Still crazy for pulses on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

This week’s menu plan is sort of half-retroactive and half-hopeful. We get our CSA box on Wednesday so we’ve been trying to make our menu plan then, but I didn’t make it to the store for the rest of the stuff we needed until Thursday, so the whole week’s plan got moved to Friday. So this is the ghost of menus past, present and future.

Tangy red lentils over salad greens

We have another menu that’s heavy on the beans and lentils. We just can’t get enough! So cheap, so filling, such good protein and nutrients. We’ll get bored soon with the recipes in our own repertoire, though, so I hope there will be some great recipes in the Steady Pulse beans & legume recipe round-up!

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by the lovely Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness. The theme for the menu swap this week is apples, and I don’t have any in my dinner plans, but we’ve certainly been crunching along all week long on the delicious first-crop apples that arrived in our CSA box! For millions more menu plans, check out the giant Menu Plan Monday compendium over at Orgunkie.

I usually do a little “mash-up” photo of some of the food from the menu plan to act as a header, but this week, for fun and inspiration, I give you the full-size experience!

Friday:
Nasu dengaku (broiled eggplant with miso)
Steamed bok choy with pickled ginger
Sloppy sushi with avocado

Nasu Dengaku - Broiled Japanese Eggplant with Miso Sauce

Nasu Dengaku - Broiled Japanese Eggplant with Miso Sauce

Saturday:

GF Mac and cheese (or “cheeze”) with green beans, tomatoes, and kidney beans

Sunday:
Cumin-crusted potatoes (5 Spices, 50 Dishes)
Punjabi creamed greens with kale and chard (5 Spices, 50 Dishes) (made with soy yogurt)

Creamed Greens (chard and spinach)

Punjabi Creamed Greens (kale and chard)

Monday:

Lentil dal (5 Spices, 50 Dishes)
Home-cooked cranberry beans
Dandelion greens with walnuts and raisins
Quinoa
Chocolate pumpkin loaf (made without eggs)

Tuesday:
Sweet potato and kale soup with fennel seeds
Pamela’s drop biscuits

Sweet Potato and Kale Soup with Fennel Seed

Sweet Potato and Kale Soup with Fennel Seed

Wednesday:
Tangy red lentils
Roasted broccoli with pine nuts and lemon zest
Brown rice

Thursday:
Tinkyada brown rice spirals with vegan pesto, roast zucchini, tomatoes

Gluten-free spirals with vegan pesto, zucchini, and tomato

Gluten-free spirals with vegan pesto, zucchini, and tomato

Don’t forget to send in your favorite tried and true recipes for beans, lentils, and other legumes and pulses!

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

social_menu2

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.

Pesto Potato Pinenut Pizza

Sometimes everything your boyfriend brings home from the farm is so yummy the two of you just have to cook it all up and throw it into a delicious, to-hell-with-gluten-free-eating Vicolo cornmeal pizza crust and you have to eat every bite because it’s just that darn good and you’re probably not allergic to wheat, anyways, right? Right.

What are other peoples’ secret glutenous temptations? French bread? Chocolate cake? Oreos?

potatopizza1

Mine is Vicolo cornmeal pizza crusts, which with a name like that should be gluten-free but sadly the first ingredient is wheat flour. But there’s just nothing else like them. I dream of their crunch, their heart-meltingly good flavor, bold enough to stand alone, tender enough to cradle and enhance all the lovely things Duck harvests from the ground.

Crisp slices of grilled eggplant, garlicky sauteed spinach, barely toasted pine nuts, oven-baked new potato slices, homemade vegan basil pesto, and diced tomatoes from a tin. Each ingredient on this pizza demanded its own cooking method (not counting that not-particularly-laborious stint with a can opener) but it was so worth it to have each vegetable singing out at its very best.

Summer bounty, or, my box runneth over

Week after week, my box brings the bounty of summer. Ripe tomatoes (so ripe they sometimes turn moldy within two days), fat green and yellow zucchini, paper bags full of small tender pink and yellow potatoes, and bunch after bunch of basil. All these vegetables happen to be ones that we don’t readily use so they’ve piled up as the weeks go on. We tend to go for things that can be easily steamed or sauteed, and these fellows don’t lend themselves particularly well to these techniques. (Yuck, steamed potatoes with steamed basil topping!)

