Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spicy Lentil Pita Patties with Peach Chutney

This is the result of my ongoing efforts to build a better veggie burger. These are still fairly soft, but hold together well with the flax seeds and gluten. The spices are of an Indian theme, which I think goes well with the lentils and potatoes. I like cooking my veggie burgers over higher heat for a few minutes on each side first, to give them a nice crispy golden hue. Then I reduce the heat and let them cook for a while longer - the longer cooking time cooks out more of the moisture, resulting in a firmer patty. These are great in any kind of burger format, but I had some whole wheat pitas on hand. Douse liberally with chutney - I added some cucumber raita too. The spinach is there because spinach is great anywhere, and I have an abundance on hand these days.

Spicy Lentil Patties
1 1/2 cups brown lentils, cooked and drained
1 cup baked potato, diced
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup wheat gluten flour
2 tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 tbsp. tamari, soy sauce, or bragg's liquid aminos
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1. Combine flax seeds with tamari (or other soy sauce) and water in a cup, and mix well with a fork.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine lentils, potatoes, onion, flax seed mixture, and remaining spices. Mix just to combine - this preliminary mixing is just to ensure that things are well combined in the food processor.
3. Add contents of mixing bowl to your food processor, and pulse until the lentils are pretty ground up and all ingredients are well combined.
4. Refrigerate patty mix for at least a couple of hours. Form into pattys, and fry with a little canola or peanut oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook over medium heat until golden-brown on each side.
Peach Chutney
1 ripe peach, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar or other sweetener
1 tbsp. canola oil
1. Saute ginger, onion, and garlic in a saucepan until they just begin to brown. Add peach pieces and remaining ingredients, and saute over medium heat for 7 minutes or so, stirring frequently. When the peach is nice and soft, remove from heat. If you like, blend the ingredients once they have cooled to make a smooth chutney. If not, this works fine without blending.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blueberry-Oatmeal Bars

Although I would love to take credit for these delicious blueberry bars, the recipe comes from one of my favorite recipe sites, http://www.fatfreevegan.com/. The only thing I changed was a substitution of brown rice syrup for agave nectar, since I'm all out. On the technical side, I also learned how easy it is to turn Quaker oats into oat flour. I used my beaten up old blender, and ground the oats almost all the way to a fine flour. I left some texture, which resulted in a bar with just the right chewiness. It's a great recipe, and I can always count on the FatFreeVegan Kitchen blog for crystal clear directions and beautiful photos. I also appreciated SusanV's account of the joys of picking blueberries. My favorite blueberry memory is from my time on Isle Royale in Lake Superior with Minnesota Conservation Corps. Isle Royale in late July, at least that year, was covered with wild berries - strawberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, blueberries, and others. I usually tried to be a responsible crew leader for our trail work, but I managed to work in extended - really, really, extended - breaks for berry picking and general lounging in the woods. Anyway, that's a good blueberry bar.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baby Potatoes with Basil Pesto

The Fargo-Moorhead Farmer's Market down along the river is in full swing. I picked up a backpack full of goodies today, including a couple pounds of baby red potatoes. They're tossed with a fairly typical pesto, with fresh basil from my garden.
1 pound baby potatoes, washed but unpeeled (cut or quarter any potatoes bigger than a marble, so they cook evenly)
water and salt

Basil-Walnut Pesto
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional...but then again, isn't everything?)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add potatoes and just enough water to cover them, along with a dash of salt, to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the potatoes just simmer. Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. When the potatoes are easily punctured with a fork, they're done. Since they're so small, overcooking can cause them to fall apart and get mushy.
2. Combine pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process.
3. Drain potatoes, and toss with pesto.

Here's today's haul from the farmer's market, soon to appear on a food blog near you.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tempeh Fajitas with Lefse and Poblano Peppers

I finished off my package of Freddy's Lefse in style today, with this fajita packed with marinated tempeh, poblano peppers, red peppers, and onions. It's accompanied by a simple salsa with tomato, avocado, kiwi, lime, and cilantro. Set aside at least a couple of hours to properly marinate the tempeh pieces - I left mine in the fridge overnight.

Tempeh Fajitas
1 8 oz. package tempeh, cut to 1/2 inch by 2 inch pieces
1 Poblano pepper, seeds and stem removed, cut in thin strips (if you have other colorful peppers available, go for it)
1 medium yellow onion, cut in 1/2 inch rings
1 tbsp. canola oil

Fajita Marinade
juice of one regular lime, or three key limes
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup water (just enough so the marinade covers the tempeh in the dish)
1. Mix fajita marinade ingredients, and pour over tempeh pieces in a shallow dish, with a cover. Cover and let marinate, turning occasionally, for a few hours or overnight.
2. In a large frying pan, heat canola oil over high heat. Add onions and peppers, and fry for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tempeh (without marinade liquid), and continue to stir-fry until tempeh is nicely browned, which takes just a few minutes. Feel free to add some of the marinade liquid to intensify the flavor in the peppers, onions, and tempeh.
3. Remove from heat, and assemble fajitas while the ingredients are nice and hot. If you like, heat the lefse pieces in a dry pan on medium heat for a minute or so. Lefse is pretty soft and pliable anyway, so this is optional. As you can see, I used two pieces of lefse overlapping one another, to create a jumbo fajita.
4. Serve accompanied by salsa, guacamole, Spanish rice-style grains, refried beans, or tofu sour cream.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lentil and Spinach Soup

