Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Night of Poetry and Love

Today Scots celebrate Burns Night and the Welsh celebrate St. Dwynwen's Day. The first is all about poetry and the second is all about love.

Robert Burns was a poet and Scots celebrate his birthday by hosting Burns Night suppers and reciting his poetry. The traditional food served is haggis.

Vegan Haggis with Whiskey Sauce

1/2 cup steelcut oatmeal
2/3 cup lentils
One onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil
1/4 t. ginger
1/8 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cayenne
1 T. soy sauce
One can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the oatmeal in a bowl and cover it with boiling water. Let it soak while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Add lentils to 4 c. boiling water and boil 20 minutes. When the lentils are soft, drain in a colander and set aside.
In a large pan, sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in the olive oil until they are soft. Add the spices, the soy sauce, the lentils, the beans and the drained oatmeal. Stir to mix thoroughly and remove from heat.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake, uncovered, at 375 for 30 minutes.

Whiskey Sauce

1 c. whiskey
3/4 c. rice milk
1/4 c. agave syrup
Dash of salt and pepper

In a small saucepan, simmer the whiskey. Add the milk and agave, stirring and simmering until it thickens up a bit. Add your salt and pepper.

Tatties and Neeps

A giggleworthy name for mashed potatoes and turnips. Boil cut up potatoes and turnips while the haggis is baking. When soft, add vegan milk and butter and mash.

Scoop some of the tatties and neeps on your plate, top with the haggis and drizzle some of the whiskey sauce over the whole thing! Superb!

St. Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers. It is the Welsh equivalent of Valentine's Day.

Red Hot Popcorn

One bag of microwave popcorn, popped
One bag of red hot cinnamon candies
1/2 c. vegan butter
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
dash of baking soda

Pop the popcorn and pour into a big bowl.
Mix the candies, butter and corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl and cook for two minutes. Stir, cook two minutes more. Mix in the vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Pour this (it's hot!) over the popcorn and stir, stir, stir until well coated. Let cool and eat.

Warning - it is addictive!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Japanese Fried Rice and Seaweed Salad

A few weeks ago my kids and I happened upon a sushi place and decided to check it out. Some of the food was served conveyor belt style and you just grabbed the dish as it went by. One item we tried and fell absolutely in love with was the seaweed salad. Another item that we had to order off the menu was their Japanese fried rice. We agreed it was the best rice we have ever had. If we do fried rice takeout, that is the place we are going to go!

So the other night I'm home alone and craving the rice and seaweed salad. As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients in my pantry! So here are my versions of Japanese fried rice and seaweed salad.

Japanese Fried Rice

6 c. cooked rice
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, cut up, green parts also
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 t. ground ginger
Soy sauce to taste
Sesame oil

Saute the green pepper, green onions and garlic in the sesame oil. Add rice one cup at a time, mixing well.  Mix in the ginger. Sprinkle in soy sauce to taste.

I thought later how bean sprouts would have been nice, but I didn't have any. I'm not sure what makes this Japanese, as opposed to Chinese fried rice. I did later come upon some recipes that included sake. Maybe that is the secret, but I rather doubt the restaurant used it in their fried rice. I really want to go back now and see if I can figure out if and how their's may have differed.

Seaweed Salad

One package dried wakame seaweed, shredded
4 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sesame oil
4 T. soy sauce
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 T. white sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 T. black sesame seeds, untoasted

Soak seaweed in warm water for 5-6 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, sesame oil, soy, ginger, sugar, green onions, and garlic. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Toss drained seaweed with dressing and sesame seeds. Let sit for 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

This stuff sells for about $5 at the grocery store for the equivalent of a single serving. I made my own for much less and got a lot more.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Did You Appreciate a Dragon Today?

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
J. R. R. Tolkien

Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. You can read more about it here. Being the fan of dragons (and all things fantasy) that I am, of course I would want to make something dragon-ish.

Dragon's Breath Pasta and Tempting the Dragon with Tofu

One package angel hair pasta
One clove garlic, chopped
One package sliced mushrooms
1 t. oregano
1 T. parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. Saute the mushrooms and garlic in olive oil. Add the oregano and parsley and mix well. Add the mushroom mixture to the drained pasta and mix well.

