Sunday, July 29, 2012

Breakfast Burritos

It's Sunday morning, which means my house is a wreck, we're all up way too early and the stove has been utilized twice already. The kids are loud and wrestling and my husband is drawing up a space game on the chalkboard table. Sunday morning anarchy. All in all, a normal morning around here.

So after breakfast I'll sneak away to some quiet corner of the house (is there such a thing?) and maybe continue reading the book I've been working through this month:

I've read a lot of versions of the Yoga Sutras, and each has their worth in the author's contribution. But this version is straightforward and simple, and I am enjoying the practical use of the sutras and the Swami's simple explanations. Particularly relevent for me is sutra 1.33, in which we are asked to "cultivate friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked."

It's so easy to practice yoga when the conditions are right, when you are surrounded by pleasant things and pleasant people, but it is much harder to practice our peacefulness when we are conflicted, bothered and uncomfortable. I wrote more on this topic here.

In all honesty this is a topic I struggle with. It's hard not to be jealous of people who have what you want for yourself, or to be kind to people who are not nice to you, or to disregard the people who do not like you. It's a heavy practice. And I often use cooking as my tool to move out of my "headspace." Cooking is simple: start with these ingredients, add a few more, watch it cook, smell, taste, enjoy, share. It's not the eating that I enjoy, but rather the process of creating. We all have practices and tools that we use to find a quiet place inside. I'm always interested in learning how other people find their calm.

Meanwhile, during Sunday morning anarchy, I made breakfast burritos. And by the time it was done, I felt more awake and alert,  like I could tackle twenty wrestling toddlers and laugh right along with them instead of being morning-mommy-grumpy-pants.

Serves 4
4 baby bella mushrooms, diced
3 red potatoes, sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
2 green onions, chopped
3 eggs, whisked to combine
salt and pepper
tortillas, warmed

In a large pan, heat some olive oil. Add in the potatoes and cover. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and set aside, add in the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add  in the onion and cook another few minutes, until soft. Next add the tomatoes and green onions, cook 1 minute. Pour in the egg and scramble.

Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve in warm tortillas with your favorite salsa.

Friday, July 27, 2012

We're in Vegetarian Times!

You all might remember a recipe I posted a while back called Butternut Squash Pizza.  But you probably did not know that I entered that recipe into a reader contest over at Vegetarian Times...and you know what? I won first place! Isn't that cool??! Check me out in this month's publication!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Lentil and Barley Soup with Homemade Gluten-Free "Meatballs"

Inspired by my recent realization that masa is the key ingredient for a nice, dense veggie "meat." These meatballs are gluten-free and stand up to soup and sauces without falling apart.

This is really two recipes in one blog post. The meatballs are time intensive when it comes to length of cooking, so make them ahead of time. The can also be frozen.

Meatball Ingredients:

4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery powder
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 cup masa flour
3/4 cup of finely chopped nuts of your choice
2 cups of vegetable broth

Combine all of the ingredients, except the broth, in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to thicken. Then form into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They should be browned and firm.

Then place the meatballs in a casserole dish and pour two cups of vegetable broth over them. Cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

At this point you can freeze them or throw them into your favorite sauce or soup recipe.

For our lentil soup:
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp each cumin and chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 boxes (8 cups) of vegetable broth
1 can of diced tomatoes, or about 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of lentils
1 cup of barley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Saute the onion and celery until soft. Add in the garlic and the spices and cook until fragrant. Next add in the broth, carrot, lentils, barley, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils and barley are soft, about 30 minutes, adjusting the liquid as necessary if it becomes too thick. Remove about 4 cups of soup and blend in a blender until smooth. Pour back into the stockpot.

Place the meatballs in the soup and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes if fresh, about 10 minutes if frozen.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pasta Primavera

This time of year in Monterey is hard. While our neighbors just across the bay in Santa Cruz are enjoying sunshine and the warmth of summer, Monterey is steeped in fog, overcast skies and blustery wind. Instead of feeling motivated to hit the beach, we're stuck inside with sweatshirts and warm socks.

Still, a gloomy day is always good for settling myself into the kitchen, and I've been there a lot lately. Yesterday I made some homemade chapati , into which I mixed some cumin seeds prior to rolling out (highly recommend!) and chana masala and finished reading one of the many books I am reading this summer (pictured below).

Today called for something that reminds me of the bounty of spring and summer. Pasta Primavera.
And let it be known, dear reader, that this dish is where Cole, (you'll remember him as my pickiest eater) declared that tomatoes just might be alright afterall.

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed into 1 inch pieces
2 green onions, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5  cups of low-salt vegetable broth
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
1 package of spaghetti noodles
1 cup of chopped fresh spinach
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes, to garnish
pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat a few spoonfulls of olive oil. Saute the asparagus for 1 minute. Add in the garlic, green onion and Italian seasoning, cook another 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes, cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and place the vegetables in a large bowl, set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet you used to cook the veggies,  heat the broth to simmering. Add in the butter, salt and pepper . Whisk to combine and let simmer for 3 or 4 minutes.

Into a large serving dish pour your drained, cooked, hot noodles. Pour the vegetables on top, followed by the Parmesan and spinach. Finally pour in the sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using.

Serves 5.