Thursday, September 30, 2010

Simple Dinner

I'm pretty sure this is the perfect dinner.  At least for today.

Super-gingery squash and lentil soup with lots of cilantro and toast with Earth Balance and miso.

Inspired to eat even more vegetables after the Healthy Foods Summit conference today!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Copy Cat Stew

It's going to take me a long time to write this because I can't put down my peanut stew to type.  Tonight my besty Sarah casually mentioned that she was making peanut stew for dinner.  Immediately my taste buds started screaming, "We want that!  We want that!"  But I already invited myself to dinner last week and really wanted to enjoy a stew on my own couch in my jammies, watching the season premiere of The Office.  

So I set out to make a copycat stew.  My requirements were that I couldn't shop for any ingredients (already spent the grocery budget for this week!) and it had to be ready super quick.  

Mission accomplished!  Here's how I did it:

Super Quick Peanut Stew
One secret to always having coconut milk on hand is to freeze any leftovers in an ice cube tray.  I used 2 cubes of frozen milk in this stew.  It's also great for tossing into smoothies!

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 yam/sweet potato, cut in bite-sized chunks
4 large kale leaves, stem removed and chopped
1 quart water
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
a healthy squirt of Bragg's Aminos or tamari
a big pinch of crushed red chiles

Heat oil in a small soup pot.  Add the garlic, potatoes and kale.  Sauté for just a bit, until the garlic is starting to smell good.  Then add the water, peanut butter and coconut milk.  Simmer until the yams are tender and the peanut butter is melted- about 15 minutes.  Then add the Bragg's and chiles to taste.  Enjoy while watching season premieres.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Southern Comfort

I might have lived in Minnesota for the past 11 years, but I'm a Southern girl at heart.  And summer just isn't summer without okra.  

I panicked a little bit at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market on Saturday when only a few farmers still had tomatoes.  Duh, Liz.  If your garden isn't rolling in the tomatoes right now, then their farms aren't producing them either.  Then I realized that I still hadn't gotten any okra this year.  And it was almost too late!

I think the only redeeming quality to Texas summers was that there was more okra than you could ever eat.  They were all beautiful little pods, so tender you barely had to cook them.  Here I struggle to find okra that's not overgrown.  I promise you now that I will be planting some next year.

Luckily one farmer  brought some okra and I snagged 3 baskets of it.  I should have gotten more.  I processed it into 6 pints of pickled okra and not quite a pint of sliced frozen okra.  It's taking every ounce of restraint that I have not to crack open on of these jars right now.

On the subject of Southern food, I made some rockin' biscuits with kale and black eyed pea gravy the other day.

I used the baking powder biscuits from Vegan with a Vengeance, tons of kale from the garden sautéed with  garlic and Bragg's, and almond milk cream gravy with some black-eyed peas thrown in.  Whoa.  Seriously good and comforting breakfast on a cool weekend.  You should make this.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Digging up Carrots

It's a weird time for the garden right now.  We're still right in the middle of September, but none of my tomatoes have ripened in the past 2 weeks.  It's October weather and I'm a bit scared that I'm going to have about 30 lbs. of green tomatoes to deal with soon.  Green tomatoes are yummy, but I don't want quite that many!  

Some plants are loving this weather, though.  The Fall green beans are flourishing and the carrots are huge, earthy and sweet.  I've always grown carrots, but they are usually a bit small and gnarled.  I tend to use my garden carrots more for soup and cooking than for eating plain.  But not this year!!!

This year I filled an entire 8' by 4' bed with carrots and it paid off.  Even though I usually rotate the crops in my beds each year, I might have to leave this the "carrot bed" because the soil and sunlight are so well suited to them.  Just look at this thing.  And it's not overgrown and tough- This carrot is sweet as candy and perfumes carrot-ness as soon as it's plucked from the soil!  I've been slicing these up in my lunchbox and actually skipping any dip for them (Never before done, folks.  I love my vegan ranch dip!).  
It's a little silly, but I could help but snap a few more photos with the carrot.  Just look at how Hannah Dog begs for them!

First with her tongue hanging out...

Then with her teeth and ears out!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Canning Demo on Saturday!

This is short notice (sorry about that), but I'll be at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market tomorrow at 10:30 am doing a little canning demo and answering questions.  Come by for a lesson in canning or just to pick up some rockin' produce!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Canning Q & A

Hey fellow canners-
I'm pretty darn excited that my friend Karen is hosting me in a little canning and preserving question and answer feature on her website Mamalooma.  Now ya'll know that you can email me anytime with a canning question...But then you don't get to also read answers to other people's questions.  So send your questions to Karen (just follow the link to her blog) to see them all answered at once!

