The Last Saturday – Vegetable Barley Soup   2 comments

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I love soup, therefore I love to make soup. I like to take my time. I am adamant that all the vegetables be cut into roughly the same size – 1/2″ – 3/4″ cubes. This soup took me two hours to make. It doesn’t have to take anyone this long to make soup if you have a fancy vegetable cutter, but if you don’t, it takes time and care to cut up 9-10 cups of vegetables. You can also speed things along by making sure your grains and beans are cooked before you start. I don’t mind. First, I listened to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. Then I listened to In Rainbows by Radiohead, and to finish up I turned on the Prince and the Revolution spotify station. I sang the whole time, and I am easily amused by repetitive tasks and the sound of my own voice. But now I sit, eating my soup, and blogging about how great it turned out.

Food:
Vegetables
2 c chopped celery*
1 c chopped turnips**
2 cloves shallots*
1/2 medium onion*
1 small yukon gold potato* Leave the skins on
1 small red potato* Leave the skins on
2 very small eggplants, chopped, about a cup***
2 c chopped carrots, cut carrots in half lengthwise, then cut on a bias*
1 c chopped mushrooms****

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Grains*****
1.5 c cooked barley
1/3 c uncooked long grain brown rice
1/3 uncooked wheat-berries

Beans*****
1.5 cups cooked adzuki beans
3 servings tofu
1/2 cup dried split peas

Herbs n spices
3/4 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried sage
1/2 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs turmeric

Other
6 tbs sesame oil
6 cups vegetable broth (made at home, no sodium)******
1 cup vegetable broth (pacific coast, low sodium)
Water
1 tbs salt
3/4 tbs rice vinegar

Tools:
Medium size sauce pan
Large Stock/Soup Pot
Spatula
Spoon
Chef’s knife
Cutting board

Prep:
Put on an apron.
Get all ingredients out, and on the counter.
Wash your vegetables.

Action:
Add four cups homemade, sodium free****** vegetable broth to saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the split peas, rice, and wheat-berries.
When the broth/grain/bean mix boils, turn the heat down to medium or medium low and let simmer for 50-60 minutes.

Cut the vegetables*. Take your time; soup shouldn’t hurt. Turn on some music.
Make sure to keep an eye on the simmering grains and beans, and the last two cups of homemade broth as the mixture boils down. You may need more than six cups. If you run out of broth, just use water. You may have to take the grains and beans off the heat if they finish before the vegetables are ready for them to be added.

Put the soup pot on the stove. Turn heat to medium and add the 3 tbs sesame oil.
When the oil is heated (sprinkle a drop of water on it, if it sizzles it’s ready) add the herbs and spices, wait a minute, then add the vegetables.
Sauté.
Stir the veggies every few minutes and add the rest of the sesame oil as necessary.
Cook the vegetables on medium for 15 minutes.

Cut to tofu into bite size pieces, 1/2″-3/4″ cubes.
When the onions are translucent (after they’ve cooked on medium for 15 minutes), add the tofu, adzuki beans, and barley. Stir.
Add the wheat-berries, split peas, rice, and any leftover cooking liquid. Stir.
Add one cup of low sodium vegetable broth, and enough water to cover the veggie/grain/bean mix.
Bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the carrots, celery and potatoes are of a texture you enjoy. Also try the peas and wheat-berries to make sure they are also cooked through.
In the last five or so minutes of cooking, add 1 tbs salt, and 3/4 tbs rice vinegar.
Eat.

I don’t have high blood pressure, in fact, I have relatively low pressure, so salt is not a worry for me. If it is for you, skip the last step, but maybe add a little vinegar still. It helps the flavor to dance.

*I use onions, carrots, celery, shallots, and potatoes to make homemade vegetable broth. Take the parts you were going to throw away and put them in a quart size ziploc and toss it in your freezer. Throughout the rest of the week, add your scraps to this bag. I don’t add bitter foods – mustards (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), or radishes because they will make your broth bitter.

**If you do not like turnips, or other bitter foods, do not add them to this soup. I love turnips, that’s why they’re here. If you do not like them, sub for more mushrooms.

