Saturday, February 14, 2009

Menu - February 15-

Sunday - Bow-tie pasta with kasha and veggies.

Monday - Balsamic lentils with beans and mushrooms. Based on this recipe; I'm using beans and mushrooms in place of the sausage.

Tuesday - Cheese-stuffed chickpea burgers with lavender-rosemary potatoes. Chickpea burgers will be based on this recipe but I'm using pepper-jack cheese since we already have that in the fridge!

Wednesday - Three-cheese penne florentine (made with either homemade cream of broccoli or homemade cream of spinach). Based on this recipe.

Thursday - Pineapple-Peanut Stew.

Friday - Pasta alla puttanesca.

Saturday - Cumin lentil soup with a side of quinoa fritters.

Lots of pasta ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ancient Grains with Veggies Pilaf

This was really tasty but a bit of a pain to make... probably due to the fact that you have to cook each grain separately and I only own two saucepans. LOL.. I used to have a bunch but purged all the old crappy Teflon ones so now I'm down to two non-huge stainless steel ones. Plus, I needed one for DH's dinner.. The time it takes is worth it just for the amazing amount of protein in this dish!
At least I know for next time to make them all in advance!

You could really use any combination of grains and veggies that you have on hand. Rice would also work. In fact, the original version of this recipe called for brown rice; I chose to use quinoa instead in an attempt to cut back on cooking time.

The pilaf is really filling so I'd say this amount would feed 2; 4 as a side-dish.

**Note: Soak the spelt for at least 6 hours prior to cooking.**

1/8 cup whole spelt grain
1/2 cup water

1/8 cup bulgur
3/4 cup water

1/8 cup quinoa
1/4 cup water

1/6 cup couscous
1/4 cup water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, diced
1/8 cup carrots, finely diced
1/8 cup sweet potato, finely diced
1/8 cup parsnip, finely diced
1/8 cup mushroom, diced (I used portobello; any mushroom would work)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/8 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh ginger (as much as you like; I think I used 1/2 tbsp.)

1. Start with the spelt. Drain the soaked spelt then add it to 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until it is cooked through. Spelt will not get too soft/it remains quite firm.

2. Cook the bulgur by bringing 3/4 cup of water to a boil. Add the bulgur grains and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until cooked through.

3. Cook the quinoa by boiling 1/4 cup water. Add the quinoa grains and then lower the heat and cover. Simmer 10-15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the white "germ" is visible.

4. Cook the couscous. Bring 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add in the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let the pan sit for 5 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

After each grain is cooked, set it aside while the other grains and the veggies cook (you can combine them in one bowl).

5. Heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, carrot, parsnip, mushroom, celery, and sweet potato until tender. Add the grains then add the soy sauce, green onion, ginger, and parsley. Cook and stir until everything is warmed through.

This is based on the recipe "Ancient Grain Pilaf" from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook.
My Changes:
I added the parsnip, sweet potato, ginger, and mushroom. I used green onions in place of scallions and used quinoa in place of brown rice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Iron, Lion, Zion

This is an amazing source of iron (hence the Bob Marley rip-off post title!)
It was Marley's birthday on February 6th so we can think of this as a belated memorial meal or something. lol

The iron sources in this meal include the spinach, the sun-dried tomatoes, and the walnuts. OK, so the walnuts aren't a great source but they do have some! Besides, they have many other benefits ;) Plus, the vitamin C in the spinach, tomatoes, and lime juice helps with the absorption of the iron.

The cookbook I got this from said something along the lines of "Kids love this dish!" Um, yeah, maybe little hippy kids who actually eat spinach... how many of those do you know? Well, if you read my blog, you may know more than I am giving you credit for. ;)
If you can't convince your kids that spinach really is tasty, you can substitu
te in broccoli. That is, if you can convince your kids that broccoli is tasty! :)
I'm sure they were talking about the cute little pasta stars... I'm sure ALL kids love those! Heck, I'm 31 and I love cute little pasta shapes!
Oh! While I'm on shaped pasta... I saw this boxed mac and cheese (Annie's) the other day and the pasta was in the shape of peace signs. Had me written all over it! :)
See, I even took a photo of the dry pasta stars... 31 going on 5...

