Posts Tagged broccoli

Cruciferous Calzones

After I made the Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta from Appetite For Reduction, I was immensely curious to see how the cauliflower ricotta would hold up in other applications, specifically a calzone.

For the crust I used this recipe for Pumpkin Pizza Crust, substituting sweet potato puree for the pumpkin.  You can’t tell from the photo, but the crust was pretty orange.  The flavor of the crust was good, but it was a little too puffy for calzones.

For the filling I mixed the cauliflower ricotta with blanched broccoli florets and some shredded mozzarella Daiya.  I really liked how the filing turned out, and the meltiness of the Daiya gave it a cheesy authenticity.  It did taste cruciferous though…I wouldn’t recommend this meal to someone who doesn’t love broccoli and cauliflower.

I had some of the filling leftover, so I baked it with brown rice pasta and marinara.  Pasta bake!

Side notes:

- I started another blog, The Vegan Weight Watcher, which will chronicle my adventures with weight loss and fitness.  I’ll be writing short posts every day-ish, and the content will be a lot more personal, as weight loss topics tends to be.  Check it out if you like!  I’ll keep writing here as well, talking more about food and cooking, and occasionally posting recipes.

- I’m going to Portland next weekend for Vida Vegan Con!  I’m giving consideration to the idea of live blogging using my phone, but I feel like the event might be busy and intense enough without trying to blog constantly too.  However I report it, I’m sure there will be hundreds of other accounts around the web.

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Appetite For Reduction – Review & Giveaway

When I first heard about Appetite For Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s latest cookbook, I knew it would be right up my alley.  The recipes are similar to how I usually cook – whole foods, high flavor, low fat and calories.  I bought the book a few weeks before Christmas and having been cooking from it since.  Most of the recipes I’ve chosen so far have been based on what has been in my CSA deliveries, and there are a lot more recipes I look forward to trying.

Broiled Blackened Tofu.  You just coat the tofu with the spice mix and broil it.  Simple and tasty!

Butternut Coconut Rice.  Mixing in mashed butternut squash is a smart way to make rice yummy and coconutty without adding a lot of fat.  The only thing I would change with this recipe is to dice the shallot instead of slicing it, because the long slices were  kind of weird compared to the texture of the rest of the dish.

Pineapple Collards.  This maybe doesn’t look too appealing because my ginger was stringy, but the flavor is great.  I just wish I had used more collards, because the pineapple/garlic/ginger combo was a little overpowering.  Plus, I wanted to eat more of it.

All packed up to take for lunch.

Curried Cabbage & Peas, served with quinoa.  The texture on these veggies was great – they were cooked enough to be tender, but still have a bite to them.  The curry flavor isn’t incredibly complex, but the dish comes together really quickly, so I’m not complaining!

Not from AFR – I ate this Romanesco Carrot Salad with the curried cabbage.  The recipe was in my CSA’s newsletter, and it was a nice way to use the romanesco.

Irish Stew with Potatoes & Seitan.  This was a bust for me, but not due to the recipe.  I used the steamed white seitan from Viva Vegan, and even after being sauteed the seitan was squishy like raw dough, and really unpleasant to eat.  I’ve heard about other people having trouble with the seitan recipe, and also others who have had success, so perhaps it was just me.  I picked all the seitan out, and the stew was pretty good.

Tempeh Helper.  This is one I was really excited about.  The recipe is posted here, on The PPK blog.  This is super good!  It tastes like junk food from a box, but isn’t junky at all.  I was skeptical about the technique – you cook the pasta and other ingredients in a pan with a smaller amount of water than normal – but it worked out well.  The pasta came out al dente, and the water cooked off without the dish getting dry.  Next time I want to crumble the tempeh more finely so it’s spread throughout the dish.

The Gravy Bowl, slightly modified.  I know how to put together a “bowl” on my own, but the suggestions in the three-page bowl section are good when you’re looking for something easy to throw together.  Brown rice, baked tofu, steamed kale and collards and silky chickpea gravy.  The gravy is not as flavor-intensive as some gravies, but for a gravy made with 1 teaspoon of oil it’s darned good.

Sushi Roll Edamame Salad.  I’m no stranger to the sushi salad.  I had tried this salad previously at a potluck, so I knew how good it was, which is why I was surprised that mine didn’t taste as good.  I think I put too much green onion in the dressing (maybe my onions were particularly strong), and then added more as garnish, and the onion overpowered the whole thing.  Less green onion next time, and it will be great.

Orange-Scented Broccoli, which I served alongside the sushi salad.  This one was not my favorite; it tasted like ginger, garlic, broccoli and orange separately, as opposed to coming together as one big flavor.  It was more cohesive as leftovers the next day, after the flavors had a chance to meld.  Still, next time I would probably just steam the broccoli.

