Tag Archives: create

Adzuki!!

Sometimes I look at recipes on veg websites, scan the list of ingredients and then set off to stump my local health food grocer.  West Michigan lacks a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s which typically has all of these little bulk dried treasure bins and so, after I looked for a way to get rid of a butternut squash that was going to go bad this week, I found a recipe by Heidi Swanson adapted from a vegan cookbook that uses adzuki beans as a source of protein.

Adzuki beans?  Yeah, until last year I hadn’t heard of them either.  In popular Japanese and Chinese culture, they typically sweeten them and turn them into delicious desserts.  Turns out they are a substantial little bean that hold up well in chili, soups, and stews. They take little time to cook from a dry state and store beautifully in your freezer in Ziploc bags, so you can make a bunch at a time.  Additionally, they make a great non-refridge salad to pass at potlucks or picnics in the summer in this zesty Adzuki Bean Salad recipe from Whole Foods.

Adzuki & Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (dried) coriander
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper (from can, or rehydrated from dried chile)
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 2 medium-large onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 – 6 cups water
  • 5 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans
  • cilantro drizzle (optional)*

To make adzuki beans from a dry state.  Rinse, rinse, rinse.  Pick through for any duds, toss those.  For 4 cups of cooked beans, try for 2-3 cups of dry beans.  I had 4 1/2 cups of dried beans on the shelf, so I decided, if I’m gonna cook 4 cups I may as well cook what’s in my jar; thus, came out with 13 cups of cooked beans, of which I froze the extras not needed in the recipe.  Put beans in a large pot with cold water covering over the beans about 2 inches, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about 30 minutes.  They don’t take too long.  The bean is perfect when it takes a little pressure to smash it against the roof of your mouth when you are testing and burning yourself 🙂  This is obviously a VERY scientific method here.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle, cumin and salt and saute for a minute or two – until aromatic. Add the onions and saute another 5 minutes or so, until they start to go translucent. Add the garlic and butternut squash, stir well, and then add 5-6 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a few minutes, until the squash begins to soften – 5 – 10 minutes.

Once the squash has softened, use a potato masher and break up the squash pieces a bit. Add the tomatoes, and cook a couple more minutes before adding the beans. Serve drizzled with the cilantro.

Serves about 8.

* I made a cilantro drizzle by putting one bunch of cilantro leaves into my mini-chop food processor with about a tablespoon of EVOO and a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes for good measure.

Adapted from 101cookbooks.com

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Spicy Lentil Soup

Lentils are wildly simple to use, satisfying and filling, cheap and quick to cook.  Now why is it that you haven’t tried them?  Yeah, I’m not sure either.  Give this recipe a try.  It’s pretty tame as far as curry flavors go, so you can ease your friends/family into the whole lentil idea.  🙂

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
  • 7 cups liters water or veggie broth
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons HOT curry powder (which if you purchase from Penzeys turns out to not be very hot, more spicy than hot)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (butter for non-vegans or ghee)
  • 2 cups or 1 can rinsed chickpeas
  • 8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 14-ounce can low fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • one small handful cilantro, chopped
  • cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse – until they no longer put off murky water. This takes quite a while but believe me it is totally worth it.  The first time I made this, I rinsed just so-so and it was a no-go.  Ick.  Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful so as not to burn the curry, this is a huge #fail.  Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, currants, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. Add the cooked chickpeas just at the end so they don’t turn to mush.  The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. The thicker this soup got, the more I liked it.  Sprinkle each bowl generously with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

As Heidi Swanson so frequently does, I served this concoction over leftover brown rice that I would have tossed the next day.  It’s like upcycling for food.

Turns out this freezes beautifully for single-servings throughout the week.  It thickens up a bit, but just thin it out with water if you don’t like the consistency upon reheat.  I’ve found a container of this in the back of my freezer and enjoyed with delight up to four weeks later.  🙂

 

recipe adapted from 101cookbooks.com

VeganMoFo, Ya Know?

From one of my fave bloggers and cookbook writers, not to mention totally rad human being comes VeganMoFo: “It’s that time of year again! Time to wear down your stove and your keyboard. Time to mow people down with your shopping cart. Time to answer the age old question: do lemon and chocolate taste good together? It’s time for VeganMoFo, the Vegan Month Of Food. VeganMoFo was originally created on the Post Punk Kitchen, as an homage toNaNoWriMo. Because we do want to write novels, but sometimes cooking gets in the way. So why not combine them! 

The idea is to write as much as you can all month, about vegan food. The blog entries can be about anything food related – your love of tongs, your top secret tofu pressing techniques, the first time your mom cooked vegan for you, vegan options in Timbuktu – you get the idea, right? If not, browse around on some of our round-ups and you’ll catch on fast!

