Sunday, October 6, 2013

A massage and a Saturday Vegetarian Cooking Marathon

It was a rainy day and the Mad Art teacher was lying on the massage table having some painful manipulations done to some of those really fussy back muscles.  In specific, it is the lower portion of my trapezius as far as I can tell.  This and some other places have been causing me some major  discomfort at night and LET ME TELL YOU, I slept like a BABY last night. YES!!!! All blessings and good karma get sent off to Ms Brianna at Triple B for restoring some normalcy to my sleep patterns.  Indirectly of course.  This problem seems to be the ONLY drawback to weight lifting.....  I'll put up with it!

Now how does the massage relate to cooking?  Well, I go into a state of mind during a massage (unless she is working on those specific trap areas that make me want to cry, and I concentrate then on absolute relaxation and WILL those spots to release- this doesn't always work.  Lol) of true relaxation and when that happens my brain is free to move about in whatever direction it sees fit.  It is not hindered by worries, or concerns, or friends, relatives or countrymen.  It just goes.  And since I had some veggies that were procured from a farmer's market that needed using, I needed to imagine what I was going to make with them.  I have several vegetarian blogs that I read and I have a metric ton of cookbooks- well maybe not, but you know- so I had ideas.  First I had a vision of a recipe for black bean veggie burgers, I could see the pix in my mind.  Did I find that recipe, um no.  But, anyway- that was my first thought.  Then I had squash including a Delicata squash that needed using, and I knew of just the recipe for that.  I had pinned it to Pinterest, which I do a lot now, since I have no ability to remember perfectly where I saw things: see above comment about the Black Bean burgers.  The eggplant I had was harder to solve, so I remembered the HUGE book I have by Mark Bittman and knew the answer would lie within.  And it did!

Along the way, (well after the massage) I found about 3 more things I want to make, but I have plenty of food for the week, plus more in the freezer.  If you want an awesome food site to visit, go to Food52.  It is not vegetarian, but it has lots of those, plus LOTS of other stuff.  HIGHLY recommend!!

Anyway- I made these recipes in sections.  The first two had extended cooking times, so I began one and started on the next.... and then did another step to the first.... and then went on with the second and fit the bean burgers in when the other two were finishing.  Of course, I will write these up separately.  I won't be super extensive with any of them- they are pretty straight-forward.

7 Veggie "Cheese" soup
Posted as Luxurious 7-vegetable and "Cheese" soup at I of course did my own thing with this.
Add the veggies to the heated oil one at a time as you chop them

chopped sweet potatoes

I use an icecream scoop to empty out the seeds- you can eat the skin of Delicata!

Saute-ing veggies

Get the good tasting broth!

THESE are my garlic cloves- I used one for 3 regular

Nutritional yeast comes in powder or flakes- either is fine

I used my immersion blender- you can use a regular blender by doing it in batches

Partially blended

Fully blended

This is a vegan soup- the cheesey sort of feel comes from Nutritional yeast, which is not as scary as it sounds and it tastes super great on popcorn!  So, that is the only thing about this recipe, that is not easy to obtain in Park Falls, WI- where we are SADLY lacking vegetarian specialty items.  Like NONE.  sigh.  Anyway, preplanning will get you over to either Rhinelander to the Golden Harvest or to Ashland for the Chequamegon Food Coop.  Or you could go to bigger still areas, where that sort of thing is not scarce.

Approximately 100 calories for an eighth of a recipe

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large chopped onion
3 garlic cloves minced or pressed
1 big heap of chopped carrots- a cup??  more??  you decide
1 large bunch of broccoli, cut up
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut up
1 delicata squash, cut up or a small butternut squash peeled and cut up (half a big one?)
6 cups Vegetable broth
5 Tablespoons Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp or more of cayenne
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Spike seasoning
salt and pepper

sunflower or pumpkin seeds for fun!  Also, yogurt/sour cream/vegan sour cream for kicks and thrills
extra cayenne/paprika/cinnamon for lovely color

Heat the oil in large pan.  Add the onion and let them soften a bit while you chop the carrots.  Right before you add the carrots, put in the garlic for 30 sec.  You don't want it to burn.  Then add the carrots and continue to add the veggies one at a time until you finish the Delicata squash.  Stir occasionally during this process.
Cover pot and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, turn down heat if you need to.
Add vegetable broth and cover, cook for 15 minutes or so, until veggies are soft.  Set aside until it cools a bit.
Blend** until smooth and add seasoning to  soup and adjust to taste.
Garnish with seeds, creamy things and/or extra spices!

