Sunday, January 30, 2011

Egyptian Kosheri

Every few weeks, a couple of friends (J and H) and I cook together. We each make large quantities of a dish or two, divide them up into 3 servings and we each come home with 3-4 ready to eat meals. Freeze some, eat some and enjoy them for a couple of weeks. Whenever I talk with J or H, though, they still have left-overs and we finish our food within the week. The food is great, but the laughter and fun cooking together is what I enjoy. Such wonderful energy in the room. I have heard of other 'supper swaps'. Do you have any that you recommend?

Today's recipe of Egyptian Kosheri is from the last time we cooked together. H made the dish (it's on the left in the picture) and it was really great! Neither H nor J are vegan or even vegetarian, but we make vegetarian dishes so I can eat too :) The recipe for this dish was from some magazine/newspaper - I can't tell. I asked H for the recipe and she gave it to me along with 3 other recipes copied one on top of another! So I can't give credit where it's due! H followed the recipe completely. I think I may make some changes when I make it next - mostly, add more chilli powder/flakes or hot I made a side of sauteed spinach (a bag of frozen spinach with some minced garlic, some nutmeg, salt and 1 T olive oil).
The Kosheri tasted great and was really nutritious. The article in the magazine says that this is street food in Egypt. Yum!!

Egyptian Kosheri


1 cup raw brown or green lentils, rinsed well
Salt, to taste
1 cup raw elbow macaroni
1 cup raw basmati rice
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 T olive oil
1 Large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 chilli pepper, seeded and minced (serrano or jalapeno or anaheim)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup tomato puree

Cover lentils generously with salted water and boil. Once the water boils, reduce heat and continue to cook till lentils are completely cooked. drain and set aside.

Similarly, cook pasta till al dente and rice in separate pots and set aside.

In a large pot, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, chillies and turmeric. Saute 10-12 minutes or till onions are browned.

Add tomato puree and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Add lentils, macaroni, rice and chickpeas. Mix well.Bold


Changes I would make to this dish -

Nothing!! Or

- Add hot sauce or chilli powder
- Add peas or sliced pepper
- Season with cilantro or parsley and some lemon juice.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Peanut Sauce from peanut flour

When I was entering my calories into Sparkpeople, and as I was waiting for something to come to a boil on the stove, I clicked on a link to Healthy Peanut Sauce and Tofu Marinade. I really enjoy peanut sauces and am always on the search for the perfect bottle. I have tried the one from Trader Joe's, Target and from Taste of Thai. I add to the peanut sauce with peanut butter and even a sweet chili sauce. And I have made my own peanut sauce - mostly using peanut butter.

The recipe seemed really easy and healthy too!! Luckily for me, friends and I were doing a trip to Trader Joe's the next day. I was not sure if I would find the peanut flour, but I did. I tried the recipe that night.

As you can tell from the (really bad) photo, I added veggies to the Tofu to make it a full meal of a stiry fry with some brown rice on the side. I had to increase the recipe by 50% to account for the veggies. I also added some sweet chili sauce and some Sriracha sauce. While the peanut sauce was tasty, it was lacking in sweet and spice. So, that was my fix.

As the stir fry stayed on the stove longer, it changed the texture of the peanut sauce and made it slightly thick. The taste was great and it was very filling, without too many extra calories that come from coconut milk and other additives in the pre-made sauces.

Now, I am on a kick to try to find other ways to use this flour. All the recipes that I have found so far tend to use vegan butter (1/2 cup to a cup) in the baking recipe. I don't want to cut out flour from my baking completely either. So, I am going to have to play with other recipes that I have liked in the past (banana peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, burgers, pancakes etc). If you have any other ideas, I am open to them!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chocolate Holiday Cupcakes

Happy New Year, 2011 to all, especially you, Em!
Although my last post was in the new year, I forgot to wish everyone. Better late than never :)
The reason the new year was on my mind is that I made these chocolate cupcakes for our friends' new year party. When I was thinking about the concept for the cupcakes, I imagined that I would buy frosting and write 2011 on each cupcake or I would find a fun new year topper for each etc etc. You can see from the photo, though, that they all remained dreams. I was lucky I got the cupcakes ready in time for the party!!

