Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stuffed Cabbage Stoup (vegan)

From 52veggie
A lot of times I will take a non-vegetarian recipe and "vegetize" it. I don't know a better word for it, but it's your basic substitution game - vegetable stock for chicken stock, meat substitutes for meat.

This recipe is by Rachel Ray, and she made it on her 30 minute meals show a week or so ago. I won't copy it here, but you can find it on the Food Network site. A stoup is somewhere between a soup and a stew. One of her methods of making meals in 30 minutes is to reduce the flavors of a favorite dish into something easy to prepare. Stuffed cabbage rolls are time consuming; stuffed cabbage soup, not so much.

As mentioned before, I substituted vegetable broth for the chicken stock, and used the Morningstar crumbles for the "meatball mix." I didn't know if I wanted to start out sauteeing the crumbles as you would for meat, since they wouldn't be releasing any fats or anything, and only tend to soak up liquid. Instead, I sauteed the onions, carrots, and garlic with the spices and added the crumbles at the end of the ingredient list (right before bringing it to a boil). As a result, this didn't have as much flavor as I would have liked. It's a nice variety of vegetable soup, and the rice is a nice addition.

Another word of caution - this recipe makes a TON. We will be eating soup for days.

Categories: Cabbage, Carrots, Garlic, Rice, Soup, Tomatoes, Vegan

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Speedy Veggie - Toasted Cheese and Pesto Sandwiches

From 52veggie
From time to time, I'm going to post a speedy recipe that can be made fairly painlessly. You might find these replace entries in weeks you think I'm going to be doing something else, and I'll admit - sometimes life gets busy! But it probably does for you too, and I want to suggest vegetarian food you can still make at home for those days.

Grilled cheese - basically bread and cheese, right? But we had some leftover pesto and cherry tomatoes, and spreading it on one side of the bread can really dress up a grilled cheese sandwich. I like to sprinkle the outside of the buttered bread with herbs and parmesan cheese. Heat up some soup in a mug and you're all set!

Categories: Cheese, Pesto, Sandwich, Speedy

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mashed Potato Soup

From 52veggie
This week I am trying recipes from Rachel Ray, a well-known cook on Food Network. The first recipe is an old standard from Veggie Meals, one of the series stemming from her show 30 Minute Meals.

What I love about this recipe (besides how quick and easy it is) is that it combines two comfort foods into one dish - soup and mashed potatoes! It is a great meal when it is cold and rainy, or when someone isn't feeling well in your family. My husband was feeling under the weather, so it became Mashed Potato Soup time.

Another thing that I love about this recipe is that you can make it a million different ways - last night I didn't have vegetable broth or heavy cream, so I improvised. I have put different kinds of cheese in it, and many times I have used premade mashed potatoes rather than go to the trouble of making my own. But last night I happened to have half of a bag of Yukon gold potatoes that were almost to sprouting stage, so I took the time to make the mashed potatoes from scratch.

Mashed Potato Soup

Mashed Potatoes

6 medium white potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk (in 2 splashes)
salt and pepper to taste


4 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
2 cans vegetable broth (14 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 scallions, thin sliced
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
10 blades fresh chives (optional)

Cover the potatoes with water in a large pot and boil for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain them and put them back in the hot pot. Mash, put in the butter, sour cream, milk, and seasonings.

Whisk in heavy cream. Bring to bubble and whisk in broth. Season with cayenne and stir in scallions. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Remove and serve in bowls topped with cheese and chives*.

Yield: 4 servings

*Another personal note - I like to mix the cheese in and allow it to flavor the entire soup, and top with scallions or chives, but I rarely have both on hand.

Categories: Cheese, Potato, Soup

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mushroom-Hazelnut Burgers (vegan)

From 52veggie

This recipe was attempted for two reasons - I have never made veggie burgers from scratch, and I still have half of a bag of Oregon hazelnuts that I need to use up.

These were absolutely delicious - flavorful, crunchy, fresh, and I will definitely make them again. My only change was to serve them on buns instead of alone with hot sauce as the author recommended. I also made the low-stress onion rings from the same cookbook, which you can see in the photo. Recipes like these are enough to keep my food processor out of storage.

Hazelnut-mushroom Burgers (from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet)

1 cup hazelnuts
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
12 oz fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz tempeh, crumbled
3 slices whole wheat or white bread
½ tsp kosher salt
Hot sauce to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until golden in the center. While the nuts are still hot, pour them onto a clean dishtowel, form a sack, then rub the nuts in the towel to remove the skins. Don’t worry about removing every last bit of skin. Open the towel and transfer the hazelnuts to a small bowl with your hands, leaving the paperlike skins behind.
2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes more. Add the tempeh, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
3. In a food processor, pulse the bread into coarse crumbs. Add the hazelnuts and pulse until they are chopped. Add the mushroom mixture and salt and pulse again until the mixture just comes together. Gently form into four 5-inch patties.
4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until they form a golden brown crust on the undersides, 4-5 minutes. Turn and brown the other sides. Serve the burgers hot, passing the hot sauce at the table.

