Posts Tagged swiss chard

Homework #5

Even though I already finished the Natural Chef program at Bauman College,  I still want to catch you guys up on the rest of what I did there.

For our fifth homework assignment, we had to go to a farmer’s market, pick out an organic farm, find out some information about them, and design a day’s worth of recipes using what they had available – two recipes each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Additionally, two of the recipes had to be raw.

I chose Lopez Farms at the San Leandro Bayfair farmers market.  They’re not certified organic, but they are pesticide-free which is good enough for me.  Here is what they had in mid-December.

(Their lettuce was only $1 a head last weekend – score!)

It was tougher for me to come up with breakfast recipes than lunch or dinner.  I didn’t want to resort to a tofu scramble, so it was difficult to find a way to use multiple vegetables in breakfast dishes.  Here is what I came up with.

Savory Amaranth Porridge

To make a thinner porridge, just add more broth or some water.  I love adding fennel seed to breakfast recipes because it’s reminiscent of a sausage-ey flavor.

8 oz tempeh, cubed
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, diced
1 cup amaranth
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the tempeh and simmer 20 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, crumble the tempeh and set aside.

2. Place the coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute 1 minute.  Add the cumin, paprika, fennel seed and celery seed and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the brussels sprouts, carrots and a large pinch of salt and saute for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the tempeh, mix and remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, place the amaranth and broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable mixture to the amaranth, stir well and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve hot, topped with toasted pine nuts.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 487.93
Calories From Fat (40%) 195.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 23.17g 36%
Saturated Fat 8.6g 43%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 430.23mg 18%
Potassium 976.63mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 52.86g 18%
Fiber 10g 40%
Sugar 4.18g
Protein 25.33g 51%

Ginger Beet Smoothie

Beets for breakfast?  Why not?

3 medium beets
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 prunes, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 tsp agave nectar
1 cup ice

1. The night before, preheat the oven to 400.  Wrap each beet in foil and bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

2. Unwrap the beets, use a spoon to scrape the skin off and cut into pieces.

3. Place the beets and all remaining ingredients in the blender, starting with 2 tsp agave nectar.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and add more agave nectar if needed.  Serve cold.

Servings: 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 159.65
Calories From Fat (3%) 4.18
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.5g <1%
Saturated Fat 0.07g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 97.48mg 4%
Potassium 713.39mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 38.2g 13%
Fiber 4.31g 17%
Sugar 29.95g
Protein 3.05g 6%

For lunch, a little soup ‘n’ salad…

Creamy Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup with Parsley Coulis

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
2-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Parsley Coulis
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs water

1. Steam the cauliflower florets for 20 minutes, or until very soft.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil.  Add the garam masala, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring and swirling the oil almost constantly.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft, stirring frequently and being careful not to let it burn.

3. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and add the chickpeas and milk.  Blend until smooth and pour back in the pot.

4. Place the cauliflower and 2 cups of broth in the blender and blend until smooth.  If your blender is small you may need to do this in batches.  Pour into the pot with the onion mixture.

5. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and white pepper to the soup and whisk to combine.  If the soup is too thick, add 1/2 cup broth.  Heat the soup, whisking occasionally, until heated through.  Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper or cayenne if needed.

6. Meanwhile, rinse the blender.  Place the coulis ingredients (parsley through water) in the blender and blend until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides.

7. To serve, ladle the soup into four bowl and drizzle the coulis over each serving.

Servings: 4
Yield: 4 servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 321.49
Calories From Fat (22%) 69.56
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.05g 12%
Saturated Fat 3.55g 18%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 907.59mg 38%
Potassium 1529.58mg 44%
Total Carbohydrates 51.85g 17%
Fiber 15.63g 63%
Sugar 14.08g
Protein 17.02g 34%

Poppy Seed Coleslaw

This stuff is like coleslaw crack.  I easily could have eaten all four servings at once.  So good!

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, shredded
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 dash onion powder
1 dash garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp poppy seeds

1. Place cabbage, red pepper, carrot and celery in a large bowl.

2. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender.  Add the remaining ingredients except poppy seeds to the blender (water through black pepper).  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides if needed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and add the poppy seeds.  Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 227.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 113.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.4g 21%
Saturated Fat 2.24g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 412.5mg 17%
Potassium 643.03mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 24.01g 8%
Fiber 6.82g 27%
Sugar 11.78g
Protein 7.02g 14%

For my dinner recipes, I tried to be a little more fancy.