Modifications to the original recipe -
Less sugar. I seem to make that modification often. I doubled the recipe, but halved the sugar and it was sweet enough for me. I used almond milk (plain) and mint extract. V did not enjoy the batter when I was trying to get the pan clean! (too minty), but really liked the final product.
No complaints at the party either - everyone who tried it said they enjoyed it.
What a way for me to start the new year - with chocolate :)

Happy New Year again :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

So we finally made the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart but we made it as a pie since we do not have a tart pan. Actually, I am sorry to say my husband made it for himself even though I had planned to make it as a gift (what a terrible wife I am). He suggested that you add more than the recommended 1/4 cup of peanut butter since there is so much chocolate. It was soooo heavy but very delicious too. The crust was ridiculously complicated involving lots of refrigeration which I think could be skipped and still lead to the same end result. I think the pie/tart needs a little tweaking to lighten it up a little since it is so dense. I also wonder if you can make a peanut butter creme with some of the cream or soy creamer also so there is more of a PB layer. The MimicCreme is a nice product that is sort of like an evaporated milk or condensed milk which is handy for baking. It is made from almonds and cashews. There are two sweet versions-one sweetened with cane sugar and one sweetened with erythritol which is a natural sweetener with a zero glycemic index. We used the sugar free version and it was very good. Overall, this was a good combination of flavors and we will likely try it again to see if we can perfect it. Luckily my daughter had a sleepover so it is mostly gone now!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Indian-spiced Bean Dip

This is a hard blog to write. I am not sure how I made this dip. It was just a process that ended in this dip. And I really really liked the dip. An Indian friend also enjoyed the dip - she had things to say about the texture, crunch from the onions etc. I don't know if I can recreate this recipe - either on my own, or in this blog. But, I'll try to identify the steps of the recipe and hopefully, it will work for someone.
I needed to make something for a party and I ended up taking an afternoon nap. When I woke up, I had an hour to make something. My first thought was to make the chaat or something like it. But, I had made this last time we went to a party for this couple. But, that's where I started.
I put some onions and tomatoes in a pan - thought it would be the basis to start the dish. But, it's winter and the idea of a cold dish was not so appetizing. So, I added oil to a pan and added the onions and tomatoes. To that, I added chaat masala and date-tamarind chutney that I talked about in the chaat post. After a few minutes of the spices mixing together, I added a can of kidney beans that I first rinsed. To this, I added salt and chilli powder based on taste. There was a LOT of tasting!!
I used the immersion blender to puree the beans, but not entirely. There were some chunks remaining - especially of the onions and tomatoes. To end, I added some lemon juice and cilantro. This entire post was based on the taste of ingredients - I hope it makes some sense.

Crunch - onions
Acidity - tomato, lemon juice
Tang/Sweet - date tamarind chutney
Spice - chaat masala and chilli powder

It was a great mix of flavors and textures.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Curried Lentils with Butternut Squash

I recently pinched a muscle in my neck and ended up at the doctor's office. While I waited I read the WebMD magazine in which I found this recipe for Curried Lentils with Butternut Squash. It looked very easy and you know how I love butternut squash so I decided to make it today since tomorrow is back to work and I want the refrigerator to be full. I only added 1/2 tsp of chili powder and it is plenty hot. I did not mash the squash since it seemed unnecessary. Also, I have no idea what kind of lentils I used since they only said "Lentils" on the package. I only know that they are not the red ones. I used sweetened coconut (since that was all I had) on top and baked it for 10 minutes at the end to brown it. I would have to say that it was a nice sweet touch! I believe the curry powder I used also had some cinnamon in it to so there were nice sweet and spicy flavors to this dish. I think I will likely make this again since it was an easy, everyday sort of recipe. Hopefully it will make a nice cold salad for my lunch tomorrow also!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Vegan Mac and "Cheese"

I got a new cookbook this Christmas called "Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food" by Alicia C. Simpson. So far it does not look amazing but there were several great reviews for the mac and cheese written onto the amazon website so we tried it. It took a very long time but the result was really yummy. It was not particularly cheesy but the taste was good. There was a very similar recipe on the VegNews website. There are a few differences since the VegNews version uses margarine and torn up slices of bread. The Vegan Comfort Food cookbook did not have these ingredients. Next time I will omit cayenne pepper since I am not a hug fan.

Hopefully I will make the pretzel tart before the end of the weekend. Just finished making chili and cornbread (which I make all the time). Happy New Year to all!