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Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Spicy Lentil and Kale Soup

November 6, 2012 4 comments

Lentil and Kale Soup

It is certainly closer to soup season in North Alabama. We’ve had some freezing temperatures, just enough to make us bring in the giant Ficus and harvest our sweet potatoes. But then this weekend, it was in the upper 70s. Interesting weather so far!  Regardless of the weather, this is a great soup. It doesn’t need a long time to cook, but the flavor improves as it cooks. It is similar to my Egyptian Style Red Lentil Soup but this has kale. Actually you could use most any variety of greens – you just might need to make a few adjustments. If you using a quick-cooking cooking green like cabbage or bok choy, just put it in later. You could also use collards, broccoli rabe, or even mustard greens. I haven’t tried this, but a sweet potato (freshly harvested from the Smith-Jordan garden) would probably be good in place of the regular potato. Play around with the spices, add some cinnamon or allspice if you want to mix it up even more. Use water or veggie broth. Have fun with this recipe and enjoy…

Spicy Lentil and Kale Soup  (Print recipe)

3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large potato, diced in small cubes

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1½ teaspoons freshly ground cumin

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or a hefty pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups red lentils

4 cups veggie broth*

2 cups water (might need more)

1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped

Optional Garnish: Kale Chips

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onions, celery, carrots, and potato. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, rosemary, Aleppo pepper, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Cook another 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add lentils. Stir in the veggie stock and water. Add the kale. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low until the lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes. Garnish with crispy kale chips and serve.

*You can use 4 cups of veggie broth and 2 cups of water or you can use 6 cups of water. The veggie broth adds more flavor, but it is also delicious with only water. If you want a thicker soup, you can use less liquid. Depending on your lentils, you might need to increase the liquid if it is too thick.

Cutest Potatoes Ever

September 17, 2012 21 comments

Cutest Potatoes Ever!

Usually, my food isn’t very pretty. I spend more time concerned with the taste than the looks. Wish I could do both, but I can’t. However, with these little potatoes, anyone can make “cute” and delicious food. To give you an idea of how tiny they are, the potatoes in the photo are in a 3-inch ramekin!

If you’ve been reading The Flaming Pot Holder lately, you know we like to grow our food when possible. Farmers markets are a great second choice for purchasing local food. However, sometimes you see something at a grocery store you must try. That happened a few weeks ago at the Whole Foods Market in Nashville. We found marble-sized red, white, and purple potatoes.

The company is Tasteful Selections and the Sunrise Medley Nibbles potatoes are from their Simply Amazing Potatoes line of products. They are tiny, but very flavorful and tender. When I emailed the company to ask permission to include them in the blog, I received a nice response from Melissa in their marketing department. I mentioned recently that I wanted to add a few reviews to the blog, so guess this is my first official one! I like the fact that this is still a family owned farm; it makes me feel better shopping at a big box store. If you want to give them a try, you should check out their website and Facebook page for other recipes, coupons, and even a sweepstakes. They also have a store locator so you can find where to buy them in your area.

To keep it vegan, you can use olive oil, coconut oil, margarine or your favorite oil. You just want something to help the salt, pepper, and herbs adhere. From start to finish, I think it only took about 10 minutes, so this really is a fast side dish. Hope you like these delicious and cute potatoes!

Cutest Potatoes Ever (Print recipe)

1 bag Sunrise Medley Nibbles potatoes (or other tiny potatoes)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil (margarine, oil of your choice, or butter)

Kosher salt, to taste

Pepper (I used ground black pepper and Aleppo pepper flakes)

Fresh chives and/or herbs, chopped (I used parsley and Greek basil)

Wash the potatoes. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add one teaspoon of salt, and enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Test a potato, by piercing with a fork. Depending on the size, they might be done. Otherwise, they might need a few more minutes. Cook until tender. Drain. Add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Enjoy! These are even delicious the next day cold! You can toss them into a salad.