There aren’t strict guidelines for how often to write, but the idea is to shoot for every weekday, or about 20 times in the month. If you’d like inspiration or would just like to whine about how hard it is, check out the MoFo forum on the PPK message boards.

As the world catches on that vegan food really is the best choice for animals (suck it, humane meat!), the planet (bite me, melting ice caps!) and people (piss off, heart disease!) let’s show them what vegan eating is all about.”

I’m excited!  Hopefully I can get in the quota of writing.  Between this and Grand Rapids Restaurant Week…I’ve never been more excited for a November! Inspired?  Start your own Blog for the month.  Perhaps become a Vegan or Veg for a month in homage to PPK’s VeganMoFo.  You might even like it.  See you on the Veg side.  Bring it on Internets!!  🙂

Second Chances

Here’s to second chances.

Recently I had the opportunity to accompany my friend Missy to Chicago with a group of gal pals for her Bachelorette Party, second chance style.  I’ll get to the food part in a minute, because it was GRAND; but first, the bride.  As a group my core contingency of friends has endured many complexities in the past two – three years.  Everything from a parent death, to domestic violence, to a handful of divorces, from first born babies to depression and back again, we faced these challenges as a group and hoped for the day where we could FINALLY celebrate a second chance.   This trip to Chicago was the first of many second chances.  Cheers to Missy and her pursuit of her happy ever after.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog post.  Speaking of cheers.  What goes best with cocktails?  Fabu food of course.  On this second chance tour, we used a pink goblet (32 oz) to procure free beverages, and a bridal veil to elicit many unique looks from passers by.  We even had a flash back to 22 when some of us made our first BIG mistake, and decided that we are glad to be in the range of 30 years old finally.  The food however, the FOOD WOW!  We did a bang up job in the dine out category.  Our visit to Opera Chicago was a really, really good choice by Fancy Nancy.  At Opera, from the veg side of the menu, we enjoyed mushroom won-tons with a green salad and miso dressing,  veggie egg rolls with a teriyake reduction, Kung Pao tofu, Malaysian vegan flat bread, and Hainanese Kaipong (cooked in a Lotus leaf which Missy tried to eat for additional fiber!!).  All beautifully plated and wonderfully light and tasty.  Asian fusion Chicago style is not to be missed at this place.  Do NOT forget to sample the pickles and spicy nut mixture they put on your table.  That was the best pre-dinner bite I’ve had in a long time.  Beware the Thai chili pepper if you are not in to spicy with the sweet.  Please visit.

For breakfast the following morning, we got up at the crack of 8:30, and made our way down to perennial fave, The Bongo Room.  The wait on a typical weekend is well into the 2 hour arena, but if you get there early, when they open at 9am, your wait is nill as I guess Chicagoans don’t like to eat before then and consequently you get a table lickity split.  We agonized over the menu and finally ordered the sweet potato black bean burrito, special eggs benedict (veggie), the breakfast burrito, chorizo omelette, and of course two very special pancakes:  red velvet and walnut with vanilla creme’ anglaise, and white chocolate, caramel and PRETZEL.  I’d honestly like to see a cracker jack, popcorn pancake soon…oh, they have a dish that our new found friends at the table next to us ordered, banana, oreo, chocolate pancakes that looked like a must try for next time.  Eat here, but drink your coffee while you wait from Starbucks across Randolph.  Caution:  The Bongo Room has lackluster coffee.  I’d opt for the fennel bloody Mary instead.  Cheers.

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Tender Zucchini Fritters

This recipe looks scary, but it’s well worth it.  I know it’s intimidating reading the laundry list of ingredients and taking the time to put it together but, it’s a small price to pay for summer in your mouth.  Yet another great way to use the Summer Zucchini in your crisper you are going to toss in another week anyway.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Fritters:

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini (5 to 6), trimmed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1 4-ounce package soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled, chilled (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups (lightly packed) mâche (lamb’s lettuce; 2 to 3 ounces)

For dressing:
Blend all ingredients in processor until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

For fritters:
Using large holes on box grater, coarsely grate zucchini into large colander. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coarse salt over and toss to coat evenly. Place colander over large bowl. Let zucchini stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Press on zucchini to release as much liquid as possible. Empty zucchini into kitchen towel. Roll up to enclose and squeeze dry.

Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in medium bowl to blend. Mix in beer. Scrape zucchini from towel into bowl; stir to coat evenly (batter will be thick). Mix in cheese.

Heat 1/3 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Working in batches, drop batter into skillet by 1/4 cupfuls, flattening to 3-inch rounds. Sauté until brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 375°F oven 5 to 6 minutes.

