Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes

Barley Salad

IMG_20151228_205735462

Barley Salad

I adapted this from a recipe in the Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook and made it for Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas. In case you haven’t already guessed, my life has been so incredibly hectic (for various reasons) that I have been sitting on a ton of recipes that need to be posted. I am trying to be better. I really loved this salad. It was garlicky and oniony and wonderful. I love those flavors. Most of the family wasn’t as excited about it as me because there are so many other wonderful, comfort-food-type things at a Christmas dinner, but I was proud to provide a healthy, fresh offering for those who wanted it. I haven’t made this since, but I have a feeling it’s going to appear often this summer when the air is full of heat and a chilled salad with a little bulk would be well-appreciated.

Barley Salad
1 cup uncooked barley
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the barley in the water or vegetable broth till tender. Let it cool completely.
2. Mix the barley, kidney beans, tomatoes, green onions, and celery in a large bowl.
3. In a lidded jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Shake well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix.
5. Let it sit at least 2 hours (the longer it sits the better it is). Serve room temperature or chilled.

Standard
Quick and Easy, Soups

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup

I loved this new twist on tomato soup from the “How it all Vegan” cookbook, but I had several issues with it. For one, you needed a blender for the original recipe. I do not own one here in Alaska. Also, there’s no basil in the original recipe. That seemed unacceptable to me. So I took the original idea and fixed my two problems, coming up with the recipe below. You can buy the cookbook for the original recipe, which I definitely recommend because it’s an AMAZING cookbook. What you see below, however, is a great alternative if you’re lacking a blender or if you want to expedite the soup-making process. I achieved this by using canned tomato sauce, but this also meant that I had to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe because tomato sauce is quite thick on its own. I recommend adding the minimum at first and then adjusting as you go so you can achieve your own personal preferred thickness of tomato soup. You may even want to up the amount of soy milk you use in order to make it even more creamy. This recipe is vegan-friendly, but you may sub in other foods as you wish if you are not yourself vegan. Beef broth would be a robust alternative and milk or cream would work well instead of soy milk. Jake fried up and crumbled a couple pieces of bacon over his bowl of soup and seemed to like it a lot. That’s saying something because he is definitely not a butternut squash fan.

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1-2 tablespoons basil
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
1 28-oz. can tomato sauce
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups soy milk
green onions, chopped, to garnish

1. In a large soup pot, sauté the butternut squash in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic powder, ginger powder, basil, salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes, or till the squash is tender.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and mash with a potato masher to your own desired consistency.
4. Add the soy milk and mix well.
5. Return the soup to the heat and simmer 5 more minutes or till warm through and fragrant.
6. Garnish with green onions and serve hot. Maybe even alongside a grilled cheese sandwich…

Standard
Main Course, Side Dishes

Deep Dish Swiss Chard and Gouda Quiche

The obligatory top-of-the-quiche picture.

The obligatory top-of-the-quiche picture.

Super duper thanks to McGee family friend Iris for providing me with the greens for this recipe. She has started her own CSA here in Fairbanks and Jake’s mom and I split what she brings every week. I love quiche. It instantly makes everyone happy and it’s not that hard if you learn a few little tricks to make the cooking go easier. If you haven’t seen me use my potato crust that my friend Giovanina taught me then you’re missing out. Of course, a flaky dough crust on a quiche is really lovely, but this goes down just as easy and saves me countless minutes in the kitchen. I utilize the preheating time to pre-cook the potatoes a bit. This is so I can cut the potatoes thicker so they make more sense as a crust.
Although I’ve given you measurements below, you’ll notice I’m not super strict on the size of things and even acknowledge that depending on the size of your dish you may need more egg mixture. I look at quiche not as an exact science, but more as an opportunity to ad-lib and make strange decisions. Now that I know the basics that go into making it, I very rarely use a recipe for quiche. The gouda I used didn’t melt all that much (full disclosure: it WAS the cheapest gouda, so that probably had something to do with it), but instead stayed mainly on top and browned up nice and crispy. It was frankly amazing. I didn’t expect that to happen and I was very happy with the results. Meat eaters may want to consider adding chopped ham or bacon into this. Either would go really well with the smokiness of the gouda. If you’re into topping your quiche with things I suggest some extra slices of green onions or fresh chives. Jake hates mushrooms so I almost never put them into a quiche, but you’ll see from the photo that I sautéed some in salt, pepper and butter and ate mine on the side. I highly recommend that as well.

