Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Raw Chickpea & Avocado Salad

A beautiful melody of chickpeas, avocados, and pretty seasonings.
Finishing up MFA and summer fellowship/residency applications for the week. Although I am hopeful, I won't be too upset if rejections fill my mailbox. I love Philadelphia. This is a wonderful place to rest my head. Yes. There is snow and ice and chill. It is winter. I expected more. The promise blossoming inside the big city is realer than ever imagined. I simply have no plans to leave even if not accepted anywhere. The art, the culture, the buses/trains, the history, (and of course the food!) make it impossible not to. Plus, I love going to NYC on the cheap. Perhaps I should just move there. After I hit the lottery.
I love the studio- school is my second home (which I'll miss immensely if not accepted for another two good years) and the kitchen is my favorite place in the house. 
Today's recipe combines two delicious ingredients- chickpeas ad avocado! In a simple way that involves no heat whatsoever? Just some smashing here and there. This chickpea and avocado salad is a delicious concoction capturing very smooth components into chunky decadent texture. Red onion pieces and this beautiful little jar of Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (which contains components like celery seed, marjoram, basil, bay leaf, lemon peel, etc) makes for a flavorful salad. I highly recommend it. At $1.99, it's a steal for the spice cabinet! For extra texture add walnuts, carrots, or chopped celery. Yum.

Raw Chickpea & Avocado Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 16 oz chickpeas
1 avocado, ripened and sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Mash or puree chickpeas in a blender or food processor.
Blend in remaining ingredients.
One heck of a perfectly composed, simple-to-make dish.
Great alone or between two slices of bread or a cracker topper.
A lovely closeup of yum.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Vegan Jalapeno-Garlic Zucchini-Apple Cheese Sauce

Marvelous, fantastic one-of-a-kind sauce.
After three weeks of having a broken laptop and using only mobile internet, I am back. Yiippee!!! Sure, the library's computers are nice, but their browsers are a bit outdated. Writing Blogger posts in that format proved to be beyond difficult. And I consider myself to be adequate at these things. I have a large roster of recipes to put up. There may be days of utter cramming- like two recipes a day maybe. A few like today's are from my winter break in Ohio. I just need to share the joys of making all these new fantastic cuisines with all of you. Today, I'm even making almond meal polenta- beyond excitable!
As for this week, Philadelphia has been hit by snowstorms. In fact, it is snowing now. Minor, but enough to have two back to back snow days- have class twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I almost stayed in all week with daily pumpkin spice hot chocolates and an impressive stack of library books (Phillis Wheatley and Sylvia Plath poetry plus J.K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy). On Monday, however, prior to Jack Frost cancellations, I did have the fortunate opportunity to participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts students were driven to Germantown Friends School (in an orange-yellow school bus- we were escorted with style!) to participate in a wide range of activities that benefited various non-profit organizations. I chose to record a book on CD, one of several for Philadelphia Reads, a program dedicated to promoting strong literacy to young ones.

T-shirts gifted to volunteers.
I recorded "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff, one of my favorite books from childhood. Now I know what Levar Burton must feel like. Reading Rainbow was one of the best shows ever. I was happy to participate because reading is one of my biggest loves. To not know how is grand robbery- a great injustice. Reading is a gift, a privilege. After what transpired, I feel obligated to volunteer more for Philadelphia Reads. The guest lecturer was right- service shouldn't be for one day.
Recently won a wonderful holiday gift pack from Bolthouse Farms which included Carrot Juice, Carrot-Orange Juice, Mocha Cappuccino, and Green Goodness. The Daily Greens beverage will be used to make the almond meal polenta instead of dairy free milk or water.
By now, everyone knows my obsession with Daiya's Jalapeno Garlic Havarti. So far, it is the only vegan cheese that I can eat straight out of the package. It is so rich and flavorful, making a plain slice of cold wheat bread divine. That mild garlic intensity, those little bits of jalapeno pieces, and creamy texture- yum! This amazing jalapeno-garlic zucchini apple cheese sauce came about as a creative vegan anniversary meal. Rich and enticing- taste and color wise. It seemed so simple. A glorious red apple combined with a zesty green zucchini and then pureed together. The melted Daiya sealed the deal.

Vegan Jalapeno-Garlic Zucchini-Apple Cheese Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Gala apple, diced
1 zucchinni, diced
1/4 cup Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti, diced
1/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a medium heated skillet, saute diced apple in olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
Add zucchini and stir for an additional 5 minutes.
Puree apple and zucchini together. Pour back into the skillet.
Add remainder of ingredients and stir on medium heat.
Doesn't take that long to melt into a wonderful sauce!
Serve droolworthy sauce atop desired pasta.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

AfroVeganChick Turns Two! Vegan Anniversary And Banana Walnut Star Shaped Bread

Start 2014 off right with banana walnut yum yums! Also called banana walnut bread.
Yippee! Happy New Year's Day! Every January 1, is a celebration for me, my vegan friends, and the animals of the world. I believe that 2014 will be one of great milestones. I feel it deep inside. It's a good good intuitive feeling. Two years have flown completely by. As always veganism has been an incredible learning experience.Not just in cooking. Not in clothing choices and environmental decisions. Life has been all about being more grounded. This year, I hope to be less materialistic and more organic. I am a blessed being. I get to breathe every single day. I want it to mean something. Not just to me. To others. To other people. To the animals. To the outside world. We take so much for granted. I personally have taken existence for granted. I'm ready to change. Put my good hands and feet forward.
As far as the afro part of the journey, Ma braided my hair yesterday in classic straight backs. I have had a hat obsession for years. Can't lie. I will hurdle over this mindset. Maybe this year?

The straight back.

Discovered that I'm not near the 140 pounds believed. Actually 119 pounds. However, I would love to get back to 136. Just really enjoyed that. But I'm monstrously toning for my spring break Florida vacation. Does this make sense?
Enough resolution talk. Let's get to the banana walnut muffins! They're star shaped!!!!
A few weeks ago, I purchased pretty red, white, and green miniature baking dishes from Michael's. They should be on clearance about now.  Though I can't knock getting them at 50 cents a piece. The recipe comes from wanting to do a banana walnut bread for ages and not having the "right" flour. Whole wheat flour isn't sold in smaller packaging like bleached white varieties. I was only going to be in Ohio for a short period of time. So when I Google'd my dilemma, Ambitious Kitchen popped up. She had a recipe for chocolate chip banana bread using the oat flour method- which I used partly in my first scones. I felt saved! I used her as a guide to creating these moist delicious breads. Perfect to wrap up and package to someone forgotten over the holidays. I enjoyed one with a hot enticing mug of hot chai tea.

Banana Walnut Star Shaped Bread

3 cup oats
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 ripened bananas
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking dishes with oil.
Grind the oats into a flour.
Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, puree bananas, molasses, vanilla, almond milk, and applesauce together.
Combine wet mixture into dry. Stir eventually and add walnuts.
Pour batter into the baking dishes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until fork is dry.
Let cool.

Cute bakeware right?
Eat with vegan butter, fruit jams, or peanut butter.
Or naked is just fine....