Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Case of Happy Holidays

I've always loved those countdowns at the end of every year. What a great way to look back and celebrate one glorious year, while preparing to enthusiastically embrace a brand new one. Of course, never before have I had anything to count down personally. Except maybe Dates Gone Bad (pre-Karl...and even then...), which of course is not something to count down publicly. But since I'm here on the Internet, and in such a festive mood, I counted down, based on viewer stats, Vegetarian Detective's Top Ten Posts of 2010. (LOL) HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Case of Tomato Risotto with Garlic and Basil

Don't these remind you of Christmas balls?

Tomato Risotto with Garlic and Basil

2 cups boiling water
2 rounded tsps (for 2 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
4 shallots, minced
2 tsps butter
1 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup Arborio rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/6 cup white wine
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/6 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt
pepper

Prepare a bouillon with the water and vegetable bouillon powder. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the shallots in the butter and olive oil for 2 min. Add the rice and garlic, and sauté for 5 min. Add the wine and stir until it's nearly absorbed. Add the tomatoes and 1/3 cup of the bouillon and stir, and continue to simmer, until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue adding 1/3 cupfuls of the bouillon, and stirring, for 25 min. or until the rice is creamy and firm but not hard (you may need to add 1/3 cupfuls of water toward the end). Stir in the Parmesan and fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Case of Anne's Favourite Spaghetti with Neat Sauce

Picture Cameron Diaz with one slightly crossed eye. Cute huh? That's my younger sister, Anne. Stepsister if you want to get technical. Anne and I are good buddies...now. We weren't always so friendly, but that's another blog. Did I mention we own and run Beautiful Things together? Here's a sound byte of us at the store.

     "City Slicker," Anne calls me.
     This seems to me right out of the blue, so I say, "We both live in Black Currant Bay, can't call me City Slicker."
     "Former City Slicker."
     "Former Shaun Cassidy Fan Club Member."

She joined Karl and me for supper last night when I made my famous Spaghetti with Neat Sauce, 'cause it's my sis's favourite vegetarian meal.

Annes' Favourite Spaghetti with Neat Sauce

2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 pack Yves Italian Veggie Ground Round
2/3 cup red wine
2/3 cup 2% milk
28-oz-can diced tomatoes
5-oz-can tomato paste
2 pinches nutmeg
pepper to taste
4 rounded tsps (for 4 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
2 tsps basil
salt to taste
half and half whole-wheat spaghetti and regular spaghetti (enough for 6 altogether)
Parmesan

Combine the carrots, celery, onions, Italian veggie ground round and wine in a pot. Simmer for 8 min. or until the wine is almost evaporated. Add the 2% milk and simmer for 4 min. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the spaghetti and Parmesan) and simmer for 12 min.


In the meantime, cook the spaghetti until al dente (add the whole-wheat spaghetti to the pot first, bring back to a boil and cook for 1 min. before adding the regular spaghetti). Drain pasta. Serve with the sauce. Grate Parmesan to garnish.

Serves 6.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Case of Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian food is happy food. So is simple, diner-style food. Don't you think gloomy November is a great time to bring on the happy with veggie Sloppy Joes? Try this recipe for lunch. Invite non-vegetarians even. These fork and knife sandwiches are not much different from their "carnivorous" cousins.

Sloppy Joes

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped brown mushrooms
1 pack Yves Italian Veggie Ground Round
8 oz tomato sauce
5-oz-can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
4 Italian rolls, split in half

Sauté the onion, green pepper and mushrooms in the olive oil for 3 min. Add the Italian veggie ground round, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, hot sauce, brown sugar, mustard, garlic and pepper and simmer for 10 min., stirring often. Serve between halves of the Italian rolls. Serves 4.

Friday, November 19, 2010

#16 The Case of Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons mustard
salt
pepper

Whisk or shake together the lemon juice, olive oil, agave syrup, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 3/4 cup for 4 side salads.

Becki

Saturday, November 6, 2010

#15 The Case of Crunchy Coleslaw

1/2 green cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk broccoli, chopped into tiny florets
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 red apple, chopped
2 recipes Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette

Whisk together the 2 recipes Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette in the bottom of a large bowl.

Add the shredded cabbage, carrot, broccoli florets, pumpkin seeds, pecans and apple, then toss.

Serves 6.

Becki

PS If necessary, divide this recipe to make just the right amount to serve at once so salad stays super-crunchy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Case of French Vanilla Toast

Have we talked breakfast yet? Well, we must. Most important meal of the day and all that. At the very least, food (preferably something sweet) is my reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Kinda kidding. Kinda not.

Here's a perfect example of Becki Green getting-out-of-bed motivation. And it's not just an indulgence. It has protein. The secret here is the 1/4 tsp vanilla. Which starts me wondering... Should I invent a Dutch Chocolate Toast? 

