30 May 2013

Maggie's Vegan Quiche

Now that I'm back from my trip to Jordan, I feel like my summer is actually starting. I spent the past few days organizing little bits of things from the end of the semester (though I've more work to do) and even got some good "summer work" done today (data analysis and manuscript writing).

However, what makes it really feel like summer is that my mind is whirring with plans for all the things I want to try to cook! As of right now, my dining room table is covered with cookbooks and I've got a running list going. For example, there are couple of Peruvian recipes from World Vegan Feast I've been eyeing, I got a couple of ingredients that are hard to find here when we were gone over Memorial Day weekend some fun recipes I haven't made in a while (vegan whoopie pies, anyone?), and just today I got a new cookbook in the mail (Let Them Eat Vegan) that I won in a giveaway.

With all that said, tonight I opted for a tried and true recipe. Shana stayed in Indy tonight for a "meet the new families" school function, which meant that I could do what I wanted for dinner. I opted for vegan quiche, because Shana keeps trying to tell herself she doesn't like it (even though the last time I made she ate 1/4 of it herself). The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made with veggies you likely have hanging out in your fridge. My preference is green things (broccoli, spinach, etc.), but veggies like mushrooms or peppers would also be delicious. Regardless of what you put in it, this recipe will get eaten up whenever you make it. I've taken it to brunches and served it to guests for breakfast and dinner, and it always disappears.

27 May 2013

Lazy Dinner Pizza

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind! Since the beginning of May, I've finished the semester, given and graded finals, calculated final grades, attended commencement, traveled to Jordan for a week (in the Middle East) and back, and driven to see my best friends. Given all of this, plus the condiments-only state of our refrigerator (okay, technically we had a head of cabbage, some nuts, some carrots, and a few beers in there, too), it should come as no surprise that I wasn't much in the mood for cooking tonight.

We can certainly find places here in town where we can go out to eat, but we'd done that a lot recently and wanted something easy to eat at home. In situations like this, our go to dinner tends to be pizza. Thus, at the end of our 7+ hour drive, we stopped at the store to pick up ingredients for pizza dinner. 

I would love to tell you that our pizza uses only wonderfully healthy ingredients and that I make my dough and sauce from scratch, but I don't. Maybe someday I will do those things, but that pizza certainly won't be a lazy dinner pizza. Instead, this lazy dinner pizza relies on foods that you can find in nearly any grocery store (except for maybe the vegan cheese, but even that's gaining serious ground as far as store-space is concerned). It's not fancy and it stretches the boundaries of "homemade," but it sure is delicious, easy, and vegan. Some nights, that's all I need. 

14 May 2013

Maggie's Three Bean Salad

Just about a week ago I had my semi-annual Minion Dinner. Last Tuesday I had 7 "Minions" over (3 RAs and 4 TAs) for dinner and games. Although it rained a bit, we still had a great early summer get-together; they are such a great group! Because this was one of the bigger groups within the recent past, I was a little bit at a loss about what to make for dinner for everyone. However, after borrowing a grill from the neighbors, the meal was set. We had:
Maggie's Three Bean Salad

Shana and I normally eat grilled foil packets on their own, but I worried that non-vegan folks wouldn't feel full after only eating veggies, so I added the rice and the bean salad. I'd made a three bean salad before, but I couldn't remember what I'd put on it as a dressing. Plus, a google search yields a different recipe at every single hit. This obviously meant I had to make my own recipe. As we were eating, a couple of my minions asked me if various recipes were on my blog (I've been more vocal about that fact that this blog exists), which I found very touching. One of them asked specifically about this salad; I promised her I'd post it. A.M., this post is for you. 

09 May 2013

Fried Rice

Today is a big day, folks. First, this morning was my last final. As of right now, final grades for two of my classes are entered. One more to go. I have to read/grade 16 final papers, calculate those grades, enter those grades, give comments to another faculty member about the senior papers for which I'm the second reader, and then I'm done for the semester.

