Living the WELL Life

Red, White and Blue - by Christina Pirello

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and it has put me in the mood for a kick-off to summer food fixins.  It’s a great time of year to plan outdoor get-togethers with family and friends, bask in the sunshine, and savor the tastes of summer.  I’ve put together some healthy versions of my family’s recipes celebrating the Memorial Day weekend.  Enjoy!


Grilled Soy Sausage with Carmelized Onions
Quinoa Salad
Baked Beans
Warm Potato, Soybean, and Cucumber Salad
Apple Pie

Grilled Soy Sausage with Carmelized Onions

Extra virgin olive oil
6-8 yellow onions, thinly sliced into half moon pieces
Sea salt
1 tablespoon barley malt
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
8 ounces vegan soy sausage, rolled into 3-inch logs
4-8 thick slices whole grain, sourdough bread
Stone-ground mustard
2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

Place 2 tablespoons oil in a deep skillet and turn heat to medium.  Sauté onions, with a generous pinch of salt until they begin to wilt.  Stir in barley malt and caraway seeds, season lightly with salt and cook until onions are quite limp and browned, as long as 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

When the onions are almost ready, prepare the sausage.  Place a generous amount of oil in a skillet and turn heat to medium.  Add sausage logs and cook, turning frequently, browning them evenly.  Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly so you can handle them.

Lay bread on a dry work surface.  Spread mustard on half the slices and lay tomato slices on top of the mustard.  Slice the sausage logs in half lengthwise and lay them on top of the tomatoes.  Lay remaining bread slices on top and cut in half diagonally.  Makes 2-4 sandwiches.

Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups spring or filtered water
Pinch sea salt
1 cup fresh peas
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1-2 stalks celery-diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
1/8 cup olive oil
Several leaves fresh mint-minced
3-4 leaves fresh basil-minced
Soy sauce

Bring water and sea salt to a boil. Add quinoa, bring back to a boil, cover, lower and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. All the liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa should get fluffy. Separately blanch the corn and peas and set aside. Whisk together the lemon and orange juice, mint and basil to taste and soy sauce to taste and the olive oil. You should only have a tiny amount of dressing. Believe me; it will go a long way in this salad. Toss the quinoa with all of the vegetables and finally, the dressing. Serve immediately. Do not allow the salad to marinate in the dressing, as the quinoa
will take on too much moisture and become soggy.

Baked Beans
2 cups dried cannellini beans, rinsed, sorted
6 cups spring or filtered water
2 bay leaves
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
Sea salt
4, 8-ounce cans tomato paste
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup barley malt
2 teaspoons dried mustard
Cracked black pepper
Scant pinch ground nutmeg
Scant pinch ground cinnamon
Scant pinch smoked paprika

Place beans and water in a heavy pot with bay leaves and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about an hour. Drain and transfer beans and bay leaves to a lightly oiled large casserole dish.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place oil in a skillet with onion and garlic over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir into beans.

Whisk together tomato paste, diced tomatoes, barley malt, mustard, a light seasoning of salt and pepper, and spices. Mix into the beans until well incorporated.  

Cover and bake for 3 1/2 hours, stirring frequently and adding a small amount of water, if needed, to keep the beans moist as they bake. Remove cover and bake 30 minutes more to ‘set’ the beans. Makes 6-8 servings

Warm Potato, Soybean and Cucumber Salad
1 pound new or fingerling potatoes, cubed, do not peel
1 cup frozen fresh soybeans, thawed
1 red onion, thinly sliced into half moon pieces
1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise, very thin half moon slices

¼ cup umeboshi vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon white miso

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes until just tender, about 12 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl.  In the same water, cook soybeans until just tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain and add to potatoes.  Finally, in the same water, quickly blanche onion pieces, for 30 seconds.  Drain and add to potatoes.  Prepare the dressing by simply whisking the ingredients together until well-combined.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Stir dressing into salad, tossing to coat.  Serve warm.  Makes 4-5 servings.

Apple Pie
2 recipes Pastry Dough

Pastry Dough:
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (scant)
1/4 cup cold almond milk or cold water

13-14 Granny Smith or Gala apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced into half moons
9 tablespoons vegetarian butter spread
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice syrup
Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Lightly oil a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Divide pastry dough into 2 pieces, one a little larger than the other. Roll each one between waxed or parchment paper into a thin round, the smaller one to be about 11 inches in diameter and the larger one to be about 12 inches in diameter. Press pastry into pie plate, using your knuckles to conform the dough to the dish, but do not stretch the dough too much. Let excess hang over the rim. Prick several times with a fork and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Make the filling. You will be sautéing apples in 3 batches. Place 3 tablespoons of vegetarian butter spread, a teaspoon of vanilla, 1/3 cup rice syrup and a pinch of salt in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté until the apples wilt and the edges begin to brown about 7 minutes. Transfer cooked apples to a baking sheet to cool and repeat sautéing.  Process with remaining apples and seasonings. Cool to room temperature.

Spoon cooled apples into pie plate, mounding them in the center. Lay the remaining pastry over the apples. Using a sharp knife, trim the excess pastry from the rim and gently pinch together the edges of the pastry to seal the crust. Using your thumb and forefinger, crimp the edge to create a decorative crust.  Make 3 to 4 slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes. The crust should be golden and the filling bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. 

Makes 1 pie, 6-8 servings.


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