Tag Archives: vegetarian

Comfort Food: Dal Curry

For the past few months, Binks has decided to cut meat (save fish) from his diet.  My job has then been to make sure he incorporates healthy proteins to ensure he is full and satisfied with what he eats.

The easiest, cheapest and tastiest way to do this?

Lentils.  Specifically, dal curry.

There are several ways to prepare dal, but this is the absolute favorite for me.  It’s comforting and flavorful.  On top of it all, it packs a healthy punch.

I used to make this version often (given to me by my MIL) until I perfected this version.  Now, it’s one of those dishes where I’m absolutely satisfied with the results and acts as a “go-to” recipe for me.

For this recipe, I use yellow split lentils as it cooks fairly quickly and does not need the overnight soak that other lentils typically require (i.e. urad dal).  You can also use masoor dal (red lentils) as it cooks quickly, as well.

Dal Curry
Ingredients:

–  1 cup dal (I use yellow split lentils or toor dal)
–  2 cups water
–  1/4 tsp turmeric
–  1 tsp salt
–  3 tbsp olive oil
–   1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste – if unsure, start with a scant 1/4 tsp and go up if you want)
–  1/4 tsp cumin
–  1/4 tsp turmeric
–  1/2 tsp coriander
–  2 tsp ginger paste (you can also just grate fresh ginger)
–  2 serranos, diced (you can use jalapenos and/or adjust the amount per your taste)
–  1 small onion, diced
–  3 cloves garlic, minced
–  2 small tomatoes, diced
–  big pinch of garam masala
–  salt to taste

For tadka:
–  1/2 tsp cumin seeds
–  2 dry red chili, tear apart with your hands
–  pinch of asafeotida
–  1/2 tsp garam masala
–  2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
1.   Place 1 cup dal, 2 cups water, and 1/4 tsp turmeric into pot and boil until the dal until the dal is soft.  Mash some of the dal in the pot.  Add salt to the dal mix.
2.  In a separate pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, and add cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger paste (or grated ginger) and fry until the raw smell of the spices vanish, about 2 minutes.
3.   Add the onion, garlic and serranos (or jalapenos or any other pepper you decided to use) and saute for another 4 minutes until the onions have browned a bit.
4.   Add the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and mixed with the spices and onion mix.
5.  Add the dal mixture (water and all), and lower the heat to medium.  Now, taste to see if you need more salt and add if you need.  Once properly salted, add a pinch of garam masala to ‘finish it off’ and stir to incorporate.  Cook the dal over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  (At this point, if you want the consistency to be more watery or soupy, add boiled water, 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.  I prefer my dal a bit thicker so I just usually add 1/4 cup.  Remember, as the dal cools, it thickens so add water accordingly.)
6.  While the dal is cooking, in a separate pan, you prepare your tadka.  Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.  Once the oil has heated, add cumin seeds and let it sputter for approximately 1 minutes.  Then add the dry red chili, asoafeotida, and 1/2 tsp garam masala.  Cook until the raw smell of the spices is gone and the red chili peppers have toasted a bit.
7.  Pour the tadka into the dal and stir.
8.  Serve hot, preferably with rice.

I love the combination of this dal curry with brown rice.  Talk about hearty and perfect for a fall night.

8 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Favorites, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian

Mucho Nachos

When Binks and I met, we explored a lot of restaurants.

As two broke law students, we explored a lot of fast food.

I love the fried chicken and burgers and fries fast food places.

Binks loves the faux-Mexican fast food places.  Namely, he and I frequented Taco Bueno and shared a platter of Mucho Nachos.

I’m a nacho fan.  I love the half crispy and half soaked in beans, cheese and salsa chips.  Talk about an explosion of flavor and texture.

Since we got settled, got married and got 15 extra pounds on our frames, we started exploring healthier options of our past favorites.

When Binks recently made another batch of his light-your-ass-hair-on-fire-salsa, I was in the mood for nachos, throwing together a delicious  combination of on-hand ingredients.


Quantity: Mucho!

 

Just like our fast-food days, we split a plate.


What’s in that beast you ask?


Chips, salsa, vegetarian organic refried pinto beans (recipe follows), homemade cheese sauce (recipe follows), red onions, tomato, and jalapeno pepper.

Did I mention we enjoyed it?


Quick Refried Pinto Beans

*Because so many canned refried beans do not have any added flavor

1 (15 oz) can of vegetarian refried pinto beans

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp onion powder

½ tsp salt

¼ cup salsa

Mix all ingredients together.  Heat and serve warm.  Or, if using for nachos, add onto chips.

Quick Homemade Cheese Sauce

*Because some of us do not keep Velveeta on hand.