Categories: Hazelnuts, Mushrooms, Tempeh, Vegan

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spaghetti with Green Olive Pesto

From 52veggie
This recipe, from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, is one I've had my eye on for a while but hadn't tried. It all revolves around the hassle of taking out my food processor. Lately I've been using it a lot, and its accessibility on the counter means I could make this too.

Pesto is one of those recipes that to me is forgiving. I could have used less or more oil and it still would have tasted great. I could have substituted any fresh herb for basil, even used spinach, and the texture would have been similar. I could have used any fresh veggies in place of the cherry tomatoes, and any nuts in place of the pine nuts. Heck, any pasta in place of the spaghetti - actually I used linguine. I like recipes that can be modified based on what is on hand. This one is highly recommended, and I will definitely be making it again. Not just because it was easy, but because the flavor was outstanding.

Spaghetti with Green Olive Pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 pound dried spaghetti or linguine
1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil
3/4 cup pitted Mediterranean green olives, brine reserved
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 juicy lemon)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or 2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large bunch arugula, stemmed*
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, shaking the skillet often, until they are golden brown in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti or linguine and return to a boil, stirring to separate the noodles. Boil for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, then return to the pot.

3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the basil, olives, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the garlic, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water into a coarse paste. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube, and then add 3 tablespoons of the reserved olive brine.

4. Add the pesto, tomatoes, and arugula to the pot of pasta and mix well to coat everything with the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates, garnishing each serving with some of the toasted pine nuts. Serve, passing the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan at the table.

* I should note that I neglected to buy anything resembling arugula at the store, and it tasted great without it.

Categories: Basil, Herbs, Olives, Pasta, Pesto, Tomatoes

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Breaded Tofu Cutlets

From 52veggie
I was originally planning to make Oregano-Crusted Tofu from "This Can't Be Tofu," but after a review of the ingredients and methods, I decided to make a modified tofu recipe.

Breaded Tofu Cutlets
1 pkg extra-firm or firm tofu, drained
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Cut tofu into six triangles. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Process cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. Press tofu triangles into mixture, pressing extra on the top.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Fry tofu triangles until golden brown. Before flipping, press more of the breading mixture into the top.

I have to admit, I expected not to like this recipe but it really had a lot of flavor, and provides a more "meat and potatoes" experience than a lot of tofu recipes. Of course it helped that I served it with potatoes.

Categories: Tofu

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mushrooms and Tofu in Paprika Cream over Egg Noodles

From 52veggie
This week I am choosing a few recipes from This Can't Be Tofu by Deborah Madison, the author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. The cookbook is intended for all of us who are intimidated by the squiggy wet block of mushy whiteness that tofu can be.

I was surprised that many of the recipes in this book aren't vegetarian (although in most cases she gives vegetarian adaptations), but I suppose the purpose is more to introduce methods of cooking tofu.

I chose this recipe because I had a bunch of mushrooms in the fridge I needed to use. I wasn't sure I would like the flavor, which is largely based on traditional stroganoff, which I never had while still a meat eater.

My favorite part of this recipe was cooking the tofu, because the small squares dance around the pan and start to make squeaky sounds as they cook. Instead of using the entire recommended amount, I saved half for the pad thai I'm cooking later in the week.

This is not vegan, but I am certain this could easily be adapted by substituting vegan sour cream or soy yogurt instead of regular sour cream. I happened to have sour cream in the fridge, so I went ahead and used it. This is the second recipe I've used sour cream in recently and I have to admit I'm not sure I care for its flavor after it is heated.

I didn't have any white wine on hand, so I used vegetable stock for that too, as well as using oil instead of butter.

Mushrooms and Tofu in Paprika Cream over Egg Noodles

1/2 cup sour cream
1 carton firm tofu, drained
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter (can substitute margarine or more oil)
1 onion, finely diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp mild (sweet) paprika
1/3 cup white wine or sherry
2/3 cup water or vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped dill or 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
8 oz egg noodles

1. Let the sour cream come up to room temperature.

2. Dice the tofu into 1/2" cubes. Set a nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and brush lightly with oil. Add the tofu and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn to brown the other sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, them remove to a dish.

3. Add the oil and butter to a pan. When it foams, add the onion and mushrooms, squeezing the lemon over the mushrooms so that they keep their color. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and the onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tofu and gently mix together.

4. Sprinkle over the flour and paprika, then season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Turn the mixture to incorporate the flour, and add the wine, let it bubble up, then reduce until syrupy. Add the water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Check once or twice to make sure there's enough liquid to make a little sauce. If not, add more water or stock as needed. Taste for salt. Cook the egg noodles until al dente, then drain and place on a warmed plate.

5. Rewarm the sauce, if necessary, then turn off the heat, add the fresh herb and stir in the sour cream. Pour over the egg noodles and serve.