Serves 2 (could serve 4 as a side dish)

2/3 cup dry stellini pasta (that's the tiny stars; you can sub in the alphabet letters if you can't find stars)
1-2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1-2 large cloves of garlic (I used one huge one but I love garlic more than is considered normal so I'll add two next time)
1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
2 cups spinach, washed, dried, and chopped up
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped up
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. lime juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning (salt-free if you can find it)

1. Grill or broil the mushroom slices until tender. While the mushrooms are grilling, cook the pasta according to the package directions (about 8 minutes). Drain, toss with the lime juice and set aside. Let the mushrooms cool slightly and then dice them up.

2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onion and then the garlic and let it cook very slowly so the garlic doesn't burn. Stir often! Once the garlic and onion are golden-brown, add the spinach and raise the heat to medium.

2. Cook until the spinach is wilted (1 minute or so). Stir in the pasta and mushroom pieces and cook until the mixture is warmed through. Toss in the lemon pepper seasoning, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add additional lime juice as desired.

Serve immediately.

This is based on the recipe Garlic Spinach Stellini Pasta from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook.
My changes:
I added in onion, the portobello mushroom, the walnuts, and the sun-dried tomatoes.

Thanks to the British Vegetarian Society for the information on iron.
Information Sheet - Iron
Information Sheet - Nuts and Seeds

Mushroom-Bean Stew with Garlic Crumb Topping

This smelled so wonderful while it was cooking (even M mentioned how good it smelled more than once) that I made a comment along the lines of "I hope this tastes half as amazing as it smells!" Oh, did it ever! :)

This is a great treat to use up half a can of beans and whatever veggies you have hanging around the kitchen. It started out as a rather plain recipe but I gave it the G treatment and it turned into something quite spectacular!
It's full of protein, iron, complex carbs, and fibre while still being very low in fat and cholesterol (zero cholesterol if you leave out the cheese).

It's vegan if you don't cheat like I did and add a smidgen of Parmesan to the crumbs...
I'd bet money that herbivores and omnivores alike would really enjoy this so it's a great one to serve for company (and it's just so pretty and colorful - who wouldn't love it?!)

I'm saving the best for last here - this goes together in less than 45 minutes (including chopping!) Yeay!

Great for a quickie weeknight dinner.

Serves 2 (easy to double or triple if needed)

1-1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
5-6 button mushrooms, quartered
Approx. 1 cup green onions, sliced

1/8 cup red onion, diced
1-1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed (or whatever beans you have)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1 tomato, chopped (I included the seeds)
1 large garlic clove, minced (for the stew)
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 tsp. dried culinary lavender, crushed

1/4 tsp. dried fennel, crushed
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

Small amount of panko breadcrumbs (1/4-1/2 cup or so)
1 small garlic clove, minced (for the crumbly topping)
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Optional: 1-2 tbsp. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 3/4 tsp. of the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Stir in the mushrooms, green onions, red onion, and Italian seasoning and cook for 10 minutes or until softened.

2. Stir the beans, large garlic clove, tomato, br
oth, tarragon, lavender, and fennel. Cook until heated through and thickened. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Yum! There it is sans crumbs/before it got really thick:

3. While the stew cooks/thickens, prepare the crumb topping. Heat the remaining 3/4 tsp. oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the panko for 6-8 minutes or until it is crispy and golden. Add the small garlic clove during the last couple of minutes so you get the garlic flavour without getting a burned-garlic flavour.
They should look like this (mine really weren't that washed out.. I have the oh-so-lovely fluorescent lighting in my kitchen to thank for that!):

4. Add the fresh parsley to the bean mixture and then sprinkle the crumbs on top of the stew.
If you choose to add Parm to the crumbs, transfer the crumbs from the skillet to a small bowl and let them cool off for a couple of minutes. Grate the Parm into the bowl and mix to combine.

I based this on the recipe "Golden Crumb-Topped Mushroom-Bean Stew" from the February/March 2009 issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine.

