Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Escarole Situation, Soupy Week, Fancy Pants, and Convalescence Baking

Four Blog Posts all bundled into one!

As a follow up to my post about The Kale Situation, I'm finally following up with the promised "Escarole Situation." Late last fall, I decided to plant some escarole. I'd never had it, but I'd heard about it, and I never saw it at the farmers market so I could try it. So, I planted a whole row of it, from seed. Well, all these months later, I was having starting to have a serious Escarole Situation: about 10 HUGE, robust, abundant plants and me having absolutely no idea what to do with them. You can see my confusion!

Finally, I got a tip to just sauteed escarole with garlic, like any other green. So, I made up some of this delicious Roasted Seitan with Cipollini Onions and Balsamic Glaze (from Fresh Food Fast)...

... and served it up with a side of sauteed escarole. I thought it was okay to eat, but Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats took one bite and said "Yuck!" So, because I don't like to waste, I made myself eat his serving too - a solution I wasn't particularly eager to repeat. So, I gave away huge bags of the stuff to my friends who came to my Persian New Year party. That was a clever solution! But there was still a lot left over.

Finally, I got a tip that there was an escarole recipe in Veganomicon. It's funny because I looked through SO many of my international/Italian/mediterranean books looking for escarole recipes, when there was one in good ol' "Vcon" the whole time. So, I made up her dish, which is called something like "White Beans with Escarole," and - LO! - we both enjoyed it. Mr. VE&T did say "This tastes very healthy," with a slightly derogatory tone, but nonetheless he liked it enough to eat it. So I've got one more huge bag of escarole in the fridge and I think I'll whip this one up again. But, next fall, there probably won't be escarole growing in my garden!

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I've been really grooving on my kitchen time lately... and we had a week wherein I made a whole bunch of delicious soups. First there was the "Split Pea and Roasted Parsnips" soup from "Vegan World Fusion." This soup was really, really good. I don't use parsnips much, but they were a great addition to this soup.

Next up was the Cilantro-Asparagus Soup from the "Real Food Daily Cookbook," which I've made many times before. Love it love it love it. Simple, seasonal and very flavorful. Alongside the soup I made "Pasta alla Verde" (or something like that) from Vegan Italiano. Unfortunately, I just really can't say we liked that one. The pasta was a real dud, and it's pretty hard to make pasta no-fun-to-eat.

I also made a batch of this *delicious* Winter Minestrone with Parsley Pesto from "Modern Vegetarian Kitchen." It was a great soup - and the pesto really made it. Light and hearty all at once, somehow. It's funny to be eating "Winter" soup and also fresh strawberries from our garden all at once. Spring is crazy!

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One of my sweet pals broke her leg recently, which isn't very fun. So, in addition to bringing her lots of the aforementioned soups, I also wanted to make sure she had some sweeties to soothe the spirits. She's a real spelt and healthy-foodie gal, so I made the Ginger-Raspberry-Spelt Muffins from Vegan Brunch. YUM. These muffins were so quick and easy and so delicious, and were happily received!

After those muffins had been devoured, I made her another batch - Spelt Pistachio & Dried Cherry Muffins. I sorta based them off the Vegan Brunch recipe, but mixed it up quite a bit. I used some of my leftover homemade pistachio milk, added in a bunch of pistachios, some cardamom, and a big handful of dried cherries. They were SO successful, and I was pretty stoked! I don't switch up recipes too often, and it's exciting for me when my creative endeavors turn out well.

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I also had a little stint where I made recipes from Millenium Restaurant cookbooks two nights in a row on weeknights!! I was feeling like quite a fancy pants. First up, the Moroccan Crepes, from "The Millenium Cookbook." Pictured here is the delicious filling - made with a whole bunch of seasonal veggies, chickpeas, and many tasty spices. Beautiful, isn't it?

Then I made up the crepes, which were a cinch, and came out PERFECT. On top there, you see the very, very tasty "Tofu, Mint, & Cilantro Raita" (I made a 1/4 recipe). This recipe was all ready start to finish in under an hour, but really tasted top-notch!

