Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Happiness

It's Saturday, October 31 --- Halloween! Happy Halloween!!

I made Halloween Chili (aka Sweet Black Bean Chili) and Sweet Potato Spelt Biscuits for dinner. A black bean chili that looks blood red with orange sweet potatoes and squash peeking through, paired with quick and easy biscuits. I've been dreaming about making this chili all week.

I'm also entering (is this the right word) it in my first Blog Event, My Legume Love Affair, an event created by Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted this month by Cook sister!.

Sweet Black Bean Chili
1 1/2 cups dried organic black turtle beans, picked through and soaked for one day
5 1/4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin + shakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + shakes
1/4 tsp Mexican chili powder
28 oz crushed organic tomatoes
2 sweet potatoes or yams
1 small orange squash
2 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion

What To Do
Pick through and soak the black beans at least the night before (if not more). Change the water once or twice. Drain, then place in large LeCrueset with 5 1/4 cups of water and two bay leaves. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. To see if your beans are finished, you can take one out and blow on it. If the skin comes off, the beans are done. You can also taste them! My beans, fresh from the Cayuga Pure Organics farm stand at my farmers' market, took a little more than an hour to cook. When they are cooked, remove one cup of beans and set aside for another recipe. Keep the remaining water.
While the beans are cooking, peel sweet potatoes, then chop them into 1 inch or 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the insides, and then chop into 1 inch or 1/2 inch pieces.
The beans are done and you've removed the cup of cooked beans. Add the sweet potato and squash, the spices, and the crushed tomato. Stir well to combine, then cover with tipped lid and cook on medium-low heat.
Chop the onion. Heat up a saute pan over medium-low heat, then add the olive oil. When warm, add the onion and sprinkle on the ground cinnamon and ground cumin (as much or as little as you like). Saute for approximately five to seven minutes, until the onion is soft and fragrant. Add the onion to the large pot. Stir to combine and continue cooking with the cover tipped. Total cook time should be approximately one hour to allow all the flavors to combine.

Sweet Potato Spelt Biscuits
1 cup freshly milled spelt flour (bought this morning at the farmers' market!)
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour (King Arthur's)
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 T organic vegetable shortening
1 medium sweet potato
1/4 cup vanilla (unsweetened) almond milk

What To Do
Scrub the sweet potato and cut off any bad parts. Cook it. I cooked mine in the microwave by piercing it many times and cooking it for five minutes at 5 power, then flipping it over to cook for another six minutes at 5 power. Mash it when it is finished cooking and eat the skins.
Mix the flours, baking powder, and sea salt.
Cut in the vegetable shortening until the flour mixture looks like coarse meal.
Mix in the mashed sweet potato and the almond milk with your hands.
Make 12-14 rounds for the biscuits and place on a cookie sheet.
Preheat over to 410, and then bake biscuits for 20 minutes.


We (D, J, and I) had this for dinner. It was enough for us all and for D (several bowls) to not claim severe hunger later. Slightly sweet, but not overly so, and delicately spiced. Definitely something to make again.

Stuffed Manicotti

Tonight I got to come home early, so I was able to make manicotti for dinner.

Last night, J and I made up the cashew cheese to use as the base for the stuffing. I took the recipe from Dreena Burton. I don't have truffle oil (really, who does?), so I used 1 heaping spoonful of nutritional yeast instead, and used 4 T of water. My blender sort of conked out though, and wouldn't blend, so I think my cashew cheese was a little less smooth than anticipated. Still tasty though! I stuck it in the fridge last night after making it with J.

Tonight, I cooked the manicotti (1/2 package, 7 pieces) according to the package directions. Well, two of the manicotti fell completely into pieces and another in half, so I think I got some faulty manicotti there. But I made it work with the five I had left. (Next time I'm looking for some large shells instead. Much less of a chance - I think - of them all falling apart on me.)

While my manicotti was in the water, I pre-heated the oven to 365 and I chopped and fried (in 2 T of olive oil) the tastiest (and funniest-looking) mushrooms. J and I picked them out at the farmers' market last Saturday (got to get ready for tomorrow morning!). I also chopped up a bunch of cilantro from last week's farmers' market buy. I took two handfuls of the cilantro and the fried mushrooms and added them in a large bowl to the cashew cheese, stirring with my wooden spoon. I took the manicotti out of the water after their allotted seven minutes and set them aside, saving the water. Then I stuffed the manicotti by hand -- none of that whole trying to use a spoon for me! I placed the five manicotti in a glass pie pan and covered them with basilico tomato sauce (that I got on sale last week). Then I baked the manicotti for 20 minutes.

