Don’t blame it on the food, blame it on the chef!

24 Oct

Though I am not strictly vegan, I certainly tend to cook only vegan meals at home. I also don’t generally have relationships with people that are vegan, or even vegetarian. So, cooking for two or more can certainly be a challenge – not without the occasional sigh or disappointed pout.

I am currently in a a relationship with an amazing person and though he is not vegetarian or vegan and does enjoy his processed foodstuffs (for now!!!) he is quite a good cook and has an appreciation for good food.  At first, he was decidedly wary about what kinds of ‘vegan food’ I might make him eat. He’d lived with vegans in the past that made “awful  shit”. So naturally, he wasn’t expecting the food to be very good.

The following recipes have resulted in various swears and obscenities mainly because “It’s not supposed to taste good! It’s VEGAN!” I hope you will find them tasty and useful and if we’re lucky you can freak out some meat-eaters too!

Roasted Squash with a Twist and a Kick

*Both the ‘twist’ and the ‘kick’ of this recipe are entirely the fault of my significant other. While my back was turned, he thought he’d be helpful and stir the contents of the skillet and thinking that I was making some sort of curry, added some extra spices! So I kicked him. But the dish turned out great!

Ingredients:

  • 2 delicata squash, cut in half length-wise with seeds scooped out
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow tomato (or a few cherry tomatoes), finely chopped
  • 4-5 raw chestnuts, shelled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • spices: 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Heat oven to 350F. Take squash and put in a microwave-safe dish (glass is best) and add 1/2 inch of water and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for 10 minutes and set aside. (Of course the squash can be softened in the oven as well, or by steaming but I haven’t experimented with times on this step yet) Saute carrots, onions and chestnuts until soft enough to eat and a bit caramelized. Add tomatoes and seasonings and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add cornmeal and stir until mixed. Set mixture aside for a few minutes. Place squash halves face up in a dish or on a baking sheet. Fill squash with cornmeal mixture until they are all filled. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30-45 mins or until the cornmeal mixture is a bit crispy and golden on top. Serves 4.

Not The Usual Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 medium sized potatoes, roughly chopped (3 different varieties ie yams, red, white etc)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and place in large bowl and mash until mixed and as smooth as you like (adding olive oil as you mash to get the consistency you desire). Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the rosemary. Let sit for a few minutes so the rosemary can soften a bit. Serve hot. This should provide enough for at least 4 people. Depends on how much of a mashed potato-aholic you are!

“Southern” Greens

Ingredients:

  • 3 Bunches of greens. Any of the following will do (best to mix 3 different kinds with different tastes and textures)
    • Kale
    • Collard Greens
    • Mustard Greens
    • Dandelion Greens
    • Turnip Greens
    • Beet Greens
    • Chard
    • Rainbow Chard
    • Spinach or Arugula (as these are softer and more lettuce-like, it’s best to limit these to one of the 3 choices)
  • 1/2 finely chopped, large red onion (i’ve tried other onions, this one is just the best with this recipe!)
  • 2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2-3 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash all greens THOROUGHLY. Rip leaves off stems (excluding spinach and arugula) in pieces and discard stems (or save for making veggie broth) and set aside.

In a large pot (2 quart or so) heat olive oil and add garlic and onions. Saute for a couple minutes or until a bit transparent. Turn heat down to med or med-low. Add a large handful of greens, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Stir every minute or so until you see the greens start to wilt and reduce down. Add more greens a handful at a time until all greens are soft and wilted. Stir in a bit of salt and pepper to taste and serve!

* The greens should provide some liquid for the pot as they wilt, but if pot starts to look a bit dry, add a bit more oil to prevent burning.

Should make 3-4 servings!

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