Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Christmas Gifts

Here is our Christmas dinner all ready to go in the refrigerator until we returned from Santa Fe on Christmas Eve. I just threw the lasagna in the oven when we got back and there was nothing else to do.

My favorite Christmas gifts are usually kitchen-related. I received some much-needed pasta forks and an incredible measuring spoon set with roosters and sunflowers. I have ogled the spoons every time I shopped at Now We're Cooking (far north Albuquerque off of Academy) so DH finally took pity on me.

My girlfriend Gracie sent me this fun Wusthof bread knife and serving board set. I made some fatfree banana bread from the Esselstyn book to test it out.


And finally the piece de resistance! I have a 2 3/4 quart Le Creuset French Oven in turquoise but I wanted a little larger one. This is 3 1/2 quarts and probably the largest size I can handle with my wimpy arms. I've already used it to make a wonderful smoky white bean soup.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Marinated Artichoke Heart & Garbanzo Salad

Every Christmas we receive a box of organic fruit from our wonderful CSA. I have to get busy and use some of this soon - I foresee banana bread and maybe an apple pie in my immediate future.


For the past few years I've been making lasagna for Christmas. I assemble it in advance then bake it late on Christmas eve after we return from Santa Fe walking Canyon Road looking at all the luminarias and farolitos. This year I'm planning on doing a pesto lasagna with aparagus. I'm going to adapt this recipe from Vegetarian Times to a non-dairy version.

The rest of the menu includes whole grain crackers and this Ellie Krieger roasted red pepper dip, my salted rosemary garlic bread, chocolate chip cookies with store-bought fruit sorbet, a bottle of sparkling pomegranate juice, and a marinated Italian salad I make every Christmas.

Marinated Artichoke Heart and Garbanzo Salad
 This salad is adapted from the out-of-print Cooking from an Italian Garden by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen. I think it tastes better the next day so try to make it at least one day in advance of serving.

Makes 6 servings

1 (15 oz.) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups artichoke hearts (either frozen, canned, or bottled marinated)
1 green or red pepper, diced
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. minced Italian parsley
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste (may not need at all if you use regular canned beans and marinated artichoke hearts)

Mix all ingredients except salt and pepper together in serving dish. Taste for seasoning. Cover and let marinate overnight.


Here is the M-Edge synthetic leather Kindle cover I referred to previously. It stands up by itself and can also be purchased from Amazon's Kindle Accessories store. Check back as the colors in stock seem to change frequently. BTW, for Deb who is also a knitter, you can easily set up the Kindle to turn the pages by itself for hands-free reading.

Instructions on how to make your own wooden pizza peel

This blog, Savvy Vegetarian Advice, offers some great nutrition Q&As for new vegetarians.

Prevention Magazine did the Seven Foods Experts Won't Eat. Yikes - canned tomatoes is a tough one for me to give up.

Here's a blogger who made my Cranberry and White Chocolate Muffins from 'Tis the Season. I think her photos are fantastic and she reposts her adaptation of the recipe.

VegNews posts some tips for vegan holiday parties.

Make Your Own Gingerbread Latte

Cookbook author Dreena Burton's Gingerbread Folks

Isa Chandra Moskowitz' delicious Gingerbread Flax Muffins

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Luscious Lemon Cake

My favorite source of healthy recipes is from an unlikely book - Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD. I've never even read the heart disease part; I bought it for the recipes. I also have the Ornish and McDougall books but the Esselstyn book has the low-fat, plant-based recipes I like the most. There are 150 in the cookbook so it is definitely worth buying just for that purpose. So far I've made mostly desserts but the easy Black Bean-Oatmeal Burgers are my new favorite homemade veggie burgers. They're baked and then broiled.

Yesterday I made the Luscious Lemon Cake which uses applesauce instead of fat. I subbed unbleached flour for the whole wheat flour. After the cake is baked you sprinkle the juice of half a lemon and some sugar (I used demerara) on top. I thought it was probably my favorite no-added-fat dessert. The recipe is available in the message thread HERE; make sure you  keep reading because the poster forgot to add the lemon sugar topping in the 1st recipe post.