Coming soon…my husband’s recipe for a Kitchen Sink Frittata that uses leftover potatoes as one of the ingredients!

 

Layered Summer Vegetable Bake

September 5, 2012 9 comments

Layered Summer Vegetable Bake

The other morning on the TODAY Show, Martha Stewart had a recipe for a Provençal Vegetable Tian. It sounded and looked delicious. But of course I did not have all the ingredients she used. So, I decided to make my own version with things from our pantry, our garden, and our friend’s garden. That seems to be a theme lately – use what you have.

Back in high school, I was on the yearbook committee and one of my least favorite tasks was writing titles and captions. Not much has changed. I still struggle with this, in technical writing and in recipe writing. Not sure what to call my version of Martha’s recipe. Strata is not completely accurate since it doesn’t contain eggs, bread, or cheese. It reminded me of a baked late summer vegetable layered ratatouille. However, I didn’t cook the vegetables separately. It could be called a casserole, but it seems a little too fancy for that (not that there’s anything wrong with a casserole). I guess it really is a tian, a layered casserole of French origin. But, I hate to totally copy Martha, thus the lame name: Layered Summer Vegetable Bake. At least it is descriptive. Oh well, whatever you call it, hope you enjoy my version.

My typical disclaimer: This is another recipe where you can customize it to your tastes or use what is fresh and available. If you do not like eggplant, you can use zucchini, zephyr, crookneck, or patty pan squash. If you want to add peppers, go for it! Add more garlic if you’d like. If you do not have fresh herbs, dry herbs can be used. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you can omit or decrease the amount of salt. If you want to mix it up, you could even add sweet potatoes. Feel free to use different oil, if you prefer. Basically, you are layering veggies with a bit of salt, pepper, oil, and herbs, squishing it, and baking it. Ok you get it, please make this YOUR dish and have fun!

Slice of Veggie Goodness

Layered Summer Vegetable Bake (Print recipe)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 garlic cloves, sliced ⅛ inch thick

1 medium onion, sliced ⅛ inch thick half-moons

1 leek or green onion, sliced ⅛ inch thick

4 small potatoes, sliced ⅛ inch thick

1½ teaspoons coarse salt

¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 medium eggplants, sliced ⅛ inch thick (I used skinny green, purple, and a few round orange Turkish eggplants)

4 medium tomatoes, sliced ⅛ inch thick

4 tablespoons capers, whole or smashed/chopped

4 teaspoons fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, and basil), chopped

Garnish: Fresh Herbs

Serves: 4-8 (depends on whether it is a main dish or a side dish)

Wash, dry, and slice your veggies. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil into 13x9x2” baking dish*. Cover the bottom with half the garlic, onions, and leeks. Top with half the potatoes. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Top with half the eggplant. Top with half the tomatoes. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover with half the capers and half the fresh chopped herbs. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Use an oiled spatula to press down the vegetables. Repeat the layers – garlic, onions, leeks, potatoes, salt pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, capers, herbs, 2 tablespoons oil. Use an oiled spatula to press down the vegetables. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil. Use an oiled spatula to press down the vegetables. Bake until the top is golden and caramelized, about 45 minutes more. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.

*If you have lots of patience, you could make individual serving sizes using either a muffin pan or mini ramekins. As you can probably tell from my photo, my version was very thin. That’s because we like crispy bits (there were lots). If you want less crisp and more layers, feel free to use a smaller baking dish.

 

Eye of the Goat Bean Soup

September 1, 2012 2 comments

Leftovers?
Make Eye of the Goat Bean Soup

If you made the eye of goat beans and rice from the last post, there is a good chance you had leftover beans (unless you cooked for a crowd). So what do you do with them? You can freeze them, make bean salad, chili, or refried beans. Or you could make a simple, quick soup. That’s what I did!  I’ve recently started back to work at a real job, as a technical writer and editor. After two years of not working, I’m relearning my time management skills. Juggling work, gardening, cooking, food writing, yard work, housework, etc. is challenging. Anything that makes a quick and healthy meal is a good thing in my book.

