Posts Tagged artichokes

Veggies For Dinner

Sometimes all you need for dinner is a whole bunch of veggies.  I had some veggies on the verge of going bad, and we’re leaving for a short trip tomorrow, so dinner time was veggie time!

I started with an artichoke and sweet curried mustard.  The dip was just stone ground mustard, agave nectar, curry powder, turmeric and salt.

On the left is roasted root veggie puree – I roasted some turnips, daikon radishes, carrots and garlic in olive oil at 400 for 30 minutes and blended it in the food processor with some salt, then tossed in some minced parsley to add a fresh note.  I really enjoyed this, but then, I really enjoy radishes.  I think it would also be good with parsnips instead, for any radish-phobes.  The carrots gave it that bit of sweetness that countered the earthy root veggies nicely.  The asparagus was roasted afterwards in the same pan, which was nice because the remaining oil was flavored with garlic.  The mushrooms were simply sauteed in some tamari and water.

Tomorrow I’m off to the land of spring training, where I hopefully will not live on only peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

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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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Arc-tichokes

Does it make anyone else crazy when people say “arc-tichokes”?  To me it’s almost as bad as saying “nuke-you-ler”.  Yes, I’m the one that points out spelling errors, too.

When I saw that I was getting four fresh artichokes in my CSA delivery, I really had no idea what to do with them.  The only forms of artichoke I’ve ever eaten are from a can, and on my plate at Millennium.  And who knows how they do the voodoo that occurs in their kitchen…

So, I knew that more often than not, whole artichokes are boiled or steamed and served with a dip like mayo or a dressing.  To me that seemed like the easy way out, and I’m trying to push my cooking boundaries a little.  So I searched around the internet and my cookbooks and did some hard thinking on artichokes, and in the end I decided to steam them and eat them with mayo.  These were my first real artichokes, so I figures I should cook them up proper.

I have a jar of Vegennaise in the fridge, but I have a hard time using it for anything but a special occasion, i.e. when other people will be eating most of what I’m making.  I remembered that I had seen a lower-cal mayo recipe at My Vegan Cookbook, and so I went with that.  I’ve only made a few of Josh’s recipes so far, but what I have has been really good, so I had no doubt the mayo would be a great complement.

(I must admit that I cheated making the mayo.  I mashed and whisked the tofu instead of blending it smooth, and I microwaved it for three bursts of 30 seconds instead of cooking it on the stovetop.  I was already three dirty pots and pans deep, and I wasn’t going for a fourth.  The mayo still turned out great, and that shows just how good the recipe is.  Oh, and I added chopped fennel frond just because I had some.)

It was much easier to actually eat the artichoke than I expected.  Google “how to eat an artichoke”, read, and that is exactly how it works.

On the side, a quinoa pilaf with onion, carrot, fennel bulb, portobello, white wine and dulse.  I also added some fennel seed, making this a triple-fennel meal.  I really liked the dulse.  I liked the chewy texture and the unique flavor it added.  I had forgotten that I bought a big bag of dulse from the bulk bin last time I was at Rainbow, but I will be using it much more now that I know I like it!

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