Deep Dish Swiss Chard and Gouda Quiche
1 large potato, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, to taste
3-4 cups Swiss chard, leaves sliced or torn, stems chopped
1 cup turnip greens, chopped
3-4 green onions, diced
8 eggs
2 cups soy milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup smoked Gouda, chopped or shredded

1. Sprinkle a deep oval casserole dish with your olive oil. Lay your potato slices along the bottom and sides of the casserole dish to cover as much space as possible. You can cut them to any size you need to accomplish this. If you have leftover potato, diced it and use it to fill in any spaces. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sprinkle the potato with salt.
2. Place the casserole dish with potatoes into the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, soy milk, nutmeg, paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper together.
4. When the oven has finished preheating, check your potatoes. They should be just about cooked through. If they’re still very hard leave them in the oven a little longer. Once they’re just about cooked through take them out and let them cool.
5. Once the quiche dish is cool, pile all your veggies into it, starting with all the greens and leaving the green onions till last.
6. Sprinkle the chopped Gouda onto the veggies and pour the egg mixture over top of all, letting it filter through the greens to the bottom of the pan. If you’re using a REALLY deep dish, remember that you can always beat up another egg or two with some soy milk and a bit of all the spices to fill in the space.
7. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes.
8. Take the casserole dish out of the oven, remove the foil and return to the oven. Bake another 25 minutes or till quiche is cooked through and nicely browned on top. Eat hot.

Deep Dish Swiss Chard and Gouda Quiche

Deep Dish Swiss Chard and Gouda Quiche

 

 

Standard
Quick and Easy, Sandwiches, Snacks

Tangy Tofu Spread

Tangy Tofu Spread

Tangy Tofu Spread


I really love a good, simple recipe that will benefit my lunch. This Tangy Tofu Spread is just great for lunch. The taste reminds me a little bit of egg salad. A less mayo-y egg salad. In any case, it’s definitely a close runner-up to the Chickpea Egg Salad that I enjoy on a pretty regular basis. Give this one a shot if you’re not a fan of mayo or vegan mayo. It’s much less “saucey”.

Tangy Tofu Spread
½ cup extra firm tofu (4 oz.)
2 Tbs. tahini
2 tsp. tamari or reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 green onion, white and light green parts chopped
⅓ cup chopped red bell pepper
⅓ cup relish
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Place tofu in medium bowl and mash with a fork.
2. Mix in tahini, tamari and vinegar, then fold in remaining ingredients.
3. Transfer to storage container and use within 3 or 4 days.

Standard
Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Orange-Sesame Butternut Mash

I took a recipe from the “Vegetarian Times” issue from October 2011 and revised it a bit. Over the past couple of years and recipes such as Chili Cocoa Mashed Acorn Squash and Curried Ginger Butternut Squash Soup, I have discovered a serious love of squashed squash. I loved the idea of this butternut squash mash, but I didn’t like the idea of the orange and sesame being merely a drizzle. I decided to cook it with the butternut squash to infuse the squash with the flavors even more. Plus it saves washing one more dish you’d use from making the drizzle. Check out the original recipe on the Vegetarian Times website and try it both ways, though. Aside from the chopping of the butternut squash, this recipe was easy and fast to make. If you have a knife-handy partner or spouse I suggest letting them go to town on the butternut squash while you have a beer in your apron.

Butternut Mash with Orange-Sesame Drizzle
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1-2 green onions, sliced

1. In a medium pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the butternut squash, reduce the heat to medium and cook till squash is incredibly tender and the majority of the broth is absorbed.
2. Remove the pot from the heat and mash the butternut squash with a potato masher.
3. Return the pot to the stove on low and add the orange juice, tamari, toasted sesame oil, ginger powder and sesame seeds, stirring to mix well. Simmer the potatoes till most of the liquid is absorbed.
4. Remove from heat and serve topped with extra sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Butternut Mash with Orange-Sesame Drizzle

Butternut Mash with Orange-Sesame Drizzle

Standard
Side Dishes

Cucumber in a Creamy Dill Sauce

Here’s another interesting recipe from the “Vegetarian Cuisine” cookbook. I can’t decide if I like it or not. I’ll have to make it again to be sure. I mainly chose it because I’ve always used cucumbers in cold dishes. Besides huang gua chao dan (cucumbers fried with eggs) that I would eat sometimes in China, I’ve never had cooked cucumbers. And even that was a dish I would have in restaurants; I never made it myself. I was surprised at the taste of this. It almost seems like the cucumbers taste similar to cooked green peppers. But I feel rather crazy for saying that. If anyone tries this out I’d like to hear what you think.

Cucumber in a Creamy Dill Sauce
2-3 cucumbers
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
salt and white pepper, to taste
8 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1. Remove the skin from the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and toss them. Cut the cucumber into 1/2-inch slices.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook the green onions, stirring occasionally, till just softened.
3. Add the cucumber and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
4. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, till softened.
5. Add the lemon rind, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in the cream, then cook for 1-2 minutes on high heat. Lower the heat and add the wine.
7. Serve hot and sprinkle with chopped dill before serving.

Cucumber in a Creamy Dill Sauce

Standard