Lemony Raw Swiss Chard Salad

This tasty raw salad is best the day it is made.

1 bunch chard, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 pinches sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp lemon zest

1. Place the swiss chard in a large bowl.  Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small jar, close the lid and shake until well combined.  Taste the dressing and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Pour the dressing over the chard.  With clean hands, massage and squeeze the chard until it reduces in size and feels more tender, a few minutes.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Place the shallots in a small bowl and cover with water.  Set aside for 1 hour.

3. After an hour, drain the shallots.  Add the shallots to the chard and mix well.  Transfer the chard to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the raisins, lemon zest and more freshly ground black pepper over the salad.  Serve cold.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 217.26
Calories From Fat (43%) 92.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.53g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.46g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 410.09mg 17%
Potassium 876.52mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 30.17g 10%
Fiber 2.49g 10%
Sugar 7.6g
Protein 5.03g 10%

Tofu & Potatoes En Papillote with Leeks & Parsley Pesto

En Papillote is just a fancy term for “in paper”.  The red wine marinade gives the tofu a really pretty rosy color and great flavor.  And, the parsley pesto is good with everything – especially pasta!

1 lb extra-firm tofu
2 cups red wine
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
Parsley Pesto
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 tsp white miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon slices, for garnish

1. Pat excess water off of the tofu.  Place the tofu on a plate and place another plate on top.  Balance a few heavy objects such as canned food on the top plate and press the tofu for 30 minutes.  Drain the excess water.  Place the tofu on its side and carefully slice the tofu into eight thin pieces.

2. Combine the red wine, balsamic vinegar, tamari, lemon juice and smashed garlic in a container large enough to hold the tofu slices.  Submerge the tofu and marinate for at least 1 hour.  Drain.

3. Preheat the oven to 375F.

4. Cut four pieces of parchment paper into 15″ x 15″ squares.  Fold each square in half.  Draw a large half heart shape on each rectangle and cut out.  Open each piece flat.

5. Place one piece of tofu on one side of a parchment heart.  Place two to three potato slices on top, then layer another piece of tofu and a few more potato slices.  Top with one fourth of the leeks.

6. Fold the paper over the ingredients so that the edges meet.  Starting from the top of the heart, fold and crimp both edges of the paper so that the packet is sealed, overlapping the folds and twisting the bottom corner.  Repeat with the remaining paper and ingredients.

7. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto.  Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until they are the size of breadcrumbs.  Add the miso, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt and pulse until combined.  Add the parsley and process until finely chopped.  With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly.  You may not need to use all of the oil.

9. To serve, open the packets and top with pesto and a lemon slice.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 431.98
Calories From Fat (49%) 210.98
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.1g 37%
Saturated Fat 3.11g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 230.15mg 10%
Potassium 920.72mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 40.04g 13%
Fiber 7.46g 30%
Sugar 3.11g
Protein 17.16g 34%

Comments (14)

A Tale of Two Recipes

Well, it’s not really a tale, per say…but I liked the title so I’m sticking with it.  I don’t think I’ve posted a recipe in a while – here’s two!

I mentioned my Salad Stir-fry a few posts ago.  I first came up with it because I had about a ton of baby greens from my CSA that I realized needed to be used the day they needed to be used if I were to save them from going in the trash.  I thought they might wilt down nicely in a stir-fry like spinach does, and I thought it might be interesting to make it salad-like, with a combination of hot and cold components and a thickened salad dressing as the sauce.  It turned out so well that I just had to make it again in order to perfect it and post the recipe!

(The sauce is based on the Asian Miracle Dressing from Vegan Lunchbox.  I tried it pretty much straight up the first time and then tweaked it a bit to better suit the stir-fry.)

Salad Stir-fry

2 Tbs peanut oil
1 white onion, diced
2 bulbs of green garlic, bulb minced and shoots sliced, or 2 cloves of regular garlic, minced, plus 3 green onions, green parts only sliced
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 lb mushrooms (whatever kind you like, quartered or sliced)
1/2 lb frozen shelled edamame, thawed
at least 1/2 lb baby greens or spinach, or a combination

sauce:
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2-1 tsp sriracha
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs cornstarch

cooked brown rice
sprouts
sliced cucumber
sesame seeds

Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Carefully add the onion and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the garlic/green onions and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Add the carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms release their juices. Add the edamame and stir to combine. Add the greens by handfuls, stir-frying each addition and adding more greens as there is room until all the greens are wilted.

