Friday, December 12, 2008

Green Minestrone

This is a recipe I veganized from Rachael Ray. Yes, I know I'm a naughty vegan, liking Rachael Ray and all. I've discussed this before, and while she's far from vegan (can you say cheese in EVERYTHING), she inspires people to cook. It would be great if the whole world were vegan, but people skipping fast food and cooking at home is at least a step in the right direction. And for that reason, I like Rachael Ray.

Anyway, this was simple enough to veganize, just leave out the meat and cheese, change the chicken stock to veggie, and there you go. Delicious served with buttered (read Earth Balance) sourdough bread.

Green Minestrone
2 Tbs EVOO (it is a Rachael Ray dish after all)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 medium zucchini, diced in bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cannellini beans
2 cups garbanzo beans
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup small pasta (I used small shells)
1 16 oz package frozen cut green beans
1 10oz package of baby spinach

Heat EVOO in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and saute, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cannellini beans, garbanzo beans and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Add pasta and green beans and cook about 8 minutes, until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach to wilt. Season to taste.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Soup

The idea for this soup came from a similar soup that they serve at Whole Foods Market. As you all know, Stella loves anything that contains beans, and she's developed a taste for the spicy as well. She loves this soup from WFM, and of course was thrilled to have it prepared for her at home!!

Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Soup
2 cups dried black beans
1 Tbs Cumin
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup onion, roughly diced
1/4 cup celery, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
2 Tbs adobo sauce
4 cups vegetable stock

Rinse beans, cover with water and soak for 8 hours, or over night. When ready to prepare soup, drain beans. In medium sized soup pot add soaked beans, cumin, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook beans for 30-45 minutes, or until done. In meantime, heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and saute until beginning to brown. Add garlic, stir and cook a minute more. Add chipotles, adobo sauce and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. When beans are cooked pour beans with their cooking liquid into soup pot, stir to combine, then puree with a hand blender (or in batches in your food processor). Serve with a dollop of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and a few avocado slices.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I have so much pumpkin, I don't know what to do with it all. We've been getting giant pie pumpkins from the CSA every week!! I've done pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cupcakes, and pumpkin cake. I've also made pumpkin sauces for pasta. Now I still have about 4 cups of pumpkin puree in the refrigerator, and TWO more pie pumpkins sitting on the counter! Luckily winter squashes will last on the counter for awhile (because I also have butternut squash, carnival squash, and sweet dumpling squash), but at some point I'm going to have to cook those pumpkins. I'm open to any suggestions and the way, does pumpkin puree freeze well??

Anyway, while I like lots of savory squash dishes, I really do like pumpkin best in sweet, dessert type dishes. Following are my "veganizations" of two pumpkin recipes I love.

Pumpkin Crumb Bars

1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup Earth Balance, room temperature

2 cups pumpkin puree (or one 16 oz can)

2/3 cup hemp milk (or other non dairy milk of your choice)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

Ener-G egg replacer for 1 egg

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground allspice

Preheat oven to 375. Combine oats, flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, salt, baking soda and Earth Balance in bowl of stand mixer. Mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture and press remaining mixture into a 13x9 baking dish that has been sprayed with canola oil. Bake crust for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare filling. Combine pumpkin, hemp milk, brown sugar, egg replacer and spices. Beat until smooth and well blended. Spread over crust, sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until filling is set and crumb topping is golden brown. Cool in pan and cut into bars. These can be served at room temperature, but I prefer them after they've been refrigerated.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup unbleached bread flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 Tsp canola oil

1 6 oz container vegan yogurt (I used vanilla Coconut Milk yogurt)

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs water

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl of stand mixer combine dry ingredients. Mix to combine well. In a small bowl whisk together all wet ingredients. With stand mixer running, pour wet ingredients into dry. Combine just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into 9x5 bread pan that has been sprayed with canola oil. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack until completely cooled.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is so you can see, we couldn't even wait until the photo was taken before we dug right in. It's a wonderful dessert any time, but especially great when the local apples are in season and it's made with apples fresh off the tree. I used Jonathan apples, but any tart/sweet cooking apple will do. I make my apple crisp with the skin on the apples, because the pectin from the skin helps to keep it thick. I'm sure most of you have an apple crisp recipe floating around somewhere, but some of them can require quite a lot of ingredients. This one is simple to assemble, with only a few ingredients, and bakes up in about 40 minutes. It's perfect served with vanilla vegan ice-cream or drizzled with vegan vanilla yogurt (preferably coconut milk yogurt).

Apple Crisp

4-5 large cooking apples, cored and cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

dash nutmeg or allspice

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 stick Earth Balance margarine, cut into pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350. In a 9x9 baking dish combine apples, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. In bowl of food processor combine flour, oats, Earth Balance, and rest of brown sugar. Pulse until margarine is broken down and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle crumb topping over apples and bake for about 40 minutes until you see some juices of the apples bubbling up around the edges, and crumb topping is golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Now I Know My ABC's.......

I don't often make things that are considered kid friendly meals. Both girls have pretty sophisticated palates for children, so for the most part they eat, or at least taste, whatever I've prepared. This meal however was prepared specifically with the kids in mind. Mairin has been begging for "Alphabet soup", so I obliged with this version that is reminiscent of what your mother used to pour out of that little red and white can. This meal went over really well with the girls.....Stella called hers "elephant soup"!!

