Sunday, January 30, 2011

Two Vegetarian BBQ Sides

I just finished writing out the recipe for slow cooker BBQ ribs which my husband is going to make late tonight (its already 10) so they are ready for our friend to come over tomorrow afternoon. I hope they eat them all because my self control around ribs is not that strong. I think that is the hardest thing about having so many food intolerances... if the food isn't in my house, I have no problem. I can resist at other people's homes and at restaurants but at the house it is almost impossible. With my husband being home slowly recovering from his accident so many of the foods that I have a hard time resisting are in the house... chips, bread, meat, etc. I'm trying hard but I think tomorrow night my stomach will hurt!

So here are two vegetarian (I even think vegan) BBQ sides. I had such a taste for BBQ beans last Sunday and even with my traumatic experience, I was able to make them. I also saw cauliflower on sale at the store, and although I had never eaten it before, I wanted to add it to my roasted vegetable recipe. I was really surprised on how well everything turned out and the fact that I ate the cauliflower and didn't gag. It was actually good, but I couldn't eat too much because of my gastroparesis. I am planning on making these sides this summer for one of our family reunion picnics. Both dishes would work wonderfully with grilled entrees or are great by themselves for vegetarians who love the taste of BBQ.

Barbecue Baked Beans

1 Tbs of olive oil
1 cup of onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4- 15 oz cans of navy beans, drained
1/4 cup of molasses
1/2 of barbecue sauce
1/4 cup of yellow mustard
1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Put olive oil in saucepan and saute onions and garlic until soft. Add the beans, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses, vinegar, red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients and then put heat on slow. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Roasted Barbecue Vegetables

2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2 cauliflower heads, cut into florets
BBQ rub/seasoning (I used Famous Dave's rub)
4 Tbs olive oil

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put cauliflower and onions into a bowl and toss with 2 Tbs olive oil. Sprinkle with BBQ rub, as much as you would like to flavor the vegetables and toss again. Put vegetables on a foil lined cookie sheet and put on a middle rack. Cook for 25 - 35 minutes stirring and turning over occasionally.

Boil a pot of water. Place the potatoes in the pot and parboil for 2 minutes. Drain, then put the potatoes in a bowl and toss with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Sprinkle with BBQ rub using as much as you would like to flavor the potatoes and toss again. Put the potatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet and cook for around 45 minutes. Both the cauliflower and potatoes can be in the oven at the same time and you may want to start with the potatoes so that all the vegetables are done at the same time. Mix the onions, cauliflower and potatoes together and add salt and pepper or more bbq seasoning if needed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

White Bean and Sausage Pesto Soup

So last night was really stressful, that is why I feel a cold coming on. I came home from grocery shopping at 7:oo pm, ready to make my bbq baked beans. When I got to the space in my alley there was a white Escalade sitting between my house and the house next door that I have never seen before. It pulled up when I parked but backed up afterwards, trapping me in my spot. I got scared and went straight to my back door without my groceries, figuring that I would get them later, and I find my back door ajar. Now I have to point out there is another family that lives underneath us (and can be irresponsible) but it scared the heck out of me so I went straight to the front of my building and walked a few houses down and called the police. I guess if you dont sound like someone is actively killing you they dont go very quick so I waited outside and heard people coming out of the building but they didnt get in my downstairs neighbors car or in the white Escalade (which sped away when they got in). I waited out in the freezing cold for another 10 minutes without the cops coming by. It was around 8 degrees outside. Finally I couldn't handle it anymore so I went to the back door. It was closed but unlocked, which still freaked me out so I got in my car and pulled out quickly waiting for the cops. They showed about 2 minutes later and I drove right behind them but they didn't stop at my house and I didn't feel comfortable honking at police. I got out of my car behind them and waved my arms, but they just kept on going. I then drove away and sat in my car until my husband came home from the football game. He felt it might be the people downstairs and checked the house. We were ok, but I am so upset with the irresponsible people downstairs. It is not like we live in the country, the suburbs... we are in the city. My aides' son was shot and killed by someone in the hallway of his apartment. I cant wait until I get out of here.

So last week was really cold and my car was in the shop for a while so I couldn't go out to grocery shop. I wanted something warm and something I could make with the stuff in my cabinets and freezer. I didn't have much left but I managed to make a great meal (not vegetarian though- sorry!)

