Showing posts with label green beans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label green beans. Show all posts

Oct 2, 2010

west indian

Indian Night

Back when we lived in Austin, a most favorite place to eat at was a little hole in the wall, a 'fast food' Indian place, called Swad. If you live in Austin and you haven't been, you must go! The prices are reasonable (just review your receipt as some mistakes are made) and food is outstanding.

One dish we would always get was the Ragda Patties, which is a Gujarati Indian dish. The dish consists of potato patties with a mint-cilantro middles served with a thick legume gravy. So tonight's meal was based on the Gujarati cuisine.

Gujarati is a western Indian fare, predominantly vegetarian and mostly overlooked; North and South India tend to be in the spotlight, while the west goes on about its merry way. What a treat to miss!

The ragda patties I made were delicious - it literally took me back to Swad. David thought so, too, and Kate loved it (although she was one when we lived there, so she couldn't recall the flavors), but neither of the other two liked Indian food back then and were themselves too young to remember even if they had.

The other dish I made was a green bean dish with Muthias. Muthias are little dough patties made of chickpea and wheat flour that are simmered in the green bean sauce.

I am completing the how-to on this meal since my pictures didn't turn out blurry. Yay! Indian food is made so fast that there is little time to focus properly unless you have a plan. I had a plan this time and will be posting the recipes and the pictures.

Cost Breakdown:
green beans:$2
flours: $1
chillies, ginger, curry leaves, mint, cilantro; $4
spices, seeds, sugar, lemon, tamarind: $2
peas: $1
potatoes: $3

Sep 15, 2010

south indian

Indian Night

There is a wonderful Indian restaurant near by us, and although we love to go and get fabulous Indian meals, they are not all vegan, as most Indian places aren't, and it costs $$ to eat out. With this in mind, I have decided to make Indian night and learn how to make Indian food. Eventually well enough that my family will be full of appreciation, I hope.

Indian food has been commonly, and more conveniently, divided into South Indian and North Indian, although each division itself has divisions of its own, as well as other varieties I am sure I am not even aware of. For the sake of simplicity, I will cover the more broad South and North cuisines.

The differences of the foods can be traced to the inhabitants. South India is mostly Hindu, therefore more inclined to stick to vegetarian foods, whereas the North was ruled by several Muslim kingdoms over the times, therefore there is more non-vegetarian in the cuisine. 

South Indians tend to like their foods sour, hence the use of tamarind, tomato and yogurt. They also cook with coconut oil not their counterpart's use of ghee, clarified butter. They use coconut to thicken their foods. This is where rasam, sambhar, dosa, idli and pickles are popular. Rice is a staple here as well.

North Indians cook with a lot of dairy, paneer, ghee and cream. Wheat is a staple food, hence the roti and naan and other common breads that are popular here. Cashews and poppy seeds are the thickening agents here. This is where koftas (meatballs), kebabs, tandoori and pakoras are home.

Naturally, there is no firm line between the cuisines, and there are as many variations of this simple list as there are Indian recipes, but this is a basic outline. Lots more information is compiled here.    

For my first forage, I headed to South India and made Potato Song (potatoes in tamarind sauce), Dal (lentils), Masala Beans (a dry green bean dish with lots of chillies) and a rice dish. 

Cost Breakdown:
dal: $3
potato: $2
green beans: $3
rice: $1
spices, herbs: $2
coconut, cashew, oil: $2
   Total to feed a family of 10:

Sep 6, 2010

thai noodle salad

I made a lite lunch pasta salad. I grilled a bunch of vegetables and cooked up some pasta. 

I am trying to make different dressings that do not need oil, so for the Thai influence I blended the meat of a young coconut with some fresh lime juice, and added a diced chili pepper. 

It all came together very nicely. It was fresh and still crisp tender. The only change I would make is the eggplant. While it is delicious fresh off the grill, the eggplant doesn't have quite the flavor after it sits for a bit. 

Cost Breakdown:
corn, green beans: $1
eggplant: $1
zucchini: $1
onion: $.50
peppers: $1
tomato: $1
pasta: $2
young coconut, sunflower seeds: $2
lime: $.25
Total to feed a family of 5:

Aug 7, 2010

chipotle mashed potatoes stuffed portobello

When we first discovered veganism, as I have blogged before, the beginning was not just difficult but very unappetising. Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet was one of the first books that made food delightful at last. Tonight's meal was one of our favorites. So much so that after we first made it we had it at least once a week for many following weeks.

