Saturday, September 1, 2007

(Mostly) Easy

With getting back into the typical busy routine now that school started this week, we've enjoyed making meals and then having easy prep and clean up with leftovers. This week we made meals with different textures and bold flavors - black bean and mango with rice, millet patties with sauteed mushrooms, baked cornmeal tofu with okra and tomatoes, and veggie pot pie. We also enjoyed sweet treats.

The mangoes this summer have been fabulous, and we usually enjoy them as is or in smoothies, but we thought that in a dish would be a treat. We created a dish with black beans and mango - simple but delicious!

Black Bean and Mango Rice
1.75 cups or 15 oz black beans

1 ripe juicy mango, cubed
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 small chili pepper, seeded & minced
3/4 c. cooked short grain brown rice

> 1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
salt to taste
dried oregano

crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper
optional: fresh cilantro

Saute onion, bell pepper, and chili pepper in a skillet on med-med high until onion slightly translucent and golden. Meanwhile, add cumin and oregano to the black beans and heat beans in the microwave until hot. Mix the sauteed onion and pepper with the mango in a bowl.

Serve with brown rice - top brown rice with beans and mango mixture and enjoy!

We also enjoyed eating (and making!) Millet Patties with Mushrooms from vegweb. These patties were very tasty, healthy, and unique. We couldn't find millet but we used whole grain couscous and the chewy oats, the couscous, the breadcrumbs, and the sesame seeds gave it great flavor and texture. We sliced mushrooms, sauteed them with garlic powder and oregano, and topped the patties with tons of mushrooms. Great leftovers...

Wanting a "creole" dish, we cooked okra and tomatoes (with bell pepper, onion, cayenne pepper, garlic, and oregano) and baked cornmeal tofu. The tofu had a
great texture- really dry, chewy, and grainy. Might need a marinade first though. Added some oregano, basil, cayenne, garlic, and paprika to the breading. Very easy and quick to make!
We must like vegweb for recipes... we also made this week Veggie Pot Pie. This recipe is very good and we added lots of veggies (carrots, zucchini, potatoes, onions, peas, celery) and tofu. Only that making the pot pie took long and was so exhausting; this is not an easy meal, but luckily we made it the day before school started (so we had plenty of free time).

For sweet treats, we
baked apple cinnamon muffins, peanut butter cookies, and German pancakes. The Apple Cinnamon Muffins were fluffy and full of Granny smith apples and we used kamut and spelt flours.

The peanut butter cookies are OUR FAVORITE OF ALL TIME! We've used the same recipe for years, and we love how gooey they are and how easy and quick they are to make. There is no flour in these. We usually use an egg white, but we haven't eaten or bought eggs in a long time (we are mostly vegan, just vegetarian because of yogurt or some veggie burgers that have egg whites). This time we tried flax meal - the cookies were even more gooey and so maybe cooking them slightly more would have helped, but we didn't. Instead we froze them - they were just as good - great bite at first, but then it melts and gets gooey still! Yum!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/2 c. natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar or 1/4 c. Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 c. sugar or 1/4 c. Splenda sugar blend
1 egg white or 1 Tb flax meal + 1 1/2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix ingredients until well blended. Use cookie dropper to drop ~ 2 Tb batter onto a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray or onto a baking stone. Press down each cookie to make ~ 1/2 inch thick.

Bake 12-14 minutes, checking half way to see if cookies need to be covered with foil. Cool for 5 minutes to firm up. Makes 10-12 cookies.
We, being of German descent, have made German pancakes with berries and jam since we were little. We haven't had them for a long time, and this time we took out the egg to make them vegan. We had one with apricot preserves and one with raspberry, and we like both, but our favorite is the apricot. Turned out tasty!

Vegan German Pancakes
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 Tb ground flax seeds
1 Tb sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup or more soy milk
apricot or raspberry preserves
powdered sugar (optional)

Combine flour, flax meal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir well. Add soy milk and mix well with a whisk.

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over med-high heat until hot. Remove pan from heat, and pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, quickly tilting in all directions so batter covers pan with a thin film. Cook about 1 minute. Then lift edge of pancake carefully with a spatula to test for doneness (pancake is ready to turn when can be shaken loose from pan and the underside is lightly browned). Turn pancake over, and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Place pancake on a towel and let cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Stack pancakes between single layers of paper towls. Spread preserves over each pancake and add berry slices (we like strawberries), and roll up. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar. Makes 4 pancakes.

So, we finished our first week of our senior year and we already have worries and stresses with classes and with the future. We don't know what lies ahead for us (job, internship) or where we are headed, but for now we are trying to take it easy and enjoy what time we have now - and one way to enjoy life is our cooking.

So hope you enjoy food as much as we do, LK


healthnut said...

Mmm looks like you guys have made some really delicious food, I'll definately be making the melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter cookies :)

camimarsh said...

Howdy! As a Texas A&M alumn myself (class of '02), I was absolutely delighted to come across your blog. Your creative and flavorful recipes, ideas, and photos are just fabulous and I can not wait to give some of them a try myself. I look forward to following your blog and seeing what you have to present next!
Happy New Year & Gig 'em!! (best of luck in your final year -- it goes by way too fast!)