Posted in Food, Meatless Monday, Recipes

Dinner Tonight

Easy, fast, delicious. Greek pasta with spinach and feta cheese.

  
All you need is a can of tomatoes, canned white beans, spinach and feta cheese. I added fresh basil, oregano and garlic. Dump a large can of chopped tomatoes into a frying pan, add the herbs, garlic and beans and cook for ten minutes. Wash and chop 10 oz of spinach and add. Cook another 10 minutes. Serve with crumbled feta on top of chunky pasta.

Good and sans meat.

Posted in Animal Cruelty, Food, Health, Meatless Monday

Margy Does Meatless Monday

i just finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and spent yesterday learning a whole lot more than I wanted to about factory farming. I’m familiar with these types of farms and the misery and pollution that accompany them but this was my first review with that book in the back of my mind. 

We don’t really “see” the meat we eat anymore. Sanitized and shrink-wrapped cuts line the back of my grocery store and you don’t think about the pig, cow or chicken who was raised for your dinner. Don’t get me wrong. I eat and like meat. However, I also realize that I have more of a choice theses days when it comes to the source of those tasty dishes. You can kill a pig for its meat, but you don’t have to raise it in a tiny cage and throw or kick it around while its growing up. I don’t have to buy a truckload of antibiotics along with my burger. I don’t have to participate in a system filled with deliberate genetic manipulation (chickens bred with breasts so big they can’t walk), filth, disease and suffering. We don’t have to eat that way.

So, I’m giving Meatless Monday a try. We will have chicken for dinner tomorrow night, then indulge in some nice spring veggies tomorrow. It’s not much, I know, but it’s something and I can live with that.

Posted in Blogging, Bouncing Tigger's Vegetarian Recipe Challenge, Food, Recipes

Death by Chili Pepper

I’m trying to knock out a few posts while I have the energy and before my desire to run downstairs and finish my book finally overcomes me. I’ve been meaning to spend some time with Tigger’s Veggie Challenge and I think I may have found a fun post for this one.

I really like Indian food but my tastes, all with all westerners probably, are pretty calmed down compared to the real thing. I also love to watch cooking videos and came across a chef who I can’t stop watching. He’s a really nice, respectful guy and at the same time brimming over with enthusiasm about the dishes he demonstrates. He calls himself the VahChef (prounounced “Wah Chef”) and he cooks stuff from throughout India. Yes, I know there are a lot of different cuisines and there’s really no such thing as “Indian” food, just like there’s really no such thing as “curry.”

The VahChef invites people to upload their own cooking videos, too, which is rather cool. He also prepares some western dishes, but doesn’t seems as excited about them as the “Indian” stuff. My favorite part, though? This dude is NOT afraid of hot peppers. It’s hysterical: “first you add some chili, then you add some chili powder and then you add more chili if the dish is not tasty enough.”

Yow! It sounds great and deadly. I might try modifying his recipes so that I can actually make them.

On another note, I’ve been following some really ugly issues regarding women and women’s right, not only in India but in Nigeria, too. I know women in both countries have gone into the streets to protest these atrocities and I stand with them. I want those kids in Nigeria back and I want women in all parts of India to be able to walk the street unmolested.

Posted in Blogging, Food, Recipes

Ring of Fire, or Trial by Fire?

Okay, Blogging 101 universe, now I have to write a post based on this prompt:

Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

I’m going to digress a bit from this, since I’ve decided to try and go vegetarian this month (May). I’m not sure it’ll work, not because I’m game but because the hubby has his doubts. He wants his honey ham on a bagel each morning. So, we negotiated: I’ll make vegetarian whenever I’m cooking, he’s free to do what he wants when it’s his turn. I want to see what happens to our food bill, among other things. More than that, though, I just want a break from the usual routine.

I have a few hot-type items to add to my meals: dried chilis, Sriracha sauce and Tabasco, but I’m not one for a lot of heat. A tiny bit livens things up a bit, but too much and the hubby will end up driving me to the hospital. I have a very picky stomach. It doesn’t like deep-fried food, fried eggs, pork bacon or sausage or very hot food. I manage to do without these for the most part. When I haven’t, I’ve paid a very high price.

There’s so much in the world to eat and enjoy. I’m happy with what I’m eating and, if anything, want more variety along the same lines of my current diet of leafy greens, grains, legumes and all colors of vegetables. I went to a local farm stand to start the journey today and came home with Tuscan kale and collard greens (among other things). I’ve got a very nice recipe in which I can use either or both of those. I’m going to enjoy my veggies!

I also stopped in at Trader Joe’s and got some interesting new rice combinations. I’ve never tried black rice, so I bought some and added another bag of a brown rice mixture. Looks interesting.

Rice packages
The Rice Part of Rice and Beans

So, please do give me some recipes if you’ve got them and I’ll share mine with you.

Posted in Food, Recipes

Cold. Snow. Lasagne. Yes.