I wanted the soup to be kid friendly, and I didn't want the vegetables to overshadow the small alphabet pasta. Therefore, this recipe does require some tedious chopping. But your kids will feel so special that you've made a meal "just for them".

Alphabet Soup

2 Tbs Olive oil

1 onion, diced small

2 ribs celery, diced small

2 carrots, diced into small cubes

3 small yukon gold potatoes, diced into small cubes

3 cloves garlic, minced (optional only if your kids like garlic)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp thyme leaves (dried)

1 tsp oregano (dried)

1 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

6 cups good quality vegetable stock

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn kernels

8 oz alphabet shaped pasta, cooked and drained

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrots and potato and saute until veggies are becoming soft. Add minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss around in pan until fragrant. Add tomatoes and their juice, using juice to de-glaze pan if needed. Add vegetable stock, peas, and corn and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve. Check seasoning and add extra salt if needed. Just before ready to serve, add pasta to pot, stir to heat through. For the adults, I added a few Tbs of chopped fresh parsley to brighten the flavor a bit.

To finish the meal I made the classic childhood favorite, Oatmeal Raisin cookies. I used Dreena's wheat free recipe from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. These cookies are absolutely perfect. They taste exactly like a cookie your grandmother would have baked for you when you were a child.

So, get cookin', and make a special meal for you kids tonight!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Split Pea - Barley Soup

I love it when my family surprises me!! I threw together this split pea soup thinking that I was going to be met at the table with an awful lot of grumbling. To my pleasant surprise, there wasn't one single grumble to be heard. In fact, second helpings were had all around, and Mairin requested the leftovers in a thermos for her school lunch!!

There really isn't a lot to this soup. It's very minimalist on the seasoning allowing the wonderful flavor of the split peas to shine through. Even without extra spices and seasonings it's still bursting with heart warming deliciousness.

Split Pea - Barley Soup

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 tsp Hickory Flavor Liquid Smoke

1 tsp tarragon leaves

2 cups green split peas, rinsed and picked over

4 cups vegetable stock + 2 cups water

1 cup pearled barley, uncooked

3 cups water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 large radish, thinly sliced

In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender. Add liquid smoke, tarragon, some salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add split peas, veg stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas are tender. In the meantime, bring barley and 3 cups of water to a boil with bouillon cube. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove barley from heat and set aside. Once peas have become tender, transfer soup to food processor and puree until smooth and creamy (this may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your food processor; alternatively you could use a hand blender to get the job done). Add barley to pureed soup and stir to combine and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Ladle to bowls and garnish with radish slices in the center.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Squash Enchiladas

The acorn squash used for this dinner was intended to be stuffed squash, but I knew that wasn't really something that was going to excite the masses. Not to mention, it was back up to around 85 degrees today and stuffed squash just didn't seem appropriate for the weather. Hence the acorn squash became enchilada filling. All I can say is, great idea!! Pureed roasted acorn squash mixed up with some sauteed veggies made for a fantastic enchilada. Both the sauce and the poblano pepper I diced into the filling added some heat, but even so these were deemed likable even by the kiddos!!

Acorn Squash Enchiladas
makes 9 enchiladas

1 acorn squash

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced (or one small I guess)

1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced

8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped

9 8-inch whole wheat tortillas

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half, remove seeds, and place cut side down in a baking dish with 1/4 inch water. Cover tightly with foil, and bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove squash and let cool. Once squash is cool enough to hold, scoop flesh into bowl of food processor, add chili powder, and salt and process into a smooth puree. Meanwhile, saute onion, pepper and mushrooms in olive oil. Add pureed squash to sauteed veggies and stir to heat through. Coat bottom of 9x13 pan with a few Tbs of enchilada sauce. Divide squash mixture evenly among tortillas and fold enchilada style (leaving one end open). Place tortillas side by side in baking dish and cover with remaining enchilada sauce. Place in 350 oven and bake until sauce is bubbly, and enchiladas are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

I've been craving all things, pumpkin lately. Something about that fall bite in the air really has me wanting pumpkin......not to mention some of the things Vegan Dad has been posting. You'll be seeing those sweet rolls lurking around here soon!!!

I decided to satisfy my pumpkin craving with a pie. Before becoming vegan I was always commissioned to make the pies on Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd get started finding a suitable vegan pie. I wanted to avoid a pie that used tofu. I'm not scared of soy, but I do think it's best to limit it where we can. I also wanted to do something interesting to replace the evaporated milk that my usual pie called for. So, for this pie I just went with Ener-G egg replacer and coconut milk. The result was delicious, although less firm than I was hoping for. I'll post the recipe, just in case you are craving a pumpkin pie too.....but I plan to perfect this one a little, so look for it again in the coming months.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

1 can pumpkin puree

3/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs cornstarch

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

egg replacer for 3 eggs

1 can of coconut milk

Roll out one ball of dough into a circle 14 inches in diameter (freeze the other ball of dough for up to 2 weeks). Fit dough into a 10 inch pie plate, and create edges. Prick dough bottom with a fork and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.

Cut out a circle of foil to fit in the bottom of the pie, fill pie with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pie crust from oven, discard beans, and reduce heat to 350.

Combine pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, salt, spices, egg replacer and coconut milk in a large sauce pot and heat over medium heat. Be careful not to boil. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust, and bake until firm, about 50 minutes. If the crust gets too dark, cover edges with foil.