Whisk the sauce again and add to the wok. Stir-fry until the sauce coats all the ingredients and thickens.

Serve over brown rice, topped with sprouts, cucumber and sesame seeds.

Serves 3.

Second is a recipe for Swiss Chard Risotto, which I feel like I’ve been working on forever but really have only made three times.  It’s just been very intermitent.  I guess it’s not really chard season anymore, but it should still be available in some areas.

To go with my risotto I made some white bean/corn/red pepper cakes.  To be perfectly honest, this was from a few weeks ago and I have NO idea how I made them.  I know there was flour and breadcrumbs involved, and I baked them, and they didn’t turn out as firm as I wanted but for a thrown together patty accompaniment they were just fine.

This recipe was originally included with my CSA newsletter.  I followed it exactly the first time, but it lacked a little something.  I also had never made risotto, ever, so I was a risotto novice.  Here’s my perfected version!

Chard Risotto

Regular green swiss chard will taste fine, but the risotto will be much prettier with red or rainbow chard.

5 c faux chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbs olive oil
medium white onion, chopped
1 1/2 c arborio rice
bunch of swiss chard, stems sliced and leaves roughly chopped
1/2 c dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 Tbs
2-3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs such as dill or parsley, optional
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer, adding a pinch of salt if the broth is not already salted. Turn down the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large, wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and chard stems and saute until onion is turning translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the rice and chard leaves and saute until the chard starts to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and simmer until absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Add the warm broth one ladle-full at a time, simmering until each addition is completely absorbed and stirring almost constantly. Add the herbs, if using, with the last addition of broth. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy; you may not need to use all of the broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Lastly, I mention this only because I think it’s a great tip for those trying to reduce their fat intake.  I ate the leftover white bean patties on a salad, and I had just read a tip that day on Eat’n Veg’n for a great fat-free dressing – mix dijon mustard and apricot jam or preserves.  I’m sure it would be a lot healthier if the preserves were sugar free – mine were not, but I’m at peace with that.  The dressing on it’s own tastes very strong, I was almost worried to put it on my salad.  But combined with the salad ingredients it mellowed and I liked it a lot.  Give it a try!

Comments (16)

Care Packages, Laptop Lunches & Works In Progress

We successfully broke all the internets at our house (wireless AND non-), and with no solution in sight I am bringing you this post from my work computer.  So, I’m gonna jam a bunch of stuff in and keep it brief.

Firstly, I have been receiving a lot of love in food-related form lately, and I wanted to share the love with everyone!

I participated in my third PPK care package swap, and this time my partner was from Japan and sent me all manner of awesome Japanese stuff.

some sort of seitan stars (“fu”), a sushi mat, cooking chopsticks made of bamboo, shiratamako and red bean paste for attempting daifuku, and candy from Kyoto

candy closeup

Bento toys!  nori stamp machine that makes faces, onigiri molds, small containers, flag picks, a small monkey bento box int he back, little utensils, soy sauce bottles with animal heads, chopsticks in a case and monkey mayo holders.  I’m definitely going to have to go Japanese in some upcoming lunches.

I felt kinda bad when I got all this awesomeness because I mostly sent my partner Mexican food supplies and junk food.  That’s what we do well here!  Although he said he ate the Tings and Eco Planet Cheddar Crackers in one sitting each, so I think those went over well.

A few weeks ago I got a completely unexpected box in the mail from my mom.   She had read my blog post about having difficulty finding grits out here and sent me a “box of stuff Erin can’t find in CA”.

Satchel’s secret salad dressing, quick grits, yellow grits, a cute Publix tote bag, a cute notecard, and Southern Living.  Yeehaw!  Unfortunately, Satchel’s dressing is NOT vegan (which I only learned after eating it many times and falling in love…it has honey…sorry mom!), but fortunately a friend of mine who also recently moved out here from Gainesville loves it, so I’m going to pay the dressing forward.