Place mâche in large bowl. Toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons dressing. Place 2 fritters on each of 6 plates. Top with mound of mâche salad. Serve fritters, passing remaining dressing alongside.

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Beans and Cornbread

The theme song to Dinner and A Movie with Paul and Annabell on USA Network was THIS.  It would be stuck in my mind for DAYS!!!  I regressed and began singing it while making chili and promptly wanted to leap off a cliff.  Hope you suffer as much as I did.  🙂  For your misery, a cornbread recipe.  BEANS AND CORNBREAD!

Mexican Cornbread

  • 1 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1 C sifted all-purp flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C skim milk
  • 1/3 C reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/4 C veg oil
  • 2 T chopped jalapenos

Preheat oven to 425, place cast iron skillet inside while warming up, buttered.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  To this mixture, add egg, milk, sour cream, oil and jalapenos, mix until smooth.  Pour into prepared hot pan.  Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Recipe is a combo of many from Ina Garten, Paula Deen and Gourmet Magazine.

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Soup Season!

Fall is my favorite food season.  Tailgating and soup making are really the highlights in my humble opinion.  Mr. Wonderful did all the grocery shopping for the week after we picked out our recipes for the week over a blueberry pancake breakfast (yes, some of THOSE blueberries).  So this evening, all I had to do was pull together this easy, soul warming soup.

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Black Bean Corn Chowder

  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 C black beans, cooked
  • 4 C veggie broth
  • 2 C skim milk
  • 1/4 C sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/2 T onion powder
  • 1/2 T garlic powder
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste

Saute’ veggies (not corn) in EVOO, cook until soft.  Add spices, cook 1-2 more minutes, stirring.  Add liquids bring to boil.  Drop in frozen corn and beans.  Bring back to boil.  Serve hot with toppings of your choice.  We like sour cream, avocado and a squeeze of lime.

My black beans generally do not come from a can, except for when I am in a super duper hurry and haven’t done a good job of planning ahead.  Tonight I made a two pound bag of black beans before putting together the soup so that I had a few bags in the freezer ready to go for the next few weeks.  To quickly cook black beans, in a large pot, dump rinsed and picked over beans, cover with water plus 2 inches up the side of the pan and boil until al dente.  They will cook the rest of the way in whatever you cook them in, soup, tacos, etc.  Yeah, that’s it.  You don’t have to do all that soaking if you have about 45 minutes to boil the crap out of them.  This way, you save money, they taste WAAAYYYY better and the sodium content is much lower.  I then take the beans and freeze them in plastic bags.  They don’t last long, so I’m not sure how long they keep.  Hispanic food stores have the BEST deals on dried black beans.  I once bought a 10 pound bag for $4.00.  Seriously.  I just finished that bag a few weeks ago, it lasted about 6 months.

Simple AND Delicious

After the “less is more post” I promised a Pineapple Brie Pizza post.  So here we have a common sense delicious pizza. Made at home in like 5 minutes plus about 5 more to melt the Brie.  I tried and didn’t HATE the low fat Brie on this pizza made by President.  Now, it didn’t melt into the delicious puddle that I had hoped, but it didn’t look like a melted styrofoam plate either and it was still pretty tasty.  For naked eating enjoyment, and I mean on crackers plain obviously…the full fat Brie would be better to create that delicious melty mess to put on top, but for this pizza, the low fat version was totally acceptable.

Pineapple Brie Pizza

Adapted from Clean Eating

Makes 2 small Boboli Crust pizzas

  • 1/2 cored, and slivered ripe pineapple
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small wheel Brie thinly sliced, with skin still on
  • 2 cubes Pesto (about 2 Tbs) from my Pesto blog post (or any Pesto really)
  • 2 small whole wheat Boboli crusts

Directions:  Couldn’t be easier.  Preheat oven to 425, prebake crusts for about 5 minutes so as to keep them from getting soggy from the pineapple juice.  Remove, cool, add to pizza crusts, fine layer of pesto, red onion slices, pineapple slivers, then sliced Brie.  Pop back into oven until Brie melts, remove, salt and pepper for taste and enjoy.

