Tag Archives: Quick Meals

Riso Rosso and Roman Beans

Last night I made the best beans from a can…ever. Maybe not ever but certainly in the last few weeks. The funny part is  (and by funny I mean disappointing but not that sad) that I was more excited to make the Riso Rosso, from Olive Trees and Honey, than the beans which were quickly thrown together. The Italian “red rice” was basically made by boiling beets and then making rice and adding some of the beet cooing water in to turn the rice red and adding the beets at the very end. What would have been better, I think, would have been to caramelize the beets and onions and then make the rice in that pot because it was pretty but boring. Next time!

The beans on the other hand were fabulous. I decided to use Roman beans to keep up the Italian theme. Since the rice recipe wasn’t using any garlic it seemed like a good idea to use a whole lot in the beans and then I added some spices and cooked them in a little brothy sauce They were fantastic, the garlic wasn’t totally overwhelming even though there was a lot of it because I cooked it for a while and the spices were perfect. I have to remember to make them again because they were so simple.

Roman Beans

1 can roman beans (or white beans) drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of tarragon

saute the onion until it changes color in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook at a slow simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Enjoy with the garlic sauce on top.

 

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Syrian Split Peas with Chard

A couple of years ago I just go so sick of the holidays, not because they are all are inherently shitty holidays, but just the fact that they are the same thing every year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Serbian Christmas, and Martin Luther King Day all go down exactly how they always have. Well, New Years changes the location quite a bit but you know what I mean; we are still celebrating the same damn holidays every year. Recently Mr. Smurf found out that he is technically Jewish and I thought it would be nice to start celebrating some of the Jewish holidays. And so I got “Olive Trees and Honey“, a book about Jewish cuisine from all over the world, which I have wanted for a while because it gets really positive reviews.

I have quickly fallen in love with this book. Every recipe is a history lesson about a particular tradition, how Jews came to live in a certain place, how cultures mingled, or even how people started to eat a certain type of food. The recipes are all clearly written and, like my other recent favorite, Viva Vegan, the book has many regional adaptations and variations after the recipe. Sometimes the variations are kind of funny, like if you want to make something Hungarian omit the other spices and add paprika. God, those Hungarians must really love their paprika because this seems to be true of every recipe I have ever read in my life. What the hell is going on over there? As someone of Serbian background I also think it is pretty ridiculous that the author always lumps the former Yugoslavia together as “The Balkans”, not really because it isn’t quite accurate but because a certain TV show that I love right now has a bad guy called “The Balkan” so I can’t help but laugh.

The only other issue that I have with the book is that, I would say, 95 percent of the recipes have eggs in them. Sometimes eggs are easy enough to get around, like if one is used as a binder in a dumpling or if they are in a pasta dough. But, other times eggs are impossible or at least very difficult to substitute for. [If you need help veganizing something with eggs check out this post on My Vegetarian Recipes”.] Someone somewhere said if a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs to not even bother veganizing it and many of the recipes call for 6!  Certainly they are not as simple as subbing for meat or cheese or milk.  But I still love the cookbook and I can easily enough make most of the recipes. So far everything has been fantastic.

I recently tried the Syrian Lentils with Chard, it is a fantastic recipe because it is totally lazy cooking but healthy too and very tasty. Also, I finally got to use my Pomegranate Molasses that I bought at least a year ago and immediately forgot what I bought it for so it has been sitting in the pantry ever since. Luckily it keeps forever so if you have been wondering what to do with yours try the recipe! I also switched it from lentils to split peas and cut wayyyy back on the oil.

Syrian Split Peas with Chard

1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups water
2 1/3 cups split peas
1 lbs chard, shredded
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 cups cilantro
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Heat up the oil and toss in the onion and garlic. Once the onion has become translucent add the water, split peas, chard, salt and pepper. Simmer until the peas are tender and the water has mostly evaporated. Add in the cilantro and pomegranate molasses, mix and enjoy!

Lazy Jamaican peas

This last week I have really benefited gastronomically from having great friends. I asked one of my Jamaican coworkers where she sources scotch bonnet peppers and she said that you can’t find them in Austin but her sister can get them in Florida. Well lucky for me she went to visit her sister last weekend and I got a bag of scotch bonnets, the hottest pepper there is. I read somewhere that if you don’t cut them up but just throw ‘um whole in the pot you get the flavor without all the heat so that is what I did. This recipe is basically from Delicious Jamaica but I thought I would blog it because I made it even lazier (canned beans) and it still turned out fantastic. It has a laziness factor of 3, you do have to do some cooking but it takes less than 5 minutes of total work.

Lazy Jamaican Peas

1 can red kidney beans
1 can coconut milk
1 can of water
1 scotch bonnet or other hot pepper
2 scallions
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp allspice
2 whole cloves garlic
Throw everything in a pot and let it simmer away for about a half hour or whenever it is starting to look more like stew. Then start the rice or the quinoa and add
1/2 cup of onions chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
salt
pepper
when the grain is done remove the pepper, scallions, garlic cloves and bay leaves and top the peas with chives if you like!
The chives came from my friend Krys who also brought me a boatload of tomatoes, including this monster:I am excited to spend the weekend eating tomatoes!
I was feeling really down yesterday so I stopped by a gardening store called The Great Outdoors on South Congress, these smurf gnomes really cheered me up.but not nearly as much as this cactus did!
Enjoy the longest days of the year!!!!

