Vegan

Sweet and Spicy Seitan Suya and Coconut Rice {Cameroon}

Sweet and Spicy Seitan Suya.  How’s that for alliteration?

Aside from the Cocoa San Rival, this is my favorite and it takes 10 times less time.  You’re going to love it.  I challenge you to feed it to a meat-eater and see if they can figure out that they are actually eating wheat.  If anyone does this, please let me know how it goes!

When researching Cameroon recipes, I just kept coming back to suya–strips of flank steak grilled on a skewer, covered in a sweet and spicy peanut mixture.

Seitan Suya (Vegan), Enough for 6 skewers

Ingredients:

  • One 8 oz box strips or chunks of seitan
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ground peanuts
  • oil for brushing (I used peanut oil)

Directions:

  1. Mix sugar, spices, salt, and peanuts together.
  2. Rub onto seitan strips.
  3. Place strips/chunks onto bamboo or metal skewers.
  4. Cover and let marinate for as much time as you can stand it.
  5. Preheat grill or oven.  We have NO outdoor space here, so I grilled on the rack in the oven at 425*
  6. Rub oil on skewers to prevent them from sticking to the rack/grill.
  7. Grill for approximately 4 minutes on each side.

Love cooking with seitan; you don’t have to worry if your meat’s rare in the middle.  It just has to be warmed through.

We ate our skewers with a coconut rice, made with carrots, yellow bell peppers, and thyme.  The topping is a bit of the leftover peanuts mixed with the spice mixture.  It added a desirable crunch to the rice.

These skewers and empanadas are definitely on my make-after-the-project list!

Tomorrow, the African recipes come to a halt, albeit a very one.  Mezze platter coming your way!

Categories: African Food, East African Food, Food, Rice, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Muamba de Galinha (Seitan) and Funge {Angola}

You may have noticed the African kick I’m on.  Chad, South Africa, Tunisia, and São Tomé and Príncipe.  I’m sticking with it.  Today’s post is Angola, and tomorrow’s is Cameroon.  If you’re worried I’ll exhaust all of the African countries too quickly, put your mind at ease.  There are 54 countries on the continent.

Muamba de Galinha is actually chicken stew.  I’ve really been enjoying seitan as a protein replacement lately, and think it works best in the place of stewed meats.  Thus, Muamba de Seitan.

Stews typically don’t thrill me, to be honest.  So I was surprised by how much I liked this one.

It comes full of garlic, chili peppers, onions, tomatoes, squash, and okra.  There’s also a bit of lemon juice, palm oil, and and chili powder.  Typically, this would be made with a palm soup base, but I wasn’t able to get my hands on any in time.  Maybe it would have added more to the dish, but since I’ve never had it before, I didn’t notice it missing.

Curious about the cloud of cornmeal floating in the soup?  That’s my lazy version of funge (it usually has a much better shape than mine).  Funge is the Angolan version of the thick porridge African staple.  Depending upon the country, this porridge might be made of millet, cornmeal, or manioc.  Remember the baton de manioc I made?  That’s another version of the staple porridge.  You’ll see more versions in the upcoming months.  Often, the porridge is used as a scoop for a stew or dish, but as you can see, I’m a creature of habit and have spoons handy.

I preferred the taste of the funge to the baton de manioc, but I have a hunch that I’ll prefer the yam-based fufu even better.

Happy Monday to you.  Meet the work week head on.

Categories: African Food, Food, Soups, Southern Africa, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Squash and Peanut Mash with Millet {Chad}

Let’s stick with the easy recipes theme, yeah?  I’ll ratchet it up with my South Africa post.

If you are still looking for an easy and fast meal and I did not convince you to make Lebleli last night, good.  Skip that.  Make this.  It’s easier.  And better.

In Chad, millet is the absolute staple. (Chad is the world’s 7th largest producer of millet).  I simply made mine like rice: boil water, add grain, simmer until tender and no excess water.  Oh, yeah, and a little pat of Earth Balance.

As for the squash and peanut mash, it’s too easy to even call a recipe.  Your secret weapon: frozen, cubed squash.  Saves you the oven and knife time.