Morrocan Chickpeas & Zucchini served with Caulipots.  I used some early-season, tender zucchini in this dish.  The flavor in this soup is fantastic.  It’s really easy to make, and turns out with a really wonderful spiciness throughout.  The caulipots (mashed potatoes made partly with cauliflower) were a nice, creamy counterpart.  I looked forward to eating these leftovers each day.

Butternut-Apple Soup and Fresh Corn & Scallion Cornbread.  Sadly, this soup was another dud for me.  It’s not a bad recipe by any means, just a matter of taste.  I think I’m learning that I just don’t like apples in soup.  The cornbread was nice dipped in the soup, and the whole corn kernels made for good texture.

Lastly for today, Yam & Black Bean Soup with Orange & Cilantro.  I wasn’t expecting anything amazing from this recipe, so I was pleasantly surprised that it tastes amazing!  The simple ingredients combine to make one wonderfully tasty soup.  The two serrano peppers really turn up the heat, and the orange juice keeps it fresh.  I baked some corn tortilla chips for dipping.

Considering how much I’ve enjoyed the recipes I’ve made so far, this might be the first cookbook that I end up making almost every recipe from.

Luckily for you guys, my mom is an excellent present-buyer.  She also knew that I would love AFR, and bought me a copy for Christmas, which I am now passing on to one of you!  And, I got the book signed when I had the pleasure of attending a cooking demo that Isa did a few weeks ago.  She made the Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry and Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits, both of which I now want to make myself.

To enter to win this copy of Appetite For Reduction, leave a comment on this post with a healthy cooking tip.  It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just any tip for cooking healthy vegan food.  The contest will be open until midnight PST this Wednesday, March 9, and I’ll pick a comment at random.  Please be sure to include your e-mail address (unless I’m able to find it by following a link to your blog).  I’ll be back on Thursday to announce the winner and show you a few more recipes I’ve made from AFR.  Good luck!

PS – I should mention that this is open to residents of the US and Canada only.  Sorry, everyone else!  If shipping was less costly, I would love to send it around the world!

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Showin’ Off My Skills

As part of the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, each student had to present a 15 minute cooking demonstration with a recipe including three assigned skills.  It was like teaching a cooking class in front of my classmates, complete with nutrition information.  My skills were blanching & shocking, cutting a medium matchstick, and using a food processor.  I racked my brain for about a month for a good way to combine these seemingly unrelated skills, and here is what I came up with!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad with Apples & Chickpeas

This gluten free pasta dish is easy to prepare and features a great variety of textures.  It is a little high in calories as a four-serving main dish, but if you want to reduce the calories you could omit the apples or chickpeas, or divide into smaller portions and serve with a salad.

8 oz gluten-free spiral pasta, such as Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta Garden Pagodas
2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into small florets (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 Tbs white miso
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pasta
1 cup chickpeas, cooked
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1 large carrot, shredded
water (if desired)

1. Cook the pasta according to directions on package, just to al dente.  Drain, rinse and put in a mixing bowl.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and toss to coat.  Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready.  Add the broccoli to the water and boil for 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice water to shock.  Drain and shake off as much water as possible.
3. Place the walnuts in a food processor and process to the size of large breadcrumbs.  Add the miso and nutritional yeast and pulse to combine.
4. Add the garlic, parsley, broccoli and salt and process until incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
5. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and blend until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  If needed, add a little bit of water to thin to desired consistency.
6. Add the chickpeas, apples and carrots to the pasta.  Add the pesto and mix gently to combine well.  Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 695.29
Calories From Fat (49%) 341.75
% Daily Value
Total Fat 39.3g 60%
Saturated Fat 4.82g 24%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 623.75mg 26%
Potassium 614.6mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 77.36g 26%
Fiber 10.86g 43%
Sugar 6.27g
Protein 15.61g 31%

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And For My Next Post…Here’s a Bunch of Food.

There’s always a bad reason for not blogging, but here’s a good one:  My internet didn’t work for two weeks!  But I’m back now, and what better thing to do than post a whole bunch of random food and get caught up?  Some of this stuff dates from last October.  Eep!  I’ll jump right in.

Ginger Cashew Tofu from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, with fried quinoa

Salad with chickpeas, sauerkraut, crackers and “special sauce” dressing

Whole wheat pasta with cooked beets and beet greens.  Turned the whole thing red!

Pizza burrito!  Leftover pizza toppings wrapped up and served with pizza sauce.

These potatoes were sold as “teeny tiny potatoes” at Trader Joe’s.  How cute!  Roasted whole, with broccoli & tofu scramble.