The pie will be loose in the center, but will continue to firm as it cools. Allow to cool on a wire rack until completely cooled. Transfer to refrigerator to cool for 2 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is definitely upon us. The days are still warm (in the mid 80s), but the humidity is non-existent, and the mornings and evenings are cool and crisp. Not to mention, the farmers market is abundant, and the CSA is stocking us on winter squash.

This past week we received 2 large butternut squash, so I decided to make them into a soup. Served with a salad loaded with diced fall apples and dressed with maple-dijon vinaigrette, it was a delightful fall meal.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
(serves 8)

2 large butternut squash

2 large cloves garlic

2 Tbs olive oil

2 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves

4 cups vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Place squash, cut side up in baking dish with about 1/4 inch water. Roast in oven until soft, about 45 minutes. While squash is roasting, place garlic cloves, skin on, in aluminum foil drizzled with olive oil, and roast along with squash.

In a large soup pot, heat 2 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat and saute carrots, celery and onion, until soft. Stir in thyme and continue to cook until fragrant. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Once squash is cooked, scoop the flesh into a food processor along with the roasted garlic (skins removed) and puree until smooth and creamy. Add squash puree to soup, return to a boil and stir puree to loosen and combine, then reduce heat to simmer. Salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm until ready to serve. I left the vegetables whole in mine to keep it a little chunky, you could run your hand blender through it if you prefer a creamier, smoother soup.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beef free Stew

This hearty stew will satisfy even the omnivores. It's thick and filling, and beef free!!

Beef-free Stew

3 Tbs olive oil

1 large onion, diced large

1 lb potatoes, diced bite-sized

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 lb baby carrots, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 tsp celery seed

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp browning sauce

4 cup good quality vegetable stock

1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos

1 Tbs tomato paste

2 Tbs corn starch

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups fresh greens, chopped (I used chard)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large stew pot over medium high heat. Add onion, cover and cook until translucent. Add potatoes, garlic, bay leaves and carrots and cook until veggies are starting to brown and soften. Add celery seed, thyme, and browning sauce and stir to combine. Then add stock. Bring to a boil, add worchestershire, Braggs and tomato paste, stir to combine and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer on low for about 45 minutes, until veggies are tender. Ladle out 1 cup of hot stock, add cornstarch to hot stock and stir to dissolve. Return cornstarch mixture to stew pot and stir to thicken. Add peas and greens and heat until greens are wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Carnival Squash-Roasted Garlic Ravioli

I've had in mind to make some pumpkin ravioli soon, now that fall is in the air, and the evenings are starting to turn chilly. This week in our CSA box we got these beautiful Carnival Squash, so I decided to turn them into a filling for ravioli, instead of pumpkin. I also bought some of the biggest heads of garlic I've ever seen at the farmer's market today, so I wanted to incorporate those as well. The resulting dish was out of this world fabulous! Honestly, I'm still in shock that I created something so delicious right out of my own imagination!! The process of making your own pasta, and then turning it into ravioli is a little time consuming, but with this incredible filling, it's oh so worth it!!

Carnival Squash-Roasted Garlic Ravioli

2 carnival squash (or other winter squash)

1 head garlic

1 small candy onion (or other sweet variety of onion)

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 Tbs Olive oil, plus more for drizzling squash and garlic

3 sheets of fresh pasta, cut into 48 ravioli sized circles

1/2 cup Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half, de-seed, and place in a dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Drizzle squash with olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes, until soft. Drizzle garlic with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast in oven while squash is baking. When squash and garlic are finished remove from oven and set aside to cool. While cooling heat olive oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion and 4 sprigs of thyme (leaves only) and saute until onion is soft. Add squash flesh, garlic, and onions to food processor, season with salt and pepper, and process until a thick puree forms. At this time, set puree aside and get a large pot of water boiling. Also, melt Earth Balance with leaves from 2 more sprigs of thyme in a large saute pan. Place 1/2 Tbs of puree on 24 of your pasta circles. Top those circles with the reserved pasta circles, and using the tines of a fork, press edges to seal. Drop ravioli in boiling water (in batches of 8) and boil until pasta begins to float, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from water, with tongs, immediately and place in saute pan with melted Earth Balance. Lightly brown both sides of pasta in melted Earth Balance and remove to a platter. There will be extra puree left, it's nice to serve the ravioli over a large spoonful of puree for extra flavor.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Let's be clear before we even get started.....these in no way have any nutritional value, and perhaps aren't an ideal breakfast on a weekly basis, but on rare occasions, I say "what the heck, go ahead and indulge"!

Just like baking bread, there's something so satisfying about making these rolls from scratch. The end result is incredibly rewarding. I've done homemade cinnamon rolls a time or two before, but the recipes have always called for large amounts of eggs and egg yolks, so I decided to give it ago and try to create egg free cinnamon rolls. I have to say that the end product was quite nice. In fact, far better than many of their egg laden counterparts. And, quite professional looking to boot!

As with the ciabatta, cinnamon rolls aren't a spur of the moment decision.....unless of course you like to eat breakfast about 3 hours after you wake up (which happens to be lunch time around here, but hey, cinnamon rolls for lunch, who am I to judge??)

