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Throw everything in the pan curry

30 Aug

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I am a firm believer that great things come from one pan. I will throw everything i have in the fridge in a pan and serve it up about once a week or every two weeks.
This time I also used up a can of pigeon peas that I bought for the first time. I’ve never eaten them before so I didn’t know how I would like them. Turns out they were the perfect thing for my vegetable curry.
I cooked onion, garlic, pigeon peas, tomato, carrot, and mushroom in one pan and added a couple scoops of curry powder and soy milk. Simmered for 10 minutes and devoured! I will be buying more pigeon peas next time I go shopping! Next time I’ll use a little less curry powder and I think this meal will be perfect. It’s great for leftovers too!
What do you add to your curry?
Or what’s your favorite one pot meal?
-Kerri

Lentil Soup, lots and lots of lentil soup

28 Aug

I’ve been wanting to cook lentils for a while now. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the before this year. They always looked weird and un appetizing to me. Some lovely Indian dal changed me mind. I’m still too intimidated to cook Indian food at home, so i made lentil soup. This recipe is simple and tastes great! It came out more like a stew, perfect with a piece of toast. It tastes way better than it looks, trust me 🙂 

Simple Lentil Soup:

1 lb green lentils

1 large potato

1 large tomato

3 large carrots

1 med onion

6 leaves of kale

5 cloves of garlic

2 tbs oil

1 quart vegetable stock

2 cups water

salt and pepper

 

In a blender, pulse garlic, onion, carrots, and kale. This cuts down on the chop time.

 

Heat oil in large soup pot.

Add vegetables from blender to pot.

 

Add salt and pepper. (A good large pinch)

Chop potato into small pieces and add to pot, stir occasionally, cook for 5 minutes.

Rinse lentils with cold water.

Add Vegetable stock to pot. (I poured the stock into the blender and then into the pot so I could get every last little piece of the green vegetable mix out of the blender.

Add extra water (I added 2 cups and it came out pretty much like stew, add more water of veg. stock for a thin broth)

Cover pot and let cook for 30 minutes.

taste test lentils, continue to cook until lentils are soft but not mushy.

Serve with toasted crusty bread.

Enjoy. Makes enough for sharing and the freezer 🙂 

A little sweet and a little savory

23 Aug

I recently subscribed to the Happy Herbivore’s 7 day meal plan with the hopes of losing a few pounds. One of the recipes I have already fallen in love with: Peanut Butter Cup Quinoa. It’s my new favorite way to start the day!

 

For dinner, I made corn fajitas. I sauteed some black beans with onion, cumin, salt, and black pepper. In a separate frying pan, I sauteed peppers and onions. I layered the beans and peppers on top of a corn tortilla with salsa and guacamole. Delicious!

 

~Kate

Red Rice, Corn Pudding, and Green Beans

13 Aug

Tonight, I browsed my Happy Herbivore cookbook and made two recipes for dinner: Charleston Red Rice and Corn Pudding. The results were great, especially with the rice!

Charleston Red Rice

2 cups of cooked rice

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 teaspoons of hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

Garlic powder

Minced onion or onion powder

Cayenne pepper

Salt

Pepper

Simply mix everything together and warm. So easy, so delicious!

~Kate

Crazy Cool Tofu Ricotta in Eggplant and Pepper Lasagna

11 Aug

 

Tofu Ricotta Eggplant and Bell Pepper Lasagna

I have been getting a lot of eggplant in my CSA  for the past couple of weeks, so I have been experimenting with different ways to cook it. I wanted to make these little eggplant bites I saw on Pinterest but my eggplant was too short to roll up, so I decided to take the same flavors and present them in lasagna instead.

I layered slices of eggplant with garlicky tomato sauce and the most amazing homemade vegan ricotta. This tofu ricotta is so good that I almost ate all of it right out of the blender. Mike hates tofu and loves dairy and even he was impressed with the flavor! When Mike likes it, you know it’s a success.

Michael doesn’t like eggplant very much, so I decided to make half the pan eggplant layers and the other half layers of fresh bell peppers. Truth be told; we both ended up eating off of each other’s plates that night. I love this dish and I think it will become a new staple in my home. I think you could use several different veggies for this recipe. I can’t wait to try it with zucchini or portabella mushrooms.

 

Ingredients:

2/3 block of extra-firm tofu

juice from half a lemon (or lime, because I never seem to have lemons when I need them)

1 tablespoon basil

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
(2 for ricotta and 1 to sprinkle on top)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cups tomato sauce

1 small eggplant

1 bell paper

3 plumb tomatoes (optional)

2 slices of toasted crusty bread, cubed. (will make bread crumbs. 3tbs for the ricotta, and 3tbls to sprinkle on the top)

You will need a food processor. I use my Ninja;  everything always comes out perfectly when I use the Ninja.