Roasted Fennel Salad from Veganomicon – test run before Thanksgiving.

Amaranth porridge with apples and pecans

Tempeh Tetrazzini, adapted from a magazine recipe.  Was tasty but dry.

Teriyaki tofu and veggies with red quinoa

This was a total clean-out-the-fridge dinner before I left to visit family for Christmas:  sauteed cabbage and carrots with shredded bleu Sheese and brown rice.  It sounds weird, but it worked well enough.

Shells n’ cheese n’ Tofurkey.  Mom was making mac n’ cheese with leftover ham for the rest of the family, and she made the white sauce with Earth Balance and soy milk so that I could partake too.  I added shredded Follow Your Heart cheese, cooked shells, diced Tofurkey slices that needed to be used up, and some spinach so I could pretend that it was slightly healthy.

“Special Tofu” with peanut sauce and jasmine rice, from Royal Orchid restaurant in Ocala, Florida.  Beautiful and delicious.

Fried rice with red cabbage and baked tofu

Braised red cabbage and carrots

Roasted root veggies with greens and tahini sauce

Tofu scramble and an English muffin to scoop it up

Butternut squash stuffed with rice, kale and vegan sausage, served with mushrooms.  This was super tasty.

When the weather started warming up, we decided to grill twice in one weekend.  For this plate, I bought every vegetable worthy of grilling – baby squashes, radicchio, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic scapes.  We also had some grilled toast and drizzled everything with balsamic reduction.

The next day it was a little more simple – store bought baked tofu, a marinated portobello, brown rice with carrots and hijiki, and steamed veggies with gomasio.

Hot and sour cabbage stir fry with noodles and cilantro

For this tofu scramble, I crisped some diced potatoes first then added the tofu and other ingredients, and finished it with fresh dill.

Savory amaranth with broccoli and pecans

Pasta with parsley pesto, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic-roasted veggies

Crunchy salad with black eyed peas, hemp seeds and spicy apple cider vinegar dressing

Teriyaki tofu bowl with short grain brown rice, raw red cabbage, steamed broccoli, green onion and extra teriyaki sauce

Gardein Crispy Tenders!  I bought these to try when I had a coupon, and I LOVE them.  They’d be good with any sauce, but they were especially good straight out of the oven with warm marinara.  The only problem with these guys is that I could easily eat the whole package at once.

Seasoned mashed fava beans with red bell pepper on Ezekiel toast for breakfast.

Springtime brown rice risotto with fresh peas, aspragus and dill

For a light side to go with the risotto, I dry-roasted some cauliflower that was liberally seasoned with a dry rub mix.

Ahhhhhhh, I feel better having purged my unposted photos a little!  Hope you enjoyed it too.

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

When I finished classes at the beginning of March I had grand plans – plans to complete my required externship hours as soon as possible, plans to get back to creating new recipes and use my CSA deliveries creatively, and then…life happened, as it tends to do.  I woke up last Sunday and thought that my face felt a little funny.  At first I chalked it up to sleeping in a weird position or something, but after a few hours when I noticed that it was difficult to eat and one of my eyes wasn’t blinking properly, I really started to freak out.  Dave took me to the ER and I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition where the nerve that motors one side of your face becomes inflamed.  The visible symptom is that the right side of my face is mostly paralysed – it looks like I’m winking at everyone!  It is certainly no fun, but Bell’s Palsy usually cures itself after a few weeks to a few months, so I’m trying to take it easy and hoping for a speedy recovery.

How this relates to food is that I’ve found it a little difficult to eat, what with half of my mouth not really opening or chewing very well!  So, I have been making foods that I can eat with a spoon or through a straw that don’t require too much chewing, while still trying to take in a good amount of nutrition.  I have been able to eat some solid foods by cutting them into small pieces, but it’s really much easier to just slurp something up.

Mushy is easy for breakfast…

Good ol’ grits with nutritional yeast.

Amaranth with strawberries and coconut kefir.

Super smoothie – First I juiced some red cabbage, celery, ginger and swiss chard, then I blended the juice with a banana, kiwi, frozen strawberries and mango, hemp protein powder and coconut kefir.  Odd maybe, but good!

A coworker mentioned that when her mother had Bell’s Palsy she ate a lot of applesauce, so I took applesauce to the next level.  This is store bought applesauce, warmed up, topped with peanut butter, ground flax and maple syrup.  It was like a warm pb & apple butter sandwich without the bread.

Luckily, I’ve been able to work from home since my diagnosis, so my lunches have been quick and simple.