I served the soup topped with a bit of grated cheese, a few splashes of hot sauce, and some chopped fresh herbs. We had just bought some Cumin Gouda from the Franklin Farmers Market in Nashville and I thought it would be good with the soup. It was! The cheese is from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese in Austin, Kentucky. If you happen to see them at a market near you, I would highly recommend them (or you can order online). They have some unique flavors: Cranberry Havarti, Coffee Cheddar, Garlic Paprika Monterey Jack, etc. I also served the soup with Beanitos’ Black Bean Chips, a new chip we recently discovered. I have several food allergies/food sensitivities and avoid corn, but sometimes I want a corn chip. Well, these are a good substitute – no corn or gluten; but high in protein thanks to the black beans!

Eye of the Goat Bean Soup

Leftover eye of the goat beans (we had half the batch leftover)

Veggie stock or water

Salt

Pepper

Garnishes: grated cheese, sour cream, yogurt, hot pepper sauce, fresh herbs, chopped peppers, sliced green onions, crackers, chips, etc.

Special equipment: immersion blender, food processor, blender, or potato masher

Depending on how soupy you made the beans, you might need to remove some of the liquid and reserve it for later (just in case you need it). Heat the beans over low heat. Mash the beans, either by hand or use an immersion blender, food processor, or a regular blender. If needed, add the extra bean liquid, stock, or water to make a nice soup consistency. Make sure it is heated through and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with garnishes and serve.

 

Eye of the Goat Beans

August 29, 2012 3 comments

Eye of the Goat Beans

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be Freshly Pressed. It was an unexpected honor and I am thankful for the exposure. I am thrilled about new readers and grateful to my faithful followers who have been with me since the beginning. I appreciate the comments and the feedback and hope you will continue reading. I’m excited about upcoming changes to The Flaming Pot Holder – launching a Facebook page, changing the layout of the blog, categorizing recipes, improving my photos, etc. Ok, enough happy gushing, time for a recipe…

We first tried eye of the goat beans (a.k.a. goat eye beans) last year and loved them. We buy Gourmet Valley’s Eye of the Goat Beans. I really like this brand of heirloom beans. They have a nice variety of interesting beans – Scarlet Runner Beans, Christmas Lima Beans, Red Calypso Beans, Green Flageolet Beans, etc. One day, we hope to grow some of these varieties.

Gourmet Valley
Eye of the Goat Beans

Eye of the goat beans are similar in texture to black-eyed peas and pinto beans. They have a rich, firm texture that can hold up to long, slow cooking times. And they do look a lot like goat eyes. I know this personally, because we had two pet pygmy goats when I was growing up (even though we lived on Monte Sano in the city limits of Huntsville). Goats were frowned upon, so Mom told folks they were funny looking dogs with a weird bark :). They had beautiful eyes, similar looking to these beans.

There is a recipe on the package for drunken beans that sounds delicious, but it has beer and mushrooms. I’m avoiding gluten and “fungusy” foods so I decided to create my own version with produce from our garden. I added some fresh diced tomatoes and a little tomato paste. This made a rich broth, but it was also a tad sweet. Something to think about when you are making the beans. This “recipe” is just a guide; please adjust it to your taste. We like spicy food, so I added several hot peppers, feel free to leave them out if you don’t want it spicy. I used a crock pot, but a large heavy covered pot or Dutch oven would also work great.

