everything here is eatable

Mostly-vegan low-fat whole foods recipes

Monday, December 31, 2007

Balsamic Butternut Squash Soup

My very first pressure cooked soup! And it was quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

Balsamic Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash (can use any other yellow/orange winter squash here, like pumkin or acorn), peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
1 lrg onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp low-sodium veggie bouillon powder (I used Vegebase)
1/2-1/2 tsp ground sage
2-3 cups frozen greens (I used turnip but you can use spinach, collards, whatever)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Add all ingredients except greens and balsamic to your 4-6 quart pressure cooker. Add enough water to be seen through the veggies (about 3-4 cups). Fasten lid and bring up to pressure. Let cook under pressure for 10 minutes then use a quick release method to bring pressure down. *
2. Once its ready, remove lid and either transfer ingredients in batches to a blender and blend until smooth, or blend in the pot with a hand blender.
3. Return to the stove and add the greens. Over low-med heat, heat through until the greens have thawed and are cooked through.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic. Garnish with additional balsamic and/or minced onion. Serves 4-6.

* Alternatively, if you don't have a pressure cooker, bring the contents to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the squash is soft then proceed with the recipe.

Nutritional Info: Servings Per Recipe:6, Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143.9, Total Fat: 1.1 g, Cholesterol: 0.0 mg, Sodium: 513.8 mg, Total Carbs: 32.5 g, Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g, Protein: 5.1 g

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Grub and stuff

Merry (late) Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. This was the scene that met me from the window early Christmas morning...it almost made getting up at the crack of dawn worth it!

Other than inhumanly massive amounts of cookies (seriously, I have a cookie problem!), we
actually had real food for Christmas. We spent the day with Katie's family, so we had to bring pretty much all of our food with us since I don't think there is anything in their house I can eat. But thats okay, since it was an excuse to try out a bunch of new recipes.

First, corn pudding. I posted the recipe for this earlier, since I made it for Thanksgiving, but this time I added green and red peppers, sauteed onion and garlic, plus some smoked paprika, cayenne and a little dried chipotle. It was quite good, but I think next time I add the veggies, I will cut down on the sugar a bit or at least seriously up the spices, because it was sort of in between a lot of flavors...not quite sweet, not quite savory, not quite spicy...but still good, so with some tweaking it may be a keeper.

Second, Collard, Pear and Caramelized Onion Casserole. A few years back, I spent several months working at Boston-area farmer's markets selling bread for a local bakery. The Massachusetts Farmer's Market Federation put out a series of recipe cards with beautiful food porn of local produce on the front and tasty recipes submitted by federation members on the back and this recipe was on one of the cards I picked up and managed to hold on to. The original recipe called for smoked gouda, but I substituted a smoky cheez sauce for the gouda with
moderate success. Definitely needs some tweaking as well, but the flavor was really good, especially as leftovers.

Collard, Pear and Caramelized Onion Casserole

1 lb collard greens, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 lb spanish or yellow onions, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 lb ripe pears (2 lrg), cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/3 c dried cherries

1/2 c apple cider or apple juice

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp cider vinegar

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 batch smoky cheddar cheez sauce (see below)

salt to taste
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast

a sprinkling of smoked paprika

- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions in a little bit of water until carmellized, about 20 minutes. When soft, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and let cool.

- In a large pot, cook collard greens, covered, in 1/2 c water until soft, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

- In a small saucepan, combine apple cider or juice with dried cherries and simmer over low heat until cherries are plump. Set aside to cool.

- In a bowl, mix well together onions, pears, collards, cherries with juice, apple cider vinegar, coriander and cheez sauce (make this right before you mix these up so it doesn't set too much to easily combine). Season with salt to taste.

- Transfer mixture to an oiled 6-cup casserole dish, sprinkle with the nutritional yeast and smoked paprika and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until pears are soft.

Smoky Cheez Sauce (modified from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Melty Pizza Cheese recipe)

1 cup water
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp tapioca starch or flour
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white miso
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1/8 tsp liquid smoke
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender until well blended. Will be very liquidy. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, then let simmer for about 30 seconds or until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in an additional 2 tbsp water. Use immediately or can be cooled and used as a spread.

I also made a GF chocolate ginger cake...which blew. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong but lets just say that if I hadn't added chocolate chips, the cake portion would have be totally inedible. Luckily it had a tasty pecan/crystallized ginger topping that had enough flavor to compensate so it wasn't a total waste. I won't even mention the cookbook I got it from and I
didn't take any pictures.

So the two casseroles, combined with a baked sweet potato, some steamed broccoli and corn, made for a pretty awesome Christmas dinner
, as you can see below.

On the gift front, the beasties had a very good christmas. The birds got newspaper stockings filled with popcorn, which, in case you didn't know, is the best food in the whole world. Here are some shots of Tequa, Dina and Widjic enjoying gorging themselves (it looked like a popcorn massacre!)

