Tag Archives: vegan

Take a Bite; Be Back in a Bit

I know I have been very negligent, but please bear with me.I haven’t posted much here or answered many of your posts because I am SWAMPED with painting and redecoration and getting ready for Thanksgiving fun with food, friends and family.
I can’t wait for my cousins to get here, but I have let myself get behind. Now, the fun with food prep starts.
The family will be here from Wednesday through most of the weekend, so you may not see me.I will have to forgo the blogs and emails, but I’m thinking of you and hope you are all doing well and having fun , if not for Thanksgiving in your part of the world, at least finding peace.
I will be back and trying to play catch-up with you as much as humanly possible.I have so many new friends online through this blog;it is one of the things for which I am truly thankful for this year.

In the meantime,I leave you with this quick side dish or nosh; inspired by a blog-pal ‘The Perky Poppy’, to whom I give credit.
[http://theperkypoppy.com/2012/10/12/roasted-okra-bites/]

You need to try it; if you like this recipe,please let her know.

I think these would be great on a buffet for a sports party.How often do you see any vegetables there,(except maybe a dish of broccoli and a dip of Ranch)?

I did not have fresh okra available, so I tried a number of veggies.There would be more in the picture, but I ‘sampled’ them quite a bit!{And I can’t wait to get my hands on fresh okra!)
It couldn’t be easier:

Crispy Veggies

Toss whatever vegetable you have sliced in a light coating of extra virgin olive oil and dust it with sea salt, (or regular). Spread the vegetables out in a single layer and cook in a hot oven,(depending on the thickness of your vegetables;Perky Poppy said 500F for diagonally sliced okra;I lowered it to 400F for the thinner vegetables. Watch that they do not burn.)

I made,(pictured below):

Leeks,French green beans, Parsnips, Green Pepper, Baby corn-on-the-cob, Baby carrots.

I sliced the leaks and fanned them out, I kept the French beans whole;I made fingers out of the parsnips, and sliced the Green pepper and the Baby carrots.I used canned, whole Baby corn-on-the-cob.I drained them, blotted them on paper towels and sliced them in half. Don’t let the look of them turn you off as they are very good. (I will admit, however,that they might be good on the table for a gross-out Halloween meal,frankly, they look like caterpillars!)

These can  all be made beforehand and then quickly  re-crisped in a hot oven.

So , thanks Perky Poppy!

I will be back when I can.
Please keep coming by! I will ‘see’ all of you very soon,and can’t wait for what new posts you have to share!

They taste better than they look!

Thanksgiving/Cranberry Relish

Easy, beautiful and delicious!

Thanksgiving is coming here in the United States; Canada has already celebrated theirs.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the holiday, I will run through it quickly.
In 1620 a small but rigorous sect of Christians, the Puritans, set out from England to settle in what was the English colonies in Virginia in that is now the United States of America. A storm blew them very far off-course and they landed in what is now Massachusetts, hundreds of miles to the north of Virginia.
The people were ill-equipped to survive on their own. The weather was much harsher than they had expected, the local plants were unfamiliar, the ground was poor for growing and their muskets put shot into the game they did find and ruined most of the meat. They had little fishing skills.
They lost many of their numbers and the rest were ill after the first winter. Local Indians,(especially by the urging of Squanto, who had had some contact with Europeans),took pity on the Puritans. They taught them to hunt with bows and arrows to keep the meat free of shot. They showed them the local safe plants. They showed them how to enrich the soil with fish and, believe it or not, lobsters, which they never ate.
The following Autumn the Puritans had such a bounty of harvest they decided to have a feast to thank God and invited many of their Indian friends. The Indians brought game and surprise to the party; popcorn! They continued the tradition and eventually it has spread across the country and Canada.
Today nearly everyone, regardless of race, creed or religion observes Thanksgiving. It is a day of food, friends and family! Turkey is the traditional meat, sometimes served and eaten by people on Thanksgiving and no other day of the year. Many people eat pumpkin only in pie and only on or around Thanksgiving. Pity. Another food was, until recently, were cranberries.

This year I am in a bit of a rush; I am blogging on my two blogs ,posting on other blogs, writing, housework , de-cluttering and painting the walls in the main part of the house which I have put off for far to long. I need to do it THIS WEEK, so I can cook and prepare for Thanksgiving and relatives.

