Friday, November 30, 2007
The stew (which came out thinner than stew in my case, because I added more veggie stock than what was called for.......doesn't Rachel Ray call that a Stoup??), anyway, the stew/soup was very hearty. There was a hint of curry flavor in every bite, yet it didn't over power the taste of the individual veggies (which include carrots, green beans, onion, and well, sweet potatoes of course). Rob and I both loved this dish, the kids of course weren't crazy about it, but they did at least try it. I served the stew/soup with a side of steamed broccoli drizzled in toasted sesame oil, and some quartered Jonagold apples.
There won't be any cookin' in Carrie's kitchen this weekend (except maybe breakfast). We have a very busy weekend ahead of us, it'll be leftovers of whatever's still hanging out in the refrigerator for tomorrow. Sunday Mairin has a dance program for the holiday's and we've promised her pizza.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
You guessed it, the barbequed seitan I had planned for tonight was a bust. I'm ashamed to admit that almost every bit of it got thrown in the trash. I was so excited, I had made the seitan from scratch. It was going to be this wonderful new thing that we were all going to love. I'd had a bad day and I was so looking forward to this wonderful meal that had been simmering in the Crock Pot all day. Instead, I dished it up, and wanted to cry. I couldn't even bring myself to bust out the camera and take a picture for you.
The dish I made was Barbequed Seitan and Layered Vegetables from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. The barbeque sauce was fine, the veggies were fine, the seitan, well, it really didn't even taste that bad. The problem with this dish was the way the seitan felt in my mouth. Even thinking of it now makes my stomach turn. Yuck! And on top of that, I just couldn't get over that it was really a big lump of soggy bread.
So, what was for dinner you ask. Well, I ate some rice and all the barbequed veggies I could muster, then I went to bunco, ate a big piece of chocolate cake and had a few drinks. Rob and the girls ordered a veggie pizza from our local pizza delivery. As they say, live and learn. Lesson learned, seitan is not for me.
Maybe I can redeem myself tomorrow with curried sweet potato and lentil stew.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Tonight I decided on one of my favorite quick and easy soups. This lentil soup is based on this recipe that I found at The Fat Free Vegan. The soup is pretty good as the recipe directs, however I've made some additions to it that I think make it taste quite a bit better.
1 1/2 C. Puy lentils
1 Large can of crushed tomatoes with basil
2 C. Vegetable broth
1 medium onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 Bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp sea salt (I use homemade veggie stock that is salt free, so if you are using canned stalk you may need less salt)
fresh ground black pepper.
Put it all in the crock pot, add 4 cups of water. Cook on low 8 hrs or until lentils have softened.
This soup is delicious served with some crusty bread for dipping, but tonight we had it solo.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Tonight was something I just kind of made up and hoped that it turned out ok. We had grilled portabello mushroom caps stuffed with a spinach ricotta mixture. Some short grain brown rice and a spinach salad.
For the mushrooms, preheat the oven to 350. Remove the gills, drizzle with olive oil and place gill side up on grill pan (or outdoor grill if weather permits), turning once the tops of the mushrooms are grilled. While the mushrooms are grilling you can whip up the stuffing. For 3 good sized mushroom caps you will need one 15 oz container of part skim ricotta cheese, one 10 oz box of frozen spinach, thawed, and about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste. Once the mushrooms are grilled transfer them to a baking dish, fill each mushroom with equal parts stuffing, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and plain bread crumbs and bake until tops are beginning to turn golden brown.
The rice was left over from my chickpea patties last night, I just nuked it with about a cup of veggie stock. When it was heated through and stock was absorbed I added in 3 pats of butter and salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkled with dried oregano to serve. And, well, the salad is self explanatory and was dressed with a slurry of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
The mushrooms were fantastic, just as I had hoped they would be. True to her nature, Mairin refused to try them, and because of Stella's dairy issues I couldn't even offer them to her. But, Rob and I both liked them and I will be preparing them again in the future, as they were so quick and easy.
I also cooked some seitan today, for a barbecued seitan dish I will be making later in the week. I've never cooked seitan before (actually, I've never even eaten it before), so I don't know if this is what the finished product is supposed to look like or not (anyone else know?). When it was cooled I cut a little piece off of the corner to taste, and it tasted really good, but I think it will be better barbecued. If it turns out well I'm going to be making some fried "chicken" with it soon.
And finally, those chickpea patties Rob forgot to take to work, well guess who ate them for lunch. You guessed it, me. The leftover gravy had kind of solidified and looked really yucky, so I threw it out and ate the patties on a whole grain bun with some dijon mustard and sliced onion. They were incredible, and will be served this way next time I make them.
