Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! Roast Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue from Gourmet Magazine.

Roast pumpkin stuffed with layers of toasted baguette, gruyere, and a creamy, salty, peppery broth.

I've been wanting to make this Roast Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue since I heard Gourmet's Ruth Reichl talk about it on NPR a year ago.  Halloween and Thanksgiving came and went without me having the opportunity to make it.  Then, I went vegan.  Well, I had to make it for dinner this Halloween to get it out of my system!

What did everyone do for Halloween? Any "best" memories? We had such gorgeous weather in Atlanta this Halloween weekend! We took a day trip up to the mountains to see the pretty leaves, and stopped by the Jaemor apple farm where we bought apples, pumpkins, cider, pumpkin butter, honey, boiled peanuts, apple fritters, and homemade peach ice cream. We carved a Jack-o-Lantern, watched a scary movie, and I spent today puttering around from boutique shop to shop in the pretty weather.  Then came home and made this pumpkin for dinner.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nigella Lawson's Tomato Rice Soup

Sweet, simple, comforting tomato rice soup.  I adore Nigella Lawson! I've made her recipe for tomato rice soup many times now.  It takes a couple of seconds to pour rice, tomatoes (I use a liquidy tomato puree), and water in a big pot.  Then all you do is let the lovely smell of tomato soup fill the house.  You feel so comforted by that big pot of simmering soup on the stove.  But your hands are free so you can do whatever else you need or want to do on a Monday night.

It's delicious with lots of fresh ground black pepper, basil, and (shhhh) parmesan cheese.  I haven't eaten cheese in forever, but I used to put a generous helping of that stuff in this soup, and it's fantastic.  I'm perfectly happy to eat it without, but thought you should know. :-)

If anyone is reading, do you have a favorite soup? This one isn't my very favorite... I don't know if I could even name a favorite.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Heirloom Squash Farrotto (or Quinoa, in tonight's case)

My lovely co-worker left two printed recipes on my desk today; Heirloom Squash Farrotto was one.  I happened to have most of the ingredients at home, so I made it tonight with a few alterations.

I also served it over an arugula salad with ume plums and a lemon vinaigrette.

It was delicious. Packed with flavor. And healthy. And simple.

Roasting the squash is key; it caramelizes and intensifies the flavor.

My substitutions (because I didn't want to go to the grocery store) were quinoa for farro, leeks for red onion, chili powder and red pepper flakes for fresh chilies, and thyme for cilantro (cilantro would have worked better for this dish, but thyme was just fine).
Heirloom Squash Farrotto (or Quinoa, or Rice...)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt(I used plain coconut yogurt)
2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided
3 garlic cloves; 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups semi-pearled farro
2 tablespoons chopped Fresno chile or red jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook farro in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain farro and cool.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Bean Chili with Shoestring Fries

Well, I may not have found a red vegan chili that lives up to my pre-vegan chili recipe just yet - though there are several out there in Blog Land I want to try... but I have created a white bean chili that I can, without hesitation, recommend you try yourself, if you like white bean chili, particularly white bean chili al fresco, or even tortilla soup.

Vegetarians and Meat-Eaters - I think you will both like this chili. Meat-Eaters, you can even add meat if you aren't concerned about cholesterol or animal suffering, or if you are but have to have meat anyway.

Who am I to judge? I won't, ever, by the way. Why just nine months ago I ate meat almost daily, and I made a white bean chili similar to this with chicken in it once, and ground turkey in it once. Both good.

You won't miss the meat in this chili.

Here's the cutting board, minus some things.

Those tomatillos are the secret, because they give the chili that extra tang, that makes it, in my opinion. The canned green chilies and lime juice also add to the fresh sourness that I love!

Finally, the chili doesn't need milk, cream, or butter to be creamy. It needs a handful of cashews, pureed in the food processor with a little water. Voila - instant creamy soup. Amazing to think we'd use heavy cream to make soups more luscious, when we could use raw cashews to achieve the same thing. Heart health, anyone?

White Bean Chili with Shoestring Fries
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapano, diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
chili powder, generous dusting
garlic powder, generous dusting
onion powder , generous dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 tomatillos
1 can diced green chilies
1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilies
2 cans navy beans (rinsed, drained)
1 can white corn
big handful chopped cilantro
2 cups vegetable broth
2-3 limes
cashew cream (1 handful raw cashews pureed in processor with a little water til creamy)
One bag frozen shoestring fries (hey, it's a weeknight meal)

Cook the onions, garlic, and peppers in a little hot oil until softened. Add the spices and stir to combine. Deglaze with a juice from one lime. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the lime(s) and some cilantro for garnish), bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. During the last 10 minutes, bake the fries according to the package instructions, and add the cashew cream to the chili.

