Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vegan Veggie Quiche

Hi all! Happy Spirit Day :) Did you wear purpled today? I did!
Today was an unexpectedly relaxing day. My first class got cancelled and my next class let out early. And, Jimmy John's dropped off free sandwiches (including veggie!) to the Psychology department so I had a lovely pre-dinner (they were mini subs). I also enjoyed something yummy for lunch...
Vegan Veggie Quiche

(serves 4-6)
After having some yummy potato and spinach quiche at a friend's house Sunday, I wanted to make my own! She  gave me the recipe, but I didn't have most of the ingredients on hand...so I improvised a lot.
First, I made a basic crust:
1 heaping cup flour
6 TBSP Earth Balance
2-3 TBSP ice water
pinch of sea salt

Combine flour and Earth Balance in a bowl with a pastry cutter or fork until the butter is in pea sized pieces. Add water 1 TBSP at a time and mix until you have a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a foil-lined baking sheet and form it into a circle. Turn up the edges about 1/2-3/4 inch and put the entire baking sheet with crust in the freezer while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350* and start your engines filling:

Filling:
1/2 block Firm Tofu, pressed and drained
1 cup frozen broccoli, steamed
1/2 cup frozen spinach, steamed
1 stalk green onion, minced
tomato slices, optional
1/2 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 tsp oriental ramen seasoning (you can probably use any seasonings you want here)
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric
generous ground black pepper
salt to taste
Olive Oil Spray
Soy milk as needed

Sauté green onion and garlic with a small spray of olive oil. Add all but 12 cup of the steamed veggies, pepper, and oriental seasoning. After cooking, add contents of skillet to a blender with the tofu. Blend together and use soy milk as needed to help it blend (I used about 2 TBSP). Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of veggies into small pieces.

Transfer blender-mix to a bowl and add the unblended 1/2 cup of veggies. Add turmeric, mustard, and nutritional yeast and mix well. Add salt and more pepper as needed, to taste.
Remove crust from freezer and put the filling into it, spreading it evenly into the crust. 
I thought it looked a little plain, so I added some pretty sliced tomatoes:
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
I let this cool for quite a while after baking because I got caught up in writing a paper...and it was just great at room temperature!
Enjoy!
Mmm...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anniversary Re-Cap! and The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Recently)

Good Morning!
What a week it has been. It seems like mine and Raine's anniversary was a month ago and not just last Saturday! Between taking statistics tests, grading papers for the class I'm a TA for, and turning in midterms- I haven't had a moment to myself until now!
I am so glad it's the weekend and I know it's going to fly by so I'm trying to make the most of it.
Thank you all so much for the anniversary wishes :) Raine and I have been together for 4 wonderful years and we had a great time together on Saturday. We drove to Champaign, which is about an hour away from the town we live in now.
We started our anniversary with some glorious Indian food! (Did you expect anything else?!)
I had malai kofta. It was amaaazing, and it came with a piece of naan that was bigger than my face:
Behold.
Raine had a spicy chicken dish that came with a mountain of rice.
Both of our meals came with a pakora and a little salad. So good! The restaurant we ate at was called Bombay Grill, and it's near the University of Illinois, for those of you who are in that area!
After we stuffed ourselves we walked around for a while digesting, and headed to Barnes & Noble and the mall. Four words: I miss Texas malls! This mall didn't really have any of my favorite stores and I couldn't find petite sizes anywhere
Then we went to an Asian grocery store, where I found a bag of MSG...
Don't worry, I didn't buy it!
I did get these goodies (photographed at home):
Fun stuff.
We also went to an Indian grocery store and I stocked up on a few things I was out of.
The last stop we made was to an apple orchard! We went to the Curtis Orchards which are about 40 minutes from our home.
Unfortunately, the majority of the apples were on the ground...
Still, Raine managed to fill a bag up for me!
And I found pumpkins, but didn't buy any.
I came away with a large bag of Golden Delicious apples, and an adorable little butternut squash.
We had such a great time spending our day together :)
And I can't wait to go back to Champaign!
We were still so full from the Indian food when we got home in the evening that I didn't even want to try any of my new food from the Asian store. But- the very next morning, I started cooking up a storm!
The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Recently) :)
Do you like that show on Food Network?
I bought some Soba noodles and was really excited to try them- I had never had them before!
I loved that they were individually portioned- why can't they do that here?!
Before I cooked the noodles, I washed my butternut squash and chopped it into small cubes. I left the skin on because Jamie Oliver said it was good for me :)
I tossed the squash in olive oil and added sea salt and LOTS of black pepper. 
Roasted for 25 minutes at 425*
(In the back is some more squash that I put some maple syrup and cinnamon on- it was delish!)
I boiled my noodles and make a quick sauce:
1 TBSP reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 TBSP ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp mustard
So good.
I mixed everything together once the noodles were cooked (and drained and rinsed with cold water):
This was absolutely divine. The flavors were amazing and the sauce was perfect on the roasted squash. I am going to make this again and again! Nevermind that the noodles look like soggy rubber bands when they're cooking...just make this :)

