Monthly Archives: October 2012

From the Land of Produce Sales and Pantry (Or, “Vegan Chili”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c diced Roma tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, largely diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, small chunks
  • 1 small red pepper, diced/seeds removed
  • 1 pitiful, small bell pepper from the plant outside
  • 2/3 c corn
  • 1 c cooked white beans
  • 1 12oz can red beans
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (we use 90,000 BTU powder, so use your own noggin on this too. Yeah. That’s not a typo. 90,000.)

This was an entirely vegan dish until I put the cheese on it. Apologies.

So I got really excited about a big sale on Roma tomatoes at the store. Some might venture to use the word “overzealous.” And seeing as how it’s now a little too chilly for tomato salads to be fully enjoyed and one can only have so many salad caprese dinners, the answer choices to the sudden conundrum of a kitchen full-o-maters boil down to (ha!): 1. blanch or 2. just cut them all up and make chili.

Put your onion, garlic, chili pepper and mustard seeds in olive oil warming to M on the stove. When the seeds begin to crackle and pop, stir and reduce heat to L while you finish dicing all those now-godforsaken tomatoes. Dump them all into a crock pot and use a spatula to clean all the oiled up pan contents in with them. Add corn, beans and seasonings with broth and set the timer for 4 hours (I now now that essentially translates to “high”). Four spoon alarm!

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Blood-n-Guts Halloween Soup

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cooked red cabbage (freezer storage shout-out!)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can green beans
  • 64oz broth (I kept this vegan with vegetable, but any animal will do)
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

‘Tis near-about the season for drinking blood and eating guts without having to apologize for it! This one is easy and can be eaten in so many ways once settled in the crock pot — the 6 quarts of soup this recipe makes is great for freezing whatever you can’t eat after a day or three. Take my word, however that this won’t need to get punishing for a few consecutive meals. A very basic vegetable soup is like a basic black dress —  it’s easy to dress up or down.

As it is this soup is a pretty rainbow of nutrition in its formative stages, then after a while the anthocyanins will turn the entire shebang into a spooky crime scene photo. See those ingredients up there? Put them all in a crock pot, set it to whenever you want a frightfully good dinner (but give it at least 4 hours to coalesce; the longer it sits, the darker the red).

Last night, we enjoyed ate our bloody slop topped with thin slices of asiago cheese and garlic breadsticks. It was very definitely 5 spoons… of DARKNESS! (moihahaha, et al)

Aloo(ve Affair) Gobi

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cauliflower florets
  • 3 c cubed potatoes
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium green chile
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

I forgot to get a prettier picture before this was all there was left in the pan. My bad.

After recently falling in love with this dish from my favorite local spot, I have had the usual seemingly-never ending infatuation with all of the reasons beyond its deliciousness why I am in love with it:

meatless! dairy-less!
cauliflower! potatoes!

Because though I am not a staunch vegetarian, I have been cutting back on meat enough to know what a difference it makes in my health to do so. To naysayers who decry vegetarians for that lack of essential dietary elements (protein! calcium!) I posit that you either click the links above, or research on your own what’s actually available as nutrients in all the stuff that grows outta the ground.

That being said, let me continue into this current love affair.

Ok, so prep is gonna take a bit over the skinny minute. Finely mince your onion, garlic, cilantro, chile (I just used a jalapeno) and tomato. Put oil in a pan on ML with chile, garlic and onions. Let cook until the onions are translucent; stir in turmeric so that everything begins to glow like the sun. Add mustard seeds, tomato and cilantro and dial it up to M until you hear the seeds crackling. Turn the heat back down to ML and stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cumin and coriander. Add tsp by tsp of water to this process if at any point you begin sticking to the pan (well, not YOU. You know what I mean.).

This is what my dish wants to resemble when it looks in the mirror.

So in the 15-20 minutes or so it takes for those onions to get translucent, get the stars of your show ready. Disarticulate a medium head of cauliflower, set aside. Peel potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces (I tried to strive for cubes, but I am also realistic about my fine motor skills).  Stir them into the (assumed ready) almost paste-like mixture in the pan. Once coated, it’s the florets’ turn. Stir in about 1/3c water to make their union more pleasurable. Add another 1/3c water and let the pan come to a gentle boil on M, then stir and reduce heat to ML until everything is fork-tender. Even were you to make some of the grievous missteps which I did not mention here (I am still learning you, potato.), this dish will garner silent smiles and 4 spoons!

 

Miracles in Quick Marinaras (or, “OregaNO YOU DIDN’T)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package refrigerated cheese ravioli
  • 8 oz ground sausage
  • 16ish oz canned tomato puree
  • 1 10 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp hot red chili/cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 drop doTerra® oregano essential oil

So a roll of ground sausage was going to thaw and go to waste were it not cooked. Don’t you judge me.

That being said, I actually drained off a little more of the grease than I meant to and left my diced up onion and garlic a bit dry in the pan. I kinda stir-fried in the turmeric, Italian seasoning, red chili powder and asafoetida, letting things simmer  in what little fat they could until the pan started developing liver spots. At that point, tomato reinforcements were called in to cool things down.

This was an acceptable sauce to go over what were most likely adequate store-bought ravioli. It was a meal, and I was tired. My wife* (the yoga instructor) brought into the kitchen her new set of essential oils; more importantly here, oregano oil. And boy, it was

I’m part of the mint family.

pungent past principle in proving its paternity.  Now I’m Italian enough, but never had I ever known of oregano as something with medicinal properties. She suggested and I was happy to agree to try a drop in the pan to see if it was terribly strong for its dual cooking application and how it might taste.

Stir it in. Wait for it. One drop, really. Just one. Wait! Feel that? It was a Tuscan breeze passing through your kitchen window. I still can’t really reconcile how one drop of anything can take a saucepan full of emo-mato sauce from 3 spoons to a celebratory 5 spoons. The force is so very with it, and I hope to one day try the force of other kinds (cilantro, clove, lemon, lime, peppermint, rosemary, wild orange). Holiday baking season will soon be upon us, and regular extracts can go sit and spin!

 

*omg I have one of those and one of those has me.

Candy-Goated Crescents

In my pantry today:

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1/3 c blackberries
  • 4 tsp honey

It’s not Sunday morning, but breakfast felt like it with coffee, hot bread, fruit and cheese. Granted, I go into all of my “canned, refrigerated bread” purchases knowing that the amount of processing that goes into every can might turn my guts if I looked into it (so I don’t); though it is the poor man’s croissant I still enjoyed this with one pinky finger extended.

Roll out each crescent roll triangle and sprinkle a little feta inside before rolling and baking according to package instructions. When they come out, serve plates with 1/2 of your goat cheese and blackberries covered in 2 tsp of honey. Easy-peasy and 5 spoons!

Unintentionally Vegan Homecoming (or “What a Crock of… Awww, Love.”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2/3 c dried lentils
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 heart of celery, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 6 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Crush the cloves of garlic well, and let them simmer in the ghee/oil mixture for a few minutes. Before the garlic turns brown transfer it, along with everything else up there to your brand new off-the-wedding-registry crock pot. Set the timer and smile, because maybe now you can properly cook beans. 4 spoons!

I still have neither found nor purchased a new camera. Pictures will continue to be Google Image Search results and/or cell phone-resolution shots. First world problems suck, but we still make do… in fact, we had to borrow someone else’s camera for our awesome, should-write-a-book wedding trip to NYC.

(Oh and yeah, I just got married!!!!!!!!)