**I used an emersion blender- I can't imagine why I'd use anything else.  If necessary use a food processor or regular blender.  Make sure the veggies are coolish or the lid will blow off your blender.  When smooth return to pan for seasonings.

Roasted Vegetables- Thai Style
From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

This is an amazing dish, really.  I tasted the veggies before the sauce and it was outstanding!!  Idk why, the combination of veggies?  The roasting?  My mad cooking skills?  HAHAHA  who knows. But it is so good and I am here to tell you that it is really good the next day, too.  I am going to freeze some to see how that goes.  Let me tell you, this does not photograph pretty, but who the heck cares.....

As far as veggies go, I am not sure how something like broccoli or brussel sprouts will taste, but the cauliflower was great in it.  I would throw WHATEVER I had in the house in here.  I had lots this first time so I picked and chose (choosed??)  I had choices at any rate.
Mark Bittman recommends: a couple root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc.)  peas or beans, fresh or frozen, eggplant or zucchini, and the garlic/onion family.  I used cauliflower- use what you have.

Pre-cut everything and toss it into a huge pan with the heated oil 

Roast, covered, at 450 for 30 minutes, stirring twice

Add the tomatoes and then recover and roast another 30 min.

Heat 1 TBS of oil and add the curry paste, then the rest of the sauce- sorry - I forgot that pic

Sloppy and yummy!!  Don't you like my fresh mint garnish, right from my garden!!  :)

There, that is prettier.  This was so good I didn't even put it on rice.  But I did the next day!  
Thai Style Veggies
Approximately 250 calories for an eighth of a recipe

4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large potato, peeled and cut up
1 large eggplant cut up (no need to peel, really)
1 cup of frozen peas
1/2 head cauliflower cut up
3 smallish parsnips, peeled and cutup
1 peeled and quartered onion
8 - 12 cloves of garlic (DO IT!!!)
salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, cut into eighths
1/4 cup of red, yellow or green curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I used tamari- low sodium soy)

Heat oven to 450 and heat 3 tablespoons oil in BIG oven proof pan.  Add prepped vegetables, stir and put in hot oven.  Roast, covered, for 30 minutes.  Add tomatoes, salt and pepper it and cover.  Roast another 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile,  heat 1 tablespoon oil and whisk in curry paste. whisk in coconut milk, peanut butter and soy.  simmer and then keep warm until veg is done.  Stir into vegetables and then adjust seasonings if necessary.  Add more  soy,curry or salt/pepper if necessary.  Serve over rice or bulger or couscous or whatever you like!  Or eat it by itself.  It is SO good.

Black Bean/Sweet potato burgers
Adapted from recipe at

The sweet potato and the bread crumbs hold this together.  To make it vegan, use bread crumbs that have no milk in it.  This recipe called for things like garlic powder which I never have.  I have garlic, why would I use artificial garlic stuff.  I am sure there is a reason, but whatev.  I do have seasoned salts, I am sure there is garlic powder in it- so that will do!

Toss all of that stuff in the food processor, including a cooked sweet potato. (No I do not measure this stuff, usually)

The tasty stuff!  lime in this is divine!!  And you can't see the cider vinegar very well, but it is there

Pulse the stuff until it is chunky yet blended.

I put panko bread crumbs on them before baking- crunchy and yummy.  Totally optional!

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger

Heat oven to 375, line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray

1 1/2 cups black beans, drained

6 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
3/4 cup sweet potato, baked (use one potato for heavens sakes)
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (didn't have any)
1/3 cup white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed thru a garlic press
3/4 teaspoon salt (yeah, I don't measure that either)
1 teaspoon black pepper (or this)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 jalapeno (optional), diced and deseeded (use rubber gloves for this or you will regret it if you touch your eyes.)
 **I used cayenne instead  1/4 tsp  
optional Panko bread crumbs

Throw the whole mess into the food processor and pulse until mixed yet chunky.  Form into 5 patties.  I planned to make 6 yet, it made 5.  Ok, fine.
Press into bread crumbs if desired for extra crunchiness.  Bake 20 - 30 minutes.
 280 calories, 8 g protein, 33 g carb, 10 g fiber

AND as long as I was at it, I threw some chicken in the oven for the old MA and made some rice, too.  Now aren't I an over achiever??  Lol

Now today I have a BUNCH of cherry tomatoes that I should do something with--- and a really good fresh tomato and olive sauce for pasta.......  HMMMMMMMM

It has been a mind-relaxing weekend so far.  I am really feeling good!  I am going to try to get in a walk soon!  Hope it decides to stop raining, tho!

THAT would be a joy!  

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