Meatless Monday in a Book

The past few months have flown by in a confetti tornado of many more activities than my introvert-self typically likes, but I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed myself…most of the time. In true hermit fashion however, I’m settling back in at home for the winter–if it ever actually arrives–and thinking about all the comforting meals I’d like to create.

Tonight’s meatless Monday meal was simple and delicious, yet unnoteworthy. But one of my Christmas 20151228_212206-1.jpgpresents is absolutely worth talking about. The beautiful book by Hugh Acheson, The Broad Fork. It’s an entire collection of recipes for fruits and vegetables broken down by season. I try to eat seasonally as much as I can, so I instantly appreciated the set up of this book.

Apparently, the idea all started with his neighbor asking him, “What the hell do with kohlrabi?” Great question. Although I know what kohlrabi is, I’ve wondered before what I would do with it were I to bring some home. In the contents lists, kohlrabi was among a few others I was drawn to learning about such as salsify, sunchokes, fiddleheads, and yacon.

20151228_213904-1.jpgI will delve into those “oddities” later, but what caught my attention most immediately were the recipes for Brussels sprouts. Being that we are in the season for them, and I adore them, I went straight to that section. My eye quickly found the fried Brussels with a lime vinaigrette recipe, and I plan on making that as a side for my New Year’s eve meal.

It’s hard not to sit here and read through this entire book tonight. The photographs are20151228_214204-1.jpg gorgeous and the recipes are the perfect instructional length. Look at that radicchio! I don’t even like this stuff, but I want to tear this page out and chomp it. The pictures throughout bring on the uncontrolled drool factor. I love vegetables, so I don’t need help with eating and preparing them in all the ways, but I can see how someone who is leary about what to do with them would find this book inspiring.

I’ll be starting with the Brussels recipe, but I’m sure that I will be trying many more throughout the seasons.

 

Meatless Monday & Friends with Benefits

Tonight, I made a simple meatless meal–an open-faced egg sandwich. Yes, it was absolutely delicious, but the best part about it was that almost all of it was created with handmade products from friends. I’ve scored big time with homegrown/made gifts in the last couple of weeks. The season of giving apparently started early and I took full advantage of those benefits tonight.

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The bread is what my friends and I like call “tail bread” because one time an otherwise rustic-round loaf my friend made had a small, protruding piece that looked like a tail. I don’t know how she does it, but this bread is always spot-on with the flavor, crust, and crumb. I like to toast it on my cast iron griddle with a butter and olive oil combo.

Once the slices were toasted, I topped them with thin layer of Duke’s Mayo and then the most scrumptious zucchini relish ever. This relish and the dill pickle spear were made by another friend who grew the zucchini and cucumbers. Whenever I get my hands on a jar of this relish, I eat it every single day until it is gone. It pairs perfectly with the bread and over easy eggs, which I put on top with a handful of sliced, cherry tomatoes from my fall garden, a sprinkling of pecorino cheese, and then another friend-crafted delight–pickled jalapeños. The heat from the peppers she grew herself is balanced by a tiny hint of sweet from a dash of sugar in the pickling recipe. Absolutely delectable.

Again, this was a very simple meatless meal, but the fact that my friends shared their hard work and talent with me made it so much tastier than any ol’ regular egg sandwich. I have some seriously talented friends and I’m lucky to have them in my life. Not only do I enjoy the fruits of their labors–from breads and honey to vanilla extract and candles–but I also like to learn from them and share what I am able. My lovely friends with benefits.

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Although this was a meatless meal, it was enjoyed with the scent of bacon in the air. Another crafty friend sent me an all natural, soy-based Bacon-scented candle! It smells heavenly.

Today may be Meatless Monday, but I’m already thinking about my next baking adventure. I’m thinking it’s going to be a meat pie. MEAT PIE, Y’ALL.

Meatless Monday: Black Beans, Quinoa, and…

One of my go-to, easy recipes for any night that I’m too tired to care is the simple dish of black beans and quinoa. I do sometimes make the traditional version with rice, but most of the time when I’m that tired, I’m looking for that extra protein punch from the quinoa. The leftover quinoa–because I way overdo it when making it, just like with pasta–is also good to have in the mornings with a couple of over easy eggs and avocado.

To start, I use the tri-colored quinoa mix for no particular reason other than I like the way it looks. I add coconut oil and spices like oregano and cumin to the water when cooking it to infuse some flavors. While that is doing its thing, I chop up white onion, fresh cloves of garlic, and red pepper and saute those in olive oil. Once the onions are starting to brown, I pour in the can of black beans with the liquid. Remember, these are the no-energy-to-care nights, so your preferred style of canned black beans are just fine.

After adding the beans, I toss in some oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt & pepper (I like to add fresh garden basil when I have it in season near the end) and let all that simmer together while the quinoa finishes up. Sometimes I like to have a green veggie with my meal, as well. Depending on what is in season or what I have around it could be zucchini or broccoli or a small salad of spinach and arugula with a homemade shallot dressing.

But my secret, no-prepping or cooking needed veggie addition that I absolutely adore with my black beans, regardless of whether I’m having them with quinoa or rice, as tacos, or on a salad, is Slawsa. Slawsa is a really cool condiment that is a slaw/salsa mix. My favorites are the Low Sugar and Fire styles. It’s really good with a variety of foods, from topping hot dogs and burgers to spicing up deviled eggs, but there’s something about the Fire flavor in the same bite as the garlicky beans that I’m obsessed with.

wpid-img_20150914_185634.jpgPlus, it adds that purty color to my meal and we all know how important the look of the meal is to me for that all-encompassing enjoyment. That’s it. Easy peasy black bean dinner for Meatless Mondays or those nights when your garden of cares has clearly gone dormant.

 

Ingredients

One 15 ounce can of black beans

1 cup quinoa

1 tablespoon coconut oil for the quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil for the saute

Cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, s&p (or any of your liking)

Garlic cloves

Green veggie of your preference

Slawsa