Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baked Penne Florentine

This is another oldie but goodie recipe from Mary McDougall.

My changes:
Pasta - my family hates whole wheat pasta so I use regular semolina.

Spinach - I use a full bag of it and rarely defrost and squeeze it, preferring to just dump the whole bag into the bowl with the hot pasta.

Miso - I just omit it because nobody in this area sells it and for the one or 2 recipes I use that include it, it's not worth the mail order purchase. In fact, I don't use this version of ricotta cheese (cashews, white beans and flavorings) at all but prefer to use the tofu ricotta from Vegan With A Vengeance very similar to the one this person uses.

So, to be honest, I don't really use Mary's recipe, just use it for its idea of Baked Penne Florentine. But here is hers, anyway:

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Baked Penne Florentine

Recipe By     :Mary McDougall
Serving Size  : 6     Preparation Time :0:00
Categories    : Beans                           Main Dish
                Pasta                           Vegan

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  8             ounces  pasta -- uncooked whole wheat penne
  10            ounces  frozen chopped spinach -- thawed
                        and squeezed dry
     1/4           cup  vegetable broth
  1                     onion -- chopped
     1/2           cup  cashews -- raw
  1 3/4           cups  water
  1                can  white beans -- (15 ounce) drained
                        and rinsed
  1         tablespoon  soy sauce
  1         tablespoon  white miso
  2          teaspoons  lemon juice
     1/4      teaspoon  dry mustard
     1/4      teaspoon  cayenne
     1/2           cup  whole wheat bread crumbs

Drop the pasta into a pot of boiling water and cook until just barely tender, about 6 minutes.  Drain, place in a bowl and add the spinach.  Mix very well.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the onion and the vegetable broth in a medium non-stick frying pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onion has softened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Place the cashews in a food processor and process until finely ground.  Add half of the water and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining water, the cooked onion, beans, soy sauce, miso, lemon juice, mustard and cayenne.  Process until very smooth.  Pour this over the pasta and spinach and mix well.  Transfer to a covered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

  "This is a delicious baked pasta dish that our grandson, Jaysen, really likes.  I serve it to him the way it comes out of the oven, but I like to top mine with a bit of Sriracha Hot Sauce for a little kick.- Mary McDougall"
  "McDougall newsletter"
  "December 2003"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 383 Calories; 7g Fat (16.5% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 64g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 465mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 4 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

NOTES : Hint:  This may be prepared ahead and refrigerated until baking time.  Add about 15 minutes to the baking time.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Potatoes In the Funny Papers

The Six Chicks strip for today, December 16, 2012:

Just add another dollar per pound to get urban NJ prices, though, $2 more for the organics.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lentil Meatballs

I have been watching videos on Everyday Dish TV since its inception many years ago. I even bought their DVD, which I can no longer find for sale on the site or elsewhere except used. When some of the recipes went behind a paywall, I spent the money and bought a yearly subscription, because there are very few sites out there with videos of how to make tasty, many times low-fat, vegan foods. I even renewed my subscription, and I don't renew that many things nowadays, even letting most of my print magazines lapse!

The latest goodie from the website I've made is Sarah Matheny's Lentil Meatballs:
Lucky for you people it's not behind the paywall and can be nabbed by everyone.

In the video, Sarah says she uses the already-cooked packaged lentils, IIRC from Trader Joe's, or maybe Whole Foods. Of course, this is weight, not volume. It took a whole lotta web searching and finally me digging out my rusty old kitchen/postage scale that only goes up to a pound to find out that my freshly cooked and well drained lentils come to a cup and a half for 8 ounces in weight. When I made them I used 1 cup of plain old Goya lentils to 2 cups of water and they made a tad under 3 cups total. I used half and put the rest in the freezer for the next time I make these.

I always have plenty of old-fashioned oats on hand.

She calls for reconstituted dry sun-dried tomatoes, not the oily ones in the jar. I also keep a supply of these on hand and started soaking them about a half hour before I started making the meatballs.

Instead of Kalamata olives (too expensive and only come in a big can around here) I used a plain old 2.5 ounce can of sliced black olives, store brand. Instead of chopping I tossed them into the food processor and gave a quick pulse after everything else was mixed and pulsed up.

And lastly, I rarely have fresh herbs around here and today was no different, so no fresh basil. Instead I used a heaping teaspoon of dried basil leaves. To be honest, the next time I make this I'll be sure to have fresh basil at the ready, because it could have used the bit of bulk the fresh would have given.

Like Sarah, I used a cookie dough scoop to make these meatballs, and got 17 out of the recipe. After baking for 15 minutes I took the tray out to flip them over and was a little disappointed to find them still pretty mushy and had to use a butter knife to scrape the soft stuff off the parchment paper and squish it back into the now flipped meatball. Instead of putting them back in for a total of 20 minutes that the recipe called for I left them for 25. Here's the result:

You can see the bits of tomato and olives in the finished product, as well as the oatmeal bits. They did firm up quite a bit in that last 10 minutes of baking, and maybe when they're cooled they'll firm up even more. Of course, they're not as firm as a store-bought or gluten based meatball, but a heck of a lot better than most other vegan meatball recipes I've tried over the years, and if you leave out the olives, they're even McDougall MWLP safe.

