Dumplings

I recently found this vintage gem of a cookbook at a thrift store:

Recipes for Young Adults published by Friesen Printers in Canada in 1977 and distributed by the B.C. Sugar Refining Co. Ltd. Incidentally, this week my mother thrifted a “Recipes for Young Homemakers” published by the Manitoba Beet Growers’ Association, and the inside of the cookbook is identical save for the introductions, and the fact that Young Homemakers has a recipe for French Dressing where Young Adults has a recipe for Coleslaw Dressing. Otherwise, I can’t find any discernible difference. Very sneaky!

My mother beat me to being the first to try a recipe from these books. I was going to veganise those weird hot dog sandwiches pictured on the lower left corner of the cover. They are called Wiener Winks, listed as an “after the game” snack. Okay, I partly just wanted to make them so that I could make a million crude jokes about WIENER WINKS. But the wiener winking will have to wait for another time, because today we had DUMPLINGS.

Dumplings – Veganised

Yield: 4 servings

1 c. all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp vegan margarine

1/3 to 1/2 cup soymilk or water

Cut fat into the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Add soymilk slowly and mix.Drop from a tablespoon on top of the stew. Cover closely, and cook for 10 min, without lifting the cover. Arrange with ALL THINGS SOY on a platter.

Mmmmmhm. Mom cleaned out the fridge and made a flavourful spicy vegetable stew with potato, sweet potato, carrot, celery, pepper, cumin, curry, cinnamon, and I’m not even sure what all else. It was such a delicious meal that I went back for a second bowl. The dumplings on top were excellent.

I want to make these next time by dropping them into a pot of soup made with “chicken” broth; chicken dumpling soup was a favourite of mine when I was a kid and I will be very pleased if this recipe helps me re-create it! Let me know if any of you try it.

Oliver’s Roasted Butternut Curry

Several of my friends and I have this game we sometimes play called “What should I make for dinner?”

Actually, it’s less of a game and more of a desperate plea for help, but regardless. Today I found myself coming to my friend Oliver with that question when I discovered that I was out of the ingredients I wanted to use to make soup, and was otherwise at a loss as to what to do with a butternut squash. “Why don’t you roast it with some potatos and make a coconut curry sauce with lots of cumin?” was Oliver’s brilliant reply. In just over an hour I was ladelling up a bowl of a deliciously fragrant curry with tender juicy vegetables nestled up to creamy chunks of roasted squash. I was in heaven.

And so, Oliver, I name this recipe for you. I was going to call it Oliver’s Sexy Squash but I wasn’t sure if that would affect my blog’s family-friendly status 🙂

Oliver's squash curry

Oliver’s Roasted Butternut Curry

1 butternut squash
2 red skin potatos
Peanut oil
4 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of ginger
1/4 cup onion
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 dash of turmeric
1 small can (160 ml) coconut milk
1 tsp curry powder
1/3 cup broccoli
1/3 cup mushrooms

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle some peanut oil onto the tinfoil.

Peel the butternut squash, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds and guts. Discard them, or rinse and save the seeds for another use. Chop the squash into pieces about an inch or two square. Peel the potatos and chop those into pieces about the same size as the squash.

Place the squash and potatos on the baking sheet and stir gently, drizzling more peanut oil on top if necessary. Sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper.

Put the pan in the oven and let the squash and potatos roast until tender and lightly browned. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir them every 15 – 20 minutes so as not to burn them.

While the squash and potatos are roasting, mince the garlic and ginger and put into a frying pan or wok with another drizzle of peanut oil. Slice the onion and add this to the pan as well. While the aromatics are heating up, start adding spices; mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric. Fry gently until the aromatics are starting to soften and the seeds are starting to pop. Add the coconut milk and about 50 ml of water. Turn the heat up and add the broccoli, chopped, and the mushrooms (whole if small or halved if a little larger).

When the coconut milk starts to bubble, add the curry powder, a dash each of salt, pepper, and cumin powder, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. You can turn the heat down if it starts to thicken too quickly.

When the roasted vegetables are tender, remove them from the oven and add them to the curry. Cook the curry until the sauce has thickened and the broccoli is tender/firm.

Enjoy with rice or flatbread.

Easy Jambalaya

Oh the woes of a food blogger! Several times recently, I have made meals that have not only been delicious, but also pretty, and each time they get eaten before I manage to snap some photos. I’ll try harder to be more conscientious of that, since I think looking at photos is half the fun of reading a food blog.

In the meantime, though, here is a “recipe” to go with some photos I did manage to take! I warn you, though, this dish isn’t for people who avoid MSG. The main ingredient is none other than a pre-packaged rice mix.

I know, that’s cheating, right? But I want to share what I do when I’m short on time and energy and just want a quick meal of something hearty and delicious.

Easy Jambalaya

First thing I do is acquire some instant jambalaya mix (Hey, I warned you this recipe was cheating.)