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Suzy Baker’s Fancy Meat Marinade

Suzy Baker was my college boyfriend’s mom. She was wonderful. Fun, lovely, stylish, composed, and a great cook. I didn’t know a lot about cooking until I met her. I mean, I had put together Chicken marinated with Italian dressing, brownies from a box, salads, and made pizzas from Pillsbury biscuits, but I didn’t use recipes to create a finished product. Suzy taught me to marinade cheap pieces of meat to create grilled masterpieces that tasted like they were filet mignon, mix together common household ingredients to make amazing dips and sauces when company showed up unexpectedly and more importantly taught me that you could be an educated mother and wife while not sacrificing your freedom or integrity of mind by finding joy in taking care of others; that it was still cool to be a care giver and a feminist at the same time. Suzy passed away a few years ago this week from cancer that she battled so gracefully for years, so I thought I’d feature this post of her “Fancy Meat Marinade” created from common pantry ingredients, which turns flank steak or any other cheap piece of meat (excluding seafood) into a succulent prime cut every time. This recipe helped create my dish that I entered in the Beat Bob’s Meat Contest that I wrote about in my last post. Thanks Suzy for lighting my culinary fuse.

Fancy Meat Marinade

  • 1 large sweet yellow onion cut into 1/8ths
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed with skins removed
  • 1 C EVOO
  • 1 C Red Wine Vinegar (any vinegar would be fine)
  • 1 C Soy Sauce
  • 1 C Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 C Worchestershire Sauce

Put above ingredients into a Ziploc freezer bag, add meat, marinade in fridge flat over night turning every 4 hours or so.  Marinade at least 12 hours, but not more than 48.  Grill meat to taste.  Do not use on seafood or tofu. 

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Cook with a book, but make it your own recipe

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I’m embarrassed every time someone asks: can I have the recipe?  I reply, sure you can, but it um, won’t taste exactly like this…  Which leads the consumer of said tasty goods to ask a perplexed “why not?”  They then proceed to give me that, “you stopped at D&W’s deli counter on the way over here didn’t you bitch!!?”  To which I must defend with a totally lame-o explanation:  No!  I didn’t buy it!  I um, don’t follow directions, really, well, exactly.  Which is true.  I don’t.  It’s ironic actually, because I am a fantastic rule-follower, order-taker and baker (which requires precise, level it off with the back of a knife measurements-my worst nightmare).  It makes my friend LEP really frustrated as every time she encounters a new recipe, she follows it to the letter so as to produce the EXACT item and then the next time she will re-make it according to what she likes, wants, etc.  I myself don’t mess around with that first step…I feel like the integrity of the dish is what I make of it, the original recipe is sorta like the skeleton, I provide the flesh for it.  This way, I can LOVE or sometimes, loathe what I have created, claim the recipe as my own and then fix it or nix it as inspired by another recipe.  The trick is…writing it down.  As a result of this behavior, ALL of my cookbooks and recipe print outs have “x’s” through some things and a ton of margin notes.  It’s an illness.

Here is a great example.  Most mornings, breakfast is two whole grain pieces of toast slathered with EVOO butter, OJ and #Freshpots.  Today, no bread to make toast…damn.  I did however have whole wheat tortillas, lots of eggs, red peppers (on sale!!!), onion, a jalapeno fresh from my garden, a handful of cilantro from a pot on my deck, a sweet potato, some really limp sad spinach in clam shell box ready to go to old food heaven, queso fresco, and a beautiful shiny poblano pepper in the crisper.  So I dug through a file folder for a recipe I know I fished off the Internet about 100 years ago, and whew…I still had it!  This is the recipe I used as the base, with the ingredients up above as subs, adds, etc.  Since I’m planning on using tofu in my dinner dish tonight, I opted to omit the soy protein.  It freaks me out to eat so much soy in a day-I try to follow these guidelines, but also my brain that says, too much of anything, while tasting wonderful, will probably turn out to be bad for me (this is true for more than just food it may seem).

The end result?  Here is my breakfast burrito recipe as adapted from the Cooking Light Tofu Breakfast Burrito recipe from the May ’09 issue-and yes, I did write it down.

Ingredients:

  • 1  teaspoon  EVOO
  • 1  teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4 of each, diced finely, sweet onion, red pepper, poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) queso fresco crumbled
  • 2  tablespoons  minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4  (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1  cup  baby spinach leaves, close to compost (good save!)
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and grated (yep like cheese–cooks faster)
  • 4 large eggs
  • Frank’s Red Hot

In a saute pan, heat EVOO gently over medium heat, add all veggies at same time, cook until just tender.  While veggies are cooking, scramble eggs and seasonings in a bowl.  Add eggs to veggies after they reach your desired level of “doneness”  scramble until you don’t gag anymore when you see wetness of the eggs.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with queso fresco, liberally cover in Frank’s Red Hot, then add some more because you can never have too much Frank’s Red Hot.  Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 of the mixture, roll and eat from your hand, preferably over the kitchen sink as you wouldn’t want to appear to be too dignified (you don’t need a plate!!) and certainly you do not want to pick up all those diced veggies that will fall out of the back of your burrito onto the floor.