Friday, September 30, 2011

Kerry's Cuban Beans and Rice

My son thinks black beans are the bomb. I'll admit, we never really ate them before becoming vegan. They kind of reminded me of bugs and they turned everything black. Well, hello, uninformed me never knew you should drain and rinse them first! Ugh, sometimes I disturb myself. Now, of course, we eat them fairly often. Seriously, you just can't have Mexican or other Spanish styled dishes without them at least in one dish!

Kerry's Cuban Beans and Rice

One onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
One green bell pepper, chopped
One jalapeno pepper, chopped
Olive oil
Cooked rice
1 c. vegetable broth
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
One lime

Saute onion, garlic and peppers in the olive oil until softened. Mix in the remaining ingredients except the lime and stir well to mix. Add more broth or water if it seems too dry. Let heat through. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the rice mixture. Stir well. Serve. Enjoy!

You can use uncooked rice and add more broth and cook longer, if you want, but I had leftover rice so used that instead. This was really very good and quite tasty.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skillet Chickpeas

We love chickpeas. Just something about those little nuggets that are so tasty. I think I could make anything and as long as I added chickpeas to it, it would be devoured. We snack on them, add them to salads, heck,  I've even cooked with chickpea flour.

Skillet Chickpeas

One onion, diced
Three cloves garlic, diced
Sesame oil
Small can sliced black olives, drained
2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. curry powder

Saute the onion and garlic in the sesame oil. Add the olives, chickpeas and seasonings, heat through. Serve over rice with a splash of Braggs Aminos. Enjoy!

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a legume high in protein and one of the earliest cultivated vegetables; 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.

The name "chickpea" traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). The Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1548 citation that reads, "Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tonge." The dictionary cites "Chick-pea" in the mid-18th century; the original word in English was chich, found in print in English in 1388, and taken directly from French.

The word garbanzo came to English as "calavance" in the 17th century, from Old Spanish (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish garroba or algarroba), though it came to refer to a variety of other beans (cf. Calavance). The Portuguese arvanço has suggested to some that the origin of the word garbanzo is in the Greek erebinthos. But the Oxford English Dictionary notes that some scholars doubt this; it also mentions a possible origination in the word garbantzu, from Basque — a non-Indo-European tongue — in which it is a compound of garau, seed + antzu, dry.

Domesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho (8350 BC to 7370 BC) along with Cayönü in Turkey (7250-6750 BC) and in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey (ca 6700 BC). They are found in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BCE) at Thessaly, Kastanas, Lerna and Dimini. In southern France Mesolithic layers in a cave at L'Abeurador, Aude have yielded wild chickpeas carbon dated to 6790±90 BCE. Domesticated chickpeas have also been found at several archaeological sites, including Tell el-Kerkh in Syria and Akarçay Tepe (7280-8700 BP) in Turkey. The earliest to date is Tell el-Kerkh, in the late 10th millennium BC, and scholars suspect that since el-Kerkh is a considerable distance from the native lands of the wild chickpea, the domestication took place somewhat earlier than that.

By the Bronze Age, chickpeas were known in Italy and Greece. In classical Greece, they were called erébinthos and eaten as a staple, a dessert, or consumed raw when young. The Romans knew several varieties such as venus, ram, and punic chickpeas. They were both cooked down into a broth and roasted as a snack. The Roman gourmet Apicius gives several recipes for chickpeas. Carbonized chickpeas have been found at the Roman legion fort at Neuss (Novaesium), Germany in layers from the first century CE, along with rice.

Chickpeas are mentioned in Charlemagne's Capitulare de villis (about 800 CE) as cicer italicum, as grown in each imperial demesne. Albertus Magnus mentions red, white and black varieties. Nicholas Culpeper noted "chick-pease or cicers" are less "windy" than peas and more nourishing. Ancient people also associated chickpeas with Venus because they were said to offer medical uses such as increasing sperm and milk, provoking menstruation and urine and helping to treat kidney stones.

In 1793, ground-roast chickpeas were noted by a German writer as a coffee substitute in Europe and in the First World War, they were grown for this in some areas of Germany. Chickpeas are still sometimes brewed instead of coffee.

Okay, I said above we'd probably consume them no matter what they were in? I think I'd have to draw the line at coffee. But that's just me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Scarborough Fair Meatloaf

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel and its possible 1670 origins, it was this ballad that came to mind as I was making this meatloaf.

Scarborough Fair Meatloaf

2 stalks celery, chopped
One onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One block of firm tofu, frozen and thawed, drained and crumbled
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
12 oz. vegetarian meat crumbles
1-1/4 c. quick cooking oats
3 T. Braggs Aminos
2 T. ketchup
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 t. parsley
1/2 t. each - sage, rosemary and thyme

Saute the celery, onion and garlic until soft. In a large bowl, add the sauteed vegetables and remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Here's where I confess my sins.

The original recipe said to spray a loaf pan, but this made more than my loaf pan would hold, so I sprayed a casserole dish instead. Dumped it all into the dish,  covered it with a coating of ketchup and baked at 375 for one hour.

Came out tasty, but definitely not a loaf. More of a hash. We dished it on top of the mashed potatoes and gobbled it up. Not sure how to make this more loafy - my son suggested going ahead with the loaf pan and maybe pressing it down a bit to compact it. Not sure if that would work, but we liked it well enough for me to give that a go. If anyone has a suggestion, or has tried the packing technique and it works, let me know, would you?

My non-vegan cousin teased me about using the term *meat* in the recipe, but another friend pointed out that the word *meat* is defined as the the edible part of something as distinguished from its covering (as a husk or shell), so can be used to describe both plant and flesh. So there!

The word meat comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general. The term is related to mad in Danish, mat in Swedish and Norwegian, and matur in Icelandic, which also mean 'food'. The word "mete" also exists in Old Frisian (and to a lesser extent, modern West Frisian ) to denote important food, differentiating it from "swiets" (sweets) and "dierfied" (animal feed).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lettuce Wrap

I just had the tastiest lunch, so wanted to type this up before I forget the ingredients!

Lettuce Wrap

Shredded red and green cabbage
Julienned carrots
Cucumber sticks
Few sprigs of cilantro
Chopped peanuts
Thai peanut sauce
Romaine lettuce

Layer cabbage, carrots, cilantro and cucumber sticks on top of the romaine. Pour peanut sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top. Roll the entire thing up in the lettuce, burrito style. Enjoy!

I'll need to find a recipe for a peanut sauce now. This was slightly sweet. It was messy to eat, but truly finger lickin' good!
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