Stuffed Acorn Squash



This is a catch-up post, I made this in fall and never talked about it. It really is more of a fall dish. It would be great as a starter or side at a huge Thanksgiving or holiday meal, especially if you could find small little acorn squashes. I made it as an entrée, and although it's incredibly flavorful and delicious (not to mention super healthy with all that veg inside it), it was just too much veg and needed something else with it to balance it out (Tofurkey, perhaps!)

It's from the RFD original book, and was a bit of a time investment, but not quite as bad as most recipes in that book, but just as amazing and delicious. If you're in to vegetables for dinner, try it- otherwise, I'd say to save it for an impressive side dish at a huge meal.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers



This is the Stuffed Poblano Peppers from Candle 79's cookbook with the Sautéed Swiss Chard and the Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Tomato Sauce.

The sauce was fantastic. I love how roasting the veg deepens the flavor so much. The dish on the whole (all 3 parts together) was really very good- which is great b/c it was another one of those huge time investments- so I'm glad that there was a payoff. There was just so much to it- roasting veg for the sauce, charring the poblanos to remove the skin, rice making, chard sauteeing...

On the whole, though, I thought that it needed a beefier element. This is weird for a vegan to say, but some dishes that are just 100% veg (curries and stir fries aside) just need more variety to me. This is why most of the world eats them as a side, I guess- but maybe even some black beans in the pepper would have done the trick. It tasted great, it just needed a protein element, I guess. It was good, though.

Grilled Polenta and Vegetable Stacks



For a pile of vegetables- this is amazing. I know that it's weird for a vegan (and also rather inconvenient), but I'm not a fan of grilled vegetables. This is primarily because it's the hot equivalent of a salad at restaurants that don't offer any vegan options. I used to get so annoyed as a teenager when I stopped eating meat and we'd go to a steakhouse for a family dinner and an aunt or someone would say, "oh look, you can eat- they have salad!" Of course, those were back in the days when salads were vegetarian- before the mounds of grilled chicken, beef, bacon or ham were involved.

I digress. This is about the Grilled Polenta and Vegetable Stacks from the (what else) Real Food Daily cookbook. It involves making your own polenta (shockingly easy and FAR tastier than store bought), marinading the mushrooms in handmade vinegrette, making tofu ricotta and a tomato-saffron Coulis. In other words, this is a typical hours long RFD recipe that is delicious and awesome and worth the work.

If you use a biscuit cutter for the polenta (recommended), you'll have loads of left over odd shaped pieces left, which are super perfect for making the BBQ Tempeh with Polenta Stuffing from Appetite for Reduction the next night.

For the Coulis, which is amazingly delicious, I went to a specialty spice shop to get saffron. I know that it's a super expensive spice, but it was $35 for a gram there. I vented on Facebook about that and got the super helpful suggestion that I should go to Trader Joes (where I found a $6 jar). Granted, the more expensive stuff is probably better, but... I shall never know since I used the TJ's one.

Anyway, all of the flavors of this work together brilliantly and in a way that I wonder how a person (Ann Gentry) envisions before making up a recipe like this. There's the deep, rich, almost meaty flavor of the grilled mushroom and eggplant, the creamy tofu ricotta, the hearty polenta and the light, tomato based sauce all melding and having a grand party in your mouth as you eat (what, I'm not a writer- I'm a foodie).

Also, another great thing about making this was that it was the first time that I used a fresh fennel for anything (the sauce), and nature is so crazy. To make a thing that looks like celery but smells like anise when you cut it is just kooky. But the recipe is great, we loved it and super loved using the grill to make booshie food!

Quinoa Vegetable Soup



This is the Quinoa Vegetable Soup from RFD's book. I know that I swore off that book this week, but this was from last week, so other than the chicken style seitan, I haven't cheated.

I was coming down with a bit of a cold, so I made this to infuse some nutrients into my immune system. It has onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, corn, red bell, garlic and tomatoes in it, so I figured it would do the trick (I didn't get sick, but still feel it lurking- so maybe the soup kept it at bay).

It's a really good vegetable soup, extremely chunky and pretty filling. It is a very strong veg soup flavor, though, with little to break it up. It's good with crackers or crusty bread, but best with a sandwich to balance flavors so you don't feel like you're eating veg stock alone. Still, very good. It's no Turkish Lentil, but it's good.

Sushi!




This is fun to make about once a year! Veg sushi; I made a carrot roll, avocado roll, and asparagus roll. The sad thing was that I made rice for the basil fried rice dish. That needs to be dried out and loose (the antithesis of what's needed for sushi; sticky and moist). Even after sitting over night, my rice for fried rice, was globby and sticky and no where near the texture that I needed. So, I made lemonade out of lemons (or sushi out of failed fried rice).

I added 2T of Rice Vinegar, 1T of sugar and 1t of salt to my mush rice. Rolled the veg and rice in sheets of Nori (just discovering after three times of making it that it's perforated where you're supposed to cut individual pieces). We got a powdered wasabi that is pretty grodie. I don't know what restaurants use to get that technicolor wasabi glob, but ours was more of a deep sage color. Still, it did the trick, and was so overpowered by the tamari that it was fine.