Break of Dawn

Sweet Potato Corn Stew

 Sweet Potato Corn Stew

I mentioned in a post last week that I recently received a LARGE amount of tomatoes from Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm.  Today’s post shows were the vast majority of those tomatoes wound up – in a delicious stew perfect for /52weeksofcooking’s stew theme.  Since the tomatoes were all seconds I knew that I had very limited time to use them, and while the sauce took care of a fair amount, I still had a few pounds left.  With the clock ticking I decided to improvise and figure out what I could make with the little produce left in my fridge.  A sweet potato, the last of our Eastern Shore Corn, and a bunch of fresh herbs – perfect for a hardy soup.  Plus the weather has taken a clear turn for the cold so no worries of overheating the kitchen!  I debated roasting the tomatoes before hand, but decided that one-pot clean up was the right answer.

 

Sweet Potato Corn Stew

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 lbs tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh corn off the cob
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 cups no salt added vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 7 minutes, or until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to help break down the tomatoes.
  2. Add the corn along with the diced potatoes and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, still stirring the tomatoes but allowing the sweet potato to slightly roast.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Stir, then cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer the stew for 20 minutes, then use a hand immersion to blend the ingredients until desired thickness. For those with a stand blender, move the soup a 1/4 at a time, leaving at least 1/4 of the soup unblended.
  4. Cook for a final 10 minutes, adding pepper if needed. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/break_of_dawn.html

I served this stew with some French Honey bread, which is staple this time of year – along with my favorite Apple Cider Bread.   This stew also included a variety of tomatoes, including the green zebra variety I mentioned the other day!

Note: For all my Jewish friends (and family), L’shannah Tovah! 

Counting Seconds

Plov: Vegetarian Style

Plov

Sometimes I make a dish with no idea what is going to happen at the end – to include if it will even be edible.  I had heard of Plov before, thanks to Silk Road Bistro, but wanted to make it more of a main dish without the standard lamb.   Lots of googling gave me a good list of vegetables to start with: carrots, onions, and garlic  - along with the addition of some variety of currant.  When it came to the main protein all I knew is that I didn’t want to go with tofu, I wanted something with a firm bite to it as a contrast to the soft vegetables.  I decided to go with chickpeas since their origins in Turkey led me to believe they would have easily spread to the Central Asia region that I was focusing on for this dish.

Counting Seconds

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute before adding the onion and garlic.
  2. Continue cooking the onion and garlic for 15 minutes, the onion should start to caramelize and the garlic should be a rich golden color. Add the rice and stir, until coated in the oil then add the water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then cover and turn heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the chickpeas and recover.
  4. Cook for a final 5 minutes then stir in the cranberries and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/counting-seconds.html

Another thanks to /r/52weeksofcooking for sending me on another delicious food journey – I’ve learned so much in doing these weekly challenges and can’t wait til the next one! Though of all the dishes I’ve made for this challenge, this one is easily in the top 5 as the ingredients are all standard ones making it super easy to prepare.  Ever since Wegmans added cranberries to their bulk food section I’ve had a fresh supply in my pantry – and while they aren’t burberries they are delicious.

Reality

DC VegFest

VegFest Nachos

It’s not often that I go to an event regarding food and come away disappointed, but that seems to be the trend lately.  I’ve been a HUGE fan of the DC VegFest since I stumbled upon it a few years ago on a DC adventure involving the Eastern Market and the Capitol Book Faire – and I was hooked.  There were demos showing how to work with nutritional yeast and Vegg when it come to vegan baking as well as info booths about all the uses for tofu and why the type matters.  I was able to try vegan cookies and cupcakes as well as smoothies thickened with tofu and the new (at the time) Daiya meltable line.  I came away with information on why being a vegetarian matters as well as how to be a GOOD vegetarian.  For many people, including myself in my early veg years, living vegetarian is synonymous with living the anti-Adkins diet of all carbs all the time.  VegFest was a nice post-college reminder that there is more to life than pasta and rice.  It was at VegFest that I saw my first Tofu Press and while I’ve never invested in an official one, I press my tofu each and every time and the difference in taste/texture is amazing.  To me this is what a vegetarian food festival should be – teaching people how to live a healthier life even if it’s as simple as #MeatlessMonday.

Instead more and more food festivals seem to be about preaching to people why what they are doing isn’t enough, or isn’t “right”.   From National Food Expos to VegFest to the Emporiyum, more and more of the focus seems to be on organizations preaching to people about why their specific type of living (natural oils, fruitarianism, freegans, etc) is the RIGHT one- Revival style if you will.  It’s almost the reverse of the classic teach a man to “fish” story – instead of being taught how to do the skill they are being told they aren’t good enough since they aren’t “fishing” but not being told HOW to do it.  I have heard speaker after speaker preach about the importance of green leafy vegetables,  but not one of them gave a recipe for HOW to use green leafy vegetables.  I heard speakers going on about the importance of limiting soy intake, but not one of them talked about HOW to make your own nut milk/cheese.  I get that talking about the problem is easier than fixing the problem, but from my experience it seems as if many of these organizations were doing a better job in their early years which makes me wonder why the change.   I saw more clothing, soup, and products booths at the event this year then anything else.

