Thursday, June 14, 2007

Question for readers: Potatoes

In the last few weeks I've had an abundance of potatoes in my organic box o'joy. Currently I have 10, large potatoes screaming to be used, but I'm drawing a blank. Rather than roast or bake them or make a potato soup or another casserole, what should I do that makes it summery? Potato salad does not count.

Give your suggestions in the comments box. If I choose your suggestion/ recipe, you'll win a prize, or just get a shout out.

Shrimp Gazpach-Yo!, Formerly Shrimp and Artichoke Gazpacho

Nothing spells summer like a picnic in the park with chilled bowls of gazpacho and fruit salad. Despite the fact that Summer Solstice still has not occurred, I kick started my summer season early with this recipe from the June 2007 issue of Runner's World.

Shrimp and Artichoke Gazpacho (I omitted the artichokes)

Ingredients:
5 cups chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 English cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded,sliced (or jarred) (note I just used fresh red peppers)
1/4 cup minced green onion (just the white part)
4 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup bottled chili sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish (I also omitted this because I never stock it in my kitchen)1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce (again, something else I don't have)
2 tablespoons each of freshly chopped basil, oregano, and parsley
2 cups small bay shrimp, precooked, or fresh grilled shrimp, diced
1 avocado diced
1 1/2 quartered artichoke hearts (drain liquid) (skip this if you're lazy like me)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne

Directions:
1. Stir everything together and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
2. garnish with lemon slices and sliced green onions.

Serves 6
Calories: 260, fat: 7g, carbs: 30g, protein: 25g, potassium: 1400mg

Notes:

I added fresh cook corn, as I had several ear in my box of organic produce. I also added diced green peppers for more crunch.

The great thing about gazpacho is that you can throw whatever you have ripening in your fridge/kitchen in, and it still tastes good. You can also use canned, diced tomatoes if you want.

Now, there's a small debate on tomatoes: to core and seed or to not core and seed. Half the recipes I consulted said core and seed. The other half said just dice and throw in the soup. I chose the latter, because well, I'm lazy. Besides, did you see the ingredients list? There's practically a whole grocery store in this gazpacho.

And it made more than 6 servings. Maybe 8. For a bit more kick, use V-8 or vegetable juice rather than plain tomato juice and add extra cayenne.

Only then can you call it: Gazpach-Yo!

I love my magic bullet: Hallelujah Hummus

Earlier this year, for my birthday, a friend gave me a Magic Bullet. It took me a while to get used to it, but now I'm obsessed with it, particularly with making smoothies for breakfast with it.

I've also been itching to make my own hummus. The recipe I found in the Magic Bullet cookbook was easy and quick. Probably the hardest part of the process was shopping for ingridients. It took twenty minutes and two Whole Foods employees to locate tahini (sesame paste). Would you believe it was next to the peanut butter? I would have thought it'd have been in the ethnic food aisle.

Here it is:
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini

Directions:
1) Add ingriedients into tall cup (or blender)
2) Blend until smooth

Now I'd be lying if I said my hummus was smoothy and creamy. It took several tries to mash up all the chickpeas.

But it was yummy!

You probably could mix in olives, roasted peppers, artichokes, ect to create other flavors.

Serve with pita slices or chips, or freshly sliced vegitables.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Can't Believe it's Vegan!: Vegan Lasgana

I apologize for the hiatis. It's not that I haven't been cooking, I just haven't been posting. I promise at least three more recipes later this week.

I love lasgana, particularly veggie lasagna. Since I've stayed mostly vegan, I thought it might be nice to try a non dairy version. I've had several great vegitable lasagnas over the years, so I added a few of my favorite things. A simple google search led me to the following site: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Vegan-Lasagna-II/Detail.aspx

Note: The ingriedients I added are in parentheses


INGREDIENTS
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound mushrooms (I used practically an entire container of sliced mushrooms)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato puree (tomato sauce works fine)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons Italian-style seasoning
1 (12 ounce) package soft tofu
2/3 (16 ounce) package instant lasagna noodles
(1 zuchinni)
(1/2 cup broccoli)
(1 large onion)
(soy mozzerela cheese)
(soy parmasean cheese)


DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a large skillet, saute garlic and mushrooms (and onions, broccoli, and zuchinni) in oil until all the liquid is cooked out. Add 1/3 tomato puree to mushrooms and garlic, cook 2 to 3 minutes, and remove from heat.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine spinach, garlic salt, Italian seasoning and tofu. Blend until the mixture is an even consistency. Heat in a microwave on high for 2 minutes.
4. In a 9x9 inch baking pan, pour one thin layer of remaining tomato puree, a layer of noodles, 1/2 the tofu mixture, the mushroom sauce (with extra veggies, a layer of noodles, 1/2 the tofu mixture, a layer of tomato puree, a layer of noodles, and a final layer of tomato puree.
5. Layer the top of the lasagna with soy cheeses.
6. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven.

Cook's notes:
I wound up throwing an impromptu dinner party for dairy/meat loving friends and they loved this dish (at least they said so). I thought it might taste funny without ricotta, but with the tofu preplacement, I couldn't tell.

Make sure to add extra sauce to the top of the lasagna before baking so noodles do not harden and become crunchy.

It claims to serve 2 or three, but it fed four of us and I still had half for leftovers. Serve with fresh bread and a salad and a good red wine.

I loved this so much I think I'll keep it in my regular recipe rotation.

Coming soon: shrimp gazpacho, homemade hummus, and potato cassarole.