Also, I bought myself an early Christmas present - Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I'll do an official review of it once I've made some of the cookies. I'm trying to buy cookbooks for the Kindle instead of print versions lately. The cover seen on my Kindle is by M-Edge - they have lots of synthetic leather Kindle covers at Amazon in various colors that stand up on their own so you can easily cook from the book.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Salted Rosemary Garlic Bread

This is my favorite bread recipe (adapted from 'Tis the Season).  I love the way this fine-crumbed bread smells as it is baking and I like to serve it with hearty pasta dishes. I used to braid it but it isn't an easy dough to work with because it is so wet. The bread itself is very lightly salted and the top of the bread is salted before baking. Experiment with various salts for this bread; I use a kosher sea salt I buy in bulk at the health food store but coarser salts such as gray salt will also work well. Fresh rosemary is essential to give this bread its wonderful aroma.

Salted Rosemary Garlic Bread

Makes 1 large loaf

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water -- about 110 degrees F
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/8 tsp. plus 2 tsp. salt -- divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 c. lukewarm water
4 - 4 1/2 c. unbleached flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 10 minutes. Add the agave nectar, salt, garlic, rosemary, oil and water. Mix with the beater blade of the mixer. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time. When the dough becomes thick, switch to the dough hook. Continue adding flour until the dough leaves sides of bowl. Knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is
smooth and satiny.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Rotate the dough so that the entire surface
is coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.

Punch down the dough and shape into a 12-inch loaf. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 45 minutes or until almost doubled. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle 2 tsp. of salt evenly over the braid. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a rack.

The Fiery-Foods web site is featuring my Southwestern Fiesta menu HERE . The plant-based recipes include Zucchini and Hominy Soup, Carrot Salsa, Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas, Green Chile Enchiladas, Green Beans and Pinon Nuts, Ole' Corn, Apricot-Almond Empanaditas, Orange Sherbet and Mexican Coffee.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Southwestern Gingerbread Houses

I went to the Tamaya Hilton Resort at Santa Ana Pueblo for a Christmas party Friday and I'm seriously bummed I forgot my camera to photograph their southwestern gingerbread house display. Instead I'll show you last year's display which was larger. 

Check out the couple kissing under the mistletoe under the arch.

This is my favorite - at the front you can see corn grinding equipment and a little gingerbread horno (oven for baking bread). At the upper right there is a woman cooking corn tortillas (smooshed white chocolate chips?).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Photos

Here are the tamales we made on Thanksgiving - I am still tired! This was the first time I tried using banana leaves for wrappers (ETA: seen at bottom left, under the corn husk ones). I've heard Rick Bayless say they impart a flavor to the tamales but we did a blind taste test and we honestly couldn't tell the difference. I think I'll stick with corn husks because they're cuter.

This is the Eating Well corn, green bean, and olive salad that is so pretty. (Link to recipe in previous blog post.)

Here's the Red Chile Hummus. I thought it was okay - often I just add a liberal amount of Valentina Hot Sauce to hummus which is just as good or better.

Here are a few fun links I found:

Vegan At Heart offers a free email coaching program to help people gradually move to a plant-based diet.

Lorna Sass the pressure cooker queen now has a blog HERE.

These organic vegan chipotle caramels are calling my name.

VegNews has a wonderful looking recipe for decorated gingerbread houses.

HERE is a blog devoted to the Engine 2 Diet, which is a lowfat plant-based diet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Kitchen After Organizing

Here is my kitchen after the 4-week organizing effort (Apartment Therapy's Kitchen Cure).
There have definitely been improvements although I still struggle with finding room for food and appliances. Week One was cleaning out the fridge and pantry which went well. Week Two was getting rid of excess appliances and I only managed to toss a wok ring as I really do use all my beloved appliances and cookware. HERE are the photos from before I did the Kitchen Cure.

Week Three was deep cleaning and for this week I added shelf liner to all the cabinets. This process took forever. Week Four was restocking the pantry which was no problem. As you can see the cabinets are still jam-packed. I did do a special shelf on a cabinet just for my baking supplies so I feel slightly better organized.