They're now in the fridge, awaiting our usual Saturday night pasta dinner. I won't tell my husband these are home made and see if he can tell.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

It's no secret I own dozens of cookbooks, both McDougall-friendly ones and some not-so-friendly. Bryanna Clark Grogan's (Almost) No Fat Cookbook falls closer to "friendly" than not, because just about every recipe can be made to eliminate the small amounts of oil she uses.

The following recipe for Scalloped Potatoes comes from that book and was shared on-line by a member of the McDougall forums here. I know Bryanna prefers people ask permission before posting her recipes so I'll just leave that link instead of posting the recipe here myself.

It's a favorite of ours, and really simple to make up after a busy day bringing cars in for winterizing and finding out you need all new brakes and repairs to the brake fluid doohickey, shopping for last minute Christmas gifts for a 29 year old who has everything, and decent wrapping paper. Who ever heard of a Walmart that only had one display box of really cheap paper and nothing else? Yesterday was my husband's last pool day off for the year and we wound up spending a good chunk of it looking for decent gift wrap and wound up in the Hallmark Store, where we got their top quality paper on sale. I told my husband that if we ever win the lottery, look out, because I'll be spending a good chunk of our winnings at that place! 

Back to the casserole. Instead of thin-slicing russets by hand, I buy 2 bags of frozen McCain's sliced potatoes. Instead of AP flour I sprinkle the taters with white whole wheat, and use loads of freshly ground black pepper. Instead of adding salt with each layer of potatoes I just put the shaker on the table, as Dr. McDougall advises. Sometimes I also sprinkle paprika but didn't this time. 

I use a bit more nooch than the recipe calls for - closer to a half cup than a quarter - and homemade rice milk instead of soy.

Here's the leftovers. I didn't get a chance to take a photo last night when it was fresh out of the oven because by the time we sat down to eat we were all starving.

Doesn't this look yummy? Okay, maybe it doesn't look that great, but it is truly delicious.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dr. Fuhrman Lecture from Plant-based Foods: Diet as a Tool for Change at the National Conference to End Factory Farming

 Interesting lecture, although I don't agree with 100% of what he believes. You can tell Dr. Fuhrman never suffered from hypoglycemia - bouts of blood sugar drops into the 40's (Yes, that low) only 4-5 hours after the last meal, whether it was high in starches, sugar, meat or a wheelbarrow full of greens. Actually, ESPECIALLY if it were a very low calorie one full of greens.

And I do find it possible that the Skipper could live on Gilligan's Island, eating everything the other castaways ate, and not lose weight. I know MANY fat people who eat the same or less than others and remain fat, especially women of the Skipper's age bracket.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Revised Chickpea Cutlets

A recipe that used to be a staple around this house was Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Chickpea Cutlets. There was always at least a half dozen in the freezer at any given time for quick sandwiches or a complete dinner with all the fixings.

Then I stopped making them. I wanted to be a good little McDougaller and avoid all processed foods that these fell by the wayside, as did Julie Hasson's sausages. I started to follow Jeff Novick's advice and just add extra vegetables and greens to a lot of dishes, like our weekly pasta meal. Yes, all those extra veggies did add bulk, but not satiation or even much flavor. About 2 hours after a veggie-heavy dinner we were both hungry again. My husband, being a non-McDougaller who's the same weight at age 62 that he was when he graduated high school, reached for the cookies and potato chips and I would either white-knuckle it and eat nothing (and be awake half the night with hunger pangs), eat some fruit or more veggies (and be awake half the night running in and out of the bathroom), or make the occasional on-plan quickbread (which didn't keep me awake but gave me weird dreams).

Then I used some crumbles in a VeganMoFo recipe in October and it almost brought tears to my husband's eyes having "real food" back again. I then used some more the other day in a tater tot casserole recipe and got the same response.

He also wanted more to our pasta then just veggies and so I made a batch of Julie's sausages. We used 2 of them for the three of us (plus leftovers) and the rest are in the freezer for future meals.

During the blackout after Sandy we had to toss all the perishables from the refrigerator and freezer, leaving only things that really didn't need to be refrigerated but we kept them in there anyway:

Yes, my refrigerator is this small-the left wall is right after those water bottles - you can see a few molecules of it in the upper left hand size of the photo. If I raise that top shelf up one notch the bottles and milk container hit the top. The freezer is only about as large as that second shelf, the one with the nooch. 
The rice milk is unopened, the lettuce was only 2 days old and is un-refrigerated in the store so we decided it would be fine in there for the 2 more days it would take to eat it; our son doesn't mind warm soda, and the many times the stores display the dairy cheese (American cheese-like food product) in un-refrigerated cardboard displays so our son said to keep those, too. Surprisingly, the temp in there never rose above 50, probably because that was the room temperature most days, too.

