Strawberry Lychee Couscous Cake

Inspired by Vegan Planet’s Couscous Cake Contest, I decided to make this delicious (but not the most photogenic) dish:

Strawberry Lychee Couscous Cake

Ingredients (serves 2)
3/4 cup lychee juice
2-3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
2/3 cups whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
5-6 lychees, chopped up
3-4 large strawberries, sliced
dash of cinnamon

1. Bring the lychee juice and (optional) sugar to a boil. Cook the couscous for a minute; remove from heat and let sit for 5-6 minutes or until it gets fluffy.
2. Bring the water and 1 tablespoon sugar to a boil. Add the lychees and strawberries, then a dash of cinnamon. Boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Press the couscous into an oiled baking pan. Pour the strawberry mixture on top and spread it around evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Serve with a dollop whipped cream, yogurt, or ice cream! Or you can enjoy it plain!

I actually had this for dinner. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make so I started out munching on some iceberg lettuce that was nearing expiration, and then I figured – why should I wait for dessert to have this delicious cake! I polished off a little more than half and it was pretty filling. I also had an organic apple (sale at Safeway – 2 pounds for $3) with some Trader Joe’s peanut butter. Delicious.

I will be making one more version of this cake before Saturday (the contest deadline), and I’m very excited about the ingredients I have planned for it! I’ll give you a hint – it has an Asian twist.

I also made my lemon-garlic agretti that I mentioned in a few of my earlier posts. What a cool vegetable! I hope to have that post up soon as well, since I want to enter it in Weekend Herb Blogging.

Healthy curry creamy leeks (vegan)

After posting that fantastically delicious but sinfully fattening recipe for creamy leeks this past weekend, I decided to try to create a healthier version. It was… better than the original. Of course, my tastes have changed since I last had creamy leeks (I very very rarely eat dairy now), but this new version is absolutely a keeper. And it’s vegan.

Healthy Curry Creamy Vegan Leeks

1 really big leek
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 cup soy milk

1. Chop and wash the leeks. Heat the oil in a pan or wok (I used a wok, like I always do) over medium-high heat.
2. Add the leeks and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and curry powder. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the milk; let it reduce by about half, so that it’s slightly creamier. This should take another 3-4 minutes.
4. Add more salt & pepper to taste, and serve plain or with rice, couscous, or another grain.

Menu Plan Monday

Menu for week of May 5 – May 11

Dinner – Sauteed creamy leeks and whole wheat couscous
DessertGrilled Cinnamon Oranges

Dinner – Sauteed agretti with garlic, lemon and nuts
Dessert – Apples with nutella

Dinner – Bulgur breakfast
DessertFruit salad

Dinner – Something quick, possibly eating out – I have a math test and I’m moving!
DessertFruit salad

Dinner – Eating out in Mountain View (first night in the new apartment…)
Dessert – Gelato on Castro Street

Dinner – Leftovers
Dessert – Couscous cake?

Dinner – Baked oatmeal
Dessert – Oranges with nutella

Check out Organizing Junkie‘s Menu Plan Monday for more menu planning fun.

I think I’m going to make the agretti dish; D&D are bringing me veggies tonight and they mentioned that they might bring some of it. It’s usually eaten as a leafy green, and I’m pretty sure it needs to be cooked before you can eat it… Otherwise it might have a bit of a bite to it. We’ll see! I love trying new vegetables. I’m thinking I might submit to Weekend Herb Blogging if it comes out well; it would be my first time submitting.

My new lease in Mountain View starts on Thursday, so I will probably move stuff in on Thursday and stay at my current house that night, then move more stuff on Friday and spend the night there. On Thursday night I also have a math test for a tutoring job which would be in Cupertino, pretty close to Mountain View. The week will be hectic, but I’m excited for everything that’s going on.

I also have a meeting to go to on Tuesday night for Quaker meeting – I’m going to try to get involved in some green projects to keep myself busy. I spoke to a woman at meeting today about teaching and possibly getting a masters. Being a speech specialist sounds like it has potential – I’ve always been interested in linguistics, and I probably should have majored in it for undergrad. Languages are so complex and interesting and I love learning how to analyze them and watching their evolution. It’s pretty awesome, actually.

I’m also going to try to find some time this week to make a couscous cake for that contest that’s going on… And I wanted to try having bulgur for breakfast instead of oatmeal.

CSA Recipes

Julia over at Mariquita Farm asked me to come up with some ideas on how to use this week’s CSA veggies – so here are my suggestions!

