Health Food

The other night we ate green. Everything was green. The kale salad, herby quinoa tabbouli, and sumac tofu with baby bok choy and broccoli was delicious and the perfect image of what my dad imagines me eating every day. If only I could eat this every day. Kale salad is one of my favorite things and the tabbouli was a great way to use up lots of fresh herbs from our CSA (maybe a little unconventional with cilantro but it worked really well in contrast to the parsley). I purposefully bought sumac last week to make this tofu after seeing Amey post about it here. All in all an awesome meal.

The tabbouli was based on the one in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, the kale had a golden beet, tahini, soy sauce, and maybe lime juice? Too many kale salads to remember specifics.

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Stuffed Pumpkin

Part of my goals for VeganMofo was to cook out of cookbooks and cook French food. Both of which I’ve done a pretty good job of for once. I still have Around My French Table from the library (which I should really just buy) and made this stuffed pumpkin from it. The recipe is also posted on NPR here. Obviously I left out the bacon, cheese, and cream. I had some leftover stuffing mix – you know, the crappy bag of MSG laden bread cubes that sells for $.99 after Thanksgiving and my boyfriend loves so I’ve had a bag in the cupboard for a year now because I hate packaged stuffing. Well it was perfect here. I mixed up half a bag of that with a chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic, a big handful of Daiya cheddar, and some vegetable stock so moisten everything a bit. I stuffed it into a really pretty blue-green squash. I never found out what type of pumpkin/squash it was but that’s ok because I didn’t love it. It was a little dry and stringy for my tastes, I’ll stick with my preferred kabocha squash. It was still a fun experience though.

Tofu á la Diable

It’s no secret I love France and French food and Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. I picked up Around My French Table a few weeks ago from the library. And then rechecked it out today. And am adding it to my Christmas list (along with far too many other cookbooks). I love the stories and ideas as much as the recipes. I don’t mind non-vegan cookbooks because I enjoy veganizing things.

Like this here Tofu á la Diable which means devil tofu. I guess it was supposed to be scary hot since dijon mustard is soo spicy (/sarcasm). I added some cayenne to mine and it still wasn’t very devilish, but it was super tasty and easy. Mix together some strong, good dijon mustard, a minced shallot and a minced garlic clove, some cayenne pepper, and a little water or wine to thin. Dip tofu slices in this then press into panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle with melted EB if you so desire and broil for a few minutes (watch the breadcrumbs closely, they like to burn). Flip and broil a few more minutes.

Next time I might marinate the tofu and make some sort of sauce for it. Along with it I had some kale salad (because I’m addicted to it) and celeriac-potato mash. It was supposed to be puree, but it didn’t want to cooperate with my brand new ricer. This was my first time trying celery root and I really like it. I’m not usually a fan of celery unless dipped in peanut butter, but I will add the root into regular rotation among the mashed veggie set.

From Scratch

A while back I finally sat down and made enchilada sauce from scratch. I’ve wanted to do this for years but never got around to it. This goes for a lot of things ‘from scratch’. I cook a lot of stuff at home and try not to rely on store bought portions of recipes, but sometimes it’s just easier. Canned sauces, tins of curry paste, pre-mixed curry powder. I suppose to a lot of folks cooking anything at home means ‘from scratch’ but to me it means you started out with identifiable single ingredients. Someday I’d love to make homemade curry pastes and powders. Maybe seeing how easy and tasty the enchilada sauce turned out will inspire me. But for now I’m happy with my sauce.

I’m trying to recall now, but I think this was based on the recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I liked it a lot but would like to use a mix of peppers next time, maybe anchos, guajillos, and New Mexico chiles.

Enchilada Sauce

4 dried ancho peppers
1 tbsp. oil
1 med. onion
3 cloves garlic
15 oz. can of roasted diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Remove seeds and stems from peppers and cover with boiling water. Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and cook for several minutes, until it begins to color. Add garlic. Mince soaked peppers and add to onion, if it seems dry add some of the soaking water. Cook for a couple minutes then add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until it has thickened. Add cilantro and take off heat. When slightly cooled run through a blender or food processor.

This made enough for one 9×13 pan of enchiladas. The recipe I used for the unpictured final product was from the Fall 2011 Penzey’s catalog, a recipe submitted by Dane Kuttler. I was intrigued when I first saw the recipe because you boil the sweet potatoes in vinegar and soy sauce. I just had to try it. I usually make up my own filling as I go along but it usually includes sweet potatoes, can of black beans, can of diced tomatoes, and spices.  For this I tried to stick with the recipe but clearly changed a few things for vegan and health reasons.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

5-6 ww flour tortillas
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. Daiya vegan cheddar cheese, divided
1 batch enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Wash and chop sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces. Put the potatoes, soy sauce, and vinegar into a medium saucepan, cover with a lid, and boil until potatoes are soft and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, cumin, and ancho until fragrant, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the black beans and a little water or more vinegar and turn heat. Let it warm through then take off heat.

When the potatoes are done slightly mash then, then mix the black bean mixture and potatoes together. Add 2/3 c. vegan cheese and mix in. Put a third of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Fill the tortillas with a few good spoonfuls of filling and place seam down in pan. Continue until pan is full. Spread the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the sauce is slightly bubbling around the edges of the pan. Cool slightly and enjoy.

Oh Yeah, Dinner.

In all my excitement about the pecan pie I forgot to mention what we had for dinner last night. When I go home from work I launched into making the pie and some homemade bread using new sprouted wheat flour and completely forgot about, ya know, the actual dinner. I would love to have pie and bread for dinner but my conscience can’t allow that. So I made super healthy stuff to go with the super unhealthy pecan pie. First up, massaged kale salad. Sounds sensual, tastes delicious.

