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salad and beans

June 21st, 2011 (10:57 am)

For years I did fancy math to make sure I didn't cook more beans than
I needed for a recipe. This Sunday during The Vortex we needed some
lentils and some black-eyed peas. We were in a hurry. I measured a cup
of beans into the pressure cooker (LOVE!) and set it to do its thing.
In my rush I said, "It'll make more than we need. I'll have the rest
on a salad."

Then I stopped. Why had I never thought of this before? Leftover beans
on a salad. Of course! What a great way to taste the beans. Different
beans with their different textures and flavors will make such
interesting salads! Now that we've entered the season of lettuce and
mesclun, I'll need interesting and filling salads. Beans to the
rescue! We already love the taco salad, which has refried beans on it.
Why not other beans?

No reason why not.

return to the cooking vortex

April 25th, 2011 (10:14 am)

For the past few eeks we've either slacked off the Sunday cook-a-thon
or relied on standards. Nothing worth documenting. We were in a
sleepy, hungry rut. Then I got Appetite for Reduction. Duuuude. The subtitle says
it all: "125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes".

I prefer low-fat recipes since it's always easy to get more fat in my
diet. If I start low-fat, I can always happily add some. Hard to scale
it back from a recipe that relies on the fat. Also, fast is what we
need! We cook three to five recipes each Sunday. It's a lot of work
and one elaborate recipe is enough derail the whole project. When we
end up staying up late to do actual dishes, no one goes to bed happy.

We decided to make three things this week and maybe fava* cutlets on
Monday. Adam chose 4 recipes. I vetoed the pasta-based dish since
pasta always finds it way into our rotation on its own. We settled on
Eggplant Provencal, Mango Bar-B-Q Black Beans, and Spinach Potato
Curry with Tamarind Coconut Quinoa. Strictly speaking, that's 4, but
it's OK because it was way easy. After we went food shopping we
figured out what order to do things in and got set up to do a week's
worth of cooking.

Since I'm in charge of onions, I set up with a cutting board by the
stove. He set up with a cutting board, measuring spoons and bowls, and
the cookbook at the kitchen the island behind me. I tended stuff on
the stove and he kept us on track with the recipes. It was wonderful.

We started the rice first. Starting the rice is like preheating the
oven in our kitchen. I could start two cups of rice before we even
know what we're cooking. Actually, that's a good idea. The beans
needed to cook for an hour after 10 or 15 minutes of prep, so we set
that as the first recipe. While the rice and the beans simmered, we
got the quinoa going. Then we started prepping the ingredients for the
eggplant stew. This all went smoothly, with things finishing as other
dishes were getting prepped. These Sunday afternoons in the kitchen
together are paying off.

Beans, rice, and quinoa done, we took a little break before starting
the eggplant stew and spinach curry. The stew would simmer for a
while, so we started that. While it simmered, we started the curry.
The eggplant stew finished around when the curry started its 20 minute
simmer. I made some couscous and some bulgur (Do you see how sneaky
that pasta is?) for the stew, and then everything as done. We
portioned it all out into containers, had a little for dinner, did
dishes, and went to bed happy.

We were a little concerned when we finished the beans, because the
recipe says it makes 6 servings. But it really looked more like 4,
even with rice. We hoped the other recipes would yield more, but were
ready to make alternate plans. It all turned out fine, though, because
the stew and the curry made bigger batches.

My favorite thing about this was how quick and easy it was to make
these recipes together. My favorite food thing about the recipes,
though, is the strong flavors. Like I said, we were in a rut for
awhile. A French style stew with lots of herbs and a curry with
fresh-popped mustard seeds filled the house with delicious smells that
we don't get often. I'm ready to cook my way through this whole book,
three or four recipes at a time.

*shut up

breakfast of late

April 21st, 2011 (07:51 am)

I'm a creature of habit. I go on long jags of eating the same thing
for a meal. It's often because of what's in season or coming from the
farm-share. Regardless, I get into a habit and stay there for a while.
I've noticed my brother does the same thing. Anyway, I've been having
the same smoothie for breakfast a few weeks now.

