A little less socializing for a gluten-free, vegan Menu Plan Monday

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Well, the awesome energy that was propelling my previous MPM stuttered to something of a halt last week due to fatigue, an abundance of social activity and the poor customer service of Eating with the Seasons (in other words, no more CSA box)*. So here’s another retroactive menu plan that harkens back to those glory days where we were actually making lots of new Moosewood recipes and eating fabulous meals every night!

After you’ve taken a look at the menu, please check out the announcement for this month’s Sugar High Fridays event. This is a super fun and incredibly long-running sweets event, and I have the honor of hosting this month’s round. If you like sweets (and who doesn’t?) won’t you cook up something fun and join us?

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted over at lovely Gluten Free Goodness. For a huge compendium of Menu Plan Mondays, visit the giant list at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Monday:
Impressionist cauliflower
Raw kale salad with avocado and cherry tomatoes
Spanish stew with chick peas, potatoes, and artichoke hearts (Moosewood at Home)

Tuesday:
“Sloppy sushi” rolls with nori, sushi rice, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, and flax oil
Steamed asparagus with citrus dressing (Moosewood Low Fat)
Broiled portabello mushrooms with miso-balsamic glaze (MLF)

Wednesday:
Fennel-seasoned pan-fried tempeh (Moosewood at Home)
Glazed sweet potatoes with maple syrup and lime

Steamed napa cabbage with pickled ginger and vinegar-soy sauce

Thursday:
Nature’s Burger or homemade falafel with arugula and cherry tomatoes
Sweet potato fries
(made with white sweet potatoes – the best for fries!) with vegan aioli
Baby broccoli with garlic and soy sauce

Friday:
Black-eyed pea curry (5 Spices, 50 Dishes)
Steamed beet greens
Quinoa

Saturday:
Broiled tofu (Moosewood at Home)
Kale with kale sauce
“Sloppy sushi” rolls

Sunday:
Quick vegetarian borscht (I added a Yukon potato and some caraway seeds to the recipe)

*For those who care, here are the reasons why we quit Eating with the Seasons: Mostly it was an issue of style. EWTS was more of an online delivery service, with a huge list of produce to choose from each week, much of it coming from farms far to the South or North of here. Two of the main reasons we get a CSA box are so we can be more connected to specific farmers who grow our food and so we can eat locally and in season. It didn’t really feel like that was being facilitated by the EWTS box.

But the capper was the poor customer service we received. The people we spoke to on the phone never seemed well informed about the CSA service, which was frustrating. Finally, we wanted to put our box on hold as we do periodically to check back in and make sure getting a CSA box is still the right choice for us. When I called to find out if we could do this, we were told that we would be purged from the EWTS membership and probably would not be able to get back in later. The way this was presented was as a kind of threat to keep us from putting our box on hold. (Of course it had the immediate effect of making me want to quit rather than just take some time off.) When I spoke to someone else there later, they had no idea what I was talking about and assured me we would remain EWTS members forever and could resume whenever we wanted. I hate to think that there’s one confused and/or nasty person spoiling the customer service for EWTS, but it was definitely a series of frustrating interactions! We’re going to try a different CSA soon, one that is more connected to a specific farm.

Energizing broccoli for the fatigued cook

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There is, for me, no vegetable more vegetable-y than broccoli. When I am craving a serious does of healthy veggie goodness, I usually want either broccoli or kale. But steamed broccoli is often just a little too plain, especially to have for several meals in a row. And something a bit more exciting, like stir-fried broccoli, is often too labor-intensive when I’m tired and just want to get dinner on the table.

But welcome to the most delicious compromise you’ll ever meet! Chopped garlic (and as a time and labor-saver you can chop the pieces fairly large because they are going to be steamed until they are mild) is thrown on top of chopped broccoli, and the whole mix is cooked in a tiny bit of water and soy sauce. One pot, no oil, no mixing sauces. Because you are cooking it in a tiny bit of water, it retains more nutrients than if you boiled or blanched it, but there’s no steamer basket to wash!

This recipe is also great for taking the bitterness out of broccoli rabe, also often known as “broccolini”. I had a friend who otherwise couldn’t stand the bitter taste of broccoli rabe, but loved it when prepared this way.

Easiest Broccoli with Garlic and Soy Sauce

1 bunch broccoli, baby broccoli, broccolini, or broccoli rabe
5-7 cloves of garlic
1/2 Cup water
2 tsp. soy sauce or wheat-free tamari

Chop broccoli into pieces. For baby broccoli or broccoli rabe you can leave the stalks whole, too. Chop garlic into small pieces. You don’t have to mince, nor do the pieces have to be pretty or evenly sized.

Combine the water, soy sauce, and chopped garlic in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover, and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Serve the broccoli immediately, with or without the garlic pieces.