Tag Archives: potatoes

Potato, Spinach, and Summer Squash Gratin AND Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus!

My non-vegan friends are often curious about what I can and can’t eat.  “I’d miss eggs!”  “I couldn’t do without cheese!” are the most common responses.  I admit, the first month of being vegan, I did miss both.  But now with recipes like this, those cravings are a thing of the past.  I found myself drooling just now while editing the images for this post.

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Today’s post is based on this recipe from The Fat Free Vegan.  A few weeks ago, I made it very similarly to the original, subbing broccoli and kale for the broccoli rabe (because that’s what was in the fridge!).  It was love at first frittata-y, gratin-y, quiche-y bite, and I knew I’d found more than a recipe; I’d found a method I could apply to many of my former egg custard type recipes.  Oh stratas, how I’ve missed you!  Anyway, if you’re already vegan, you probably have what you need in your fridge.  Sub in whatever veggies you like/have on hand.  The potatoes make it hearty and filling, so I’d recommend keeping them to serve this as a main dish.

ingredients

For the Gratin:

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste for each layer
  • a small package of baby spinach, blanched
  • 1 smallish yellow squash, cut into half-moons and steamed
  • 1 smallish zucchini, cut into half moons and steamed
  • 1 (12 oz) package extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed of all its liquid
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaping TBSP potato or corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 2 tsp fresh chopped basil

For Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus:

  • 1 pound trimmed asparagus
  • cooking spray
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 400F, and spray a 2 qt casserole or gratin dish.  Wash and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and arrange in a single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside until ready to assemble your gratin.

chop and bake potatoes

While potatoes bake, cut squash into half-moons and steam until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.  Blanch the spinach in boiling water until just wilted and drain.

slice and steam squash

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and pourable, adding additional non-dairy milk as needed.

tofu etc in blender

Assemble the gratin, starting with the potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

layer potatoes first

Next, layer on the spinach, season with salt and pepper.

layer blanched spinach

Then layer the squash on top of the spinach.  Separate by color if you like or mix them.  Again, sprinkle salt and pepper.

layer steamed squash

Pour the tofu mixture over the top, and using a spoon, gently move the veggies around without mixing the layers to allow the tofu mixture to get in between.  Smooth the top.

pour tofu mixture

Bake 40-50 minutes, until the liquid has thickened, feels firm and is golden brown on top.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

bake til firm and golden

While the gratin bakes, prepare Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus.  Lay trimmed asparagus in  single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  While the gratin rests, bake the asparagus for 10-15 minutes–until you can smell it and the tips start to brown.

spray, salt and roast asparagus

Serve up wedges of gratin with roasted asparagus on the side.  OMGosh, so, so yummy!  The smooth, gooey, almost cheesy texture and consistency of the gratin is very reminiscent of those eggy, custardy favorites.  The asparagus is a favorite around here, especially in the spring when it can be stalked and harvested in the wild in the fields between Becky’s and my house.  Her method also works with green beans (I added pressed garlic–yum!), and Brussels sprouts.

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My son, currently not-vegan, thought the squash version was better than the broccoli version and suggested it would also be yummy for breakfast.  And it was!  He had his with an over-easy egg and cheese on top, Michael and I enjoyed it as is.  (Michael’s with hot sauce, as usual!)

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What will be in your gratin/quiche/fritatta/strata?!

 

 

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian

“Cheesy” Broccoli Mashers

Potatoes are my ultimate comfort food.  I love them baked, fried, mashed, boiled, stuffed, scalloped,… I don’t think I’ve encountered a potato I didn’t like.  Aside from being comforting and yummy, potatoes are nutritious–containing almost half your daily requirement for vitamin C in a single potato!   This post is really more of a technique rather than a recipe–think of what you’d stuff a baked potato with–and mashers can be your go-to side dish in no time.

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Just a few ingredients, a couple of pans and you’re on the way:

ingredients

  • 4 medium red or yellow potatoes–“boiling” potatoes work best for mashers–washed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 bunch of broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 packet of vegan cheese sauce, (purchased at a natural foods grocery) prepared according to the package, thinned with 1/2 cup soy milk
  • extra soy milk to adjust the texture of the mashers

Cut your veggies into pieces of a similar size, cover with water and boil until potatoes are fork tender.  I don’t peel the potatoes to keep as much of the nutrition intact as possible.

chop and boil

Prepare the cheese sauce and thin it a bit with non-dairy milk.  Set aside.

prepare cheese sauce

Drain the veggies and place back into the hot pan to cook off any left-over water.  Add the cheese sauce.

drain and add sauce

Mash everything together, adding a bit more non-dairy milk to adjust the texture to your preferences.  I like to leave my mashers a bit chunky.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mash

Serve as a side dish!  Mashers are a yummy and nutritious alternative to chips or fries with (veggie!) burgers.

