spinach

Vegan Cuts Snack Box January 2015 Review

This is my first time being appointed as an ambassador for Vegan Cuts and here I am writing a review for their amazing January's snack box.  To tell you the truth, I was pretty nervous before because I wasn't sure what I was expecting.  I was worried about writing a review that I didn't like.  A few questions immediately came to my mind like what if I don't like those snacks?  What am I gonna say about that?  I certainly don't want to lie about it... 

I went berserk for no reasons.  The snack box was really good.  I'm not gonna hard sell it.  I'm just gonna tell you the ones that I liked the most and how I developed some easy peasy recipes to go with them.  My favorite snacks amongst all are 1) rosemary baked lentil chips and 2) organic black rice ramen (wheat & gluten free).  The lentil chips could be eaten just as it is or you could create some dippings to go with that.  I happened to have an avocado at home so I whipped up some fresh guacamole.  

As for the black rice ramen, I had it elaborated into 3 easy recipes.  This ramen is a healthier choice for those who love instant noodles.  I highly recommend it to the college students who don't have time to cook a full-blown meal during the finals.  Geesh, I wish I had that when I was a student back in the old days.  

I'm so grateful to have been chosen to write this review.  It was so much fun for me.  Thank you, Vegan Cuts.  

Vegan Cuts in brief:

  • ●  7­10 vegan snacks

  • ●  Sweet and savory: Chips, cookies, bars, chocolate, crackers, tea, and more!

  • ●  Mostly gluten­free snacks

  • ●  Mix of full and sample size products

  • ●  $19.95 a month

  • ●  Cancel anytime, though we doubt you'll ever want to

  • ●  Free shipping to the U.S.

  • ●  The Vegan Cuts Snack Box ships worldwide 

These were the goodies inside of the snack box from Vegan Cuts.

First thing I opened was the two bags of chips.  :) I also whipped up a fresh guacamole to go with them.  ProTings doesn't need dipping at all because the chips itself was pretty tasty already.  

Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients: 

1 avocado 

2-3 small cherry tomatoes, chopped into small chunks

1/2 lime juice and zest

1-2 tbsp chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper

1 bunch coriander, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Scoop out the flesh of an avocado.  Add red onion and garlic.  Add lime juice and season.  Mix well.  

2) Add a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika and garnish with chopped coriander before serving.  

My first attempt with the organic black rice ramen; gluten and wheat free is called "the budget ramen dish."  

Recipe for "the budget ramen dish" 

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to the packaging label (3 minutes)

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 egg, sunny side up

hot sauce

Instructions: 

1) To make the sauce to go with the cooked ramen, simply add sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.  Mix well.  

2) Coat the ramen with sauce and add an egg.  Garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion.  Add a dash of hot sauce to give an extra kick of this simple dish before serving.  

The second ramen recipe is with miso soup.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 3-5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

80-100g extra firm bean curd

1 small ball of cooked spinach

1 boiled egg, halved

2 buttoned mushroom, halved

80g daikon, sliced

1 handful dried seaweed

2-3 sugar snap peas

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp white miso paste

1 tbsp soy sauce

800ml vegetable stock 

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a small pot, bring the pot of vegetable stock to boil.  Add mushroom, daikon, and tofu.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Let the pot simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add soy sauce and miso paste.  Heat off.  

2) Pour the soup into the cooked ramen.  Top with a ball of cooked spinach and a boiled egg; drizzle a little bit of sesame oil.  Garnish with sesame seeds, dried seaweed, and spring onions before serving.  

Last but not least, black rice ramen with a korean twist! 

I made my all-time favorite Momofuku's red dragon sauce to go with this ramen.  

Organic Black Rice Ramen (Wheat & Gluten Free) with shredded dried seaweed, cucumber and carrot in Momofuku's Red Dragon Sauce.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

1 handful shredded cucumber

1 handful shredded carrot

1 handful shredded dried seaweed

1 tsp sesame seed

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

extra-virgin olive oil

For the Momofuku's red dragon sauce:

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp ssamjang

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sherry/apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cook onion for 4-5 minutes under medium-low heat.  Add the cooked ramen to the pan.  Mix well with the caramelized onion.

2) To make the red dragon sauce, simply add all ingredients together and mix well.  Add a tablespoon of red dragon sauce to the ramen.  Mix well.  

3) Transfer the ramen to a dish.  Garnish with fresh cucumber, carrot, sesame seeds, spring onions, and seaweed.  Add a few extra tablespoon of red dragon sauce to complete the dish before serving.  

