Main Course, Quick and Easy

Vegetarian Crock-pot Irish Colcannon

This may be a good idea, I thought a while ago. And it was. This actually turned out pretty great and I’ll be making it again the next time I have a head of cabbage laying around without a plan for its life. It’s a good time for crock-pot recipes here in Fresno California. The weather is hot and I swear the air conditioning can barely keep up. It’s really nice to have a crock-pot option rather than adding more heat to the house by running the oven. This recipe would go really well with some sausages…vegetarian or otherwise.

Crock-pot Irish Colcannon
6 medium potatoes, chopped
1 small cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter or margarine
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup soy milk
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup white cheddar cheese

  1. Combine everything except the milk, eggs, and cheese into a crock-pot. Set on medium for 6 hours.
  2. Turn off the heat on the crock-pot, add in the soy milk, and mash the contents using a potato masher.
  3. Pour the eggs on top of mixture in the crock-pot and turn to high for 2 hours till the eggs are set.
  4. Very quickly, so as not to lose too much of the captured heat, sprinkle the white cheddar on top and replace the lid.
  5. Continue to let it cook on high 2 hours, or till cheese is melted and eggs are cooked through. To make sure the eggs are cooked, merely tilt the crock-pot slightly and see if the mixture on top wiggles.

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Soups

Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale

I was researching fun new ways to use kale one day and came across this recipe from cookbook author Robin Robertson. I got really excited. The recipe sounds simple and delicious, plus I’ve always wondered whether or not I’d like a Robin Robertson cookbook. Your shopping list for this recipe is below, but the link to the recipe on her website is above. I wasn’t disappointed in this. It was a great hearty soup to come home to at the end of a long day.

Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups dried brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 or 5 large kale leaves, tough stems removed

 

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Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale. Robin Robertson.

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Soups

Sweet Grain Curry Stew

Sweet Grain Curry Stew

Sweet Grain Curry Stew

This recipe came about as I was trying to use up a bunch of veggies. I wanted a hearty stew that felt light so I decided to focus on sweet tastes. I was thinking of something along the lines of the Sweetcorn and Lentil Soup that I made a while back. I remember not liking that soup much at the time, but I’ve made it since using a little less sugar and sherry and a little more salt and it’s been nice. This soup reminds me a bit of that recipe. The touch of curry powder in this gives it a savory, spicy complexity. This would work well with any sweet winter squash you may have sitting around burning a hole in your pocket. Not a vegetarian? Try chicken broth instead of the veggie broth, and add some shredded chicken breast to the stew. If you want a creamy soup add the soy milk (or regular milk) at the end. The picture you see here is without soy milk. I tried it both ways and it’s actually good either way. Why the sweet dumpling squash? Well, I needed to use one up and honestly I’m sick to death of roasted squash. I feel like every time someone I know gets a squash they say: “Let’s roast it!” and I feel like there’s got to be more to squash than that. This sweet dumpling definitely delivered in this recipe. Jake is not a fan of squash and I asked him if he minded it this time. His reply? He said that the flavors blended so well that he honestly barely noticed he was eating squash. I feel like I really accomplished something there. As I write this blog post I actually find myself wondering what would happen if I did halve and roast some sweet dumpling squashes and use them as an edible bowl for this soup rather than put the squash into the soup. Hmmmm. If anyone tries this please post in the comments below and let me know! Now I’m curious!

Sweet Grain Curry Stew
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 sweet dumpling squash, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon curry powder
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup soy milk, optional
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large stew pot, sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat till translucent.
2. Add the yellow bell pepper and squash and sauté till the bell pepper is just tender.
3. Add the flax seed, brown rice, red lentils, bulgur, corn, parsley, basil and curry powder. Stir and cook 5 minutes.
4. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook till the grains and squash are tender. The grains will soak up a lot of liquid. Add extra water if needed.
5. Turn off the heat and add soy milk, stirring to incorporate.
6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm.

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Side Dishes

Indian Spiced Rice

Indian Spiced Rice

Indian Spiced Rice

We loved this recipe from the “Vegetarian Planet” cookbook. It was a great side dish to some teriyaki tofu (me) and teriyaki chicken (Jake). Shocking confession: I realized when I started dinner that I had run out of white rice! So I used brown and it was still yummy. I highly recommend it. However if you do this, remember brown rice’s longer cooking time and adjust the rest of your cooking work accordingly. I even heated up some leftovers the next morning and ate a fried egg over the top for breakfast…yum!

Indian Spiced Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seeds
1 1/4 cups uncooked Jasmine rice or brown rice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried lentils
3 cups water
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup peas
3 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon butter

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil, add the onions and cook till softened.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, and cumin. Cook 3 minutes, stirring.
3. Add the rice and sauté 2 minutes, stirring. Add the salt and lentils, then the 3 cups water. Add the potato and put a lid on the saucepan.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn the heat to the lowest setting. After 10 minutes, add the bell pepper, peas, and raisins.
5. Stir well, then cover the rice again. Cook 10 minutes or till the rice, potatoes, and lentils are tender.
6. Stir in the butter and serve.

