cook until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent.  Add brown and wild rice with quinoa, sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and stir fry about 5 minutes, then gently fold in broccoli and cashews.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat to low and cook for 4-5 minutes for flavors to marry.  Sprinkle raw green onions on top for garnish.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easy, Pectin-free Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly and Glazed Rutabaga

I just returned from a beautiful vacation in Maui, an island that will now forever be connected to pepper jelly in my mind.  Yes, while the rest of my family was eating ham and cheese sandwiches, I was dumping globs of the stuff on a plate and happily picking it up with slices of crusty bread.  BTW, if per chance you go to Maui, you must visit this place.  Sure, I could have made myself a wonderful vegetarian sandwich, but I didn't want to.  I was in love.  I returned home and I knew I wanted to continue this love affair, but since I no longer have the luxury of eating it on a tropical island I decided to compensate by making this the best. darn. pepper jelly I have ever tasted. 

I can't get enough of this stuff, so don't let that itty bitty jar fool you- this makes about 2 cups worth.  About rutabaga- it's fabulous, and is the whole reason I started this veggie journey!  I was at the grocery store with my dad when he saw them and cringed.  I asked, "What's so bad about them?" and he couldn't answer because... he'd never had them before!  His father had once declared them awful and apparently my pops had taken his word for it.  But I wanted to see for myself, so I popped one in my cart and haven't looked back since.  My kids love it mixed in with their hash browns, but I prefer it roasted (I'm beginning to think this blog should have been named Vegetarian Loves Roasting :)  I can't really speak for rhubarb, as the flavors in this all play together and I haven't had it since I was a child.  But it's on my to try list for sure.  Anyways, let's get down to business, or should I say play- though the jelly takes a while, there's really not much work involved!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly
This recipe was adapted from Averie Cooks' Stovetop Pepper Jelly

nonstick spray

1 stalk rhubarb, chopped (no need to peel but def remove leaves- they're poisonous)
1/2 cup sweet onion (preferably maui :), chopped
3 jalapenos, seeded, ribs removed, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar

Spray a nonreactive  medium sized saucepan with nonstick spray and bring to medium high heat..  Add all ingredients except for strawberries and let cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes.  Add strawberries and cook for 2 more.  Add sugar and vinegar, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until reduced by half, stirring occasionally (this usually takes me about an hour and a half.)  I used a toothpick to mark where the mixture began and checked every time I stirred, which was about 3 times during the process.  When it develops a syrupy consistency on your spoon you are generally good to go.  Pour into canning jar (careful- it's hot!) and place in warm cupboard overnight to set.  Then store it in your fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in your freezer for a year.

Glazed Rutabaga

2 rutabagas
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the peel off rutabagas and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in bowl and massage in olive oil, salt, and sugar.  Roast for 30-40 minutes on foil-lined baking sheet until tender, stirring every 15 minutes to reduce sticking.  Melt jelly in microwave and drizzle over rutabaga, stir, then return to oven for 2-3 minutes. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes with Coconut Slaw

When I saw The Food In My Beard's Cauliflower Taco post I knew I wanted in on that action.  Cauliflower as meat?  Love it.  I decided I would make cauliflower sloppy joes- weeks ago.  But these kids are a handful!  It seems I never have time to cook anymore, and when I do it needs to be something quick and tried and true.  As I continued to put this recipe off day after day, it grew- suddenly it wasn't just cauliflower sloppy joes, it was cauliflower lentil sloppy joes.  Carrots decided to hop into the mix, and celery the next day.  Then, when I finally found time to make this I had a mad craving for some coconut slaw.  And you should always, always listen to your gut.

Let's take a moment to go over what this dish has going for it.  First off- it's chock-full of nutrients.  It's got veggies galore- cauliflower, celery, bell pepper, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic- and lentils, too.  It's slightly spicy, and because it's roasted the cauliflower imparts a wonderful caramelized nuttiness.  The warmth of this combined with the cool tanginess of the coconut slaw= a cornucopia of flavors that will make every one of your taste buds happy.

