Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stuffed grape leaves & German-Inspired Dinner

My mom fell madly in love with these homemade grape leaves when a young guy (Sekou)brought them to church. This isn't a real recipe, just the important ingredients. I would imagine this is a very flexible recipe.

The stuffed grape leaves
The filling
Chopped toasted pine nuts and almonds
Cooked brown and wild rice
Scallions and red onions sauteed in olive oil
Fresh zest and lemon juice
Fresh mint and italian parsley
Stuff into Mezetta's grape leaves, available at Ralph's grocery store (I'm sure lots of other places, too), roll up grape leaves like a egg roll.
Stuff stuffed grape leaves into your mouth. Man, soooo good.
Tonight I made the german-inspired dinner. Sausage, cabbage and potatoes.
The sausages were Cherry Sage Sausages from Vegan Brunch, the cabbage was from 1001 Vegetarian Recipes and the potatoes were no recipe. The sausages looked so much like meat it was scary, but of course Mr. Veggieknife let me know they did not taste like meat. Tasty, but not like meat ;) I did boil the pot dry steaming them, but they were still moist. I might even add more oil next time, to make them "juicier". I was just stoked that everything turned out, scary when you are trying new recipes. If I haven't mentioned it enough, Isa is a genius and I LOVE cooking so much more due to her cookbooks. Yay!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Greek Farfalle Pasta and Vegetables

This was adapted from Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures, one of the very first vegetarian cookbooks I ever owned. The recipes are simple and basic, and helped both me and my parents make some great meals for our whole family. Greek-Style Bulghur and Vegetables with Feta Cheese. We have a nice stockpile of pasta (it was on sale), so I wanted to substitute. This was really great on a warm summer evening. It will definitely be in heavy rotation in the next few months.
1/2 package farfalle pasta, cooked according to the package
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup seeded, diced tomato
3 medium zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
Lots of ground pepper
~ 6 kalamata olives, chopped
~ 3 oz feta cheese, diced

Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add veggies, oregano, thyme and pepper. Cook until veggies are tender yet crisp. Stir in olives, and cheese until warm. Stir in cooked farfalle pasta.
This should serve 4 people, but we didn't have any side dishes so there wasn't much left over after me and the Mr. chowed. The little bean liked it as well, but she doesn't eat enough to really count ;)

To get the little bean to try a new combination, I placed the plain pasta, the cooked veggies, feta and olives all in separate sections on her plate. Each one was a hit, so her next serving was the mixed up dish that her dad and I were eating. Awesome! She is really an adventurous eater. Last night I made indian-spiced chickpea cutlets, potato curry and quinoa. The cutlets were her favorite, but she cleaned her plate. That is just too cool.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Green and White Chili

5 tomatillos. Remove husks and wash with soap to remove sticky stuff
1 onion. Cut into 8 “chunks”, keeping layers together
1 jalapeño
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large can of hominy
2 cups white beans or 1 can, drained and rinsed
Plenty of fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Roast tomatillos, onion and jalapeño on lightly greased rimmed baking sheet in 375 degree oven, flipping veggies as they bubble and brown on the bottom. They are done when the tomatillos are squishy and the onion is soft.
2. Using gloves, seed jalapeño. Blend jalapeño with roasted tomatillos and onion (discard any super brown and crispy onion layers) in blender in 2 batches each with 1 cup of vegetable broth.
3. Lightly toast garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium low heat in soup pot. Add beans, hominy, tomatillo blend and salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in healthy handful of chopped cilantro.

This was a bit spicy when first cooked, but it mellowed nicely in the fridge overnight. We had it for lunch with grated cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Macadamia Tofu with Orange-Ginger Sauce

This made for some superb tofu, and the sauce was a delicious accompaniment. I am still searching for a way to make yummy coconut rice that tastes like coconut and isn’t gummy or just plain yucky. The original recipe was from Sunset magazine, myrecipes.com. I have made a ton of changes to the original. Oh, and this is in no way a “healthy” recipe!!! But oh so yummy…

1 Tbsp. each butter and peanut oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 ½ Tbsp each chopped ginger and garlic
1 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup dry sherry or other white wine
½ cup orange juice (2 oranges if fresh squeezed)
½ tsp soy sauce
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup each, AP flour and coconut milk
1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts (use food processor)
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 pound pressed, firm tofu sliced into 8 pieces
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. each butter and peanut oil

1. Marinate tofu in lemon juice, soy sauce, mirin and garlic.
2. Prepare sauce: heat 1 Tbsp each butter and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic, cooking until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in broth, wine and orange juice. Boil until reduced by half, 8-10 minutes.
3. Pour mixture into blender or use immersion blender. Be careful as it is very hot! Stir in coconut milk and soy sauce, reheating as necessary.
4. Put flour and coconut milk in separate wide, shallow bowls. In another bowl, mix nuts, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
5. Dredge tofu in flour, shaking off excess; dip into coconut milk, letting excess drip off; then press into nut mixture to coat on all sides. Reserve coconut milk. Heat 2 Tbsp each butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook tofu in a single layer until golden brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. With a spatula, turn pieces carefully, brown on the other side, 2-3 minutes longer.
6. Serve tofu with sauce & plain or coconut rice.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Finally ready to get some cooking done!

Baby #2 is now one month old, and I've finally had a chance to cook. The new baby has been adjusting well to life on the outside, and big sister is a happy little toddler. Having my mom to play with the bean also gives me time to grocery shop and get cooking done. Today was a cooking marathon. I did some prep work earlier in the week, so I could do more cooking and less chopping today. Breakfast was soyrizo scramble with roasted potatoes. I didn't grab a shot of the scramble because I thought I already blogged about it once, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The recipe definitely needs refining, as well. The roasted potatoes were from the brand new and Fabulous Vegan Brunch, probably the most basic of recipes to try, but delish nonetheless. Today's lunch was lentil soup (Veganomicon) and bruschetta (from my brain). My genius husband thought of using the pressure cooker for the soup and it was totally ready in a 1/2 hour. The lentils were super fluffy too, giving the soup a really light texture. I followed the directions from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure to make sure I timed the lentils right.

Then after my nap, it was ready to tackle the big project: Almost All-American Pot Pie (Veganomicon). I knew this would be labor intensive since it has a crust, and boy was it. The crust wasn't even the time consuming part! That was ready in 5 minutes, and the whole wheat/cornmeal crust was soooo yummy. Unfortunately, the 1/2 cup of shortening negates the "health" factor of the whole grain... The crust rolled out easily and held together really well. I popped it in the fridge to get the filling ready.

The filling was based on a chickpea flour roux, into to which the veggies were sauteed. That seemed a little strange and dry, but once the wine and veggie broth were added to deglaze, the gravy came together in a snap. I was worried about it being too soupy, so I think I over-reduced the gravy, but it wasn't too dry either.

I would have liked to spend more time making a pretty crust edge, but just as I was laying it down, Miss Baby decided to awaken and holler for dinner. I just had time to slap it over the filling and shove it in the oven.

And here it is, the final result. This crazy angle might not be too flattering, but was a tasty, tasty pot pie. The crust was hearty and light at the same time, and the filling was perfectly savory. I really wish I'd paced myself, I'm stuffed!

By the way, the little bean told me "Mom, you are such a good cooker" today. Made my DAY.