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***You might be wondering where I found eggplants so small. In my garden. It froze here on New Year’s Eve at night, so I cut those off of my eggplant earlier in the afternoon. The plant had a really great run, and has been producing since April. I probably got 100 eggplants. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I’m not sure. Given enough sunshine, eggplants go wild. If you do not have a mutant eggplant, substitute a cup of cubed eggplant. If you hate eggplant substitute something else, but I couldn’t even taste them in the soup.

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****There’s a chance you live with and/or feed people who think they don’t like mushrooms. If you want them to eat this soup, cut the mushrooms up into 1/4″ cubes. I have something called a salad genius or something and it does this really easily. If they don’t look like mushrooms, the mushroom haters will never know.

*****To cut down the time to make this soup. Use canned, or precooked grains and beans. Alternatively, if you don’t have any cooked beans or grains, you could cook them all together in the saucepan, by increasing the amount of broth and cooking time.

******I make my vegetable broth from scratch. It’s easy, and free, and it uses scraps of food that would’ve either gone to the landfill or my compost bucket. Is it sodium free? Probably not, since vegetables have sodium in them, however it does not taste salty, and I do not add any extra sodium to it.

I hope you enjoy the soup!

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Posted January 5, 2013 by deeats in Soups and Stews

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When in Phoenix – Cornish Pasty Company   Leave a comment

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The Cornish Pasty Co., with locations in Tempe and Mesa is a great place to frequent if you live or are visiting the Phoenix metro area! I love this place. They have some really great vegan options – two kinds vegan pasties everyday, curried potatoes, rosemary potatoes, oven chips, and a full bar. The pasties really fill you up. My favorites are the vegan greek, vegan portabella, and the fiesta. The vegan philly, and vegan cheese and onion have too much fake cheese and not enough of anything else, so I don’t really like those. But lets not dwell on that. Some of the salads can also be made vegan by forgoing the cheese. I’m not a big salad person myself, so I can’t say how those are.

I think the best thing about the CPC is that you can go with whomever – vegetarian, omnivore, or alcoholic and everyone leaves happy. They have an entire menu full of vegetarian pasties which use the Quorn brand sausage and chicken. The meat and cheese pasties are delicious as well. I recommend “the mexican” and the “rosemary chicken” from my omnivorous days. The menu is fairly priced with pasties between $8 and $10.

CPC has a full bar with great beer and wine specials for happy hour. And as always, $3 car bombs all the time!

The above photo is the vegan greek. It comes with a delicious tahini sauce, and I usually ask for some marinara as well. So, so good. It’s probably my favorite pasty.

Posted January 2, 2013 by deeats in Dining Out

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Roasted Garlic Soybean Dip/Sauce   Leave a comment

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I love bean dips and sauces. They are creamy, delicious, cholesterol free, and filling! They’re also versatile. I made this dip for a party I had, but it tasted a lot like the béchamel sauce that comes on white pizza, so I plan to use this as my next pizza sauce.

I was inspired by Spabettie’s Roasted Garlic White Bean Spread and used it as a template when creating this dip.

Cook the beans during the day in your crock pot with one bay leaf, and this dip is made easy at dinnertime. Or use canned beans, however I feel that canned beans really up the flatulence factor, and create more waste than buying dried beans in bulk. Should you decide to use canned, rinse them in a colander with water, and heat them up in a sauce pan before making the dip.

Food:
12 – 14 medium sized roasted garlic cloves*
2.5 c cooked soybeans**
5 tbs olive oil
3 tbs tahini
4 tbs lemon juice
4 tsp oregano
1/2 piece (half of fruit) roasted red pepper*
salt to taste

