Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More of an idea than a recipe

I'm really excited about something I discovered tonight. It is probably really obvious to everyone else but it never occurred to me until tonight. For dinner we had this:

It is called Nutty Rice and Broccoli and comes from Christina Cooks cookbook. Personally, I much prefer her TV show to her cookbook but this recipe didn't sound bad and I had all the ingredients. I changed it around a little and added beans. It was bland bland BLAND!! We all ate it but I don't think anyone really enjoyed it. Plus it made a ton.

So after dinner I was writing down various ideas about how to jazz up the leftovers while watching Delicious TV. She had a guest chef on who was making what she called "Scavenger Patties". She went into the refrigerator, pulled out a few items, and turned them into a veggie patty. They had leftover millet, carrot, and I can't remember what else. All of a sudden I thought "wait a minute!!" and ran to the kitchen and pulled out the leftovers.

I threw them in the food processor along with some cilantro, salt and pepper. Then I stirred in some green salsa. It looked like this:

I formed it into patties and fried them. It worked perfect! So now whenever we have a meal that doesn't really live up to our expectations (which is more often than I'd like to admit!) I'm keeping this idea in mind. Instead of bland boring brown rice leftovers, I'm having salsa and rice patty for lunch tomorrow!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bean, Corn, and Potato Flautas

The flooding finally went down in our town (although I think there is still some flooding in other areas) but many people are still not back in their homes. Last night after soccer practice we drove around a little. The street behind us is lined with items (including cinder blocks and tons of drywall) that people have pulled out of their houses. The town still has the street blocked off. The apartment complex just north of us sat under water the longest. We knew that the basement apartments would be destroyed but it looks like there was even more damage. The town has not yet turned on the electricity and gas over there so when we drove through, we saw a lot of people throwing everything from their apartments into big piles in the parking lot. It is really heartbreaking.

On to food! Friday I got a new cookbook (just what I need!) called Alternative Vegan. I was excited about this book because it focuses on produce instead of meat replacements. I picked several recipes to try this week. Last night Kay's friend Starr was over for dinner and we all loved these flautas. I'm going to reserve my opinion of the overall cookbook for now though, because the two things we tried tonight were not good at all!

We served these along with a choice of salsa, green salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and tomatoes. I noticed Starr unrolled hers to put the toppings inside. I picked mine up with my fingers and dipped it into the toppings. I made a few changes to the recipe, mostly just to make the steps easier. I also changed some of the amounts because I don't like using partial cans.
This is a little blurry but here is my plate.


2 medium red potatoes, cut in large cubes

3 cups water

1 cup red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz can corn, drained

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

12 tablespoons vegetable shortening

12 corn tortillas

various toppings

In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender (approximately 30 minutes).

Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in a 175 degree oven.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper until soften but not browned. Add the chili powder and stir to coat. Add the corn and the black beans, stirring to coat. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Once the potatoes are done cooking, drain the water and lightly mash the potatoes (they should still be chunky). Add to the corn and bean mixture and stir well to combine. Use a potato masher to slightly blend all ingredients together. (You want the mixture to all be mushed together - not separate pieces that can fall out of the tortillas.)

Remove the tortillas from the oven. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the bean mixture into the center of each tortilla, roll them, secure with a toothpick if necessary, and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat for all tortillas.

In a large, high-sided skillet, heat half the shortening over medium heat. Once it melts, place 6 of the filled tortillas into the pan, seam side down. Do not move them for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn with a spatula or tongs and cook other side for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the flautas from the pan and place them on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Place them in the warm oven. Add the remaining shortening to the pan and repeat with the remaining flautas.

Allow all fried flautas to sit in the warm oven to drain for 30 minutes before eating.

This served two adults and two 11-year-olds with one left over (although Bill probably would have eaten it had he realized it was still there!).

Kay: The flautas were ok. There was a strange taste that I couldn't figure out what it was. I think it was just all the ingredients mixing together. It was kind of greasy too. I didn't have anything with mine but my friend, Starr, used salsa. She thought they were really good and went back for seconds. She said she would have had thirds if she wasn't so full.

Mom(Dana): These were very good (as in Mexican restaurant kind of good). I don't usually fry our food but this was nice for an occasional treat. Bill really liked them but said they could use a little more chili powder next time. I had leftover filling that will make probably about 5 more later in the week for a snack.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flood from Ike

This post is mainly for our family members. At this point we feel very lucky. Our house is apparently on some kind of slight hill because so far we have only minor seeping in the basement. The street behind us is under water and the people are being evacuated right now. I've posted pictures on our flickr (see link to the right). We went driving around this morning and within that hour or so, the water has crept about 4-5 more feet into our next door neighbors back yard.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Honey Puff Pancake

Like I've said before, we like to have breakfast foods for dinner. They are quick and easy and we usually have all the ingredients on hand even if it's been awhile since our last grocery trip. This is one of those recipes that we only have when Bill isn't going to be home because he doesn't like eggs. Kay loves this recipe so as soon as she heard that he was going to dinner with his cycling friends, she asked me to make it.