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Soups

Beet and Potato Soup

Beet and Potato Soup

Beet and Potato Soup


This recipe from the “1000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World” cookbook was originally written for the microwave. However, I thought: “That’s crazy! Why would you microwave something this lovely?!” And so I reworked the recipe to be made on the stovetop. I recommend roasting or otherwise cooking your beets a day ahead of time to save time. I cooked the beets on the weekend when I had more time and made the soup on a Monday night. You can puree this soup as well, but I like the nice chunkiness that comes from mashing with a potato masher. This was my first time making soup with beets. It was really lovely. Jake wasn’t a huge fan, but then again he doesn’t really like beets all that much. But if you DO like beets, this was a good recipe. You can use sour cream instead of the plain yogurt, but I like the healthier qualities in yogurt. I’m not really one of those people that eats yogurt on its own. I have to eat it with something or on something. Like on tacos or on soups like this beet soup or a black bean soup. I’ve found a lot of good ways to get yogurt into my diet and this soup is definitely one of them.

Beet and Potato Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 medium sized potatoes, diced
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound cooked beets, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
pinch of dried thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large soup pot, sauté the onion till tender.
2. Add in the potatoes, apples, water and cumin seeds. Sprinkle with salt and cook 7-10 minutes.
3. Add the beets, bay leaf, thyme, lemon juice, and vegetable broth.
4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer till vegetables are tender.
5. Turn off the heat and mash the vegetables to your desired consistency using a potato masher.
6. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately topped with a tablespoon of yogurt.

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Soups

Country Turnip Soup

Country Turnip Soup

Country Turnip Soup

This recipe from “The Garden of Vegan” cookbook was really delightful. Jake is not a big fan of turnips, so the fact that he liked this a lot speaks volumes as to the taste. I added a few of my own touches to the recipe below, as I normally do. Definitely don’t puree this soup. Mashing it a bit with a potato masher cuts down on some of the bulkiness but still lets you have those nice satisfying chunky bits that really make soups and stews worth it to Jake and I. We have pureed soups before, but we will really always prefer not to puree our soups. There are a few exceptions, of course…split pea soup, for instance seems to beg for pureeing. If I find a split pea soup that doesn’t need it I will let you know. Also soups consisting mainly of peppers…red pepper soup would be the one I’m thinking of in particular. When we made Vegetarian Times’ Red Pepper Soup with Balsamic Reduction, it really wouldn’t have been good if it wasn’t pureed. But don’t puree this one. Leave it a bit chunky and enjoy.

Country Turnip Soup
1 small onion, chopped
1 leek, white and pale green parts sliced thinly
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups turnips, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 cup soy milk

1. In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, leek and garlic in the oil on medium heat till the onions are translucent.
2. Add the turnips, carrot, potato, and salt and cook 7 minutes.
3. Then add the vegetable broth, black pepper, dill, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes, or till the veggies are tender.
4. Turn off the heat and mash the soup with your potato masher. Leave some of the chunkiness in tact.
5. Add the soy milk and reheat. Adjust seasonings if needed and enjoy HOT.

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Main Course

Asparagus-Cashew Stir Fry

Asparagus-Cashew Stir Fry

Asparagus-Cashew Stir Fry

You can make this recipe from “The 15 Minute Gourmet Vegetarian” cookbook without tofu…but what kind of life is that? If you love tofu, this is a great recipe to have it in. However if you don’t it works just beautifully without it. So don’t fret. If you absolutely have to have some meat in here, I’d suggest a little bit of pork. Just a little bit. You definitely want the veggies to be the star of this dish, but I think maybe 1/2 a cup of ground pork would give this a good meaty taste without overpowering the other flavors. You could also use some slivers of beef in this. See? I’m not a totally heartless vegetarian. I understand some of you out there have to eat your meat. 🙂 I definitely recommend cutting the asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Heating up leftover asparagus is not my favorite thing ever. It can get chewy and stringy sometimes. And that’s never super fun to try to bite into. Blech! This is best hot and fresh, but leftovers are great too.

Asparagus-Cashew Stir Fry
for the Soy-Ginger Sauce:
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
dash of ground white pepper

for the stir fry:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 block extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup raw cashews
toasted sesame seeds, optional

1. Heat the oil in a large wok on medium-high heat.
2. Add the asparagus, onion, red bell pepper, and garlic.
3. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or till vegetables are crisp-tender.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch till mixed. Then add the remaining sauce ingredients, mix well again and set aside.
5. Reduce the heat on the stove to medium.
6. Re-stir the sauce mixture and pour it over the vegetables. Mix well.
7. Add in the tofu and cashews and mix again.
8. Cook at least 3 minutes more, or till sauce is thick and bubbling. Stir every once in a while.
9. Adjust the seasoning to taste, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve hot over rice.

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Main Course

Zucchini Quiche

Look at that brown top!

Look at that brown top!


