Sunday, May 30, 2010

Creole Mushroom and Pepper Stew & that carrot cake

This week the main meal was from Fields of Greens, a Annie Somerville recipe book from Greens restaurant, also in the Bay Area. There's a section of curries and stews in that book and I love every one of them. I made one of my favourites: Creole Mushroom and Pepper stew, with some couscous. I love the way the mushrooms taste in this stew and use this cooking method often in other dishes.

Creole Mushroom and Pepper Stew
(feeds 4 - 6)

2 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped (about 3 cups) or 1 28 oz can tomatoes with juice chopped, or 3 lb roasted tomatoes, without skins, chopped.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb white mushrooms, halved or quartered (about 5 cups)
salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 medium red onion, halved and cut lengthwise into crescents (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into thick strips, then triangles (about 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper, seeded, cut into thick strips, then triangles (about 1 cup)
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut into thick strips, then triangles (about 1 cup)
1 medium fennel bulb, quartered lengthwise, cored, sliced 1/2" thick (about 2 cups)
2 bay leaves
2-3 jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded and finely diced
cayenne pepper
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/2" think (about 2 cups)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

If you're using canned tomatoes, simmer over low heat while vegetables are cooking to reduce acidity. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, pinch of pepper. Sear until golden and browned (about 7 mins). Add half garlic and wine, stir to release pan juices, reduce until nearly dry and transfer to a bowl.

In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add onion, 1/2 tsp salt, dried thyme. Saute on medium until soft (about 7-8 mins). Add garlic, peppers, fennel, bay leaves, chilies, 1/8 tsp cayenne. Saute over medium for 10 mins. Add zucchini and cook till heated through (about 5 mins). Add tomatoes and mushrooms. Simmer uncovered over medium low heat for 20 mins. Season with salt and cayenne if needed. Add scallions, fresh thyme and lemon juice just before serving. If still acidic, add a few pinches of sugar.

Almond-Currant Couscous
(makes 4 cups - serves 4 - 6)
I skipped the nuts in this recipe. You can use chopped dried apricots instead of currants, or pine nuts instead of almonds, or cumin instead of cinnamon.

1/4 cup whole almonds with skins, toasted, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used a vegan substitute Claire suggested and I've forgotten the name)
1.5 cups instant couscous (I used whole wheat)
1.5 cups water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dried currants

In a medium-sized skillet with tight fitting lid, melt the butter. Add the couscous and nuts and stir over medium heat 4-5 mins until fragrant and heated through. Turn off heat. While toasting couscous, bring water to boil in small saucepan. Add 1/4 tsp salt, cinnamon, currants. Pour over couscous. Stir. Cover the skillet and let it sit for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season if needed.

To finished the meal off I wanted to use up a big pile of carrots I had accumulated. I went internet surfing looking for something other than just standard carrot cake and came up with Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake, from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Moskowitz. I don't have the recipe book but a number of bloggers had liked it enough to write out the whole recipe. I'm linking to this version of the recipe because it reassured me that cupcakes made from the recipe worked well and how long to cook them for. They almost didn't get made because the raw batter tasted so good it was hard to stop eating it. In addition to the ginger, walnuts (which I used instead of macadamia simply because I had them already), coconut, and carrot, this recipe also has other yummy stuff like pineapple juice and maple syrup. Both kids demanded I make this recipe again soon, and I don't blame them.


Baked madras glazed tofu & strawberry rhubarb galettes

Way behind posting my recipes, sorry.

Two weeks ago was a hectic week. Luckily I had done some prep ahead of time. Like the previous week, the recipes were from the Millennium cookbook.

Baked Madras-glazed Tofu with Saffron Basmati Pilaf, Sauteed Vegetables, and Peach-Lime Chutney

1 yellow onion, cut lengthwise into thin crescents
2 Tbsp canola oil (or 1/4 cup vege stock or water)
2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1/4 tsp saffron
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
24 oz extra firm tofu
2 cups Tandoori marinade (see below)
1 tsp canola oil (or 1/4 cup water or vege stock)
4 cups chopped veges
3 cups Saffron Basmati Rice Pilaf (see below)
Peach-lime chutney (see below)
lime slices and cilantro leaves for garnish

Saute onion over medium heat in oil until softened (5 mins). Add curry powder and saffron and saute 2 more mins. Add lemon juice and salt. Remove from heat.

Cut tofu horizontally into 6 sheets ~ 1/2 inch thick. Pour half the marinade into a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Add the tofu, coating well. Marinate for at least 30 mins at room temp, or up to 4 hrs in fridge. Grill for 2-3 mins on each side, or broil for 3-4 mins each side (I needed more like 5 mins/side). Slice diagonally into triangles for serving.

In a large saute pan or skillet over high heat, heat the canola oil and saute the veges and curried onions for 5 mins till heated through and crisp-tender.

