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November 2014
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Lots of Beans and some Cheese Sauce covered Potatoes

Since it’s winter, I’m pretty sure that the only thing I’m allowed to make any more is stew….in some variety.  Even if it’s not exactly meant to be a stew, that seems to be what everything ends up as lately, and with all the cold and snow, I can’t say I’m complaining…although we got something of a break today…it snowed until noon, but once it stopped it was actually significantly warmer outside then it had been in quite some time, and I’ll take what I can get.

For anyone unfamiliar with the history, cholent is the brown lumpy stewlike substance on which religious Jews have subsisted since more-or-less the beginning of time.  The idea is that you put a bunch of ingredients in a pot over very low heat friday afternoon, which will then remain on throughout Shabbat, and until sundown Saturday, with served portions being removed for lunch Saturday afternoon.  The remainder then goes into the freezer at the end of Shabbat, where it will never be seen again, since no one wants to eat something as suspicious looking as cholent in the middle of the week, and traditionally you are required to make another batch next Friday….or so I’ve always understood it.  Over the centuries there have been a couple changes made…namely that pretty much everyone I know now (including myself) makes it in a slow cooker these days, which seems safer overall then leaving any sort of oven flame on for 24 hours.  I’ve never made cholent the same twice, since it is generally a product of whatever I have on hand at the given moment, and that said, this week’s was based off some leftover black beans and crushed pineapple in the refrigerator, which led me to think…Cholent cubano!!!  Just in case you were wondering, there are Cuban Jews (I know some) so this isn’t totally outside of the realm of possibility, although I made up this particular rendition.

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I served it with some cornbread, which may not be terribly Cuban, but I think all stew-like things are better with cornbread on the side.

Ingredients
1/2 cup dried fava beans
1 can black beans
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloved garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbs Jerk Seasoning
1 cup vegetable broth
S+P to taste
1 cup pasta of choice…optional and not at all traditional

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker just before sundown Friday, turn to low and cover. Don’t touch until serving at lunch Saturday. if you do choose to include pasta, add it about an hour before lunch, any sooner and it will disintegrate. A safer option is to precook the pasta on its own and toss it in already done.

These are the Cheezey potatoes from Viva Vegan, a recipe that my roommate picked out, and which I hadn’t even noticed in flipping through the book.  I’m normally not a huge fan of fake cheezy sauce, but this was one that I actually really liked..probably because it is full of fat in the form of soy creamer.  I guess we now know what wins me over…I’d make this again, it’s quick easy and nice on a cold winters night, especially while the cheese sauce is still warm.  It didn’t seem quite as good reheated, so this may not be the best candidate for leftover.

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You had to know that chili was coming in this line-up…how could it not be?  I went with the classic black bean chili from Appetite for Reduction although I didn’t know that black bean chili was traditional…I normally feel that I have to use kidney beans in chili, even though they are one of my least favorite beans.  I replaced the zucchini with peas (not because I have anything against zucchini, but because I didn’t have one, and there are always peas in my freezer) and the cilantro with a heaping tablespoon of coriander.  Also as a note, I used the Chili 3000 powder from Penzeys, which if there is a Penzey’s by you, is totally worth the buy, you could sprinkle that stuff on a shoe and it would smell like a slow-cooked pot of chili and have you drooling over it.  (Although for the record, I do not promote eating shoes, leather or man made).  I also did this in the slow-cooker, just because I find that easiest, and it makes my apartment smell amazing for longer.  About 5 hours on low was perfect.

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This did turn out to be more of a soupy chili.  I think part of my problem was in forgetting that I was using frozen corn and peas, and probably could have halved the water called for in the recipe…something to know for next time.   I suppose I also could have added a cornstarch slurry at the end to thicken things up if it had really bothered me.

Last but not least, a little teaser.  I am doing recipe testing for The Diet, Dessert and Dogs e-books, and this is the first recipe I tried out, for Cheaters Injera and African Inspired Spicy Beans.  I can’t give anything much away, but let me just tell you these were AWESOME, and totally have me back on the savory breakfast bandwagon.

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Selah.

Peruvian Lima Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad and Creamy Corn Empanadas

This week it was back to Mexican food….Viva Vegan more specifically.  The first recipe was the lima bean, corn and tomato salad from the book….which was ok.  Maybe this is more exciting with the called-for cilantro, I’m not sure since I decided to leave the green out, although I added a healthy dosing of coriander instead which is basically the same thing…  I also think the beans were a bit TOO soft, which is never an issue I have with reconstituting my own beans…normally I find them too al dente, but apparently this time I did a bit TOO good of a job.