This same friend gave me some love too!  Although she sent this over the day after I mentioned the dressing…hmm…Anyway, she’s an amazing gardener and lives in a house that already had some goodness growing in the backyard.  Thanks Hope!

lemons, mint, rosemary, thyme, keffir lime leaves, oregano and parsley

But I don’t just receive, I also give!  Remember back in November when I celebrated my 1,000th comment by promising to send whomever posted it a package of sweets?  Anybody?  No?  Well, Megan from The Sisters Vegan happened to win, and she happens to live in Berkeley, which is where I happen to work.  So we agreed to meet up for dinner one night after work, at which time I could give her her goodies.  She’s been testing for the upcoming cookie cookbook, so she was all cookied out and requested no cookies.  And said that it would be nice to have something she could grab for breakfast on the way out the door to work.  Enter muffins!

Full Meal Muffins from Vegan Lunchbox.  These have zucchini, pomegranate juice (subbed for the apple juice called for), bananas, walnuts and raisins, and I subbed in some quinoa flour for a bit of extra protein.  They’re completely sugar-free, sweetened by the bananas and juice and raisins.  They turned out sweet enough, I suppose, but next time I make them I’ll probably add a bit of sugar or stevia.

Smoky Jalapeno Corn Muffins.  Made from my Buttermilk Cornbread recipe, with added jalapeno, roasted corn from TJ’s (freezer section), and liquid smoke.

These were the real star, to me at least – Butterscotch Scones.  I had a bag of butterscotch chips in the pantry screaming to be used, and I wasn’t too keen on the idea of butterscotch muffins, so I decided on scones.  Even though I’ve only made scones once, and they turned out just okay.  The first time I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, and while it’s entirely possible that I botched up the recipe, I wanted to make more “authentic” scones, using the pastry cutting method that most biscuits call for.  So I looked in the good ol’ Betty Crocker Cookbook where I was sure I would find a scone recipe, and lo and behold, there it was.  Veganized very easily, and these babies turned out beautiful.  I typed out just the general recipe, so obviously you can add whatever extra ingredients you want, like nuts or fruit, but I would highly recommend the butterscotch chips if you have ’em.

Vegan Scones

1 3/4 c flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c Earth Balance, cold
6-8 Tbs soy creamer
coarse sugar
1/2 c add-ins (butterscotch or chocolate chips, fruit, etc.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the Earth Balance using a pastry cutter until there are no large pieces of margarine and the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 6 Tbs creamer, just until the flour mixture is moistened. If there is still unincorporated flour, add creamer by the tablespoonful, just until mixture comes together. Gently fold in any additional ingredients.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll in the flour to coat. Knead gently 10 times. Pat into an 8-inch circle on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut into 8 wedges with a knife dipped in flour, and do not separate wedges. Brush the top with additional soy creamer, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
4. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the scones are turning golden and the tops don’t give in to the touch. Immediately remove from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack, using a knife to separate the scones if needed. Serve warm.

Makes 8 scones.

On to the lunches!

4-6  lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, dill pickle cashews (Archer Farms brand), pretzel nuggets, rosemary foccacia, boiled beets, strawberries

4-7 sandwich (multigrain toast, tofurkey, tofutti cheese slice, baby greens, gourmet mustard & red onion jam), broccoli & carrot sticks, goddess dressing, dried apricots, raisins & sour gummies

4-9 garlic crusted grit cakes, succotash, mango-habanero sauce, snapea crisps, lime cucumbers, prunes & dried cherries

4-13 tofusteak sandwich on ezekiel bun with greens & mustard,
bbq crisps, coleslaw, strawberries

4-14 salad stirfry, brown rice, clover sprouts, cucumbers &
sesame seeds, tangerines

4-16 lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, pasta salad, corn muffin,
kiwi & strawberries

4-17 lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, multigrain crackers, apple pieces, carrots with goddess dressing, cookies

And finally, I’m very fond of the W.I.P posts on Musing From The Fishbowl.  It stands for work in progress, and they’re crafty works which are posted on Wednesdays.  Other bloggers have joined in too – one who stands out for having super cute crafty posts is Amanda from Walking The Vegan Line.

I wish I could join in on these posts, but the problem is I’m just not crafty.  I’ll sew or make something every once in a while, but the craft is not in my blood.  However, I have a few food projects that I’m working on, so I thought I’d share them as works in progress.

I first posted a picture of this dish that I’m working on for a cooking contest here, asking if anyone could identify the triangles, and giving the hint that they’re not tofu.