I realize this photo is much more interesting for the colors rather than actually getting a good idea what the salad looks like, but kale salad is one of those things we never plate for some reason. I make it in a big steel mixing bowl that was my grandma’s and we just set it on the table and eat out of it. Every other salad gets a nice spot on the plate but for some reason this one never makes it out of it’s dirty bowl, so no great picture for you. I can’t even give you a real recipe with measurements, just approximations.

My Massaged Kale Salad

1 bunch kale, de-stemmed
1/2 a lime
1 big spoonful of tahini
1 decent splash of tamari
1 beet, grated (this one is a beautiful chioggia, but golden beets are my favorite)

Chop the kale into ribbon. Juice the lime into a large bowl, add the tahini and tamari and whisk together. Add kale and massage the crap out of it to break it down a bit. I usually try to use lacinato/dinosaur kale but curly kale works too. Once your fingers start to cramp add the beet, stir, eat out of bowl.

I also love this with an avocado instead of the tahini and lemon juice instead of lime. Really it’s just fat, acid, salt in some form mashed into the kale and add shredded root vegetable. I keep it simple and only add one additional vegetable. All those other odds and ends get thrown into the other thing we had for dinner last night.

Pepper bean salad.

A co-worker turned me on to this. It has single-handedly turned me into a cilantro non-hater. This is quite a feat people! I have hated cilantro for years and now I find myself buying it for this salad! I’ve made the recipe so many times I don’t use a recipe (though I did link one). Now I do cut down on the oil and acids and play with the spices some as well as using it to clean out my fridge (good with bits of cucumber and tomato) but the essence of it stays the same and it’s so simple it’s easy to swap things out.

Plus, it gets better the longer it stays in your fridge. If it lasts that long.

Vegetables

Today turned out to be a beautiful day. A day I feel foolish for wasting. Yes I cleaned and walked the dog, enjoyed the sun as I hung up sheets. But it wasn’t until later in the day that I really wanted to go for a ride and then I couldn’t because of an obligation to our CSA.

Our lovely blue house is vegetable central on Tuesday afternoons. All the boxes (3 of them) are dropped off at our house and the owners come here to collect their vitamins and minerals. The perks are we get the most beautiful of the produce. The lettuce we got today is bigger than my head and just, well I’ll just give you a picture.

Clockwise from that beautiful lettuce are fennel, a bag of cooking greens (chards, kales, etc.), a bag of snap peas and carrots, a single squash blossom that I have no idea what to do with, two kohlrabi, two beets, 4 onions, a handful of sage thats actually from last week, a small broccoli, and a bag of purple basil.

We split this bag with a friend and have trouble consuming half this. I can assure you we will have salad tonight though. The exciting thing about this is I have to experiment with new things. Today I was on a mission to use up the rest of the veggies from last week which consisted of snap peas that I’d forgotten about. And this my friends is why I love the internet. A quick google and I give you: Minted Snap Peas! I left out the onion and used granulated garlic.

I can’t stop eating them.

Woo, Monday!

The typical workweek has never existed for me. The two days of rest and relaxation have always fallen on some off weekday. Working in retail and food service does this. So this Monday is my Friday. And I’m very happy about it. It seems like I have had a very busy last five days. But this is an exaggeration. Either way I’m posting out of veganmofo dedication. Here’s some food from the last few days.

Ginger-Tahini Greens

     I made these tonight. I don’t know what the greens were, I bought them at the Farmer’s Market and have since forgotten what they are. But they have little white flowers.

1 tbsp. oil

1/2 c. diced onion

1/4 c. diced carrot

1- 1 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp. granulated garlic (this is what I had but a clove of minced garlic would work too)

1 tsp. garlic-chili paste

3 c. chopped assorted greens 

Salt, pepper, and a little water if there wasn’t much clinging to the greens.

1 tsp. lemon juice

Tahini

Heat the oil and saute the onion and carrot until they begin to soften. Add minced ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute or two, add the chili paste, and season with salt and pepper. Add greens and some water if necessary. You want the water to steam the veggies, but you don’t want soup so 1-3 tbsp. should work. Steam/saute this until greens are soft. Quick cooking greens like spinach and bok choy can take 8-10 minutes while kale and collards like take closer to 15. Roll with it and just check on them. When the greens are done add the lemon juice, give a good stir, and take off heat. Drizzle tahini over and serve. This made one dinner for me, but as a side or with a real entree it could be enough for 2-3.

 

I really can’t remember what this is. Reason #43 you should blog about your food the day you make it. I think its a stew with French lentils, red pepper and roma tomatoes from my garden, and lots of zatar on top. Zatar is a Middle Eastern spice mix of sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds. Its sour and amazing. And absolutely wonderful mixed with oil and used as a dip for pita.

This is the tagine Nick and I made last Saturday. The picture was taken Sunday before I wolfed it down at work. Like all good tagine it has a ton of ingredients. I went to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market that morning and once I got to Ames we looked over the ingredients and thought this sounded good. There was also pita bread from the World Food Festival.

Anyway, this little delight had: onions, multi-colored carrots, eggplant, chilies, beets, beet greens, cherry tomatoes, cracked wheat and probably a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting. I can’t even begin to list the spices. Its tagine people! The only thing missing were some raisins. I love raisins or dried fruit in tagines.

 

Ok, I’m tired now. Its only 8 pm and I’m thinking of bed. I might sneak a cupcake then drift into dream land. Which will probably be full of canyons and gulches because I’m almost done with Desert Solitaire by Abbey, which is amazing.