Summer Rolls / Spring Rolls

July 24, 2022 at 4:32 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Cruciferous rich, East and SE Asia, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Spring recipes, Summer recipes, Tofu, Winter recipes) (, )

Summer rolls (the non-fried rolls, which we usually just refer to as spring rolls) are delicious, healthy, fresh, kid-friendly, and most importantly, a perfect springtime antidote to winter-induced “vegetarian mush syndrome.” It’s amazing how quickly spring rolls can be made. If I restrain myself, and prepare only a few items for fillings, I can have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes. (Of course, depending on how many fillings you make it could take hours!)

Spring rolls are versatile as well. Although they’re typically served as appetizers, I generally use them as a main course. My sister was visiting recently and when I told her I was making spring rolls for dinner she was skeptical that they would be filling / satisfying enough for a main course, but after she tried them she was pleasantly surprised. Spring rolls also work well as a light snack, and they can be made the night before and packed in a lunch box. You can also prep some fillings and sauce and leave them in your fridge for several days, making yourself a spring roll whenever you need a quick bite to eat. Read the rest of this entry »

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Instant Pot Golden Lentil Soup with Spinach

February 13, 2020 at 10:40 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Instant Pot, Monthly menu plan, soup, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

When we were menu-planning this week, Alma suggested we make lentil soup. But rather than make one of the ten lentil soup recipes on this blog, I decided to try a new one. Someone on my Facebook Instant Pot group said this kitchentreaty recipe for golden lentil and spinach soup is their all-time favorite Instant Pot recipe. And we all liked it, even Alma.

Important caveats: Make more than one recipe, at least 1.5x! Cook the lentils much longer than she says (maybe 17-18 minutes under pressure), and make sure they are cooked before adding the spinach. If they aren’t, cook them under pressure for a few more minutes. You may also need a bit more broth than the recipe calls for.

Update April 1, 2020: 

The second time I made it I made only one recipe and we finished it all at dinner, even though Alma ate barely any of it. I would definitely make more next time. The soup was quite thick. I think it needed more broth. I cooked it for 15 minutes under pressure and even waited a few minutes before releasing the pressure, and still the lentils were undercooked. Alma didn’t like it much this time, I’m not sure why. I didn’t use the parsnip or zucchini. Maybe that was why?

Original Notes from Feb 13, 2020:

The recipe as written says it makes 4 servings, but I wanted to have leftovers so I made 1.5x to make 6 servings.

This recipe is in many ways similar to my Mom’s lentil soup recipe, but it calls for a lot of turmeric (1/2 tablespoon for 6 servings). I liked the combination of turmeric, thyme, and cumin.

When I started to prep the veggies for the recipe I discovered I only had one carrot left, so I used one carrot and one parsnip and one zucchini. I couldn’t actually taste the parsnip in the final soup. I was also perhaps a bit low on celery, since Alma snacked on some of the celery I was saving for the soup. I didn’t want the zucchini to turn to mush, so I cooked it separately while the soup was cooking. I quickly sauteed up the finely diced zucchini and we threw the zucchini in the soup right before serving it. I liked the extra texture the zucchini added, but it didn’t add much in terms of flavor. I think I could leave it out next time. We served the soup with goat yogurt, which everyone enjoyed.

For 6 servings the recipe calls for 12 ounces of spinach, which is 340 grams. I think I’d actually use a bit more, maybe even a pound. I’d add half on the first day, and save the other half of the spinach for the leftovers, so that the spinach is freshly cooked and not sitting around in the fridge for days then getting reheated.

My one complaint with the recipe is that my lentils were not at all cooked after 12 minutes under high pressure + quick release. I think they needed more like 14 or 15 minutes maybe? I did make 1.5 times the recipe, but if anything I would think that would mean I need to cook it for less time, not more, since it would take longer to come to pressure?

