Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

I think we got more rain after Hermine passed than the initial blast.  That made riding the bike around just impossible.

Well, when it rains and is crappy out, you have to find shelter.  Where else better than a kitchen with a gallon of good beer?  Oh yeah, and food.

I was going for Eggplant Parmesan, but I decided to get creative and make it into a chili too.

Start with skinning & dicing two small eggplants.  Throw some salt on it & get it to “sweat” the bitterness out.  You can put it in a colander so that the liquid drains easily.  Let that sit for about twenty minutes and saute it in a pan with a little bit of oil until it’s browned.

In a large pot, take a diced yellow onion, four chopped tomatoes, a minced clove of garlic,1t salt, 2T of oil and set the pot on medium, mixing occasionally.  It will eventually be a base marinara(stop there if you want marinara).

This stuff is going to be marinara soon.  Then chili after.

This stuff is going to be marinara soon. Then chili after.

Mince up a couple of your favorite peppers(I used a Hungarian wax & a datil), grab 2T of Italian spices(oregano, basil, thyme, sage, etc.) and throw those in the pot with the marinara.

Fresh from the garden.  Doesn't get much better.

Fresh from the garden. Doesn’t get much better.

We're getting there.

We’re getting there.

Once everything is incorporated nicely, add 4C water, 3C cooked pinto beans, & 3T chili powder.  Cover it up and let it cook for a long time.

The water will reduce some.

The water will reduce some.

From there, you’ve got a bit of time…probably an hour or so, so just grab a beer and watch the storm roll in on a preferably enclosed porch.  Maybe even look down to see a friend with you in the kitchen.

I looked down.  He looked up.  He also had onion paper on his nose.

I looked down. He looked up. He also had onion paper on his nose.

After you’re finished spending an hour however you’d like, add the sautéed eggplant from before to the mix.  It should be noticeably chunkier now.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

Let that simmer for another ten minutes while you cook some noodles or rice or whatever you like with Eggplant Parmesan Chili, not that you’ve had it before, but get creative….that’s what a kitchen’s all about.

Put the mix on top of whatever you’ve decided on & follow-up with some almond Parmesan or just plain ol’ nutritional yeast to get a little veg cheese action going.  It might look like this:

Now that's some storm comfort food there.

Now that’s some storm comfort food there.

Once the storm is over, hug your fur babies and get some incriminating pictures of them.

Okay, it's not incriminating, but it's pretty cute what Cinder's doing here.

Okay, it’s not incriminating, but it’s pretty cute what Cinder’s doing here.

….aaaaand that’s how you enjoy some time in a tropical depression.  Or in this case, a humid sadness.

Just kidding.  Hope everyone’s okay & has electric back and such.  I’m glad it didn’t hit as bad as what a lot of the meteorologists were freaking out about Hermine, but they’re all out there for the big scoop and the exaggeration.  Now, enjoy some Chili.  Or Eggplant Parmesan.  Or whatever you want to call it.

Wow.  It’s been some time since I’ve written here, mainly because I’ve been acclimating to a better life and celebrating how much I’m liking it(trust me, I’ve been celebrating a lot lately).

Both jobs are great, both pups are still awesome, and I’ve been in the kitchen more than I’ve been in my life.  This gives me a lot of time to imagine new recipes and weird food combinations that make what I do so much more fun to me.

There’s waaaay too many “I”‘s in those paragraphs.  Here’s a picture of pups:

He made a shank, and proud of it.  I think he's trying to tell me something.  I better give him more food.

He made a shank, and proud of it. I think he’s trying to tell me something. I better give him more food.

Okay.  Now that is out of the way for now, let’s talk barbecue.

One of my friends had this great idea about using Portobello mushroom stems for barbecue.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, so I figured I would give it a go.  It turns out it’s really easy.

Start out with the stems:

You'll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them.  Unless you like gritty BBQ.

You’ll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them. Unless you like gritty BBQ.

Shred them between your hands.  The easiest way is to roll them in between your hands, but you can also just pull them apart.

Shredded!

Shredded!