The spinach keeps rolling in from my garden - it's been fun to keep up with it. This is a simple soup, easy to prepare and benefiting from some pretty basic seasoning. This is also the second recipe in a row that reminds me of The Simpsons. The newly vegetarian Lisa brings a bowl of gazpacho to a barbecue in an episode from way back, and in the Paul McCartney episode he states that "Maybe I'm Amazed," when played backwards, includes "a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup." I think this is a fairly ripping lentil soup myself.

Lentil and Spinach Soup
1 tbsp. canola oil or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 large carrot, diced
1 1/2 cups dry brown lentils, rinsed
5 cups water
4 cups fresh spinach
1 tsp. dry thyme
1 heaping tbsp. shiro miso
ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot, and add onions, garlic, carrots, and thyme. Saute until the veggies just begin to soften and brown, about five minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the garlic.

2. Add the lentils and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low - just so the soup continues to simmer - and cover for about 20 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes or so, the lentils should be nice and soft. Remove from heat, and immediately add the spinach. Stir a few times, and the spinach will wilt and cook in the soup broth. Add the spoonful of miso paste, and stir until the miso dissolves completely - just a few swirls should do it. Add black pepper to taste.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Golden Gazpacho

Maybe it's the salmonella scare (how's that for a recipe intro...makes your taste buds tingle, don't it?), but my neighborhood grocery store had a pile of orange and yellow tomatoes this week. It was a surprise for this store, and they were cheap too. Here's some now:

Gazpacho, everyone's favorite cold-served tomato soup, was my first thought for these tomatoes. The soup features cucumber and flecks of cilantro from my garden...did I mention I have a garden? This is perfect food for days when it's too hot to cook, and nothing is easier than opening the refrigerator door and pouring a bowl of chilled, sparkling soup.
Golden Gazpacho
3 cups coarsely chopped yellow tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, peeled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp. salt
Cilantro for garnish
1. Prepare the vegetables - reserve about 1/2 cup of cucumbers, diced at a quarter inch or so. Place all other tomatoes, cucumber, and garlic in blender or food processor, and puree. I like to leave some texture, so you don't need to turn this soup into a glass of V8. But do what you please.
2. Add vinegar, lemon or lime juice, and cilantro, and pulse blender until those ingredients are well combined. Add just a little salt to taste - the flavors here aren't mellowed by cooking at all, so I don't think much salt is terribly necessary.
3. Add remaining cucumbers - I do this to add some crunchy bits to the soup. Chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Serve cold, even with an ice cube if you like.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lefse Veggie Wraps with Tahini-Peanut Sauce

Spinach is the big star of the blog lately, because it's in prime production out in the garden right now. We've had a few pretty hot days, so my nice little spinach patch is already starting to go to seed. I should still get good leaves for the next week or so, and will probably plant another course later this summer.
Lefse, if you've never had it, is the Norwegian tortilla. Potatoes and wheat flour are the primary ingredients, and growing up we always ate it with sugar and butter. I've never used lefse for non-sweet purposes, but I have a few ideas for an old favorite. This lefse is locally made, from Freddy's Lefse in West Fargo, ND.
On to the wraps - use whatever veggies you have on hand, but I like them heavy on greens. Also featured is my last golden-orange tomato (more on those tomatoes soon) and a little roasted red pepper. The tahini-peanut sauce is a slight variation of a salad dressing I make sometimes.

Tahini-Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
dash red pepper flakes

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor, or with a fork.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great Northern Beans with Baby Collards and Spinach

I love my garden! I don't have a whole lot of space in the garden, but I have nice rows of collards and spinach just getting ready to pick, and a few nice basil and cilantro plants. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. This dish is sort of a variation of the lemony linguine I made a couple days ago. This is the first time I've grown collard greens, and in the process of thinning out the plants to allow the bigger collard stalks to grow, I've learned that baby collards are delicious. They're joined by spinach, lemon juice, olive oil, and basil.

Great Northern Beans with Baby Collards and Spinach
2 cups great northern beans (or whatever beans you fancy), soaked overnight, cooked for about 45 minutes, and drained
2 cups baby collard greens, very loosely packed
2 cups spinach leaves
a little fresh basil
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
salt and pepper to taste

1. While the beans are cooking, wash your greens and prepare the other ingredients.

2. Saute the garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil, until the garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat, as always being careful not to burn your garlic.