The most popular guess was polenta, and that’s really SO close!  They’re grit cakes.  This is Garlic-Crusted Grit Cakes with Succotash Hash, Mango-Habanero Sauce and Quick Pickles.  BF says it’s too complicated, but the contest rules say that you have to prepare it within two hours, and I can do that, and sometimes complicated is how I roll.  I need at least one more run at this one and the contest deadline is the end of this month, so I need to get moving on it.

Another one I’m working on for a different contest is Creamy Corn Pudding.  My mom makes this for almost every family holiday gathering and it’s so good, but it’s full of butter and milk and eggs, so no corn pudding for me.  No more!

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s darned close.  I also need at least one more go at this one.

I posted a picture of this Swiss Chard Risotto two posts ago, and I thought I would have it perfect this time, but alas I didn’t have any white wine and subbed in with white wine vinegar and it was a little too much.  Luckily, I’m getting chard again in my CSA tomorrow and I think with one more try it will be perfect.

That’s it for now.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again because we’re cheap and refuse to pay to fix our internets.  Until then!

update:  BF fixed the internets, hooray!  He is now a wireless router reconfiguration master.

Comments (21)

Piccata, Risotto & Focaccia

Time for some fancy foods!  Piccata, risotto and focaccia are all restauranty-sounding dishes to me, things that a few years ago I would have never thought I’d be making for myself.  They also all have double letters that I have a hard time remembering where to put.

Let’s start with the CSA delivery that brought me some of the ingredients:

leaf lettuce, chard, artichokes, collards, asparagus & rosemary

tangerines, beets, shallots, kiwis & apples

It was a lovely coincidence that I saw Lindsay’s post on piccata the very same week I received asparagus, which everyone knows is good with piccata.  Even those of us who’d never tried it before, like me.  She made hers with her chickpea cakes, which I’m sure are good, but I decided to go with the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, because I love them and it had been a very long time since I made them.  I followed Lindsay’s sauce recipe exactly though.  Like all of her recipes, the sauce is fat-free, so I feel like the end result might have been lacking a little bit of richness you might get from a “normal” piccata.  The sauce was definitely not lacking in flavor though.  In fact, I was quite happy the sauce was fat-free, because I used olive oil on the asparagus and earth balance in the mashed cauliflower.

Yes, I know that mashed potatoes go with piccata and asparagus.  But I like to use cauliflower instead of potatoes sometimes to lighten up a meal.  I chopped up a bit of fresh rosemary to go in the cauliflower, and it lent just the faintest hint of delicious rosemary flavor.  I was suspicious of using fresh rosemary because I’m not a huge fan of dried, but for serious:  fresh is awesome.  And it lasts a lot longer in the fridge than I thought it would.

I have always been intimidated by the thought of making risotto.  You hear about having to stand in front of a pot, stirring forever, and all for some flavored rice?  But I kept seeing risotto pop up on the internets, and it didn’t seem to be such a big deal.  So when the CSA newsletter came with a recipe for Red Chard Risotto, I gave it a whirl.

I had to figure out what “dry white wine” is to make this.  (Google it.)  And I learned that you don’t actually have to stir constantly; just a lot.  It turned out pretty well, but the rice could have been cooked more, and the flavor could use a boost.  So I will rework this soon and have a recipe.  The good news is that I am no longer scared of arborio rice.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the majority of my fresh rosemary, and the only idea that came to mind was focaccia, so I went with it.  I followed the recipe in Veganomicon, subbing half whole wheat flour.

This was very easy to make, and the rosemary flavor is awesome.  I have one question though:  What makes focaccia different from regular ol’ bread just shaped into a disc?  The texture seemed like normal bread.  Not that I’m complaining…I just want to know.

To go with the focaccia, I remade the stuffed collards that I first tried here.

My filling of choice was lentils and tempeh, and the flavor of the filling was great.  It didn’t quite stick together enough to recreate the original though.  I think I have a solution, and I happen to have collards in the fridge, so hopefully with one more tweak I will have a recipe to share.

Speaking of recipes that I’m working on, here’s a sneak peek.

It’s going to be my first recipe contest entry.  It’s fun to be working toward something instead of just cooking whatever I want sometimes.  Can anyone guess what the triangles are?  Hint:  it’s not tofu.

Comments (10)

St. Patrick’s Day, Observed

For about ten days before St. Patrick’s, I thought it was on Wednesday.  Even though I had it on both my home and work calendar, and even though I knew that Tuesday was the 17th…for some reason I thought it was Wednesday.  Until boyfriend informed me Tuesday morning just before leaving for work that it was St. Patty’s.  I was so confused.  Sometimes I get discombobulated like that.