Eat your chili with crispy fries, cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vegetable Crumble

I discovered this brilliant idea from the blog MattBikes... which I discovered through Gwyneth Paltrow's blog Goop.

Everyone has heard of a fruit crumble, but have you ever heard of a vegetable crumble?  Think, turn the crust savory by using whole wheat flour and adding salt and pepper and fresh herbs.

Use any vegetables you like for the filling.  I used butternut squash, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, and sage.
I love this concept.  It's incredibly simple, requiring just one dish and no standing over the stove (you just bake it).  It feels like something special, especially as the weather gets cooler and you want your supper to be cozy and flavorful, but not heavy or complicated.  It tastes just right.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vegan Baked Ziti with Kale, Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms, and Sundried Tomatoes

Wow. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. The pictures may not look like much, but this vegan baked ziti (and shells) was so good I couldn't stop myself from going back for seconds and thirds... followed by spoonfuls, even right before I got in bed to write this.

The caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes, and the sort of baked "crust" the dish gets from the oven are the three main reasons I was able to make baked ziti mouthwatering without the cheese.

The kale was amazing in this too. My baked ziti is so nutritious, and so addictive. I was proud of myself for this dinner. :-)

32 oz can whole tomatoes
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 small carton mushrooms, sliced
4 sundried tomatoes, diced
1 bunch kale, diced
red pepper flakes
dried oregano
onion powder
garlic powder
fresh thyme
2-4 cups dried pasta
splash of red wine
tomato paste
daiya mozzarella

Bring a big pot of water to a boil; dump a 32oz can of whole tomatoes into another big pot on low; and heat some olive oil in a pan.

While the water, oil, and tomatoes are heating in their pots, chop an onion. Add it to the hot oil and let it do its thing while it caramelizes.  Meanwhile, chop some garlic, button mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and an entire bunch of kale.

Add the sundried tomatoes and kale to the tomatoes.  Use a knife and fork to break the tomatoes up into small pieces. Let it all simmer down together. Season with red pepper flakes, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Once your onions are looking done, add the garlic and some fresh thyme.  Let that cook about a minute, then add your mushrooms.  If the pan has gotten too dry, add a little more olive oil to the pan. Cook until the mushrooms are soft.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Your water should be boiling - dump your noodles (ziti, penne, shells, whatever) in. While they're cooking, deglaze your onion and mushroom pan with red wine.  Let the wine cook almost out, and dump the contents of the pan in with the tomato mixture. Stir to combine, add a little tomato paste.

Drain your cooked pasta and dump it into the tomato sauce pot.  Stir to combine, pour it all in a baking dish, top with a little Daiya mozzarella, and bake for about 30 minutes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lentil Stew and Garlic Toast

After a long, beautiful, chilly fall day, it's so nice to come home and make a comforting bowl of lentil stew - in about 10 minutes, minus the time it takes to simmer.

Try Ina Garten's recipe. It's the best. I leave out the sausage and use whatever vegetables I feel like - this time it was onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and kale.

Don't forget the splash of apple cider vinegar at the end.

Serve it with some crispy garlic toast made from fresh-baked whole grain bread from the farmers market.  Comforting, satisfying - super healthy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Acorn Squash With Roasted Veggie, Quinoa, Cherry & Pecan Stuffing. Plus Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Fall has arrived! This weekend, the weather was absolutely beautiful.  Sunny skies and brisk temperatures.  You can't help but be in a happy mood.

I'm so ready for fall fruits and vegetables.  I've missed apples (they're just not good in the summertime).  We went to the farmers market today and stocked up.  I was inspired to create a Thanksgiving-y meal, with loads of fall vegetables... and herbs, like thyme and sage.
I cut open these little acorn squash, coated them in oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them.
I also diced 1 small rutabaga, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, some mushrooms, and an onion, and roasted the vegetables with thyme and sage.

I toasted the pecans and dried cherries together, cooked the quinoa, then combined the roasted diced veggies, pecans, cherries, and quinoa, and used the mixture to stuff my acorn squash.

We had the stuffed squash with mashed sweet potatoes on the side.

It was delicious, but I would have liked some sort of cool or raw contrast with all those hot cooked vegetables... any suggestions?

Is anyone else in the  mood for Thanksgiving the way I am? And if you are, what is the one tradition you are most looking forward to?  I've got to be honest.  Family and friends are wonderful, but I'm really looking forward to cornbread stuffing, mushroom gravy, and cranberry sauce.