Back to reality.......we had a wonderful time in Cancun, no one was ready to come back to our real lives. It was one of those vacations where you do absolutely nothing but relax. We were all loving basking in the sun, swimming all day, sipping drinks by the pool, having massages, temperatures in the 80's........but alas, back to reality.
Back to reality can only mean one thing, back to the kitchen (it was nice having someone else cook all of my meals for 7 days!!). But, before I could get back in the kitchen, I had to get to the store (we had a box of cereal, a dozen eggs, and one 1/2 gallon of Silk left when we returned). So, I hauled myself out into the frigid weather (in all fairness it was in the high 40's yesterday, but it felt pretty chilly in comparison), and got to WFM. Needless to say, with next to nothing left at home I had to spend a small fortune, but we do have food now, and I'm all set to cook.
Rob and I were both commenting that while we didn't want to leave Cancun, we were looking forward to returning home to my cooking (a girl can't get a decent vegetarian meal in Cancun...hence all of the seafood I consumed). So, for last nights dinner I planned Chickpea Sensation Patties from ED&bV, mashed potatoes with Thick and Rich Gravy (gravy also from ED&bV) and I cooked up some green beans that we'd bought at the end of the season from the Farmer's market and had frozen.
I've been reading a lot of raves for Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon lately, and since I don't have that book I used Dreena's chickpea patty recipe instead. I haven't made one of Dreena's recipes that I haven't liked, so I was sure this one would serve as a wonderful substitute until I get my hands on Veganomicon.
Of course, I was right. The chickpea patties really were sensational, and the gravy was incredible. This wasn't a meal that I thought Rob would be crazy for, but he loved the patties and even asked for more gravy (which says a lot considering he very much dislikes gravy). Even Mairin ate half a patty which is really something for her.
The recipe makes 8 patties, so there are leftovers for lunch today.....you forgot to take your lunch today Rob, looks like I'll be eating the patties, sorry.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Hola faithful readers....(is anyone still reading??) Obviously not much food preparation going on here. The extent of my food prep has been walking to the buffet and picking out fillings for my omlette every morning!! I just wanted to check in with all you guys to say hello and Happy Thanksgiving to you.
The weather is great....sunny and in the 80's. The pool is warm, the sea is gorgeous, and the drinks are delicious. Eating has been quite an adventure for me here. There's ALOT of meat served around these parts. Unfortunately, I haven't remained totally veggie while we've been here. But, I'm happy to say my only non-veggie meals have been seafood. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant twice and I couldn't pass on the free sushi they brought as a starter (but I did order a veggie dish). And, just today, they were serving a seafood feast out at the pool. I ate octopus salad, the biggest steamed prawns you've ever laid eyes on, steamed mussels and grilled salmon. It looked and smelled delicious, so I gave in to my temptations and feasted!!
I'll be back to the kitchen on Sunday!!!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I'm always looking for new curry ideas, so imagine my delight when I ran across the recipe for Big Curry Noodle Pot while thumbing through Super Natural Cooking. I think I mentioned this book before. I got it for my birthday, and if anyone is in search of a new cookbook, you really should check this one out. Not only is it full of great recipes and very informative food facts, it's a beautiful book....it's wonderfully designed, and the photography is amazing (it's also one of those books that just feels good in your hands, ya know what I mean?).
Anyway, enough about the book, on to the curry. This was different than the curries we normally eat, it was more like a big bowl of delicious curry noodle soup.....not something you'd want to make if you are embarrassed about slurping noodles into your mouth and getting covered in yellow coconut milk!! I didn't follow the recipe exactly, as I didn't have all of the ingredients, I didn't like some of the techniques (it called for cooking the curry sauce first, then adding the tofu into the simmering curry, which in my opinion just leads to mushy, disgusting tofu), and it called for peanuts which are a forbidden food in anything that Stella may decide to eat (it turns out this one was a little too spicy for her, so I could have added the peanuts, but I didn't know how the heat would be until it was finished). So, I think I changed the recipe just enough to make it safe to post:
8 oz dried Asian wide noodles (I used Eden Brown Rice Udon)
2 Tbs canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste
12 oz extra firm tofu (pressed and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick by 1 inch long)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
2 Tbs light brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 Tbs soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
chopped cilantro for garnish.
Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain and set aside. While the noodles cook begin making the curry. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add tofu and brown on all sides. When tofu is almost finished browning, add onion and saute until tender. Add garlic and curry paste, smashing paste around pan to distribute it evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes until curry paste become fragrant. Add in the coconut milk, stock, turmeric, brown sugar and soy sauce, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add in lime juice and noodles, stir to cover noodles with sauce and distribute sauce and tofu evenly. Serve noodles in bowls with a few ladles of curry sauce. Top with cilantro and serve.
