Monday, December 12, 2011

Easy Enchilada Sauce

Alright, I know I used to be able to find canned enchie sauce that didn't have a lot of gobbledy-gook in it! Not this time. I thought d'ems which stock the stores were catching on to the fact that some of us don't want to eat crap. Unless we choose to that is... *earnestly ignores bowl of yogurt-covered pretzels at her elbow*

My friend Beth chastised me loooong ago for not making my own. Now I see why. No biggie, and all from stuff you probably have in your pantry already. I have seen the light.

I made a half recipe of the Vegetarian Times' black bean and corn enchiladas ( lazy and just tore up 3-4 corn tortillas and layered the filling!), using a recipe for the sauce I found on S'good!

Easy Enchilada Sauce:
(slightly adapted from Jolinda Hackett's recipe on

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour (I used whole grain spelt flour)
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 cups water
1- 8 ounce can tomato paste (I only had a 6 oz they even make 8 oz'ers?? I added some tomato puree in to flesh it out, but really, I think it must have been a typo in the orig. recipe)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
(I added a small squeeze of agave nectar, and about 1/2 tsp white vinegar...)

Heat the oil, flour and chili powder together in a large pot. Allow to cook for a minute or two.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer. Stir well to combine and dissolve tomato paste in water. Cover and allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more spices as desired.

I froze the extra sauce not used in the making of this:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Sage

Is anyone else out there having a hard time eating their vegetables? Didn't think it'd be me, but the chill in the air has me loathe to eat anything raw- I'm having trouble with green in general.
So, to get the Monster and I through, I'll just keep putting spinach and the like in tummy warming casseroles, soups and the salads for the 100 degree days that will be here all too soon. Cauliflower and green peas are the sneaker veggies in this dinner.

Tonight…a mash up of several recipes. One I've posted about before, the other has been made 3 times now and dug into greedily without giving the camera a second glance (much less a first glance). The first half of this dually inspired recipe today is from Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs. Her recipe for butternut squash baked pasta is the 3 timer. I've always amended her basic recipe, and I've loved it in each and every one of it's incarnations.

The second half is Frugal Gourmet Alissa's cauliflower risotto…well kind of. There's a dose of my roasted mashed cauliflower in there too.
I'd wanted to put some nutritional yeast in the mix below, like Alissa's original recipe has, but found my pantry lacking this morning. No matter, tastes great without it, but you could always add 2-3 TBS into the sauce if you'd like.

I'd planned on taking step by step photos of the process today, but got really distracted and blew it. Another day...
You'll just have to trust that it tastes better than it looks. :-)

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Sage:

1 sizable head of cauliflower, washed, dried, sliced thinly (~1/8th inch thick)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half if large
olive oil
Kosher salt

1 3/4 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened soy, but I'll try with almond milk next time)
1 cup broth (vegetable, chicken…)
1 3/4 TBS corn starch, or arrowroot powder
~7 fresh sage leaves
~1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
~1/8 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
sprinkle of garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp+ cayenne
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice…we love Tinkyada Brand brown rice noods in all forms)
zest of one lemon

3 slices of whole grain bread (we like Alvarado St.'s sprouted grain breads)
1+ TBS olive oil

Heat oven to 450.
Toss sliced cauliflower and garlic with a couple TBS olive oil and some Kosher salt on a large sheet pan.
Roast for ~15 minutes, then toss and return to oven for about 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside.

To a high powered blender (I use a BlendTec, comparable to a Vitamix), add a packed and slightly rounded cup of roasted cauliflower with all of the roasted garlic pieces you can find.
Also add soymilk (or other milk), broth, cornstarch, sage leaves, nutmeg, clove, walnuts, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and black pepper…blend till smooth. Taste and amend salt and other spices to your liking.

In a large bowl combine, thawed peas, the uncooked pasta, the rest of the unblended roasted cauliflower left over, and the lemon zest.
Add sauce in and stir till all is incorporated.
Pour into a lightly oiled lidded casserole dish (I think the one I used must be around 1.5 qt.)

In a food processor, whiz up the whole grain bread slices, and pour a little olive oil over them while the machine is whirring. I like to add a pinch of Kosher salt too.

Heat oven to 350.
Bake casserole covered for 25-30 minutes.
Remove casserole from oven and evenly spread the bread crumbs over the surface.
Continue to bake, uncovered this time, for another 20 minutes, until the topping is golden toasty.
I like to put the whole casserole together some time during the day when I've got the time, then pop in the fridge uncooked until it's ready to go into the oven for dinner. Leave the crumb topping off of course until half-way through the baking.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Coconut

It's been an age...last post in October?? I disappeared. Once again making a visit to The Rabbit Hole (fyi: I did manage to come across a full jar of marmalade this time!).

Cozy up with a warm bowl of this soup on a cold night. You won't be sorry. Made even better with amendments...I added steamed broccoli the first night, then broc. and avocado the next day for lunch. Buy a nice rustic multi-grain baguette for dunking purposes, and add a drizzle of Sriracha sauce if you know what's good for you.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Coconut:
(adapted from Soup Chick)

1 1/2 cups yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1-2 Tbs red curry paste
1 tsp ground cumin
4+ cups water (I always end up using at least 5 cups)
1 cup organic veggie broth
1 1/2 tsp+ kosher salt
1 14 oz can coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
if you have it, one kaffir lime leaf.
Sriracha to top (I added in about a TBS to the actual soup, then topped each bowl with a little more)
steamed broccoli florettes if desired

In a large pot, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic and sweat about 3-4 minutes. Don't let them brown, just warm them up. Add a tablespoon or two of red chili paste. I used 2. Add the cumin and split peas.

Add four (+) cups of water and 1 cup broth.
Cover pot and bring to a boil for 2o-25 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about a teaspoon and a half of salt and about 10 grinds of pepper), then turn the heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the can of coconut milk and taste the soup. Mine needed another pinch of salt and more pepper. I sometimes add a bit more water at this point, depending on how cooked through the peas are, but it usually doesn't need much.
Simmer for another 15 minutes uncovered (if there's enough liquid, otherwise put the lid on), or until split peas have cooked through.
Turn off heat and add one kaffir lime leaf, if using. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then remove leaf.