Thursday, March 25, 2010

Muschio Mushroom-Vegan Apple Sage Sausage-Potato Saute over Quinoa with Sesame Seed Bagel Half

I took a Russet potato and cut it into a dice between 1/4" and 1/2" and started sauteeing it. A few minutes later as the potato started to cook, I added a Field Roast Grain Meat Company smoked apple sage artisanal vegan sausage, cubed into a similar size, and two cloves of garlic, roughly diced fairly small (maybe 1/8"). After five more minutes or so, once the potato was gently browning and the sausage was medium-brown, I added all of a 10.6 ounce bottle of imported Italian muschio mushrooms (Volvaria Volvacea) packed in olive oil, and cooked another few minutes till the sausage was crispy; I then added 1/4 teaspoon or so of fresh lemon sage and a tablespoon or so of fresh rosemary needles.

I served the dish over quinoa (it's so easy to cook this nutritous grain; just add to a pan 1 part grain and two parts water, and include a vegan bouillon cube; bring to a boil for 2 minutes or so, then turn the heat off and cover for about ten minutes till the liquid is absorbed and the grain shows a spiral shape within it). A half bagel and some tomato sprinkled with alderwood-smoked salt completed the meal.

Wow - the main dish came out better than I expected! My wife and I both loved the meal; it would be fun to see something like this at a restaurant, and I think that diners would be pleased by the texture and interesting flavors!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kale and Tempeh with Leftover Merlot-Olive Oil, Onion Bagel

Among other items we received this week from our "online farmer's market", Papa Spud's, was a gallon bag packed with kale. I used about half the kale; I hand stripped off the leaves from the stems and ribs, composting the latter. In a stock pan with a little bit of olive oil over medium heat, I started cooking 1/4 red onion cut into large 3/4" or so pieces. As the onion started becoming clear, I added a half package of tempeh, cut into pieces approximately 1/4" x 1/2" x 1/2", and let it cook just two minutes or so.

The tempeh was still light colored and didn't brown; I added the kale leaves and briefly stirred, then added about half a cup of the leftover liquid from the baby artichoke dish I made last Friday, as well as a little bit (maybe 1/8 teaspoon) of salt. I stirred then covered the pan, reducing the heat to low, and cooked for about 10 minutes till the kale was tender.

Today, I wanted to pick up a few bagels from Bruegger's, and found that they had a nice Wednesday special - a dozen bagels for $5.99. They actually give you thirteen bagels, which I went for; I served an onion bagel to each of us for dinner and split and froze the rest - expect to see bagels in the coming days, too! I served the kale with the bagels, as well as carrots that we also got from Papa Spud's.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Leftover Spring Masala Dosa with Gunpowder Spice, Sambar, and Jerk Seasoned Cold Seitan with Cantaloupe Juice

On Saturday, we went to one of our favorite area restaurants, Tower South Indian Vegetarian Restaurant, to celebrate a friend's birthday. I had ordered a spring masala dosa with gunpowder spice coated inside the dosa. Dosa, one of my favorite foods, is a South Indian fermented lentil and rice crepe. It is often served unstuffed or stuffed with potatoes and onions; this restaurant has a spring masala dosa that has a variety of sauteed vegetables in the filling. I like the tasty gunpowder spices, as well.

I couldn't finish my dosa, so brought half home. I served a quarter of the dosa with (not shown here) coconut chutney, as well as some lime pickle and a bowl of tasty spicy sambar soup we also brought home. I served avocado and, sprinkled with jerk seasoning, some unheated slices of seitan to complete the meal.

By the way, I also made an amazing drink. I found over the weekend cantaloupes for $1.50 at Whole Foods Market. I removed the skin and seeds of half a cantaloupe and cut it into large chunks. I put these into my Vitamix blender, then added a tray of ice cubes. I blended it all together and got a very tasty frosty cantaloupe juice! Wow!

Tempeh with Marinara Sauce and Greens, Cilantro Lime Aztec Rice Salad, Baked Potato

At Whole Foods Market today, I found a new prepared dish that sounded good - Cilantro Lime Aztec Rice Salad, which had: Azec Rice Blend (Colusari red rice - which I've not heard of before, long grain brown rice, split peas, and amaranth), lime juice, spinach, canola oil, cilantro, salt, and black pepper. I picked it up to help get dinner on the table a bit sooner than otherwise.

I baked Russet potatoes in my toaster oven to make another trivial side dish. For the main dish, I simply sauteed some tempeh, then, when both sides of the tempeh pieces were at least medium-brown, I added the marinara sauce with greens that I made last week, as well as some plain marinara sauce, and cooked over low heat another few minutes till heated through. I then served, along with some lovely organic English peas I also found today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Carciofi al Forno (Baked Baby Artichokes), Mojo Criollo Jerk Seitan

Recently, baby artichokes, sold as a pack of I think 8, have been available at Weaver Street Market for a reasonable price. I have never baked artichokes, and found a nice Italian recipe for
Carciofi al Forno, or baked artichokes. We had a friend over for dinner, and I decided to try this dish, along with what is becoming a frequent side dish for us, limed jerk seitan (I used Key West Mojo Criollo as the lime marinade).