Tempting the Dragon with Tofu

One package extra firm tofu, frozen, boiled, pressed and sliced
One package sliced mushrooms
One onion, chopped
Three garlic cloves, chopped
One can of corn, drained
1 T. parsley
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. curry
1/2 t. rosemary
Vegan Worcestershire sauce

Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Remove from pan and add more olive oil. Fry the tofu slices until browned on each side. Add mushroom mixture, spices and corn to the tofu and let simmer to blend flavors. Sprinkle on the Worcestershire sauce. Serve with Dragon's Breath Pasta.

I'm pretty sure the pasta got its name from all the garlic, but loving garlic the way I do, this was no problem.

Be sure to watch out for dragons when you eat this. Believe it or not, there are some vegetarian dragons out there. I've seen one...


Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Thanksgiving Every Day!

I think I may have mentioned I have been collecting recipes for over 30 years. I started as a teenager for my hope chest - one day I would be married and have to cook. Sounds a little sexist now, when I think about it, but such as it was. I would periodically shuffle through them, discarding those I knew I would never make or had an ingredient that made us shudder. Additionally, I have two bookcases stuffed with cookbooks. Yes, I'm a bit obsessive...

My kitchen had stacked in one corner several boxes of recipes that had not been filed or sorted through, and last year I decided come hell or high water I would plow through them. I did. It took me six months, but I did it. Okay, I didn't work on it every day, but most days I did!

At any rate, the sorting and organizing resulted in multiple bags for the recycle bin and several glorious labeled binders. One of the first I worked diligently on was the binder for Thanksgiving. Not only is it huge, but required at least two binders. Afterward, I mentioned it to a friend about what I'd done and how I was looking forward to Thanksgiving now. She remarked, "Why wait? Every day is Thanksgiving!"

I realized she was right, and while the recipes remain currently in that designated binder, I do now periodically go through it for ideas for my weekly meals. Kind of out of character for me, but hey, new year, new ways, right?

Cheezy Gratin of Cruciferous Vegetables (not a sexy title, but sums it up well enough!)

4 slices vegan bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package frozen Brussels sprouts
1 package frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix
1-1/2 c. vegan milk (I used plain soy)
1 c. vegetable broth
4 T. vegan butter
5 T. flour
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. thyme
Pepper to taste
1 package Daiya cheddar cheese

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened, set aside. Boil Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower according to package directions. Drain. Cook bacon and set aside.
Combine milk and vegetable broth in a pot, bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
Melt butter in another pot, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is a light golden brown. Whisk in half the milk/broth mixture until thick, then add remaining milk/broth mixture. Cook about 5 minutes, whisking often. To this whisk in the mustard, salt, thyme and pepper.
Add vegetables to a casserole dish and pour the sauce over it. Sprinkle with the Daiya cheese and crumbled bacon.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Home Style Succotash

1 package of baby carrots
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 package frozen lima beans, thawed
1 package frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 package sliced mushrooms
1/4 c. vegan milk
1/4 t. pepper

In a large pot, bring the broth and baby carrots to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, until carrots are still a little crisp. Stir in lima beans, corn, mushrooms, milk and pepper. Simmer, covered until all vegetables are tender.

Delectable Ambrosia

2 grapefruit
3 oranges
2 tangerines
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. shredded coconut

Peel all the fruit and break into sections. Cut each section in half and remove any seeds. Mix fruit in a bowl with the sugar and coconut. Chill at least one hour.

And it just wouldn't be complete without the

Cumberland Cranberry Sauce

2 lbs. thick, whole-berry cranberry sauce (the directions are on the back of the cranberry bag)
1/2 T. dry mustard (more if desired)
Juice and grated rind of 1 or 2 oranges
1 to 2 T. cornstarch
1 t. lemon juice
2 to 3 T. sugar

Dissolve the mustard in the orange juice, together with about a teaspoon of cornstarch. Add to the cranberry sauce, along with the lemon juice, grated orange rind, and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Heat the sauce, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning, adding more sugar if needed. If the sauce is too thin dissolve another teaspoon of cornstarch in a little juice or water and stir it in. Chill well before serving.

