Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eastern European Lentil Soup

This soup is hearty and delicious, perfect for those cold winter days. It's a fairly quick soup to make and I often make it for lunch. It's based on a recipe I found in an issue of Vegetarian Times and it's so good that I thought I should share it. Just a note, I've found that this soup doesn't really need salt when you make it with stock. Also, this recipe uses pink lentils. They cook in about half the time, with a much milder flavor, than your standard green and brown ones. You can usually find them whenever you find bulk foods.

The recipe calls for diced tomatoes, but I actually think I prefer crushed tomatoes in this, since you get a little bit of tomato goodness in every bite. I usually add it at the end so the lentils don't get hard. Swirling in a bit of vegan yogurt adds a nice tang to the soup (I often use Wildwood Unsweetened Plain Soyogurt), but it's also good without.

This soup is also killer with some cooked quinoa stirred in, and it boosts the nutritional value way up! I also find it helps keep me fuller for longer when I add it. Also, this recipe uses cumin, but it would also be good if you substituted it with some curry powder. Double this recipe to get a nice, big pot full.

Eastern European Lentil Soup:
3/4 c. pink lentils
1/2 to 1 yellow onion, diced (sometimes I use a whole onion)
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb. cumin
1/2 Tb. agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 Tb. red wine vinegar
3 bay leaves
3 c. veggie stock
1 c. water
Plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt

1. Rinse and sort through the pink lentils.

2. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add cumin and lentils to the skillet and stir until the cumin is fragrant and the lentils are coated with oil.

3. In a soup pot, add the lentil/onion mixture with the agave nectar/maple syrup, bay leaves, stock, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft and sort of mushy.

4. Stir in the diced/crushed tomatoes and allow to simmer another five minutes. Stir in the vinegar before serving. Serve with hot bread and a dollop of yogurt in the middle.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Comforting Onion Soup

Mosquitos don't bite me.

It's true. I live in an area where we are invaded by mosquitos in the spring and summer, but I've never been bit by one. Actually, I haven't been bitten by anything. Well, okay, I've been bit by a spider, but that doesn't count! What does this have to do with food you ask?

Well, I tend to joke that bugs stay away from me because I eat so many onions (and lots of garlic). Seriously. I eat onion in some form every single day. And while I don't know if there is any real connection between onions and mosquitos, I do know that onions possess some amazing health benefits. Onion and other Allium vegetables (garlic, leeks, chives, etc.) are characterized by their rich content of thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides, and other odoriferous sulfur compounds, which have been shown to be beneficial to your health when eaten over time. They may be a useful herb for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since they diminish the risk of blood clots. It also protects against stomach and other cancers, as well as protecting against certain infections. The sulfur compounds found in the onion are also anti-microbial, so they help prevent you from getting sick. If you're feeling a little under the weather, this soup is the way to go!

Oh, and a word of note: the more pungent varieties of onion appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals. That means a few tears are, in the words of Martha Stewart, a good thing.

This soup is warm and comforting, especially now since the weather is growing colder. To serve this soup, bake a slice of the Homemade Brown Bread with some vegan mozzarella on top until browned and (about as...) melted ( it's gonna get). Place on top of the soup and you're ready to go!

Comforting Onion Soup:
2 Tb. olive oil
4 lg. yellow onions, sliced thin
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. good beer (I use "Shiner Bock", but a dark "Bock" beer is good. Keep it vegan!)
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 Tb. dijon mustard

Heat oil over medium heat while you slice the onions. Add all the onions and the salt, give it a good stir, and cover. Cook over medium-low until the onions are nice and soft, about 20-30 minutes. Slowly add the beer, vegetable broth, water, thyme, and mustard, and simmer another 30 minutes or so, until the soup has reduced a little and it's nice and thick. Top with hot "cheesy" bread (as mentioned above).

Note: This is based on a recipe I found in Vegetarian Times, Nov./Dec. 2008 issue. It was supposed to be an appetizer or a spread of sorts, but I made it soup!