The vegetables will be chantenay carrots, leeks, lacinato kale, radishes (including nice greens), salad, strawberries, baby turnips, and possibly one other item.

First, I would make the strawberry salad that I’ve been loving recently. It incorporates strawberries, oranges and radishes and is really refreshing. In the recipe I linked to I used daikon radish, but since we’ll be getting fresh red radishes from Mariquita, use those instead. I expect this to be delicious 🙂 (Note – Save those radish greens! Recipe further down the page!)

Then I would make Mollie Katzen’s Roasted Beets and Carrots. This recipe is nearly perfect as is, but I don’t use as much glaze as she calls for. I like veggies sans sauce, usually!

As for the leeks, I adore a simple leek soup (above – just boil leeks in water with a dash of salt and pepper for 25-30 minutes, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese), but there are so many other options as well. Here is a recipe for…

and Creamy Leeks (not so healthy, and not vegan, but really yummy):

2 tablespoons butter
2 big leeks, chopped up
salt and pepper
1 cup cream
1 cup cheese (cheddar and gouda are both good here)

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan (medium heat) and add the leeks. Saute for 10 minutes or until leeks are soft. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Reduce heat to low, then pour in the cream and cheese; cook about 10-15 more minutes.
3. Serve as a side dish (leeks are great with tilapia).

Lastly, some ideas for kale and those yummy radish greens… That Japanese spinach salad that I’m always making can actually be made with any type of greens! I think radish greens + kale would be great here, because kale brings some heartiness to the dish while the radish greens are more delicate. When you’re boiling the greens, add the kale first, cook for about 7 minutes, and then add the radish greens for the last 3-4 minutes. Kale needs more time to soften.

Should be an exciting week! What would you make? Suggestions are always welcomed 🙂

Food adventures and Papaya salads

This weekend Bobby and I managed to order Green Papaya Salad on 4 separate occasions. On Friday night, we ordered it with dinner. On Saturday, I ordered it for lunch. Sunday night we got it with dinner again, and on Monday we ordered it with lunch.

On Monday we went to Slanted Door for lunch. It’s a Vietnamese restaurant in the Ferry Building that uses organic produce and local meats. The food was refreshing and spunky. The papaya salad wasn’t quite spicy enough, but the texture of the papaya shreds was incredible (long and thin, perfectly biteable) and the presentation was flawless.

We also ordered vegetarian spring rolls that were fantastic. They had fresh mushrooms inside and came with a spicy peanut dipping sauce.

The following are the crispy egg noodles with prawns, squid, scallops, carrots, broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. They were okay. I didn’t know what crispy egg noodles were, and to be honest I didn’t much like them. This dish came in some kind of clear sauce that was rather bland. Bobby said he enjoyed it though.

Lastly, Bobby got a lychee-infused iced tea. Wow. It was incredible. It wasn’t sweetened except for the subtle lychee flavor, and it was great. I’m guessing it was some sort of green tea with a bit of lychee juice added in, but I can’t be sure. What I can be sure of is that I will try to replicate it!

On Saturday we went to a cute Vietnamese place for lunch called Minh’s. The food there was again fresh and very clean. They used a lot of mint, which I loved. Bobby got the shrimp vermicelli:

And I got the green papaya salad with shrimp:

At first it came out with pork and I had to send it back… Then at the end of the meal I found a small piece of pork on the plate, so I think they probably just removed the pieces and sent it back to me. Sigh. It wasn’t my fault – nowhere on the menu did it say that it came with pork. And I couldn’t say make it vegetarian because I’m only a pescatarian, and I wanted the shrimp. Anyway, I didn’t say anything. And the food was good enough that we’ll be back – but I’ll make sure to say NO PORK!

On Tuesday we were in Mountain View again to look at houses and we happened upon a cute little cafe where we got a tomato and fresh mozzarella sandwich and some delicious gelato:

Yum. Clockwise from the white: cookies and cream, raspberry, blackberry cabernet. So good. I think the place was called Gelayo Gusto. That website doesn’t seem to be working, so I can’t be sure. They had a dessert waffle that I want to try next time we’re down there.

In other news, I’m moving into our new apartment next week! The lease will start next Thursday, and if all goes well I’ll start trekking stuff over there that day. My job in San Francisco ends on Wednesday, and I have a potential job that may start on Thursday. I’m glad things are moving along as planned.