Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Masa Experiment

I watched an episode of Rick Bayless’ PBS show, “Mexico on a Plate,” about corn the Oaxaca region.  He showed all kinds of quesadillas made from the masa, including one that was kind of a tamale.  The uncooked tortilla had a bean filling added to it, the edges folded in, then the little bundle was wrapped up on a corn husk like a tamale.  The part that appealed to me was that it was steamed for only 20 minutes.  I couldn’t find any recipes online so I had to wing it.

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So here’s the tortilla with the filling.  I used the leftover lentil and rice enchilada filling from Monday, plus some fresh corn.  I don’t have a tortilla press.  I tried pressing the dough between two cutting boards but that didn’t get it flat enough, so I ended up using a rolling pin.)  I gently folded the edges over, kind of like folding a burrito or making an envelope, then wrapped it in a softened corn husk.

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Into the steamer for 20 minutes, and voila….

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Without the lard in the masa (as for a tamale), the dough stuck a little to the husk but not too badly.  Since I already had the leftover filling, it didn’t take long to prepare.  I loved that it wasn’t greasy (like the store-bought tamales here), and that I could make the filling vegetarian.

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Herb Garlic Butter Burgers

I recently watched an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” that made me want to try making a butter burger.  It’s a hamburger with compound butter inside.  Thanks to the internet, I found a recipe with herb garlic butter.  I didn’t add too many herbs because I was afraid they would overpower the hamburger.  On the TV show, the two patties were used to sandwich the butter, so that’s what I did.  Here are the patties before the butter was sealed in.

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After the patties are cooked, they’re supposed to rest for a few minutes to allow the butter to get absorbed.  I gilded the lily by adding cambozola cheese to mine (camembert & gorgonzola) and my husband had pepper jack on his,  We both had homegrown tomatoes and spinach.  It was very decadent, the whole thing had a wonderful, subtle garlic flavor, and the butter made it rich (as you can imagine).

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The buns were homemade, from sweet potato bread dough.  I mixed everything in the bread machine, then shaped the dough into 6 rolls.  Baked at 375 for 15 minutes.  (Cover with foil if browning too quickly.)

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By the way, this dinner made quite the mess on my stove.  It took me half an hour to do the dishes, and clean the greasy stove and floor.  I had to super clean the stove, washing the grates and knobs.  I think in the back of my mind, that’s why I like lowfat vegetarian cooking, even if sometimes there are more dishes to wash, there isn’t as much of a greasy clean-up.

Here’s what I made the bread from:

6 T. milk (the recipe calls for sweet potato water but I didn’t save any)
1/4 cup mashed sweet potato
2 T. butter
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. bread flour (I probably used 1 3/4 c.)
1 t. yeast

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Almost Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans

I’ve been on a bean kick, they are so versatile, we’ve had three different kinds of bean dishes that are nothing alike (lentil burritos, black bean burgers and tonight the baked beans).  They’re almost vegetarian because of the worcestershire sauce, which contains anchovies.  I added a few other ingredients, to up the veggie factor, red & yellow pepper, plus cut down on the molasses and sugar, threw in some BBQ sauce (to replace half of the ketchup), and added cayenne.  Here’s the mixture before water was added.

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Definitely a keeper!  I’m glad I cut down on the sugar, it was sweet enough for my liking.  I was surprised that not using any salt pork or bacon was NOT missed.

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I made buttermilk biscuits to go on the side, following a recipe from the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook.   I quartered the recipe and got 4 biscuits, two cut from the biscuit cutter and two from the pressed together scraps.  Next time I think I’ll pat it out into a square and cut it into quarters.  I always forget how good homemade biscuits are.  (I just used a pastry blender to cut in the fat, instead of rubbing it into the flour by hand – it’s just too hot right now, I’m sure the butter would just melt.)

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Meatless Monday – Wet Burritos

I made the filling for spicy lentil enchiladas today – this is the third time I’ve used that recipe, I like it so much.  I added sauteed onion, garlic and bell pepper, and Instead of making enchiladas, I put the filling into burritos.  I also made some brown rice and seasoned it with lime juice and cilantro.

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I don’t know what exactly the difference is between a wet burrito and an enchilada, except for one has corn and the other has flour tortillas.  I covered the burritos with enchilada sauce and cheese, and baked them to warm through.

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The recipe makes a lot of filling, so I borrowed the idea here, and put together 6 burritos to freeze for later.  The black bean burritos look good too, I’ll have to try that sometime.  I had been buying the prepackaged 8-pack burritos from the grocery store, that have mystery meat.  I like the idea of knowing what the ingredients are, and being able to customize.

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Salsa Verde Black Bean Burgers

The photos of this burger looked good.  The last batch of black bean burgers I made, I pureed some of the ingredients in a food processor, with this recipe, it’s all stirred by hand.  I mixed it up in the early afternoon and set it in the refrigerator for a few hours.  I wasn’t quite sure if it would hold together for patties, since it was crumbly.  I was also skeptical of the half cup of cornmeal called for in the recipe, but added the whole amount in case it helped bind the ingredients together.

