Showing posts with label Quinoa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quinoa. Show all posts

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Solstice Comes Early

The solstice doesn't actually occur until next Tuesday, December 21st, but I spent Saturday evening at a pre-Winter Solstice celebration. We honored the promise of the return of the light with a big ole potluck and a "dirty Santa" gift exchange.

I took the opportunity to test out three of my cookbook recipes on the mostly non-veg crowd. For my main course, I lugged in a Crock pot full of my Seitan "Beef" Stew:

Though it's been years since I've had Dinty Moore Beef Stew, I'd like to think my meat-free version tastes sort of like that. My omni boyfriend — a big Dinty Moore fan — thought it tasted pretty authentic, and I got lots of compliments from the meat eaters at the party. One of the few vegetarians there told me it would be a great stand-in for her mom's beef stew, a recipe that she'd always wanted to re-create.

For a side dish, I brought my Nutty Mushroom Quinoa:

Although some of the potluck attendees had never heard of quinoa, I heard nothing but good things about the dish. Score! I love introducing omnis to new healthy vegan foods. My friend Monica kept calling it "your yummy couscous-like stuff."

And for dessert, I made my Pineapple Custard Pie:

The pie still needs a little work, but I got no complaints. I made it with whole wheat pastry flour, and I think it'd be better with all-purpose. My Granny developed this recipe, and I believe she did so with all-purpose. But I'm always experimenting with trying to sub whole wheat pastry flour. Thankfully, the entire pie was gone at the end of the night. I always hate bringing home like half a pie after a potluck because then I've no choice but to eat it all.

Though I was the only vegan there (and one of a couple of vegetarians), the lovely non-veg Wendi made her roasted sweet potatoes vegan so I could eat them, and she brought vegan cookie bars topped with almonds, coconut, and dried cranberries! It helps that her son is allergic to dairy, so Wendi said she often cooks vegan at home. Here's my plate:

Besides my and Wendi's food, I also found some vegan homemade cranberry sauce, yummy Brim's tortilla chips, and a roll. After dinner, we played "dirty Santa" where everyone opens random gifts or steals someone else's gift. I ended up with green tea fragrance oil, an amber-colored rock bracelet, and a big peace sign ring, and my boyfriend scored an iLuv portable iPhone speaker system.

What's your go-to vegan dish when attending a non-vegan potluck? Do you stick with veggie-based mains or do you get your kicks from introducing omnis to new vegan foods, like seitan and quinoa?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Whole Foods, Not the Store

Y'all know I love processed vegan convenience foods (hello Amy's vegan mac & cheese!) and faux meats (I worship Gardein), but sometimes it does feel pretty good to get back to my healthy roots and eat simple whole foods. I felt pretty darn good about myself after I downed about two cups of my Red Beans & Quinoa at lunch:

Yes, it's another cookbook tester. I promise to be done with these soon. I've showed y'all pics of most of these recipes before. I first featured this Cajun-inspired dish back in June. But, as I've said time and time again, I'm in the hurry-up-and-test-everything-one-last-time phase of cookbook production.

I have to be done testing by the end of the month, and I have big plans for January that involve a purely whole foods diet for 21 days. Today's red beans and quinoa dish, a fun twist on traditional red beans and rice, would qualify for January's whole foods rules. But alas, it's still December and there's plenty of holiday sweets and processed faux meats in my immediate future. Thankfully, I have meals like this one to ground me every once in awhile.

What's your favorite whole foods meal?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan Mofo: Quinoa Queen

According to Sarah Kramer's 2010 Go Vegan wall calendar, I'm the Quinoa Queen for a Day. That's because I made the recipe of the month — Rustic Quinoa & Yam Salad:

November features a kitschy-cute picture of Sarah donning a pageant crown and a big ole bowl of unadorned quinoa nestled in one of Vegan Dish's awesome bowls (By the way, mom and dad ... if you're reading this, a Vegan Dish mug would be a great Xmas gift idea! Hint, hint!) Anyway, Sarah deserves her crown for inventing this yummy salad.

The quinoa is mixed with cooked sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, onions, cilantro, lemon juice, maple syrup, and Bragg's. So, so good. Thankfully, the recipe makes a ton so I have plenty more for leftovers.

A word on "yams": I've never eaten, nor even seen, an actual yam. I've eaten my weight (or more) in sweet taters though. That's all you'll find around here. Yams and sweet potatoes are too totally different tubers. Sweet potatoes are orange or yellow with a brown-ish skin. Yams are purple, white, or red with a dark skin. I've never understood why people confuse the two.

And I'm not totally sure if Sarah intended on her recipe to include sweet potatoes or actual yams. But regardless, it's delicious made with sweet potatoes!

Have you ever eaten a real yam? I want to know what it tastes like....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meat Is Murder, So Pass Me the Artichoke

PETA stopped in town today during a 10-city tour to promote World Vegetarian Week (May 19-25). Two PETA interns, doused with fake blood and packaged like meat, lay in the hot Memphis sun to illustrate their "Meat Is Murder" campaign.

The demo was scheduled during the work day, but lucky for me, my editor sent me over to take some pictures for our newspaper. So I was working, but I still got to see the demonstration.

When I got home, I tried something completely new to me — Steamed Whole Artichoke:

I've had plenty of those marinated baby artichokes, but until tonight, I'd never actually cooked or eaten a whole artichoke. I was inspired by an artichoke article and recipe spread in the latest Vegetarian Times. On the side is Orange-Jalepeno Dipping Sauce, also from that Veg Times article.

The tender steamed artichoke was delicious, but man, it was a lot of work. For those who don't know (because I didn't), you only get a tiny bit of artichoke "meat" on the end of each leaf, which you scrape off with your teeth. Then, buried deep in the center under some spiky tentacle things, is the tasty, tiny heart. I accidentally tried to eat the spiky parts, but quickly realized that was a bad idea. Oops!

On the side, I made the Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf from the Veganomicon:

Spiced with cumin, coriander, and tomato paste, this was one of the best quinoa dishes I've ever had. I think I like the combo of quinoa and chickpeas even more than I like quinoa and black beans. And that's saying a lot ... because I love black beans and quinoa.

How to Steam an Artichoke
1) Rinse the artichoke to remove dirt or nastiness.
2) Cut the tough stem and then trim the pointy tips from each leaf with scissors.
3) Rub a lemon half over the cut leaf ends to prevent browning.
4) Put about two inches of water in a large pot. Toss in one garlic clove and a bay leaf. Squeeze the rest of the lemon into the water.
5) Place artichoke top down in a steamer basket. Place the basket in the pot and cover.
6) Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Steam 40-50 minutes or until bottom leaves fall off easily.