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Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

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A picture from our wedding reception.
© Derek Poore – Table design by Jaclyn Journey – Catering by Mirabelle.

The last year was a pretty major one. I bought a house with the cheese-grater extraordinaire, and we got married. Between packing up our only recently merged life and planning a wedding, blogging was at the bottom of my to-do list.

But 2013 is a new year. While making a list of household goals inspired by Apartment Therapy’s January cure, I started thinking about other goals for the year ahead. This is a short list and includes setting a budget with my sous-chef for life, and to keep up my blog.

I don’t have a cooking experience to share today, but I’m instead presenting a list of recipes that have caught my eye over the last year that I want to make soon. By the way readers, how do you save recipes you see online? I try to either star them in my blog reader, or email them to myself. Sometimes I forget to include the link though… So here’s a list of things I hope to cook in 2013 – maybe you will be inspired to try some too.

North End Cafe’s Eggplant Casserole and Spicy Lentils, from the Courier Journal. I love the Wednesday edition of the Courier-Journal because it includes the food and dining section, which includes reader-requested recipes from area restaurants. I love the North End Cafe for it’s eclectic, tasty menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Eggplant casserole is my favorite thing to order at the restaurant and is one of my favorite dishes in the city. It is reliably comforting, spicy, and hearty. I was thrilled to see the recipe printed. The Courier also printed one of my requests for a recipe I submitted last year for El Mundo’s spicy black bean dip. I will be making this soon.

In the winter, sometimes I struggle to figure out ways to incorporate fresh fruit into my normal breakfast routines like oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and yogurt. In the summer, it’s easy to top yogurt and with berries and easy to top toast with apples and pears in the fall. This recipe for Winter Citrus Compote for Yogurt or Oatmeal looks like a great way to use citrus fruit as a breakfast topper.

I’ve been wanting to make Snobby Joes – or meat-free sloppy joes for a while. Maybe 2013 will be the year.

I haven’t made biscotti since I tried it one Christmas break when I was in college. I followed a pretty basic recipe for anise-scented biscotti. I don’t like black licorice and did not realize until after I made the cookies that anise tastes like black licorice. This recipe for Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti looks more promising for my tastes.

Spicy Lentil Wraps with Tahini Sauce – this looks like a great recipe for make-ahead lunches.

We have some CSA beef filets in our freezer. I’d like to make this.

I love this post on making your own birthday cake. I’d like to try making my own birthday cake this year.

I will report back as I check things off my “to-cook” list.

Have a healthy and happy 2013.

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firecracker red beans

So much for  reporting all my cooking adventures with the weekly CSA bounty. Time has clearly gotten away from me – which is my excuse for neglecting my blog. I haven’t stopped cooking – but I have stopped regularly taking pictures every step of the way.

In the last few weeks, we entertained Chris’s parents, I visited dear friends for a lovely wedding in Massachusetts, stopped drinking coffee, became hooked on the Hunger Games, etc., etc. I’ve also been cooking.

One of the things in my backlog of recipes may sound strange. The list of ingedients certainly looks all-over-the-place. Onion, ginger and garlic – great, standard. Thyme and fennel… still ok, but with ginger? Mustard and ketchup? Vermouth? Almond butter and brown sugar? It’s like the recipe doesn’t exactly know what flavor profile it’s going for.

However, the author is Mollie Katzen. And I had just about everything in my pantry/ refrigerator. It was a recipe for cheap meal that didn’t require any produce – which was actually a good thing because I’ve been using everything up quickly – that promised to reheat well. And I trust Ms. Katzen… and I’m so happy I did.

The final dish doesn’t look very pretty (Chris said it looked like something partiuclarly unappetizing) but the strange mix of ingredients all meld to create an enticing dish that I found myself craving throughout the week. It was delicious. Sweet, spicy, creamy and nutty… It would be a great think to make with the promise of fall in the air, if you are a little brave.

Also – the recipe list may look long – but a lot of the things are pretty standard spices.

If you don’t trust me, just trust Mollie Katzen.

