Monday, July 25, 2016

Roasted Beet and Potato Soup

Look what's tucked away safe and sound in my freezer. Such a unique combo of foods and flavors! My little garden produced about a dozen beets and I was tempted to either roast them for salads or throw them in my juicer, but instead decided to 'preserve' them for fall in the form of soup. And what a beautiful soup this is! Check out that color. Pure PINK! And please notice that this soup is to be served with tiny roasted potato 'croutons.' Such a fun idea.

Here's the recipe from Deliciously Ella blog. Potatoes, beets, cumin, lemon, coconut milk, and one of my favorite secret ingredients: coriander.

Here's another look at this delicious soup.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cauliflower and Walnut Ground Meat

Guess what? Another group of photos from the 'casserole' file on my computer! You might recall that recently I accidentally uploaded a bunch of random photos into a place on my computer labeled 'casserole.' Quite a mess right now! But I'm having fun sorting them and recalling all the good meals.

This recipe came directly from One Green Planet and, as all the recipes I've tried from that site, this is good. Good, as in 'you can't believe you're not eating meat.'

Basically, you chop up some raw cauliflower........

.....add some walnuts, tomato paste, and spices........give it a gentle whirl in the food processor.......

......spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet.......

.... and bake till dry and crumbly. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bulgur Taco Crumbles

I'm sorry to say that I have no idea how I made this ridiculously delicious bulgur taco meat. None. All I know is that is was so, so good! This beautiful burrito photo was hidden on my computer in the 'casserole' file. (If you've been following the blog the last few weeks, you know that lots of my photos ended up hidden in a filed named 'casserole.') I hadn't thought of this stuff for a while, and in the mean time - poof! - I forgot where I filed the recipe. :(

There is absolutely NO reason to eat ground beef again. This stuff not only tastes exactly like ground meat (well, at least how I remember how meat tastes....), it has all the texture and chewiness we crave.

It freezes great - I pulled some from the freezer last night and used it in crunchy shell tacos - so good!

I promise I'll do my best to find the recipe and method. Maybe it was a simple as add the taco seasoning packet and water to the bulgur, simmer, and bake till absorbed. I think that was it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pistachio Melon Cake (from RaisingJane)

“How difficult can it be?” I asked myself. Slice some melons, make some coconut cream, shell some pistachios, and tidy up the kitchen.

I’d had my eye on this beautiful cake from for quite a while. (The recipe was originally published a year ago and re-published again just recently.) 

I practically had the entire recipe and method memorized because I’d studied it and read it and deliberated over it for so long. Slice melons, whip up coconut cream, shell pistachios, tidy kitchen.

(This is where I mention that I was hosting a small dinner party in a few hours.)

The stumbling block would be the coconut cream. I’d tried whipping coconut cream on various occasions before – all great failures! In my experience, the fat in the chilled can never separated and rose to the top, leaving me with a watery mess. Everyone in ‘perfect internet world’ has great success with whipped coconut cream, but not me.

According to the original recipe, I HAD to use Native Forest full-fat (not low-fat) Organic Coconut Milk, but of course, my tiny town barely carries any coconut milk at all. So being the ridiculous person I am, I ordered 6 cans and had them ‘rushed’ to my doorstep.  You can see from the photos, that even after a few days in the fridge, the coconut cream was really weird….. more like grease and solid fat. Bleck.

I tried and tried to whip it, but eventually ended up adding lots of powdered sugar and milk and maybe even a bit of Earth Balance. In the end, it tasted great, but so frustrating! I will NEVER try coconut cream again.

The other weird thing about the coconut cream was that it did not cling at all to the melon slices. Not a pretty presentation. No one cared, of course, but still after all the effort, I was expecting a nice slice of cake with the frosting attached!

Anyway, if you’re looking for a beautiful fruit dessert, and you don’t mind cleaning up a huge mess, and you can live with frosting that falls off, give this a try. Original recipe and beautiful photos HERE.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sweet Red Pepper Candy

A few years ago, when red peppers were on sale at my local grocery, I purchased 20 or so and I'll never forget the reaction of the cashier and the bag guy. "What are you going to do with all those peppers?" they asked, incredulous.

I think my answer was a teeny, tiny bit snarky, and feel free to agree with me.  "Eat them," I replied.

Here's a delicious and quite gourmet way to use 7 peppers. Sweet, crunchy, chewy, and beautiful to boot. I gave all mine away as gifts, (Boo Hoo, Sob, Sob) so I'm just going to wait for the peppers to go on sale and make more.