3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

¼ cup salsa

Mix ingredients and heat in microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after eat microwave session until you reach a smooth consistency.  Pour onto chips immediately.

Do you fast food?  What’s your favorite place?  How do you recreate your favorites at home?  Is it a healthy recreation?

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Vegetarian

The Underdog

When I read about I Am Baker’s Call To Bakers, I jumped at the opportunity.

I like to bake.  And, I like to help.

I help myself to cookies and the cookies help me in return.  Don’t tell me you haven’t found solace after a bite of a warm freshly baked cookie.

No?  Just me?  Well, the cheese stands alone.

One of my favorite cookies, is the most underestimated – the sugar cookie.

At parties, people always seem to gravitate towards the cookie with more “things” in it (i.e., chocolate chips, nuts, oats, coconut).  The sugar cookie always goes unnoticed or picked as a last alternative.

But, I tell you – don’t take the sugar cookie for granted.  It’s in the sugar cookie you find the strength of the baker.  It’s in the sugar cookie you can actually taste the dough without any distractions.  Every part can be dissected and examined – the texture, flour to butter ratio, the crackle on top and how the salt complements the dough.

And my favorite sugar cookie is found here, an adaptation of this.

It’s perfect.

Perfectly sweet.  Perfectly chewy.  Perfectly simple.

Binks hates sugar cookies.  His favorite cookie would be chocolate chip wherein every ingredient would be chocolate chips – pretty much chocolate chips with a small side of cookie dough.

He loves this cookie.  The recipient of these should probably know that there would have been 5 more if Binks had not seen them.  And, there could have been 20 less if I didn’t end up hiding the cookies from him.

For what it’s worth, he has proclaimed this the BEST sugar cookie ever.

I wouldn’t believe him except for the fact that they are.

They really are.

What’s your favorite non-chocolate chip cookie cookie?  Do you like sugar cookies?

**Side note: It took every iota of my discipline and willpower not to even have one bite.  I did get in a lot of smells though.

23 Comments

Filed under baking, Cookies, Favorites, Vegetarian

Cold, Dark & Handsome

Oatmeal, if nothing else, should be adored for its versatility.  While oatmeal typically hits our subconscious “healthy” nerve, there are ways that you can make this ‘everyday’ grain not so ‘everyday’.

For instance, imagine adding a scoop of ice cream (which I need to try!) or placing a slice of birthday cake on top.  The idea of combining a wholesome bowl of oatmeal with a decadent addition is the feeling you get when you watch/are the good girl falling for the bad boy (i.e. Grease, Dirty Dancing, etc).

And, it feels good.

And, I have fallen………………….hard.

As the movie progresses, you realize that the bad boy, despite his rough (chocolate-y) exterior and sexy dancing skills, really is a genuine person who is quite heart-healthy.

So, when you crave something sinful for breakfast, don’t let anyone stop you from having and enjoying what your heart desires.  After all, nobody puts Olie in a corner.

Double Chocolate Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Silk Pure Almond Dark Chocolate milk
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 small pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Mash banana in a bowl.
  • Add oats, flax seeds, chia seeds and salt.  Mix until combined.
  • Add almond milk and stir to combine.
  • Cover bowl and store overnight.
  • The next morning, the liquid will completely soak into the oats.
  • Pour another 1/2 cup of Silk Pure Almond Dark Chocolate milk into your bowl.

What’s your favorite good girl/bad boy movie?  What’s your favorite movie?  How do you jazz up your oatmeal?

10 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegan

Dulce.

Remember when I told you that it was my mom’s and MIL’s goal to just hook me up to a machine that feeds me nothing but milk?  Turns out despite how much I try (I don’t really even care to try), I cannot finish a gallon of raw cow’s milk alone (Binks hates milk).  And, I don’t care to.  Not because it’s not delicious.  Not because I have something against raw milk.

But rather, to me – milk is a food, not a beverage.  (It is mom(s)!)  I can only eat so much of it and so often.  I can’t drink with reckless abandon like I do most beverages (namely, water, vodka and wine – not necessarily in that order).

With that said, I can’t bring myself to throw it away.

So what to do with a gallon of milk that requires little attention on my part?  Dulce de leche.

Most dulce de leche recipes you may find simply require you to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk until it caramelizes.  But, I had to take it back to the start.

As it turns out – all you need is milk, sugar, vanilla beans, baking soda and water (<– not quite sure why you need the last two).  Using this recipe, I transformed half of my gallon of milk into a beautiful dessert/sauce/jam product that I will surely make again when I have milk to spare.

This transformed a quart of milk to a mere cup and a half of dulce de leche.