I wish I had wine when I made this, because I think that would have added a depth of flavor that I felt was lacking. I'm not sure I would make this again. If I did, I would double the amount of mushrooms and leave the onions and tofu out. They seemed unnecessary and made it more bland rather than enhancing the flavor. It didn't help that it looked like a curry and didn't taste like one.

Categories: Mushrooms, Pasta, Tofu

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Roasted Vegetables with Mustard Sauce

From 52veggie
This is the second recipe this week from The Winter Vegetarian. My college roommate recently went to France and sent me some Dijon mustards from Dijon. I've been looking for something special to use them in, and came across this interesting sauce idea.

Roasted vegetables are pretty standard fare. The basic technique is to chop up vegetables, toss them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or herbs, season with salt and pepper, and cook at 425 F until they are tender and slightly carmelized. For a super healthy version you can actually spray them with non-stick cooking spray instead of using olive oil.

The recipe for roasted vegetables in The Winter Vegetarian was more of a technique, and included a long list of winter vegetables to choose from. I ended up with sweet potatoes, carrots, fennel, and turnips. Presentation wise I wish I had something green or red in there, perhaps brussel sprouts and beets. I had not used fennel before, so I was excited for that.

The mustard sauce was made vegan with only one adjustment (substituting vegan margarine for butter). It is made at the end, and drizzled over the veggies. I used tarragon Dijon mustard, so my sauce is a little greener than it would have been otherwise.

Dijon Mustard Sauce

1 tbsp [vegan margarine]
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 cup roasted vegetable stock or vegetable broth
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Melt the margarine over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. Whisk in the dry mustard. Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Dijon mustard and season to taste.

I always rate the recipes I try based on if I would make them again. I think the ratio recommended of vinegar to oil in the veggies was too strong on the vinegar, and I think I would do a different combination of vegetables in the future. The mustard sauce was a keeper though.

Categories: Carrots, Fennel, Mustard, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Vegan

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Mushroom Coulibiac

From 52veggie
This recipe comes from The Winter Vegetarian by Darra Goldstein, a cookbook largely influenced by Russian and Eurasian cultures.

"Coulibiac is the French term for a Russian pie, the kulebiaka." (The Winter Vegetarian, pg. 90) In fact, this cookbook is full of variations on pies, all that I'm interested to try. The Cabbage Pie Soup starts with a cabbage pie with a vegetable broth poured over the top. The White Bean and Potato pie layers pureed white beans with a sauted potato.

Originally this recipe was supposed to be mushrooms, onions, and barley rolled up in a pastry dough and baked in a log shape. I had a few issues - the pastry wouldn't come together enough to roll out in one piece, and I forgot the barley.

What I ended up with was a rich mushroom dish layered between even richer pastry. Very appropriate for cold weather, and it would have been even more so with the barley added in. As it was, it was almost too rich for a meal so close to the holidays, where we still feel like we are recovering from a bounty of rich foods.

Mushroom Coulibiac

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 lb cream cheese

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms (wild are best, plain white are fine too)
1/3 cup raw barley
2/3 cup water
Pinch plus 1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp snipped fresh dill

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the butter and cream cheese and process, using the pulse motion, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn out into a bowl and with your hands gently press the mixture until the dough sticks together and forms a ball. Do not overmix or the pastry will be tough.

Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill for at least 1 hour before using.

In a large skillet saute the onion in 2 tbsp of the butter or oil until it begins to turn golden, 8-10 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter or oil to the skillet along with the mushrooms and cook the mixture for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring the barley, the water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The grains will still be chewy. Stir the cooked barley into the mushroom mixture. Add the remaining 1 tsp salt and the pepper, sour cream, and dill.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

To assemble the pie, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to a 10x14 inch rectangle*. Trim the edges, saving the scraps to make decorative shapes for the top of the pie, if desired.

Mound the mushroom mixture lengthwise down the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the dough up to meet in the center over the filling, then fold up the two short sides to enclose it completely. Seal the edges with cold water.

Gently place the finished pie seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush all over with the beaten egg yolk and decorate the top, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and nicely browned. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

*I ended up pressing half into a 9x9 square pan, spreading the mushroom mixture over it, and dropping the rest of the dough onto the top. I had to bake it 5 extra minutes, and it was a little flat without the barley, but it still tasted good.

As far as ratings go, it's hard to judge this one because of the richness; we might approve of the richness at some other time of year, but it's hard to take right after the holidays.

Categories: Mushrooms, Russian, Savory Pie

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome and explanation

It is easy to get into a rut as a vegetarian. This blog will chronicle my attempts to try 52 weeks of new (to me) vegetarian recipes throughout the course of the year. It will be updated twice a week, and at least one of the posts per week will feature a vegan recipe.

This will be quite a challenge for me. I tend to make the same things repeatedly, but then start to really resent the food in the fridge. I am hoping this will bring more variety and vibrance to my kitchen, to my cupboards, and to my family!

This is for savory recipes. For baking, please visit my baking blog.