Heat a tablespoon of oil (I used peanut oil) in a pot.  Add in your bag of squash–mine was about 1 lb.  Cook until heated through.  For every pound of squash added, toss in a cup of crushed peanuts (food processor holla!) Add 1/2 tsp sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on top of that simple millet.  If you cannot get millet, rice will do.  Rice is also a mainstay in Chadian cuisine.  I added some slices of green onion for garnish.

This is my new mac ‘n cheese.  Au revoir (French is an official language of Chad, you know), la sauce de fromage artificielle.

Categories: African Food, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Fast and Easy Lebleli {Tunisian Chickpea Soup}

Hey, readers.  I’m checking in with a quick and simple Tunisian recipe tonight.  Work’s been a bit busy this week (funny how work can be so tiring and rewarding all in the same day!), so my posts are behind (again!–when will I ever catch up…).  I’ve been steadily making progress this week on the Pearl Project, with the exception of last night.  Think one glass of Sangria, turned into two, turned into sushi, turned into gelato, turned into the latest episode of The New Girl.  It was an absolutely lovely evening of good weather, people watching, and eating out unnecessarily.  You cannot blame me.  Conversation away from the interwebs and television was just too much to pass up.

If you’re work week has been like mine, but you’re not feeling an evening filled with gelato splurges, make Lebeli–because it’s super fast.

Fast and Easy Lebleli, Serves 6, Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 2 15 oz cans cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp of Lazy Bones harissa (1 T olive oil with 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground caraway, 1/2 tsp coriander, 2 crushed red peppers–I’m not that lazy bones, right?); okay, fine, if you want to make a more authentic harissa, you go ahead.
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat pot and oil to medium.
  2. Add onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Add water, chickpeas, cumin, and Lazy Bones Harissa.  Simmer until chickpeas and water are warmed thoroughly.  (I simmered for only about 15-20 minutes since I had canned chickpeas)
  5. Remove from heat.  Splash with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Garnishes vary greatly with lebleli.  Add hard-boiled eggs, cilantro, croutons, toasted cumin seeds, and on and on and on.  We kept it simple with a bottom layer of croutons which soaked the flavor right up.

If this dish seems too easy for you, then you should have gone running earlier.  Easy dishes like this feel like such edible God-sends during busy weeks.  Okay, fine, you can make mint tea to feel more Tunisian.

And then read about Tunisia’s delegates arriving in Baghdad for the League of Arab Nations’ conference.  Now you’ve made supper, a refreshing beverage, and read up on current events.  You are good, readers.  You are so good.

 

 

 

Categories: African Food, Beverages, Food, North African Food, Soups, Tea, Vegan | Tags: | Leave a comment

Follow-Up Recipes for Jamaican Jerk Tofu and Baked Festival (Both Vegan)

So, although my blog is but nascent, someone (hey, there!) has requested my recipes for the Jamaican post from yesterday. All I really need to be talked into posting a recipe is a simple comment asking for it.  Because let’s be real, I’m a wee blogger that’s happy to share.  You can still offer up [false] flattery if you’d like.

Remember the Jamaican post?  Or are you too distracted by beautiful purple tubers?  Here’s a photo to jog the memory.

First:

Jamaican Jerk Tofu Serves 4, (Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 T Earth Balance (butter if you’re not worried about dairy)
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t salt

I know, it’s a long list, but almost all is a simple spice mixture to add to the marinade.  No need to be intimidated.

Directions:

  1. Press tofu.  Either use tofu press (if you’re lucky enough to have one…anyone with an extra can send to me!) or the dishcloths and pan method to squeeze excess water from tofu.
  2. While pressing the tofu, prepare the marinade.  Mix oil, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and all spice ingredients together in bowl or directly in large zip lock bag.
  3. Once pressed, cut into slices about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  4. Place tofu slices and marinade in zip lock bag.  Marinade for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
  5. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in a heated skillet.
  6. Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add jalapenos.  Keep cooking until onions are slightly browned.
  7. Add tofu slices directly onto pan.  Cook 8 minutes on each side. Pour extra marinade into pan to form glaze.

