Friday, November 30, 2012

Family's Travel Send-Off Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute Dinner

Tonight is my daughter and wife's last dinner before their evening flight tomorrow enroute to India. I'm going to miss them! I wanted to make a special meal with food they won't get at all in India. We love the product lineup from Field Roast - all vegan and soy-free. I had a Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute - here is a description from their website:

Made exclusively for the holidays – a rich, hazelnut-infused vegetarian grain meat stuffed with Field Roast sausages, crystallized ginger, cranberries and apples – wrapped in a savory puff pastry.  From family feasts to a festive dinner for two, our Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute is the centerpiece  to any holiday meal.
I thought it would be a good choice for dinner tonight!

I heated the roast and made a shiitake gravy from a packet that I just had to mix into boiling water. I cubed some vegetables (sweet potato, potato, carrot, garlic, onion) and tossed with some rosemary, oregano, herbed salt, and olive oil, then baked with the roast. Safe travels, and come back soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cabbage Stew with Cannellini Beans served with Quinoa cooked with Marinara

  • One medium potato, cut into 1/4" or 1/2" cubes
  • A quarter large red onion, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • Two cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • Three medium carrots, cut into 1/2" slices
  • Half of a head of cabbage, cut into half again and then 3/8" strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  • Spices: pinch or two of turmeric; pinch of salt; pinch of cumin seed
  • Small 13.4 ounce box of cannellini beans
  • Less than an eighth of a large red onion, cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill weed
  • (optional) pinch of salt or salt-herb mixture

  1. In a stock pan, I put a little bit of olive oil and heated over medium heat; within a quarter minute or so, once hot, I added the potato and cooked, stirring occasionally
  2. After about two minutes, I added the onion and garlic and cooked another four or five minutes till the onion was just starting to show signs of carmelizing
  3. I then added the carrot and cooked for two minutes or so, letting the carrot soften
  4. Next, I added the cabbage, stirred, and, a minute later, added the cumin seed and ginger
  5. I stirred for another half minute, then added a cup of water and the remaining spices
  6. I reduced the heat to low and cooked, covered, for about ten minutes, letting the cabbage get soft
  7. I removed the cover from the pan and mixed in the beans and dill weed, as well as herbed salt, and the second batch of red onion (I sometimes use this technique I've come up with of adding onion at different stages of a dish's preparation to get perhaps a nice carmelized taste plus a crunchy more pungent one from the second batch)
  8. I let the dish simmer uncovered another eight to ten minutes to let the moisture be reduced
I served the stew with some quinoa that I made with a few tablespoonfuls of marinara sauce added (i.e., one measure of quinoa, two measures of water [and, ideally, a vegan bouillon cube, but I was out], and the sauce brought to a boil then simmered for about six-ten minutes till the moisture was absorbed and the quinoa showed its characteristic spiral], along with tomato and avocado slices.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Kale-Chard Stalk-Tempeh Saute with Brown Rice Noodles and Baby Ginger and Hemp Seed

A fellow Food for Life instructor posted an interesting recipe for creamed spinach, something I've never made and think I've never had. Essentially, spinach is sauteed with some onion, then part of it is creamed in a blender with some unsweetened almond milk and folded in to the remaining spinach.

I didn't have spinach and, while I could try the recipe with the kale or chard that I did have on hand, I decided to do something else. I started with:
  • Head of kale, washed, with leaves hand torn off of stems to about 1" pieces (stems composted)
  • Stalks from a head of chard, cut into 1/2" lengths
  • Six fingerling potatoes, cut into thin sixths
  • A medium shallot and a garlic clove, each thinly sliced
  • A third of a packet of tempeh, sliced into thin rectangles maybe 3/4" x 1/2" (x 1/4" thick)
I put the shallot, garlic, and potato in a saute pan with a little bit of canola oil. I let it cook over medium heat for two or three minutes till the onion became clear, then I added the tempeh. After another five minutes or so, with the potato getting close to being cooked but not yet browned, I added the chard stalks. I cooked another two minutes or so, then added the kale and sprinkled some salt on top to help the kale cook down.

After two more minutes or so, the kale was becoming darker green and the potato was showing a little bit of browning. I then sprinkled on a little bit of coconut aminos and served. It tasted surprisingly good, even without coconut milk that I was originally thinking of also adding. I served this with some brown rice noodles that I had sprinkled hemp nuts and herbed salt atop, as well as corn-off-the-cob. My toddler, wife, and I all enjoyed dinner!

Yesterday, the Thanksgiving that I host annually (which has become the largest vegetarian Thanksgiving in the country) went great. The event webpage has the menu; I have sent my summary in to our webmaster, and soon that will appear. Here is an excerpt:

Altogether, it was again very well received, and we beat our old record from last year, having 685 people in our extended Thanksgiving seating (we had 673 in 2011). We believe that we were again the country's largest vegetarian Thanksgiving. In total, adding in the 291 attendees at Washington Duke Inn, we served 976 people (876 last year).

North Carolina National Public Radio ran at least two stories, one on Thanksgiving Eve, and a shorter one on Thanksgiving Day. NBC covered the Washington Duke event, and ABC  the Parizade one. There were also several newspaper references in the weeks leading up to the events.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Warm Chickpea-Kale-Tomato Salad with Baked Potato and Corn-off-the-Cob

I wanted to try something new with kale; a quick search on the internet, and I came up with an interesting sounding chickpea, kale, and tomato salad. I don't know if I've ever served a warm salad, but I used this recipe as a base and came up with a tasty and colorful meal!

I took about 15 ounces of canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed), and brought it to a boil along with a clove of chopped garlic, a teaspoon or two of lemon juice, a cup of water, and a pinch or two of herbed salt. I let it simmer over low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I chopped a head of kale. I removed the bottom inch or so of the stems, then just cut across, leaves and stems, every half inch or so. I sauteed the kale for a few minutes till it was dark green and tender, perhaps five minutes.

Once I removed the chickpeas from the heat, I drained and mixed the kale in. I had two medium tomatoes, one particularly delicious yellow one and a good red one; I diced both into 3/4" or so cubes, and mixed the tomato in, as well, plus a little bit of freshly ground black pepper and raw hemp kernels.

I served this salad warm, along with a tasty baked potato and some corn-off-the-cob. It was a good dinner - the salad was surprisingly tasty and, of course, colorful!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Whole Wheat Spaghettini with Eggplant-Zucchini Marinara and Pesto, Vegan Apple-Sage Sausage

My wife and daughter went to a classical Indian concert tonight; I had wanted to go, but had just come home from teaching and then mentoring, and need to prepare for class tomorrow. I thought it would be more appealing to relax at home, so I made dinner just for myself, and put something simple together.

I prepared whole wheat "spaghettini" (thin spaghetti, or "angel hair") and simmered some organic eggplant marinara sauce. I mixed into the marinara a clove of finely chopped and sauteed garlic, as well as a quarter zucchini, also chopped (into maybe 1/4" pieces) and sauteed, and a little herbed salt. Once the pasta was cooked al dente, I drained and served, putting the marinara on top, as well as a teaspoon of homemade pesto that  I had recently prepared.

I also grilled a vegan apple-sage Field Roast sausage. Dinner was satisfying and tasty!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup, Limed Jerk Seitan, Madagascar Pink Rice with Corn and Greens

We were delighted to have a friend from my high school days visiting. I made the creamy carrot-ginger soup that I have modified from a VitaMix recipe by substituting raw cashew pieces for tofu. I also made my limed marinated jerk seitan that we always love (I leave out the jerk seasoning on my daughter's portion), and a corn and greens mixture with Madagascar pink rice. I think that all enjoyed the meal!