The inaugural entry is posted, with updates on the garden, news on the first CSA basket of the year, photos, and a new and delicious pizza recipe (picture of pizza forthcoming).
1 cup flour (you could use whole wheat pastry flour here or all purpose)
1/2 cup polenta
3 oz Smart Balance Margarine
3 oz fat free cream cheese
italian herbs (add however much you want)
place in food processor and process until mixed together as crust. Put on floured cutting board and form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then remove, roll out with floured rolling pin and form as pie crust in cake pan or pie pan. Refrigerate that for 20 more minutes.
Preheat oven to 375.
Thinly slice veggies, we used eggplant, red pepper, tomatoes and zucchini, but you could use whatever you like I suppose. Yellow squash wouldn't be bad. Brush with olive oil and grill.
Bake crust for 30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. It is hard to tell. Make your best judgment, but err on the side of long because a crisp crust is better.
When the crust is out place the veggies in it in layers with basil, mix 1 tsp balsamic vin and 1 tsp olive oil and brush (or pour over top) and some crumbled goat cheese if you like (the goat cheese really does add something).
Remove from pie pan and serve.
We both agreed this would make a really good summer picnic dish.
A while back I went to lunch with my friend Zach at Foodheads. The food was great. I had Samosa Soup, which when I asked if it was vegetarian, turned out to be vegan even. It was delicious. It had strips of fried samosa outsides (whatever that may be) on top and tasted just like the insides of a samosa. I wanted to lick my bowl. Anyway, my friend Addie is now the food reporter for the newspaper, so I thought I'd ask if she could get Foodheads to give up the recipe, and they did! It was published in the paper today with the hilarious note: "Reader my name can't get enough of the vegan samosa soup at Foodheads..." Well, it's a bit of hyperbole, but whatever man, I scored the recipe! Time to add this to the crock pot list.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 yellow onion diced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and diced)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
2 lb potatoes
3/4 pound fresh or frozen peas (with the price of veggies these days? Frozen all the way)
3 cups water
14 oz coconut milk
8 oz chopped spinach
handful of cilantro chopped
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 lime quartered (this is for garnish, so omit if you're not feeling fancy, just hungry)
Heat oil until very hot, add mustard seeds and cook until they begin to pop. Add diced onion and chili powder and cook until onions are soft. Add all the other spices and the potatoes and peas and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add water an simmer until potatoes are soft. Add coconut milk, spinach, cilantro, and lemon juice. Simmer for another five minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now I just need to figure out how to adapt this to be even less labor intensive and to just involve pitching things into a crock pot at the beginning of the day. I do so love a good bowl of soup. It's generally healthy and lower in calories and fat than many things, and it fills you up quickly because of the high water content (this does not include any kind of cream soup or bisque obviously).
Two tofu recipes to discuss today.
One I can post here, because I more or less made it up. It's tofu pot pie, a recreation of that veritable bastion of hearty Americana dinners, chicken pot pie. In my version I am trying to approximate the taste of Chicken pot pie, more or less. Some meat eaters get a bit stupid and ask why vegetarians eat fake meat. Well, because we grew up eating meat and quit eating it not because it suddenly started tasting disgusting but because we decided we didn't want things to die for our dinner? Then they ask about the "death of the carrot" as if a carrot is exactly like a cow. I dunno. At this point I have been a vegetarian for so long I'm not what you would call an "activist," because I'm tired of rehashing the obvious reasons why not eating meat is better for the planet, ethics, and you. I'm tired of the stupid arguments made by meat eaters about protein (eat some quinoa), eye teeth (it's not easy to tear off hunks of bread without those teeth either), how it's "natural" (we have evolved past caveman status and have options now), etc. If you want to eat meat because you want to eat meat, then just do it and move on. I think it's like crystal meth, honestly. I don't care what you put in your body, but it's an expensive luxury and terrible for the environment. Hmm. It seems I'm cranky this morning and that the activist in me just lies dormant, too busy watching Project Runway to agitate. Anyway.