And for the carbs…

Baked Jamaican Festival, Makes 12 fritters (Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance + more for pan-frying step
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 T cane sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/2 vanilla extract
  • Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour cornmeal, b. powder, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Either using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix in the butter to form a coarse meal.
  4. Add extracts and milk to the flour mix to form the dough.
  5. Knead enough to combine dough thoroughly (about 30 seconds).  Divide into 12 sections.
  6. Form into slightly flattened oval shapes.  Sometimes described as cigars but not quite that cylindrical.
  7. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in frying pan.  Add festivals to pan as they fit.
  8. Cook festivals on each side until a nice crust forms.
  9. When crust is formed, transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until no longer doughy in the middle.  (Ours took a while, but feel free to experiment with upping the temp and less time).
  10. Serve while still warm.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired.

These are a little sweet/dessertish.  But this morning, I came across a fun foodie article related to Caribbean dining in Montreal. It explains that the slight sweetness of the festival is meant to balance out the spice from your jerk chicken tofu.

Note the misspelling in the title when you get to the article.  With the amount of typos on my blog, I certainly am in no place to call another blogger out on typos, but newspaper… Anyhow, it made me feel pleased to have gone with making the festival.

 

Categories: Baking, Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Tour de Peru

Today, I bring you three dishes: a vegetarian ceviche, Garlic Quinoa Soup, and Papas a la Huancaina.  But first, you’re stuck scrolling through some of my travel photos from Peru!  I can’t help but look through travel pictures when I’ve actually visited a country of origin for my recipes.

We visited Peru in March of 2010.  Again, I was still a meat eater.  This blog has a lot of meaty photos for being hosted by a non-meat-eater, I know.  Next international vacation will be a bit different.

Jordan, Emilee, and I hiked, shopped, wandered for 8 days.  ‘Twas lovely.  You’ll see an alpaca steak, cuy (guinea pig), passionfruit, produce markets, and the God-send for altitude sickness–coca tea.

Aside from river trout, alpaca, and cuy, I remember eating a lot of pizza, quinoa, fresh fruit juices, and tubers.  Oh, yeah, also remember some pisco sours 🙂

While in Pisac for the weekend market, we stopped to eat at Ulrike’s Cafe.

I had a few bites of Emilee’s cheesecake, a Coke in a glass bottle, and quinoa for the very first time.  Our tour guide told us all about it’s protein powers, etc., so I was eager to try. Quinoa is a grain, similar to rice, which can be used as a base, in soups, or simply stand by itself as a side dish.

(It’s becoming much for available within the U.S. due to increased demand for this nutrition-packed grain, but this does drive the price up for Peruvian citizens.)

My quinoa came in a light, garlicky soup, not the typical tomato based quinoa soup.  I attempted to recreate!

My recipe is at the end of the post.

Our vegetarian ceviche was quite delicious.  I followed a recipe from Food.com that includes hearts of palm.  I was glad that I followed that suggestion, as they come close to offering a crab-like substitute.  I’d honestly never even seen hearts of palm before this grocery shopping trip, though.  Interesting little things…

No, not string cheese. I swear it.

We may have overindulged on ceviche, as we barely had room for the final dish.

I made, or at least sort of made, Papas a la Huancaina!  Papas a la Hancaina consists of slices of boiled potatoes covered in a spicy cheese sauce, hard-boiled eggs, and olives–all on a bed of fresh lettuce.

You might read that the dish is typically served with white or yellow potatoes.  That might be true–I honestly don’t know.  What I do know, is that I was lucky enough to have access to locally-grown, purple Peruvian potatoes!  Wouldn’t you know, someone in Sevierville started planting Peruvian tubers!

(So glad I have a husband who loves me in spite of the fact that I set up photo shoots for tubers).

I often feel conflicted because I love to support local farmers, but also love trying new foods and recipes from all over the world.  This was win-win.

My cheese sauce ended up being entirely too runny–which I now know is because I didn’t shake my can of evaporated milk near enough.  Still, it tasted absolutely delicious.

You can see in the following photo how the cheese sauce just sunk to the bottom of the plate.  When served into individual portions, we spooned the mixture back over las papas.

Trust me on the deliciousness. Or don’t.  Make your own!

As promised, my soup recipe:

Garlic Quinoa Soup, (Serves 8), Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup farfalle or macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cubes vegetable bouillon
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot.
  2. Add onion and garlic; cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Add quinoa, carrots, and celery.  Cook until quinoa is slightly toasted.
  4. Add water, bouillon, bay leaf, parsley, and salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to boil; Let simmer until quinoa and vegetables are tender.
  6. Add pasta and simmer for 6-9 more minutes or until pasta is soft.