Here's what you do:
Clean and slice 7 red peppers in about 1/2 inch lengthwise strips
Drizzle 1/2 C real maple syrup over the peppers and massage it in
Arrange on trays of dehydrator (My dehydrator has 4 trays - adjust quantities if needed)
Dehydrate for 24 hours (check them and maybe turn some over if needed as the hours tick away)

I started dehydrating mine at bedtime, so in the morning I could begin watching them more closely. I always dehydrate in the garage so I don't have to listen to all the noise and deal with all the extra heat that my dehydrator produces.

Try this! It's amazingly easy and so gourmet!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Garlicky Grilled Corn and Bean Salad

Here's a great example of what I eat on a pretty regular basis - big ole bowls of veg. This particular bowl was very good and super garlicky and it actually has great potential to develop into a serious recipe. For now, though, it will remain a simple concoction I created one night when Mr. Living Cookbook was out of town.

Garlicky Grilled Corn and Bean Salad

Grill 3 ears of fresh corn on either an indoor or outdoor grill. Remove the kernels.
Saute 1/2 can of dark kidney beans in some warm olive oil
Mince a few cloves of garlic and add them to the beans being very careful to simply warm them - never brown garlic!
Add 2 carrots,finely grated

Mix it all together and eat while warm; if needed drizzle some more olive oil over the top.

(and yes, I actually do eat 3 ears of corn, 1/2 cans of beans, and 2 carrots at a single sitting.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Salted Caramel Nuts from Ina Garten

I have not fallen in love with Windows 10 yet, especially the part where I attach my camera and WOOSH my pictures are gone! Well, not gone, but ‘downloaded’ somewhere (SOMEWHERE) *somewhere* on my computer.

For example, I found these photos in a file named ‘casseroles’. Sigh. I think I’ll need to re-organize that file. ….. or leave it alone and check there first for all my sauces, burritos, jams and jellies, pasta, casseroles, AND candied nuts. And these nuts were great! Salty and sweet, easy to grab a handful every time you pass by. Perfect for a gift. Kinda Christmassy, but who cares about that?

This recipe comes from Ina Garten and she makes everything look so dang easy. For example, nowhere in the recipe does it say that the sugar literally goes from solid to liquid in 2 seconds and also that is goes from golden to burned in another 2 seconds. Mine were just on the edge of being burned and ruined. 

Follow Ina's recipe carefully and keep the heat low under the melting sugar. It's like a chemistry experiment.  Basically, you melt sugar, add vanilla, and pour over roasted nuts. Sprinkle with sea salt. Find the original recipe HERE. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Harvesting Garlic

I can't even tell you how exciting it was to harvest my garlic! Look how healthy it is! Now it sits around and cures for a few weeks. Then it goes into all my summer cooking. Happy. Happy. Happy. Satisfied.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Creamy Chickpea Casserole

I served this delicious casserole with grilled corn 'off the cob,' and roasted asparagus. 

What Satisfies

students who play guitar
11 bell ringers
being a character in someone’s fiction
mulching all by myself
clean windows
new white bed sheets
sleeping dogs
creamy casseroles
a white peony 

One easy meal that I have missed making and eating since becoming vegan, is the classic casserole. Protein and veggies swimming in creamy sauces satisfy the palate. Plus, they’re a cinch to make ahead and serve to a crowd. A few years ago, I hosted a party and made a Cheesy Chicken Casserole, (find that recipe here), and I made my own vegan portion by swapping mushrooms for the chicken, and ate it without anyone knowing the difference. I guess, looking back, I felt embarrassed, for whatever reason, to serve the mushroom version to my guests. Times have changed.

This excellent Creamy Chickpea Casserole is based on a classic from my childhood – in fact, I like it so much, I have featured it twice already here on my blog: once with chicken and dairy cheese and once as a chickpea vegan variety.

Today’s post is the almost perfected version – except for the horrible photos. Which means that I’ll have to post about this again in the future. It’s worth it.

Creamy Chickpea Casserole-Take Two

Make a batch of vegan cream of chicken soup by blending the following:
1 pound firm tofu
2 t vegan chicken base / seasoning
2-3 t curry
1 ½ t onion powder
1 ½ t garlic powder
½ t turmeric
¼ C milk or water

For the casserole
Saute a few stalks of celery until they are soft but not brown. Place in a large bowl and add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, some toasted sliced almonds, the correct amount of soup base, some mayo (1/2 C or so), and lemon juice to taste. Oh, also add some cooked rice, but not too much! The last time I made this I added too much and it totally dried out. Keep it satisfyingly saucy.

Mix well. Pour into casserole. Grate cheddar over the top. Bake till warm. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Rhubarb Toad

There’s a toad living in my rhubarb patch
I rescued him from the middle of the lawn last month
He almost got chopped in the lawn mower.
Caught him in a bucket
     Neighbors watched
          John Deere in idle
               Dumped him in the rhubarb
“Stay!” said I.

I saw him today and felt happy. 
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