“Firecracker Red Beans” from Vegetable Heaven, by Mollie Katzen

2 T. olive oile

3 c. minced onion

2 T. minced fresh ginger

2 t. fennel seeds

2 T. minced garlic

1/2 t. allspice

1 t. dried thyme

1 1/2 to 2 t. salt

1 c. dry sherry or vermouth

2 T. prepared mustard (this means the yellow kind)

1/4 c. ketchup

1 t. minced chipotle chiles

1 c. water

1/4 c. almond butter

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 boiling water

About 6 cups cooked small red beans or kidney beans (if using dried, be sure to cook them ahead of time, or use 4 15-oz cans of beans, rinsed well and drained)

wedges of lime

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. When it is hot, add the onion, ginger and fennel seeds, and saute over strong heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic, allspice, thyme and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Stir in the sherry or vermouth, mustard, ketchup, minced chipotle and 2 cups water. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Place the almond butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the 2/3 cup boiling water, and mash with a spoon until the mixture becomes uniform. Stir this mixture into the sauce, and cook uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the beans in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or an equivalent casserole) and pour in all the sauce. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, still tightly covered, so the beans can continue to absorb the liquid. Serve hot or warm, with rice.

Makes 6 servings

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With the amount of vegetables we have regularly been receiving and eating thanks to our CSA, I’ve been working hard to a) be resourceful with what I have around my pantry and kitchen already to avoid too many additional grocery store purchases, and b) combine the vegetables with good protein sources to turn them into more complete meals.

With the receipt of some beets a couple of months ago, I wanted to do something new with them that incorporated protein. Searching around on the internet, I came upon this recipe: Edamame Salad with Baby Beets and Greens. Looking down the ingredients list, I was a little skeptical. Soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and edamame all sounded great, but how would the flavor of the beets and beet greens work with the other flavors?

Very well it turns out.

I should have known after I noticed the recipe was “contributed by” Melissa Clark. I have yet to make something of her’s that did not turn out splendidly. The spices and flavorings made a tasty, bold, salty contrast to the sweet beets. And the edamame added a toothsome, filling quality to the dish. It made for a great take-to-work, make-ahead lunch. Super healthful and fresh. Great for when beets are growing and you have edamame in the freezer.

Here’s the recipe for Edamame Salad with Baby Beets and Greens, from Food and Wine.

4 small beets (about 1 ounce each), trimmed, 1/2 cup greens reserved, you could also use 2 or 3 larger beets

2 c. shelled edamame

1 T. rice vinegar

2 t. soy sauce

1 1/2 t. sesame oil

1 t. finely chopped fresh ginger

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 T. basil, julienned

[Confession from my kitchen: I try not to acquire too many kitchen gadgets. One that I do not have is a steamer basket. I’ve always worked around one before. It might not be a bad idea to add to my wish list. The original recipe says to steam the beets. I cooked them in a small amount of boiling water. Seemed to work well for me.

In a large saucepan, fill up to 1/2 inch with water. Bring to a boil. Add the beets, cover and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes for small beets or up to 40 minutes for larger ones. Check the water level in the pan halfway through steaming and add more as needed. Check the beets periodically. Some may cook faster than others.

Transfer the beets to a plate. Empty the water out of the pot and fill again with fresh water. Bring to a boil. Add the edamame and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse the edamame in cold water to cool, then pat dry with paper towels. Peel and cut the beets into wedges.

In a medium bowl, stir the rice vinegar with the soy sauce, sesame oil and grated ginger.

Add the edamame, beets, scallions and beet greens and toss to coat. Sprinkle the basil on top before serving.

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This is it – my last post about fake, meat-free burgers, at least for a while. And these are by far the easiest of the three, and probably the tastiest and most versatile too.

You mix up a marinade, clean the mushrooms, let them marinate, then grill them or broil them. You can add cheese and toppings of your choice and enjoy. While they require a little pre-planning to marinate, they come together really quickly and cook quickly too.

The recipe is from Mollie Katzen’s excellent Get CookingWhile geared toward more beginner cooks, the recipes are tasty nonetheless, and easy too. I bought the book for Chris a few months ago and now have the recipes at my disposal any time I want.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend full of delicious burgers, real or otherwise.

“Portobello  Faux Burgers” from Get Cooking by Mollie Katzen.

Makes 4 “burgers”

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

1/2 c. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 t. dried rosemary

1/2 t. dried thyme

1 t. salt

1/8 t. ground black pepper

4 portobello mushrooms, 4 to 5 inches in diameter

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, and all other spices. Set aside.