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Baked oatmeal cups

December 31, 2019 at 1:10 pm (breakfast, B_(2.5 stars, like), Grains, Website / blog) ()

I was looking around for more make-ahead breakfast ideas, and decided to try to make baked oatmeal cups. Alma hasn’t been very into oatmeal lately, so I thought this might be a good way to make it more exciting. I searched for a recipe and I first came across this recipe for tender baked oatmeal cups on thekitchn.com., which I had bookmarked a long time ago. But Google says it only gets a rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars (from 482 voters!) So I kept looking. I found this recipe from Tasty.co, which gets more than 4.5 out of 5 stars (from 281 voters). But when I looked at that recipe, it looked surprisingly similar to the kitchen.com recipe. I compared them side by side, and they are almost identical! Funny. One advantage of the Tasty.co recipe is that is has weight measurements, which I prefer for measuring sticky ingredients. But I had already pulled up thekitchn.com recipe, so Alma and I followed that one. We used peanut butter for the nut butter, honey for the sweetener, raisins for the dried fruit, and almonds for the nuts. I didn’t have any plain applesauce so we used apple apricot sauce. We mixed the nuts and raisins into the batter instead of sprinkling the toppings on top, because I was afraid that they would burn. The muffins still looked quite wet at 25 minutes, so I ended up baking them for the full 30 minutes.

The recipe worked pretty well. The oatmeal cups didn’t hold together quite as well as the ones in the videos, and they stuck a bit to the tins despite me greasing them (with olive oil, I didn’t have any spray). I think I might have added a tad too much honey, and also my eggs were larger than American eggs. So the batter might have been a little bit too wet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Roasted chestnuts

December 26, 2019 at 12:48 pm (Alma's faves, breakfast, Fall recipes, Starches, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

Alma has been begging me for a while to buy some chestnuts to roast. We often get a bag of hot, roasted chestnuts when we’re at the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning. But she wanted us to roast some ourselves. So I bought some about a month ago, and then (of course) proceed to not roast them. They just sat on the counter next to the bananas and apples. Finally this morning I said “Today’s the day! I’m going to figure out how to roast those darn chestnuts.” I looked up instructions online. I preheated the oven to 425 F and got out a paring knife. Unfortunately, though, the one paring knife I own isn’t particularly sharp, and I failed to use it to cut an x in the chestnuts. I had to use a serrated knife instead, which wasn’t ideal. I was a bit worried that I was going to slip and cut the hand holding the chestnuts. Eventually I finished cutting x’s into all the chestnuts without cutting myself, but there must be a better way.

We roasted them on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes and they looked done. A few were really good, but unfortunately most of them were moldy. I guess we should have roasted them as soon as we bought them, or at least not have left them sitting in a plastic bag for a month near the radiator.

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Simple parsnip puree

December 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm (A (4 stars, love), Fall recipes, French, Other, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan) ()

If I find nice parsnips at the store then about 90% of the time I roast them. I find that if you try to roast them directly them end up dry and burnt. They turn out the best if they are steamed first, then roasted. But occasionally I get a big bag of parsnips from my CSA and I’m not in the mood for roasted parsnips. Then what? I like to grate them and use them to make chard parsnip patties. I add them to soup, like lentil soup or matzoh ball soup. Occasionally I’ll serve them mashed with potatoes and topped with balsamic-roasted seitan. But sometimes I just want pure parsnip flavor, and then this is the recipe I turn to. I first made it last fall and since then I’ve made it at least four times.

This recipe makes a lot. If you’re not having company then I’d probably just make 1 pound of parsnips. Last time we made the whole recipe just for us we ended up throwing out half of it because everyone got sick of it.

Unlike mashed potatoes, parsnip puree reheats well. I’ve even brought it to a potluck before. The recipe is pretty easy, but somehow tastes much fancier than it actually is. This recipe is based on a recipe from the cookbook Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, but I’ve changed it to reduce the cleanup a bit. Moulton says she got the idea of reducing the cooking liquid from Julia Child.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick.
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter or 4 Tbs. cream
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Peel and slice the parsnips. (Save the stem ends and peelings for vegetable broth.) Note that the diameter of the disks isn’t as important as the thickness. The thinner they are the faster they will cook.
  2. Place the peeled and sliced parsnips in a large saucepan (3 to 4 quarts) and barely cover with boiling water. (The parsnips on top don’t have to be entirely submerged.) Add a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer (uncovered) until tender. If your top parsnips aren’t totally submerged, give them a stir about halfway through. Moulton says this step should take about 25 to 30 minutes, but I think it’s closer to 15 minutes? Max 20.
  3. Drain the parsnips, but reserve the cooking liquid! Leave the parsnips in the colander and return the liquid to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil rapidly until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Turn off the heat.
  4. Return the parsnips to the pan and add the butter or cream. Use a stick blender to puree the parsnips. (For a finer, perfectly smooth puree you can use a food processor, but I find that a stick blender works well enough and is much easier to clean.) Season with salt and pepper. If you need to, need to return the pan to very low heat to warm the puree up again before serving it.