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I would probably double the dressing recipe as well…I added some yet still found this very bland.  It’s healthy sure, but nothing to write home about.  I could see it as a relish or something on top of a protein in tacos, but it doesn’t stand up on its own in my opinion.

Much more successful in my opinion were the creamy corn empanadas from the same book.  I shudder a bit knowing how unhealthy the pastry is (white flour and shortening for the most part) but I’ve got to admit it tasted good…and never one to go within 20 feet of creamed corn in a can, I loved the version you make to fill these empanadas.

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That’s some homemade guacamole that I served these up with, although they were more then snack-able on their own as well.  I liked this filling a lot better then the shredded seitan-olive ones from the same book, which were also a little harder to swallow since I made the pastry with whole wheat flour..much healthier but not quite as yummy.  Also as a note these aren’t quite soy-free since I did brush with soy creamer, but they’re easily made so, just brush with your favorite non-milk or “egg” product of choice, and my designation of this as a soy-free recipe becomes truth.

Mmmm adventures in Mexican food…this is all making me want a taco right about now…something about snow and cold makes me think Mexico I guess…

Selah.

Pineapple Collards over Polenta Stuffing and Brussel Hash

More adventures from the wild world of Appetite for Reduction…I’m moving on to other things soon, I swear.  As far as the collards go, these were pretty good and they’re a nice change from my standard collards recipe so I’m sure I’ll come back to it at some point, although a bit of spice would’ve helped matters I think…which isn’t to say I couldn’t just add some hot sauce of my own after the fact.  Pineapple and greens is a great idea, I’m just kinda bummed I didn’t think of it first.  Then again I have been putting umeboshi vinegar in my kale forever, so I think I was on the right track…

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The greens were served up over the polenta stuffing from the book which is ok…I’ve never been a huge polenta fan in general, so I went into this not expecting a whole lot.  Overall I thought it was pretty dry and bland..lacking in that umama element a good thanksgiving stuffing has.

Last but not least, I made the brussel sprout hash.  (Also from the book).  This wasn’t bad and would be a nice change to the stand breakfast hash, but I can’t say it’s my new favorite way to have brussels sprouts..that has to be coated in plenty of oil and oven-baked until golden and crispy…what can I say, you can’t mess with a classic.  YUM…I think I’m going to go do that with the leftover brussels right now…I’m drooling just thinking about it…

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Coming soon:  A little talk about the kalamata olive marinated tempeh from the book…I made it, I’ll tell you what I think next time we speak.

Selah.

More from the World of Appetite for Reduction

I’m still playing with my new toy these days…checking out the recipes it has to offer, and deciding which ones I’ll be making again and again…and which will probably never see the light of day a second time.  Among those that I tried this weekend, were the OMG Oven-baked onion rings, the Green Goddess dressing, and the Mac n Trees…which in my case were Mac n Peas, because I prefer peas to broccoli in my pasta.

The Onion rings were good..I don’t know if they were OH MYGD worthy…but they’re good.  I liked them a lot better then the Fiber One Cereal covered ones I had from the Hungry Girl cookbook once..those were gross, while these were definitely snackable.  Nothing like the deep-fried beer battered onion rings I made once, but definitely still snackable.  I mixed together some Nayo and relish as a dipping sauce, which made them even better, although it may have obliterated the whole “low-fat” idea.

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The side salad was drizzled with the Green Goddess dressing from the book, which was ok, but a bit too savory and tahini heavy for my taste…this coming from a girl who could eat hummus 5 days a week.  This wasn’t bad, it  just wasn’t necessarily what I love  to eat on my salad.

And then there was the mac n Cheese recipe from the book…I decided to oven bake after combining and make it into a casserole of sorts..it was ok for what it is, but not my favorite recipe in the world of Vegan Mac N Cheese.

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I tend to prefer the renditions that taste more like the real thing…and no one will EVER be confusing this for classic mac n cheese, which is just what you want sometimes.  OH well…you can’t win them all, and after all, the author never claims that this will taste like the real thing, so when it comes down to it, I guess I’m just complaining needlessly again.

Selah.

Morning ‘Glory” Bread

I actually have this great mutual arrangement worked out.  A friend of mine has a subscription to Vegetarian Times, even though she isn’t a Vegetarian and doesn’t cook.  I’m not sure exactly how she ended up with a subscription, but I can’t complain, because every month her copy shows up, she quickly flips through it, and then hands it off to me…to keep.  This morning there was a recipe in there called “Morning Glory Loaf” which didn’t look bad, although I didn’t exactly have all the ingredients called for, and it had a bit more sugar and white flour then I want involved in my breakfast.   I decided to rework things a little, so it can be a breakfast that really fuels you through the morning, and this is what I came up with…

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Also included, my recipe…it was a bit crumbly when warm, so watch out there, but otherwise good…and it did fuel me through my mid-morning workout, so I was pretty pleased with that.