While the manicotti was baking, I got the water boiling again. I washed and cut up the head of purple broccoli that J picked at the farmers' market last weekend (sensing a theme here?) and put it all in the boiling water, covering the pot. (Not all was in the water; some boiled, some was steamed.) The water, when the broccoli was finished, was purple, and some of the pieces of broccoli were no longer purple.

So, here's what tonight's dinner was for me, D, and J. Stuffed manicotti and broccoli. D said that it was good and he would eat it again, so I consider this a coup. ;) J ate it all ... eventually. I think she was put off initially because we told her it was pasta and cheese, but it doesn't look like the mac and cheese dishes I make for her! Like I said though, she ate it all, so everyone wins tonight. Yum!

And, I have leftover cashew cheese with cilantro and mushrooms because those two manicotti died in the pot. I ate some with triscuits as a snack after I got the two babies to sleep and I've put the rest in the fridge for a snack tomorrow or Sunday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Heirloom Beans

This past week, I discovered heirloom beans (on the internet, not in real life...yet!). Same idea as heirloom tomatoes, with which everyone is familiar, but BEANS!

I found a few sites that sell heirloom eating beans to the public. I'm placing a (pretty big) order with Rancho Gordo today that includes I think 10 different types of heirloom beans. I'm going to check out Becky and the Beanstalk for ideas on cooking with them.

Rancho Gordo (California)
Native Seeds
Seed Saver Exchange
Phipps Farm (California)
Zursum Beans (Idaho)

I like this idea of preserving beans. And from all that I've read, they should taste much better than the standard bean. They cost more (obviously) and the shipping can get to be expensive, but hopefully the taste will be worth it. Also, I'm going to keep my eyes and ears out for some East Coast heirlooms. I read about heirloom beans in NC and Tennessee, but didn't find any information on buying them. And I'm pretty sure that the beans sold at my farmers' market, while organic, are not heirloom. (They sell kidneys, pintos, garbanzos, and black turtle beans. Those are all standard beans.) Maybe I can make it out to the Union Square farmers' market during the week some day and see if any heirloom beans make an appearance.

J helped me pick through and soak some organic black turtle beans last night. I wanted to make a black bean chili today, but was not up to cooking the beans this morning (I just wanted to stay in bed), so if I make the black bean chili, it will be tonight. Oh, did I mention I want to include orange (sweet potatoes or winter squash) to make a Halloween-themed chili? I really need to get on that tonight! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Golden Orange Soup

Well, the squash coconut casserole takes on a funny smell/taste after the first day. Still tastes good, but the smell is weird. I think it's the sage. J wouldn't eat much of it today at lunch, but she did eat the chili! D said she was "nursing her orange juice the whole time" but she ate a whole bowl of chili. :)

I ate another serving of the casserole, with plenty of black pepper and salt, for dinner. Lots of pepper totally masked the "sagey" taste/smell, so maybe it just needed more salt and pepper? Something to consider for the next time.
I started dinner with this salad -- fresh tomatoes (thanks to my m-i-l), clover sprouts, chopped golden yellow squash, and the remainder of my nut sauce. Nutty and yummy.

So, I can't rely on leftovers for J to eat tomorrow. I have to make something new, even though I'm supposed to be working (I'm reading cases, yes I am!). I have a meal planned for when I have some time this week, but tonight's not it. She likes my mom's pea soup, so I thought I'd make that...but I don't have any green peas. So, I'm making a golden soup for her. It's based on a recipe I found years ago (maybe 2000?) in my food co-op's newsletter (I think) and my mom's great pea soup. I had yellow split peas on hand, but no parsnips (required for the circa-2000 pea soup recipe), and didn't have the green peas (required for my mom's recipe). I like pea soups because they are easy to put together, easy to cook, and taste great! Here's my new recipe:

Golden Orange Soup
serves 8 (I am ambitious!)

1 lb organic carrots, peeled and chopped (2 1/2 - 3 cups)
2 cups frozen chopped celery (prepped before we went to Maryland a few weeks ago)

1 lb split yellow peas, picked over

8 cups water

4 bay leaves (I grew and dried these myself!)

What To Do

Teach D how to pick over beans, peas, and lentils, looking for small stones and any weird looking beans. (Take them out!) Put peas in large LeCreuset.

Peel and chop the carrots. Take the celery out of the freezer and portion out 2 cups. Add both carrots and celery to LeCreuset.

Add 8 cups of water and stir everything together. Add the bay leaves.