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The patties held together better than I thought.  I really liked that it had more texture than most bean burgers.  I love the fresh veggies in it too.  I did find it a little bland so with the leftovers, I mixed in some Penzey’s Southwest Seasoning, shaped into patties and put them in the freezer.  I’m trying to make entrees ahead of time that are quick to prepare.

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Barbecue Tofu and Potatoes

I bought some tofu packaged in an aseptic container and tried pressing it to see how it compared to the other kind of tofu, in the refrigerated section.  It wasn’t as coarse and I got a lot more water out of it.  I coated both sides with barbecue sauce then baked it in a 400 oven for about 20 minutes, turning once.  Originally I was going to serve rice with it but then I remembered I had potatoes to use.  I boiled them, roughly smashed and added some chopped spinach, cream cheese, salt and pepper.  We also had spinach salad with homegrown tomato, and a tiny bit of leftover soup (not pictured).  Not a “normal” combination but each component was good.

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Meatless Monday – Curry Lime Vinaigrette with Soba Noodles

Today’s inspiration came once again from ingredients I have in my refrigerator that need to be used up:  coconut milk, cilantro and limes.  The local Mexican grocery store often sells limes for like 20 for $1 so I buy 10, use some, then forget about the rest.  I was down to the last 2.  At first I was going to make a peanut coconut sauce from the Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook.  When I pulled it out, I happened to see Curry Lime Vinaigrette, so I went for that, since I’ve never made it.  I only made half a batch.  I also toasted the curry powder in a pan without the sesame oil (so I wouldn’t have a greasy pan to clean), and used less soy sauce (it seemed like a lot).  Here’s the dressing.

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The recipe suggests making a salad with greens, quinoa, sauteed tempeh, and raisins.  The sesame oil flavor was so predominant (I’ll use less next time), I ended up making a salad with soba noodles and chopped vegetables (broccoli, red & yellow pepper, green onion, carrot).  It was good!  Next time I’ll tweak the dressing ingredients more to my taste, though, less sesame oil, more curry, maybe cayenne, and more lime juice.  I still have a bunch of dressing so I might try it with the quinoa and tempeh or tofu.

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I’ve only been to the Native Foods Cafe once, in Palm Desert.  I loved it and wish we had more vegetarian options in East Texas.  We’re supposed to be getting one in Dallas by the end of 2014.  That’s not exactly local to me but better than nothing!

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Sweet Potato Biscuits and Cream Peas

Originally I was going to try cooking cream peas in a pressure cooker, I found a recipe that takes 4 minutes, but once I started gathering my ingredients together, I thought it would be such a small batch I’d just use a regular saucepan.  (Is that a run-on sentence or what?!)  I followed the standard Southern unwritten recipe of bacon, onion, garlic, water and peas, plus a little vegetable bouillon.

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I had been on a cornbread kick, and thought about sweet potato biscuits today.  My favorite recipe is from Paula Deen, and it only requires half a stick of butter.  The recipe calls for mixing together the sweet potatoes, butter, and milk.  Since it doesn’t say cold or room temperature butter, I cut the butter in to the flour mixture first, then added the sweet potatoes and milk.  I baked the biscuits in a buttered pie tin, an “antique” from Marie Calenders, from the days when you would get your pie tin deposit back when you returned it.  I wish they still did that, instead of disposable aluminum pie tins.  I have some from Bakers Square and Fat Apples too.  I saved the rest of the dough to make apple dumplings with tomorrow.

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I just love these biscuits!  They’re light and fluffy, and they’re great for Thanksgiving, since there are usually sweet potatoes around.

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Meatless Monday – Orzo Salad and Pan Con Tomate

Aside from cooking the pasta and reheating leftovers, we had a no-cook dinner tonight.  Earlier today I made an orzo salad, with garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes, chopped red & yellow pepper (If I don’t use green, I can slip it by the picky eater in the house), cucumber and onions.  I dressed it with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Penzey’s Greek seasoning.  I also threw in the “crumbs” from a container of feta cheese.  We also had pan con tomate, a Spanish tapas staple.  It’s just toasted bread, rubbed with garlic, tomato, then drizzled with olive oil.  I forgot to sprinkle on salt but I tend not to use extra salt anyway.  To round out the dinner, I had just a little of the curry leftover from last week.  I only used 3/4 cup of orzo and it made a big bowl.  I might add some tuna to the leftovers for lunch later in the week.

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More Curry

Last night we had yellow curry, tonight we had red.  My version of “fusion” cuisine involves throwing everything from the refrigerator into the pot.   This time, I had sweet potato, carrots, baby bella mushrooms, tofu, edamame, broccoli, onion, green pepper, garlic, along with vegetable broth, red curry paste and coconut milk.  Since we had rice the last two nights, I made it more of a soup with udon noodles.  The vegetables were better just being simmered on the stove, vs. for hours in the crockpot.  It’s over 100 degrees today.  Hot soup that makes you sweat is supposed to cool you down.

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