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes with Coconut SlawServes 4-6 (depending on how sloppy you're feeling)
Tip:  Prepare slaw before the Joes so it has time for the flavors to be fully absorbed

Coconut Slaw
1/8 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 package coleslaw mix

Whisk first 4 ingredients well, removing any lumps.  Stir in slaw and refrigerate.

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes
1 head cauliflower cut to small florets
about 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tbsp taco seasoning
2 tbsp montreal steak seasoning
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 cloves garlic,minced
6 oz tomato paste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups lentils (red or green,) cooked 

Chop the cauliflower into pea sized pieces.  Toss in a roasting dish with 2 tbsp olive oil and roast for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.  Add remaining oil to large pot and sautee bell pepper, onion, carrot and celery until onion is translucent.  Add rest of ingredients listed except for lentils.  Combine well, then gently fold in roasted cauliflower crumbles and lentils.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Place on toasted buns and top with Coconut Slaw (above.)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hidden Veggie Puttanesca

Hello!  Notice anything new?  I'll give you a hint- look to your right.  Yes!  I've been awarded "top health blogger" status at!  I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be receiving recognition for this humble little blog.  Shall we celebrate?  I don't know about you, but when I hear "celebrate" I think one thing- carbs!  How about a nice big plate of pasta puttanesca? 

And what the hey, since this is a blog about vegetables after all, let's load it up with veggies- ones I promise you will hardly even notice.  Now, we all know the story of puttanesca, don't we?  That the "ladies of the night" would leave it out in windows to attract gentleman callers?  Well, this vegefied version had 3, count 'em, 3 handsome men gathered around my kitchen table in no time.  That's the power of puttanesca.

Hidden Veggie Puttanesca

1 lb angel hair or spaghetti noodles
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp italian seasoning
5 tbsp capers
1 1/2 cups oil cured olives, pitted and chopped (can substitute kalamata)
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
24 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp kelp granules (optional, but gives it an oceany flavor similar to anchovies)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Fresh grated parmesan, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring oil to medium high heat and add onion and carrots.  Sautee until onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes.  Add spinach, red pepper flakes, italian seasoning, capers, olives, and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.  Then add rest of ingredients and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions on package.  Drain (but don't rinse!  Never rinse- you want all of that lovely starchiness) and gently work sauce into pasta.  Spoon into bowls or onto plates
 and sprinkle with parmesan. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Caribbean Jerk Jicama Slaw with Roasted Edamame and Avocado

I've been feeling a little "blah" lately.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I've finally quit drinking coffee- or should I say I'm in the process of quitting it.  One day at a time, right?  My reason for quitting didn't have so much to do with coffee as it did the Coffee Mate I can't seem to enjoy it without.  You see, I've always taken good care of my teeth, and I've always had relatively easy Dentist appointments.  But this last one was a doozy.  Scrape, scrape, pick, pick, "You know, you have severe erosion of enamel," scrape.  I didn't ever want to go through that again!  So I took a look at my diet, and the only thing that had changed since my last appointment was the addition of coffee and coffee mate- lots of it.  So white tea it is.  White tea is full of antioxidants, has a mild flavor so there is no need for sweeteners, and causes less staining than green tea.  It helps to have a substitute, but I've been having horrible headaches.  I'm not sure if it's because the tea has less caffeine, or because my body is craving the chemicals in coffee mate, but it's no fun!  So, once again, I turn to mother nature to heal me.  

Much better.  This salad, or slaw, or whatever you want to call it, did just the trick, and was amazing.  I didn't need this much healing, but once I tasted it I just couldn't stop myself.  It's loaded with healthy fats and vitamins, and oh, that dressing.  So, so good.  And so easy!  

Caribbean Jerk Jicama Slaw with Roasted Edamame and Avocado
Roasted Edamame
1/2 cup shelled edamame
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl, mix edamame with oil and seasonings.  Spread out on foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 400F for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan a few times, until nicely browned.

