Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Wonders of Beanwah

Chaos.  That is work right now.  If I were Charlie Brown, there would be no black raincloud above my head, rather a swirling vortex.  I know you're all wondering how that detox went--it made the vortex bigger.  After dabbling in some self-reflection on day three, I realized that I am my best self when not confined to mung beans three times daily; so I quit.  I became aware of two things:  (1) I spend a lot of time cooking and preparing food.  (2) I thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Sometimes, just the thought of creating and savoring a delicious and healthful meal is enough to get me through the work day.  Other things that get me through:
  • kind, encouraging, healing words from my Mom (thanks Mom)
  • my yoga practice
  • opening the doors and windows to let in the sound of the rain (tonight)
  • my husband's stupid jokes & lunchbox notes (thanks boo)
  • things that start with the letters 'co' (i.e. co-mmiserating, co-mmunity, co-mplaining with co-workers, co-mfort foods)
The last of which was the inspiration for today's post (that and a recipe co-ntest entitled 'Meat Loaf Makeovers').  Ask my mom, I hated meat loaf as a kid.  It was weird...meat & loaf are two words that really shouldn't go together--not to mention that gross sugary ketchup on top.  So here's the deal, I used the basic recipe for the Beanwah Burgers & just tweaked the amounts of what I pureed in the food processor.  Instead of forming it into patties, obviously it gets pressed into a loaf pan.  I also retooled that nasty sweet ketchup sauce.  Thus, I give you:

Beanwah 'Meat' Loaf with Spicy Mustard Remoulade
Hold on to your hats! 

1 cup quinoa
1 bunch of green onion, divided
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes      
2 15-oz cans of black beans, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T herb & spice seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
Nonstick cooking spray

Boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan.  Add quinoa, cover and simmer for 15-20 min, or until all liquid is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coarsely chop most of the green onion, finely chop a small handful and set aside.  Place coarsely chopped onion in a medium skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes (the oil from the tomatoes will be enough to saute the onion).  Cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in all the black beans, garlic, herb & spice seasoning, and 3/4 cup of water.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Transfer to food processor and add 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to bowl and mix in the remaining quinoa.  Season with salt & pepper to taste. 

Generously coat loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Press mixture into pan, flattening out the top.  Bake for 30 to 35 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Garnish with the Spicy Mustard Remoulade and the reserved chopped green onions.

For the remoulade:
4 T spicy brown mustard
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp vegan or canola mayo
1 tsp parsley flakes
Mix all ingredients together.

Try this recipe with Spiced Glazed Carrots or simple baked sweet potatoes.

Also, I'm co-teaching a workshop with my friend Ajeet.  Get our yogic tips for banishing your black cloud and calming the swirling vortex!  For more info, click here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall Detox

I just finished the most hilarious, honest book I've read in a while.  In Poser, Claire Dederer exhibited a slight irreverence, which I find quite charming, and included some strategically placed f-bombs (guilty pleasure) that will really knock your socks off.  If you're new to yoga, a woman, or a new mom, you should totally read it.  Even if you're not one of those things, you should still check it out.  Here's just a taste...this passage reminds me of my husband and me:
Now I am going to tell you the secret to a lasting marriage:  Choose a spouse who needs to eat as often as you do. Bruce and I are like toddlers on a big day out.  We need a snack, no matter where we are going or how long we are going to be gone.  If we are headed out for dinner, we bring a baggie of cut-up cheese for the car ride to the restaurant.  It's a good thing we never became stoners because the grocery bills alone would've killed us.
In other news, tomorrow I will be starting a 7-day detox guided by Yoga Journal.  The detox is supposed to help boost immunity as well as prepare your body for the advent of Fall (which seems to be fast-approaching--yay scarves!).  Another intention of the detox is to reduce stress and stimulation by slowing down a bit--not to mention taking time for meditation and yoga practice.  I'm hoping to carve out some 'space' for myself.  Maybe I'll even dabble in some self-reflection. 