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 tsp sugar

3 tablespoons warm water

1 cup vanilla soy milk

2 tbs Earth Balance margarine

3 cups unbleached bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

pinch ground cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tbs ground cinnamon

1 Tbs melted margarine

Mix yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, stir to dissolve yeast and set aside until the mixture becomes frothy. Heat milk and margarine over low heat until warm, then remove from heat. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg and pinch of cinnamon in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn on mixer briefly to combine dry ingredients. Slowly add milk and margarine mixture, followed by active yeast mixture. Continue to knead in mixer until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Turn dough out into a well oiled bowl and cover to let rise, about 1 1/2 hours, or until double in size.

Punch down dough and let rest for about 10 minutes. In a small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and roll into a 12x16 rectangle. Brush dough with melted margarine then spread cinnamon sugar mixture on dough, leaving about 1 inch at one end of the dough.

Tightly roll the rectangle, pinching dough as you go (the width of your roll should be 12 inches). When you get to the uncovered end, brush with margarine and press to seal roll. Cut roll into 12 equal parts, and lay them in a well greased baking dish, with as much distance as possible. Cover dish and allow to rise for about 45 minutes, or until all rolls are touching. If using the next morning, cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush tops of rolls with melted margarine and bake for 30 minutes, or until rolls are slightly browned. Allow rolls to cool slightly, then frost while still warm. (I like the icing melted, and the rolls warm. You could cool the rolls completely to keep the icing from melting if you desire.)

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

1/4 cup Earth Balance

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbs vanilla soy milk

Beat Earth Balance with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar in 3 batches, beating in between. Continue to beat margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add extract and soy milk and beat until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Tonight wasn't exactly perfect weather for stew (it was 95 degrees today, and so humid the air actually felt heavy), but I've had my mind set on making a tagine for quite some time now. Not only did the Urban Vegan post a tagine recipe a few days ago, but Vegetarian Times also featured several tagine recipes in their current issue.

The Moroccan tagine is named for the vessel in which it is cooked. I don't have a proper tagine, but a large stock pot will work just as well. Traditionally tagine is slow cooked, however this is a relatively quick cooking version with some of the veggies broiled in the oven rather than braised on the stove top. This recipe is adapted from a recipe over at Vegan Soul Power, however, the recipe there didn't quite jive with the ingredient list and I increased the seasonings, so I'll post my version of the recipe here. I served the tagine over French Cous-Cous, with a side of pita for dipping (or stuffing......Mairin enjoyed her tagine stuffed inside the pita like a sandwich). The ingredient list looks long, but it should be mostly pantry staples (I think fresh thyme was the only thing I bought special for this dish)

Moroccan Tagine
1 large eggplant, quartered and sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
4 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 medium yams, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1 Tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup water
1 Tbs orange marmalade
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 c. diced dried apricots
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler. Place eggplant and zucchini in a colander and salt them liberally. Allow to sit a few minutes, then rinse, toss in 2 Tbs olive oil, place on a baking sheet and broil 20 minutes or until browned, turning once. In a large stock pot, heat remaining olive oil and add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until onion is translucent then add potatoes. Add all spices, cover pot and allow potatoes to soften. Once potatoes are soft add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water and marmalade. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini, eggplant, chickpeas and apricots. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over couscous or grains.

Friday, September 5, 2008

One Bite Brownies

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these delicious One Bite Brownies. They are perfect for when you need a quick chocolate fix, but feel too guilty to eat a whole brownie, cupcake or cookie. They are great stored in the refrigerator for a chocolate "pick-me-up" any time of day.

One Bite Brownies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cups white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vanilla soy milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spoon into mini muffin cups, filling cups almost full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until top is no longer shiny. Remove from oven, let cool for 1 minute in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 3 dozen mini brownies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Palak Paneer

Initially I was going to make Palak Soybina Panira from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. As I was looking over the recipe this afternoon it hit me that Dreena's version of Palak Paneer totally left out that creamy component that makes Palak Paneer so good. So, I set out to hunt down another recipe. I came across this recipe and decided it looked easy to veganize, so this is the one I went for.

For the paneer I used Dreena's recipe of cubed tofu marinated in lemon juice and tamari, and I subbed soy creamer for the heavy cream. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. While this isn't exactly like the Palak Paneer you'd get at an Indian restaurant, it is a pretty close replication. I was very pleased (although the photo looks less than appetizing!!). As was Rob, this was one of his favorite meals we've had in a long time. It is a bit spicy, so you could definitely cut down the red chili powder if you'd like it milder. It was too spicy for the girls, however I only used about 1/2 of the tofu in this dish and they loved the other half.

To help cool the mouth we munched on this delicious homemade naan. I used this recipe, subbing soy yogurt and Earth Balance for the yogurt and ghee. A few of my naan got slightly too thin, and therefore over-cooked. But, even the crispy one's were nice. A terrific Indian feast.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Maple Dijon Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Tonight's dinner was just thrown together using a lot of our CSA veggies from this week, and it turned out superbly. It was a bit more fancy version of the pasta salad I blogged about before, and served warm.

This time I started by roasting 2 large red peppers. Roasting peppers is so simple, and it makes them taste so delicious. For those of you who might not know the best way to roast a pepper, this is a pretty good tutorial.

After the peppers had roasted, I tossed 1 pint of grape tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes (until they were beginning to burst). While the tomatoes were roasting I also had 4 cloves of garlic roasting (in the skins, drizzled in EVOO and wrapped in aluminum foil).