Broccoli-Avocado-Lemon Soup.  I steamed a bunch of broccoli well then processed it with three small avocados, the juice of one large lemon, dried thyme, garlic powder, salt, white pepper and nutritional yeast.  Yeah, perhaps it looks like something from The Exorcist, but it tasted nice and simple.  I wanted to bulk up the soup, so I toasted a piece of Ezekiel bread, tore it into small pieces, and soaked it in the soup until soft.

Purposely overcooked brown rice pasta with jarred sauce and nutritional yeast.  Appetizing, no?

Dahl for dinner.  I’d never made dahl before (and I was out of curry powder – doh!), so this was my thrown together version with garlic, ginger, fenugreek seed, mustard seed, turmeric, cumin, coriander and cilantro.

With the dahl, I had some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever made.  I cooked baby red potatoes until very soft, then mashed them with a few spoonfuls of Cheddar-Style We Can’t Say It’s Cheese.  So good!  Now I understand why people put cream cheese or sour cream in their potatoes.

And for dinner tonight, to use up some sweet potatoes, I made Sweet Potato-Lentil-Wild Rice Stew, seasoned with ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and coriander.  Ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, so I’m telling myself that eating them will help my swollen nerve calm down!

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August Cleanse: Days 11-14

Day 11

I started the day off with some repeats from Day 10 – the smoothie of the day was spinach, banana, mango, strawberries, udo’s oil, almond milk and amazing meal, along with a b complex and multi.  My morning snack was cherries and constant comment tea.  Lunch was a repeat of the Greekish salad.

For an afternoon snack, I ate some zucchini slices, carrot sticks and red bell pepper slices with the Black Bean & Orange Hummus from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.  It’s an odd combination, but just like the author says, it goes together really well.  You can taste the black beans, orange, garlic and almond butter without anything overpowering the rest.  It’s very good!

Dinner was leftover tofu vindaloo with buckwheat and sugar plum spice tea.

Day 12

This delicious smoothie had spinach, banana, cherries, chia seeds, chocolate hempshake, almond milk, and I took my multi and coQ10.  I really like using the chocolate hempshake, especially with cherries, strawberries or raspberries.  My morning snack was figs, an apple, and darjeeling tea, and lunch was another Greekish salad except this time with avocado, dried oregano and fresh parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice for dressing.  The salad was so big and filling that I couldn’t even finish it and wasn’t very hungry for an afternoon snack, so I just had a small piece of canteloupe and a few strawberries at a work event.  Dinner was the last of the tofu vindaloo and buckwheat, and afterward I had camomile tea.

Day 13


This green smoothie was made from spinach, half a banana, peach, kiwi, amazon acai hempshake, udo’s and almond milk, and I had my multi and b complex.  I had a snack of fruit at work, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.  I also had some coffee with almond milk.  I must say, soy creamer is one thing I’m definitely missing on this cleanse.

I had gotten an e-mail from VegWeb the day before, and while I don’t normally pay too much attention to their e-mails, this Polynesian Salad with Curry Dressing caught my attention because I needed a salad for the next day, I happened to have all the ingredients called for, and it just sounded good.  I wasn’t too sure about bananas in a salad, but this is one fine salad.  I didn’t have walnuts so I subbed pecans, and the contrast of textures and flavors in this salad definitely makes it a winner.  The only small issue was that it didn’t keep me full for very long.  I ate my afternoon snack of zucchini slices and carrot sticks with black bean and orange hummus earlier than I normally snack.

I had a plan for when I got home to exercise, shower, make dinner and take care of a few things on my to do list.  When I got home I was in a bad mood though, and these were all the last things I wanted to do.  I didn’t even have the energy to take pictures of my CSA delivery, for the first time ever.  I grabbed a handful of dill pickle cashews to appease my growling tummy, went to the store with Dave, and grilled up some dinner.

This is bbq tempeh and eggplant with portobello and steamed broccoli, all over a baked potato.  The bbq sauce was an on-the-fly concoction of tomato sauce, agave nectar, molasses, maple syrup, vinegar, onion and garlic powder, allspice and ground red pepper.  For throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl, it turned out pretty well – it even got all sticky on the tempeh while it grilled.  I also “cheated” a little bit and had two glasses of wine on a Thursday night (I’m supposed to only have alcohol on the weekends), but at the end of the day I felt much better than I would’ve forcing myself to do things I didn’t have the energy for.  Sometimes it feels good to have a plan, then completely ignore that plan and do whatever you want.

Day 14

My smoothie on Friday had half a banana, blueberries, plum, orange, vanilla rice protein, udo’s and almond milk, and I took a coQ10, multi and probiotic.  It sounds like an odd flavor combination, perhaps, but it actually worked quite nicely.  Orange and vanilla are a natural match, and the blueberries and plum just kind of joined the party.

