Thursday, August 24, 2006

Black Bean Couscous Cakes

Today for lunch I made another one of my sister's recipes. I have been eye-balling this one for a while, but wasn't sure if I would like it, so I stalled on making it. Too bad...all that time wasted being afraid of a recipe! It is easy, fairly light, very yummy and nutritious.

Black Bean Couscous Cakes

1 can (drained) or 2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup cooked couscous
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3/4 cup blue corn flakes (I didn't have blue flakes, so I just used regular corn flakes)
1/2 TBSP fresh garlic, minced
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
1 small roma tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp. chili powder
squeeze of lemon
fresh pepper
kosher salt

Mash all ingredients together in a bowl.

Refrigerate for an hour until cool. Form into patties and saute in canola or olive oil until golden brown.

I found that they were a little dry as I formed the patties, so I added a bit more oil. They still were a little fragile in the pan, but if you are careful, they can still come out nicely shaped, or you can just smoooosh them back together as they cook. Top with salsa, guacamole, vegan sour cream, or just eat them plain with a big squeeze of lemon on top they way I did. I might try this recipe again, and add a few more veggies...maybe some spinach and grated carrot. This lunch beat the last few lunches I've made for myself...I have had one too many Teddy Grahams lately. Ugg.

8/25 Update
I made this for lunch again, and after trying desperately to keep them in their patty-shape with no luck, I gave up and just dumped it all in the pan and browned it up like a hash. I actually think it was better this way, and I ate every single speck of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Spiced-Rum Seitan with Pineapple Salsa

1 package seitan, torn into pieces
olive oil (I used about 3/4 cup; to taste), fresh chopped garlic, 3 tbsp spiced rum, 2 tbsp orange juice, juice from half a lime, salt and pepper to taste

Let seitan sit in marinade for a few hours, or overnight (You may want to wait to add the OJ and lime juice until the last hour of marinating so the seitan doesn't get "overcooked" or tough in the acids...but, I didn't do this and I didn't have any problems). Reserve a splash of rum for cooking.
In large saute pan, heat olive oil and fresh garlic from marinade. Heat until translucent, with pinch of kosher salt and pepper and 1/2 tbsp of Earth Balance. Add seitan and cook until browned. In the last minute of sauteing, add last of rum and a squeeze of lime. Spoon salsa over seitan and garnish with cilantro or parsley sprigs, if desired. Served with coconut rice.

Pineapple Salsa
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup finely chopped mango
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped red onion
squeeze of lime

Mix together and let sit for at least 30 minutes, mixing and turning frequently.

Coconut Rice
1 can coconut milk
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 tsp Earth Balance
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup toasted shredded coconut
kosher salt
white pepper

Heat Earth Balance, oil and onions in medium saucepan until translucent. Add rice and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk and cook according to rice directions. You can add a few tsp. of water if milk is too thick. Fluff with fork, add salt and pepper to taste, and top with toasted coconut.

I plan on trying this recipe with tofu next. Enjoy! Recipes by Heather Helard, my rocking sister!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm baaaaaaaack!

I had a lovely time in Lake Tahoe. Beautiful weather, great scenery, wonderful people....but, alas, I got sick. Sick as a dog (Why do people say this? Do dogs normally get really really ill?). Sick enough that I was out of commission for about 3 days, and then I pretty much lost my voice and ended up sounding like Harvey Fierstein. Not a lovely, feminine sound, mind you.

So, now I am back, healthy and ready to start blogging again. I know you missed me.

Here are a few meals I made before I left for Tahoe. First is a prepackaged meal from Tastybite. I love this brand name, it is just the point. I made the Bombay Potatoes.

And yes, they were tasty bites. I enjoyed them with some spicy spinach cheeseless "pizza" (more like flat bread) from Trader Joe's and some champagne grapes. Pretty good, but not fabulous.

Next are some vegetable potstickers by Ling Ling. Whenever I see this bag, I think of a non-vegan-friendly joke from the Simpsons that my husband loves to tell. The episode was "Lisa the Tree Hugger" and Homer makes a joke about Kentucky Fried's finger ling-ling good. (go to link, scroll down into Quotes). Sorry....

Decent....good for an easy and quick meal. I wasn't really fond of the sauce though, I think it was a little too sweet.

Now, traveling to Tahoe was my first real adventure into unknown parts as a vegan. We went to Tahoe for the Omni's family reunion (there's a ton of 'em). I brought a bunch of my own food and figured I would have to make all my own meals while everyone else ate the planned family meals. For the most part this was true, but there was one night where my cousin-in-law, Annamarie, made a fantastic Chinese-style salad with cabbage, green bell peppers, scallions, rice vinegar and ramen noodles (which I am pretty darn sure are vegan). Yummmmm. She did add chicken to it for the rest of the family, but made a special veganized bowl just for me. My brother-in-law, David, made a fantastic, albeit highly explosive, veggie chili one night. He cooks with a lot of spicy spices. I think that was the night my sinuses totally cleared up.

Next on the list of food stuffs are some Potato and Roasted Garlic Puffs by the Fillo Factory. I've had these in my freezer for a while now, hoping we would entertain a lovely vegan party or something, and I could whip these out and present them on a shiny silver platter, and everyone would "oooh" and "ahhhh". But no, we don't entertain much, and I don't have a shiny silver platter. Maybe one day.

These are damn good. Greasy and delicious, warm and oozing with garlicky potato goodness. See how the innards are creeping out of the fillo dough? That's some good stuff.

And last on the list is what I made tonight for dinner. I decided to use up the rest of my Morningstar Farms Meal Starters chik'n strips that have been sitting in the back of the freezer. I used them once before in a stir-fry, and wasn't overly fond of them, but needed to use them up to make room for all the new vegan stuff I want to buy. I bought some accidentally-vegan creole batter mix by Luzianne and covered the strips in the batter, then pan fried them in some canola oil.

They turned out nice and golden and crispy. I made a dipping sauce out of Vegenaise, ketchup, cajun seasoning, prepared horseradish, cayenne and paprika. It was a little too sweet and needs a little more kick, but overall, not too bad! I really liked the strips, though. They remind me of the real chicken strips that I loved as a kid. But now they are tasty and humane!

Oh, and VeganCyclist! I will post the rum seitan recipe tomorrow..... :-)

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