Posts Tagged The Uncheese Cookbook

CSA’s & Laptop Lunches

Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted my foods!  I’ll try to keep my rambling and descriptions short, since I’ve got a lot of pictures!

8-27 CSA:  corn, rosemary, pears, zucchini, cucumber & lavender

onions, figs, tomatoes, beets, squash & honeydew melon

When I got this CSA box, I was actually growing tired of snacking on fresh figs.  Gasp!  I’m spoiled, I know.  I decided to make a poached fig salad, based on a recipe I found online that I can’t find again now!  Which is a shame, cause it was really good.  The fresh figs were poached in a whole bottle of port, then the wine was reduced down to a syrup.  There was also a simple vinaigrette, pisatchios, shallots and faux feta cheese.  The poached figs were STRONG, but good.  I also had some herbed pumpkin seed crackers.

I had taken note of the Teriyaki Quinoa recipe in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan during my August cleanse but didn’t get a chance to try it then.  I’m glad I tried it afterwards, because I love it!  It’s so simple – just cook the quinoa and mix it with the sauce.  I served the quinoa with stir-fried veggies (seasoned only with tamari and ume plum vinegar), and instead of sprinkling with sesame seeds as the recipe called for, I used some sesame gomasio that I had bought for no specific reason.

Quinoa close-up!  Looks like…quinoa…

I had a huge heirloom tomato sitting around doing absolutely no good, and I decided I wanted to slice it up for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s a big hole in the middle cause the tomato had a big, tough core that had to be cut out.

I wanted to make bread machine bread for my sandwich and…FAIL.  I modified a multigrain bread machine recipe that I found online and it really didn’t rise at all.  It was edible but incredibly dense.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad or if it was the fact that I used the time delay feature and the ingredients sat there for hours before the machine started mixing.

The cheese in the sandwich is the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I love.  I also love pickles on grilled cheese.  On the side was broccoli and cucumber with goddess dressing, and oven-baked beet chips.

I had corn and squashes left over from the CSA box, and thought they would make nice side dishes for black-eyed-pea gravy and biscuits.  I have no idea where I got the gravy idea from, but it worked out.

For the biscuits, I used Happy Herbivore’s Whole Wheat Low Fat Biscuit recipe, and they turned out quite well!  I rolled mine out and cut them into circles with a glass though, rather than just dropping them like the recipe calls for.  That way you get the flaky sides, and they’re easy to cut in half.

Gravy close-up!  The gravy turned out okay, but it was a little too acidic and the onions weren’t cooked enough, so I need to work on it a bit before I have an official recipe.  For the creamed corn, I just cooked some corn kernels till tender, blended up some of them in the food processor, added it back to the pan with some soy milk and cooked a bit just to thicken.  The squash and zucchini were sauteed with probably a pinch too much red pepper flakes.

9-10 CSA:  lettuce, thyme, zucchini, swiss chard & grapes

tomatoes, plums, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & oranges

There’s nothing particularly special about this salad, except that it was topped with Annie’s French Dressing, which I had never seen before and like a lot.

With the abundance of tomatoes in this CSA box, I thought I ought to try my hand at making gazpacho.  I’d had gazpacho before a number of times but never made it.  Turns out it’s ridiculously easy to make!  The blender does most of the work.  I followed the recipe from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and it was perfect.

On the side is a slice of Bianca’s awesome Whole Wheat Beer Bread.  I grew up eating beer bread, and this totally hit the spot.  I added FYH cheddar and some rosemary just cause I could.  I also totally screwed up and mis-read the recipe.  I thought the bread only baked for 30 minutes, so I pulled it out then, let it cool, and was totally surprised that my first slice was completely raw in the middle!  Then I re-read the recipe – doh!  It bakes for 55 minutes.  The slice on my plate up there went in the toaster oven just to finish, which is why it looks funny, and the rest of the loaf went back in the oven.  Read your recipes all the way through, people!

9-24 CSA:  swiss chard, lettuce, cucumber & more lettuce

beets, tomatoes, red onions, grapes & peppers.  I also got a galia melon but it didn’t find its way into the picture.

Another sandwich, this time on store-bought sprouted bread.  I had an avocado ready to use, and thought it would go perfectly with the CSA tomato and lettuce in a great sandwich.  I was thinking along the lines of a BLT, so I sauteed tempeh then glazed it with soy sauce, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Delicious!  The sandwich also had red onion jam, spicy mustard and a slice of vegan cheese.  Those nuclear chips in the front there are Buffalo Chips from Food Should Taste Good.  They didn’t really taste buffalo-y, but they were tangy and spicy and good.  If you haven’t tried Food Should Taste Good chips yet, do so!  They feel so much lighter than other chips, and their flavors are fun and imaginative.

10-8 CSA:  arugula, lettuce, acorn squash, more lettuce & baby bok choy

plums, potatoes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, peppers & beets

I haven’t done anything with last week’s CSA box yet, but…there it is.

Laptop lunches!  I don’t have the time these days to neatly pack everything every night, but I do when I can.

9-8 pasta salad, steamed carrots, beanie weenies, cauliflower

9-10 biscuit & black-eyed pea gravy, creamed corn, spicy sauteed squash

9-15 cheddar-rosemary beer bread, gazpacho, baked beans, grapes

9-17 sesame noodles, sauteed cabbage, grapes

9-28 peppers lavender tofu, scalloped zucchini,
slow roasted tomatoes, grapes

10-1 multigrain sesame-beet pilaf, spicy daikon slaw, gf corn muffin, grapes

Bonus Jake.

And armless Jake.

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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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