Thursday, September 27, 2012

Curried Quinoa

This recipe was given to me by our friend RickRick.  He found it in the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten's cookbook as Curried Couscous.  Her original recipe can be found by clicking this link ----> LINK.

I have modified it to suit our taste and made it a little healthier (and gluten free) by switching out the couscous for quinoa and omitting the butter and kicking up the spices a notch.  Depending on how creamy you want your salad you can use 1 or 2 cups of quinoa.  For these pictures I used 1 cup as I was running low on quinoa, but I normally use 2 and have a drier salad.


2 Cups Quinoa ( or 1 cup for moister salad)
3 Cups water (or 1.5 cups for moister salad)

1-6 oz container of plain Yogurt (I use soy)
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Curry powder (I use 1 mild and 1 hot curry)
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
Sprinkle of Salt to taste
       Optional - sprinkle of Fenugreek and Black Cardamom powders

1/2 Cup Carrots, sliced thin
1/3 Cup dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup Almonds, sliced or slivered
3 Green Onions, sliced thin - white and green parts
1/4 C Red Onion, diced small
1 - 15 oz can Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed


1.  Bring water and quinoa to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork and place in a medium mixing bowl to cool.

2.  In small bowl whisk together yogurt, olive oil, vinegar and spices and set aside.

(Bowl of goodies to add)

3.  I like to prepare all of the add-in goodies and put them in one bowl while I let the quinoa cook and cool a bit.

(Prior to adding yogurt mixture)

4.  Add the bowl of goodies to the quinoa and mix.  

5.  Add the yogurt mixture to the quinoa mixture and stir gently.  Mix well and enjoy.

     *  This recipe is very good chilled or slightly warm and also nice as leftovers the next day.  It is also tasty topped with a little Trader Joe's Jalapeno Hot Sauce for an extra kick.  

     *  For a variation we have also used lemon soy yogurt and it seems to marry well with the curry.

- Au Revoir

"  Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body." - B.W. Richardson   

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

It is that time of year again when harvest is in full force in the Willamette Valley.  What you don't grow in your own garden co-workers and bosses will undoubtedly share their bounty with you.  What to do with all of the zucchini was the question?  Chocolate Zucchini Bread was the answer.

This is not a healthy recipe, but it is delicious.  I originally found the recipe on VegWeb last August.  It was posted by user jessesmum and she indicates that it was her Nana's recipe that she converted to vegan.  I have made the recipe twice previously before tonight, the last time was on Labor Day so that I could take a plate of it to a BBQ at SpartanBabe's house.

Here is a link to the original recipe ------>  LINK.  I did changed a couple of things and I think it turned out great.  What is below is my altered version.  If you want to compare it to the original click the link provided earlier in this paragraph.



2 Tbsp Ener-G + 1/2 C water
3 Cups Flour  (half whole wheat and half white)
1/4 Cup Cocoa powder
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Cups Sugar  (half white and half raw sugar)
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2/3 Cup Nondairy Milk (I used soy)
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups grated Zucchini
1 Cup small Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Walnuts, chopped


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Spray either two loaf pans or a bundt pan with nonstick spray.

2.  Next combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to mix.  Add vegetable oil, and use a fork to stir.  To me it has the consistency of wet sand when mixed.

3.  Whisk together Ener-G and water and add to the mixture.  Mix well and then add soy milk and vanilla and continue to stir until well blended.

4.  Add zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts and mix until blended.

5.  Spoon batter into prepared pans.  Bake 55-60 minutes depending on your oven.  I found 58 minutes worked well for the bundt pan.  If your pans are larger the loaves might not take as long to bake.

I sprinkle the resulting bread with powdered sugar but I am sure it would be tasty with a little drizzle of glaze on top too.  The recipe is Troubadour approved and even requested at this time of year.

 I think if someone wanted to make this with regular milk and eggs it could be done.  I believe 3 or 4 eggs would result in about the right amount of liquid depending on size of eggs. 


*  I also think you could make it gluten free by using something like Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour mix.

- Au Revoir

"  Zucchinis terrific!  Like bunnies prolific!" - Author unknown

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spinach Pear Salad

In January 2001, prior to moving to Oregon, a co-worker asked us over for dinner.  One of the side dishes she prepared was the best spinach salad I'd ever tasted.  Luckily she shared the recipe with me. At the time we weren't vegetarian let alone vegan so it was made with bacon and feta cheese.  I have since veganized the recipe.

To make it fit for an omnivore add cooked bacon crumbles and feta prior to serving.

(Spinach salad served with marinated grilled tofu and olive oil drizzled & grilled baguette)


1 bag/bunch Baby Spinach
1/3 cup Red Onion, finely sliced
2 Kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
1 Pear, sliced and chopped
sprinkle of vegan Bacon Bits or sauted grain based bacon substitute

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar  ( I use balsamic)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 clove Garlic, pressed and/or minced
1 tsp Agave Syrup, you can also use sugar if you prefer
(1/2 Cup each feta and bacon crumbles if making for non-vegans)

1.  Rinse and spin-dry spinach and place in medium bowl.  Add onion, kiwi and pear; toss.

2.  In small bowl whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and agave/sugar.

3.  Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with bacon bits or real bacon and feta if using.

(Vegan bacon bits sprinkled on top)

Enjoy.  I have also made this with fresh strawberries when in season in place of the kiwis and it is wonderful.

