Eggplant Parmesan

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We’ve been getting plenty of eggplant from our CSA and found that this Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen was super easy to make and really delicious. Rather than breading and frying the eggplant, it’s broiled and then layered with tomato sauce, bread crumbs and a faux mozzarella sauce made from cashews. The only issue I had with the recipe was that the cooking times seemed too short. The eggplant was pretty toothsome at first but after covering it and cooking it longer it was melt-in-your-mouth perfect. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to make it again before the eggplant is gone for the season!

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Cracking Open a Few Old Cookbooks

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Here’s some digging into the cookbook archive to catch up a bit on the 52 cookbooks effort. First up, something we did with the bok choy we’ve been getting from our CSA.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Roasted Peanuts from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

3 Tbs. raw peanuts

2 tsp. oil

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 1/2 lbs. bok choy

2 Tbs. oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbs. minced ginger

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. cornstarch  mixed with 3 Tbs. water

Fry peanuts in oil until golden then set aside. Chop bok choy into bite sized pieces. Heat oil, stir-fry bok choy, add garlic and ginger, add soy sauce and cornstarch slurry. Coarsely chop the peanuts with red pepper flakes and add to bok choy.

We had this over rice with some fried tofu and it was fabulous.

 


No picture of this one but it was a nice way to use up a green cabbage. Despite the name this book is not particularly vegan-friendly. Case in point: this cabbage recipe calls for duck fat. Well, it was easy to substitute Earth Balance.

Braised Green Cabbage from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

1 green cabbage, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 Tbs. Earth Balance

1 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 bay leaf

1 apple

1/2 c. water

salt & pepper to taste

Cook onion in fat, add cabbage, vinegar, bay leaf, salt & pepper and water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Grate the apple, add it to the pan and cook another 5 minutes.

 


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Pizza Shop Breadsticks with Sneaky Momma’s Tomato Sauce from Vegan Lunchbox by Jennifer McCann

The tomato sauce has kale, red pepper, and carrots so I figured this was a good way to get the kids to eat some extra vegetables. The bread sticks were rolled in a sesame seed/nutritional yeast mixture, also upping the healthiness a bit. You could do this with any bread recipe and any pasta sauce recipe. I thought it would be fun for the kids and though they weren’t totally sold on it, I thought it was fun.

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Southwest Lentil Stew

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Our seven-year-old loves chili so I make some version of it quite often. I love using our Instant Pot for this type of stew but if you don’t have a pressure cooker this can easily be done on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It’s tomato season and we’re getting lots of fresh tomatoes (along with onions and peppers) from our CSA but you could use a medium can of tomatoes as well. I pureed the tomatoes in a blender before adding them but it’s not necessary.

What you need:

1 Tbs. olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

6 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 cup diced seitan

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. dried marjoram

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. lime juice

1 cup brown rice

1 cup brown lentils

3 cups water

What you do:

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add onion and bell pepper. Cook for a few minutes then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients, mix well then cover and bring up to pressure. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes and allow for a natural release. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simmer over low heat on the stove top, covered, for about an hour. We garnished ours with avocado slices and fresh oregano. Also note that we make these types of meals mild for the kids but feel free to add as much hot sauce as you want either during cooking or when serving.

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Brunch (with Peach Beignets)

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Yesterday we had some friends over to watch the penultimate stage of the Tour de France and we all enjoyed a delicious brunch. The tofu scramble and roasted vegetables were good but what really came out well were the peach beignets. Credit to Darlene for coming up with that idea. I’m not sure how authentic they were but they sure did taste good. I ended up using my tried and true recipe for Apple Uglies but instead of apples and cinnamon I used some nice local peaches we’ve been getting from our CSA. I cut back on the sugar a little too since the beignets got a generous dusting of powdered sugar at the end. The main modification to the recipe that I needed was to add a lot of extra flour since the peaches were so juicy. And rather than making each piece of dough into an oblong shape I rolled out the dough and cut it into squares beignet-style.

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I posted my basic tofu scramble recipe a long time ago on our previous blog and this one was similar. Instead of onion I used a leek from our CSA and I also added a shredded carrot, mushrooms and kale. The roasted veggies were all from the CSA – red potatoes, purple potatoes, beets and bell peppers. These were coated with olive oil, salt and some fresh herbs from our garden (thyme, oregano, rosemary and lavender) and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. All agreed it was an excellent meal!

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Happy 4th!

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We definitely had to put our new grill to use on the 4th of July! I had never tried freezing tofu before but I heard that doing so can give it a chewier texture so I gave it a whirl. I drained two blocks of tofu then put them in the freezer overnight. I took them out this morning and let them thaw then drained them on a towel. Then I cut each block into 8 pieces, brushed them with homemade barbecue sauce and put them on the grill. I’m still learning about grilling and I had some hot spots in my fire so some of the tofu got a little too charred but still it was good. And freezing did give it a firm texture that help up well to grilling. On the side we had coleslaw and potato salad, made with cabbage and some nice red potatoes from our CSA.

I kind of winged it in making the barbecue sauce but it came out really well so although I didn’t write anything down I’ll approximate it here from memory. I just mixed all this stuff together in a small saucepan and simmered on low heat for about half an hour:

3 Tbs. tomato paste

1/2 c. water

1 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 Tbs. molasses

1 Tbs. agave

2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. onion power

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

You could definitely add some cayenne or hot sauce too but I kept it mild for the kids. I made this up as I went along so if you try it you should definitely experiment with different proportions to suit your fancy.

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It’s Grilling Season

I finally got myself a proper grill! I had a tiny portable one that I used occasionally in the past but even that I haven’t used in several years. Last month I built a deck off our back door from the kitchen and once that was done I set my mind to getting a grill since I finally had a nice place to put one. Here’s the kid, quite proud of himself after helping me assemble it. It’s nothing fancy, just a basic Weber charcoal grill, but I’m really looking forward to getting some use out of it this summer.

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I decided to Christen it with that quintessential American grill fare, the burger. You know, a typical burger with lentils, mushrooms, walnuts and kale. OK, maybe not so typical but still very tasty. I used Scott Jurek’s recipe because I’ve made these burgers in the past and I knew they’d be firm enough to stand up to grilling. (Incidentally, if you haven’t heard, Scott Jurek is in the midst of attempting a speed record on the Appalachian Trail.)

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The kale and onions in the burgers were from Bellair Farm CSA and on the side we had roasted potatoes and a slaw with red cabbage and carrots, all from the CSA also. And we topped the burgers with lettuce from our garden so there’s lots of local produce on this plate!

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Bok Choy, Napa and Tofu Stir Fry

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We’ve been getting lots of bok choy and Napa cabbage from our CSA and they make for a good stir fry. We also added to this one onions, carrots, cashews, tofu, and even a little broccoli from our garden. You can stir fry almost anything you have on hand though. It’s all in the sauce. This is a recipe that we and the kids liked that’s adapted from the Beefy Asparagus Stir Fry recipe in Isa Does It. Just whisk all this stuff together in a bowl then add to your stir fried veggies at the end:

1/2 c. water

1 Tbs. cornstarch

3 Tbs. soy sauce

3 Tbs. hoisin sauce

1 tsp. sriracha (more to taste)

2 Tbs. lime juice

1 Tbs. agave

1 Tbs. sesame oil

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

We often serve our stir fries over brown rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. And with the kids, we make everything very mild but I do enjoy some extra sriracha on top too!

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