In the end I’m sure it comes down to money – bringing in produce to cook is not cheap and shockingly (to me) I’ve never seen a local farm participate in one these food events, only restaurants selling the final product.  So why the disconnect?  Why the move from showing people HOW to borderline discouraging them by saying what they are doing isn’t enough?  Is this the new direction for Food Festivals – making them more like user group seminars where the attendees are expected to already know how to make their own almond milk or cashew cheese?  I’m not sure, and with that I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to stop going to these events – but I know that I’m not going to be as eager to bring friends to the events.  I want to go to a VegFest that is a celebration of all things veg*n – which to me means including the fruits and vegetables and legumes that are so fundamental to this way of living.

Note: Nachos pictured above are from Bread and Brew and were fantastic!  However in fitting with my other issues, a recipe for that fantastic vegan queso would have been a fantastic addition :-) Tho Belle did appreciate the frisbee the bamboo plate was resting in!

Steal My Sunshine

Summer Tomato Sauce

summer_tomato_pasta_sauce

Working a Farmer’s Market is fantastic, especially when there are leftover tomatoes at the end of the day!  Second tomatoes aren’t always the easiest to use, but if you are willing to put the work in when it comes time to cutting they are a fantastic (cheaper) option.  It also means getting a variety of types, so I indulged in some research to figure out what I had and what it would work as.  A quick google led me to realize that the Green Zebra would be a fantastic addition for a stew or a quinoa dish – and I was really craving some pasta.  This left me with some Cherokee  purple, yellow pear, and Virginia sweet all of which were perfect for the sauce I was hoping to create.  All I needed was to go to my herb garden and grab a handful of basil, and figure out where the missing vidalia onion was hiding.

Steal My Sunshine

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 lbs fresh tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, diced
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to help break the tomatoes down. Add the basil along with the chili flakes and the pinch of salt. Cover and turn heat to low.
  2. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until not quite al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and then add the pasta to the sauce.
  3. Stir the pasta in to the sauce, making sure to fully cover. Allow to simmer for a final 5 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

I used Barilla Plus angel hair but have used their Gluten Free line before with fantastic results - just adjust cooking time since GF takes longer to cook!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/steal-my-sunshine.html

By allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce it was able to suck up every last drop of tomato goodness, and also gave the pasta a fantastic pink shade (this trick also works with gluten free pasta!).  Joe topped his with some cheese while I kept mine on the naked side, though as with any pasta dish there is no right or wrong.  The only important thing is to make sure all the sauce is fully enjoyed otherwise it’s a total sauce foul!

I’m also sending this over to Franglais Kitchen – where this month’s Simple and in Season is being hosted.   Also sending a HUGE thanks to Chocolates and Tomato Farm for growing and harvesting such tasty treats!

Happy Birthday Dear

Joe’s Favorite Things

stove_top_mac_n_cheese

Today is my wonderful husband’s birthday – and so I’m celebrating him with a post featuring all of his favorite foods.  I’ve been cooking for him since before we were dating, at the time just trying to help out a coworker who was living on hummus sandwiches and veggie burgers.  Cooking has always been a big part of my life, and with his support, and willingness to taste test, Dancing Veggies was born.  Things haven’t exactly been easy over the past year (silly troll uterus) but my husband has been there for it all – equipped with Vitamin Water and ice cream – which is why today is all about him.

caprese_grilled_cheese

When Joe and I first moved in together he brought a few cookbooks with him, including a number of the Moosewood series.  In one of those books was a recipe for Yellow Rice with Curry Beans – something he made for me a few times when I was late getting home due to yoga.  I started tweaking it early on, which eventually resulted in this Curry Bean and Rice Dish.  Every time I make this dish I immediately flash back to those early days – and how hard it was to add the pineapples to the dish before he snatched them up!!!

Caramel Potatoes

Apparently this Coffee Cake is how one of Joe’s sisters “knew” he was going to be well taken care of.  It takes some early morning planning but the end result is worth it.  Amazingly enough these  caramelized potatoes are also on the list – along with creme brulee (another Joe birthday post!).  It’s almost as if my other half has a thing for caramel…tho that would explain why the homemade dulce de leche never lasts!

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

However while he might love caramel, his favorite food group (yes, group) is easily CHEESE!  I once made a comment about going vegan and there were no comments regarding the missing eggs, or milk, but rather extreme concern about the potential for no more cheesy dinners.  Which is why at least one meal a week includes a fair amount of this special diary product to include: Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese, Caprese Grilled Cheese (was served at our wedding as a surprise for Joe!), Stove Top Mac & Cheese, Stuffed Shells, and Cannelloni.

 

Stuffed Shell Stuffing

I’m still not 100% certain what I’m going to make for his actual birthday dinner – tho I do have dessert planned out!   

Apple Caramel Muffin