On the stove I sauteed 2 small zucchini, sliced and 2 small summer squash, sliced with about 1/2 of a large red onion, also sliced. While sauteing and roasting the veggies I cooked about 8 oz of whole wheat penne. Once everything was roasted, sauteed and cooked, I tossed it all together (except the garlic) in a large bowl and drizzled it with a maple dijon vinaigrette.

Rob declare this dish delicious, and we both went back for a second helping. It's really quick and easy to make and a great way to retain the fresh flavors of your summer veggies.

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

1 Tbs Dijon Mustard

2 Tbs Maple Syrup

2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 cloves roasted garlic, smashed into a paste

Combine all ingredients except oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, then slowly add olive oil while whisking, until emulsified.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Catching Up

I've been terribly remiss in blogging lately. This week was our last full week before school starts, so we were rather busy. Not to mention, we had a major heatwave for most of the week and I just didn't feel like cooking. We ate lots of cold dishes, and I fried up some Fakin' Bacon and made BLT's with some of our CSA tomatoes.

I do have just a few highlights from the past week to share with you though. Because of the heat I was trying very hard not to turn on my oven or make anything that would heat up the kitchen too much. Therefore, the grill became the perfect place to cook a pizza. The photo below is just a typical veggie pizza with FYH mozzarella, and some fresh corn from the CSA. Other toppings included onions, bell pepper, and banana pepper (all from the CSA)

Last Sunday I made up a batch of the Ultimate Barbecued Seitan Sandwich to take over to my mother's house for lunch and swimming. With the left over barbecue we decided to throw together a Barbecued Chicken Pizza and cook it on the grill. This one again included corn and banana pepper from the CSA and red onion. No cheese on this pizza. This one was out of this world. I'll be using my left over barbecue for this one many times.

I also managed to throw together this pasta dish using local heirloom tomatoes and again, the apparently ubiquitous, CSA corn. There are also some cooked chickpeas thrown in there. This one was a recipe from a current Vegetarian Times. The sauce is raw, you just boil the pasta, combine it with the tomatoes and corn and dress it with a cumin lime dressing. Very good!!

And finally, I did turn on the oven one morning to make these delicious Cinnamon-Oat Scones. They are becoming a new favorite here. They aren't as heavy as traditional scones, and are actually a bit more like a giant muffin.

Cinnamon-Oat Scones

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup soy milk (plain)

2 Tbs. turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add oats and stir. Add soy milk and mix until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and form into a 7 inch circle. Cut into 8 triangles (don't cut all the way through). Place on ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with a turbinado sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"The Ultimate" Barbecued Seitan Sandwich

I know it's very un-vegan of me, but I admit, I love The Food Network. It's unfortunate that almost every dish on every show is centered around animal products. None the less, I love food, and I love to watch people cook.

From time to time I'm inspired by something on The Food Network, and come up with a great vegan dish. Take the other day for example, I was watching Tyler's Ultimate, and Tyler Florence was making his Ultimate Barbecued Ribs. There are probably a million different meat analogs I could have used to veganize this recipe, but as soon as I saw Tyler make this barbecue sauce I knew I had to have a barbecued seitan sandwich. Wow, did I ever make a great choice!! This sandwich really is "The Ultimate". Rob, who usually very much dislikes barbecue loved this sandwich so much he ate 2 of them and just couldn't stop raving. And it was another winner with both of the girls!!

For the sandwich I used 1 lb of chicken style seitan. I made the sauce according to Tyler's recipe, only I replaced the bacon with a few dashes of Liquid Smoke. After the sauce had simmered I removed the onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs, then I crumbled in the seitan and let it heat through. I served the barbecue on a bun with some sliced onion. Best barbecue sandwich EVER!!

To go along with the sandwiches I also made Tyler's Ultimate Baked Beans, again replacing the pancetta with liquid smoke. An added bonus of these beans.....I got to use up some of the chipotle pepper I was wondering what to do with a few weeks ago! Again, outstanding dish. The beans had a kick and they were just incredible. Little Stella loved them, heat and all!!

In addition to the sandwiches and beans, we had one of my childhood favorites....cucumbers, green peppers, and onions soaked in white vinegar and salt water. My mom used to make this all of the time in the summer, and I've always loved it. It was perfect for cooling off your mouth after the heat of the beans!!

I can't wait to make this barbecue for my friends and's definitely the next dish I'll be serving guests.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Muffins x2

Today I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen. We are taking off on a little camping trip tomorrow (well, not really camping, more like RVing) so I spent the day getting ready for that. Mostly I made a lot of old favorites like Giardino Burgers, Snack bars, hummus, Black bean and quinoa salad and of course pasta sauce so my spaghetti lovers can eat their spaghetti. Vegan camping with children (read picky children) is quite a bit of work. I mean, it's not like my kids are going to set down and eat a bunch of grilled veggies, etc. And, after long days of hiking, biking, and hopefully horseback riding they are going to need some serious refueling come dinner time. Therefore I thought it prudent to bring along some of their favorite meals so we can assure adequate eating at dinner. I also gathered plenty of healthy snacks for the afternoons....lots of fresh fruits, raisins, soy yogurts, whole wheat crackers and smooshed fruit.

I also made some muffins for us to have as a quick grab and go breakfast option. There were a couple of really ripe bananas sitting in my fruit dish, so first up was banana oat muffins. The recipe is adapted from a recipe.

