Red Velvet Smoothie (a.k.a. Beet Smoothie)

BeetSmoothieI never liked beet in smoothies although I love beets. After a few trials of errors, I settled on this concoction. A velvety smooth, rich reddish purple drink for breakfast. The key was to use cooked beets.

Ingredients: 
1 medium red beet (I cooked whole beets with skins in a pressure cooker for 8 minutes)
2 cups packed kale leaves
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
3/4 cup apple cider
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Put everything in a vita mix, and blend until smooth.

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Peanut Butter Dressing for Anypathing Goes Salad

Peanut Butter Dressing for Anything Goes Salad

Peanut Butter Dressing for Anything Goes Salad

This peanut butter dressing is very versatile. You can use it over fresh greens and/or rice, noodles, and cooked vegetables and potatoes. I used to make this dressing all the time, but totally forgot about it for years. Today, baked sweet potatoes on the kitchen counter, left over from last night’s roasties, were calling for it. I list what I used here in the picture, but be creative. Other vegetables good to put in are endless: tomato, lightly steamed broccoli/cauliflower, cooked potato,  beans sprout, vegetarian ham, tempeh, firm tofu, any lettuce or baby greens, spinach…

Ingredients for 2 servings
Dressing: 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup hot water, 1Tbsp soy sauce or tamari, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp grated ginger, dash of cayenne or a few drops of hot sesame oil (optional), crashed or halved peanuts (optional garnish)

  1. Measure peanut butter into a small bowl. Pour hot water. Whisk quickly until smooth. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients. Mix well.

Salad: 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1 small sweet potato, 1 scallion, 1 celery stalk, 1 small cucumber, 4 kale leaves, 1 small carrot, 1 tofu cutlet (a.k.a. thick fried tofu, 6.5 oz)

  1. Steam or bake sweet potato.
  2. Chop scallion, celery stalk small. Slice cucumber. Shred or thinly slice carrot. Remove stems out of kale leaves. I do this just by hands. Chop the leaves.
  3. Drain tofu cutlet. Rinse with hot water. Pat it dry. Slice 1/2″ thickness. Put soy sauce in a small plate. Dip sliced tofu in soy sauce both side. Bake them in an oven toaster until surface become dry about 3 minutes. Dip them in soy sauce again. Toast again. Cut them bite size or use them as they are.

Place all the salad ingredients in a big bowl. Pour 1/2 of the dressing all over. Mix them. Eat.

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing

Wild RIce Tofu Salad

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad

I wanted to make this wild rice salad, and that was why I cooked wild rice a couple of days ago. Finally I could get to it. You have to cook a few things separately, but yes, it was worthy it.

Serves 2 as main course or 4 as side dish

Ingredients: 1/2 cup un-cooked wild rice (1 1/3 cups cooked), 1/2 bunch kale, 3-4 green scallions, 14 oz firm tofu, 1 carrot, 1 bell pepper (any color), 2 cups bean sprout (optional), 1″ fresh ginger, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp sweet white miso, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 tsp hot sesame oil or a pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper, 1 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Cook wild rice. Let it cool.
  2. Drain tofu on a slanted plate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Chop scallions and kale. Heat a frying pan. Splash olive oil, sautée kale and scallion for a few minute until they become soft. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Set it on a side.
  4. Julienne or thread a carrot. Chop a bell pepper.
  5. Wrap tofu with a paper towel to take moisture out. Cut it into 1/2″ cubes. Heat a frying pan with coconut oil, cook tofu in it until they become lightly brown. Splash 2 Tbsp soy sauce over them.
  6. Make Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk white miso, rice vinegar, orange juice, hot sesame oil, and grated ginger.
  7.  In a big bowl, mix wild rice and vegetables. Pour the dressing over and mix lightly.
  8. Put the salad mixture in a bowl and sprinkle cooked tofu over. Serve room temperature or chilled.

5 Small Vegetarian Dishes

5 Vege Dishes

5 Vege Dishes

All of above small dishes are easy to make, but making 5 dishes for 1 dinner seems a lot of work. Yup, it’s the Japanese cooking. I was talking to my Mom the other day, and she told me what she made for dinner on that day. Grilled fish, roasted Japanese eggplant, simmered beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions, boiled spinach, miso soup, and white rice! So, I tried to do the same minus beef and fish. Above dishes are all good warm or room temperature. All dishes above (except rice) are great nibbles if you like to drink.

Sautéed Shishito Peppers

Heat a splash of olive oil on a pan, put shishito peppers in. Turn an few times until they blister, but not to burn. Season with salt.

Pan Grilled Tomatoes

Halve tomatoes. Heat a splash of olive oil on a pan, line tomatoes in. Sprinkle salt. When they are soft, turn them over and grill a few more minutes. This was always a part of my English Breakfast when I traveled there.

Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin)

1/4 large kabocha, soy sauce, sugar, sake, water

Peel the green skins. I use a peeler and it is easier than a knife. Chop it at bite size.
In a medium sauce pan, put kabocha and pour water just enough to cover them. Heat up until boil. Add 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp sake. Turn the heat down to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until kabocha is done. Stick a folk or a chopstick in a kobocha piece and if it was easy to come out, it’s done.

Fire Roasted Eggplant

2 Japanese eggplants per person, 1/2″ fresh ginger (grated), soy sauce

Place eggplants directly over the fire. Yes, keep the pan holder comes with the stove top, but no pan is needed. When one side is charred, turn it to expose the other side to the fire. It will take 5 minutes or longer one side. When all sides are charred and eggplant is collapsed, take them off the fire, place them in a bowl. Cover with a plate to let them steam. Peel and cut it in bite size. To serve, place grated ginger and a dab of soy sauce on top.

 

Energizing Green Drink

Energizing Green Drink

Energizing Green Drink

I woke up at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday to make a class. It way too early for me to eat. When I got home, I was hungry but couldn’t eat a big meal because our triple B-day dinner is only 3 hours away. I made this refreshing energizing green drink. I liked it so much, I’d like to share the recipe with you.

Ingredients: 2 kale leaves, 1″ fresh ginger (grated), a handful of fresh parsley, a banana, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup apple cider, a handful of ice cubes

Serves 1 (16 oz)

  1. Grate the ginger. Put everything in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Kombucha!

Kombucha-4days

Kombucha-4days

A very good friend of mine was giving away her kombucha mother because she was leaving town. I never made kombucha, but I heard it is pretty easy to make and it’s probiotic and yummy drink. I started my first batch on August 1. For a a couple of days, it seemed making no difference. On the 4th day, I saw a think film formed on the top and it smelled sweet and tart through the cotton cloth cover. Today, on the 7th day, I drank it through a straw to test it. It tasted sweet, tart, and yummy. I decided to bottle it. My friend gave me a thick mother, which was almost 2 pieces. I put all of them in it and added bit more apple cider vinegar to make 1 cup starter juice, which was actually bit too much of apple cider vinegar. I found that out later. So, this first batch came out strong, almost like apple cider vinegar itself, but tasted good. I just had to cut it with water to drink. The second batch took 10 days and still came out milder than the first batch. I still liked both versions. It’s easy and fun to brew kombucha and costs you a fraction of the price buying ready made in a store.

Kombucha-7days

Kombucha-7days

Kombucha-bottled

Kombucha-bottled

Now I have plenty of starter and juice. I put a few fresh ginger slices in one bottle and lemon peel in one bottle, and a few slices of fresh peach in another for flavor, not that straight plain kombucha needs to be flavored. I leave them outside of refrigeration for a couple of days for flavor to sink in. So far, peach is the winner flavor! Surprisingly ginger slices didn’t add much of flavor versus a few slices of a fresh peach added a wonderful sweet peachy flavor.

Ingredients:
3 quart of filtered water
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
6 tea bags or 6 heaping teaspoon full of loose tea leaves (1 or any combination of black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea. I use 2 tsp black teas and 4 tsp green tea leaves)
1 cup kombucha (if you don’t have it enough, substitute with apple cider vinegar, but use it 1/2 amount of kombucha)
1 SCOBY

Tools:
1 gallon glass jar
1 big pot to boil water
1 cotton cloth or cheese cloth to cover the mouth of the jar
1 strong rubber band
paper tea bags or a large tea ball strainer if using loose teas

  1. Wash the jar and your hands well with soap and warm water.
  2. Boil 3 quarts of water. Dissolve  sugar in it, and brew a strong tea. Leave teas in the hot water at least 20 minutes. I tend to leave them in over 1 hour. You can leave them in until the tea cools down to almost room temperature. Make sure to cover to avoid flies jumping in the sweet tea.
  3. Strain the tea. Squeeze tea leaves out to get most nutrients.  Pour the tea in the 1 gallon jar.
  4. When the tea is almost room temperature, add SCOBY and 1 cup of kombucha with a clean hand. The tea shouldn’t be hot since extreme heat kills SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Warm to touch is okay. Burning hot is not.
  5. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cotton cloth. Secure it with a rubber band.
  6. Keep it in a warm place without direct sunlight for at least 1 week. After 1 week, taste it by using a straw. If it tasted good for you, it’s time to bottle. At this time, you can add flavors like a few slices of a fresh peach. If you flavor it, leave the kombucha out of refrigeration for 2 more days, then put them in a refrigerator.

*SCOBY keeps months in refrigeration. They sleep until you are ready to brew a new batch again.

* If you see bright red or blue foaming in your kombucha, molds got into it. Throw it away. I brew 3 times so far and this has not happened to me yet. White, off-white, brown are all good colors.

*People say SCOBY will float to the top of the kombucha. This never happened to my batches. My SCOBY float somewhere in the middle and stay there, even a new layer is developing at the top.

Honey Lemon Elderberry Cough Syrup

CoughSyrupThis recipe is given to me from a friend who came to the first wellness meeting in the garden of this summer. I modified it a bit, but basically the same recipe. You can ship it little by little or dilute it with water and drink as often as needed. I mix this with mineral water with gas, and it becomes a yummy non-alcoholic cocktail. A treat. I use distilled water, so that it would last longer, but I usually use it up within a few weeks any way.

Ingredients: 1 heaping Table spoon dried thyme, 1 heaping Table spoon dried elderberries, 1″ fresh ginger, 2-3 lemons (squeeze 1/4 cup lemon juice, and peel zests), 1/4 cup raw honey, 1.5 cups distilled water (or tap water)

  1. Boil water. Add thyme, grated ginger, and lemon peels. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Let it cool, but still warm enough to melt honey. Mix honey and lemon juice in.
  3. When it’s completely cooled, strain, and pour into a jar. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  4. Use within 2 months.