Old-Fashioned Brown Bread

Absolutely nothing is better than homemade bread! This recipe is delicious and good for you too. It's a nice, moist bread that absolutely deserves a second slice! It makes two loaves, so cut it in half if you'd like. This particular bread goes exceptionally well with my Onion-Beer Soup.

Or with peanut butter! 

Old-Fashioned Brown Bread
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. old-fashioned oats
2 Tb. vegetable shortening
2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
3/4 c. warm water (110-115F, like a really hot bath. A hot tub is 90F, so keep that in mind...)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. blackstrap (dark) molasses
1/2 c. toasted wheat germ

1 Tb. vital wheat gluten
4 3/4 - 5 1/4 c. unbleached flour (if you wish to use whole wheat flour, go with half white, half wheat. Never use all whole wheat flour because your bread won't turn out)

In a bowl, combine the water, oats, shortening, and salt. Cool to 110-115F (or easy to stick your finger in and keep in there). In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, sprinkle with sugar and let rest about 5-10 minutes. Add oat mixture, brown sugar, molasses, wheat germ, and 3 c. of flour to the yeast mixture. Mix well. Add enough of the remaining flour (1 3/4 to 2 1/4 c.) to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 6-8 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl. Turn once to grease top. Cover, place in a warm spot, and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch dough down, divide in half. Shaped into loaves and place in two greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

To make cloverleaf rolls: 

After the initial rising, punch the dough down. Then, roll the dough into even sized balls, about the size of a tablespoon or so. Place three balls in the cup of a sprayed muffin tin. Repeat for each of the cups in the tin. Allow to rise, covered, a second time for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Bake at 375F for about 20-25 minutes. Oven times will vary. 

Baking bread takes practice, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't turn out right your first time. Here's a few hints to help you out:

1. If the yeast is not foamy after about 5 minutes, when it comes time to add it, DON'T ADD IT. Throw it out and start over. The yeast has to be foamy, otherwise your bread won't rise.

2. Don't over knead. Some people get knead-happy (because it's kind of fun), but you only knead to do it (hehe) a few minutes, just until it's smooth. If it's still sticky, add some flour a little bit at a time until it isn't anymore.

3. Place in a warm place to rise. I usually put the oven on warm and set it right on top to rise. I've found this to be the best method. If you set it on the oven, it should just be warm to the touch. If it's hot, it'll kill your yeast.

4. Don't forget to oil the bowl and the pans.

5. Bread is done when the outside is hard and crusty, and it will soun
d hollow when you knock on the top of it.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Here's those pancakes I promised you. They're delicious! I'm going to be making these all the time!

1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. graham flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 Tb. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree (I use Libby's canned)
1 c. soymilk

1 Tb. oil
1/2 c. pecans, chopped (optional)

Mix unbleached flour, graham flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Add the soymilk and pumpkin puree. Mix well. Add pecans, if desired, and stir well. Cook over a medium, oiled skillet until the edges are dry and bubbles have formed in the middle of the pancake. Flip and cook about 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet if necessary. Serve hot with real maple syrup.

Note: The pancakes may look "doughy", but that's due to the consistency of the pumpkin (like pumpkin pie filling).

UPDATE: I posted this recipe on VegWeb a long time ago. There's a review of this recipe here.

Whole-Wheat Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread men are a type of cookie that, to me, are the epitome of both Christmas and cookie traditions. That means I like my gingerbread pretty traditional: kind of crisp, heavy of the molasses, and full of good spices. I actually saw a recipe for gingerbread just the other day and was a little sad that they left the molasses out! That's a key ingredient for me!

I like to make these cookies kind of crisp because I like to dip them in my coffee (what don't I like to dip in coffee?). I'm also not an icing person. Since gingerbread men are traditionally decorated with Royal Icing (made with egg whites) I would suggest maybe making a glaze out of some non-dairy milk, powdered sugar, and a little vanilla to decorate. If you like your cookies a little softer, then roll them a little thicker and take them out of the oven while they're still a little soft. They'll stay that way!