Coconut Caribbean Jerk Dressing:
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 1 1/2 tbsp caribbean jerk seasoning
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Whisk ingredients together.  

1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup grated jicama
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup shredded red bell pepper
1/2 avocado, chopped 

Mix together all ingredients except for avocado (you don't want it to get mushy) and toss with dressing.  Top with avocado and roasted edamame. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Round Table Gourmet Veg Copy Cat Recipe

There's been a lot of pizza making going on in the Wilson household this year.  For the first 6 months they were all soft and Digiorno-y- and that's about the biggest insult I can think of for a homemade pizza. I was being stubborn.  I'd heard that in order to make a good pizza crust you must use a pizza stone- I just didn't want to believe it.  And it's not that I didn't have one- I did.  But it was something new to me, and I don't do "new" well.  Finally, I broke down and pulled it out.  I must have researched how to use that thing for an hour straight, I was so scared!  But just like most things in life, this turned out to be much easier than expected, and I was able to create the pizza crust of my dreams.  Now it was time to face my next challenge: a pizza that can hold a candle to the Round Table Gourmet Veggie.

The secret to the Gourmet Veg lies in Round Table's creamy garlic sauce.   I tried making this with store bought garlic alfredo sauce, but that was a huge letdown  (probably because store bought sauce never tastes good anyways.)  I tried making it with ranch dressing, as some people on the internet had suggested, but that was a flop as well.  But this?  This- is magic.

I did without the zucchini and mushrooms, because this is how I always order it.  I may have made peace with mushrooms and be on speaking terms with zucchini, but I still don't necessarily want them on my pizza.  But of course, if it tickles your fancy, pile them on. 
I used Jay's Pizza Crust recipe, which is amazing, but yields an extra large pizza.  My stone is medium-sized so I cut the dough in half and stored the rest in the freezer or fridge.  But you can use any dough you feel comfortable with. 

Round Table Gourmet Veggie Copy Cat Recipe

Creamy Garlic Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk, warmed in microwave until lightly bubbling
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp italian or pizza seasoning
pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch nutmeg

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Use a baby whisk to whisk in the flour and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add milk and bring to a boil. Add garlic, italian seasoning, salt, pepper and nutmeg, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.

1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
1/4 cup shredded fontina
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup ground parmesan

Spread sauce evenly over entire pizza.  Add spinach, then top with fontina.  Add rest of  veggies, then top with mozzarella, cheddar, and lastly, parmesan. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Balsamic Pasta Salad with Bocconcini and Roasted Asparagus

I'll never forget the first time I took my husband to Whole Foods.  "This place is miraculous" were his exact words.  And it really is.  It's nothing like the grocery stores we've become accustomed to- at which people rush around in an angry frenzy, all of them wishing they were somewhere else.  It's a place where people come to admire the fruits of mother nature- a museum for people who love food, if you will.  And if Whole Foods is a museum, then the salad bar is where the crown jewels are held- and priced accordingly.  So rather than spend a week's worth of diapers on one meal, I've taken to tasting and then recreating their offerings at home.  And this balsamic pasta salad, in my opinion, blows theirs straight out of the water. 

Words cannot express how much I love balsamic vinegar, and this salad is such a perfect vessel for it.  It's also great to make ahead of time, as the flavors only intensify, especially in the asparagus, which soaks it up so beautifully while still holding its shape.  Heaven.

Balsamic Pasta Salad with Bocconcini and Roasted AsparagusYield: 4-6 servings
(Can be made vegan by substituting nutritional yeast for parmesan and omitting bocconcini)

12 oz multicolored rotini
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup capers 
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup sundried or slow-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup sliced red onions
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
1 cup bocconcini
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Drizzle asparagus with 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until fork tender.  Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions on package.  Whisk together remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic.  Add all ingredients to pasta and gently toss with dressing.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Too easy cracked peppercorn bread with honey almond "schmear"

Some women have naturally adorable sneezes- barely audible little squeaks that cause their faces to pucker up ever so slightly.  Some women try to mimic these adorable sneezes- but it never works.  You can't just add a dainty little "choo" to a trumpeting "Aaaah!"  My sneezes are definitely not adorable-  but they can be a sign of good things to come.  At least, they were today.

