Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vegetarian Recipe

I was a vegetarian years ago.  I added meat back in during my relationship with my ex-husband, who thought tofu was the work of the devil.  I rediscovered my affection for a good NY strip or a leg of lamb, but lately, this affection has begun to dim.  I don't know if getting older makes meat harder to digest, or the videos of horrors at the stockyards got to me, but I began to look to rely less on meat to be a large part of my meals.  My kids are avowed carnivores, so I still have to make the stuff, but I'm not eating as much of it. Maybe it is the produce box that comes each week that makes me look for more varied ways of using vegetables, maybe it's the notice that I'm taking of my health these days, but I just feel better with less focus on meat.  

 

I've kept my old stand by cookbooks from my veg only days, Moosewood Cookbook, Field of Greens, etc.. and recently I've picked up some new ones to make more varied dishes.  Now on my shelf:

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This one has some great recipes that I've tried and will be sharing in upcoming posts.   I also picked up this one.  An updated version of my old standby, I have fallen back in love with the folky writing and the pragmatic take on the recipes.:

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These are great and they serve as a wonderful foundation to make and create different recipes.  The muse was spurring me on and I decided to take what I learned and created my own recipe:

 

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Faux Mole Sauce (pretty pretentious title, huh???)

4 large bell peppers (I used red and yellow bell peppers - I'm no fan of green bells)

1 cup quinoa (a wonderful grain that is chock full of protein)

1 1/2 cups black lentils (I used 3/4 package of Trader Joe's precooked black lentils)

1/2 block of firm tofu

1/4 poblano chile , finely diced

1 large shallot, chopped fine.

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. chile powder

Salt and pepper to taste.

 

I made the quinoa in my rice maker, so I could cook it while I worked at home. I use the rice maker for everything from oatmeal, to grains to rice. It's a wonder machine.  Then I combined the quinoa, lentils, shallot, garlic, cilantro and poblano chile.  I also chopped up the lids of the peppers and added them, too.

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While I was mixing and chopping, I drained the tofu by wrapping it in a kitchen towel and placing a heavy pot with water in it on top to press it:

 

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After the 20 minutes, the tofu was pretty much drained, so I crumbled it into the mix:

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I stuffed the peppers and put them into a baking dish.  Next comes to the faux mole:

1 15 ounce can of no salt diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 small onion, grated

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp poblano chile diced fine

1 tsp chile powder

3 T. Trader Joe's European sipping chocolate powder (if you don't have that, use 3 T of powdered cocoa and 1-2 tsp sugar)

Whisk the ingredients together and pour over peppers. 

 

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Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then sprinkle shredded mexican cheese blend over the peppers and bake until browned, melted and bubbly. 

 

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, it smelled soooo good, we dug right in!  I took a small pepper to work today for lunch and it was even better! 

Does anyone have any vegetarian recipes they love? I would love to see them!

3 comments:

noble pig said...

Sounds delicious! I love quinoa and this sounds like the perfect way to make it.

Marie Walden said...

Thank you so much for the inspiration and tips! I am with you, meat seems to agree with me less and less over time. I need to break out my old veggie cookbooks and surprise the kids with something new!

Carl Zetie said...

My best vegetarian recipe: "Imam Bayildi"

When I was much younger I went through a vegetarian phase that ended abruptly when I moved to France. (My first night there I went to a restaurant and ordered the rabbit. Meat is murder, sure, I thought, but a rabbit? Justifiable homicide. What kind of a life was it leading anyway?). During that phase I evolved the following recipe based on a middle eastern classic. It's called Imam Bayildi, literally "the priest has fainted". Warning: I've ordered dishes by this name a handful of times in restaurants and been served wildly different things! What follows is apparently a Levantine version; your Imam may vary.

You'll need large, plump aubergines (purple eggplants), one per person. For 4 eggplants take 1 large onion, 1 green pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 or 2 tomatoes, peeled (tinned italian work great for this recipe.) If you're cooking for 8 you can use 1 green and 1 red pepper for variety. You will also need a tablespoon of parsley and a handful of currants or raisins.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh leaving about 1/4" and taking care not to break the skin. (I've found that a grapefruit knife, e.g. http://www.heimerdingercutlery.com/catalog/category.cfm?Category=328is is perfect for this job). Every cookbook I own says to salt and press aubergine flesh to release bitter juices. This has never done anything for me, so I leave it up to you whether to bother.

Chop the aubergine flesh, peppers, and tomatoes into 1/4" chunks (deseed the peppers and tomatoes if you wish), finely chop the parsley, garlic and onion, and fry all of it in plenty of olive oil until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the raisins or currants. Season to taste.

Stuff everything back into the aubergine shells, piling it high. Bake the stuffed shells for about 45mins at 350. Serve hot with "typical" middle eastern side dishes such as hummus and pita bread and a robust red wine. If you like to garnish things (I'm a guy, we don't do garnish), a sprig of parsley is suitable.

This is a great dish for entertaining despite the amount of prep because you can do it all beforehand and just shove it in the oven 45 minutes before you want to eat.