I wanted to make peach butter this year. No particular reason other than the local peaches are so amazing right now. I went to the Smitten Kitchen for a recipe for peach butter. What I really liked in their recipe was that the main ingredient was peaches. Not sugar or added spices. What I didn’t like, or didn’t have time for, was time spent at the stove babysitting. I opted instead for a combination of two recipes such that I could cook my butter in a slow cooker while shuffling kids and working on an upcoming gallery show.
In the end I had to reduce the butter on the stovetop so I don’t think I really saved myself much time and effort using the slow cooker. So, cooking method: fail, end result: success.
Simple Peach Butter
- 6 lbs of peaches
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups organic cane sugar
- 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
I adjusted the recipe for the amount of peaches that I had bought and the fact that I was going to use the slow cooker. Rather than give you my unnecessarily complicated instructions, just follow the directions over at Smitten Kitchen. I did submerge my finished butter in boiling water for 10 minutes to properly can it, so now I’ll a shelf full of yummy butter.
My daughter and I are the only ones to have tried this so far but we gave it 4 carrots!!
This time of year it is difficult to know what to do with that bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. I mean, for some people. Obviously, not for me. This is the second year in a row that I have had an absolutely miserable tomato crop. I blame it on the weather. It couldn’t possibly be my mad gardening skillz.
I’m sure someone out there got a good crop so here is my family’s favorite raw sauce for pasta. Of course, you don’t have to use cherry tomatoes, any type of tomato will do; freshly picked from the vine or the farmer’s market, as long as it’s organic.
Pasta with Raw Sauce
- one quarter cup olive oil
- one pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- one Tbsp chopped garlic
- two Tbsp coarse salt
- one pound box of pasta of your choice, I like campanelle
- four sprigs of fresh basil, chopped
- eight ounces of fresh mozzarella pearls or chopped fresh mozzarella*
About an hour before you are want to eat (or anytime during the day that you have time) combine the following olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and one tablespoon of the salt in a large bowl:Let this sit and stew. The salt will draw the juice from the tomatoes. When you are ready to finish your pasta cook the pasta according to the package directions. Combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl. Drain the pasta and add it to the raw sauce. Done.
* for a just as tasty vegan version just omit the mozzarella.
This is just as nice the next day and there is no need to heat it up as it is nice warm or cold.
Our little family gave this meal, five carrots. My kids would eat this every night.
We aren’t soup people. It is rare that we have soup for dinner but we sometimes have it for lunch – and it’s usually tomato. But I am on a mission to use some of the dry goods I have stocked in my cupboard before spring is upon us and I no longer want to cook with cupboard staples.
So tonight was lentil night.
I adapted the recipe from one I found in Vegetarian Basics by Cornelia Schinharl and Sebastian Dickhaut. It’s a lovely book with nice color pictures and a wide variety of recipes. It’s also a good introduction to vegetarian cooking if you don’t already have one. So here goes, the recipe with my changes…
chili lentil and coconut soup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 tsp dried chilies
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound lentils (rinsed and picked over)
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 7 cups mild vegetable stock
- 1/2 pound dark green kale
- 2 cans lite coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp coriander, chopped
Heat the oil in the soup pot. Briefly sauté the onion, carrot and chilies, stirring all the time. Stir in the lentils, add the tomato puree and stock, and mix well. Cover and simmer the soup over a low heat for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash and trim the kale. Chop it into thin strips. The strips should not be too long, so chop the longer ones into shorter pieces.
Stir the cabbage into the soup.
Note: If you have an immersion blender you could now liquefy some of the soup – this finely chops the kale, hiding it from the ever vigilant eyes of your children.
Add the coconut milk, curry, cumin and coriander. Simmer for a further 10 – 15 minutes, or until the kale and lentils are soft. Adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary.
This has not been a banner year for tomatoes here in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve loads of green tomatoes on the vine, waiting for that one last push of warm weather to ripen them. And I’m looking up recipes for using up the rest. Oh, I know they’ll ripen indoors, but they just aren’t the same.
This recipe is for those of you with cherry tomatoes to spare. I make this every year. It is wonderful to have on hand for a quick appetizer (served on toasted slices of polenta) or as a nice addition to pasta sauce.
Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes
- approximately 4 cups cherry tomatoes
- 4 whole cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup olive or canola oil
Preheat oven to 225-degrees. Wash cherry tomatoes and slice in half. Spread them out, cut side up, on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Add whole garlic cloves. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Roast in oven for 3 to 4 hours until the tomatoes are small and wrinkled. Don’t let them brown.
Sterilize a small canning jar by immersing in boiling water. I also immerse the sprigs of rosemary and thyme very quickly. Put the tomatoes, herbs and garlic in the jar, mixing up and layering the ingredients. You can pack the ingredients quickly tightly in the jar if need be. Fill the jar with the olive oil.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Be sure to use the oil for cooking once it has been fully infused with the flavors of the other ingredients.
I always make butternut squash risotto this time of year. I’ve used my own variation of Martha’s recipe (here) forever, in fact, I don’t even use the recipe anymore per se.
Over the weekend I was glancing through this month’s issue of Country Living (a magazine I rarely pick up but it was the Halloween issue, I couldn’t resist). In it they had a recipe for butternut squash and barley risotto.
I believe I’ve mentioned before that we love barley at our house. There are a couple of things that I love about this recipe. The first, roasting the squash while you cook the rest of the risotto then adding it in at the end. Yum! And second, did you know that pearled barley has 50% more protein than Arborio rice? Excellent.
Here is the link to the original (non-vegan) recipe and below is my version of the recipe:
Heat oven to 400. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking pan and roast until tender, about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium- high heat, bring broth to a gentle boil; then reduce heat to low. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add barley and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir constantly until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup broth, 1 teaspoon thyme, and lemon zest; stir frequently until liquid is absorbed.
Repeat with remaining broth, adding 1/2 cup at a time, until barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in “cheese”. Season with salt and pepper if needed, but be careful not to over salt. Gently fold in squash and garnish with thyme.
I love green curry. Last month I went to a movie with a girlfriend (hi Evelyn) and afterwards we had the yummiest green curry with eggplant. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. So tonight I tried making it, to great success.
I used the recipe from The 30-Minute Vegan. Who doesn’t love a recipe that says, “Obviously the easiest way to make this curry would be to buy curry paste at the store, in which case we recommend the Thai Kitchen brand.”
I can do that.
I should also point out that I only loosely followed the recipe in the book as I really just wanted tofu and eggplant in my curry. I added a few peas for color. And I double the amount of coconut milk because I wanted it to be soupy enough to add brown rice to while we ate it.
So here is my version. You’ll probably want to check out the original as well and the one on the side of the curry paste jar to make up your own version.
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 8 oz extra firm organic tofu, cubed
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 15-ounce cans coconut milk
- 4 Tbsp Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp agave nectar
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Heat the oils in a large sauté pan. Add the onions, tofu, eggplant and peas. Stir-fry until the tofu is lightly browned. Add coconut milk, curry paste, water and agave nectar. Cover and simmer on low for about 10 – 15 minutes until the eggplant is tender. Try not to let the coconut milk boil too much. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve in bowls with lots of brown rice on the side, I like to add it on top to soak up all the yummy sauce.
As some of you know from a personal FB post, I was sneaking in the eggplant. As it turns out, I didn’t need to, everyone loved it. Overall my little family gave this recipe four out of five carrots. Super easy, super yummy.
ahhhhh, September. The kids are back in and school and some semblance of a routine has returned to our lives. I even did a little menu planning at the start of the week. I find that if I know in the morning what we’re having for dinner it makes the after-school, homework-time, dinner-prep “witching” hours a little saner.
Tonight it’s “ribs”, new potatoes and coleslaw.
The ribs are the MorningStar Farms BBQ riblets. These are one of those great transitional foods (as I like to call them), a food that helps a former meat-eater transition to the world of vegetarian-vegan cooking. The day my daughter declared her vegetarianism we were eating a new recipe for pork ribs. She burst into tears. I pulled a package of riblets from the freezer – I’d heard about them on the radio and had wanted to try them. Rozii sat back down at the dinner table and we talked about how we could accommodate her change in diet. She enjoyed her riblets and we’ve kept them on hand ever since.
For the coleslaw I chose a recipe from The 30-Minute Vegan. I’m loving this book and I can see using it more and more as our days begin to fill up with school and kids’ activities.