Once upon a time I needed to go to the grocery store for a bunch of stuff. But we still had some veggies. And then from this odd grey area came a light. The soft yellow light of a baked quiche. And it was good. And so is this quiche. I learned a trick from my pal Giovaninna about using sliced potatoes as a crust for quiche. It saves a bit of time mixing up a dough crust and it tastes just yummy! I’m making sure to post this on a Friday so you can go to the grocery store before you head home from work this evening. That way you will be able to get up Saturday morning and whip this right up for your lunch. Note that this is a good basic recipe. Add your own spices and even other veggie or meat additions to really make this quiche your own. I have always thought that there are some things everyone should have their own created recipe for. Quiche is one of these things. Also on the list is chili, spaghetti sauce, pizza, and a good chocolate cake…to name a few.

Zucchini Quiche
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 small Russet potatoes, sliced into discs
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 small zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
black pepper, to taste
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups soy milk
paprika, optional

1. Cover a glass pie pan with the canola oil, then arrange the potato slices on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. If there are any spaces left then dice up a slice of potato to fill it. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Slide the potato covered pie pan into the oven while it is preheating to pre-cook the potatoes a bit.
3. In a skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and add the onions and garlic, sautéing till just tender.
4. Add the zucchini, basil, nutmeg, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the soy milk. Then mix in the cheese.
6. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let it cool about 5 minutes.
7. Spread the zucchini mixture in the pie pan evenly and then pour the egg and cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle with paprika.
8. Bake 40-45 minutes or till the eggs have cooked all the way through.

Zucchini Quiche

Zucchini Quiche

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Soups

White Bean Jalapeño Bulgur Chili

White Bean Jalapeño Bulgur Chili

White Bean Jalapeño Bulgur Chili

Oh the pristine power of substitutions! I really wanted to make this recipe for White Bean Chili with Jalapeño Bulgur from “Real Simple” magazine. Unfortunately, some things happened. One thing was that I thought I had 2 cans of cannellini beans in the house…but I didn’t. I had a can of great northern beans and other beans. The great northerns are a normal sub for cannellini beans, but I wasn’t sure what other bean would go well with them. I finally settled on a can of pinto beans to replace the second can. The next thing that happened is that I didn’t think keeping the bulgur separate from the chili was a logical use of resources, particularly when it could be so flavorful. So I added the ingredients (minus the scallions) that were to go into the bulgur separately into the chili pot. Great idea. I love it. The last thing is that I would rather add some kind of stock to chili than just plain water as the recipe suggested. So I added some fake chicken broth. Real chicken broth or vegetable broth would be acceptable alternatives. I think we need to take every opportunity for flavor, so plain water would do in a pinch, but I’d rather have a broth of some sort. This was a great recipe. It made just enough for the two of us for dinner with some left over for me to take to work the next day for lunch. Perfect. This is a great, different kind of chili for a cold winter day. It really warms you up and makes you feel comfortable. Give it a shot, winter’s not over yet.

White Bean Chili With Jalapeño Bulgur
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
kosher salt and black pepper
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the bulgur and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Stir the lemon juice, scallions, jalapeño, remaining tablespoon of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper into the bulgur.
6. Divide the chili among bowls and top with the bulgur.

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Soups

Spanish Potato and Garlic Soup with Easy Garlic Broth

Spanish Potato and Garlic Soup with Easy Garlic Broth

Spanish Potato and Garlic Soup with Easy Garlic Broth

A few weeks ago I started my first REAL grown up job. It was a strange week. The job part was amazing. It confirmed to me that I am in the right profession; I didn’t make a mistake choosing to be an archivist. However a lot of negative stuff happened last week. My coffeemaker broke (don’t worry, I have a new already of course), my bike was stolen, my computer was acting up and a friend’s car was broken into at our apartment complex. All in the same week. VERY weird right? As I was thinking about it today I realized that the confluence of this one major positive thing and all these other negative ones solidified in me this understanding that I really am an adult now (it only took almost 30 years! Haha!), as far as having a job and a certain sense of responsibility and character, etc. It was an empowering thought, which is a pretty nice thing to come from a week overall. Anyway, I was looking for a simple recipe one night last week for dinner. This recipe in the “Moosewood Restaurant Low-fat Favorites Cookbook” seemed to fit the bill. The ingredient list was simple and I’ve never had a garlic broth before. The garlic broth recipe seemed a little unnecessary to me. It called for blending, and I am not a huge fan of cleaning the blender. But the concept was one that didn’t NEED a blender. So I altered the recipe to what you see below. Less dishes, more fun. Enjoy this soup. After all, it’s winter!

Easy Garlic Broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bulb (20 cloves) garlic, minced
3 cups miso (or chicken broth)
3 cups vegetable broth

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and sauté the garlic till browned. Add the miso and vegetable and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes to incorporate flavors well.
2. Store for later use, or set to the side for the soup below.

Spanish Potato and Garlic Soup
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 recipe (6 cups) Easy Garlic Broth

1. In a large soup pot saute the onions and potatoes in the olive oil with the paprika 5 minutes or till the onion is tender.
2. Add the diced tomatoes and thyme. Stir well. Cook on medium 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the Easy Garlic Broth, stir well, then cover and simmer 15-20 minutes till potatoes are tender.
4. Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

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