6 or 7 frozen strawberries
1/4 C frozen blueberries
1/4 C frozen raspberries
a medium banana, frozen in large chunks
1 T ground flax seed
1 T cocoa powder
1 serving powdered wheatgrass juice
1 1/4 C soy milk

It makes about 20 ounces. I top it with 1/4 C Kashi 7 grain nuggets
(the not-grapenuts)

Actually, I have toast for breakfast. I make the smoothie and bring it
to work with me.

This held me until about 10:15 or so. I'd eat lunch at 10:30, snack on
fruit in the early afternoon and get home famished by 4. That's not
the balanced way I want feel.

Then I discovered overnight oatmeal. You combine steel-cut oats 1:3
with water, bring it to a boil, and leave it to sit covered overnight.
Perfect oats in the morning. I start with 1/2 C oats and a handful of
dried cranberries or sultanas. Truly perfect. And I can heat it up or
eat it at room temperature. Turns out I really like them at room

First I tried making a parfait with half of the prepared oats and
saving the rest for the next day or as a snack later. It wound up a
chunky smoothie. I preferred my smoothie on it's own with crunchy bits
on top. This morning I brought the whole batch of oatmeal with me in
its own bowl and wasn't hungry until 11:30. Woot!

You'll never need another peanut butter cookie recipe.

April 14th, 2011 (10:52 am)

The Four-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie

1 C peanut butter (smooth or chunky, whatever you like)
1 C sugar (any granular sweetener you want. I sued sucanat)
2 T ground flax seeds
1/4 C water (optional)
1 t vanilla

preheat over at 350F
Mix the ingredients together until uniform.
Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
Spoon onto a baking sheet. I used a tablespoon measure.
Mash them flat as you go. These don't spread. I made alternating rows
of three and two and filled two cookie sheets.
Bake 5-10 minutes. They'll puff up a little (then fall flat if you
used the optional water)

I made mine thin and small because I made fluffernutter cookie
sandwiches with these and Ricemellow Creme.

Next I'll do it with no-bake cookies.

another cooking vortex

February 7th, 2011 (02:13 pm)

Butternut Saag from Veganomicon. We tweaked this. The original recipe
was for pumpkin. Butternut works just fine.

Fava Cutlets from Veganomicon. We tweaked this, too. The recipe calls
for chickpeas. Favas work better.

home recipe for pad thai with tofu. Next week with seitan!

roasted Brussels sprouts and tofu (sprouts-n-fu)

It took us 3.5 hours and now we're fed lunch and dinner for the week.

wintry oatmeal and coffee

December 7th, 2010 (08:58 am)

It's not officially winter here yet. So what if it's 26F outside this
morning? It's still autumn, dangit.

This morning's winter-y oatmeal was steel-cut oats soaked overnight.
This morning I added chopped dried apples and flame raisins. When it
was cooked through I added some cinnamon and walnuts. I also sprinkled
some maple sugar on Adam's portion.

I even made coffee at home this morning, including grinding the beans.
I never have time for that on a Tuesday morning. Ah...

Tasty warm breakfast. Love it.

first December Sunday Vortex of Cooking

December 6th, 2010 (10:30 am)

I lost MoFo this year. I got sick, then flew to FL for a funeral. I'm
not connected enough to post on the fly. Oh well. We now return to our
regularly scheduled programming.

We cooked three dishes this Sunday. I think we'll be fed for the week.

1- Stuffed Acorn Squash

2- Butternut Fava Stew (my variation on fatfreevegan's Moroccan Fava Bean Stew recipe)

3- Cabbage, Potatoes, and Parsnips in Black-bean Sauce

First we roasted the squash. While that was in the oven, I prepared
the stuffing for the acorn squash.

Stuffed Squash

the squash

2 acorn squash
heat oven to 375F.
cut squash in half.
scoop out the seeds.
place squash cut side down in a shallow baking pan (but not a cookie sheet).
pour 12 oz water in the pan.
bake 35 minutes.

You'll know they're done when you can easily pierce the skin of
the squash with a fork.
When the squash are done, pour any remaining water out and set them
aside. When they are cool enough to handle, flip them over.

I appreciate winter squash with stuffing. Hearty, tasty, and flexible.
The basic formula is a grain + a protein + something to contrast the
texture and flavor of the rest of it. quinoa, apples, and bitter
greens; long brown rice, chestnuts, and seitan; wild rice, dried
cherries, and walnuts; large couscous, pine nuts, tomato paste, and
currants. So many options!


