Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Drink Your Greens

I realized recently that I haven't posted any juice recipes. Partly because I haven't really made up any of my own, and partly because I drink my juice each morning about 7:30 a.m. and I'm just too lazy to get the camera. This morning the camera was already on the counter, so here is the first of my juice posts. This morning we had "Green Pineapple Juice". This is one of my very favorite juices. It's health in a glass!! I got this recipe from my yoga teacher during teacher training, and couldn't wait until I had a juicer of my own so I could make it!!

Green Pineapple Juice

1/2 ripe pineapple (peel can be left on if pineapple is organic)
4 leaves collard greens
1/4 inch piece of ginger
handful of spinach

Place ingredients in juicer following manufacturers directions, juice, and enjoy!!

Lentils and Rice Two Ways

This first version of Lentils and Rice is a dish we've had before and liked very much, Savory French Lentils (from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan). On this particular night the lentils were served with a brown and wild rice combo, steamed kale, and roasted butternut squash. Hearty, delicious, and satisfying on a cold winter night. These are the kind of meals that I love the most.

The second version is Curried Lentils from Vegan Planet. The curry was served over brown basmati rice with a spinach salad drizzled with Miso Ginger Dressing. Again, another delicious, warming wintertime meal.

The dressing is made by combining about 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp of mellow white miso, about 1 Tbs sushi vinegar, and a little less than 1/4 cup mild oil.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Something Old, Some Things New

My friend Shannon requested that I start posting some repeats so that she can be refreshed about some of my older dishes. So, the first of my repeat posts are these Tomato Basil Lasagna Spirals from Vegan Planet. I can't believe it took me until now to repeat this dish. They really are delicious!! This time I made my own pesto subbing sunflower seeds for the pine nuts, and of course omitting the pamesan. These are so good that even the omnivores wouldn't miss the meat from their lasagna. I've decided that these are the next dish I'm making for any pot lucks that may come up.........or maybe I'll just have a dinner party of my own!!!

Also, in the repeat department, we had Lentil Tacos. These appear pretty frequently on our menu, at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. The girls really, really love these tacos (Rob and I do too). They are perfect for a weeknight when I have to teach. I just prepare the lentils ahead of time and when I get home all I have to do is heat the shells, whip up some guacamole, reheat the lentils and voilĂ , dinner is served.

Now on to something new. The mess of a dish pictured above is the Old Fashioned Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Absolutely delicious. The steam from the crockpot cooks the drop biscuits so moist and tender. This is comfort food at it's best.

I was short on garbanzo beans so I used half garbanzos and half black eyed peas. Plus, I didn't have any frozen peas so I subbed corn instead. This was so good I was craving it when I woke up the next day, so I finished off the leftovers for breakfast!!!

And the last new dish of this post......Channa Masala. This recipe came from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook, but there are plenty of recipes to be found all over the internet. Again, incredibly simple and absolutely delicious. I made it quite mild so the girls would eat it, and eat it they did. Mairin finished hers and asked for a second helping, and Stella made good work of hers as well. Along with the chickpeas I served the ever popular naan bread from Manjula's Kitchen. Everyone here loves this naan so much I have to double the recipe!! This time I subbed coconut milk yogurt instead of soy yogurt and the results were fantastic. I think the consistency of coconut milk yogurt is more comparable to dairy yogurt.

And finally, is it just me, or are the rest of you finding it very difficult to be inspired in the dead of winter? There's nothing local at the grocery store, there's no CSA bounty, nothing growing in the garden. All of that equals uninspired resorting to cookbooks for me. I feel like I haven't created my own dish in months. I have my CSA application hanging on the refrigerator waiting for me, but May is sooooo far off. I guess the cookbooks will be getting some good use for the next few months!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Asian Inspired