One of the things tossed was my husband's beloved hot dogs. Every day off work he would eat 2 sandwiches with 3 dogs total for lunch. It took 20 years to get him to stop putting a slice of cheese on each sandwich but he would never give up the dogs, nor would he eat veg dogs like Smart Dogs or any of the other brands I tried. But after we got our power back and we started to restock the fridge and freezer he told me not to buy any more hot dogs, that he would eat "something else" for lunch on those days. For the past 2 weeks we were lucky and I had "planned-overs" ready for him, but this week - nothing. There isn't a leftover in the house and I know there won't be any after today or tomorrow's dinners.

First I made up another batch of Jeff's burgers, the Southwest this time, but he usually complains they're too much for lunch, that he'll want something lighter.

Chickpea cutlets to the rescue! I found the recipe in my AZZ Cardfile program and made a double double-batch of them and used the tomato paste instead of olive oil option and cooked them like I always did, in the oven. Here's how they came out:

As you can see by these cooled ones, they do have an orangy tinge to them in places. The quadruple recipe made over 20 cutlets (I used my ice cream scoop to get uniform sizes, just perfect for a burger roll) plus a few tester meatball sized pieces. This is the first time I used tomato paste instead of oil (Gasp! Yes, I used oil in the past!) and contrary to some of the commentors comments, you do taste the tomato and they are a bit drier. I'll see if he notices the difference this weekend. I placed this entire batch into the freezer with circles of plastic cut from container lids between them so they don't stick together. When we're ready to eat them we just remove a few, place on a plate and nuke for less than a minute. Always perfect for a quick sandwich.

Next week I plan on making Bryanna's chickenless cutlets (no recipe, just a photo - sorry) and soon maybe dabble in regular seitan loaves again.

Update on DVD order

After a few emails my order has finally been processed for shipping Wednesday afternoon, and according to the latest email it's being shipped through Amazon and not directly from VegSource. I should have it on Monday.

That's what I get for not just waiting and ordering it from Amazon in the first place, but it didn't appear on Amazon at all until after it was released, so no pre-order was available from them. Next time - and it should be within weeks for Fast Food 4 - I'll wait and order direct from Amazon and save myself this headache. At least Amazon doesn't charge your credit card until they ship it, unlike VegSource that charges you the day you put the order/pre-order in.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More on Jeff Novick's Shopping School

Here's a new video of the Nelson Twins (not Gunnar and Matthew but Nina and Randa) promoting Jeff's new Shopping School video:

You would probably be better off ordering it from Amazon, especially if you have Amazon Prime. I pre-ordered mine directly from VegSource on November 8th and I'm still waiting for it even though it's been available over a week now and pre-orders supposedly were mailed out early last week.

But if you were looking for Nelson, here's a great video of theirs that even has their actress sister Tracy as "Mom."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gotta Get Me Some Gnocchi

Just ignore the meat and watch this lady, "assisted" by her ever-hungry husband, make gnocchi. Maybe mine never came out that good because I didn't knead the dough as much as she did. 

I'm lazy - I just order these from Amazon now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Today's Reading from "The Tao of Joy Every Day" Book

November 23
Day 327

The Holistic Self

Perhaps due to the great advances in science and technology, we have a tendency to divide, sort, and categorize everything. The body is divided into the nervous system, lymphatic system, digestive system and so on. Even the mind is divided into the id, ego and superego in Freudian psychology.

The Eastern approach also involves categorization, but there is a greater emphasis on interconnectedness. Both the mind and the body are seen in a holistic light where everything has an effect on everything else. Indeed, even the mind and the body are recognized as inextricably connected.

One principle we can derive from this is that if one wishes to sharpen the mind, one cannot rely only one reading, learning and other mental activities. One must also work on the body. This means both exercise and nutrition. This is one of the reasons many sages exercise regularly and either choose a vegetarian lifestyle or limit their consumption of animal products. At higher levels of cultivation, one can sense the effects of food on the mind, and a diet rich in plant-based foods is considered the best choice for mental clarity.

The Tao Today

Most of us are not operating at peak efficiency, either physically or mentally. Your body and mind are capable of so much more. Think about them as the sages do, not as separate parts, but as an interconnected whole. Look for ways to work on both body and mind to be at your strongest and clearest.

The Tao of Joy Every Day
365 Days of Tao Living
Derek Lin
Tarcher/Penguin Press
ISBN: 978-1-58542-918-9

Derek had once written on his forums, The Tea House, that he follows the food program of Dr. John McDougall. And Derek's writings have been recommended by people on the McDougall forums. Unfortunately I can't link to Derek's post itself because the original version of that board was closed because of excessive spamming. The new Tea House is doing quite well and is so-far spam-free.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Forks Over Knives - Extended Interviews DVD

I just love hearing these guys talk!

