Friday, September 26, 2008

Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

I posted about this casserole recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance way back when we first started this blog. In fact that post garnered our first negative comment (thankfully the negative comments have generally been few and far between). I admit my photography skills were somewhat lacking back then. In fact they're still less than stellar and this isn't the most photogenic dish either but it sure does taste good. I can't believe it's taken us so long to go back to it. It bakes for an hour but it's fairly quick to throw together so it can make a decent weeknight meal.

Start by draining 3 cans of chickpeas then mashing them well in a large bowl. Add a chopped onion, some diced chives, 3 grated carrots and chopped broccoli (I used frozen this time and it came out fine). Mix in 1/2 c. bread crumbs, 3 Tbs. olive oil, 1 cup veggie broth and 1 tsp. salt. Spread this mixture in a baking dish, cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes then uncover and bake another 15 minutes. It's a great one dish meal as is but this time I bumped it up a little and added 1 tsp. of smoked paprika (my new favorite seasoning). One change I might make next time would be to sauté the onions first but it saves time putting them in there raw. We served it garnished with pine nuts and a little more of the smoked paprika sprinkled on top.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick Fried Rice

Here's a quick and easy meal idea. Whenever you have a chance, start some rice cooking. Brown rice takes longer but it's better for you and you can be doing other things around the house while it's cooking. Once it's done, let it sit and cool a bit. Then dump it into a container and add a handful of cashews and some veggies - fresh or frozen. Maybe chop up a carrot and throw in some frozen broccoli and bell peppers. Now put the whole thing in the fridge. You've spent 5-10 minutes of hands-on time so far. Any time you want a quick meal in the next few days, heat a wok or other deep pot over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon or two of oil, then add the rice mixture and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. During the last minute add 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Seitan Patties

I mentioned these in the last post and now those of you who were waiting for the recipe (all 2 of you) can breath a sigh of relief. I've written about how much I like the seitan recipes in the Real Food Daily cookbook and this is an adaptation of one of those. I also like Julie Hasson's seitan sausages and all the wonderful variations that have been traveling the vegan blog circuit but those do come out a little dense. What I like about the RFD recipes is the softer texture.

Now I've created the best of both worlds by baking seitan sausage patties in muffin tins. And you thought muffin tins were only good for cupcakes huh? I'd actually like to find a way to make larger patties that would fit on a bun or sandwich so I'll probably keep experimenting but these are most excellent already. I'll give you the basic recipe and the bratwurst-style variation I made, then you can go nuts trying out all manner of herb/spice variations yourself - I think I'll be trying a sage-heavy breakfast-style patty next.

Seitan Patties - Basic Recipe -

3/4 c. + 2 Tbs. wheat gluten
1/4 c. chickpea flour
3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 c. white beans
3/4 c. water
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. soy sauce

In a large bowl, mix together gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt and onion powder. In another bowl, mash the beans very well then mix in water, oil and soy sauce (you could do this in a blender too). Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well then divide into 12 equal portions. If you have a kitchen scale now would be a good time to use it but if not you can just eyeball it. Press each piece into a well oiled muffin tin, cover with foil and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Serve straight from the oven or store them in the fridge then pan fry in a small amount of oil before serving.

Bratwurst-style variation -

Replace 1/2 c. of the water with beer and add:
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
pinch nutmeg
pinch ground ginger

Thursday, September 04, 2008

CSA Bounty

Every year we think about joining a CSA but the farmers market is very close by so we end up just going there most weekends and picking out what we want. When a friend was out of town last weekend though, we jumped at the chance when she offered that we could pick up her CSA share. The cool thing about a CSA is you never know exactly what you'll get - and sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised. We got mostly what you'd expect this time of year - tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers and the like, but the pleasant surprise was fresh lima beans, something neither of us had ever had before.

I poked around on-line to get some ideas about what to do with fresh lima beans but then I realized we still had some fresh corn in the fridge and I knew I had to make succotash. Not the most original idea I know, but I've only ever had the frozen kind and I was keen to know what it tastes like with fresh veggies. Much better than frozen as you might expect. I sautéed the corn in a little Earth Balance then added the limas (which had been boiled for 15 mins.) along with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and few cherry tomatoes. We had some tempeh bacon to complete the meal; all that smokiness an homage to Southern cooking where you'll find a ham hock in everything, even the veggies.

I also experimented with a new seitan patty recipe over the holiday weekend (a post on that will be forthcoming). With the nice red bell peppers from the CSA share I made a roasted red pepper sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance and we had that over the seitan and saffron rice. Not the best presentation I know, but at the last minute I decided it was interesting and took a picture.