Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yay! and some updates!


A quick update:

1. My favorite magazine in the world, BUST, has added Isa Chandra Moskowitz (of PPK and Vegan with a Vengeance fame) to their new food column, "Nickel and Dined". If you haven't read this magazine before, I highly encourage it. This is one of those magazines that actually makes you feel good reading it. It's "for women with something to get off their chest" and it's chock full of music, news, indie culture, and d.i.y. There's never a column telling you to lose weight or to get this season's $3500 Prada bag, or what you should change about yourself to get a husband. I'm sure you'll be hooked like I am.

2. I knew it was a good day to go to the thrift store! I found a book called "Sweet Temptations" and it's chock full of completely raw desserts! It has recipes for pies, tarts, cookies, candies, cakes, and more, all 100% raw with easy to find ingredients and easy to prepare instructions. I'm dying to try some of these fabulous-sounding recipes out, and any winners I'll post online!

3. I have the BEST IDEA EVER for some cupcakes. I made a batch of those chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and they were a huge hit! My dad, a real meat and potatoes guy who's not that keen on sweet stuff, absolutely loved them! I wish I had an outlet for my baking other than special occasions and holidays. I absolutely love baking up big batches of scones and cupcakes, but it's usually just me around and what in the heck am I gonna do with two dozen cupcakes? I guess I can just hope for a neighborhood with a large abundance of children, lol. But as I was saying, I recently had a sugar-high induced revelation involving cupcakes... mallow cream filled chocolate s'mores cupcakes, perfect for fall/Halloween. I've also been wanting to make some pumpkin-spice and carrot cake healthy muffins, for when I'm too lazy to put bread in the toaster before class...

4. My mom has gone off to Florida for two weeks to help care for her cousin who's having some serious surgery done. I'll probably be spending some more time at my parent's house making sure my dad doesn't starve to death while she's gone (lol) so it might be awhile before I get to update again.

Anywho. I hope you're enjoying this beautiful fall weather as much as I am. Some advice for the season: take a walk and eat some soup! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aloo Matar Curry

I love, love, love Indian food! I love the vegetables, the aromas, the combinations of spices... and the fact that the majority of recipes are vegan and/or easy to veganize is a relief.

This recipe is for Aloo Matar Curry, or Potatoes and Peas Curry and it's adapted from The Spice Box, Vegetarian Indian Cookbook by Manju Shivraj Singh (a very good cookbook, indeed!). It's a mildly spicy dish because of the cayenne, but I've reduced it a little for this version (the original called for 1 tsp. of cayenne but I'm not that brave). The small amount of lemon juice helps cut any bitterness the cayenne might have, as would a good vegan raita. You could serve this with basmati rice, but I think it's equally good by itself (though some nice, hot naan is always good!).

Aloo Matar Curry:
2 Tb. oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 tsp. turmeric
1/3 c. water
3 medium raw potatoes, peeled and diced
1 c. fresh or frozen peas
1 fresh green chili, seeded and chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. coriander
1 c. water
1 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. lemon juice

1. Heat oil and brown the onions. Add turmeric and 1/3 c. water. Fry for 1 minute or until the water evaporates. Add the pototoes, peas, and chili.

2. Add salt, cayenne, and coriander. Fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

3. Pour in 1 c. water, cover with a lid, and simmer on low heat until the water has evaporated and the potatoes are done.

4. Once the pototoes are cooked, remove from heat and add garam masala and lemon juice. Enjoy!

4 servings / 165 calories each

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hint o' Chipotle Black Bean and Vegetable Soup


Oh, soup! How I love you!


I had a hankering for some bread and soup today for lunch. I made some homemade bread (anything to put off doing some homework!) and made a nicely flavored soup to go with it. Feel free to add any veggies you want, seeing as there's plenty of end-of-the-summer veggies still floating around. Also, I find that the Tabasco sauce has enought salt in it that you don't really need to add any. Enjoy!


Hint o' Chipotle Black Bean and Vegetable Soup:
1/2 Tb. oil
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 bag baby carrots, diced (2/3 cup)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (32-oz) carton vegetable broth (probably only need about 3/4 the container)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 - 1 Tb. Chipotle Tabasco sauce (depends on your tastes)
Additional salt, if desired

1. Saute onion, celery, and carrots in oil until slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Add dry spices and saute another couple of minutes or until fragrant.

2. In a large saucepan, combine sauteed veggies, tomatoes, black beans, vegetable broth, and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer about 35 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add salt to taste, if desired.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


I'm totally into cupcakes. They're just perfect! Little pieces of glorious dessert that you're able to hold in your hand. What's not to love?