I served the beans with basmati rice, made with a new technique courtesy of Peri’s Spice Ladle. She recently posted her Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Perfect Basmati Rice and I had to try it. I was intrigued since I had never used a microwave to cook rice. It worked very well! I added some saffron and it was a perfect accompaniment to the beans. I’ve been struggling with Thai sticky rice with mango, I wonder if this technique would work in lieu of a rice steamer or cooker?!? Hmm, I’m thinking a future post.  Hope you can find these beans (I have bought them at Whole Foods and Earth Fare) and you will give the recipe a try…

Eye of the Goat Beans
and Basmati Rice

Eye of the Goat Beans (Print recipe)

12 ounces eye of the goat beans

Water

2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or oil of your choice)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

½ cup carrots, chopped

½ cup bell peppers, chopped (I used two small yellow and green peppers)

½ cup celery, chopped (including some leaves)

5 hot peppers, chopped (or to taste)

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, will add sweetness)

3 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper (black, cayenne, or Aleppo)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Garnish: Basmati rice, chopped fresh herbs (parsley or cilantro), and hot pepper (Aleppo or hot pepper flakes)

Pick through the beans to make sure there are no pebbles. Rinse the beans, drain them, and put in a crock pot. Cover with about two inches of water. Soak overnight. Drain. Pick through the beans again (just to make sure there are no bad ones you missed the first time). Cover with fresh water. Cook for 2 hours on medium or high. The temperature depends on how powerful your crock pot is; ours is old so I put it on high.

While the beans are cooking, wash and chop your veggies. Then, in a large frying pan, sauté the vegetables in the olive oil. Cook until the veggies are slightly tender. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and cumin. Add this mixture to the beans in the crock pot. Cover. Cook for about 2-3 more hours, stirring occasionally. Check periodically for doneness. You can turn it to low when the beans are almost tender. Serving suggestion: serve with Basmati rice, fresh herbs, and an extra sprinkle of hot pepper.

Coming soon: what to make with leftover eye of the goat beans…

Berry Mojito Sorbet

Here’s another recipe using the mint simple syrup recipe from a few weeks ago. Having simple syrup already in the refrigerator makes a quick sorbet since it saves a step. Also, there is no need for extra time to cool the hot syrup.

For this sorbet, I used a combo of frozen blackberries and blueberries because we had leftovers from last summer. Fresh berries would also be great in this recipe.

Berry variations:  You could use all blueberries or all blackberries. Just adjust the quantities. If you use only blueberries, use 4 cups. If you use a mixture of berries, use 2 cups blackberries and 2⅔ cups blueberries. If you use all blackberries, which I’ve never tried, use about 6 cups. The reason is that when you strain the puréed mixture, you will lose some purée the seeds are removed. The blackberries I used were very “seedy” so I had to supplement with some extra blueberries. You want to end up with just under 4 cups of puréed fruit.

I decided to make this Berry Mint Mojito Sorbet to take to our friends’ house last night. I’ve only made it one other time. Nothing like cooking experiments among friends! Marshall and Melanie recently built a brick pizza oven in their backyard and they invited us over to celebrate our recent job news with a pizza dinner. Matt received a promotion at work and I love my new part-time editing job. Woo hoo, job-wise it was a good week at the Smith-Jordan house.

Back to the pizza and dessert…we all provided different toppings and made our own pizzas (most of the toppings came from our gardens!). I knew we would eat a lot, so I wanted to make a light dessert. However, I had no idea we’d eat that much. Oh my goodness, the pizzas were incredible! Aside from the pizza in Italy on our honeymoon, these were the best pizzas I have tasted. They were so worth the gluten splurge. By the end of the pizza fest (or pizza feast), I was glad we had a light and refreshing frozen dessert. Melanie had sliced fresh peaches with honey and citrus, a perfect accompaniment to the sorbet. Fresh berries and mint leaves are also nice additions. Hope you enjoy this refreshing summer dessert:

Berry Mojito Sorbet

2 cups blackberries

2⅔ cups blueberries

¾ cup mint simple syrup

2 tablespoons lime juice (I only had lemon juice, but it worked)

1-2 tablespoons rum (optional, but the alcohol helps the texture)

Pinch of salt

Optional garnish: berries, sliced peaches, and sprigs of mint.

