05 October 2011

Indian Food Fest

Earlier this week, my friend Sonic sent me a text message wanting to hang out. Being in the middle of my semester and completely swamped with classes and research and proposals, oh my! I asked if we could meet for dinner this evening because my husband was having a man date. Everyone needs to eat, right? She came over, drank some home brew, chatted, and ate delicious food. I almost killed our lungs, when I put chilies, spices, and other hot things on the hot cast iron pan. The vapors came up and into coughing fits we went. I opened up the window and and door and put on the fan to try and blow the vapors away. Other than that, a successful dinner!

I was planning on making samosas using phyllo dough as the pastry, but we were getting too hungry to wait for it to bake, so we just ate it as is.

Aloo mattar based the samosa recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance
cumin seeds
mustard seeds
coriander seeds
potato, diced into cubes
peas or edamame
curry powder
cayenne pepper

Red lentil dahl
hot chilies
red lentils
water or broth
curry powder
cumin powder

Aloo mattar
Bring the potatoes to boil in a sauce pan. Boil until the potatoes are tender, about 10 or so minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and add a bit of olive oil. Add the seeds and stir constantly until they start popping and turning brown. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger to the pan. Stir to combine. Add any spices to the pan. Turn on a fan, so the vapors don't kill your lungs. Stir to combine. When the potatoes are done, add them to the pan, along with the peas or edamame. Use a potato masher, or the back of a spoon to mash everything together. Add a spash or two of water to help combine everything. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Red lentil dahl
Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and chilies in a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a sauce pan until the onions are browned. Add the red lentils and enough water or broth to cover the lentils. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until most of the broth is absorbed by the lentils and it is pretty mushy. Add seasonings and sriracha and adjust to taste.

Serve with rice and fresh fruit.

This was quite delicious. The dahl was super duper easy to put together. I forgot to start boiling the potatoes before I sautéed the vegetables, so they had to hang out for about 10 minutes until the potatoes finished.

As evidence that we did eat the deliciousness, I present: Sonic!

Nom nom nom

04 October 2011

Freezer Meals: Bubble up pizza bites

My husband and I spent an afternoon making a bunch of meals for the month this past weekend. We have started to eat on our freezer food and man it is good and easy to have things that are ready to eat.

pizza dough - we used a pre made one that is for a 12 inch pizza
pizza sauce
any toppings you desire - we used onions, black olives, and daiya pepperjack cheese

Grease a 12 muffin muffin tray. Divide the pizza dough into 12 even balls and place one in each of the muffin cups. Push the topping down into the dough. Really get in down in there. Top with a teaspoon of the pizza sauce and any vegan cheese.

Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes at 350F, until the dough is browned.

To freeze: place the muffin tray in the freezer and allow the bites to partially freeze - about 15 or so minutes. Take out of the tray and put into a gallon sized freezer bag. To reheat, place the frozen bite in a toaster oven and cook at 350 for about 10 minutes until heated through. You can also, heat up in the microwave for a minute or two. You can also put these frozen in your lunch box and by lunch time they are thawed. Heat up in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warmed through.

I have a confession: I am not a daiya cheeze fan. I think it smells like stinky feet and tastes rubbery. I decided to give it a try, but I am now going to be giving away the rest of my bag to friend. I'm glad that I didn't cover all the bites with the cheeze. Other than that, these are really good! I didn't shove the topping down far enough to the dough, so they came out on top instead of "bubbled up" around it. My husband also enjoyed these, although, he said it took him about 15 minutes for them to cook in the toaster oven for him. Super easy and delicious!

Geez, we don't just eat pizza around here.

03 October 2011

Freezer Meals: Pesto, potato, mushroom pizza

It will take one more day to finish of making all the rest of the freezer meals. I think we have three more to do. I'll post a picture of the inside of our freezer when it is done. We aren't making allll our meals for the freezer, just about half of them. Although, we did have a friend over tonight and ate both of the pizzas we had frozen, so we aren't going to make it quite all the way to the end of the month with our recipes.

For those that are lost, my husband and I are trying to cook a good majority of our meals in advance and then freeze them. We are using recipes from Once a Month Mom. All the recipes we have tried so far, have been fantastic.

Tonight, we decided to break out the frozen pizza. From frozen, it cooked in a preheated 350F oven for about 10 - 15 minutes. Before we froze the pizza, we had parcooked the crust for about 8 minutes before adding the toppings and freezing.

Kale Pesto
1/2 bunch kale
1/2 cup slivered almonds
a couple of garlic cloves
black pepper
olive oil

Mushroom bits
12 oz mushrooms sliced
2 T olive oil
2 T maple syrup
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t liquid smoke

pre made pizza dough - just the usual dough for about 12 inch pizza
Any other toppings you desire - we added garlic, potato, and onion

Kale Pesto
Process the kale, almonds, and garlic in a food processor until chopped up. Add seasonings. With the processor processing slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it is the desire consistency. Adjust for any seasonings.