Add about 2T of oil to the 4C of shredded stems.  Don’t use too much, because the mushrooms will exude liquid too.  Dump a diced onion in there, mix up real good and heat on medium heat.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Once the onions start to get a little translucent, add some spice.  I’ve never been one to settle for a pre-made BBQ sauce if I have some spices on hand, so I used 2T brown sugar, 1T salt, 1T pepper, 1T paprika & then added a minced garlic clove.  It might look like this:

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Stir every so often so it mixes well & doesn’t stick to the pan(it shouldn’t with the oil in there).

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

That’s it.  Like most of the recipes here, it’s super simple and ultra-tasty.  Throw it on a bun, eat it on its own, or top some mashed potatoes with it(that’s what we did).

That’s all for now, I’ve got to head to this college course I’m leading and then hunker down for the impending storm that’s about to hit Florida.

By hunkering down, I mean grabbing a bunch of beer.  I think some vegan eggplant parmesan is in the forecast too.

Oh yeah, the college course is through Florida State College at Jacksonville.  It’s a continuing education course devoted to a plant-based lifestyle.  This should be a breeze teaching:)

Have a good one!

 

If you haven’t heard of farm-to-table dinners yet, start looking around & go to a bunch.  Or start your own, it isn’t too difficult or stressful once you get the hang of it, and the rewards of seeing people enjoying some food fresh from local farms or gardens are tough to beat.

I’ve been involved in catering or cooking for years & years, but this last farm-to-table dinner that I cooked for work was the second one that I’ve headed up.  Both of them were for eighteen people & I did all of the cooking & prep work on this last one(if I can do it, you definitely can do it).

First, establish relationships with local produce vendors & work with them to figure out what exactly you are going to serve.  Get the remaining ingredients from a store if you need to(I can’t stress the point of shopping from local stores here enough too).  Prep, cook, plate & serve.  That’s it!

(Don’t forget to invite guests or distribute flyers for people to RSVP, people are mighty important here too.)

Here are some pictures from this last farm-to-table:

I like aprons.  I like knives.  I like smiling.  Nothing weird about that, right?

I like aprons. I like knives. I like smiling. Nothing weird about that, right?

 

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Easy mousse made with chocolate chips, silken tofu, a little maple syrup & vanilla.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it's acids.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it’s acids.

A kale salad massaged with avocado & then I added some diced bell peppers, green onion, a little red onion, walnuts, lime juice and just a splash of pineapple juice.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

In just starting with gluten-free baking not too long ago, I was somewhat stumped on how to make awesome bread in that fashion.  I’m great with regular baking & bread, but just had to jump into this all the way.  I can’t tell you the recipe, though.  I’d have to kill you.  With kindness.  & puppy kisses.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

I didn’t take a picture of the northern white bean basil hummus I made, but putting it in three different bowls & then topping it with different spices is a really great way to get a diverse flavor going for it.

In the picture above, I had made some cultured cashew cheddar cheese(yes, vegan;  yes, AWESOME.), threw some grapes on plates & cut up some apples for a nice appetizer.

One of these things is not like the other....well, actually three of the plates.

One of these things is not like the other….well, actually three of the plates.

I slow cooked some quinoa for a few hours, adding bell peppers, ginger, garlic, & sweet potatoes along the way.  I did add a bit of paprika, but the quinoa itself was nice & sweet, so I didn’t want to mess around with how awesome that would be stuffed inside of the pepper & covered with a little lemon-dill white bean sauce I made last minute.  You saw the kale salad before & the bread for the bruschetta.  I just made some topping for that by chopping up some grape tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice, & a bit of salt.  Easy stuff, right?!

Upon closer inspection--AWESOME.

Upon closer inspection–AWESOME.

Dessert.  I could have done this for an appetizer though.  And an entree.  Just the whole meal.

Dessert. I could have done this for an appetizer though. And an entrée. Just the whole meal.

I made some chilled drop oatmeal quinoa chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and threw them in a bowl with some of that awesome mousse you saw in the picture way back.  This was awesome & adding a little coconut bacon to the mix was not a bad idea in the least either.