French Vanilla Toast

2 eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla
salt
2 slices whole-wheat bread
1 tsp butter
icing sugar
maple syrup

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt to taste. Dip both sides of the bread in the egg mixture and let soak just a little. Fry in the butter until golden brown on both sides. Dust with icing sugar and serve with maple syrup. Serves 1.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Case of Fruity and Wild Rice Salad

Fruity and Wild Rice Salad

3/4 cup wild rice
3/4 cup brown rice
4 cups water
4 rounded tsps (for 4 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette

In a covered pot, simmer the wild rice, brown rice, water and vegetable bouillon powder for 50 min. Drain in a strainer (there won't be much to drain off) and let cool. Toss with the green onions, dried cranberries, dried apricots, fresh parsley, garlic, and Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette. Chill. When serving, pack into a cup measure, then un-mould onto plates. Serves 4.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Case of Cabbage Rolls

Secret agent – vegetable bouillon powder.
  • Faster and easier than making vegetable bouillon from scratch.
  • Strength of bouillon increased just by adding more vegetable bouillon powder.
  • Always on hand on kitchen shelf.
  • Mixes with many ingredients other than water, such as diced tomatoes.
Earlier, a reader was justifiably concerned  by the "salt and grime" vegetable bouillon powder can contain, and I promised to come up with an "easy, quick, and always-on-hand alternative". Ta da! Organic vegetable bouillon powder. Not trying to be smart. Compare ingredient lists.

Knorr Vegetable Instant Stock Mix
Corn syrup solids, salt, hydrolyzed soy/corn protein, monosodium glutamate, natural flavour, dried vegetables (tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic), canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, colour, herb & spices, dried parsley, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, wheat maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, corn starch, colour and sulphites. May contain milk and eggs.

Harvest Sun Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder
Yeast extract, sea salt, starch* (potato*, corn*), anticaking agent calcium carbonate, carrots*, leek*, non-hydrogenated palm oil*, celery*, parsley*, turmeric*, nutmeg*
*organic

And regarding salt content, the more vegetable bouillon powder in a recipe, the less salt is needed. Found a HUGE selection of organic vegetable bouillon powders at the GTA health food store I visited.

Cabbage Rolls

1 cabbage, frozen, then thawed overnight in a colander in the sink
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) granules
2 tbsps ketchup
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 rounded tsp (for 1 cup) vegetable bouillon powder
1 cup boiling water
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tsps olive oil
2-1/2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 eggs
48 oz tomato juice

Cut out the core of the cabbage. Peel back the outer leaves one by one, discarding the blemished ones. Cut the thick part of the central rib out of each leaf. Continue until you have 12 leaves. In a large bowl, combine the TVP granules, ketchup, thyme, chilli powder, pepper, salt and vegetable bouillon powder. Pour on the boiling water and stir. Set aside for 15 min. Sauté the onions, garlic and red pepper in the olive oil for 8 - 10 min., until the onions are browned, adding a little water if the vegetables get too dry. Combine the onion mixture, rice, nutritional yeast flakes and eggs with the TVP granules. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread some of the tomato juice in the bottom of a 9" X 13" baking dish. Divide the stuffing between the cabbage leaves and roll them up. (I overlap the stem ends of each leaf where the rib's been cut out, pile my stuffing there, roll 3/4 of a turn, fold in the sides, then continue to roll.) Place the packages seam down in the baking dish. Top with the rest of the tomato juice, cover and bake for 1-1/2 hours. Serves 6.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Case of Thanksgiving

Just got the best surprise. Peeked at my Blogger stats, and this blog's had hits from Canada, the United States, Peru (thank you Carlos), Colombia, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Thailand, and Vietnam. OMG! Now it's hard to feel isolated in Black Currant Bay. Instead I feel plugged in. And for that I'm grateful.

Gratitude is the name of the game here on October 11th – Thanksgiving. Even if I beef (interesting choice of words for a vegetarian) a little now and then, I truly do appreciate what I have. Especially the people in my life. Thank you Karl, for loving me. Thank you Anne and Stephen, dear sister and brother. Thank you Kathleen and France, Superfriends. Thanks Gina. Daughter I'll never have? Thanks Mom, who even though dearly departed, has never really left me. And thank you readers. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Case of Greek Omelette

See, this is how it is – I make the food, I take pictures of the food, then I eat the food, so my blog is more a what I'm eating rather than a what I propose to eat. And since Karl was away at a conference, and I was super-determined to eat decently even if I was alone, I made myself this omelette.

Greek Omelette

2 eggs
1 tsp butter
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 cup Greek olives, pitted
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, the larger ones halved
1/8 cup feta, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Beat the eggs. Over medium heat, melt the butter in an omelette pan and coat the bottom and sides. When a drop of water sizzles in the butter, pour in the eggs and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are partially set, lift the edges to allow the egg mixture to flow underneath. When the eggs are almost set, sprinkle on the onion, olives, tomatoes and feta. When the bottom is golden, and the top is set, fold the omelette and slide it onto a plate. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serves 1.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Case of Vegetarian Pepperoni Pizza

I wasn't ALWAYS vegetarian. Not when I went to college, which means I fell in love with pizza – pepperoni pizza. Now...you can get pepperoni pizza just about anywhere. Vegetarian pizza as well. But not vegetarian pepperoni pizza.

