04 November 2015

J & L's West African Peanut Stew

There is a big vegan event occurring in our small mid-western town: I've started a monthly vegan potluck! September was our first and was a great success. Although I knew many of the people who came the first night, there were still some folks new to me, and many of the people who came didn't really know each other. Regardless, we all laughed, shared feelings about how amazing it was to be able to eat everything on the table, and joked that it was nice to be in a place where we didn't have to explain our food choices or be "jokingly" offered a bit of someone's steak/burger/bacon. Our second potluck went as well as the first and November's gathering is just around the corner! We're building a little community of vegans, which is just so awesome.

For me, one of the most fun parts of these monthly gatherings (aside from feeling less isolated) is the ability to try and share new recipes with other vegans. After every potluck, we've compiled our recipes and shared them with the others on the email list. I've eaten some amazing new things and even my food neophobic wife has tried (and enjoyed) everything. The recipe below arrived at our first vegan potluck from our new vegan friends J & L (I'm not sure if they would want me to post their names, so I'm refraining). This dish was SO good that Shana and I have made it twice since our first potluck, which is more than we've made anything - aside from soup, because soup - since then. This really is a winner of a dish - delicious, easy, and inexpensive! You may even have all of the ingredients in your pantry already, so what are you waiting for?!

20 October 2015

Maggie's Vegan Kugel

It's funny how sometimes you just don't realize how impactful some element of your life actually is. For example, my wife didn't realize how much growing up in a predominantly Jewish community affected her world view, including the foods she eats. Although I've written about making foods that honor Shana's Jewish heritage, such as frisket and matzo ball soup, there was one food we lamented that I'd never be able to make: a sweet noodle kugel.

Shana used to love her Mommom's sweet kugel, which was built around egg noodles, cottage cheese, and apricot preserves. Not a lot there that is vegan-friendly. Although I've been thinking about kugel for years, I kept getting stuck on cottage cheese, as there's no vegan equivalent. But then, when looking around the internet for recipes for a Shabbot dinner we were invited to* with some of Earlham's Jewish students, I found a recipe for kugel that looked like it might work for my purposes! Using a combination of sour cream and mashed tofu, I was hoping for a cottage cheese like texture. After a couple of attempts, where every time Shana would get excited and nostalgic all at one, I finally stumbled upon a recipe that replicates Shana's Mommom's sweet kugel.

04 October 2015

Vegan Stuffed Shells

This semester has started off at a run and I'm not sure I'm catching up. Thus, I haven't had a lot of time to make new meals. Well, that's not quite true. I've made two, both of which were delicious, I just haven't had time to post them. This particular dinner we ate weeks ago. And wow, was it good! The mellow flavor of the garlic is just wonderful and the texture of the tofu mixture is perfect. Shana also thought that flavor developed even more in leftovers.

I will say that this is not a meal you can make in a hurry. There are a lot of different parts that need to come together and you use a ton of dishes. But for a dinner party or something like that, this would a great option! It's something that non-vegans would find familiar, but not necessary miss the cheese due to the consistency of the tofu and the roundness of the flavors from garlic, miso, and nutritional yeast.

23 August 2015

Maggie's Wild Rice Salad

A new semester of classes starts next week for me. I've met my incoming first-year advisees. Shana's new job has started. We have had the windows open more regularly because the weather has been cooler and less humid. My dad was talking about the ripening acorn squash in his garden. All of this indicates that summer is winding down. However, if you're not quite ready to let go of summer, with its hot days and more relaxed schedule, have I got a recipe for you.

I've been meaning to make this wild rice salad all summer (what can I say, Minnesotans love wild rice), but never got around to it for one reason or another. But yesterday we went to a pot-luck for a colleague's birthday and I needed something I didn't have to prepare immediately ahead of time. This was just occasion for wild rice salad, as it can chill for a few hours before you serve it.

We arrived to the pot luck, salad in hand, and it was gobbled up in short order. I did get a serving of it for myself, but I also wondered why I didn't make more of it. It made me realize why my mom often doubled the recipe when she brought it places. In any event, this salad is a wonderful warm-weather food and an excellent vegan option for a pot luck!

25 July 2015

Maggie's Grilled Tofu

It's summer. I love summer for a number of reasons: Shana loves summer, the world is full of beautiful colors, and the foods planted in the spring are ripening like magic. Our CSA is in full swing, so we are reaping the bounty of summer foods. This week, we got green beans, a head of lettuce, two cucumbers, a zucchini, fingerling potatoes, onions, garlic, and two kinds of tomatoes.

Here's the problem. I hate humidity paired with any temp much above 70, which pretty much captures midwestern summers perfectly. For me, what ends up happening is that I don't want to eat or cook anything. Combining this tendency with our travels, we haven't eaten anything new or noteworthy in weeks. Feeling ready for something new, tonight's dinner on our weekly meal plan simply said "new." Such dinners work well when I plan what I'd like to cook early in the week, but I neglected to do that this week. Luckily, my lack of planning led to a thrown-together dinner highlighting summer's bounty. We had a simple green salad (CSA lettuce, carrots, celery, and cucumber, with peppers and toasted almonds) with vegan ranch dressing, CSA green beans, sweet corn from another local farm (which we grilled to perfection), and grilled tofu (which is simple enough that I feel silly calling it a recipe). Altogether, this dinner was amazing and the quintessential vegan summer meal.

30 June 2015

Maggie's Vegan Cream of Chard Soup

Oh readers, I struggle. It's been over a month since last I posted! I'd like to be able to say that I've been doing amazing things that have kept me away, but the reality is that I've just been living life and cooking the same recipes we already know and love. Even with the CSA, I just  haven't been that creative with foods - with one major exception. This soup.

We got chard in our CSA shares for a couple of weeks and I remembered a soup we'd had years ago. I tried to recreate it after asking about ingredients, but then decided I didn't like the smell of one of the ingredients. Instead, I switched things up a bit and ended up with something delicious. Seriously, this soup is amazing. The richness of it makes it ideal for any season, but using fresh spring/summer chard is a great idea.

23 May 2015

Maggie's Spring Carrot Salad

If you read my last post, you'll know that our awesome CSA has been giving us lots of carrots. The past two weeks, we've also gotten some beautiful French breakfast radishes. One of the things I was so excited about with our CSA is that it would force me to explore new (or in this case, new uses) for veggies. Enter this salad. 

Apparently, shredded carrot salads are common in other parts of the world, but Americans don't eat them that often. I don't know why that's the case, because this salad was so easy and delicious. The only thing ingredient I don't keep on hand is the green onions, which is easily remedied. This salad comes together in no time with the aid of a shredding disc for a food processor. As the weather gets warmer, I'm thinking that this will be making an appearance on our menu more frequently and might even go to some warm-weather pot lucks.