We had a large event at work that I knew was going to keep me busy all day, so I didn’t bother to take any snacks because I knew I wouldn’t have time to eat them.  I should’ve known that this was a silly move, because by lunchtime I was starving and the salad I brought alone wasn’t going to cut it.  I ended up eating a veggie dog on a bun from Top Dog, who was catering our event, and it was pretty much entirely made of wheat.  So, I cheated (again), but I had to make a decision and having food in my belly was a better choice than being out in the sun all afternoon running on just a salad.  It was another Polynesian salad, by the way, and again it was very tasty.

After work Dave and I went straight to the Coliseum for the A’s game.  I had brought leftovers from the night before (bbq tempeh, eggplant, portobello, baked potato and broccoli) to eat as dinner in the parking lot before we went in.  I also had a few beers – the beers inside the game are EXPENSIVE so we like to have some cheap ones before we go in.  Watching the game, I ate some peanuts and pistachios as a snack.

So I had a few missteps this week, but all in all I feel I did pretty well.  The food prep is getting easier; I’m getting used to putting a salad together every night before work.  I actually gained 0.7 pounds this week which I don’t understand since I’ve been eating well and exercising, but maybe I can make up for it next week.  Until then!

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Cheesy Meals

I just did NOT feel like blogging all this week.  I had very low energy for whatever reason and decided to take it easy.  I have been cooking though, so here are some cheesy meals.

When I professed my love for grits, my mom commented saying that she had just seen a recipe for Broccoli-Cheese Grits in Southern Living magazine.  I think she suggested it partially in jest, since obviously I don’t eat cheese.  But I got to thinking that I love grits, and I love broccoli, and most of the time I like faux cheese, so what the heck?  I’ll make me some Broccoli-Cheese Grits.

The recipe is online here.  SouthernLiving.com has this odd recipe search system where it takes you to an issue index first, then to the recipe.  Weird.

Anyway, you could probably figure out the recipe without a recipe.  It has, oh, let’s see…broccoli, cheese, grits, salt and pepper.  It tastes really good though, probably mostly because I love broccoli and grits.  For the cheese I made the Chedda variation of the Colby Cheez from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I had made before and liked.  It doesn’t melt like real cheese, but it surprisingly shredded very easily, and provided leftovers for grilled cheese sammiches.

On the side I sauteed onions, mushrooms and black eyed peas and seasoned it with apple cider vinegar and hot sauce.  Boring but good.  And I served it in a mug just for fun, because mugs are cute and taking a picture of two things in two bowls is not so cute.

I got a big head of leaf lettuce in my last CSA, so I wanted to make a salad.  Specifically a huge, giant, filling salad with lots of fun stuff.  I had to make a trip to the Mexican market anyway, so I decided to go for a fajita salad and make use of some authentic Mexican ingredients.

Half a head of leaf lettuce, sauteed onions, green & red bell peppers and portobello mushrooms, sauteed seitan chicken strips, homemade refried beans, nopalitos (cactus in brine), radishes, shredded cheese leftover from above, baked tortilla strips, very hot salsa and guacamole.  You can’t even see the sauteed veggies!  This salad was gargantuan, I tell you.  So much that I couldn’t finish it, because…

BF joined me in the dinner making and prepared a sopa, or Mexican soup, just like his mom makes it.  Except vegetarian (she uses chicken broth).  The ingredients are only oil, pasta, veggie broth, tomato sauce and salt, and we topped our bowls with Tapatio and black pepper, but boy oh boy is this ever good!

I don’t know what it is about this sopa, but if I didn’t also have a giant salad to eat I could’ve consumed many, many more bowls.  When bf’s mom makes it there’s much more broth and much less pasta, but I like it this way just fine.  The soup was done before the fajitas were ready, so it sat in the pot staying warm and the pasta got all mushy and yum.

When I got more fresh artichoke from the CSA, I didn’t really want to eat it plain steamed like last time.  That’s good and all, but I like to mix it up.  I had pizza crust waiting in the freezer, so I decided to steam the artichoke, scrape out the good stuff, chop it up and see if it could hold it’s own on a pizza.

The other ingredients were caramelized red onion, roasted red peppers and Follow Your Heart mozzarella.  Who says FYH doesn’t melt?  When I first had Teese I kind of wrote off FYH because I like Teese better, but to get Teese I have to cross the Bay Bridge or order online, and FYH is a mere 15 minute drive with no traffic, so I think I may buy it more often since I now remember that I like it.

The verdict on the artichoke is that it totally works plain on pizza.  It doesn’t quite have the oomph that marinated artichoke hearts have, but it provided a subtle background flavor that complimented the other toppings very well.