3. Right after draining the beans, add the garlic and accompanying oil, along with the greens, lemon juice, and sun-dried tomatoes. Mix everything well, and leave covered for just a couple of minutes - the greens will soften a little as the lightly cook in the steam the beans are giving off. Season with salt and pepper, and you're ready to eat.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mushroom and Tempeh Stir-Fry

I make a lot of stir-frys, which rarely show up on this blog. They're a great way to get a variety of veggies and protein into a simple meal, and require very little work, which lazy people like me appreciate. This is a good sample - crispy fried tempeh, zucchini and fresh mushrooms, and a sauce heavy on ginger and garlic. This was served over pearl couscous, mostly because couscous requires so little cooking time, and it's hot up here on the second floor.

Mushroom and Tempeh Stir-Fry
1 8 oz. package tempeh, cut in one-inch cubes
1 cup zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 cup white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. tamari
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil

Stir-Fry Sauce
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. vegetable soup broth powder
1 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1. In a large non-stick frying pan, fry the tempeh cubes in the combined sesame and canola oil until lightly browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. When the tempeh is browned, add a tbsp. of tamari soy sauce - the sauce will spatter and crackle in the oil, but will quickly be soaked up by the tempeh cubes. Continue frying for another minute or so until the tamari is incorporated into the tempeh cubes. Remove from heat, and place tempeh cubes in a separate bowl until later.

2. Combine the stir-fry sauce ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.

3. In the same frying pan, heat a little more sesame oil and canola oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or so. Add the zucchini and mushrooms, and stir-fry just until the vegetables begin to soften and release their moisture. Both of these veggies cook very quickly, so don't overdo it.

4. When the veggies begin to soften, add the fried tempeh and the contents of the stir-fry sauce mixture. Continue stirring over medium heat. The cornstarch in the sauce will thicken pretty quickly. As soon as the sauce develops a thick consistency, remove from heat. Serve immediately, or cover until your grain/pasta of choice is finished cooking. Serve the stir-fry over your grain or pasta, and finish with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and hot pepper sauce.

Lemon-Spinach-Zucchini Linguine

It's getting to be the time of year to cook greens at any opportunity. This simple pasta dish features fresh spinach and zucchini, tossed with a good-quality linguine I spent a little extra on. It was worth it, though I usually opt for cheaper pasta that doesn't pretend to emulate the hand-made stuff. Anyway, the very lightly cooked vegetables are finished with a liberal amount of lemon juice, making the dish a refreshing option on summer days when extensive cooking isn't going to happen.

Lemon-Spinach-Zucchini Linguine (isn't that fun to say?)
1/2 pound linguine noodles
1 bunch (10 ounces or so) fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and stems removed
1 smallish zucchini, sliced lengthwise and thinly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil

1. Cook the pasta in lightly salted water. Meanwhile, saute the minced garlic in just enough olive oil to coat your pan, over a medium flame.

2. Add zucchini to the garlic saute, and cook for about a minute. Add the spinach leaves, and cook just until wilted. Stir frequently to speed the wilting of the leaves. There is no reason to overcook these - in fact, this would work just fine raw, but I like what happens when the veggies cook a little in good olive oil.

3. When your linguine is al dente, drain it. Add the noodles to your frying pan (which should be off the heat by now), and toss to evenly distribute the spinach and zucchini. Finish by mixing in the lemon juice, and feel free to add a little more olive oil too right before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mango-Coconut Ice Cream Sundae

The ice cream maker made another appearance this week, whipping up this delicious coconut milk ice cream, flavored with lime juice and flecks of mango. The sundae topping is a simple mango syrup I made on the stove - just mango, sugar, and a little water simmered for 15 minutes and pureed in the blender. Top with some unsalted roasted peanuts, and make every day a sundae.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Butternut Squash Smoothie

I acknowledge that my postings this summer have been kind of...well...lazy. Not many detailed recipes, and the things I have posted have been pretty simple. But that's ok. Here's an example. It took about 2 minutes to put together, but tasted damn good. In my book, that's a success.

Butternut Squash Smoothie
1 cup roasted (and cooled...do I even need to say that?) butternut squash, or whatever squash or pumpkin you have hanging around in the fridge
1 cup nondairy milk (soymilk here)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar or other sweetener

1. Blend that shit.

Quinoa and Friends Veggie Burritos

Someday I'll write a memoir about my experiences with veggie burritos. Today, just this photo. These veggie burritos came together almost by accident. On Tuesday I rushed home from a job to take the dogs out and whip up a quick lunch. I had a pot on the stove with a leftover quinoa stir-fry from the night before, and added a can of black beans, some shredded zucchini, and a little salsa (home-made by Mom). I grabbed a few flour tortillas and headed outside for a little picnic in the backyard with the dogs, and realized I had a pretty mean veggie burrito on my hands. Ingredients include quinoa, edamame, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, onions and garlic, followed by those black beans and zucchini.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper

Hummus is a humble thing, and that's why I like it. Simple ingredients come together with satisfying results. This is my basic hummus recipe, with a few pieces of roasted red sweet pepper for color and taste. Enjoy with fresh veggies for dipping, or spread on your bread of choice, like I did here. If it's lunchtime around here, there's a good chance hummus will make an appearance.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1 14 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup roasted red pepper pieces
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is well blended.