I followed the artichoke recipe with two packs of artichokes, removing the top layer of leaves of each artichoke and the top 1/3 of the choke, and baking at 375°F with chunks of three cloves of garlic, a few tablespoonfuls of olive oil, and a few more tablespoons of red merlot wine, plus enough water to mainly cover the artichokes. After about 20-30 minutes (I baked uncovered, thinking that there was a lot of liquid, but probably should have followed the instructions to get softer artichokes), I removed the artichokes and let the oven heat up to 400°F.

While it was heating, I drained and saved the liquid from the casserole dish to use for a future meal, and added the topping, which was a cup of bread crumbs, a touch of salt and pepper, a tablespoon of lemon zest, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The recipe also called for 3 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley but, not having parsley, I used a bit of rosemary. In hindsight, there was much too much bread crumbs, and I'd like to try something like this again but with 1/4 cup bread crumbs. I let the artichokes bake till the topping started to brown, about 5-7 minutes, then I served.

For the seitan, I hand tore a package or so into bite-sized chunks and let them marinate for a half hour or so in the lime marinade. When the artichokes were almost done, I poured the marinade over the bread crumbs to give the dish an extra "kick", and returned the artichokes to the oven. I sauteed the seitan till the pieces were crispy, then dredged them in Pluto's Caribbean Bliss jerk seasoning, and served.

I rarely drink alcohol, but found a North Carolina hard cider on sale today from a company named Foggy Ridge Cider; I bought their Sweet Stayman cider, and served it with dinner. It was reasonably sweet and good!

I think that dinner turned out well; our friend seemed to enjoy it, and my wife said she loved the artichokes. I'd like to try making something similar, but including other vegetables, like eggplant and potato.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baked Collard Chips, Potato-Tempeh-Red Onion Saute

In this week's produce dropoff from Papa Spud's, was a nice bunch of collard greens, as well as a recipe for another green, kale. The recipe, for baked kale chips, sounded interesting and like it would work for other greens, so I gave it a try with the collards.

The recipe, attributed to a customer who originally got it from, is to:
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F
  2. Line an uninsulated cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Cut out (and compost) the thick stems from the greens; hand tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces
  4. Wash and, with a salad spinner, thoroughly dry the leaf pieces
  5. Drizzle the greens with a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on them
  6. Bake till the edges brown but aren't burnt - it should take 10-15 minutes

The collard leaves turned out surprisingly good! I also made a simple potato-tempeh-red onion saute, and served some fresh tomatoes. My wife loved dinner!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Acorn Squash, Dr. Praeger's Bombay (sic) Veggie Burger with Fries

I started baking an acorn squash, intending to serve one half to my wife and one half to me, and to make a main course with some mushrooms I found yesterday packed in olive oil (called muschio mushrooms, Volvaria Volvacea) combined with some vegetables, fennel, and tempeh. Though we love the signs of spring, in the past few years it seems to trigger some allergies for my wife, and she ended up not feeling well and wanting to sleep, skipping dinner. I hope she'll feel better tomorrow!

I decided to wait and perhaps make that tomorrow or the next day. Instead, this was an opportunity for me to use the single patty I had left of Dr. Praeger's Bombay (sic - Mumbai) Veggie Burger. I baked it, along with some French Fries, and served it with a slice of Follow Your Heart brand vegan Cheddar-style cheese. I ate it with a fork, as I only had small slices of bread on hand. Raw turnip slices as well as both halves of the squash, with Earth Balance margarine, salt, and pepper, rounded out the meal.

Eggplant and Seitan over Rice Noodles

For dinner today, I sliced a medium Italian eggplant into long slices about 1/4" thick, and began sauteeing them over medium-high heat (this isn't the healthiest way to prepare eggplant, as it soaks up the oil and requires adding a bit more oil over time). A few minutes later, I added a shallot, sliced thinly, and about a half package of seitan, cut into small thin sections maybe 1/8" x 3/4" x 1/4". After about 5 minutes, when the eggplant was a bit brown and the seitan was getting a little crispy, I added half of a red onion, diced into pieces almost 1/2". I cooked another 2 or 3 minutes, then mixed in some dried oregano and salt, and served over rice noodles that I had briefly boiled.