White Bean and Sausage Pesto Soup

1 pound of Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
1 chopped onion
4 chopped cloves of garlic
6 cups of chicken stock
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans (drained)
2 Tbs of pesto (I used oregano pesto)
1 cup of spinach, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked gluten free small shells
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the sausage on medium heat in a pot until crumbled and cooked all the way through. Pour sausage onto paper towels to drain some of the fat. Add the olive oil in the same pan and add onion and garlic. Saute until tender. Add the sausage, beans, pesto, and red pepper flakes to onions in pot. Saute for 2 minutes then add chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Add the spinach and simmer until it wilts. Take off of heat and mix noodles and in lemon juice.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

3 Types of Fudge

I had high hopes for today since my husband is out of the house and I'm by myself for the first time in a week and a half. I wanted to work on another one of my National Board essays, work out, grocery shop, and take an 1 1/2 hour yoga class. Instead I am sitting in front of our space heater jacking up our electricity bill (it is freezing outside), ordering shoes (these are awesome-and in size 11!), eating gluten free cookies (which we got at Hub51 last night, one of my favorite restaurants), and watching multiple hours of Real Housewives... Totally non productive but I miss having some time alone. I will go grocery shopping (have a crazy taste for BBQ beans and gluten free cornbread and carrot fries, although the beans wont be as good as in Kansas City which has the BEST beans) and maybe work out and write my lesson plans for this week, but that is about it.

Fudge is one of my signature desserts/sweet snacks along with pecan pie squares and chocolate bark. I have been making the cookies and cream fudge (which everyone loves) for past 4 years and am always looking for new fun flavors. It is hard to find gluten free pre-made items to put in these types of fudge, and if you can find gluten free sandwich cookies and chocolate covered pretzels buy them right away!

Cookies and Cream Fudge

2 12 oz bags of white chocolate
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
1 cup of smashed regular oreos (or gluten free sandwich cookies)
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

In a saucepan mix together sweetened condensed milk, pinch of salt, and white chocolate and heat over low heat. Stir until melted. Take off of heat and mix in vanilla extract and cookies. Pour into 9 inch square pan lined with wax paper. Chill until firm. Take out of pan by flipping it over onto a cutting board and peel off wax paper. Cut into squares. Freezes very well.

Peanut Butter Surprise Fudge

2 12 oz bags of semi-sweet chocolate
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
1/2 cup of smashed of chocolate covered pretzels (can use gluten free brand like Glutino)
1/4 cup of roasted lightly salted peanuts
1/2 cup of smashed peanut butter cups
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

In a saucepan mix together sweetened condensed milk, pinch of salt, and chocolate and heat over low heat. Stir until melted. Take off of heat and mix in vanilla extract, peanuts, pretzels, and peanut butter cups. Pour into 9 inch square pan lined with wax paper. Chill until firm. Take out of pan by flipping it over onto a cutting board and peel off wax paper. Cut into squares. Freezes very well.

Minty Fun Fudge

2 12 oz bags of dark chocolate
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
1/2 cup of smashed peppermint patties (you can make them homemade- check out this recipe)
1/2 cup of smashed mint oreos (I couldn't find gluten free equivalent, you could use regular sandwich cookies instead or take them out of recipe)
1/4 cup of smashed andes mints
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

In a saucepan mix together sweetened condensed milk, pinch of salt, and chocolate and heat over low heat. Stir until melted. Take off of heat and mix in vanilla extract, peppermint patties, oreos and andes mints. Pour into 9 inch square pan lined with wax paper. Chill until firm. Take out of pan by flipping it over onto a cutting board and peel off wax paper. Cut into squares. Freezes very well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce

This is the first time that I have cooked fish... ever! I am definitely not a seafood fan. I don't like shrimp, lobster, crab and almost every fish (except tuna from sushi). I guess I did eat fish sticks when I was younger but all I can remember is hating fish. However, as I am getting older I am becoming more aware of the advantages of eating fish- especially for infant brain growth. No, I am not pregnant nor will be for at least two years (despite the fact that two of my aides at my school thought I was/dreamed I was). I guess that is what happens after you get married. However, I know that you really need to eat fish while your pregnant to help with brain growth, so I am trying to start to eat it now and learn to like it.