Today, however, I am participating inSupport for Sandy, Food Bloggers raising awareness of the continuing need for help in Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path. We have posted comfort foods on our blogs, ones we would like to take to victims of disasters.
[Please see my previous post]

I am also participating in a Thanksgiving-themed post on the blog :

https://www.facebook.com/MyCrazyKitchen
I hope you join us on both, and enjoy!
Here is the recipe I am sharing: Cranberry Relish. It is beautiful; pictures do not do it justice!

Cranberry Relish:
1 lb. fresh, firm cranberries, washed and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup coarsely chopped Red Delicious (or other sweet apple)
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
½ cup peeled, chopped orange flesh (preferably Navel Orange)
1 Tbsp. fresh orange zest, finely chopped
2 Tbsp .granulated sugar (approximate)

(For all of the above I use a food processor. You may chop or grate).

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly but gently.(Adjust sugar ; the amount needed will depend on individual taste and the tartness of your apples and oranges)

This is delicious as a side dish, with plain hot or cold cereals. It can be used as a topping for custard or a holiday cheesecake.

I hope you try this and enjoy!

Today I am adding a link to Food Bloggers’ ‘Support For Sandy. We are joining together to offer support by posting comfort foods we’d share with people in crisis, and to raise awareness for the continuing need for those who were in Sandy’s destructive path.

I have chosen to re-post my Savory Bread Roll-ups, which can be made quickly, frozen and thawed when needed.They are good warm or can be eaten cold, and are good for anytime from breakfast to midnight snack.
I have posted pictures of three, two with meat and one vegan version.

Savory Bread Roll-ups

If bread making is your thing, make basic dough. If you have a bread machine, pull it out. If not, use frozen bread dough, (thawed, of course).

Roll into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick on a floured surface. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Spread fillings (recipes to follow), to within two inches from all sides. Fold in the short sides; roll up from one long side to another, Pinch ends and press to close. Place on a cookie or baking sheet, which has been brushed with butter or margarine,(or lined with parchment paper); curve bread roll if necessary. Slice or snip slits through top layer about 3-4 inches apart. Cover with clean kitchen towel , waxed paper or foil; let rise to double in size in a warm spot. Uncover and brush with melted butter or margarine. Bake at 325F for about 45 minutes- 1 hour, or until the bread is thoroughly browned.(Do not cook at a higher temperature; the middle will not bake).

Meat Filling Suggestions:

Chopped roast beef, or shredded roast beef lunch meat with shredded medium–to sharp cheddar cheese; (a little prepared horseradish sauce optional).

Shredded ham with mild cheddar cheese

Shredded turkey (or turkey lunch meat) with pepper jack cheese

Pepperoni or salami with mozzarella or provolone cheese

Cheese Filling Suggestions:

Any cheese, preferably with sautéed onions

Soft cheeses, (cream cheese, Neufchatel, mascarpone) with herbs and or dried vegetables:

[ Italian blend, or basil, parsley and marjoram;

Southwest blend or any favorite chili powder, (chipotle, mesquite, etc), cumin,for example]

Mixed with red or green salsa

Seeded,(poppy, pumpkin, caraway, sesame)

Mixed with red hot sauce

Mixed with sautéed vegetables; [onions, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, carmelized            zuccini

Any favorite cheese spread, (pimento cheese, onion dip, avocado)

Vegetable Filling Suggestions:

Sautéed or caramelized onions

Hummus,( regular or vegetable, or mixed with seeds)

Sautéed vegetable combinations, (mix & match): onions, tomatoes, peppers, artichoke hearts, asparagus,caramelized zucchini,black olives

Dehydrated vegetable flakes, (available often mixed in supermarkets or separate, (tomatoes, peppers), usually in specialty markets

Drained, mashed white beans (canned or homemade) with onions or garlic; chives, parsley, white pepper; dehydrated vegetable

Savory Bread Rolls: Turkey and Cheese/Vegetable/Pepperoni and Cheese

You Know Beans

 I have been asked to post recipes before I go any farther, which is probably where I should have started in the first place. Bear with me, while I get a feel for where this blog should go; I’m open for suggestions and questions.

I should have explained that this all started as a letter to answer a call from an alumna of my husband’s college begging for ideas for ‘meatless Fridays’, as her kids were tired of tuna sandwiches and mac & cheese. I later had the idea to put out a pamphlet when I saw people struggling with meatless or less-meat entrees. Then I started a book when I found that people were intimidated by the idea of  entertaining. I wanted to help put people’s minds at ease. So here I am pulling pieces out of the middle of what supposed to be my book, and kind of making hash of it all! This blog is not about meatless eating. It is about eating and entertaining.

