Tag Archives: onion

Eating Other Blogs

18 Oct

I made the most fantastic dinner last night.  But I didn’t come up with the idea myself.  Actually, dinner goodness was thanks to two great blogs: The Vegan Crew and A,B,C, Vegan.

Usually when I see a recipe online, I start thinking about ways to make it different, or better, or how to remove animal products to make it vegan.  But this was perfect – Mushroom Alfredo Sauce with Chik’n and Mushrooms.  I didn’t change a thing, other than using a product other than Beyond Meat because I can’t get that in the backwoods of New Hampshire.  I also threw a little crushed red pepper on top because I like my sweet with spicy.

 

Paul said it was one of the best dinners I’ve ever made.  I agreed!

I want to put this pumpkin alfredo on more things.  I want to eat cauliflower rice more often (our cauliflower is usually mashed).  I want to eat chik’n and mushrooms with spinach.

Thank goodness there are leftovers!

Make this!

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Squash, Apples, Wine, Cows

15 Oct

Those are all things that I like a great deal.  Needless to say, I am a very happy girl about now.

This past weekend, Paul and I visited my parents in upstate New York.  We had a very relaxing and fun time with them, and even got a day of sunshine to enjoy things outdoors!

We ventured out on Saturday to find some apples.  Not many orchards are doing pick your own apples this year, due to the low yields.  That was okay though, because my arms aren’t completely healed and I’d be stuck with the low hangers anyway.  So we stopped at a local orchard and purchased about 20 lbs. of apples.  You see, Paul and I make fantastic homemade unsweetened applesauce.  Time to get canning!

My mother wanted to stop at a local bakery, but that ended up being closed for a family wedding.  However, we found two wonderful things as we turned away from the abandoned bakery: so many cows, and a sign pointing us towards a winery.

The winery is called Johnston’s Winery.  We followed painted signs pointing us to a private residence in the middle of nowhere (we were already in the middle of nowhere, this took us a bit more in).  None of us had much hope, but a very nice gentleman showed us into his brewing room and showroom.  He had a number of fruit and grape wines, and I have to say they were some of the best New York wines I’ve had.  Now, I’ve never really been a fan of New York wines to begin with.  Some of them aspire to be too much like Boone’s Farm.  Anyway, we were really surprised, especially with his Chardonnay.  It was delicious and fruity and nothing like Chardonnay wines usually are (I’ve come to decide they usually taste like fermented bath water).  This guy knows his stuff.  He even let us check out his brewing set up!  It was a thing of dreams, really.  We left with a mixed case, which I can’t wait to dig into.  If you’re ever in the Galway/Charlton area of New York, you should check it out.

We stopped on the way back to say hello to the cows.  I sure do love cows.  Now sadly, we were separated by an electric fence that the cows would not get within ten feet of (can’t blame them), so we were just able to trade some moos back and forth.  I have a whole slew of pictures of cows looking at me funny.  But this one was my favorite.  Her attention could not be taken from the grass.  Chew chew chew.

 

Before we left for my parents’ house, I had some squash to cook.  Every fall, I get so excited when all the variety of squashes come out and it’s just mountain of gourds and they all look beautiful and delicious.  One squash I’ve never tried is the weird dinosaur looking one.  Hubbard squash.

Since Hubbards are HUGE, we jumped on the chance to buy just a piece of one.  The whole ones can be a bit intimidating

 

Squash usually does well in soup, so I did some digging around to find some ideas.  I settled on a pinto bean and mixed squash soup.  So thick and beany and squashy!

Pinto Bean and Mixed Squash Soup

adapted from Cooking Light; makes 6 large servings

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups winter squash, chopped 1/2″ (I used Hubbard and Butternut)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (low or no sodium optional)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. dry roasted pumpkin seeds

1) Prepare beans: place beans in a pot and cover with water so that beans are below 2″ of water.  Let sit for 8 hours.  After beans have soaked, drain them, then place in a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring beans and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, cover the pot and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and cook the onion, carrots, squash and chipotle until the onions are softened and starting to brown.

3) Add the onion mixture to the beans, then add the thyme, sage, crushed tomatoes, and vodka.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook at a reduced heat for at least ten minutes, but as long as you’d like, making sure that the squash is tender.  Stir occasionally.

4) Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with the pumpkin seeds

 

So, in this soup, the Hubbard squash tasted much like the butternut.  The texture was a bit different, maybe a bit more grainy.  I liked it, but because of its bumpy skin, it’s a bitch to peel and chop.  I might just stick with the butternut in the future.  But still, adventure!

Note on the vodka: my boyfriend is a chemist.  He taught me all about esters and how tomatoes react with alcohol to release these wonderful things called esters that make things taste more flavorful and complex.  You can do it with any alcohol, vodka is just a relatively otherwise flavorless booze that you can use with any flavors.  I’d try this again with red wine!

Vegan Quiche, Blueberry Picking, and Parents!

23 Jul

So, last Wednesday, for What I Ate Wednesday, I posted a picture of the vegan quiche lorraine that I made for dinner.  I used to love the quiche that my Nannie (that would be my mom’s mom) used to make.  She made the most delicious and buttery pie crusts, and her quiche was always perfect.  It was filled with eggs, cream, swiss cheese, bacon, and with tomato slices on top.  I always really liked the slightly dehydrated tomato slices.  I could eat pretty much none of that anymore, but this crustless vegan quiche is a nice substitution.  I didn’t put tomato slices on top, but I will try that next time around!

 

Crustless Vegan Quiche Lorraine

adapted from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food

Ingredients

24 oz. light silken tofu (I used the refrigerated, water packed kind from Nasoya)

1 Tbsp. tahini

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. Spike seasoning

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 large white onion, diced very small

1 vegan sausage, diced (I used the Sweet Seitan Sausage from this same cookbook, delicious!)

2 minced garlic cloves

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 375F, and spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.  Set the pan aside for later.

2) Place the first eleven ingredients in a blender and blend until combined and smooth.  Using a spatula to scrape down the sides, empty the mixture into a medium sized bowl and set aside while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

3) In a medium sized frying pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and the sausage and cook them for 3 or four minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, don’t let it burn.

4) Add the onion-sausage mixture to the blended tofu mixture and stir well to combine.

5) Transfer that mixture to your prepared springform pan, and cook in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  If you toothpick test the middle, it should come out clean.  Let it rest in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove from the springform until ready to serve.

I served it at room temperature and warmed up, and they were both delicious!

This weekend was another really nice weekend!  Paul and I took a journey back into New York on Friday to spend the weekend with my parents.  Vermont was right these standing between us and New York, and when we drove through the Quechee Gorge area, we decided to stop and look around.

 

It’s a very nice area, with a wide trail going down to the bottom of the gorge, and what looked like well-blazed trails off of it.  I think I’d like to go back there for more exploring.

Once we got to my parents, we had even more of a fun time!  We got in late on Friday due to various pit stops, so Saturday was our day of fun.  (As an aside, Paul and I entered Moe’s Southwest Grill as a very hungry couple right before closing on Friday night.  They took my dairy allergy very seriously and I really appreciated all the extra steps they took to make sure I wasn’t going to get any cross-contaminated food.  Thank you guys again!)

On Saturday, Paul, my mom and I went to Schuylerville.  We drove up to the cemetery where my Nannie and grandpa are, since I haven’t visited in a while, and walked around the town a bit.  There are a few really neat stores in this super small town, especially thrift store and a used book store.  I got a nice polyester flower print shirt with ruffles on it, and copies of Viktor Frankl’s The Unconscious God and Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard.  I love me some Frankl.  And some Russian authors.

On top of all of the awesome books, this store has great decor.  I especially liked this skeleton in the horror section:

 

He’s reading The History of Orthopedics, of course.

We also went blueberry picking!  We each ended up with six or so pounds of blueberries.  My mom is a picking machine:

 

She filled up her bucket at least ten minutes before Paul and I filled the one that we were working on together!  Geesh!

Here’s our stash.  Paul’s “letting” me make a small batch of blueberry jam with them, but he mostly wants to cram them into his face unaltered.

 

Four quarts!

The last thing we did on Saturday was run.  We were scheduled for a nine mile run based on our half marathon training.  My farthest and longest run ever!  It was not pretty, let me tell you.  But I did it!  My parents have a mile loop around their neighborhood, so we ran that nine times.  It was funny, and we got encouragement from other people in the neighborhood as we kept going around and around.  But man, old and compact asphalt is hard.  And afterwards, I felt so weird.  It took an hour and a half or so for my stomach to be able to handle more than little sips of water or chocolate soy milk (this will definitely never be my after-run food of choice).  Paul is much more used to the long runs than I am.  Well, he’s done them before because he ran a marathon a few years ago.  So he hit his groove during this run.  Afterwards, while I’m rocking back and forth wondering whether or not I’m going to be spending the next little while with my head in the toilet, he’s pouring himself a big glass of wine!  Ugh!

Anyway, I recovered and became so ravenously hungry.  Good thing we had picked up food from Antipasto’s, which has some of the tastiest vegan and vegetarian Italian food in the capital district.  Granted, there’s not a lot of choices, but this is still a solid one.  I would have taken a picture of my tofu parmesan (the Paul McCartney, as Antipasto’s calls is), but I was busy rocking back and forth post-run.  Whoops!

Hanging out with my parents was super fun.  Even sitting on the couch and watching the Comicon movie and Saturday Night Live was pretty awesome.  Thanks, parents!  (I told them I was blogging again and my dad got annoyed at the name.  Again.)

The Freshest Bread and Vegetable Soup

2 Dec

Wooo, bread and vegetable soup.  Sounds boring, right?  Yeah, it sounds boring.  But when everything is fresh and home made, holy geez there was a party going on in my belly.

I’ve still been working my way through The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 but the bread chapter is so large!  I can only eat and give away so much bread.  Really, bread is becoming a treat for me, not something that I’m going to eat regularly.  But, I had bought a bag of rye flour and wanted to put it to use.  Rye bread is my favorite bread.

I’m still working on my bread baking skills.  I can do anything with white flours, but when I turn to whole grains I end up with something a bit more dense than I would expect.  Does anyone have any tips?  Or is this just the way it is?

The rye bread was actually a mixture of unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour and oatmeal.  The overwhelming flavor ended up being wheat.  Disappointing, but not bad.

To offset the carby carbs, I decided to start the soup chapter as well.  Soup is, afterall, one of my favorite things.  And with the snowy Rochester weather, it’s a perfect time to start cooking some up.

The vegetable soup recipe in The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 is really just a loose outline  of a soup.  Here’s what I did with it.

Fresh Vegetable Soup

makes six very large servings

1/2 medium eggplant, peeled

1 red bell pepper, seeded

1 medium potato

2 medium zucchini

a handful of mushrooms

3 scallions

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 large dill pickle

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

2 medium tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to taste

1) Chop the eggplant – onion into large chunks.

2) Slice the garlic and pickle into thin slices, and chop the tomatoes into 6 – 8 wedges each.

3) Add all of the vegetables to a large stock pot.  To this, add about 12 cups of water, the oil, vinegar, bouillon cubes, and spices.

4) Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for at least 30 minutes.  The longer this soup goes, the better it is!

Really, it’s silly to write up a recipe for this.  Throw whatever vegetables you have in a pot and season them to taste!  I meant to put some corn in there too.  I would try seasoning this differently, using some vegetable stock/broth instead of water or using some Braggs.

Regardless, this makes a very brothy and chunky soup.  Incredibly filling, especially with some bread torn into pieces and thrown on top!

Hey, that exciting news I mentioned before is still coming!  Woo woo woo!

Gingered Vegetables and a Swiss Chard Pie!

21 Jun

I do lots of traveling for work, and spend quite a few nights in hotels.  I usually bring food with me, get a hotel room with at least a refrigerator if not a microwave also, and cook for myself.  Eating out is good once in a while if I can find an interesting restaurant, but I have to admit that eating canned beans, couscous, and a salad is getting boring.  So today I decided to cook up a bunch of food to take with me!

The first thing I made was the Savory Swiss Chard Pie from FatFree Vegan Kitchen.  I swear Susan comes up with the best, healthiest recipes.  Swiss chard, yum yum.  I haven’t had any of this yet but I did clean out the pie plate with a fork after I put the pie into individual containers.

I’ve never eaten chard stems before, and this recipe uses both the stems and leaves.  Woah, every bit of that vegetable is tasty.

I also cooked up some vegetables tonight.  For dinner tonight, and for the week.  So many vegetables, they barely fit in my largest frying pan.  So here we’ve got some gingery vegetables!

Ingredients!

5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

2 medium onions, quartered and separated

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic

2 lb. red potatoes, cubed

8oz. green beans

4 medium carrots, cut in matchsticks

Directions!

