Whatever Happaned to Sunday Dinners : The General, Mihl & a Monday suggestion (if I may…)

Before we get all food p*rny, I’d first like to apologize to Mihl of Seitan is My Motor. She is beautiful, talented, makes the most amazing cookies ever and shares delightful German recipes and cultural tidbits. Reading her blog is like taking a little trip to Dresden, and if you haven’t been over there lately, you should!

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gummies

Why am I saying I’m sorry? Mihl so sweetly sent me super-delicious vegan Gummy Bears and an adorable handmade card decked out with origami animals and despite my best intentions, I inadvertently left her out of my Happy Mail round-up. I officially suck and will hang my head in shame as I compose the rest of this post

It’s almost Mardi Gras!!! Wooot! Here in France we don’t get as crazy-wild-fun as does our friend Kittee (I can’t wait to see pictures of her in her costume!), but it does mean crêpes! Love it! But wait, mardi is Tuesday…whatever will we eat on Monday? May I suggest you make yourself some extraordinary New Orleans Style Red Beans? I made these last Monday and good grief did my house smell amazing all morning while those beans were simmering!

monday-beans

Delicious, simple beany goodness served over a mix of wheat berries, wild rice and whole white rice. Leftovers were enjoyed rolled up in tortillas. So easy, so nutritious and so affordable!

And now on to Sunday Dinner, which is brought to you today by the letter “K” as in Krys of Two Vegan Boys. She served up some General Tao’s Tofu the other day and it got me craving take out Chinese again (what is up with that?). The recipe is here though I just used it as a guideline : I doubled the sauce, played with the spices a little, cursed the fridge gods for not having any peppers or green onions, and thanked them for the broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, cauliflower and carrots I did have. Oh yum. Thanks for the inspiration, Krys!

general-taos-tofu

This was the first time I dipped tofu in an egg replacer before giving it a good cornstartch coat. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure if it was necessary. I think just giving it a little dip in some non-dairy milk or even just a smidge of water would have worked fine. Just sayin’.

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!

thiswildmushroom

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?

Vegan MoFo Day 18 – Vegan Food That Sticks To Your Ribs…

Veganizing traditional French cuisine has become a fairly routine thing for me. Some dishes are rather obvious such as a tofu quiche or not using beef anything in my onion soup, etc. Because we tend to eat so many foods from varying culinary traditions such as Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, etc., it’s generally pretty easy to make things that are naturally vegan, but sometimes we find ourselves faced with an envie for something truly français.

Enter the “Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits” from Veganomicon. This is one of those recipes of which I took mental note when I obtained this cookbook early last spring, but it never went further than that.

Cassoulet is a traditional dish born in the warm sunshine of Southwestern France, an area well-known for their specialities using duck : duck sausage, duck lard, duck livers, duck tape…oops, sorry… You can often see jars of prepared cassoulet dressing the windows of butchers or gourmets shoppes, a thick paste of lard hovering at the surface. I knew it was a duck-laden meal, but I wanted a little more information, so rather than do a google search (which is what I would normally do), I decided to ask my sweet and adorable local bakery owner who is aimeable and chatty and loves talking about food. A pretty typical recipe for this thick bean stew is 1 kg. (2.2lbs) of white beans, a ham hock, hunks of “Toulouse” or other spicy sausages, and many, many duck thighs (at least 8). Oh, and a carrot, an onion, some garlic, maybe some thyme and bay leaf. I’d like to thank my boulangère, as well as the three other women who were waiting in line with me at the boulangerie when I went to buy my bread a few days ago for this “rough” recipe.

Obviously the Vcon recipe is sans sausage and duck, but it is still full of flavour. When I informed M. Fish that I was preparing a cassoulet he replied with incredulous smarmyness “ah bon, puisque tu as réussi à faire du faux canard maintenant?” (Really? Because you’ve managed to create fake duck now?). In lieu of duck I used some seitan I made earlier in the month using Kittee’s Basic Gluten Log recipe (this stuff freezes really well which is so nice). I also upped the veggies adding way more carrots & peas than the recipe called for…

This was absolutely delicious. It reminded me much more of a pot pie than anything else, but because I am a huge fan of the pot pie, this was not a problem. M. Fish was rather confused about the addition of the biscuit topping, and to be honest I don’t think it’s necessary at all. This is already a very heavy, satisfying Autumn/Winter dish, and the biscuits just add to the heaviness – this is coming from a self-proclaimed biscuit lover, just for the record. Next time I make this, because I will indeed be making this again, I will omit the biscuit topping and just cover with foil until the last 15 minutes, add some green beans and mushrooms and omit the seitan because I don’t think it adds anything to the dish. Some people love their meat analogues however, so they would probably really like the addition to some vegan sausage or seitan

Thanks for all the kind comments about the apron I made for my sis. You guys are the bestest!