Second, here are a few things you may or may not know about me. I am originally from Minnesota. I am incredibly proud of being from Minnesota (perhaps more proud than a Minnesotan would show - only funny if you're from Minnesota). There are so many things that make my state awesome. Unrelated to being from Minnesota, I'm also a lesbian. That Shana character I talk about? She's my wife. In fact, the name of my blog is from a cookbook that she made for me and it's a play on the word lesbian. And that's me, a lesbian vegan. Today, my Minnesota world and my lesbian world started to collide, as the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to support same-sex marriage. Amazing. While the State Senate still needs to vote and the Gov. needs to sign things, both of those are expected to occur without a hitch.

With both of those good things happening today, tonight's delicious dinner (and the glass of red wine and celebratory cupcakes I'm cooking) was a great addition to my happy day. While I hesitate to call this an actual recipe, it's a really quick, easy, and incredibly tasty meal.

07 May 2013

Vegan Viands #9: Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Tonight was spring semester's minion dinner. Like last semester's dinner (and every one before that), we had a ton of fun. It rained a bit early on, so we didn't get to play as many outdoor games as I would have liked, but we got in some game playing and some laughing and, of course, some eating. I find warm-weather meals more difficult to make for a crowd, but we decided to do grilled foil packets, a great rice blend, and a three-bean salad. The packets are customizable and most people seem to enjoy choosing their own veggies to put in; everyone is amazed at how the veggies turn out.

However, tonight's dessert was really the big deal for most of them. I actually made two desserts: cake cookies and these delicious and easy raspberry cheesecake bites. These little bite-size desserts were gone in next to no time. Perfect for a dessert, shower, or brunch, the only thing you need to worry about is making sure you get at least one before they are gone!

06 May 2013

Crockpot White Bean & Kale Soup

Last night's dinner was one of those meals that just feels good in your tummy and soul. It's simple and uses wholesome ingredients, and just a few ingredients at that. I feel silly even calling this a "recipe." However, it's so good that I can't help but to share it. In addition, since most of it is crock-pot based, Shana and I eat this nearly year-round. Warm soup in the winter, doesn't heat up the kitchen in the summer.  Last night was cool enough that we turned on the oven for a bit to have some crusty bread, too. 

I'm lying a little bit when I say this is a crockpot recipe. Although you could do almost all of it in the crockpot, I do not, for various reasons. I saute the onions & garlic before they go in the crockpot, as doing so increases the flavor and makes sure the onions are nice and soft. In addition, while you can add the pasta to the soup in the last hour of cooking, I don't like the texture of it quite as much. Finally, the kale must be cooked separately, because as it cooks it imparts a bitter flavor to the soup. Thus, I end up with a crockpot full of only a few things cooking away all day. Having tried this soup without the crockpot, however, it's just not quite the same (still good, but not as good).

04 May 2013

Chicklets (Chickpea Cutlets)

I love cookbooks. I mean, I really LOVE them. When I get a new one, I read it cover to cover, just like a novel. I put in little bookmarks of scrap paper when I find a recipe in there I want to try, or I'll make a list on a big page as I go through the book, or both. I've got 25 cookbooks on my "Food" Amazon wishlist. One of the cookbooks that has led to a few of our favorite meals (include Penne Vodka and Seitan au Jus) is Veganomicon. It's the closest thing the vegan world has to The Joy of Cooking, if you don't count Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and it's been great to have at my fingertips since my dad give it to me a few Christmases ago.

Easily one of the more talked-about recipes before and right after the release of Veganomicon, Chickpea Cutlets have become a staple meal at our house, like many vegan households in the US. I've been wanting to post this recipe for a while, we just haven't had it recently. But, it came up in this week's meal-planning, so I jumped on the opportunity to make it. My deviations from the original recipe are both planned (the spices) and a happy accident (the amount of chickpeas I use). The original recipe calls for 1 cup of chickpeas, but I read 1 can. Whoops. Since the recipe turned out so well, I haven't bothered to change it back. Plus, this is a recipe that is incredibly omnivore-friendly. In fact, it's so good that my mom (who isn't always excited about trying new vegan food) requests them!