19 November 2017

Vegan Viands #20: Vegan Brown Sugar Cookies

Yesterday was my mother's birthday; she would have turned 66. Growing up, my dad did 98% of the cooking at our house. He also made pies. But my mom, she was the baker. Cookies, cakes, sweet breads - those were her primary culinary home. I've shared some of the things she was noted for, such as Christmas wreath cookies, chocolate chip zucchini bread, and rhubarb bars.

One year, my mom got a giant recipe book filled with nothing but cookies. I remember her going through the book and exclaiming over the recipes. I think that most of the cookies in the book got made at least once, but one recipe kept returning: brown sugar cookies.

I think what made these cookies a hit was some combination of the crunchy/chewy cookie, the frosting that is reminiscent of the frosting we all put on our birthday cakes, and the group effort necessary to frost the cookies before the frosting set.

Since we were headed to a party last night, I wanted to bring a dish to share. I'm sure that the memories of my mother brought these cookies to mind. Making and sharing them with others was a wonderful way to honor her memory.



16 October 2017

Chickpea Tart with Roasted Vegetables

Some very dear friends of ours got some wonderful news just about a week ago, which meant a celebratory dinner was in order! They have a 3 month old baby at home, so I offered to cook and bring over dinner for our celebration.

Since one of these friends is gluten-free, there's always a fun adventure figuring out what we can all eat. While talking about our celebratory dinner, Shana remembered this delicious chickpea flour tart that we first had at our vegan potluck. It's gluten-free and soy-free and sounds like something that should not be good. But it really is amazing. Since the first time we had it, I've deviated from the recipe a bit, but also decided that we needed something else to eat with the tart. The recipe below was born (and devoured).

Somewhere between a quiche and a custard, this tart and the veggies were just the celebration we needed. Well, this and the baked apples I made for dessert, but that's another post.



04 October 2017

Lazy Dinner Paustages (Pasta and Vegan Sausages)

Sometimes a Lazy Dinner is just what you need.

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy for us. For two weeks straight, we had something on the calendar for every single night (and weekend days, too). Part of the busyness includes the classes Shana is taking, part of the busyness was due to the festivities surrounding the inauguration of Earlham's 18th President, and part of the busyness is that we like to see our friends. I loved all of our activities, but I also love that things have calmed down just a little, and we have the occasional evening with flexibility. Tonight was one of those nights.

We'd planned for easy meals all week (mostly), just because I knew that I wasn't going to want to spend a lot of energy on making dinners after all that we'd been doing. This dinner, paustages, was one we'd not had in a long time. It was quick and delicious; just perfect for hectic nights.

You may be wondering why we call this dinner paustages. Well, it's mostly because I love playing with words. While not a perfect example (we took some liberty with letter order), our made up dinner name is essentially a portmanteau, which is the combination of two words and their meanings. Common examples are things like smog (smoke + fog) or brunch (breakfast + lunch). Plus, paustages is just fun to say!


02 September 2017

Maggie's Vegan Zucchini Boats

This year, we doubled the size of the garden. With extra space, I was able to grow a greater variety of veggies and decided to grow zucchini. My zucchini is...prolific. Talk to many folks who grow zucchini and they'll tell you the same thing.

As it turns out, growing a ton of zucchini is a blessing and curse. I've made batches upon double-batches of zucchini bread. We've grilled more zucchini than any summer before. And as much as I love both of those options, we needed something else to do with zucchini. 

Given that zucchini grows well in most gardens, a google search for "things to do with zucchini" brings up list after list of options. A number of these lists included some kind of zucchini boat: a hollowed out zucchini stuffed with ingredients, baked to deliciousness. While I loved the idea, I didn't love any of the recipes I found. Most recipes were filled with cheese and/or meat, while some were nothing more than flavored rice - not what I wanted. 


Instead, I took the idea of zucchini boats and ran. Where I ended up is a delicious and healthy recipe, full of protein and garden-fresh summer flavors. Infinitely customizable, add or remove ingredients to make this into something you'll eat, if only to switch up how you're consuming zucchini. 

13 August 2017

Southwestern Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

It's a long story, but a few weeks ago we were gifted with a number of salad kits - you know, the kind that have all the ingredients inside the bag and all you have to do is mix them together.

While the free salads were nice, none of the included salad dressings were vegan-friendly. I decided I'd make up my own dressings to coordinate with the ingredients in the bags. My first attempt at a dressing for one of the salads was a smash hit with me, Shana, and some friends of ours who just had a baby (we took them lunch). I made it again with the second kit and it was just as good.