Tofu Pot Pie
Day 1: Make up some Frontier Veggie "Chicken flavored" broth. Make it very concentrated. Slice up a block of hard tofu and marinade it in the broth overnight.
Day 2: Microwave a baking potato in a bowl with a half inch of water and a towel covering it for 7 minutes (cooked but firm)
Saute some onions and garlic in a pot with a bit of olive oil. Remove when translucent (you don't have to do this if your stomach is not as sensitive to onions as mine is, you could just cook them with the other veggies). Put in bowl.
Put 2 tbsp margarine (Smart Balance as always) in the pan and melt. Add 3 tbsp flour and make a paste. Slowly add in 2 cups of "chicken" stock. Again, the more concentrated the better.
Bring almost to boil and then add in 2 cups frozen mixed veggies.
Allow to thaw, then add onions, chopped up potato, and chopped up tofu cubes (obviously you drain the broth from the tofu).
Cook until warm.
Put in large casserole dish and top with 1 cup milk (cow or soy), 1 egg, and 1 cup instant baking mix (we use a whole grain one). Alternatively top with a vegan biscuit type deal and the thing should be vegan. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, until bubbling and crust is golden biscuity.
The other tofu recipe comes from Vegan with a Vengance, and thus I will not list it here, although I'm sure it's floating around on the internet somewhere. Basically it's a marinade with ginger and soy sauce and things, that hard tofu sits in over night (or all day) and then you cut the tofu into triangles and grill or cook in a wok. Eric used the extra marinade as a sauce for asparagus (although there is a separate recipe in the book for Sesame Asparagus, we are, as always, lazy), and then made wasabi mashed potatoes (this isn't even a recipe really, just a good idea. Add a few tsp of powdered wasabi to mashed potatoes). The marinade was awesome, as were the potatoes and the asparagus. It was a really good, really pretty quick dinner.
As it turns out, making pumpkin puree is messy. Once we steamed it and let it cool, we then blended it. Blending pumpkin makes a far more watery product than canned pumpkin. So then it had to be strained through a tea cloth. There was a lot of straining to be done. In the end we filled up 5 freezer jars of pumpkin puree (after the freezer bags of steamed cubed pumpkin) and had 2 cups left over in a bowl in the fridge.
Well, wouldn't you know? 2 cups is the exact amount called for in Pumpkin Cream Cheese bread!
First, cream together 8 oz cream cheese (I use half full fat and half fat free), 2 1/2 cups sugar, and 1/2 margarine (smart balance).
Then add 4 eggs (or a cup of egg substitute), 1 by 1. Then add your 2 cups of pumpkin.
In a separate bowl whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour (you choose the white and whole wheat blend), 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1 tsp salt.
Add dry to wet and mix.
(if you don't have a toddler, you can add nuts, 1 cup)
Put in two greased loaf pans and cook at 350 for 70 minutes or so.
So yummy. We eat one loaf and freeze one for the future.
So we went out of town. A lot. And we started repeating recipes, like I said. And we got very tired. And the blog suffered. But really, not many people read this, and frankly if it's the blog or my dissertation, well, y'all can mosey over to Relish Austin or something.
The time of the CSA experiment has ended for the year. Almost. It lives on in the form of a 30 pound pumpkin we are currently butchering downstairs. I say butchering because 30 pounds is heavy. And big. And packed full of pumpkin. We made Black Bean, Chipotle, and Pumpkin Soup tonight (from Hot, Spice, and Meatless II), which called for a pound of pumpkin. It was not discernable that the pumpkin had suffered. "It's only a flesh wound!" It called out while lounging on the counter. Meanwhile, the soup had three chipotles in it and made both of our noses run. In a good way. I think it could have used some elbow macaroni, however.