One of the the assignments was to add fresh flowers to your kitchen. Since I grow African violets, geraniums, and begonias inside I have flowers already available. Another task was to add something beautiful to your kitchen. My thing of beauty is the brand new white box seen at the bottom right of the following photo. If you cook as much as I do and go without a dishwasher for four years, there truly is nothing so beautiful. I love my new dishwasher!

Here are a few links on organizing your kitchen:

Every year we get a special Thanksgiving box from our wonderful CSA with all the necessary ingredients for a holiday meal. This year's box contains tons of yams, potatoes, celery, onion, carrots, apples, oranges, and mixed fresh herbs. At this time of year most of the produce does come from elsewhere except for the spinach at the top right.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My 2009 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

The view from Bernalillo, NM looking toward the Sandia Mountains last weekend

(Edited so say that this lovely lady is not on my holiday menu - this is what happens when I'm in a hurry to post. sigh)  I sponsored Bubbles the turkey from the Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-a-Turkey program. I had to pick her because she has the same name as my pet house rabbit and they both share a love of eating vegetables. (I also like that they allowed me to ask that my name wouldn't be on their mailing list; I'm cutting down on my mail and I prefer to donate online. )

My veggie Thanksgiving Menu is pretty much set and I'll make sure to get photos of the spread. We're going with a southwestern theme as we usually do. I've kept everything pretty simple except the tamales which will be quite labor-intensive.

Red Chile Hummus w/Veggies (recipe from one of the Santa Fe School of Cooking cookbooks - it is just a basic garbanzo/garlic/lemon/tahini hummus with the addition of 1 Tbsp. Chimayo chile powder)

My Fresh Masa Tamales - not sure of the fillings yet but I'll do some in banana leaves and some in corn husks

Rick Bayless' Red Chile Sauce - DH will make this fortunately

Eating Well's Green Bean Salad with Basil, Corn, and Olives  - this is a killer salad and quite colorful when I add some roasted red peppers

Sweet Potato Tumbleweeds - another SF School of Cooking recipe - it is just thin strips of sweet potato tossed with ancho chile, cinnamon and cloves and baked in foil packets. I'll veganize it by using non-hydrogenated Earth Balance instead of butter.

Really easy empanaditas - jam or fruit spread or pumpkin butter inside of puff pastry and baked in little bitty triangles and sprinkled with cinnamon or powdered sugar

Mango Sorbet from Whole Foods - too lazy to make it myself this year

Sparkling Cider and the bottle of local  Anderson Valley Red Chile Cabernet Sauvignon I bought at the NM Wine Festival

That's about it - I may add some green chile risotto if I feel ambitious.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas

Stumped about what to make for Thanksgiving? This recipe from 'Tis the Season: A Vegetarian Christmas Cookbook is my personal favorite holiday main dish. I've brought this to other Thanksgiving celebrations and just added the puff pastry at the last minute before baking. It always disappears promptly. Here is the photo from the book.

Vegetable Stew with Puff Pastry Crust
'Tis the Season: A Vegetarian Christmas Cookbook by Nanette Blanchard

Serves 8

This savory stew is one of my favorite winter recipes. In this incarnation, I've topped it with an elegant puff pastry crust, but it is also delicious served plain or with a simple biscuit topping.

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. unbleached flour
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp prepared ballpark style mustard
3 c. vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (don't omit this!)
2 large carrots, chopped (about 1 c.)
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2 c.)
1 c. fresh or frozen peas
1 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed for 20 minutes at room temperature

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes over medium heat until tender. Stir in the flour until completely mixed. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. Stir in the broth, cinnamon, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until thickened and the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Add the peas and corn and cook an additional 10 minutes. (The recipe can be made ahead at this point.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon in the vegetable stew and let cool slightly. On a floured board, roll out the puff pastry sheet to a 12 inch square (or the measurements of your casserole dish). Cut the pastry to fit the top of the casserole dish and place on top of the stew. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until the pastry is golden brown on top, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Here are some links to some other vegan Thanksgiving recipe ideas:

Dreena's Festive Chickpea Tart (from cookbook author Dreena Burton) looks great. Don't forget her recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Pie for dessert.

These Harvest Pot Pies from Vegetarian Times also use a vegetable stew with puff pastry crust.