Let me know what you think!  I don’t feel the tomatoes are necessary at all…

Adios, Peru.  Until next quinoa dish.

Categories: Food, Latin American Food, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Jerk Tofu and Baked Festival {Jamaica}

Jamaican me eat too much!

{As I type this, a group of probably tipsy young ladies are loudly singing “Tubthumping” in the apartment building’s hallway}.  {BTW, I pre-posted; they are not drunk at 8:30 AM.}

If I were a pescatarian, Jamaican cuisine would have been amazing.  As it stands, though, it was still a decent meal.  When you think Jamaican food, you must be thinking jerk, right?  Me too.  I marinated slices of tofu in soy sauce, oil, Jamaican seasoning, and lime juice (oh, ginger).  I sauteed an onion, some garlic, and a jalapeno in the pan before dumping the slices and marinade into the pan.  Got a little smoky in here again 🙂

I did attempt to healthify the festival.  I’m not sure if was a good idea or came close to replicating it authentically, but it was a good faith effort.  Instead of deep frying, I pan fried slightly and baked (guess I was going for the arepa method).  I also used whole wheat flour in them, along with the cornmeal required by typical recipes.  One thing that I found to be very interesting about the little breads was that sugar is used like it used to be before the Sugar Revolution–as a spice.  Sugar is added in to the dough mix along with salt and other seasonings.  It’s not the star of the dish, as in dessert.

As for sides, I was thrilled to learn that a standard baked sweet potato is common in Jamaica.  Since starting the Pearl Project, we’ve been trying so many new foods that we rarely get our old favorites, such as baked sweet potatoes and kale chips.

Cue the calypso!

Categories: Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Feijoada and Manioc Fries {Brazil}

Oh, Brazil.  There’s a lot of beautiful there. Beaches and mountains.  And rainforest–which I’ll see someday, I swear it.

Between leaving the DC Metro Area and arriving in Knoxville, Jordan and I were lucky enough to spend almost 3 weeks in Brazil.  We stayed with Jordan’s friend from college, Chris, near Salvador (in the state of Bahia).  Chris teaches English in that area.  Chris and his girlfriend, Milena, were excellent hosts–helping us communicate with others, helping choose our activities, and showing us Brazil from a point of view that we would never have seen otherwise.

While there, we ate many, many delicious things.  Much of what we ate while there was completely new to us.   At the time we visited, I was not a vegetarian, so we had beef (copain even!), visited a traditional churrascaria, sampled seafood dishes that were heavy on the dende oil, and partook in some of the villa’s group barbeques.  Still, there were plenty of herbivore delights.  The family of one of Chris’ students (following?) owns a produce shop, and let us sample anything that peaked our interest.  Coconut water straight from the coconut was nearly a daily occurrence, acai (Rio bowls) made the cut frequently.  Manioc (yucca) flour abounded. The dende oil and manioc flour are evidence of the African influences on Brazilian cuisine.  (Bahia has been called “the Africa of the Americas”).

So, with all of this emphasis on the time I spent in Brazil, you’re probably thinking that this is the first place I had feijoada, right?  Actually, while staying an eco-resort in Misiones Province in Argentina, I was introduced to feijoada.

And more travel pictures from Don Enrique (the aforementioned eco-resort).  Don Enrique was the big splurge on our Honeymoon.  I very much recommend the place to anyone considering it.  The owners are so welcoming, the hiking guides are friendly and knowledgeable (and will put up with your my very broken Spanish), the setting is wonderful.  But the food…wow.  All local, raised in their gardens, etc.  I’d never eaten better.  Don Enrique is nestled right up by the Brazilian border, and the Brazilian influence is quite strong.

Okay, so that’s not feijoada, either.  Just one of the lovely meals we ate while there.

So what is feijoada?  You had to know I’d get around to it eventually, right?  Feijoada is a stew of beans and traditionally,  beef and pork.  It is a typical dish in both Portugal and Brazil and is considered by many as the Brazil’s national dish.  It’s served with rice and typically some sides.  While hiking in Brazil, it was often served with what seemed like an overwhelming number of sides.  The meal below was just for the three of us.  After a full day of the hardest hiking I’d done up to that point, we nearly cleared the table!