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What will you put in your mashers?

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Lentil, Mushroom and Rice Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce

St. Patrick’s Day is lurking right around the corner; the time of year this Norwegian starts callin’ herself Fiona and enjoys doin’ the Irish thang: the wearin’ of the green, drinking beer, eating corned beef and cabbage…..Wait!  What’s a vegan to do about that last thing?!  Cabbage Rolls!  Cooked just like corned beef and cabbage, spices and all.  Served with Irish Soda Bread and a stout beer.  Who needs the corned beef?yum4

In spite of the use of a slow cooker, this meal is time-intensive.  If you don’t have all day, cook the cabbage to “harvest” the leaves and make the filling the night before or even on multiple nights before.  The mustard sauce can also be made in advance.  Bake the soda bread right before serving dinner for maximum yumminess.

My go-to vegan blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen got the cabbage rolling, my recipe is based on hers.

ingredients cabbage rolls

For the cabbage rolls:

  • 1 large cabbage
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (from 1 1/4 cup dry–follow package instructions, adding 2 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to the pot)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or other cooked grain of your choice:  bulgur, quinoa, barley,….)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  (4 cloves shown, because you need 2 for the lentils)
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Added to the crock pot to make a whole meal:

  • 4 or 5 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled or not)
  • 1 celery heart, chopped
  • 1 TBSP pickling spices
  • 1 stout or porter beer
  • No Chicken broth, for the pot and to saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms

Cook the lentils and rice (separately) according to package directions, adding garlic, salt and pepper to lentils as they cook.

simmer lentils

Cutting at an angle, remove the core from your cabbage, along with any outer leaves that look a bit gnarly.

remove core

Place the cabbage, core-side up in a large pot and fill with water until the cabbage starts to float, or is covered.  Bring to a boil and simmer, carefully pulling off leaves with tongs as they begin to loosen.  I helped some of mine to loosen using a knife near the core end.

simmer cabbage, core up

Collect 10-12 leaves if large, up to 14 if you end up with some smallish ones.

collect leaves as they loosen

Saute onions and garlic in broth until onions start to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes, adding more broth as needed.  Add mushrooms and saute until softened and water that the mushrooms give off has cooked off.

saute onions garlic and shrooms

Combine lentils, rice, mushrooms, onions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl.

mix filling

Trim the thick stem on each cabbage leaf to allow for easier rolling.

trim thick stem

Place about 1/3 cup of filling near the stem end of a cabbage leaf.  I measured for the first leaf, and eyeballed it from there.

place filling near stem

Fold the stem end over the filling.

fold stem end over filling

Fold in each side.

fold sides in

And roll tightly, placing rolls seam-side down in the bottom of your crock pot.  I didn’t have some of mine rolled tightly enough and some of the rolls came apart while cooking.  (Lentils on the loose!)  I would recommend refraining from overfilling your rolls (my tendency) so you can get the cabbage to roll a second time over the filling, or to fasten the rolls with toothpicks.

roll up tightly

Keep rolling and packing.  It’s best to try to squish them all on the bottom in one layer.  My crock pot is smallish and making two layers added to the issue with the rolls coming apart–I think.

place in bottom of cooker

Place carrots, potatoes and celery on top of the rolls.  Sprinkle with pickling spice or place the spice in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag if you want to contain them.  Pour the beer over the top; add No Chicken Broth to cover.

add potatoes carrots celery spices and liquids

Place crock pot on high for 4 1/2 hours.  Sometime during the slow cooking, make the mustard sauce:

ingredients gravy

  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 TBSP miso (white or yellow)
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP soy
  • 4 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • ground pepper

Place broth in a medium pan and heat to a simmer.  Dissolve cornstarch in non-dairy milk, whisk into the simmering broth.  Whisk in miso, nutritional yeast, soy and Dijon.  Add pepper to taste.  Beware–watch this sauce carefully while heating it.  It boils over quickly and will leave quite a mess for you to clean up.  Not that I’ve ever done that……

simmer until thick

Make soda bread right before the cabbage rolls and veggies are ready, open up a nice, cold, dark beer, top everything with a bit (or  lot!) of the mustard sauce and TADA!

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This meal totally has the feel of a corned beef and cabbage meal–just as savory, hearty, filling and yummy!