We enjoyed the meal! Surprisingly, as I thought eggplant was an "adult" taste, my daughter, not yet 16 months old, enjoyed the eggplant!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Punjabi Eggplant over Organic Brown Rice Penne, Koshimbir (Marathi Salad), Avocado

My daughter almost never gets sick, but today she had a sudden bout of something - which already seems like it has passed quickly. By the time we were done attending to her, it was well past 9p, so I wanted to get dinner on the table quickly. My wife helped by making a Marathi salad with shredded cabbage, various spices, peanuts, and lemon juice called koshimbir.

Like I did last May, I easily prepared a Punjab eggplant dish. As I wrote then, "there is a line of convenient Indian (and Thai, I believe) foods by a company called Tasty Byte; the ingredients are good and don't include all sorts of strange sounding chemicals, and they just require boiling for a few minutes within the foil bag the food comes in. I bought their Punjab Eggplant - it turned out to be very tasty (and a bit spicy hot) -- I really liked it!"

I wanted to serve the eggplant over rice, but in the interests of time, as it was getting late, I went with organic brown rice penne pasta. I put the rice in boiling water, cooked, stirring, for a minute or two, then turned the heat off and let it cook, covered, for about 20 minutes. An unusually large avocado, halved, rounded out this easy dinner. That eggplant is really good. We both loved it - and it went well with the noodles!

Swiss Chard Strozzapreti Pasta with Vegan Smoked Apple-Sage Sausage and Raw Zucchini Slices Topped with Key West Mojo Criollo

My wife recently joined an "online farmer's market", Papa Spud's, where we get a weekly dropoff of both local and non-local produce, and this week we had a nice bunch of Swiss Chard. I thought I would make a pasta dish and used an idea I got from about cooking Swiss Chard; I more or less followed their idea of cutting, stem and leaves, into a dice, then steaming for about 11 minutes.

Once the chard was done, I drained it. I quickly dab dried the stock pot I cooked the chard in, added a bit of oil, and heated the oil over medium heat. Then I put in a clove of garlic and a half small red onion, both diced into approximately 1/4" pieces, and cooked for about 3 minutes, till the onion was somewhat clear and cooked down a bit. I then added some sauce; I used a tasty local North Carolina-made marinara sauce by a company called Thomas Gourmet Foods. I added a little salt, a pinch or two of paprika, and a little dried oregano, then simmered till everything else was ready and served atop pasta.

As I described in May 2008, "there are a number of theories why strozzapreti pasta is named as a 'priest choker' pasta, such as that priests in Italy would gorge themselves on these rolled towel shaped pasta pieces and choke". I like this pasta and had it on hand so used it, though for what I was making, I would have preferred seashell-shaped Conchiglie pasta to catch the ingredients within the form. (I had forgotten, but after photographing, added a little Eat in the Raw's Parma! vegan "Parmesan cheese" to the pasta dish.)

I heated apple-sage vegan sausage, as well. Finally, I served some raw slices of zucchini. I topped these slices with Key West Mojo Criollo, originally, I believe, a Cuban lime marinade, and which I had purchased from Trader Joe's. It was a good dinner - my wife loves greens and sometimes balks at non-tomato sauce based pastas, so I combined greens with marinara sauce and pasta and she was predictably delighted!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup, Vegan Sausage-Fennel Saute with Crimini Mushroom, Grilled Baguette

One of my wife's sitar teachers, and Shri Indrajit Banerjee (whom I photographed on his last visit) is visiting from India and came today to spend two nights with us. He is performing tomorrow night and we plan to eat out after the concert at an upscale restaurant called Piedmont; they assure me if we call ahead they'll have good vegan choices.

Tonight, I prepared the carrot-ginger soup that my wife and I love in my VitaMix, substituting raw cashews for tofu. It's so easy and tasty! Today fennel root was on sale, and I came up with the idea of making a saute with fennel, Field Roast Grain Meat Company's apple-sage artisanal vegan sausage, and crimini mushrooms (incidentally, I found a site describing twelve ways to cook fennel).

For the main course, I simply sliced the fennel into large 1/2" or so chunks; cut the vegan sausage into 3/4" lengths; cut a quarter onion into a 1/4" dice; and sliced into thirds 3/4 pound of the mushrooms. I started sauteeing over medium heat the sausage and onion, adding the mushroom as the onion started clarifying (perhaps two minutes). I let the mushroom cook down for about 4-5 minutes, then added the fennel, as well as a little bit of jalapeno, cut into a 1/4" dice. I cooked for another 3-4 minutes, sprayed one or two pumps of roasted garlic juice and a few shakes of Colgin Liquid Smoke, and served.

I picked up a fresh French baguette from Weaver Street Market today. I cut it into appropriate lengths to serve and sliced each piece into half lengthwise. I applied a little Earth Balance margarine to the cut sides and grilled on my saute pan, pressing down, till the cut side was gently browned. (Normally I describe my meal with quantities for two adults with our baby nibbling, but tonight this was enough to include Indrajit.)