Friday, March 25, 2011

Clean Out the Fridge Meal

Chick Pea Curry

3 scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
olive oil
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
2 t. curry powder
1 can chickpeas
fresh basil leaves
a little water
1/2 bag baby spinach

Sautee scallions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Smash some of the chickpeas to thicken the liquid.

Sear some brussels sprouts in olive oil. Turn and add juice and zest of lime and some salt. Cook until softened.

Not bad for a clean out the fridge meal!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Springtime in Chicago

I am standing outside in a winter coat which totally covers my shorts. My bare legs are exposed over my daughter's snow boots that I pulled on as I ran out the door. Waiting for the dogs to go to the bathroom. Instead they just want to roll in the muddy grass (I have never seen a dog do a deliberate tumblesault before now - they really get a kick out of this). The dogs are not allowed out by themselves until this Midwest black mud dries out - they came in totally caked in it the other day. The big snow pile has finally melted - we live at the end of the street in a cul de sac and so get all the snow from the entire street in our front yard. The lawn is spongy as we walk on it. I see some tulips starting to come up. Monday it was near 60 and tonight we will have snow. The last time we lived here it snowed on May 7th. Springtime in Chicago!

No good food to post - today I ate my Larabar in the shower because I ran out of time for breakfast! Not an auspicious start to the day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Apologies for the Junior Mints

So, I finally got out to the store yesterday and looked at the label of my Junior Mints. There it was, the very last ingredient. Gelatin. Ugh. I switched to Junior Mints after finding that my former favorite, York Peppermint Patties, had egg white in them. Not sure if I just missed the gelatin or if that is a recent addition. Why does all my favorite crappy mass produced candy have some kind of animal product in it? Thank God for Trader Joe's dark chocolate. Thanks to Shenandoah Vegan for pointing this out.

On a happier note, here is a delicious dinner, courtesy of Appetite for Reduction (the Thai Red Tofu), and Happy Herbivore (Teriyaki Chickpeas). And look at all that green stuff!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Seinfeld Episodes in One Post

Those of you who are fans know that Seinfeld basically applies to every situation in life. In this case: "Jam-ba-laaii-a" and "Junior Mint?"

My church usually holds a Mardi Gras supper, and last year I signed up to make a pot of Jambalaya. Well, of course it was not vegan, but my daughter loved it so much that I decided to veganize the recipe. I don't know about the original, but this one sure was good. I made my favorite Cajun red beans from "American Harvest" by Nava Atlas, candied yams, and cornmeal crusted okra from "Cookin' Southern" by Ann Jackson ( I really recommend this book - it is so fun and the food is so good).

Have you cooked with okra? This is what it looked like before I cut it up. I was browsing through a few cookbooks since it is not something I cook with regularly. Apparently the way to eliminate the "slime factor" (did I just scare you off of okra?) is to make sure the okra are perfectly dry. So I did not wash them before. I figured that cooking in hot oil would destroy any germs, and anyway if there was something really nasty on them a quick rinse would not get rid of it. So, we survived and the okra was crisp and delicious. And the girl in the market did not even ask me what it was - this tends to happen with the uncommon veggies (and sadly some common ones, too).

Why Junior Mints? I asked the Carnivore to stop on his way home from work to get me a big box - I decided to give up candy for Lent and this was my last chance to eat it for 40 days. This was not so big a deal when I was a kid, because we didn't eat much candy anyway. But now it is much tougher for this sugar addict! Yes, I ate the whole box in one sitting, although I did share a few with the kiddos. 

This dumb dog has decided she likes sitting on the kitchen table. She sure has a lot of bad habits. But isn't she pretty?

Mardi Gras Jambalaya from Messiah Lutheran Church

1/2 c Earth Balance (no wonder it tastes so good)
2 red onions, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 T. Creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere)
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. oregano
2 T. Tomato paste
1 package vegan sausage (I used Tofurky kielbasa)
4 cups broth ( I used no beef bouillon cubes)
1 16 oz. can tomatoes, with liquid
3 c. long grain rice (white, please!)

Melt EB in a large pot. Add all veggies and seasonings. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Mix in tomato paste. Cut sausage into chunks. Add with broth and tomatoes and rice. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is very tender, about an hour.

I found I needed to add A LOT more water throughout the cooking time. The original recipe also called for ham, but I didn't have any vegan ham on hand and it was great without it. I did also add a little smoked paprika for extra flavor.

The candied yams I ate as a child had 1/2 lb. butter and 1/2 lb. brown sugar in them (also used canned yams packed in syrup!) Here is a more sane version.

Candied Yams

2 large yams
2 T. Earth Balance
2 T. maple syrup
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. orange juice

Microwave yams until just tender. Let cool, peel, and cut into chunks. Heat all other ingredients. Add yams and cook until heated through.

Hope y'all had a great Mardi Gras feast, too!