Amazon carries it for the same price as the official Forks Over Knives web site.

Forks Over Knives—The Extended Interviews
Following up on one of the most influential documentaries of all time, Forks Over Knives, comes Forks Over Knives–The Extended Interviews. This video includes never-before-seen footage from the film’s expert interviews, covering several themes in greater depth and addressing important issues that weren’t touched on in the movie.

Forks Over Knives–The Extended Interviews covers more than 80 topics, including:
  • How much protein do we need?
  • Animal vs. plant nutrients in cancer promotion
  • Why are some vegetarian and vegans unhealthy?
  • Is a healthy vegan diet easy to follow?
  • Why portion control doesn’t work
  • Oil, fish, supplements, and more!

Featuring leading experts T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., M.D., Neal Barnard, M.D., John McDougall, M.D., Pam Popper, N.D., Doug Lisle, Ph.D., and Terry Mason, M.D., Forks Over Knives–The Extended Interviews is must-see viewing for anyone interested in the powerful relationship between food and health!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Jeff Novick's Fast Food: Shopping School DVD Coming Soon

VegSource is now taking pre-orders for Jeff's new video. From the DVD's web page over there:

Jeff Novick's FAST FOOD VOLUME 3 "Shopping School" - $29.95, includes shipping

Nearly 3 hours of video on DVD

How do you know which products to buy at your local grocery store?
Grab your notebook, pen and paper, and get ready to go to Shopping School, with your personal nutritional Professor, Jeff Novick!
The Professor is prepared to guide you through the treacherous grocery aisles and show you how to really read labels, and find the healthiest products available.
In this nearly 3-hour DVD course, Professor Jeff demonstrates how to apply the principles of label reading to brand name products available in many grocery stores. Learn what to look for, and most importantly -- what to watch out for!
As an added bonus, Professor Jeff reveals his top 10 packaged foods recommendations, and why he thinks they are great!
Fast Food: Shopping School is the most important class you'll ever take! Why? Because one you pass this class, you'll have all the tools you need to make healthy choices and make sure you have a long and healthy life!
This DVD, like all VegSource DVD products, play in all regions of the world.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Last Sandy Video

Just another "Sandy" song I found and didn't want to waste. Unlike what Dion and the Belmonts sing, I really don't long for Sandy nor do I want to feel her touch - EVER again!

VeganMoFo Day (whatever) - Chili/Cheeze/Potato Casserole

This is what I planned on making the day after the hurricane hit, but with no electric I couldn't run the blender to make the sauce or use the defrosted formerly-frozen hash brown potatoes from the freezer. It's still worth sharing the post, even if I didn't make the dish last week.
An oldie but goodie. I never saved the url from the original post, but way back on the old VegSource boards, Seedy posted this casserole, made with canned chili and a batch of bean-based cheeze sauce. You can spice it up as much or as little as you want. It's become a favorite in this family.

Seedy's Chili/Cheeze/Potato Casserole

Bottom layer:
3 cans vegetarian chili, or
1 can chili beans in sauce, 1 can kidney beans (rinsed), 1 can black beans (rinsed)

Middle layer:
Golden Cheeze Sauce
1 1/2 cups Great Northern beans, cooked (or one 15.5 can)
6 T nutritional yeast
1/4 cup pimiento pieces (or roasted red peppers)
juice from one freshly squeezed lemon
1 T low-salt shoyu (soy sauce) or tamari
1 t onion powder
1/2 t any type of prepared mustard
1/2 t salt

Blend all until smooth. Refrigerator any leftovers in sealed container.

Top Layer:
1 bag hash brown potatoes sprinkled with chili powder.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees until potatoes brown and cheeze sauce is bubbly (30-45 min.)
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
Depending on how may cans of chili I have in the house at the time, I use either 3 cans  of it or as many as I have plus canned kidney beans.

Because I'm sodium-sensitive I usually omit the soy sauce in the cheeze sauce and nobody even notices.

WHen I make this dish I also usually pop on a batch of cornbread, either this one from Lori or the one in this recipe from Jan Tz.

And speaking of oldies but goodies, today's Hurricane Sandy ditty is Sandy, from Ronny and the Daytonas. "Sandy, you laugh and run away. You just don't care." Yeah, sounds like our hurricane!

Monday, October 29, 2012

E2L/Nutritarians - Super Immunity Index Project

A few months ago, Fuhrman forum member Phil Weinstein, a.k.a. "Alluvial Phil", called for volunteers to put together an index for Dr. Fuhrman's book Super Immunity, because the first edition hard cover doesn't have one. Dr. Fuhrman has assured people the paperback version coming out in April 2013 will have one, but for Phil and others taking Dr. Fuhrman's Nutritional Education Trainer program that was too late, since they need the book is one of the textbooks needed for the course, and textbooks really need an index.