The bunnies got a similar stocking, only stuffed with romaine lettuce and banana slices. The piggies and bearded dragons got apple and carrot slices, the kitties got trader joes "tuna for cats", aka, kitty crack, sprinkled with catnip and garnished with pogo mouse treats from their grandma. Asher got LOTS of toys, especially when he got to Katie's parent's house, where he got their dog's hand-me-downs, some of which still had squeakers! He had fun, which was good, since his other gift was being neutered and he didn't like that one nearly as much! The people members of the family got a 6-quart pressure cooker, a 22-quart pressure canner, a coffee (aka spice) grinder and a mini food processor, plus other assorted goodies. The pressure cooker (the small one...I'll try out the canner this summer) is awesome...expect some pressure cooked recipes soon.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas or whatever winter holiday you celebrate!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Cookie ExtravaGANZA

Happy Holidays everyone! Katie had very ambitious plans this year for holiday cookie distribution, so it feels like we spent all of the past week baking and the kitchen is STILL a mess, even though Christmas is past. There were a variety of dietary needs considered for various batches of cookies, so we had gluten-free vegan low-or-no-added-fat cookies, wheat-free low-fat vegan cookies, "wheaty," full-fat vegan cookies and "regular" non-vegan, wheat-flour, full-fat cookies going out to a various people at various times in various places...and of course, many of them staying here and being consumed by us in far too copious quantities. But I'll spare you the non-vegan cookies, since this is supposedly a vegan blog. There is a lack of real recipes here, since they are all simply veganized and/or de-wheated and/or de-fatted versions of existing recipes.

First, some spelt gingerbread peoples and stars (no recipe here, just Betty Crocker's recipe veganized and wheat flour replaced with spelt flour).

Then some Banana Oat Drops:

The recipe is modified from this one, but the oil in the recipe replaced with mashed banana and then some more banana thrown in to replace the chocolate chips and make the whole thing more, well, banana-y.

Gluten free Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip cookies

Based on this recipe, but veganized with a flax egg and soy milk and the regular flours subbed out with my favorite gluten-free flour blend....and I upped the spices a bit but I'm not sure by how much...til it tasted good...

Vegan Spritz (not gluten- or wheat-free)

Katie made these and I'm not sure of the recipe she used, but aren't they pretty!?

Vegan GF Snickerdoodles

These were awfully pretty and very tasty when they first came out of the oven...but got really weird after they cooled. Still edible, but the recipe needs a lot of tweaking before it is shared with the public....

Dreena Burton's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies, made with all spelt flour.

There are some here (on top) with applesauce subbed out for all of the oil and some (on the bottom) with 1 tbsp oil and 3 tbsp applesauce. The one with the oil were better but the ones without were awesome too. I love this recipe!

Then Dreena Burton's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

These are with no oil, but I made some with the oil and they didn't really taste any different. Again, very tasty recipe and already wheat-free, yay!

Here's a picture of the vegan cookie basket Katie brought into work, with everything but the gingerbread and banana cookies making an appearance here:

This post is making me crave cookies again and I had WAY too much sugar yesterday, so the rest of the Christmas food blogging will have to wait until later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday giving

Yep, no post for weeks then two in one day, woohoo! But this one is only barely about food. I'm sitting here (still listening to the snoring dog) going over my list of holiday gifts I have and those I still need to purchase. A week and a half 'til Christmas, Hanukkah is in full swing and Solstice is only days away. So, if you've been slacking, its time to get going. According to the USPS, in order to get your gifts to people by Christmas via parcel post, they need to be mailed by Saturday and cards have to be mailed by the 22nd.

Anyway, so what am I giving this year? I'm trying to be as conscious as I can be about the message my gifts are sending, along with the potential global and environmental impact they might have. I'm not succeeding as well as I might like (I was at Christmas Tree Shoppe and K-mart last night, and at the *shudder* mall on Saturday...) but every little bit helps. Here's how I'm trying to share the love a bit this season;

Service/Donation gifts are one of my favorite things to give to my relatives who "have it all" and who don't seem to appreciate object gifts. The past few years, my grandparents have received a donation in their name to Heifer International. I love Heifer, they really embody the idea of paying it forward and they get excellent ratings from charity rating services. Plus, I get far too much pleasure out of giving my grandparents a goat or a pig or a flock of chickens for Christmas (you'd understand if you knew them...). However, this year, I've gone a different way. The Food Project, a group based out of Massachusetts, works to support not only sustainable agriculture, local food production and environmental responsibility but also empowers at-risk kids by placing them in positions of responsibility and offering them opportunities to learn about where their food comes from and how what they eat impacts their lives. Local and sustainable agriculture is something I feel quite strongly about and any group that helps out kids is good in my book, plus they get fabulous ratings. Though I was awfully tempted by the World Toilet Organization, though I can't quite afford it. Not only is is for a good cause, but really, how fun is it to say "Merry Christmas, I got you a toilet!"?