Since I’m no longer eating meat, I wasn’t sure how to approach this dish.  I couldn’t very well just make beans and rice, because that seemed to be taking too much out of the dish.  So I opted for Gimme Lean (just realized the rhyme with Jimmy Dean….:S) vegan sausage as my “meat” add in.  It truly did taste like sausage, which weirded me out a bit, but then I gave in.

I served our feijoada with manioc fries, which I believe I am getting better at making!  Remember, you’ll have to boil first.  The dish really hit the spot for me.

The beans really covered the faux-sausage, but you can see it in the top of the photo.

Peeking out a little more in that photo.

While I really, really love brigadeiro (similar to truffles), I decided I would go with fresh tropical fruit for dessert, as fresh mangoes, papayas, and pineapples now all take me back to Bahia.

And I wanted to share photos of my lovely, slightly overpriced Anthropologie cup (purchased during the NYC trip)!

I’d say the joy of eating the pineapple out of such a pretty cup was worth the 10 dollar price tag.

Until we meet again, readers….

Categories: Food, Latin American Food, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

Simple Potato Stew, Rye Soda Bread, and Chocolate Stout Cake: A Calm St. Paddy’s Day {Ireland}

Longest.Title.Ever.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once, I spent a St. Patrick’s Day in France. I saw the Mona Lisa.  I ate a my first ever crepe (Nutella was an excellent choice) and shared a Powerade with my significant other.  (Wow, I look a bit different now!)

No one in Paris cared or mentioned St. Patrick’s Day except our hostel-mates.  Two days later, we flew back to Manchester, UK.  The streets around the U of M and MMU campuses were still a wreck for the St. Paddy’s Day destruction.    I think I prefer the calm,-eat-some-good-food-and-wear-a-wee-bit-of-green methods.

That’s right.  Do some yoga, run a little, blog a little, and avoid the pub-crawlers at all costs.

Our meal last night consisted of a very, very easy stew, a standard soda bread and a bit of dessert.

Cassie’s Simple Potato Stew (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed (I don’t peel mine if they are organic–just scrub well)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T Earth Balance
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup stout (we did use Guinness–so if you have no gray areas with your vegetarianism, find a fish-bladder free stout)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)

Instructions:

  1. Melt Earth Balance (or use oil or butter if you prefer) in dutch oven or large sauce pan
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
  4. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Give a stir.  Toss in parsley and bay leaves.
  5. Add stout and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This was really delicious for being so easy and not having oodles of seasonings.  You need to serve this with soda bread.  I love soda bread.  It’s so easy to make and adapt.  We had rye bread with caraway seeds.

You can make soda bread without a special soda bread dish, but I’ve got one.  So I use it every time.  (Thanks for that, Bev–you probably didn’t realize how much use I’d get out of it).


The cake we had for dessert was a recipe of my own.  And I made it hours before I noticed that 101 Cookbooks happened to post a Chocolate Stout Cake.  I swear it.  The recipes are somewhat similar, but I cut out the dairy and eggs, and used sugar for my sweetener.  Odd, I know, considering I still used Guinness (which again is not even considered vegetarian by many).  Oh, well. I still tried.  Pre-powdered shot below:

Almost Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake (Makes too many servings for a 2-person household)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup stout beer (find a vegan one if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 flax “egg”: 1 T ground flax mixed into 3 T water
  • 3/4 cup cashew “sour cream”: soak 3/4 cup raw cashews in water until soft, blend with 1 T lemon juice until smooth.
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt Earth Balance into stout beer in medium sauce pan on stovetop.
  3. Mix in sugar and cocoa powder
  4. Add in flax egg, cashew cream, and apple sauce.  Remove mixture from heat.
  5. Add the flour to a separate, large bowl.  Create a well for the liquid.
  6. Add the liquid and stir until all flour is moistened.
  7. Pour the cake batter into a well-oiled or silicone dish.  You can use a 9×9 pan, a bundt pan, or cupcakes–whatever you prefer.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, or until fork comes out clean.

I added a glaze made of almond milk, vanilla extract, chocolate syrup, and powdered sugar.  There was no recipe or measuring for me in this step, so you can make to your own liking!