- 1 cup shaved fennel bulb (I used my Feemster’s Famous Slicer to slice it very thin)
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage*
- 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 3/4 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Mix together the fennel, cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and green onion together in a medium-size mixing bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, nutritional yeast and salt. Pour it over the vegetables. Mix well and serve, or refrigerate immediately.
* I used Napa cabbage that I bought for making more dumplings tomorrow. Yes, we’re hooked on dumplings around here.
Our family gave this a lower rating than usual. We loved the combination of veggies, but the dressing wasn’t doing it for us. Perhaps even adding a touch of sweetener might have made the difference to cut the lemon and vinegar a bit.
We had the chance to spend a weekend in Richmond, British Columbia a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a few lovely meals. My daughter’s favorite though were the homemade vegetarian dumplings made by her step-grandmother who is from China. She has been bugging me to try making them with her and this weekend we made a big batch. I think the fact that Rozii ate them for dinner, then breakfast, then dinner again is testament to how well they turned out. Here is our recipe for
- 1/4 block firm tofu, finely chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely shredded
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp shoyu
- 1/2 Tbsp white wine or mirin
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp corn starch
- one package pre-made dumpling wrappers
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
Mix tofu, mushrooms, carrot, shoyu, wine, pepper and cornstarch together. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Wet the outside of the dumpling, then fold in half. Press firmly to seal the edges. Optionally, you can then make tiny folds in the edges and press firmly to make them pretty.
In a large frying pan, heat canola oil. Place the dumplings in the frying pan, close together. Cook until one side is browned. Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan and place a tight fitting lid on the pan. Cook another five minutes until almost all of the water has been absorbed by the dumplings. Remove from heat, serve with shoyu, vinegar or sweet chili sauce.
These can be frozen if you are not going to eat them right away. You can also mix up the ingredients to suit your taste, cabbage would be nice instead of the carrot and next time I’d add some grated ginger.
The whole family agreed, these are easily
I made a big slow cooker full of vegetarian chili and some cornbread the other night (yes, summer in the Pacific Northwest – gotta love it). I invited my friends the Heath family to join us in a casual weeknight dinner. Evelyn offered to add to the menu and brought this amazing salad. We are big fans of quinoa at our house so this was a hit. Thanks, Evelyn for sharing.
Quinoa & Mango Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups cubed peeled mango (about 2 large mangoes)
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- [about 1 tablespoon fresh mint is a wonderful addition!]
Place quinoa in fine-mesh strainer; rinse well. Transfer to medium saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10-12 minutes until all water is absorbed. Stir; let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hr.
Add mango, green onions, cranberries and parsley [and mint] to quinoa; mix well.
Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl; whisk until blended. Pour over quinoa mixture; mix until well blended
Like forbidden black rice?
Honestly, I’d never even heard of it. But there it was, at my local grocery store.
I chose this recipe because the photograph on page 134 of Vegan Fusion was so beautiful. Although my version did not turn out to be as pretty, it was delicious. It was also fun to be able to pick all the herbs from my garden. I halved the recipe as it was just the four of us.
Here is the full version.
om great spirit black rice polenta casserole
- 5 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 cups forbidden black rice or sweet black rice
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 6 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
- 2 cups polenta
- 1 cup coconut, soy, rice, oat or almond milk
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked until soft, drained and chopped
- 1 Tbsp basil, minced
- 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 1/2 tsp oregano, minced
- 1/2 tsp thyme, minced
- 1/2 tsp sage, minced
- 1/2 tsp rosemary, minced
- 2 tsp sea salt
- shoyu to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- black pepper to taste
Bring five cups of water to a boil, add black rice and 1 tsp of salt, cover and simmer on low heat until liquid is absorbed, approximately 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the rice is cooking, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and whisk in polenta, being careful that it does not boil over. Add coconut milk and whisk until liquid is absorbed and polenta is smooth. Add remaining ingredients to polenta and stir well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When black rice is done cooking, pur into a well oiled 9” by 13” casserole dish. Allow rice to cool slightly and then pour polenta mixture on top of it. Bake in oven until top is golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.
As per the serving suggestion I served it with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and a tossed salad. It was fantastic. There are so many tastes going on, no one could decide which “layer” they liked the best. I’m looking forward to making this again and trying all sorts of variations.
Our little family gave this dish