We've had a few Asian inspired dishes since the start of the New Year.......actually, thinking back on it, this first dish may have been our New Year's Eve Meal. First up we had Spicy Mushroom Lettuce Wraps. This was inspired by the Spicy Tofu Wraps in the current issue of Vegetarian Times. , but I decided to skip the tofu and go for mushrooms instead. I just subbed one 8oz package of button mushrooms, chopped very fine for the tofu, omitted the water chestnuts, and subbed 1/2 tsp chile paste for the chile sauce and otherwise kept the recipe the same I love lettuce wraps when we go out, so I had high hopes for these. "Did they meet your expectations?", you ask. The answer to that is a resounding yes. These were fantastic, probably even better than most of the lettuce wraps I've had in restaurants. We enjoyed the wraps with a side of soba noodles, and some deep fried tofu with chile dipping sauce.

Next, we had this Sweet and Sour Noodles and Vegetable dish from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook. I got this book for Christmas, it's not all vegan, but there are several vegan dishes to choose from, or dishes that are easily veganizable. Despite some of the outdated, or misleading information (that it is necessary to combine pulses and grains for complete protein, or that you have to be extra careful with vegan children.....which I find hilarious since my vegan children eat a wider variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains than most of their omnivorous counterparts), this is a very good book as far as organization and ease of use. The recipes are rated using a star system depending on their level of difficulty, which I like for finding quick and easy meals on weeknights. Also, this book has beautiful pictures, which is always a plus in cookbooks.

The Sweet and Sour noodles were fantastic. Rob liked this dish very much, but thought it could use more noodles. The recipe called for egg noodles, which I subbed out for wide rice noodles, but unfortunately didn't have many of.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Let's Get it Started........

Ha Ha...........a little Black Eyed Peas/New Years humor to start the year off!! Of course, we started the year with black eyed peas and cabbage. As a kid we had just that...a heaping scoop of black eyed peas (that I'm almost certain had been cooked with some kind of meat in them), alongside another heaping scoop of braised cabbage, and some cornbread on the side just to round things out. For the last 5 years we've moved the Christmas celebration to my house which I've enjoyed immensely, so starting last year we moved our New Year's Day meal to my house as well. Not being one who likes to break a tradition, I do like to put a new spin on them, you know, give them my own (vegan) signature. And hey, a tradition meant to bring good luck.....who in their right mind would mess with that? Even if half of my family hates black eyed peas and cabbage, I'm not about to risk a whole year of bad luck to please their palates on this one day.

We started 2008 with Hoppin' John, purple cabbage, and cornbread. It was a success, so I was sure I could please even the black eyed pea haters this year as well. I'd planned on Hoppin' John again, but came across a recipe for New Years Day Soup in the newest issue of Vegetarian Times, and decided to give that a try instead. I'm glad I did, it was fantastic. The flavor combo was great, and their was just enough heat for Rob to forget he was eating black eyed peas. My only advice is to make the soup a day in advance and just re-heat it for your New Year's Day meal (it was even better on January 2). Alongside our soup we had braised cabbage, and cornbread. Tradition indeed!!

Now, just a little note on my lack of blogging of late. Long and short..........I've been busy. With Mairin home from school, and Rob home from work a lot we've just been spending a lot of good quality time together and eating a lot of easy repeats. And, with the lack of CSA goodies, I've been very uninspired. (I also guess I should mention that after a long wait I finally got a Wii, and I've been totally consumed by video games since Christmas) I do have few things waiting on my attention that I'll be blogging about soon, plus some new dishes to prepare over the course of this week. So, hopefully I'll be back with more regular posts now that the busy holiday season has passed.

I also got a juicer for Christmas, so I've been busy concocting juice recipes. Juicing is awesome!! I'm totally addicted to my daily juice now. There's something so pleasing about cramming all of those nutrients into one glass and ingesting them all!! I mean seriously, it's 8:15 a.m. and I've already had 5 carrots, 2 oranges and a 1/2 inch piece of ginger........not possible by any other means than juicing. Plus, there's some green juice in my future today as well!!