I decided at the last minute to go with personal-sized pizzas, just because they’re fun, and that way I could make one the perfect size to fit in my lunchbox.  Also, my original plan was to make the caramelized red onion sauce from my stromboli recipe, but at the same time I was preparing the pizza components I was also working on my first canning project (to be discussed in a future post), so I went sauceless and added the onion whole, which was quite alright in the end.

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CSA Dinners

Another glorious CSA delivery, more glorious meals.

broccoli, collards, brussels sprouts, fennel, celery, baby bok choy & leaf lettuce

beets, a yellow onion, apples, oranges & radicchio

I was supposed to get romanesco, and I was really excited because I’ve never had it before, but they ran out and gave me broccoli instead.  Which is fine, because I like broccoli and I was going to use the romanesco to replace broccoli in a recipe anyway.

This is the Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole from The Uncheese Cookbook.  It is super tasty and super easy to make.  You pretty much mix together five things in a casserole dish and stick it in the oven.  Although if you want to use brown rice instead of white you should precook it a bit first, which I kind of knew beforehand but tried to get away with it anyway.

I served the casserole with shredded raw beets over leaf lettuce.  The beets were dressed with orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and agave nectar.

I’m still not a huge fan of radicchio, but I’m finding I like it cooked and paired with something sweet.  I was happy to find this recipe for Sausages with Caramelized Red Onions & Radicchio.  I envisioned making it with homemade seitan sausages, but that just wasn’t in the cards for a weeknight meal.

I halved the recipe but followed it almost exactly, subbing Earth Balance for butter and Tofurkey Italian Sausages for sausage  I also added a bit of sesame parmesan.  This dish was very tasty, but the caramelized onions were so good and sweet that they overshadowed the other ingredients.  Which meant I couldn’t taste the radicchio, so I guess it was okay.

The sausages were served atop polenta with beet greens.  The polenta was jut okay.  It’s the first time I’ve made polenta not from a recipe, so hopefully I’ll be better at flavoring it next time.

I used the bok choy, as per usual, in a stirfry.  A fancy, tasty stirfry based on a recipe.  I loosely followed the Curried Udon Stirfry from Veganomicon, and the sauce totally made the stirfry.

I am definitely interested in making the recipe as is sometime.  I was nervous about the roux not working, but it worked perfectly.

Some friends moved into a new house a few weeks ago, and they are now lucky enough to have a lemon tree, flowers, herbs, and among other things, a kaffir lime bush.  With kaffir lime leaves!  They smelled so good that I felt the need to steal some and make green curry.  So I did.

I used this recipe from Food Network, subbing extra firm tofu for the chicken.  I added steamed broccoli, cauliflower & sweet potatoes, and just a bit of sugar toward the end of cooking.  And I couldn’t find Thai basil, so regular basil was a fine stand in.  It doesn’t look like a green curry, but the sauce is under there somewhere, I promise.  The only change I would make next time is to not add the extra 3/4 cup of liquid with the coconut milk, as the sauce wasn’t as thick as I would’ve liked.

And because a new CSA delivery came today, a clean-out-the-fridge stew for dinner tonight.

Ingredients:  onion, leek, carrot, celery, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaf, liquid smoke, cooking wine, tomatoes, black eyed peas, lentils, collards and wild rice blend.  Perfect except that I added a wee bit too much liquid smoke.

I’m all caught up on posting!  Finally.  I may try to go back to more singular posts, as opposed to throwing five meals together in one.  Or I’ll get way behind again.  We shall see.

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Weeknight Meals, Laptop Lunches & A Meme

I never thought I’d be the type of person who got home from work in the evening and made whatever would get in my belly the fastest for dinner, but that has been my situation lately.  Right now we leave for work at 7:20AM and usually get home around 6:15-6:30PM.  During the day I get it in my head that I’m going to get home, exercise, make a nice dinner, do some chores or poke around on the internet and still maybe have time to watch tv or read before going to bed at 10.  Right.  What happens lately is that I cook up whatever is quick and satisfying and try to check a thing or two off my to do list, and before I know it the night has gone by.  Hopefully in a few months bf and I will be able to align our work schedules and I’ll gain another thirty minutes to an hour which will ease things a bit, but for now it’s all about fast, effective dinners.

Here’s one from last week:  grilled eggplant and zucchini on whole wheat flatbread with hummus, pickles, lettuce and tomato.  The eggplant and zucchini were from the farmers market, and the tomato from my backyard, where the tomato plant is STILL producing new tomatoes.  In November!  This is before I piled on the lettuce.

