Monday, January 31, 2011

Stuffed Poblanos with Bean, Spinach and Avocado quesadillas

I bought poblanos maybe 2 weeks ago to stuff with something. Sadly, working nights got into the way and I haven't made dinner more than twice in two weeks. As my husband doesn't cook - this had meant A LOT of meals out (besides breakfast and lunch) - so although my schedule is tight this week I am making it a point to make dinner each night. I looked for a recipe online for stuffed poblanos, but couldn't find one that sounded appealing - so I threw a bunch of stuff together and luckily it tasted great.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers:
2 poblano peppers
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove elephant garlic (or two cloves regular garlic), chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup cilantro
1/3 can black beans
1/3 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 Tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp cream cheese (or tofutti better than cream cheese)

Preheat broiler. Slit open peppers and remove seeds. Char in broiler for about 5 minutes per side, until nice and charred.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add spinach and cook for one minute, then add cilantro, black beans and tomatoes. Season with all of the spices, and if you so desire, add the cream cheese. This makes it into a great consistency that will stay together. Stuff the peppers with the mixture, put oven down to 350, and bake 5 minutes longer.

I served these with what Nava Atlas calls a "big quesadilla." These ones are based on a recipe from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook. They are so simple and you don't miss the cheese at all.

Bean, Spinach, and Avocado Quesadilla:
2 wheat tortillas (I use fajita size)
1/3 can fat free vegetarian refried beans
1 cup spinach
1/2 avocado
salsa, hot sauce

Heat grill pan (or just plain old saute pan). Fill 1/2 of each tortilla with a few Tbsp of the refriedd beans. Top with spinach. Fold in half. Cook on a oiled grill pan until brown on each side- about 2-3 minutes. Top with avocado/salsa/hot sauce. That's it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coconut-Hoisin Stir Fry

I was sitting at lab today, thinking of all the wonderful dinners I could make when I got home. I saw THIS POST on Vegan Dad after searching for a bok choy recipe. I had my heart set on tofu - and I didn't have any garbanzo beans, so I decided to meld these two recipes into an amalgamation of goodness. I threw in everything I could think of - and it was FANTASTIC.

Coconut-Hoisin Stir Fry
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 clove elephant garlic (or two regular garlic cloves)
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 zucchini - sliced
3 bunches baby bok choy
1 package cremini mushrooms
1 bunch scallions, sliced on diagonal
1 can full fat coconut milk (with cream removed from top of can to make one of these smoothies)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp soy sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
Na++ and pepper
Sriracha if you are AWESOME like me

Tofu: cover a baking sheet with tin foil. Press tofu by wrapping in a clean cloth and squeezing it against a cutting board. Slice tofu into cute little squares and toss in soy sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350.

Stir fry: Heat oils in wok, add ginger and garlic, and stir until they actually smell like ginger and garlic. Add the vegetables in descending order - asparagus, zucchini, bok choy... not the scallions yet- hold on! Give each a little time to soften before you add the next. Now add your coconut milk, curry, soy sauce, hoisin, and Na++ and pepper if you desire.

Add the tofu when it is nice and firm from the oven. Stir, plate.... now add the scallions! Heap on some sriracha if you dare.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tempeh with Snow Peas

Happy MLK day! I am at work all night, which is fine because I slept in until 10:30 today.

Yesterday I cleaned the house, while drinking some delicious beer and listening to the Gov't Mule New Year's Eve 2010 show. I hate cleaning, but beer and loud music make it much more bearable. Plus, it really couldn't be avoided any longer. My house had reached the stage where it was too disgusting to be able to sit down without shuddering thinking of all the dirt. I was even waking up at night - not able to rest thinking of all the dirt around. I'm usually laid back about messes, but this was BAD.

DRINK THIS BEER!!!! Thank me later.

Anyway- I had a leisurely morning full of lots of coffee and reading. I decided to make dinner before leaving for gym/work so that I could eat an actual meal at lab.

My sister-in-law posted a recipe for this meal on her blog a little while ago- and I started to salivate just thinking about how good it probably was. She and my brother made it for us on New Year's Day- and it was so delicious. Even my father ate it, who normally reacts pretty strongly to all the weird vegetarian stuff I make. His usual response: "it's different!"