When I lived in the Bay Area I was lucky to have a well-paying job.  Unfortunately, I was surrounded by amazing food joints, which meant that I had no need to learn how to cook and my savings account stayed at a steady $5.00.  I've come a long way since the days when Rice-A-Roni seemed like rocket science, but I still have yet to create a bagel that could hold a candle to my favorite morning stop, Noah's.  And, really- who wants to go to all that trouble for a version that is so lackluster compared to its counterpart?  So rather than exhaust myself only to be disappointed by the outcome, I decided to make a rustic bread inspired by my favorite breakfast of all time- the cracked peppercorn bagel, and to top it off with it's soul mate, honey almond schmear.

I know what you're thinking.  You've been lied to before.  But this bread is no tease- there's no kneading, no bread machine, no dough hook required.  

This recipe has been adapted from Jim Lahey's rustic loaf recipe.

Too Easy Cracked Peppercorn Bread
3 cups flour (bread flour works best, but all purpose is fine, too)
1/4 tsp instant yeast (fold up the package and store in ziploc bag in fridge)
1  1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tbsp whole peppercorns

Just mix together all dry ingredients except for the peppercorns, then add water and use a fork to combine.  It will look lumpy and not very promising, like this:
Cover with saran wrap and let rise in warm place (microwave works perfectly) for 12 hours.
Bring a small pot of water to boil and add peppercorns.  Let boil for 10 minutes, then let cool, and roll them around in a dish cloth to dry.  Place in ziploc bag and crush with hammer or mallet.  Don't get too crazy here- you don't want them ground, just halved or quartered.  Some may not get crushed at all- that's no biggie.
This picture is a lie.  You will need two hands.  But go on, mix it all up.  Squish it around, fold, whatever you gotta do to get it all incorporated. Cover again and let rise for 2 hours.
Sprinkle flour around the sides and use your hands to scoop out the dough
 Place on waxed paper coated generously with flour.  Fold in all four corners of the dough, then turn dough over and fold up both sides of the waxed paper to form a tent.  Let rest until doubled, about one hour.

Pick a ceramic pot that can withstand very high temperatures.  I used my crockpot, but because the lid has a plastic handle I used a cookie sheet as a lid instead.  Place the pot in the oven before turning it on, then set to 475.  Let the pot heat up for 30 minutes.  To grease or not to grease?  I grease the pot, but I wait until it is hot (if you grease it before, the burnt oil releases  a terrible smell and gets caked onto the pot to the point that it is impossible to remove.)  I like to grease it by dropping about a tablespoon of oil into it, then working it around the pot with a cotton cloth, making sure not to touch anything.  Then carefully plop the dough in it.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes (original recipe says 30, but I find 20 works better.)  Then use oven mitts to remove lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.  Turn the pot upside down and plop bread onto wire rack to cool.  Do not cut into it yet!  You must wait at least one hour or the crust will lose it's crispiness.  But don't worry- it will still be warm and wonderful after the wait.  

Honey Almond "Schmear"
1 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for flavors to get acquainted. Stir once more before serving.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kale Chip Nachos with Chipotle Garlic Sauce and Sriracha

I was enjoying some kale chips with chunky salsa the other day, thinking about how much I loved that combination, precarious as it was to eat, when, as always, my mind drifted to other thoughts about food- particularly that I like chips and salsa, but that I love nachos more. Before I knew it, the two thoughts bouncing around in my head had found each other- I love kale chips.  I love nachos.  Surely, I would love kale nachos?

Boy, did I!  Now, I'm sure it doesn't take any explaining for you to know that if kale chips won't support chunks of onions, they certainly won't support all this madness.  But, hey- that's nothing a fork and knife can't fix.  