Well, fret no more! Phil and his volunteer staff have the first complete draft copy of the index ready AT THIS LINK.

Thanks, Phil, Tania, and others who have worked hard on this project.

VeganMoFo Day 29 - Simple Foods Today

Not even a recipe in use today. I'm roasting up a few baked potatoes, opening a can of cranberry sauce, warming up some frozen veggies, and for hubby, making up a box of store-bought stuffing mix. He calls this an Unchicken Dinner and has even requested it as his birthday dinner next month. Fine with me! Gives me more time to stare out the window and at the television and obsess over the storm! Right now (8am) it's barely a drizzle with a little breeze blowing.

Today's musical homage to Hurricane Sandy is this little ditty by Dolly Parton called Sandy's Song.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 28 - More Sandy Blatherings

We're as prepared as we're gonna get. Because of the gloomy weather, I'll be making a nice big pot of bean soup today using the Whole Grains and Beans Soup mix from Bob's Red Mill and tossing in oodles of fresh veggies, including some greens. For dinner I'll cook up the remaining curry burgers from last week's batch, mainly because I ran out of freezer room and had to defrost them yesterday. No fries with them this time because hubby said by eating the fries he had no room for the second burger, and he prefers to eat that than potatoes. Okay with me.

We'll be spending the day trying to avoid looking at weather reports and catching up with movies we either bought on DVD, recorded on VHS or want to stream from Netflix. Well, *he* will. I'm in the process of re-reading a cozy mystery series before reading the newest installment that arrived in the mail a few weeks ago.

And for today's "Sandy" video - Travolta!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sandy (continued)

We have all our flashlights ready and a few dozen fresh replacement batteries ready.

We have a pantry loaded with canned tomatoes, beans, veggies and gallons of water.

The windows AC is out of 2 of the rooms, the other 2 are too close to the houses on either side to worry about. The windows are triple-paned so no danger of them getting blasted out in the storm, even if the winds do go up to 120 as they're predicting for our area.

All that's left is the waiting. While we're doing that, enjoy this "Sandy-themed" video. This one is early-Bruce Springsteen called Sandy (Fourth of July), this particular one recorded in 1975 (!!) when they were still being imitated by bar bands up and down the Jersey Shore. Look at how young they are! Max Weinberg!! And The Big Man before he got too big! And Springsteen singing so clearly you can actually make out the words! Oh, to be that young again! To be back at the Jersey Shore in the 1970's!

But not during a hurricane.

Friday, October 26, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 26 - Like A Hurricane

Hurricane Sandy is on her way up the Eastern seaboard and our area is going to start seeing the rain bands on Sunday and continue into next Thursday. Forecasts like this make me glad I bought Robin Robertson's book Vegan Unplugged when it came out. Here in urban New Jersey we don't usually lose electric due to storms - when we do have a blackout it's either a squirrel chewing through a wire causing a transformer to blow or a major blow-out in the dog days of summer, when everyone is trying to keep cool and the power companies can't keep up and the whole grid goes down.

If we do lose power, I have a full pantry of items that can be easily put together to make a filling and delicious McDougall-friendly meal. It has to be room temperature, though, as propane stoves are illegal for indoor use in our city, and we have no balcony, deck, porch, roof or even yard access with this top floor walk-up apartment. Besides, I've seen the damage even candles do in these old places and forgo all open flames aside from the kitchen stove. And who can use a camp stove during a hurricane or blizzard, anyway?

I did a little grocery shopping today to grab some needed items for next week's dinners, because our usual shopping day, Sunday, the stores will be crazier than they were today. I have my bottled water all ready should we have no water for some reason, but that never goes out unless we have a water main break, not from storms. Paper plates, disposable cutlery & cups, all our flashlights have fresh batteries, and we have plenty of book, cards, and board games to keep us busy if worse comes to worse.

Good luck, fellow East Coasters, and hopefully we'll all be fine and on-line with little or no interruptions. In the meantime, enjoy some classic Neil Young:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 25 - Kasha Varniskes

It seems as if every Jewish vegan chef has their own version of this traditional recipe. Isa has one in her book Appetite for Reduction, and Jeff Novick has one, too, on his Facebook page. He says it's going to appear on the fourth Fast Food DVD later this year. It was bound to happen, especially after his tale of how his mother makes him a special batch of the dish every time he goes home to visit her on the Fast Foods 2: Burgers and Fries DVD.

