Monday, December 15, 2014

Spicy Vegetable Bulgur

The original recipe from which I started is in The Book of Children's Food by Lorna Rhodes.

2-3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
2 carrots, grated
2-3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 cups (relatively finely depending on the broccoli tolerance of the other projected consumers of the dish) chopped broccoli, including stems
2 cans (14.5-15 ounce) vegetable broth
1/2 cup dark raisins
2 Tablespoons chutney (but I used corn relish since I had that and DIDN'T have chutney of any kind)

In a large pan, heat half the coconut oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent, stirring off and on.  Add remaining coconut oil to melt, then stir in the bulgur and curry powder and cook over low heat, stirring, for one minute.  (Low heat is key here.  You do not want to burn ANY of this good stuff.)

Add the chopped vegetables and the broth and stir well.  Bring to a boil, then stir one last time, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes at a simmer on low heat.  Remove cover and taste to see if the bulgur has reached a pleasing texture of doneness.  If not, re-cover and let cook another 2-5 minutes.  Stir in the raisins and chutney or relish.  Serve immediately if you like hot food.  It is equally good as a room temperature dish.

This recipe is said to feed four people.  Those would be good-sized servings.  I ate some for breakfast (three 1 1/2 Tablespoon-scoops worth) and found it was not necessary to have a huge serving.

Spicy Vegetable Bulgar

By the way, the "spicy" is a bit of a misnomer.  At least it is not spicy as you might judge a pot of chili...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mashed Potato Salad...sort of like Masako's, but only sort of!

At a recent ladies' get-together vegetarian night, Masako brought some wonderful Japanese potato salad.  I loved it and wanted to make it some time.  Finally I did it!

Mashed Potato Salad the way I made it:

Start by scrubbing three or four Russet potatoes then microwave them in their skins for 6-10 minutes on high until they are mostly tender.  If there are a few little chunks that are more "tooth-resistant", that is ok, unless you have really picky eaters.

Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, then chop them up into the size you want and place in a large bowl.  Leave the skins on unless they annoy you...remembering that you DID scrub them really well first, right?!  As you chop them, they may more or less disintegrate...which is why I call this mashed potato salad.  Masako's salad was more or less mashed potatoes.

Finely dice 1/2 to 1 whole red onion and toss on top of potatoes, depending on your love of onions.

Harvest a big handful of chives from your herb bed.  Wash them, discarding any stems with blossoms on them, then snip them into the bowl with kitchen shears.

Finely dice one or two scrubbed celery stalks into the bowl.

If you want to add color, grate one large carrot into the bowl.

If you are really really lucky and have hardneck garlic growing in your garden, if it is the right season, harvest one or two garlic scapes.  Wash them and chop them finely and put in bowl.  Don't use the blossom part.

Dress with mayonnaise.  If you want to be fancy, you can add a little vinegar and sugar to the mayonnaise before putting it on the salad. Use the equal amounts of vinegar and sugar, i.e. 1 Tablespoon vinegar and 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  Be sure to stir the vinegar and sugar well to dissolve the sugar.

 Toss all the vegetables with the mayonnaise.  Taste.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Depending on how spicy the garlic scapes are, you may not need much salt OR pepper!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chex Mix

Chex Mix is a treat we reserve for holidays, and not all holidays, at that!  This recipe is filled with salt and other taste delights.

Chex Mix

3 cups corn chex
3 cups wheat chex
3 cups rice chex
1 cup peanuts OR mixed nuts
1 cup tiny cheese crackers
1 cup small pretzels or thin pretzel stitcks
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In a very large bowl combine chex, nuts, and pretzels.  In a small bowl combine melted butter, salt, garlic, and onion. Be sure to stir VERY WELL.  Pour butter mixture over the chex mixture then stir and stir and stir, but gently as you don't want to break up the cereal.

Now it is time to cook it.  Traditionally you place in a large baking pan and bake at 275 degrees F. for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Pour into a large bowl that has been lined with paper towels and let cool.  If you can,

The newer way to cook the chex mix is to put the prepared mixture into a large microwave-safe bowl and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.  This does seem to work pretty well.

Things I did:  for the mixture, I ran out of wheat chex so I put in some plain original cheerios.  When I ran out of other chex I added more cheese crackers.  For the microwave-safe bowl, I used our Crock Pot insert.

This makes a nice treat.  Sometime I am going to make this again but will sift on some dried ranch dressing mix over the top after cooking the chex mix.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Vegan Broccoli Soup/Dutch Potato Stew with additions

Dutch Potato Stew (vegan)

2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 cup finely diced onion
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups water, divided
4 cups diced potatoes
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked and rinsed well
1 good-sized broccoli "tree", chopped finely and lightly steamed.  Can steam first and then chop.

Place raw cashews in a 2-cup measure and fill with cool water.  Let sit for 30 minutes, or as long as you can wait.

In frying pan heat olive oil over medium heat then add onions and smashed garlic and salt.  Stir with wooden spoon until onions are clear.  Remove from heat and let sit.

