Monday, July 27, 2009

Meatless Monday - Instant Mid East Medley

The Menu: Falafel in pita, yogurt sauce, hummus & tabouli.

Falafel: Buy instant mix, some stores offer it cheaper from bulk bins. Follow directions.
Pita: From your favorite store - almost everyplace has this these days! If you're gluten-free like me, use lettuce leaves to wrap your falafel instead.
Tabouli: Also as a mix, or you can buy ingredients* & make it yourself!


1 can chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons sesame seeds (you can also use sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds or pine nuts)
olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (slice the rest up for garnish!)

In food processor: process seeds or nuts, garlic, lemon juice and enough olive oil to grind smoothly. When this mixture is a paste, add the chickpeas and process to the consistency you prefer (I like mine a tiny bit chunky).

Yogurt Sauce:

1 pint plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber (shredded or chopped small)
1 carrot, shredded
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic

In a bowl, mix yogurt, cucumber, carrot, lemon juice and salt & pepper. Use garlic press to add garlic. Mix well, add water if you want it to be more pourable.

Serve this meal with olives, sliced tomatoes drizzled w/olive oil, cucumber & lettuce. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices. Iced mint tea is an especially nice accompaniment.

*Tabouli ingredients are pretty basic. Grain (I've seen bulgur, couscous and quinoa used), parsley and/or mint, diced tomato, lemon juice and olive oil. Try this recipe or this gluten-free quinoa recipe as guidelines if you're making it yourself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meatless Monday - Garden Omelets

There are three types of omelets to be found in the world: the frittata sort, the filled, foldover sort, and the very messy sort, or scrambled eggs. :)

Start with 3 eggs per person. This may seem like a lot, especially for kids, but unless you're already very comfortable making omelets, a three-egg omelet is the easiest. Plus, they make great leftovers, either simply reheated or served in a sandwich. If you're completely new to omelet making, I recommend mixing and cooking each one separately.

So. I'll write the recipe for a single omelet.

3 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon grated parmesan
1 cup chopped raw veggies of your choice (onions, asparagas, bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant)
fresh herbs to taste
1 teaspoon butter (you can use nonstick spray for this, but the butter adds great flavor)
Salt & pepper to taste

In medium size bowl, thoroughly blend eggs, milk, Parmesan, pepper, and salt. You can use an electric mixer or a fork for this.

If you're going to make a frittata-type omelet (easiest, I think), heat 8-10 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add veggies & fresh herbs to pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with heat-proof spatula. Lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Flip and cook another 3 minutes. If you'd like melted cheese, add now, turn off the heat, and let sit, covered, for about a minute.

For a filled, foldover-type omelet, remove veggies & herbs from pan after sauteeing for 2-3 minutes. Set aside in a covered bowl (to retain the heat). Once your egg mixture has begun to set, add veggie mixture to one side, and gently flip the other side over the veggies. Cook, covered for another 2-4 minutes, or until egg is no longer gooey in the center.

Serve with fresh sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, cucumber or three-bean salad, or a small leafy side salad, and toasted french bread.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Meatless Monday - Stuffed Roasted Poblano Peppers

Near my home is a wonderful little produce market, with some of the freshest, nicest veggies around. Always beckoning to me are the deep green, glossy poblano peppers, which I mostly use as an ingredient in other dishes. This meal, though is all about the poblano:

Plan on two sizeable peppers per person.

First, there is the roasting: After washing the peppers, put them on a broiler pan under your broiler (though fairly far away). You'll want to roast these things until they are a rich, dark brown, but not burnt - so don't even think about doing anything else in the meantime. Turn them as necessary to make sure they are roasting evenly. When they have finished, put them in a zip-top bag and seal; set aside.

For the filling:

1 medium onion (diced)
3 cups cooked medium grain rice (this is a little more sticky than regular, long-grain rice)
1 can (or 1 1/2 Cups cooked, if you cook your own) beans. You can use your favorite beans here: black beans, red beans, white beans, or even something fancy, like adzuki beans.
2 Tablespoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1-3 teaspoons powdered chipotle chile (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of one lime
1 Tablespoon oil
salt to taste

2 cups mild cheese (asadero is best, but mozzarella will do in a pinch)

In a sautee pan over medium heat, gently cook the onions with the spices (except the cilantro) until onion is clear. Stir in the beans, turn off the heat, and cover.

Mix remaining ingredients (except cheese) thoroughly in a large bowl. Once the onion/bean mixture has cooled, blend it in as well.

Now it's time to ready the peppers. Now that they've roasted and rested, the skins should slide right off. Rinse in cool water. Remove the tops, slit down the side, and remove the skin and membrane from the inside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay peppers in an oiled baking dish, slit side up, and fill with the mixture from the bowl.

Scatter the cheese over the tops of the stuffed peppers, and bake the whole thng until heated through (about 20-30 minutes).

