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Vegetarian cooking class, part four (and more!)

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:13pm
I have been busy once again!! Last night I had part four of the vegetarian cooking class I was assisting....and it was Indian night! Score. Also, my aunt came to visit on Monday night and I cooked up some kind of an amazing feast. Here goes...

For the family feast, I made the most deliciously healthy menu.

Lentil Soup

I decided to make my own vegetable stock for this one, since I just went vegetable-crazy at Whole Foods the other day. I filled my biggest pot with water, then added broccoli stems, the tops of leeks, the tops and bottoms of carrots (the parts you usually cut off before using actual carrots), the top of a fennel bulb, a whole onion (cut in half) and a whole head of garlic. It turned out amazing!! After tasting this stock I swore to myself that I would never use store-bought stock again. The difference is incredible. For the soup itself, I sauteed onion, garlic, and carrots, then added vegetable stock, green lentils, and kale. Here is an approximation of the recipe:

2 c lentils
about 5 c vegetable stock, plus 1-2 c water
1 vegetable buillon cube
1 bunch of kale
3-4 carrots, chopped into half-moons
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Acorn Squash w/ Maple Syrup

I cut the squash in half, then roasted it face-down in about 1 inch of water in a baking dish. It took about 30 minutes to cook (at 400F), although I thought it would take longer and left it in for a bit extra. Then I just drizzled maple syrup over top when it was done. Yum!

Garlic Bread

This is a really easy recipe and takes about 15 minutes to make the whole thing. You just take some leftover crusty bread--ours was about 2 or 3 days old--drizzle with olive oil, and add chopped garlic and your favorite herbs, plus salt and pepper. I put this in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes.

And now, for Indian night!

Raisin Chutney and Cachumber

For the chutney:

1 c raisins, soaked
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c water
1/2 lemon, juiced

Put all this into a blender and voila--you have chutney. It's got an amazing flavor--sweet and spicy at the same time. Awesome stuff. I've also seen raisin chutney where the raisins were left intact, so maybe I'll try that method when I make it for myself.

Chickpea Stew

Super simple recipe: chickpeas, tomato sauce, ginger, cumin seeds, jalapeno peppers, potatoes, and spices. Turned out soooooo gooood. We accidentally added about 4 times the water/stock the recipe calls for, so we just stewed it, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until the water reduced down enough.

Greens Bahji

This is really just sauteed greens with garlic and seasonings. We used collard greens, two types of kale and spinach.

Here is my plate. Isn't it pretty? There is Masoor Dahl on the side, a simple soupy type dish made with dahl, or those tiny red lentils, mustard seeds, and spices. We toned down the spice for the other people in the class, but both the teacher and I agreed that we could take it spicier! You can also see the chutney on some papadams, or really thin lentil crackers. Don't know how else to describe them...They are usually fried in restaurants, but we crisped these up in the oven. You can find them, uncooked, at any Indian market or other store with a worldly food selection.

Just one more thing--

Mango Bread

Had some mangoes lying around the house that I bought at Whole Foods because they were on sale (!!). So this is mango #1 being put to good use. I liked this recipe the best out of all the ones I found, and found it very helpful that someone left a comment on how to make it vegan. So I took their advice and adapted the recipe thusly:

1 1/2 mashed bananas
3/4 c oil
3/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 c AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 mango, diced
zest of 1 orange


Mash banana and combine with oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Then combine the rest of the ingredients separately, and add the we ingredients in. Add the diced mango at the very end. This recipe filled 1 regular loaf pan and one teeny tiny one. It took about 35-40 minutes for the small one, and 55-60 minutes for the larger one. You can also add golden raisins or fresh ginger in place of the dried stuff.

As for mango #2:

Mango Applesauce (right)

This is soooo freakin amazing. I have only made my own applesauce like twice before, but it's the most ridiculously easy thing in the world. All you do is simmer some sauteed apples, water or apple juice, and spices for a bit on the stove and then mash together. I used this recipe as a base, left out the peaches, and added orange juice, lemon zest, and about 1/2 c water. I also used agave nectar instead of honey, and sprinkled in some sugar.

Wow...I did make a lot of stuff.

If everything works out, I will be assisting with a vegetarian sushi class that the same teacher is hosting next week. The only problem is she doesn't have enough people signed up...but we tried to drum up some interest at last night's class. Cross your fingers, because that would rock.

I have also been asked to do an Indian feast for a neighbor, after she heard about last night's yummies. So exciting!

I'm so bummed Carla didn't win Top Chef :(
Nonetheless, I'm so proud of her for making it to the top three!! You go girl!
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