Brunch for dinner

January 15, 2011

I just got a box full of books from Amazon, including Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch. See, during 2010, I went dairy-free for a few months to see if it would help decrease my inflammation. The verdict: no change on the inflammation front, but lots of added crankiness because I missed cheese and yogurt. But during those few months, I started experimenting with vegan baking and I’m still really enjoying it. There’s a lot to be said for eating cookie dough or cake batter with 0% chance of salmonella.

I’ve made dozens of cookies and cupcakes and a few cakes over the last couple of months, but I’m still pretty wary of savory baking, vegan or otherwise. Enter the aforementioned book and a recent and inexplicable scone fixation, and I came up with these savory scones scones. They’re based very loosely on Moskowitz’s Tomato Rosemary Scones, with some fairly significant See Food mods.

basic savory scones (makes 8 scones)

ingredients

  • 1.5C white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose, or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1T baking soda
  • 1/2t sugar
  • 1T thyme
  • 1/2t Garlic Gold (roasted garlic and sea salt)
  • 1/2T Earth Balance
  • 1C almond milk

to do

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet (or line with parchment paper)
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (note: there are a million different spice/herb combos that you could try here, I just stuck with what I had on hand)
  3. Whisk together Earth Balance and almond milk until smooth, then set aside for a few minutes
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the milk mixture
  5. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until dry ingredients are just moistened
  6. Turn out dough on a floured work surface and knead until fairly uniform- I had to add a few tablespoons of flour at this point because my dough was pretty sticky
  7. Flatten dough and transfer to greased or lined baking sheet
  8. Cut into 8 triangular slices
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes – check the tops for firmness and add a few more minutes if you need to
  10. Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy

I had mine with some leftover tofu scramble to keep with the breakfast/brunch theme.


potato lentil chili

January 9, 2011

potato lentil chili

I’m not going to apologize for my long absence, because you probably don’t care. Unless you’re my mom. And I apologized to her months ago.

2010 was a much longer year than we anticipated. There’s a lot I could say about it, but I’d rather just move right along. And now we’re in a new year, in a new house, with a human-sized kitchen, an oven that couldn’t qualify as easy-bake, and (knock on wood) apparently reliable internet access. And, like magic, I find myself suddenly wanting to cook again.

This is not the fanciest or most exciting recipe to rechristen See Food, but then, I’m not the fanciest or most exciting person. I made this today, with the goal of having some easily reheatable lunches later this week.

potato lentil chili (serves 4-6)

ingredients

  • 1 T oil (I used coconut because it was on sale)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or to taste)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1+ T ground cumin
  • 4C water, plus more as needed
  • a handful of lentils
  • 3/4C corn
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced (already cooked)

to do

  1. heat oil over medium high heat in a large pan
  2. add garlic and stir until fragrant
  3. add bell pepper and onion, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes, then add cumin
  4. add 4C water and lentils
  5. bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium for 30 minutes
  6. add corn, potatoes, and more water (if needed) [if your potatoes aren’t cooked, add them with the pepper and onion in step 3]
  7. simmer for 15 minutes, then serve



Use it or lose it

January 6, 2010

I started 2010 off with the best intentions, just as I start every year. But you know what they say about the pavement on the road to hell, etc. I was going to start eating fruits and vegetables again! And use what we have instead of going out and spending money! And drinking lots of water!

Well, I guess there were vegetables on my pizza Monday night. And the sandwich I got last night when we went out AGAIN had sweet potato chips on the side.

Before that, though, I was doing a really solid job.

Exhibit A

day 2 stew

You like that rhyming, right? This is what we made with our New Year’s leftovers. There was quinoa and then the braised beans and collards, plus some broth, some fresh collards, and more black-eyed peas. I feel like we should get extra prosperity points for making the ingredients for our lucky New Year’s dinner stretch over two days.

Exhibit B

black-eyed pea hummus wraps

I had black-eyed pea hummus sometime last year at The Dish and it was  really good. Like regular hummus but… I don’t know, Southern? With mounds of black-eyed peas left, even after the stew, I decided to give it a shot. And it was awesome.