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I made everything in one day and felt like I’d spent all day cooking and washing dishes.  The meal was so worth it, but I’m using the cook some of it ahead of time method next year!  Happy St Patty’s Day!

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dairy-free, dinner, Holiday foods, recipe, Vegetarian

Louise’s Creamy Chipotle Carrot Soup (and Cauliflower Steaks)

We have such great friends.  Friends who welcome us into their house even if they’re not there.  Friends who adjust dinner menus according to our newly vegan ways.  This amazing creamyspicysmokyhearty soup pleased everyone at the table.  A perfect soup for chilly weather.  And actually, pretty tasty chilled.  And, as most complexly-flavored foods are, better the next day.  Mmmmmm….yummy!

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Run out to the garden or the produce section to gather up what you need:

soup ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and diced (about 6 large-ish carrots)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce), minced
  • 1 TBSP adobo sauce (from the can)
  • 2 cups No Chicken broth , plus more to saute veggies
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced scallions to garnish

In a large, deep pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in 2-3 TBSP of the broth.  Cook until starting to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes–adding additional broth as needed to prevent sticking.

saute onions and garlic

Add the carrots, potatoes and chipotle.  Cook for 5 more minutes.

add carrots potatoes and chipotle

Add 2 cups broth and adobo sauce.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

add broth and adobo

Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender.

remove from heat and blend

Keep blending until smooth.

blend until smooth

Return to low heat and add the non-dairy milk and season to taste.

add soy milk and season

Serve garnished with chopped scallions and roasted cauliflower steaks.  (Recipe below.)

serve with cauliflower steaks

The Roasted Cauliflower Steaks couldn’t be simpler!  All you need is:

ingredients for cauliflower steaks

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchement paper, silicon mats or cooking spray.

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and cut the stem off so it will sit flat.

remove leaves

Cut the cauliflower in half, then make two 1/2-inch slices from each side, through the stem so the pieces hold together.  Save the rest for a salad or something….

slice in half then into steaks

Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet.  Spray lightly with cooking spray, add salt and pepper.  Flip the steaks over and do the same to the other side.

place steaks on prepared pans and season

Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, carefully flipping about halfway through the cooking time.  Serve along side the soup for a perfect pairing.  Yum!  Roasted cauliflower is so sweet and tender.  Yummy on it’s own, alternating bites with the soup, or even dipped into the soup.

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I love, love, love the balance of smoky-spicey from the chipotle, sweet from the carrots, and hearty from the potatoes in this soup.  Perfect as an appetizer or with the cauliflower steaks as a meal!  Yummy vegan-wonderfulness!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

You’d Never Guess it’s Vegan Potato Soup

Not long ago I was strutting about with the perfection of my Best Ham and Potato Soup Ever.  Oh how I loved the ham hock that slow cooked with the potatoes, surrounding them in rich, smoky wonderfulness.  The tender pieces of ham.  The sprinkling of cheese melting into the top.  Yup.  Then Michael and I decided to be vegan for health reasons.  But baby, it’s cold outside!  I wants me some comforting potato soup!

Challenge accepted.

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The changes: milk–becomes unsweetened almond milk, broth becomes “No Chicken Broth”, butter becomes broth, ham hock becomes Hickory Grill Shaker.  Vegan.  Fat-free.  Yummy.

ingredients

  • secret weapon2 -3 TBSP hickory flavoring (I used Hickory Grill Shakers, which also contain salt–add 1 TBSP at a time and taste after to avoid over-salting)
  • 6-7 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1 celery heart, chopped, leaves too
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 quart no-chicken broth or veggie broth
  • pepper to taste
  • 5 TBSP broth
  • 2 TBSP flour (Make this gluten-free by using rice or garbanzo flour, or by using corn starch.)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or soy or oat milk….)

Place 1 quart of broth in large pot over medium high heat.  Mince the garlic, chop the celery, onion and carrots and add them to the pot.

chop onion carrot celery garlic

Then chop the potatoes and add them to the pot.

dice potatos

Add hickory flavoring and season with black pepper to taste.  Add water or additional broth to cover the ingredients if needed.

all in the pot

Cover and cook for half an hour, then transfer everything to a crock pot.  Cook on high for an additional four hours.  This is when your house will have that warm and inviting comfort food aroma.  Mmmmmmm!

Place 5 TBSP broth in a pan over medium heat.

roux

Whisk in flour until it forms a “roux.”  Continue cooking for a minute to cook the “rawness” out of the flour.

