Acorn Squash Quinoa
Happy Holidays! A bit late but things have been a little insane around here. In non-food news, we had our first donor IVF cycle a week ago and will be finding out the results later this week/early next. It’s amazing how in some ways time has flown since then but yet in other ways time has stopped – or in the very least is dragging on. I’ve spent a lot of time relaxing, and working on new recipes, but very little time in the kitchen. It hasn’t helped that my oven broke, but figuring out ways around it. Primarily that means lots of stove top cooking and very few baked treats but that’s okay! If anything it gives me a jump start on my New Years Resolution to cut back on sweets, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Today’s recipe is actually one I made right before my transfer, and one that I started working with at the start of fall. Since my house is mostly a nut free zone, I have to find other ways of recreating nutty flavors, usually in the form of sesame seeds. However I’ve become slightly addicted to acorn squash – nutty and sweet and meaty all in one awesomely healthy gourd. I’ve started adding it to everything to see what it does, and does not go with, and so far everything has worked! This dish was one of those cabinet/fridge clearing exercises where a bunch of stuff had to go before it was too late – so into the pan it went!
This dish was a creamy curry success – the acorn squash goes fantastically with the spices and the heat without becoming a mushy mess. I served these with some sesame greens, as some habits are hard to break.
Sweet Potato Lentil Burger (Aussie Style)
Prior to this week’s Australian challenge on /52weeksofcooking my knowledge of Australian food was limited to that I seen on TV and that which is shown on the awesome Australian show known as Dance Academy (season 3 finally on Netflix streaming!!!!!). So essentially this left me with The Outback (not happening) and salad (rather boring). Luckily there is this thing called the internet, and with that Google, which allowed me to find all sorts of delicious treats. In that search I found an unusual number of links talking about beets and burgers – which I didn’t really understand. Granted this could be because I’m only starting to tolerate beets but still, beets on a burger??? However I was intrigued and so I set off to figure out a way to do a vegetarian burger – Australian style.
For an even more authentic burger experience add some roasted pineapple and a fried egg – which was (and is) a bit too much for me. However I have to say that the spicy sauce went fantastic with the sweetness of the potatoes and the tart earthiness of the beets. Lots of contrasts in this dish but it all came together to make a fantastic meal. I served the burger with some spicy carrots – which will eventually show up on the blog. I had a fantastic time with this, so another success thanks to /52weeksofcooking.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Lentil Soup
I’ve gotten lucky again with being able to adopt an almost orphan blog from Group B of the SRC. In going through Corey’s Learning Patience – Hinz Adventures I was blown away by all the options. However I was greatly limited in time, between getting the blog on Thursday and then having a medical procedure bumped up a few days (plus bed rest) – but then I saw THE recipe. Not only did it call for ingredients already in my pantry but it allowed me to use my slow cooker, the kitchen tool that has saved me on many a day. So I got out my trusty friend and got to work on her incredible Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Lentil Soup, which tastes (and smells!) as good as it sounds! I did make a slight adjustment as I am not a fan of cooked celery, so I increased the other veggies and replaced some of the regular salt with celery salt.
I served this with some crusty whole wheat sourdough bread and a bit of leftover salad, have to sneak the greens in somehow! This soup was perfection, and it allowed me to follow doctor’s orders while making sure we had a delicious dinner. I can’t wait to try out more of Corey’s recipes, especially her most amazing cookies ever because Nutella is AMAZING!
For the record, stomach bugs and food blogs don’t really go hand in hand – however I’m slowly getting back to normal and with that slowly getting back in the kitchen. When I’m sick, be it stomach flu or otherwise, I tend to go toward simple dishes – mostly because being on my feet for an extended amount of time is bad. I also tend to use tools such as my slow cooker and dutch oven, since both lend themselves to being set up and walked away from. This delicious lentil soup is simple, hearty, and easy on the stomach in addition to being adaptable for either slow cooker or dutch oven.
Since I had spent more than a fair amount of the day in bed, I went for the dutch oven this time around. For a slow cooker, precook the onions then add everything else and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 2. If cooking on low, turn to high for 30 minutes before serving in order to ensure the pasta has cooked thru – adding more liquid at this point if needed.
