Ukrainian Kotleti (Meatballs)

Disclaimer: Though I usually post a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes, the following dish is NOT vegan. 

My husband is Ukrainian. Russian-Ukrainian-Polish-Slavic and whatever else is in that Heinz 57 goodness of him. I have to admit, though we’ve been together for a long while, I haven’t been making that many Ukrainian or Russian dishes. Yes, I’m a bad wife on that part. But I’m getting better!

I wanted to try something different for a change and something that wasn’t the typical Ukrainian fare. You see, if we want really good Ukrainian food, we would go to a restaurant that specializes in it or we’ll make it ourselves. Unfortunately, L.A. doesn’t have that many Ukrainian restaurants (I can only think of two, really) so it’s off to Google I go.

IMG_3472

I found the recipe for kotleti (pronounced as it’s spelled) here. I wanted something different but still tasty. The recipe claimed it would only take 30 minutes from start to finish but as I soon realized (as I found out with other Ukrainian dishes I’ve made), that’s just a nice estimate. I was in the kitchen for a loooooooong time making these.

IMG_3473

I didn’t have mayo on hand so I used sour cream. I don’t know how it would’ve tasted with the mayo but hubby – who’s opinion on anything Ukrainian I make is very important – said it came out great. Boom!

IMG_3475

After I was done with the mixture, I rolled the nuggets in bread crumbs and fried them in olive oil. I imagine you could also fry them in coconut oil as well.

IMG_3476

The recipe said each side needed about 4-5 minutes of frying time to ensure the meat is properly cooked through. I’m a sucker for not getting salmonella so I cooked it a bit longer.

IMG_3477

I dried the nuggets on a paper towel. Again, olive oil. I don’t have any particular olive oil to recommend.

IMG_3478

I apologize for how blurry this photo was but I wanted a close-up.

The nuggets came out great! Bear wasn’t interested in them (he’s quite picky about his nuggets and will only eat Chik-Fil-A’s) but hubby loved them!

I made a lot of nuggets (about 36) so these would be great for parties or family gatherings. It was quite a bit for us but they preserved well overnight. Just pop them back in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

If you try the recipe, let me know how it came out!

 

Advertisements

What the JackFruit?!

I’ll be very clear – I’m not vegan. I have no desire to become vegan, but I do have a lot of respect of those who are vegan. And I have to admit – vegan food has definitely benefited my health. I’ve lost weight, I have more energy, and I feel better overall. That’s why I keep preparing vegan dishes and sharing with you all what I find or make on my own.

Sounds good? Let’s go!

IMG_3368

Jackfruit is hard to describe because of how versatile it is. You can use it in faux-pulled pork recipes or you could use it as a complement to ice cream (I need to try that version).

fresh-jackfruit-500x500
Jackfruit in its ripe form.

The one thing about jackfruit I’ve discovered is how big and meaty it can become – up to a 100 pounds (that’s a lot of faux pulled-pork sandwiches, y’all).

I found the already prepared jackfruit at my local Whole Paycheck, erm…Whole Foods, but I’m sure you can find the same at Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and other health food stores. It can come prepared, in cans, or just ripe like the picture above.

I decided to prepare it with grilled bell peppers and just have a bowl. For a vegan meal, it was actually quite filling and one bowl was more than enough. (So for anyone to say vegan food isn’t satisfying probably aren’t eating it or they’re not eating the right dishes.)

IMG_3367
Key thing to a healthier meal: make sure it’s colorful! The more colors, the healthier it is for you!

I personally like jackfruit as another alternative to the wonderful bland and basic flavor of tofu. One can only eat so much tofu before you feel like you’re turning into that spongy food.

IMG_3366

I can’t wait to try other dishes involving jackfruit including the faux pulled pork I keep talking about.

IMG_3369

How do you like your jackfruit?

Oh-So Tempeh

On our quest on eating healthier and cleaner, I’m trying new foods I haven’t even heard of. The risk of being healthier is sometimes taking a plunge into the unknown and trying certain foods and vegetables you wouldn’t dream of eating. Why would you eat something you never heard of?

erik

Exactly, you wouldn’t. Hell, for the longest time I didn’t. Now I’m a bit older and a bit wiser and well, junk food ain’t doing it for me anymore.

Introducing tempeh.

IMG_3179

One of my friends recently went vegan, and she’s been praising tempeh to the gods. After seeing her enthusiastic posts, I figured why not? Let me try tempeh and see what the hype is.

alright

Tempeh is pretty much fermented soybeans in a block form. However, the true benefits of tempeh comes in what it’s hiding:

A 3-ounce (84-gram) serving of tempeh contains these nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 162
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Total fat: 9 grams
  • Sodium: 9 milligrams
  • Iron: 12% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 9% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 18% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 12% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 21% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 54% of the RDI

RDI= recommended daily intake.

It sounds good but how does this stuff taste?