This recipe makes about 3 cups, or about 4 very large servings, 6 normal servings, or 8 smaller servings.

What to eat it with: Tonight I made the parsnip puree and green beans (steamed from frozen). Derek had them with duck, and I had some chorizo veggie sausages. I really liked the combination of the spicy, salty veggie sausages with the sweet parsnip puree and slightly chewy, moist green beans.

Last year Alma would never eat this dish. (She doesn’t like mashed potatoes either—something about the texture I think.) But tonight (at almost 5 years old) she ate her entire (small) serving! We’ll have to see what she thinks next time, but for now I’m marking this recipe preschooler approved.

Update Sept 23, 2020: I made this dish tonight, but I think I cut my parsnips too thick, and they took a long time to fully soften. By the time they were really soft almost all of the cooking liquid had boiled away. So I skipped the draining / liquid reducing step and just pureed the parsnips right in the pan. I ended up adding a bit of milk to think them down a bit. They turned out great. No lumps at all. Even Alma, who at first said “yuck,” admitted they were really good. Derek said the meal tasted like something he would get at a fancy restaurant. ūüôā I also made a butternut squash puree. (I cooked it in the same pan as the parsnip, but it cooked much faster.) Alma said the butternut squash puree was fine, but she preferred the parsnip. Derek said he though the butternut squash puree would be better in a burrito. Maybe I put too much nutmeg in it.

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Millet sweet corn fritters

November 14, 2019 at 12:05 am (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Grains, Website / blog) ()

I was looking for some new recipes to eat with beans for breakfast, and I decided to try this recipe for millet sweet corn fritters from Naturally Ella. We eat millet porridge for breakfast sometimes, but other than that I don’t make millet too often because Derek is not a fan of the texture. But in this recipe it’s ground up with corn and pan-fried, so I figured he wouldn’t mind it.

Unfortunately, life happened and I didn’t manage to follow the recipe all that well. I used frozen corn, maybe a bit more than a cup. I made more millet than I needed because I wanted to have extra, and then Alma ate some as an appetizer, and I wasn’t sure how much of the cooked millet I was supposed to add. I think I ended up using less cooked millet than I was supposed to, I used the whole egg, didn’t measure the cheese, and didn’t have any chives. Also, I didn’t realize until the last minute that you’re supposed to puree the whole thing in the food processor. I didn’t want to get my big food processor dirty so I tried to do it in my mini one. Eh. That didn’t work so well. Nor did I get a chance to make the harissa yogurt sauce, although that does sound good. Nonetheless, despite my failures, everyone liked the fritters. They tasted more like corn than millet, but the millet and millet flour made them really thick and starchy and satisfying. I’m curious to try adding some vegetables and/or beans and seeing if they still stick together. Black beans and red bell pepper maybe? Then I could make the batter in advance and just fry up the fritters for a one-stop breakfast.

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Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto

August 4, 2019 at 9:14 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Fall recipes, Grains, Instant Pot, Italian, Jill Nussinow, Monthly menu plan, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

Making risotto on the stovetop is a pain, but in the instant pot it’s truly hands off. I’ve been making risotto much more often since I got my Instant Pot. This recipe is our favorite so far. I like to serve this risotto for dinner with lemon juice, parmesan, lots of basil, and green beans. I eat the green beans mixed into my risotto. I like the textural contrast they provide, as well as the pop of color. They also balance out the meal by providing a little more fiber, protein, and vitamins. I think it makes about 6 servings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

February 17, 2019 at 11:50 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Instant Pot, Italian, Menus, Monthly menu plan, One pot wonders, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Spring recipes, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

I am a member of the Instant Pot Vegan Recipe group on Facebook, and almost every week someone raves about this recipe for Lasagna Soup from Vegan Richa. I like lasagna, but it always takes so long to make. A fast version in the pressure cooker? Sounds good to me!

