Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Dishes of the New Year

For the past few years, I've made it a point to eat black eyed peas, as the Southern tradition suggests, for good luck. I could eat long noodles (Chinese) or loads of other things, but as I don't eat black-eyed peas on a regular basis, this is a good excuse to make something new. However, I've not been able to find that many good recipes (dinner dishes, anyhow, not side dishes or dips) that incorporate this adorable legume. Thus, a repeat of a couple of years ago, we enjoyed these Black-eyed Pea- Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce, from Vegan with a Vengeance. This time, I took it easy on the salt (for some reason, some of Isa's recipes are way too salty for us), and poured the delicious mushroom sauce over the kale and croquettes on their bed of quinoa. If I have to say it a million times, I love my rice cooker! It even cooks quinoa to fluffy perfection, with no effort, no boiling over, no burning to the bottom. We don't even have a fancy, expensive one, but it is one of my favorite kitchen appliances! Four easy stars for this recipe ****.
Here are the croquettes, fresh out of the oven. Baking, not frying them, makes them light and healthful tasting!

So, the first really new recipe of the new year was this Carrot, Wakame, and Kale Stew, from Vegetarian Times magazine, January 2010 issue. I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy this was. Three solid stars ***. Lots of great flavors and textures and very healthy. We ate this with some nice French bread. My only comment would be to leave this as a soup and not puree half of it. I used my immersion blender to do this, and it just made parts of it chunky. Usually, the immersion blender works great - better than pouring hot soup into a blender!- but not this time. Oh well.

I had an acorn squash that really needed to be eaten and some extra mushrooms from the croquette sauce, so I made a modified version of a recipe in the cookbook, The Well-Rounded Pregnancy. I don't own this title - just borrowed it from my library - and it's not exactly a vegan book, but this recipe (Quinoa with Mushrooms, Caramelized Squash, and Toasted Pecans) was a nice and easy dish. I ended up just roasting the squash in the oven and "dicing" it the best I could afterwards. It also has onion, thyme, pecans and dried cranberries in it. Sounds like a bowl full of healthy, yummy food, doesn't it? Well, it was healthy and filling, but not that tasty. Two, maybe two and a half stars **. Not terrible, just kind of dry and not very spicy. I figured maybe they were trying not to make their recipes too spicy on account of nausea in their pregnant readers.

Since soups seem to be the only thing I'm craving at this point (started my 6th month today - yeah!), Mr. PLV requested Beet, Barley, and Black Soybean Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons from Vw/aV. We've made this before (two years ago I think- wow!) and it was certainly very easy and filling. But, I think we used fresh dill last time, and it wasn't nearly salty enough for me this time around. Still, a solid three star *** recipe and worth peeling those beets! (by the way, that was the only "difficult" part of the recipe - it is really very easy!). The croutons are a cinch to make, too.

I leave you with nothing new, but certainly something delicious: Chocolate Cookie Bark from Big Fat Cookies. I made this cookie bark last year for work and it was a hit (at least that's what I was told) and Mr. PLV really loved it, so I made this again to welcome everyone back for the new year. I had plenty of candy canes left over to use but as usual...

I had to do one with coconut! Y-U-M.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Everything looks great, as usual :-) Isa's recipes are usually WAY too salty for me too (her seitan is almost inedible as written)--glad to know I am not the only one!