Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Here's a recipe I posted last fall. I think it's worth repeating. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash (3 – 3.5 lbs) - peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 t. fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (just a little)
3 leeks - white parts only, washed well and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 C. coarsely chopped cauliflower
2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 bouillon cubes, low sodium vegan vegetable (I used Rapunzel, one cube for every 2 cups of water)
6 C. water
3 large leaves of sage, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay aluminum foil on the bottom of a sheet pan and spray it with Pam. Pour the cubed butternut squash onto the sheet pan and lightly spray the top of the squash with Pam. Sprinkle the squash with the salt and cracked pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, add the chopped sage and stir. Continue roasting for 15 minutes or more until soft.

In a large pot simmer the water, bouillon cubes, celery, cauliflower and leeks until the vegetables are tender. Once the squash and sage are finished in the oven, spoon them into the pot with the other vegetables. Remove from the heat and blend the soup in batches using a blender or food processor until nearly smooth. Serve.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mulled Cider

Here's a great recipe for a before dinner drink that shouts Thanksgiving. The added bonus in making a mulled cider is that the entire house smells wonderful as it cooks.

Mulled Cider

1/2 gallon of cider (64oz.)
3 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice
1 orange, peel and juice
rum or brandy (optional)

Use a pot large enough to hold all the apple cider. Toast the cinnamon, cloves, and allspice by heating the pan over medium heat and tossing the spices occasionally to prevent burning. The spices should become very fragrant within a minute or two. Add the cider.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel only the orange part of the skin of the orange. You don't want any of the white pith because it imparts a bitter taste. Add the peel then squeeze the juice of the orange into the cider. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Serve.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What I'm taking to Thanksgiving dinner

After a long conversation, it was decided that I should bring an hors d'oeuvre. That made my decision easy. This recipe is a hit wherever I take it. Thanksgiving here we come!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Stuffed Artichoke Hors d'oeuvre

1 can of whole artichoke hearts
2 T olive oil
2 T onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/2 C. packed baby spinach leaves, chop finely
6 T diced oyster mushrooms
1/8 t sea salt
3 T panko bread crumbs
fresh lemon

Drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut them in half. Scoop out the center of each half and mince the center leaves that you've removed. Set aside. Dry the in-tack artichoke hearts with a paper towel so little moisture is left.

In a saute pan, add the oil and heat to medium low. To that, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spinach, chopped artichoke, mushrooms and sea salt and saute until the mixture is cooked down nicely (only a few minutes). Finally, add the bread crumbs and heat through.

Scoop out enough mixture to fill each half of the artichoke hearts. It will work out perfectly if you don't overfill. Set the stuffed artichoke hearts onto a baking sheet and broil until the tops are nicely browned. Squeeze lemon over the top of them when they come out.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving dinner... hmmm... Stuffed Acorn Squash

We are invited to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's. She is an amazing cook... really amazing! So, what do I do? For years Thanksgiving dinner was always my favorite! I loved all the flavors, smells and tastes... the butter, the cream, the eggs, the turkey, the gravy...  oh my! But now, I really don't eat a lot of what will be served, and I don't expect her to cook any differently because of me. Thanksgiving traditions are very important in this family. 

Last year I was at my sister-in-law's for Thanksgiving. I was still new to this diet and I decided to  eat as a vegetarian. It was actually quite nice to taste all those flavors (turkey aside) that I had so recently given up. It was really a treat, and I'll probably do the same this year. After all, what's really important here is being with family and sharing in the tradition of sitting down at the table with one another to eat and give thanks for all that we have... our family, our health, the laughter and love.