Place 3 cups water in  heavy-bottomed three- or four-quart saucepan and bring to boil.  Add diced potatoes and bring back to boil then simmer about 10-15 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Drain raw cashews and rinse well.  Place 1 cup water in a blender along with the 3/4 cup of raw cashews.  Let blend until the cashew "cream" is completely smooth.  If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec, it will be fairly quickly.  If you have a less robust blender, it will take as much as  five minutes.  (Some ear muffs are kind of handy at this time!)

When cashew cream is ready, put steam broccoli in pot with potatoes.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape onions, garlic, salt, and oil into the potato pot.  Add cashew cream and stir well.  If necessary, reheat on low heat, stirring constantly.  Add some ground black pepper if you like it.

This is really delicious...a real challenge to only eat one serving per meal.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Broccoli Quiche with No-Roll Pie Crust

The other day I was given a good batch of beautiful broccoli.  Immediately I steamed up a big pot of it and started eating it.  I ate it as a snack all day.  And the next day.  And the next!  The broccoli smell sort of permeated my pores so there was one downside.  The upsides included NORMAL blood sugar, no hunger at all, and slightly reduced weight.  All in all a good thing.

Since Dear One likes quiche, I decided to make a quick one to include this steamed broccoli.  Since I did not want to make a "real" pie crust...more work than I had time...I just made a no-roll crust.  It is not the ideal pie crust, but it works quite well and was delicious for this.  I think next time I will add some herbs to the crust...

No-Roll Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup water

Mix the water and oil together then pour into a bowl where you have previously whisked the flour and salt together. When all the flour has been absorbed into the liquid measure, press into the bottom and up the sides of a deep-dish pie plate. I  have a Pyrex glass pie dish that I particularly like.

Broccoli Quiche

4 slices swiss cheese
1 cup steamed chopped broccoli
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or multi-cheese mixture)
1 cup whipping cream
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the four slices of Swiss cheese in the bottom of the pastry crust, more or less covering the bottom evenly.  (This is not an exact science so don't worry if there are some empty spots.)

Spread the finely chopped broccoli over the Swiss cheese then sprinkle the chopped onions over the top.  (These should also be very finely chopped.) 

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top of the vegetables.

In a bowl gently whisk together the cream, eggs, salt, pepper, and garlic granules.  Carefully pour over the mixture in the pie plate.  With a fork, gently mix things together so there is cream/egg mixture throughout.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until beautifully golden brown on top and there is not jiggle.  If there is a TINY bit of jiggle, you can still bring it out of the oven as it will continue to cook a bit as it cools but if there is a LOT of jiggle, give it another 2-5 minutes in the oven.

Serve warm or completely cooled.  Or hot if you cannot wait...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Homemade Croutons/Munchies

When you have some bread that has dried out, make bread crumbs OR you can also make delicious croutons which are a popular munching treat at our house.

1 to 2 loaves French or whole grain bread
1/4 cup Greek (or other) olive oil --another type of vegetable oil can be substituted
1 teaspoon each kosher salt, dill weed, granulated garlic, onion powder
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Seasonings used for croutons, plus Greek olive oil
Cut the bread into crouton-sized cubes.  Put into a large bowl or covered container.  Drizzle with the olive oil then stir well, or cover and shake until all sides of the bread cubes are coated with oil.
Bread cubes in bucket having been "oiled" and shaken.

Place all the spices and herbs in a bowl and stir well to combine.  Sift over the bread cubes then stir well or cover and shake until all side are seasoned.
Seasonings sifted over the bread cubes that were previously spread with oil.

In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  When croutons-to-be are well coated, place them in a half-sheet pan or very large baking pan with high sides (to avoid spillage when stirring) and spread out to make as close to one layer deep as possible.

Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven and stir well.  Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.  After the 30 minutes total baking time, remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.  Store in a covered container....if you can keep hands from the container!

At our house these disappear rather quickly.  They are tastier, cheaper (you already have the bread!), and healthier than potato and other chips.  Of course, to make this last true, you cannot eat the whole container at one sitting....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quick Strawberry Ice Cream--in a heavy-duty blender

Quick Strawberry Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream (what I used, not having the  half and half called for in the original recipe)
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
16 ounces or 3 cups frozen strawberries
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Using a heavy duty blender like a Blendtec blender, a VitaMix blender, or a Bosch mixer Blender, place the cream, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and frozen berries into the blender jar in that order.

Start blending on low, then go through the gears to high.  Within about a minute you will hear a grinding sound in the Bosch, which is what I used, not having one of the other higher priced machines, so stop the blender.  (If you have a Blendtec or Vitamix, there is most likely an ice cream button...)

After removing the cover, use a spoon to check all the way to the bottom of the blender jar to see that all the berries are blended.  Spoon into serving bowls and enjoy.  Serves 4 or 5 people a nice bowl of wonderful ice cream.

Leftover strawberry ice cream.
If you do NOT have a heavy duty blender, better not try it.  It will probably destroy your blender with the strain of grinding the frozen berries.

Next time I will try blueberries.