The book says this serves 4-6, but in reality it served Rob and I with a nice helping left for one of us to have for lunch tomorrow. Plus, each girl had about half a bowl of plain udon noodles.
To go along with the lasagna I made a fresh guacamole. For this I use one ripe avocado, smashed. Sprinkle with a tad of sea salt, and squeeze half a lime over it. Mix in one chopped roma tomato, half a small onion diced very small and a handful of cilantro leaves and stems chopped. When the dish is intended for adults only I add in one jalapeno pepper also diced small. Knowing that the girls would be eating the guac last night, I left the jalapeno out. I also served some tomatillo salsa from Whole Foods Market along with the guac and chips.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Tomorrow is going to be a repeater as well. We are having my dad and step-mom over for dinner so they can see the girls before we leave on our Thanksgiving getaway. We're having Bean and Corn Tortilla Lasagna from Eat, Drink and, Be Vegan. My dad and step-mom are omni's, and I think this little creation of Dreena's is sure to delight and satisfy. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pictures and a review of how the omni's liked it.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Wow, it's been a looooong time since I've been in the kitchen!! We were out of town this weekend, celebrating Diwali/Thanksgiving with some friends on Friday and visiting family Saturday and Sunday. Thursday really was the last time I cooked something. It was a nice break from the kitchen, but I was glad to be back today.
We got back last night and there was no food in the house. The girls ate Weetabix, and Rob and I ate chili that I had frozen a few weeks ago. So, needless to say, we made a trip to Whole Foods today. The menu for this week consists of some newcomers and some repeats.
Tonight's feature was a newcomer from Veganomicon. We had Sloppy Joe's vegetarian cousin Snobby Joe. Remember Manwich from when you were a kid??? Snobby Joe is about as close as you will ever get with a homemade, vegetarian version. These sammies (more Rachel Ray speak) really do take you back. Our girls have never had Sloppy Joe's before, so this was their first experience, and I think it was a good one. Mairin actually ate and liked hers, and Stella wolfed it down (although, she had to eat hers without a bun, because WFM had no buns that were not potentially contaminated with peanuts). I followed the recipe exactly, except I gave each sandwich a sprinkling of nutritional yeast just before serving. The recipe didn't specify what kind of lentils to use, so I used Puy's because I like them the best. Our Snobby Joe's were accompanied by some oven baked sweet potato fries and some steamed broccoli. It was delish.
Sweet Potato Fries:
4 sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp canola oil
Heat oven to 450. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into fry shape. Combine fries with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread fries on baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 450 for 30 minutes, turning once during cooking.
I also made some veggie stock tonight. My bag of scraps in the freezer was so full I'd already started a second, so I thought it was time to get the stock made. I didn't take a picture last time I made stock, and I regretted it in the end, so this time I took a picture.
I can't really give a recipe, as the stock is different each time I make it. It just depends on what particular scraps I've saved up since last time, and I don't measure the herbs and spices, I just throw them in. So, each batch is unique. But, always delicious.
There's something so rewarding about simmering your own stock all day, and then using it for your cooking. Homemade stock really lends a terrific flavor to all of your dishes, and it's so easy to make, you should try it sometime.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I've read several times in the past few weeks both at Chez Mama and at Mothering.com about Honey Baked Lentils. Since I'm always looking for new ways to use lentils I thought I'd give it a try. While searching for recipes, I couldn't find one that was consistent, but there were many that sounded yummy. So, drawing elements from several recipes I decided to throw together my own version of honey baked lentils. I was running low on honey, but had plenty of agave nectar in the pantry, so I substituted agave (which, personally I like better than honey, for it's mild flavor). I served the lentils with a side of sweet potato mashed with a few tablespoons of Vanilla Silk, and about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
The lentils were delicious, it was just the right balance between sweet and savory. Rob was out of town last night, so in essence I cooked this for myself. Both girls are feeling a bit under the weather, and weren't exactly in the mood for eating last night. Fortunately, we have plenty left for lunch, because I am sure this is one dish that they will both love. When Mairin spoke to Rob on the phone last night and told him what we were having for dinner he apparently asked her to save some for him, because she promptly hung up and told me that daddy said dinner sounded yummy and that we have to be sure there is some left for him to try..............so, honey, there's plenty here for you when you get home tonight!!!
