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A hearty fall dinner

23 Sep

Time to use up those roasted veggies! Last night we had a big pile o’ veggies along with some quinoa, baked chickpea cutlets from the PPK, and mushroom gravy. We should do this more often because it’s one of Mr. HVC’s favorite meals! This was especially good with the roasted sweet potatoes, because the meal needed a little sweet to counter all the savory.

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The gravy is based off of this non-vegan recipe, with some modifications:

Mushroom Gravy:
-1/4 cup Earth Balance or olive oil
-1 onion, minced
-1 tsp salt
-16 oz diced mushrooms (I just pulse ’em in the food processor)
-4 cloves minced garlic or 2 tsp granulated garlic
-1/4 cup white wine
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
-2 cups water
-1 tsp dried thyme
-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
-1/4 cup plain non-dairy milk

In a medium pot, saute onions in oil with salt over medium heat until they start to brown, about 10-15 min. Add mushrooms and saute 10 min or until they have lost most of their water. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Deglaze with the wine or equivalent amount of veggie broth. Sprinkle in flour stir that mix for a few minutes. It will be blobby and will start to brown. Add soy sauce, water, thyme, and pepper. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Keep stirring for a few minutes until the gravy thickens, then mix in the soy milk and taste for salt. If it needs more savoriness, add some more soy sauce or a little bit of Accent (avoid Accent if you’re sensitive to MSG).

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When in doubt, roast

22 Sep

Two MoFo posts in one day! Trying to catch up a bit 🙂

When I looked in my fridge yesterday I felt pretty overwhelmed by all the veggies.  A combination of being sick and busy left me with a fridge filled with 2 weeks worth of CSA veggies, farmers’ market finds, and some generous gifts from friends with overflowing backyard gardens. Everything was nearing its prime so I decided to cut it all up, toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and have a roasting party.

Onions,  baby sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow crook neck squash, and button mushrooms:

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Purple & white cauliflower and green beans:

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Fancy tomatoes…the end product wasn’t super photogenic so here’s they are pre-roast:

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Garlic:

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Whew, half a fridge condensed down into a few tupperware containers!  It’s so easy, too. I actually prefer to broil veggies because I have a cruddy electric oven that doesn’t bake very well. Broiling increases the heat and adds some nice smoky char. Some of this we’ll have over quinoa along with chickpea cutlets and the rest might make its way into a roasted veggie soup.  Yum,  I’m excited!

I still have a bit more work on my hands though! Look at all those peppers!

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MoFo #19: Chard-guacamole Quesadillas & Applejack Toddies

20 Oct

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You guys, I am so incredibly pleased with myself tonight. I mean, I just followed a recipe, but DAMN. If it were possible to marry a food, I would marry the heck out of these puppies.

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Tonight’s appetizer comes from The Inspired Vegan (see, I told you it would pop up again!). I’ve made these before and thought they were delicious but do you ever have those nights where a certain food really hits the spot like nothing else? That was me tonight. These are like the perfect healthy vegan quesadilla — rich, spicy guacamole and sweet & tangy chard smooshed inside a nutty whole wheat tortilla. Wowzers.

You start off by blanching a bunch of finely chopped chard. And then this….
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….becomes this. In addition to just draining the chard, I hand squeezed a lot of the liquid out because it helps in the sautéing step that comes next. I don’t think I’ll ever not be amazed by how much greens cook down!

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After the chard has cooled, you saute it with some garlic, currants (I used chopped raisins), and orange juice. I’ve made this greens recipe a lot just as a side dish, too. It’s a nice light way to cook up collards or chard.

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The mix goes into a tortilla along with some spicy guacamole and you pan fry them together for a few minutes so the tortilla gets nice and crispy. Then fold it in half, and you’re good to go!

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So these are great by themselves but I strongly recommend a little cashew crema on the side (my recipe comes from Viva Vegan). The rich and tangy cream is a great complement!

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That drink you see on the right is the second half of tonight’s post and is another Bryant Terry creation, this time from Vegan Soul Kitchen. It’s pretty much the perfect fall cocktail, drawing its flavor from cinnamon and apple brandy. The cinnamon stick is steeped in boiling water for a minutes, then you add apple jack, agave nectar, a little lemon juice, and some apple juice (I used cider!). I’m usually not a big fan of warm cocktails because the evaporating alcohol always burns my nose, but this was so tasty I’m willing to overlook that! I bought applejack specifically for this recipe but had decided to try it on its own first to get a good idea of the flavor. Blech — I am definitely not a brandy girl! It was way too strong and I couldn’t really appreciate the apple undertones. Mixed with juice and a cinnamon infusion, it was just right!