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

2 large bananas, very ripe

2 Tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup + 2 Tbs plain soy milk

1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour

3/4 cup turbinado sugar

1 Tbs baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup quick cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl smash bananas. Mix in oil, vanilla and soy milk and set aside. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix just until combined. Stir in oats. Spoon mixture into oiled muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Next up were these deliciously decadent Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins. They definitely aren't the kind of thing you'd want to serve for breakfast on a weekly basis. But they'll be a great treat for our camping trip, and would make a nice item on a brunch buffet. It's always easy to impress your non vegan friends with a bit of chocolate-y vegan goodness!!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup + 2 Tbs soy milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Add soy milk and oil and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill oiled muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

We got some beautiful pattypan squash from the CSA this week, and I just couldn't decide what to do with them. They seemed too unique to just slice up and saute, and I wanted to do something that would more or less keep them whole. Finally, I was inspired by some leftover grains and a big bunch of kale, and I stuffed them. We also got loads of kale this week, and I needed some new ways to use it up. This recipe took care of that! It turned out really nice, and even the girls ate some of it (which is always a good thing if there is kale involved!).

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

4 pattypan squash

1 lb kale

2 Tbs Olive Oil

3 large spring onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup roasted red pepper, diced

1/2 large tomato, diced

1 cup cooked grains (I used a mixture of brown rice and bulgur)

1/2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos

1/4 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup bread crumbs

4 Tbs. Earth Balance

Start a large pot of water boiling. Once water has started to boil place whole squash in to boil until a sharp knife is easily inserted through the skin, about 10 minutes. Remove squash from water and set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 400. Once squash have cooled, cut a small piece off of the bottom of each squash so that it will set evenly. Cut away tops, scrape out seeds and scoop out the flesh. Add scooped out flesh to the bowl of a food processor, along with kale. Process until kale is completely chopped. In a large saute pan, heat 2 Tbs olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until onions become translucent. Add kale mixture to saute pan, along with roasted red pepper, tomato, Worcestershire, Braggs, and nutmeg. Stir to combine then add grains. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture, heaping, into hollowed out squash. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs and add 1 Tbs Earth Balance to the top of each. Bake for about 30 minutes, until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Before I get into the sauce, I have to tell you about the new falafel recipe I tried. I've been using a falafel recipe out of an old cookbook for awhile now, and the flavor is really good, but they always fall apart when you go to fry them. So, I decided I'd search around for a new recipe. I found this one, and was intrigued by the use of uncooked garbanzos, so I thought I'd give it a try. The recipe was spectacular, the flavor was right on, and they held together beautifully while I fried them, not to mention they turned a lovely golden brown (which doesn't happen too often when I fry'll recall, I suck at frying!!). I did make just a few minor changes. I omitted the hot pepper, so that the girls would eat them. And, instead of using 2 Tbs of cilantro, I used 1 Tbs cilantro and 1 Tbs mint.

I served the falafel the traditional way, in a pita with some raw veggies. I like them topped with tahini sauce, but decided to give some vegan tzatziki a try. Tzatziki is a cucumber, yogurt sauce that I didn't think would be too hard to replicate. I can only find flavored vegan yogurts here, so I had to use something in place of the yogurt. I happened to have a half container of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be used. I thought maybe that would make a suitable replacement. I thought correctly, the sauce was incredible, and could also be used as a wonderful dip for crudite, or even as a salad dressing (when you're in the mood for a creamy dressing)

Vegan Tzatziki

1/2 container Better than Sour Cream

1/2 english cucumber, diced very small

2 cloves garlic, minced very small

handful of italian parsley, chopped very small

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to marry. Serve over falafel, or as a dip for your favorite raw vegetables.

Monday, June 9, 2008

An Old Favorite (and a new one too!!)

Tonight I made an old favorite of ours. This simple pasta dish is perfect for busy nights, and light enough for a hot evening. The temperatures have been soaring out of control this past week, and we haven't felt like eating much.....which works to my advantage, since I haven't felt like cooking much!! Anyway, I decided it was time to get some real food on the table, but again, the heat really drains the cooking energy, ya know.

This pasta couldn't be easier. Start by cooking your pasta as directed. I recommend penne rigate for this recipe, but any short pasta would do. When your pasta is nearly finished heat 3 Tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat. Mince 6 cloves of garlic and drop them in the hot oil, along with about 10 whole basil leaves. Cook for a few seconds until garlic and basil begin to sizzle. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add one 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with about half of their juice. Add cooked pasta and simmer until heated through. Serve drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil.

I served the pasta with a simple side of baby spinach drizzled with olive oil as well, along with a baguette from Blue Dog Bakery. The girls devoured this pasta. They either really, really liked it, or they were extremely happy that mommy started cooking again!

For dessert I made another version of my "nice" cream (remember: my name for cruelty free ice cream!!). Tonight I made Mint Chocolate Chip. This is a new favorite!! This flavor got lots of praise from everyone. The peppermint flavor was just right, and was not overpowered by additional sweeteners. I intended to make the finished product green, but they wanted $16.99 for a box of 4 small natural food colorings at the store, so I opted to leave the ice-cream white!!