Mushroom bits
In a bowl, mix the mushrooms with the liquid ingredients. Allow to soak while the oven is heating up to 400F. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with foil (for easy clean up). Cook in oven, stirring occasionally, until crispy. I didn't really get these to a crispy stage, just cooked well. Set aside to cool.

Roll out the dough to desired size. We divided the dough into two pieces and rolled them into their own pizzas. We needed to make the dough fit inside of a gallon size freezer bag. Also, a pizza made from all the dough is usually too much for one meal for two people.

Place the dough in a preheated 400F oven for about 8 minutes until the dough is mostly cooked through. Spread the pesto on and top with any topping you desire. At this point, you can wrap in plastic wrap and put in a freezer bag and freeze until needed, or you can put it back in the oven and cook until the toppings are heated through the bottom of the pizza is brown.

I was a little bit wary of the pesto, when I tried it after processing it, we both thought it tasted like the way fresh cut grass smelled. The flavor mellowed out on the pizza and worked really well with the kind of sweet mushroom topping. The pizza over all was delicious. It was really fun to come home and have a frozen pizza that didn't have a bunch of weird ingredients in it. Both my husband and the friend we had over, loved the pizza.

Of course, we topped our pizza with a drizzle of sriracha.

If the freezer meals continue to be awesome, we are doing this next month and every month after that. It's like eating frozen meals from the grocery store, but they don't have a bunch of things in there that you don't want and it took three days to put all the food together! We are loving it.

02 October 2011

We might have a problem....

My husband and I like Sriracha. A lot. Recently, the grocery store we go to most often, has stopped carrying the brand we love. We decided it was time to purchase in bulk and off to Amazon we went. Two days later (thank you Amazon Prime for students), a large box appeared on our door step.

Unfortunately, one of the 12 bottles had opened up and emptied its contents all over the box and other bottles. Fortunately, it was only one and it was easy to clean off the other bottles.

We are now in possession of 11 big bottles of Sriracha and my goodness, I could not be happier about it. We quickly replaced the empty bottle in our pantry, and two went up to school to sit at our desks. You never know when your lunch is going to need the Sriracha kick, right?

We estimated that we go through about a bottle of Sriracha a month. Now we have a year long supply! I don't think this is unreasonable, yes?

01 October 2011

Once a Month Cooking: Prep/Cook Day 1

Today, my husband and I attempted to prepare about half our meals for the month. We bought the food this morning, took about two hours to cut up all the vegetables, and then began cooking. About 1.5 hours into the cooking, we burned out and decided to begin a new tomorrow. We are about half through making all the meals. If the meals turn out and taste great after being in the freezer for a few weeks, this is going to become a regular occurrence at our house. I roughly used the menu plan at Onceamonthmom. There were several recipes for the October menu that we were not down with - the stuffed squashes and a tofurky sandwich - not for us. So I supplemented recipes from the September and August menus.

Most of what is going to get turned into our meals for the month

We don't have a lot of counter space, so we made use of the stairs to hold the prepped vegetables

The recipes that we made/going to make are:

x Pumpkin Muffins (I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance)
x Roasted Sweet Potato, pomegranate seeds, almonds as a salad topping
Lentil-Mushroom Sliders mini-burgers (My husband refuses to call them sliders)
Nut Loaf in Pastry
x Pomegranate Chili Tofu
Gnocchi in pumpkin sauce
Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
Curry Tofu Scramble
x Baked Empanadas
x Bubble up pizza bites
x Kale Pesto, basil, mushroom pizza
Spicy Seitan Flautas

All the recipes can be found at the Once a month mom website.

Goodness, it is making me tired thinking about all the ones we still have to cook. I have placed an x next to the ones we have completed. 6 more recipes to get through and then hopefully it will make cooking over the course of this month, so much easier. Things are starting to get crazy with school - homeworks, tests, research, etc - so having good food to come home to will be great.

After we lost steam to cook more, we discovered that we didn't really have anything planned for dinner. It was decided that the Pomegranate Chili Tofu I was preparing was going to go in our bellies instead of the freezer bag.

Pomegranate Chili Tofu

If all our meals are as good as the tofu, then we will be in for a good food month. We couldn't find any pomegranate molasses, so we picked up some pomegranate juice and added it to blackstrap molasses. The dish was a good level of spicy and sweet. The breading for the tofu was a little strange, but I just decided to add whatever spices I wanted and called it good because we didn't have the Thai 7 spice blend called for. I would say this recipe is a success.

I really really hope that the freezer meals work out for us, it would simplify our cooking schedule so much. I'll be reporting back on all meals as month goes on!

Happy day 1 of Veganmofo 2011!