Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Very Veggie Burrito

Burrito leftovers pictured in a bowl the next day for lunch. This was my lunch two days in a row. The burrito bowl, the lower cal, gluten free version of the ginormous burrito. Both have a proper time and place.

If you currently live in California this is not the post for you. Why don't you just wander on down to the corner taco truck and get yourself a big ol' burrito wrapped in tin foil and go eat it on the beach. Just don't tell me about it because I will more than likely have a mental breakdown. Really I'm jealous. I've done my fair share of complaining about the Mexican food I've eaten since moving here (instant mashed potatoes on a flour tortilla with some American cheese anyone?). This week I decided to quit my complaining and make my own dang burrito. So that's what I did. And now I'm here writing this post to encourage the other wandering Californians that I know are out there to go do the same. This was not quite the same as what I'd get at my favorite places back home, but it's a suitable replacement when the other option (eating out) happens to include frozen spinach and processed blocks of orange cheese (you all know what I'm talking about).

All the prep work (making the refried beans, Spanish rice, and grilling veggies) was done ahead of time. Thus I was able to throw this together in a jiffy. This burrito is vegan, and can easily be adapted to suit personal tastes, for instance........I like hot sauce, and onions............a lot. You may not........I believe we can still be friends.

First a layer of mashed up avocado, some fresh diced onion and some cilantro

grilled peppers and onions on top of that

Some homemade Spanish rice

Homemade refried black beans, I know...they look gross...that's ok though because they taste great. You can use some other sort of refried beans if you like, I just really like how flavorful these are.

A little hot sauce.

Wrap that baby up.

You may have to struggle a little to pick the burrito up......that's only natural. There is a reason these things come wrapped in foil, at home I like to eat them with a fork.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Corn Chowder Topped with Biscuits

Corn chowder makes the rotation quite often in our house. It's creamy rich flavor is perfect for a rainy evening, and topped with a biscuit it makes for excellent comfort food in my humble opinion. On top of that the majority of the ingredients are pantry staples so it's a great go to meal when there is "nothing to eat".

What you need
1 tbs oil
2 potatoes scrubbed and diced
1 bag of frozen corn (10 oz)
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups stock (such as corn)
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs water
1 cup of milk
1 tsp creole seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup of milk
salt and pepper to taste

your favorite biscuits, I used half whole wheat, half white wheat drop biscuits that I made with the kids. You will note that while they are not very pretty, they were made with little hands, lots of love, and lots of pride. My daughter loves to be a part of the dinner process.

What to do

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the potatoes and 1/4 tsp salt, cook for five minutes. Stir and cook five more minutes.

The potatoes should be tender and almost cooked through. Test one.

Add the bag of corn, and the stock.

Mix together the cornstarch and the water in a bowl and add. Stir well.

Bring chowder to a boil. Boil for about 8 minutes. The potatoes should be done, and the soup should have thickened.

Remove from heat and add the milk, creole seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with biscuits.

You can find my recipe for smokey corn chowder with sweet potatoes and baby spinach here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Egg Free Holiday Baking: Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are good, these are really, really good. I am eating one right now as I type. I've called upon all of the one handed typing skills I perfected while nursing and blogging, and now I am utilizing them for another very important purpose........cookie eating and blogging.

I used this recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies and only played with it a little. Instead of chocolate mint chips (which are divine by the way) I used a chopped up mint Theo bar. The Theo bar was a little less minty than mint U.F.O.s (which is of course the name of the mint chocolate chips that you can buy at Trader Joe's) would have been, but still fantastic. The only other addition I made was about a tbs of applesauce for a moister dough.