So now the dilemma is what to take? Bringing a vegan side dish that will please everyone will be my challenge. I decided to look back on some of my recipes from last fall. I found my stuffed acorn squash. I'm not sure I'll make this, but it's in the running. It's really wonderful. It has all the flavors of fall and everyone would like it, so it's under consideration.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 4

2 acorn squash – approximately 1.5 lbs each

2 C. rice - I used Lundberg Wild Blend, a blend of whole grain and wild rice
4 C. water for cooking rice

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. fresh sage, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped (1/2 C.)
1 apple, diced, with the skin on
1/2 C. dried cranberries
2 T. chopped walnuts
1/2 t. sea salt
Pam – non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Line a sheet pan with foil and lightly spray with Pam. Cut the acorn squash in half and seed. Place squash cut side down on the sheet pan and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. When the rice is nearly finished cooking, heat a non-stick saute pan over medium high heat and toast the walnuts stirring for about 3 minutes, remove and set aside. Spray the non-stick saute pan with Pam and heat the celery, garlic and sage together stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the rice, apple, cranberries, walnuts, salt and pepper. Mix well. Divide the mixture between the squash shells and warm in the oven for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Broccolini and Brown Rice

I was browsing one of my favorite blogs and found a great article on broccoli. We really like broccoli in this house and I cook it in a variety of ways... or at least I used to. Now I only steam it, and I'm using that technique with my broccolini too.

Although broccolini is often misidentified as young broccoli, it's not. It is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, a Chinese broccoli. Nutritionally, it's high in vitamin C but also contains vitamin A, calcium, folate and iron. We love it's flavor and it's delicious in this recipe!

Be sure to visit this blog:
She always has interesting and informative articles. Look for the post "Broccoli a Super Veg" and you'll find yourself steaming your broccoli too!

Broccolini and Brown Rice

Serves 4

1 C. brown rice
1 T. Earth’s Balance
2 T. pine nuts
8oz. of broccolini, cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch pieces
1/4 C. Olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
½   C. onion, chopped
Zest of ½ a lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook the brown rice according to the directions on the package, but add the tablespoon of Earth’s Balance to the water and rice. This helps give the final product a creamy texture.

In a sauté pan, toast the pine nuts until lightly brown. Careful... this takes only a minute or two. Remove and set aside. 

In the same sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Lightly smash the garlic cloves. When the oil is heated, add the garlic and cook while stirring for up to 5 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard. Next, add the onion to the oil. Sauté the onion until it’s soft and translucent.  

Using a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, add about 1 inch of water and bring it to a boil. Add the broccolini and cover.  Cook the broccolini until just tender, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the broccolini and the onion oil mixture to the rice. Season the rice with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maryann's Easy Crockpot Applesauce

My dear friend Maryann recently made some applesauce and delivered it to me (great friend, right?).  Well, it was so yummy, I had to ask for the recipe. Low and behold, I found out she used a crockpot... and I really liked the sound of that! You just put everything into the pot and forget about it. She says her entire house smells amazing when she makes this.

I used it as a side dish and a dessert.... (and as a late night treat... shhhh).

Maryann's Easy Crockpot Applesauce
4 pounds of tart apples (she used Jonagold), pared, cored and thinly sliced (approx. 12 C)
¼  C sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t.allspice (optional)
1 C. water
1 T fresh lemon juice

Put the apples into a crock pot. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and start the cooking process. Set the crockpot at (either) Low for 5 -7 hours, or High for 2 ½  – 3 ½. Once the cooking is done, smash the apples with a potato masher and serve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marnie's Pasta

My mother is visiting... so much fun! She's an amazing cook and hasn't missed a beat with my vegan diet. She whipped this up for dinner last night and the entire house smelled like the finest Italian restaurant you've ever been to. Another feature of this dish is how easily it can be adapted. With a little Parmesan cheese and shrimp the rest of my world was happy. Thank you Mom!!

Marnie's Pasta

3 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
6 oz. of button mushrooms, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 pound of whole wheat spaghetti

Serves 4
Simple & Quick

Begin by cooking the spaghetti according to the directions on the package. In a saute pan, slowly simmer the garlic cloves in the oil for about 5 - 10 minutes. Be careful not to brown too much. Remove the garlic and some of the oil. The garlic can be discarded. Reserve the oil for later. On low, brown the mushrooms for about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and heat through. When the pasta is done, add it to the saute pan along with the reserved oil. Toss to coat and serve.

So yummy!!