1 onion, minced
1/2 C dried cranberries
1 large apple, chopped
1 bunch of collard greens, chopped
1 C quinoa, rinsed
3 C vegetable broth
thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste
saute the onion until browned.
mix in the apple and cranberries.
add the collard greens.
add the quinoa and broth.
bring to a boil.
season with thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
lower heat.
cover and simmer until the quinoa is done, 20-35 minutes.

The other recipes we've done many times before. I've posted them
before. We roasted the butternut squash with the acorns. I sliced the
length of the butternut into disks approximately the same width as the
walls of the other squash so they cooked at the same time. We have
lots of leftover butternut squash. I'll have pumpkin pie oatmeal for
breakfast a few times this week.

While the squash roasted, I worked on the stuffing and Adam made the
cabbage dish. Once the quinoa was simmering, I started on the stew. We
cooked the beans a while ago. Between that and the squash already
roasted, it was a snap to pull that together. This stew is a great
winter dish. I always want to make it extra-spicy because it's so good
with yogurt on top. I refrained and used a responsible amount of
master sauce instead of a toast-your-toes amount of sriracha.

It took us less than two and half hours, with clean-up, to get three
dishes done. Now we're fed for 6 days, not including breakfast. Maybe
we'll make some greens as a side dish, but blanching broccoli is no
big deal when stew is already done.


November 12th, 2010 (10:11 am)

I was not impressed with these, but they got praise at work from
omnivores, so there you go.

Chocolate Chip Bars

2 fleggs (2 T ground flaxx with 6 T warm water)
1 C crystalline fructose
1 C sucanat
1 t vanilla
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C applesauce

4 1/2 C whole wheat white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 C chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
Start the fleggs in a medium bowl.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large separate bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the fleggs and stir to combine.
Add wet to dry.
Add chocolate chips if you haven't already.
Spread, smoosh the dough into the parchment-lined pan. It's very
sticky, so use wet hands.

Bake 20-30 minutes, testing for done-ness after 20 minutes.

They are kind of bready. Not a cookie. Not a blondie. Just a...bar.

Someone pointed out that these would go well under ice cream. I think
buttercream frosting would also go well.


November 11th, 2010 (09:08 am)

Spicy Gingerbread

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 t powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 t cayenne

2 maple fleggs (that's 2 T ground flax with 6 T maple syrup instead of
the usual 6T water)
1/2 C molasses
1/4 C oil
1/4 applesauce
3 T grated ginger

oil and parchment a loaf pan.
preheat oven to 350F.
mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
add wet ingredients.
mix thoroughly.
bake one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wait until it cools completely to cut into it. Otherwise it's very crumbly.

This is really spicy. It sneaks up on you. You should have this with a
glass of nut or soy milk, something smooth and rich. Maybe chai or
cocoa. It's also excellent with plain yogurt or yogurt cheese..

Changes I'd make for next time: 1/8 t cayenne instead of 1/4, because
YOWZA. I might use 1/2 C oil instead if 1/4 oil and 1/4 applesauce to
make it less crumbly.


November 10th, 2010 (01:02 pm)

We didn't cook enough for this week on Sunday. Now I need to make
something tasty, filling, and fast. I think it's going to have to

Chili Bean Macaroni

1 pound of pasta
1 large can of tomatoes (diced, crushed, pureed: whatever you like)
1 can of mixed chili beans, drained and rinsed, if salted.
1 chopped onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pressed
chili spices, to taste
1 T parsley flakes
1-2 t basil leaves
black pepper to taste
2 T mushroom soy sauce (or Braggs, or tamari, or soy sauce)

Cook the pasta and set it aside. Toss it with a little olive oil to
keep it from sticking.
Caramelize the onion.
Saute the garlic until fragrant.
Add the canned tomatoes.
Add the canned beans.
Add the soy sauce and the spices.
Heat through.
Add pasta.

Serve warm.

optional add-ins include:
chopped pitted black olives
chopped kale or collard greens
hot sauce (I'll be putting Folk Foods' Master Sauce in mine)
sauteed mushrooms

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