Mint Chocolate Chip "Nice" Cream

1/2 of a 12 oz package of firm silken tofu (I use Mori Nu brand)

1 cup Silk soy creamer

1/2 cup Soy Dream Vanilla soy milk

1 tsp Peppermint Extract

2 Tbs Brown Rice Syrup

Green food coloring (optional)

1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor combine all ingredients up to chocolate chips and pulse until tofu is smooth. Refrigerate for several hours to chill. Freeze in ice cream freezer following manufacturers directions. When ice cream is nearly frozen add chocolate chips while paddles are still churning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vegan Pound Cake

In anticipation of more strawberries from the CSA today, I decided I wanted to make shortcakes for dessert. So I set about looking for pound cake recipes. Most that I found called for silken tofu which I just used the last of in a smoothie the other day, so that was out. Most also called for lemon extract, which again I did not have. What to do, what to do?? Improvise!!

Working from several recipes and ingredients I had on hand I devised my only little recipe for

Orange Tofu Pound Cake:

1/3 cup softened Earth Balance
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 package firm tofu
juice of 1 orange (plus 1 1/2 tsp orange zest)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350. In your food processor or blender process tofu with orange juice until smooth. In bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand held mixer) cream together Earth Balance and sugar (unrefined sugar doesn't cream as well as white granulated sugar, but it was all I had). With machine running add baking powder, vanilla, tofu mixture, orange zest and water. Slowly sift in flour until batter forms. Lightly oil 5x6 baking dish and fill with batter. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until top is golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

Thankfully the CSA came through with 4 pints of strawberries this week!! After washing them I sprinkled them with unrefined sugar and allowed them to macerate while we at dinner. Then I served them over slices of Orange Tofu Pound Cake. The creamy topping you see on them is just the other half of the tofu from the pound cake processed in the food processor with 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1 Tbs powdered sugar.

Yum yum, strawberry shortcake is a sure sign that summer is on it's way!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for............

Ice Cream!!!!

First up were ice-cream cookie sandwiches. I just whipped up a batch of Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies and made them into ice cream sandwiches using Temptation's French Vanilla Soy Ice Cream. These were a big hit, and so easy to make!

Later in the week I tried the Strawberry Swirl non-dairy ice cream from the current issue of Vegetarian Times. They have a whole section on vegan ice-cream this!! This was delicious, and almost perfect in it's consistency. The only problem with it was that I had to sub maple syrup for agave (as suggested in the recipe) and the maple syrup didn't quite taste right with the strawberry flavor. I'm going to have to play around with the sweetner a little on this one, but it's definitely a keeper. And see those cute, perfectly ripe strawberries on top. They were part of our CSA basket last week. We got 1 quart+1 pint of them, and we're all hoping for more this week!

And finally was this little creation.....Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice-Cream in a Waffle Bowl. Yesterday the girls were eating waffles and it just came over me to attempt making waffle cones. I used my regular recipe for waffles which included baking powder, so no matter how thin I poured the batter on the waffle iron, the dang things kept fluffing up too much to roll into cones, so I improvised and made bowls instead. It was really quite easy. I just removed the waffles from the iron before they were finished and while they were still quite pliable, then formed them over an upside down custard bowl. I then baked them at 350 until they were nice and crispy. I was very happy with the result, although next time I'm going to leave out the baking powder and try to make cones.

I made up the ice-cream recipe as well. Now, I'm not usually one to brag on myself or inflate my own ego, but I must say, this was the best vegan ice-cream I've ever tasted, hands down!! The consistency was right on, just like it's traditional dairy counterpart, and the flavor couldn't be beat. I've decided to call is "nice" cream because it's cruelty free (and nice to taste as well!!). YUM.......I'm so glad summer is here!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nice-Cream

1/2 block silken tofu
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plain soy creamer
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 Tbs. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Recipe Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie dough

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients, except the cookie dough, and blend or process until tofu is creamy. Chill in refrigerator for several hours, then transfer to bowl of ice-cream freezer and freeze according to your freezer's directions. When ice-cream is nearly finished freezing add in 3/4 of the cookie dough while paddles are still running to allow cookie to dough to be combined into ice-cream.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Graduation Day

On Saturday my baby brother graduated from high-school. As you can see, he's hardly a baby, but I still remember the day he was born just as well as I remember the days my own children were born. There are 13 years difference between my brother and I. I remember spending mornings laying in my mom's recliner, watching television, and letting that cute little baby boy nap on my chest. I also remember, surprisingly enough, all of the arguing we did. You wouldn't think that with so much age difference there would be a lot of arguing.....well, you'd be wrong. Teenage girls aren't too keen on little toddler boys getting into all of their stuff!! Anyway, reminiscing aside, I absolutely can not believe that he's graduated from high school.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day on Saturday, and our family had a nice little cook out to celebrate the big day (and to celebrate my grandpa's 86th birthday!!). Now, apparently my mom isn't quite down with the whole vegan thing yet, and is seemingly unwilling to accommodate us, seeing as she didn't make one single dish that we could eat. OK, to be fair, she did have chips and salsa and some dinner rolls that were vegan, but I'd hardly call that a meal.

Luckily I didn't come empty handed. I brought the baked beans and orzo salad that I blogged about previously. I also brought along some Creamy Vegan Cole Slaw. I made this on mother's day and my grandpa just raved about it, so I decided to make some for him. I must admit, it is some damn good cole slaw. Rob and I also provided some huge portobello mushroom caps to throw on the barbie. And what celebration would be complete without dessert?? I made some chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing to take care of that!!

