Monday, February 22, 2010
Bean-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Mexican-Spiced Veg on Beans, Faux Chikken Dinner
BEAN-STUFFED ACORN SQUASH WITH BRAISED KALE
Right now I am enjoying eating the mostly greens and beans way (with some apologies to Dr Joel Fuhrman since I do enjoy my spices and other condiments). I had found a lovely little organic acorn squash at the market, had some home-cooked black beans (unseasoned) in the freezer and a lovely bunch of dinosaur kale in the crisper. This had to make a good meal.
First the squash, which I simply halved and baked, face down and lightly covered, at 350 degrees for around half an hour. While this was happening, I tossed a little onion and garlic into a pan to get the onions to a translucent state (using a little water to sautee, as usual, although I have been known to 'cheat' and use a teaspoon of oil), and added a chopped tomato. In went the black turtle) beans, about 1-1/2 cups, along with a tablespoon of tomato paste from a tube, a tablespoon of organic pure maple syrup, a squirt of Bragg liquid aminos/all-purpose seasoning, a shake or two of thyme and oregano, a sprinkle of red chili flakes and just enough water to let it all simmer while the squash baked. The kale was stripped of its coarse stems, sliced crosswise into ribbons and lightly braised with a little garlic in a very little vegetable stock with a few raisins.
This all came together before I knew it, and with a quick baby spinach and orange salad to start we had a delicious meal. You'll be seeing more of my beans 'n' greens meals in the next little while.
And this one is also about beans, pureed as I like to do sometimes now, with some mixed vegetables. Have a look:
MEXICAN-SPICED BROCCOLI, MUSHROOMS AND RED BELL PEPPERS ON BEANS
As you see, the beans (I used lima beans here, cooked with garlic, onion, bay and a little chili) are well pureed, not too soupy but placed in a shallow old-fashioned-style soup plate for presentation rather than from need. I water-sauteed broccoli florets with some red bell pepper/capsicum, quartered mushrooms and sliced onion. These I seasoned with Mexican Chili Spice Mix with a little extra cumin and cayenne. When the beans were heated through again after being pureed, the vegetables were ready, with any liquid absorbed. I sprinkled some vegan parmesan-style cheese on top.
This next one does not, however, use beans, but there's still something green there :)
FAUX CHICKEN DINNER WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES AND ASPARAGUS
Coming home too close to mealtime meant I reached for a package of PC Meatless Chicken Breasts (the fake meat is made by Gardein, I note). Iit comes in a sealed pouch with sauce included, intended to be microwaved or boiled in the bag, but I pop it into a baking dish in the oven while I do the rest of the meal, although I'll probably reconsider that option if I'm still using it when the weather gets hot. In this case, the baking option worked fine, since I quickly chopped some potatoes and carrots to roast on the same shelf. While this was happening, a salad was in preparation and, while we were consuming that, I put on the water to steam the asparagus you see in the photo. That takes about two or three minutes while the plates are being changed and the glasses recharged.
This fake meat is very tasty, and seems to come in just a couple of flavours (the sauce, remember?). One Tuscan (i.e. tomato and herbs) and the other, which is pictured above, is Dijon (more French and with a mild mustardy sauce). Both are very good. I went for years 'not approving' of faux meats, mainly because I didn't like the taste, I think. Good products have me rethinking me stubbornness, and I do now keep one or two on hand (watching the expiry dates carefully) as a change or for emergency use. This would go well just with a big green salad too.