Red Lentil and Potato Dal

A large bag of red lentils was calling me from my pantry. Not sure what to do with them, I picked up “Appetite for Reduction” and came across a Red Lentil and Root Vegetable dish. The dish comes together so quickly that I was sure it wouldn’t have much flavor. Thankfully, I was wrong. Instead of the root vegetables the recipes calls for, I used Yukon Gold potatoes that I had on hand. The red lentils become rich and creamy and the spices pack a flavorful punch. Oven-roasted okra rounded out the meal as a side.

I hope you all are well! I’ll have more posts up soon.

Masala Baked Tofu and Curried Cabbage & Peas

This dish reminded me that I really need to cook more from “Appetite for Reduction.” The recipes in the book are low-fat, but they certainly don’t lack the flavor. And I love that there is a lot of nutritional value to each recipe.

Both the tofu recipe and the cabbage recipe have very similar ingredients. For the Masala Baked Tofu, slices of tofu marinate in a mixture of soy (I used Bragg’s), vinegar, garlic, ginger and spices. The final result packed so much flavor.

The Curried Cabbage & Peas comes together so quickly. Sliced cabbage and carrots are simmered in a broth with curry, onions, garlic and more. The aromas coming off both dishes were amazing. (My downstairs neighbor even sent me a text from below commenting on how great it smelled.)

I could see serving this with a side of basmati rice if you want to bulk it up a bit, but it works just fine without it.

Blackened Tofu with Summer Vegetables

I’ve been eagerly waiting to receive some okra in our CSA box, and finally received some in our last pickup. I’m a big fan of it, though, previously, I had only had it at restaurants, and mostly in fried form. I thought about trying to use it to make an Indian-inspired okra dish, much like the one that we get at our favorite Indian restaurant, Dakshin. But being on a tight budget, I just didn’t have the money to go out and buy the spices necessary to make it. So, I was perusing the Internet when I came across this very simple Roasted Okra recipe on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The okra was so delicious cooked this way, and you just pop them in your mouth like french fries.

My husband and I were craving a simple vegetable plate, so I served the okra with sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob and a side of Chow Chow relish. For our protein, I made the Blackened Tofu recipe from “Appetite for Reduction.” It was the first time I’ve tried it and it was so wonderful, especially with a little bit of the relish on top of it.

The meal was simple to put together, and it’s a great way to use up your summer vegetables.

Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens & Beans

I know I’ve professed my love of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book, “Appetite for Reduction,” here before, but I just have to do it again. If you buy one cookbook this year, I highly recommend that you buy that book. The recipes are simple, clean and healthy, which I love. This Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens & Beans is so good that I actually made it twice in the same week. And you’re in luck because the recipe is featured on her website, which you can find here.

Once you chop the broccoli, swiss chard and garlic, the dish comes together really fast. You can use any kind of miso you like; I used red miso for the dish you see in the pictures. And be sure to add some Sriracha for added color and heat.

Enjoy!

Apple Strudel and Black-Eyed Peas

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s now 2011? Crazy! The holidays were very relaxing for us, and were filled with lots of delicious vegan meals. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture them all on film, but I’ll do my best to give you a rundown of all the wonderful new recipes that we tried.

For some reason, I like to have a big Italian meal on Christmas Eve (I blame it on my mom’s Italian roots). This year, I decided to make a lasagna, along with a Caesar salad and warm, crusty bread. For the lasagna, I turned to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest cookbook, Appetite for Reduction. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks. I’ll go into that a bit more a little later, but so far, every recipe that I’ve made from the book has been delicious!

The recipe, Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach, was super-easy to make and packed with flavor thanks to the roasted cauliflower. My dad even finished off a big plate of the lasagna! To cut down on the cooking time, I opted to not boil the pasta. Instead, I layered the uncooked pasta noodles and added a little water right before baking. I also doubled the recipe so that there would be enough for everyone.