I decided to try a new recipe located here. We’re not on any kind of diet but we do want to eat better. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, right?

For the recipe, I chose black kale because I never even knew it existed. It’s actually rather pretty:

IMG_3181

It also has some pretty dope anti-cancer benefits.

I de-stemmed it and blanched it out.

IMG_3184

Honestly, I only used one bunch but the next time I’ll use a couple of bunches.

IMG_3186

Look how beautiful that green is!!!! OMG!!!!

I fried the tempeh in coconut oil and added the recipe sauce to it:

IMG_3185

IMG_3183

And then I added the black kale:

IMG_3187

Results:

IMG_3188

Yes, it’s not the prettiest picture but that’s beside the point. It tasted great! I highly recommend this recipe!

How do you tempeh?

Collard Wrap with Chicken

I know this isn’t the usually vegan and vegetarian fare I like to post on this blog. However, I felt this was healthy enough to still post! And plus, this came out hella good, y’all! I mean hella good! So good, I wish I was eating one right now.

IMG_2761

I have to admit there’s something about a move that brings out the best in my cooking skills. I guess because new city, new food recipes? I dunno. All I do know is that I’m determined to make every dinner as colorful as possible. It’s like I’m constantly amazed at what else I can come up with.

johncena.gif
I promise this post won’t waste your time for six years. 

I found this recipe here so again, I can’t take credit for this. I did make a few amendments, however, so you should probably take note if you want to make this meal.

Amendment #1: You need to wash your collard greens! Soak them shits, man! I don’t care if you soak them overnight or you soak them for a few minutes. Collard greens are not the type where you can just do a simple rinse-over and they’re clean. Oh no, boo-boo. Wash them, soak them, love them.

Amendment #2: I used as much different veggies a wrap can hold – tomatoes, bell pepper, and avocado (though it’s a fruit). While it’s fun to experiment with different veggies, please keep in mind that the collard can only hold so much before it begins to tear. The wrap isn’t meant to be eaten with utensils.

Amendment #3: If you have to buy processed chicken, go for it. I found it was easier (and healthier) to prepare the chicken at home.

Preparation:

  • I just used a simple mixture of spices (seasoned salt, peppercorn, and a pinch of cayenne pepper), and olive oil.
  • I poured the olive oil over the chicken and spread the mixture evenly on both sides of the chicken breasts (I used two).
  • Put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375.

Voila! You have chicken that isn’t bland as hell. Right, Karen?

Now I have to admit, I did use the store bought bean dip spread instead of creating my own but I’ll try to make my own next time.

IMG_2762
Finished wrap. 

This is a type of dish that needs to be eaten immediately. I made some for Maks to bring for work and while he said the wraps still tasted great, they also became a little soggy. So, that’s something to keep in mind if this is something you plan to make for a to-go lunch.

IMG_2763
Mays’s lunch. I ran out of collards so I used green leaf lettuce for the last one. 

Have you made wraps? What are your favorite ones?

These Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos Are Kinda Yum

IMG_2740

I have to admit – I was never a fan of cauliflower. Not that it grossed me out (okay, maybe it did) but it wasn’t something that was on my go-to to eat as a kid or even when I entered adulthood. Even now, I’m still kinda iffy about cauliflower despite eating it more than I ever have been.

But you can always teach an old dog new tricks, right?

I have an IG friend, Jaime, who loves everything cauliflower. And she’s part of the reason why I decided to branch out and try something different. I love tacos (who doesn’t?) and I didn’t want to do the typical portobello mushroom fare that we’ve been doing for years.

Why not cauliflower?

I would love to take credit for this but really, it wasn’t me. The ingredients were hella simple and the recipe promised I’ll be eating this goodness within 30 minutes. I can’t lose.

IMG_2741

Let’s talk about all of the wonderful benefits of cauliflower. Cauliflower has a grip of benefits. Yes, a grip. For those who don’t speak slang, a grip means a whole lot. Now go ahead and use it in a sentence – I just had a grip of cauliflower right now. Yes, yes, very good.

From aiding in weight loss to making sure your skin is glowing and dewy to helping detox the body, you really can’t go wrong with cauliflower. A key part of cauliflower that really caught my attention is how it might help fight Alzheimer’s, a disease that runs in my family.

IMG_2742

I didn’t make the recipe as is – I’ll admit my version wasn’t vegan because I couldn’t find vegan ranch at the grocery store and I didn’t have the energy to make a special stop to get it. Still, the recipe came out amazeballs! It’s really hella good!

IMG_2743

I didn’t use as much buffalo sauce the recipe called for, and really, I should’ve. The buffalo sauce really makes a difference. Some other people used hot sauce or Sriracha sauce and they said it came out great, so those are options for you to try.

I have to give a great shout-out to the great folks over at This Savory Vegan for posting such an amazing recipe. Go check out the website! It’s hella dope.

What are your favorite cauliflower recipes?