Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Quinoa-Stuffed Summer Squash

Remember that time I made a blog about food and sustainability and then left it high and dry? Sorry about that. I am working on finding my blog-groove and since this site surprisingly is still getting hits (thank you, restaurant reviews) and I don’t intend to stop photographing food and cooking with local ingredients any time soon, I think it makes sense to keep it going. Further, I’ll be posting a brief synopsis of the meal + the ingredients and what I paid for them over at my other blog Talking on Common Ground. Because I like to show evidence of how cooking locally and eating sustainably is practical. Other stipulations: I have the attention span of a 5-year-old and the free-time of…well…a 22-year-old, so I’ll never post a recipe that takes longer than an hour to make (minus slow cooker deals) or has more than 10 ingredients. So that’s the story.

First up, a recipe I made with my roommate Hilary a few weeks back that I never got around to posting. It was adapted from the cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance, which was a stuffed pepper recipe, but since that day I had gone to the farmers market and come home with about 10 squashes (that the farmer had just given me for free!) Hil and I decided to make stuffed summer squash.

Quinoa-Stuffed Summer Squash

1. Saute 3 diced medium onions and 3 cloves of garlic, minced in 2 T. olive oil. Feel free to throw in mushroom or diced bell pepper if that suits your fancy. Saute for 5 minutes. Then add 1 T. chile powder and salt to taste (1 tsp.)

2. Then, add 1/2 c. quinoa, 1 c. tomato sauce, /4 c. water. Turn the heat down slightly and let it all simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cut the squash in half, then do a criss-cross pattern over the seeds part and take all that out and set aside.

4. Parboil the squash for about 5 minutes so they cook a bit and retain their color/nutrients.

5. When the onion-quinoa mixture is done and the squashes are parboiled, add the squash “meat” to the quinoa and carefully without burning yourself, stuff them with the quinoa. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes!

Vegan! Soy-free! Local! Full of nutrition, tasty and filling!


I love butterhead lettuce & some lessons in Indian cooking

So here is something about me: I love to cook. But I’m not very good at it.

This weekend I learned a few crucial things about food and cooking:

  • Crushed tomatoes in a can do not equal diced tomatoes (Crushed tomatoes equal tomato sauce, diced tomatoes equals there will be small chunks of tomatoes and some juice and whole, peeled tomatoes equals small little tomatoes that don’t have their peel on them) Key point: don’t buy crushed tomatoes unless you actually want sauce.
  • When you are making Indian cooking, be sure to have curry powder on hand. Don’t rely on the Indian neighbors to get you through this unfortunate predicament.
  • Potatoes take a lot of time to cook if you don’t have a proper cover over them.
  • It takes a while to macerate strawberries—we’re not talking wam-bam thank you mam-strawberry.
  • Update: You are apparently supposed to rinse brown rice before cooking? Anyone ever heard of this?
  • With a little resourcefulness, you can always make it work.

Let me let the pictures tell the story from here on out…

So Saturday I went to the farmers market and got all sorts of delicious goodies.

I am so sad, it was the last day of the farmers’ market (well, that particular one right down the street that I go to) until June 5th! That is in a million years almost! 😦

Here is what I spent at the market. As promised, I am tracking all my food spending this week. You will notice that apples were only $1.60 — that’s a full dollar cheaper than at the Giant this week. Just sayin’. The carrots were also a steal, I got a TON of those for $3. Yeah I have to peel them myself but they taste so much better. And you’ll see how good of a deal all that lettuce was…(seriously, what happened to that post about cheap, processed food?! Um, I’ll take the fresh from the farm food for cheap mmkthx.)

So I got done washing my lettuce and dried it off and realized I had enough lettuce to feed a small country so then I start nibbling away on this stuff like a freaking rabbit and that was when I decided butterhead lettuce might be my new favorite vegetable. There, I said it. Move over, iceberg, there is a new lettuce in town and it tastes divine. Butterhead lettuce is called that because it actually has a buttery texture to it and when you eat it the amazing taste just goes straight to your head and you start making all sorts of butterhead lettuce sandwich combinations. Seriously, that’s why.

Like hummus + carrots (use vegetable peeler to get really skinny and delicate) + cucumber sliced really thin (cuc’s aren’t in season but I was craving them this week so I got ’em. Yes, I crave cuc’s sometimes.)

And then!

Whipped cream cheese spread + teeny tiny chopped up apple! = holy this tastes like dessert but like salad but it’s a snack-size and sweet yet savory. Phew.

So I had this plate of goodness for my lunch.

I have never entertained myself in the kitchen with lettuce for such a long time. In fact, you should go out, find a farmer selling butterhead lettuce (I hope it’s season isn’t now over!) and then create your own butterhead creation and tell me about it!

It was a good thing all I did was essentially eat lettuce for lunch because later on big sis Katie and her main squeeze John came over and we, well, I…decided we had all the ingredients to make a wonderful Indian dinner! And by all the ingredients, I mean, about half of the ingredients, and none of the crucial ones. But oh well it was a carb-fest! Here’s what happened…

The spread…

Potatoes: The recipe I found online said these pot’s would cook up fine and they did not. In fact, we had to make a make-shift cover to keep in the heat to cook them better, they just kept getting crisp on the outside.

So knowing that, here is what I would suggest you do.

  • Boil the potatoes until they aren’t really quite done. You want them cooked through but al dente, or whatever. (I’m just making this up but I bet it’ll work better than what we did.)
  • Cool them down in ice water or whatev’s. Then peel off the skin.
  • Cut ’em up like the size above. Put them aside.
  • In a wok, heat up 2-3 T. of your fave oil. When heated (medium heat), throw in 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds.
  • Cover that thing ’cause the mustard seeds are going to pop ALL over the place, trust me. (So make sure you have a cover for the pan/wok or else you have to McGuiver your way through it. Read: aluminum foil.)
  • When the seeds are done popping, throw in some tiny chopped up bell pepper, garlic, onion or whatever you like. I like all of that so we used it all. John hates onion so naturally I used onion in literally everything we cooked that night.
  • Throw in some salt, a tsp. of cayenne pepper, a dash of turmeric.
  • Once everything is basically almost about done cooking, put the potatoes in to brown them up and finish them off cooking.
  • Voila! Or whatever the Indian version of that word is.

Stir the potatoes.

Also, if you really want to cop out, like we did, because we didn’t have curry powder, you can just throw this kind of stuff in…

I recommend you don’t because this stuff is loaded with sodium. But whatever, we did. Because we didn’t have curry. I mean, it’s top of the charts in the UK.

OK so meanwhile you are cooking the rice, by the way, don’t forget about the rice (yes, you do need Naan, potatoes, and rice.) NOM NOM carbohydrates. Just kidding, we probably could have done without one of those three, but couldn’t decide which. And who doesn’t love naan?

So, simultaneously we had this other thing going on:

Oops, I meant…this:

Tomato-Chickpea Curry:

  • Melt down like a T. of butter in a saucepan.
  • Throw in little tiny chopped onions. Cook those for 10 minutes.
  • Add a T. of curry powder (or if you are like us and forgot to buy the star ingredient, just toss in some curry sauce).
  • Add a can of DICED tomatoes (not crushed, aka pureed) *Sigh*
  • Add juice of one lemon, can of chickpeas, 1 T. of sugar, salt, pepper, 1/4 c. water (or ’til it looks right—we obviously didn’t need any water!).
  • Bring that to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 more minutes. This should thicken it up.

Then we popped the naan in the oven for a couple minutes and were ready to eat!

OK, maybe I have low standards in the Indian department, but despite all the hiccups with cooking this dinner, it came together well.

THEN. Katie brought soy ice cream. So we made ate it.

And I macerated the strawberries in about 30 seconds. (I know, you’re supposed to let strawberries macerate overnight. We didn’t have that long. Heh.)

Dessert!     El fin!

In the end, this dinner was about 50% local and basically 100% organic, which was great. The strawberries were from the USA, so I made an exception with those. I cannot wait for summer and all the delicious fruits it brings.

Ever just have a complete flop of a cooking experience but still manage to make it work? (Still don’t understand why we didn’t just run to buy some curry…) Sometimes that’s part of the fun of cooking for me. Why’s cooking have to be so serious?? It shouldn’t be! Just don’t burn the house down and that’s all that matters I say.  😉