I don’t go too crazy for St. Patrick’s, but I like to think that I’m part Irish, so I celebrate just a little.  I was planning to wear a green sweater and make a green dinner.  I was already dressed for work, so the sweater was a no go, and I had way too many leftovers to cook dinner Tuesday night.  So I went with my original plan and observed St. Patrick’s on Wednesday.

My green meal consisted of mini crustless tofu quiches with spinach instead of green peppers, raw chard salad with grapefruit, and parsley mashed potatoes.  So the quiches were more yellow and brown, and the chard was a deep reddish purple color, and the plate gave off a weird glow.  Oh well!  It tasted great.

The potatoes were upset that they were in the background, so here’s their close-up.

Comments (11)

Weeknight Meals, Nacho Teese & Laptop Lunches

Here are a few more from the “what gets in my belly the fastest” files.

On a trip to Rainbow Grocery, which is kind of like specialty vegan product heaven, I picked up a package of frozen Nate’s Classic Flavor Meatless Meatballs.  I had seen them on a few other blogs and they seemed to be spoken of positively, so I figured I’d give ’em a try.  Here they are perched atop wheat fettuccine and covered in Whole Foods marinara.

I like the meatless balls a lot.  The taste and texture are great, and they cook up in mere minutes.  However, at 90 calories per three I won’t be getting through the bag any time soon.

I also wanted a veggie side dish, and did not want to go to the grocery store, so I cooked the only vegetable I had – celery.  Now, I love me some raw celery, and it’s nice cooked with onions and peppers as the beginning of a dish, but who eats just cooked celery?

I do.  And it’s actually good.  And it uses up that celery in your fridge.  I know it’s there.  I have the remains of a stalk in my fridge right now.  Honestly, I made this a few weeks ago so I don’t remember exactly how I cooked it, but Google braised celery and you’ll find many ways.

One weeknight I found myself with some leftover takeout white rice, and that usually means clean-out-the-fridge-fried-rice.  I only had a bit of rice though and didn’t want to take the time to make more, so I said to myself “Quinoa cooks fast, I wonder if fried quinoa is good?”.

The answer is that fried quinoa is amazing.  And I didn’t feel like I had to add tofu or edamame like normal, since quinoa has so much protein on it’s own.  This version included sweet potato, carrot, cabbage and broccoli and it was quite nice, if I do say so myself.

On the aforementioned trip to Rainbow Grocery, I also snagged a tube of Nacho Teese.  Teese!  You may recall from my past experiments with Teese that I think it’s amazing, so I couldn’t wait to try the new flavor.  I wasn’t so judicious this time since it’s much easier to come by here than it was in Florida.

I knew that I wanted to make enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce, but since I’ve been trying to vary my grains, I thought about what I might use instead of tortillas.  I decided that swiss chard might just be a good enchilada wrapper, and I’m calling these Chard Enchiladas.  Because that’s what they are.

One of them was nice enough to open up in the oven and show us the filling, which was pinto beans, nacho teese, onions and chopped chard stem.

I didn’t precook the chard, which I probably should have because it was still a bit tough.  Overall though, this turned out pretty well.

What else do you make with nacho teese?  Duh, nachos.

Blue sesame corn chips, refried beans mixed with leftover enchilada sauce, salsa, teese, a quick guacamole, and these really good mild jalapeno slices that I found at Target.  The jalapenos made all the difference.

Closeup of the melty deliciousness:

This was so ridiculously filling, and so ridiculously good.

I haven’t made a whole lot of lunches lately because of all the holidays, but here are the few I’ve managed to take.

12-16 chard enchiladas, brown rice with corn & tomatoes,
avocado, candy cane jo jo’s

12-17 double fried quinoa (because it was that good),
edamame, persimmon & prunes

12-22 blue corn sesame chips, nacho dip (refried beans,
salsa, teese & jalapenos), carrots, clementine

12-23 toasted leftovers sandwich (tofurkey, spinach,
red onion, cream cheese, cranberry sauce), carrots
& celery, goddess dressing, dried apricot bar

Whew.  I feel better having caught up a bit.  Soon I’ll write posts about my New Year’s eats, sushi with a very special ingredient and my first CSA box, and hopefully find some time to catch up on reading other blogs too!

Comments (11)