Creamy Vegan Cole Slaw

3/4 cup Vegenaise

2 Tbs unrefined sugar

2 Tbs Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tbs dry mustard

2 tsp celery seed

1 small onion diced small

1 bag Dole Cole Slaw Mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients up to onion. Add onion and cole slaw mix to bowl and fold to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.

Now that's what I call a meal!!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit.........

I made 2 bean dishes this week. Typically we have more bean dishes than that, but 2 was all for this week. Stella practically lives on beans, so I always have a bunch cooked and frozen. I thaw them out and heat them up for her lunch. She likes them plain (especially black and cannellini beans), so they are a really simple lunch.

This week for lunch I spiced them up a little. I made a variation of a Red Beans and Rice dish from Vegan Planet. Robin's version is Caribbean Rice with Red Beans.......I spiced the beans instead of the rice, so my version is Caribbean Beans with Rice (clever name isn't it??!!)

Caribbean Beans with Rice
2 cups cooked red kidney beans
EVOO for sauteing onion
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
In a sauce pot heat olive oil and saute onion until softened. Add beans, and seasonings to heat through. Serve over steamed basmati rice.
Quick and simple lunch. The kids loved it, it had just the perfect amount of sweetness to heighten their interest, and the allspice and nutmeg lent a very nice flavor.

I also made some baked beans for a family function. These were probably the best baked beans I've ever had. Canned baked beans are full of stuff we probably shouldn't be eating, and also usually a little too sweet for my liking. These were sweet, but not too sweet (I could still taste the beans, which I like). Not to mention, I know exactly what went into them!!

Vegan Baked Beans
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked red kidney beans
2 cups cooked black beans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Blackstrap Molasses
Preheat oven to 350. In a large oven proof pan heat 1 Tbs olive oil over medium high heat and saute onion and celery until softened. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Add beans, sugar, syrup, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and molasses. Heat through, then transfer to oven for about 45 minutes, until liquid is bubbly. Serve hot.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Asparagus-Potato Soup

Two sure signs of spring.......our first CSA pick-up, and it was loaded with pencil thin asparagus. Unfortunately, due to lots of rain and cold nights early in the season it wasn't loaded with much else (except a nice big bunch of beautiful broccoli). Our baskets are going to be skimpy or absent for the next few weeks. But we've been promised that it'll all be made up for later in the season.

As it turns out, we're leaving town for the weekend, and wouldn't have been able to use up a whole basket of stuff anyway, so I guess it all works out in the end.

So, what to do with over 2 pounds of asparagus?? Well, when your kids won't eat asparagus when they can see what it is, you make asparagus soup, of course. So, that's exactly what I did with this bunch of asparagus. Mairin gives asparagus a big "blech" whenever I mention it, but lo and behold, she ate 2 adult sized bowls of this soup!! She wasn't the only one to eat more than their share of a matter of fact, we finished off the entire pot!!

Asparagus Potato Soup

2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly diced

2 stalks of celery roughly diced

1 small onion, roughly diced

4 Yukon gold potatoes, roughly diced

2 pounds asparagus, cut into 3 inch pieces

2 tsp dried tarragon

6 cups good quality vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large pot over high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion. Saute until softened. Add potatoes and tarragon. Stir around until fragrant then add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are beginning to soften. Add asparagus and cook until potatoes have softened and asparagus is still bright green. Transfer in batches to food processor and process until smooth. Return to heat, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with raw asparagus tops and home made salt and pepper croutons. (leave off asparagus tops and add extra croutons if you have kids that turn up their noses at asparagus!!!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bean Bolognese

It's been slim pickin's around here lately. I was expecting a basket from my CSA last week, but due to torrential rains and a stretch of very chilly nights early in the season, our CSA shares have been pushed back a week. Expecting to get a big basket of fresh produce last week, I didn't go to the store for my usual shop. When I found out the basket wasn't coming I kind of gave up on getting to the store and decided we'd just stop here and there when we needed to, just to get us through until the next basket was due. So, the meal I am posting is actually from last Friday, and was thrown together with some stuff I had around in the freezer and the pantry.

Traditionally bolognese is a thick, rich, meaty sauce. I found a recipe for this bean version while sitting in the pediatrician's office one day. I have no idea what magazine this recipe came from, so I'm just going to go ahead and post the recipe here for you. This turned out to be a very satisfying meal considering that it was made with all stuff I had on hand. I ate the left-overs for lunch on Sunday, and I have to say, I think it was better after having set for a bit. I think next time I make this I'll try to plan ahead and make it the day before I plan to serve it.

Bean Bolognese
1 14 oz can salad beans (I used Westbrae Naturals brand; a mix of kidney beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup hot water with 1/2 veg bouillon cube dissolved in it
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
8 oz whole wheat fettuccine

Start water to cook pasta. Mash 1/2 cup beans with a fork, in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and salt; cover and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and bay leaf and cook a minute or two until fragrant. Add water, turn heat to high and boil until most liquid is evaporated. Add tomatoes with juice, 2 Tbs parsley and the mashed beans. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add remaining beans and cook until heated through. Drain pasta, remove bay leaf from sauce. Divide pasta among 4 bowls and top with the sauce and remaining 2 Tbs parsley.

To go along with the pasta I made Vegan Dad's focaccia. As far as breads go, this one is very easy to make (especially if you have a stand mixer to do the kneading for you). I can't tell you how good this bread is, my family couldn't get enough of it (it's a good thing it makes 2 loaves!!). I'm planning to make this again this's that good!!