Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deeelicious Dinners

Even though I don't blog everyday, I DO actually eat everyday. More than once. So, now, I've got a nice little backlog of various delicious dinners of late. Now that spring is right around the corner, I am trying to use up various goodies from my pantry and freezer, to make way for all the fresh corn and fresh tomatoes and other glorious goodies that will soon be back.

Classic Black Bean & Veggie Chili from "Appetite for Reduction," Isa's newest book. As you'll see, I've made a few things from this book now, and I really like them. The recipes are great for weeknight dinners where you want something healthy, yummy, and ready in under and hour. This really is a simple little chili recipe, but it's quite tasty, and chock full of veggies, which is perfect for me!

Although it's not pictured, I also made the Chipotle Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts from AfR (except I used kabocha squash in place of sweet potatoes), and that one we really, really loved. Probably my new favorite chili recipe of all time. And I was probably too busy eating it to take a picture of it.

Also from Appetite for Reduction, Chickpea Piccata. I loved Isa's suggestion to serve it with mashed cauliflower-potatoes (aka Caulipots) & over arugula. What a fun dinner! It felt so fancy, but it really wasn't all that complicated. Honestly, those caulipots are sooooooo good.

Indonesian Corn Chowder & Grilled Tofu
Last summer, I took a bunch of ears of perfect raw corn and cut off all the kernels and popped them into little ziplock baggies, and then into the freezer. All so that I could put corn in my chili in February, and make a whole pot of Indonesian Corn Chowder (from Healthy Hedonist) in the first week of March. Excellent! Alongside the chowder I made some grilled tofu marinated with Indonesian shallot marinade (adapted from a tempeh recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian). Both were so delicious, and made a great combo together. So nice to have some summery flavors in the middle of winter!

I guess I've been in a soupy mood. It must be all the nice rainy days we've been having. Here you see a big bowl of classic Minestrone Soup. I sort of base my recipe off of Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, but I use the recipe for the variation where you boil all your beans and the soup takes hours to make, except that I just use pre-boiled beans out of my freezer. Easy peasy! Plus I got to use up some of my oddly VAST collection of mini pasta shapes in the cupboards. Apparently I cannot resist buying mini pasta shapes, even if I have no planned use for it.

Sambar & Chickpea Curry
Using one of the South Indian cookbooks I brought home from India with me (it's called Southern Spice), I cooked up this tasty little dinner! Honestly, this sambar wasn't my favorite sambar recipe, but obviously, even a mediocre sambar is still mighty delicious. It's not like we didn't eat it all, folks. But that Chickpea Curry was another story. Chock full of coconut and curry leaves that stuff was over the moon delicious. Sooooo good, and definitely something I will make again.

My awesome friend Gabrielle surprised me with a copy of Kansha, the recently published all-vegan Japanese cookbook. It is so beautiful, it's practically just a coffee table book. But luckily, it's a cookbook too. So, post-holidays, home from India... I finally cracked it open with some serious intent to make something. My package of udon noodles called to me from the cupboards, and I settled on Udon Noodle Soup. Isn't it lovely?

Here it is after it's all mixed up together and ready for eating! You can see that this is Mr. Vegan Eats and Treat's bowl, not mine, because of his insitence upon using a fork/spoon, and not chopsticks. I'm just fine with chopsticks, I think they're fun! This soup was great... but unfortunately not my total fave. Mr. VE&T loved it, but he's more a mushroom fan than I am. I've come a long way in healing my once-estranged relationship with mushrooms, but this was still a little heavy on the 'shrooms for my taste. Also, I accidentally overcooked my udon noodles a little, which made me grumpy! Still it was a yummy dinner, and would be probably be heaven for a mushroom lover who knows how to cook udon noodles properly!

Middle Eastern Feastern!
Foul Mudammas, Baba Ghanoush, and Eggplant Caviar & Pita Breads
Last but not least, my masterpiece of weeknight dinners! A multi-dish offering of homemade pita breads, and three different spreads. I made homemade pitas once before... and while they were totally delicious, they did not poof. This time I used the recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food - which suggested preheating the oven and the baking sheet to 500 F for 20 minutes before baking. As you can see, it worked! I got Perfect Pocket Poof. The recipe made a lot (18?), so all the pitas we didn't eat went into the freezer to maintain their freshness. I'll definitely make these again, they were fun and delicious!

Also I used up some good pantry items - a big jar of grilled eggplant chunks and a big can of fava beans to make these delicious dips: Foul Mudammas, Baba Ghanoush, and Eggplant Caviar. As it turned out - they were a perfect trio! The Foul was thick and tangy - with garlic and lemon, the Baba Ghanoush was mild and rich with tahini and smoky grilled eggplant, and the Eggplant Caviar was fresh and light with fresh herbs and grilled eggplant. The best thing to do was to stuff equal amounts of all three spreads into a pita pocket and chow down! Obviously, this was a pretty ambitious meal for a weeknight... I think we ended up eating dinner around 10:30, but we're down with that. Luckily, there was tons of food and I got two more lunches out of all this goodness. Just remembering this meal makes me wish I could eat it right now... it was an incredible dinner!


  1. YUMs all around! And who doesn't love a Middle Eastern Feastern?!

  2. All of that looks delicious! I'm super impressed with your pita bread and feast!

  3. Anonymous10:48 AM

    Yum, these all look great - and Kansha & Appetite for Reduction are my latest cookbook acquisitions as well, so nice to see some recommendations. The chili with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts is on the top of my list before the brussels are gone...and then I want to try the jerk asparagus.

    :-) jen e.

  4. Wow Amey, everything looks delicious but especially that udon soup! I want it right now. I'm so impressed with your frozen produce freezin' and homemade pita-makin' ways.

  5. Gabrielle12:40 PM

    SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS! I want to get back in the Vegan Eats & Treats kitchen.

    I ordered another copy of Kansha, so I hope to try a few things. Will report back! :)

  6. Oh YUM!!! Everything looks so delicious!

  7. Wow, what a round-up. Everything looks so warm, wholesome and delicious. I have Kansha as well and I've been waiting for a great excuse to play with some of the fancier recipes.

  8. Everything looks great. I've been cooking from AfR a lot lately too and really enjoy it. Haven't made the piccata/caulipots yet though, but thanks for the reminder.
    My favorite of the bunch is the Middle Eastern platter, though! I love that kind of stuff!

  9. Everything looks so amazing! I especially love how that chowder sounds. Yum!!

  10. Amey it all looks so good! Excellent flip! I also think you hair is super to you my friend.


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