Honey Puff Pancake

3 tablespoons margarine or butter

6 eggs (I use a yolkless egg product similar as Egg Beaters)

3 oz cream cheese, softened (this was the first time using soy - didn't notice any difference)

1 cup milk (used rice milk)

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash (optional)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie plate with 1 tablespoon butter. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the pan and place it in the oven. Leave until the butter is completely melted.

In the meantime, place the eggs, cream cheese, milk, honey, sweet potatoes, flour, salt and baking powder in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Remove the pie plate from the oven and immediately pour the egg mixture into it. Bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve with toppings such as maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, or powdered sugar.

Kay: This is really good. I like the smaller portions my mom made this time because then I wasn't tempted to eat too much.

Mom(Dana): This time I used ramekins instead of a pie plate. It worked just as well and I didn't have to adjust the time at all. I throw the pureed vegetables in to add a little extra nutrition when I have them on hand. It doesn't change the taste or texture at all.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New color

We are testing out some new blog colors. I never really cared for the pink. I mentioned this to Kay just now and she said she doesn't like it either. She was the one that picked it!! So you might see some different colors over the next few days until we decide.

Edamame Succotash

Well, so much for posting every day. I have one more Labor Day recipe but I got a little distracted over the weekend. I was thinking about skipping this one but it was Kay's favorite (besides dessert!) so I have to post it.

My mom found this recipe. I think it came out of one of her magazines but I'm not sure. The whole idea behind making this was originally that I had received fresh edamame from the farm. In the end, we chose to eat those as snacks and use frozen in this recipe instead.

Edamame Succotash
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups edamame (I used frozen)
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/4 cup sour cream (I used soy)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the corn and edamame. Cook until heated through. Stir in the peppers, sour cream and seasoning. Serve warm.

Kay: I like corn and edamame and I really liked the sauce on this. The second day wasn't so good when we had to warm it up because the edamame dried out.

Mom (Dana): I'm not a big fan of succotash but this was pretty good. It would have been really good with fresh corn because there would have been some sweetness.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Vegetarian Hundred

I'm interrupting our Labor Day recap because I just can't resist this list. Barbara at Tigers & Strawberries came up with a list of 100 items that vegetarians should try at least once. Her post is here. (She also did an omnivore one here). I'm (Dana) going to respond to each of these but I'll add comments here and there about Kay. Mostly though, if I haven't tried it then she obviously hasn't either!

The Vegetarian Hundred
1. Real macaroni and cheese, made from scratch and baked - I have many many MANY recipes for mac and cheese!! Kay has never had the kind from a box.

2. Tabbouleh - tried several recipes and now have developed my own favorite version of it.
3. Freshly baked bread, straight from the oven (preferably with homemade strawberry jam) - I've made both and posted the jam on our blog.

4. Fresh figs - blecht, nope haven't tried them, don't plan to. I realize fresh figs are probably completely different than fig newtons but in my mind they are the same and fig newtons are so disgusting it is a crime to call them cookies!

5. Fresh pomegranate - Would like to try it.

6. Indian dal of any sort - Tried it, liked it

7. Imam bayildi - Don't know what this is. Need to research

8. Pressed spiced Chinese tofu - I've had lots of tofu but I don't think I've had this particular kind. I don't usually like flavored tofu but I'd try it.

9. Freshly made hummus - Make it on a regular basis.

10. Tahini - Eat it often

11. Kimchi - Eat it almost daily

12. Miso - Eat it somewhat often

13. Falafel - Love it!

14. Potato and pea filled samosas - Don't like peas but I'd try it.

15. Homemade yogurt - I had planned to make homemade yogurt before discovering dairy was causing all my problems. Still considering making it for Kay.

16. Muhammara - never had it, would try it.

17. Brie en croute - never had it, never will due to dairy issue

18. Spanikopita - I've never had it but I have a lot of recipes for it. This is one of those things I always plan to make but never get around to.

19. Fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes - Just had them last week!

20. Insalata caprese - I've had it before and now make a version without any cheese.

21. Stir-fried greens (gai lan, bok choi, pea shoots, kale, chard or collards) - I've had lots of these!

22. Freshly made salsa - Yep, posted on blog a couple days ago!

23. Freshly made guacamole - Eat it almost every day

24. Creme brulee - Never had it, now never will due to dairy and egg issue

25. Fava beans - I haven't had fava beans but I sure have tried. I have tons of recipes listing fava beans but I can't find them to save my life.