Place the potatoes, green beans and carrots in a large pot of boiling, salted water.  Bring back to a boil and cook for about five minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

While this is cooking, heat the olive oil in a LARGE frying pan.  Cook the jalapenos and onions until soft.  Add in the ginger, garlic, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Cook this over medium heat for about five minutes.

Add the potatoes, green beans and carrots to the frying pan.  Cook over medium heat until everything is cooked through.

Word of advice: if you’ve got more ginger, ADD IT!

So now I’ve got lots of food packed up to go to Utica with me.  So much cheaper, healthier, and vegan than most of the food I find on the road!

Pineapple Baked Beans and Jalapeno Corn bread Muffins

16 Jun

Ellen came to visit me over the weekend and I knew if I didn’t have food waiting for her she would punch me in the mouth. I wandered around the internets for awhile looking at recipes for inspiration and feeling out my own hungries for ideas, and decided that I wanted something that involved beans and barbecue sauce. Apparently in this country they call that “baked beans.” Oh and putting pineapple in there seemed like a good idea too, so I did that.

Ingredients!

2 cans of pinto beans

1 medium sized onion

1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup barbecue sauce

Directions!

Directions? Oh! Just dump all that stuff into a kettle and cook it for a long while or put it in a pan and bake it for awhile or put it in a crock pot and let it cook for a good long time. That was easy! So, since that’s so simple you can make something else. Buy some cornbread mix and make cornbread muffins. Fold in one jalapeno and make it a little spicy. Yum!

Now Ellen won’t punch you in the face when she gets here!

-Bret

Mujadarrah

12 Jun

Remember how I said I had money now and I was going to start cooking nice things and not just living on Big Lots’ jars of pickles and whatever I’ve had in the cupboard for the last year collecting dust? Okay, that didn’t really happen. I’m in a money squeeze, who knows when I’ll get out, and I haven’t been doing the best job of assembling real meals for myself. Lunch was shredded wheat and milk. Breakfast was shredded wheat and milk. Hmm.

But I have this bag of lentils, and Jeff won’t mind if I steal one of his onions, and oh I have some brown rice too. Holy crap! I can make mujadarrah! I discovered this recipe a long time back when I was in a similar low-budget situation with some random ingredients hanging around. Now, I don’t know if the way I make it resembles at all the authentic proper way of making it, but it tastes awesome.

I’m not going to give you a proper recipe because I was just winging it and there’s only a few ingredients but here’s what I did. I cooked a cup of brown rice and boiled a cup of lentils. In another pan I used some olive oil to fry up a whole sliced onion. Now, if I had it to do over again I’d use two. I cooked them until they were good and brown and some of the onions were even burnt a little. Then I took the rice and the lentils, put it in the skillet with the onions, and mixed it all up while still frying it on medium heat. I added a little more oil at the end, stirred it, and then seasoned it with salt and pepper to taste. Whoops! I forgot the garlic. I added in a couple cloves of minced garlic at the end here and fried it for another minute to let that cook a little bit, but I probably should have added it towards the beginning after the onions were translucent.

Hey! That was easy! And it was really tasty too. Some recipes add in spices at the end like cumin. I thought about it and thought it tasted just great without.

-Bret

Pizza Night at Mom’s

15 May

Hey, my mom reads this now. Hi mom!

For Mom’s Day I went to mom’s house and made pizza with her and her husband, Colin. If I had known, I would have brought some ingredients, but mom and Colin provided some so I went to work making a veggie pizza on the whole wheat crust they made from scratch. Wow was that good.

We also had a random assortment of veggies and some cheesy stuff on hand so I used that. So hey, here’s what I did.

Once the crust got flattened out I coated it in a layer of olive oil. Next came pizza sauce, minced garlic, diced onion, and some red pepper flakes. After that, sliced tomato, broccoli, and mushrooms, with some chunks of mozzarella and a sprinkling of cheese that comes pre-shredded in the stores.

It turned out pretty awesome and mom and Colin liked it which was really my goal here. Honestly, I used more cheese than I would have liked, but cheese is tasty and I didn’t want mom and Colin to think it was bland. So I used slices of mozzarella a la pizza margharita rather than just shredding a whole bunch and coating the top. It was still more cheese than I’d usually use, but I liked it.

I have to get the recipe for that pizza crust from my mom too. It was good.

-Bret

Habanero and TVP Chili

3 May

It’s food Friday! (By the time you read this, though, it’ll probably be Saturday because I don’t want to post twice in one day). Food Friday is growing like an alien life form a small child has hidden under his bed and is feeding leftovers until one day those leftovers are not enough and it eats his parents and then the military is dispatched. Because it’s been chilly for the last week, we made chili to warm our bones.