But here are the first recipes, most suitable for Lenten Fridays, Ash Wednesdays, vegetarian, some vegan, some cutting back on cholesterol, and of just plain good food.

I will give recipes with as many optional shortcuts as I can .

 

There will be plenty of meat recipes and tips in upcoming postings.

 

Let’s start with beans and legumes.

A slow-cooker, (Crock Pot), is a blessing when it comes to cooking dried beans and legumes. I will go so far as to say it is almost essential when living at high altitudes.(I had a neighbor who confided that although we lived about 25 feet above sea level, as a young bride she used the ‘high-altitude’ directions on cake mix boxes  when she lived in a nearby  high-rise apartment).

Without a slow-cooker, overnight soaking is required, and at high altitudes, bringing the beans to a boil, soaking, rinsing and repeating is required,(and even  then I could not get them soft enough when I lived in Denver.) A basic slow-cooker can be found at the time of this posting from ten –fifteen dollars; well worth the investment. Cooking times may need to be adjusted because of varying temperatures of brands and the size of the cooker.

 

There are quite usable pre-cooked , bottled white beans available in local supermarkets. Canned beans are too soft and not as suitable for these soups.

Note about oils: Extra Virgin (first pressing) olive oil has the taste of olive; regular,(later pressings), olive oils have a more neutral taste, which is actually more suitable for most recipes. Olive oils burns easily. Peanut oil  is good with beans and is better for frying than other oils as it does not easily burn and never smokes.(It is the only oil used in submarines for that reason).. These are the three oils used in my kitchen; Extra V olive oil, regular olive oil, and peanut oil. A little oil not only adds body but aids in the softening of  beans. It can be omitted. I know some people are against any and all oils.

The Country-boy in my father liked black-eyed peas and they were a ‘must-have’ on New Year’s Day, as they are considered to bring good luck.(Why it was continued throughout the years, I’ll never know, as we never had a lot of luck).  Mom liked to add a little vegetable oil to them and to any bean she cooked. My father once caught her and told her never to do it again. If my father was anywhere near the kitchen, she didn’t, but if she knew he’d be out, the oil would go in. Every time he would ask her which brand of peas or beans she had fixed. If she had added oil, they were a good brand; if she hadn’t, well, let’s remember not to buy that brand again, even though he was sure that was the ‘good’ brand he’d eaten the last time.  And Mom would snicker either way, every time.

Nothing could be simpler than these quick, tasty soups. If you have a vegetarian or vegan guest or in the family, they will love you for these:

 

Basic White Bean Soup: (slow-cooker, or shortcut below)

One pound of dried white beans( Navy or Great Northern)

One Tablespoon Salt

¼ cup minced onion

1/8th cup minced celery

two Tablespoons vegetable oil

½ teaspoon white pepper (optional)

one Tablespoon dried parsley (optional)

 

Place all ingredients in a slow-cooker with 1 1/2-2 quarts of cold water. Cook on ‘high’ setting for 8-10 hours, checking and stirring every couple of after the first six. You want the beans fairly soft.

(to cook beans suitable for other dishes, omit celery and onion; cook only for 6-8 hours.

SHORTCUT: Sauté onion and celery in two Tablespoons oil. Add to a pot with  bottled, precooked beans, salt, pepper and one quart of water. Simmer for at least one hour.

Mediterranean White Bean Soup-Greek style

 One pound white beans

One cup of thinly sliced carrots

¼ cup thinly sliced celery

one cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons crushed/chopped garlic,(or 1 teaspoon of dried)

one 16 ounce can of tomatoes or 2 cups fresh, pealed and chopped

½ cup vegetable oil (preferably regular olive oil

one bay leaf

1 Tablespoon salt; 1 teaspoon pepper

(Mediterranean White Bean Soup-Macedonian style:

Omit celery, add 1teaspoon dried thyme)

Add all ingredients to slow-cooker with 1-1 ½ quarts water; cook for 6-8 hours.

SHORTCUT: Cook vegetables with oil, herbs and spices for one hour in 1 quart of water; add bottled , cooked beans. Cook for at least one half hour.

OPTIONS: Serve with open-faced grilled cheese,(cheese on bread under broiler for a few minutes.) Experiment with cheddars, Swiss, Provolone, Muenster, Edam, Gouda and Mozzarella with Parmesan.

Adding a little extra water and quick-cook barley to the soups will make a vegan one-dish complete protein meal, as will adding pre-cooked rice.

More about Rice and rice cookers next time.

Meeting Hosting Challenges

Lent?