Now there are some culinary critics who report that certain foods are becoming a fading fad- chipotle peppers for one -  but I say it is only a fad if you are following the trends of the day and not your own palate. For me the smoked jalapeno is here to stay no matter what a foodie thinks should grace my plate.

Minced chipotle peppers added to mashed potatoes are a perfect palate pleaser. Spicy, smoky and sweet, it is a sensual reminder of delicately balanced food. To get the most perfect mashed potatoes that are not gummy follow a few key guidelines:

1) Cook your potatoes very well, until they are falling apart.
2) Mash without any liquid. After you add liquid do not mash anymore.
3) Add the liquid and stir to combine, almost folding the ingredients together. To get whipped potato's add more liquid. The potatoes will soak it up. 

I accented the tamari in the grilled portobellos by adding toasted sesame seeds to the garlicky green beans. 

David thanked me sweetly for making this. This dish just keeps on giving.

Cost Breakdown:
portobello: $5
potatoes: $4
chipotle: $1
green beans: $3
tamari, garlic, Earth Balance, almond milk: $2
Total to feed a family of 5:

welsh/hungarian rarebit


I had this pegged for brunch last week, but because Kate made the baked potatoes with the cheese sauce, I thought it might be overkill.

Welsh Rarebit has an interesting lore, and one that needs to taken with a grain of salt. Since the poor of Wales would hunt rabbit as their main meat, lacking bigger game, such as deer, rabbits were a poor man's food. Cheese was also considered to be a staple of the poor. As an insult then, a bread topped with cheese sauce, earned the term Welsh Rabbit:

Over time Rabbit morphed into Rarebit by virtue of pronunciation.

There you have a semi-factual, but totally-assumed history of the Welsh Rarebit.

Back to the food; Rarebit has also been recreated into British Rarebit, Irish Rarebit, etc. There is no precise recipe for this since the liquid can be anything from water or cream to wine or ale. It usually has some cheese, some mustard, and occasionally onion.
Totally up for interpretation.

The cheese sauce is then spread on toasted bread and then broiled.

I used whole grain English muffin, toasted, spread my cheese sauce - made with a little wine and a lot of cashew milk to thicken, a little Daiya and a bit of Hot Hungarian Paprika - and broiled it.

I grilled a tomato and some green beans to accompany my Welsh Rarebit, but I dare say, mine is a Hungarian Rarebit. It's about time, too - the Hungarians have been missing out.
(I think; I'm not actually sure whether or not we have a Rarebit to call our own, but it is certain that if we didn't before, we do now!)

Cost Breakdown:
cashew: $1
Daiya: $2.50
English Muffin: $4
tomato and green beans: $3
spices and wine: $.50
Total to feed a family of 5:

Aug 5, 2010

hungarians beans and sour cream soup

Beans! Beans! I love legumes!
They are totally healthy, totally tasty and wonderfully versatile.

It is important to note that beans do not need to be eaten with a grain at the same meal because "when the diet provides an assortment of plant proteins over the course of a day all amino acids are present in abundance." (Source: 'Becoming Vegan' by Brenda Davis, R.D., Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.) Beyond eating a variety of wonderful plant-based foods, including beans, vegetables, grains and fruits, there is no need to combine grains and beans at one meal, a myth that was made popular
in the book 'Diet for a Small Planet.'

Now you know that you have freedom to cook your beans and eat them too... even without a grain as a tag-along. A little more freedom to be creative with your cooking, I would say!

Tonight's meal was navy beans cooked simply with a few bay leaves and seasoned at the end with paprika and cashew sour cream. I also added some green beans because I have a ton of them.

Very delicious! A nice crusty bread and a green salad would make this an easy great meal. The sour cream adds a delightful tang that everyone enjoyed.

Cost Breakdown:
beans: $2
spices: $.50
cashews: $2
lemon, vinegar, miso: $1
green beans: $1
Total for 10 servings:

Aug 4, 2010

vegetable ommes anna

The kids are still an hiatus and I am still cooking. I had a bunch of veggies in my fridge that didn't have a home on my menu, but I needed to get them cooked because my CSA is coming Friday and I need to make room for the new veggies. Out with the old!

Anyway, Pommes Anna is a dish of crispy, buttery potatoes that has layers of potatoes baked in tons of butter until the cake is crispy and golden. I thought - well, why not sub veggies instead. So I took my trusty well-seasoned cast iron pan (ask me if you need to know how to season your pan - it is worth it!), layered a few rows of potatoes, added my diced, lightly sauteed corn, green beans, red pepper, eggplant, onion, garlic and zucchini, topped it with a few more layers of potato and baked it for 30 minutes and broiled it for 10 minutes.