How I made it my own:
*I used black beans instead of Great Northern beans (had half a can of black beans open on top of having a bad case of Monday Brain and forgetting to soak my dried Navy beans that I was originally going to use in place of the GN beans... Despite all that, I thought the black beans were wonderful in it!)
*I used green onions in place of leeks. I just can't do leeks... I'm sure I've told this story but my mom used to make this potato-leek soup every year on Ash Wednesday. Nasty... tasted like ash! Sad that I claim to be this open-minded liberal yet I just refuse to give leeks a second chance! lol ;) And like green onions are really any different! Please..!
*I added onion (much as I hate leeks, I just can't have enough of all their other allium cousins!)
*I used panko in place of a slice of bread
*I added garlic to the panko
*Added the tomato
*I also added lavender, fennel, and tarragon
*Almost forgot... I'm still out of wine and veggie broth! I did find some "Reduced-Sodium (organic!) Vegetable Bouillon" so I cut a chunk off a cube of that and dissolved it to make "veggie broth"

Menu - February 8-14

Here's the menu for this week... a couple days late but that's sort of normal for me (if I post one at all!)

Sunday - DH had oven-fried chicken; I had stuffed tomatoes with quinoa, black beans, and corn

Monday - DH had Cajun-spiced pork chops; I had Crumb-Topped Mushroom-Bean stew (post coming soon - it was fabulous!)

Tuesday - Lentil-Cauliflower Curry for me; salmon with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce (homemade) for DH.

Wednesday - I have a really crazy evening with a meeting until 6 and then tai chi class at 7:15 so I'll just heat up split pea and lentil soup for myself (homemade/in the freezer) and will throw together a burger with blue cheese for M.

Thursday - Beef burrito for DH; I'm having Garlic-Spinach Stellini pasta (Whole Foods cookbook recipe) with sun-dried tomatoes and portobello mushroom thrown in.

Friday - Ancient Grain Pilaf for me (provided I can find spelt...); Cheese-stuffed chicken for DH

Saturday - I boycott Valentine's Day but I still love my hubby so I'm grilling a steak for him :) I'll have pineapple-cashew quinoa stir-fry.
I'm also making brownies with some cute little Valentine's Day sprinkly things I found... (this set of sprinklies has lip-shaped ones! How fun is that? I'll have to post pictures!)
OK, so I'm just not that much of a heartless, Hallmark Holiday-hating hard-ass! ;) I just figure that if my husband doesn't know by now how I feel about him, a card and a box of chocolates isn't going to convince him!

Fruity Nutty Brussels Sprouts

I highly recommend these to anyone who is a bit sketchy about Brussels sprouts but is still interested in trying them :)

I used hard apple cider in these on a bit of a whim... I was going to do my usual 1/2 wine-1/2 veggie broth dealy but realized at the last moment that I was out of white wine and vegetable broth! Wow.. not sure how that happened.. those are a staple in my house like cereal would be in a normal person's house! heh.. The apple cider was lovely but I think it made these just a tad too sweet. Next time, I'll try it with half cider-half broth and see how that works out.

These would make a wonderful addition to a Christmas dinner table since the colours were all so festive. They are lovely any time Brussels are in season, though :)

Serves 2

1 apple, cubed, skins left on (I used a honeycrisp but you can use whatever you have. I'd like to try this with something on the less-sweet side like a Granny Smith)
Lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

10-12 Brussels sprouts (I really didn't count; just trying to come up with some sort of measurement!); cleaned and cut in half (quartered if you have huge ones)
1/6 cup hard apple cider (or 1/12 cup [good luck measuring that!] cider and 1/12 cup veggie broth)
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Chop up the apples and then toss them with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and apples along with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the cider/apple juice/wine/broth and cook for about 10 minutes or until the sprouts become tender (stir occasionally).

3. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts. Cook until warmed through and then serve immediately.

Based on the recipe North Georgia Brussels Sprouts that I found on Georgia Peach's blog, Vintage Victuals.
My changes:
*Left out the bacon
*Used hard cider in place of apple juice
*Added cranberries and walnuts

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Be Grateful for Ice Cream ;)

I am one of the world's biggest Cherry Garcia fans so I've been really wanting to try to make it at home (hubby got me the Ben and Jerry's ice cream recipe book for my birthday last year).