The redeeming quality of this meal for him was the coconut rice it was served on top of. It's so simple, rather than cooking your rice in water, use a can of full fat (or low fat if you are a loser) coconut milk! I used short grain brown rice, put it into a saucepan, brought it to a boil and let it simmer for 50 minutes. And when it's done it is creamy and WONDERFUL!

The recipe can be found by following the link above! It takes about 5 minutes to throw together and costs about $1.05 - the price of freedom.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Deer in the Kitchen

On Christmas, my husband's uncle gave him a deer shoulder. I don't know what he was going to do with all of that venison, but my husband accepted it anyway. It was super gross, just a stripped deer leg, hoof and all, hanging out in the freezer for a month. I refused to go in the freezer and kept telling him to get rid of it. Well, today was another *SNOW* day (read: 1 inch of snow, all schools closed.... my entire building empty) so I woke up a little late because I didn't see the urgency of rushing into work.

Well, I happened into the kitchen and it looked like GROSS ANATOMY class in there. Husband Dave had been thawing the leg all night in the sink, and was literally slicing the meat off the bone in my kitchen. There was even a pile of fascia on a plate nearest me. I almost barfed. And WTF was I supposed to do about COFFEE???? There was a half a deer sitting right next to my pot!!!!
Needless to say - I had to wait until I got to work to have a stupid cup of black tea.

After he finished his dissection, I NICELY ordered him to sanitize EVERYTHING. I was completely grossed out and am grossed out again now thinking of it. So now he and his buddy are off feasting upon the abomination that is no longer in my freezer (one positive?) while I am at home alone...

Such a monstrosity in the kitchen deserved a completely vegetarian dinner.. so I whipped up some Polenta Stuffed Peppers from the Moosewood Simple Suppers Cookbook. I've made them before, but neglected to post the recipe! You can find the recipe on my sister-in-law's blog by clicking HERE.

Additionally I made my favorite BBQ tofu with the BBQ sauce I had left over from THIS RECIPE.

Of course I had some wine, a lovely Malbec. But wait, what is that hiding behind my goblet? Well, it's not vegan, but it was lovely. A beet and mandarin orange salad- 2 beets, 1/4 cup orange slices, 1 Tbsp goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Oh yeah. No blood, no deer, no meat.

Let's hope Bambi stays out of the kitchen next time.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow and Hummus

I am happy to have a few hours to relax by myself tonight (read: watch more David Duchovny). I already went to the gym, my husband is at his Monday night hockey league, and the whole state is in a state of emergency because of snow. Growing up in Western New York- snow was either exciting or kind of a bummer (depending on whether or not you ski or if you are in grade school or not). Well, here, it incites sheer, unadulterated panic into the hearts of all citizens. Schools close before a flake even falls, bread and milk fly from the shelves, and EVERYONE must stay in. Well, yes, I can get haughty with my tales of heading to school in four feet of snow... but sometimes you must embrace the feeling... and just hole up with a bottle of wine and a fire and not do anything!

I just finished a serving of Polenta, Black Beans and Greens (that I made with the leftover collards from THIS recipe) a recipe from Vegan Express that I make often.

I also decided that I wanted some hummus and a baked good for the week. I haven't decided on a baked good yet - but I did decide on a hummus. I saw THIS recipe on Oh She Glows. It is absolutely delicious and very, very thick. The tabasco gives it an awesome extra kick. And look how pretty!

Now I may make some muffins... or just lay down for the rest of the night!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carribean Rice with Garbanzos and Veggies and Orange-Glazed Tofu

I was having a Lazy Saturday yesterday - watching old Californication episodes (marry me David Duchovny... Hank Moody doesn't trump Fox Mulder for me obviously). Mmm David.

Anyway- I was perusing some food blogs, and saw this wonderful post on Carribean-themed recipes on Love Veggies and Yoga. The recipe for Carribean Rice with Garbanzos and Veggies has caught my eye before, and since I had the basic ingredients in the house I decided to go for it. It was incredible! The original recipe can be found here, my changes are below!

