Vegan MoFo Day 24 – More Delicious Vegan Cookies & An Award!

EDITED TO ADD:

Please don’t worry if you don’t see your blog on the links list. As you can see I’m changing things up a little and I’m re-organizing the links. I still love you all – just give me a day to get you’re names back up! :)

I’m feeling rather thankful for happening upon a little blog called Diet, Dessert & Dogs back in February of this year. I have since read many an eloquent and entertaining post, tried a veritable plethora of delicious recipes, and am now being spoiled as a tester for Ricki’s vegan dessert book Sweet Freedom, due out in early 2009 (hey, my birthday is in January, did she plan that on purpose?!?). Ricki’s blog has become one of my favourites for her wit and prose, and I am grateful to count her amongst one of my friends in the true sense. Through comments and emails I’ve gotten to know this rockin’ woman from the great, white north that I would never have meet had it not been for this beautiful vegan blogosphere I hold so dear in my heart…and, er, stomach…wooot!

These are the “Easiest Almond Cookies” from Sweet Freedom. A self-proclaimed cookie-snob, I can tell you that these babies are a cookie-lover’s dream : a light crunch on the outside, paired with a soft and chewy centre. Oh, and they are, get this, Gluten Free! They are a snap to make, a trait terribly important in cookie land, because since they’re quick and easy, you’ll find yourself making them often! So many of the Fish Family’s new favorite recipes are from Sweet Freedom…you’re gonna love this book!

And in other news…look what I received :

I am sincerely touched by this thoughtful gesture! Thank you dear Cheryl of the wonderful Gluten Free Goodness blog. I began following Cheryl’s blog after “meeting” her through the Daring Bakers. Her GF & whole foods approach to eating is refreshing in the oft buttercream and sugar-laden food blogging world (don’t get me wrong, I like the sweets, but it’s all about balance people!). I especially like her “Menu Plan Monday” feature which has helped inspire me to plan my meals further into the future than tonight and tomorrow, and to see the bigger picture nutritionally over the coarse of a week. If you’re not familiar with Cheryl’s blog, you really should check it out! Merci Cheryl!

Quinoa aux champignons! Mushroom & Fennel Quinoa!

Up until about 4 years ago I’d never cooked quinoa. Ok, up until about 4 years ago I’d never really cooked much of anything. My most common culinary feats came in to-go containers, and my version of a homemade dinner was my famous “safsouf au frigo”, a tabouleh you make in the morning with raw couscous, leave it in your fridge all day, and when you come home you stir & eat it. Whew! Slaving over a hot stove…what a drag!

Those days are gone and when I decided to cook, I realized I lacked the skills and basic know-how to do much other than boil water and chop veggies- and that’s really all you need to know how to do for this delicious dish!

Oh, right, back to my little 4-years-ago flashback. Because I am the academic-nerd type, I thought to myself “get ye a book of cookingness oh Shellyfish sans skills of the culinary variety” and that’s what I did. Recettes au Quinoa by Claudine Demay et Didier Perreol is a cute little book (literally, it’s not much bigger than my hand), but has 60 quinoa-based recipes. Not all the recipes are vegan, or even vegetarian, but the majority are, and those that aren’t are pretty easy to veganize. This book was great for me as a neophyte in the kitchen, because it has recipes spanning from breakfast-lunch-dinner, plus breads & muffins and more. I slightly adapted the following recipe, which is one of my family’s favorites (yes, even Mr. Fish likes it! go figure!). It’s also one of the only recipes I use with fennel – thanks to this recipe I cooked with it for the first time!

Quinoa aux champignons adapted from Quinoa aux pleurotes from Recettes au Quinoa

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • a pound of mushrooms
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced in lovely diagonals
  • cloves of garlic (minced) to taste- I used about 4 or 5
  • sesame oil
  • the equivalent of 2 plain soy yogurts or soy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley

Clean & slice your mushrooms, and sauté them in a heavy-bottomed pan in about a half a cup of water for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, and adding water if it gets too dry. Drain off any water that may be left-over after 10 minutes, and add two tablespoons of sesame seed oil, the fennel, garlic, salt & pepper to taste, and cook covered, over low heat, for about 15 minutes, or until the fennel is nice & tender.

Remove the pan from heat and gently stir in the soy yogurt or cream and your herb of choice. Yum! Here is a really horrible picture of what it looks like, but you are all imaginative fish, so pretend it’s just beautiful!

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!

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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?