Irish Sausages & planning a party

It has been busy days at the Smurf house. Although it is IDEAL hammock weather I have been as busy as…. someone that isn’t me…. with all sorts of activities. I have also been planning for my birthday extravaganza that is going down really soon. I have friends coming in from all over the country and we are going to camp out so I have been trying to figure out what I should make for ~20 people over several days.

Since nothing says Texas like a bowl of red I thought I could make frito pie one night but I was completely stumped for the second night. Then it dawned on me that what kind of Serbian-American vegan would I be without making sausages! They are the only thing that makes sense, I can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them on the grill and I have a million different recipes that I have tried. I liked the Korean dog I had at TaKorea and then I LOVED the Thai sausage taco I made a couple of weeks ago so I could just do it in dog form. And then I thought I could make Irish sausages and top them with caramelized onions and mushroom gravy. What do you think? Maybe I should call them something Irish though like O’sausages or Lil’ laddies, luckily there is till time to think more about that.

These sausages are kind of riffing on a tester recipe and they turned out fab. We cooked them with collard greens and garlic and ate it with some noochy grits. It was a fantastic quick meal.Irish Sausages (makes 8 )

1 cup cooked lentils
2 cups broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ginger, cayenne, and pepper
Tear off 8 pieces of foil. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with your hand and knead a little bit. It will probably be pretty moist but you want everything sticking together. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and then wrap in foil twisting the ends like a tootsie roll.

Golden Beets with Beans & Greens

Beets are in the Amaranth family and related to swiss chard, spinach, and sugar beets. The red ones are fun if you want to make Klingon Gagh or a stew but overall the golden variety is a lot easier to work with because you don’t have to worry about beet juice staining everything. I love buying beets because I feel like I am really getting my money’s worth since I can often stretch a bunch over several meals. The beet greens are the added bonus. They are easy enough to cook with a little garlic and olive oil but I was inspired by a post on the ppk to use oranges and sesame oil as well. I wanted to make something very healthy and filling so I added some quinoa, edamame, and peanuts. It was terrific and quick!

Golden Beets with Beans & Greens

preheat oven to 400F

bunch of beets, cleaned and greens separated, hard parts discarded.
peanut oil
1 onion cut in half moons
4 cloves garlic
1 cup edamame
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
handful of peanuts
dash of dried red chilies

Cut the beets in half. Place 2 halves on a piece of foil and drizzle on peanut oil, wrap up, and bake in the over 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile saute the onions in oil for a couple minutes, add the garlic and the chopped beet greens and cook about 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and cook for another minute or 2. Add the edamame, the OJ and the water. Cover, and cook about 20 minutes until the quinoa is done. In the meantime toast the peanuts with the chile peppers on the stove in a small pan until slightly brown. When the beets are done, chop one and add it to the quinoa pot. Slice the rest into half moons and arrange them on the bottom of the bowl. Add the sesame oil and soy sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary and scoop a serving on top of the plated beets. Top with peanuts and green onions. Enjoy!


Teriyaki Vegetables

We are on an extremely tight budget this month because I am saving for a trip and I had already given up on eating real vegetables this month. Ok, I was still going to eat vegetables but only the cheapest, starchiest kind. I was a little worried I would get scurvy or gout or rickets but now my troubles are over because my partner volunteered at the farm and I cam home to a fridge full of farm fresh organic vegetables. I am so happy!  Mr. Smurf got us beets, kohlrabi, peppers, eggplants, jalapenos, salad greens, rainbow chard, basil, and tomatoes. Yes, TOMATOES in November. Life is great sometimes. Not only did I not have to grocery shop but I have the best veggies money can’t buy, including so many lovely greens!

I have been really busy and came home late and had to get dinner done before Top Chef started so I made one of the world’s quickest laziest dishes, Teriyaki Vegetables. Teriyaki is a sweet Japanese sauce usually made out of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar but I have used apple cider which is a healthier trick I learned in the Voluptuous Vegan.  This dish has a laziness factor of 3, (1 being you are too lazy to eat and 2 being you will only eat something that is already made and just needs heating). It is a meal you can cook in about 10 minutes and use any vegetables you have on hand. We ate it over Chinese noodles.

Teriyaki Vegetables

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 cups apple cider
2 tsp cornstartch
~1.5 cups carrots, cut into half inch pieces
~1 cup kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
~1 cup mushrooms
~ 2 cups of the kohlrabi and carrot greens
1 cup of edamame
2 scallions chopped

First cook your rice or start water for your noodles. Then mix together the soy sauce, mirin and 1.5 cups of apple cider in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and kohlrabi reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes covered. Mix the cornstartch and remaining half cup of cider in a small container. Add the edamame and the greens to the skillet and cook covered another 2 or3 minutes, until the edamame is cooked through. Add the cornstarch mix and stir. Add in the scallions, remove from heat and enjoy over rice or noodles.

Lazy Roasted Broccoli with Polenta & Marinara

Have you ever felt like thiswhere you can’t even imagine ordering Chinese food much less cook for yourself? I found myself in that very situation but I was prepared with cooked polenta and white beans in the fridge. I wanted something that would be healthy and totally effortless and so I came up with the easiest thing I could have possibly made and it actually turned out pretty good. First I scooped out some of the cooked polenta and beans and stuck them in the oven. Then, I cut up some broccoli and rolled it around in olive oil and minced garlic and stuck it in the oven too, for about 20 minutes on 375. In the meantime I let some jarred pasta sauce simmer on the stove. Then I layed down with a couple of beagles. Then I ate way too much ’cause Mr. Smurf is out of town and I am not used to cooking for one person anymore. What are your favorite things to make when you don’t have any energy?