My daughter and I made these together and we had so much fun. As you can see from the picture, I barely had time to get my camera out before the cookies started disappearing right off the pan. They are very chocolaty, and very tasty, I doubt anyone would guess they were vegan. More importantly though, I think they would be enjoyed by anyone who tried them...........except for chocolate haters........but, you know, there's something wrong with those people anyway. ;)

Aioli Spread Or Dip and Serving Suggestions

Pictured here on sourdough bread next to some baby carrots and a glass of 100% cranberry juice mixed with seltzer water....and I know what you are thinking, why would I trust the tastes of someone who drinks 100% cranberry probably shouldn't for the most part. However in this case you would be missing out. Over the years I've made this with many types of mayonnaise, real, vegan, canola, olive oil, and some are better than others. My current fave is grape seed vegenaise as it is not too sweet, if the flavor of your mayo is off that will greatly affect the end product. I would not suggest using anything light as it often has a sweet aftertaste, beyond that use what tastes good to you. The only unfortunate thing about this recipe is that I have not yet figured out how to make it soy free so that little man can enjoy it, almost all mayonnaise type spreads use soy in them. I have some ideas though and I will get back to you on those.

Aioli is traditionally a blend of garlic, olive oil, eggs, and lemon juice, and it is fantastic. Mostly in america you will find that the process is shortened by using mayonnaise, this makes it super simple to veganize. Here is my version, it isn't really revolutionary, you will probably find similar recipes elsewhere on the interwebs, but if you have never tried it you simply must! It takes three ingredients to make this....are you ready?? It's super simple, why not give it a go?

1 cup mayonnaise (of your preference)
5-8 cloves of garlic peeled and pressed (I think I used 7 this time....we REALLY like garlic)
2 tsp lemon juice

Stir everything together and chill.

This is fantastic spread thinly over GOOD sourdough bread. It also works very well as a dip for veggies, and pretzels. My husbands favorite pasta salad is simply pasta tossed with aioli, and he will tell you it is one of the dishes that made him decide he wanted to marry me (yes, we both love garlic that much).

This is also the spread that I use on my famous summer wraps and for some of my favorite sandwiches. For the summer wraps I spread it onto a large tortilla (usually spinach) add roma tomatoes, spinach, and thinly sliced basil leaves, so simple....soooooo tasty. Sometimes shredded cucumber and carrots work their way into the mix. Or a hunk of aged parmesean cheese. For a fantastic portabella veggie burger experience cook a portabella mushroom burger according to directions and instead of placing on a bun slather some ciabatta bread with aioli and add spinach and roma tomatoes. Another super simple, but tasty favorite of mine is an aioli and avocado sandwich......which is just what it sounds like....aioli and slices of avocado...yum!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Holiday Baking Egg Free:Egg Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who needs a holiday to eat chocolate chip cookies? Certainly not me. Tuesday is fine enough of an excuse for me to get to baking. However, I'm trying to compile a list of egg free, nut free recipes that we will be using over the holiday season. Hopefully this will be of use to some other weary eyed cookie craving mother perhaps thrown (as I was) by diagnosis of food allergies in the family. Or possibly someone who has given up on eggs (So many good reasons to do that, but that's another post) but is determined not to give up on baking.

After my last adventure in egg free baking I thought maybe (since you know I'm bad enough at conventional baking) it might be a good idea to look at this adventure more like a guided tour and look up some recipes. I found this recipe for egg free chocolate chip cookies and I followed it very closely.
I have to admit it was kind of scary because....well...look at the batter. At this point I was thinking, "These things will never hold together." However, I think by this point we have established that I am no knowledgeable authority on baking, so I continued. I packed the batter into a 2tbs measuring spoon and dropped them onto a baking sheet.

Again I followed the recipe and took them out of the oven before they looked done. They were a hit. Of course the texture is different than the average chocolate chip cookie, so don't expect them to taste like know...your grandma is a vegan. It was nice to have freshly baked treats in the house again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Broccoli Two Ways....and then some

Happy broccoli season everyone!!!! Are you excited? Yes? No? Not so much? Well we are!

My kids love broccoli. I have been known to hide it until the end of the meal to ensure that the rest of their food gets eaten. Sayings such as "finish your pizza or you won't get any broccoli" have actually been uttered in my house. Because my kids love it so much I serve it often.