Super-Delicious Fonio Casserole!

Have you ever heard of fonio? Well, I hadn’t up until a few years ago. It is this fabulous, beautiful little gluten-free grain that is wonderful to cook with and it’s addition to your kitchen is a great way to mix it up with some of your traditional dishes (I sounded hip, right? I’m such a nerd.) Nutritionally speaking, it’s similar to whole wheat, and taste-wise it blends well with whatever you’re making, like pasta or couscous would.

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The following is from Wikipedia (I love wikipedia! Can you imagine growing up with this type of free resource at your disposal! Lucky punk kids…):

Fonio is the smallest of all species of millet. It is one of the primary cereals of southern Sudan and Ethiopia in Africa. Fonio has continued to be important locally because it is both nutritious and one of the world’s fastest growing cereals, reaching maturity in as little as six to eight weeks. It is a crop that can be relied on in semi-arid areas with poor soils, where rains are brief and unreliable. The grains are used in porridge and couscous, for bread, and for beer.

Couscous, bread and beer…que des bonnes choses! All yummy things in my book! You can find tons of info on fonio with google. I personally found more in French than in English. You can also find some great info at the Food Lorists blog. The entry is in English, plus Chef Yann has added nutrition info and some great pictures : informative indeed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love one-pot meals and casseroles because they save time and I am the only dish-washer the Fish household has! I think I’ll have to officially change the name of my blog to “Musings From The Casserole”- what do you think? This is another post-long-Sunday-run dish because it’s a great mix of protein and carbs, and because of the parsley and garbanzo beans, has a great iron count to boot! This dish definitely has a Maghrebish feel, reminiscent of a veggie couscous. You can easily play with the spices, and jack up the heat with some cayenne or some harisa.

Please note :While Fonio seems relatively easy to purchase or order in most health food stores here in France, I’m not sure where it can be found elsewhere in the world. I’m sorry!

fonio-casserole.jpg

Super-Delicious Fonio Casserole

  • 1 cup Fonio
  • 5 cups veggie broth (or again, just water or H2O + bouillon powder)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 450g/1lb cooked garbanzo beans, well rinsed if canned
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • chopped garlic (I added 5 cloves, but we are garlic people)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, mixed in just before serving

Mix everything in a casserole dish, cover, and bake at about 350f/180c for 35mins or so. Take it out and give it a stir, add some water if it’s looking dry, and put it back in until the carrots are tender, probably about a half an hour depending on the size of your carrot chunks. Let it sit a few mintues (like, while you’re chopping & rinsing your parsley), and add the parsley. I served this with a soy yougert and fresh cilantro sauce (soy yogert, chopped cilantro, a little salt, a little lemon juice in blender, whizz, et voila).

I think I’ll have to officially change the name of my blog to “Musings From The Casserole”- what do you think?

Iron – Woman & Chickpea Tabouleh

I have been doing a bit of lurking to see what my fellow vegan athletes (and wanna be athletes like yours truly) are eating to fuel their workouts. The protein isn’t so difficult to get, even though heavy exercisers - whatever that means – need a bit more, my problem area is more in the iron department. I am just one of those people who has a difficult time ironing up, and since I’m moving towards 40 miles a week I need to be careful to make every nutrient-packed calorie count (er, yeah, my twinkiesque cupcakes were loaded with iron, I know). Zipping around the blogosphere a bit back I happened upon a fabulous blog by Veg*Triathlete. Jen the Veg*Triathlete generously shares gorgeous pics of her menus in her Fuel section, and I enjoyed snooping around for some new ideas. And behold…

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safsouf or chickpea tabouleh

I think because it’s so chilly outside I’m thinking more hot-meals and I tend to forget how refreshing it can be to have a ‘cold’ salad. I’m a huge fan of taboulehs, making tons of variations depending on what I have on hand or in the fridge, but I tend to make them much more in the summer months when I can just toss everything in a bowl in the morning and have it be fresh, perfect and chilled by evening when I take it out. I boiled up the beans when out for my run, then tossed it all together and forgot about it until lunchtime. So good. I am a garlic fiend, so I added four cloves of the raw stuff, and I also added raisins for a little extra zam (this also keeps the vampires away, the garlic that is, not the raisins).

So thanks Jen for the inspiration!

And in a 30 Days of Yoga update, we’re cruising to day 10. I wish I could say my calves were loosening up nicely… I think because I generally manage to squeeze in about three or four yoga sessions a week I’m not seeing a huge difference yet. Patients, grasshopper. Patients.