Whisk in the almond milk, one cup at a time, and continue whisking until it comes to a boil.

add almond milk

Add milk mixture to the crock pot.

add thickened milk

Ladle up a nice big bowl-full and garnish with a bit of nutritional yeast (nice cheesy flavor, thickening) and fresh chopped green onion.  Maybe toast  a couple pieces of a nice crusty bread.  Now there ya go.

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A wonderful creamy, smoky, comfort-food-yummy soup.

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Both Michael and I were super pleased with how this soup came out.  Mr18 gave it an 8 out of 10, with 10 being the potato soup with ham.  Like most soups, it’s better and thicker the second day.  We had soup and “burgers” tonight–perfect!

We discovered and unexpected bonus while doing dishes.  The crock pot essentially wiped clean!  When I make the soup with ham, regular skim milk and chicken broth, I have to soak and scrub to get the crock pot clean.  This makes me wonder what I’ve been adding to my arteries all these years, and see how a fat free, vegan diet might just clean them all out–just like the studies say!

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dairy-free, dinner, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Just in time for St. Patty’s Day–classic Irish comfort food that practically cooks itself!  The March 2012 Everyday Food is full of awesome recipes, including this one.  Can you say yum?

Corned beef briskets are on sale pretty much everywhere right now, making this not only easy, but economical!  Gather everything, and toss it into the crockpot; you’ll have time to try to catch a leprechaun!

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges, root end intact
  • 1/2 pound small potatoes, cut in half if large
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 corned beef brisket (about 3 lbs) and spice packet, or 1 TBSP pickling spice
  • 1/2 head cabbage, Savoy if you can find it, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
  • grainy mustard for serving

Prepare celery, carrots, potatoes and onion.  Place them in a crockpot with thyme.

Place brisket on top, fat side up.  Sprinkle with spices and add enough water to almost cover the meat.  (This completely filled my crockpot–forcing an adjustment later….)

Cover and cook until corned beef is tender.  4 1/2 hours on high, or 8 1/2 hours on low.

Arrange cabbage over meat.  I moved the whole kit and kaboodle to a large pot on the stove–worked just fine.  Cover and continue cooking until cabbage is tender.  45 minutes on high, or 1 1/2 hours on low.  While the cabbage was cooking, I had enough time to make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread!  So fast,so  easy, and the perfect yummy addition to this comfort food meal!

Remove everything from the pot, carve the brisket and serve!  How ’bout a nice, cold, stout beer with this meal?!  Mmmmmm–perfect!

I ended up with not much left over, but plenty of brisket and potatoes to make a corned beef hash to have with over-easy eggs the next morning!  Yum!

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Comfort Food–Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

It seems the intersection of garden season, music performances and working at the greenhouse has put the kabosh on my blogging!  Take-out food has been a lifesaver lately, but I have had time to cook a bit.  The weather has been chilly here, and made me crave hot, creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham.  Mmmmm!

This is basically how my mom makes them, with a few changes–instant potato flakes instead of flour as a thickener, cream instead of milk, and cheese added to bring up the yummy factor.

  • 6 or 7 potatoes, peeled or not, thinly sliced
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided between layers
  • 1 1/2 cup instant potato flakes, divided between layers
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided between layers
  • 1-2 cups pre-cooked ham, cubed, divided between layers
  • salt (just a bit) and pepper
  • 2-3 cups cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 7×12 inch pan.

Peel potatoes if desired.  I like to leave peels on for the nutritional and flavor value.  Slice thinly.

Make a layer of potatoes using 1/3 of the potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of the pan), then 1 TBSP butter (cut into little bits to divide it over the potatoes evenly-ish) 1/2 cup potato flakes, sprinkled evenly, 1/2 cup cheese, sprinkled evenly, 1/3 of the ham divided over the surface, salt and pepper and about 2/3 cup cream.  (Ham helps salt the potatoes, so you won’t need much more than a pinch per layer.  I like lots of pepper in scalloped potatoes–adjust pepper to your taste.)

 Make 2 more layers.  Place on the middle rack of the oven with a sheet pan on the rack underneath to catch any overflow.  (I have yet to get the cream just right so it doesn’t boil out of the pan!)  Bake 45-55 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender and entire pan is golden and bubbling.

Yummy!  Uber-creamy as any proper comfort food should be!  Leftover scalloped potatoes will wait in your fridge to welcome and comfort you the next day at lunch or dinner.  A quick turn in the microwave and they’re just as good (or maybe even better!) as the night before! 

Make them vegetarian by leaving out the ham.  Intensify the flavor by using a sharper cheese.

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