Most of the time I serve it simply, steamed and tossed with garlic ginger butter and a pinch of salt. Everything is done to taste, nothing revolutionary. However there are so many food combinations that I would not have thought of if I had not seen someone else do it so I am passing this onto you. I've even had broccoli haters enjoy broccoli in this manner.

The second Broccoli dish is again done to taste, and again very simple (simple suits me well right now). I toss cooked or raw broccoli with teriyaki sesame dressing and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Yum! I love the crunch of the almonds and the salty teriyaki dressing.

Then of course there is always the traditional broccoli with a dip. Might I suggest Avocado Dip? Then there is broccoli soup, casserole, grilled broccoli, broccoli with pasta, broccoli stuffed in twice baked potatoes, broccoli stir-fry, broccoli tempura.......oh I could go on and on.

Do you have a favorite Broccoli dish? Do your kids have a favorite vegetable?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Easy Vegan Spanish Rice

Hello, miss me? I missed you, truly, wholly, and completely. I am feeling...meh....ok, but ok is a marked improvement from miserable so I'll take it. What did I do when I started feeling better you may ask? Clean the bathrooms? Wash the windows? Do the laundry? Of course not! I made muffins, I will post that recipe soon.

For now though, I wanted to share with you a super easy recipe for Spanish rice that is a favorite among the wee members of our household. There is a recipe for Spanish rice that has been passed down through the generations in our family.........and this is not it (sorry Dad). That recipe involves el pato, and I believe lard.....and it has a little kick to it. My daughter doesn't like kicks. So this is what I have been making. To my knowledge a lot of Spanish rice recipes use oil and are vegan, and I've never come across a recipe that is too difficult, so while this could probably also be called "pretty much like every other Spanish rice you have ever had" I thought "Easy Vegan Spanish Rice" had a much nicer ring to it....don't you? You can use brown rice, I have in the past. The cook time will be longer, but it will still be just as tasty. My wonderful husband has been doing more than his share this past week, including the grocery shopping. I used what we had in the cupboard, white rice, cooking times will reflect that.

2 tbs oil
1 diced onion
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 cup uncooked rice
5 cloves garlic that have been peeled and finely chopped
1 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 can worth of veg stock, or corn stock*
garlic salt and salt to taste

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, chili powder, oregano, salt, and cook for about two minutes.

Add the rice and chopped garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. The Onion should be tender and the rice should start to become a golden color. Stir to keep the garlic from burning.

Lower the heat to medium low and stir in the tomatoes and stock. Stir to prevent tomatoes from burning.

Bring to a light simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until all of the liquid is gone.

Remove from heat and add salt and garlic salt to taste.

I've also been known to add bell pepper, corn, cayenne for heat, spinach and jalapeno. This is quite lovely when served with refried beans and grilled veggies (bell peppers, onion, mushroom etc). Pile it all into a tortilla for a fantastic burrito that is full of flavor and dairy free.

*When I buy stock I like to buy it in boxes. You'll not find (to my knowledge) corn stock in the stores, but I keep some in my freezer. Simply pour stock into the empty tomato tin and voila one can worth of veg stock. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hello out there

Oh what a week. If there were a title to this week it would be, "week of acquiring various illnesses and injuries predominately seen in middle aged men". It's a long title, but highly appropriate. Due to the nature of my week I have had to take a short break from blogging. I miss you guys, and I hope to be up to 100% soon. I can't wait to get back to cooking and blogging and reading.

I really miss reading your posts. However I tore my rotator cuff and it hurts when I laugh. So I have had to abstain from all things humorous in nature, and I find some of you hilarious. It is especially sad for me personally because I love to laugh. I have had to develop this sort of throaty wheezy laugh as to not hurt myself further, Not only does it annoy me, but it frightens small children.

So don't worry (you were worried right?) I'll be on here again soon enough. I miss you, thank you so much for following along. I promised real life mommy stuff and here it is.
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