Chickpea Cutlet Burger with frizzled leeks, Green Bean Fries, and Corn on the Cob

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Make new friends, but keep the old…

My dinners these days often revolve around two central questions: what produce do I have in my fridge, and more importantly – what’s about to go bad? Today’s answer to the latter: green beans. I love me some fresh green beans, but the word “fresh” wasn’t really true any more in describing these particular beans. Still, I bravely picked through the container and separated the questionable beans from the salvageable ones. (If I die of green bean poisoning tomorrow, you read it here first).

Luckily for my green beans, I just picked up the sequel to one of my all time favorite cookbooks. I’m a huge fan of Clean Food by Terry Walters, and the new Clean Start looks to be even more exciting. Since I’ve of course already read the book cover to cover (yes, I read cookbooks for fun), I knew my green beans had a solid future.

They would become Green Fries.

I don’t think I’ve ever really fried anything, aside from the brief stretch of time when I actually owned a little deep frier. I’ve never fried on the stove-top, though. I tend to avoid frying things (pesky calories and all). Tonight, though, I had some green beans, and I had a new cookbook, and doggone it, I felt like frying something.

For the record, a) frying stuff is dangerous. I could’ve used a reminder before I embarked upon this journey. b) Fried green beans are good, but I’m not sure they’re better than roasting them to eat as fries. The texture is a little better, but might not be better enough to be worth the trouble (and calories) of frying. That said, I still ate a ton of them.

So, green bean fries are my new friend (roasted or fried!)

To go with my green bean fries, I made an old favorite standby – chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. So easy. So good. Such awesome leftovers. And I actually remembered to add the spices this time.

And I grilled a corn-on-the-cob.

Nom.

Chickpea Cutlet Burger with frizzled leeks, Green Bean Fries, and Corn on the Cob

Chickpea Cutlet Burger with frizzled leeks, Green Bean Fries, and Corn on the Cob

Word to your mother. Now go be a good scout and eat some plants.

Easter Leftovers: Veggie Sushi, Quinoa and Corn

Lunch!

Happy Easter, everybody!

Since my family gets together on Saturday, my Easter Sunday has been a quiet day filled with leftovers.

Easter Leftovers: Veggie Sushi, Quinoa and Corn

Lunch! Veggie Sushi, Quinoa & Corn

There may or may not have been a nooch-covered plate of twice-baked un-photogenic kale chips on the side.

I had almost forgotten about this Quinoa and Sweet Corn recipe from Clean Food. It’s super easy, especially if you have a rice cooker to make the quinoa. Simple and delicious! I need to dig back into that cookbook. I’ve loved everything I’ve tried from it.

Here’s to the simple things in life!

Polenta Casserole with Seitan

It was an adventurous day today! First, I braved the mud at Messenger Woods to get a nice walk in. Then, I took a few bold new steps at Whole Foods, buying bulk dried beans for the first time, along with some exotic-to-me ingredients like sea vegetables for my upcoming kitchen adventures. I’m on spring break this week, so I plan to do a lot of cooking! I’m not sure where I’ll store all of the leftovers, but I’ll figure it out.

Tonight, I made my first vegan recipe out of Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet: Polenta Casserole with Seitan. It contained a few of those adventurous ingredients, so for those new to them, I’ll explain:

  • Seitan – “wheat meat” – a protein-rich food made from wheat gluten that resembles the texture and taste of meat
  • Tamari – a soy sauce made from soybeans, water, and sea salt, usually wheat-free
  • Umeboshi vinegar (or ume vinegar) – technically not a vinegar, but a fruity, salty, sour product made from Japanese umeboshi plums
  • Tahini – nut butter made from sesame seeds

OK, that covers all of the ingredients that I hadn’t heard of prior to reading this book! I was able to find them all at Whole Foods Market.

Step 1: seitan, asparagus, and corn.Step 1: Seitan, corn, and asparagus

Next, I employed my new kitchen laptop to look up how to chop parsley. I’ve never used fresh herbs before, and wow – fresh parsley smells amazing! I also felt like a freakin’ chef chop-chop-chopping by the time I was done with the parsley. Such a pro I am. (LOL!)

Before:

Parsley, Pre-chop

After:

Chopped fresh parsley

I over-estimated how many parsley stems I’d need to end up with 1/4 cup of fresh chopped leaves, so hopefully I can think of something to do with my leftover chopped parsley soon. For those new to chopping parsley, you pretty much hold the knife as usual in one hand, then place your other hand on top to guide the knife as sort of a rocker back and forth over the parsley leaves.

Next up – the cornmeal mixture got spread on top of the seitan mixture, with some tamari sprinkled on top:

Polenta casserole with seitan, ready to bakeAfter baking, I did not read the instructions closely enough. They said to let the casserole sit for 15 minutes before cutting it into squares. I did not wait, and my casserole was mushy (though I also didn’t use as much cauliflower as the recipe called for, so that might have contributed to my mush-factor).

Done:

Polenta casserole with seitan - doneI got 9 servings out of this recipe, though I used a 9×13″ pan instead of the recommended 8×8″ pan (couldn’t find my 8×8!) The original recipe notes 6 servings.

And here’s what dinner looked like! I served the casserole with a side of spring greens with organic caesar dressing:

Polenta casserole with seitan and a side of spring greensThe meal turned out delicious. I like seitan – if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was meat (minus the cholesterol and saturated fat and other bad-ness that comes along with animal based meat). I have happily survived my first vegan meal!

[recipe-show recipe=polenta-seitan]

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