Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

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Bookmarking Frenzy.

March 31, 2010

One of the reasons I’ve started my Filemaker Pro recipe database is because my browser bookmarks are out.of.control.

I spend an absurd amount of my time on the web looking for new dishes to make, and I bookmark them left and right, and sometimes I go back to them and sometimes I don’t, but almost never do I actually clean out that folder.

So I’m trying to methodically go through my bookmarks and make some of the recipes, then if they’re worth saving, into my database they go, and if they aren’t, well…at least I tried.

Here’s a sampling of the recipes I’ve recently bookmarked but have yet to try. (Alas, I have no oven, so some of these won’t be tried for a while to come.)

Breakfast

Avocado Berry Smoothie

Soups
Puree of Chickpea Soup (via Kate!)

Sides
Cheezy Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes
Cumin Herb Rice Pilaf

Beans/Lentils
Spicy Teriyaki Chickpeas
Snobby Joes

Casseroles/Mixed Dishes
Italian Rice and Beans
I Am DIY Rice Bowl
Spiced Potatoes with Lentils and Barley

Pasta
Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash and Walnuts
Happy Bowl

Raw Entrees
Garden Burger
Mushroom Meatloaf

Desserts
Jasmine Rice Pudding
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

And one last dessert that will need a bit of work to make vegan, but I have confidence that it can be done! These were sent to me by the one person I know who likes food more than I do (I’m looking at you, Katherine), but they just look so good that even if I end up with a disaster on my hands due to my iffy substitution abilities (there are amazing vegan bakers out there, BELIEVE ME, I am just not one of them), I’m still pretty confident that these will be worth my time:
Choco-nana Muffins with PB Filling and PB Crumble
Don’t they just look so tasty.

As for the two new recipes I tried Monday and Tuesday (the Pasta Della California and Spicy Sweet and Sour Tofu), I’m having trouble deciding exactly what to do with them. I think I’m just going to wave good-bye to both of them. Sure, they were both edible, way above edible even, especially the spicy sweet and sour tofu from last night. But were they good enough for me to put the time and effort into making them again? Probably not, not when there are dozens of recipes that I’ve made in the past that I know I really love, as well as millions of other brand-spanking-new recipes out there for me to try.

I will say, however, that both the lemon asparagus and garlic bok choy sides were superb. Neither night made for a very pretty dinner, but Monday night’s pasta was just barely presentable enough to share, I suppose.

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As for tonight, the black beans are soaking. This week has gone from California-inspired pasta to Chinese tofu and veggies to Cuban black beans and rice. Then tomorrow’s International Quinoa Salad will just bring the whole world together in his hands into one bowl.

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Dirty. Cajun. Vegan.

March 28, 2010

It is rare that you read anything positive about Louisiana. Unless it’s about pure gluttony. We’re known for Mardi Gras. Alcohol. Good (i.e. fattening) food.

So it was with a bit of pride that I read this profile of a rice farmer turned organic rice farmer in the New York Times. Someone in Louisiana thinking about health? His phone number at the bottom even has my hometown’s 337 area code! He’s a man ahead of his time. Okay, on time with most of the world, but ahead of his local standard time:

“I started this because I could not see the future in conventional farming,” Kurt told me when I visited him last month. Back then, he and his brother were farming 2,000 acres. But “it got to where you could plow 100 acres and you wouldn’t find one earthworm.” As he spoke, he turned over the soil in his experimental vegetable garden, sending earthworms squirming back toward the ground. “And as I learned about the nutrition, there just wasn’t no stopping. You’re dealing with life!”

And how his business has grown:

A decade ago, he was selling 200 pounds of brown rice a month at the Red Stick farmers’ market in Baton Rouge. Now Unkel takes 1,000 pounds of jasmine rice from the grain bin near his house every week and mills it himself using a compact Japanese machine.

From 200 pounds a month to 1000 pounds a week? That’s awesome.

He includes a recipe in the article, but it is decidedly unvegan, so I thought I’d share something that Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen came up with instead.

May I present to you: Not-So-Dirty Rice!

So good. And authentic! I’m pretty sure Susan is originally from Louisiana, so she knew the taste she was after, and she did a great job of hitting it. In fact, she hits it so well that when I serve it, I don’t call it Not-So-Dirty Rice. I simply call it Dirty Rice. And in my household, it’s a given that it’ll be vegan as well.

Now I’ve tried it both on its own as a side and as a stuffing for baked acorn squash (which made a perfect autumn meal, and I recognize it’s March now, but hey, maybe someone in the Southern Hemisphere can make use of the idea now, and anyone else can simply bookmark the idea for a few months!).

