Weekend Foodery

The Mister decided we needed to make bagels this weekend. We prepared the dough on Friday night, and Saturday morning, we boiled and baked them up. The recipe makes 10 bagels. This is how many were left by Sunday evening.

THEY WERE GOOD. Ugly, but good. The recipe we use is by Lauren Groveman. It’s included in the book Baking with Julia, but you can find it on Lauren’s website as well. Homemade bagels are fiddly, but totally worth the several steps and 2-3 hours it takes to make them. Highly recommended if you have the time and inclination.

Then Sunday night, I decided to try out a vegan recipe that I’ve had my eye on for some time now: potato-kale enchiladas from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero. I’ve said this before, but if you’re in the market for tasty, accessible, healthy vegan food, Isa Chandra Moskowitz is your woman.

This turned out to be another fiddly, multi-step recipe. First, I roasted some pasilla chiles in the oven.

These got blended with sauteed onions, canned tomatoes, and seasonings to create the enchilada sauce.

The filling was made from a combination of potatoes and kale. We used red kale, which worked like a charm. I love red kale. It makes excellent kale chips too.

The filling also included some seasonings, and one ingredient that I found somewhat surprising.

Toasted, chopped pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Interesting, no? They added a really unique flavor and texture to the dish.

Nice-looking ingredients, eh?

Once the sauce and filling were ready, the Mister and I formed an assembly line. He heated and sauced the tortillas, and I filled and rolled the enchiladas.

They were delicious, although I confess that I de-veganed mine by eating them with dairy sour cream. The Mister put vegan cheese on his. We’ll definitely be making them again.

To conclude: Here is a picture of the cat being shaped like a ball.

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Published in: on January 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm  Comments (7)  
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Stop! Mango Time.

Well, tomorrow’s Monday, which must mean it’s time for another installment of La Principessa’s Lunchbox Chronicles! This week, I made quinoa salad again, but the recipe for this one came from an actual cookbook rather than from the dark recesses of my brain. Well, sort of. It’s a variation on a recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

(Incidentally, if you’re interested in vegan cooking or just want to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains into your diet, I highly recommend this book. It has tons of great recipes as well as a lot of basic cooking information. Wondering how to make vegan gravy, or what the hell to do with those five beets your neighbor just gave you [oh wait, that was MY neighbor]? This is your book.)

First step is to rinse and cook your quinoa. I failed to do the “rinse” part, so I guess we’ll see how much that affects the flavor. (Quinoa has an outer layer that can be bitter, which is why most quinoa recipes instruct you to rinse it before cooking.) Put the cooked quinoa into a big bowl to cool. Make sure it’s a BIG bowl, because you’ll be putting the salad together in it.

Ingredients, assemble!

Here we have scallions, a mango, a can of black beans, and a whole heaping helping of cilantro, along with two ingredients that the recipe doesn’t call for: a jicama and some baked tofu. More on those in a bit.

Peel and dice your mango.

Pretty!

Chop up a cup or so of scallions.

The recipe calls for red bell pepper. But do you know how much use I have for red bell pepper? Or any other color of bell pepper, for that matter? None. So I substitute half a jicama, which is crisp and refreshing and not completely disgusting like some other vegetables I could mention *cough*redbellpepper*cough*. If you’ve never had jicama, it tastes like an apple met a potato and they had a really juicy, earthy-tasting baby. Mmmmm … baby.

Chop up a cup or so of cilantro, and dump it in with everything else you’ve chopped up so far. Unless you’re one of those “eeewww, cilantro tastes like soap and ruins everything” people, in which case … don’t.

Now for the proteiny bits. The recipe calls for one can of rinsed and drained black beans, so add that. I like to have something meaty to chew on too, so I add cubed baked tofu. When I’m REALLY on top of my game, I press and bake my own tofu. I didn’t feel like doing that this weekend, though, so I bought pre-baked tofu at Whole Foods. Oh, the decadence!

Now, for seasonings. Really, the only seasonings I use here are kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red wine vinegar. Oh, and a secret ingredient that most definitely is NOT included in the original recipe, but that I think works really well.

Stir it all up and voila! Lunch for five days!

