Red Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard

9 05 2012

It’s been about three months since we had to put my dog Zach down. It’s weird even referring to him as a dog. He was my life mate. Through Beanie Babies, puberty, punk rock, college, boyfriends, jobs, through everything I’ve ever gone through since I was 11 years old, I’d talk it all out with Zach. And now that he’s gone, life is just weird.

Apparently it’s kitten season on Facebook, because everyone and their mother has been finding a need to post new cat pictures. It’s making me really sad and anxious to find a new animal friend. I’m starting to get a little too attached to other peoples pets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan and I are going to start looking for our own place once I get back from THIS. And then I will finally be able to get the kitty I’ve always dreamed of. The kitty OR TWO I’ve always dreamed of. And then life will begin to fall into place. Cats do that. But until then, I’ll still have Zach with me until my end of days.

I made this potato salad a few weeks back with a kale and ricotta frittata. All together, it was like a grown-up version of breakfast-for-dinner. I love different spins on potato salad, as well as anything covered in a mustard sauce so this recipe definitely fit the bill. Serve warm and try pairing it with an omelette stuffed with greens. Then go hug your pet.

Red Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

6-8 red potatoes
1 tb. wholegrain mustard
1 1/2 tbs. chopped fresh dill
2 tsps. brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a salad bowl.

Mix the mustard, dill, sugar, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Using a fork, whisk in the olive oil to make a dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing through the warm potatoes and serve.

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Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce

4 03 2012

This blog has been seriously lacking for posts lately. But I can explain! For me, February was winter detox month. Well, winter detox two weeks. And you know what was weird, the second you mention the word ‘detox’ to a person, their jaw drops and they’re on their knees begging you to reconsider, wondering why you would ever put your body through such hell. Um, when did detoxing become synonymous with insane fad diets such as The Master Cleanse? That is what almost every person assumed I was doing. No, I did not, nor would I ever, master cleanse, or do some sort of wacked out liquid-only diet. Those things withhold every essential nutrient from your body and straight-up starve you. F-that.

My detox was basically eliminating caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, processed foods, dairy, and wheat. Replacing those things with whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and simple grains and proteins. No harm in that.

Here are some of the things that I was eating:

Steamed Squash & Broccoli with Tahini Dressing

Roasted Beet & Leek Soup with Sauteed Beet Greens

Roasted Peppers, Cauliflower and Walnuts

Cinnamon Poached Apples with Toasted Walnuts

First week was yummy, but hell. It made me realize how much of my diet consists of cheese and bread. Pizza and blue cheese are part of my food pyramid. It also made me realize that throughout my day, I’m pretty much in a constant state of snacking. Rarely do I let my body get full before I start stuffing it with something else that catches my eye. “Handful of feta, why sure!”

Though I was pretty much in a body-shaking craving mode for most of the time, and I don’t think that I’ve ever been as much of an angry bitch than I was during those two weeks, my body felt great. I felt clean and energized in a natural-sort of way. I stopped feeling sluggish, my sleep was improved and things like my digestion and lungs felt a lot better after eliminating many allergens and just body-clogging stuff.

I’m back to eating crap now. Well, not crap, but I will never deny myself a cup of coffee in the morning or a beer or ten in the evening for at least another year. It just ain’t me.

These vegan enchiladas are acting as a suitable in-between meal. They’re not carrot sticks, but they are also not frosting-filled crêpes. Mmm..frosting.

The enchilada sauce has a mellow and roasty spiciness to it, while the filling is tangy and stick-to-your-ribs filling.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce
Adapted from Veganomicon

Enchilada Chili Sauce:
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 large chilis, roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped (Notes on roasting: Heat up your oven to 425, cut your peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds. Coat with some olive oil and place on a lightly greased baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes. When done, throw the peps in a paper bag the second they come out of the oven. Close it up and steam them. Once they have cooled down, the skins should come right off)
3 tsps. chili powder (ancho, if possible)
1 1/2 tsps. cumin
1 tsp. marjoram
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsps. salt

Potato and Kale Filling:
1 pound red potatoes
1/2 lb. kale, washed, trimmed and chopped
3 tbs. olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup water (or veggie broth if you have an open container on hand)
3 tbs. lime juice (plus some extra wedges for serving)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
12-14 corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 375 and have ready a large casserole dish.

Prepare the enchilada sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions in oil for 4-7 minutes, until softened…you know the procedure. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. When it has cooled enough, taste for seasoning then puree with an immersion or regular blender until smooth.

Prepare the filling: Peel and dice the potatoes, then boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the oil and minced garlic in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is sizzling and slightly browned. Add the kale, sprinkle with a little salt, and raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly to cover the kale with oil and garlic. Partially cover the pot to steam the kale until it has wilted, about 5 minutes. You can add a little bit of water too to help along the steaming process and to prevent any scorching.

Make the enchiladas: Have ready a pie plate filled with about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, your casserole dish, a stack of corn tortillas, a lightly-greased and heated skillet (for softening the tortillas), and the potato/kale mixture.

Ladle a little bit of the enchilada sauce into the casserole dish and spread it around. Take a corn tortilla, place it on the heated skillet for 30 seconds, flip it over and heat until it has become soft. Drop the tortilla into the pie plate filled with sauce, allow it to get totally soaked, flip it over and coat the other side.

Place the tortilla in the casserole dish and then layer it with another heated, sauce-covered tortilla. Run the potato filling down the middle and roll it up. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, tightly packing the enchiladas next to each other.