I am also donating money to the Rabies Challenge Fund, a group that is doing long-term (5-7 years) testing on the immunity produced by the rabies vaccine. There is increasing evidence indicating that not only is vaccination against rabies every 1-3 years unnecessary to protect against the virus but that the government-mandated overvaccination is extremely harmful to our pets, potentially causing cancer, neurological problems, behavior changes and other long-term problems. The Rabies Challenge is the first long-term study of its kind and hopefully will be able to produce the results necessary to change the rabies vaccination guidelines. This is a issue that has touched me personally, as 3 of the dogs I grew up with suffered (and one is still suffering) with the effects of vaccinosis following rabies vaccines. So they are getting a donation in honor of my mother and Kirby and in memory of Kima and Dani (I hope my mother doesn't read this...I don't think she does).

And if you are thinking of giving a donation as a gift, check out the group on Charity Navigator first. They do an excellent job at giving you the pros and cons of various groups and showing you where your money is really going.

I'm also trying to give local this year. My aunts and my cousin are getting a "Taste of Syracuse" gift basket, consisting of a jar of something tasty from Natural Disorder, a local hot sauce and condiment company (Riesling-marinated garlic cloves, need I say more?) , some local wine (still need to buy this so not sure which winery), some Dinosaur Barbeque sauce, some Speidie Sauce, some hard pretzels, some local honey, a few local apples and some salt potatoes. The honey, apples and potatoes are from the farmer's market, and I picked up the Natural Disorder stuff and pretzels there too. I'm also picking up some odds and ends for stocking stuffers for my immediate family at the market this Saturday as well.

Everyone on my gift list is also getting homemade goodness, either in the form of cookies or peppermint bark, depending on how far the food has to travel. And my petsitting clients are getting homemade treats and possibly toys too, if I actually get around to it!

And if I can't (or don't want to) make it and can't find it locally, there's always Etsy! This site is way too cool...page after page after page of awesome hand-crafted, -painted, -baked, -sculpted -whatever awesomeness. Really, I think there is something for everyone here...I got the coolest earring and "hair jewelry" for Katie's sisters and something quite awesome for Katie. Plus there are some awesome dog clothes on there (poor Ash!).

Hopefully, if anyone out there reading this if stuck for gifts this season, I gave you some good ideas or at least a place to start. Happy Holidays!

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A bit of catchup...and a new addition

Yep, the biggest food holiday of the year happens and and I disappear from food blogging. Life's been getting in the way for the past few weeks...finally moving into the new house completely, Thanksgiving with lots of traveling and visiting family (and cooking), a little bit of new neighbor drama and a very distracting new addition to the family.

May I introduce Brannigan Asher Cogburn, aka Asher. He's a 2 (we think) year-old "big brown dog" who came home to us 2 weeks ago Friday after a 6 month stay at the CNYSPCA and is just about the sweetest thing.

I love this dog, I can't imagine life without him..and judging by the fact that he is currently stretched out on the couch, snoring loudly, he doesn't mind life with us too much either...even if he does have to put up with lots of hugs from Katie.

Anyway, yeah, back to the food. Even though we were spending Thanksgiving up near Rochester with my uncle and his family, I made lots of food....such is necessary when one is a vegan who is allergic to wheat. I felt kind of awkward bringing so much food but its a good thing we did since there wouldn't have been anything but salad for either of us to eat otherwise.

My mother gamely agreed to make a vegan, wheat free corn pudding (see recipe below), which came out awesome, though I have no photos. We brought orange-glazed roasted veggies

and a very stereotypical lentil loaf (only I used brown rice and added chopped craisins...just cuz) with mushroom gravy

and, for dessert, Chocolate Peanut butter Pretzel Pie, which, may I just say, was one of the most fabulous things I've had in a long time, despite the pretzels being less than crunchy since I had to make it the night before.

Ok, recipes...

Wheat-Free Vegan Corn Pudding

1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 c gluten-free baking flour blend or baking mix (if using baking mix, omit baking powder below)
1/4 c sugar or desired sweetener
1 tsp baking powder
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn, UNDRAINED
1 med onion, chopped and sauteed until soft
2 eggs equivalent of your favorite vegan egg replacer (we used Ener-G)
1 1/4 cup tofu sour cream (see below)
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9"x13" casserole pan w/ non-stick spray.

Combine all the above ingredients and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown around the edges...it will still be moist in the middle so the whole clean-knife trick won't work here, but it still tastes awesome if it is a bit underdone anyway. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving. Is also excellent cold with a little maple syrup drizzled on top...

Tofu Sour cream

1 package lite firm silken tofu
4-5 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp sweetener of choice (agave nectar works well here)
1/2 tsp salt

Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust acidity/sweetness/saltiness to taste. Makes about 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups.

I don't really have a recipe for the veggies, but basically whisk together OJ concentrate, a little maple syrup, some cider vinegar, a little olive oil, some sage, some rosemary and lots of fresh ground black pepper, then toss over chopped up veggies of your choice (we used brussel sprouts, beets, butternut squash, onions, garlic cloves and turnips) and roast at 425 until they look done, stirring occasionally.

Now that we are getting settled into the new house, hopefully I'll manage to take more food photos and do some more experimenting worthy of being shared.

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