For the Caesar salad, I used Laura Ulm’s recipe from her book Vegan Yum Yum. The dressing for this salad is really what made the dish. It was incredible! (Well, the homemade sourdough croutons certainly didn’t hurt.) It consisted of almonds, miso, Dijon, vegan Worcestershire, and silken tofu among other ingredients. The croutons were also very easy to throw together and a must-have for the salad. Cubed sourdough bread was tossed with olive oil, Italian herbs, salt, and pepper, and then baked in the oven. I could easily eat this salad as a meal. So simple, but so delicious.

For dessert, I turned to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (another must-have book from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero) to make red velvet cupcakes. The Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes were incredibly moist. The Old-Fashioned Velvet Icing, though delicious, was a little runny for me, so next time, I think I’m going to make them with a cream cheese icing. Still, they were the perfect finish to our Christmas Eve meal.

For Christmas morning, I once again turned to Vegan Yum Yum to make an apple strudel. In case you didn’t know, Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is vegan. Now, it’s also not very healthy, but hey, it was the holidays! The strudel recipe was ridiculously easy to make. It was simply a matter of slicing the apples, tossing them in cinnamon, sugar, and flour, and then rolling them in the puff pastry. I made the strudel the day before and put it back into the oven for a few minutes to warm it. A slice of the strudel and a cup of coffee were the perfect Christmas morning treat.

For the past couple of years, we’ve been making it a tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day with the hope that they will bring us good luck for the year. This year was no exception and I once again turned to Appetite for Reduction to make these Hottie Blacked-Eyed Peas & Greens and Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples.

But before I go into how delicious both recipes are, I just have to profess my love for the cookbook. Yes, the recipes are low-fat, but you wouldn’t know it. The food is just so clean and simple and delicious, which is the way I like to cook. They also, for the most part, require very few ingredients (especially if you have a stocked pantry), making them incredibly budget-friendly. If you buy one cookbook this year, I highly recommend adding this one to your collection.

Anyway, back to the meal! The Hottie Black-Eyed Peas & Greens had so much flavor thanks to the onions, garlic, hot sauce, and liquid smoke. The recipe came together in no time at all while the sweet potatoes and apples steamed for the mash.

Though two separate recipes, I used Isa’s recommendation of making the Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples as a side for the Hottie Black-Eyed Peas. And, wow! The smokiness of the peas along with the sweet potatoes and apples made for a flavor-packed meal. And so healthy. And like the peas, once I finished cubing the potatoes and apples for steaming, the mash came together really quickly.

Well, that’s it. For now. I hope this rundown inspires you to try some new vegan recipes.

Enjoy!

New Cookbook: Appetite for Reduction

I don’t know about you, but I ate way too much food over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was all delicious, but I’m feeling the need to detox a bit when it comes to my diet. Over the weekend, I picked up Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book, Appetite for Reduction, at my local bookstore. I’m really excited about it because it doesn’t feel at all like a diet book. It contains “nutritionally balanced” recipes that don’t contain any fake anything, and, from what I’ve read so far, look very easy to make. My eyes quickly went to the Chickpea Picatta and Caulipots, the Goddess Nicoise salad, Ceci-Roasted Red Pepper Soup, and the Spinach Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach, which I think I’m going to make for my family’s Christmas Eve dinner.

I’m planning on making the picatta this weekend, which brings me to another subject: this here blog. Since leaving the freelance world and going back to a 9 to 5, my food blogging, as you can see, has fallen by the wayside. I’ve been cooking, but by the time I get home, it’s dark outside, which means that I don’t have any natural light to take pictures. And with me not being a decent photographer, I don’t really know how to make up for the bad lighting. So, until I chalk up the money for photography lessons, I’m going to do my food blogging on the weekend when I’m home during the day to take pictures. Through the week, I intend on writing vegan food-related posts (like this one) that don’t involve cooking and taking pictures.

At least that’s my plan.