Since I became vegetarian, and was faced with the dilemma of never eating pepperoni pizza again, or occasionally using one of those meat alternative products, I chose the latter.

Meat alternative products tend to be dry, due to a much lower fat content than meat. So I make necessary adjustments. In this case, I layer the cheese on top of the veggie pepperoni.

There's no doubt this is fast food for busy vegetarians with CRAVINGS. So I'll make my next recipe more in line with the Slow Food movement, like comforting Cabbage Rolls. Or maybe more gourmet, like Tomato Chèvre Tart. 

Vegetarian Pepperoni Pizza

1 focaccia
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 package Yves Veggie Pizza Pepperoni
1 large bocconcini, sliced
1 small bunch fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Lay the focaccia on a pan. Spread with the pizza sauce. Arrange the veggie pepperoni slices on top, then the sliced cheese. Bake for approximately 20 min. or until the crust browns and crisps, and the cheese oozes golden. Remove from the oven. Then by holding the top of each oregano stem with one hand and grasping a little further down with the fingers of the other hand and pulling down, sprinkle the pizza with fresh oregano. Serves 2. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Case of Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

Adore the scent of cilantro? The sweet-tart taste of pineapple? If so, this salsa is for you. Guaranteed to brighten a day, like a stroll on a DR beach. Exaggeration? What if I serve it in individual bowls on lime green plates, with mounds of the best, salty, crunchy tortilla chips...

You won't be surprised to learn I could be caught offering Pineapple Black Bean Salsa with tortilla chips as a light (whoa, not in the caloric sense) supper, say if Karl and I are tuning in to the new fall television season. Yes...we do get cable in Black Currant Bay. Salsa to Dancing with the Stars anyone? 

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

1/2 pineapple, chopped
19-oz can black beans, rinsed
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds

Combine all the ingredients and chill. Serves 4.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Case of Carrot Ginger Soup

Every single time I stop in at Harvey's, somebody else besides me is ordering a veggie burger. Talk about mainstreaming. Still, tons of people look at me like I'm an artsy-fartsy, tree-huggin'...when I mention I'm vegetarian. Perhaps it's because you can't be in a Harvey's and in Black Currant Bay simultaneously.

Maybe some have the misapprehension that eating vegetarian is about deprivation. Not! I refuse to eat less-than food. Food means...well, food means a lot to me. In fact, if you were to ask me right this second to tell you what my vegetarian food motto might be, I'd say...why...I'd say, "Pig Out!"

And what's not to love about Carrot Ginger Soup? Saucy in the spice department. Just sweet enough to serve with toasted chocolate cherry bread. Yes! You read right. Toasted CHOCOLATE CHERRY BREAD (as pictured above). I was on this buying trip to the Greater Toronto Area, stopped in at Longo's, and there it was – calling to me from its crowded bakery basket...and I just couldn't leave it there.

Carrot Ginger Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger root, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne
1-1/2 lb carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
6 cups water
6 rounded tsps (for 6 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt
pepper

Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger in the olive oil for 5 min. Add the cumin, paprika and cayenne and sauté 30 sec. Add the carrots, potatoes, water, vegetable bouillon powder, honey and lemon juice and simmer, covered, for 30 min. Purée (wear an oven mitt and press down firmly on the blender lid because hot liquids can erupt). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#4 The Case of Bocconcini Salad with Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar Vinaigrette

Bocconcini Salad

1 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, the larger ones halved
1 cup bocconcini
1/2 recipe Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar Vinaigrette (see below) 
1/8 cup fresh chives

Toss the vegetables and cheese with the Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar Vinaigrette.

Plate, and snip the chives on top.

Makes 2 meal-size salads.

Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
pepper

Whisk or shake together the red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

If you whisk in 2 tablespoons of raw agave syrup, this vinaigrette makes enough for 4 green side salads.

Becki

Sunday, August 15, 2010

#3 The Case of Raspberry Coconut Milkshake

Sumptuously pink!
 
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon raw agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 ice cubes

Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender, in the order given, and blend.

Serves 1.

Becki

PS Sharing buttons are below.
 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#2 The Case of Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons raw agave syrup (optional)

Whisk or shake together the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
 
If you're serving plain green salads without vegetables or fruit to sweeten them up, include the agave syrup.
 
One recipe makes enough for 2 main salads or 4 side salads.
 
Becki
 
PS Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

#1 The Case of Mediterranean Potato Salad

No mayonnaise, no eggs, ultra-safe to take on picnics, and vibrant with fresh, summer-garden herbs.

24 baby red potatoes, the larger ones halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt
pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Spread the potatoes on a 9" X 13" pan. Drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the potatoes. Roast for 30 min. (If it's way too hot outside to want to turn on your oven, or you want to speed up the process, prick the potatoes with a fork and microwave them in a covered casserole dish for 10 min. on high, stirring at intervals, then drain and continue as below, except you probably don't have to transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.) 

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Let cool.

Toss in the rest of the ingredients and chill.

Serves 4-8.

Becki

PS Share buttons are below.