I went with the most bland fish I could get, tilapia. I wasn't planning on cooking it that day, but when I typed in recipes I found that I could make it with the extra sugar snap peas that I had (which I used in 3 separate recipes because the bag was from Costco and huge) along with some random potatoes. The sauce was super good. I think you could have put it on anything and it would have been wonderful. I wish I had made more, but I used up all of my balsamic vinegar making it!

Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce With Thyme Mashed Potatoes and Sugar Snap Peas
Adapted from Bon Appetit

3 lbs of potatoes (russet, red, gold, whatever you have available)
3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbs dried thyme (or 1 1/2 Tbs fresh)
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves (minced)
3 Tbs butter

2 cups of sugar snap peas, trimmed

2 Tbs olive oil
6 tilapia fillets

Turn oven to 375 degrees. Poke holes in potatoes and roast whole until soft (around 45 minutes). Take out and place in food mill. Turn food mill to mash potatoes. Add butter, milk, thyme and sauteed garlic to the potatoes. Mix. Season with salt and pepper. You can make this ahead of time.

Boil a small pot of water. Drop peas in and boil for 1 minute. Drain and put the peas to the side.

Heat 1 Tbs of oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper then saute fish until golden (around 2 min per side)

Simmer vinegar and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until the vinegar has reduced to a thick syrup (around 5 minutes). Whisk in butter, small pieces at a time, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Place some potatoes, tilapia and peas on a plate and drizzle with sauce.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grilled Asian Noodle Salad

I just finished making around 5 pounds of fudge (I'll post them up later). We are going to my husband's bar's holiday party tonight (yes, it is in the middle of January--after the holiday craziness has stopped). As owners we have to put together the celebration and I spent 6 hours this week wrapping presents. I am so sick of presents! We play a game at the party, which came from his family. We wrap good and funny gifts- for example you could get a shamwow or an ipod, a box of noodles with a $50 gift certificate taped to the outside or one without one, a microwave or a box with a pillow pet. In the game you have two dice. You roll the dice and if you get doubles you get to pick a present. If you open the present, you are out of the game, but if you keep playing you can accumulate more presents. The problem is, if someone else rolls doubles, they can steal your present from you. This year there are soooo many presents so I'll be glad when it is done (2 hours and counting until I have to leave and try to put the presents in 2 cars).

So last week was my week of trying to clear out my fridge. I had random ingredients that my husband and I had bought and wanted to make sure that I could use them up before they went bad. I was able to make two different fresh dishes with what I had in the fridge, so I was happy. It was also the first time that I had used the small eggplants, they are really cute!

Grilled Asian Noodle Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit

6 small eggplants (unpeeled, cut on diagonal into 1/3 inch thick slices)
2 containers of fresh shiitake mushrooms (stemmed)
2 bunches of green onions (trimmed so you have green and white)
1 15 oz box of asian rice noodles
2 cups of sugar snap peas (trimmed)
1/4 cup of sesame oil
3/4 cup of hoisin sauce
1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
3 tsp of grated lime peel
3 Tbs of minced fresh ginger
3 Tbs of toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Place eggplants, mushrooms and onions in a bowl. Add sesame oil and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper. Grill vegetables (I used a grill pan) turning often until the vegetables are tender. Cut mushrooms and onions if you would like.

Boil a pot of water. Drop in sugar snap peas and cook for 1 minute. Take out and place in a bowl of ice water. Use the water to cook the rice noodles. Put into a serving bowl and add in vegetables.

Whisk hoisin sauce, lime juice, lime peel and ginger together. Add to noodles and toss. Add toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Savory Stuffed Apples

This is one of my favorite recipes. I really like the Vegetarian Times "stuffed" recipes. My first true vegetarian dish in this "vegetarian diet exploration" was their stuffed peppers and they were so awesome that I didn't mind just eating vegetables. I made this before with apples that I got from the apple orchard (They had fallen apart so I wasn't able to take pictures) and they were much better than the apples that I just got from the grocery store out of season. Again, I wish there was an apple orchard around here. The one I went to in October was a good 100+ miles away but I so missed the smell that you savor when you walk into a apple orchard store along with apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. They also had the most amazing vidalia onion tomato salad dressing. I really wish I remembered when kind it was so I could try to find my own recipe.

