28 March 2011

Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Lentils and Couscous

I keep seeing recipes around for sweet potato enchiladas and burritos, and it had given me a craving a couple of weeks ago. My initial plan was to stick pretty much with a recipe from Budget Bytes, but after I got the sweet potatoes I realized that I didn't have any soy chorizo. So instead, I decided to improvise a little bit and instead of chorizo and poblano I used some couscous and lentils I had left over, mixed with canned green chilis. It was a little odd, but I think it turned out really well once the whole thing was smothered with requisite sauce and cheese. I used burrito sized tortillas, three to an 8 x 8 pan, and rolled them in advance so when I got home all I had to do was add the sauce and cheese and pop the whole thing in the oven.

24 March 2011

From the Pantry: Bulgur Beanastroni

I think the bulgur in this variation on my Daddy's recipe may just kill the "oni" part, but I'm willing to live with this. This is a super-easy, super filling meal that's packed with protein. It may not look like much, but it's pretty tasty for healthy food. My trick was to start with the Trader Joes 17 legume mix, which has just about everything. I soaked the beans and got them simmering with oregano and a bay leaf, then towards the end, turned the heat up a bit and added a large sliced carrot and some chopped onion. Normally, Daddy throws some pasta in here, but instead once the veg was cooked I tossed in a cup of bulgur and took the pan off the heat, letting it soak covered for half an hour. At the very end, I added a drained can of garbanzo beans and another of diced tomato. I didn't even add salt, because I thought the bay and oregano were enough. A little bit of cracked pepper and you're good for two weeks of dinners!

Like Me On Facebook!

Quick news: I have a new Facebook fanpage so that you can follow my posts on your news feed and also see food-related comments and photos of things I've been eating that aren't on the blog. I'd love to see you there--just click "Like" on the Page and suggest it to any vegetarian foodie friends!

22 March 2011

Restaurant Review: Shuckers of Fells Point

I realized when I started to write this review that I'm doing something I've never done before on this blog. I'm showing you something that isn't actually vegetarian. So, warning! If pictures of seafood make you sad, click away! I quietly went pescatarian in November, and while I won't be sharing any seafood recipes here, because I do remain dedicated to this blog as a vegetarian food blog, I had to share this review because I loved the restaurant so much.

Shuckers is a popular Fells Point seafood place and bar, but I'd never actually been there, so I was happy to have the chance to use a Groupon and get a good deal. Their prices are moderate, high for my budget, but they do have a $5.95 lunch menu every day and some pretty good specials. For a treat, I'd definitely recommend it. If you're not familiar with Baltimore, Fells Point is an historic neighborhood near the water, set back a little bit from the touristy inner harbor. It's a popular drinking destination for young people, and also where you can get the best seafood.

We started with an appetizer that really justifies the term "food porn." Ever since I first looked at the menu, all I knew is that I wanted crab dip. And this is crab dip. Melt in your mouth, cheesy, creamy, and of course heavily laced with Old Bay. We kind of wanted to beg for the recipe.

Once we recovered from the Holy Crab Dip, we decided to split an oyster po boy and an order of Prince Edward Island mussels. The mussels were delicious and served with a buttery broth you'd want to just slurp up from the bowl. I had to share this photo, though, because of my devoted love of sweet potato fries. What is it that makes the seasoning so perfect? The sandwich was, well, a po boy, though I was impressed by how gargantuan the oysters were.

20 March 2011

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

So my vacation has been kind of a flurry of cooking. I had a houseguest who actually actively enjoys cooking (as opposed to me, loving cooking only because I love eating) and doesn't get flustered in a grocery store. I kind of let her do whatever she wanted, so wandering around the grocery store she got the idea to do a shepherd's pie with mushrooms instead of meat. As you can see, we used a large souffle dish that was not quite large enough for all our vegetables. Being a teacher, I kind of had to giggle that she forgot about the concept of displacement. Fortunately, a cookie sheet underneath worked pretty well.

This is one of those "it's not a recipe, it's a process" things. Basically, a couple of packs of white button mushrooms and an onion, sauteed, then a pack of onion and mushroom gravy powder added to the mix and some cornstarch mixed with water to thicken into a gravy. Pour in the pan, add a couple of bags of thawed veg (we used peas and corn) and top with some instant mashed potatoes. These were romano cheese flavored and very good. Bake at 350 until you see some browning on top. Eat.

04 March 2011

Comfort Chili and Spoonbread

I really think this is the ultimate comfort food. Chili, courtesy of Mark Bittman's recipe for Black Bean Espresso Chili (page 608 of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, available on Google Books), along with the Dixie Spoonbread from Crescent Dragonwagon's Cornbread Gospels (page 191). This chili has an amazing, unforgettable depth of flavor from the espresso and the cinnamon, and though the spoonbread was maybe a little uneven in terms of texture, the two went really, really well together. A successful experiment in cookbooks and a new favorite recipe!

03 March 2011

Vegetable Cobbler

A little bit earlier in the winter, I decided to try my hand at a really intriguing recipe for Vegetable Cobbler that I found on Ezra Pound Cake's blog. It's a Moosewood recipe, packed with good veggies, and though it looks pretty daunting with all the ingredients, it turned out really well. The taste of the liquid is amazing, and you can sop your biscuits all up in it--extremely filling, so you don't want any side dishes, but very tasty.

I started this recipe by making stock with a method a friend suggested for all my leftover vegetable odds and ends. When you have leftover onion tops, parts of veggies, whatever, toss them in plastic bags and fill full with water before closing. Freeze them, and then just dump the veggie-ice in a pot to make stock. Salt to taste and boom, you're done. This process does take quite a while if you have a big baggie, as you can see from the chard here. You also want to make sure your bag is smaller than your pot!

I pretty much carried on with the rest of the recipe as is. I love the mix of vegetables because it's colorful and therefore pretty rich in nutrients. The biscuit topping is really amazing, though I would probably try smaller spoonfuls and more biscuits next time, so that a serving size isn't so epic. You end up grabbing a bunch of veggies so you have enough liquid for the biscuit, and it's kind of overdoing it.