Baked Eggplant with Lentils
There is nothing more relaxing and refreshing than the sound of rain, it just seems to make everything better. After the dry summer that most of the country has been experiencing, I can only imagine that for many the rain is a welcoming relief. I had originally been planning to spend this weekend switching out the garden and starting some fall vegetables, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas and now I’m wondering if I’ll have a chance to plant the fall garden at all! This summer has been the craziest and busiest summer I’ve ever had, and it’s not over yet. I’m looking forward to October and the chance to rest, relax, and recover assuming that October allows for that. Until then, my kitchen will be my safe haven since it isn’t large enough to house a clock or calendar.
Since Joe and I have been traveling so much the past few weeks my trips to the grocery store have been few and far between. I have been focusing on using my pantry basics in addition to the fresh vegetables I’ve been growing. This recipe features the first of my Black Beauty Eggplants as well as some more delicious tomatoes and fresh herbs. When I started cooking I really had no idea where I was going with this recipe, which was evident by the large cast of characters I had sitting on the counters. I thought about sauting the eggplant with some basil and serving over lentils, or doing an all-eggplant stir-fry. In the end I decided to bake the eggplant and serve the lentils over them as a thick ragu style sauce. The result was a very filling and rich dinner that only needed a small salad to go with it, perfection!
This recipe comes together pretty quickly once the eggplant has been salted. For an alternate way of prepping the eggplant, press the cut slices between two plates lined with paper towels. Failure to properly pre-treat the eggplant can result in a bitter aftertaste, which is probably why more than a few people have been turned off of this amazing vegetable.
How to get rid of a large number of tomatoes in one recipe: stuff them! I have long wanted to try stuffed tomatoes but after my less than stellar results with stuffed peppers I was nervous about trying an even harder shape. So I decided to “cheat” and use my muffin tin in order to insure that the tomatoes would at least survive the cooking phase. For the stuffing I decided to use some red lentils and keep the seasonings nice and simple. I used the remaining “stuffing” to cushion the tomatoes, and to act as a backup in case the tomatoes didn’t make it from the pan to the plate. Once I saw that tomato on the plate, sitting stuffed and gorgeous on top of a bed of deliciousness, I knew that I had finally conquered the stuffed tomato.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:45]
This dish also came together in record time, with the only real drawback being how hot the broiler makes the kitchen. I might try using my toaster oven next time, along with single silicone cupcake holders. However I’m not sure if those are meant to take such a high heat, but if anyone knows one way or the other please let me know!
There has been a lot of action in the Casa de Dancing Veggies lately, lots of cooking and lots of recipe testing. In theory by the end of tonight I should have two more posts in addition to this one to celebrate two blog parties. One is the monthly International Incident Party hosted by Jeroxie and the other is a new one courtesy of RSVP Redux. Both pushed me to the edge and required me to use ingredients that I had either never used before or to use ingredients in a whole new way. I was also able to add a new cooking technique which is always a positive thing. Before I get ahead of myself though I figured I should share a recipe that is beyond basic beyond simple and also a great vegetarian dish to share with meat eating friends. When I went vegetarian over a decade ago I was really on my own when it came to cooking. I was inspired to go Veggie as a protest to my parents going on the Adkins diet (yuck) because I realized that all the delicious meals I enjoyed were no longer going to be a regular occurrence in the house. So I grabbed some of my mom’s cookbooks and started messing around in the kitchen…much to my dad’s “enjoyment”. Once I got to college I start finding recipes online and came across a recipe for lentil bolognese. At this time in my life I had only heard of lentils, normally in regards to various soups but had never really had them. This changed shortly thereafter when my dad took my sister and I to get Indian food and I had Dal for the first time. I decided I needed to revisit that strange bolognese recipe and see what it was all about. That first experiment was a crash and burn, with a very weak sauce that lacked the flavors I was expecting. This is when the experimenting really began, going from onions to leeks changing from garlic powder to roasted garlic to garlic cloves. Adding spices and subtracting spices…trying to get a taste that was more sauce and less soup. In the end this is what I had:
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, grated
1 red pepper, diced
1 leek, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup red lentils
14oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 1/4 cups veggie stock
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp basil
1/2 tbsp oregano
1. In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, and leeks and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Stir often
2. Add the lentil, tomatoes, stock, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and then cover turning heat to low and simmer for 20minutes.
3. Serve over favorite pasta or over brown rice.
Told you it was a simple recipe. Once the cutting is done everything just gets tossed in together. This could also be done in a slow cooker starting from Step 2. Slow cookers are amazing inventions and I don’t know how I would have survived my first apartment without one!