But it would be the perfect recipe to try with some of Mr. Unkel’s Louisiana farmed, organic Cajun Grain rice. 🙂

As it happens, btw, I have had massive success with every recipe I’ve tried from FatFree Vegan Kitchen (wait, typing that out made me remember that I did muck up a bean burger from that site once, but considering I have yet to make a successful bean burger with any of the >5 recipes I’ve tried, I’m not really sure I can blame her for my failure), so I do recommend that you guys follow the link and poke around till you find more that you like.

Speaking of, I was just looking around for proof that Susan grew up in Louisiana, and I landed on THIS: Chickpea Gumbo!

That is so on my must-try list now. I love it because almost every vegan gumbo recipe out there relies heavily on fake sausage and the like, and I’m not really interested in items like that. And Susan mentions it as an optional item, but the recipe can stand alone without it.

If only I could find okra at my local g-store. Albert Heijn needs to seriously get with it.

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Directions included.

March 24, 2010

I made risotto tonight. I also tweeted about making risotto tonight. About how much of a better idea it is before I’m chained to the hob, adding stock and stirring. Adding stock and stirring.

It gets kind of old.

But it turned out to be pretty good! Makes the stirring worth it. Almost.

I only decided to make risotto because I’m trying to empty out my pantry a bit. I don’t have much space in this apartment kitchen, and life is just easier when I’m not trying to maneuver between half-empty bags of grains and ne’r-before touched bags of sundried tomatoes.

I’ve never used completely dry sundried tomatoes. I’m used to the kind packed in oil. But when I sent my husband to the store several weeks back to get me sundried tomatoes, he wasn’t quite sure which kind I meant, so he got me the kind packed in oil, which I used immediately, and the kind hanging out in air inside a bag, which I stared at night after night and wondered if I’d ever use.

So I asked three (3) people in my life and did a google search, just to see what one does with sundried tomatoes like that. The answer was easy enough. Rehydrate, drain, and use.

Armed with this new knowledge and the accompanying confidence, I marched to the kitchen, pulled out the bag of tomatoes, and saw, written in several languages, directions for using these tomatoes. And for ONCE, they even included English! I am quite used to multilingual directions only including Dutch and French. Sometimes German. Sometimes a Slavic language. Or maybe it’s Danish. Rarely do they include English.

But there it was tonight! The bag told me to rehydrate the tomatoes in 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar for two hours. Drain, add olive oil and oregano, and use!

So I followed those directions. And did the following to showcase those tomatoes:

Kale and Courgette Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes

Ingredients:
Your favorite butter substitute – I just use soya butter
Onion, garlic, celery, green bell pepper – diced
Red chili pepper – diced
2 c risotto rice (I use arborio, but I think there’s another kind that works, too)
7-8 c vegetable broth
Courgette, cut into half moon slices
Kale
Rehydrated sundried tomatoes
Salt & pepper
Italiany herbs – I used oregano and basil (I started to add thyme, but realized I wasn’t really digging the addition, so then I tried to cover it by adding more oregano and basil)
Nutritional yeast

Now, most risotto recipes call for white wine, and I do wish I had had some. But I didn’t. And I don’t really enjoy drinking white wine. So I just didn’t feel like doing the research to find vegan wine (as easy as barnivore makes it for us, the selection at the nearby g-store isn’t that awesome, so while I’ve done the research for red wines, I just don’t have it in me for white wines), so…you may want to add white wine. And once I’m back in the States, with a selection I’m more familiar with, I plan to do the same. You’d add it first, before you start adding the stock.

Also, the only reason I’m using the word courgette instead of zucchini is because I like the way the K sound flows between kale and courgette and the T sound flows between courgette and risotto. Consonance, my friends, wins every time.

Back to the recipe!

Directions:
1. Heat the stock in one pot. In another, heat the butter and add the onions, etc. I add the red chili peppers a little later than everything else because I don’t like the way that red peppers can color the onions and garlic and turn them into this unappetizing pink color. Adding them a little later prevents that.
2. Once the onions are clear, add rice. Fry it till it turns translucent.
3. If you’re using wine, you’d add it here. Otherwise, we’ll just jump straight into adding the stock. Add stock slowly, ladleful by ladleful, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding more.

ACTUALLY. Let’s pause here. I shouldn’t be the one to teach anyone the intricacies of making risotto. I’m not a good enough cook for that. So look elsewhere for tips on that. All I should really say is: cook the risotto. With your herbs. And some salt and pepper.