Check out the vanilla bean speck bounty.

The uses for dulce de leche are endless: topping on ice cream, oatmeal; jam on bread, shortbread, cookies; filling in cakes; dips for fruit; etc.

If you find yourself wanting a decadent caramel treat, I encourage you to try this recipe and tell me your uses for this most decadent of treats.

16 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Favorites, Vegetarian

The Sauce And The Mess

Are you a clean freak?  I am.  I can go INSANE with the cleaning.  And, I do – especially in the kitchen.

I’m obviously looking for affirmation.  So, tell me you’re crazy like me!  Are you?

And nothing – and I mean nothing – messes up a kitchen like making your favorite marinara sauce.  Whether from scratch or Semi Olie-Made, it’s all a mess.  But, what’s a girl to do when all she wants for dinner is to hit up the sauce?  You make it anyway and worry about the consequences after the delicious meal is over.

See my pretty kitchen?  That sauce looks harmless right?

It’s not.  It’s a tomato-licious volcano ready to explode EVERYWHERE.

A closer look only proves my point.  The pot is already spewing and I can imagine the horror and catastrophe to be left behind once it really simmers.  (Are these my actual thoughts when I cook?  Yes.  And, yes – I have problems.  No judgment!)

At this point you may be thinking/pondering of the following:

1.  Why didn’t she just use a bigger pot?  Great question folks!  I have no answer other than – I didn’t think it would get this large.  That’s what she said.

2.  What is that around the stove trim rings?  Don’t know what I’m talking about.  Look again:

This is my NUMERO UNO tip for keeping your stove clean – FOIL!  If you have ever cleaned them, you know it’s a mess.  You have soak, scrub and sometimes repeat the process. 

I tend to cook many meals at one time and it takes a toll on my stove top.  If you’re like me, you know that things get stuck after that much heat.

Wrapping the rings in foil is a trick my mom taught me to ensure that I have one less thing to clean.  I not only wrap the ring, but I also the part under the ring – the cup-like part with the hole in it.  (That’s what she said.)  If you think of the name – tell me and I can delete this whole pathetic paragraph with one word!

Easy keep-it-clean tips/tricks like these help me relax just a little bit more when I cook.  Tips/tricks like these help me relax just a little bit more while I enjoy my favorite marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) canned tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (12 oz) bag of cherry tomatoes, halved (or you can use regular tomatoes – 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey (vegan option: sugar)
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled finely with your hands
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat large (don’t make the same mistake I did) sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Pour olive oil and heat.
  3. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent.
  4. Add fresh tomatoes, honey, salt and bay leaves.  Cook until the tomatoes become soft and the juices start flowing – approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Pour entire can of tomatoes into sauce pan.
  6. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
  7. 30 minutes before the sauce is done – add the tomato paste, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Extra:

–  I added tempeh to mine as follows:

  • 30 minutes before the sauce is done, I saute 8 oz tempeh (roughly chopped) in another pan with some olive oil until fully heated inside and a bit browned on the outside.
  • Add it into the sauce about 15 minutes before the sauce is done.

–  This is a chunky sauce.  If you want it to be smoother, run the final sauce (prior to the addition of any tempeh) through the blender.  Or use your immersion blender.

How do you keep your kitchen clean while you cook?  What’s your keep-it-clean tip/trick?  Do you wrap your stove rings in foil?  Are you a clean freak?

11 Comments

Filed under Favorites, garlic, Italian, olive oil, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Green With Yummy

It has been my goal as of late to make efforts (substantial efforts) to get rid of things in my pantry/fridge before I go grocery shopping.  For instance, do you know what I can do with a gallon of raw milk that I cannot finish by the expiration date?  Well, I figured it out – so tune in! 😉

In this case, it was spinach.  I usually use it up with green monsters, salads and the like, but I had some extra to use up.

This is where Diana and her Green Monster Muffins enters the scene.  I have had this recipe printed and bookmarked since early early 2010 (I have to stress the early).  With that said, this was definitely not the first time I have tried one of Diana’s recipes (here).

And, like her cookie dough balls, the muffins were another hit!


*The only change I made was to add orange zest instead of lemon and I only had cinnamon apple sauce.  Loved every bite!

Moist, fully flavorful with a hint of the orange, and an excellent crumb.

And, I did eat every single one of those crumbs.

My review of these chic muffins:  très bien!

Have you tried Diana’s Green Monster Muffins?  How do you make efforts to use things up in your pantry/fridge?  Do you enjoy grocery shopping?

16 Comments

Filed under baking, Bread, Breakfast, Desserts, Favorites, Vegetarian