Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fried Eggplant

Are you a fan of down-home cooking? Do you love greasy food on occasion? All the time? Then you'll love this easy fried dish.

The alien-looking purple fruit goes by many names: Eggplant, Aubergine, Brinjal, etc. But it's always the same... fulfilling and oh so satisfyin'. The eggplant has a flavor all its own. It's a little creamy, a little sweet, and definitely mild-flavored.

Slice that mofo up, dredge it in soy milk then breadcrumbs, and then fry in about a ton of oil. It's pretty easy. Drain browned slices on paper towels and serve with rice, on a sandwich, or with pasta sauce. YUM.

Paul and Linda McCartney Split Pea Soup

The unassuming little green orb we call the pea has been grown and cultivated as far back as 500 or 400 BCE. At that time, ancient Greeks were selling hot pea soup from their street-side vendors. I know...who knew, right? Ever since then, there have been variations on this soup from Nordic to Anglo to Teutonic cultures (basically, hella white people).

Yeah, white people love pea soup and I'm no exception. It's hearty, flavorful, and comforting. The pea, like other legumes, impart a meaty flavor and feeling in the stomach. Unfortunately, the awesome pea soup reputation has been damaged by ingredients like ham and bacon. Why would someone ruin such a good soup with the tears of a pig? I dunno, but I'm out to change that. If you want a smoky flavor, don't cut up an innocent pig, just add a couple drops of liquid smoke (found in the condiment aisle at grocery stores).

Paul and Linda McCartney were fans of peace. As an extension to their mission of peace, they were also vegans who loved a good pea soup. At least I think so. This recipe was inspired by one that was dedicated to them.

1/2 lb split peas
1/4 lb orange lentils
1 1/2 large onions, quartered
4 stalks celery, including leaves, rinsed & chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled
2 leeks, white part only, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 cups water (about)
soy margarine to taste
crushed black peppercorns
sea salt

Place split peas, lentils, onions, celery, tomatoes and leeks in large pot and cover with water.
Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer about 1-1/2 hours, until split peas and lentils are soft.
Add margarine and stir until melted.
Add peppercorns and sea salt to taste.
Serves 8

Monday, January 12, 2009

You Must Try This Lentil Curry

I've been trying to save money by eating more simply and I was looking for a hearty meal with not too many ingredients. I love lentils and I have a whole kitchen drawer devoted to only lentils and grains. I came across a recipe on recipezaar.com that really came to the rescue. I went shopping to get some veggies for the dish and the total for the whole recipe is probably less than $10. I served the curry on top of the Saffron-Garlic Rice from Veganomicon (I didn't have saffron and it's super expensive, so I simply used some turmeric). This curry is sooooo good, easy, and healthy, you just have to try it for yourself.

1 cup lentils (red, green, or brown work fine)
4 cups vegetable stock
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped or minced)
2 medium carrots, roughly diced
2 celery ribs, roughly diced
1/2 small head cabbage, sliced in 1/2" strips
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
salt and pepper

Rinse lentils in strainer and sort through, removing debris. Heat 1 TBS broth in medium soup pot. Saute onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes. Add curry powder and mix to bring out its flavor. Add rinsed and drained lentils, broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, naan, or other carbohydrate side.

Fresh and Fast Breakfast

I'm definitely a fan of simple foods. The easier the meal the better although sometimes the easier foods are those which are overly processed and packaged. So after visiting the farmer's market and getting some local apples and walnuts, I made this breakfast of:

-Two fuji apples (cored and chopped)
-1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
-1 or 2 tsp. cinnamon

I was surprised at how filling it was and it gave me a great kick for the rest of the day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Food Après the Holidays

The holidays are now over and I'm kind of glad. This time of year can be really stressful. You're always thinking "what if they don't like my gifts?" or "do I bring champagne to the New Year's party or will they already have some?" Anyway that's all behind me and I've been getting in the kitchen quite a bit lately.

I go through periods of lazy cooking where I just have vegan sausages and salad, bean burritos, or just a bowl of tater tots. I'm sort of in the middle of one of these lazy periods right now but I've found some time to make a meal that takes longer in the kitchen.

Just an hour after midnight on New Year's I left my friend's house to go back home. The streets were completely deserted until.....I arrive at my tiny street with 5 buildings on it and there are 8 police cars and a fire truck. There were so many that I couldn't get my car through to park in my driveway. Of fucking course, right? At least the building wasn't on fire though. Probably just some harmless murder or something.

Some things I've made recently worth blogging about:

Lunch at work one day (english muffins, cilantro hummus, tomatoes, and cucumbers)

Tofu Scramble with Vegan Italian Sausage

Spicy Black Bean Patties with Salsa and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Tofu and Broccoli with Hoisin Sauce (recipe from Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson)