Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinners? : Wild Rice, Mushrooms & Flageolets Verts Au Vin Blanc

In our continuing series of Sunday Dinners, I bring you some earthy yummieness I cooked up today. Born from the need to use the mushrooms and leeks that were in my fridge, this delicious dish was of the “stick to your ribs” type.

If you don’t care for or have a difficult time finding flageolets (which are a French green kidney bean), you could easily sub any mild-tasting bean like cannellini beans (which are the white Italian version of the same bean!). You can play with the proportions of wild rice to whole rice – I used my extra special wild rice stash sent to me from Libby in America! Lucky me.

Oh, and did I mention the wine? It sounds a little classier to say “au vin blanc” than to say “hey, there’s wine in it!”, right? Now pour yourself a little vino and get cooking!

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Don’t be deterred by the rather drab-looking photo, this is a flavourful dish with lots of depth and a hearty, toothsome texture thanks to the mushrooms. I tried to remember to write this down, but it’s not as precise as it could be so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to let me know! I’m here for you!

Wild Rice, Mushrooms & Flageolets Verts

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup brown/whole rice
  • 1 leek, top & tail removed and sliced into thin half-moons
  • 400-500g mushrooms I used crimini, cleaned & roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced thinly
  • 2 cup dry white wine 1 cup for you to sip while preparing your meal, the other is for the recipe (or veg broth would work, too if you’re sans vin.)
  • 2 cups cooked flageolets
  • salt, pepper, dried herbes de provinçe
  • a little olive oil
  • pine nuts (optional)

Cook your rice – if you’re rather organized you could rinse and soak over night, but if you’re not, don’t sweat it. I wasn’t that organized today, trust me.

While your rice is doing its thing, get to the veg prep. Heat a splash of olive oil in your pan and add the garlic, and when it’s fragrant add the leeks. Stir that around, and in a few minutes, add your mushrooms. If things seem a little dry you can add a few splashes of water. When the mushrooms are tender lower the heat and add the wine and spices and let this simmer – I think this was about 5 minutes or so. Now add your rice and your beans and cover. I had the heat on low and just let things simmer to share their flavours.

While this is happening you can toast your pine nuts in a dry frying pan – if you’ve never toasted your own pine nuts you’re missing out on one of the easiest and gratifying little tricks in the kitchen. Just add your pine nuts – I used a handful – and with a wooden spoon or spatula just shiggle them around so they don’t burn – you can lower the heat if you need to, don’t worry, you can always turn it back up. They’ll get all toasty and smell yummy.

And voila! In the interest of nutrition you should serve this with a green salad or a bowl of soup, but I didn’t do that. Today was one of those “feeling sorry for myself because I’m still not able to run or do much else” days. I’m also feeling helpless and terrible about the horrible war crimes happening in Gaza. My heart just breaks when I think about the families who have no water, electricity, can’t bury their dead with dignity…not even aspirin or antibiotics to give the wounded. I cannot help but feel embarrassed to be human.

We all stayed in our p.j.s all day and watched movies and I did a little crafty sewing. We were salad-less and I wasn’t up for making soup. Be a better vegan than I was and have a little something with this, ok?

Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinners? Celine’s Amazing Quiches

Before the fantastical deliciousness, just a reminder :

woyopracmoIt’s never too late to join in the yoga fun!

One does need sustenance in order to properly practice yoga, n’est-ce pas? Good thing there is so much deliciousness to chose from amongst the test recipes for Celine and Joni’s 500 Vegan Recipes! Honestly, the most difficult thing about being a tester (oh, woe is me) is deciding what to make.

I took advantage of our last lazy holiday Sunday to fix a lovely Sunday dinner. The crazy unusually cold temps seemed to suggest we make a big ole late lunch and stay in our jammies : -5c was the high!?! What the heck is up with that? I know, that doesn’t sound like much for some of you, but we are just not equipped for that kind of cold!

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I made some cheater green rice (thawed frozen spinach tossed in with rice), and a green salad to round out the meal. I hardly was able to snap a photo as the Fish School was starving!

These quiches are the easiest I’ve ever made – and the most convincing, too. This isn’t the first time I’ve made these. Monsieur Fish, not terribly loquacious, has requested them 3 times over the past month!

The first time I made these he didn’t get in until well after the dinner hour. I’d just left everything out so he could help himself, and he actually had to wake me up to ask me if I’d decided to start eating eggs! He thought they were that authentic tasting! Let me reassure you, no eggs were cracked in the making of these babies!

Smashing Grain Casserole (It’s got red wine in it!) & PIF Update!

Oh the glory of casseroles! I love them because they mean : less dishes to do, left-overs to eat (or freeze), and let’s not forget the fact that they are oh-so-low maintenance, which is vital when you’re busy, or hobbly, or both! This one is particularly fun because it calls for wine. Now, you can totally use that fond de bouteille (last of the bottle) that’s been hanging out in your fridge for an embarrassingly long time (promise, it’ll be ok), or you can seize the occasion to go buy some wine and just pour a little into your dinner! How fun!

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Gratuitous Wine Shot

I know I’m spoiled because we can get quite fab wine for cheapo – like 3E a bottle, but if you’re not concerned about drinking the wine, just buy a cheapy bottle for cooking!

I tend to make hearty casseroles as my post-long run fuel because of their perfect protein/carb ratio, and because of how easy they are to prepare. After a long Sunday run I can throw everything (gently) into the roasting pan, and have time to shower, dress, stretch and rehydrate. Without rushing or much effort, I can have a warm, hearty meal for lunch. A crunchy, fresh green salad would be so perfect with this, too!

Granted, my long Sunday runs have been temporarily transformed into long Sunday sits, but that doesn’t negate the ease and practicality of the casserole!

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Blurry Close Up…Must Be The Wine

This combo is one of my favourites for the autumn and winter months because it’s “earthy” (in a good way) and satisfying. And it has wine in it. I love wine. Don’t you? Have a little glass as you prepare your casserole…red is good for your health as well as your soul. It also has fonio, an African super-grain which is so good for you, and good for communities on the African continent who are trying to build up a sustainable economy (difficult to do after hundreds of years of colonization, when will we learn?). Some people are turned off by its strongish taste, which is why I don’t use much here. If you don’t have any fonio, or are reluctant to use it, just skip it or replace with bulgur or cracked spelt or whatever makes you smile!

Smashing Grain Casserole

*In an effort to make this accessible to Imperial and Metric users alike, I carefully noted the conversions in cups…and totally forgot to write down the Metric measures. Sorry guys.

Set your oven for 350F and put all of the following except the veg broth in a large roasting pan or casserole dish with a lid:

  • 1 cup brown rice (dry)
  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup fonio (or bulgur or just skip) – dry
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red pepper, peeled & roasted
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • approx. 2.5 cups veggie broth or bouillon & water (possibly more, it will depend on how much is absorbed)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper

Give it all a good stir and add about 1/2 cup of the veg broth. Put it in the oven for about 45 minutes or so. Take it out, stir, and add more broth. Basically, this will need to stay in the oven four about 90 minutes, so I just take it out & check it every half hour or so, it’s pretty forgiving. You just don’t want it to dry out too much.

Great add-ins are sautéed mushrooms or chopped tomatoes, anything goes, really!

Check it out! People are Paying It Forward!

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Go visit Tacha and Natalia for more chances to win some handmade love! I would just be so excited to have something from them…I may have to re-enter myself!

The incredible disappearing meatlessballs & Shower me with awards why don’t you!

I’ve recently been the happy recipient of a blog award! Lucky me! butterfly_award1

Jessica of Awesome. Vegan. Rad. and River of Wing It Vegan fame have both honored me with The Butterfly Award. I think both of these rather groovy chicas are the bee’s knees and always look forward to the amazing goodness on their blogs (like River’s donuts & Jessica’s brinner. Excuse me while I feel sorry for myself because I don’t have some of that deliciousness happening on my dinner table right now). Thank you both, because you make me feel all special and loved, and darn it, that’s cool!

Can I just say that I find this award hilarious because of its grammatical ineptitude? I’m serious. I love that it’s a bit whimsical yet silly, rather sweet yet imperfect. Reminds me a little bit of myself! I’m supposed to pass this on, but I’m not terribly good at such things, so here’s the deal – if you’re on my blogroll (see link love above) you are thusly nominated. I believe I’m to pass this on to 10 people, which means that I am nominating far too many people, but I have issues with a) maths, and b) rules. The thing is, if you’re on the roll, I totally dig you, so it’s sincere – and that being said, I lost many links during the re-design so please don’t hesitate to drop me an email or message if you notice yours is missing!

Now for those meatlessballs! A few weeks ago now the superadorablesweet Jessy of Happyveganface posted Dan’s Greenrice & Tempeh Meatlessballs. ( I’ll try to not make any sophomoric jokes, but it’s not easy.) As with many of Jessy’s recipes, it sounded like it should be made post-haste, and my friends, it was. These tempeh boulettes (meatballs) are really amazing – I was out of tahini when I made them so I subbed aprox. 2 tablespoons gluten flour to give them some grip, and it worked beautifully. These were so good that we were rather disappointed to not have another package of tempeh in the fridge to make some more the following day!

But no picture? What’s up with that? Well, I’ll tell you…Monsieur Fish rarely uses the camera, but he did, and luckily I had only a few pictures on it because he accidentally erased them all. I wasn’t going to blog about a meal sans photo, but this meal is really worth mentioning! You’ll get some eye candy when you go to Jessy’s blog for the recipe!

Whatever happened to Sunday Dinners? Lentil Casserole & “Wanna Be” Twinkiesque Cupcakes

Ever since drooling over Jennifer McCann’s veganized Twinkie(r) recipe, I have been able to think of nothing else (sorry, just had to laugh at the absurdity of that sentence- can you imagine only thinking about spongecake & creme filling? No dwelling on worrying about stressing over thinking about things like paying the bills, what to feed your 2 year-old, grading papers for students who really don’t care anyway, your checking account’s current negative balance, et all.) Let’s say that the vegan Twinkies(r) have been on my mind. A lot.

I went to a few stores in town and none of them carried anything even close to the cakelette tins one needs to build the perfect vegan Twinkie(r). While ordering them on-line is a possibility, the shipping is more than the tins…so, I surrendered to the idea of just making cupcakes, but that is so not the same thing.

 

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The other little snag in my devious plot for vegan Twinkie(r) perfection was that the recipe for the creme filling calls for barley malt powder. Now, if you think finding the cakelette tins is a problem here, you can forget about finding something as obscure as barley malt powder.

Not prepared to renounce a chance at tasting the sweet nostalgia of my youth, I decided to improvise (as usual) and used the “Fluffy White Icing” recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance. I’ve made Isa’s (Can I call you Isa? I think I can. Or would you prefer Ms. Isa? How about Vegan Cupcake Goddess?) “Fauxstess Cupcakes” before (they are délicioso), though I’d not gone the extra caloric-mile with the cream filling. It was a mile well worth taking, because it was perfect. The recipe calls for non-hydrogenated shortening which is also impossible to find in ma ville, but doubling up on the non-hydrogenated margarine worked perfectly much to my delight!

The Twinkie-cupcake experience was all rather exciting for me as I’d never used a pastry bag to fill anything before- how fun! I actually exploded a few cupcakes in the process (which was also kinda fun), but it was no problem, I just decided to cover up the damage with some swirly-cream! (I felt so Martha Stewart).

 

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Before…

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after!

Mr. Fish had never before tasted the goodness that we call Twinkie(r), and he was converted instantly. I’d planned on bringing some to work with me today to make up for the Valentine’s cupcakes which never made it…and he persuaded me that it was better to keep them here, with us. For Us.

I was so busy being productive yesterday with the cupcakes and my long run and putting the finishing touches on my Pointy Kitty (which I’ll blog more on later), that the dinner part of Sunday just sort of slipped away from me.

Being that it’s the end of the month (we’re paid monthly here in France) and the cupboards are beginning to be a wee bit bare, and I was rather short on time (and energy, licking all that cream filling off my fingers was exhausting!), I wanted to find a nutritious and delicious casserole recipe, but where? how? Who would help me through this dilemma?

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Didn’t actually get a photo of the casserole, so here’s another cupcake!

Casseroles make me think of the 1950′s, which make me think retro, which logically make me think of looking in a Sarah Kramer cookbook. Makes sense, right? See, here’s the deal, I have a love/hate relationship with La Dolce Vegan!. You know, like the colleague you seem to always be sort of harping about, so much so that someone finally tells you “hey, you have a crush on them!”- Ha! and all the incredulous “No I don’t, whatever!”s in the world can’t change the fact that you spend an awful lot of time talking about said person.