Turn on to medium heat and cover. Cook for an hour or so, uncovering after 30-40 minutes. Stir as needed to keep everything cooking and keep the peas from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Also, remove foam as needed. The peas should start to fall apart after approximately an hour. (Work in kitchen and enjoy the yummy smell; remember to stir between cases.)
Take bay leaves out and puree soup with immersion blender. I missed one of the bay leaves, and ended up with little pieces of chopped bay leaves after blending.
Enjoy with salt and black pepper. :)

This could be made in the slow cooker too, but we still have chili in it, so it wasn't an option for me.
I have to find my mom's pea soup recipe! :) Fall and winter mean pea soup. And chili. And pea soup. I feel like my mom's recipe had another spice or something in it that added to the taste of the soup...Mom?
And I really wish I had someone to share cookies with! I can't justify making cookies because I will eat them all up...just like I do with the bags of chocolate chunks that I buy every time I find them at the KeyFood...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vegan Food Pyramid

check out this vegan food pyramid!

Beans and Chili!!!

Saturday night, I "dreamed" about making beans while I put the babies to bed. So, once they were finally asleep, I got out the beans and started them soaking:

2 cups garbanzos
1 cup small kidneys (or small chili beans)
1 cup pintos

Sunday morning, I cooked up the garbanzos and kidneys. 2 cups dried garbanzos are supposed to need 8 cups of water (plus one strip kombu) to cook. My pot only held the soaked beans and four cups of water, so I had to keep adding water as they cooked. 2-3 hours for garbanzos, so they were the first beans to start. (Lots of foam to scoop off!) Then, I started the kidneys. 1 cup dried kidneys to 3 cups water and one strip kombu. The soaking took away a lot of their bright red color, and the cooking some more. The kidneys were done in a little less than an hour and a half, before we left for the day to see a kung fu competition in Queens. The garbanzos got put on hold while we were out, and the pintos soaked some more.

When we got home around 6 Sunday evening, I finished up the garbanzos (another 20-30 minutes) and started the pintos. 1 cup dry pintos to 3 cups water and one strip kombu. They made the water really dirty looking...but seemed to cook just fine.

Why was I making beans? Well, two reasons. One: CHILI!!! Two: I don't have any canned beans any more, just dried beans, so I needed to make some and freeze them so I can actually cook during the week! :) I made the chili up this morning for D (and maybe J if it's not too spicy) for lunch. And lunch for me tomorrow!

Total yield from my four cups of dried beans:
5 1/2 cups cooked garbanzos (3 1/2 to the freezer)
2 1/2 cups cooked kidneys (1 1/2 to the freezer)
2 1/2 cups cooked pintos (1 1/2 to the freezer)

Slow Cooker Chili
2 cups cooked garbanzos
1 cup each cooked kidneys and pintos
1 small yellow onion, chopped
olive oil
1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 large (28 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
1/2 tsp + more ground cumin
some shakes paprika
2 small bay leaves

What to do
Turn the slow cooker on and add the olive oil. Add the onion once it's a little warm; add the spices. Stir together and let the onion and spices heat up for a few minutes if you can. Add the beans and tomatoes. Stir well to combine everything. Put the cover on and leave the slow cooker on high. Head off to work. Hope D remembers to turn it to warm at lunchtime! (He did!)

The Mexican chili powder, that I bought (at KeyFood) when my last chili powder ran out, is super spicy. And I mean SUPER. This chili, like my last, ended up too hot and spicy for J. I made it extra tomatoey (note the two LARGE cans of tomatoes) just for D, who loves beans and tomatoes. I had two small bowls (one is in the photo) of this for dinner, along with a bowl of the coconut squash casserole. Very satisfying dinner, and plenty of leftovers for lunch and dinner later this week.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, and Spiral Casserole

I needed something yummy to make with my butternut squash. And I needed to use up some of my roasted veggies from last week.

olive oil
1 medium-large organic sweet yellow onion, small dice
1 organic butternut squash (~3 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup pieces roasted sweet potatoes and orange squash
1 14-oz can organic coconut milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup Red Star vegetarian support nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried sage
12-16 oz organic tri-color spiral pasta
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
spelt bread crumbs

What to do
Tear up four slices of going-stale spelt bread that we got a while back at the bakery up at the farmers' market. Make small pieces (very small) and spread out on cookie sheet. Heat oven for 2 minutes at 250, then turn it off and place the cookie sheet with bread crumbs inside.
Heat large LeCreuset. When warm, add olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the diced onion and cook, stirring often, until soft (5-7 minutes). Add the butternut squash, coconut milk, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook for ~20 minutes, until the squash is soft. Add in the nutritional yeast and sage (crumble the sage between your fingers before adding it). Add the roasted sweet potatoes and squash and combine well.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions and drain it.
If you are like me and making this all late Sunday night for lunch on Monday, here's what to do next:
Transfer the coconut squash mixture to the casserole dish that you will use to bake. Once the pasta is cool, put it into containers that can go into the fridge. Put everything into the fridge for Monday morning.
Chop the pecans. Get some sleep.
Wake up Monday morning.
Transfer the spelt bread crumbs into a bowl with J's help and let her put the pecans on the cookie sheet. Heat the oven to 365 and put the cookie sheet with pecans in for 5 minutes.
Microwave the coconut squash for 3-5 minutes on power 5 (so that you can mix it together with the nuts and pasta.
Transfer everything to the big LeCrueset again, and mix the pecans, coconut squash, and pasta together. Then put it back in the casserole dish. Wipe the edge. Let J cover the top with the spelt breadcrumbs.
Leave for D to bake (365 for 30 minutes) for lunch. J ate is for lunch and liked it, according to D.

I ate it for dinner -- YUM! This dish was very yummy (yummier than my photo shows). The different squash and sweet potatoes were delish. The pasta soaked up most of the sauce. The sage added an unexpected flavor kick.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Besan Crackers

I based this recipe on the quackers crackers recipe from Have Cake Will Travel that I've made before. I wanted to try it with besan and also wanted to see about making them gluten-free and more protein-packed. We had crackers with vegan cheese and wax beans for dinner tonight.

2 cups besan (chickpea flour) (got a large bag at Desi Bazaar in MD last week)

2/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp black pepper (should have used more)

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance

1/2 cup + 1 T soy milk

What To Do

Help J measure and combine besan, nutritional yeast (sprinkles!), pepper, and salt in large bowl. Let J mix and get besan on table. Clean up.
Let J add the Earth Balance stick, then cut it into the besan mixture with a pastry cutter. J tried to help with the cutting-in too, but it didn't work so well...I ended up finishing it up. It's ready for the next ingredient when it looks like coarse meal.
Then, add the soy milk and combine until dough forms.
We started off mixing it with a wooden spoon and quickly turned to my hands instead.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Split dough into two pieces.
Roll out the first piece of dough on a parchment paper. I made this one pretty thin as I wanted crunchy crackers. I cut everything with my pastry slider thing into square and rombuses/rombi?, then transferred them all to a cookie sheet and baked for 18 minutes. J helped me spread them all out and added her finger prints. :P Roll out the second piece of dough while the first set of crackers is baking. The second I made thicker, and J helped me roll it out and cut. This set had lots of J fingerprints in it. We also made five large oval/circle-shaped crackers. I baked this set for 15 minutes. I also added some extra pepper on top of 1/3 of the crackers when they were baking (after eating the toasty first set and thinking, man these need more pepper!).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Farm Fresh Lunch

It's Saturday! Yay! And I'm at home with the kids. Yay!

Breakfast this morning was a
sweet potato muffin for J and an apricot scone for me from the Body & Soul stand/van at the Farmers' Market. The muffin was moist and yummy as usual, but they've changed the way they make them, adding apricots to the muffin instead of just on top of the muffin.

J does not like apricots. Normally, I can just take the one or two off the top and then she will eat without help (yay!). But not today. Today, she took a few bites and then came upon another apricot! So, instead of J eating all on her own, I had to take out each apricot and give her un-apricoted pieced. Breakfast took a little bit of time...

The apricot scone is not something I will be buying again unless I have jam with me. It was very dry and hea
vy...not very scone-like. I try something other than the sweet potato muffins every other time we get breakfast there. As usual, today's wasn't very good. Oh well.

After we finished breakfast, we did a little bit of market shopping, buying two tiny gourds for J, some winter squash from the organic farm, and some purple broccoli, Brussels sprouts, yellow zucchini, and yellow wax beans from another farm. Then a quick pit stop at home and off to the playground for the Halloween party! J was a ladybug and A a giraffe. It rained, so there weren
't a lot of kids, and the sing-a-long/story time and parade didn't happen, but J had a great time!

Home for lunch: farm-fresh lunch!


Fresh from the market -- 6-7 Brussels sprouts & 1/2 medium golden yellow zucchini

From the fridge -- 1/4 cup cooked french lentils (from the
risotto day) and 1/2 cup cooked couscous
1/2 tsp Italian herbs
olive oil

What I did

Slice 6-7 Brussels sprouts very thinly. Cut medium golden yellow zucchini in half length-wise, then take one half and cut it into into thirds width-wise, then into small square-ish pieces.
olive oil to heated Le Creuset; when warm, add the Brussels sprout strips and small zucchini pieces and Italian herbs. Saute for a minute or so, then cover and let cook.
I should have added a little bit of water here, but got caught up with fixing J's
Unicef Trick-or-Treating box, and smelled that it needed some water.
Race back to the kitchen (fortunately our apartment is small), add some water and stir. The
Brussels sprouts and zucchini had just started browning, not burning, so it actually turned out pretty good. I added some more water with approximately 1/4 cup of the reserved lentils from earlier in the week and 1/2 cup of cooked couscous from the fridge. (Yay for having extra grains and beans cooked in the fridge!)
I turned down the heat to 4 and let it all cooked together for another 5 minutes or so.

