It has been so long since I have posted a recipe. Life just seemed to get busy for a while especially at work and Rob was wrapping up a long season. I did plenty of cooking but a lot of it was on the fly and the rest were tried and true recipes so nothing much new. In my zest for learning new things I finally rode clipless this fall and overdid it in Moab and took a strange fall (thanks ladies for helping me work through that literal gut wrencher) that prevented me from enjoying an unusually balmy late fall in Flagstaff. Luckily I did manage to slip in a run at the Flagstaff Sky races before that. We also had some wonderful house guests who cooked up some amazing treats and shared some cheer when I needed it most. Following are a few recipes from the fall – a little Canadian thanksgiving treat, and 3 easy and satisfying winter meals because really food should not be complicated and sometimes you need something fast with little effort.
Canadian Thanksgiving Stuffing
I love stuffing – it has been my staple from when I was a child – every holiday or Sunday chicken dinner I would load up my plate with the bready goodness. After becoming vegetarian it is what I look forward to in the holiday season – loaded up with gravy and cranberry sauce I can’t think of anything better. So when Canadian Thanksgiving rolled around this year – which incidentally is just a regular old work weeknight here I knew I would make some stuffing. I also made gravy and a really basic stuffed acorn squash. I honestly don’t think I have ever made stuffing the same twice but here is the basics that I start and work with every year. It’s a recipe to file away for the holiday season next year or whenever the mood strikes you! I like to have plenty of vegetables involved, along with good bread and fresh herbs. Change up the veggies, add nuts, the possibilities are endless! Feel free to use margarine instead of butter and omit the egg and cream for a fabulous vegan friendly stuffing.
- 8 cups of bread cut into cubes about 1×1 inch – I especially like challah or whole wheat sourdough (I can leave mine out for the day to dry out here in AZ – it’s probably best to leave out overnight)
- 1 onion minced
- 4 cups sliced mixed mushrooms ( button, shiitake, oyster, cremini, portabello)
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 parsnips peeled and diced
- 3-4 ribs of celery diced
- 1 bulb fennel diced
- 1 tablespoon each of fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon melted)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large eggs beaten (optional this makes for a fluffier stuffing)
- 2-3 cups broth or 1 cup cream and 1-2 cups broth
- salt and pepper
Step 1: Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat when foaming subsides add mushrooms and increase heat to high. Allow mushrooms to brown and cook off most liquid about 5-8 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add minced onion and cook until soft. Scrape into a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrot, celery, fennel, and parsnip with 1-2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until golden. Scrape into bowl with mushrooms.
Step 3: Add bread cubes and herbs to bowl and stir to combine. Stir in melted butter. Pour in broth- and cream if desired- until moist. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning. Stir in egg if using and mix well.
Step 4: Spoon into a lightly greased large casserole dish in a 350 degree oven tightly covered with foil for 40-45 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake for 30 more minutes until the top is crisped.
Easy Weeknight Lentils
We love lentils – they are so easy, quick, and satisfying. They find their way into tacos, salads, and soups at our house. Often times my favorite way to eat them is just straight up. This recipe is for some simple lentils with a quick vinaigrette. They get some extra fine flavor with some pickled vegetables on top – these are of course optional – we had some okra and jalapenos stored away.
- 1 cups green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup Flora 7 sources oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- I would have added capers if I had them on hand
- sweetener if desired – 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
Step 1: Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside.
Step 2: Rinse lentils. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add lentils, bay leaf, garlic, and salt to taste. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Drain, remove bay leaf and garlic, and set aside.
Step 3: While lentils are simmering heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small pan. Saute carrot, onion, and celery until soft and lightly colored.
Step 4: Mix together lentils and veggies in a bowl. Pour dressing over and stir gently. Adjust seasoning.
Step 5: Spoon grain of choice into a bowl and top with lentils, pickled veggies, and greens.
Roasted Vegetables with Miso- Tahini Sauce
Sometimes I can’t resist when I am at the grocery store – a vegetable that is clearly not in season just calls my name. This happened about a month ago with some beautiful green beans. Rob is not the greatest fan of this vegetable but it is one of my favorites. I have learned to roast them to augment their sweetness and depth of flavor and that is Rob’s favorite way to eat them. Combined with some roasted mushrooms and a wonderfully tangy sauce it really satisfied on a cold night. We almost always include some sort of grain with our meals; I paired this with black rice – if you haven’t tried this variety I recommend it! Not only is it beautiful in the bowl but it has a wonderful nutty flavor all its own.
- 1/2-3/4 lb green beans
- 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 1.5 cups black rice
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup miso – I like the stronger red miso – use whatever you like best
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4- 1/2 cup warm water depending on desired consistency
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine green beans with 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper and lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Mix mushrooms with remaining oil and place in a medium casserole dish.
Step 2: Roast beans and mushrooms for about 20 minutes until brown and mushrooms have released juices.
Step 3: While veggies and rice are cooking prepare dressing – whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl – slowly pour in water while stirring until desired consistency is reached. Set aside.
Step 4: Stir beans into mushrooms in casserole dish. Add sun-dried tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5: Place rice in bowl, top with veggies and juices, pour on sauce.
Quick Carrot Stir Fry
I read somewhere that you can leave root vegetables in the ground for a good long while until you are ready to eat them. It has really worked well the past two years and this stir fry signified the true end of the garden. We had a really warm fall for the most part and I left the carrots in the bed next to the house waiting for the right moment. One quick evening when the fridge was nearly empty was just that perfect moment. They are a small carrot variety and really sweet and wonderful. I pulled them up and had this stir fry – you could substitute baby carrots or 1-2 large carrots cut into sticks. I learned from this carrot salad recipe from 101 cookbooks that cooking carrots in ghee is amazing! I have been employing this technique ever since and I like the combo of the butter flavor and soy sauces for a rich sauce. We paired this stir fry with rice – basmati is what we had on hand and it worked well.
- 1 bunch of small new carrots halved ( you can sub about 1 cup of baby carrots or 1 carrot cut into sticks)
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms stems removed and thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch of chard or other greens stalks removed and sliced into ribbons (roll 3-4 leaves at a time together tightly, slice into ribbons)
- 1 bunch green onions white and light green parts thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch of cilantro chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 tablespoon Flora sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon each kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), light soy sauce, dark soy sauce or similar
- 2 tablespoons toasted black and white sesame seeds
Step 2: Push carrots to the corner of the pan, add sesame oil heat and add mushrooms. Cook 4-5 minutes.
Step 3: Stir together carrots and mushrooms. Add greens and onions and cook until greens are wilted.
Step 5: Place rice in a bowl. Top with stir fry and sesame seeds.