Prep the mushrooms by carefully trimming off the mushroom stems. Place in a large, flat dish with the tops up. Add about a tablespoon of the marinade over the top of each mushroom. Turn over and divide the rest of the marinade up between the mushroom, pouring over the bottom side. Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature.

If you want to let them sit for longer than an hour, cover the dish and place in the refrigerator. The longer they marinate, the more flavorful they will be.

Just before serving time, preheat the broiler or fire up the grill.

Transfer the mushrooms – leaving the marinade in the dish, to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes until heated through and nicely browned. Flipping is not necessary.

About half-way through broiling, you can also add cheese, like mozzarella and Parmesan, which makes a tasty addition. Make sure the cheese doesn’t burn.

Place on  a hamburger bun and enjoy!

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This is the second post of “burger” week – and these red lentil curried burgers are home more on a plate with some plain yogurt and lettuce than in a bun. These are definitely more flavorful than the spinach-tofu burgers, and consequently, aren’t a good match for traditional condiments. Like the other burgers, these require cooked brown rice, so keep that in mind when planning these burgers.

As you will notice, this recipe, like the last one, is from the cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I love this book. Unlike some of the earlier books from the Moosewood collection, the ingredients are pared down somewhat (though it may not look that way form the ingredient list below). Everything is flavorful, the recipes are straightforward, and everything I’ve made so far has been tasty and healthful. The book contains all vegetarian and vegan recipes and is great for those wanting to learn more about cooking without or with less meat. I recommend it!

“Red Lentil Curried Burgers”, from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

1 c. dried red lentils

2 c. water

1/2 t. ground turmeric

1 1/2 c. chopped onions (about 1 medium)

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 T. olive oil

1/2 c. diced celery

1 c. diced red bell pepper

1 T. grated, peeled, ginger

1 T. curry powder

1/2 t. cinnamon

2 c. cooked brown rice

3/4 c. finely chopped roasted peanuts

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and drain the lentils. Put them in a small saucepan with the water and bring to a boil while stirring often. Add turmeric and 1/2 t. of the salt. Reduce the heat to low, cove, and simmer until lentils are soft and have absorbed the water. This will take about 20 minutes. Because red lentils can burn easily, make sure to reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally. If there is any liquid left and the lentils are fully cooked, drain the liquid.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until softened about 6 minutes. Stir in the celery and bell peppers. Cook for another 7 minutes. Reduce the heat and cover the pan, or add some water to prevent sticking, only if needed. Add the ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, rest of the salt, and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the rice, nuts, lemon juice, cilantro, and lentils. Mix well.

When mixture is cool enough to handle, shape into 6 patties using about 1/2 cup for each. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

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I’ve had a few cooking adventures in my blog “queue” for a while now… all for veggie burgers. I wanted to have a “burger week” prior to Memorial Day, a day when people eat burgers. A day when Americans eat burgers. A day when carnivores/ omnivores eat burgers. Then the move happened and new posts didn’t. So I thought about the next time people/Americans/carnivores/omnivores eat burgers and here we are, the week before July 4. While two of these vegetarian “burger” recipes I’m going to feature this week are not grill-appropriate, they are vegetarian appropriate and are tasty and would make an excellent addition to a July 4th menu.

These spinach-tofu burgers are mild in flavor, making them an excellent backdrop for whatever toppings you want to use. They were good. Not as good as good or as flavorful as the black bean burgers I’ve made before, but still a tasty, healthful way to enjoy a burger. They were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and tasted great on a bun with some lettuce and mustard.

Note that this burger requires cooked brown rice. So start that first if you don’t have any leftover. You can prep the rest of the ingredients while the rice cooks.

“Spinach-Tofu Burgers”, from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

Makes 6 burgers

10 oz. fresh spinach – or a 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained

1 T. olive oil

1 c. chopped green onions

1/2 c. grated carrot (about 2 large carrots)

1/2 t. dried oregano

1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 c. cooked brown rice

1 cake of firm tofu – about 14 oz.

1 t. dijon mustard

2 T. light miso

dash of ground black pepper

2 T. chopped fresh dill or basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using fresh spinach, steam it and drain it well.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the green onions, carrots, oregano, and garlic until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and rice until crumbly. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Pulse half of the tofu and half of the drained spinach just until combined, but not gummy. Add that to the rice and walnut mixture. Pulse the rest of the spinach and tofu with the mustard, miso, pepper, and dill or basil, again, just until well mixed. Add to the bowl. Add the cooked green onion and carrot mixture. Mix well. Taste. Add more miso or salt or soy sauce for flavor if needed.