After Ollie went to bed we got down to business, cutting it into chunks, removing the inner bits (with far less seeds than we expected or hoped for, not enough to even bother roasting them), peeling the outside, dicing, and steaming. We have three big bowls full of steamed pumpkin and another to go. This is how we got the 30 pound pumpkin. The lovely woman from Tecolote said, "Well, you can steam it and then freeze it." I began envisioning pumpkin cream cheese bread galore, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, and the next thing you know we have a veritable canning factory running in our kitchen.
Which is not to say all the pumpkin bread won't be delicious.
We were at a loss at the end of the CSA how to proceed. It provided such a framework to our meals. The basket showed up, we made a menu, we bought the few things extra we needed, we cooked away. Now we have to proceed without guidance. So in order to keep experimenting we got two cookbooks my friend Meghan is always referring to on her menu blog, Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengence. We are lacto-ovo vegetarians, and though we've talked about going vegan, don't think it's for us. But we would like to cut down on our dairy, as it is costly for the earth's resources. So we are going to try to incorporate much more vegan eating in our household. Plus, new recipes are fun.
Hopefully this blog will pick back up with reports on how the new recipes go. I'm most excited about Samosa Baked Potatoes, the recipe of which I think could be modified to resemble the AMAZING samosa soup I had at Foodheads awhile back.
I did get the breakfast, at least. ;) Unfortunately, Jenny needed the nap more, so she got that, and by end of day she wasn't even feeling well enough for dinner. On the plus side, that meant I got to have whatever I wanted (and was willing to make, and had ingredients for...).
So I went with a couple of old standbys: barbecued veat-and-onion shish-ka-bobs, garlic fries, and a salad. The shish-ka-bobs we've mentioned before, and the salad was pretty standard, but the fries I haven't made in a while. I used a lot of garlic; I think it was about half a head all told. Jenny said the entire house smelled of garlic by the time I was done (which wasn't a nice thing for me to do to a sick girl, but I didn't realize she could smell it all the way upstairs).
So, from memory, here's the recipe.
4-6 smallish potatoes, washed and cut into matchsticks or wedges
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic (however much you like; I usually go with 4-8 cloves, depending on size and mood)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Crush/chop the garlic as fine as you can; a great way to get really fine garlic is to grate it with a microplane grater (good for garlic bread too). Throw the potatoes in a bowl, add the other ingredients and toss until well coated. Place on a cooking sheet and put in the oven until the fries are crispy, 30 minutes or so. Serve with a nice microbrewery IPA or Amber Ale. :)
We chowed through all our veggies easily this week, except the okra which we gave away. Neither of us like okra. We just don't. Maybe it's because we weren't raised with it. Okra is the only thing we haven't even attempted. Even the turnips, which took experimenting we kept working with. I don't know. So far okra and sorrel seem the big bummers of our home. At any rate, the potato salad and veggie shish-ka-bobs cleared out the entire pantry of potatoes and onions. It's bleak in there. It hasn't looked that bare in a long time. New basket today! As well as the farmer's market. So we can stock up again.
Yesterday we used the last of our veggies, some zucchini and an acorn squash. We used one of the squash in the roasted veggie lasagna, but it had the wrong texture for it. It was more the texture of a butternut squash than of a yellow squash. It seemed more soup like. So I found a recipe n recipezaar for a Zucchini Cheese Soup, or, as the recipe explains Vache Qui Rit Soup, as it is apparently a traditional French recipe beloved by kids. Our kid certainly loved it.
2 lbs Zucchini (or squash)
2 cups stock
salt and pepper
1 pinch cumin
4 oz cream cheese mixed with herbs
1. Dice the zucchini and onion into a saucepan and add stock, salt, pepper, and cumin.
2. Bring to boil and then lower heat and simmer until veggies are tender
3. remove from heat and add cheese and puree.