This Holiday Cashew Nut Roast from Vegetarian Times would be a good addition to a holiday buffet. Also, these Pumpkin Pie Wontons look like a lot of fun.

Cookbook author Bryanna Clark Grogan has a ton of recipes posted HERE. Scroll down to see them all.

101 Cookbooks has this list of vegan thanksgiving recipes.

And finally, cookbook author Nava Atlas is selling an e-book of her 65 favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes HERE with a portion of the profits going to hunger charities.

Personally this year I'm doing tamales and a southwestern-themed dinner.  I'll post my menu later this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zucchini and Hominy Soup

I make two versions of vegetarian posole; the slow-cooked one using frozen posole that is in Fiesta Vegan and the quick version using canned hominy from my out-of-print cookbook 'Tis the Season. Both are great with some red chile stirred in at the last minute.

I'm currently working on making and photographing all the dishes from the Southwestern Fiesta menu in 'Tis the Season because they will appear at the Fiery Foods web site in a few weeks. I added a potato to the original recipe to make it a little heartier.

Zucchini and Hominy Soup
Serves 8 as a first course

This recipe doubles easily if you want to use it as a main dish. It is a vegetarian version of posole, a dish made by the Pueblo Indians and Hispanics for feast days and special celebrations. Most canned hominy is pretty high in sodium so I usually wait until after cooking to add sea salt to taste.

1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 c. chopped canned or thawed frozen green chile peppers
1 large potato, peeled and diced
3 c. homemade vegetable broth
1 (16 oz.) can yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
Sea salt to taste
Garnish: Chipotle powder or thawed frozen red chile puree

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil in a stockpot for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini, cumin, green chiles and potatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with chipotle powder or stir in a tsp. of thawed frozen red chile puree such as Bueno brand.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy National Sandwich Day!

Today is National Sandwich Day. My favorite sandwich varies but my current number one sandwich consists of sauteed shiitake mushrooms on homemade bread spread with basil pesto.

Here is our CSA  box for the week with more shiitake mushrooms for future sandwiches. I'm planning on making borscht this week with the beets.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Black Bean Tostada Burgers

I have been watching a vegetarian cooking show on the Hope Channel (channel 368 on Direct TV). Recently I realized they had more programming of interest to vegetarians including a show featuring Dr. John McDougall. He endorses a vegan low-fat diet and I have been re-reading some of his books for more recipe ideas. I do try to eat really healthy at home this time of year to try to counter out all the splurging I do at holiday events.

I found this recipe for Black Bean Tostada Burgers in an old Shape magazine. The burgers are meant to be grilled with the tortillas in a foil packet but I just browned them in a cast iron skillet with a bit of cooking spray. I omitted the oil in the salsa and was out of avocados so my version was even lower fat. I subbed a slice of whole wheat bread crumbled in the food processor for the panko.

They were really good! The next time I make these I'm going to add some smoked paprika to the black bean mixture.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Whole Wheat Penne w/Garbanzos & Toasted Garlic

Sometimes pasta meals from the pantry can be pretty dull but this recipe is amazingly good. The difference is the 12 whole cloves of garlic that are cooked until golden and sweet. This easy pasta dish is definitely good enough for entertaining and will ward off any stray vampires as well.

To begin you only need a few staple ingredients.

Whole Wheat Penne with Garbanzos and Toasted Garlic

Serves 4

¾ lb. whole wheat penne or other pasta
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, preferably all the same size
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
15 oz. no-salt-added garbanzo beans drained
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water over medium-high heat until tender, about 12 minutes.
Over medium heat in a large saute pan, cook garlic in oil, stirring constantly, until cloves turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes.

To add the tomatoes, first carefully pour the juice from the tomatoes into the pan. Caution - the hot oil will splatter at this point. Wait a few minutes until splattering stops them crush the whole tomatoes between your hands to add to the pan. Stir in garbanzo beans and add sea salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add pasta to sauce in serving dish.