J and I ate this yummy farm fresh lunch while A had some smashed
roasted sweet potatoes and squash.

Now we are enjoying some hot chocolate (I found out yesterday that the Whole Foods in Manhattan sell
vegan marshmallows, so I will be buying some soon) and watching Kiki's Delivery Service, J's favorite movie, as we hide inside from the rain.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nut Butter Sauce with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Squash

Last night I ate the remaining Mushroom Risotto, topped with nutritional yeast, and roasted some root veggies and mixed up a quick nut butter sauce for J to eat today.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Squash
1 medium organic jeweled yam
1 large organic sweet potato
1 small organic sweet pumpkin squash
Wash and peel sweet potatoes and squash. Cut into small pieces. Place in brownie pan (my "roasting" pan) with a little bit of water; cover with aluminum foil. Put oven on at 365F and place pan on top rack. (Don't wait for the oven to heat.) Roast for 25 minutes, then remove from oven. When cooled, remove from pan and place in a container for the fridge, where they will sit until lunchtime when D breaks them out for J. And I break them out for A at dinnertime.

Nut Butter Sauce
Based on a peanut sauce from fatfreevegan
1/3 cup freshly ground almond butter
1/2 cup water
2 T Braggs liquid aminos
1 flower cube of frozen lime juice (that I prepared last week)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Mix everything together in a container with a small whisk. Place in fridge for D to use on pasta and/or roasted veggies (above) for J's lunch.

This morning, J and I had hot cereal (Bob's Red Mill 8 grain) with pecans, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, soymilk, and organic banana. A had rice cereal with breastmilk and a little bit of organic banana mushed in.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mushroom Risotto with French Lentils

Here's what I made for J last night (for her lunch or dinner today).

1 cup French lentils
several big shakes of Organic no-salt Seasoning
2 cups water

3/4 cup arborio rice
1 medium organic sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced and coarsely chopped
3/4 -1 cup mixed exotic mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups water
olive oil

What I did
First, I cooked the lentils in my medium Le Creuset: combine water, lentils, and seasoning; cover; stir as needed until water is absorbed and lentils are cooked. When the lentils were finished, I transferred them to a medium glass bowl.
I then heated the olive oil in the same pan. When it was warm, I sautéed the onion for 4 minutes, and then added the garlic for another minutes. Then I added the rice to coat it in the oil and the mushrooms. I sautéed everything together for a minute or two, then added the water. I covered the pot partially and let it all cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When the water was absorbed and the rice creamy, I added 3/4 of the cooked lentils and stirred to combine. Then I turned off the heat.

Voila! Mushroom risotto with french lentils! And only one dirty dish! Woo hoo!!

It smelled good, so hopefully it will taste good too! I put the remaining lentils in another dish to save for another meal. :)

The verdict on this dish: too much of a mushroom flavor (and not enough of something else) for J. She ate it rather unwillingly, but ate it. I ate it with LOTS of nutritional yeast added, which made it taste a lot better. But noone gave J sprinkles for hers with lunch. Oh well.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Braised Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus with Beans and Couscous

For dinner Thursday night, I made braised Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and beans with couscous. My mom also cooked a super-sweet acorn squash that I stuffed with couscous and yellow zuchinni sauteed in earth balance.

~1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 large sweet yellow onion
handful asparagus
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
olive oil
Earth Balance

1 package whole wheat couscous
2 T Earth Balance
3 cups water
Mrs. Dash no-salt spice

What to do
First, wash the Brussels sprouts and remove the hard/damaged outer leaves. Then slice them thinly (3-4 cuts per sprout). This takes a while, but it's worth it.
Second, chop the onion into small pieces.
Third, wash and break off the hard ends of the asparagus and then chop the asparagus into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.
Warm a pan on the stove and add olive oil and Earth Balance when warm. When the oil and butter is heated, add the onion and saute for ~five minutes.
Meanwhile, put the water in a separate pan to boil and add a little salt. Once it's boiling, add the Earth Balance and then the couscous and cook for two minutes. Turn the heat off and add as much as little Mrs. Dash (using what I have here at my mom's!) as you like. Mix the spices in and cover the pot to allow the couscous to steam and use up any remaining water.
Back to the onion pan. Add the strips of sprouts and pieces of asparagus and stir. Cover the pan and let everything cook for 10-15 minutes (until the sprout strips and asparagus are bright green). Add a little water if needed to keep from burning and stir a few times. Add salt and pepper to season.
Rinse and add the two cans of beans (~3 cups beans). Cook for another five minutes or so, until all is warm.
Serve the sprout strips, asparagus, and beans over the couscous with extra salt and pepper for everyone to season as they wish.
This was enough food me me, D, J, KA, B, and Mom for dinner. With leftovers. It was pretty tasty.

