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MacroTreat Friday: Delicious Veggies

Hey Friends,

I know it's MacroTREAT friday, but sometimes treats come in unsuspecting shapes and sizes.

The best TREAT I've had this week was the taste of amazingly fresh & delicious veggies. I just signed up for an organic produce box (I had one when I was in Edmonton) to supplement my weekly veggies from the market (I kind of have a love / hate relationship with grocery stores, and avoiding them and getting my foods elsewhere can feel nice!). Dang - summer's just the best! So many fresh veggies and fruits. YUM!

MTF: Fresh Veggie Saute

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Ingredients

Serves 2 veggie lovers <3

  • 3 baby bok choy
  • a large handful of fresh basil
  • 4 large green onion stalks
  • a few bunches of oyster mushrooms
  • sesame oil, ginger juice (freshly grated and squeezed, or out of a bottle), shoyu & umeboshi vinegar
  • Serve with your grain of choice

Directions

  1. Heat up a generous splash of sesame oil in a heavy pan or skillet.
  2. While pan is heating prepare the seasonings: take a cup, add some water (about 1/2 cup) and then a few drops of umeboshi vinegar, a splash of ginger juice, and a couple splashes of shoyu. Stir it all up. This will be the liquid you add to the veggies.
  3. When the pan is hot, add in the chopped green onions. Put a lid on and let them cook for a few minutes. If they are sticking, add in a splash of the cooking liquid. Stir around a few times.
  4. Add in the chopped mushrooms. Again, put the lid on and let them cook down a bit.
  5. Add in add a few splashes of the cooking liquid again.
  6. Add in the bok choy, and another splash of cooking liquid. Put the lid on, and let the  bokchoy "steam" for a few minutes on top of the mushrooms. Then stir in and let cook for a bit more.
  7. Add the chopped basil in last, and the remaining cooking liquid. Stir around, put the lid on, and cook for another minute or so.
  8. Serve with cooked rice, quinoa, millet...any grain your heart desires. Or you could even just have a couple pieces of good bread on the side, or wrap it all up in a nice pita or wrap. Your call. We enjoyed ours with fresh cooked short grain brown rice that was cooked with some wakame in it., and topped with half an umeboshi plum!
  9. ** TIP: when you take the lid off after cooking, shake the condensation on the lid back into your pan - I learned this tip from a macrobiotic cooking class I took in Japan - the teachers told me this is where a lot of good flavour ends up :)

What kinds of FRESH summer produce and food have you been treating yourself to lately?

And... HAPPY CANADA DAY weekend to all my lovely Canadian friends <3
xo Jess

Celeriac & Carrot Soup - with kombu dashi

I've been debating what recipe to post first on the dainty pig's new blog home. You see, I've done a lot of baking recently. But this soup was just SO good. I mean the kind of good where you plan for leftovers but end up eating the whole pot of soup in one go. Wait..that's happened to you before, right?  

Transient
Transient

This creamy, slightly sweet, completely comforting soup is surprisingly simple, quick and easy, but tastes beyond delicious.

I'm also rather embarrassed to say that it's my first time trying celeriac. This lovely & fragrant root vegetable made it's way into my kitchen because it happened to be included in the organic vegetable box we get delivered every couple of weeks. I took it out of the box, and it looked pretty yucky...gritty, dirty, and shaped rather weirdly. But I had faith that it would turn out to be an ugly duckling kind of situation. Looks like I was right.

Carrot & Celeriac Soup

*largely inspired by this recipe @ the nourishing gourmet

Ingredients

  • 1-2 TBSP vegetable oil -- I used olive oil
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced, most the white part
  • 4 small-medium celery roots, peeled & diced
  • 4 giant carrots (~6 medium carrots), cut into chunks
  • 8 cups of veggie broth (I used kombu-dashi, kelp broth, see directions at bottom of post)
  • few pinches of sea salt
  • parsley & pumpkin seeds for garnish, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium heat (making sure oil doesn't smoke)
  2. SautΓ© green onions for a few minutes
  3. Add carrots & sautΓ© for another couple of minutes.
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top, and put lid on. Let the veggies "sweat" for a few minutes (adding a tiny bit of water if necessary, to prevent burning)
  5. Gently pour in the broth, give a quick stir.
  6. Add in celery root, and let soup come to a boil.
  7. Simmer with the lid on for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender (mine took only 20 mins.).
  8. Very carefully puree or blend soup, to create a creamy & thick consistency. If you are in no rush, then I recommend letting the soup cool for a bit, before spooning it into a blender. I personally used an immersion blender in the big pot I cooked it in.
  9. Pour back into saucepan and reheat. Taste and add a bit more sea salt if necessary.
  10. Serve immediately, garnishing with some parsley and pumpkin seeds, if desired.
Transient

Kombu Dashi

  • Take a few 2" squares of dried kelp (kombu). Wipe off excess salt if desired, and then place in the bottom of a large bowl.
  • Pour 8 cups of boiling water over top.
  • Put a lid or plate on top of the bowl, and let sit at least 30 minutes. The longer the better.
  • Remove kelp and use liquid as a very quick stock for any soups / sauces.