For a satisfying cold-weather menu, add the Roasted Green Beans with Shallot Vinaigrette and my Rosemary-Garlic Pan Rolls.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Upscale Kitchen Photos from Parade of Homes

Despite my own inadequate rental kitchen, I love to keep up on current kitchen trends. Some day I just know I'll use some of these ideas. Yesterday we went to our local parade of homes to see the best work of New Mexico builders.

This modern kitchen had the most beautiful red granite and I really loved the mix of light and dark cabinets. Unfortunately there was not a straight path from the refrigerator (located on the right outside of the photo) to the stove; actually most of the kitchens I saw did not have a traditional work triangle. I think the higher island section for eating is attractive but it also cut down on the amount of space for food prep. I actually didn't think this kitchen had enough counter space for me although it had plenty of cabinets. Isn't the ceiling gorgeous? (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

This was probably my favorite kitchen especially because it had a window - most of the other kitchens did not. The Wolf range was massive - 6 burners plus a French ring. You can see the warming drawer which every kitchen had - I'd be really surprised if people actually use these. I cook all the time and I doubt I'd even use one regularly - maybe for bread dough rising? The sink was hammered copper which was incredibly beautiful.

This is the same kitchen - the homeowner made all the cabinets out of alder and the floors were travertine. I also liked the open shelving on the far right which could be used to showcase dishes.
This was the only kitchen that did not have a butler's pantry (separate nook with sink and cabinets and shelving) - I guess regular old pantries are out of style.
This kitchen had a lot of warmth (but not enough natural light for me) and I loved the high ceilings (all the kitchens I saw had great high ceilings). I also think I'd prefer more space on either side of the range.

This is the same kitchen as the photo above. One detail I liked about most of the kitchens is that the cabinetry was flush with the top of the refrigerator so it is easier to access.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More CSA Goodness

Here is this week's colorful CSA box. Farmer Monte reports that the CSA members emailed him and voted to limit the number of weeks we receive eggplant, turnips, arugula, and basil next summer. Basil? I can't believe people think there is such a thing as too much fresh organic local basil. For some reason Italian cuisine really isn't as popular here in NM as it is in other parts of the U.S. I may try making salsa with those green tomatoes.

Here's the Pumpkin Ziti w/Caramelized Onions from Veganomicon before the sage breadcrumb topping was added. Our local grocery store was out of cashews for the cashew ricotta so I subbed macadamia nuts and I liked it even better.

Grilled Vegetable Wraps with Chipotle Mayonnaise - another delicious dish from my continuing efforts to cook through the non-dairy recipes in Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen. I love the emphasis on vegetables in all of her recipes as they are my favorite foods.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hatch Green Chile Stew

Hatch Green Chile Stew

Serves 8

Be sure to use mild green chiles for this hearty stew. I like to serve it with warmed flour tortillas. This stew is topped with cilantro and chopped scallions but you can also use tofu sour cream, green olives, or shredded soy cheese.

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
8 c. homemade vegetable stock
4 c. roasted, peeled, and chopped Hatch green chiles
1 green tomato, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. sea salt or to taste

In a large stockpot, saute onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add oregano and cumin and continue to cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Fall has finally arrived at our casita.

Here are a few of my other chile pepper blog posts:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apartment Therapy's Kitchen Cure, Week 1

I can't believe how embarrassing this is! The first task of Apartment Therapy's kitchen decluttering project is to open all your kitchen drawers and cabinets and take photos. I've already discussed my severe lack of storage space but I don't think I realized how chaotic my pantry is until I looked at the photos. You're not allowed to clean or tidy up before you take the photos.

After you post photos, you're supposed to go through and clean out your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.

Since my refrigerator is usually pretty clean I figured I'd just devote 10-15 minutes. THREE HOURS and 2 garbage bags later, my pantry and refrigerator are cleaned out.

These are all before photos - I think my biggest problem areas are my spices, my collection of medicinal herbs which are all over the place, the above drawer where I keep foil and plastic wrap (they don't all fit), and the fact that I have two whole cabinets that are either not used (the one above the fridge which is impossible to access without getting on a chair) or underused (the one above the microwave).

It is a continuing battle to keep a handle on my condiment addiction/"condimania".

I'm looking forward to next week's tasks! It is so nice to think that my kitchen will be organized just in time for the holiday cooking frenzy.
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