Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Vegan Vindaloo

Previously, I made a lamb vindaloo adaptation that the family loved. I tried to reproduce it (at least the sauce) but this one came out spicier. I think it's because I marinated vegetables instead of meat and they must have really sucked in the juice. 

For the sauce:
(Pictured above... I figured why whisk when I could put it all in a jar, admire the layers and shake it.)
- 25 ml extra virgin cold pressed olive oil 
- 35 ml canola, vegetable or other oil of choice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 75 ml water
- 1 tsp garlic powder 
- 1 pinch pink Himalayan salt
- 2 teaspoons Indian chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- about 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon paprika

For the vegetables:

- 3 small local red potatoes, diced
- 1 small local tomato, diced
- 3/4 head fresh cauliflower, chopped
- 10 Brussel sprouts
- 15 ounces canned sweet peas, drained
- about 1/8 cup (handful) jumbo cashews, unsalted
- about 1/8 cup (handful) dry roasted peanuts 

Marinate, heat thoroughly in hot skillet (adding water as necessary to 'reconstitute' sauce, serve with rice.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Raw strawberry almond balls

I made a mess of the kitchen. I may have broken the food processor. I didn't eat enough and am now suffering weakness, dizzyness and shakiness... But these were worth it.

My plan was to make homemade granola and put it in my breakfast yogurt.

It's 11:45. So that didn't happen.

I haven't made granola in so long I forgot the sugar and I didn't add my secret ingredient (black strap molasses). I have presented my granola in many forms on this blog so I'm only posting a photo.

But what got me completely sidetracked was homemade protein snacks... Like Larabars. Only I make balls. 

The basic mix is 1 part nuts to 2 parts fruit. Typically 1 of the fruit parts is dates. 

I purchased Baroody pressed and pitted dates at the Turkish store in Allentown for this project almost a month ago. It was $2.99 for 500 grams. And vacuum sealed so it was shelf stable. Not that dates ever last long enough in my house to rot.

I took about 1.5 cups raw almonds and ground them in the food processor. I placed those aside and mixed the following fruits in the food processor:

- 1/3 cup dates
- 1/2 cups raisins
- about 1/4 cup golden raisins and dried cherries
- about 1 cup dried strawberries

Now by the time this got mixed, the food processor was unhappy. So instead of putting the nuts back in with the fruit, I kneaded them into the fruit like working with bread dough.

Them I formed into balls. Golf ball size. Refriderate. About 125 calories each.

Baked French Toast with Blueberries

I won't be home for dinner tonight and I saw some odds and ends around the kitchen that needed to be consumed. Eggs. Bread. Yogurt. We have fresh berries and those need eatin' quick.

So I prepped baked French toast. This will sit in the fridge and be baked uncovered at 350 for 40 minutes. This is a small portion. Serves 3 but the portions are not large.

I hope my family saves me some. I'm not sure how the yogurt will work out.

In a bread loaf pan, that I heartily greased with butter, I layered two slices of cinnamon raisin bread and then blueberries and a bit of brown sugar. Maybe two tablespoons. I had three layers of bread and two layers of blueberries.

Now the "sauce" I added to every layer as well. It went something like this:
- four eggs
- nutmeg
- ground cloves
- an ounce or two of half and half 
- about a cup very vanilla soy milk
- about 1/3 cup plain yogurt

Whisk. The yogurt may be a mistake. We'll see.

My husband baked it for 40 minutes at 350 and it turned out delightful. Though the child did not care for it. But she ate hers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Maraq (Somali style chicken stew)

I wanted something African last night and around here, the options are rather limited. We do have an Ethiopian restaurant in Allentown and my request to visit it for dinner baffled my husband.

We were too hungry after a long day. It was farther than he really wanted to go. I don't really like Ethiopian food.

He's right. I'm not fond of Ethiopian food. I don't dislike it, but it doesn't interest me like other cuisines. I realized this while dining on Ethiopian in Djibouti and grappling with what to do since my right hand was broken leaving me no choice but to eat with my left.

In Yemen, they gave me a plastic spoon. I have never been so happy to see a plastic spoon.

Today, I am hoping to avoid yesterday's drama (and there was plenty. The ten-year-old stomped off to her room and refused to come down. I was screaming. Husband was trying to make dinner and used my secret stash of spicy vegetarian "buffalo wings" that I got on clearance at Target.).

I researched Somali stews on the internet and found something for chicken... Because A. I don't have a goat and B. Chicken thighs work well in the crock pot.

I decided on Maraq. My variation of course. Because I never have the required ingredients. Yet, that never stops me. 

This is what I threw into the crockpot at 8 a.m. I started it on high but may adjust it later. I also hope to stop at the store and buy green pepper. Because the recipe asked for that and I think it will be needed.

In the crockpot:
- 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock, on the bottom of the crock, plus an additional 1/2 cup on top of the chicken before putting the lid on. I freeze my chicken stock in 1/2 cup discs (Noosa yogurt containers) and drop them into the crock pot like that.

- garlic. I didn't have fresh cloves so I sprinkled in hearty amounts of garlic powder and added a touch of garlic pepper. I also sprinkled garlic pepper on the chicken before adding the lid to the crock pot.

- cumin. Recipe called for two tablespoons. I apparently only have one. Just found cumin. Bought some at Indian grocer. Perhaps more than a tablespoon added. For a total of about 2.5 tablespoons.

- tomato purée. The recipe called for some high amount of tomato paste and 2 fresh tomatoes. I thought I had tomato paste. I don't. I had a 28 ounce can of tomato purée. Which since the original recipe was stove top and mine is crock pot, I hope the additional liquid will burn off. When I opened the can, I was shocked to see *how much* 28 ounces of tomato purée is. A lot. I did not add tomatoes. My family is not overly find of them, so I may or may not add them later in the day.

- spices: pepper, paprika, lots of parsley and a pinch of chili powder. Recipe asked for cilantro. Don't have any. May add coriander. Yes, need to do that. Nope. Don't have that. Thought I did. 

- squash. Recipe called for butternut but I had this hacking huge yellow squash from the farmer's market.

- baby carrots. About a pound. Husband chopped them. I wouldn't have. The squash depleted my desire to chop.

- I stirred all this and plopped a frozen pile of about 2 pounds chicken thighs (skinless) on top. I seasoned with garlic pepper (as mentioned above) and placed a disc of chicken stock on top (also as mentioned earlier).

- After talking to my husband, we have decided to add a can of chick peas (in part because I had this incredible tomato based chick pea stew at Camp Mosey Wood this summer and this looks similar). So chick peas. Two 15.5 ounce cans. Drained.

Verdict: this was incredibly delightful