The outcome was the aforementioned buttery-crispy dish, albeit with a  vegetable medley added that turned out to be a delicious light lunch.

I used olive oil instead of the butter and since I was not trying to 'fry' many layers of potatoes as in the original Pommes Anna, I didn't need to drench it with fat. (Not that you need to drench the original in fat anyway.) I only used salt and pepper to season it - the vegetables were enough seasoning.

Cost Breakdown:
zucchini: $1
corn: $1
onion, garlic: $1
eggplant: $1
green beans: $1
potatoes: $1.50
Total to make 6 servings:

Jul 24, 2010

sausage-style beans with grilled green beans


I have been craving mashed potatoes topped with Italian Sausage drenched with a flavorful sauce. Since I didn't want to use seitan or soy again, although Tofurkey makes a great Italian Sausage, I needed to get the flavor of Italian sausage in some other way. I chose beans since we haven't had our weekly quota of legumes. I seasoned the beans with ground fennel seeds, crushed chili, Hungarian paprika and garlic. I added a chopped tomato to help get some sauciness into the beans and splashed on some balsamic vinegar for a tang.

I served it over mashed potatoes and topped it with grilled green beans cooked crisp-tender. I infused some olive oil with garlic, chili flakes and fennel seeds, and used the oil for the green beans and I stirred the strained solids into my mashed potatoes.

So, I achieved what I set out to do - infuse the flavor of Italian sausage into my beans, achieved wonderful texture and grilled flavor with the green beans and got my creamy mashed potatoes to tie everything together.


Cost Breakdown:
3# potatoes: $3.50
almond milk, olive oil, garlic, spices: $2
beans: $2
tomato, green beans, onion: $3
Total to feed a family of 5:

Jul 20, 2010

tom kha

Asian Night

When we have the chance to go to a Thai restaurant, David, Mikel and I always want the Tom Kha soup - a coconut-lime soup. Invariably though, there is either fish sauce in it or it is made with chicken stock. There was a time we received it with a piece of chicken, even after interrogating the server; makes you think they weren't being completely forthright...maybe?

If we are able to find a place that follows our one simple rule of 'no animals in our food,' they charge an arm and a leg for a teeny, tiny bowl. It just makes more sense to make it at home and load it up with all your favorite vegetables, fungi or soy products. 

This soup should really be called Tom Yum, but that is this same soup without the coconut milk - so unfair.

We made ours with shiitake, green beans, red peppers, spinach, carrots, shallots and basil. This is one of those Thai meals, that although would be even better with the addition of kaffir, lemongrass and galanga, tastes spectacular with just lime, lemon zest and ginger. This is so because I've gone to the extent of having gotten those exotic ingredients, but not tonight. Still totally wonderful.

Cost Breakdown:
coconut milk: $3
homemade stock: $1
lemon, lime, basil, ginger: $3
vegetables: $3
fungus: $2
Total to feed 6 people your way:

Jun 29, 2010

piri piri summer vegetables with jollof rice

Tuesday nights are Asian/African nights

...or anything that is nice with rice. Tonight I made an African meal complete with red palm oil, a distinctive African flavor. Piri Piri means 'hot chilis' in Swahili and so the name of the marinade echoes the content of it. Unfortunately, I could not find any thai bird's eye chili, so I made my piri piri marinade with Fresno and serrano peppers - less spicy. It seems to be a chili week, here at my house! After the vegetables - eggplant, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash - were marinated for 20 minutes, I grilled them on the griddle I still had out (but cleaned, of course :) from lunch. I served it in butter lettuce to cut the heat and provide a vessel to the mouth. Yum!

The rice is cooked with tomatoes, onions, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seeds, coriander and cumin, and the ubiquitous African red palm oil. I love African food. The family is still getting used to the unique flavor - especially of the palm oil (which you can skip and just spice your neutral oil by simmer it with onions, garlic and the spices for 15 minutes, straining it and using it as the cooking base). The flavor of the vegetables - spicy and sweet with a little tang from the lemon in the marinade - were well received, though.

Cost Breakdown:
vegetables: $5
peppers: $1
rice: $.50
tomatoes: $2.50
red palm oil : $1
lettuce: $2
spices: $.50
Total to feed a family of 5: