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Monday, May 14, 2012

Black Bean Soup & Vegan Quesadillas

We got a pantry share from Wolf Pine Farms this year, and it was the best $125 I have ever spent. I got beans, jams, pickles, flours, applesauce, and so much more. The beans were the kicker for me. We eat a lot of beans in this house since we're vegetarian and we need our protein, but I'm not a fan of canned beans. Dried beans from the store can take eons to cook, though. Fresh beans from the farm, however, do not, so getting 10 pounds of black, kidney and pinto meant a whole lot of yummy, and dare I say quick, meals. I tend to cook up a bunch when I'm cooking them, so I can make several things from them. Last week I made a tortilla pie with black and kidney beans, then I took the remaining few cups and set them in the fridge, pondering daily what I wanted to make with them. Yesterday it came to me - black bean soup! And what better to go with the soup then quesadillas? Alas, being vegan meant getting crafty with these, but I managed, and this was quite the yummy & fulfilling meal.

Black Bean Soup
(serves 4)

1/2 C onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
2 T garlic, minced
1-3 T olive oil
1 t cumin
3 C black beans (mine were mixed with kidney beans)
4-6 C stock/water/broth (start with just 4 cups, and add more if needed as it cooks)
1/2 C salsa
1/2 C tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C corn
1 t salt
1/2 avocado
2 T nutritional yeast

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat until hot. Add onion, peppers, cumin and garlic and stir to coat all veggies with oil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, add oil if you need to so it doesn't burn. When this is nice and cooked down, puree in the food processor and add back to the pot. Add in beans and liquid and stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer and add in salsa, tomatoes, corn and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding more liquid if needed. The next step is based on preference. I pureed the whole soup because I like it creamy, but you can either leave it chunky, or puree half the soup. Whatever suits your taste. Top with avocado and nutritional yeast.

Vegan Quesadillas
(serves 4)

4 large flour tortillas
1/2 C tomatoes
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C flour
1 t salt
1/8 t dry mustard
1 t garlic minced
1 C water
2 T vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

In a pot add nutritional yeast, flour, salt, mustard and garlic and whisk until well combined. Add in water and butter and heat over medium heat, whisking until well combined. Cook until boiling, then remove from heat and set aside. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Spread 1/2 the cheese on a tortilla and place in pan. Sprinkle in 1/2 the tomatoes and 1/2 the avocado and press a second tortilla over the top of it all. Cook for a few minutes until the bottom is browning, then carefully flip over and cook a few more minutes. Repeat the remaining two tortillas, cheese and filling. Cut these quesadillas into 8 slices each and serve 4 to each person with a bowl of soup and lots of salsa.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peanut Butter Seitan Curry

In our attempt to try out new foods, we have gone Vegan. Well, by we I mean me - everyone else in the house can eat what they want, but seeing as though I do the dinner cooking, they eat vegan at least once a day. Last night was just the kiddos and me, and I was craving peanut butter and curry....of course, when am I not craving curry, right? So I set to work and pulled out all the things in the cupboard and fridge that might go with this. And I pulled out the chicken flavored Seitan I had gotten at the Natural Market....I'm not a huge fan of replacing meat with fake meat, but sometimes it helps with the oldest kid, who tells me often "I can eat what I want, it's my body." Which is true, so I try to give him all the information he needs to make informed eating decisions (even though I will never win out over hot dogs). So fake meat makes a once a week visit to our menu, for his sake.

Peanut Butter Seitan Curry
serves 4

1 package Chicken Seitan
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, sliced into thin strips
2 carrots, quartered and sliced
10 white button mushrooms, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 C nuts (mine were curried cashews)
2 T coconut oil
1/2 C peanut butter
1/4 C soy sauce
1 T chili sauce
1 T minced ginger
1/4 C coconut milk
1/2 C water
fresh ground pepper
1/2 T curry powder
1 T arrowroot
2 T water

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add in Seitan and saute about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown a bit. Add onions, peppers, and carrots and saute until soft. Meanwhile, whisk together sauce ingredients - peanut butter, soy sauce, chili sauce, ginger, coconut milk, water, pepper and curry powder. Add in mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Dump into pan and stir thoroughly to coat veggies and seitan. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix arrowroot and water together and dump into pan and stir thoroughly. Toss in tomatoes and nuts. Serve over brown rice, adding extra chili sauce if you like it spicy.