Pour about a cup of the sauce over the top (saving some for later), cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top individual servings with the remaining enchilada sauce, a dollop of sour cream and a squirt of lime juice.





Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions

18 01 2012

My mother eats quinoa for dinner pretty much every day of the week. She’s one of those Dr. Oz health-conscious types; clinging to every word he says about wheat berries, fish oil, whatever it may be. Now I know these things are great for you, but I don’t need it indoctrinated into me by some television health guro who resembles a cross between grown-up Eddie Munster and a legit vampire.

Anyways. Quinoa. It’s a dinner staple for her. Quinoa with a green and a protein; the blandness meal on the planet. In truth, it has made me loathe quinoa. I think of it as the flavorless, boring mans meal. It tastes like air and it makes me envision myself being trapped in some cruel hell of having to eat the same food every day. I would rather be shark bait.

I came across this recipe while looking for a way to use up some leftover scallions and decided to give the ancient grain a chance, and ya know, I actually liked it! Quinoa adds a lot of body to the soup and I can imagine it adding it to pretty much any kind of veggie soup. The broth is flavored using just the quinoa cooking water, but emits a real smooth and earthy flavor, very similar to a chicken stock. The tangy feta and sweet pops of corn make every bite a flavorful surprise…in your mouth!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed well
2 tbs. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 bunches scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 lb. feta cheese, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for about 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir. Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the quinoa, spinach, corn and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped egg and some more crumbled feta.





Mushroom Dill Frittata & Curry Roasted Potatoes (Oh, and Bloody Marys)

19 12 2011

Like most people, or at least like most people I would want to associate with, I am addicted to brunch. This probably stems from the fact that I will sleep until around noon/later than noon, if given the chance. So when you wake up as the sun is getting ready to start its descent, sometimes your screwed up internal clock doesn’t know whether it wants breakfast or lunch. How about BOTH, SUCKAS.

Ahem.

So for Sunday’s 2:00 food blowout, I opened one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Brunch, and played around with some of Isa’s recipes. The frittata is very flavorful, with bright dill and juicy mushies. What I love most about frittatas is that they taste just as good cold or reheated the next day as they do coming right out of the oven.

And these roasted potatoes are just the perfect breakfast potato recipe. Since they’re baked, they don’t get all oily or mushy, and still retain a crisp bite. Cumin is also a great partner with potatoes. Try sprinkling on a little nutritional yeast for some cheesy potato goodness.

And now..dun da dun, the star of the show and love of my life…thebloodymary.

This is one of the best Bloody Mary’s I’ve ever tasted and is now my official go-to recipe. I have to give kudos to White On Rice Couple for creating this sriracha-spiced mouth bliss. I think it’s about time for another one.

Mushroom Dill Frittata
Adapted from Vegan Brunch

1 tb. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced (your choice. I’d go for an earthier selection such as cremini, shiitake or bellas)
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 tb. soy sauce
1 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Several dashes of fresh black pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh dill, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.

Squeeze out the tofu to remove any excess water. Crumble and squeeze it into a large mixing bowl, until it has the consistency of ricotta. Mash really well! Add the soy sauce, mustard, turmeric, black pepper, yeast, salt and dill to the tofu and mix well. When the mushies are ready, add then to the mixture. Taste for seasonings.

Lightly grease an 8-inch pie pan and firmly press the frittata mixture into it. Bake for 20 minutes, until it is firm and lightly browned on the top. Let cool for about 3 minutes, then invert onto a plate and serve.

Curry Roasted Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. potatoes
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tb. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly grease with olive oil.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into about 3/4-inch pieces. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Use yr hands to coat all of the potatoes in oil, then sprinkle them with salt, curry powder and cumin. Toss to coat.

Bake potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and use a spatula to flip them. Return the potatoes to the oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until they’re lightly browned and tender on the inside.





Seitan Goulash

5 11 2011

If I had my own restaurant; my own vegetarian comfort-food diner/café/show space/brewpub/rocket-ship, this seitan goulash would be on the menu. Then come Halloween time, I would re-name it to Seitan GHOULash. It would be amazing. Hell, I would sling this out of a dinky food-cart in the dead of winter. Whole cities shoveling steaming spoonfuls of goulash into their mouths; loving every second of it.

Sadly, The Chicago Diner already beat me to it. But do they add sauerkraut?? Nien! The recipe is mine.

Juicy chunks of seitan, tender potatoes, along with the creamy tartness of sauerkraut and sour cream, make this a total go-to cold weather comfort food. Use Hungarian sweet paprika if you have it on hand, otherwise, regular paprika is fine.

Ghoulash…

Seitan Goulash
Adapted from The Chicago Diner Cookbook

Marinade:
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsps. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup tamari/soy sauce
3 cups water

Seitan:
1/2 lb. seitan, cut into chunks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
Vegetable oil for frying

Vegetables:
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
2-3 large potatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
1 cup celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped

1 can sauerkraut, drained
Vegan sour cream
Noodles/pasta of choice

To make the marinade, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and simmer 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Pour marinade over the seitan and let sit for about 20 minutes; drain, reserving the marinade.

Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika in a bowl. Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a medium skillet until hot. Dredge the seitan in the flour mixture and sauté until brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil for the vegetables in a large pot. Add the onions and carrots and cook 8-10 minutes. Add the potatoes and bay leaves and cook 10-15 minutes more, or until the potatoes start to get tender. Add the celery and bell pepper, cover with the reserved marinade and simmer 5 minutes. Add the seitan, stir and cover. Remove from heat and stir in the sauerkraut and vegan sour cream to taste. Serve on hot noodles/pasta and topped with more vegan sour cream.