Monday, January 31, 2011

Kale Wraps with Pineapple Salsa, Root Vegetables, Broiled Blackened Tofu

Root veggies, in all of their roasted glory.

Kale rolls- not much to look at but most delicious topped with the non-pictured pineapple salsa.

Kale roll filling- I added tumeric because I love curcuminoids.

 Date: 01/27/2011
Cook:  Jen G.
Menu: Kale Wraps Stuffed with Chickpeas and Rice, Topped with Pineapple Salsa; Balsamic Roasted Veggies; Broiled Blacked Tofu (and cake)

I read Vegetarian Times and always enjoy the inspiration that comes from a new issue (though not every recipe is vegan, many are...and others very easy to veganize).  I saw a recipe for these kale rolls and wanted to try them out-- it was the pineapple salsa that intrigued me.  I don't even usually care for pineapple but something about these spoke to me!  The salsa is an easy to throw together combo of pineapple, cilantro (the recipe said you could also use mint, which I thought would also be good), hot and bell peppers and lime juice.  This lent a really bright flavor to the plain kale and the straightforward chick pea/rice stuffing. 

The roasted veggies were based on a recipe from The Garden of Vegan, though I added some garlic and next time would throw more balsamic vinegar into the mix.

The Broiled Blackened Tofu was probably the biggest surprise -- fast and really good.  I am not a big broiler so this recipe found me stretching outside of my comfort zone a bit, and with happy results.  The recipe is (surprise) from Appetite for Reduction and I used in large part a pre-mixed, pre-bought Cajun spice mix and added some of the other ingredients for the coating.  Very easy and really tasty.

The night before our meal group night, I had been talking about cake cake cake big yellow cake.  My partner and I had gone to a party the previous weekend and noticed there a very big, very non-vegan multi-layed yellow cake with chocolate favorite.  We decided we'd make a vegan version, but it didn't play out quite as moist and multi-layered as we'd intended.  In fact, he described it as "basically bread, only sweeter."  Undaunted, we frosted the hell out of it and I ate a lot of it, but also included sizeable hunks in the mealgroup bags.  The frosting is what saved the day - if you ever need a fabulous chocolate frosting, I do highly recommend the one found in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

The broiler, IN ACTION!!!!!

I heart a good spice mix for dredging!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Special Treat: Thai Tuesday!

So savory and delicious!

Black sesame seeds and limes make brown rice extra special

I love cooking for Meal Group. Past the usual practicalities - that it saves money and time, it is also a great opportunity to stretch your culinary wings.  My husband isn't terribly adventurous when it comes to food, but every now and again, a girl likes to try something different.  Especially if the girl is South Asian, and big fan of sugar and spice (the "all things nice" is debatable).
I went to an Asian market and got creative, because I know my lovely foodie friends always appreciate my efforts, and aren't afraid to try some of the more exotic offerings.  So I grabbed oyster mushrooms, Thai basil, tofu, limes and baby bok choy and went to town. The dish is very fragrant, and I was able to make it pretty close to the way our local Thai place does, just with a lot less oil.  The key was having the wonderful Thai basil and although I didn't remember to get kaffir lime leaves, substituting a little lime zest did the trick nicely.  I fried the tofu separately in soy sauce, garlic, and a little brown sugar until it was nice and brown and then added it to the oyster mushrooms, red pepper, scallions, ginger, and baby bok choy.  Once they cooked down a little, I added the Thai basil et voila!
I made plain brown basmati, and added some sesame seed oil, lime juice and black sesame seeds (from our trip to Corrado's) to jazz it up a bit.  I had so much fun making this and was really excited to share it with the Meal Group!

Tamale Pie

Date: 01/24/2011
Cook:  Jen C.
Menu: Tamale Pie

I picked this meal up on the coldest night we have had yet and Jen C. seemed frazzled.  "Sorry," she said as she handed me our bag, "it didn't turn out well."

