Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Veggie Pizza Boats

Its been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me and now that things are settling down I can finally sit down to do a post.  I have been eating out frequently and cooking here and there, so I am really glad to be back to a normal schedule where I can cook every night.  I have been really doing good about brown bagging it at work, but when I get home it seems that I just opt for ordering out.  Now that I am back in my groove I wanted to post something simple and scrumptious that make the bridge to getting back on track easy for you too!

So one day when I was feeling down my best friend. Caity, invited me over for dinner to cheer me up.   And she did.  She made vegan pizza boats.  And they were awesome.  I loved pizza boats as a kid, and completely had forgotten about them.  She always knows how to get me feeling back to normal.  This is her recipe and I just had to share it with y'all.  These pizza boats are so easy and quick that you can throw them together in 20 minutes.

She made them a couple times for me and used different toppings every time,  so they are versatile and you can use whatever veggies or other toppings that you want!  The first time she used a easy vegan cheeze sauce made with nutritional yeast, the second time she topped them with avocado and nutritional yeast.  My version tonight uses raw veggies instead of her sautéed version(which is equally awesome) sprinkled with just nutritional yeast, because I can be a lazy vegan.

Feel free to judge me.

I gave this recipe a try last night...and the night before.... just to make sure I could duplicate it and make it as yummy as hers.

      Veggie Pizza Boats:
1 loaf fresh Italian bread
1 zucchini
4 baby bella mushrooms
2 teaspoons chopped onion
pizza sauce (I used organic Delallo)
1 clove fresh garlic
cherry tomatoes
nutritional yeast
fresh basil
4 tbsp. olive oil
fresh spinach
coarse salt
Italian seasoning
fresh ground pepper

Cut loaf into four pieces, so that you have boat like quarters.  Mix seasonings (Italian seasoning, S&P and minced garlic clove) in olive oil.

Spread oil and herb mixture onto bread.  (If you have a silicon brush, now is the time to use it, I don't have one, so I used a teaspoon.)  Then bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes to toast bread.  This is an important step, so that your boats don't become soggy. 

Spread pizza sauce onto boats, then cover with spinach leaves and then cover in toppings.

Bake boats for an additional 10 minutes.

Top with nutritional yeast and broil for an additional 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped basil, I bought my tiny organic basil plant at Whole Foods for $3.99.

Serves two hungry vegans.

Monday, November 4, 2013

5 Ingredients or less: Veggie Fried Brown Rice

     Being a Veg means that sometimes we make recipes with a pretty hearty ingredient list.  I honestly don't mind, the flavor pay off is more than worth it to me.  Saying that, some people (vegans included) can be turned off by long ingredient lists.  I can completely understand why, throwing a handful of ingredients together is considerably less time consuming than assembling a recipe comparable to a build your own rocket kit.

    My Aunt Audrey, who is very encouraging and supportive, mentioned that my previous post Spicy Vegan Quinoa Chili contained an extensive recipe list.  I realized that just like an overwhelming recipe with 15 or more ingredients, the concept of being vegan is overwhelming.  Its a lot to take in.    She inspired me to try and create recipes with only a handful of ingredients to simplify veganism and make it more accessible to everyone.  In my head I imagine these recipes to be pantry friendly, wholesome, healthy and inexpensive.  The task is challenging but somehow, I find it strangely fun.  In fact, I'm such a food geek, and enjoyed the challenge so much I plan on attempting this once a month.

     These recipes will not necessarily be main courses, I will try to switch it up between breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks.  Of course, since I am not Martha Stewart's evil vegan twin, so extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, cooking sauces and S&P will not be included in the ingredient count. 

     The first trial did not go so well.  Okay it was pretty terrible.  Really terrible.  I grabbed dinner from Whole Food's bar a few weeks ago and got way to much per usual.  One of the dishes I tried was a potato and pea curry.  Woah!  It was so tasty!!  I thought that I would be a no brainer to recreate, right?  Umm, yeah...no.  Not so easy.

This is not over.  We will meet again evil curry.

Or meet again again, because I had to eat it for lunch the next day, I have a hard time throwing perfectly good food out.

I did redeem myself tonight with this fried rice.  It is all of the things you never thought 5 little ingredients could be.  Wholesome, nutritious, healthy and inexpensive. 

It is a good idea to cook you brown rice the night before you plan on cooking this or even the morning of would be okay.  For best results the rice should be refrigerated before frying. Cold rice fries up better than freshly cooked rice, it tends to not become as mushy. 

To cook brown rice add two parts water: to one part rinsed brown rice.  In a medium sized pot bring water and rice to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 40 min.  Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork.

Veggie Fried Brown Rice

1.)  2 c. Brown Rice (cooked)
2.)  1 lg. carrot (cubed)
3.)  1/3 c. frozen peas
4.)  1 c. baby bella mushrooms (quartered, I used organic)
5.)  1 lg. zucchini (cut in sticks)

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons e.v. olive oil on medium high heat.  Cook 1/3 cup onion and 1 large clove of garlic for a few minutes.  Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes more.  Then add peas and scoot onion, carrots and peas to one side of the pan.  Add quartered mushrooms on the unoccupied side of the pan and give them a bit of room, they don't like to be crowded (they are finicky because they are delicious and they can be). 

Once the mushrooms are cooked through, add them to the peas and carrots.  Then add the zucchini and give them a nice color. 

Turn down the heat to medium.  Then go once around the pan with Bragg's amino liquid, then twice around the pan with Tamari.

Now add the cold brown rice, mix it all up and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.  Garnish with green onions and serve with edamame.