Cajun Cakes & Dijon Broccoli Rice

Oh, Happy Herbivore. Just when I thought you couldn’t get more awesome, you decided to invent chickpea cakes. Well, maybe not invent, but certainly publish and share them.

These. were. sensational. Sort of like eating fried chicken, in that they were spicy and crunchy, but mostly like eating a really great falafel. I can imagine that the next time I make these, I’ll make them nugget-size and there will be BBQ sauce dunking. Oh, the dunking! I think I’ll actually try the chickpea tenders recipe, too, for a less spicy taste.

The dijon rice and broccoli was really good. I found the mustard flavor to be a little behind the scenes, so next time I’ll probably punch that up a bit. Or use some really great sweet and hot mustard I have, that I almost never get to use on anything.

Totally awesome (and really simple) dinner, provided by the Everyday Happy Herbivore.

Baked Chimichangas!

Mmm…mmm…chimichangas! It’s fun to say. And fun to eat!

I love me some baked burrito. I love how it makes the outside all crispy, the bottom all mushy, and you can eat it with a fork! And a knife! And put pretty three colored sauces on top! I filled this one with brown rice, black beans, anasazi beans, tomatillo salsa and vegan chorizo. That recipe is so awesome, and makes TONS. I don’t even know what to do with the rest of it! Maybe some bowls, since I’m all out of tortillas now.

The sauces on the top are a little more tomatillo salsa (just from a jar, I KNOW), some quick salsa (no onion), and some onion cashew crema that I made up myself! Actually, out of desperation, since I totally messed up the cashew sour cream recipe from Vegan Brunch. Oops!

Onion Cashew Crema:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour at least
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp mild vinegar
  • 1/2 of a small sweet onion
  • 2 T dehydrated onion flakes

Now, put all ingredients in a blender and whip them up! Try to get most of the bits of cashew all ground up–this isn’t easy, so give it some time. When it’s done, just pop in the fridge to cool down. Makes a ton–at least a cup. I only used about 1 T to top these burritos–er–chimis, so now I don’t know what to do with the rest of it. The cashews make it a little bit diet unfriendly, but it’s worth it. I mean, you’re probably only putting about two or three extra grams of fat on there. Don’t sweat it! You need to eat fat to live! TO LIVE.

So, yay! Thanks again for the awesome dinner, Happy Herbivore!

Ouch! This curry burned me!

This is the Black-eyed pea Jamaican Curry with Plantains from Appetite for Reduction. Why do I keep making curry? I know I don’t like it. At all. But I liked everything in this dish except for the curry powder. And I’ve never eaten a habanero before, so I had to give it a go.

First of all, ouch. Second, aaaaah! My hand is on fire! That’s right. I decided to cut up and seed the habanero pepper without wearing gloves. Do you know how many days my fingers burned? THREE. On the upside, I was basically walking pepper spray. If anyone tried to mess with me, I’d just poke them in the eyes. They wouldn’t see that coming!

So, back to the actual recipe. While I would not make this again, I’m betting it’s a great curry for people who actually like curry. My husband thought it was awesome, and looooved the spicy flavor. I also messed up the plantains, AGAIN, letting my steamer burn out of water. So, yay, those were still a little starchy, but they were so ripe it almost didn’t matter.

Yeah. I’m guessing this means curry and I are through.

Teriyaki Chickpeas

Upon opening the Happy Herbivore cookbook, this is the first recipe I saw. Was it fate that brought us together, magical food? Because this dish was truly…a delight. I’m channeling James Lipton with that. Well, channeling Will Ferrell’s impression of James Lipton.

Anywho, have you ever had Puka Dogs? They are, quite simply, the best hot dogs in the entire world. I happen to love Hawaii, and the crazy fusion that is Hawaiian food. And, to be honest, I sorta thought I’d never get to eat anything like that again. One, I don’t know what kind of secret magic Hawaiians put into that food. And two, I thought maybe it only tasted that good because I was in a tropical paradise.

Guess what? THIS TOTALLY TASTES LIKE HAWAIIAN FOOD! I have to stop using caps. My husband actually rated this dinner a “pop-pop!” on his vegan scale. I am, however, 99% sure he said that just so I’d mention him in my write up. But this dinner was unbelievable. I know I use hyperbole TONS but I can’t stress enough how completely easy and tasty this dinner was. Perfection? Possibly. And amazing for a warm summer night.