Serve a mound of rice pilaf, topped with tofu, surrounded by veges. Top with some more marinade and chutney. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro leaves.

Tandoori marinade
(makes 3 cups - could probably get away with half of this)
In addition to being good on tofu, this marinated is good on vegetables, and fruit like peaches or pears.

3 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/4 tsp cardamom seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 cup canola oil (optional)
2 cloves garlic
5 oz silken tofu
1.5 cups soy milk (or water)
1 tsp minced lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

In a dry skillet toast the fennel, cardamom, coriander, and cumin. Grind. Retoast along with the paprika until the mixture smells fragrant and is slightly darker (~3 mins). Blend all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Peach-Lime chutney
(makes 1.5 cups)

1 cup water
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 lime with peel, finely diced
1 Tbsp unrefined sugar, fructose, or Sucanat
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1/2 serrano chile, minced (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, finely diced
2 firm fresh peaches (or 4 apricots), peeled, pitted, 1/2 inch dice
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a medium saucepan, boil the water and salt. Add lime, simmer for 10 mins. Drain and set aside. In a large saute pan or skillet, cook the sugar and vinegar over high heat until the sugar melts and the mixture is syrupy. Add chile, coriander, ginger, then red pepper, lime, and peaches. Stir well and saute 5 mins. Cool.
Variation: Use 1 cup dried peaches, apricots or figs instead of peach. Reconstitute by simmering in water or apple juice until soft. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Add with liquid when you would have added the peach. Simmer until all liquid has evaporated.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Galettes
(makes 8 - 10 galettes)
(Actually I only used about half the filling - so you could halve it for this amount of pastry.)

1.5 lbs rhubarb finely diced (~4 cups)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 tsp arrowroot dissolved in 2 Tsp cold water
3 cups unbleached AP flour
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1/4 cup sucanat
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup soy milk

In a large saucepan, combine the first four ingredients. Simmer over medium heat for 5-7 mins till rhubarb begins to break down. Add berries and mix thoroughly. Add arrowroot and cook for 3 mins, while stirring. Pour into a pyrex 9x11 casserole dish and let cool.

Sift flour into a medium bowl, add walnuts, sucanat, salt, and pepper. Drizzle oil over dry ingredients covering as much surface area as possible. Mix lightly with spatula until you form dough balls the size of marbles. Drizzle 1/2 cup soy milk into bawl and stir until the mixture forms a ball. Add more soy milk in small increments if more liquid is needed. Wrap in plastic wrap. Knead lightly and refrigerate for 15-30 mins.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 8. Keep covered with a towel. Roll one piece between two sheets of parchment paper until ~ 6 inches in diameter. Remove the top sheet of parchment to break the seal. Replace the paper on top and flip. Remove the top sheet of parchment. With a paring knife cut a 5 inch circle using a small plate as guide. Remove excess dough. Place 1/4 cup filling in the center of the circle. Fold the sides of the circle over the filling, leaving the center open, forming a square galette. Transfer with a spatula onto the baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Bake for 35 mins or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool slightly on rack. Eat.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memorial Day BBQ

Since this weekend is Memorial Day, I made a picnic-worthy bbq dinner tonight. Fat Free Vegan Kitchen has a fabulous recipe for seitan "ribs" that are first baked in the oven and then finished off on the grill with barbeque sauce. They're a guaranteed hit around here, and I make them every couple weeks in the summer. They pack well too, so sometimes I'll wrap everything in foil & we'll head off to the Wednesday farmer's market at the Triangle.

I used Stubb's barbeque sauce on the grill, and it was pretty good. I still think our favorite brand is the "Austin's Own" that you find at Costco every so often. I've never seen it anywhere else, oddly enough.

I served the seitan with a mustard potato salad and carrot/coconut/pineapple salad a la Mr. Natural. I felt a bit weird about having two "salads," but since one was creamy & one was sweet, I figured it worked.

This meal cost about $23.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Strawberry Asparagus salad

Last week's meal all came from the fact that I had a large box of strawberries from a trip to Sweetberry farms. I remembered I had one vegetarian cookbook I hadn't used much and always had wanted to, when I pulled it out, it had this strawberry asparagus salad recipe, and so here we are. The recipe book actually turns out to be vegan. Yay. I'll use it all month. It's called "The Millenium Cookbook: Extraordinary vegetarian cuisine", which is based on the Millenium restaurant out in the Bay Area.

The recipes you asked for were the cabbage and the dressing. In addition to them, there were steamed asparagus, chopped toasted almonds, balsamic caramelized baby beets that got cooked too long, chopped strawberries and romaine. Here you go...

