Teaching and Tasties

Delicious eats and daring, death-defying teaching feats

I <3 Sundays! January 25, 2009

Filed under: Food — tlsussman @ 6:05 pm

When I was little, I thought Sunday was the worst day of the week.  My family didn’t do much on Sundays.  I went to Sunday school and sometimes we ate lunch out.  Being the overachiever I was (am), I was already finished with homework, so all that was left to do was sit around.  Well, that has all changed.  Sunday has becoe one of the best days of the week.

I’m trying really hard to eat home more.  Save some money, worry less about feeling like crap and I get to explore the wonderful world of new flavors and fun recipes!  Sunday, therefore, is the perfect day for me.  I have a week of work ahead and need lunch and dinner for the week.  Although I would prefer to cook dinner every night, cooking on Sundays for the entire week ensures that eat healthy, delicious food and do not go out (as much!).

For the last few Sundays, my boyfriend, Brian, has been out all day.  (He’s working on some side projects I hope I will get to write about soon!)  I’ve taken this opportunity to whip up some really yummy dishes to get me ready for the upcoming week.

All of the following recipes come from Veganomicon (a.k.a. my new bible).  I have changed them a bit to match my tastes and what’s available in my cabinets and fridge.

The first dish for this week is a sweet and sour soup with nappa cabbage.  Extremely easy and quite tasty.  It isn’t quite the traditional soup, but I like that it has a ton of goodies in it to be a bit more filling.

hot-sour-soup

Soak mixed, dried mushrooms in boiling water for 20 min.  Add 1/4 cup soy sauce (GF, of course!), 1 tsp sesame oil, 4 cups veggie stock and 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar and chile oil in a pot.  Add sliced nappa cabbage and fresh mushrooms to the pot.  Simmer until cabbage wilts (about 5 min).  Drain mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces and add to the soup.  Dissolve 1 heaping tbsp of arrowroot powder in 1 cup cold water.  Add to the soup and stir to mix.  Add grated carrot and sliced tofu (cut into matchstick pieces).  Cook until warmed through.  Serve 🙂

Next on tap was the Mexican Millet.  This is SO easy and quite tasty.  I actually really like mine for breakfast.  However, tonight, it will be a side to tacos.

mexican-millet

Anyway…the ingredients are:

garlic

onions

1 jalepeño, seeded and diced

1 cup millet

2 cups stock

tomato paste

1 tomato, seeded and diced

cumin

salt

Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic.  When it starts to sizzle, add onoins and jalapeño.  Saute for 5 minutes or so and add the millet.  Toast the millet until it is golden brown and then add stock, tomato paste, cumin, salt and diced tomato.  Bring to a boil.  Stir once and cover.  Lower the heat and simmer until the water disappears.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff millet and eat!

I have to say that the first time I ate millet, I don’t think I was so enchanted.  However, this recipe is perfect.  The millet is a little soft and a little crunchy and is a great replacement for rice.

Finally, tonight’s main course.  I was at the farmer’s market this weekend.  I know, amazing, but Chicago’s Green City Market (which is TOTALLY fabulous and huge in the summer) is in for the winter at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum.  It is every 2nd Saturday of the month.  The market was a little weak, if you ask me, but it was nice to go and see what was there.  The veggies were EXTREMELY expensive – $7 for a bag of spinach?!?! – but there were some goodies that made it worth the while. One vendor sells black beans.  They were harvested this fall and are suppsed to be extremely fresh and fantastic.  I bought some and will let you know.  The most exciting find, however, was huitlacoche.

Huitlacoche is a Mexican corn fungs.  It grows naturally on corn and is then harvested and sold 🙂  Brian had some when he was in Mexcio and has not stopped talking about it since!  When I saw it, I knew I had to have it.  It was sold to me frozen, but the plan is to saute the huitlacoche with some taco seasonings, onions and red pepper.  I am really excited.  It was a bit expensive, but perhaps worth it.  In fact, I should buy it more often…Brian actually offered to be home for dinner!!!

The huitlacoche was tasty and added really nice flavor to the tacos.  I’m sorry to say, however, that between the huitlacoche, the corn tortillas and the chilaquiles I had for breakfast, my body was raging at me.  I think I slept through the next three days.  Try teaching a bunch of middle schoolers when you are half asleep 🙂

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A delicious start to the year January 4, 2009

Filed under: Food — tlsussman @ 10:46 pm

What a wonderful way to start the year…having my girlfriends over for good food and conversation.  After being out of town, it is always nice to have friends over.  It seems like everyone had a nice winter break (yay for being a teacher).  We did a little potluck action, and I got to try a new recipe!

I am deeply in love with this Veganomicon cookbook.  The recipes are very tasty and pretty easy to make.  I was going to make soup, but came across a pasta dish that sounded too good to pass up.  It was so easy to make it allergy friendly, since it was already dairy free.  So, I just switched the noodles and the breadcrumbs.  Easy as pie…or pasta 🙂

Pumpkin Casserole with Sage Breadcrumbs

Pumpkin Casserole with Sage Breadcrumbs

As much as I would love to give all the steps and ingredients, there are just too many on this one!  I will say that it includes a cashew ricotta, which was pretty easy to make and tasted just like ricotta. I think I would use that to make a lasagna also.

The bread crumbs were thanks to the Gluten-Free Goddess (Karina)!  Take some Vans waffles and toast ’em up.  Let them cool, then rip them into pieces and put in the food processor.  They worked pretty well.  I used the flax waffles, but you could use different ones depending on the flavor.  The flax were more savory, while the buckwheat had a sweeter taste.

The casserole was pretty tasty, although I think the filling could use a bit more flavor.  I substituted agave for sugar, but I might use maple syrup instead.  It has a flavor that is well suited with pumpkin.  It also called for cayenne, which I might use more of.  I would even put a little vanilla.  The “ricotta” sorta makes it bland.  But it is definitely filling and tastes just as good the next day!

As a side note, I did not realize that buckwheat was not actually a member of the wheat famiy.  It comes from a berry.  This is good to know…perhaps I could eat more things at a Japanese restaurant.  I do believe that soba noodles are buckwheat. 🙂

Anyway, we also had some great roasted potatoes, which my friend made.  Simple and tasty.  A little olive oil and some rosemary and salt.  Perfect combo!

The best part may have been the brownies.  Black bean brownies…who woulda thought!!  They were totally amazing and I am so glad my friend left them behind!  I can wait to have the last one tonight.  It makes me feel so much better to know that they are almost good for me.  Good protein and fiber!  A great way to get my system working with the wonderful taste of chocolate!  Even the less adventurous of the group had to admit that they were really good.

All in all, a wonderful meal and great fun.  If only I didn’t work, I could spend my time entertaining friends and cooking.  I guess I would also probably be very fat!

Which leads me to my new year’s resolution…which I suppose we are all subject to make at this time.  I would like to eat out less and cook more.  I love to cook.  It is relaxing and enjoyable.  I can sample food from all over the world that is just as good or better than some restaurants.  It is part of a bigger resolution to spend less money on needless things.  Eating out should be a treat, not an everyday occurrence, especially with food allergies.  We shall see how it goes…so far, not so good!  But tomorrow is a new day!  Right?!?!