Another thing I do with my gingerbread is make them with whole wheat flour. Seriously. 100%. I think that the flavor of the whole wheat is divine with the spices and molasses! I think I would also like to smear some of these with some coconut butter (so much for tradition!).

Whole-Wheat Gingerbread Cookies:
3 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. sea salt

2/3 c. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. blackstrap molasses (unsulfured)
8 1/2 Tb. hot water
1 tsp. vanilla

0-2 Tb. almond milk (or "milk" of choice)

In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Stir in the molasses, hot water, and vanilla. When mixed, stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt. Cover and chill 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F and remove the dough from the fridge. Allow it to set on the table for about 10-15 minutes to warm up slightly. If the dough is crumbly, add 1 Tb. of almond milk. You want the dough to stick together, but not be sticky. You also may not need any at all. Roll it out on lightly floured surface (rolling it out on floured wax paper is also a good idea) to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters of choice. Repeat the re-rolling and cutting for the rest of the dough. Decorate with nuts, red hots, etc. if desired, before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool before removing from the sheet.

Note: Be sure to stick the dough back in the refrigerator between the baking of the batches for the best results!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Simple Roasted Vegetable Medley

The butternut squash in this recipe gives the medley a nice sweet note. Butternut squash tastes very similar to sweet potatoes. 

Simple Roasted Vegetable Medley:

1 butternut squash, cubed
3 lg. russet potatoes, cubed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and halved
1/2 Tb. minced garlic
2 tsp. sage
2 tsp. crushed rosemary
about 3 Tb. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Toss vegetables with garlic cloves, 2 Tb. oil, sage and rosemary in a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast covered for about 25 minutes. Toss once. Add minced garlic and remaining olive oil if necessary (I usually find it necessary...), and roast 25 minutes more. Toss once more. Roast until veggies are browned on edges and tender. Season with additonal salt and pepper if necessary.

Feel free to add about 1/2 lb. each of carrots and parsnips

"Sausage" and Rice Soup

Easy, good, warm. Enough said!

"Sausage" and Rice Soup: 

1 lg. russett potato, diced small
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 jar green beans (I used home-canned, but a can of regular green beans or 2 c. frozen would work)
1 stalk celery, plus tops, chopped
2-5 white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 (14-oz.) can diced Italian-seasoned tomatoes, with some liquid
2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. water
1/2 tube Gimmie Lean "sausage"
1/4 c. Basmati rice
4 springs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Sea salt to taste

1. Cook "sausage" in olive oil and minced garlic until crumbled and browned. 

2. Meanwhile, bring chopped vegetables, herbs, seasonings, and water to a boil. 

3. Add "sausage" and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Add rinsed Basmati rice and simmer another 35 minutes or until potatoes are soft and rice is cooked. Remove bay leaves and thyme springs before serving.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Black Beans and Polenta

Warm and delicious, this is one of the first meals I made where my focus was good eating on the cheap.

Black Beans:
In order to cut down on food costs, I used dried beans. I took half the bag and placed them in a cooking pot. I covered them with water and then picked and sorted through the beans. Remember, if they float, toss them out. And look out for stones too. It happens. I give the beans a good rinse and then cover them with water. Let them soak at least eight hours or overnight. I usually drain off the water then give them some new. This helps to reduce some of the gas-causing properties! I give them about 2-3 inches of water (above the bean line).

I bring the beans to a boil, then reduce them to a simmer. To the beans I add:
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano
5 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 bay leaves

VERY IMPORTANT: Do not add any thing acidic, such as TOMATOES or LEMON JUICE, or SALT until after the beans have cooked themselves soft. Otherwise, they'll remain hard and you'll be very disappointed!

