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.

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