Rolled up, with cucumbers and tahini dip.

Tuesday night I was planning on a simple stir-fry with leftover veggies and frozen-then-thawed tofu, then while perusing The PPK I saw this post on dry frying tofu with a link to these instructions and became very intrigued.  I also decided I wanted a “real” sauce with my tofu instead of just a plain stir-fry, so I found this recipeon Vegweb and modified it a bit.  I was going to post the recipe because it turned out really good, but I’m not at home right now so I don’t have it.  Will post it next time!

Here’s the dry-fried tofu.  It took just about forever to do because I was using my wok which doesn’t have much flat space so I had to fry the tofu in three batches.  With a griddle or wider pan it would go much quicker.  I really liked the texture of this tofu and will definitely be preparing it this way again.  I also liked that I didn’t have to use any oil!

This orange tofu & broccoli was incredibly good, even served with overcooked, mushy instant brown rice.  The sauce has a very intense flavor, with lots of acidic quality, but it tastes great if you can get past that.  I was kind of afraid my stomach was going to get upset afterwards, but on the contrary:  I got the happy tummy, bigtime.  You know how sometimes you eat and you’re still hungry or unsatisfied, and sometimes you eat and it was a bit too much and you don’t feel so well, but sometimes you eat and it’s just perfect and your tummy is sooooo happy.  That’s what this dish does.

Wednesday night I got home with no exact dinner plan and went straight for comfort.  Organic veggie soup from a can and a grilled cheese with pickles and tomato on whole wheat.  Hot, crunchy, slurpy and good.  And I tell you, pickles on grilled cheese is the way to go.

And here’s my Thursday dinner made from what I could find in the house.  Whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli, garlic and some tempeh sausage crumbles that were hiding in the freezer.  It would’ve been better with pine nuts and almond parmesan, but I’m still working on fully stocking my kitchen.

It doesn’t look nearly as nice as I had thought it would, but it did the trick.  And, because I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better:

I think tomorrow when I get back home I might come up with a food plan for the week and get my grocery shopping done.  I was reading yesterday that Jessy from happyveganface plans all her meals for the week ahead of time and I think that’s adorable.

I only took three laptop lunches this week.  Thursday I was in a mega hurry and grabbed some instant pad thai and a salad, and Friday my office held a Thanksgiving potluck for our students which was really interesting because most of them are from other countries and didn’t really get the whole pot luck concept.

11-17 beanie weenies, veggies, homemade ranch, dried apricots

11-18 veggie dogs w/ ketchup & mustard, pasta salad, veggies, dried cherries

11-19 orange tofu & broccoli, brown rice w/ extra sauce, cauliflower, kiwi & blueberries

Last week Miss Bianca of Vegan Crunk tagged me for a meme, and now is the time.

  1. Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
  4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before on this here blog, but I’m a musician.  I started taking piano lessons when I was five, played flute in middle school band, picked up trumpet in ninth grade, and was a total high school band nerd.  During my third semester in college I switched majors from civil engineering to music (smooth move) and hold a BM.  Seriously, it’s a Bachelors of Music.  I have a BM.  I’ve played trumpet, guitar and sang in ska punk bands, fronted a pop-punk band and switched off on bass and drums in an all girl punk band.  I sang harmony and played trumpet and flute on a couple recordings for local bands when I was in Gainesville, including one release that came out on Epitaph.  I’m kind of a big deal.

2.  I’ve been afraid of sharks for almost as long as I can remember.  I know when I was a little kid I liked the beach and swimming in pools, but somewhere along the way I became terrified of sharks and ocean creatures in general.  I think it came about because there was a science museum my summer camp visited, and there was a stuffed hammerhead shark hanging above the staircase that you had to walk up to get to the exhibits.  I didn’t want to walk under it.  I also think this brought about my phobia of taxidermied animals.  I can’t go to natural history museums.  I don’t much like being around mounted deer heads and things of that nature, but I REALLY can’t do whole big animals like bears or panthers.  At one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. there is a taxidermied elephant in the lobby and it’s kind of my worst nightmare.  Although, in recent years I have been facing my fears and getting better about it.  I’ve gone to a few aquariums and planted myself in front of the shark tanks, and I went to that museum in D.C. and looked at the elephant from the second floor.  I still couldn’t stand right next to it though.

3.  Although it’s not another phobia, I can be very uncomfortable around certain large things.  Like cruise ships for instance.  I don’t mind being on one, but standing next to one in a harbor can get to me.  Airplanes too.  Dinosaur skeletons also freak me way out, but I’m not sure whether they fall under this category or the dead animal fear.