Because this cake is eggless, it is more fudge-like than many cakes.  It’s dense and moist.  Which I prefer.

Yes, I did have a piece for breakfast this morning.  But hey, it’s whole wheat and has apple sauce.  It’s got to be healthier than a number of doughnuts and muffins on the market, right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now that I’ve been thinking over my St. Patrick’s Days, I remembered another traveling one!  During grad school, I was able to take a spring break trip with Jordan and his sister, Emilee, to Peru.  Though mudslides kept us from Machu Picchu, we managed to have an excellent time.

Maybe there is something to be said for venturing out on St. Paddy’s….

 

Categories: Baking, Breads/Starches, Desserts, European Food, Food, Holidays, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Ketchup Recipes (Okay, catch up recipes): Tanzania, Syria, Tajikistan

I still exist. And so does my kitchen, I swear it.  I know you couldn’t tell it from the blog, but it is true.  My excuses…first the good camera died, leaving me with lackluster photography that I wasn’t as thrilled to share with you.  (I’m still going to share it–please lie and tell me it’s not that out of focus, etc).  Then, I took a trip to New York City.  It was lovely, and at some point, I”ll blog about my restaurant eats there.  I wish I had the time and money to spend a month there.  Anyway, back to my excuses.  Then, well, I had to catch up on at work since I’d missed for NYC.

Still, I’ve been cooking.  To speed my catching up process, I’ve got a post with a quick recap of three country feasts and my recipe for Black Bean and Plantain Stew.

First–Syria.  I made some mini mezze plates for us, with easy tabbouleh, homemade hummus and toasted pita chips, and some olives to round out the plate.  The hummus was extra delicious this go round…I think a bit of extra tahini may have had something to do with it.

For the entree, I prepared Mujaddara.

Now, lentils are rice isn’t exactly anything crazy, but caramelized onions add the flavor that I needed to enjoy this otherwise simple dish.  I opted for brown lentils and seasoned with cumin and coriander.  Seems like I’ve been using so much coriander as of late…

I’ve also attempted a traditional Tajik meal.  I do not think I had quite the dramatic flare that I was hoping for.  Here was my inspiration photo:

(Source)

Here’s what our table actually looked like:

There are just a couple disparities.  Ah, well.  We had nuts and dried fruit and piti surrounding our plov.  Confused?  Tajik meals are communal, and center around the plov, which is fried rice.  Usually a plov contains mutton, but we stuck to onions, carrots, and yellow turnips.  Our orange soups are the piti.  [Vegetarian] piti is made with chickpeas, tomatoes, and potatoes and cooked while covered in the oven.  I could not actually find an existing recipe, so I worked on my own.  Does anyone have a good piti recipe to share?

Mine was okay.  Healthful, and with some flavor, but lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.

That’s okay, Tanzania’s meal had it (referring to the “je ne sais quoi”) and then some.  This dish was actually meant to be a beef and plantain stew.  I decided to simply use black beans instead of finding a more processed meat substitute for the meal.

Husband actually voted this into his top three dishes the night we had it!  Since then, I think the Philippines may have nudged it out from Bronze medal standing, but still, it was a winner.

Bean and Plantain Stew (Serves 6) Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 T oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (one if you’re not a garlic lover–why would you not be, though??)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 15 oz can cooked black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chili pepper (I don’t bother seeding b/c the husband likes heat)
  • 3 small potatoes, cubed
  • 3 plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions.

  1. Heat oil in large pot (I used a Dutch oven).
  2. Saute onions until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and chili pepper. Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Add beans, tomatoes, potatoes, plantains, water, and bouillon cubes.
  5. Simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 30 minutes for me.
  6. Add coconut milk add stir until heated.  Mash vegetables if desired.

Our stew was served with my first attempt at ugali, which is a dough-like porridge made with cornmeal.  It’s quite common in African cuisine, but usually it’s made with white cornmeal, which I didn’t have on hand that day.  The ugali wasn’t the most delicious thing I’ve eaten, but seemed to go well with the stew nevertheless.

Happy cooking, folks.  Scout’s honor that I’ll be more consistent with the posting in the next couple weeks!

Categories: African Food, Central Asian Food, East African Food, Food, Middle Eastern Food, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

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