Happy What I Ate Wednesday!
Before I get to the Martha Stewart Living "Meatless" cookbook giveaway, I want to share a look at a few of the things I have eaten this past week. Breakfast is generally decaf green tea and spelt toast with pb and j.
One day, I had one of my favourite vegan banana muffins too. I put in dates this time instead of chocolate chips. As long as it's sweet, I'm good with it.
Today I had my toast along with a fruit salad of strawberries and blueberries.
On Friday night, we ordered vegetarian sushi. It was difficult to get a good picture for two reasons: the lighting in the house at night is terrible and the family was breathing down my neck (literally) wanting to eat their sushi. I have created a couple of little sushi addicts. I'm happy for them though. I regret that I came to sushi later in my life.
Yesterday at lunch, I had leftover pasta. I served it with this Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n. Some people think it's odd for vegetarians to eat fake meat...but it's fake. This Gardein stuff is so delicious, I ate half the batch. It was hard for me to save some for others.
"Veggies for Carnivores" Winner
Congratulations to Julee over at D.I.Y. Louisville, the winner of a copy of Lora Krulak's "Veggies for Carnivores" cookbook. Visit Julee's blog for lovely Valentine's Day craft ideas. She also models some very cute outfits.
Now for another exciting giveaway...well, it's exciting if you are addicted to cookbooks like I am.
Martha Stewart Living's "Meatless"
Did you note the word "simple?" I don't know about you, but that's important to me. Most of us don't have the time (or in my case the patience) to look for and prepare fancy ingredients. I was struck by how special the meals look in spite of the simplicity of the ingredients.
As I mentioned in my weekly menu plan post on Sunday, my husband and I recently made a couple of recipes from the book.
I started with the Pea and Potato Curry. I didn't exactly follow the directions to the letter. I thought I had the necessary spices in my cupboard, but it turns out I don't have coriander seeds or fennel seeds. I had the mustard seeds the recipe calls for and I used some cumin seeds (that aren't called for) too. Oh, and you're supposed to stir in Greek-style yogurt at the end, but I omitted that.
Luckily, even with my changes, this recipe turned out to be quite tasty. It's a keeper.
My favourite recipe, though, was the Roasted Fall Vegetables and Lentil Salad. It helped that my husband made it. Not cooking a meal myself always makes it taste better to me.
We didn't have any French lentils, so we just used regular green lentils. I have to say the biggest surprise about this dish to me was how delicious the brussels sprouts turned out. I almost never have them because I'm not sure what to do with them. In this recipe, all of the veggies -- carrots, acorn squash, red onion and brussels sprouts -- are drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven. The lentils are cooked, mixed with celery, coated with a vinaigrette and laid over the veggies. The ingredients are simple, but the results are amazingly delicious! It's also a vegan and gluten-free dish.
These were wonderful, warm recipes for a winter's day, but, truth be told, as I flipped through the book I kept thinking about spring. There are so many lovely recipes that just beg for warmer weather -- recipes that call for simple, fresh ingredients artfully put together.
Vegan and Gluten-free Options
The book is vegetarian (rather than vegan) overall but vegan recipes are marked in the index and at the bottom of each recipe. Same goes for gluten-free and special diet (although I'm not sure what that means). Many of the recipes could also be easily modified to make them vegan as well.
I'm looking forward to trying the pizzas, the double-decker portobello burger and the warm edamame salad. Now that I'm more comfortable with brussels sprouts, I might even try the "Brussels Sprout and Lemon Skillet Pizza."
The only thing the book is missing is a section on desserts. I know they probably rationalized that all desserts are meatless, but, call me selfish, I just want more dessert ideas. That's my sweet tooth talking.
Now for a couple of recipes, one for cold days and one for blessed spring time (bring it on!).
Versatile Vegetarian Chili
Keywords: entree gluten-free vegetarian
Ingredients (Serves 6)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 poblano chile, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Coarse salt
- 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
- 1 tablespoon plus 11/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 cups cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups cooked pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
- Assorted toppings, for serving
1. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion, poblano, and garlic; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in green chiles, chili powder, and cumin; cook, stirring frequently, until spices are darkened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
3. Add beans, tomatoes and their juice, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender and chili is thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat. Season with salt. Serve with suggested toppings, as desired.
G Per serving (without toppings): 342 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 57 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 18 g fiber
TOP IT OFF
Chili actually benefits from a little improvisation, and assorted toppings are a good way to change up the flavor and texture. In many cases the toppings can temper the heat as well. Toast whole flour or corn tortillas over the flame of a gas burner, turning with tongs, until lightly charred, about 30 seconds per side; let cool slightly and cut into strips.
VARY THE BEANS
Swap in an equal amount of other beans: in addition to the pinto and kidney beans used in the master recipe, black, navy, and pink beans are all common in chili; black-eyed peas, chickpeas, or lentils would also work. Use just one type of bean or a combination of two or three. Just make sure to keep the total volume the same.
ADD SEASONAL VEGETABLES
Practically any vegetable can be added to chili; usually it will be cooked along with the onion and chile until tender, before the other ingredients are added. For a summer version, add up to 1 cup diced red, yellow, or green bell peppers (or a mix); sliced zucchini or yellow squash; or fresh corn kernels, alone or in combination. For an autumn chili, add up to 1 cup peeled, diced butternut squash or sweet potato; chopped Swiss chard, kale, or other sturdy greens; or diced mushrooms.
MAKE IT GREEN
Puree 3 pounds tomatillos, husked and washed, until smooth in a food processor or blender. Use this puree in place of the canned tomatoes in the master recipe.
INCREASE THE HEAT
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh green chile, such as jalapeño or serrano. (As a general rule, the smaller the chile, the hotter it is.) Or try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce to impart a smoky flavor.
MAXIMIZE THE FLAVORS
Broil the vegetables for deeper flavor: Before getting started, halve the onion and poblano chile, and place cut side down on a baking sheet; add whole (peeled) garlic cloves and broil until just starting to char, then chop and sauté as directed. You could also broil a pound of fresh plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, until softened and starting to char, then dice or puree in a blender; use this puree in place of the canned tomatoes.
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Avocado Salad with Bell Pepper and Tomatoes
Keywords: gluten-free vegan vegetarian avocado
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Coarse salt
- 1 firm, ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- ½ yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and cayenne. Season with salt.
2. Scoop out flesh from avocado halves, reserving shells, and chop. Transfer to a bowl and add bell pepper, tomatoes, scallion, and chopped cilantro.
3. Drizzle with dressing and season with salt. Gently stir to combine. Spoon mixture into reserved shells. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
V G S Per serving: 424 calories, 34.63 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 31.25 g carbohydrates, 6.6 g protein, 16.36 g fiber
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*I received a review copy of "Meatless." All opinions are my own.
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