4. When you’re about halfway through cooking the risotto, take another pan, heat some oil, and saute your courgette. This part isn’t totally necessary because you’ll be adding the courgette to the risotto, so you could let it cook there. But either way, add your sauteed or not sauteed courgette, kale, and sundried tomatoes to the risotto. So that they can start to absorb the flavors for the last half of cooking.

5. Once the risotto is cooked, take off heat, stir nutritional yeast, and allow it to hang out, covered, for a few minutes. Serve onto plates, topping with a little more nutritional yeast.

Like so!
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Oh, yeah. I just saw a piece of tofu in that picture. I forgot that I had some extra tofu from the vegan mac and cheese I made the other night, so I fried it really quickly and added it at the end there. Didn’t make the dish, didn’t break the dish, just helped me clean out my fridge.

Gosh, the theme of so many of my dinners seems to be, “Cleaning out the fridge and/or pantry.” Seems kind of uninspired, but at the same time, if it ain’t broke and all that.

And really, who am I trying to impress here?

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Adventures in Hippiehood.

March 22, 2010

One of my favorite blogs to visit is Bonzai Aphrodite, the story of Sayward, a Portlandian who just seems to be one of the kindest people I’ve ever come across. I really started paying attention to her when I fell in love with the way she discusses veganism, with omnivores, vegetarians, and other vegans. She just cares so much about all three categories of humans AND the animals that reading her compassionate words makes me feel really proud to be a fellow vegan.

Oh! And she has pet chickens. And she doesn’t even eat their eggs.

So I read her blog regularly and I have this tutorial on making your own deodorant bookmarked so that once I find all the ingredients, I can do exactly that.

Earlier this week, I decided to go ahead and take a different, easier jump to all-natural living: abandon commercially purchased shampoo and conditioer to switch to baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

What.

A.

Disaster.

It was disgusting when I applied it to my hair, it was disgusting after I rinsed it out of my hair, it was disgusting for the next day and a half until I finally washed my hair THREE TIMES with my trusty, commercially purchased shampoo and I was able to rejoice because my hair wasn’t gross anymore.

I decided to not feel guilty about returning to my normal shampoo and conditioner because it’s natural and organic and free of sodium lauryl sulfate and free of animal products and didn’t get tested on animals, and maybe I’ll go ahead and try to replace my conditioner with black tea because I’m curious enough to at least try other options, but yeah. Baking soda is not for me. Not for my hair. Not anytime soon.

I still love Sayward and will continue to play along with her other Monday Monthly Missions, but I’m gonna have to admit that when it comes to no-poo, I’m a failure. :\

In otherrrrrrrrr news, news in which I am not a failure, I invented my very first recipe! Excitement. I was at the health food store last Wednesday and saw some vegan pesto and I remembered that I had recently bookmarked a pesto and white bean recipe, so I grabbed it. Sat down at the computer last night to find the recipe, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had completely made up this memory. Instead, I found a recently bookmarked white bean, celery, and quinoa dish, and remembered I had made a mental note when bookmarking it that I needed to get quinoa at the health food store, so I guess that’s where the confusion originated.

Back to the point. I still wanted to eat pesto and white beans, so I did some poking around the internet to see other people’s ideas online, and what a pain that was. Because apparently it’s a favorite of everyone out there to make White Bean Pesto. So all recommendations seemed to be to puree the white beans into the pesto. I wasn’t interested.

So I searched for quinoa and pesto to get other ideas. And then I just winged it. Wang it? Wung it? Winged it.

Here’s what I did. And you don’t get amounts because I’m not a cookbook.

White Bean and Pesto Quinoa

Ingredients
1 c quinoa, soaked and rinsed
2 c vegetable broth
Olive oil
Shallots, minced
Garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
White beans, drained and rinsed
Spinach
Vegan pesto, storebought or homemade
Tomato, chopped
Cucumber, sliced and cut in half (half moon shapes)
Nutritional yeast
Avocado, chopped

Directions
1. Cook the quinoa in the broth.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet with sides. As large as you’ve got. Throw in the shallots and garlic and saute till clear. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add quinoa. Add white beans. Mix well.
4. Add spinach. It’s up to you to decide how wilted you want the spinach. It’ll wilt a bit more even off the heat, so you might want to cook it a little less than you think you want it to be done.
5. Remove from heat. Stir in pesto. Mix well.
6. Add tomatoes, cucumber, nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I needed to add a bit of pepper here, but there was definitely enough salt for me as I had used both storebought broth and pesto.)
7. Serve warm, and top with chopped avocado.

Ta-da!

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What a proud moment.

And just to close out, here are the lovely flowers my husband brought home for me. If only I had paid attention and lined up the placemats so they weren’t jarringly uneven. But you get the picture:

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