Starting my new job today (!!!), so a quick post full of quick vegan noms.
Fast and easy vegan breakfast, take 3-ish:
How to: Fry up some potatoes in olive oil. After flipping (once brown on one side), add soyrizo. Fry a little more. Nom. Swoon.
Quick vegan dinner in October:
Souuuuuup. Minestrone soup. Ok, ready? Set?
– Pan. Olive oil. Onions + garlic. Saute (no burning!) until slightly wiggly.
– Add carrots, celery, potatoes, other harder veggies of your choosing. Saute a little more.
– Add pasta, chopped kale/cabbage, small can of crushed tomatoes (with liquid), veggie stock to more than cover. Also add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. Simmer for a while — until pasta is cooked.
– Again, nom.
Easy like… something that’s really easy, like… slipping on a banana peel. Or, considering I’ve never done that, someting easier. Like sleeping in on the weekend. Only tastier.
I’m drowning in greens. No, seriously.
I came home with a LOT of greens from the farmers’ market. I already had some beet greens and one bunch of golden chard (I couldn’t resist, and it was one dollar). Then at the market on Saturday I bought two bunches of kale (russian and some other kind) and two bunches of rainbow chard, all from a vendor who has the smallest most tender greens. But then my partner in crime at the stand told me to see another farmer down the way for greens as the market was closing. He gave me six bunches of greens — four kale (one curly, two lactino, one russian purple), and two rainbow chard. That’s a total of ten bunches of greens.
Naturally, I’m looking for a way to get through them. Some of the daintier chard became a breakfasty thing yesterday morning. One beautiful bundle of the smaller-leafed kale was destined last night for colcannon. Colcannon, I learned today, is a traditional Irish dish (some say the traditional Irish dish), meant for serving on Halloween. How appropriate! It is made with a combination of potatoes, onion or leeks, and cabbage or kale. Differing sources will tell you that cabbage or kale are the more correct green. Considering that kale is a relative of cabbage, I say it’s all good.
Here’s how I made colcannon — a delicious, healthy comfort food.
– Potatoes (I used one big one and four little ones), chopped into 1″ cubes
– One medium leek, cut into 1/2″ pieces
– One bunch kale, stems trimmed and cut into 1″ strips
– Milk of your choice, 1/2 – 1 cup
– Margarine or butter-like substance of your choice
– Salt and pepper
Start by boiling the potatoes in salted water. These take the longest. Then move on to the leeks (wash well!), which are sauteed in olive oil on medium heat until soft. The kale gets cooked (see how to cook kale) — do this last, as greens get cool very quickly and only take 5-7 minutes.
Once potatoes are fork-pierceable, drain water and transfer to bowl. Add leeks and 1/2 – 1 cup of milk. Mash. I like some chunks in there (and I leave the potato skins on anyway). Season liberally with salt and pepper. Create a crater, into which you put the (drained) kale. Top with a pat of butter-like substance. Curl up and carb out.
This is dirt-cheap and takes under an hour. Making kale tonight illustrated to me what a difference good produce makes in meal preparation — the kale I got was made of very young leaves, which cooked quickly and were tender and not bitter at all. If you’re looking for how to cook kale to make it taste good and so that it isn’t bitter, get ye to a farmers’ market! Get good kale! Your efforts will be rewarded.
Also, a reminder of why we wash our vegetables:
Go forth and celebrate the coming of Halloween with some colcannon!
Dinner last night was very pretty. Witness:
I decided to roast some vegetables in the oven. What you see is a mix of:
– Brussels sprouts
– Torpedo onion
– Red and gold beets
– Sweet potatoes (white and orange-ish)
Roasting vegetables is so easy and really quick! All you need to know about how to roast vegetables is:
– Cut them into roughly even pieces for even cooking. Sturdier things (like beets) can be a little smaller so they’ll cook more quickly.
– Coat liberally with olive oil. According to Alton Brown, this keeps moisture in the veggies and helps them not burn.
– Season as desired (salt, pepper, whatever) and toss in the oven for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Veggies are done when easily pierced with a fork.
In addition to being pretty and rainbow-colored, oven roasted vegetables are also delicious. As the boy said last night, “How are mine already gone? I tried to eat them slowly!”
We also had artichokes with dinner. I love artichokes and should have been eating more while they’re in season! Each of them was a buck a piece at the farmers’ market. Soooooo good.
How to cook/make artichokes:
– Trip 1/2″ off top and pointy things with scissors
– Trim stem
– Toss in a pot of boiling water for 30-40 minutes. Done when bottom is easily pierced with fork.
These are good with melted margarine/butter, but also with some soy sauce and/or lemon juice. I think artichokes might be my favorite food.
Go forth and eat vegetables!
Phew! So I made granola a few days ago. Every recipe I found was “oats, nuts, seeds, la la la mix of oil and sugar and toasty-toast!”
It came out alright. No clumping action though — I think next time I need more oil/sugar. I used brown sugar in the interest of making it vegan. I may try honey next time. The flavor’s really good. Just unfortunate that the coconut smell (I used coconut oil) gave me a migraine.
Also, I introduce my new favorite way of eating: bowl. In a bowl. I made a bunch of quinoa last night and some of the perfect tofu. My new plan is to (on the weekend from now on) make a bunch of grains and tofu and sauces on the weekend. Then, during the week, toss a mix of it in a bowl with some freshly cooked veggies and greens. Instant meal! No boredom! Yay!
Man I love quinoa. Super fast cooking and awesome source of protein. I made a mix of white and red quinoa last night. I just throw a bunch of it in a pot with a massive amount of water and boil it like pasta. When it tastes/feels done, I drain the water. It’s just that easy.
So last night was quinoa, tofu, chard, some red onions, and tahini sauce. Yummers! It was a nice sturdy meal and made me feel like I was getting a lot of protein.
Grains for the future: brown rice, more quinoa, teff (never had it), millet maybe? I’m trying to branch out with my grains. Also, try my hand at polenta.
Protein for the future: tofu made different ways, chickpeas, other beans…
Sauces for the future: miso-tahini, peanut, Caesar
I’d love recommendations for bowl eating!
Now to the non-vegan portion of this post. I made yogurt! I’d like to try it with soy in the future, but I got a little freaked out by the requirement of agar. I used whole milk from a local dairy (135 miles away). The dairy actually seems really cool and ethical: Straus Family Creamery.
I made the shift away from vegan a few years ago, out of health/time issues. Lately my food priorities have been with local food — I feel better about consuming small amounts of conscientious dairy that comes locally, instead of the processed corn/soy fake meat I was eating. Anyway! Sometimes I feel like I still have to justify not being vegan anymore.
So! I made yogurt. It turned out pretty awesome, and it was really easy. It was mostly a lot of passive time letting it incubate.
I really encourage you to try making your own yogurt. I made 2 pints of yogurt, which was $2.50 worth of milk. The milk came in a glass jar that the dairy takes back, and I made the yogurt in glass jars, so no plastic containers. Probably the cheapest most eco-friendly yogurt possible!
These are some great links I found for yogurt-related fun:
– Making Your Own Yogurt
– Yogurt on 101 Cookbooks
– A cool-looking yogurt-based restaurant in Palo Alto
Well, I made granola today, which was great, but the smell of it cooking gave me a kind-of migraine. Yuck!
Anyway, fun-filled update on granola tomorrow.