Cover the beans and simmer them about 1-2 hours. Once they're soft to your liking, mash about 1/2 c. of the beans to thicken up the pot. Then I add:
2 Tb. lime juice

1 Tb. lemon juice
about 1/2 tsp. of salt
Keep in mind though, I don't like things very salty so feel free to add a little more. These beans will also be pretty mild, so feel free to add a little heat to it.

Bring 3 c. water
1 tsp. salt
Some olive oil to a boil. Once boiling add:
1 c. COARSE cut corn meal*

Reduce heat and cook about 5 minutes, or until very thick. Pour into a nonstick pan and let sit until cool. Turn the pan over onto a plate. To make polenta, cut yourself a few slices and fry up in a skillet with a little olive oil until a golden brown.

*The coarse corn meal allows it to be made into polenta.

Place pan-seared polenta onto a plate and cover it with the black beans and some sauted onion (cook a sliced, yellow onion in some olive oil over medium heat until soft and golden brown). I like to serve it with a bit of Thai chili paste for some heat. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October Update - Of Food and Farmdom

And so it begins. I finally have a constant source of internet. Maybe now I can keep my blog updated without the use of the library's computers! I recently held a feast for my friends in celebration of the Fall Equinox. It was a wonderful and the food turned out great! I'll have to post some of my recipes on here. I have quite a few new favorites.

I'm looking forward to the chill of the fall. Soups, roasted veggies, homemade breads, stews, and wine are some of my favorite things. I've already found myself thinking about Thanksgiving. Hopefully, I will get to spend it with my family this year. I've been invited to a dinner at my friend's house and they've requested my homemade apple-pecan stuffing (that's another recipe I'm going to post soon). I feel like my cooking skills have improved a lot this past year, and I feel honored, and blessed, to be able to feed those around me.

I've been experimenting with dried beans and American rice lately. I've decided that with this looming economy I'm going to need a slew of recipes that can feed my wife and I on the cheap. Delicious, comforting, and nutritious is what I'm looking for. I've been looking to Mother Earth News and hand-me-down recipes for inspiration.

I've also starting creating my own incense and I have a powerful recipe or two for that up my sleeve. I'm going to be making tinctures soon, and hopefully some soap down the road. I long for the days when we live on a farm of our own. We have it planned out. Just a few acres, just a few animals, and lots of time for each other. We're both so tired of being a slave to The Man and long for the country. That's how she grew up, and that's how I wanted to. We'll get there. God will show us the way.

Anyway, more food and herbs later. I really mean it this time!

All- Purpose Baked Asian Tofu

This is a much easier process of preparing tofu than in my previous entry. I'm sure you'll find that it's easier to get tofu into your life when it's prepared this way! Be sure you press the tofu first, for about an hour (at least). You know the drill!

2 Tb. tamari

1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 Tb. oil
1 Tb. lime juice
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. Thai chili paste

1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
Chopped green onion
A few drops dark sesame oil

1 block pressed, extra firm tofu, sliced into slabs (about 6 slabs)

Mix all the ingredients in the marinade in a small baking dish. Add the tofu; cover. At this point you can let it marinate a couple of hours or go ahead and bake it. Stir it around a couple of times to cover all sides of the tofu. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 45 minutes, turning once. I like to let it cook for a little longer to give it a firmer texture. Keep an eye on it in the last 15 minutes or so to make sure it doesn't burn.

You can save this tofu for later in the fridge (just reheat it later) or you can use it right away in a variety of tofu dishes.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Schwagstock 37

It's time to ring in the year with it's first Schwag! Come join me for some peace, love, music, and camping!

It's Tofu!

Many people have a hard time with tofu, but don't give up! It took me a LOT of trial-and-error before I finally got it right.