The following night I made two recipes from "The Artful Vegan" - "Israeli Couscous Salad" & "Roasted Vegetables." These were two parts of a 4-part dinner menu, but together they made a lovely, quick and seasonal dinner meal. This Couscous Salad was out-of-this-freaking world! We loved it, and I most definitely look forward to making it again soon.

The Roasted Veggies were nicely spiced and more than just plain-ol-roasted-veg. It was a nice combo to have something fresh and something a little more hearty and savory.

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Last, but not least!, I made a batch of Mary's 5-Star Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for the yoga retreat I co-led this weekend. All the food at the retreat center is crazy delicious and vegan... and they make us amazing desserts at night, but some of us (you know who you are!) also like a little sweetie after lunch! So I made these delicious cookies, which were enjoyed by all! thanks again to Mary for such a flawless recipe!

23 comments:

  1. I'm blown away by all that amazing food, and I really want some of that couscous salad! Go you!

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  2. oh my...excellent cooking as always. what a delightful post. thank you.

    http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

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  3. If you have some escarole left, you should try this southern italian recipe in which you basically sauté it with olive oil, pine nuts, raisins and - if you like it - some dried hot pepper. Very yummy!!

    BTW... it's almost lunch time here and you made me very hungry with all these pictures of delicious dishes :-)

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  4. Wow! Those crepes looks incredible. And the cookies! Oh my!

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  5. Emilia8:30 AM

    I second everybody else... you're cooking looks AMAZING. I want it ALL. :)

    SO sad I didn't make it to the retreat, as well, looking forward to the next one though :) How was the food and yoga there by the way? Pics would be nice :)

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  6. Yow! Cooking up a storm might be an understatement. Looks Delish.
    Print the Ginger Rasp Spelt muffins, will you?

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  7. the brown cube that looks like meat looks yummy..i bet it can be a perfect meat substitute

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  8. giant couscous for the win!

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  9. Gorgeous food! And I LOVE your confused-by-escarole look!

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  10. Over ehre escarole is always eaten raw and I never thought about cooking it. I must try this!

    How swwet of you to make muffins for your friend.

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  11. I was just about to leave a comment saying how good everything looked, and then I scrolled down and saw my gluten-free cookies! Woohoo! I'm glad that recipe has worked for you. I think it must have been a miracle, because everything else I've tried to bake since then has been crap... I need to make cookies again soon.

    I don't know if I've ever eaten escarole. I'm impressed that you can grow so much of your own food!

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  12. Your first picture is hilarious! hahahaha. Sorry you didn't have such great luck with the escarole. I've never had it so I couldn't begin to give you ideas on what to do.
    Cookies look delish!

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  13. Thanks especially for the GF cookie endorsement. Mike is trying out GF for a while, and I miss baked goods!

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  14. Seems like I've noticed a billion escarole recipes since I first read this post. I saw this one in the NY Times and I thought of you. It looks pretty good.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/dining/28minirex.html?ref=dining

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  15. Anonymous7:58 PM

    So impressed that you made the Millennium recipes!! Have you ever thought about going to one of their cooking classes? They are fairly pricey, but they look really fun. Another vegan blogger (I think Whole Food Vegan?) goes and posts photos, so you may have seen them. I would like to go one of these days myself, though I admit I am slightly intimidated. :-) jen e.

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  16. That is such a great face! Man, I've only ever had escarole once and can't remember if I like it. So much yummy, yummy food in this post! Those crepes look fantastic!

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  17. Holy escarole! hehehe. Everything looks delish. I hope you find more uses for your greens.

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  18. What a post! Everything looks SO delicious, but I'm most drawn to the cilantro soup and the scrumptious looking Indian soup. Yum yum yum!!!

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  19. Vegetarian ei? ^^

    Most of your dishes are full of vegetables, looks nutritious and very green one :P

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  20. Oh please add a subscribe via email option to your blog, please!!

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  21. Wow! wonderful all the recipes you have shown in your post. I Like these. Thank you very much for the sharing with us.Cable tv on pc

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  22. Wow! wonderful all the recipes you have shown in your post. I Like these. Thank you very much for the sharing with us.Cable tv on pc

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  23. A great posting. Each dishes are so attractable and delicious. I can't control my appetite.

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