Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Unicorn Smoothies

i tried to make “unicorn” smoothies with natural ingredients.  The base is milk, yogurt, and frozen bananas.  For color, I added blackberries, mango, matcha and strawberry jam.  The colors are not as dramatic as the real thing but it tasted good.  I loved the combination of blackberries and matcha.

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Kale

I tried lentil quinoa soup in the instant pot today.  Since lentils cook up quickly it didn’t make much difference, time-wise, vs. cooking on the stove.  What I did like was that the cooking smell is more contained in the pot.  It’s chilly and we have a cold spell coming on.  It was a good day to bake bread too.

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I saw a photo online of someone wearing a “Kale” sweatshirt and found one on Amazon.  It goes nicely with my Harvard hoodie!!  (My friend went to Harvard, not me.)

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Catching Up

I’ve been accumulating photos and not posting, so here goes.  Tonight we had carrot fries, cooked in the air fryer.  I used nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.  They weren’t crispy but were delicious.  I’ll definitely make them again, probably try the parmesan.

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Over the weekend I made a three bean chile stew.  This had garbanzos, red beans and black beans.

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Veggies wereh green pepper, onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potato, fire-roasted tomatoes, with cumin, chile, paprika, salt and pepper for seasoning.

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Served over rice.  Nothing fancy but comforting.

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I’ve been reading a story about Beyond’s Beast Burger in a “Best Food Writing” compilation.  I have the book on my phone so read just a little at a time, like when I’m standing in line.  I gave them a try for Meatless Monday.  They are pricey, about $5 for 2.

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I cooked them on my Foreman Grill.  Towards the end of cooking, they emitted a weird smell.  I don’t know if it was the smoke flavoring.  The odor did not come across in the flavor, fortunately.

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Served them on regular buns with cheese, so not vegan, but the burgers themselves are vegan.  They were really good.  Reminded me of what Boca Burgers tasted like when they first came out.  (They don’t seem as good as they used to be, at least to me.)  I wish the Beast Burgers weren’t so expensive.  They will be a splurge.

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We had air-fried French fries with them, along with candied jalapenos.  I like pickled jalapenos better.  The candied ones did not have any salt and I think that rounds out the flavor better.

I’m caught up for now!  Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog.  I’m surprised whenever I am notified that someone “likes” a post or someone I’ve never heard of starts following the blog.  I appreciate it!

 

 

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Meatless Monday – Spinach & Artichoke Ravioli

Tonight’s dinner was relatively simple.  Just store-bought spinach artichoke ravioli, frozen spinach pesto (cleaning out the freezer), with steamed veggies & garlic breadsticks.  I have been trying vegetables in the air fryer but find some things turn out too dry, like brussels sprouts.  I prefer them steamed.  Carrots as well.  The ravioli was from Sam’s Club.  I liked the tartness the cream cheese added to the filling (cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta).

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A few days ago I tried a “cheeze sauce” from “Vegan Bowl Attack.”  It has soaked cashews, water, tomato paste, spices, and nutritional yeast.  I put it on air fried potatoes.  It was just OK.  I added too much onion powder, which was overpowering.  I’m going to use the leftover sauce for potato leek soup.

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Chickpea Salad

I wanted to prepare something that would make our dinner salads heartier.  I saw this recipe based on a Whole Foods item, curried chickpea salad.  I’m currently reading Marcus Samuelsson’s “Yes, Chef” memoir, in which he writes about Berbers seasoning, so I had that in my mind.  I substituted berbere for curry, and added grated carrots.

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The closest thing to injera bread that I had was naan.  This one is from Trader Joe’s.  It’s from the freezer section, and is baked for less than 2 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  It turns out crispy!

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Everything was good, but the berbere seasoning, from Penzey’s, was a bit too hot.  The first ingredient is cayenne.  Maybe a combination with curry would have been better.  I loved the addition of raisins.

 

 

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Meatless Monday – Pasta with Mushrooms & Chard

I was watching an old Anthony Bourdain episode about Rome, where he was eating Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper).  I made my own version which was also sort of Aglio Olio (garlic and oil) plus threw in some mushrooms and swiss chard.