-  Au Revoir

" What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art." - Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tater Tot Casserole

If you happen to read my regular Trobairitz' Tablet blog you may have seen this recipe in January of this year.  I decided to repost it on this blog since I am making it for dinner tonight.  It is in the oven now.  What follows is the text from that earlier post.......

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

Every once in a while I find a recipe that becomes a favorite. A few months ago I saw a recipe for something called Tater Tot Casserole and I was intrigued. Homemade chili topped with 'cheddar' and tater tots and baked. It sounded good so I tried it. As with any recipe that I try, the first time I make it according to the exact recipe and directions just to see what it is like, from there I tweak it a little each time I make it.

I have made the casserole several times and it has become my go to cold weather comfort food. I make it in my large 4-quart glass casserole dish and it feeds both of us dinner for two nights and both lunches for at least one day, sometimes two days. I made this for dinner tonight and took pictures so that I could share.

(Tater Tot Casserole)

I can't remember where I found the recipe online. I find some that don't have print options and I need to cut and paste them into a word document to print so I don't end up with pages of unnecessary ads and such. I feel bad though, as I am doing that very thing now, I don't know how to add in a print option just for a recipe.

The following is a vegan recipe, which can be made carnivorous fairly easy.


1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Can Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (Mexican style with juice)
1 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels
2 Fresh Jalapenos (diced - less if you want milder chili)
1 Green Pepper (diced)
1 Cup Chopped Celery
4-5 Brown Mushrooms (chopped)
1/4 Cup Cilantro (coarsely chopped)
1 Onion (diced)
2 Cloves Garlic (sliced) (I use 5 cloves)
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (you can use soy sauce)
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 pinches Paprika
2 Cups Daiya Vegan Shredded Cheddar Cheese
32 oz Bag of frozen Tater Tots (I use a generic brand)
8 oz Vegan Ground Beef Substitute (I used Yves Taco Stuffers)
* use cooked ground beef and dairy cheese for non-vegans

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 375˚.

In large frying pan saute onion, green pepper, jalapenos, celery, and mushrooms until soft. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn. Mix together and add Braggs (or soy sauce) cumin, oregano, chili powder, hot sauce and paprika. Mix again. I also sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and if using, add vegan ground beef substitute (or cooked ground beef).

I find that the sauce is a little runny and I like my chili thicker so I mix up a little cornstarch and cold water and thicken this mixture a bit. As the veggies cook in the oven it tends to thin a bit. When the chili is to desired thickness add chopped cilantro. Stir and pour into greased casserole dish. It should resemble the following:

(vegan chili)

Sprinkle with Daiya. If using real cheese, cheddar or pepper jack would work well. If using vegan shredded cheese Daiya is by far the best tasting and it melts.

(topped with Daiya shredded cheddar)

Gently pat down the cheese to make a flat surface and place the tater tots on top for equal coverage. Yes, I always place them in this pattern. I'm crazy that way.

(with tater tots - placed just right)

Place in a 375˚ oven for 30-40 minutes. Time will vary depending on oven calibration and how crispy you want your tater tots.

Finished product:

(30 minutes in the oven)

Let rest for a few minutes until it stops bubbling. Scoop onto plates or bowls and enjoy.

(On salad plates for portion control)

I have calculated the calorie content for the casserole I made tonight using the Yves Taco Stuffers and Daiya cheese. Total calories were 3325; divided into 6 servings is 554 calories per serving; divided into 8 servings is 416 calories per serving. Fat content varies depending on cheese, tater tot, and meat/protein based meat alternative options.

For a variation you can change up the spices and if carbohydrates are of no concern it would be tasty with cornbread or french bread for dipping.

I hope you venture to try the recipe and enjoy it. Let me know if you do.

- Au Revoir

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." - Luciano Pavarotti

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quinoa Summer Apple Salad

(Quinoa Summer Apple Salad)
For my first recipe I thought I'd share a summer salad that has become a fast favorite of both Troubadour and myself - Quinoa Summer Apple Salad.  We enjoy recipes made with quinoa for it's texture, nutty taste and also the benefit of it containing a complete protein.

I have seen variations of this recipe on multiple websites and no two seem to be the same.  Some have a curried sauce while others are lighter with a vinaigrette.  Here is my version.  I don't remember which website I originally saw the recipe, but I have made a few changes after trying it initially.

1-1/2 Cups Unsweetened Apple Juice
1 Cup Quinoa
1/2 to 1 tsp Cinnamon

2 Apples, cored and diced  (I use Gala apples)
1/2 Cup celery, chopped
1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped
1/2 Cup dried Cranberries
1 - 6 oz container of Soy or Coconut Yogurt
            (any flavor)

1.  Bring apple juice and quinoa, and cinnamon to a boil in a medium sized pan.  Reduce heat and cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until most of the juice has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.  Remove from heat, leave covered, and let rest 5 minutes.  Transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl and cool in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

2.  Add apples, celery, walnuts, and cranberries and mix well.

3.  Fold in yogurt and serve.

(mixed salad prior to adding yogurt)
I have found that this is even better tasting on the second day and would make a great breakfast as well.

If you are looking to make a non-vegan version you can substitute Greek yogurt although you may need 8 oz as it is thicker. 

 I've also seen this recipe using Chinese Five Spice or ginger in place of the cinnamon.  Although I haven't tried it, it sounds intriguing.

- Au Revoir

" As a child my family's menu consisted of two things:  take it or leave it." - Buddy Hackett