Black-eyed pea hummus (makes ~4 servings)

You need:

  • 1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
  • a few T lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1T olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • crushed red pepper

To do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, or by hand.

So easy. I’d like to experiment with other flavors in the future, but this time I kept it simple to get a solid foundation.

Also: we ate at home tonight! And there were vegetables in it!

rigatoni with white bean and kale marinara

It has been at least almost nearly a week since we had some other version of this exact meal, so it was obviously time for a new variation.



Braise up

January 1, 2010

I’ve been taking advantage of my brief unemployment to do all of the things I never do when I’m working – going grocery shopping in the middle of the day, spending 5 hours waiting to have my picture taken at the DMV, actually using the daytime minutes on my cell phone, and cooking pounds and pounds of beans to stock the freezer. On Monday, I’ll return to my regularly scheduled programming, and I’m fairly sure that none of these things will be possible. Unless I have a hot plate in my new office.

We were out running errands the other day and stopped to eat lunch at a place that offered braised white beans as a side dish. I was all over that, until the waitress brought it out and warned me that there was chicken stock in it, and I had to part with it for some (delicious) roasted veg. But I literally couldn’t stop thinking about braised beans, so I ended up making my own.

braised white beans with kale + baked sweet potato

That picture is seriously terrible. But the meal was great. Especially after a fun-filled day at the DMV.

I did this as kind of a dry run for tonight’s lucky New Year’s main dish – braised black-eyed peas and collards.

prosperity in a bowl

Braised Beans and Greens (serves 4)

You need

  • Olive oil
  • Several cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups of cooked beans (adjust based on your hunger level)
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup of liquid (water, vegetable broth, or a combo)
  • 1 lb greens

To do:

  1. Heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat in a large skillet (with a lid)
  2. When the garlic is fragrant and beginning to brown, add beans and liquid (for tonight’s meal I used a little leftover Prosecco from our NYE toast in addition to vegetable broth) and bring to a boil
  3. Add greens*, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and give it all a good stir
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low for 10-15 minutes
  5. Uncover, increase heat (add a bit more liquid if needed), and cook over medium for 5 or so minutes

*If you’re using more delicate greens, wait until you uncover the pan to add them. I did this with the kale, and it was tender but still bright green and presumably all anti-oxidanty. Collards are a bit tougher and need to cook longer, so I put them in right after the beans.

After a few weeks of fairly erratic meals, it’s nice to get back into the habit of cooking meals I feel good about. Not that all those pizzas weren’t delicious, cookies for breakfast can be quite lovely, really. But sometimes it’s good to reset the system.

Happy new year!


I’m back.

December 28, 2009

Oh, hey.

I could make a lot of excuses about why I haven’t been blogging but, instead, I’m going to be honest. Which is actually way more interesting because the truth is that back in November the power supply on our laptop caught on fire. Fortunately, Matt was there, and he saved the day. I don’t know what I would have done if we had lost the 4 million pictures of food on the laptop AND all of our earthly belongings all in one day.

Speaking of our earthly belongings, I’ve also been a little bit distracted by the fact that we moved ourselves and all of said belongings across the country last week. And moving from the Midwest in the middle of December is a world of stress all its own. Because, well, have you ever seen that show Ice Road Truckers? Because now I have. In real life.

I’m totally kidding. The drive, while excruciatingly long, was fine. We managed to hit a window between snowstorms that really couldn’t have worked out better. Plus, we paid someone else to move about 99% of our stuff for us, so that was a bonus.

Which is a long way to say, I’m back!

With the holidays and everything happening right after we moved, we’ve really only spent a few days in our new place, and I’ve only cooked two dinners here. I wish I had taken a picture of the first one, a sweet potato risotto that was truly awesome. My mom gave us two big bags of sweet potatoes, so I’m sure I’ll be making it again. So don’t you worry.

