Cooking Hiatus: South Africa

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So it’s been another cooking hiatus due to international traveling. This time I was off visiting the Beautiful country of South Africa. As I had traveled internationally before I was less worried about eating and finding vegan friendly foods. I have come to have a system of bars, vegan dry snacks, and protein powder in my luggage as a back up. Surprisingly, I did not have to explain my dietary needs. There were plenty of options, since everything was fresh. Mostly, I ate pasta with tomato sauce, avocados, tomatoes, and fresh fruit. In addition, of the restaurants we went to there was soya products offered to replace the meat products in salads and on sandwiches. The people were very helpful as well. I spoke with numerous chefs that were sent out to me, without my requesting to do so, in order to get my needs met correctingly. Also, if I asked for the cheese removed the waiters asked if I did eat any dairy and helped identify other ingredients that I should avoid.

Outside of food, I got to see some amazing places and scenery: Table Mountain – such a gorgeous and peaceful view. It’s easily accessible form the hop on hop off bus tour and it a can’t miss. You can spend hours walking in different directions seeing the varied views of the country and coast line.

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Apartheid Museum – such an inspirational and emotional journey through the country’s past.

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Constitutional Hill

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Kruger National Park – I can’t even express how amazing the Safari was. As an animal lover to be able to observe animals in their natural environment was a gift. And to top it off, I got to see this little 6 month baby elephant!! We saw 4 of the “big 5” while on Safari. The leopard remained hidden on our two day adventure.

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Maropeng – The cradle of human kind leaves you contemplating how to leave this world a better place on various levels (social, political, humanity and environmentally).

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and Wine Country.

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Breaded Eggplant

PicsArt_1395010397236 (1)So I’ve never really liked eggplant, which is naturally why I attempted to cook it. I keep cooking something until I find a way I like it, if possible.

About Eggplant – As well all know, or most of us, it is a purple glossy item. They are at their very best from August through October when they are in season.

Fun Fact: Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.

Health Benefit: Eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin.

Ingredients

  • Eggplant
  • Breading
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil
  • Dill

Directions

  • Follow Egg Replacer directions (1 1/2 teaspoon of mixture + 2 tbsp of warm water) – I used two servings of this, as it equals two eggs
  • Slice Eggplant longways
  • Pour breading into bowl
  • Dip eggplant into egg replacer
  • Coat with breading
  • Slice tomatoes and potatoes
  • Place everything on a baking sheet/dish
  • Drizzle olive oil on potatoes
  • Season tomatoes and potatoes with salt, pepper, and dill
  • Bake on 350 for 20 minutes – Turn eggplant and stir potatoes – Cook an additional 10 minutes

Mung Bean & Bulgar

So here’s two ingredients I haven’t really cooked with. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so this is what I came up with! Hope you enjoy my cooking experiment.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Bulgar
  • 1/4 cup mung beans
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 3 stalks of asparagus chopped
  • White onion to taste
  • 1/4 cup Low Country Spice
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Start with 1 cup of water in slow cooker
  • Place all ingredients in the cooker
  • Cook on low heat for 1.5 hours – add 1/2 cup of water continue to cook on low heat for another 1.5 hours

Ideas for serving

  • Eat just as is
  • Use as filling for taco or tortilla with additional fixins’
  • Form together and fry in pan to make patties

Vegetable Spring Roll Ravioli

PicsArt_1393795166333Okay as promised, I made a “ravioli” from the spring roll wrappers. I also decided to give a sauce mix a chance at the same time.

Ingredients

  • About 4 medium sized  mushrooms
  • 3 to 4 leaves of Kale (less if you don’t want a strong Kale taste)
  • 2 “one bite” potatoes
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp of Tahini
  • 2 Spring Roll wrappers
  • 1 package of Sauce Mix (I used Road’s End Organics Alfredo Style)

Directions

  • Place mushrooms, kale, potatoes, garlic, tahini, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and let mix until desired consistency. If you prefer a creamer mixture add the milk of your choice or  a little water.
  • Follow the instructions on the sauce mix (Boil 1/2 water and slowly add mixture) – Pretty simple.
  • Wet the spring roll wrapper. Once the wrapper is malleable, cut into pieces. I found that triangle shaped worked best for wrapping.
  • Put some of the vegetable mixture in the middle and fold up so all ends are sealed. Place with edges down on the plate. Continue wrapping until you have the desired amount of ravioli.
  • Once Alfredo sauce is down, spoon amount onto each ravioli. I found these best to be eaten with your fingers. I rolled my ravioli to be bite sized.