I've always loved kasha myself, even though I'm not Jewish, and always had a box of it in my pantry. It has an earthy, nutty flavor that just smells like winter to me, sort of like those chestnuts roasting on an open fire. :) I used to do almost all my grocery shopping at the local A&P, but the store closed earlier this year after only 13 years, a casualty of the bad economy. I always bought Wolff's brand kasha, medium grind. When the A&P closed I just assumed I could grab it at the store I was now going to shop in, Stop and Shop. I was wrong. They had no kasha with the ethnic foods, no kasha in the pasta aisle, no kasha in the grain aisle, and not in the health foods aisle. None of any brand! I tried another grocery store, then another, and neither had kasha or buckwheat, it's other name. I gave up and assumed when my last box was gone I would have to add it to the growing list of food items I would have to order from on-line. Last week I had to get some stuff at the health food store and noticed they were having a sale on bags of organic quinoa and reached for one. Lo and behold, right next to the quinoa was a bag of organic buckwheat from Eden Foods! Alright, so it cost more than doubled the price of the Wolff's I'd been buying for decades but at this point I was desperate and grabbed it. I'll probably still wind up buying it by the case from Amazon before this bag is gone. I'll be using it in both kasha varniskes and Jeff's kasha burgers so plan on going through a lot of it in the future.

Kasha Varnishes

1 Box - Whole Wheat Bow Tie Noodles (Hodgson Mill)
2 Cups Roasted Kasha (Buckwheat)
2 Onions, diced and Steam Sauteed & Browned
Carrots, Cauliflower and Broccoli

Season with lots of garlic and some pepper.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *
That's it. Jeff really doesn't give any directions on this one, so of course I assumed you cook the pasta in one pot, 2 cups dry kasha in another, steam up the veggies in another, and fry up the onions in a skillet. When everything is done you put the fried veggies, kasha and pasta all together in a large pot, mix well, then serve over the steamed veggies, as Jeff does it in his photo. Me? I'm lazy, so I mix everything together in one big pot after each cooked then served.

I use a store brand whole wheat pasta and an extra onion because we love onions. I also tossed in some sliced mushrooms with the onions, because that makes it more traditional. And a load of minced garlic from a jar, a few heaping tablespoons - over an ounce - of it. 

Instead of a bag of California Mix frozen veggies I use one bag each of the three veggies because I like chopped broccoli, not the bigger chunks in the mix bags. Jeff writes that he sometimes adds peas to his, so I did that, too.

Mistakes were made.

First off, I forgot to toast the kasha in a dry pan. It took quite a while to rinse it until the water was clear and by the time that was done, I forgot all about that step. Whether it was the brand of buckwheat or the fact that it wasn't toasted, this kasha wasn't as flavorful as the Wolff's I always used in the past. During the meal my husband asked me twice what the grain was, because it had no taste, not even a smell, at all. 

Oops. While looking for the package graphic for this post I found the official web page for this product and read that they know it's not as strong as regular, toasted, kasha. Now why didn't the package itself tell me that? It would have reminded me to toast it first. Oh, well.

Because this dish took a number of pots to make it, and my son wanted to use the stove to make his own dinner, I made the kasha up earlier than the rest of the meal by just a few minutes so he could have use of 2 burners on the stove. Big mistake! The buckwheat/kasha glopped up worse than barley! That'll teach me!

And the 2 cups dry make up a heck of a lot of that kasha, too. I have a feeling Jeff meant 2 cups of cooked kasha, not start with 2 cups dry. When the meal was over I wound up putting away as leftovers more than what we ate for dinner. A LOT of food, even for big eaters like us!
Oodles of onions!

Even though I used 3 big onions and a ton of garlic, this dish needed more. Lots more. I even added onion and garlic powders to the pot. When cooking without oil sometimes tastes disappear upon cooking, and these onions did that. Maybe it was the bag of onions I used, maybe it's because this recipe in general made enough to feed an army and the onions and garlic just got lost in the crowd. who knows? Next time, more.

Because of the heaviness of the whole wheat pasta and the (probably way too much) kasha, this was a very heavy dish. At least the veggies lightened it up a bit, but it was still a starch lover's dream. It was so thick I needed to bring out the heavy duty mixing spoon to stir it all together, and it wasn't so much that I scooped up the mixture to plate it but sliced out a chunk of it, and when put into the bowl it held its shape. I probably could have put this stuff out on a platter, shaped it, and called it a loaf and just served it in slices.

We'll be eating this again tonight, but I'm making a gravy to go with it, probably this mushroom gravy from Anne Esselstyn. It's either that or use a heavy hand on the salt and pepper, because although quite filling, it was also quite tasteless. Again, I blame myself for that. Next time I'll do this a bit differently and maybe have Wolff's brand kasha in my possession again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 24 - Jeff Novick's Moroccan Tagine

Yes, another Jeff Novick recipe. 

This one appeared on his Facebook page back in January with no fanfare or even a mention on the McDougall forums. I know he's working on 2 new DVDs, so maybe today's is from it? The third video is going to be about shopping, the fourth is more complex meals called Beyond the Basics, with a dozen more recipes, some with no tomatoes, which will be welcomed by those who said they don't go near SNAP meals because they can't eat or are sick of all those tomatoes.

