Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Modge Podge of Stuff

Just a few tidbits today – all in the delicious category….well, except one.

This delicious sandwich – Marinated and grilled portabella mushrooms, garlicky spinach, sweet sautéed onions. Served with roasted beets and fries. The bun was garlicy and toasted. (Thanks to Dawn for this excellent sandwich idea)

These delicious carrots – coconut oil, miso, maple syrup. Bake. Sprinkle with sea salt before serving. Sweet and sticky and salty. Oh my. Don’t forget to eat the humble carrot.

 These delicious ‘restaurant style’ enchiladas – truly, these three ingredients made a fantastic enchilada sauce.  (Thanks, Lisa, for suggesting this to me – a new standard in our house.)

 This weird, but tasty, cauliflower crust pizza – tasted great, but it stayed soggy in the center. We ate it like a casserole with forks and spoons. Recipes abound all over the internet. Take your pick. 

This even weirder and not tasty cauliflower crust pizza – first meal I served my hubby after his return from Japan. A dud.  (the pizza, not the husband….) 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lemony Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

I have made this dressing twice this week, and it’s only Tuesday! It’s got all my favorite flavors; lemon, Dijon, roasted red peppers. Plop it all in a blender and whirl to perfection. It’s based on a Food Network Magazine recipe, but I made some tracy changes.

 The first attempt was a bit grainy / streaky because my red peppers were still frozen.

Today – total creaminess…. I was actually thinking about dropping in a tablespoon of sour cream. That would be heavenly. 

Black beans and avocados – now that’s not bad for a Monday evening salad! What would be really super is crispy Romaine, green peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans, cheddar, grilled chicken and avocados. This one is a total keeper!

Here’s what you need:
2 T lemon juice
1 T Dijon mustard
½ t sugar
Salt, pepper to taste
1 C roasted red peppers
¼ C olive oil
1/8 C water

Here’s what you do:
Put it all in a high powered blender and have at it.

(printable recipe)

Here’s one last look at the stuff on my son’s tostadas…..grilled chicken, white rice, cheddar, salsa, Lemony Red Pepper Dressing, habanero salsa. …. All served on a grilled tortilla. Lemon

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spiced Potatoes with Lentils and Barley

I love this type of salad. Chewy and toothsome. Flavorful and healthy. Plus, there’s a lot of lemon in the recipe, and that’s always a plus. This could be served as a side dish or as an entrée with a salad or vegetable on the side. This recipe comes from Veggie.Num.Num and can also be found on the Meatless Monday website.  My changes are reflected below. 

Here’s what you need:
1 C regular barley, soaked for at least 2 hours in water
1 C dried brown lentils, rinsed
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and veins removed
1 ¼ lb new potatoes or other small waxy potatoes
2 t paprika
2 C vegetable broth
½ C water
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1 C frozen peas
½ C chopped Italian parsley, chopped

Here’s what you do:
Soak the barley for at least 2 hours in plenty of water. Drain the water and place barley in a large pot or Dutch oven.

Bring 1 ½ C water to a boil. Add the lentils and boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, simmer for 15-25 minutes, or until tender. When the lentils are done, drain off any remaining water, season with salt and add to the barley.  

Heat oil in pan. Sautee the garlic and jalapeno pepper. Remove and add to the lentils and barley.

Add a bit more oil and the whole potatoes to the pan and fry the potatoes until brown, about 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle them generously with paprika. Remove them to the lentil-barley mixture.

Add the veggie stock, water, lemon juice and bring the entire mixture to a boil. Turn down, simmer for about 20 -25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. You may cover this and let it sit for a while to absorb all the goodness.

Add the lemon zest, peas and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

(printable recipe) 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes: The Joy of Vegan Baking

What do they say? While the cat's away, the mice do play? That might be translated as, "My husband is out of town and I am eating cupcakes for breakfast." But, can you blame me? I made these excellent cupcakes for my daughter's birthday, and a few leftovers were tucked away in the freezer for my delish breakfast this week.

I'm telling you, the frosting was perfect on banana bread.
See below for other random stuff I eat when the Mr. is out of town. Lucky me. 

Buttery lima beans, roasted tomatoes, mustard seed potatoes

Roasted asparagus, roasted mushrooms, lettuce with avocado oil vinaigrette.  Leftover buttery lima beans :) 

 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting
From The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

½ C peanut butter
1 ¼ C nondairy milk
1 ripe banana
1 t vanilla
2 ¼ C flour
1 C suger
3 ½ t baking powder
1 t salt
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder

With a hand mixer, blend the peanut butter, milk, banana and vanilla. Stir the dry ingredients together. Add the dry to the wet and stir until well combined.

Spoon into greased muffin tins (or cupcake liners). Bake for about 20 minutes. When the cupcakes are cool, remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost when completely cool.