4.  I was kind of obsessed with Alice in Wonderland for a while.  I collected all sorts of memorabilia and books, whatever I could get my hands on.  I had a large collection for a while, and sold it all off a few years ago for the money.  I still have the pictures and the memories though.  If you’ve never actually read Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”, do so.  They’re fascinating.

5.  I don’t like olives or licorice.  Disgusting.  Or Jagermeister.  Barf.  Those are pretty much the only flavors I can’t stomach.  I’m coming around on olives, but only if they’re mixed in with other complimentary flavors.

6.  There are a few tv shows of which I refuse to miss an episode:  Top Chef, The Office, Project Runway and The Biggest Loser.  We just got DVR so it’s making my life much easier in this respect.  Other current shows I really like are What Not To Wear, Law & Order (SVU or Criminal Intent – love Vincent D’Onofrio), and Top Design.  I like reruns of Gilmore Girls, King of Queens, Frasier, Full House, Golden Girls, Friends, Seinfeld and Family Guy.  These things comprise most of the tv I watch other than sports.  I know way more about Full House than any person should.

7.  I don’t do scary.  Can’t watch scary movies, especially if it’s about supernatural things like ghosts or monsters.  Real life scary I can sometimes do, such as murder mysteries or thrillers.  Thing is, watching these kinds of movies I get too worked up and my heart beats to fast and I end up with a headache and generally I just don’t enjoy the feeling of being scared like most people do.  I kind of like true crime books though.  I’ve read Helter Skelter and Danny Rolling’s biography and while they were intensely interesting, they scared the living crap out of me.  I thought Charles Manson was hiding in my apartment every day I came home from school during the time I read Helter Skelter.

Huh, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be!  Guess I’m a fairly interesting person.  I tag anyone who hasn’t done this yet and wants to, or better yet, tell me something random or weird about yourself in a comment!

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Meal-in-a-Bowl

I’ve been thinking about a full meal in a bowl being a good way to eat a satisfying, healthy and balanced meal.  You’ve got your protein, starch and veggies all playing nicely together.  And, since I’m a guest here and we don’t really use the dishwasher, it’s a good way to cut down on the dishes I have to wash.

I was craving beans in a major way, and had celery and carrot in the fridge, so I made Cajun-style red beans and brown rice which turned out to be more veggie than bean, which is fine with me.  On the side is steamed spinach, and some baby romaine that was on its way out.

I still had most of the gargantuan mango from my last post, and was still in the mood for beans, so I wanted to make some sort of quinoa/black bean/mango dish.  Alas, the grocery stores here are very basic, and there is no quinoa to be found.  I went with potatoes as the starch instead, and relegated the mango to a condiment of sorts.  I consulted my friend Jackie in whether I should call it a relish, pico de gallo or chutney, and we decided it was most like a relish or pico, so Jackie suggested pico de relish.  In the end I decided on relish de gallo, because “relish of the rooster” sounds more fun than “beak of the relish”.  So this is Black Bean and Corn Hash with Mango Avocado Relish de Gallo, topped with hot sauce.

Here we have leftover broccoli in hunan sauce with brown rice with store bought teriyaki tofu.  I may have put it all in a bowl just to go with the bowl theme.  Shhhhh….

Lastly, Hannah’s Sesame Noodles.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly – I couldn’t find soba noodles and used whole wheat spaghetti instead, didn’t have any ginger (thought I did and was very disappointed), used white sugar instead of brown and doubled the quantity, peeled my carrot and zucchini with a normal peeler since my julienne peeler is packed away, added sauteed cremini mushrooms and shelled edamame for some extra oomph, and garnished with cilantro just cause I had some.  This recipe is good!  Next time I will definitely make sure I have ginger, and cut back a tad on the soy sauce since it was just a bit too salty for me.

And now, since not everything can fit in a bowl, here are some randoms.

I made my first real shopping trip to Trader Joe’s.  I stopped by one a few years ago, and after actually shopping there I have the same opinion I did back then.  They have some really cool products and I’ll definitely go from time to time, but some of the items are a bit expensive, and they don’t have enough “normal” grocery items.  Like, the spices were extremely limited and I couldn’t find sesame seeds.  It seems impractical to not carry stuff like that, people don’t want to have to go to two stores.  TJ’s seems like a great place for people who don’t want to or don’t have time to cook, lots of good ready-made food.  My total purchase came to almost $50, although $8 of it was for soy yogurt, which I can’t find in town.

Some home fries made with potatoes I didn’t use in the hash above.  Part of a big breakfast for bf before his first job interview today.  So good with ketchup.

One of my (and probably your) favorite lunches, plain ol’ hummus with pita and veggies.

Up next:  Hopefully a couple uses for the world’s largest zucchini.

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