Tools:
food processor
spatula
Bowl

Prep:
***Below are some tips about soybeans and roasting your own garlic and peppers. It’s very easy, but depending on how much you get paid, it is probably easier to buy them.
**As stated earlier, you’ll want to have beans that are already cooked, and more importantly are HOT. This will help them blend creamier. If you made your beans from scratch, save the extras in a Rubbermaid container with all of the cooking liquid. Bean cooking liquid is gold. I use it to add flavor to mashed potatoes, as a soup base, to make gravy, I cook rice and other grains in it. Don’t throw it away, just remember to use it.
* Roasting your own garlic and red peppers is really easy. I made three roasted red peppers, and one head of garlic in about an hour using my toaster oven. Preheat the oven to 500*F on the broil setting. Cut the top off of a head of garlic, and set it in a ceramic ramekin. Add a few tablespoons olive oil to the top the garlic head. Put the garlic in the far back corner of the toaster oven, and add the three peppers. Turn the peppers one-quarter turn every ten minutes, their skin should be charred. After forty minutes, remove the peppers, and set the oven to bake. Cut out the stems of the peppers, this should quickly remove most of the seeds. Cut the pepper in half lengthwise, set in on a clean cutting board flesh side down, and remove the skin. Repeat with the other peppers. Remove the garlic from the oven (at this point, it should have been roasting for 50-60 minutes) and let it cool. When cooled, hold the garlic in your hand, turn it upside down, squeeze the cloves out and into the ramekin, take out what you need for this recipe, and put the rest in a small, tightly sealed jar covered in olive oil. You can store the peppers and garlic together in the same jar, or separate.

Action:
Add all ingredients to a food processor. Blend until creamy.
Use the spatula to remove the dip and put it into a pretty bowl, on top of noodles, on a pizza, over rice and vegetables, whatever you need a creamy sauce or delectable dip for!

This is a great consistency for a dip or sauce immediately after processing. If you’d like a slightly firmer dip, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the top and toss it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. If you’d like to have a thinner sauce, add a little of the bean cooking liquid while processing to thin it out a bit.

That’s all! If you have all the ingredients on hand, this dip takes ten minutes or less to make!

Enjoy!

Posted December 25, 2012 by deeats in 15 minutes or less, Dips

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Pinto Beans and Kale on Toast with Gravy   Leave a comment

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Yum!

This dish was a great lunch on a super productive Sunday!

Food:
2 pieces whole wheat bread
2/3 c cooked pinto beans
1.25 c kale
3/4 c gravy

Tools:
Toaster or toaster oven
Rice cooker with steamer basket
Frying pan
Sauce pan
Plate

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Prep:
Before making this dish, you’ll have to make sure you have all the ingredients.
Preheat the toaster oven, rice cooker, frying pan, and sauce pan.

Action:
Add the bread to the toaster oven, kale to the rice cooker steamer basket, beans to the frying pan, and gravy to the sauce pan.
Cook everything about 6 minutes.
Assemble

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Next time I make this dish, I think I will just add the pinto beans to the boiling water in the bottom of the rice cooker. That'll make cleanup even easier.

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Posted December 23, 2012 by deeats in 15 minutes or less

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Kale and Artichoke Dip   Leave a comment

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While preparing for a party I realized that one of my dips needed to be bean free, for variety’s sake. After doing some online sleuthing I decided to go with a spinach and artichoke dip. I didn’t have spinach, but did have this great kale from Horny Toad Farm. This dip came out great. I haven’t had “spin dip” in years and this did not disappoint.

My template for this dip came from the recipe at Kid Tested Firefighter Approved for vegan spinach and artichoke dip.

Food:
2 c chopped kale, leaves only
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1.5 tbs agave nectar
3/4 c raw, unsoaked cashews
3/4 c unsweetened hemp milk
3 tbs lemon juice
2 – 4 medium/small cloves roasted garlic
3/4 tsp dry mustard
8 ounces artichoke, cut into small pieces (about one-two square centimeters)
Salt and pepper to taste

Tools:
Small, spill-proof Rubbermaid container
Food processor
Pyrex oven safe dish

Prep:
The night before, clean and chop the kale. Add it to the Rubbermaid with the vinegar and agave nectar. Put the top on and shake it around. Shake around a few more times before you go to bed. When you get up in the morning shake it again. This might seem tedious, but it only takes ten seconds per shake. Do it while you’re figuring which snack you went to the fridge for.

Action:
Preheat oven to 425F. Plug in the food processor. Add all ingredients except kale and artichoke. Blend until it’s good and smooth, I gave mine a few minutes. Take the kale from the fridge, squeeze the vinegar out of it, and add it to one side of the food processor. Add artichokes to the opposite side. Pulse 25 to 40 times. Add to oven safe dish and cook for 25 minutes.

