Saturday, September 30, 2017

Chang-Li Power Breakfast with Natto

My regular #WFPB style breakfast is steel-cut oats with fruits, but every once in a while, I have a hankering for something that puts hair on your chest, and one of my faves is rice pilaf with natto.

For this recipe, I bought almost all ingredients at Chang-li, hence I named it after them.

- a cup of cooked Rice pilaf (GABA process if you can do it).
- some bean sprouts, some onion or scallion, a pimento, a jalapeno pepper and a clove of garlic.
- natto
- a 1/4 cup of vegetable bouillon (cooking water from kale, spinach, etc.)
- some home made gomasio (roasted sesame seeds ground, with some himalayan salt, and a bit of nutritional yeast)

Preparation is easy:
- I always cook rice/rice pilaf ahead for a few days.
- begin with frying the onions, pimento (sliced!) and jalapeno for 5 minutes dry, until they are just starting to brown, add in the garlic and let it go for another minute then add the vegetable bouillon and the bean sprouts.
- when the bean sprouts begin to soften add in the natto and seasoning (mustard and soy sauce are in the package)
- serve over rice pilaf
- season with gomasio to taste.

When you do it this way, you can use cold rice from the fridge for the heat from the veggies will provide enough heat so you can eat it instantly.

Mixture of onions, peppers, garlic and sprouts with natto

Natto in display case at Chang-Li
Here are some of the ingredients I used:

Natto, open

And here is some of the rice pilaf:
12 grain rice pilaf

Bean Sprouts
Pimentos at Neerob Bazaar
Pimentos and sprouts:

The gomasio seasoning is easy to make, just toast some sesame seeds (Chang-Li has a great selection of sesame seeds) in a frying pan till they start to pop (brown, not charred), grind them up and mix with some himalayan salt and nutritional yeast. You can save that in your fridge, it is a great all around low-sodium seasoning.

There you have it, folks... this is a beautiful power breakfast for the fall, that is sure to get your engines started.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our Monthly #WFPB Supper for Sept 17

Well, vegans make mistakes too, so this time our monthly dinner became a bit of an improv, but it was great fun.
Besides Fr. David and myself there were two visitors from Manhattan. Through a comedy of errors we also had a dinner the night before, and the following recipe follows the best of both evenings. Khokon did the cooking on Monday, and the staff at Packsun did it on Tuesday.

We had a salad of lettuce, tomato, onions, garlic with lemon and lime juice, with salt and pepper.

And for dinner we had a simple dish of steamed cauliflower, with a sauté of green tomatoes, okra, string beans and onions and garlic, with turmeric, salt & pepper, served over a bed of sprouted brown basmati rice.

On both nights we sampled some WFPB rotis rolled in boiled Collard Green leaves instead of flour roti's (too oily!), inside oil-free spicy hummus, string beans, rice pilaf, some mushrooms roasted with rosemary, and some Kimchi. These were prepared by your tireless blogger based on what he learned at Plantstock 2017. It is a great idea for it is a form of portable #WFPB food you can take with you anywhere if you're at risk of having to eat commercial food. As I found out at Plantstock, the Brooklyn BP, Eric Adams, faithfully brings his own food to any and all occasions. Until the world catches on to what vegans do eat (at least if they follow #WFPB nutrition standards), instead of what they don't eat, it may be necessary to bring your own grub, and these vegetable rotis (or vegetable burritos if you will) are just the ticket. You can easily pack 2 or 3 in a lunch bag and you are good to go.

One important lesson is that 

All in all simple and delicious and we had a lovely conversation with two journalism students from NYU who were visiting.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

#WFPB and the KISS Principle with the Esselstyns

One of the most helpful things of attending this year's Plantstock conference was a presentation by mother and daughter Esselstyn, Anne Crile Esselstyn now a spry 82 years old, and daughter Jane, who is an RN. Together, they made comic duo that grabbed your attention, and presented a stand-up comedy routine that was still quite serious and drove across one big point: Keep It Simple, Stupid, or as it is known in polite company: the KISS principle.

Eating leafy greens 6 times a day sounds like not feasible, until you learn from mother Esselstyn how to become an expert stripper, as she has taught all her children and grand-children: an expert kale stripper, that is.

Obviously, you wast the kale and then, in one fell swoop, you strip the leaves from the stems into some kind of a colander. You boil it for 5-7 minutes, to your desired level of tenderness, and you can serve a "fist-size" plate of boiled kale at any time of the day. You can season it with balsamic vinegar, or even with one of the delectable infused balsamics from Bema and Pa's which were omnipresent at Plantstock. My favorite of the moment is the habanero-infused variety.

Another simple idea is to make a sort of a roti with collard green leaves, you can pack it with rice, some green beans, okra, or other veggie, some mushrooms, some kimchi, roll it up, and that's an easy meal you can carry with you anywhere.

In general:
  • Breakfast is oatmeal (a lot of people seem to prefer steel-cut, as do I), with whatever fruit tickles your fancy.
  • Lunch is a giant, meal salad with lots of greens and peppers, tomatoes and whatever else tickles your fancy, add some chia seeds, some ground flax seeds (make it fresh, flax meal loses a lot of its nutritional value quickly), wheat germ, etc. Oil free dressings are easy, Jane's go-to is 3/2/1: 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of mustard, and one tablespoon of maple syrup - and obviously, you can add your favorite herbs and spices to that. Plus you add a good amount of some cooked whole grain, be it quinoa, or kamut, or teff, millet, or whatever is your own favorite.
  • Dinner is the time you let your imagination run wild.
  • In between, for snacks, you can eat fruit or your little plates of leafy greens with balsamic.
This is really how simple it is. So, even though the Esselstyn clan has produced many wonderful cookbooks that can give us all inspiration, it is important to realize, that the basics are as simple as this. A child can do it. On a lot of levels, that is the most important thing to realize, for otherwise the changeover can seem daunting. Once you commit to the changeover get rid of all the junk food in your pantry, in particular any oil. Endothelial health is extremely important and all added oil produces a paralysis of the arteries, as reported here by Dr. Michael Greger on NutritionFacts: Olive Oil and Artery Function. Or, as Dr. Ostfeld at Montefiore likes to say, added oils are like having Mike Tyson for a sparring match with your arteries for a punching bag.