Serves: 8-10

Heat half of the berries in a saucepan on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. You want to heat them until some of the berries pop. Remove from heat and add the other berries. Purée them in a blender or in a food processor until almost smooth. Strain the berries using cheesecloth, a sieve, or a chinois conical strainer to remove excess seeds. I strain the mixture directly into my large quart Pyrex measuring cup because it has a spout and this makes it easy to pour the base into the ice cream freezer. [Plus, this container fits perfectly in an ice bath (to speed up the chilling time). You can skip the ice bath step, just make the base and let it chill for several hours or overnight. You want the base as cool as possible before you churn it.]

Add the simple syrup, lime juice, rum, and salt to the strained berry purée. Taste and adjust as needed. Depending on the sweetness of the berries, you might want to add more simple syrup or more lime juice if they are very sweet. Place the Pyrex container in an ice bath for a quick chill. Then chill the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let ripen (firm up) in the freezer before serving. Serve with berries, peaches, and sprigs of mint if you want.

 

 

Spring Salad

May 19, 2012 2 comments

We are novice organic gardeners. We buy organic seeds and plants when we can and we don’t use pesticides. Instead, we use cayenne pepper, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, garlic, and diatomaceous earth. We also plant marigolds, mint, onions, and nasturtiums for bug control. We still have more bugs than we’d care to have, but the birds don’t seem to mind. There are lots of baby birds at the Smith-Jordan house and we’re enjoying bird watching. This photo includes our blue jay, chickadee, and woodpecker babies. The baby titmouse and cardinal are too elusive to capture on film.

We’ve been in our house for 2½ years. Since it was a new home, with a cleared lot, we have lots of sunshine and a blank canvas. We are slowly transforming the back yard into an edible landscape. So far, we have five raised vegetable beds (yay Matt!), one herb bed, one sweet potato straw “cage” (my summer experiment), two fig trees, and two containers of tomatoes. We are currently transitioning from our spring garden to our summer garden. We still have sugar snap peas, several varieties of lettuce, radishes, and purple mustard greens. The carrots are coming in slowly. Soon, we’ll harvest tomatoes, peppers, onions, leeks, cucumbers, and patty pan squashes. We’ll have to wait until the end of summer for the sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

We are enjoying lots of fresh salads. This week, we went to a birthday party for a friend. We brought a spring salad with a strawberry habanero balsamic vinaigrette. It was tasty with an interesting combination of flavors – sweet, bitter, and spicy. We picked the carrots, radishes, peas, and greens from our garden and bought the strawberries at the Madison Farmer’s Market. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

The strawberry balsamic vinaigrette recipe is originally from Rachael Ray (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/green-salad-with-strawberry-balsamic-vinaigrette-recipe/index.html). I used the strawberry jam and strawberry habanero jam I made a few weeks ago in the dressing. I also made a few more changes to the original recipe to suit our tastes. This recipe is scalable, you can make it for two or twelve people, just adjust the quantities in the original recipe which serves 6-8. Be flexible with the fruit and vegetables that you add to the greens, use whatever you like, that is in season. Hope you enjoy experimenting with different flavor combinations…

Spring Salad

2 tablespoons strawberry habanero jam*

3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) balsamic vinegar

½ cup oil**

2 teaspoons water

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 cups mixed greens

½ cup pea pods, strings removed

½ cup carrots, sliced thinly

½ cup radishes, sliced thinly

1 cup strawberries, sliced thinly

Place jam in a measuring cup or in a small bowl. Whisk in the balsamic vinegar. Then add the oil and water. Whisk until you get a nice thick dressing (you might need to add a bit more water if it is too thick). Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the greens and veggies in a large salad bowl. Toss. Add the strawberries at the end to prevent them from breaking into pieces. Serve. Makes 6-8 servings.

Notes and Variations:

*Jam:  If you only have strawberry jam, that is fine. The habanero just adds a little extra kick. Raspberry preserves, orange marmalade, or blueberry jam would also work.

**Oil: You can use extra virgin olive oil or a combination of olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Whatever you prefer is fine.

Possible variations: Add toasted pecans, slivered almonds, walnuts, dried cherries, or dried cranberries (especially if fresh strawberries are not in season).