* My favourite restaurant in Japan used kombu dashi in lots of their cooking.  Another version is to simply let the kombu soak in room-temperature water (or in the fridge) overnight. The longer soaking time with cooler water does the trick.

We ate this soup with a side of steamed greens, and some leftover brown rice. It was so good I would have eaten it for breakfast, had we managed to keep leftovers.

Have you ever eaten celeriac? How do you enjoy it?

Nishime.

I have been just LOVING nishime-style veggies lately.

If you haven't ever tried making veggies like this, then please do.

You won't regret it!

It's quite simple to do: it's just cooking layered veggies, with a tiny bit of water, for a long time. They're very lightly seasoned with sea salt or shoyu.  But, the veggies become soft and buttery like no other technique i've ever tried. Parsnips and Carrots become extra sweet and yummy. In fact, T & I often have to rock paper scissors for the last piece of parsnip.

The one below was made with leeks, daikon, carrots & parsnip. It cooked have cooked down a little more so there was less liquid left, but I was in a bit of a rush.

Nishime.
Nishime.

Served with a really lazy "brown rice ball" and steamed greens.

Nishime.

Served with steamed greens, and millet soup with pinto beans and corn.

Here's a link to the recipe I usually use.

It's from The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobioticsby Jessica Porter.

I don't often cook with onions, so I subbed some leeks in, instead.

Coming this week: a recap of my lifestyle & diet SPRING CLEANING experience.

What's your favourite nishime combination?

A quickie.

T & I had a flashback to our Japan days while eating dinner the other night.

A quickie.

Lovely

Japanese Mushrooms

from the

Asian Supermarket

are the star of this simple stir fry.

Very loose directions:

SautΓ© some minced ginger and a sliced green onion in a teeny bit of toasted sesame oil.

Add in 2 packages of 

Bunashimeji

mushrooms.

Let them cook for a few minutes with the lid on. 

The mushrooms let go of a lot of liquid and create a bit of a sauce. 

Add in some cut up carrots and daikon, and a tiny splash of tamari.

Put the lid back on and sautΓ© / steam for a few minutes.

Add in broccoli stems for a few minutes, along with a tiny bit of water.

Add in the broccoli crowns.

Last but not least, add in some kind of green---I'm going to say collards, but any will do!

Simple, fast, and delicious.

We ate it with brown rice (duh).

A quickie.

We ate this almost every week night while we were living in Japan.

We tried many different vegetable combos, and different kinds of mushrooms.

We never got sick of it, because the different kinds of mushrooms give SO much flavour.

What's do you like to put in your stir fry?

What's your favourite kind of mushroom?

Typical Macrobiotic Eats.

Whole Grains + Vegs = happy tummy & happy mind.

I plan my daily meals around these two things.
Then I add in some root veggies, round/ground veggies, and some greens.
This is often enough, as is.
But for variety and to make sure I get protein, I have some beans or fish, and nuts & seeds.
And for minerals and flavour, some seaweed.
Here was my lunch the other day:
Nishime-style Root Veggies
 Comforting and soothing. 
Boil for a long time in a small amount of water.
 Add a bit of kombu and tamari for flavour.
Very grounding.
Crispy steamed kale. 
A burst of spring, and some upward moving energy.
Brown rice.
Pressure-cooked to perfection.
The backbone of the meal.
Garnished with tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds.
Perfection in a bowl.

How can something so simple & so healthy be so drool-worthy?

Tip: drink the water left from steaming your veggies. 
A delicious and warm way to get all your vitamins!

Summer eats.

The weather has been warmer.
I've been wanting watery foods like fresh veggies and fruits.
I try to keep fruits to a minimum, but some smoothies have made their way into my eats.
I have been loving salads....
especially after a lunch date to one of my favourite places:
Charlie's Vegetable. 
Yes folks, he only has one vegetable, and it's damn good.
Despite the ridiculously cute (and strange english) name, 
they are serious when it comes to Salads.
The all you can eat salad bar is better than I could have imagined. 
Over 10 types of fresh greens, kabocha, daikon, carrots, broccoli, seaweed, tomatoes, potatoes, sprouts....the list goes on.
There are also over 15 types of dressings, all have labels indicating allergens.
There are fun toppings like sesame seeds, spices, herbs, and even fish flakes.
You can also choose from 4 fresh veggie based soups, 
and numerous breads and fruits.
I settled down with a giant monster of a salad:
beautiful beautiful veggies

mounds of fish flakes (yum!)

Love the sesame seeds....

So awesome. Will definitely be back there soon, and
I hope to sneak some shots of the salad bar for you to see.
Do you have any favourite summer eats in your life lately?