Archive for the 'vegan entree' Category

23
Nov
10

Everyday is Thanksgiving at our House

We don’t need a once a year holiday to feel grateful or to eat a big dinner.  Katie and I exchange gratitude lists every day and have since the beginning of our relationship of over 3 years.  I often talk about what I’m grateful for at work and my co-workers share in this as well.  It just feels good to talk about the good stuff in life rather than dwell on the crappy side of things.

As far as food goes, I make dinner every night and it pretty much always looks like this.

Dinner is served!

I don’t always have a centerpiece decoration on the table,  but I like it.  There is, however, always a tablecloth and place mats.  I’m just funny that way (Ok, I’m funny in a lot of ways!).  Dinner at our place always has a green salad of some sort, a grain, some sort of vegetarian protein and at least two vegetables.  We’ve cut way back on bread, pasta and cheese, so we tend to eat semi vegan meals.

Tonight I made a quinoa pilaf with toasted pecans and dried cranberries, roasted butternut squash, from our garden, paired with Fuji apple and Field Roast Applewood Smoked Sausage (it’s vegan, of course), steamed broccoli and kale and mesclan salad (also from the garden).

 It was delicious!

A full plate of food, we get full, yet never feel stuffed eating like this

Yummy quinoa pilaf. don't worry, I'll give you the recipe.

QUINOA PILAF

serves 2

1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup mushroom broth
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
olive oil, salt and pepper

In a small pan, bring broth to a boil.  Stir in quinoa, cover and lower heat to simmer.   Steam for 19 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat a small amount of oil and saute onion until a bit browned.  Add nuts and cranberries.   Stir and heat through until nuts impart a wonderful fragrance.  Stir into cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut squash, Fuji apple and Applewood smoked Vegan sausage tossed in olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper, place in baking pan, cover with foil and bake for 35 -40 minutes at 350 degrees.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.  Katie and I will probably do our usual routine:  stay in our jammies, make homemade pizza, watch movies, play pool and eat pumpkin pie!

Advertisements
24
May
10

The healthy eating will continue

It happens everyday

I can’t believe it’s May.  It’s difficult to believe that May is almost over.  Portland weather is always entertaining.  One minute the sun is shining, then it turns dark as dusk and the sky opens up and torrential rain is upon us.  Then it turns to icy hail. All at once, it comes to a screeching halt and there is that ol’ sun again.  I love Portland. 

Our garden continues to thrive because of, and in spite of, this weather pattern.  And it saves us an awful lot on our water bill.  I have high hopes that our garden will not only save us money by growing in our yard and not having to make constant trips to the market, but will keep us eating happy and healthy meals. 

We’ve been going strong on this healthy eating path.  We started making healthier choices in December, while Katie was recovering from a surgery.  She threatened to start making her own meals because she needed vegetables.  Well, any of you that read this and know me, know that I wasn’t havin’ any of it.  The kitchen is “ours” but I’m pretty territorial when it comes to food and the production of it.  Plus, I couldn’t have her getting slim and healthy and leaving me struggling along, huffing and puffing and being chubby in her skinny shadow.  No effin’ way! 

So I jumped right on that healthy merry-go-round and I have no intention of falling off.  We are slimming down naturally, without effort, and it feels and tastes so delicious.  I’ve lost 8 pounds since January!  No Weight Watchers, no meetings, no starving.  Common sense and a culinary knack are what I have going for me.  And it’s working. 

So, enough of my rambling.  I want to show you something easy and tasty.  Oh, and it’s healthy, too.  Here’s a picture of a typical dinner at Chez Tolbert: 

It may look like a lot of food, but it is so low in fat and calories

Green salad (lettuce from our garden), wheat berries with cannellini beans and Field Roast Smoked Applewood Veggie Sausage, and Zucchini Ribbon “Pasta” topped with Savory Mushroom Sauce.  Yum. 

I always dug in my heels when it came to eating zucchini.  I never liked it.  At least rarely did I like it.  It’s a texture thing.  People always  over cook it, in my humble opinion.  I discovered it’s not bad when you use thin strips of it as a pasta alternative. 

so simple, so quick

The first time I tried this method, I used my electric slicer.  It’s like the ones the deli’s use, only a lot smaller.  But for the sake of the blog, I decided to use a vegetable peeler this time.  It worked great!  I figured not everyone has a home slicer, but a vegetable peeler, even non cooks have those. 

Really, anyone can make this

See how simple that is? 

Looks kinda like pappardelle, yeah?

I used 2 zucchini for this meal.  Rule of thumb: use 1 zucchini per person. 

So, that’s it.  No cooking.  Set the zucchini ribbons aside and make the sauce. 

Let the sauce making begin!

Thinly slice 1 leek, mince 1 shallot and 2 cloves of garlic.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a hot  pan and gently saute until softened. 

Mmmm...smells so good

Next, add some sliced mushrooms.  I used creminis, because we like ’em. 

Looking good

You can use whatever mushrooms you prefer.  A combination is always good. 

Once again, I wish computer screens had scratch and sniff!

Continue sauteing until the mushrooms soften.  Add seasonings to taste:  salt, pepper, dried oregano and dried basil. 

Oh, mamma, these are smelling so good right now

Once the mushrooms have softened and browned a bit, move everything to the sides of the pan, making a circular opening in the center of the pan.  Add a bit more olive oil, about 1/2 tablespoon and then sprinkle in some flour, a couple of tablespoons. 

Does anyone else see a cartoon bear face in there?

Cook the flour for a minute or two, till it starts to brown slightly. 

Stir and brown flour

  I like to add some hot sauce at this point.  It’s optional. 

