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!