26. Chinese cold sesame peanut noodles - Had it, liked it.

27. Fattoush - Had it. Not too thrilled but it was fine.

28. New potatoes - Had them, like them.

29. Coleslaw - Had many versions, don't like any of them.

30. Ratatouille - Posted my version on blog

31. Baba ganoush - Had it, wanted to like it, didn't!

32. Winter squash - Eat it often.

33. Roasted beets - Had it, liked it. Beets are so messy though.

34. Baked sweet potatoes - Had it. Prefer sweet potato baked fries.

35. Plantains - Never had them but would try them.

36. Chocolate truffles - Yum!!! I made these one year for Christmas and they went over so well, Kay named her hamster after them!!

37. Garlic mashed potatoes - Bill and I always put garlic in our mashed potatoes.

38. Fresh water chestnuts - Never had fresh ones that I know of. Maybe in a restaurant stir fry.

39. Steel cut oats - Had them. Overrated. Won't spend the money again.

40. Quinoa - Eat it often. One of Kay's favorites.

41. Grilled portabello mushrooms - Used to eat them a lot. Now we can't afford them.

42. Chipotle en adobo - Always in my fridge. I throw them into anything I can!

43. Stone ground whole grain cornmeal - Another thing I won't waste my money on again.

44. Freshly made corn or wheat tortillas - In a restaurant. I've never made my own but I have thought about it.

45. Frittata - I made an awesome frittata a couple years ago from Just Hungry with tofu, cheddar and spinach. I don't have the exact link but it is worth looking for. Another thing that I can't have anymore due to eggs and dairy.

46. Basil pesto - Make my own at the end of every summer.

47. Roasted garlic - Love it!! This is something that I always thought was too much of a bother until I tried it. Totally worth the effort.

48. Raita of any type - Never had it.

49. Mango lassi - Never had it. Love mangoes though.

50. Jasmine rice (white or brown) - Cook it almost every day.

51. Thai vegetarian coconut milk curry - Yum. Love it.

52. Pumpkin in any form other than pie - Not a big fan of pumpkin but I've made pumpkin pancakes before.

53. Fresh apple pear or plum gallette - Had apple gallette. I don't like pears and plums.

54. Quince in any form - Never had it. I'd probably try it (but I don't think I'd like it!)

55. Escarole, endive or arugula - I've had endive and arugula for sure. Not sure about escarole.

56. Sprouts other than mung bean - I used to eat tons of sprouts.

57. Naturally brewed soy sauce - Never had it. Sounds expensive!

58. Dried shiitake mushrooms - Shockingly I've never had these. I keep meaning to get some though.

59. Unusually colored vegetables (purple cauliflower, blue potatoes, chocolate bell peppers…) - Chocolate bell peppers!?!!! I've had blue potatoes and that green cauliflower which I think is mixed with broccoli. I've had purple peppers before.

60. Fresh peach ice cream - Maybe?? Not sure but I'd eat it if it wasn't dairy.

61. Chevre - Nope. Cheese problem again.

62. Medjool dates - Yes. I got these for some kind of dessert. It was good.

63. Kheer - I don't know what this is. More research.

64. Flourless chocolate cake - Yes. Never as good as I think it will be though.

65. Grilled corn on the cob - Of course - we live in Indiana!! I still prefer it boiled though.

66. Black bean (or any other bean) vegetarian chili - I have almost as many chili recipes as I do mac and cheese!! Kay hates chili.

67. Tempeh - Have some in my fridge now. Kay and I prefer tofu but I thought we should give it another chance. Now I can't find the recipe I had in mind!

68. Seitan or wheat gluten - Nope. Can't find it in the stores and I haven't been interested enough to make my own yet.

69. Gorgonzola or any other blue veined cheese - I tried blue cheese once. Yuck! Kay would probably like it though. She likes really stinky cheeses.

70. Sweet potato fries - Love them. See above comment under baked sweet potatoes.

71. Homemade au gratin potatoes - Kay loves these. I can't have them due to the cheese (again!) but I still make them for her and Bill.

72. Cream of asparagus soup - Yum. I haven't had this in a long time.

73. Artichoke-Parmesan dip - I have a fantastic recipe for this. I've tried to veganize it but it just isn't the same.

74. Mushroom risotto - I don't like risotto so I probably wouldn't even try this.

75. Fermented black beans - I don't think I've had them.

76. Garlic scapes - Never had them.

77. Fresh new baby peas - I've had them but I don't like peas.

78. Kalamata olives - I've had them. I love olives.

79. Preserved lemons - Never had them. I'd try them though.

80. Fried green tomatoes - Never had them. Not big on fried foods.

81. Chinese scallion pancakes - Never had them but would try them.

82. Cheese souffle - One of Kay's favorites. Pain to make though.

83. Fried apples - Had them. Not my favorite way to have apples but ok.

84. Homemade frijoles refritos - I've made them. In a can is much easier!

85. Pasta fagiole - Isn't this one of the first vegetarian meals people have?! Maybe just me. I've had this a million times.