Just so you know... it's only been recently that I've decided to give vegan cupcakes a try. I was a little nervous about substitutions in baking and whatnot, but now I finally feel confident enough that I know what I'm doing to get the taste that I desire.
Luckily, my assumptions about my skillz were correct, because these suckers are good. The frosting is super rich and delicious and the cake has a nice texture and isn't too crumbly or too moist. My sister and mom, both non-veg (and the former is extremely picky) loved them ("these are vegan? What's vegan? There better not be anything weird in here"). I plan on doing lots of experimentations with cupcakes in the future... with particular fondness towards an almond/coconut hybrid or maybe a chocolate-hazelnut or perhaps a strawberry-lime. Oooh!!

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 1/2 c. soymilk
2 c. flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tb. cocoa
1/2 c. coconut oil, warmed until liquid
1/2 Tb. vanilla
1. Measure vinegar into a measuring cup and fill with milk to make 1 1/2 c. Set aside and let stand about 5 minutes.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix soymilk mixture, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just blended.

3. Pour into baking cups or sprayed muffin tins and bake 15-20 minutes at 350. Cool on a wire rack until ready to frost.


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 c. vegan margarine
1 c. powdered sugar
1/8 c. cocoa powder
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tb. soymilk

In a bowl beat together vegan margarine, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth. Add the vanilla and soymilk and give it another quick whirl with the beaters. Use it to frost the cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mabon!

Mabon is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not pagan, but most of my friends are, so we all gather together and I cook them up a good feast. It's kind of like a witch's Thanksgiving, and any holiday centered around food and reflection with friends is enjoyable to me! I look forward to it starting in August and I seriously start planning weeks before the event. In addition to the food I go all out, I decorate the place with the appropriate items and colors and I also whip up a batch of herbal incense. When the day comes, I cook all day and I'm a little stressed and a lot hungry, but enjoying this meal with my friends makes everything worthwhile!

A little history:

Mabon - Autumn Equinox, 2nd Harvest, September 21st

Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year's crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Symbols of Mabon: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Foods of Mabon: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Colors of Mabon: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.

So, basically, it's a Harvest Festival. I make a lot of Thanksgiving-esque foods that are coming in to season. While I haven't quite decided on all the foods I'm going to be making, I do know that I will be making these delicious items:

Pecan-"Sausage" stuffing (a real hit at last year's!).
Rosted Vegetable medley
Cornbread
Apple Tart
Chocolate-Nut Tart
Mulled Cider

There will also be copius amounts of wine and a main dish that I haven't quite decided on. Ahh! I'm so excited! The stuffing and vegetable medley recipes I've already posted, but the others will be new additions as soon as they've been taste-tested!

Have a great day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Indian-Spiced Lentil Stew

This ingredients (other than the spices) to this stew aren't exactly authentic, but what you get is a hearty, filling stew for a cool, autumn night. Seeing as autumn hit us quite early this year, I plan on making quite a few warm and filling stews!

I often serve this with a vegetable dish on the side. Sometimes a cucumber-onion-tomato-soyogurt salad (always a winner) and sometimes with a steamed vegetable. I happened to go with some lightly steamed and sea salted zucchini slices. They go perfect with lentils!

This recipe is pretty easy and calls for ingredients you probably already have on hand. I've also included a recipe for Garam Masala from Sarah Kramer's La Dolce Vegan because when you live in a small place in the Midwest like me, you can't always find dem der exotick spices... Anyway, enjoy!


Kitchen Cupboard Garam Masala:
2 Tb. cumin
2 Tb. coriander
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice

In a small jar, combine all ingredients. Cap and shake well before using. Makes about 1/3 cup.

Indian-Spiced Lentil Stew:
1-2 Tb. olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
10 baby carrots, diced (or 1 large)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ginger
3 c. veggie broth + 1 c. water
1 c. dry red lentils, rinsed and sorted through
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pita chips, pappadam, or crackers, toasted until crispy
Nonfat soyyogurt (opt.)

Spice mix:
1/2 Tb. mild curry powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Heat oil in a lare saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add diced vegetables and saute about 2-3 minutes, or until the veggies start to soften. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir. Cover and cook veggies for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
2. Mix the spice mix together and stir into the vegetables. Cook another 5 minutes more or until fragrant.
3. Add lentils, vegetable stock, and water. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in lime juice.
4. To serve, ladle stew into bowls, top with 1-2 Tb. of soyyogurt (if desired), and toasted pita chips (crumble them up a bit). Enjoy!

105 calories for lentil soup per 1 cup serving
110 for pita chips/serving
20 for two Tb. soyyogurt/ per serving

235 a hearty bowl per serving