Spring Things

The weather in Boston has been less than delightful the past week or two, despite that it’s now late April.  Last week it was pretty frigid, extremely windy and in the 40’s.  However, yesterday we got a glimpse of the sunny days to come with morning sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s!  Even though it got cloudy later in the day and threatened rain, the temperature stayed comfortable, which was a big relief to me (I hate being cold!).  Today is much the same; cloudy but mild.

Anyway, enough small talk.  Whether or not the weather cooperates, it’s spring, people!  And that means it’s time for fresh produce and love.  It also means that it’s almost summer, the time of year when for all intents and purposes I follow a raw diet because there is just that much fabulous produce available!  But I digress.

Lately I’ve been loving me some zucchini and summer squash.  I made a couple of random yet tasty dishes with these recently.

One night I was “using up” so I tossed some cut-up zukes and squash into a sautee with onions, garlic, chickpeas, and olive oil.


Then I mixed it all into a pot of whole wheat couscous that I’d cooked in vegetable broth that needed using.

Sorry for the dark picture…the evening lighting in my apartment sucks

This was so friggin’ easy and versatile.  I ate it as pictured above the first night, but when eating as leftovers, I topped it with mushroom spaghetti sauce.  True to form.  I love sauce.  Like whoa.

And so, a few days later I made my own sauce that was comprised of spring vegetables: zucchini, squash, and red bell pepper.

Stop light
It’s a stop light!

Then, I browned them in a stock pot with garlic and olive oil:

Once the veggies had a nice caramelized look to them, I added jarred mushroom spaghetti sauce and a bunch of spices (chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, oregano…I am not very specific about these things) and let it simmer.  While it cooked, I had a very typical A. Cook appetizer…

Garlic dill pickles and kalamata olives…salty heaven!

Finally I cooked up some elbow macaroni and vegan meatballs and tossed it all together in a bowl.  The result: veggie-filled, warm, spicy goodness.


In case anyone is curious, these are the meatballs I used:

I always keep a bag of these in the freezer. You can get them at Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s makes a version of them now as well.  I prefer the ones pictured, personally.  The price is pretty comparable and I find that the Nate’s brand are softer when heated, whereas the TJ ones sometimes have hard bits around the edges.

In other news (and H can testify to this), over the last week I have been consuming obscene amounts of green vegetables, namely spinach, kale, and broccoli.  (Lucky for Mr. Asparagus, though unlucky for me, he is never on sale for under $4/lb. anywhere in Boston and that is the only reason he has been spared from my insatiable green appetite.)  But seriously, I can’t get enough.  And that, my friends, is how I know it’s springtime!

So Close, Yet So Far Away

Good LORD it’s been a while since I posted! I apologize that I’ve been a little bit MIA from commenting also, but this semester has been crazy-train! I usually check out everyone’s blogs during class on my Google reader (I know, I’m awful), but all of a sudden they started really cracking down on us, so I am really behind, but I promise to try hard to catch up this weekend. The end of the semester seems so far away but I know finals will be on me before I know it, so I need to make sure I put school first for the next few weeks.

All that said, I have still been doing close to my normal amount of cooking.  This is something that I won’t compromise on, and I always work to find a way to fit it into my hectic schedule.   I know that alot of people, students in particular, who are committed to healthy lifestyles feel the same, and I believe that home food-prep is especially important for vegans!!

Anyways, enough of my rambling!  Even though spring is technically close, it seems SO far away, so I have continued with my soup-making.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I like to make soups out of leftover parts of veggies I eat, because not only have I paid for them, but they are just as yummy and nutritious as the other parts.   My most recent concoction was made out of the stems of organic broccoli and kale, as well as the obvious onion, garlic, veggie broth, and spices.

Here are the ingredients hanging out in their little veggie hot tub

Here is the finished (pureed) product

This soup was just okay.  I think I much prefer a version incorporating butternut squash or something else a little sweeter, because the kale gave this soup a slightly bitter, blander flavor.   I have a squash at home so my next batch of soup will definitely use that!  Now…all I need is a new food processor.  Look what happened when I blended the broccoli-kale soup! 😦

Be back soon with some new Indian food and also desserts!!