This isn't one of those deals where you drink cayenne pepper and lemon juice until smoke comes out your ears and your cheeks permanently pucker.  I will be eating (because I would die if I didn't).  The reason I'm telling y'all out there in the blogosphere about this is because the detox includes specific Ayurvedic recipes (this is a food blog, after all).  I expected to spend half my morning in the kitchen today preparing the food in advance.  I made three recipes in just 45 minutes though.  I'm a little nervous that the kitchari will get old after two days and I'll still have to keep eating it all week long.  The coriander chutney is really crazy and will be a nice garnish for the kitchari.  Thankfully, I will also be eating steamed vegetables, fresh apples, and avocado throughout the week too.  Can't go wrong with fresh avocado. 

Still, please send me encouraging thoughts over the next 7 days so that I can keep going with the detox well after I've gotten sick of rice & mung beans & broth.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gargantuan Grain Junket, Part Deux: Beanwah Veggie Burgers

Well folks, it's been raining since before I got up this morning.  A big thank you to Tropical Storm Lee for traveling all the way up to Appalachia to visit.  I actually have been enjoying the pitter patter--it's been a refreshing soundtrack for my day off.  Along with the rain, Lee has brought slightly more tolerable temperatures.  Yes, that's right I'm wearing pants and long sleeves--makes my husband sweat just looking at me (because I'm wearing long sleeves and pants...don't create an innuendo).

So I know you're looking at the title of this post and are thinking (a) what the eff is beanwah? (2) is that even a grain? and (d) why is her husband sweating?  I'm prepared to answer the first two of those questions.

Beanwah is one of those fun words like 'froyo.'  I just combined beans and quinoa (remember, it's pronounced keen-wah).  Unfortunately, quinoa was not one of the aforementioned grains we serendipitously acquired (see my last post).  It is, however, one of those 'indie grains' as I'm calling them.  'Indie grain' is just a cute way of saying psuedo-grain...and in this case it's actually a seed.  For a refresher course on the super awesome nutritional benefits of quinoa, see my post about Apple Quinoa Salad.

Weather update:  now it's raining sideways...just a few degrees from horizontal...quite amazing actually.

Anyway, these Beanwah Burgers are awesome.  I adapted the recipe from this Vegetarian Times dish, which calls for a lot of water.  While the water does stretch the recipe, it makes the burgers a little more mushy.  The second time around, I omitted the water, doubled the recipe and saw a huge improvement.  The third time, I messed up the recipe, added less water and saw an even bigger improvement.  They're not the same consistency as a Morning Star Black Bean Patty, so don't expect that--expect better!  These burgers will be made from scratch by you, will contain only ingredients that you can pronounce and find in your pantry/local supermarket, and will have way less sodium.  Without further ado, I give you...

Beanwah Burgers
I have a friend who likes to pronounce 'burgers' with a bit of an accent...'boy-gahs.'  I encourage you to use that pronunciation when referring to this recipe.

1 cup quinoa
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried maters
2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp herb & spice seasoning (or any grill seasoning you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add quinoa & reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 15-20 min or until all liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried maters in a medium skillet (no need to add extra oil; the oil from the maters will be enough to saute the onion).  Cook 2 to 3 min or until fragrant.  Add seasoning, beans, garlic, and 1/2 cup water.  Simmer 3 to 5 min or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Transfer the bean-onion mixture to your food processor along with 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining quinoa.  Give it a taste (careful it's hot!) and season with more salt & pepper if you think it's needed.

Shape the bean mixture into patties (use a 1/2 cup measuring scoop for each patty).  If your baking sheet is NOT non-stick, make sure to spray it with cooking spray before placing the patties on it.  Bake 20 min, or until patties are crisp on top.  Then flip and bake 10 min more or until both sides are crisp and brown.

Serve the patties on whole wheat buns and dress them like you would any other burger (they're also great with guacamole).  You can also go naked (no bun) like I did in the picture above.  Really, just do whatever strikes your fancy.

For a crazy vegetarian side dish that's totally en vogue right now, bake up some kale chips.  I bought a bag of pre-cut kale from the store & just removed the large stems.  Turn the oven up to 375.  Make sure the kale is good & dry, then spray with cooking spray.  Top it off with salt & pepper or your favorite seasoning and bake for 15 min or until the kale is cripsy.  Check out this easy how-to video from Kath Eats Real Food.