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May 31, 2009

NYC love

I have been away from my kitchen for the past few days while doing business and a little vacationing in NYC. I'll post more on this later, but for now I'll leave you with my lunch:

May 18, 2009

Spinach and Tempeh Lasagna

My new favorite use for a crockpot = lasagna!
Like meat sauce in your lasagna? Tempeh serves as a great meat substitute in this hearty sauce.

Spinach and Tempeh Lasagna

1 medium onion, quartered
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 1 clove minced (1 tsp.), divided
1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into chunks
1 28-oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for oiling slow cooker
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
8 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
1 16-oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese, divided
1 cup grated Swiss cheese, divided

1. Place onion, basil, oregano, and 2 whole garlic cloves in food processor; pulse 6 times, or until onion and garlic are chopped. Add tempeh, and pulse until tempeh is ground. Add tomatoes, oil, salt, and pepper; pulse until chunky sauce forms.

2. Combine spinach and minced garlic in bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Coat bottom and sides of 4-quart slow cooker with oil. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over bottom, and cover with layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them in pieces to fit around edges. Spread 3/4 cup spinach mixture over top. Place 1 layer roasted red peppers over spinach, and top with 3/4 cup ricotta. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over ricotta. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup Swiss cheese. Repeat, layering noodles, spinach, peppers, ricotta, Swiss cheese, and tomato sauce. Top with 1 more layer noodles and remaining spinach, tomato sauce, ricotta, and Swiss cheese.

4. Cook 2-3 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low. Let stand uncovered 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe compliments of
Helpful note from VT: Many people don’t know that the crock inside a slow cooker is ovenproof and you can transfer a dish like lasagna into the oven (up to 400°F) for 10 minutes to brown the top. Just be sure the pot is hot, to avoid drastic temperature changes that can cause it to crack.

May 14, 2009

Slow Cooker Vegetable Vindaloo

One of my sources for new recipes is Vegetarian Times Magazine. They also have a website with a large archive of recipes - I found the Slow Cooker Vegetable Vindaloo on the website when I was in search of a recipe to put my new crockpot to use. I served the vindaloo atop brown rice with some naan on the side (Indian-style flatbread). Perfect!

A word from VT about Vindaloo:
Vindaloo is a spicy stew from the Goa region of India. Here, cauliflower and chickpeas replace the lamb or pork traditionally used in the dish. You can also substitute 3 cups of potatoes for half of the cauliflower for a heartier meal.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Vindaloo

6 cups cauliflower florets
2 15.5-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 large leeks, white and light green parts sliced into 1-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs. curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro
3 cups cooked rice

1. Combine cauliflower, chickpeas, leeks, tomato sauce, vinegar, ginger, curry powder, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper sauce, and 1/4 cup water in 4-quart slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on high 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Transfer Vindaloo to large bowl, and cool 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro, and serve over rice.

May 12, 2009

Saturday Morning Veggie Skillet

When I thought about it, there was only one recipe that could be my first posting, and it is the oldest recipe that I call my own. My Saturday morning veggie skillets date back to my first apartment in college. I was inspired by the first kitchen that I could call my own, and immediately loved grocery shopping and coming up with meals to share with my roommates. Saturday morning breakfast was the meal that you could always count everyone being home for. One thing that I bought early on was frozen bagged hash browns to fry up for our communal breakfasts. I quickly learned that frozen hash browns were less than inspiring and set out to come up with a recipe using fresh potatoes instead. After much trial and error with very bland hash browns (garlic and salt just doesn't cut it) I found a simple and satisfying answer in all purpose seasoning salt. The first veggie to find it's way into the pan with my homemade hash browns was onions. When I decided to expand that to almost any vegetable that I had on hand and top it with eggs and cheese, the Saturday morning breakfast skillet was born. Many years/roommates later, this is still a Saturday morning favorite at my house.

Saturday Morning Veggie Skillet

This recipe is so versatile, the only thing you need is potatoes and eggs, and then you can throw in just about any vegetables or cheese you have on hand. This particular Saturday to serve two I used 3 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2" pieces. Cook potatoes in a few Tbs of olive oil over medium heat (an iron skillet is my favorite for flavor). Once the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside but still quite a ways from being done mix in all purpose seasoning salt to taste. I usually go for slightly too salty, because once the vegetables are mixed in it balances it out. Continue to brown the potatoes for another 2 minutes or so and then start adding the vegetables. You'll want to stage it so that vegetables that need longer go in first (broccoli, peppers, onions) and leave out the ones that only need 1 to 2 minutes in the pan (mushrooms, tomatoes). For this particular skillet I used onions, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. Cook the potatoes and vegetables to your liking, turn off heat and sprinkle a light layer of cheese over the top (I used swiss on this skillet). Fry 1-2 eggs per person in a separate pan, cooked any way you like them, and serve on top or to the side of the potatoes and veggies.

Here are some ideas for other ingredient combinations that I have tried:

Sun dried tomato, basil, goat cheese
Black beans, jalepenos, onions, tomatoes, jack cheese
Broccoli, mushroom, cheddar
Spinach, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese
Vegetarian sausage crumbles, country gravy, cheddar

Let me know what yummy ingredient combinations that you come up with!

My first blog post, on my first blog.. ever!

Welcome to The Ordinary Vegetarian! I am excited about sharing my cooking adventures with you--I am also looking forward to being inspired by you! Please don't be shy, feel free to share your recipes or make suggestions on how I can improve mine.

Happy cooking!