We've been all out of the salad kits for a while, but I had a craving for this salad. After a quick search of my local grocery store, I realized I could get all the ingredients and could just make my own! This simple,healthy, and delicious salad is great for warm summer days.


13 July 2017

Maggie's Vegan Massaman Curry

I love Thai food. When Shana and I have something to celebrate, or have people in town visiting, or just a craving for an amazing dinner, we head to Thai 9 in Dayton. In the past two months, we've gone 3 times. Once when my family came to visit, once when Shana's family came to visit, and once to celebrate that I'd been awarded tenure!

While everything there is delicious (we think they must have a wall of avocados because they are always ripe), there's one dish they can't make vegan for me: massaman curry. Their recipe includes half & half and fish sauce. After feeling sad about missing out on massaman curry, I figured I would try to make my own.

In my explorations of possible recipes online, so many had ingredient lists full of things I knew I couldn't get in my town. I started feeling a bit hopeless. But then, one of the recipes I saw had an aside about a really good pre-made curry paste that was also vegan! I jumped on the chance to have massaman curry in my own kitchen and purchased two cans from Amazon. I didn't need to make this more than once; I ordered more the next day. Now I can have massaman curry whenever the mood strikes.



03 July 2017

Vegan Teriyaki Boats

On summer nights, I can't bring myself to heat up my kitchen. But as hot days and warm nights stretch on, I also get sick of grilling dinners and Shana wouldn't be satisfied with continuous salads. This means a recipe that can satisfy the requirements of not heating the kitchen, not using the grill, and not being a salad is a huge win for our summer eating.

This particular recipe was in a special recipe collection called "Best Vegan Recipes" published by Vegetarian Times magazine (which now exists in an altered state under the title Vegetarian Today; I no longer subscribe). Shana and I had been standing in line at a grocery store and saw this special collection. While waiting to check out, I perused it and found so many recipes I wanted to make that we ended up purchasing it.

These teriyaki boats are ridiculously fast and easy - so much so that Shana has made them - and they are delicious and healthy. Everyone we've served them to has enjoyed them and I can see them being quite flexible, if you wanted to add/remove ingredients.  Serve them as a lunch, a light dinner, or even as an appetizer (see Helpful Hints).


10 June 2017

Maggie's Vegan Peachy Cream Bars

Last week, my neighbor brought over 10 beautiful, juicy, perfectly-ripe peaches. She got them from The Peach Truck, which makes runs of Georgia peaches during peach season. I looked at them and daydreamed about them, but then figured I really needed to DO something with them.

The first thing I did was dehydrate six of them. I blanched them (like you do with tomatoes), so that I could remove the skins easily, and then sliced them for the dehydrator. Approximate 6 hours later, we had these chewy, candy-sweet peaches. What is in that tiny bowl is all that remains. Next time, I'll do double the amount.

After that, I needed to figure out what to do with the remaining blanched/peeled peaches. I knew we were having some friends for a late dinner to break their Ramadan fast, so I starting thinking about some kind of dessert. After double-checking that they like peaches and were willing to try a brand new recipe (both of which got enthusiastic positive responses), I starting digging around. One of our friends is completely gluten-free, so  I that was a constraint. I also didn't want to simply make a peach cobbler or pie. I stumbled upon a recipe that seemed like a good place to start. What emerged was a delicious dessert, perfect for a summer sweet tooth.



04 June 2017

Maggie's Vegan Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

My wife love banana bread. LOVES it. Me? I prefer my sweet bread with zucchini. If I have to do banana, I'll do the best banana muffins ever. But Shana had been asking for banana bread - specifically, banana bread that tasted like bananas and included chocolate chips - for a long time.

A few months ago, I gave in to her request and started looking up recipes. I didn't find any that I liked. Undeterred, I made something up. Here's the crazy part: I wrote down what I did. When Shana tried it, she was thrilled. It was just what she wanted.

But the rule for the blog is that I have to make my own recipes at least twice before they appear here. Given my lack of enthusiasm for banana bread, it was a while before I felt like making it again. This weekend, my mother-in-law and step-dude (her husband) came to town and Shana mentioned banana bread when we were discussing breakfast. Three pairs of eyes lit up. In my quick mental check, I realized that my frozen-banana-zone of the freezer (what, you don't have one of those?!) was getting full, so I acquiesced.

It was just a good the second time as it was the first, though I'll still take zucchini bread any day.

It was still a bit warm when I cut it, so look at all that melty chocolate. 


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.