Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday Morning Mochi with Stir-Fried Veggies

For the past few months, my fiance and I have been following the advice of Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet. Silverstone discusses the benefits of plant-based diets in the book, outlining all of the wonderful perks that come with living the vegan lifestyle. Of course, my fiance and I didn't need any more convincing, but we did find some new information and inspiration that led us to choosing a more natural diet comprised of whole foods. My fiance has been following Silverstone's Superhero plan almost exclusively, while I tend to fall of the path fairly often (no surprise there, considering my love for vegan baking). I do my best to stick with it, especially for meals we eat together.

On weekends, we all like to have a nice treat for breakfast. Unfortunately, pancakes aren't exactly "Superhero." Lucky for us, Miss Silverstone has provided us with a delicious (however unexpected) alternative: mochi! I had never heard of mochi before reading The Kind Diet. Silverstone uses it in two recipes: Pan-Fried Mochi and Mochi Waffles. Due to my lack of ownership of a waffle iron (wedding registry, here we come!), I'm left to enjoy just the first recipe, and boy do I enjoy it! My fiance and I have been making mochi almost every weekend, and it is so very delicious. Below is the way we like to make it, served with a yummy side of stir fried veggies and greens, and some tempeh bacon.

Sunday Morning Mochi with Stir-Fried Veggies


For the Mochi:

1 package mochi, cut into squares
1-2 tbsp oil (olive or safflower both work well)
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

For the Stir Fry:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mirin (rice wine)
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp umeboshi vinegar


Whatever veggies you want/have in the fridge!
I used:
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 daikon, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
3 scallions, chopped
1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups mixed greens


Begin by preheating a skillet (one with a lid) for the mochi over a medium-low flame. Add the oil. When the oil has heated, carefully place the mochi pieces in the skillet so that they're not touching. As they get bigger, it will probably be impossible to keep them from sticking together, but do your best. Cover with the lid and maintain the heat at medium low.

While the mochi is cooking, heat the oil for the stir fry in a separate skillet. Once it's heated, start adding vegetables in order of how long each takes to cook. I started with the mushrooms and garlic. Once they became tender, add the daikon. After a few minutes, when any liquids produced by the vegetables have cooked off, add the mirin (just like deglazing with regular wine). When most of the mirin cooks off, add the peas and scallions, and cook until heated through.

At some point during the stir-fry, you'll notice that the mochi has puffed up and is beginning to brown on the bottom. Carefully flip each piece, doing your best to keep them from touching. They'll be quite sticky! Once you've flipped them, use a pastry brush to add several drops of tamari to each piece. Do this carefully to keep the sauce from burning in the oil. Re-cover the skillet and allow the bottom of each piece to brown.

To finish off your stir fry, add the purple cabbage until it has just wilted. I overcooked mine a bit in these pictures, so try to keep it from turning a dull purple. It's best when you retain a little crunch and that vibrant reddish-purple! Once the cabbage has wilted, turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve on top of the greens.

When the mochi have browned on both sides, remove them from the heat and plate them. Drizzle with syrup, and sprinkle the walnuts on top.

This dish is a fun, healthy alternative to the common Sunday brunch. I hope you find it as delicious and satisfying as I do!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soup

We all know what it's like. Having a fridge stuffed with weird leftovers and things that don't quite make a full meal can be frustrating. I'm actually pretty sure that this is how soup came to be in the first place. If it's not suitable as a meal on its own, toss it into a pot with anything else you can find, and voila! You've got a delicious mish-mash of flavors and a satisfied, full belly.

Last night, I found myself stuck as to what to make. So, I looked to Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum for inspiration. Here, I found a few recipes for soup, and decided to use her knowledge to create a "clean out the fridge" soup of my own. The final product was mainly based on her recipe for Vegetable Soup. The point, though, is that you don't actually need to follow a recipe to make a good soup. Just use what you have and go with it. As long as you use good judgment with your seasonings (let your nose be your guide), you will most likely wind up with a pretty tasty concoction. I did, anyway.

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms of your choice (I used shiitake)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
6 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup pasta (I used rice pasta, but use whatever you have)
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups baby arugula


Begin by heating the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, and saute them until they start to become translucent. Toss in the garlic, mushrooms, and herbs. Cook until the mushrooms soften and the herbs become fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the water, bouillon cubes, and tomato paste, and stir until the tomato paste has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Add the corn and pasta, bring back to a boil, then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then, add the beans and stir until they're heated through. Once the soup has come to a boil once again, season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the arugula until it has just wilted.

This is a great weeknight meal that will provide some leftovers for lunch the next day. It's good reheated, too! My fiance likes it because it's well rounded and has a good range of vitamins and other essentials. I like it because it tastes good. It's a win-win!