Directions:

Thinly slice the eggplant (length-wise) and over with salt on both sides to draw out excess water.

Slice up bell pepper.

Make breadcrumbs. I had two slices of Panera’s country loaf that were a bit stale, you can use any crusty bread, or just use whatever breadcrumb you have.

Cut bread into cubes so it will fit in the food processer and toast in toaster oven. Set 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs aside to sprinkle on top later.

Combine the tofu, citrus, salt, basil, nutritional yeast, and olive oil with the 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs in the blender.

Rinse the salt off of the eggplant and pat dry with paper towel.

Spread some tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking pan.

Place the veggies in a single layer on pan.

Spread ricotta on top of the veggies the best you can. It helps to use your fingers here.

Repeat to make at least two veggie layers. Top off with remaining tomato sauce.

Sprinkle the top with remaining breadcrumbs and a small amount of nutritional yeast.

Slice plumb tomatoes and place on top

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown on the top.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

-Kerri

Vegan Pot Pie

10 Aug

I cooked this tofu pot pie for my family to celebrate my parents’ birthdays. It was the first time I cooked for anyone outside of my apartment since going vegan, and I got a lot of complements. In fact my (non-vegan) mother requested this recipe for the blog today.

A lot of chicken pot pies use cubed chicken, so the cubed tofu doesn’t look foreign to the omnivores, and the gravy is so good everyone will love it.  The crust is so buttery; this recipe is perfect comfort food.

Vegan Pot Pie

 

Crust

1 cup flour
plus some extra for dusting

1 stick vegan Butter (cut into very small pieces and frozen)

A small amount of ice water

Filling

I package super firm tofu

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion

1 celery stock

1 carrot

3 cloves garlic

1 medium sized potato

1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons soy sauce
(or tamari)

1 1/4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Crust

The key to this flakey crust is working with very cold ingredients. Put all crust ingredients in the freezer while you work on dicing the veggies and cook the filling. Yes, even the flour, put it in a bowl and stick it in the freezer. I even stick the fork I will be using to mix the dough in the freezer too.

 

Filling

Squeeze tofu to get rid of excess water. I press the tofu between my hands over the cutting board and then rinse the cutting board in the sink. If you press the tofu over the sink you run the risk of dropping bits into the sink and that sucks. Or you can wrap the block of tofu in a paper towel and press it between the cutting board and a plate.

Cut tofu into 1/3 inch pieces.

Dry fry tofu until pieces are brown on most sides. The key to dry fry (no oil) tofu is to leave it alone. Don’t flip the pieces every 5 seconds. Let one side sit and get brown, and then move the pieces carefully onto the other side, let sit until brown, repeat. If little pieces of tofu stick to the pan don’t have a heart attack, it will all get incorporated into the filling.

Remove tofu from pan and set aside.

Heat olive oil in the same pan and add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Heat until fragrant and onion is sweated.

Add potato to the mix and cook until. Stir often; do not over cook potato.

Add flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to the pan. Stir until incorporated. It should look kind of doughy or crumbly. If the oil is incorporated into the flour there wont be any clumps in the gravy.

Add vegetable stock and stir, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.

Add tofu, peas, sage, basil, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Crust

Using fork, mix flour and butter until crumbly. Then mix again using your hands to fully incorporate butter. (It doesn’t have to be perfect; it will come together in the end)

Slowly sprinkle ice water and mix with the fork until dough forms.

Dust an area with flour and roll out crust to fit your pie pan.

 

Assemble

Pour filling into pie pan.

Cover with crust.

Cut slits in the crust with a knife.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

 

-Kerri

Gardein’s Crispy Mandarin Chick’n

9 Aug

If you have not tried this, I suggest you grab your car keys and find some immediately! I like to cook mine up with some green beans or broccoli. I made this for my father a few weeks back. He insisted I needed to hide it from him, otherwise he would eat the entire bowl. Truth be told? Every time I cook this, I tell myself I will save some for the following day. It has yet to happen. It really is THAT good!

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~Kate

Meatless Meatballs with Marinara and Veggies

6 Aug

Once again, the Happy Herbivore has provided a vegan version of one of my favorite foods. I have been craving meatballs lately and decided to try the HH recipe. My experience with meatless meatballs in the past has not been very good, so I had pretty low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised with the result of these ones, though!

 

While the vegan meatballs were cooking, I roasted some tomatoes I got from my CSA and some eggplant. I also added some homemade marinara, pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan Parmesan, and fresh basil to complete the meal.

 

Since I cannot share the meatball recipe (you will need to buy the Happy Herbivore cookbook for that!), here is my super easy, homemade marinara sauce recipe.

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Fra Diavlo oil (Omit if you don’t like spicy sauce or if you want it to be fat free)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 -2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning (I like mine to have a lot of flavor, but adjust it to your tastes)
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste

Heat the oil and then add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 90 minutes. Enjoy!