I like to eat something warming and hearty on a weekend like this. Even with a empty-ish pantry, I was able to put together a very nice looking and smelling Quick Lasagne With Bean Sauce. The recipe comes from Jane Brody‘s Good Food Book. This book was published back in the day when high carbohydrate meals were all the rage. Yes, this has noodles and it’s delicious, thank you very much.

Jane Brody Cookbook

There ya go. Here’s the recipe:

Quick Lasagne with Bean Sauce

Bean Sauce:
1 tbs oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups cooked or canned red or pink beans
4 cups tomato puree or 2 cups tomato sauce and 2 cups puree
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Remaining Ingredients:
3/4 lb uncooked lasagne noodles
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, thinly sliced or grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Prepare the sauce by heating the oil and sauteeing the garlic and onions for a minute. Add the beans and the tomatoes, oregano, basil and salt/pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

To assemble the lasagne, take a 9 x 13″ baking pan and spread a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom. Arrange the noodles over the top, so that they don’t overlap. Cover the noodle layer with half the ricotta and half the mozzarella. Then add about a third of the remaining sauce. Repeat with another layer of noodles, adding the rest of the ricotta and mozzarella and another third of the sauce. Layer the top, add the remaining sauce and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese.

Cover the baking pan with a tight layer of aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. If the mixture still has too much liquid, uncover the pan and bake another 10 – 15 minutes.

Pan of Lasagne Sauce
Pan of Lasagne Sauce
Lasagne Layer One
Lasagne Layer One

It smells wonderful, even at this stage! Just keep going until you’re out of ingredients.

Lasagne Layer Two With Sauce
Lasagne Layer Two With Sauce

When it’s ready, toss it in the oven and forget about it for an hour.

All Done and Ready for the Oven
All Done and Ready for the Oven

Take it out of the oven and you’re done!

Let's Eat!
Let’s Eat!

 

Posted in Food, Recipes

Curried Chick Peas And Tofu With Bok Choy

It was a rainy day. I was sick of looking at my computer. I went out in the gloom and rain and ran errands instead, ending up at the library with some very nice books I plan to start reading this evening.

I decided to liven things up a bit with some cooking. I had chick peas and I had tofu, among other things. I also had a recipe for curried chick peas and tofu, so it was a pretty easy decision. The hubby also picked up some bok choy, for which I had no plans, so I decided to throw that in as well.

It came out, well, swimmingly! Wonderful aromas and enticing colors, especially when served over the coconut basmati rice I made just for the occasion.

Curry Fixin's - Spices, Garlic, Onion, Tomato

I sauteed the bok choy separately, just to make more dishes to clean up.

Sauteeing the Bok Choy

In went the onions, garlic and curry, into their own pan. Occasionally interrupted my masterpiece to sip at some nicely chilled wine. Then tossed the tofu cubes, the chick peas with their cooking water, and the tomato. Very pretty, yes?

Curry is Cooking

But, wait! There’s more color to come. The bok choy was already sateed, so I slid that in and mixed it all together.

Curry With Bok Choy

What can beat that, I ask you? Just look at that. Artistry on my impatient plate:

Margy's Dinner

What, you want some too? Well, for heaven’s sake, why didn’t you say so in the first place!

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne or hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cake tofu (3/4 lb), cut into cubes
  • 2 cups undrained cooked chick peas (16 oz can)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Plain yogurt (optional)
  • Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and optional cayenne. Add the cubed tofu and cook for a minute or so, stirring occasionally. Add the chick peas with about 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes or so, or until done.
  • Served with cilantro or yogurt, if desired.
  • Posted in Uncategorized

    The Colors of Fall

    New England is a colorful place in the fall, even in the kitchen. I made up a batch of green tomato mincemeat, an absolutely fabulous meat-free mincemeat recipe that's sweet, tart and rich all at the same time. The recipe calls for dried cherries, so there's a wonderful aftertaste of these as well. It's everything you'd expect in a mincemeat and is second-to-none, particularly if you make the pie with a home made crust.

    Green Tomato Mincemeat

    Ingredients 

    • 3 lbs green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    • 1 1/2 lbs tart apples, coarsely chopped, with skin
    • 3 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
    • 10 oz currants
    • 6 oz dried tart cherries
    • 1 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup chopped, crystallized ginger
    • 2 oranges, cut into slices, seeded
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 tsp ground mace
    • 1 tsp ground cloves
    • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 2 juniper berries, cracked (optional)

    Directions 

    1. Place the tomatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and blanch for 4 – 5 minutes. Drain.
    2. Add all the remaining ingredients. Mix well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
    3. Let the mincemeat cool. Remove the orange slices and cinnamon sticks and transfer to a covered container. Store in refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze for several months.
    4. Recipe from "Great Good Food: Luscious Lower-Fat Cooking," by Julee Rosso

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