Things to think of:

  • Hold off on the salt – the sauce mix has a pretty salty taste
  • Less Kale and more mushrooms depending on your taste preferences

Spring Rolls

PicsArt_1393726148665So I’ve been on an Asian food kick and wanted to take a stab at spring rolls. FYI – the package of wrappers comes in like a 24 pack. So unless you plan on making mass springs rolls, you’ll have to repurpose them. I’ll be making some type of ravioli to post, as a possible suggestion.

Ingredients

  • 3 Spring Roll Wrappers
  • 1 to 2 Mushrooms chopped
  • Bamboo Shoots chopped (4 to 5 shoots from a can)
  • Water chestnuts chopped (6 to 8 rounds from a can)
  • Kale (2 leaves chopped)
  • Peanut Sauce of choice (I have the Whole Foods brand)

Directions

  • Place wrapper in warm water and let soak for a minute or two
  • Place on dry plate and place ingredients inside
  • Wrap roll like a burrito folding the ends inside while continuing to roll
  • Viola!

Mushroom Red Pepper Soup

The color of the soup doesn’t come out looking very appetizing but it’s really delicious (if I say so myself)

Ingredients (I was hungry so I only made one serving of soup – for larger batches just increase your veggies)

  • 1/4 chopped red pepper
  • 1 portobello mushroom steak chopped
  • about 5 stalks of asparagus chopped
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • about 1 1/2 cup of Almond milk
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
Directions
  • Saute veggies for about 5 minutes in the oil
  • Add 1/2 cup of Almond milk, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes
  • The milk should be almost absorbed by the veggies
  • Transfer to blender and add the additional 1 cup of Almond Milk
  • Puree veggies and milk until smooth – add in pepper and salt to taste at this time
  • Serve!

Tofu Avocado Wraps

This recipe is great for easy lunch wrap sandwiches!

Ingredients

  • Super firm tofu (1 package)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 chopped small onion
  • 1 medium cucumber seeded and chopped
  • Vegan Mayonnaise (about 2 tbsp)
  • Lemon Juice (about 1 to 2 tbsp)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Carrots or Cranberries
  • Tortilla Wrap (heat for about 15 seconds to make the wrap easier to fold)
Directions
  • Drain Tofu and crumble into small pieces (I use a fork to sort of mash them)
  • Mash the avocado
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill before serving
  • Serve with your choice of wrap

Polenta Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cup Corn Meal
  • 5 Cups water
  • 1 Medium Size Onion
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Mushrooms
  • 3 Vegan Breakfast Links (I used Tofurky Brand)
  • 1/2 Cup of Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 of Vegan Cheese (I used Shredded Cheddar Daiya Cheese)
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper

 

 

Directions

  • Boil 5 cups of water
  • While water is boiling – saute veggies, paprika, salt, and pepper
  • Once water is boiling slowly add corn meal and stir while adding
  • After corn meal has absorbed water, add in saute mix, nutritional yeast, cheese and stir until cheese is melted
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Place mixture in your choice or pan (I used cupcake pan to make it an easy on the go Breakfast)
  • Cover pan Bake for 20 minutes
  • Uncover pan and Bake for 20 more minutes
Recipe yields about 12 “muffins” – It was an extra big muffin pan

Orzo with Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • Orzo Pasta
  • about 1/4 cup of Red Wine Cooking Vinegar
  • about 1/4 cup of Almond Milk
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • about 2 to 3 tbsp Vegan Worcester Sauce
  • Basil
  • Pepper
  • Vegan Goat Cheese
Directions
  • Make the cheese the night before
  • Saute Onions, Basil, Pepper, Mushrooms, and Asparagus in the Red Wine Cooking Vinegar and Worcester Sauce
  • Cook the Pasta
  • Add the Milk and let cook together for about 5 minutes
  • Add Pasta to Mixture
  • Serve and Top with Goat Cheese