Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oatmeal Bread in Breadmaker

For this bread, I started with a recipe from the cookbook that came with my breadmaker and I changed a couple of ingredients and measurements, and added a couple of things.  The result is absolutely delicious!  I took a picture shortly after we started cutting into it, but it quickly disappeared.  It is sure to be a favorite in our household.

Makes 1 - 2 lb. loaf

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1 1/2 cups water and 6 TBS dried buttermilk blend, which is really handy for baking)
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. vital wheat gluten
2 1/4 tsp quick rise yeast for bread machines

Place ingredients in order listed (or the order suggested by your bread machine manufacturer).  Choose selections for white bread, 2 lb. loaf, medium crust.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Red Lentil and Rice Cake

I try to eat vegetarian meals at lunchtime.  I often enjoy leftovers from dinner the night before.  Today, there was no leftover meal in my refrigerator that I could just pop into the microwave, and I did not feel like eating a sandwich or ready-made soup.  I wanted something warm, and I did not feel like cooking something very complicated.  I did have some leftover plain rice from a night or two ago, and I also had some leftover plain cooked red lentils (simply simmered in vegetable broth with sea salt and herbs).  I craved a little coconut, so I decided to try to make a patty that had a subtle coconut flavor.  The result is something that I would describe as "OK," not "scrumptious." But I would make it again.  So I guess it is good enough to post here.  It was a little dry, so if I was to make it again, I might add something else with moisture--perhaps a small amount of coconut milk.  If you want to give this a try, use whatever leftover beans and grains you have, even if they are different than red lentils and rice.  Red lentils worked especially well here because they get mushy when you cook them.  If you use a different bean, you might have to mash it with a fork.  By using leftovers, you are reducing waste and therefore helping the environment.  To be honest, this recipe is not good enough to go out and make the beans and rice specifically for this dish, but it is good enough to turn to when you want to use up plain leftovers and create something with some culinary interest with little effort.  The sweet chili sauce is also important as a flavor enhancer, as the dish would be too bland without it.

½ cup cooked red lentils (cooked in vegetable broth with sea salt and herbs)
½ cup cooked rice
1 small carrot, diced
1 TBS coconut oil
2 TBS shredded coconut

Sweet Chili Sauce (I used Trader Joe's) as condiment on the side.

Heat coconut oil in skillet.  Dice carrot by slicing in half lengthwise, then again into quarters, and then cutting crosswise into tiny pieces.  Saute carrots in coconut oil for several minutes.  Mix cooked lentils and rice together with hands.  Add shredded coconut, then add carrots and coconut oil from pan.  Mix with hands and form into a large patty.  Fry patty in skillet, covered, over medium low heat until brown.  Flip and cook other side, covered, until brown.  Serve with sweet chili sauce on the side, as a dipping sauce.  Makes one large patty or two small patties.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Red Lentil Stew with Lacinato Kale and Miso

I got the idea for this soup from one of my favorite websites, www.epicurious.com.  I tweaked a few of the ingredients and simplified it to make a fairly quick meal.  I started the meal by shopping at my local health food store and taking a clean empty glass (salsa) jar with me.  I asked the cashier to weigh the jar when I first entered the store, then I filled the jar with red lentils from the bulk food section and paid for the lentils by weight, subtracting the weight of the jar.  By doing so, I am reducing the waste of packaging products, plus I save a little money by buying bulk.  See if you have a store nearby that sells dried food products in bulk, and take your own container to the store, rather than using their plastic bags.  Our Earth is becoming more and more fragile, and we must each try to do lots of little things to preserve resources and protect the environment.  Reduction of waste is a good goal for each of us to think about.

This is really delicious (I would even describe it as scrumptious!), with a surprising sweetness emanating from the onions, celery, sweet potato and miso, which complements the slight bitterness of the kale.  I used lacinato kale for the first time because I saw it in the market and thought it would be interesting to try.  Lacinato kale looks a little bit like swiss chard.  Feel free to use regular kale instead.