Now feast!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Peasant Food

Last night my oldest told his friends he was dining on "peasant food". While this made me laugh, it also probably fairly well described our supper. Peasant foods are described as: those dishes specific to a particular culture made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients and usually prepared and spiced to make them more palatable.

I can't speak for the *particular culture* aspect, but I can attest that it was made from *accessible and inexpensive ingredients* and was indeed *prepared and spiced*, but not to make it more palatable!

This dish was intended as part of our celebration of Jacob Grimm's (of the Brothers Grimm) birthday. You can find the recipe here. I paired it with the leftover red cabbage from the other night.

What can I say? It was quite good!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not Until Mr. Frodo Has Had Something To Eat

Today is J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday. It is a day that cannot go by without watching at least ONE of the LOTR movies. I chose Return of the King. What is it about third installments in trilogies: Return of the Jedi, Return of the King - both my favorites. I guess it has everything to do with the fact that the good guys do win.

Of course, I can't miss the opportunity to eat something decidedly Middle Earth-ish. This year I went with

Hobbit's Favorite Soup

Olive oil
One bunch of green onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, sliced
6 c. water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
Salt and Pepper
2 t. each dried thyme and rosemary
1/2 t. anise seeds
3 bay leaves
Potatoes, cut into chunks (I used five large potatoes)

In a large pot, saute the green onions and celery in the oil until softened. Add water and bouillon cubes, potatoes, and pepper and herbs. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Puree a few ladlefuls in a food processor and return to the pot. Serve. Enjoy!

If I'd had time, a loaf of homemade bread would have made this awesome! Something crusty, I'm thinking. As it is, I made up a simple leafy green salad and store bought sliced bread to accompany it. We sat around our new dvd player that holds 5 dvds at a time, loaded it with the extended version of Return of the King and pushed play.

Yes, this is what I call living the good life. Good food, great family, fantastic movie.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Good Luck, Health and Prosperity For The New Year!

It's 2012! I'm so excited! I've been so remiss these last few months in posting anything because my camera died. It was good while it lasted, but it's time had come. Even my phone was older and took less than stellar pictures. December, however, was very good to me. I got a new smart phone with an excellent camera and then the hubby surprised me on Christmas Day with a new digital camera! I'm on cloud nine and ready to get back to posting recipes.

Every year my family begins our new year with with requisite black eyed peas and collards. This year I added to that favorite repertoire by adding red cabbage. It was a hit!

Hopping John

1 lb. bag of dried black eyed peas
5 c. water
One chopped onion
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. hot sauce
2 c. cooked rice
1/2 c. chopped green onions

Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover. In the morning drain and rinse the beans and add them to a crockpot. Add the water, the chopped onion, pepper and hot sauce. A friend of mine introduced me to this product:

Believe it or not, it's vegan! I even wrote to the company to verify it. It does contain MSG, but more on that later. I added two packets to the beans. Cook on low overnight. Before serving, stir in the rice and the green onions.

Red Cabbage

One head of red cabbage, sliced
2 c. water
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. vegan butter
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
2 Granny Smith apples, sliced and peeled

Combine all but the apples in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes add the apples. Simmer another 30 minutes. Serve.

My collards this year were chopped and frozen. I made them according to the package instructions.

Now about the MSG. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and just about any and everything processed. MSG is produced from seaweed or by a bacterial fermentation process with molasses or starch and ammonium salts. MSG can be processed with an enzymatic process using vegetarian ingredients such a soy or papaya. It is believed that large amounts of MSG may produce some negative physical reactions and many people have strong allergic reaction to products that contain MSG and symptoms after eating products containing it have been headaches, chest pain, numbness, mood changes and depression. The Mayo Clinic states that researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. My advice? As with all things, moderation is the key. Use sparingly if you do use it, or avoid it if you experience any of these symptoms.

Now, go and enjoy this gift of a new year!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...