Savory Stuffed Apples
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

1 cup of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of wild rice
1/4 cup of quinoa
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup of shiitake mushrooms (finely chopped)
1/4 cup of red onion (finely chopped)
2 tsp of dried sage
1/4 cup cranberries (chopped)
4 medium apples (I used red delicious)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring 1 cup of water and vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add wild rice and reduce to medium low. Cover and cook for 50 minutes. Then stir in the quinoa and cook for 20 minutes more or until most of the water is absorbed.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and saute mushrooms for around 7 minutes. Stir in the sage and wild rice and turn the heat to medium high heat. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes to meld flavors. Then remove from heat and fold in cranberries.

Cut the apples in half through the stem and scoop out the core and seeds with a spoon, leaving a 1/4 in thick wall around the sides. Fill the apple halves with the rice mixture. Place it in a large baking dish and fill the baking dish with 1 cup of water (or 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup apple cider). Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 min - 1 hour (until apples are soft)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vegan Tamale Pie

This is the first year that I have hated winter. Previously I always liked the first two months of cold, November and December--the smell of turning on the heat for the first time, the first snow, the holidays. This year, I was tired of it from the first day of freezing weather that killed the last of my plants who were holding out. No going outside, no botanical gardens, no green... I am over it already. I need it to be March so I can look forward to my daffodils, crocuses, and irises coming out.

Here is a colorful and filling dish to make your winter a little more tolerable. I ran out of cumin and used some of the Jamaican Jerk seasoning that we brought back from our honeymoon instead. I'm not a big fan of cumin so I think Ill use jerk seasoning again when I make this next time but I'll let you know how much cumin to use if you want the traditional taste. I made this for my parent's christmas and it was a big hit as a side dish but could also be a filling main dish. My non vegan family members added sharp cheddar cheese as a topping.

Vegan Tamale Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 15 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of frozen corn, thawed
4 tablespoons of jerk seasoning (or 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tsp of ground cumin and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper)
2 tsp of crushed red pepper
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup of coarse cornmeal
3 1/2 cups of water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Saute the onion, bell peppers, and garlic until soft. Stir in 1/2 cup of water tomatoes, beans, corn, jerk seasoning and salt to taste. Cover pot and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables soften. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a saucepan bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the cornmeal and 1/2 tsp of salt and whisk to combine. Return to a boil over medium heat then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened. Add black pepper and more salt to taste and take off of heat.

Spread the cornmeal mixture over the bean mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2 Sides: Curried Swiss Chard and Broccoli with Mustard Vinaigrette

Happy New Years! I'm a bit tired but made another cool dish today for lunch so I have to get some of my others posted before I forget them.

These two dishes are great sides. I made the broccoli slaw first a few weeks ago. It was the first time I have ever tried broccoli and I thought it was tasty (for broccoli). However, since I have always been told not to eat broccoli with GP, I only had a few bites.

The second side dish, curried swiss chard, is a visually stunning dish. In Barbara Kingsolver's books she kept singing the praises of swiss chard and how beautiful the rainbow chard is, so I wanted to try. I found a curry recipe in my Color Me Vegan cookbook but didn't have any curry paste, so I improvised. I looked at a few good recipes online that only needed curry powder and created this side for my family Christmas lunch. I didn't like the taste of chard, so unfortunately it is crossed off my new foods list, but everyone else liked the dish and my mom asked for the recipe. The best part is, the chard is so cheap! I got a bunch for $1.35 and it was organic.

Curried Swiss Chard

1 bunch of swiss chard
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbs of curry powder
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut off the tough ends of the swiss chard and throw them away. Then chop the stems (up to the leaves) in 1/2 inch thick pieces. Heat a saute pan on medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and stems to the pan and saute until tender.

Chop the green leaves and cook them until wilted. Take off of heat. Stir in the curry powder and add salt and pepper to taste.

Broccoli with Mustard Vinaigrette

1 pound of steamed broccoli
2 tbs of whole grain mustard
4 tbs of rice wine vinegar
2 tsp of honey
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Put the steamed broccoli in the food processor and pulse until it is in big chunks (like pre-made broccoli slaw. Combine the other ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Then pour over broccoli and mix.