Some simple guidelines:

1. All tofu needs to be drained. I usually place a weight on it and let it drain for at least an hour. Sometimes two. Some people drain it for only 20 minutes, but it's up to you.
2. Tofu tastes best when it's marinated. I marinate tofu almost everytime I use it, for at least two hours. However, it needs to be precooked first! The cooking process helps the tofu soak up more of the yummy marinade. I usually dice the tofu (after it's been drained, of course), then cook it over medium-low until it's nicely browned and really dry.
3. If you freeze tofu (which is a really great idea because it becomes denser and more hearty), you need to thaw it before you use it. I don't usually marinate the tofu when it's been frozen. I just squeeze out all the extra water and crumble it up into the pot. Keep in mind though, that you can't freeze soft or silken tofu (it has too much water in it). Also, frozen tofu stays good in the freezer for up to three months.

Now try it for yourself!

This website has some helpful advice and even has some directions on how to substitute tofu for such things as cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta/cottage cheese.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vegan Substitutions

Vegan baking is tricky, and it takes practice. Don't get discouraged if things don't turn out right the first time (or even the second or third time)! Believe me, I've thrown away my fair share of awful "cookie" lumps.

Some of the most common ones are:
1/2 banana = 1 egg
3 Tb. applesauce = 1 egg
1/4 c. blended soft tofu = 1 egg
1 Tb. ground flax seeds (or 2 Tb. flax powder) + 3 Tb. water = 1 egg
1/4 c. soy yogurt = 1 egg

Just remember that the banana and applesauce add a slight fruity flavor while the ground flax seeds are kind of granola-y (best for whole grains breads and such).

This link takes you to the Post Punk Kitchen website. It contains more info on how to make those delightful vegan substitutions you want to learn so much!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Italian-Style Barley Stew

I made this stew up as a way to use some leftover veggies. I also wanted to try barley, as I haven't ate any in forever! I really liked what I got!

Italian-Style Barley Stew:
1 Tb. olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c. baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 head of green cabbage, cored and chopped
1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 red potatoes, diced
1/2 c. pearl barley
5 c. water
1/2 c. frozen yellow corn
1/2 c. frozen green peas
1 vegan bouillon cube
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme

1 Tb. lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

1. Saute the onions, mushrooms, and cabbage in olive oil for a few minutes. 

2. Chop the artichoke hearts. Add them, along with all their marinade, to the skillet. 

3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed. 

4. Meanwhile, dice potatoes and add them to your soup pot along with the barley (I rinse it first), 5 c. water, peas, corn, and bouillon cube. Bring it to a boil and then add the cabbage-onion-mushroom mixture. Season with herbs. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Add sea salt and lemon juice.

There you go!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Vegan Carob Chip Banana Bread

I have just discovered carob and all it's deliciousness and because of that, I've decided to once again try vegan baking. My previous attempts at baking had been utter disasters, but now that I understand substitutions I've been more successful. The spicy flavor of the carob chips pair very well with that of the banana bread, but feel free to use regular dairy-free chocolate chips as well. Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips are a very good (and affordable) brand!

There are many recipes out there for vegan banana bread and well, I didn't like any of them. I created my own instead and they turned out amazing! Also, some kinds of carob chips contain dairy, so don't forget to check the labels!

Carob Chip Banana Bread:
Wet Mix:
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 c. Turbinado sugar
1/3 c. no-sugar-added applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tb. oil
1 c. almond milk

Dry Mix:
2 and 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 c. vegan carob chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix together the mashed bananas, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, oil, and almond milk. Set aside.

3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until it's just combined. Stir in the carob chips.

5. Spray a standard-size loaf pan with nonstick spray and pour in batter. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.

This bread is really good when ate hot out of the oven, slathered with Earth Balance!

You can also make a plain version. Just leave out the carob chips and add in 3/4 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts if you like them (if not, you can leave them out). Everything else is the same and you wind up with results like this:

Actually, I took out some of the batter to make muffins, otherwise it would be as tall as the top one, lol. This is a great recipe, nice and moist and not too sweet. Great as a snack!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

French-Style Lentil Soup with Spinach

This stuff is great! I mixed up some French herbs, lentils, and leftover veggies and this is what I got. I bet it would be great with some hot, crusty bread.