Caraway-marinated red cabbage (serves 6 as written here)

1/2 head red cabbage thinly sliced
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted in a dry skillet

Heat a dry saute pan over medium until hot. Combine cabbage, champagne vinegar, sea salt. Add toasted caraway seeds. Wilt half of the cabbage in the hot pan. Mix it back in with the remaining raw cabbage. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes. (I cooked it the night before).

Mint-Dill Dressing (makes 1.5 cups)

2 fresh strawberries sliced (I used about 6-8 smallish sweet ones)
1 tbspn fresh dill, chopped
1 tbspn fresh mint, chopped
1 tspn Dijon mustard (I used whole grain)
3 tbspn raspberry vinegar
2 tbspn champagne vinegar
1/4 tspn black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tspn sea salt
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tbspn sucanat or maple syrup (I used syrup)

Combine all but the oil in a blender until smooth. Gradually add the oil while blending until fully incorporated. That's all.


Tonight I made two kinds of calzones: broccoli & tofu "ricotta," and sauteed mushroom with Gimme Lean ground "sausage." I served it with marinara sauce for dipping and roasted potatoes. I also had time to make chocolate-covered cherry pudding cake for dessert.

The calzones came from the Vegan Lunch Box cookbook. She provides recipes for the multigrain pizza crust and the broccoli/tofu filling. I invented the mushroom/sausage filling. Next time, I will use less oil when sauteing the sausage & mushrooms and I will add some Italian seasoning.

The marinara sauce was straight from the Joy of Cooking, and the roasted potatoes were a bastardization of something I found on the internet. I definitely should have added more garlic! (I'm starting to think that should be my motto.)

My favorite part of this whole meal was the dessert! The Chocolate-Covered Cherry Pudding Cake is from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. I made it last year for my birthday, and it was just heavenly. I took advantage of the sale on frozen organic cherries to make it for the co-op. I can't get over how low-fat it is! 250 calories and 1g of fat per serving, and each ramekin had two servings. David & I were using our fingers at the end to scrape out the last of the chocolate!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spinach & Rice Casserole

This meal was a bit of a comfort-food one for me.

I made Creamy Spinach, Rice, and Tofu casserole, served with roasted beets and a side salad. I apologize for forgetting to "salt to taste" before putting the casserole in the oven, so I hope everyone was able to bump up the flavor at the table. It was quite bland without the extra salt! Cooking while baby-wrangling is always an adventure.

The beets were the last of the winter harvest from our garden, and were a mix of Chiogga and Detroit Red, which is why some of them looked white after roasting. Chiogga are a beautiful candy-striped red & white when raw, but after cooking, the red fades out and you get an interesting white/off-white look.

I was thrilled that Casper chowed down enthusiastically on this, but Graiden turned his nose up. That never happens!

This meal cost about $15.

Snobby Joes

I used PPK's recipe for Snobby Joes (aka sloppy joes) for the base of this week's meal.

Served with buns, edamame salad and canteloupe.

I might tone down the spice next time b/c my kids actually ate them but found them a wee bit spicy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

African-themed tastiness tonight!

Tonight is an African-themed meal, with Seven Vegetable Couscous from Vegan Fire & Spice and Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce. Actually, it's only Five Vegetable Couscous, since I left out the zucchini & peas at David's request. I added extra chickpeas to make up for it. Either way, I am *really* loving the spice mix! I kept the cayenne low, and it just has a hint of kick, which will be perfect for Graiden.

The baked tofu is from a recipe I found at, and the sauce is so creamy! It's probably a bit too spicy for Graiden, but David & I ate it up. I modified the recipe by leaving out the suggested okra since we have a main course of almost entirely vegetables. Next time, I will use frozen/thawed tofu to keep the tofu from being so squishy. Right now, there isn't much texture contrast between the tofu & the sauce!

Oh, and I had some extra chocolate chip cookies from a batch I made this morning, so I've included a few with the meal. Not authentic, but always tasty :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mexican Quinoa with Pinto Beans

Aw, yeah, I grilled my own corn, in the husk no less.


I served the corn with Mexican Quinoa with Pinto Beans. This is a recipe I got off of an insert that came with Ancient Harvest quinoa. We loved it, such good flavor.

I omitted the frozen corn because I don't like kerneled corn mixed with other food. The inclusion in the recipe, however, was the inspiration for the grilled corn on the side.

Mexican Quinoa with Pinto Beans

3 cups sliced bell pepper and onions
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups cooked pinto beans (2 cups dried beans yields 4 cups cooked beans)
2-3 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups sweet corn
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water (or liquid from cooked pinto beans)

Saute peppers, onions, and garlic in a large skillet or pot using a small amount of olive oil (and/or some of the reserved liquid from the pinto beans). Add chili powder, cumin, and salt, and saute for another minute or two. Add pinto beans, cooked quinoa, frozen corn, and water (or liquid from beans). Bring to a simmer, cover loosely and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for another 10 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.