Plus, you should just visit her site because it's awesome.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Hooray for Fall.  Hooray for chilly weather.  Hooray for hot chocolate with Dandies marshmallows!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two Easy Meals

I'm loving this cooler weather we're having because now I can bake things in the oven without having to strip down to take the heat.  Bring on the casseroles!

This week we enjoyed ratatouille over pasta.  It probably would have been faster to heat this up in a skillet, but it was nice to just pop it into the oven.  The ratatouille was basically just tons of roasted veggies- it was awesome!!  I put a cubed, peeled eggplant, 1 zucchini, 3 tomatoes, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, 1 onion, a head of garlic and lots of basil and thyme in roasting pans until everything was roasty-toasty-carmelized.  Then I just mixed it all together with some salt and pepper.  I did all this and precooked some gluten free pasta this past weekend, so on Tuesday night Mike just popped it into the oven!  Super easy and super good.  

Monday night was beans, rice and greens night.  I think I need to do this at least once a week.  This weekend I cooked up some rice and black eyed peas.  On Monday night I just warmed up the rice in a cast iron skillet and heated the black eyed peas with some tabasco vinegar (tabasco chiles preserved in vinegar).  The kale from the garden only took about 2 minutes to sauté with garlic and Bragg's aminos.  Then I drizzled a bit of tahini over everything.  

The kids totally loved this and it made a great meal in my lunchbox the next day- except that we ate all the kale!  There's never any leftover kale.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

Moroccan Seitan Sandwich

Oh, my.  Now this is a satisfying sandwich.  It's only kind of a sandwich because it's basically sourdough French bread with this highly seasoned simmered seitan over top.  I didn't know what else to call it besides an open-faced sandwich.  You could serve the simmered seitan over millet, couscous, quinoa or rice, though.  This is definitely NOT a gluten free recipe.  It's pretty much gluten over gluten.

It takes all of about 5 minutes to make this dish, provided you have already prepared and refrigerated or frozen some roasted cherry tomatoes and preserved some limes.  And, of course, you have.

Open-Faced Moroccan Seitan Sandwich

1 Tbsp. olive oil
One package Westsoy Seitan, in bitesized pieces
1/2 cup roasted cherry tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1 tsp. whole coriander, crushed
1 tsp. whole cumin seed
1 pinch cinnamon
Salt to taste
Crusty sourdough bread, sliced thickly
Earth Balance
Preserved limes or lemons, optional

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  Add the seitan and cook over medium high heat until browned on all sizes.  Add the roasted tomatoes, fresh tomato, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and salt.  Lower heat and simmer until the fresh tomatoes have melted into the roasted tomatoes.

Serve seitan over warmed sourdough slathered in Earth Balance.  The preserved limes or lemons go on the side.  Just a thin sliver of lime on eat bite is heavenly.  Serve with a knife and fork.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tofu and Millet

This post wins the prize for least exciting title.  Even though I do like both millet and tofu a good deal, they sound totally boring together.  But this meal was ridiculously good and came together really quickly.  Millet can be used just like couscous or rice in a pilaf or stir fry and it has WAY more nutrition!

What to do ahead of time:  Cook up some millet and marinate tofu slabs in garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and lemon pepper.

On dinner night you just have to throw the tofu slabs on a hot griddle/grill/cast iron skillet to brown.  Also throw some sliced onions and mushrooms on the grill at the same time.  Then heat the used tofu marinade in another skillet and add the cooked millet so that it can warm up and absorb the marinade.  Add 1 roasted red pepper and the onions and mushrooms from the grill.  A little sprinkle of salt and pepper is all the millet will need before serving alongside the browned tofu.  This meal should probably have some greens on the side, but I skipped the side veg tonight.  

I think I'm going to start mixing up a tofu marinade every week for an easy dinner!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Super Quick Black Bean Soup

Here's a make-ahead meal that I love once the weather starts cooling off.  It's just a bit cooler this week, so I couldn't resist a creamy black bean soup.  

All I had to do to make this possible on a weeknight was just pressure cook some black beans this weekend. That took all of about 5 minutes.

Then last night I sautéed some onions and garlic in olive oil, added the black beans, water and a bouillon cube and brought it up to a simmer.  Then I sprinkled in some yummy spices: cumin, coriander and a little cayenne pepper.  Once heated though, I used my immersion blender to puree it all.  My favorite toppings include pico de gallo, tortilla chips, avocado and pickled jalapeños.

My favorite part about this soup?  It's crazy rich in protein because it's basically all beans!  Plus, there's some serious fiber going on here.  I'm bringing it to work tomorrow to eat for second breakfast!