Finally, a use for my Thai Holy Basil!

And what a great use for it! Oh baby. My husband rated this dinner a “9.5” on the vegan scale. Which is impressive, since he usually isn’t that fond of green beans or tofu. I think the real standout here was the Pineapple Rice, which I didn’t even make with fancy rice at all. Just with plain old short grain brown rice. You’d think that wouldn’t work, but it gave the whole deal a lot of creaminess–almost like you’d doused it with coconut milk.

Also, pineapples. Is there anything they can’t do? I think I should belong to some sort of tropical fruit fan club. And the more I get to mix it into dinners, the better.

But what about that basil? You know, I didn’t notice the taste too much. I think it has sort of a basil and licorice taste to it, but my plant had gotten rather withered in the 100+ degree heat we’ve been experiencing lately. So maybe if you had a nice, robust thai basil plant, it would give off more characteristic flavors? Oh well. I will for sure be making this dish again!

Recipes from Appetite for Reduction.

Anasazi Bowl!

I love Anasazi beans. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but it needs to be said again. GREATEST BEAN EVER. I also didn’t realize that you don’t need to soak them–which makes sense, because I do soak them, and they cook in half the time of normal beans. They are like pinto beans, but better, with a stronger flavor and a very tender texture. I can’t get enough of these beans! And luckily they are sold in stores where I live, but they are completely worth ordering online, just to try them. I sort of want to do a road trip out to Dove Creek, Colorado, for some bean tourism.

So this bowl features the best beans in the world, but it also has brown rice, crispy summer squash (slice thin, spray with oil, bake at 425 for 30 mins), and homemade salsa.

Do you love homemade salsa? Me, too. Here’s how I make mine:

Homemade Salsa (makes about 2 cups):

  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro

Put all the ingredients in your food processor, and pulse it a few times. Not too much! You still want it to be a little chunky. If you don’t have a processor or blender, that’s fine, just chop everything up as small as you can, and mix it together in a bowl. It’ll taste the same, but the consistency won’t be as saucy. Don’t worry! Also, let your salsa chill out in the fridge for a while for the best flavor.

I was thinking of other items that would be good in this bowl: corn, marinated carrots & jalapeños, jicama and sweet potatoes all come to mind.  And most definitely a little avocado. We’ve had really bad luck with avocados lately, so I didn’t feel like spending $2 to see if we’d get something tasty or some gray-black mush. Ew!

I like it this way, though, with squash and beans just like the Anasazi would have eaten it! Though consuming dinner in a cliff-dwelling you carved yourself might make it taste even better.

Super Bowl Week!…the gravy bowl

Don’t you wish there was an actual Bowl game called “The Gravy Bowl”? I would so watch that. And I do not understand football. Do not try to explain it to me. I will not get it.

This isn’t like the Indiana Jones ride, you can look into the gravy bowl’s eyes and not head to your doom. Seriously, this was AMAZING. I took the time to steam the tempeh (always steam the tempeh) and the marinade rocked it. Actually, this marinade was very close to one I used to make for chicken, so it had a familiar taste to it. But better! So much better! And the gravy.

I want to take a moment of silence for that gravy.

Creamy, salty, rich…oh, gravy. GRAVY! You are always gravy to me. Also, perfect brown rice again, people. And decent sautéed mushrooms (they were sadly cold by the time I got everything together–should have made them last). And there it is, my old frienemy kale. I know you’re good for me. But eating you makes me feel like I’m chewing on old newspaper. When I make this again (and I WILL) I’ll probably use asparagus instead of kale, because who doesn’t need more asparagus in their life?

Recipes found in Appetite for Reduction. Except for the mushrooms, which you make like this–

Sautéed Mushrooms:

  • 1&1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (any kind you like)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp thyme (if you aren’t putting this on something else with thyme in it)
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Oil up your pan with some cooking spray and set to medium-high. I use cast iron, because it rocks. Toss in the mushrooms, and let them get browned on one side. Don’t touch! Now, stir them about and throw in your garlic. Keep cooking until both garlic and mushrooms are a little brown (but don’t burn the garlic, it will taste horrible). Add the thyme, salt & pepper, and stir it for a few seconds. Add the white wine to the center of the pan, and watch to make sure it cooks out. Remove from pan and use to top something delicious.