Arugula Salad with Grilled Eggplant & Portabellas

1 07 2012

I  love everything about this meal. The fact that it was made with organic arugula from the CSA. The fact that it was my first time using the grill this summer. Definite turning point. And also the fact that I made a cilantro-based anything and was able to stomach it, let alone enjoy it. I still hate cilantro on it’s own, but the few times I’ve cooked with it, I absolutely love its fresh and herby flavor.

See: http://falmouth.patch.com/articles/adventures-in-pesto

So for now, Cilantro: 2, Kristie: 0, the battle continues.

Give me a pile of grilled veggies over a bed of cold greens, covered in a flavorful sauce, and I am quite content.

Arugula Salad with Grilled Eggplant & Portabellas
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

4 portabella mushrooms, caps removed
1 large eggplant, stem ends removed, sliced horizontally into long, flat pieces, each the length of the whole eggplant and about 1/3-inch thick
1-2 tbs. olive oil
Cilantro Vinaigrette (recipe below)
6-8 cups very fresh arugula leaves, washed and well-dried

Preheat grill to high.

Lightly brush the mushroom caps and eggplant slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place them directly on the preheated grill. Grill the mushrooms for 6-8 minutes and the eggplant for 8-10 minutes, turning once with tongs about halfway through.

Remove the vegetables from the grill. Toss with about 2 tbs. of the Cilantro Vinaigrette and serve on the cold greens. Top with any remaining dressing.

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White Bean & Mushroom Stew

25 06 2012

When I think of joining a CSA, I think of weekly bundles, overflowing with leafy greens, plump & fragrant fruits; coming home from my day at the farm, dirt under my toenails, my hair flowing free..blahblahblah.

It was my first CSA pick-up the other day, and sad to say, my expectations were not met. Cut to the farm. It is down-pouring. Me in a tank top, sans jacket, frantically pulling up basil plants by the root, trying to get out of there as fast as possible. Then sitting in the car, wondering how I’m supposed to justify spending $600 a season, when all I have to show for it this week are 3 garlic scapes, a quart of strawberries, a dozen eggs, and some mesclun. Feed a family of 4 for a week?? More like an hour.

I understand that it’s the beginning of the season and I cannot rush the garden, but c’mon; a girl can’t survive on garlic scapes and spring mix alone.

On a more positive note, I did manage to incorporate this weeks CSA into one great dinner. Smitten Kitchen’s Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese, with my scapes added, Mediterranean salad with a lemon/feta dressing, and this lovely bean, leek and mushroom stew from the Veganomicon.

It’s earthy and creamy, pretty much a full meal on its own, but taken to a whole new level when served up with the leek toasts.

Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms
Adapted from Veganomicon

2 cups dried white beans, soaked over-night
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
1 stalk celery, cut in 2
1 small carrot, sliced in half
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsps. dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 large leek, (white and light green parts only) thinly sliced
1 lb. mushrooms (whatever kind you want. I prefer a mix of mushies like shiitake, oyster, or cremini), thinly sliced
2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a pot. Add 4 cups of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Skim off any white foam from the top. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium; add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme, and tarragon.

Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender. Remove the onion, carrot, and celery. Lower the heat to low and continue to simmer while preparing the remaining veggies. The beans should resemble a very thick stew, not a soup. If there’s too much liquid, leave the pot uncovered and stir occasionally.

About 10 minutes before the beans are done, places the garlic and 2 tbs. of olive oil in a cold skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat, allowing garlic to sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced leek and saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the leeks into the beans. Add the remaining 2 tbs. oil to the pan, allow to warm for about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms lightly with 1/2 tsp. salt and saute until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. When most of the excess liquid is gone, add the mushrooms to the beans. Turn off the heat and season the beans with the remaining salt (or more, if desired) and freshly ground pepper. Allow the beans to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.





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.





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.





Vegan “Cheddar” & Sweet Potato Soup

19 12 2011

I absolutely adore cheese. But I also absolutely adore vegan cheese substitutes. It really makes no sense. I also love nutritional yeast, though it gives me really bad gas. It’s worth it for all them B vitamins though.

For cheese and yeast lovers alike, this soup will satisfy. It’s creamy, tangy and comforting. Cinnamon and brown sugar mixed with sweet potatoes… c’mmoonnn.

Try toasting up your own croutons or just have some crusty bread on hand because you’ll be wanting it to soak up every bite.

Vegan “Cheddar” & Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from The Uncheese Cookbook

2 cups water
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbs. Spice Blend (recipe below)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups vegan milk
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the first six ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the mashed sweet potatoes, nutritional yeast and milk.

Puree the mixture in a blender, a portion at a time, until smooth. Return to the soup pot and stir in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Warm over medium heat, until heated through, stirring often.

Serve with croutons.

Spice Blend

1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbs. salt
1 tb. onion granules
1 tb. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. dill seed

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.





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.





Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup

28 09 2011

The main reason I chose to make this soup, minus the fact that it harnesses some great autumn veggies, also minus the fact that I had some tahini kicking around in the fridge… was that in the cookbook picture, it looked so creamy, like a spiced pumpkin puree.

I had just spent the night at a friends grandparents house out in Chemsford, MA and part of dinner was a pumpkin soup that was so yummy and had the same texture that I was dying for; the kind where you can swirl imprints with your spoon that will hold just long enough. Sadly, my soup didn’t turn out that way. Maybe I didn’t use enough squash, or too much broth. Maybe I’ll just keep blaming myself. Stupid stupid stupid. Maybe I’m a victim of metric system conversions. The book was published in Australia.

Either way, it’s a thinner soup than expected, but don’t let that deter you. It has a mellow, sweet flavor with the occasional hint of hotness. If I made it again, I would add some roasted garlic and some herbs, I’m thinking sage.

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 tb. olive oil
1 long red chili, seeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tb. tahini
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the chili, onion and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Reduce the heat to low, add the squash and sweet potato, cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils, put the lid back on and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Process the soup in batches in a blender, add the tahini and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan, and gently reheat. Season to tase. Serve garnished with chili.