In case you were wondering Herbes d'Provence is a French blend of herbs and spices. It usually contains marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, fennel seeds, sage, and sometimes lavender. Lavender doesn't really appear in true French versions, but rather in American mixes. Mine had lavender in it though, and I thought it added a wonderful touch.  

Here's a simple DIY Herbes d'Provence:
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon chervil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon summer savory
1 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon mint

Mix together all of the ingredients and store in a tightly sealed container. Makes about 1/3 cup herb mix.

This spice blend can be used for Mediterranean recipes. You can also mix it with some olive to coat vegetables for roasting OR, you can add it to some hearty lentil soup! 

French-Style Lentil Soup with Spinach:

1 c. Vegi Soup Mix (Bob's Red Mill)
4 c. water
1 tsp. Herbes d'Provence
1/2 tsp. oregano
A few shakes dill weed
1 vegan bouillon cube (with sea salt)
1 c. crushed tomatoes, drained
8 oz. fresh baby spinach, washed

1. Rinse and pick through lentil soup mix. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add herbs and bouillon cube. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

2. Add drained tomatoes and let simmer another 15 minutes.

3. Add spinach and let cook 1-2 minutes or until just wilted.

Voila! Beautiful soup!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mild Veggie Burritos

I decided that I wanted to go a little more low-key with the seasonings in this burrito. It was a success, and all the veggies work good together.

Mild Veggie Burritos:

1 c. cooked brown rice
1 regular pkg. baby spinach, washed and chopped
1 green pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 tsp. garlic, minced (0r 2 cloves)
1 avocado, mashed
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained slightly
1 (16 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tb. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Sea salt, to taste

1. Cook rice according to package directions, then set aside.

2. Once rice is done, saute the green pepper, onion, garlic, and spinach in a little oil. Add the mixture to the rice (make sure the rice is nice and fluffy. If you have any excess water, drain it first), then add the mashed avocado, tomatoes, black beans, and seasonings. 

3. Heat the mixture through and let simmer about 10 minutes. Serve inside warmed tortilla shells.

I bet these would make good enchiladas. Also, what I did was fill about six of them, place them in a casserole dish, and bake them at 350 for about 20 minutes. I then put them in freezer-proof bags and froze them for later.

30-Minute Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas

I suppose you could add vegan cheese to this if you'd like, but I don't think it's necessary. Of course, I couldn't find any vegan cheese around this town if my life depended on it! Although, if you happened to have some daiya, you could sprinkle it on top before baking to get it melty.

30-Minute Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of original Ro-tel tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. enchilada seasoning (check the ingredients to make sure it's vegan)

1/3 c. water
1/3 c. instant brown rice
1/2 med. onion, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
6 vegan tortillas

1 small can enchilada sauce (check ingredients)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in a non-stick saucepan with a little oil until soft, about five minutes.

2. Add the black beans, Ro-tel, enchilada seasoning, rice, and water (judge the water, you just need to make sure there's enough to cook the rice). Simmer for at least 5 minutes or until the rice is done.

3. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spay. Fill each tortilla with the bean mixture and place them seam-side down (it works best if the tortilla shells are slightly warm). Pour enchilada sauce over the top and you can put on any leftover bean mix you have too.

4. Cover and bake about 20 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Springjam 4

All us hippies love our music! It's time for Springjam 4! Come, and let's celebrate Earthday at Camp Zoe!

Tropical Pancakes

There ain't nothin' better than homemade pancakes and real maple syrup. These are slightly heavy, and I cover the pan when I cook them. To make them thinner, add more soy milk, pineapple juice, or water.

Tropical Pancakes:
1 c. whole-wheat pastry flour (have to use pastry, regular whole-wheat don't work)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tb. dessicated coconut, unsweetened
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
a few shakes cardamom
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 c. vanilla soymilk
1 Tb. canned pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, sliced (I like the cooked chunks in this particular recipe).