I’ve made the recipe a couple of times now, with a few modifications (see below). The recipe is pretty fast. You basically just have to chop the onions and other veggies and measure out all the ingredients. Everyone liked it pretty well (even 4-year-old Alma who is normally very suspicious of new “mixed” dishes and Derek who typically disdains soup). It’s surprising how filling it is given that it only calls for 5 ounces of noodles for 2 to 3 servings.¬† Normally Derek alone will eat at least 4 ounces of noodles! The first time I made it I think we even had a little bit of leftovers! I guess the lentils and veggies and broth make it filling. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chard parsnip patties

October 10, 2018 at 3:44 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Monthly menu plan, Root vegetables, Website / blog) ()

I chose this recipe for chard and parsnip patties because the author says her kids like them. They have some flour and cheese, but mostly the patties are just veggies. Alma (at 5 years old) likes them. She usually dips them in yogurt. I like to call them charsnip patties. Derek groans and Alma giggles at my bad joke. Read the rest of this entry »

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Simple chard or turnip green quiche

October 8, 2018 at 10:52 am (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Monthly menu plan, Spring recipes, Website / blog) ()

This is the only quiche I make regularly. I probably make it once every couple months. In the fall I use chard and in the spring when I can get them I use turnip greens / turnip tops or other dark leafy greens. Both Alma and Derek like this recipe a lot.

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Restaurant-style sesame noodles

April 30, 2017 at 9:58 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Chinese, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan, Pasta, Sauce/dressing, Tofu, Website / blog) (, )

I already have two sesame noodle recipes on my blog. The first recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook, and uses tahini. The second recipe is from¬†Nancie McDermott‚Äôs Quick and Easy Chinese cookbook, and uses peanut butter. But lately we haven’t been making either of these recipes. Instead we’ve been making a version of the takeout-style sesame noodles recipe from Sam Sifton on the New York Times website. It uses both tahini and peanut butter. It’s clearly the winner. We make a whole meal out of it by adding pan-fried tofu, steamed broccoli, toasted sesame seeds, and various raw veggies. The last few times we’ve made this for dinner, Alma has scarfed it up. We just have to be careful not to make the sauce too spicy for her.

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SauteŐĀed Cabbage with Fennel and Garlic

December 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm (A (4 stars, love), Cook's Illustrated, Cruciferous rich, Monthly menu plan) (, )

Back in March I made the Cook’s Illustrated recipe SauteŐĀed Cabbage with Miso and Scallions, and we liked it, so I wanted to try some of the other variants. This week I tried the version with fennel and garlic, and we enjoyed it as well. It’s a relatively simple recipe, but tasty.

Alma, who is generally not a huge cabbage fan, really likes this recipe. So do I. Even though I screw up the browning step EVERY TIME. I always forget to not stir the cabbage at the start. It’s actually pretty tricky to get the cabbage to brown without burning. But even if you don’t really brown your cabbage, it’s still really tasty. The combination of the salt, the sweet cabbage, the acid from the lemon juice, and the umami from the parmesan–yum. I’ve added this recipe to our monthly menu plan, although I probably only make it once every couple of months. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two C^4 Ottolenghi recipes with chickpeas, chard, caraway, and cilantro

September 12, 2015 at 10:04 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Monthly menu plan, Ottolenghi, Spring recipes) ()

I got Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook from Derek’s father a few weeks ago, and Derek looked through it and chose a recipe for a swiss chard, chickpea and tamarind stew. The stew is seasoned with caraway seeds, cilantro, and yogurt among other things. But then when I went to make it I looked it up in the index and found¬†a different recipe— also¬†a chickpea and chard saut√©, which is seasoned with caraway seeds, cilantro, and yogurt, among other things. We stuck with the tamarind stew, but then made the saut√© a few days later.

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Tacos with roasted winter vegetables and red cabbage slaw

March 6, 2013 at 12:22 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Root vegetables, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

My friend Jessica and I were trying to decide what to make for dinner. ¬†I wanted to use up some red cabbage, so she picked out this very seasonal recipe for tacos with roasted winter vegetables and red cabbage slaw. ¬† Read the rest of this entry »

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Pea, leek, white bean and sauerkraut soup

February 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm (A (4 stars, love), Beans, Monthly menu plan, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

