Sunday, June 29, 2008

Catching Up - and Spiced Tempeh-Stuffed Shells


Is it really possible to catch up after such an absence! Whew!!!!!

Well, first, let me say thank you to everyone who wrote in to say lovely words about the loss of our little beagle Made' aka Maddie, our second (though older) dog-daughter on 14 June. She is so sadly missed by us all, but your thoughtfulness and kindness has somehow made it easier to bear. Meanwhile, our younger girl, Casey, is reaping the benefits of having full-time attention of both her parents. Well, you can imagine!!!

Soooooo, you ask, what have you been cooking/eating since your last food post??? Good question. I seem to have taken some photos, wobbly ones mostly (so what's new there? LOL), but nevertheless they remind me that we have eaten a few things other than salads and wraps and fresh fruit. Not that those three things don't make for very nutritious as well as tasty eating, but they don't exactly make for an exciting food diary!

So here goes on one of the things that seem to have come across our table since arriving back from Paris a month ago.


These are, you guessed it, another version of my Stuffed Shells recipe, which you can see HERE in my first experiment with such a dish and HERE as the then preferred version. I still like both of those, but I decided to branch out just a tiny bit and make this lot from tempeh and add much more creative spice to the mixture. I followed the same basic method as before, but rather than basil or spinach I used handfuls of chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) and used chopped jalapeno, ground cumin seeds, lime zest and juice, miso, nutritional yeast and goodness knows what else (it was a while ago - I must make it again to get it right!) to the stuffing. The result was amazing. The tempeh was mashed to make it like ground, er, ground stuff.

Here it is at the point I'd just put it into the shells.

At this point it still needed a sauce, right? I had none ready in fridge or freezer, so I grabbed a can or tomatoes, added onions and garlic to them with some cayenne, zapped them in a blender and poured it over the dish like this:

The crumby topping, above, is a mix of wholewheat cracker crumbs zapped in a mini-processor with some cashews and nutritional yeast plus varied dried herbs and paprika.

The baked result you have already seen - somehow it never looks quite as nice as the unbaked version when I do things. But it was excellent to eat, and here you have, below, a quick snapshot of my plate before I took it to the table.

The taste was more fusion than Italian, but that's the joy of being able to please oneself in the kitchen. My husband voted for this version over the two others, so that's good enough for me :)

More later :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

In Memoriam: Made'

(I have to tell someone who will understand, and who better than fellow animal lovers.)

Our beautiful (older) beagle girl Made' died in my arms Saturday morning. We are devastated.

Made' came to us by luck and by golly: Another dog guardian who had seen us in the park with our beagle Casey found us one day (stalking us on his bike, as he said) to say that he had to give up his lovely girl because they now had a baby in the household and did we know someone who might want a beagle so that he wouldn't have to blah blah blah. We said we would take her and did, and she was with us from the morning after that meeting for nearly six wonderful years.

Made' was 10 years 7 months and some days old. She was a dear sister to our now blind (SARDS, two years ago) beagle Casey, whom she protected so carefully and to whom she acted much in the role of a seeing-eye dog, and a loved companion of our cat Misha as well as being our darling dog-daughter.

She will be so missed.

Thanks for listening.

Love and hugs, River

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spicy Beanburgers with Salad

Spicy Beanburgers with Salad [NOTE: Recipe edited to correct oversight re preparation of beans and a missing ingredient in the sauce!]

The thing about coming back from holidays (more about that later) is that one goes shopping (at least I do) without actually getting everything needed for eating ordinary meals. Using up what's left in the fridge the last few days before leaving means being out of everything on return, and of course shopping lists for recipes rather assume that you'll have basics, blah blah blah. Well, frankly, I blundered and, not feeling like going out again to shop, I hit the freezer and the few things I had in the fridge to make a quick meal.

Beans? Yes - but only just plain boiled in the freezer. Okay, let's work with that, I said (bored with the whole idea of cooking again after being away and having had the delight of eating other people's food!)

Ingredients (all is approximate and to taste - but you get the idea):

2 cups (you could use 1 can, rinsed and drained) beans (I used my own frozen pino beans)
3 cloves garlic
a large stick celery, chopped finely
half a carrot, finely chopped or grated (I used a handful of those 'baby' carrots)
2 slices onion, finely chopped
a few mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp ground coriander seeds, or to taste
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 Tbsp paprika, or to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne powder, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
dash or two of cinnamon (I love cinnamon in things)
a few drops of liquid smoke
salt and pepper
dried wholewheat (or other) crumbs
fresh cilantro - divided in two - a handful chopped and more to garnish

Thaw your beans and drain, or drain and rinse your canned beans - then set aside in a large bowl.
Saute the vegetables until just soft. Add the spices and flavourings and stir until the vegetables are well coated.

Mash or puree about two-thirds of the beans, so that you have a gooey texture plus some more-or-less whole beans to make it interesting.

Add the vegetable mix to the beans in the bowl, stir, and add enough crumbs to keep everything together.Add the chopped cilantro.

Shape into patties and refrigerate until ready to use.

Spray a pan with a tiny bit of oil and brown the patties nicely.

I added roughly chopped mushrooms to the pan - because I like mushrooms with almost everything.

The Sauce? Use your favourite topping sauce or salsa. I used a mix of lemon juice and equal parts plain horseradish and dijon mustard with a little low-sodium soy. (Mix this to taste.)

Serve with any kind of green or leafy salad. These would also go well as open-faced sandwiches.