You knew I had to do a close up, right?  RIGHT??!!

You knew I had to do a close up, right? RIGHT??!!

Are you hungry yet?

Are you hungry yet?

I wore the apron the entire time.  Also, the cheesy smile.

I wore the apron the entire time. Also, the cheesy smile.

So, the dinner was a huge success.  I’d love to do this more often; on days off with friends or maybe even galavant around a grill in a park, there’s so many options here.  If you need some help with dinner(lunch, breakfast, snacks, late-night meals, brunch, desserts, picnics, etc.), I can be of assistance(pay no attention to the first picture, forget you even saw it.  There you go.).  I think, for the most part, all of the dishes were really easy to put together, but if you want to know how to make something specifically, let me know!

Other stuff:

There’s a new meetup in town.

No, really, there is.  LITERALLY.

It’s the Jacksonville Vegan Meetup, and it is going to be a fun one.  The inaugural event is titled “Local, Vegan Mob All Day Long!” & tours many of the local Jacksonville places that offer veg-friendly options.  It starts off with an awesome vegan bakery called Sweet Theory(if you haven’t heard of it yet, stop reading, go to Riverside, and buy everything.  They are that good.) & winds through town, visiting a grocery, pizza place(best in town), & a bookstore/deli before shooting off to the beaches for some farmer’s market fun, coffee, and a bar to finish it all off.  If you have July 12th off and are in the Northeast Florida area, come out & have a great time with us!!

Sometimes I think my canine companions have narcolepsy.  Not really.  They’re just like me-wound so tight sometimes that they burst with energy at every waking moment like a chipmunk on a coffee high.  When we lay down though, we are out.  Until, at least, we hear food in the distance.  Here’s some obligatory pictures.

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping.  (get the pun??  He's a BALL.)

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping. (get the pun?? He’s a BALL.)

He's going to hate this picture when he's older.

He’s going to hate this picture when he’s older.

So is Cinder.

So is Cinder.

Wait a second.  That's not a sleeping dog.  That's a wading duck.

Wait a second. That’s not a sleeping dog. That’s a wading duck.

He's walking now.  *sniffle, sniffle*  They just grow up so fast.

He’s walking now. *sniffle, sniffle* They just grow up so fast.

That’s it from me for this time, have a great time, enjoy some outdoors, and have you hugged your dog today?

Seeya!

Summertime is coming at us full speed, & cookouts are huge during that period.  I’ve always been a fan of pasta salad & making fresh variations on recipes.  This one is especially good for outdoor activities, because, well, it doesn’t have any mayo in it(obviously–this is kind of a vegan blog).  Doing things from scratch is something I like as well, because I am an avid reader, but when it comes to ingredient labels, I like to keep it to words with as little syllables & chemical compounds as possible.

Without further ado, here is what to do!

Boil some water with a bit of salt in it, then throw in half a bag of whole wheat pasta.

While that is cooking, make your dressing:

Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup of canola oil & a quarter cup of olive oil.  Mince six cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of oregano, 2 tablespoons of lavender basil, about a small handful of fresh chopped dill, and mix all of that into the oil & vinegar mixture.  For a bit of spice, if you have three mini thai ornamental peppers lying around, chop & throw those in….if you don’t, half a jalapeno or even a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes will do.

The noodles should be about halfway done, so chop up some veggies:

Two carrots, half of a red bell pepper, half of a green bell pepper, about two cups of broccoli(cut very small), a cucumber & a tomato.

Toss all of that in the dressing first to get everything mixed really well.

The noodles should be done by now, so drain them & run cold water through them or just toss them around with some ice cubes-either way does the trick to cool them fast.  Once cold, put the pasta in with the veggie/dressing mix & throw that around until it looks a little bit like this:

Lots of yum here people, lots of yum.

Lots of yum here people, lots of yum.

That is it.  A considerably easy vegan side dish that can be made in less than half an hour & made in bulk for parties.

I might even have some for breakfast.

Enjoy!!