Summer gratin of potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, and basil

But when I searched using my beloved Food Blog Search for recipes with potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes, I couldn’t find anything combining these three. Has no one else been confronted by this particular food dilemma? I would clearly have to strike out on my own, which is never a bad thing as long as I have the energy for a little culinary adventure.

Inspired by my one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Suppers, and author Deborah Madison’s love of gratins, I decided to make a giant, summery gratin out of my collection of wayward vegetables. I found a recipe online for Classic Potato Gratin that sounded rich and filling, essential as I wanted this to be a full-meal dish. But this recipe was decidedly un-vegan, containing both butter and cream, so I searched high and low for vegan cream recipes, finally locating and adapting a recipe for a vegan creme fraiche that turned out very well.

The dish turned out delicious. The main flavoring was the garlic and basil, and the contrasting textures of the different vegetables, from chewy potato topping down into soft roasted tomato and tender zucchini and waxy interior potato, were quite wonderful. The gratin was filling but not too rich, and the colors, pink and yellow potatoes, red tomatoes, green and yellow squash, and dark green basil, were just gorgeous.

I’m pretty proud of myself for coming up with a fairly elaborate and very delicious solution to my produce conundrum, so I’m submitting the recipe to Culinarty’s Original Recipe blog event. This is also a perfect entry for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! event, hosted by Rachel over at The Crispy Cook. The theme for this round-up of gluten-free delights is Seasonal Vegetables and well, it doesn’t get any more seasonal than a neverending summer cascade of potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and basil!

I’ve written out the recipe below (this blog is part of Food Blog Search, so now there will be at least one recipe featuring the potato-tomato-zucchini trifecta) but I have a few caveats and addenda, as usual, so be sure to read those first! Continue reading

Summer soup

Ah, summer in San Francisco.

I arrived home last week after a long visit to New York. (My trip is one reason this blog has gotten hopelessly out of date!) After a couple of weeks of skirts and sandals and other wispy pieces of actual summer clothing, it was a shock to return to a Bay Area August, full of fog and the kind of grim cold that lingers in the corners of the apartment, even when I have the heater going full blast. It was such a nice surprise that my new flannel pajamas had arrived while I away. Flannel pajamas in August. Only in San Francisco.

But this interesting intersection of season and weather does have one terrific silver lining, and that’s Summer Soup. A nice warm bowl containing all the produce bounty of summer, and a nice chilly day to enjoy it on!

Summer Soup with Vegan Pesto

When I saw how full of produce the fridge and counter were when I got home, I defrosted my most delicious scrap stock as a base (the delicious batch IV stock that Duck couldn’t stop sipping straight), and put together some summer soup. I tend to have trouble making soup without a recipe, trouble that takes the form of lackluster flavor, but I wanted to make a soup that would use up all the veggies I had already, not the veggies a recipe wanted me to use.

I decided to wing it, using red onions, fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, pink potatoes, green cabbage, carrots, and some roasted garlic, and the results were very good. I’m not going to post the recipe here because it was so basic and pretty much all the flavor came from the stock, so this would have been a pretty dull pot of soup if I’d been using canned broth, or even one of my milder scrap stocks. Duck also used some CSA basil and some basil he’s been growing on our front porch to make a puree of basil, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts (basically, vegan pesto) which we swirled into the bowls of soup individually. As a final touch we served the soup over heaps of steamed quinoa, and had our protein for the day as well.

And though we sat in our chilly kitchen, wrapping our frostbitten fingers around our steaming bowls, at least we could taste the warmth of summer’s goodness on our spoons.

Zucchini

Taverna Zucchini and Potato-Raddichio Gratin

Well, I was all set to write a lovely post, waxing rhapsodical as usual about how much I love radicchio, and the fun things I did with my first zucchini of summer. But on our way home from the airport today, Duck and I got in a pretty serious car accident on the Bay Bridge. Everyone’s fine, but my beloved car is totaled (and I only have liability insurance, so I’m pretty much on my own there), and my body hurts a lot and is stiff and queasy and well, I just don’t have it in me to be lyrical about food.