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Alright, that’s it for me tonight! I’m off to get my daily dose of snuggles from this guy! 🙂

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MoFo #17: Acorn squash, pear, and adzuki soup with sauteed shiitakes

17 Oct

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Whew, another long recipe title from Veganomicon! When I told Mr. Chickpea I was making this soup for dinner, he was…skeptical. He did not think the ingredients would go together *at all* and I just kept repeating “but, but, but Isa & Terry said this is a ‘precious jewel of a soup!’ Precious jewel, I must MAKE THE PRECIOUS!!!” Plus, I needed an excuse to test out my b-day present from Mr. Chickpea, a Vitamix! Wheeeeee! I foresee a long beautiful friendship between me and this blender.

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I do admit, it’s a weird combination of ingredients — onion, red bell pepper, ginger, Chinese five spice, pears, acorn squash, beans, and mushrooms. But I figured, Isa & Terry have never steered me wrong before, I’ve got the faith! Big surprise, it all came together really well to give a warm, comforting soup. The soup itself is slightly sweet, with a creamy broth and chunks of onion, squash, and pear, and beans mixed in. I really enjoyed the mix of textures. The mushrooms added a great savory flavor, but I have a weird texture issue with them so I think next time I might make really thin slices instead of just cutting them in half. Also, I don’t really think you need the adzukis — any mild bean would do well. One small can of the things cost me $2.65!!! Oh, the sacrifices I make for MoFo…

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MoFo #16: Portobello salad with spicy mustard dressing

17 Oct

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Well, the inevitable has happened: I’ve falled behind on my MoFo posts!!! Yesterday was supposed to be my salad day and even though I made the dish, I was too tired to write and upload photos. So here it is, to be followed in rapid succession by tonight’s soup post!

I guess this salad from Veganomicon isn’t necessarily a fall food, but it does have warm roasted mushrooms and a mustard maple dressing, which seems like a perfect cool weather salad. You start off by marinating some portobello caps, then roasting them in the oven for 30 min. Usually I just marinate my veggies (including mushrooms) in olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Italian seasoning, but I might switch to this recipe — a mix of wine, olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. Pretty simple, but the wine really made it delicious!! I used some old chardonnay that’s been sitting in the fridge for a few months and it came out really well.

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The rest of the salad is pretty easy — greens, red onion, avocado, and chickpeas. The dressing is like a honey dijon, but the sweetener is maple syrup.

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We were both really impressed by this simple salad. The flavors just melded together really well and we were too stuffed to eat the rest of our dinner. Definitely a keeper!

MoFo #15: Sweet potato baked oatmeal

15 Oct

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I’m constantly amazed by the recipe ideas I find online and the fact that I’m the millionth person to think of them (and also that so many recipes are vegan without me including “vegan” in my search term.  Yay vegan bloggers!)!  I had a sweet potato, bananas, and oatmeal at home and thought I would make some kind of healthy baked oatmeal casserole to incorporate them all.  Well, googling that will bring up a ton of hits and I decided to try this one from Oh She Glows.

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I pureed the sweet potato and banana so that the filling (which includes oats, chia seeds, soy milk, maple syrup, and spices) would be nice and creamy.  It’s topped with a pecan crumble that is absolutely delicious.  I thought it was a perfect fall breakfast treat; Mr. Chickpea thought the filling should be sweeter (more like a dessert!) and thought nuts mixed in to the filling would be really good.

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MoFo #11: Main dish — pumpkin chili

11 Oct

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This isn’t as exciting as it sounds, sorry to say! I was inspired by a chili I was served once at a dinner party, which contained sweet potatoes, and I figured, why not kabocha? It’s got a velvety texture that would go really well in chili.

I pretty much just used my go-to chili recipe and threw in some cubed up kabocha. It’s actually really good and the pumpkin broke down and made the broth much thicker than usual. You can’t really taste the pumpkin, but I really liked biting down into those little cubes. So satisfying.

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While I was at the store I saw brussels sprouts and thought, hey, that will go with chili right? I really wanted to roast some sprouts. So I did! They’re just tossed in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum!

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Should I include my chili recipe here? It’s not really anything special and I usually adjust spices as I go, so I don’t have all the measurements right. Eh, I’ll just write it down. Do with it what you will!

-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1 green bell pepper, chopped
-3 Tbs chopped garlic
-28-oz cans pinto beans
-28-oz cans black beans
-28-oz cans kidney beans
-28-oz can diced tomatoes
-2 cups water (I usually just eyeball the water…so you may need >2 cups)
-1 cup TVP granules (optional)
-1 cup sweet white corn
-3 Tbs chili powder
-2 tsp cumin powder
-salt, to taste

Saute onion and bell pepper with some salt until softened. Add garlic, stir a few min. Add beans, tomatoes, water, spices, TVP, simmer 15 min. Add corn, simmer 15 min. Adjust spices as desired. If you like sweeter broth (I do), you can add a little sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar to taste. If you want to try adding some pumpkin, I used about 1/2 a kabocha squash and let it simmer in the chili, covered, until tender.