Monday, February 21, 2011

Couscous Spinach Apple Lunch

Here's what's for lunch today. Leftover mushroom couscous with spinach added, and apples, raisins, and walnuts sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon.

This was really delicious.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vegetable Pot Pie

Okay, by now everyone knows about the "cold spell" we've been having here in AZ. Actually, I believe it's been a fairly standard winter for the valley, other than those few days of upper 20s and 30s temps at night, which killed a lot of our trees. Enough about the weather.

Since it was cold the other day, I decided to create a warm comforting meal for the family. I always used to love chicken or turkey pot pie, so I thought, I'll make a veggie pot pie! This time I jotted down on a piece of paper all the ingredients I used. For the seasonings, I will have to guesstimate here in the recipe; I will have to remember next time to measure it all out in measuring spoons. We have two family members visiting as guests, and they are not vegetarian. Actually, I'm the only one in this household who is vegetarian, so the look on their faces was that of "okay, well, I guess we'll just wait and see what's set before us . . . ."

I took my time and the result was well worth it. Every member of the family went back for seconds. The Veganishta was laughing with joy and wonder. I just had to take a picture of the "empty" pan when we all were finished filling our bellies and warming up on a chilly evening. Here is the recipe.

Veganishta Veggie-Power Pot Pie
5 small-med carrots sliced thinly at a 45 degree angle (just to add some flair and be different)
5 stalks of celery sliced semi-thinly
1/2 of a large onion chopped
1 large garlic clove--pressed
7 small potatoes sliced into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 c. dry organic quinoa
1 cup gourmet variety mushrooms chopped (I have some from Costco--freeze dried that are good)
3 cups vegetable broth
2/3-1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (plain, unsweetened)
1/4 cup white flour
4 tbsp marjoram
Sea salt to taste
1/8-1/4 tsp white pepper (to taste)
3 tbsp Earth Balance Butter
2-3 counts poured olive oil
Filo dough sheets

1. Wash and cut all vegetables (even add the garlic) and set aside in large bowl; cook quinoa and set aside; pour hot vegetable broth over freeze-dried mushrooms and let sit for five minutes;

2. Saute for 5 minutes the vegetables in a mixture of the Earth Balance butter and olive oil in a large, deep frying pan or wok on medium-high heat

3. Drain (if needed) the quinoa and add it to the mushrooms and broth; simmer for a minute or two

4. Pour the mushroom quinoa broth into the vegetables in the big pan

5. Bring to a slight boil and then just simmer on a low heat;

6. Add the seasoning and stir occasionally; then add the flour by sprinkling a little at a time while stirring so as to thicken the sauce; add the coconut milk also. Add a little more flour if need to the consistency you like for the sauce and color.

7. Lightly oil with olive oil your pan and add several sheets of filo dough to the bottom and sides; pour in the veggie mixture

8. Layer several more sheets of filo dough over the mixture; then brush the top of all the filo with a combo of Earth Balance Butter and olive oil; place in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the filo is golden brown.

Hope it turns out as well for you as it did for The Veganishta! Enjoy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Warm Winter Foods

Okay, folks, I'm just going by my memory here. If you'd like to try these, I know that you may alter some of the ingredients to your liking. That's how I cook, so of course, go ahead. Well, earlier in the week, I bought a large butternut squash, and it sat in my basket on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. Then on Wednesday, I got the urge to cook something in the crock pot and decided to make a squash stew. I peeled and cubed the squash, then decided to add some celery, onion, corn, great northern beans, and a variety of seasonings. I cooked all the ingredients in a light veggie broth. I added the corn and beans (which were precooked) during the last 20 minutes. The result was a delicious soup.

What's soup without bread? Well, since I had some pumpkin and some cornmeal in the pantry, I searched the web for recipes for pumpkin cornbread muffins. I came across several, but was not satisfied with any. So, I just took a few ideas from each and created my own recipe. I baked the batter in a glass, 9" x 9" cake pan. It turned out well.

Mom, my sister, and I each had two helpings. I don't think the men in the house cared for it. I ate some again tonight and still have some left over. I'm going to remember this meal and add it to my Veganishta Creations collection. This would be a warm and hearty meal for anyone on a cold winter's eve.

Veganishta Squash & White Bean Soup
1 large butternut squash
1/3-1/2 of a large, white onion chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large celery stalks, chopped
1-1/2 cups corn kernels
2 cups white beans (pre-cooked)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
Sea salt to taste
1/8 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tbsp. marjoram leaves
2 tbsp. veggie bouillon base
6 cups of water, or enough to cover the ingredients

Place all in crock pot (except corn and beans) and cook on high for three hours; then on low for one to two hours; add the corn and beans the last 15 minutes or half hour.

Veganishta Pumpkin Cornbread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can substitute your preferred sweetener)
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup almond milk

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into 9" x 9" cake pan or muffin pans of your choice. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve with Earth Balance butter--that's what I did!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Very "Green" Salad

No recipe here, exactly. Made a very green salad for dinner last night. After I had broken my food processor the night before, I labored at the cutting board with knife and cut and sliced away at: romaine lettuce, fresh kale, savoy cabbage, green zucchini, cucumber, celery, shallots, and then a little color with carrots and tomatoes. I made an olive oil, rice vinegar, apple juice, and brown rice syrup dressing on the side. Little bowls containing sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, diced fresh figs, and calamata olives for the taking provided some added nutritional complements. I had two helpings of the salad and the rest of the family enjoyed it as well.

No salad pictures, but here is a photo of why we are wearing our coats this week in Phoenix.  This is a photo of our icicle-laden fountain by our church.

We're off to Old West Cave Creek today for some flea marketing. At least the sun is shining, but we will still need our coats today.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Trip to Whole Foods Market Wearing a Coat in Phoenix!

Okay, well, The Veganishta broke down this morning and put on the winter jacket, you know, the one appropriate for a winter visit to Flagstaff, etc.?  Back home in Chicago where I grew up, they are experiencing a near-like 1967 snow storm, as well as many other states across the country. I just received some Picasa photos from my son-in-law. Everyone is off for a "snow day." The snow, folks, was up to his hips, and he is at least 6'1" or maybe 6'2".

We are not without the effects here in AZ. It's pretty darn cold here today. The high will be 48. After living here for about eleven years now, it has been rare for a high temp during the day such as this. And since my blood is thinned out, as they say, I had to wear my coat. My sister and I drove to the Whole Foods Market to pick up some staples and fresh produce. We lingered inside for two hours! A Vita Mix blender demo was taking place, and we stayed until we sampled: a fruit smoothie, a green veggie smoothie, hot veggie soup, and a raspberry sorbet! LOL It was our "brunch."

We loaded up the goodies in our cart—fresh kale, broccoli, kale salad, a variety of organic grains, some good olive oil, some nuts, etc. The kale salad from the deli was very good. We enjoyed it for lunch with some of my lentil and brown rice warm side dish. In my steamer yesterday, I made brown rice and lentils and used some for my veggie loaf, but then decided to add some sauteed onions, fresh cumin, turmeric, and some canned tomatoes with basil and garlic. This mix will provide a protein side dish for lunches for the rest of the week. We ate some of it along with some of the kale salad for lunch. It was very good for a cold, blustery day in sunny Phoenix.

Now, thanks to the inspiration Whole Foods Market, The Veganishta will create her own rendition of a good, cold, kale salad. I'm sure she will post the recipe when it happens!

Stay warm and cozy,