Unfortunately for them, today's recipe does still contain tomatoes. In fact, it has double the tomatoes of Jeff's usual SNAP meals.

The recipe:

Moroccan Chickpea, Cauliflower and Carrot Tagine 

2 Boxes POMI chopped tomatoes
1 14-oz Can Unsalted Chickpeas
1 lb Frozen Cauliflower
1 lb Frozen Slices Carrots
1/2 lb frozen Onions
2 cooked sweet potatoes diced
1/2 cup blanched toasted almonds
1/2 cup sliced dried apricots

1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan, Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and serve over Quinoa
~ * ~ * ~ *
In the pot, waiting for spices

My interpretations:
Instead of 2 boxes of Pomi, I used one box and 2 cans of no-salt added diced tomatoes. Why? Because they were on sale last week and I bought plenty of extra. No other reason. 

Two cans instead of one of the garbanzos, because we love garbanzo beans.

I used a bit more onions, both frozen and some fresh onions I had already diced that were sitting in the fridge.

Only one sweet potato, because I forgot I needed some for this meal and used up all but one on those fries the other day. Oops!

I cut each dried apricot in quarters, because I don't like large pieces of dried fruit in my food. I do the same when a recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes.

And I tossed in about a quarter cup of frozen collards, because Jeff tosses greens in just about everything he makes, even though he doesn't always write it down in the recipes.

And instead of quinoa I'm serving it over reheated rice, because I had a lot left over from another meal.

Here's how it all looked as it was cooking:

Another afternoon of a delicious-smelling apartment! It's a great mixture of sweet and spicy. This tasted great! The cinnamon really made the other flavors popped. I know, an over-used term lately, but there's no other way to describe it. The apricots added a hint of sweetness but weren't over powering. The almond slivers softened just a wee bit for a little crunch amidst the texture of softer vegetables. This recipe, like almost all of Jeff's others, is a keeper for sure! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 23 - Jeff Novick Again

No recipe today. I'm having an exam at the opthamologist, and between the drops that make me look look like and see like Mr. Burns in the X-Files episode of The Simpsons
minus the green glow, of course, and the humungous eye pain and headache I always have afterwards from all the poking and bright lights in the eyes. On eye doctor days, my son or husband take over dinner duties and we always have plain old spaghetti with jarred pasta sauce.

In the meantime, enjoy these videos of Jeff Novick and Rip Esselstyn and their handstand challenge:

Jeff Novick and Rip Esselstyn - ROUND 1, LA 2010

 Jeff Novick and Rip Esselstyn - ROUND 2, Austin 2010

 Jeff Novick and Rip Esselstyn - ROUND 3 - The Tiebreaker October 2010

 Jeff Novick and Rip Esselstyn - Last Showdown - Austin 02-2011

Monday, October 22, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 22 - Jeff's Fast Food Curry Sweet Potato Burgers

Are you people sick of hearing about Jeff Novick's meals yet? No? Good, because today I'm posting about his Curry Sweet Potato Burgers, one of the specialty burgers taken from his Fast Food: Volume 2: Burgers and Fries DVD. The recipe for this particular burgers in on the PDF file on the disc and is posted on this site.

This is the first time I'm making this particular version of his burgers. I got the DVD when it was initially released earlier this year, but it was during the months when I was sick with the flu. Yes, months. I started the week after Christmas 2011 and was sick for 6 weeks, well for about 2 weeks then started all over again, sick another 6 weeks, better again for just a few weeks then my husband and I were both sick with it. He was so bad he had to call in sick from work for a whole week, something he's only done once before in our 35 years of marriage.

Anyway, I only made Jeff's burgers about 3 times, the first with his original recipe, which is slightly different. The next 2 from his Basic Recipe from the video. Don't get me wrong - the burgers are delicious, but hand-squishing those beans when one has cervical neuritis in the neck and degenerative disc disease up and down the spine was a chore. It was so much easier - but not healthier - to just buy a package of McDougall-approved frozen burgers (and sometimes a brand that wasn't on the approved list) those rare times we had a burger dinner.
Penzey Spices Curry Selection


While looking for another of Jeff's videos the other day I rediscovered the Burgers and Fries one and realized I never saw it with a clear head, so popped it into the machine. Of course looking at those gorgeous burgers made me yearn for one again, so I decided to pop an Aleve and make up a batch of the Curry Sweet Potato ones. I already had some leftover mashed sweet potatoes in the freezer in those tiny 1-cup storage containers, so took one out to defrost. I have a supply of curry powder I got from Penzey Spices already on hand, and always have a load of canned beans in the pantry in my Cansolidator.

The finished product. Well, shaped but uncooked. They'll stay in the refrigerator for a while, then get popped on the Calaphon non-stick griddle for a few minutes, then flipped. I have lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and whole wheat Kaiser rolls for hubby, Ezekiel English muffins for me. I was going to get whole wheat pita or naan bread but the store had neither when I went, only white flour versions. 

