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.
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