Whenever new vegetarians or vegans ask about cookbooks, I’m pretty quick to recommend Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein. The recipes are pretty simple, the ingredients easy to find and it doesn’t rely on meat substitutions.
One of the recipes I like to take to cookouts is the Potato and Green Bean Salad. It’s great at room temperature, is pretty and actually has vegetables in it. If you want to take it up a notch, use purple potatoes. See?
This time I totally cheated and used frozen, pre-cut green beans. It made a nice side to my burger along with some roasted cauliflower.
Roasted cauliflower close-up
Saturday afternoon I’d planned on going grocery shopping. But I had a headache and decided to wait until Sunday. Oh, what’s for dinner then? After rooting around in the cabinets a bit, I came up with this concoction. Start with some ready to eat rice and an instasoup.
Let’s see, a vegetable would be good. How about some frozen green beans? Sure! So, a little rice in the bottom of the bowl, some vegan broccoli cheese soup, next and green beans. I did add some nutritional yeast to the soup because I could. Oh, and sprinkled parm on top.
It was actually really good. And made enough that I had some for lunch as well.
Oh, hey, look at that … I have a blog. Sorry about that buddy. I don’t hate you but it’s been hard to find time and motivation to blog lately. If you want to hate on someone, I suggest you start with reddit.
Kevin has been sick lately so I was trying to think of something a bit comforting when making up my grocery list. I tend to set aside a ton of recipes that I want to try in Google Reader and MacGourmet so I was going through those looking for something interesting. I found Artichoke Potato Gratin. Creamy, a little cheezy, sounds perfect!
And this was awesome! The sauce had a nice tang to it from the artichoke juice and a warmth from the cayenne. I sprinkled the top with a little Daiya and some panko. While we would have both been happy eating giant bowls of this and nothing else, I marinated some tempeh and cooked it in a grill pan to go with it along with some french green beans. Trader Joe’s frozen french green beans are a great quickie vegetable to add to a meal.
If this doesn’t appeal to you, cruise around vegalicious.org. They have a huge bank of recipes that look tasty. And don’t be put off by the metric units. You can easily convert with google by typing in “220 degrees celcius in fahrenheit” and BAM it’s done!
Back in the day, before I was veg*n, when I was poor and living in my first apartment alone, I used to rely heavily on those giant bags of frozen fish sticks, instant potatoes and frozen peas n corn. Oh yeah, that was also before I really knew how to cook too.
Anyway, every once in a while I think some trashy fish sticks would be good. You know, without the actual fish part. I’ve been eyeballing this recipe in Vegan Lunch Box for years but this is the first time I’ve made it. Of course I whipped up a little tartar sauce to go with it out of veganaise, sweet relish, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Oh wow were these good! Not the bland little fried bits I remember. Heck, not fried at all! On the side, roasted russet potato slices tossed with olive oil, smoked paprika, salt & pepper and Trader Joe’s frozen green beans.
If you want to cook something that is about as close to the tastiest Indian food you can get in a restaurant, you’ll want to try these lentils from Dino’s Alternative Vegan cookbook. This is one of those recipes I keep going back to. It’s another one you can whip together with mostly pantry items.
I had a couple of options for something green to eat on the side. Instead of keeping the green beans plain, I used the treatment Dino gives to broccoli and roasted them up in the oven. There might have been just a bit more seasoning than I needed for the amount of green beans I had, but it was amazingly good.
Still working off of my store of ingredients, Friday I poked around to see what I could make for dinner. I was going to make cheesesteaks again, but when I defrosted my chunk of seitan it didn’t smell quite right. When in doubt, throw it out. So what else to do with these sub rolls? Sloppy Joannas from Yellow Rose Recipes popped in my brain. I’d never made them but sure enough I had all the ingredients. Well, I didn’t have tomato sauce but I had tomato paste. Dilute with some water and tada! tomato sauce. Just for fun I tossed on some cheddar Daiya.
These were pretty good. They didn’t totally rock my world. I probably need to adjust the seasoning to my taste. They’re probably spot on for sloppy joes and I just didn’t eat those very often. Actually, I haven’t had since I was a kid. Kevin thought the Daiya tasted kind of weird with the sandwich innards. I didn’t think it was that off.
Also, the frozen french green beans from Trader Joe’s rule. They are going to become a freezer staple for me.
This was my first try at making Roti. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten this particular flat bread. I saw the recipe for Mama Nadia’s Caribbean Roti in Vegan Fusion World Cuisine when I was making up my grocery list and thought I’d give it a try. The recipe called for spelt flour but I used unbleached all purpose with some barley flour mixed in instead.
They aren’t as hard as I thought they would be. But I did have a lot of trouble with the filling busting out. Probably because I didn’t feel like hauling out my mixer and kneaded by hand. I hate kneading by hand. Actually, I hate putting my hands in the food in such a way that gets the food under my fingernails. Anyway, I should have let the mixer do it. I think the dough would have been smoother, developed a little more gluten and then the filling wouldn’t have busted out. But still, they came out pretty well. And were tasty. The recipe suggests serving with mango chutney. I didn’t have any so I just mixed up a quick sauce of apricot jam mixed with a little soy sauce. That seemed to work out just fine.
Resting roti balls
Filling the roti
Frying up the roti
Roti with apricot sauce and green beans
This week Kevin picked up some of the Match Meats that Cosmo’s is now carrying. He got the ground beef and ground pork versions and here’s what we did with them. Since I had no idea how these things worked, I figured I’d just follow recipes that they give. The first one we had was the ground beef, in stroganoff form. The recipes are on Match’s website, but I don’t see an easy way to link to individual recipes, so go have a look if you’re interested. There were some extra steps in this recipe that other ground fake meat doesn’t require, but I think it gave it a better texture. Basically you had to spread it out on a baking sheet, bake it for a while, pull it out, crumble it, bake it some more, then use it in the recipe. I don’t really miss the texture of ground beef enough to go through all this on a regular basis. But it was pretty convincing and might be just the thing for you if you’re trying to find a meat substitute that your omni friends and family will like. Okay, it kind of looks like dog food here, but really, it was tasty!
The ground pork got formed into a tenderloin, rolled in seasoning, seared on all sides and then covered and cooked on the stovetop until it was heated through. I had trouble getting it to stay in log form but did manage to keep tube-like. The seasoning on the outside didn’t really come through. So I think next time I’d try something that involved mixing seasoning in. The texture felt like it might make a good pulled pork style bbq. Here it is with its best friends garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
If I was more into fake meats in general, I’d probably rave about this a bit more. Both were really tasty. The beef version probably seemed more real than the pork one texture and taste-wise. But really, how would I know? I haven’t eaten meat in, like, 12 years. Good grief, now I’m seriously just rambling. Anyway, it’s a little different than any other products out there, so it’s worth giving a try to see how you like it.