28 July 2013

Basil-Hater's Roasted Garlic Spinach Pesto

Shana doesn't like pesto. I don't understand her dislike. As long as it's vegan, I love pesto. Throughout our relationship I've tried numerous variations on pesto, always trying to find one she'll eat - even if we only eat it periodically. I knew all along that I had to essentially get rid of the basil, as that's Shana's primary complaint with pesto. So I've tried cutting down the basil, switching it out for parsley, and any other number of variations. Finally, I decided that I really just needed to move away from the zingy, vibrant, and fresh flavors of pesto (*sniffle*) and move to flavors I knew she liked. Folks, I was successful tonight! She ate it, said it was good, and then said, "but I still don't love pesto." I pressed to see if this was something we could eat occasionally; the answer was yes!

We also had grilled red peppers for dinner - yum!
Like most pesto recipes, this one has just a few ingredients and is a snap to come together in your food processor. Unlike most pesto recipes, this one requires just a bit of forethought, as you need to roast the garlic. In the end, the roasted garlic flavor is totally worth it. And although there's not the same zingy freshness, there's still the lightness I associate with pesto, making this perfect for a summer dinner.

25 July 2013

Sister-in-Law Greek Pitas

We've been back from our whirlwind travels for almost two weeks now. The first week back we used every opportunity to make meals that we'd missed while we were traveling. However, then I realized that it is summer and I should be using my (relative) free time trying new meals, especially since summertime meals are the hardest for us. We're hot, I don't want to heat up the kitchen, and heavy dishes just sit in a lump. I've got a few things in the works, but it was actually a simple recipe I saw for a vegan "feta" that led me to remember this meal.

This recipe for Greek pitas is a vegan version of my sister-in-law's recipe. She used to feed this to Shana before any of them even knew I existed. I'm not sure where she got it, but it's easy, quick, and delicious - a winner! Plus, although it does use a pan on the stove, the cooking time is pretty short because there's no need to cook raw meat. That makes this a great summer dinner.

18 July 2013

Hot or Cold Carrot Soup

As I mentioned in my last post, Shana is down a wisdom tooth. While she is slowly working back into foods she can chew, I took the opportunity to try out a new recipe for a blended soup. Working through this recipe was fun because I got to use an ingredient I rarely use (leeks) and it made me think about throwing a dinner party in the future where everyone gets tiny little bowls of a rainbow of blended soups. I realize that I already have one orange-colored blended soup, so I'd have to choose which one to put in my rainbow. I guess I could decide based on the time of year and I need a red soup...but I digress.

I posted on Facebook last night that I was trying this new recipe but was waiting to see if it was good cold before I posted it here. I tried it a few minutes ago after it had been siting in the fridge overnight and it was DELICIOUS! It could be better cold than hot, even, as the flavors have had a chance to really meld. Regardless of how you eat it, this soup is a winner!

16 July 2013

Maggie's Tropical Cold Soup

We're finally back from our whirlwind of visiting friends and family and this morning Shana had a wisdom tooth extraction. With her current food-texture requirements and the 100+ degree heat index we're expected to have over the next week, I've been hunting down all sorts of soft and cold things for us to eat. We'll see if any of the recipes I found go over well, but in the meantime, I've got one that I know Shana likes: tropical cold soup.

A few summers ago some friends of ours got married in PA. Afterward, we went to a restaurant for the reception and Shana had a bite of a non-vegan coconut/lime/mango soup as an appetizer. She thought it was amazing, so I decided I would try to make a vegan version (having never tried the non-vegan version). I'm not sure how close my recipe is to the one Shana tried, but it is delicious in its own right.

03 July 2013

Maggie's Homemade Seitan

In the life of a professor, one would think that summer time would be low key. I'm not teaching classes and I don't have to go to work, so I don't have anything to do, right? On one hand, my time could be spent doing nothing. On the other hand, I'd go crazy if I wasn't doing things. On another hand (apparently I'm a mutant?), Shana only has 6 weeks off and summer is the time that we go visiting our families and friends (I'm on a trip right now, actually). On yet another hand, I do actually have work stuff I need to be doing (like manuscript writing, data collection, and syllabi editing/creation). What I guess I'm trying to say is that I haven't had as much time as I'd like this summer to do some cooking. I will be doing more later this month and the early weeks of August though, so don't despair!

In the mean time, I do have a few posts I plan to share with you all. This one, about seitan, is one I've been meaning to share forever. Seitan is a high protein food, but it is not for those who are gluten sensitive or intolerant (as it is wheat gluten). It is easy to make, can be used in a variety of ways, and freezes like a dream. As I've said before, you can buy seitan at the store, but I like the taste and texture of the homemade stuff far more. It's easiest to eat a well-balanced vegan diet if you make sure to include some high-protein foods; seitan totally fits in that category!
Here it's ready to become any number of dinners!
Up until now, I've held off on posting recipes that use seitan as a major ingredient (except for Vegan Baked Ziti). This has been hard, because we often have a meal every week that uses seitan as a primary ingredient. But since this post is here now, I'll be posting more recipes with seitan in the future. 

Seitan cut into strips for Seitan au Jus (one of Shana's favorites).