Ingredients
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil
1 banana, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Coat a 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Start by mashing the banana in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients one by one starting with the juice until everything is combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 50 minutes.
3. Cool in pan for five minutes, and then on a wire rack. Serve warm with a bit of earth balance.

These would work great as muffins too, I’m just more of a “loaf” person I suppose.

Selah.

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes and Ginger Bok Choy and Soba

These were two nights of dinner, and we went 50/50 in terms of success.  Both meals were from Appetite for Reduction which I’m still playing with, and while it hasn’t had any abject failures yet, some things just taste more like diet food than others.  The Ginger Bok Choy Soba was simply lacking…there was nothing wrong with it, but nothing to remember either.  The recipe could have used some acid and a protein of some sort.  It won’t be something I return to any time soon.  And even then, it’s just a simplified version of a stir-fry, I didn’t really need a recipe.

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I’ll give it one thing though, it looked pretty with the contrast of the green bok choy and purple onions—a bit Barney reminiscent, but that might just be me having bad childhood flashbacks.

The recipe for Tamarind BBQ Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes was much more successful in my book, this will go down as one of my favorite tempeh recipes…a small and exclusive club to this day, although it has been slowly growing on me.  (Tempeh)  I put this together about 5 hours in advance, and I’m pretty sure that marinating time was key to replacing all tempeh’s normal bitterness with the flavor of the sauce, so I wouldn’t recommend any less although Isa says you can bake right away.  (If you enjoy the bitter taste of unadorned tempeh please feel free…but I don’t)  I actually enjoyed the tempeh in this so much that I picked out all the pieces and ate them FIRST…leaving the sweet potatoes for last.

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THIS did not taste like diet food…there was nothing at all missing from the recipe, except for something green, but that can always be added on the side….which is what I did with a simple side salad.  (BTW I’m labeling this post gluten free, which it is as long as you use gluten free tamari)

Selah.

Potato-spinach Knishes, VwaV Pad Thai, Hoisen Tofu Lettuce Wraps, and Red Velvet Mole

So I’m finally back from vacation, things are starting to settle back into a rhythm (just starting, I’ve got a ways to go yet) and I figured it’s time I write a bit about the last couple things I made before leaving for the West Coast, as well as the first couple meals I made back in my own apartment.  And let me just say…SEATTLE IS AWESOME.  Not only do they have the best coffee and bubble tea I’ve ever had (dangerous beyond belief for a caffeine addict like me) but I’ve never seen a city so vegetarian/vegan friendly in my life.  They have tons of delicious Vietnamese, Indian and Thai food (just to start) and it seems one out of every two restaurants is completely vegetarian.  Even in the ones that are not, everything that is Vegan or Vegetarian is labeled so, and I’ve never had so many options to choose from.  I’ve made my own pho in the past…but have never been able to enjoy a fully Vegetarian version in a traditional family-owned pho restaurant.  I.  Love.  Seattle.

Moving on.  Before I went away I was craving some comfort food and seemed to recall a knish recipe I’d been meaning to try from Vegan with a Vengeance.  How I’ve owned a book that long and not made the knishes is beyond me…I think I may have been assuming they were more difficult to put together then was actually true.  These are actually beyond simply, and with a little homemade honey-mustard sauce, I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling.  Definitely a recipe I’ll be returning to.  Mine were spinach and potato, but as Isa says, you could probably fill these with pretty much anything.  Yum.

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Next up, I returned to the Brooklyn Pad Thai recipe from VwaV, using whatever vegetable I had on hand and wanted to include, but unfortunately also I think…using a bit too much tamarind concentrate.  I followed the recipe, but in retrospect, I think my tamarind was a bit more concentrated than the author may have believed possible.  I’ve done this recipe once before and really enjoyed how much the tomato paste shone through…this time it was definitely buried under all that tamarind…oh well.  The intense sweet and sour version wasn’t so bad either.

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Back from Seattle, and it was time to play with my (and Isa’s) newest cookbook, Appetite for Reduction.  Now I won’t lie, I was pretty dubious about this one.  Diet cookbooks are not generally my thing, and had it not been by an author I’ve grown to love and trust I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glace.  So far however, it hasn’t disappoint.  The hoisen tofu lettuce wraps were delicious, although I chose to replace the iceberg (ew) with a curly green lettuce instead.  I also used couscous to make my own rendition of the “Ethiopian Millet)…a bit dry and over-spiced if you ask me, but not bad.

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Unfortunately I felt about this the same way I have about my past lettuce wrap meals…they’re yummy and kind of fun while you’re eating them, but without the carbs I’m hungry again not long after-wards.  The flavor was good, but this isn’t nearly as filling as I wanted it to be.