SAY WHAT?  It was deeeeelicious!!  Even my normally picky kid gobbled it up and asked for seconds.  We put hot salsa on it and served with a salad.  I don't know what kind of crazy high standards Jen C. has, but Jen!  Yum!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quinoa, Beans, Sauces, Bread

Date: 01/20/2011
Cook:  Jen G.
Menu:  Garbanzo Beans, Quinoa, Broccoli and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic, Pumpkin Seed Spinach and Sundried Tomato and Olive Sauces; Bread
You know those days when its really cold out and you are running around?  I had one of those on Thursday.  We have been trapping some of our local feral cats to be neutered/spayed, given basic vet care and then returned once its safe for them to placed back outside, so vet visits bookended my own appointments, plus the weather forecast said it was going to snow, so we were trying to get everything ready for the animals.  Before Meal Group that is the kind of day that would send us into a local restaurant to grab a quick meal to be eaten fast, rather than enjoyed, so we could get back into our warm home.
But instead, thanks to Meal Group, dinnner came to us. Jenn G's food was perfect.  A make your own bowl of quinoa, chickpeas and a brocolli/cauliflower mix with three delicious sauces:  Spinach pumpkinseed pesto, olive tapenade and a roasted garlic sauce.  And along with that bounty, she had left us lovely fresh bread and two cute mini muffins. 
The minute we saw it, we tore into it and it was perfect:  a healthy dinner, with lots of protein, almost no fat and a ton of flavor.  What more could anyone want to close the book on a very busy day?  We devoured it happily and settled in to watch TV. 
Thank you Jenn, for saving the day again!

Curry and Brown Rice

Date: 01/19/2011
Cook:  Rachel
Menu: Cauliflower Red Lentil Curry and Brown Rice with Mustard Seeds; Chutney

Rachel has an incredible way with curries.  Each time I eat one of her curry dishes, I think that it is the best one that she has made yet, but this time it might be the truth.  I am extremely partial to cauliflower and lentils, so there was already a predisposition for me to love this...but...YUM!  I'm also not certain how she always ends up with perfect rice all of the time, but she does!


Date: 01/17/2011
Cook:  Jen C.
Menu: Onion and Lentil Soup with Caramelized Cabbage, Green Salad...but that isn't what is important.  What matters is that this mealgroup night involved ICE CREAM SAMPLE TIME!!!

So good, flavorful and warming!

Never underestimate the deliciousness of a simple green salad with beets and yummy dressing.

The soup was frickin' delicious, I have no idea how Jen pulled that magic off, especially since she spent the day in NYC shopping for a gelato freezer for her newest endeavor, ICE CREAM.  We lucked out in that Jen C.'s vendor just so happened to be bringing her samples that day, so for dessert we chowed down on:


 My favorite was peanut butter fudge, no surprise there.  What was surprising was how much I like the cinnamon raisin.  That was my second favorite.  The blueberry was also delectable. 

That night we had a big ice storm.

My trusty steed

Mango BBQ Beans with Coconut Squash Rice

Packed up and ready to roll!
Date: 01/13/2011
Cook:  Jen G.
Menu: Mango BBQ Beans with Coconut Squash Rice and Creamy Cilantro Sauce

Super tasty, pretty simple/straightforward -- what else could a girl ask for?  I actually like the rice recipe way more than I thought that I would so it might be a repeat soon, since we just got another butternut squash in our produce share.  Both the Mango BBQ Beans and the Coconut Squash Rice are from Appetite for Reduction.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quinoa, Kale and Bean Stew and Biscuits

Date: 01/12/2011
Cook:  Rachel
Menu: Quinoa, Kale and Bean Stew and Garlic Cheese Biscuits

I cannot thank Rachel enough for dinner tonight!  I was so hungry when I got back from romping in the snow (add air quotes if you please -- I am not really the snow romping type) with my kid.  You know that kind of hungry where you feel like you have just been out in some really cold weather for quite a while and now you want to fill yer pie hole with something warm and comfort-y?  Yeah?  Then I really must recommend this meal to you!  We got home to find our meal awaiting us, and that was such a wonderful moment! The tasty stew was full of vegetables and hearty goodness, and the biscuits complemented it perfectly. 

We worked up an appetite doing wintery things like this...

...and came home to eat this!  YAY! (again, poor photo does not do nom food justice)

Monday, January 10, 2011


Yeah, not the best looking picture, but it was tasty as heck.