What is your favorite Food Network show? I love Iron Chef! I only wish they didn't use so much seafood...I don't watch those episodes...
and,
What's your favorite type of noodle?! I thing soba is my new favorite, otherwise I love wholewheat angel hair- the thinner the better!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crunchy Munchies

Hello lovelies! 
This is going to be a quick post- I have so much homework this weekend and it is also mine and Raine's 4 year anniversary on Saturday! We have a day-trip planned for Saturday so I am going to get as much homework done as I can today, tomorrow, and Sunday! I also have a test on Monday and a midterm due Tuesday...so with everything piling up I may not post for a few days, but I'm still trying to keep up with y'all! 
I have had recipes piling up as well, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites that I've been making a lot over the past few weeks.
After seeing Averie's amazing recipe for Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Chickpea "peanuts" which look amazing (!!!), I decided to share my chickpeas with you as well. I hadn't shared these before because there are already so many savory roasted chickpea recipes out there... but mine are a great low-sodium alternative that still have great flavor!
Crispy Crunchy Garlic-Pepper Chickpeas
1 Can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
Olive Oil Spray (or olive oil)
Garlic-Pepper (or whatever spices you want!)

Preheat oven to 425*

Blot chickpeas with a paper towel and make sure they're Very Dry. Put them on a baking sheet and spray generously with olive oil spray or use 1-2 tsp of olive oil. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan to move the chickpeas around every 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with seasonings. I used McCormick's Garlic-Pepper which is salt free! The ingredients of that spice mix are black pepper, garlic powder, red and green bell pepper, onion powder, and brown sugar. Very flavorful without the high-sodium of most savory snacks. 

The chickpeas will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove them from the heat and they'll become quite crispy- so don't worry if they don't seem all the way done at 25 minutes! This is a great protein-filled snacky!
Unfortunately, I usually end up eating an entire can of chickpeas in one sitting! Eep.

I've also been making more savory crunchy snacks:
Savory Cilantro-Onion Biscuits (Cookies)

These are a take on an Indian "chai-time" favorite. I modified these from another recipe for Baked Nippattu.

Makes 14-16 biscuits
1 cup flour (I used 3/4C unbleached flour, 1/4C oat flour)
about 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cumin seeds
5 TBSP Earth Balance (or any other margarine/butter)
warm water as needed

Preheat oven to 325*

Mix all ingredients together except Earth Balance and water. Incorporate margarine into the mix with your fingers or a fork until you have something that resembles sand. Drizzle warm water slowly into the mix and continue to mix until you have a firm dough.
Divide the dough into equal portions (I made 15). Roll each portion into a ball and flatten between your palms until you have thin circles. Place on a greased baking sheet and poke several holes in each biscuit with a fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are crisp.
Enjoy with hot chai tea!
These are seriously addictive! I had to stop making them because I was eating entire batches by myself. I can't wait to make these for my family when I got home for Thanksgiving- they have chai-time on weekend afternoons and these would be the perfect accompaniment. 

What type of snacks are your favorite? Sweet or Savory? 
I usually prefer savory snacks! I do have a giant sweet tooth, though!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good...

I have big news, everyone! BIG! After my post on decorating my apartment which was sponsored by CSN Stores, I was able to get a gift card to any store on their site...and you'll never guess what I found!
my beloved
A spiralizer! Just like the one I mourned the loss of at the beginning of August of this year...I seriously had tears in my eyes when I spotted this at CSN. 
I got to work immediately on some raw Pad Thai, which was the first thing I had created with my previous spiralizer. I started with zucchini:
(the virgin spirals)
I ended up using 2 whole zukes, and got an entire container full of "noodles"!
I then switched the blade to the flat spiral and processed half of a cucumber:
I even spiraled a (cored and de-seeded) bell pepper!
Beauty...
I stopped at half and ended up with a cute little pepper cup:
I added some minced green onion and chopped carrot, and tossed it all together:
Then I got to work on my sauce! 
I modified Averie's recipe for peanut dressing by doubling it, reducing the maple syrup, and augmenting the ACV with a lot of extra lime juice! 
creamy and wonderful!
We decided to add sauce as we wanted it to our individual bowls rather than pour it over all of the veggies at once.
Here's my bowl, which I garnished with some chopped cilantro and a few honey-roasted peanuts:
This was awesome! Just as good as the last time I made it with Colleen! 

I am so happy to have my spiralizer back :) I have a few more recipes in mind that I am going to use it for within the next week, so stay tuned! I could totally start a TV show on Food Network... Semi-Raw with Sonia Shah has a fabulous ring to it, right?!

Do you like raw foods? Do you think you could live on a raw or high-raw diet? I think I definitely could! I would probably do it if I had time to use a dehydrator to make "crackers" and "bread" because those are the things I think I would miss most. I have gone raw for a week several times in the past and have loved the way I felt both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, I did not have enough self-control to continue...