Agave Baked Lentils:
2 cups Puy Lentil (you could use any kind of lentils, but I prefer the french lentils, they seem to hold their shape and not become mushy)
4 cups water
1 Bay Leaf
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup agave nectar (or substitute honey if you like)
1 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375. In sauce pot add 4 cups of water with 2 cups Puy lentils, vegetable bouillon cube, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minute remove lentils from heat and set aside. In a 9x12 baking dish combine carrots, celery, onions and garlic with agave, nutmeg, EVOO and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Then, pour lentils with their cooking liquid into baking dish. Stir to incorporate vegetables. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. After 1 hour remove foil and bake about 10 more minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.
I baked the sweet potatoes at the same time the lentils were baking, when they were done I cut them in half, scooped out the flesh and mashed it with a few Tbs of soy milk and 1 Tbs of brown sugar.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I then proceeded with Dreena's recipe for both the Coconut Lime Rice and for the Orange Sesame Tofu. The tofu marinated while the rice cooked and then I prepped the broccoli. I washed and trimmed one head of broccoli into bite-sized florets. After it has dried slightly I place it on a baking sheet, drizzle it with toasted sesame oil, a dash of salt and pepper, then stick it in the oven at 400 with the tofu. The tofu took about 20 minutes total, and I let the broccoli cook for as long. After the broccoli is removed from the oven I splash on just a dash of tamari and mix it all up real good.
I served it all up and we ate it with chopsticks just for fun. Mairin was determined to use chopsticks and lo and behold, she was able to eat with them on her first try........it took me forever to learn to use chopsticks. She tasted her tofu and claimed to not like it, but I think she was just being obstinate, as she didn't make a face or spit it out as is what generally happens when she doesn't like something. She did eat all of her broccoli though, and for that I am happy!!
To finish it off we had Coconut Cake (also from ED&BV), but instead of a 2-layer cake, I turned it into cupcakes. I was also going to make the Coconut Icing, but it required Xanthan Gum, which costs over $10 at WFM, and I refuse to pay that much for any one ingredient. So instead, we drizzled it with Warm Raspberry Sauce.......ok, so I didn't drizzle it, I poured it on because that stuff is so dang delicious (we used the rest of it to cover our pancakes this morning).
All in all, it was a delicious meal. It was actually meant to be my birthday meal last week until my mom offered to take us out. It would have made a fantastic birthday meal, even if I did have to cook it myself. We did decide that next time the tofu needs some red chili flakes sprinkled on it. It just really needed another layer of flavor, and some heat as well.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Yoga retreat is over, and I'm back to the real world. The retreat was great, and while I did miss Rob and the girls, I could have easily stayed a few more days!! It was peaceful, quiet, relaxing, and also a bit strange. All in all, quite and experience. I got to sample a few styles of yoga I wasn't familiar with, including laughter yoga, which was really fun and really brings you back to being a kid again. I also got to participate in some chanting (which admittedly was a little....ok, a lot strange), but interesting. And, as strange as it was I've been chanting "Wahe Guru, Wahe Jio" over and over all weekend, I can't get it out of my head.
As good as the retreat was, I couldn't wait to get home to eat. The location of the retreat left a lot to be desired in food options, especially for a vegetarian, and I was longing from some good vegetarian comfort food. So, I headed home Sunday afternoon, with a big ol' pot of vegetable soup on my mind.
It was game day, Colts vs. Patriots, so Rob had invited some friends over. In addition to the vegetable orzo soup, I made Dreena's Chipotle Lime 2 bean Hummus to snack on while waiting for the soup.
The soup was delicious. It was very rich and filling, and exactly what a hungry girl needed after a long weekend of eating crap. The recipe follows, but is merely my best estimate, as I didn't really measure anything and kind of went by the seat of my pants on this one.
Vegetable Orzo Soup
2 Tbs Olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced in half rounds
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 smal bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp tarragon
2 small zucchini, quartered and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
2 cups lima beans (frozen)
1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 cup frozen sweet peas
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water plus 1 cube vegetable bouillon (could also use 2 more cups of stock)
2 cups orzo pasta
Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and saute for a few minutes before adding celery and onion. Saute until onion begins to become translucent, then add garlic, saute until garlic becomes fragrant and add in bay leave and other dried herbs and stir to combine. Add zucchini and saute about 2 minutes. Add limas, corn, peas and stir to combine well. Saute all vegetables for a few minutes until the thaw and begin to soften. Add in vegetable stock and water+bouillon. Bring to a boil and let simmer until about 5 minutes until ready to serve. During last 5 minutes add orzo and return soup to a boil to cook orzo. Once orzo is cooked, remove from heat and serve.
We've definitely found another soup for the long winter here!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.