For the acorn squash, I sauteed some golden yellow zuchinni that my mom got at the farmers' market in Towson with Earth Balance, added some broken up pecans, and stuffed the squash (also a mom's purchase from the farmers' market). These acorn squash were super sweet and tasty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Swedish Tea Ring

So, I finally did it. I made Vegan Dad's Swedish Tea Ring. Well, almost.

I changed the filling -- adding two tsps of ground cardamon (because cardamon is the epitome of Swedish spices) along with the pecans, cinnamon, and sugar. I also used Earth balance stick margarine for all the shortening and margarine called for in the recipe (because that's what my mom had in her kitchen). I also used soft vanilla silken tofu (because that's all the Giant by my mom's house sold) and vanilla soy milk (because that's what my mom bought for us).

We're going to have it at brunch at Kerry's house tomorrow. Hopefully it tastes yummy!

I'm also going to try to make up a potato tortilla based on this recipe for brunch tomorrow. Few changes I already know I'm making: no nutritional yeast in my mom's house and none at the stores I got to today, so I'm going to use a combination of curry powder, tumeric, ground cumin, and onion (whatever my mom has around the house) in place of the tofu scrambler mix. Also, I have some Daiya cheeze that I need to use up, so that is going to be added to the tortilla. I haven't decided if I'm making a sauce yet. We'll see how tomorrow morning fares...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recipes/Food I Want to Try/Make

Things I want to make...

Edamame Pesto -- D said he would try to make this with me. Now to just find the time!

Tofu Coconut Cream Pie

Swedish Tea Ring-- maybe Thursday night/Friday morning (before Mom heads off to Boston?)

breakfast lentils -- changing up the breakfast routine

spring rolls


spaghetti squash with black beans, corns, and kale

100% whole wheat no-knead bread

veganize butternut squash and apple soup

pumpkin and black bean casserole

mini vegan "meat"loaf (chickpea loaf)

Banh Mi sandwich -- D's favorite sandwiches...if I can get him on to a vegan version... :)

Traveling Prep

Preparing for our trip down to Maryland (we leave tonight after dinner!), I needed to save some veggies that were sitting in the fridge.

I had a bunch (two bunches!) of organic celery (from the store) and four cute organic sweet peppers (from my organic farmer's stand).

I learned through the magic of google that you can freeze celery, so I washed and chopped up all the celery and put it in the freezer. (I also learned that celery loses its crispiness when frozen, but fortunately, I only use it in soups or stews, where it loses its crispiness anyway, so freezing is ok for me.)

I then halved, de-seeded, and cut into strips the yummy
sweet peppers. My four peppers were red, red and yellow, yellow and green, and red and orange. J and I can eat them in the car or today or whenever (they will travel with us to Maryland). The photo is one of the yummy red peppers -- so cute and so sweet. Photo taken this time with my cell phone (the blackberry photo looked *really* horrible. Not that I'm claiming my cell phone photo is anything to write home about, but it's so much better than the other photo).

I also juiced my lime and lemons and froze the juice in one of those
cute Ikea ice cube molds. This one was hot pink with flower shapes. J's been carrying it around like her new favorite toy, but I did this late at night, so she wasn't there to get all snippy with me for taking her pink tray! :P

Before we leave tonight, I need to do something about this huge squash I got from the organic farmer's stand. I noticed this morning (as I never left the apt) that it was starting to grow a white mold around the blossom end. I will have to search google and blogs to see what I can do to save it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cauliflower Potato Soup

update 10/14/09: I ate this soup for dinner last night with some brown rice and Daiya cheeze mixed in. So yummy! Nothing needs to be changed in the recipe at all! Woo hoo!!

I bought the cauliflower to make this soup last weekend when we discovered Fairways. It was orange-yellow and organic. I've never seen cauliflower that color before. And yes, the soup really is that color (it's not just my sad blackberry and the weird lighting in my kitchen, like most of my photos).

1 head organic cauliflower
2 medium organic potatoes
1 red onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 Rapunzel sea salt vegetable bouillon block
olive oil
soy milk
1/4 - 1/3 cup
nutritional yeast

Prep: Chop the cauliflower and potatoes. (I didn't peel the potatoes, but I'm sure you could if you wanted to.) Chop the onion like I described yesterday (based on this tutorial) and mince the garlic.