The ice cream is really yummy but I don't think it tastes anything like Cherry Garcia! lol :)
I do have some ideas about that so I'll have to try it again soon. First, I used dried cherries since fresh ones aren't available and when I think of canned cherries, I think of that gooey (not in a good way) cherry pie filling. Yikes! I will try it again with fresh once those are in season. Also, one of my friends suggested using some cherry brandy either in the ice cream base or just poured on top. Will have to try that one, too. :)
This version is more Coldstone than Cherry Garcia. It's a great sweet base with cherries and chocolate chunks mixed in!

Makes 1 Grateful Quart (yes, I ripped that off from the Ben & Jerry's book..)

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (I just chopped chunks off a bar of chocolate)
1/4 cup cherries, chopped (I used dried but will use fresh next time)

1. Whisk the eggs and sugar in the bowl of the KA mixer using the wire whisk attachment. Turn the mixer to speed 2 and let it run for about 30 seconds or until the eggs and sugar are slightly thickened.

2. Keep the mixer running at speed 2 while you add in the heavy cream and milk. Let it run until it's all well-mixed.

3. Pour the egg-sugar-milk-cream mixture into a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom. Cook over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the mixture and you can see steam rising from the liquid. Do not let it boil! Transfer this mixture into a glass bowl then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

4. Once the base has thoroughly chilled, attach the frozen ice cream attachment bowl to the KA mixer (make sure it has had at least 15 hours in the freezer). Turn the mixer to speed 1 (STIR). While the dasher is spinning, carefully pour the ice cream base into the ice cream freezer bowl (it's best to use a measuring jug for this part). Let the mixture stir for 15-20 minutes. Add in the chocolate chunks and cherries during the last 2 minutes of stir time.

5. Transfer the ice cream to freezer-safe containers and allow to freeze to desired consistency.

Have a grateful day ;)

Based on the Cherry Garcia recipe from Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with Nancy J. Stevens.
I used the French Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from the little book that came with my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment but just to figure out the cooking times (I'm really sketchy about raw egg [why do you think I love vegan baking so much?!] and the B&J book didn't cook their base).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Root Vegetable Enchiladas (with Mole!)

I really need to learn how to make the “e” at the end of mole have an accent mark over the top of it because every time I type mole without it, it looks like I'm talking about eating sauce made of small animals who don't see very well! Um, no... DH loves enchiladas so I’m always looking for new and exciting vegetarian versions of this yummy treat. I really enjoyed these ones with roasted vegetables. The combination of the sweet veggies and the chocolate in the mole sauce along with the peppers was amazing! I know not everyone goes for that sweet-spicy combination but if you’re like me, you have to give these a try!

I do have to work on the cashew cream, though.. I think it needed more water! In my defense, it was my first time using nutritional yeast so maybe that’s the part that needs work! I would have tried a second batch since I really wanted to drizzle some over the top of the mole sauce but I just ran out of time… it’s hard when I’m trying to focus on a brand-new recipe while making chicken enchiladas for DH (just leave a comment if you ever want the chicken enchilada recipe – I have it saved and would be happy to share it. M always raves about it!) Next time, I’ll make the cashew cream first and just store it in the fridge. That should give me extra time to make more if needed.

On to the recipe! : )

Makes 2 very generous servings (4 enchiladas/2 each)
You could almost get away with doing 1 enchilada per person and serving it with some seasoned rice, black beans, and/or salad (or some combination of those three sides). When I do enchiladas we have enchiladas and that’s it! They are just so filling!

Oh, before I go on… enchiladas freeze really well! Make a bunch; they are great to have on-hand and just pull out and re-heat when you need a quickie dinner.


Jalapeno-Cashew Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1/2 jalapeno pepper

1-1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (see if you can find it in the bulk aisle - tubs of it are a bit spendy!)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Method: 1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse on the "puree" setting until smooth.

Mole Sauce
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic, minced (I actually think I just used 5 cloves)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tbsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.

2. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon to the hot oil. Cover
and cook until onion is almost tender (about 10 minutes). Stir occasionally during the cooking process.

3. Mix in the chili powder and flour. Stir three minutes.

4. Gradually mix in the broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Boil until reduced (it took mine about 15 or 16 minutes). Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.