Tonight’s dinner was probably more along the lines of what we’ll be eating on a regular basis, as we’re watching our pennies these days in the wake of the move.

super easy split pea soup

super easy split pea soup

A few things I’d like to point out about this picture:

  1. My favorite North Carolina beer in the top right, purchased at the neighborhood grocery store
  2. The fact that we ate dinner at a table, which is something we haven’t been able to do in our own home for over 2 years

It’s the simple things, really

Super Easy Split Pea Soup (serves 3ish)

you need:

  • olive oil for the pot
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of split peas, rinsed and picked over (these were green but I’ve also made a really good one with yellow split peas)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water (or another combination adding up to 4 cups of liquid)
  • bay leaf
  • more water, as needed

To do:

  1. Cook carrots, celery, and onions in a soup pot over medium heat with garlic and olive oil until the onions are almost translucent, about 8 or 10 minutes, adding water as needed
  2. Add split peas, water, broth, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf
  3. Bring everything to a boil and give it a good stir
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering for about 45 minutes until the soup is thick and the peas fall apart (if you use yellow split peas, this takes about an hour)
  5. Serve and enjoy

I thought about giving you the shockingly low cost of this meal for us, but my mom actually gave us a bag of split peas, so it wouldn’t really be a true representation, as it was basically free. If you buy your own split peas, you can add about 50 cents to that.


Roasted squash soup

October 25, 2009

There’s something about store-bought butternut squash soup that just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s always too sugary sweet and creepily smooth for my tastes. But there’s something about the sound of it, “butternut squash soup” that always makes me want to try it, even though I never like it. So last night, after an unintended week-long hiatus from home-cooking, I decided to attack the butternut squash I bought a few weeks ago and try to make my own.

roasted butternut squash soup

roasted butternut squash soup

Total success. This was a mostly savory soup with just a hint of sweetness, and I didn’t bother pureeing it, which meant it wasn’t so super smooth. I treated it like baked potato soup, really, but with a 3 pound squash instead of potatoes

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (serves 3-4)

You need:

  • A butternut squash (or other winter squash), unpeeled, halved, seeds and pulp removed
  • Salt, pepper, and olive oil for roasting
  • 1T unsalted butter (or olive oil)
  • Savory vegetable broth, about 1 cup per pound of squash
  • Salt and pepper

To do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
  2. Put the halved, seeded squash on the cookie sheet. Rub flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the squash face up for about 10 minutes, then flip over for and roast for another 30. Times will vary depending on the size of your squash.
  4. Remove baking sheet and allow squash to cool, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Heat butter (or olive oil) over medium heat in a dutch oven or large pot. Begin to scoop the flesh of the squash out with a large spoon, transferring directly to the pot. Then, peel the remaining flesh and add, stirring as you do. The peel should come off easily.
  6. Add vegetable broth and stir frequently until soup is fairly uniform in texture. Heat over medium or a little higher for about 10 minutes, until broth is heated through.
  7. Add salt and pepper, stir, and serve.

So easy, and mostly hands-off prep. And pretty, cheap, too. Next time, I’ll roast the squash seeds and use them as a garnish to give this a little extra staying power. I’d also love to try this with acorn squash or delicata or even a pumpkin.


Saucy baked eggplant

September 30, 2009

We’ve been really giving eggplant a lot of love these days, which is something so new and so delicate I’m almost afraid to talk about it in case that curses us to a slew of bad eggplants whose bitterness can neither be salted nor pounded away.

But, what the hell. I’ve been really wanting eggplant parmesan, but I am about 98% spent by dinnertime on a given weekday, so there’s none of this salting, then pounding, then dredging in eggwhites and breadcrumbs, then frying or baking, and so on. This hit the same general notes with maybe a quarter of the effort, which is a win. Plus, during the lengthier segments of prep, I was able to take naps.

saucy baked eggplant

saucy baked eggplant

This was so easy, it’s barely a recipe. I washed a medium white eggplant, sliced it into ~1/4 inch rounds, salted them in a colander over the sink for an hour, took a nap, preheated the oven to 375*, rinsed the eggplant and beat the bitterness out between paper towels, layered tomato sauce and eggplant in a baking dish, topped with some fresh mozzarella, covered with foil, and baked for 40 minutes, taking another nap in the process. While I slept, Matt cooked some macaroni and we served up a delightful meal.

I’ve got ideas for eggplant that extend beyond the pasta realm – homemade baigan bharta, stir fry with eggplant, maybe some baba ganoush. But, for tonight, this was perfect.