Serve with: fried plantains, chutney, slices of ripe mango, cucumber salad, plain yogurt or raita.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Meatless Monday - Curried Lentil Patties

Once upon a time, I was a very, very poor woman, living in Tucson and working for a cooperative, natural foods warehouse. When warehouse items were broken open, employees had first dibs on whatever the item was, and one summer, a 50 lb bag of lentils broke. We all had pounds and pounds of lentils (it was a small company). I had my first lentil patties soon after the infamous bag break, and frequently thereafter...and not just because it was cheap food, it was delicious! I bring my recipe to you:

3 cups water
1 cup lentils, washed
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup flax meal
1 med chopped onon
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 large egg
2 teaspoons of your favorite curry blend. Garam masala is particularly nice for these.
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for sauteing

Put water, lentils, rice and 1 tsp salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes. Leave in the cooking water, and mash (I find a stick blender works GREAT for this - but you could also blend it in a food processor, or just mash by hand). Stir in flax meal, onion, carrot, spices and egg. Allow to stand 5-8 minutes so the flax meal can soak up any excess water. Shape into patties. Saute in olive oil, serve hot with lots of condiments.

These patties can also be made from chickpeas, or black beans, or any legume, really. Seasonings can be changed to suit individual tastes (the black beans work especially well with cilantro, chipotle and sour cream).

Enjoy, and please let me know your favorite combos in the comments!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meatless Monday - Veggie DIY Pizza

I'm sorry for the delay in this post - it's migraine season for me, and it slows me down a LOT. Better late than never, though...On to today's meal!

I love, LOVE pizza. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago, it's been something I sorely missed. The only decent GF frozen pizza I found was Foods By George cheese pizza, and they were nearly $6 for a single serving size!

Recently, though, I discovered Whole Foods GF Bakehouse frozen pizza crust, and it's delicious! So I've been catching up on my pizza cravings. For those who don't need their pizza to be gluten-free, a Boboli or other pizza crust will do just fine - I've even seen some places that carry the raw dough!

- 1 pizza crust - I heat mine through once before putting toppings on - makes it less likely to be soggy.

- sauce of choice - I'm making a white pizza today; instead of a red sauce (which I normally buy in a can), I'm just starting with a brush of olive oil and some crushed garlic across the crust.

-veggies! Possibilities include green and yellow squash, eggplant, olives, onions, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, pine nuts, pineapple, broccoli, cauliflower. If you want a meat substitute, try scrambling some firm tofu with sausage seasonings: fennel, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.

Top with plenty of cheese (or cheese substitute), and bake according to crust directions.

Tip: Make sure that all veggies are well-drained before using as a pizza topping. For eggplant, salting to expel water, rinsing and patting dry may be appropriate.

We'd love to read any pizza-making stories you care to leave in the comments!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meatless Monday - Butter Beans, Greens & Cornbread

This is such a simple meal to be so satisfying and delicious. It's one of my favorites.

Note: butter beans are another name for fava beans.

- 2 cans precooked butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium head of collard greens
- greens from approximately 4 beets
- red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves of garlic (sliced thin)
- freshly ground nutmeg
- 6-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- salt & pepper to taste

- cornbread recipe or mix of your choice (I use Whole Foods 365 Gluten Free mix, omitting the sugar and adding 2 teaspoons molasses)

Get your cornbread cooking first. Then, in a skillet or saute pan on medium heat, put the butter, the butter beans, and the basil. Cook until the butter starts to bubble, then cover and remove from heat. Just before serving, add several grinds of fresh nutmeg and a couple of black pepper.

Clean the greens and cut into ribbons. In a skillet on medium heat, sweat the garlic in olive oil until garlic is mostly cooked. If you find it is getting toasted, turn down the heat. When the garlic is mostly done, add the greens and cover with lid. Give them a few minutes to mush down, then remove the lid and stir, coating the greens thoroughly with the garlicky oil. When they have reduced to about 1/3 of the original volume, remove from heat, sprinkle with the red wine vinegar and salt lightly.

Serve with a nice chianti. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Freebie Friday - Music & more!

In Philly, the Meat Puppets will be playing a free concert at WXPN, part of WXPN's Free at Noon concert series.

In Michigan, drivers can get tires inspected at Discount Tire for National Tire Safety Week.

And for everyone on the web: get a free bottle of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book of the Week - Sharing the Harvest

This week, I'm exploring (mostly online) how Community Supported Agriculture works, and what its benefits are. In keeping with that theme, this week's book is

Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Revised & Expanded

I haven't had a chance to read it yet myself, but it looks interesting, and I'd love to hear from any of you who have.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meatless Monday - Giant Dinner Salad

One of my favorite summer meals is a big summer salad, made from fresh local produce. If I'm really lucky this summer, my later ones will include tomatoes from my own backyard garden.

Start with your favorite lettuce blend. I'm partial to a combo of iceberg & romaine, but you can add mesclun, dandelion, or whatever your local market and budget allow.

The fresh produce:

Whatever is in season that you like; tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, carrots, thin-sliced red onion or scallion, celery, sliced fennel bulb, jicama, radishes, mushrooms.

The canned:

Chickpeas! Sliced black olives! Miniature corn! Water chestnuts!


I don't personally care for boiled eggs, but if you like them in salad, go for it! Shredded cheese can be good, too, croutons if you like 'em. Fresh herbs: basil, mint, parsley, cilantro - all are great flavor-boosters.

Delicious with garlic toast.

I prefer my dressings to be simple, and I often make them myself. For this salad, I think I'm going to try out this recipe. I'm also partial to a simple lemon juice/olive oil dressing, with a little salt & freshly ground pepper.

Enjoy, and please feel free to report back with any suggestions or improvements!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Freebie Friday - Movies!

Regal Entertainment's Family Film Festival offers free movies for the summer:

Between 6/23 and 8/18, Regal will show G and PG rated movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00am. Tickets on first come, first served basis, to capacity. Check for your local schedule here:

Regal's Family Film Festival