Squirt in some hot sauce of choice - this is Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Now I add some vegetable stock.  You can use home-made or store-bought stock.  I make it every week, so I always have it on hand. 

Add some stock and you have sauce

Add stock about 1/2 cup at a time.  I like to use a ladle for this step. Just add and cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. 

This looks, smells and tastes just right

Place zucchini ribbons in a large serving bowl or platter.  Top with hot sauce.  Finely chop some fresh Italian Parsley and sprinkle on top, for a pretty presentation. 

Dinner is served

Then toss gently to combine.  The heat of the sauce with cause the “noodles” to soften, but not get mushy.  It’s fast and easy and best of all, tastes great. 

Damn, that's a healthy looking dinner!

10
Mar
10

Just Beet it!

Beautiful jewels of the earth

I love beets.  They are so beautiful.  Sweet and earthy, and when they are dressed, they shimmer like fine jewels under showroom lights.  According to Harold McGee’s book ” On Food and Cooking”  beets have been eaten by man since prehistory.  They are native to a vast region of Eurasia from Britain to India.  In the 18th century, a white beet variety began to be cultivated for sugar production.  I always wondered why beet sugar wasn’t pink.  Did you know that up to 8% of the beet’s weight is sugar?  That is an exceptional figure for a vegetable.

Another interesting fact about beets and us humans is the ability to metabolize the bright red pigment, called betacyanin, is controlled by a single genetic locus.  People who have inherited two recessive genes pass the pigment in their urine.  In other words, after consuming red beets, those fortunate bastards get to pee pink!!!  Lucky.

So, where are we going with all this?  Well, I just wanted to write about how easy it is to make a simple, light dinner using one of my favorite root vegetables.

Scrub the beets, trim off the ends, you can peel before or after.  I like to peel after they are cooked because the peel slides right off with a small, sharp knife.  I add fresh rosemary sprigs just because I have it growing in my yard but you don’t have to, and wrap it all up in heavy foil.  Set your oven to 350 degrees, place the wrapped beets on a baking tray just in case that foil gets a little whole in it.  You don’t want beet juice mucking up your oven, trust me.  Roast for about an hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.  I like to just stab it through the foil; it’s easier than opening the foil and risking a steam burn.

All dressed up and ready to go

Once your beets are roasted and peeled, cut them up into bite size pieces and place them in a bowl.  Whisk together some olive oil, a little orange juice, salt and pepper and toss in the beets.  Once they are nice and evenly coated you are ready to eat.

 

The night we ate these beets I paired them with a bit of  herb rolled goat cheese and some basmati rice cooked in vegetable broth and spiked with Tamari and nutritional yeast.  Yeah, it was that good.

10
Nov
09

Vegan Enchiladas

I love Mexican food.  Especially enchiladas.  There’s something comforting about that plate of cheesy enchiladas, spicy rice and garlicky refried beans that warms my soul as well as my belly.  And speaking of bellies, mine has taken to expanding a bit these days, so I came up with this next recipe to ease my waistband, but still give me plenty of flavor that I so dearly crave.

You remember all those pesky green tomatoes from my garden?  Well, there are still a few hanging around.  I usually just use canned sauce for my enchiladas, but I thought the green tomatoes might just lend a nice flavor to a home made sauce.  Turns out I was right.

Red and green tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos and habaneros

I cut up both red and green tomatoes, about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, three jalapenos and one habanero and spread them on a sheet pan.  I drizzled the whole thing with olive oil and seasoned to taste with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Then I roasted the tomatoes for about an hour at 350 degrees.  I pulled the pan from the oven and after taking a quick photo, placed the hot mixture into the food processor and pureed until I had a nice spicy, thick sauce.

Earlier in the day I took advantage of the nice fall weather and started up the grill outside.  I grilled Portabella mushrooms and some peppers.  I planned for two meals:  Enchiladas one day and chili rellenos the next.

While I was busy grilling in the backyard, I had the oven going  inside baking an acorn squash.  I chunked up the squash after it was cool enough to handle and cut the grilled Portabella up into bite size pieces, readying them for their place in the enchiladas.

Normally I would just make refried beans to accompany my beloved enchiladas, but I decided they were going to a part of the filling this time. 

 I sauted onions, red bell pepper, ground cumin to taste and jalapenos in olive oil until soft.  I added an undrained can of black beans, cooking and mashing until they were a nice consistency.  I put a large clove of garlic in the press, and squeezed the garlic into the beans.  I like adding the garlic after the beans are hot because it gives it a better garlicky flavor and doesn’t actually cook the garlic.

OK, so once all of these components are ready,  I heated corn tortillas on a griddle, spraying each side of the tortilla with non stick spray, until it was soft enough to roll.  I spread some of the beans on the soft tortilla, then added mushroom bits and squash chunks.  I rolled the enchiladas and place seam side down, in an oiled lowed rimmed dish.  Once all of the enchiladas were in the pan, I poured some of the sauce over the top, evenly coating  each one.  I made sure to save some sauce for plate finishing.  The enchiladas were then popped into a 350 degree oven and baked for about 20 – 25 minutes, until very hot.

Here is the resultant meal.  I thinned the remaining sauce in the pan with a little water and poured it over the plated enchiladas.  Spicy Mexican style rice and a little fruit salad completed my healthier version of a Mexican meal.  The acorn squash gave the enchiladas a nice mouth feel and we didn’t miss the cheese at all!  The beans and rice gave us our complete protein and the fruit helped cool the mouth from the burn of the habanero and jalapeno in the sauce.

If you don’t have green tomatoes, you could use tomatillos or just use all red tomatoes.  Either way, it’s a great little sauce, tasty and simple.

 




Foodbuzz

Foodbuzz
Quantcast

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 102 other followers