Begin shaping the mixture into 6 burgers using about 2/3 c. for each. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet .

Bake for 35 minutes, until puffed and browned (see top picture).

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Having just returned from the first day of the spring farmers market in Louisville, I went a little bit crazy. I didn’t go crazy at the farmers market though. I showed great restraint THERE and came home with only a head of green lettuce, two pounds of Kentucky bison stew meat, and a new ingredient – red spinach. As soon as I walked in the door of  my apartment, I began scouring my cookbooks and the internet for a suitable recipe to honor this beautiful and new-to-me vegetable.

I couldn’t just turn it into a salad (too easy), or dump it into a cheesy spinach lasagna (would cover up the spinach too much), or even just steam it (too boring). I wanted something unique! Something different! Something delicious! Something that would bring out the natural flavor of the red spinach.

I stacked up my most promising, veggie-centric cookbooks and began searching for the best recipe. I couldn’t just use my imagination, I needed THE ONE RECIPE.

This is something I recognize about myself – my inherent need to follow a recipe. I’m working on this and often tweak recipes as I go, but still. It was a little ridiculous. I finally realized how crazy I was… trying to find the perfect recipe that wasn’t too simple. I took a breathe, sat back, and cracked open my newest cookbook and turned to the salad section.

Yes – the salad section. I need to get over my need to always whip up a new, complex-ish dish. What more perfect method of using red spinach exists except by showcasing it in a salad? Maybe with a homemade dressing (to up the complexity-factor a bit).

I had been eyeing Melissa Clark’s cookbook In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite for a while before buying it at a sad, going-out-of-business sale at Borders. This book is full of delectable-sounding recipes and I wanted to make most everything right away. Since buying it one and half weeks ago, I’ve already made 4 things with plans to make a 5th this week.

Most of the recipes are accompanied by essays, and I particularly enjoyed the one about salad. It was all about using more than just bagged salad and bottled dressing to create something equally easy and much more interesting and less expensive. Well, maybe not equally easy. You do have to wash the lettuce, and mix the dressing together. But really, it isn’t too difficult. One of the recipes included is for spinach dressed with a zippy mustard and garlic dressing. It sounded easy, and delicious. And made me excited to make the salad.

After filling my newly-cleaned sink with cold water, I washed the spinach in two changes of water. This allows all the dirt and sediment clinging to the spinach to fall to the bottom of the sink. I then dried it in my salad spinner – which has been a great, if a space-hogging, addition to my kitchen. I then used an almost empty jar of dijon mustard to mix up the dressing (a technique I learned from the Amateur Gourmet, who learned it from Dorie Greenspan). It’s a great, easy way to use up the last of the mustard in the jar, and to create a reusable salad dressing container.

To make a long story short, all of this fretting turned into a salad I craved. A salad I was excited to eat. I hope you’ll try it too.

And the red spinach? Well it was delicious. Sweeter than regular spinach and perfectly complimented by the tangy, garlicky dressing. Not a bad way to showcase a vegetable experiment, even I did rely on a recipe.

“Spinach and Avocado Salad with Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette” from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

dressing makes at least 4 servings (will keep in an old mustard jar, or other container, in the refrigerator for a while – at least a few weeks)

2 garlic cloves

a pinch of kosher salt, more to taste

juice from one half of a lemon

1 t. dijon mustard (I used what was left in the jar)

4 T. extra virgin olive oil

about 6 cups  spinach leaves (or other dark greens, like arugula) (enough for 2 to 4 salads)

1/2 avocado, cut into cubes

Using a heavy knife (or a mortar and pestle if you have one), mince the garlic together with a pinch of salt until a paste forms. Use the side of the knife to smear and mash the garlic once it is minced. Scrape the paste into the mustard jar (or a small bowl). Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, and another pinch of salt. Screw the cap on the jar and shake until the salt is dissolved (or use a whisk). Then either whisk in the oil or add it to the jar and shake again.

Place the avocado and spinach in a large bowl, add the amount of dressing you want and toss. Add additional salt and lemon juice if needed.


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