Enchilada Filling
1/3 to 1/2 cup each sweet potato, red potatoes, and parsnip (peel the parsnip and sweet potato), diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 recipe jalapeno cashew cream (above)

Flour tortillas

1 recipe mole sauce (above)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

1. Toss the vegetables, cumin, onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Spread the veggie mixture onto the cookie sheet and roast 45-50 minutes or until they are soft and lightly browned, stirring once or twice during the roasting time. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees.

**Make the mole sauce while the vegetables roast.**

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let them cool a little. Once cooled, toss them in a large bowl with 1/2 cup of the jalapeno cashew cream. Scoop the vegetable filling into the tortillas and roll each one into an enchilada.

3. Pour a little mole sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Place each enchilada on top of the mole. Cover the enchiladas with additional mole sauce. If desired, use the remaining cashew cream to drizzle over the mole-covered enchiladas.

4. Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Reference: The jalapeno cashew cream and the enchilada filling recipes are based on "Roasted Root Vegetable Enchiladas" and "Chipotle Cashew Cream" from the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of VegNews magazine.
Changes for the enchilada filling included adding in the red potatoes and using the mole sauce in place of red or green enchilada sauce. I was going to add some corn, too, but completely forgot! Oh well... next time :)

The only change I made to the cashew cream was to use a regular un-roasted jalapeno in place of the chipotle pepper.

mole sauce recipe is from Recipezaar. I just change it by adding a little extra chocolate and using veggie broth in place of chicken broth.

Home-Made Enchilada Sauce

This is the sauce I make for DH’s enchiladas (and for mine when I don’t feel like making two different sauces!) It’s far better than the stuff you get in cans from the grocery store and really doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. You will need either an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor to make this, though.

The sauce itself is vegan so, even though I throw it on DH's chicken enchiladas, it's great to use with any veggie enchiladas, too.

Enough for 4-6 servings

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 (28-oz) can tomatoes, diced (make sure to add the juice, too!)
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. Saute the onions over medium heat until they are softened. Add all the other ingredients and let the mixture come to a simmer then remove the pan from the heat.

2. Let the sauce cool for a little while then puree in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

Based on the "Enchilada Chile Sauce" that is part of the recipe "Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce" from Veganomicon.
My Changes:
*I use jalapenos for the "large green chiles." Mine are not roasted.
*I use both marjoram and Mexican oregano instead of one of the other.
That's it, really.. not a whole lot to change in that recipe. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hot and Sweet Ginger-Orange Tofu

I'm not a big tofu eater (it's just so processed which is always a turn-off) but this will be a recipe to remember when I have some to use up! While I was enjoying eating this, DH said "that smells flavourful." It really was! Plenty of sweet from the maple-orange-ginger glaze with a great spiciness from the red pepper. Yum!

Serves 2

1/2 block of extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into two halves (apparently firm tofu works, too, if that's what you've got!)
1/6 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/6 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

1/6 cup pure maple syrup
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp. orange zest
1-1/2 - 2 tsp. canola oil, divided
3/4 cup onion, sliced
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

1. Prepare the tofu by letting it drain, covered in paper towels, for 10-15 minutes. Once drained, cut it up into small cubes (about 3/4-inch in size).

2. Mix together the orange juice, lime juice, maple syrup, red pepper, garlic, ginger, and orange zest.

3. Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the tofu cubes and stir-fry them until golden. They should look like this:

4. Remove the tofu cubes from the pan and set them aside. Add the onions and the remaining oil to the skillet. Saute about 5 minutes or until the onion is slightly golden and softened. Return the tofu to the pan along with the orange-ginger sauce, cilantro, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens.

This is delicious served over rice. You can also sprinkle some additional fresh cilantro over the finished product, if desired.

This is based on the recipe "Fiery Tofu with Red Chiles, Orange, and Ginger" from the February 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times.

I didn't change much... I used firm tofu instead of the extra-firm that was called for. I was worried it would fall apart but it really held its shape.
I also subbed in crush red pepper for the 2 or 3 dried red chiles that were called for. I couldn't find those other than in big bags and I'd probably never use them all! It added just the right amount of heat for me and it's easy enough to add as much or as little as you'd like.