Carribean Rice with Garbanzos and Veggies
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 can full fat awesome coconut milk
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tsp ground ginger
1 Tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped and steamed until soft and bright green (this takes two minutes in the microwave- just put in a closed tupperware container with some water and nuke)

Bring rice, coconut milk and spices to boil. Cover and simmer until rice is done (we all know this takes a bit, maybe 40 minutes. Check your bag of rice for exact cooking times). When done, add peanut butter, beans and asparagus. OH MY GOODNESS. It is so creamy, delicious and filling (going with my David Duchovny theme for the most part).

I served it with some orange flavored tofu I made using a wonderful gift of Chinese marmalade from my dear friend in Macau.

Orange-Glazed Tofu:
1 black extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
2 Tbsp honey (or agave to make it vegan)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
(some soy sauce would be good, but I was out)

Slice tofu into cute little cubes. Line a baking pan with tin foil (unless you want to ruin your pan with burnt marmalade mess) and preheat oven to 450. Set out the tofu on your pan and cover in 1.2 the marinade. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip over, cover with remaining marinade and cook ten minutes longer (or longer if you really like it crispy five minutes longer than that). Done. It was delicious. What a good meal. I talked about the deliciousness for a little bit too long during the Sabres game last night!

Now a nice day of spinning, swimming, sauna, Black Swan, and dinner with friends. Eventually I will decide what to cook for the rest of the week!

Some Vegan Southern Cooking

The week after vacation is always a struggle. It takes me awhile to get accustomed to being productive for 8-ish hours a day. My sickness finally subsided today (Sunday) - meaning that I really wasn't in the mood to cook or eat all of this week. Early in the week I managed to move off of the couch long enough to make this emergency-type dinner:

BBQ Seitan:
1 package seitan
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup good-tasting BBQ sauce

Saute veggies, add seitan, add BBQ.... DONE. Dave wanted some rice with it, but I just stuck to a serving of protein and veggies.

Let's ignore the fact that the photo is upside down and I can't figure out how to turn it right-side up on my P.O.S. Thinkpad.

BBQ Black-Eyed Peas Collard Rolls
After taking a full day off of work on Tuesday- I was ready to take on some serious cooking on Wednesday. My friend from work had made these for a Louisiana-themed dinner party before and I really enjoyed them. I spotted a huge pile of collards at the grocery store and decided the time had come to make them. However, I used almost EVERY pot in my kitchen, and made a gigantic mess. I would definitely not make this on a weeknight again. The BBQ sauce is pretty good - but doesn't come close to my favorite Sweet and Stick BBQ sauce devised by Vegan Dad.

The original recipe comes from Veganomicon, and can be found on this site. There's very little ingredients other than the BBQ sauce. Collards, cremini mushrooms, and black eyed peas.. all rolled up with some chopped collards in some steamed collard leaves. Try it out if you want to get dirty Southern faster than saying "why come ya'll ain't eat no meat?"

I served this with some whipped mashed potatoes. Red skinned potatoes, smart balance, better than cream cheese, parsley and salt and pepper. Yum.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back from vacation

I love vacation, even if it is for a few days. School is overwhelming as usual, but one thing I know I am god at is checking out when I am not there. Early in my school career, vacations generally created more stress than they were worth.

Well, no longer to I experience an existential crisis - though I did spend a good chunk of my time up north talking to old colleagues, meeting with old advisors and collaborators and trying to find a path for my future. Mainly, I ate and drank a lot. Now I am back home, a few pounds heavier and worn down to the point of exhaustion. I even received the gift of bronchitis for Xmas. Hooray!

The places my parents like to go are generally meat heavy, so when you do get a vegetarian dish it is either fried or covered in cream sauce. I try to stick to ethnic places because I know I can get something good. One of the meals I had while I was up was absolutely delicious, and seemingly healthy. Tofu hash with black beans, sweet potatoes and caramelized onions. Topped with a chunk of vegan cornbread and a mimosa = heaven at brunch.

I'm trying to get my health back on track with a week full of healthy meals, beginning each day with a green smoothie to help ward off this awful sickness. Let's hope it helps!

My morning smoothie:
1 bunch spinach
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/3 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 packet splenda
water as needed