: Heat a heavy bottom pot; when warm, add ~2 T olive oil. When that is warm, add the
onion. Saute until translucent. Then add the garlic and saute the garlic and onion until fragrant. Add the chopped cauliflower and potatoes. Add enough water to cover the veggies, but some potato/cauliflower should still be sticking out of the water level. Add the bouillon. Stir, and cover for 5 minutes or so to bring to a boil.
Once boiling, remove the cover and stir to beak up and distribute the bouillon. As the vegetables soften, add the nutritional yeast. Once the veggies are soft, if too much water remains, turn up the heat and let it boil off.
Use your handy-dandy immersion blender to blend everything together. Add the remaining soy milk (probably 1/4 cup) to the soup and stir to blend. After tasting, I added a little black pepper. Not much, just a little bit.

Thoughts: The soup was good, but I feel like next time I need to do something a little different. The recipes I looked at when creating this soup called for additional things like sweet peppers, roasted red peppers, cashews, miso, leeks... Maybe next time I will add one or more of those. But it was good as I made it. Hopefully J will like it today. (D taste-tested with me last night and approved of the soup.)

Roasted Root Veggies and Squash - and Squash Seeds

Last night, before putting J to bed, I cut up two Japanese radishes (one yellow/white/green and one purple - daikon?), one sweet potato, and one Japanese orange/green pumpkin squash (all organic, all from my favorite Farmer at the market). I've been reading about roasting vegetables and really wanted to try it myself. Also, my veggie bin in the fridge was filled up with almost too-old veggies (the radishes) and my potato/onion/squash bin was also overflowing. And did I mention that my in-laws arrive today, and my m-i-l always brings more veggies with her? :)

So, while J ate some soy yogurt (one day I will try my hand at making that!), I scrubbed and cut up the radishes and sweet potato. I put them in my brownie tray, with J's help. (This was one of the things holding me up from roasting veggies before. Everything I read calls for a roasting pan. I don't have a roasting pan! But, I decided that my brownie pan should work just as well. And, I remembered that I used my brownie pan for cooking acorn squash and spaghetti squash in the oven. It worked.)
Then, I peeled the pumpkin squash (thanks Mom for the great peeler!) without cutting myself. My hands were orange by the time I finished cutting up the pumpkin squash, but that's ok. I scoo
ped out the seeds and put them in a bowl for later. J help me arrange the pumpkin squash in the pan. Finally, I added some water.

I had preheated the oven to 425. I put the pan in for maybe 15 minutes, then covered it with aluminum foil and set the timer for 20 minutes. D took the veggies out while I was getting J to sleep. I tasted them after they were cooled (while I was making the next thing) -- the pumpkin squash was melt-in-your-mouth soft and sweet, the sweet potatoes amazingly soft and sweet, and the radishes tangy but not too sour and still crisp. Yum!

Much later (after dinner with D, making soup, and watching Eureka), I took the squash seeds and (after getting the remaining squash flesh off them) spread them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. They were *really* bright orange. I put them in the oven at 400 and let them roast for a while. I haven't gotten to try them yet, but I'm sure they are yummy too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Breakfast Smoothie

This morning J and I made smoothies for breakfast.

1 cup soy milk (Greenway, not sure where my m-i-l bought it)
1 cup lots-of-pulp orange juice
~2 heaping T ground flax
~1 heaping T ground hemp
2 large spoonfuls freshly ground almond butter (we discovered Fairway last weekend and I ground and bought fresh almond butter and peanut butter!)
3/4 - 1 cup frozen raspberries (the rest of our bag)
1 1/2 frozen bananas
3/4 - 1 cup frozen blueberries (the rest of our bag)
1 frozen kiwi

Blend. Enjoy!

And remember to buy more frozen fruit when the KeyFood has them on sale.

Braised Greens and Pinto Beans

Sunday night, after finishing off my creamy cheezy sauce from last week with some pasta for dinner last night, I made up some greens and beans for me and J to eat Monday.

The photo is in my sunny office window looking out over midtown Manhattan. The waffle building...what a wonderful morning sight.
I had meant to make up some bulgar or barley this morning to have a full meal, but ended up making smoothies with J and changing lots of diapers. :P

1 large bunch organic greens from the farmers' market (can't remember the name of these ones)
1 medium yellow onion
2 large cloves garlic
2 cans organic pinto beans
salt & pepper
olive oil
apple cider vinegar