86. Macadamia nuts in any form - I just made macadamia bars for Labor Day. They were delicious.

87. Paw paw in any form - Never had it but would try it.

88. Grilled cheese sandwich of any kind - Of course!! Kay could make these on her own since she was about 6. (Yes I let her use the stove at 6 - not when I wasn't in the house though). They are really good if you melt the butter with some garlic before spreading it on the bread.

89. Paneer cheese - Never had it.

90. Ma Po Tofu (vegetarian style–no pork!) - I don't think I've had it. I'm really bad at remembering the Asian name of foods I've eaten though. I usually call them names like "that noodle thing with the green things", etc!!

91. Fresh pasta in any form - Probably in a restaurant. I have a pasta maker that I've never used.

92. Grilled leeks, scallions or ramps - I've had grilled leeks.

93. Green papaya salad - Kay and I tried papaya last year. We didn't like it at all so we tried to get the hamster to eat it. It was deemed disgusting by all!

94. Baked grain and vegetable stuffed tomatoes - I don't like stuffed tomatoes but we do baked grain and vegetable stuffed peppers.

95. Pickled ginger - I love ginger but I've never had it pickled.

96. Methi greens - Never had it.

97. Aloo paratha - Don't know what this is.

98. Kedgeree - Never had it.

99. Okra - Had it often. Kay's first favorite vegetable.

100. Roasted brussels sprouts - Love roasted brussel sprouts.

Overall, I'm shocked at how many of these I've had!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vegetable Tarts

Like I said in a previous post, I received a ridiculous amount of tomatoes from the farm this week along with a another bag full of zucchini and squash. I had been hanging on to this recipe from La Tartine Gourmande for awhile and this seemed like the perfect time to try it. I'm not going to repost the recipe since I followed it exactly as written except that I substituted margarine for the butter and vegan cream cheese flavored with chives and herbs for the Gorgonzola. Also, her picutres are far superior to mine so I suggest you follow the link to her original post!

Bill and Kay don't care for fennel or whole tomatoes so I made a second crust and topped it with zucchini. I sliced 1 zucchini and 2 small yellow squash and sauteed them in a little bit of olive oil with ground thyme, salt, and pepper for about 5 minutes. I followed the same baking directions as the tomato and fennel tart.

We ate these at room temperature on Sunday but warmed them slightly in the oven on Monday for our lunch. They were just as good the second day!

Kay: I liked this better the first day. The second day I thought the balsamic vinegar taste was too strong and I couldn't taste the zucchini that well.

Mom (Dana): Next time I think I'll cut the vinegar in half. It was really good but a little overpowering. I'm definitely using this base again, though. Everyone enjoyed it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Zucchini Muffins

Here is another item from our Labor Day picnic. Kay didn't try these but they were so good, I'm posting them anyway! Believe it or not, this started out as a Martha Stewart recipe but I made a lot of changes. This is a very delicious way to use of zucchini if you are drowning in it like we are.

These are really moist so they won't keep more than a couple days. Therefore you might want to eat only these for dinner one night - just so you don't waste any of course!

I thought the sugar could be reduced by at least 1/2 cup in these. They get enough sweetness from the cherries. I left the recipe as is though.

Zucchini Muffins

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup silken tofu, blended until smooth
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray or line a muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk together the tofu, sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the zucchini, cherries and walnuts. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin.

Bake about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes then remove from the pan.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa

Today is Labor Day but we invited my parents over for a picnic yesterday so that we could sit around all day today and do nothing! My mom and I tried out several new recipes and we were happy with all of them. I hope to post most of them throughout this week. We'll see how that goes once our long weekend is over!

Today I'm starting with the salsa because it seemed to be everyone's favorite. I got tomatillos, basil, and approximately 9 million tomatoes in my CSA bag this week so this seemed like an obvious choice.

Here are some of the tomatoes I used.

Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound tomatillos (remove husks and rinse under warm water)

4 large tomatoes

1 large onion

1 jalapeno chili (I used canned)

1/4 cup cilantro

Juice of one lime

Salt to taste

Finely chop the tomatillos, tomatoes, and onion. Combine in a bowl with the other ingredients. Place 1/2 the mixture in a processor and blend until smooth. Combine the blended salsa with the chopped salsa and stir. Refrigerate at least one hour to blend flavors.

Kayleigh: I thought this tasted OK but the tomatoes didn't taste the same as they do in the store salsa.

Mom (Dana): I thought this recipe made a lot but we only have a small container left. It is really fresh tasting (for obvious reasons). Don't worry - there's new zucchini and summer squash recipes to come as well!