I was in California last week visiting my friends Spoons and Kathy, and I noticed that they had a copy of Peter Berley’s newest cookbook, The Flexitarian Table.¬† My friends said they never use it and that I could take it with me to Germany.¬† Yay! I already have two of Peter Berley’s older cookbooks, and they are two of my favorite, so I was very interested in trying out his new cookbook, especially since it’s geared at mixed vegetarian/omnivore families (like us). Although the cookbook isn’t actually vegetarian, every menu has a vegetarian option, so it’s very vegetarian friendly. This recipe for navy bean, fresh pea, and leek soup caught my eye because it calls for sauerkraut, and (under my mother’s telephonic tutelage) I just finished making a big batch of sauerkraut right before I left for California. ¬†On my return, faced with a near-empty fridge brandishing two quart jars of sauerkraut, I decided to give this recipe a try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sardinian chickpea, fennel, and tomato soup

February 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Della Croce, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Italian, Monthly menu plan, One pot wonders, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) (, )

This recipe from The Vegetarian Table: Italy (by Julia Della Croce) is for a Sardinian version of pasta e fagioli.  It didn’t look too exciting to me.   I like all the ingredients, but there didn’t seem to be anything to give it punch.  But a friend told me it was one of his favorite recipes from the cookbook, so I figured I’d give it a try.  It turned out it was delicious—much more than the sum of its parts.  I have no idea why. Even Derek, who complained bitterly about me making soup again, liked it a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vietnamese Coleslaw

February 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm (A (4 stars, love), Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Monthly menu plan, Other, Salads, Tofu) (, )

When I was in Austin visiting my family I spotted a new cookbook on my mom’s shelf:¬† Vietnamese Fusion Vegetarian Cuisine by Chat Mingkwan.¬† I’ve always wanted to learn how to make Vietnamese food, so I asked if I could borrow it.¬† My mom had already flagged the recipe for Vietnamese Coleslaw, and so I decided to start there. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vegetarian tortilla soup with miso

May 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm (A (4 stars, love), Cruciferous rich, Mexican & S. American, Miso, Monthly menu plan, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, soup) ()

I’ve tried to make vegetarian tortilla soup before, and although I don’t know exactly what the chicken-based version tastes like, I know that I’ve never achieved it.¬† Recently, however, I tried a recipe for tortilla soup from Peter Berley’s cookbook “Fresh Food Fast.”¬† The key innovation is that he uses a miso broth instead of a simple vegetable broth.¬† I thought it would be strange—miso soup with lime in it?—but it was delicious, and tasted like (what I imagine) tortilla soup is supposed to taste like.¬† It definitely tasted more Mexican than Japanese. Everyone in our family really likes this soup, including five-year-old Alma.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Basic Oatmeal from Rolled Oats

October 19, 2008 at 11:01 am (Alma's faves, breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Derek's faves, Grains, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Soymilk) (, )

I much prefer oatmeal made from steel-cut oats to oatmeal made from rolled oats, but I haven’t been able to find steel-cut oats in Germany yet. Plus, Derek prefers the flaky texture of rolled oats. Here’s the basic recipe we’ve been using.

Bring to a boil in a small saucepan:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • just under 2 cups of liquid (milk, soymilk, water, or a combination)
  • pinch salt

Turn the heat down to medium but keep at a steady simmer, stirring occasionally. If the oatmeal starts to splatter, turn the heat down a little more. Cook until liquid starts to turn creamy, and individual flakes are just starting to break down. When done remove from heat and top with:

  • 2/3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar

For variety try adding one (or more) of the following:

  • shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • chopped nuts or seeds (whole or sliced almonds, hemp hearts, pecans, walnuts…)
  • raisins or other dried fruit
  • fresh or frozen fruit (bananas, apples, sour cherries, raspberries, blueberries, …)
  • use almond or other nut extract instead of the vanilla
  • cocao nibs or chocolate chips

This makes two servings, although we usually don’t split it evenly.¬† I have a small serving made from 1/3 of a cup of dried rolled oats and Derek has a larger serving made from 2/3 of a cup of dried rolled oats.

Here’s a larger recipe with instructions for our specific stovetop. It makes enough for all three of us for breakfast, with some leftovers (more or less depending on how hungry we are).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3.5 cups soymilk
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ground flax seed (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Add the oats, soymilk, and salt to a large pot (4 quart?). Bring to a boil on left (medium-sized) burner with lid mostly on. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick.¬† Takes about 8 minutes? When it’s close to a boil, turn the right front burner (the small circle) on to level 3 (of 9).
  2. Once it hits a medium boil, move the pot to the small right burner and once it’s simmering, turn the heat down to 2.
  3. Cook until you hit the right consistency (about 12 minutes?), then add vanilla and brown sugar and flax seed.

