Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Warm Goat Cheese and Herb Salad

What a delightful lunch or accompaniment to your dinner plans! The tangy chevre, once baked, oozes out all over the salad, creating a delicious topping to a baby green and herb salad.

1 log chevre, chilled
1/2 cup coarse chopped walnuts
1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs
olive oil
Mixed baby greens
a handful of fresh dill, chopped
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the walnuts and the crumbs into a bowl and mix well.

Combine the spring greens and dill in a large bowl, then transfer to individual salad bowls, one for each person. Drizzle with balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Divide the kalamatas between each salad.

Cut log into thick circles and dip in olive oil, ensuring that it covers all sides, then coat them, one at a time, with the walnut mix.

Cook the cheese on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes. When done, using a spatula, carefully transfer the cheese (it will be soft!) to top each salad. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Curry Rice with Garbanzo Beans and Spinach

Ahhh the end of the month. When the fridge is bare and making dinner feels a bit like MacGyver, except instead of diffusing a bomb with an apple, a bit of twine and a rock, I'm trying to make dinner out of 6 seemingly incongruent ingredients.

Plus, I have to get my kids to actually eat it. Right.

After some time spent in the kitchen scratching my head and wracking my brain, I came up with this and let me tell you, it was both delicious and a HUGE hit with the kids. And yes, my kids do actually eat like this. Hard to believe, I know. I could regail you with all the things they don't eat, but let's just get to it already.


1 cup jasmine rice
1 tsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups water

Garbanzos and Spinach:
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
3/4 cup of fresh spinach, chopped
1 to 2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked or canned
dash of water or veggie broth

Combine all of the ingredients for the rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in a large skillet for about 2 minutes. Add in the cumin and stir, cook over medium-low another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the garbanzo beans and a dash of liquid to deglaze the pan and heat the beans through. Stir in the spinach, cook another two minutes.

Serve with the rice.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hearty Vegan Breakfast Scramble

My kids and husband, though not vegetarian,  eat mostly vegetarian food at home, since I'm the one who does all the cooking. Some things are easy, being already meat-free, like pancakes. But sometimes the locals start craving some sausage and it's always a treat to come up with something that pleases everybody.

Perfectly hearty and warming for the colder winter days, this recipe is low fat and packed with protein and flavor. But be warned: you better get your fill on the first bowl, because there won't be leftovers for second helpings!

Serves 4

1 block extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
5 vegetarian breakfast sausage patties, cubed
1 firm roma tomato, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp each cumin and chili powder
1 sprig cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, heat some oil until it is very hot. Then add in the tofu and sausage, stirring occasionally, until browned all over. Add in the spices and cook 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes, green onions and cilantro, cook another 1-2 minutes.

Serve with salsa.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Teriyaki Tofu Lettuce Wraps

A veggie spin-off on the more traditional chicken version, this recipe uses tofu and lots of veggies to make a fresh and crunchy meal.

one block of tofu, drained and sliced into thin rectangles
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
12 lettuce leaves
1/2 cup shredded carrot
a cucumber, thinly sliced into half moons
pea shoots or other sprouts

Combine the teriyaki and sesame oil in a bowl, place the tofu in a single layer on a glass baking dish and cover with sauce. Marinate for an hour, flip the tofu and marinate the other side for another hour.

Drain the marinade from the tofu and set aside for dipping sauce.

Bake the tofu at 350 degrees for 15 minutes each side, then remove from the oven and cool.

Cut the spiney bottom off the lettuce leaves (I used Romaine) and discard.  Layer one slice of tofu, 1 tbsp. shredded carrot, 2 slices of cucumber and pea shoots. You might also get creative and try other toppings like mint, cilantro or chopped peanuts.

To eat, wrap the sides of the lettuce around the filling.

Serve with dipping sauce.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hoppin' John: An Unassuming Fellow.

Oh Hoppin' John, how I lament that you and I never crossed paths before! I thought about dressing him up a little for the photo, but really, it is a very simple and satisfying dish that  just doesn't need anything else.

We met one day, by chance in a grocery store, when this tub of fresh black-eyed peas went on sale for $1.99

How can you pass that up? You cannot. I dare you to, try it. You can't do it.

Then I turned to the back of the box (the "Vegetarian" labeled box) and read this simple little recipe for Hoppin' John.  But why, oh why, did they call for chicken broth?? No matter, that 's easy to fix.

I really didn't know I would love this recipe so much. I did tinker with it a bit, taking out, obviously, the chicken broth, and adding celery and smoke flavor. And what resulted is something my husband would leave me for, if he knew how to make it, which he doesn't, so he has to stay here to get it. Follow? Right.

Hoppin' John, traditionally, as I found out, is made with a very large ham hock. Well, that certainly won't do, now will it? So smoke flavor stands in nicely.

1 tub (about 1.5 cups) fresh or dried black eyed peas, cooked and drained
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups veggie broth
1 tsp smoke flavor
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a stock pot and saute the onion, garlic and celery until soft. Add in the beans and the rest of the ingredients and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Go-To Veggie Sandwich

When I first became a vegetarian, some 10 years ago, I used to eat these all the time. Not sure why I got out of the habit, maybe because I'm not a huge sandwich eater to start with, but having one today brought back all kinds of memories.

The only thing I wish I had added (but didn't have on hand) was maybe some red onion or peppercinis.


2 slices of whole grain bread
handful each of pea shoots and fresh spinach
1/2 of an avocado, sliced
1 small tomato, sliced
1 block of marinated, baked tofu, sliced (you can buy pre-packaged or make your own)
3-4 slices of cucumber
honey mustard dressing

Slather each slice of bread generously (trust me on this, be generous!) Top one slice with pea shoots, spinach and cucumber. Top the other slice with marinated tofu, tomato and avocado. Season with salt and pepper if desired and gracefully bring the two slices together. Be careful, those avocado slices are slippery little suckers and will try to escape!