In a large bowl, add the flour and baking powder. Add the coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, and sea salt. Add the soymilk and vanilla and stir through, until it starts to come together. Add the banana slices and finish stirring.

Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high then lower heat to medium-low before you start to make the pancakes. Scoop the batter onto the skillet and cover the pan. Let cook for a few minutes, until bubbles have formed in the center and the edges are dry. Flip pancake, cover, and let finish cooking on the other side. Once done, place on a plate and repeat process with the remaining batter.

Makes around 4 pancakes that are 200 calories each.


Pizza Dough

I love homemade pizza. Especially when it's cruelty-free!

Basic Pizza Dough:
1 c. warm water
1 Tb. vegan sugar
2 and 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 and 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 c. unbleached white flour
1 tsp. sea salt
3 Tb. olive oil

1. Pour warm water (like the temperature of a really nice shower) and sugar in a bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add the yeast and let it stand about five minutes. It should get really foamy. If after five minutes it's not foamy, the means that the water was too hot or too cold. Dump it out and start over. This will help save you headaches later when your dough doesn't rise!

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flours and salt. Make a little well in the center of the flour and add the olive oil and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir the ingredients until the make a ball. 

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few minutes until it's smooth. Shape in into a ball and place in an oiled bowl . Cover and let it rise in a warm place for an hour.

4. When the dough is finished rising, knead lightly for a minute or two more and then divide the dough into two pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, then roll each piece into a 12-inch round. Place the flattened round onto a lightly oiled pan and then top with ingredients.

5. Bake about 15-20 minutes in a 450-degree oven.  

Makes 2, 12-inch pizza crusts that are 800 calories each (about 100 calories a slice [dough only]).

Now it's time for my favorite pizza toppings:

Baby spinach, chopped
Yellow peppers, chopped
Mushrooms, sliced
Sweet onion, diced
Tomatoes, diced

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Stew

I've officially decided that I REALLY like to cook!

Anyway, this is pretty good. My beans weren't as soft as I liked them cause I got impatient (I used dry), but that was my only complaint. I really don't know how I made it so damn spicy (I've been trying to eat bland food lately), but it's still pretty much amazing. I also had to resist the urge to add tomatoes to it (cause my frugal butt was saving them for another meal!). Next time I'd like to use a sort of chipotle adobo seasoning.

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Stew
2 c. cooked black beans (or 1 can)
1 green pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 c. cooked carrots (I used canned cause I'm lazy)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne (maybe that made it hot, lol!)
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 vegan bouillon cube
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 Tb. lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Vegetable broth/water (as needed, for your desired thickness)

Mix together everything at let simmer for half an hour. Take out bay leaves before serving. Good with a tortilla on the side.

Italian Vegetable Stew

I'm a cook. It's what I do. I'm constantly creating recipes and testing them out on people. This here is one of my creations, Italian Vegetable Stew. It's nice and thick and best served with bread!

I basically just used up the veggies still left in my fridge. That's why there's only half an onion and a quarter of cabbage. I also grated my carrots. Not sure why. Maybe I was a little... (rhymes with "why"). Lol. Anywho, the salt and pepper are to taste and the other unmeasured spices are probably in the 1/2 to 1 tsp. range. I didn't really measure them. I personally like my cabbage to be really soft AND I use brown rice, so that's why I cook it for so long.

Italian Vegetable Stew:

2 medium carrots, grated
1/4 head of green cabbage, cored and sliced thin
1/2 med. onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tb. olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can asparagus, drained
1/4 c. mixed lentils (I used Bob's Vegi soup mix)
1/4 c. brown rice
1 Tb. garlic powder
1 Tb. parsley
6 c. water
1 vegan vegetable bouillion cube
Sea salt
White pepper

1. Rinse and pick through rice and lentils. Place in soup pot and set aside. 

2. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until tender. Add to lentil/rice mix. 

3. Add water and spices to soup pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add bouillion cube and stir. Combine additional vegetables to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serves 6-ish.