Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chili Rellenos with Garlicky Beans and Chili-Scented Greens

This was the first time I've attempted Chili Rellenos and I have to say they came out quite perfect! They taste like a tortilla-free enchilada. Even the smallest natives ate to their hearts' content. The best approval there is!

Chili Rellenos

1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
10 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled (these come canned and pre-peeled as well)
15 slices jack or cheddar cheese (or about 1-2 cups shredded)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 large jar of green sauce
1/2 cup of sliced olives

Saute the onion, zucchini, mushrooms and spices until soft. Then spread the mixture on the bottom of a glass-bottom baking dish.

Stuff, carefully, each pepper with 1/2 slice of cheese (again, you can use shredded, but slices are easier to handle here). Then coat each pepper in the egg wash, followed by a coating of bread crumbs and lie carefully on top of the onion mixture. Continue until all peppers are stuffed and coated.

Bake at 425 for 12 minutes. Then remove the pan of chilis from the oven and top with enough green sauce to cover the spaces in between (not too much on top of the chilis, but around them). Top each chili with 1/2 slice of cheese and sprinkle olives on top. Bake another 12 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

After you plate each chili, top with red salsa, cilantro and green onion, and sour cream!

Garlicky Beans

I didn't want to use too much of the same spices here, so these beans were really simple. I used canned pinto beans and cooked them in a bit of olive oil, splash of veggie broth, and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper. Cook until hot.

Chili-Scented Greens

3 cups (or more!) of greens of your choice. I used mixed greens like mustard, collard and spinach.
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
salt and pepper

Combine greens, water and oil in a large pot and cook, over medium heat, covered, until the greens are wilted. Sprinkle with the remaining spices and mix well. Serve hot.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sundried Tomato and Spinach Pizza with a Cornmeal Crust

Pizza-making is a family affair at my house. Sometimes we dish up individual crusts so that each member of the family can make their own interpretation. But this version is family-sized, vegetarian and oh so good!

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal or dry polenta
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing in wet ingredients and kneading for about 8 minutes or until the dough is elastic. Roll the dough into a round shape (or press into a rectangular baking dish).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1 cup spaghetti sauce (you can also use olive oil and garlic or pesto instead)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
small handful of fresh spinach
8 (or so) mozzarella slices
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
basil leaves, chopped

Combine the sundried tomatoes and basil, tossing to coat. This will prevent the basil from burning while cooking.

Spread enough spaghetti sauce to coat the top of the cornmeal crust. Next lay individual leaves of fresh spinach over the top of the sauce. Top the spinach with the sundried tomato/basil mixture. Next sprinkle the feta over the top and, lastly, laying the mozzarella on top of the pizza.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vegetarian Chili over Baked Yellow Potatoes

Fall is my favorite time of year, it's filled with memories and nostalgia about halloween costumes, holiday dinners and family. Although I'm not sure it is officially autumn yet, I recently cooked up one of my family's favorite fall-ish meals. Baked potatoes and chili usually have a pretty bad rap in the world of calories and saturated fat, but this vegetarian version is the exception. It is a comfort food you can indulge in freely!

This recipe makes enough to feed five, with plenty left over to either freeze for another time or serve the next day (maybe over tortilla chips).

I have a favorite way of cooking baked potatoes that I learned from my friend Jake, who is a wonderful chef. Instead of microwaving them (ew!) or wrapping in foil, simply puncture the potatoes a few times with a fork, rub in olive oil and salt and cook at 400 degrees for an hour, turning once half way through. They come out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! Perfect!

1 large red onion, chopped
1 large anaheim chili pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 pound of dried beans (your choice, I used 1/2 red beans, 1/2 pink beans)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
fresh corn, removed from cob (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups veggie broth (or water)
chili powder
garlic salt

your choice of:
sour cream

When making chili I always use dried beans. They are cheaper than canned (about $2.20 for a pound) and don't contain all the salt of canned beans. If you use red, pink or pinto beans they don't need overnight soaking but be sure to start them about 2.5-3 hours before you want dinner to be ready.

Rinse them and put them in a pot with lots of water (about 3x the amount of beans) bring to a boil and then remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour. After an hour, rinse them, put in your veggie broth and can of diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Let them simmer for about 20 minutes while we work on the other steps.

Chop your veggies, saute onion, garlic and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add in a generous palmful each of chili, cumin and garlic salt. I always use more spice than I think I need, and it always comes out perfect. Adding the spices at this step will help release the flavor better than if you add it to the water.

Saute the spices/veggies for another 2 minutes or so, then add this to your simmering pot of beans. Cover and cook for about an hour, then check your beans. If they feel about 1/2 way cooked, remove the cover and let the pot simmer (to allow some of the water to cook off.)

Some people like their chili runny, others thick, the difference here will be on keeping the pot covered or uncovered. If the chili gets thick and your beans aren't quite done, you can cover them or add more water. If you are deciding to add corn to your chili (I love this, it adds color! But I didn't do it this time) you will want to add it only about 20 minutes (if raw) before the chili is done. Corn doesn't need much time to cook.

When your chili is done, top your baked potato with a generous helping of chili and add on your favorite toppings!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hot Sesame Baked Tofu with Peanut Dipping Sauce and Savory Mango Vegetables

The idea for this recipe came from Vegan Soul Kitchen. Their recipe is for rosemary baked tofu cubes. Since I was cooking up an asian style dish, I modified it and added peanut dipping sauce.

Hot Sesame Baked Tofu

1 package extra firm tofu, cut into triangles
hot sesame oil
olive oil

Brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place triangles on sheet. Then brush the tops of the tofu with the hot sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste and cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turn over and cook until brown and crispy, but not until the point where the middle is hard (the soft center is sooo delish!)

Peanut Dipping Sauce

I forgot to get a picture of this! This sauce was made on the fly with stuff I had on hand. As long as you have PB you can alter this to your needs.

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup vegetable broth

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust PB and wet ingredients as needed, for taste or thickness.

Savory Mango Vegetables

1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) mango chunks
2 cups fresh snap peas
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 tbsp minced ginger
5 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
pepper to taste
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/8 cup of veggie broth
BIG handful of cilantro

Saute the onion until soft, add in the rest of the vegetables, garlic and ginger, continue to cook about 3 minutes (the key here is to NOT overcook your veggies, leave a little bite in them!)

Add in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and pepper, simmering for a few moments so that some of the liquid cooks off. Then add the cornstarch and mango, cook just until the mango is hot. Remove from heat. Stir in a big handful of fresh chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with a side of brown rice.