It’s no secret that I love to cook and experiment with food. I love the challenge of looking for delicious, healthy recipes that are easy to make and are within my food budget.
This ongoing culinary quest has led me right smack into the middle of some pretty awesome vegan cooking. Now don’t let the word “vegan” scare you off here. I let it frighten me away from some great recipes in the past — but no longer!
What got me on this path was my intense love for ice cream was no longer jiving with my body. Poor stomach! Dairy and I were just not getting along anymore. So I started to look for the same comfort food I like and crave but with a dairy free version.
Luckily I have a copy of Veganomicon on hand. If you are at all interested in cooking without animal products, are lactose intolerant or have other diet issues, get yourself a copy of this book. The recipes are delicious, easy to prepare, and, for the most part, work with a majority of items already in a well-stocked pantry.
This past weekend I made the “Mac Daddy” – a dairy-free version of macaroni and cheese. While it’s not an exact replica (how can it be) it was pretty damn tasty! I added in some spinach to make sure I had something green and served it along side some steamed green beans with toasted almonds. The best part came when I had my roommates taste it — and they had no idea it was dairy-free! WIN!
I also made this Winter Vegetable Chili from Food & Wine. To keep in the dairy-free theme, I made the cilantro sour cream from Veganomicon to use as a topping along side some blue corn tortilla chips. WIN AGAIN! The parsnips add a delicious, earthy bite to the chili and the chipotle peppers are smooth and smoky.
I’ve got pictures of the chili, which I’ll add to the post later today (they’re still on my camera).
Have you been experimenting around with your eating habits since the New Year? What kinds of recipes have you discovered that have wowed you?
This just keeps getting better and better! Week 4′s haul included beets, little white turnips, carrots, chicory, snap peas swiss chard, baby fennel and broccoli raab. I fully confess to eating the entire bunch of chard for dinner that first night. Gently steamed, it was a plateful of the sweetest greens I’ve ever eaten.
Week Four haul
The fennel was thinly sliced and used in this Shaved Fennel Salad. I didn’t have any thyme but I had all the rest of the ingredients kicking around. I will definitely make this salad again should any fresh fennel come my way. It tastes so much lighter and sweeter when it’s fresh, rather than the pungent, licorice-y taste of the stuff from the grocery store. The only downside was that while chopping the parsley, I chopped off a good chunk of my left ring finger. First ever kitchen injury with a knife. Until now, I’ve prided myself on my knife skills and always having sharp, good knives. Ah well. They always says pride comes before the fall. Guess it’s time to sharpen my knives and be a little more mindful when I’m working in the kitchen.
The snap peas, raab and beet greens traveled with me to Rhode Island, where I’ll be for the 4th of July holiday. Last night Ed and I sauteed the beet greens with a little garlic – delicious! (We then watched 28 Days Later, which Ed had never seen. I’ve seen it a couple times now and it still gives me nightmares.)
We’ll probably cook up the raab in the next day or so – just a simple prep of quick cooking the raab to draw out the bitterness, then sauteeing it with some garlic and onion. Pretty basic, but will be a great side dish to some sort of healthy protein.
As for the rest, well, I’m thinking of something southwestern-themed since I have some black beans, brown rice and a bunch of cilantro still kicking around. I’d like to re-create the cilantro sour “cream” from Veganomicon … so maybe quesadillas or tacos? We’ll see what I come up with on Monday night! And then there’s all those lovely root vegetables (beets, turnips and carrots) to roast as well. This salad really caught my eye the other day. Perhaps something similar will find it’s way on to my plate. All I’d need are some sweet potatoes and an avocado.
Have a happy, healthy, fun and food-filled Fourth!