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Tamale pie (Cornbread pie)

February 10, 2007 at 5:18 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Derek's faves, Mexican & S. American, My brain) ()

Look in just about any vegetarian cookbook from the 70’s or 80’s and you’ll find a recipe for Tamale pie. True tamale pie is made with masa, but more often the topping is a simple cornbread. This is a great one-dish meal that’s healthy, filling, and hits the spot when then windchill is -15 and you’re in the mood for some comfort food.

Update 7/7/2019:

I made cornbread pie for lunch yesterday and it was a pretty big success. Everyone liked it, including Alma (at almost 4.5 years). I followed this¬†AMA cookbook cornbread recipe¬†for the cornbread portion, but I didn’t follow a recipe for the bean portion. I first sauteed up some red onion, garlic, green bell pepper, then added some finely chopped tomatoes and frozen corn, and seasoned the whole thing with cumin and a little chili powder and a little crumbled feta cheese, then added 6 cups of (already pretty nicely seasoned) pinto beans including the thick goo (essentially reduced cooking liquid) that surrounded them. I added the cornbread mixture when the beans were simmering, then I baked it in the oven for 20 minutes, following the cornbread instructions. The cornbread pie turned out well. The cornbread wasn’t soggy on the bottom, like it sometimes gets (presumably because the beans were hot when I added the batter, so it cooked the bottom).

In the past I’ve often felt like there was way too much cornbread in comparison to beans, but this time the ratio seemed right, because I added more beans and made a slightly smaller cornbread (only 1.5 cups of total flour not 2 cups). The only problem was that my cast iron skillet was so full it started boiling over a bit in the oven. Luckily I had put it on a baking sheet. But next time I think I will use slightly less beans—3 cups is clearly not enough, but 6 cups was a bit overfull. Maybe 4.5 or 5 cups? This time the cast iron skillet was almost completely full even before I added the cornbread. Next time I want there to be a tiny bit more space. Alternatively, I could try cooking it in cast iron my dutch oven.

The “recipe” as written above made a lot, maybe 8 servings? Derek and Alma and I ate it for brunch and there was more than half left.

Original post from 2/10/2017:

I don’t quite have a “recipe” yet–I tend to just eyeball it. But here’s approximately what I did last night:

  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of homemade, lightly salted, black beans, with their juice filling in the measuring cup
  • about 1 cup of Frontera salsa
  • 1/2 can diced green chilies (I put the other half in the cornbread)
  • ground cumin, maybe 2 tsp?
  • chipotle powder, maybe 1 tsp?
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
  1. I sauteed the garlic in my cast iron pan (I usually add onions too but I was out). Then I added the black beans and mashed them a bit with a potato masher. I added the other ingredients and just let the beans simmer while I made the cornbread.
  2. I preheated the oven to 425, then made the cornbread (I’ll post recipes in a separate post). I poured the batter on top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. I baked for about 30 minutes.

This came out quite well–the beans were especially tasty. I usually use pintos but the black beans were nice as well. Derek thought the bean to cornbread recipe was too low, but I actually thought it was perfect. Maybe a compromise is to make extra beans and take them out before adding the cornbread, so Derek can have extra beans on the side?

Obviously, this “recipe” needs work, but I think it has great potential.

I made it again using 4.5 cups of canned beans and it still didn’t have enough beans.¬† I think next time I’ll try 6 cups of beans, and cut the cornbread recipe down from 3/4 cup of cornmeal and flour each to 1/2 cup.

Rating: B
Derek: A-

Historical tidbit: When I made fast food at my co-op in college, this was a regular. I’d get out all our cast iron pans (we had about 5 of them, and some were huge). I’d make an enormous pot of beans and tons of cornbread then fill them all up and bake them in batches. They were always popular, except for one time… I found some cute little red and yellow peppers in the fridge. They were tiny, colorful, and adorable. I thought they were some kind of mini bell pepper, so I threw them into the beans even though I’d already added jalepenos and chipotle powder. I discovered only after making all five enormous cornbread pies, that the peppers were actually habaneros. Many of the members of the co-op prided themselves on their love of (and tolerance for) spicy foods. But no one could down more than one bite of these cornbread pies. Sadly, they all ended up in the trash.

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