But zucchini season is here, and I really do want to share with you my very most favorite, super simple and super awesome way to prepare it. So forgive me if I sound flatter than usual, but please enjoy this recipe which is going to taste a million times better than I’ll be able to make it sound.

I ate my yummy, garlicky zucchini with a radicchio and potato gratin from Deborah Madison’s great simple-foods cookbook Vegetarian Suppers. The gratin had radicchio and little red and yellow potatoes and baby red onions and Laura Chenel aged goat cheese and olive oil and salt and pepper. It was a bit bland the first night, but after sitting for a day it was delicious.

Taverna Zucchini (from the San Francisco Chronicle, a million years ago)

Zucchini
Fresh lemon juice
Olive oil
Crushed garlic
Salt
Pepper
Herbes de Provence

Slice each zucchini (I always feel weird not calling it a zucchino – I wonder why we changed that?) in half lengthwise. Using a knife, gently score the cut face of the zucchini in a large cross-hatch pattern. That is, make a few shallow, diagonal cuts across the zucchini, and then make a few more in the opposite direction.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the zucchini until it is your desired texture (I hate undercooked zucchini, but I hate mushy, overcooked zucchini, too!).

While the zucchini is boiling, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. When the zucchini is cooked, drain it and spread some of the mixture over the face of each half. Eat warm, or enjoy as a cold appetizer.

Decadence for breakfast, and lunch, and…

Decadent Breakfast Tacos

My visit to the Kitchen Empress in Michigan revolved a lot around food, as all of our visits (and our individual lives) tend to do. As food enthusiasts who have lived in the East, West, Southwest, and Midwest of this country, and who have taken up long-term habitation in several of the other continents of the world, we swap food tales like foreign correspondents share their war stories.

One morning I was telling KE about this new fondness I’ve developed for tacos (they are a terrific, easy vegan and gluten-free meal, and those are in high demand around my house). She swapped back with stories of beloved breakfast tacos from when she lived in Austin. Breakfast tacos with potatoes in them. I could not stop imagining what that would be like – the soft, warm corn tortilla wrapped around the crisped potatoes and the fluffy scrambled egg.

My last morning in Michigan we finally made my taco dreams come true. Using leftover roasted potatoes, we put together some breakfast tacos that were everything I’d imagined and more. I couldn’t stop thinking about them when I got home.

The other night, I worked well past dinner and so on the way back home Duck and I ended up at midnight at one of San Francisco’s all-night restaurants. We ordered the only things you can order in an all-night restaurant that are both vegan and gluten-free: french fries and a small green salad. These weren’t just any fries, these were “desert fries” (at first I wondered if they were misspelled “dessert fries” and pictured them piled with cherry sauce and whipped cream) with spicy Cajun seasoning. You can only eat so many french fries for dinner, and everyone knows fries make terrible leftovers (not least because you don’t want to be reminded of your dietary excess). But the spectre of the breakfast taco compelled me. I packed our fries up to take home.

And boy was I glad I did. For what followed was more magnificent than I could ever have anticipated.

The one consistent bummer about making tacos has been that the corn tortillas get soggy and fall apart halfway through the eating. Taco trucks and other taco professionals get around this by doubling up the tortilla, but my store-bought tortillas aren’t yummy enough that I want to scarf down a plain double layer of them. So I concocted a plan to deal with all these hurdles, little imagining it would lead me to a breakfast taco so decadent that I had to leave most of it on the plate for lunch, and beyond.

Decadent Breakfast Tacos

Take a small stack of corn tortillas and warm them in a pan until soft. Take two tortillas and sandwich between them a thin layer of Laura Chenel aged goat cheese. In a pan, warm chopped desert fries and crumbled tempeh bacon in a little olive oil. Place these on the tortilla, and top them with a perfectly scrambled egg, sliced avocado, and some chipotle-lime salsa. Close your eyes and savor. It’s okay if it’s too rich to finish in one sitting – the tortilla won’t fall apart while it waits.