So I’ve done mole before…namely the V’con, which I liked at first, but then ended up deserting it in the fridge for about two weeks before trashing…it was just a bit much.  After that disaster, it was a long time before I made mole again, I was simply too frightened that it would all go to waste.  When I initially flipped through Appetite for Reduction and saw the recipe for Black Beans in a Red Velvet Mole I certainly didn’t think it would be one of the first things I tried, but when we were short on ingredients and needed dinner the other night, I decided to push my reservations aside and give it a shot.  Turns out…this was REALLY REALLY good.

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I was carefully to use a bit less of everything, since I’d found that first batch of V’con mole way back when a bit too strong, and used fewer beans then it called for.  This was served up over forbidden rice and along with some of the maple baked carrots which are in the book…but it’s not dissimilar from my normal carrot preparation.  On the mole recipe alone the book is in my good graces right now…and just for the record…I’ve already finished the leftovers.

Selah.

Baked Pasta, Cabbage Salad, and Mock Lamb (Seitan) Stew

Everyone’s gotta have a fall back…and mine is generally a baked pasta dish of some sort…I combine cooked noodles, whatever veggies are on hand, and a really quick version of Vegan White sauce…usually with some prepared red sauce or salsa as well…top with breadcrumbs, and oven-bake.  It’s a real cop-out in terms of cooking a meal, but it looks and feels hearty, and that’s what counts.  I don’t even remember what was in this, since it’s long gone now….spinach, tomatoes, some sliced seitan…other then that, I really couldn’t tell you….It’s topped with breadcrumbs and baked for about 25 minutes at 400F.

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This quick cabbage salad is a recipe from Joan Nathan’s The Foods of Israel Today, which according to Mrs.Nathan, is the appetizer du jour at Ein Camonim, the Cheese Lover’s Paradise in the Upper Gallilee.  That may or may not be true…I thought it was ok, but nothing special..unfortunate since it made about 6 gallons and I’ll be eating it for the next two years.

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Last but not least, I made the Mock Lamb Curry from World Vegetarian, skipping out on the heavy cream in the recipe, which was definitely not necessary (I thought it was plenty rich with the 4 tablespoons of yogurt called for) and using the white seitan from Viva Vegan.  (or whatever that book is called, I haven’t figured it out yet)  I served this up over the coconut rice from Vegan with a Vengeance, skipping the toasted coconut and simply simmering the rice in the milk.  Mmmmm, nice Indian flavors of deliciousness…nothing makes me happier.

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It’s almost vacation time!  While Chanukah’s come and gone, since I currently work in the educational system I get December vacation and I’m spending 8 days out in Seattle this year….so anyone with suggestions for Veggie Seattle eats (and coffee) let me know!

Selah.

Potato Chickpea Enchiladas and Arroz con Seitan from Vive Vegan

This is basically just a picture post…because I don’t want to break copyright laws, and if you don’t have Vive Vegan yet…what on earth are you waiting for????  I’m totally in love with the Arroz con Seitan on page 145 pictured here…I was out of peas so I replaced them with corn but otherwise followed the recipe to a T…

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I didn’t have a dutch oven either, but you don’t need it, a plain old pot on the stove works just as well.  I did use brown rice so I ended up having to add some extra liquid during the  cooking process, but all’s well that ends well.

In attempting to make the potato-chickpea enchiladas with green tomatillo sauce, I discovered that it’s pretty much impossible to get green tomatillos around here this time of year…don’t tell but I ended up using Goya tomatillo salsa…

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I also decided to sub in sun-dried tomato tortillas for corn ones…just another one of my little preferences asserting themselves…Good but I don’t know if I’d bother with this again, it’s nothing to write home about…I much prefer the rice.

Selah.

Chipotle, Corn and Black bean Stew

I hadn’t pulled Vegan with a Vengeance down in awhile, and I decided it was time to give something new a shot…preferably something for which I already had all the called-for ingredients.  Enter the Chipotle, Corn, and Black Bean Stew.  (page 60)  I didn’t actually have chipotles so I should probably change the name…I used some dried jalapeno pieces and ancho chili powder instead…which seemed to work very well.

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Topped with some Vegan yogurt (or sour cream, whatever floats your boat) and parsley (because we know what my feelings on Cilantro are) this was really good…no terribly unique, but delicious all the same.  It also tended more towards a tomato-potato stew, I barely noticed the black beans in there with everything else.  A Good thing, since I’m getting plenty of black beans with all the Mexican food I’ve been cooking lately.  (It’s back to Vive Vegan for Dinner tonight, so look forward to an entry on that coming soon!)

Selah.