Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuscan Style Linguine with Chickpeas, Zucchini and Rosemary

You can't go wrong with pasta. Well, I mean, you probably can, but more often than not, everyone loves a pasta dish.

Tuscan Style Linguine with Chickpeas, Zucchini and Rosemary

Another fave from Pasta For All Seasons. Linguine, chickpeas, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary from my garden. The sauce is a snap to make, and is versatile. One night I made it and didn't have any chickpeas. I did have fava beans, though, and they made a delicious substitution.

If you are in a hurry and need a dish you can whip up quick, this is the one!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Parmesan Style Eggplant

The eggplant (or aubergine, as my British friends call it!) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades). As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato, but I don't know as many people who eat eggplant as much as they do tomatoes and potatoes!

I do, however, know a lot of vegans who love it!

Parmesan Style Eggplant

This delicious dish I discovered in another Robin Robertson cookbook, Vegan Planet. It is a HUGE cookbook, loaded with all kinds of enticing dishes. This particular recipe features eggplant (duh!), crushed tomatoes and herbs. I crumbled up some Boca Vegan Burgers for the sauce. Even my non-vegan hubby had two helpings!

It was really pretty quick and easy to make. These eggplant cutlets are not breaded, but are baked, and I think that makes a world of difference.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New York Times Veggie Burgers

Becoming a vegan was easy enough for my youngest. We had started reading The Food Revolution by John Robbins and it was a done deal. But when my aspiring firefighter son discovered the story of the Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, it pretty much cinched it for him.

New York Times Veggie Burgers

These yummy burgers from The Engine 2 Diet were not only good tasting, but surprisingly easy to make! Black beans, tomatoes with green chilies, cilantro, garlic and oats blend quickly and easily. Make into patties and bake and you've got dinner! Slice up some tomatoes, tear off some lettuce and slather on some vegan mayonnaise on a whole wheat bun.

If you are unfamiliar with Engine 2, their story is impressive. When firefighter Rip Esselstyn learned that one of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, Texas was in dire physical condition with a dangerously high cholesterol level of 344, he motivated the entire Engine 2 firehouse to join together in plant-strong solidarity to help save the life of their friend. By committing to plant-based meals with Rip as their guide, all the Engine 2 firefighters in Austin lost weight (some more than 20 lbs.), lowered their cholesterol (Mr. 344′s dropped to 196), and improved their overall health.

We've made several of the recipes from the book, and each and everyone has been wonderful!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fettuccine with Cilantro Lime Pesto

My kids and I discovered cilantro lime rice some time ago, and it is one of our favorite ways to make rice. We love it in tacos and burritos, especially. Imagine our delight to find a recipe for it using pasta!

Fettuccine with Cilantro Lime Pesto

This yummy recipe comes from one of the first vegetarian cookbooks I bought, Pasta For All Seasons, another winning cookbook by Robin Robertson. It features the obligatory cilantro and fresh lime, but also flat leaf parsley, garlic, peanuts and other seasonings. You can sprinkle extra peanuts on top, if you'd like.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shredded Veggie Rice

I have several vegan cookbooks. There isn't a one I don't love. So I'm going to trip through some of them and introduce others to the fantastic variety out there!

Shredded Veggie Rice

This tasty and very simple dish is courtesy of Rice & Spice by Robin Robertson, one of my favorite vegan cooks. This fried rice is loaded with veggies - squash, zucchini, onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, etc. She suggests using tamari, but I used Braggs Aminos instead. The ginger gives it a really nice kick. I didn't mince the garlic, I just allowed it to be shredded with the rest of the veggies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Stir-fry

When it is hot outside (and hot inside when your ac decides to stop working!), you don't want to spend time over a hot appliance. Salads are often the wisest choice, but sometimes you just want something a little warmer than that. Stir-fries are an easy choice, as they cook up fast.

Summer Stir-fry

Olive oil
One bunch of fresh aspargus, tough parts removed and composted, tender ends snapped into smaller pieces
One onion, sliced
One package sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 t. Italian seasoning
One tomato, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to taste

In the olive oil, saute the asparagus, onion, mushrooms and garlic until veggies are heated through and take on that bright look sauteed vegetables do. Add the seasonings and tomato. Stir-fry until vegetables are heated and cooked through.

Serve over some rice and a nice drizzle of Braggs Aminos. Enjoy!

The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat Chinese,  to describe the technique of cooking in a wok. Stir-frying is similar to sauteing, in that it is a method of quick cooking food in a hot pan with a small amount of fat for a relatively short period of time. The goal being to brown the food while preserving the color, texture and flavor of the individual ingredients.

I don't currently have a wok, but if I did I would get one made of mild steel. It is preferred for its heat transfer properties; thin stamped stainless steel or aluminum just don't hold enough heat, and cast aluminum takes to long to heat upand cool down. I would avoid anything teflon coated. A properly conditioned iron wok is at least as non-stick as any teflon coating ever made.

A new wok must be seasoned before use. Scrub it well with soap and water to remove any coating applied to protect it during shipping, rinse well, and dry. Place the wok over low heat, wipe lightly with vegetable oil and let stand on the heat for 10 minutes. Cool and wipe with paper towels to remove the dark film. Repeat the oiling, heating, cooling and wiping procedure until the paper towels come away clean. Once a wok has been seasoned, it should be cleaned with plain water only using a wok brush, never with soap or abrasive cleaners, then dried and oiled before storing. If the metal ever rusts, clean with steel wool or fine sand paper and re-season.

If you like to cook Asian dishes, a wok will become indispensable.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Easiest Spanish Rice Ever!

I love Tex Mex food. I think it is one cuisine I never get tired of eating. It helps that I am surrounded by numerous restaurants that cater to my craving. Fortunately, I also like to cook it in never ending variations on a theme.

The Easiest Spanish Rice Ever!

One can of diced tomatoes
1-1/2 c. vegetable broth
1-1/4 c. rice
1 T. olive oil
2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. garlic powder

Combine all of the ingredients into one pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

That's it! Super easy!

Top with some sliced green onions, serve, enjoy! We had ours with some black beans. You could also substitute a can of tomatoes with chilies if you'd like more spice to it. You could also top with some Daiya, if you'd like, or really whatever suits your fancy. I know this recipe will remain in my repertoire for its taste and convenience.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Country Vegetables

It was hot today, and to top it all off, my air conditioner is on the fritz. Argh! I came upon this recipe in my files, and thought, what the heck. It looks easy and I won't have to spend too much time in the kitchen! The picture is from the recipe. I didn't get to snap a picture, it got gobbled up so quick!

Country Vegetables

Olive oil
One package of sliced mushrooms
2 stalks celery, sliced
One pint of cherry tomatoes
One package frozen broccoli and cauliflower
One onion, sliced
One c. water
2 T. Braggs Aminos

Saute the onion, celery and mushrooms in the olive oil until softened. Add broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, water and Braggs. Heat to boiling, cover, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.

This was really nice, and like I said above, got gobbled up by my family. The original recipe listed carrots and snow pea pods, but since I had neither of those, I used celery instead. The vegetables came out tender with just a slight crunch, which I liked. I cooked up some mixed wild and regular rice just to go alongside it. Nothing left for leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!
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