Nutritional yeast creates a baked in cheesiness that will keep you coming back for more

Chipotle Garlic Sauce takes these nachos to a whole new smoky level

Note:  I've been seeing a lot of blogs lately that advise to use dinosaur kale when making chips, as it has flat leaves and therefore, cooks more evenly.  This is true- but curly kale is so much tastier.  Every time I've used dinosaur kale I've ended up adding loads of salt to take away the bitterness, and the outcome still didn't hold a candle to curly kale. 

Kale Nachos

For kale chips:
1 bunch curly kale, washed, well-dried, center ribs removed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Massage all of the ingredients into kale and bake in 400F oven for 6-8 minutes.  There is a very thin line between crispy and burnt, so if they aren't crispy after 6 minutes, check back every 30 seconds.  

For the nachos, use whatever ingredients you prefer.  I used black beans, which I heated in the microwave first.  Then I added avocado, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, olives, green onions, sriracha, and Chipotle Garlic Sauce (below.)  Make sure you have all ingredients chopped and ready to go so the kale chips stay warm.   

Chipotle Garlic Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise (vegans use vegannaise)
1/4 cup sour cream (vegans use coconut milk)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp milk (vegans omit)
1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk to combine. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fruity Pecan Salad

Would you believe it if I told you that my workout routine is dependent on this little girl?

And yes, I make her wear those wings at all times!  Joking.  Meet Babydoll.  She's a dainty thing- only 10 inches tall, but she can run 3 miles no problem- with me huffing and puffing behind her.  Lately, though, we've had a little dent put in our routine.

Lily Loo
Momma's a little out of shape, so we had to take it easy today.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  

It was a beautiful day outside, and the walk was followed by my favorite salad of all time.  I've been working on this dressing for years, every since I had something similar at my cousins wedding.  I've finally got it just right- it's tangy, nutty, sweet and garlicky.  It's full of fiber, so it keeps you satiated, but still feels light and fresh.  

This dressing is a serious multi-tasker.  It's great on just about everything.  My husband uses it as a marinade for steaks, and I put it on Roasted Brussels Sprouts, tofu, roasted tomatoes- you just can't go wrong with this.  
Wishing you a gorgeous day!

Fruity Pecan Salad
Yield:  One large salad

3/4 cup pecans
8 dates
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
dash of sriracha (optional)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
3 cups lettuce (spring mix is best, but our store was out)
1 apple, chopped
1 cup grapes
1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced

Toast your pecans in a pan with no oil over medium heat until fragrant- 1-2 minutes.  Set aside 1/4 cup to be added to salad later and add rest to blender, followed by dates, vinegar, oil, garlic, sriracha if using, salt, and pepper.  Blend well.  Mix rest of ingredients in a bowl, drizzle dressing over it, and serve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dill Spinach Hummus Wrap

Hello, hello!  Did you have a happy Mardi Gras?  Did you eat lots of yummy fried foods?  I did- and boy, was I paying for it today!  My body was just screaming for something light, fresh, and green.  This wrap had me feeling like myself again in no time, and was delicious, to boot!

Dill Spinach Hummus Wrap
For Hummus:
1 can garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp water
pinch paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
Add all ingredients except for pine nuts to food processor, streaming in olive oil as you go to help it come together.  Blend well, then stir in pine nuts.

For Wrap:
1 large flour tortilla
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 medium red onion, sliced
1/4 tsp seasoning of choice (I used Cajun)
pinch each of salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped lettuce
1 tbsp capers (optional)

Bring medium sized frying pan to medium high heat and swirl a little olive oil in pan to coat.  Add peppers, onions, and seasonings and stir fry until softened.
Heat tortilla in microwave for 30 seconds to soften.  Spread with as much hummus as you like, then layer with other ingredients, roll up like a jelly roll, cut off ends to pretty it up, and serve.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Curried Dill Couscous with Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Pearl Onions

I woke up this morning with the words "curried dill" repeating on a loop in my mind.  I knew that nothing would satisfy me today unless it contained those two ingredients.  