Insert into face and make little satisfied grunting noises.

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lunchin’ It Up, Vegan Style

As some of you are aware, I embarked upon The Great Vegetarian/Vegan Diet Experiment last year. I really enjoyed it: I loved finding new recipes and ingredients to try out, I had tons of energy, my cholesterol dropped like 40 points, and I felt great. That is, until my innards exploded in a painful, ongoing bout of what was eventually diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My suspicion is that the rapid diet overhaul was too much for my poor intestines to handle, and they rebelled by making it painful and … let us say, “unpleasant” to digest anything more fibrous than a saltine cracker.

After many doctor’s visits, a litany of tests, and several months of bland, largely fiber-free food, the situation is starting to improve, and I’m finding myself leaning in a vegetarian/vegan direction again. I probably won’t go 100% vegan (for one thing, I’m no longer cooking only for myself, and Mister Principessa is pretty fond of his eggs and bacon), but I would like to get back to eating that way as much as possible. I typically eat breakfast and lunch by myself, so it’s easy to have vegan food for those meals.

The only problem with this style of eating is that vegan food –at least the kind I like to cook and eat–takes quite a bit of thought, preparation, and time. Sure, you can be a “junk food vegan” and subsist on corn chips and Skittles, but where’s the fun (or health benefits) in that? I’ve found that I can save myself considerable grief during the week if I prepare my breakfasts and lunches in advance over the weekend. Then during the week, those two meals require no more thought or effort than it takes to reach into the fridge and pull out a Tupperware container. In other words, none whatsoever.

This week for lunch, I’m going to be eating a quinoa salad that I invented last year. Let’s take a gander, shall we? Be advised, this post is rather picture heavy.

First of all, you’ll need to cook some quinoa. One cup works well for this amount of salad. Nothing magical about cooking quinoa; it’s just like cooking rice or any other grain but takes waaaaay less time. Then set it aside in a big bowl (I use a large mixing bowl). I generally add salt and pepper at this point.

I like to put eggplant in this salad, and my favorite way to prepare it is to roast it. No trick to this either. Cut your eggplant in half lengthwise,

then stick it in a 350-degree oven and cook until done, generally 20-30 minutes.

Onions are a good addition to almost any salad. Red onions or scallions are my favorite in this one. Just slice ’em up …

… and chuck ’em in!

I’m a sucker for leafy greenery in salads, so I generally put kale in this too. I steam it in a pot using the smallest amount of water possible; really, I just wilt it, which you can do using pretty much just the water that’s left on the leaves after you wash them.

Stir it around so it all wilts, adding teeny splashes of water if necessary.

When it’s ready, dump it in the bowl with the quinoa.

I also like tomatoes in this.

Quinoa is pretty high in protein, but to add even more, I like to include a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. I’ve also made this with lentils and baked tofu, both of which work very well. Or if you’re not tied to the whole “vegan” thing, chopped hardboiled eggs or cooked chicken would be good too.

You, being smarter than I am, will surely remember to add your damn eggplant. I forgot it and had to go back and add it at the end. So in your mind, please insert a picture of me cutting the eggplant into cubes here:

and adding the cubes to the bowl here:

On to the dressing! You could mix up a simple vinaigrette for this, or even use store-bought dressing. I like to dress this salad in the laziest way possible, which is to say I just add seasonings directly to the bowl, stir, and hope for the best. If you season it pretty lightly to begin with, you can adjust it to suit your taste. I usually add …

Kosher salt

Several grinds of black pepper (please, for the love of all that is right and good on this earth, do not use pre-ground pepper, ever, for anything … it is dusty and worthless)

A few small pinches of cayenne … I’m kind of a heat wimp

Red wine vinegar

And a wee drizzle of olive oil.

Stir it all up good!

Again, kindly pretend there’s eggplant in there.

And now for my favorite part. The divvying! I like to put the salad into five separate containers, which minimizes the amount of brain power I have to expend on my way out the door at 6:30 in the morning.

Action shot!

SSSSUUUUUUP-EEERRRR MACRO!

And that’s it! Easy, healthy, and practically infinitely variable. And vegan to boot! Win win win win!

Published in: on October 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm  Comments (4)  
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