I cheated and used a mix

Surprising fact; several (maybe most?) of the Zatarain’s mixes are vegan. So even though the box directs you to add a ton of meat to the mix, just ignore it and replace the meat with whatever you please.

I typically add 2 – 4 cups of mixed vegetables, and up to a pound of a protein; beans, tofu, mock chicken, and TVP all work well in this dish.

Here I am cooking some home-made seitan; I wanted to sear it first but when it started to stick I had to add some water to the pot.

Cooking seitan cubes

Then I add vegetables.

Mise en place

Here I have mushrooms, celery, garlic, carrot, red bell pepper, onion, and cabbage. I could have easily doubled the amount of vegeteables here; green bell peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, jalapeno, zucchini, broccoli, leafy greens; nearly anything would be a good addition. Just remember to add tender leaves like spinach right at the end.

Then I just add the rice and seasoning and cook as per the package direction.

Easy Jambalaya

Easy peasy.

Easy lentil soup and griddle flatbread

Summer is long over in BC, and has given way to our only other season here; the rainy season. This week has been especially gloomy, with hard rains and high winds waking me up each morning, pounding relentlessly against my rooftop and windows.

When I logged onto The Daring Kitchen this morning and saw that September’s challenge is stocks, soups, and soup accompaniments, I knew I’d found the perfect solution to combat the weather blahs.

dinner

I found myself craving easily delicious lentil soup, a recipe that was passed to me by my friend Daphne, who received it from her friend Reut, who was given the recipe by her aunt. This recipe has travelled a long way, and perhaps will continue it’s trot across the miles and through the years.

The beautiful thing about this recipe, the thing that makes it endure, is that it tastes deceptively complex; it only has about 7 or 8 ingredients, but they are such good ingredients that each one absolutely sings when combined and made into soup. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.

Now, I usually make this soup with plain water, maybe adding a dash of instant broth powder if I feel like adding a little somethin’ somethin’, but this Daring Kitchen Challenge challenged me to do something I had not done successfully before; make a stock from scratch.

As it was, I had to clean out my fridge anyways, so this was the absolute perfect way to use up the sad little celery heart languishing next to the wilted leeks. And this provided a good opportunity to infuse the lemon flavour that usually results from my drizzling fresh lemon over my bowl of soup. I had no fresh lemon, but I had these;

dried lemon

Dried lemons.

Fact: I accidently threw out Daphne’s dried lemons once back when we were room-mates. When I found them in the kitchen, I mistakenly believed they were rotten lemons, not realising that Daphne had flown all the way from Israel with the dried lemons tucked into her purse because they can be so hard to find in Canada. They are ugly little things, but a dried lemon thrown into a pot of rice or a pot of stock will infuse a TON of lemony flavour. And you can keep them in the cupboard indefinitely without worrying about them going bad….after all, look at them! How much worse could they get? 😉

So here is the recipe for the stock I created, a tangy, lemony stock, with rich undertones of vegetables and spices. It worked very well with the lentil soup.

spices

Kayleen’s Lemon Vegetable Stock

Two carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 baked potato, peeled
1 tomato, halved
1 sprig of parsley
1 heart of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed slightly
2 shallots, peeled
2 leeks, seperated, washed carefully to remove grit, and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
1 pinch of thyme
cracked black pepper
1 dried lemon
1 – 2 inches of cinnamon stick

Combine all in a pot with 5 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes. Strain out and discard the vegetables, reserving the stock. Yields about 3 1/3 cup.

Stock pot

The aroma of the simmering stock was pretty amazing.

The resulting stock was this: clear, golden, lovely;

stock

This photo would of course be much nicer if I had remembered to get rid of my empty bottle of root beer. I never said I wasn’t a slob…

Once my stock was made, it was time to make the soup.

Easy Lentil Soup

Adapted from Daphne’s recipe at foodplant

2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
Stock + water to total 6 cups
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tsp each of ground coriander and cumin
2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper

After the lentils have been washed, transfer them to a soup pot and add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and simmer the soup, stirring often, for about 30 minutes (it will take longer if you include other types of lentils). Taste and adjust the spices if necessary. Serve with lemon juice and olive oil, if you like, or omit the olive-oil for a fat-free soup.

soup

I decided that a flatbread would be the perfect accompaniment to the lentil soup, so I set about modifying this griddle flatbread recipe from About.com. The resulting bread is somewhere between a flatbread and a cracker, depending on how thinly you roll it out.

Griddle Flatbread

1 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 heaped tbsp of earth balance margarine (vegetable shortening works well too here)
1/3 cup of very cold water

Get a heavy frying pan and pre-heat it on medium-low with a very thin coating of oil. While the pan preheats, make the dough: Combine the all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Use a fork to cut the margarine or shortening in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cold water and knead just until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough. Divide the dough into two portions and roll each portion out into a thin round. Prick all over with a fork, and then cook on the pan until browned. Flip over and brown the other side. You may not be able to fit more than one flatbread on the pan at a time. This recipe yields two breads.