The End of Fall

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Pumpkins during the Fall season are simply beautiful.

However before they lose their luster, I always bake them to freeze so I can make soups throughout the rest of the year.  Take them to the slaughter-house, I say!

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start the process before they start to mold from the inside out.

This year I gutted my Blue Hubbard pumpkin and filled it with about a quarter-cup of water, baked it at 350 degrees until the skin was tender enough to be pierced by a fork.  I found this to be much easier than cutting the pumpkin into sections before baking or peeling  it raw.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s the Simple Things

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My posts are few and far between for two reasons: I’m still visiting my parents and I haven’t been cooking much — sustaining myself with Thanksgiving leftovers.

For many who are burned out with cooking, or just need an idea for tonight’s dinner, I shall remind you of the simple salad.  One that can be dressed with your favorite fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, cheese, etc.

My favorite salad is one made of Spinach with Fresh Pears, Dried Cranberries, Gorgonzola Cheese and Toasted Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds, topped off with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

For a vegan version, simply leave out the cheese and add any additional fruit that you enjoy.

Easy, simple and delicious as a side dish or a main dish for any evening.

The Best Brussels Sprouts

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My husband and I are odd, we like Brussels Sprouts. Either you love them or you hate them. For those who are on the fence, try this Best Brussels Sprout recipe that we found on the web about two years ago from Shmooedfood.

Best Brussels Sprouts

The name says it all! These sweet-and-sour sprouts are wonderful hot or at room temperature. 

serves 4

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed, and cut in half
2 TB olive oil (or 1 TB olive oil and 1 TB margarine)
salt to taste
¾ cup vegetable stock or water
2 TB sugar
2 TB apple cider vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Heat the oil or oil and margarine in a sauté pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are turning golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add ½ cup of the stock or water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered with a lid left slightly ajar, until the Brussels sprouts are almost completely tender and the stock or water has been cooked away, about 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the last ¼ cup of stock or water, the sugar, and the apple cider vinegar. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

A Cornucopia of an Idea

Click on image to watch the video on how to assemble this elegant puff pastry.

A lot of my friends are passing recipes back and forth on Facebook for Thanksgiving.
Here’s a simple and elegant idea for serving your vegetables, compliments of Vegetarian Times — Thanksgiving Roasted Vegetable Cornucopias.
I think I just might have to accept the challenge and try this idea. How unique.

I’m in Love with an Aussie (Veggie Pie, that is!)

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Today I ran into Whole Foods Market and as I was headed to the checkout counter I was drawn to the deli area.  There next to a heated display swarmed shoppers like bugs drawn to light.  And there I discovered the Aussie awesomeness of Boomerang’s Gourmet Veggie & Meat Pies.  What a thrill to discover meat pies reminiscent of my visit to New Zealand.

For those who aren’t familiar with this Australian favorite; meat pies are flakey, handheld and considered the “national dish” of New Zealand and Australia.  For Texans it’s like an empanada collided with a pot pie.

Based out of Austin, Texas Boomerang’s nailed it with their vegetarian version of their Spicy Mexican Veggie (diced poblano peppers and jalapenos, vegetarian sausage, red beans, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes, diced jicama and cucumber mixed in Boomerang’s Colorado sauce) and a vegan Thai Veggie (baby corn, carrots, water chestnuts, basil and cilantro all combined in Boomerang’s gourmet Thai peanut sauce).  Looks like they also sell Curry Veggie, Southwest Veggie and Spinich & Mushroom.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

These vegetarian delectables are a meal unto themselves.  Whole Foods was introducing them for $3.99 today and will sell them for $4.99.  This might seem steep, but these pies are thick and stuffed full with vegetables. I felt like it was a fair price, especially since I can’t eat lunch for less than $8 these days. I didn’t walk away hungry.

Checking out their website I discovered these savory pies are sold in Whole Foods throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Don’t live near one of these awesome states or have a Whole Foods near you?  No problem mate, they also ship.

The New Meatloaf

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This savory veggie-meatloaf dish is a family favorite; a recipe that Mom gave me which she received from a friend of a friend.  You know how that goes.

A couple of things to note. I use the Griller Crumbles by MorningStar Farms, however I personally prefer the Worthington Vegetarian Burger, if I have it on hand.  Though it’s not as readily accessible to acquire.  The MorningStar Farms products can be found in your local grocer’s freezer aisle.

Secondly, I like to give my bread cubes what’s called the “Roberts’ Tan.” Meaning, I like to brown the bread really well while sauteing. Also during the saute process I cover the skillet so the moisture is trapped, softening the bread.

I gave this recipe to my friend Mike when he opened up his vegetarian restaurant Green Vegetarian Cuisine, and he was able to create a vegan version by substituting butter for margarine and replacing the cheese with a vegan variety.  He reports that he receives rave reviews from vegetarians and meat consumers alike.

Neatloaf

Neatloaf

Saute:
1 chopped Onion
1 stick of Butter
6 slices Whole Wheat Bread, cube 1 inch squares

Add to:
1 bag of MorningStar Meal Starters Griller Recipe Crumbles
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
4 Eggs
1 tea. Garlic Powder
1 tea. Sage

Heat oven to 350F
Place in greased 9x9x2 pan.

Place on top of Neatloaf the following Sweet & Sour Glaze before Cooking.

Sweet & Sour Glaze
1 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tea. Garlic Powder
1 tea. Lemon Juice

Cook for 35-40 minutes.

Curry Pumpkin Soup

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

These chilly nights put me in the mood for Curry Pumpkin Soup.  This is a recipe I discovered in 2002 while traveling with my childhood friend in New Zealand. We were visiting a cousin of her’s outside Auckland and we’re served this soup.

The best pumpkin that I’ve found for soup is the Blue Hubbard variety.  It has a beautiful blue-gray skin and makes a lovely decorative addition to any home until you’re ready to use it.  However if Blue Hubbard is out of season then Acorn Squash is a good substitute.

This recipe calls for Indian curry.  I’ve used a variety of Indian curries over the years and they are all good.  However this week I tried a Thai yellow curry paste and I wasn’t disappointed. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

You’ll need to experiment to find the best texture and thickness for your liking.   Try adding more/less pumpkin, more/less cream, more/less water, etc.

When I tasted this soup for the first time I immediately fell in love. I think you will too.

1 Large Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1.5-2 t Curry Powder OR 1 T Thai Yellow Curry Paste
5 Cups of Water
8 t Vegetable Stock
4-6 cups of pumpkin or squash (I like Blue Hubbard pumpkins the best)
300 ml Full Cream

Saute Onion and garlic in melted butter with curry powder or paste. Add water and vegetable stock, pumpkin (peeled & cooked) and boil until soft. Place all ingredients in blender and whiz to mushy liquid. Add cream & parsley.

A Recipe to Impress

Spicy Fall Pumpkin Stew

Spicy Fall Pumpkin Stew

Fall is in the air and my favorite recipe of all time is from a 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times.  Spicy Fall Pumpkin Stew looks so elegant baked in a pumpkin, yet it is easy to assemble.  You’ll be sure to impress your guests with its savory flavors of cheddar cheese, cumin and garlic. The original recipe calls for cayenne pepper, however I always leave that out because I don’t like recipes that are too spicy.  Also the Poblano-Cucumber Salsa completes the meal. Enjoy!