And oh, my, was I satisfied!  Please, please don't dismiss this because you see the word slow-roasted.  That doesn't mean loads of work- it simply means it will take a while, and that the flavors will be super-concentrated and amazing.  You could make the onions and tomatoes ahead of time, or the couscous ahead of time, whatever you do- just make it!  I think you'll be glad you did :) 

Curried Dill Couscous with Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Pearl Onions

For Tomatoes and Onions:
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/8 tsp pepper, divided
1/4 tsp dried thyme, divided
olive oil, to coat

Preheat oven to 225.  Place halved grape tomatoes and pearl onions in separate bowls (if pearl onions are larger than tomatoes, you may have to halve them as well.  Have to halve :)  Drizzle just enough olive oil over each to coat, then sprinkle equally with salt, pepper, and thyme.  Place on foil-lined baking sheets in oven.  Remove onions after 2 hours, tomatoes after 2 1/2 to 3 (tomatoes should be dried but juicy inside, but you want your onions nice golden and plump.)

For Couscous:

2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup butter (vegans use Earth Balance margarine)

1/2 tbsp curry powder
dash of sriracha (optional)
2 cups couscous
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Toast pine nuts in medium frying pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant, shaking the pan a few times to make sure that they don't burn.  In a medium saucepan add vegetable broth, butter, curry powder, and sriracha and bring to boil, then immediately add couscous and garlic, stir quickly, and remove from heat.  Cover and let rest for 5 minutes, fluff with fork and add salt and pepper to taste, and toss with rest of ingredients.  Serve hot or cold.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cajun Chickpea Jambalaya

A whopping 4% of the restaurants in the town next to us are Cajun.  In other words, there is one Cajun restaurant there.  Needless to say, it's a small town, but bigger than the one we live in, which boasts one Subway and a deli.  So when my parents come to visit, as they are doing today, there is a good chance that they will say, "Hey, let's go out tonight!"  And an even better chance that what that really means is "to that Cajun restaurant whose only vegetarian option is buttered noodles."  I don't think I've ever had Cajun food before, but seeing my parents and husband in such states of food bliss made me wonder what the fuss is about.  So I set about to find out for myself.

 I based this recipe off of Emeril's Cajun Jambalaya, but as you can see, I strayed from it quite a bit.  After all, what does Emeril know about Cajun food?  What makes this so good, in my opinion of course (although I hope you agree) is that each individual element is seasoned- the chickpeas, the peppers, the rice- so you get that wonderful effect of layer upon layer of flavor.  Thank you, Emeril, for a good base recipe.  But you know how it is- sometimes you just have to kick it up a notch.

Cajun Chickpea Jambalaya

2 cups rice
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp cajun seasoning, or to taste
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cans chickpeas
olive oil for frying
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cloves garlic

Cook rice according to instructions on package, substituting broth for water and adding bay leaf.  Stir in cajun seasoning, butter, and tomato paste.  Meanwhile, add enough olive oil to coat large frying pan and cook chick peas over medium high heat, stirring in taco seasoning.  Let cook for 5 minutes, then remove from pan, add a bit more oil, and add peppers, onions, celery, salt and pepper to pan.  Let cook until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds while stirring.  Add veggies and chick peas, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beet Green and Sage Pesto Linguini with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

My husband knows me better than anyone.  He knows that as much as I love to make my own food, there will be days when that frozen pizza that I said I didn't want will be my very best friend.  He knows that I will always, always be in need of new socks.  And he also knows that when I say I don't want anything for Valentine's Day, what I really mean is that I want him to get creative.  This Valentine's Day, he showed up with a gleaming ruby red bunch of beets.  And I almost cried. The man knows how to get to me.  What you should be seeing here is a gorgeous- wait, I'm not going to tell you.  I'm working on that recipe and it will be amazing one day but right now it needs a little tweaking.  Luckily for me, this bunch of beets came complete with greens, and those greens more than made up for the disappointment their roots brought.

