Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Festive Phyllo Triangles

As you can see by the paltry number of posts this month, December has been a pretty busy month in every sense but the culinary. I had all sorts of plans to do baking and post a bunch of ideas for the holiday season, but alas . . . . What is it they say about the best laid plans? I did make Peter Reinhart's stollen recipe (awesome), and I have finally figured out what to make for Christmas dinner. Since I will be feeding vegans and omnis alike, I wanted to make something that could be enjoyed for what it was, and not some imitation of a meat dish. Enter the phyllo! The filling is chickpeas with cranberries and spinach: tasty and also red and green for Christmas.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 10 roasted chestnuts, chopped
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pkg phyllo dough
- melted margarine, or oil

Makes 16 Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and celery for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent.
2. While onions are cooking, pulse chickpeas, cranberries, and spinach in a food processor. Make sure not to process into a paste.
3. Place chickpea mixture in a bowl, then add onions. Add chestnuts, flour, and spices and mix well. Season to taste.
4. Place one sheet of phyllo on the counter and brush with melted margarine or oil. Place another sheet on top and brush with oil. Cut phyllo lengthwise into three long strips of equal width. Place a scant 1/4 cup of filling at the bottom of each strip. Fold like you see here. Brush folded triangle with oil or margarine. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Repeat with remaining filling. Bake for 15-20 mins, until golden brown.

I served mine with roasted mushroom gravy. As you can see, I could not really figure out how to present the dish. On Christmas day I just plan to put them on the plate with all the other veggies and not worry about how it looks in a picture.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Potato Soup

I am a negligent blogger! Christmas is in nine days and I have nothing ready! Nada! I don't even know what the entree will be! Oh, stupid job getting in the way of the holidays! While I scramble around trying to make Christmas happen, here is an awesome soup to keep away the winter chill. The most amazing thing is that the kids ate it without a single whine. Put a pile of greens on their plate and the wailing can be heard for blocks, but put it in a soup and they bolt it down. Go figure.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 leeks, white and light green part, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small bunch swiss chard, stalks removed, chopped
- 4 cups water (more if needed)
- 1.5 lbs diced red potatoes
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 4 cups baby spinach
- salt to taste
- lots of freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute leeks, celery, and garlic for 10 mins, until soft. Add chard and saute until wilted. Add water a blend with a hand blender until smooth.
2. Add potatoes. The liquid should almost cover the potatoes. Add more water, if needed. Bring to bubbling, cover, and simmer for 20 mins, or until potatoes are cooked.
3. Add soy milk and nutritional yeast and mix well. Season to taste. I made the soup rather peppery. Then add spinach a stir until wilted but still vibrant green. Serve.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oyster Mushroom Scampi

Last week I got an email from a faithful reader wondering what to do with with some veggie-based shrimp she had picked up. At first, I was jealous about the shrimp. I had some once at a Chinese restaurant in Philly and it was great. If memory serves, it is actually a type of mushroom. It was with shrimp on my mind that I sat down to come up with a special meal for Vegan Mom and I (you really have to try and keep a date night when you have four kids!). I settled on Oyster Mushroom Scampi. The dish is lemony and garlicky, and the mushrooms are wonderfully delicate. I made a thin fettucine noodle (rolled out to number 6) but you could use linguine as well.

Serves 2 for a romantic dinner
- 1/2 pound fresh pasta (linguine or thin fettucine)
- 3 cups large oyster mushroom pieces
- 2 tbsp margarine, plus additional tbsp
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, small dice
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Prepare pasta. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Heat margarine and oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 5 mins, until soft and translucent. Add mushrooms to the pan and saute for another 5 mins, until soft.
3. Add wine and lemon juice to the pan with the additional tbsp of butter and parsley. Bring to bubbling, and when maragrine has melted, add cooked pasta to the pan. Stir well and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ethiopian Eggplant Stew

I'm not a big fan of eggplant. It can tasty a little bitter, and the texture sometimes makes me quiver (I have texture problems). But, since I did pick up some discount eggplants at the grocery store I needed to find a dish to use them up. The result was actually very good (and the kids didn't even realize they were eating eggplant!). I also thought I would try a new method for the onions that I have seen in several Ethiopian recipes--dry frying them for 30 mins until a deep golden colour. If you want to skip this step, just saute in oil for 8-10 mins.

- 2 large red onions, halved and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp berbere (or to taste)
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 medium eggplant, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 tomato, small dice
- 1/4 cup red lentils
- 1 1/2 cup water (more, of needed)
- 2 cups chopped green beans
- salt, to taste

1. Heat a large non-stick pan (cast iron preferred) over medium heat. Add in onions and fry for 30 mins, stirring regularly, until a nice golden brown. When onions stick to much, deglaze the pan with a splash or two of water.
2. Add in garlic, ginger, and spices and mix well, until spices are fragrant. Add in margarine. When it melts, add carrots and eggplant. Fry for 5-7 mins, until eggplant begins to soften.
3. Add tomato, lentils, water, and beans and mix well. Bring to bubbling, then loosely cover and let simmer. The lentils will cook in 20 to 30 mins, but I cooked mine for about an hour, until the eggplant was really soft. Add water, if needed. Season to taste and serve with injera.