I also made up some spiced up steak fries from the DVD, too. I know the photo isn't that great but I had to be quick as my husband was already grabbing some out of the bowl. On the russets I used garlic powder on half of them, curry powder on the other, and for the sweet potatoes, half had curry powder, half had pumpkin pie spice. These were as big a hit as the burgers! The only problem we had was that the burgers were SO filling! Next time I'll plan on just one burger each, and hubby already requested we use these burgers without rolls just served on a plate with the fries and some veggies. He likes Jeff's SNAP curry recipes and says this is a pleasant change of pace.

Next week, maybe the Southwest version. I already got some hints on what to serve them on in this thread on the McDougall forums. I already have the spice, a nice Southwest mix from Penzey's.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 20 - Foxtrot Comics

Foxtrot has been one of my favorite newspaper comic strips since the first day. Although the strip is now only showing new comics on Sundays, a few on-line sites are airing reruns of the years of strips.

One premise is that younger son Jason is a nerdy geek. He had an Apple computer for decades, 

read The Hobbit and all the Lord of the Ring books years before the movies, 

and has all three of the good Star Wars movies memorized (and pretends the newest three don't exist). 

The writer of the strip is also a math geek, so Jason is, too. My son is very much like Jason Fox, and every time there's a math strip with all these weird equations I have to save them and have him explain them to me. Some are a bit obvious, like:

Others leave me scratching my head and take a few minutes to figure out:

Another premise of the strip is that Mrs. Fox (Mom) loves to tinker with healthy vegan cooking, and a number of panels over the  years have included things like tofu, "yeast cheese" and other "scary" foods. And of course, being the typical SAD family, Dad and the boys are always finding ways to get out of eating the foods Andy (Mom) makes.

Just like MY guys! Some of these are word for word what goes on in my own home.

Here's the strip that re-ran October 18th:

And some others from the past:

Yes, I frequently tell my son to just "put ketchup on it" when there's a dish he doesn't like.

Friday, October 19, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 19 - Rainbow Skillet Medley

We love hash browns in this family. For around 6 months now, not counting MoFo weeks, every Thursday I would make up 2 skillets of hash browns. One of them would contain a dish known as Poorman's Meal, based on Clara Cannucciari's dish from the Depression Cooking YouTube site.

This is the dish I make my son. He doesn't follow the McDougall - or ANY plant strong - program. Yes, I put those little pink globules known as sliced hot dogs in it, too.

But I don't make this for hubby and myself. I've never found a vegan hot dog I like, so just don't bother trying to replicate this for us. I usually make some other version of a hash brown meal each week, and as long-time McDougallers know, Mary McDougall loves using those bags of hash browns in recipes so I have plenty to choose from! I only buy the Ore-Ida Southern Style if it's on sale. I usually buy the store brand whose only ingredients are potatoes and some brands have a preservative.

This meal we had is Rainbow Skillet Medley and comes from the Quick and Easy cookbook
Still tossing stuff into the skillet

Instead of boiling the taters as Mary directs, I just take them out of the freezer in the morning and they're defrosted when it's time to start cooking. 

Not only did I use frozen corn as directed, but also used frozen broccoli and jarred fire-roasted red pepper. The green pepper was fresh, although I do keep some sliced up in the freezer that I usually use. The green onions were from the bag of dehydrated ones I keep in the pantry from the mail order place Spices, Etc. I use this so infrequently, and many times the bunches at the store look wimpy, so I found keeping a supply of the dried stuff works out nicely. I keep some other dried veggies in the pantry, too, like diced red pepper, green pepper, and a combo of both (I know - silly but an impulse purchase at the time). I tried the tomato bits, thinking they would be like the sun-dried tomatoes, but even when boiled in water for a few minutes they stayed hard as rocks. I forget what happened to them. If they're still buried in the pantry I might try grinding them down into powder and add to some of Bryanna's broth powder for a cheap but quick instant tomato soup. Carrots are another one I keep on hand, tossing a handful into soups or stews if they need just a touch of "something."

I did have one problem with this meal - I burnt it. One of the hazards of cooking without oil is that things don't brown, the stick unless you toss them about every 5 minutes or so. I got distracted and it was almost 15 minutes before I got to the pan, and although it was on the lowest flame, the entire bottom layer burnt onto the bottom of my 6-month old non-stick almost $100 Calaphon skillet. Damn! So with about a third less food to eat (It's a big skillet so even a small amount takes up a lot of volume) I knew we would still be hungry so I opened up a box of McDougall Right Foods Lentil Soup. They may be out of stock at the factory store, so I'm glad I stock up when the local grocery store has them on sale.

And the skillet washed up beautifully. Things may still stick while cooking, but with a little soap and water the burnt on mess swished right out of there.