31 March 2017

KMW's Vegan Honduran Black Bean Soup

It was this time two years ago that we were moving into our new house. We are so happy here and a lot of that has to with our neighbors. We have AWESOME neighbors.

One set of our across the street neighbors, Katie and Marc, work at one of the other colleges in town. Both of them are biological anthropologists. They do field work where they dig for bones or artifacts in carefully arranged grids. (And habits die hard; you should have seen them digging a very precise 3'x3' hole for a new tree they planted!) Although they do field work in a variety of places, one of their primary locations is Honduras.

A while back, they invited us over for dinner. They were a little worried about what vegan thing to cook, but then realized that a traditional meal they ate while doing field work in Honduras could easily be made vegan. Katie Neighbor* told me that two women, Rosa Hernandez and Elvia Martinez, in Copan, Honduras taught her the recipe. I'll never meet these women, but I am SO glad they shared with her. This black bean soup was so. freaking. good. Seriously good. The underlying flavor is layered and complex and round. Plus, each of us gets to personalize our own bowl with the via all sorts of add-ins. Finally, while I hate to tell anyone how to eat, whichever add-ins you choose, you simply must add the radishes! Yes, radishes.



05 March 2017

Lazy Dinner Quesadillas

It's been quiet around these here parts, huh? I've got all sorts of backlogged recipes, plus, when spring rolls around I get sick of everything we've been eating over the winter, but still no blog posts. Sad for me (and you!).

But, here's a quick and easy Lazy Dinner (or lunch or snack or appetizer or whatever) to tide you all over until I actually get around to posting real things: quesadillas.

Lazy Dinner Quesadillas were something I would periodically eat when Shana was still working in Indianapolis. Without a plan to come home and make/eat dinner, I would often stay at school until mid-evening and then come home famished. I needed something that would fill my tummy in as little time as possible. By relying on a few convenience foods (e.g., vegan cheese shreds and store-bought tortillas), all I needed was a veggie or two (or three) to throw into the mix. Into a hot pan went my ingredients and a satisfying dinner emerged in under 5 minutes.

This particular LD Quesadilla was prompted by just a few caramelized onions left over from mujaddara we had with friends a few nights ago. The onions are soooooo good that we just couldn't waste them. Adding a few ripped spinach leaves and some vegan cheese and I was all set.


30 January 2017

Alphabentil Soup (veggie soup with pasta & lentils)

I'm not sure it's ever been two months in between blog posts. That's so sad for me (and for you, if you've been looking for new recipes).

A lot has happened since my last blog post. The end of last semester has come and gone, the holidays have passed, a new year has dawned, a new semester started, a new president has been inaugurated - after which protests against his actions have occurred, :"alternative facts" became a thing (?), and I've presented research with one of my undergrads at a conference. Oh, and I submitted my tenure portfolio. (EEEK!!) On top of all of that, it's still January, so the weather is chilly.

Given all of that craziness, I've been seeking out comfort. Comfort from my wife, from friends and family, from rogue twitter accounts and Swear Trek (so good! but includes copious amounts of swearing). I've also been seeking out comfort in the food I've been making and eating, like this soup.

At it's heart, this is nothing more than an unremarkable vegetable soup. But that's part of what makes it so comforting. With the addition of green lentils, with their warm savoriness and toothsome chew, and whimsical alphabet-shaped pasta, this simple soup becomes both comforting and craving-worthy.

You can just see a little pasta "V" below the broccoli in the center. 

13 November 2016

Vegan Viands #19: Maggie's Vegan Ranch Chex Mix

Every late fall/early winter growing up, my mom would make chex mix. It was a frequent snack and even more frequent gift - going to teachers, neighbors, and friends. The smell and taste of that chex mix is unmistakable. It is one of those recipes that is so easy and delicious, taking just a bit of patience for a long, slow bake and seemingly longer cool. Although her recipe wasn't vegan, it was easily veganizable, meaning that I make my own every year.

Because of the ubiquity of my mom's chex mix, I thought that was the only way to take the on-their-own unremarkable cereals and make them into something magical.

As it turns out, I thought wrong.

Growing up, Shana often had a ranch-flavored chex mix. While similar in idea, the chex mix in Shana's recollection involved a ranch seasoning packet and oil, no bake time, and thus, no cooling time. This fall, when I expressed an interest in making my version, Shana requested that I attempt to make hers. After some googling, including to assess the ingredients of a ranch packet (so not vegan), I made an attempt. It was...not right. Fine, but not right. After some discussion, I made another version and brought it with us on a trip to see all our best friends. That version was delicious - not to mention gone in no time once we arrived.

So, if you're a vegan adult with memories of a ranch-style chex mix, look no further. This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and will last a bit longer than that if you make sure to hide some from the masses.


05 October 2016

Vegan Peruvian Lomo Saltado

More than three years ago, I mentioned that there were some Peruvian recipes in Bryanna Clark Grogan's World Vegan Feast that I wanted to try. Let's just say that life got a little bit hectic between then and now.

In any event, we have some Peruvian friends who work with me at Earlham and we have a night of dinner and games with them. Last month, I told them that I wanted to try cooking a vegan version of a popular dish in Peru called lomo saltado. According to Robertson, this dish is an example of a fusion between Chinese and Peruvian cuisine and has become an incredibly popular dish all over the country. Our friends agreed.

When we first decided to make lomo saltado, I was a bit perplexed by the variety of flavors that I saw in the dish. Traditional to Peruvian cuisine, potatoes play a role, as does steak (for which strips of seitan substitute wonderfully), vinegar, lime juice, oregano, and cumin. Traditional to Chinese cuisine, we have the stir-fry technique, along with soy sauce and rice. I was skeptical until I took my first bite, wherein I discovered what a wonderful and flavorful fusion these two traditions created! Our Peruvian friends thought it was delicious, too! Shana and I decided to have it again this week, which is why I'm sharing it with you.