Before putting the dip in the oven, but after pulsing I found that the dip was very cold as a result of the artichoke being thawed-ish. It was very good. Really zippy. But I put it in the oven to see if it would change the texture. I’m not sure if it did. I think it just tasted warmer, but I plan to do an experiment next time I make this, and will update with the results.

I thought this dip tasted best with tortilla chips, but celery and pretzels were good, too.

Posted December 23, 2012 by deeats in Dips

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How to Throw a Party with Vegan and Gluten-Free Friends   Leave a comment

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Parties are great. Add together friends, food, beverages, and the privacy of your own home, and baby you got a stew goin’. But if you are friends with a lot of people with food allergies or special diets, menu planning can be difficult. This is where dips come in.

Dips and dippers are the perfect party food. Why? Minimal silverware. People can choose to eat light, by dunking one dipper into a dip, or get a plateful. They don’t seem like a whole meal, but will fill you up. Dips are usually super easy to make, require minimal cooking, and minimal tools. Dippers are typically bought ready to eat, and probably just need to be cut into smaller pieces.

Their are many types of dips and almost all of them can be made vegan and/or gluten free:
Salsa; green, red, black bean
Pesto
Garlic
Bean
7 – layer
Artichoke
Spinach
the list goes on.

So, I’m an ovo-vegetarian who rarely eats eggs, and goes to visit farms to see if the chickens are happy. Yes, I’ve seen that episode of Portlandia. I have several friends who are gluten-free, some who cannot eat garlic, and ya know, there always seems to be someone with a nut, bean, or seed allergy to boot. Variety is the only way to see that all are able to enjoy the spread and your hospitality. This is my spread for the Apocalypse Party I threw (spoiler alert: the world didn’t end.)

Dips:
Kale and Artichoke Dip
Black Bean Salsa
Pinto Bean Dip
Roasted Garlic Dip
Red Salsa (super spicy)*
Verde Salsa (also spicy)*

Dippers:
Vegetables – Broccoli, Cucumbers, Celery, Green Peppers, and Carrots
Tortilla Chips
Pretzels

Baked Goods:
Beer-Battered Jalapeño Muffins*
Brownies – GF*

Beverages:
Spiced Apple Cider
Orange Juice
Coca-Cola
Soda Water
Lemon/Lime Juice or Fruit
Assorted Alcohols

Always have two types of baked goods. I feel the same way about sweets as I do about clothing, they’re optional. But public opinion prevails and so I go clothed, bearing treats. Baking is often a chore for me. It will probably take me two hours to complete a recipe the average person completes in twenty minutes. And then there’s cleaning up. If you also feel this way, outsource. There’s no shame in asking a friend to bring a dessert. I have lots of friends who love to bake, and hate to cook. Take advantage of it.

Make sure to have an inclusive beverage selection. Not all of your friends drink. If your friends are responsible, someone will be the dd, and they’ll probably get thirsty. Drinks will vary depending on your crowd. Beer can be expensive, and since everyone likes different kinds it can be hard to please everyone. Buy shitty beer. This is for beer pong, and people who only drink beer, but don’t enjoy it enough to bring their own. I feel this way, because if I want to drink beer at a party, I usually bring my own. Have a bottle of wine or two. And a mix of assorted alcohols. I made a delicious, non-alcoholic spiced apple cider in my crock pot. Then, when I actually made a glass for myself I spiked it with Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum. Sailor Jerry >; Captain Morgan. My roommates contributed to the gathering with White Russians and colorado bulldogs. We had a plethora of hard alcohol; rums, vodkas, gin, tequila, vermouth, and triple sec. This isn’t necessary. A bottle of each of rum, vodka, and gin or tequila will yield a rowdy party, but it looks really cool when you have a whole bunch of bottles on your counter.

As a side note, I don’t like drinking out of plastic or styrofoam and I don’t like all the waste they create either. When I throw a party I bust out all of my pint glasses and mugs (for hot drinks), and allow my guests to use those. It’s classier and better for the planet.

And that’s how a successful party is thrown.

*Denotes a dish brought by friends. Thanks friends!

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Posted December 22, 2012 by deeats in Event Planning

We’re Here, We’re Orzo – Pride Pasta   Leave a comment

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Posted June 24, 2012 by deeats in 15 minutes or less

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