What to do
First, wash the greens and shake off the water. Then, cut out the middle hard stem. Place a few leaves together and roll up. Repeat until the bunch of greens is all rolled up into various rolls and all the stems are in the compost bag. Slice the rolled greens thinly (like slicing a zucchini) and then cut the slices in half or quarter (depending on the size and how large you like your pieces of green).
Chop the onion. I tried using a method I saw on a blog a few weeks ago, which worked relatively well. Slice off the top of the onion. Peel away the outside of the onion as you normally would, but don't cut off the end/bottom of the onion. Slice carefully down towards to the end, being careful not to cut through the end. Then, do the same thing perpendicularly. The end should still be on, and the onion have grid-shaped cuts. Then, slice parallel to the end of the onion, giving you a nice small dice of the onion.
Mince the garlic.
Heat a deep pan that has a cover. Once warm, add the olive oil and let that warm up before adding the onion. (Medium high heat)
Add the onion and saute for approximately three minutes, until getting translucent and soft.
Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. The onion and garlic should be wonderfully fragrant.
Add the greens, mix, and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low. The greens are going to need approximately ten minutes to cook. During this time, stir to make sure that they don't burn or scorch. Add a little water if needed. At about the seven- or eight-minute mark, add a splash of apple cider vinegar (it takes away the bitterness - if any - of the greens).
While the greens are cooking, rinse the beans in a colander in the sink. Pick out any that look suspicious (like really dark or small or anything).
After the ten minutes are up, add the beans. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes.

Update: I ate the braised greens and pinto beans for lunch today with some saffron rice, long broccoli flower-things, and pea pods (thanks to my friendly cafeteria for not putting any animal products in them today). Very yummy. I ate it cold, and don't think that the temperature made any difference to the taste. I think that I might add a little more pepper next time, but I'm very judicious with it when making food for J after that first cheezy quackers attempt.

ABP2 Muffins

Last night, I made up some yummy muffins. The recipe I was going to make called for appples and applesauce, but my applesauce had mold growing in it (as I found when I was going to give some to A with her rice cereal -- boo) and I only had one apple. What I did have was: two almost too-ripe pears, one almost too-ripe apple, and two super-ripe bananas. So, I made apple-banana-pear-pecan (ABP2) muffins.

2 T ground flax
6 T water

2 super ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 turbinado sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour
1/2 organic whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T baking powder

1 apple
2 pears
~1 cup pecans (might have been more -- I just used what was left in my jar)

What to do
First, blend the flax and water together until frothy in your blender or food processor.
Then add the other "wet" ingredients (bananas through vanilla) to the blender and blend until creamy.
While blending, before blending, or after blending, mix the dry ingredients in a small/medium bowl with a wooden spoon.
Peal and chop the apple and pears, cutting out any bad spots. Make the pieces small. Chop the pecans.
Pour the creamy blended liquid into a big bowl and add the dry flour mix. Don't over mix to combine, but make sure there aren't any pockets of flour left.
Add the chopped pecans, apples, and pears. Have D fold everything together while I line the muffin pans. Oh! Don't forget to pre-heat the oven! I preheat to 365, because, as we all know, my oven thinks that is 350.
Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins. This recipe makes 12 big muffins.
I baked my muffins for 27 minutes. The recipe that I based these off said 20 minutes, but my muffins were still sticky in the middle when I poked them with toothpicks. So they kept baking. :) Check your muffins after 20 minutes with a toothpick to see how long they will take.

As you can see from my (sad blackberry) picture, the muffins are very light in color. They are yummy (had one for breakfast this morning with my fruit smoothie) and lent a gentle fall aroma to the apartment as I baked last night. The 20 minutes I had set them for was enough time to eat all the remaining batter (YUM!), clean up and put everything away, and still have time to make and enjoy a cup of tea. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I want to learn how to cook Indian food

When I have time and a life again...and maybe a new home...I'd like to start learning how to cook some Indian food. I just found this site today -- Manjula's Kitchen -- all vegetarian (and looks like a lot of vegan and can-be-made-vegan) recipes and techniques for cooking Indian food. I will totally be using this site when I can start devoting some time to learning. :)

In other news, I had pasta with the cheezy sauce that I made yesterday morning. It was delish (especially after not eating for some many hours). D said that J ate it up too. :) Yay!

Monday, October 5, 2009


I made up a cheezy sauce and sauteed some mushrooms for J. Looks like I will be eating the same for dinner, as i haven't gotten to eat anything yet, it's already 11:30pm, still at work, all restos closed here in midtown, and no restos will be open in BK when I get home.

1/2 cup raw cashews
2 T sunflower seeds
2 T pine nuts
2 cups soy milk
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 package medium firm tofu
some stone ground mustard (~ 1tsp)
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
some garlic powder
2 T brown rice miso
1 tsp salt
1 T cornstarch

Blend it all together in blender. Leave for D to heat up with some pasta for J. Saute some mushrooms with olive oil to go with pasta and sauce.