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.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Banana Mango Spicy Smoothie




Craving a healthy snack to get you through the afternoon?  Or maybe just a light, healthy breakfast to get you started in the morning? This smoothie will fit the bill.  I owe the idea of adding nutmeg and allspice to a smoothie to my son, who has spent many hours experimenting with various flavor combinations in his concoctions.  Freshly grating a whole nutmeg is way better than shaking dried nutmeg from a spice jar.  It's really not a big deal to do, so I encourage you to go buy a whole nutmeg if you haven't tried it.  If you don't have a nutmeg grater, use the grater with the finest, smallest holes that you have in your kitchen.  The fruit in this smoothie provides all the sweetness you need--you do not need to add sugar, honey or any other sweetener!

1 apple, core removed
1 banana, peeled
4 ice cubes
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp vanilla
30 seconds of grating fresh nutmeg (go back and forth with a whole nutmeg on a grater while counting to 30)
1/8 tsp allspice
1 TBS flaxseed oil

Blend all together until smooth.


Makes 1 tall glass smoothie, possibly with a little leftover.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Vegetarian Moussaka


I love moussaka, but it usually has ground meat in it.  I wanted to see if I could capture the special flavors of moussaka in a vegetarian version.  I took a recipe that I used to use, before I cut meat from my diet, and tweaked it a little, mainly substituting mushrooms for the meat! While I combined cremini and shiitake mushrooms, I think any mixture of various mushrooms would be good.  Here is my version, which I think is quite delicious. I don't miss the meat at all.

2 eggplants, cut into cubes
extra virgin olive oil
salt
1 1/5 lbs. cremini mushrooms, sliced 
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. oregano
26.5 oz. chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 eggs, beaten

Toss eggplant with olive oil and salt and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, tossing occasionally while roasting. Use the convection roast setting if available on your oven. Eggplant should be golden brown but not burnt.

Meanwhile, sauté onions over medium high heat in more olive oil until translucent.  Lower heat, add garlic and toss for a few seconds (do not burn the garlic).  Add mushrooms, more olive oil, thyme and salt.   Saute until mushrooms are tender, tossing occasionally so that everything gets mixed together and cooked evenly.  Add cinnamon and chopped tomatoes.  Simmer for about a half hour.  Stir in 1 cup parmigiano just before assembling the moussaka in a baking dish.

Beat eggs in mixing bowl and set aside.  In a large saute pan, melt butter.  Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes, continually stirring.  Slowly whisk in milk, continuing to stir.  Cook until thickened while continuously stirring.  Add salt, nutmeg and 1/2 cup grated parmigiano.  Scoop out about a cup of this sauce and whisk it into the eggs, then whisk the beaten eggs into the sauce and continue to cook while whisking until sauce is thick and smooth.  Remove from heat.

To assemble, coat a 13" x 9" baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread half of eggplant evenly over bottom of dish.  Next pour the mushroom-tomato mixture on top of that and spread evenly.  Put remaining eggplant over that, then pour the creamy egg sauce over that (you might have too much sauce; if so save it to use on another baked vegetable dish later). Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until topping is light golden brown. 

Makes about 12 servings.





Saturday, January 5, 2019

Tofu Shawarma

This is a great recipe that is sure to please.  It is also a quick and easy dinner (except for pressing the tofu, but you could skip this step if necessary; the tofu will just break apart more).
Inspiration came from epicurious.com, which published a recipe for chicken shawarma that my husband loves.  Since I don't eat chicken, I wanted to see if I could substitute tofu with good results.  The results are more than good, they are excellent!  If you have a combination of carnivores and vegetarians at the table, you could make the baked tofu for the vegetarians and use a duplicate spice mixture with diced chicken for the meat eaters (bake on a separate cookie sheet for the same amount of time in the same oven). You can make the yogurt tahini sauce ahead of time, if you like.  If you make everything at the same time, start with preheating the oven and let the tofu sit in the spice mixture for the longest possible amount of time, while you mix the other items together.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce:

1 cup yogurt
1 TBS tahini
1 clove garlic, pressed
Grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
2 TBS lemon juice
Handful of fresh dill, chopped (about 2 TBS)
Handful of fresh mint, chopped (about 2 TBS)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Tofu:

1 lb. extra firm tofu, pressed
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To press tofu, put block of tofu on top of several layers of paper towels on a plate. Lay several layers of paper towels folded on top of tofu, then place something heavy, such as a cutting board or some canned goods on top of a plate, on top of that. Leave for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Cut tofu into 1”-2” cubes.

Mix other ingredients in a bowl.  Add tofu cubes and gently toss to coat all sides of each cube with spice mixture.  Let sit for about 15 minutes (or longer is even better).

Bake tofu cubes on greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

Pita Bread:

8 small pita bread pockets

Wrap pita in foil and warm in oven with baking tofu for 5-10 minutes.

Salad:

2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber or 1/2 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then quartered lengthwise, then cut into 1/4”-1/2” slices
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup sliced or chopped red onion
2 cups baby salad greens or chopped lettuce


Toss all salad ingredients together, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, preferably freshly ground, and toss again.
To serve, cut pita in half, fill each half with tofu cubes, salad and yogurt tahini sauce.


Serves 4.