Veggies Frittata with Hash Brown Crust

Have I ever mentioned that most of my favorite cookings came from brunch ideas?  What actually got me hooked on cooking was the first tortilla that Marco made for me on a late Sunday afternoon.  I was impressed by how good of an egg dish could've tasted.  That deliciousness was stuck in my head for days.  And that's when my curiosity kicked off along with my food creation's journey.  

Ever since I've became a vegetarian, eggs became one of my main source of protein.  I've always loved dairy products and hence I don't think I could ever become a vegan.  Excluding meat in my diet is easy but dairy?  Hmmm I highly doubt that.  I apologize to the vegans out there.  My obsession for dairy is more or less the same as for coffee.  My day isn't complete without that cup of caffeine rich ritual.  So yeah, giving up coffee is like ending my life NOW.  So no.  Can't do.    

Today, I've simplified my cooking procedures and shortened the time to make an awesome brunch.  Instead of making a potato side dish, I've put everything into one dish!  I don't know who isn't a fan of hash brown.  Well if you don't like hash brown then I guess this dish is not for you OR maybe this dish could change your misperception about hash brown. ;)  Trust me, this is an awesome and easy brunch to impress whoever you want.  Try it to believe it! :D 

Happy New Year!

Love, 

Cindy xx

Veggies Frittata n' Hash Brown Crust served with fresh lime aioli 

veggies frittata n' hash brown crust served with fresh lime aioli

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 - 25 minutes

Ingredients: 

4-5 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 capsicum, diced

1 handful spinach/baby spinach

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 large baked potato, shredded

1 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 cup grated cheddar & parmesan cheese

4 eggs, whisked and seasoned

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp garlic powder *optional

extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp butter

fresh lime aioli - recipe is here

Instructions: 

1) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  

2) Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat, cook shredded potato for 3-5 minutes, add garlic powder, nutmeg and season.  Place the knobs of butter on the edge of the hash brown in the pan.  Put the pan into the oven while preparing to cook the veggies.  Bake the hash brown for roughly 5 minutes.  

3) Preheat another frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium low heat, cook onion for 3 minutes.  Add capsicum and spinach,   cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.  

4) Transfer the cooked veggies to the hash brown pan.  Add the seasoned and whisked egg to the pan.  

5) Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and grated cheese on top.  Place the pan back into the oven and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes.  

6) Remove from the oven.  Garnish with some chopped parsley and extra grated parmesan.  Serve warm with the fresh lime aioli.  Happy Brunch!! 

veggies frittata n' hash brown crust served with fresh lime aioli

veggies frittata n' hash brown crust served with fresh lime aioli

a Popeye day to welcome the week...

I got some fresh Chinese spinach from the local farm yesterday and turn them to puree instead of cooking it the traditional way with garlic and oil.  Puree is pretty cool because it's pretty similar to pesto.  I can use it as spread or dip for breads.  Say if your kids don't like spinach, maybe you can try to mix the spinach puree with pasta or noodles.  I made a pasta dish with some pine nuts for my niece tonight and she finished the entire plate all by herself.  If not pasta or noodles, try with rice.  There are so many ways to eat this nutrient rich green.  No wonder why Popeye loves it!  :) 

Spinach Puree

Servings: 1 bowl

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 minute

Ingredients: 

300g spinach

1-2 garlic clove

1/4 breadcrumbs

5-7 walnuts

1 twist of lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of water to boil, cook the spinach for less than 1 minute.  Drain and soak in cold water.  

2) Squeeze excess water from spinach by using a dry towel for better result. 

3) Transfer the spinach to a blender, add oil, walnuts, garlic, and breadcrumbs.  Blend until smooth.  Season and add more oil and a twist of fresh lemon juice for the consistency as you like.  

spinach risotto

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

1/2 bowl of spinach puree

1.5 cup arborio rice

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 small pot of vegetable stock

100 ml dry white wine

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tbsp butter

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a saucepan with oil on medium heat, add onion and celery.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are translucent on medium low heat.  

2) Add rice and white wine and turn the heat on to medium high.  Let the alcohol evaporates.  

3) Add the spinach puree and a ladleful of vegetable stock (one ladleful at a time) and stir occasionally.  Repeat this step for about 15 minutes until the rice is al dente and in a creamy state.  Heat off.  

3) Add butter and grated parmesan.  Season.  Stir to coat evenly.  Put the lid on for about 30 seconds.  

4) Add a drizzle of oil and a bit more grated parmesan before serving. 

a simple and hearty dish packed with goodies