Indoor Sunshine

It is SO.COLD. in Boston this week. I’ve been eating alot of soup, and while it’s easy (and truthfully, fairly yummy and satisfying) to heat up canned soup (I always have Amy’s or Whole Foods soups on hand), tonight I wanted to make some of my own. I’ve been thinking of the squash-broccoli-cauliflower soup concoction that Dad made for Christmas dinner (which was absolutely delightful) for a few weeks now, and the fact that I had a butternut squash in the kitchen that desperately needed to be eaten made my decision for me.  The result was something I am calling Sunshine Soup, because of its sunny color and pleasant warming taste.   A rough version of the recipe (because I sort of made it up as I went along) follows the pictures!

The star ingredients (squash, broccoli, onion, and garlic), mise en place

Simmering away (peas and carrots? ha)

Ready to eat!

This soup is tasty and seriously filling.  I was super-hungry but could only eat the portion shown, plus one slice of whole wheat bread as accompaniment.  The main tastes that stood out to me were the white pepper and the turmeric, with a hint of sweetness from the squash.  Overall it was a little reminiscent of curry (mostly I’m sure because of the turmeric!) and had the slightest hint of spiciness.  Also, I happen to love the strong and distinctive taste of white pepper, but if you don’t like it or haven’t tried it before, I’d recommend skipping it in the recipe.  The broccoli doesn’t actually add much flavor but it definitely adds a nice texture and some solid nutrition.   I have a ton left over, which will be great to pack up and bring to school over the next week.

And as promised, la receta:

1 small butternut squash, peeled and 1″ cubed (or as close as possible to cubed)
1 head of broccoli, stems only, 1″ cubed (or as close as possible to cubed)
1 medium onion, roughly diced
4 small-medium cloves of garlic, cut into strips (see picture above…sort of in the shape of slivered almonds)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I hardly ever use 2 full tbsp. of oil for cooking, but for this recipe it’s necessary in order to properly “roast” the garlic without burning it)
2 1/4 c. vegetable stock
1 c. water
a boatload of whatever spices you want (I used ground white and black pepper, ground coriander, oregano, turmeric, a bit of garam masala, a bit of cumin, and sea salt, obviously)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Throw in the garlic and push it around with a wooden spoon for a few minutes til it starts to brown (be careful not to burn it!).  Toss in the onion and sautee for 2-3 minutes until it starts to soften.  Add the squash and broccoli and sautee for about 5 minutes, until the mixture seems like it’s getting soft.  Put in whatever spices you are using and stir for another minute.  Add the broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree using an immersion blender or in batches using a food processor.   Adjust seasonings as necessary.

Note: If you puree the entire thing, it’s pretty thick.  I reserved about 1/6 of the soup with the veggie chunks in it and pureed the rest, then stirred the brothy chunky part back in at the end, because I wanted it a little more soupy.

Keep It Simple

Yikes, I’m still so far behind in blogging about my meals of the past week!  But they were all special and I want to give each the attention it deserves 🙂  So, we are still harking back to last weekend, when I was home alone.  One night J was out with friends so I was cooking just for me; I made a really simple dinner using a recipe out of a fantastic cookbook which I have not yet featured on here, The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein.  I’ve had it for a while, and I couldn’t understand why I’d yet to make any of its recipes!  (Sometimes I think maybe I let my Dreena Burton obsession cloud my life a little too much haha).  Anyway the book is awesome and is filled with naturally vegan Italian and Greek recipes…great for if you’re having omni guests and want to serve food that is familiar and not “scary” vegan. 

Anyway, I made Roasted Greek Potatoes with Oregano and Lemon (no, the recipe names aren’t terribly original) and ate some broccoli on the side.


These were simply delicious, and made the whole house smell amazing.  I’d definitely make them again as a side to a larger meal, but this small and simple meal was more than enough for little old me 🙂  I’m excited to try a few of the risotto recipes in this book also!