Date: 01/10/2011
Cook:  Jen C.
Menu: Enchiladas with Cabbage-Carrot Slaw

Jen C. gave us the hook up with some really delightful enchiladas this evening.  Even the kid said, "oh, those look GREAT!" when we opened the container.  (He also enthusiastically told his dad upon the latter's arrival home from work, "IT IS A MEALSHARE NIGHT!! AND JEN MADE US ENCHILADAS!!")  The sauce was supergood and a brilliant use of leftovers from a brunch that Rachel and her partner hosted yesterday (Rachel did this awesome thing where she created a make-your-own-ranchero station).

I spent all day and evening working on a project that is due this weekend, and then had a steering committee meeting to go to for a local grassroots environmental group.  It was a joy to not have to worry about providing dinner tonight-- I am grateful for meal group.  Thanks!

Curried Cauliflower Soup with Tamarind Quinoa

Date: 01/06/2011
Cook:  Jen G.
Menu: Curried Cauliflower Soup with Tamarind Quinoa

Jen G. here!  I was so lucky to get two fabulous cookbooks for the holidays, Color Me Vegan and Appetite for Reduction.   In deference to a mealshare member's request to stick more closely to an Eat to Live-style diet, I wanted to make something extra-specially healthy and, well, I cracked the spines of the two books and did some perusing. 

The soup (from Color Me Vegan) was straightforward to prepare and delicious but once pureed according to directions it was quite thin.  The quinoa (from Appetite for Reduction) added a fantastic flavor and excellent mouthfeel. 

The non-Eat to Live-ers got a chunk of seemingly lackluster (I didn't eat it myself) banana bread.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage

Rachel's generous meal fed an extra person at Jen G.'s house - served up with salad, and hummus for the yummy bread
Hi there! Its Rachel here with another wintery missive from Suburban Vegan Meal Group!  I made dinner for my lovely friends on Wednesday night, and since it was a cold evening, I thought it would be the perfect time to try out Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage. 
The soup is an easy, filling dinner, perfect for a weeknight, especially if paired with salad and bread.  The fresh dill elevated the taste of the more mundane ingredients - chickpeas, cabbage, carrots, brown rice.  The rice made it a very hearty meal, and I used only a tablespoon of oil for enough food to feed 7!
We had an interesting experience with the dish as well, because two of us found it too salty, while the others thought it was perfect.  I tend not to add a lot of salt to my food, so for me, the 1 tsp along with the broth made it saltier than I would like. It was interesting to see how different our perceptions were!  And it highlights another benefit of Meal Group - if something ends up not being the perfect dinner for you, you're not left with a week of leftovers.
I loved the dish, and would absolutely make it again, but will probably use a low sodium broth and omit the salt, and let people salt the soup for themselves.  I've included the recipe here, and am intrigued by some of the variations - I bet this would be delicious with mushrooms.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what Jen G. makes tonight!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thai Veggie Stew

Date: 01/03/2011
Cook:  Jen C.
Menu: Thai vegetable stew with basmati rice

I could regale you with tales of the fun afternoon the three of us (randomly) spent at Corrado's - which is a really bizarre place, and skilled in parting you from your money, because OMG I TOTALLY SHOULD GET BLACK SESAME SEEDS! AND GARLIC OIL! TEA IS ON SALE! HAHA LOOK AT ME, STANDING IN FRONT OF THE CHICKPEA FLOWER WHILE ASKING RACHEL WHERE IT IS! OOOH!...and...and...and... - but instead I will talk to you about Jen C.'s thai veggie stew. 

It was full of cauliflower, broccoli (two favorites in our house), snap peas, peppers...all in a flavorful, coconut milk base.  I am not skilled in the rice department, so I always appreciate people who serve me non-crunchy, tasty rice.  Thank you for another wonderful meal, Jen C.!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hello, hello and best wishes for 2011.  As we return from our holiday mealshare hiatus, I have a meal to share with you from last month!

Date: 12/16/2010
Cook:  Jen G.
Menu:  Beans and rice, sweet potato biscuits and pomegranate- enhanced salad

Simple and hearty, the beans and rice recipe was from La Dolce Vegan and the sweet potato biscuit recipe from Appetite for Reduction.

One BIG pot of beans and rice!

Sweet little sweet potato biscuits getting their butts baked off.

Perhaps the oddest salad picture ever taken in the history of taking pictures of salad!