Man. I just love cooking for people and having them eat it and like it. I volunteered to be one of three people making a pot of chili, even though I’ve only made chili a couple of times. But here’s a secret – chili is easy to make. At least I think so. So I just looked at some recipes and brainstormed some ingredients and this is what I ended up with.

I made it last night, but had a dilemma of how to keep it warm when I bring it in. So I brought it in to work in a slow-cooker. But I didn’t have anywhere to plug it in, so I just put it underneath my desk. That’s the slow-cooker hiding behind the cardboard box. I hid it so that I wouldn’t get yelled at for, like, a fire hazard or something.

One of the guys I work with just came up and asked me for the recipe. He has some nieces who are veggie and he said it’s hard to find “robust” vegetarian chili. He said he had three helpings and it’s a nice pleasant burn. I’m so happy!

Oh hey this is what it looks like.

Ingredients!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil of your preference

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 habanero peppers, diced (use gloves if you’ve never cooked with habaneros before)

2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes – I use one can crushed and one can whole but you could do whatever

2 15 oz. cans of appropriate chili beans – if you like beans a lot throw in another can

1 cup TVP (this measure could be off because I just dumped a bunch in by eyeball – it might have been closer to 2)

1/2 a small bottle of Dos Equis

cumin!

Directions!

Like I said, this is chili. It’s easy. Put the oil in the bottom of a big kettle. Saute the bell pepper and onion until it’s nice and soft. Now just dump in everything else. Yeah! Dump it!

So, I dump the beans in water and all but some people think that’s a bad idea. If you agree, rinse the beans off and and add, like, two cups of water.

Add cumin to taste! Then let it cook for a long time. Like, until the TVP gets soft, but since this is chili if you just put it in a slow cooker and leave it alone it’ll be good.

It turned out a tiny bit watery. I think more beans and more TVP could easily be added if you like a thicker chili, but I like a little bit of “broth” in mine. The three habaneros gave it a nice heat that wasn’t brutal. This is definitely a recipe I’ll make again in the future, and I’m super-proud I came up with it pretty much on my own.

-Bret

Layered Rice with Eggplant and Coconut (Baingan Biryani)

24 Apr

Jennifer posted the recipe for the biryani in the comments for the post. I’m reposting it here in case you missed it. Thanks Jennifer! Heart-heart! -Bret

Layered Rice with Eggplant and Coconut (Baingan Biryani)

2 cups Coconut Milk
1.25 cups Basmati Rice. (sorted and washed in 3-4 changes of water)
1.75 cups Water
.5 cup Grated Coconut
1-3 Dried Red Chile Peppers
1 Large Clove of Garlic
5 Quarter-size slices of fresh peeled Ginger
1-3 fresh Green Chile Peppers
1 Onion
1 ts ground Coriander
1 ts Garam Masala (+ .25 ts for garnish)
.5 ts ground Turmeric
3 TB Peanut Oil
1 lb of Eggplant (cut into bite size pieces)
1.25 ts salt or whatever
1 large Tomato
2 TB fresh chopped Mint Leaves
.5 cup Fresh Cilantro
2-3 TB Lemon Juice

1. Soak rice in the water for 30 minutes.

2. Place grated coconut and red chiles in skillet and dry-roast until golden and fragrant. 1-2 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to blender and process along with garlic, ginger, green chile peppers and onion until finely ground. Mix in the coriander, garam masala and turmeric and process again. Transfer to large nonstick saucepan. Add 2 TB oil and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat. About 5 minutes.

3. Add the eggplant, half the salt and .5 cup Coconut Milk. Cook over high heat about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook until eggplant is soft. 15-20 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

4. To the same pan, add 1 TB oil, tomato, mint and cilantro and cook over medium heat until most of the tomato juice evaporates. About 2 minutes. Add the rice and the water it’s soaking in along with remaining salt and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the rice is almost fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

5. To assemble the biryani: Remove about half the rice to a bowl. Spread the cooked eggplant mixture over the rice that remains in the saucepan. Cover the eggplant mixture with the reserved rice. Drizzle the lemon juice over the rice, cover the pan, and cook over the lowest heat setting, 10-15 minutes, to blend the flavors. Sprinkle garam masala on top and serve.