 

That’s me. I totally think Kramer is a righteous fish and her books are hip, but I just can’t figure out how to effectively use LDV. I can’t find things easily. Take yesterday for example. I wanted I casserole recipe, so I look under casseroles in the index. I find just a few. Nothing that would work with my kitchen stock. I continue to flip through and accidentally happen upon “Wendy’s Lentil & Brown Rice Casserole” (which was not with the casseroles, go figure). Cool. I put down book, the Guppy picks up book and starts reading it and of course page is lost. I can’t find it. I know C for casserole won’t help, I then look under W for Wendy but that doesn’t work… luckily for me I found it under “lentils” because it was yummy. I amped up the spices adding more basil and oregano, adding turmeric, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and four carrots. Very tasty, very easy. One pot meals rule! Yes you have to take it out to stir a few times, but since I had dishes to do and papers to grade at the kitchen table, it wasn’t terribly difficult.

I would like to say we enjoyed the casserole with a fresh, green salad with mustard vinaigrette (that was the plan) and homemade rolls (also the plan), but we were so full from noshing on the cupcakes that, well, we just left those out.

How about some RIZ AU LAIT NOUVEAU? Or some Vegan Leftover Brown Rice Pudding if you prefer…

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I made a little too much brown rice for dinner. I never seem to make too much basmati or jasmine or just plane old boring white rice, so how does this happen with brown rice? One big reason is Mr. Fish. He loves white rice (and refined sugars, pastas, etc.) and there is generally none left, regardless of the initial amount made. Brown rice, or riz complet or whole rice as we call it here, has a much more difficult time winning his heart. Or his stomach.

I think that Mr. Fish has a thing for rice pudding or riz au lait. It had not escaped my attention that his mom often stocked her fridge with store-bought two-serving sized containers of rice pudding prior to our visits when we still lived in Paris and came down for weekends, but it wasn’t something we’d ever really talked about openly. By the end of the weekend they’d be gone, mysteriously, thought I never once saw him indulge. He’d never slipped any in our cart while grocery shopping, never proposed we make some or more aptly that I make some; it remained a non dit. And at the beginning of our relationship I was in a lacto-ovo period, so I totally could have made some, or at least bought some, I digress.

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I decided to make some pudding with this leftover rice taking up room in my tiny fridge, but the problem is that my childhood memories of rice pudding were anything but compatible with my vegan lifestyle. After a few cursory searches on-line I found that whole eggs, cream and milk were rice pudding’s best friends. There were some vegan options out there, but most all of them called for white rice, cooked or uncooked. So I did what I do best, I improvised. I went to a few culinary Frenchie blogs and websites hoping to find something close to what Mr. Fish loved, noted the recipes, omitting the obvious animal components, and set to work, the Guppy at my side “helping” me. This is what we came up with:

  • Riz au Lait Nouveau or Vegan (leftover) Brown Rice Pudding*
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used plain soy)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/3 cup raisins (I used half golden, half regular)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice

Add all the ingredients and stir over medium heat until the rice syrup is dissolved, then add the rice and raisins. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until most of the milk has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. I’m a fairly novice cook, so I wondered if I’d have to add a little arrow root or kuzo to thicken things up, but the rice broke down nicely and made things starchy enough and after cooling it was thick and creamy. I used a blend of raisins because neither Mr. Fish nor the Guppy like raisins, and because the Guppy is practically a fruitarian right now, I’ll try just about anything I can to get trace nutrients into her. It worked!! The golden raisins just sort of blended into the mix and looked like rice.

The real test was Mr. Fish- would he indulge sans restraint, as if it were the real deal, or would he taste it and turn up his nose as he often does at my “healthy” versions of things. I intentionally was generous with the sweet content to help convince him it could be yummy without whole cream and eggs. He was rather surprised by the color because it was a bit less chemically-induced white than the store-bought counterparts he’d grown to love, but I told him it was the vanilla and he reluctantly tasted…and…SUCCESS! He loved it, and after his first bowl asked me if he could have another without it being too decadent. He didn’t even diss the raisins as he usually does. There was no riz au lait to be found in our fridge the next day. Now, I was sure to make it clear as I often must that cruelty-free is sadly not synonymous with calorie-free, but it was cholesterol free and nearly fat-free, so a healthier indulgence.

*As I typed the title for today’s entry, I couldn’t help but think how terribly unsexy that sounded “Vegan (leftover) Brown Rice Pudding”. Huh. Thanks, but no thanks, missy. It’s true, adding the word “leftover” to nearly anything moves it to a sort of second class position, because hey, were it delicious in the first place, well, there would be none left, right? Thanks to the grace of the French language it has become riz au lait nouveau, and that, my friends, sounds soooo much better, n’est ce pas?