Or- Johnny’s New Girlfriend Doesn’t Eat Red Meat

Your father had a heart attack and Mom is at a loss as to how to cut cholesterol;

Janie comes home from camp and announces that she is now a vegetarian. What do you

do? (After arguing, which only strengthens her resolve).

Or maybe Jerome brings a Bangladeshi friend home with him from school. Your visiting cousin says that his wife has celiac disease.

DON’T PANIC.
You probably have enough on the pantry shelves and in the refrigerator/freezer for at

least one meal, a snack and breakfast before you feel the need to run to the store.

Don’t know if the vegetarian will eat eggs and dairy? Aren’t sure if a guest eats beef? First,

Play it safe. Offer something not possibly offensive. This is where knowledge of

meatless protein comes in handy. And then, Ask! Say, (in your sweetest, but most

unpatronizing tone),

“Do you have any dietary restrictions?”

Not your style? Practice it. This is always a good idea, as there are many people

with health related food requirements. What ever you do, avoid asking, “Is there

anything special that we can make for you?” That will only make your guest extremely
uncomfortable. They will not want to “put you out”. Being a good host means always making your guests comfortable and never seeming to be ‘put out”. If possible, enlist the aid of the person who brought them in. Try to tailor the family’s meals to suit your guest as much as possible.
No, Janie is not allowed to dictate that the family will now avoid all animal products, but if you have a Jewish or Muslim guest, please do not serve pork, or beef if your guest is a Hindu. It is only common decency respect other people’s religious sensitivities. That is being a good person and a good host. And believe me, there is nothing more frustrating than putting on a good show, only to have the guest pick at only a few things because they cannot eat the rest. All your hard work will have been in vain, and you find out only after tearing your hair that you possibly could have gotten off easier by meeting their needs. Even when I was young, people’s conversations with me seemed to gravitate toward food. When I was about twelve a teacher, whom I had all to myself , lamented over the previous evening. Her husband’s position had required them to entertain VIP’s from some exotic locale. She had looked into their dietary do’s and don’ts , pulled out all the stops, spending a great deal of time and money creating fine canapés and sweets pleasing to their eyes and she was sure, palates. They came in, she showed off, and they thanked her very kindly, but you see, they were sorry, but they were fasting as an observance of their religion. They wouldn’t touch a morsel. And she was stuck with platters of fancy foreign finger food, frustrated.
Right after we were married, a young man who was a friend of my husband’s family came to visit.
He was a tall, strongly built, active man, whom my husband warned me was a big
eater. He was in town, staying with his brother, and was going to visit us, starting

very early the next day. I made a huge breakfast of waffles, eggs, sausage, fruit and

more, but he had had breakfast. (Husband never thought to actually invited him for

breakfast, but that is an argument already fought). Anyway, he did eat, and lunched

well, and talked about his active life , all of the sports in which he was involved. He

came back through town a couple of years later. He was going to drop in to eat a

quick lunch with us and he was leaving from our place to

drive across the country. Husband asked me to fix a large bag dinner for him to take

on the road. As I was getting dessert, (something gooey), Husband brought sports up to

him. “Oh, no, not any more. I hurt my back, and I’ve had to radically change my life!

No more sports. Only whole grain foods, no more sweets, lots of fresh

vegetables…..” I panicked for only a second… that was all the time I had. I sent them

into the living room, as I sliced fruit, grabbed a jar of dry roasted nuts, pulled raisins

and dried fruit out of the cabinet to make a platter. “This is exactly how I should eat!”

he proclaimed. I had to change some of what I’d already prepared for his road bag,

but I made it, and he was happy. Husband was happy. And I was darned

pleased with myself.
Once I just plain lucked out. The story that I will tell another time about the family of nine who dropped in from out-of-state for dinner has one part missing. Having to quickly serve 13 people, I made large pitchers of fruited iced tea mix. Unknown to me, the father of the family was allergic to corn in any form, even corn sweeteners. The mix was, fortunately, sugar sweetened.
You can’t always rely on luck, ( however, as there are no atheists in fox holes or hospital waiting rooms, I might add that I have heard more than one muttered prayer or quick sign of the cross from many otherwise unreligious cook or chef when facing a culinary crisis), you can learn to rely on yourself and your shelf. You cannot possibly be prepared to set up housekeeping for every unusual contingency, but with a little knowledge and forethought, you can keep your head when faced with unexpected dietary needs of family and friends. You can come shining through.
Next time, we will talk about fish and meatless protein combinations and what you should have in your pantry cabinets at all times.