½ C peanut butter
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
½ C nondairy milk
2 ½ C confectioners’ sugar
¼ t salt
1 t vanilla extract

Mix the peanut butter and cocoa. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Add the salt, vanilla and the confectioners’ a bit at a time, mixing well after each addition. Frost generously. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tomato Soup: My first meal

I had a root canal yesterday. If you have had the pleasure, then I need not go in to details. If you are unaware, then let me just simply say....I was in a lot of pain this week. I could not eat or drink or chew or sleep or talk or smile or function.... I probably owe everyone I know an apology for being so cranky. Sorry. I was in a Vicodin daze and was not responsible for my hazy behavior!

This was the first meal I had after my tooth was fixed; believe me when I say it was the best tomato soup and grilled cheese I have had in my life.

I used this recipe from Olla-Podrida blog. Pattie has great recipes; I have been following her blog for a long time. I  tweaked her recipe by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and almond milk instead of heavy cream. I also doubled the paprika and curry powder, cuz I'm a spicy girl.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thoughts about a birthday

24 years ago our first child was born - a beautiful, healthy daughter - and our lives changed forever. Those of you who are parents understand exactly what I mean. Having children means giving of yourself until there is really not much more to give! Am I right? Oh, but what rewards there are for those who look….

Small kisses and big hugs……
 school art projects taped to the wall…… 
   homemade Mother’s Day cards with hand written messages…… 
     walks to the park and hours (well, it seemed like hours) pushing the swing back and forth…….  
a pink elephant birthday cake…… 
     new school shoes…… backpacks thrown on the floor, overflowing with textbooks, candy wrappers, running shoes, sports uniforms.....
      special parties:  baptism, confirmation, high school graduation, college graduation!........ 
          painting the bedroom pink, and then yellow….. 
baby dolls, Barbies, ballerina outfits, hair ribbons, make-up¸ glittery shoes, twirly skirts, fuzzy slippers…
       girls’ weekends in Chicago….
                the first day of kindergarten, the first day of college, the first car, the first job, 
                       the first apartment, the first boyfriend, the first broken heart……

long nights awake worrying, praying, wondering….. 

my heart is full of thanks and awe. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two Soups: Borscht and Coconut Curry Red Lentil

I received a subscription to Chickpea magazine for Christmas and I also treated myself to all the back issues. It’s a beautiful publication, full of gorgeous photos and recipes. It’s the type of magazine that you keep for years to read and re-read every page. This perfect White Zucchini Pizza comes from the Summer 2012 issue. I am a pizza snob, and I know a great pizza when I see one. This one is more than great. You must try it, even you non-vegans out there.

From the Winter 2012 issue, I recently made Borsch; never in a million years would I have dreamed of making it, but the color in the photo tempted me. I wanted to serve it at my St. Patrick’s Day party, but it wasn’t party-worthy in my opinion. The flavor was very thin and mild, which surprised me considering how many zillions of ingredients were in it. Also, if you want to know the truth  - let’s really bond, here – it went s.t.r.a.i.g.h.t. through me…. definitely NOT party-worthy! “Tracy, may I use your bathroom?” “Yes, me too?” Ah, but, that COLOR!

And since soup season is not over up here in Michigan, I also made this excellent Coconut Curry Red Lentil. I loved it, but I wish I had made it thinner. It was a bit too thick for my taste. What I am trying to imitate is the soup I had at Seva Restaurant in Ann Arbor. Why do restaurants always have such great and ‘secret’ ingredients??

And then I was messing around and decided to puree some it: 
 “Tastes like baby food,” said the family."

Here’s what you need for Borscht:
4 beetroots
2 cabbage leaves
2 celery stalks
1 sour apple
1 carrot
Some parsley stalks
½ leek
8 peppercorns
6 allspice corns (I used dried)
2 cloves
2 garlic cloves – unpeeled
3 dried mushrooms
2 dried plums
2 t dried marjoram
¼ C black currant juice (I used pomegranate juice)
2 t red wine vinegar

Here’s what you do:
Wash all the veggies but don’t peel them. Grate beets in a food processor. Cut the apple in quarters and remove seeds. Put all ingredients except marjoram, juice and vinegar in a large pot. Cover with 3 liters of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. When it’s done, add the marjoram and vinegar. Leave it alone for the night. ( I put mine in the cold garage)
Next morning, strain, heat, season with salt, pepper and juice. Serve piping hot. 

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup (adapted from website, Chef #437873)
Here’s what you need:
1 T olive oil
1 T hot curry or more to taste
½ t cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 t fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 small can tomato paste
7 C water
2 C Silk brand coconut milk
2 C red lentils
15 oz cooked chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 T lime juice
Cilantro for garnish

Here’s what you do:
Warm the oil in a large pot. Add the curry and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the onions and cook another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, ginger, garlic, salt, sugar and tomato paste. Cook 2 more minutes. Pour in the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are very soft.  At the end, stir in the lime juice.