There's no use reinventing the wheel here.  Deb over at Smitten Kitchen's got the best recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes, ever.  Period.  So I'll just spare you a sad attempt to recreate it and send you right on down to the master herself.  Or, of course, you may just want to use bottled sundried tomatoes.  (Trust me, you don't.)

Beet Green and Sage Pesto Linguini with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

1  lb linguini
2 cups chopped beet greens, center ribs removed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sage leaves
1 cup fresh grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup olive oil+ more for frying
1 cup slow-roasted tomatoes

Add enough oil to coat a large frying pan and bring to medium low heat.  Add beet greens and cook until wilted.  Let cool.  Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions on package.  Add walnuts to food processor and grind until fine, then add cooked greens and all other ingredients except for tomatoes, streaming in olive oil at the end.  Drain pasta and return to pot, tossing with pesto and adding in tomatoes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roasted Shredded Brussels Waldorf Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

I have to say, I've been loving me some brussels sprouts lately.  This is my 22nd post, 3 of which have been about these little cabbages of the gemmifera sort (there's a new baby name for you, celebrities.  I know you're reading.  Okay, maybe not.)  Anyways, back to brussels- I love this salad.  It's a dream come true for women like me who can't make up their minds.  It's hot, but cold.  It's crisp, but smooth.  It's sweet, but savory.  It's....

All gone :(

Roasted Shredded Brussels Waldorf Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings

2 lbs brussels sprouts, shredded, washed, and dried
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup chopped apples (I used pink lady)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Maple Cider Vinaigrette

1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp good maple syrup
1 tsp sriracha (optional but gives it a little something extra)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Prepare vinaigrette:
Whisk together all ingredients, streaming olive oil in at the end.  This vinaigrette is best prepared ahead of time and refrigerated a few hours to develop flavors, but it will still be good if used immediately.  
Preheat oven to 400F.
Pour shredded brussels sprouts and cranberries into a large baking dish and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring a few times.  Toast walnuts briefly in a frying pan with no oil over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes, or until fragrant.  Pour all ingredients into a bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kale and Pistachio Couscous

If you are vegetarian, or even just health-conscious, then I'm sure you've heard of kale chips.  I'm not sure who first came up with the concept, but I'd like to give them a big hug.  They're fantastic, and certainly much better for you than any thing else I can think of that precedes the word "chip."  Still, there comes a point when two months of eating the same thing every day, sometimes twice a day, loses its appeal, no matter how good it is.  I created this dish with low expectations, merely a way to use up one last bunch of kale, and certainly with no plans of ever showcasing it on this blog.  But I was pleasantly surprised by it, and so thrilled to see my kids enjoy it, that I felt it had earned it's place on here with the rest of my favorites.

I am calling this a side because that's what I think most people would consider it.  But I ate it as an entree, and felt full and energetic all day.  If you are are still a little unsure of kale, I suggest only using a half bunch and leaving out the extra bits at the end, as it is hardly detectable once pureed with the other ingredients.

Kale and Pistachio Couscous
Yield: 4 sides

1 cup couscous (uncooked)
1 bunch curly kale, stems and center ribs removed, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil + more for pan frying
1/2 cup parmesan
1 small onion, chopped

Toast pistachios briefly in pan with no oil over medium low heat until fragrant.  Set aside.  In a large pot over medium high heat, add broth and toss in kale, along with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until almost all of the water has evaporated.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Blitz half of the pistachios in food processor, reserving the rest to be added later, then add in half of the kale and all other ingredients except for onions.  Process well.  Cook couscous according to instructions on package.  Add a little oil to large pot and sautee onions over medium high heat until translucent.  Reduce heat to medium, then add couscous, pureed ingredients, kale, and pistachios, and toss to combine. Let cook for 5 minutes.