Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baked Penne Florentine

This Baked Penne Florentine recipe is another winner from the McDougall Made Irresistible DVD. I substituted fresh spinach for the frozen, and I used two cups of Westsoy nonfat soy milk to replace the water and cashews.

Turnips for Lunch

I had turnips for lunch. Plain old turnips, boiled, with salt and pepper. I bought them without a clear plan, just a vague feeling that I'd seen a turnip recipe somewhere that sounded good. I cooked them up, and they were tasty. Later, I found the recipe that had prompted me to think of turnips in the first place--Cream of Turnip Soup from the latest Vegetarian Times.

Oh, well ... maybe next time I'll make the soup.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Many Bean Soup

My family has enjoyed variations on this soup for over 20 years. I often make up a large amount of bean mix around the holidays, package it in two-cup jars, attach the recipe to each, and give them as gifts. Who doesn't love a hot, hearty soup on a winter day -- especially when it's this easy to make?
2 cups bean mix (see below)
8 cups water (or use part vegetable broth)
1 large onion, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 4-oz jar pimentos
2 T. soy sauce
dash of liquid smoke (optional)
salt to taste
Rinse the bean mix in a strainer. Presoak in water overnight OR quick soak as follows: Place in a pot of water to cover, bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, turn off heat and allow to soak for 1 hour. Drain the beans again, and place in slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, and water. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low, or 4 to 6 hours on high. 15 to 30 minutes before serving, add the tomatoes, pimentos, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and salt. If you want to, you can also add vegetarian "ham" or "sausage".

Bean Mix
Feel free to substitute. What's important is to have a mix of colors, shapes, and sizes--that's what makes this soup so appealing. If you want to do it the easy way, the grocery store sells bags of mixed beans. To make your own, combine 8 lbs of beans and 1 lb of barley in a large container. The following work well:

pinto beans
kidney beans
black beans
blackeyed peas
lima beans
garbanzo beans
split peas
pearl barley

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Indian Blackeyed Peas

And for dinner...Indian Blackeyed Peas from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. Here's our version with no added fat:

1 t. black or yellow mustard seed
1 t. cumin
1 t. coriander
1 t. salt (or to taste)
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. turmeric
1/4 t. asafoetida
3 cans blackeyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes

Pop the mustard seed on medium high heat in a dry covered pot. Shake them when you hear them popping to prevent burning. It only takes about 20 seconds for the popping to die down. Then turn the heat down to medium and add the rest of the spices. Immediately add the tomatoes. Stir, and add the blackeyed peas. Simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Good served over brown rice.

Potato Chowder

Today's lunch: Potato Chowder from the McDougall Made Irresistible video. It was delicious! Here's a link to a PDF of the recipe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Overnight Apple French Toast

For the past three years, I've made this on Christmas Eve. I refrigerate it overnight, and then pop it into the oven on Christmas morning. After we open presents, we have a nice hot breakfast--with very little effort on my part! The recipe is adapted from "Connie's Overnight Apple French Toast" from The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. I left out the margarine, subbed orange juice for apple juice, and did some other minor tweaking.
When I started this "tradition" three years ago, my kids were unenthusiastic. But my husband and I loved it. This year when I started preparing it, one of my sons exclaimed, "Oh, that stuff! It's delicious!" And everyone ate it happily. Sometimes you just have to persevere.

Overnight Apple French Toast

3 tart apples, cored and sliced
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup soy milk
6 oz soy yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 slices of whole wheat bread

In a nonstick skillet, cook the apples in 3 tbsp. water or apple juice until apples start to soften. Add the cinnamon, sweetener, and maple syrup, and cook until apples are soft. Pour the ingredients into the bottom of a 8"x8" baking dish(I use a Corningware baking dish and spray it lightly with canola spray). In a large bowl, whisk together the apple juice, soy milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture until fully covered, and arrange on top of the apple mixture in the baking dish. Keep layering the pieces of bread, making 2 or 3 layers on top of the apples. Pour the remaining batter over the bread, and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 35 - 40 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Gingerbread People

These gingerbread people were quick, easy to make, and delicious. I added 2 T. ground flaxseed and a couple of tablespoons of water to Susan's original recipe on Fatfree Vegan. My idea was that they would hold together better and be less crumbly. They turned out fine--but they probably would have been fine even without the addition. Still, flaxseed is a good nutritional boost.
Everyone in the family enjoyed these, although, predictably, my daughter did mention that she would have preferred chocolate chip buttons to raisin ones. Sometimes I think my kids have promising careers ahead of them--as food critics!
Gingerbread People
1/8 cup applesauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cold water
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 t allspice
1 t ginger
1 t cloves
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 T ground flaxseed
1/2 T cold water
1/4 cup raisins

Mix the applesauce, brown sugar and molasses together thoroughly. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water and vanilla.
Mix together dry ingredients. Add to the dough. Add 1/2 T cold water. Mix well.
Cover bowl and chill dough for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough thick (1/4-1/2 inch). Dust with flour if it sticks to the rolling pin. Cut with cookie cutters. Add raisin eyes and buttons. Place on lightly oiled (sprayed)cookie sheet.
Bake about 7 minutes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Curried Cauliflower Soup

A rare lazy Sunday; nobody has to be anywhere! Lunch was an improvised vegetable pot pie--cut up potatoes, carrots, and peas cooked in vegetable broth thickened with arrowroot; then covered with biscuit dough and baked in the oven. Here's the link to the biscuit dough recipe.

Last night we trimmed the tree and then watched Holiday Inn. What a great movie! I commented on how much fun it is to watch Fred Astaire dance and Bing Crosby sing. My son replied, "Yes, I guess that's why they had careers."

For dinner, I made my new favorite, Curried Cauliflower Soup. My version is adapted from a recipe in the January issue of Vegetarian Times.

Curried Cauliflower Soup
1 onion, chopped
1 medium tart apple, unpeeled, cored and diced
1 T. curry powder
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 16-oz bags of frozen cauliflower (or use 1 large head of fresh cauliflower)
4 cups vegetable broth (I use Imagine No-Chicken)
1 t. agave nectar or honey
1 t. rice wine vinegar

Saute the onion in 2 T. of the broth until soft. Stir in the apple, curry powder, and garlic, and cook two minutes more. Add the cauliflower and the broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove lid and allow to cool for 10 to 20 minutes, then blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. I used an immersion blender for this step and blended it right in the pot. Stir in the agave nectar and vinegar; add salt to taste.