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We had salad to go along with it, using this kale medley I found at Sam’s Club.

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Lately the lettuce in the store has been pretty sad-looking.  I had considered getting spinach but it gets wilty quickly, and then I saw the kale mix.  Love it.  Add a few extra veggies, and voila, salad.

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Veggie Burgers and Microwave Kale Chips

I didn’t make it to the farmers market this week because I needed to go to Sam’s Club (and didn’t want to be out all day shopping).  I found a new veggie burger called Don Lee Farms Farmers Market Blend Veggie Patty.  It’s made from carrots, celery, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini, breadcrumbs, sunflower seeds, soybean oil, salt, carageenan, spice, garlic, and parsley, and is vegan.

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To go along with them, I made kale chips in the microwave for the first time.  Basically you prepare the kale the same as for baking in the oven (cut or tear into pieces, coat lightly with olive oil and seasoning), lay the pieces out on a plate and microwave them for about 2 minutes, flipping them halfway through.  Mine took about 2 minutes 15 seconds.  What I liked about this method is that the kale cooks more evenly.  Here’s the kale before cooking.

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And after cooking.  The small pieces did cook faster but didn’t char like they would in the regular oven.  You still need to keep an eye on them, though.

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The veggie patties were good, had a potato-ey flavor.  I really liked the sunflower seeds.  I did think they were a little bland and next time might try putting them in naan and season with curry or garam masala.  I’m kind of in burn out mode from veggie burgers made from soy or mycoproteins, these were a nice change.  I served them on Orowheat Hawaiian buns, also from Sam’s Club.

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St. Patrick’s Day

We had cabbage and carrots for St. Patrick’s Day, in egg roll form.  I added some mashed tofu for protein.

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I’ve baked egg rolls before and thought I’d try baking them in a convection oven, in hopes of “air frying” them.  I was hopeful when I saw blisters forming on the wrappers.  They ended  up being better than regular baked but not as good as fried.  Kind of like how a baked burrito is not the same as a chimichanga.  I liked that it was no mess, though.

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We also had Irish soda bread.  The recipe I found had baking soda in it but no baking powder.It was better this morning, split and toasted.  Aren’t the skillets cute?  I got them for Christmas.  I originally wanted them to make individual skillet cookies  brownies, to serve a la mode.

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Meatless Monday – Bruschetta Pasta

We have an abundance of home-grown tomatoes here.  Not wanting them to go to waste, I decided to have bruschetta for dinner.  My sister had made it when I visited and it always reminds me of her.  As I was preparing the tomatoes for balsamic bruschetta, I changed my mind and decided to mix them with pasta instead, since there was so much juice.

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I boiled up some linguine, mixed it with the tomato mixture, and voila, dinner was ready.

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I made cheese and pesto toast with  the ciabatta roll originally destined for bruschetta,

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Earlier in the day, my afternoon pick-me-up snack was affogato, which literally means “drowned” in Italian.  It’s gelato (or ice cream), drowned with espresso.  Even though mine had caffeine, I managed to fall asleep for a short nap after drinking it.  It’s one of my favorite desserts that I forget about because it’s so simple.

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Pickles Three Ways

I made three kinds of pickles with the 2 quarts of pickling cucumbers I got at the farmers market this weekend.

First I tried a new recipe that happened to show op on Facebook, for refrigerator pickles.  There’s sugar in the brine so I imagine they are a little like bread and butter pickles.

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The second batch was cold brine dill pickles, using a recipe I found years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Basically you put scrubbed cucumbers in a jar, add garlic and a sprig of dill (I used about half a teaspoon of dill seeds), then fill the jar with brine.  For 4-5 pounds of pickling cucumbers, the brine consists of:

3 quarts water
1 quart white vinegar
1 cup pickling salt

Combine water, vinegar and pickling salt; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and refrigerate overnight in glass or plastic jars.

I made about 1/3 of the recipe for these two jars, with a little brine left over.

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The easiest recipe is one I learned from my mother-in-law.  Save the brine from a jar of pickles, add new cucumbers, refrigerate, and after a week or so, you have new pickles.  I think she waits longer than a week though, they get better over time.

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