Monday, August 13, 2012

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Black Bean & Corn Salad

I'm almost ashamed to say this, but I got the idea for this recipe from Guy Fieri's cooking show on Food Network. Being vegan, I can't say that I take too much inspiration from his show, but sometimes I'll put Foot Network on the television while I do other things, and this recipe really caught my eye. I did make a few changes to suit my style and taste. 

What a wonderful mix of flavors this was. The first time I made this, I left out the jalapeños, because they didn't have ANY at the store, and because one of my guests did not like spicy food. BUT, I will most certainly add them back the next time I make this. I also used agave syrup in place of honey, to keep it vegan. 

Black Bean & Corn Salad
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained 
1 large red bell pepper, diced 
1/4 cup red onion, diced 
1/4 cup green onion, diced 
1/4 cup pineapple, diced 
1 tablespoon cilantro leaf, chopped 
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced 
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar 
1/2 lime, juiced 
3 tablespoons agave nectar  
1 tablespoon salt 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
1 pinch ground cumin (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

**FYI, Jalapeños do not make this too spicy at all! In fact, the second and third times I've made this the "heat sensitive" people did not even notice they were there! I think they balance the sweet and tanginess of the dressing quite nicely**

I usually make this in the Summer, when corn is fresh and on every corner.  I made it again yesterday to accompany some enchilada casserole, and cilantro-lime rice (Viva Vegan).  My folks are leaving for a four month trip to Italy soon, and I know that Mexican/South West food probably won't be around much over there!  I did not use jalapeño, but rather used a tiny little green bell pepper from Uncle B's garden. ^_^

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Liquid Sunshine!

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Start your morning off with some Liquid Sunshine:  
Pineapple, Mango, Carrot, Apple & Ginger 

~For a moment, I thought I had left the bowels of good ol' Woonsocket, RI and was instantly beamed to a remote and breezy tropical get-away...  Well, not quite... but it was pretty close.

If you'd like to re-create this luscious experience at home, I invite you to give this juice combo a shot!

Liquid Sunshine

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 mango, peeled and cut away from the seed (tips for cutting mango here)
3 carrots
1 small apple
1" piece of ginger

I used a lot of Soft Fruits in the particular blend, which tend to get a bit foamy in our juicer's juicing screen, so I cut my carrots and apple up into 2" chunks, and alternated them between the pineapple and mango.  This worked quite well, and kept the fruit foam to a minimum.

Now, I usually try and go a bit more heavy on the vegetables for juicing.  However, the day prior, I had made a batch of fruit salsa for my buddy, Scott's birthday, and still had quite a bit of pineapple and mango leftover...  

Fruit Salsa - Mango, Strawberry, Kiwi
Great stuff, recipe here
So as my sugar began to spike, I decided to read about some of the awesome health benefits of mangos.

Some nutritional highlights: 

  • Prevents cancer: the antioxidant compounds found in mangos have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers
  • Lowers cholesterol:  thanks to their high fiber, pectin and vitamin C
  • Clears the skin: As their color suggests, mangos contain beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A.  Pair that with vitamin C, and you have some serious skin repair power.
  • Healthy for the eyes: 25% daily needed value of vitamin A
  • Alkalizes the whole body: Tartaric acid, malice acid and trace citric acid
  • Improves digestion: Enzymes
  • Boosts the immune system: vitamins A and C in mangos keep your immune system healthy and strong.
Sounds pretty good to me!  And they taste like paradise, so how can you possibly go wrong? ^_^

Better Than V8

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Don't let the slightly murky color of this photo fool you. This fresh, raw, vitamin packed, NO-salt added vegetable juice beats V8 any day!

L wanted me to write this one down, before I forgot:

Better-Than-V8 Salsa Fresca Juice
(serves two)
5 plum tomatoes
4 celery stalks
1 medium cucumber
1 jalapeño, seeded
1/8th of a large yellow onion
1 leaf of kale
1 small handful cilantro leaves, (my hands are small)
juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/4 lemon

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Not quite spicy, maybe just a hint.  Perhaps I'll leave a wee bit of the rib from the jalapeño in next time.  I would like to work on the color a bit, because once you add "Green" to anything "RED" you get sorta blehhhh...

Perhaps, I will sneak a bit of beet in next time... shhhh, don't tell L!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summertime~ Strawberry & Kiwi Juice

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Here we have:
20 strawberries, washed and stemmed
1 kiwi, peeled (I should have used 2)!
2 carrots
2 apples

Pure, unadulterated Summertime goodness!

It was also a test.  Although our new Omega 8006 juicer has stellar reviews for juicing greens and overall juice extraction, its one shortcoming might be the way it handles "soft" fruits.  Now, when I say soft fruits, I mean fleshier, juicier fruit such as pineapples, mangoes, kiwis and berries.  The Omega 8006 juices them fairly well, but the fact that reviews state that it *may* not perform as well on these foods did not deter me from trying.

Part of it is mechanics:

You see in the foreground of the picture, the driving force behind our juicer: the augur (directly to the left of the toothbrush).  This device spins at 80 RPMs, (much slower as compared with the centrifuge of the Jack Lalanne variety) and meticulously grinds and chews vegetables and dark leafy greens into a smooth trickle of vitamin packed goodness.  The pulp that comes out the front is dry as a bone, which is proof that this style of juicer really gives great results, and maximum juice extraction of your produce.

Now when a fruit is soft like a pineapple, mango or strawberry, the augur slowly spins it down towards the front end of the juice, and pulverizes it.  Because these fruits do not have as much fibrous matter like say celery or carrot, the juice of the fruit mixes with the pulp, gets a wee bit foamy, covers up the juicing screen, and doesn't always push its way out the front.  I've found that if I want to do a luscious summer fruit medley like the one above, the best way is to alternate the soft fruits with a bit of hard veggies or fruits (like carrots and apples) to help push some of that fruit foam out.

This technique worked pretty well, with minimal foaminess. There was still some, but not nearly as much as when I tried to do 10 pieces of pineapple in a row. Plus, you can never go wrong with fresh strawberry or kiwi.  I probably could have done the fruit in my blender, then added the apple and carrot juice, but I am enjoying my new toy too much not to use if for everything ^_^