~Kate

So much delicious-ness!

5 Aug

I found this great recipe on Pinterest, but tweaked it to make it a little healthier and give it a little more flavor. I put the changes in red 🙂

Black Bean, Corn, and Edamame Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (I used a few tablespoons of vegetable broth)
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
  • 2 cobs of corn, cooked, cooled, and corn cut from cob (about 2 cups) (I used frozen corn)
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked and cooled
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, oils, broth, garlic, and agave or sugar. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. Add the corn, edamame, black beans, onion, and cilantro to a medium/large bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over the mixture and gently toss.
  4. Refrigerate for at least one hour, up to overnight, to allow flavors to blend.

For dinner, I made a delicious stir-fry with string beans from my CSA, broccoli, carrots, snap peas, onions, peppers, and edamame. The night before, while making pesto tofu sandwiches, I set aside some extra dry-fried tofu to marinate. The marinade consisted of an vegetarian stir-fry sauce I purchased at the local Asian market, vegetable broth, granulated garlic, and ground ginger. Why the veggie broth? I saw the sodium content in the sauce and decided to dilute it. It was still tasted great! The only other item I included was Asian rice cakes that Kerri was kind enough to bring me last week. I love the texture and how they taste mixed in with the vegetables and sauce.

Regardless of how delicious my food tastes, I need a little something sweet to end the day. I lost a lot of cooking energy making these meals so I settled for some delicious vanilla cake with vanilla frosting from my favorite restaurant, Susty’s Vegan Cafe. A perfect end to the day!

~Kate

If Vegan Food is Scary, Try This Bruschetta

5 Aug

For someone transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, one of the scariest things is the idea that you can’t eat any familiar favorites. For friends and family of vegans, sometimes the word vegan is scary, not to mention how terrifying the idea of actually eating a vegan dish might be. Maybe terrifying is too harsh of a term, but there is a lot of intimidation that surrounds a vegan lifestyle.

People say, “Oh my God. You don’t eat meat? What do you eat?” or “Hmm, I’ve never had a vegan meal before”. Chances are, almost all vegans thought this way before switching. An easy reply to “I’ve never had a vegan meal.” Is “sure you have, what about spaghetti and marinara sauce, or peanut butter and jelly.”

A slow introduction to vegan dishes can be a lot easier than suddenly showing up to a party with kale chips, or seaweed salad.

Here’s a familiar crowd pleaser to bring next time you’re invited to bring food to a party or a meeting. Serve this oil free bruschetta you friends and family of all ages, it’s that good! It’s to full of flavor they wont miss the cheese, and they won’t believe it’s oil free! I came up with this the other day and it was gobbled up in no time. All the ingredients were from my CSA!

Kerri’s Oil Free, Tomato and Eggplant Bruschetta:

Serves 3

1 Eggplant – I used one of the light colored, long and skinny varieties.

1 hand full of salt (trust me)

2 Large Garlic Cloves, or 3 small ones

2 Cups of Chopped Tomatoes – I used plum tomatoes, whatever’s handy

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 Large Slices of Crusty Bread – I used Panera Bread’s County Loaf.

Balsamic Vinegar to taste

Slice the eggplant into pieces about a ÂĽ inch thick.

To get rid of excess moisture and to avoid mushy cooked eggplant, place the eggplant slices in a single layer in a colander or on a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with a hand full of salt. Let the eggplant slices sit for 10 minutes with the salt. You will see the water bead up as it’s drawn out of the eggplant by the salt.

While the eggplant is sitting chop your tomatoes. I cut my plumb tomatoes into 3 or four pieces each, no uniform shapes. If you cut the veggies into non-uniform shapes, it will give your dish a rustic look and varieties of texture.

Place a garlic clove on the cutting board. With a broad knife over the garlic pound down with the palm of your hand to squish the garlic, therefore releasing it’s fragrant oils and flavor, and freeing the clove from it’s paper prison. Again, I love my food rustic so I use the garlic in this smooshed state, but if you want you can cut it up a bit too. Continue with remaining cloves.

Put tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, add salt and pepper, and mix with your hand until evenly blended.

Place tomatoes and garlic in a single layer on a baking pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes until juicy and colored on the edges.

Remove from oven and place tomatoes and garlic back in the bowl.

Wash the salt off of your eggplant and pat dry. Cut sliced eggplant into ÂĽ inch chunks. Place eggplant in a single layer on baking pan and bake in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes until lightly brown, may flip once mid way through.

Cut slices of crusty bread in half and toast in toaster oven. Do this while the eggplant cooks.

Add cooked eggplant into the bowl with the tomatoes and garlic. Mix well.

Serve with toasted bread.

My mom suggested dressing bruschetta bites with balsamic vinegar. I put it out so people could serve themselves, and the balsamic vinegar was a big hit.