4. Gently reheat to appropriate temperature.
This recipe was pretty good. I think a better cheese (we used fat free plain cream cheese) would have made it even tastier. On the plus side we got to use our new immersion blender we bought at Linens and Things going out of business sale for $30. At Bristol my roommate Allison used to buy appliances that all had names. Her sandwich maker was named Daisy and looked like a cow. Her immersion blender was named Billy. She didn't name them. They came with these names, and their purchase was a coincidence. Allison wasn't very imaginative. She's now a lawyer. Anyway, even though our immersion blender is as of yet, unnamed, it still worked pretty great and spared us the hassle of transferring it all to the blender to puree.
We ate the soup with homemade whole wheat cibatta bread. Earlier this week we took the leftover roasted veggies that exceeded the capacity of the lasagna, marinaded them in olive oil, balsamic vinager, and herbs, and put them on cibatta bread. We took that to a picnic with gazpacho and had a very good meal indeed.
Upcoming possibilities: we have a lot of limes left over from the cookout. I'm thinking of making a Persian Lime pie with homemade whipped cream. We also have some carrots to roast. This week we're getting eggplant, another acorn squash, a few tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, red onions, and best of all Hungarian medium-hot peppers which apparently make fabulous chile rellenos. We made chile rellenos with the peppers we got last week and both of us agreed we could have eaten three times as many as we had.
Also, I recently discovered that my friend and great vegan cook/baker Meghan uses her livejournal to keep track of their weekly menu and shares recipes. Here is a link to her journal I hope she doesn't mind sharing, in case people need more vegetarian and vegan recipes. She also regularly uses some cookbooks we don't own but need to check out.
Has come a return to familiar veggies. Our basket of late has been filled with things like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes, and onions. Things that, while delicious, we have always eaten. Since we have been using the unfamiliar things in the basket as a reason to seek out new recipes, to boldly go where we have never gone before, we were in fact, a bit bewildered about what to do with these old school veggies.
So we've been revisiting some greatest hits. We've made potato and rosemary pizza, roasted veggie lasagna, fajitas, veggie shish-ka-bobs on the grill with corn, gazpacho.
Here are a couple of things we've done:
I got this recipe from my friend Christin, who knows how to cook for a party. It's a potato salad with no mayo. I freaking hate mayo and will never eat it, but this is just as good as a picnic and will not possibly kill you if left in the sun. We used up a bunch of potatoes we had gotten, some new potatoes, some purple potatoes, and some red potatoes.
2 lbs small potatoes boiled, cooled, and then cut up
1 cucumber peeled and diced
1 red pepper diced
1 bunch spring onions diced
4 oz feta cheese
3 tbsp dill
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 olive oil
1/3 red wine vinager
Last night we used the last of our beets up, along with some left over corn on the cob and potato salad from a barbeque we held Sunday. We made beet burgers. They sound funny, but are yummy.
The original recipe is from recipezaar:
1/2 grated beets
1/2 grated carrots
1/8 grated onion
1/4 cooked brown rice
1/4 roasted sunflower seeds
1/8 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 egg white
1/2 tsp soy sauce
3/4 tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 350
mix ingredients in large bowl and chill for 30 minutes
form into patties 1/2 inch thick
bake on cookie sheet covered with cooking spray for 30 minutes (no turning necessary)
Here are the changes we made (besides scaling down the recipe)
We used quinoa instead of brown rice and sun butter instead of sunflower seeds. We didn't have sunflower seeds on hand, but the one review of the recipe said that the patties didn't come together very well. Since the sunbutter has the sticky consistancy of peanut butter, this was not a problem for us. The quinoa was delicious, nutty, and FULL of protein.
All in all, very tasty.
(this is copied from my friend Susanne's blog... it's friends only, so I couldn't send you that way).
Yes, the basket contained fresh beets. And carrots. And new potatoes. Tony and I spent some time yesterday afternoon debating borscht recipes, and then decided on a simple one.
1) brown 1 large diced onion in stock pot
2) add 2 peeled and shredded beets and several diced carrots
3) Cover with water and simmer gently for 20 minutes
4) Add stock and 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar to taste
5) Simmer 15 minutes more.
Serve over boiled new potatoes with a big dollop of sour cream in the middle. Yummy! And pink!