Posts Tagged ‘rice’

Red Rice, Yellow Squash, Spinach, Mushrooms

November 23, 2009

Red Rice, Yellow Squash, Spinach, Mushrooms

We’ve been on a uncommon grain kick lately. Trying all sort of cool sounding, and looking, grains that are more than just what, rice and pasta. Queue red rice.

We had been browsing over at Sevananda and saw the package and figured “why not?” so we picked up a pack. Well, we’ve since bought several more packs as it’s been that good. A little less chewy than barley but with a lot more texture than even brown rice and a ton of “earthy” flavor.

It paired very nicely with some yellow squash my wife received from a woman at work. Some garlic-sauteed spinach and baby portabella mushrooms and a complete meal was born.

Sweet Potatoes, Cumin Rice, Seared Bok Choy

May 29, 2009

Finished Plate

Sweet potatoes are locally in season, it seems, so I’ve been grabbing them on sale whenever I see them ($0.49/pound? How can you resist). This dinner was really easy to put together and ended up being delicious.

Cumin is one of my favorite spices, but I have a tendency to overuse it (though not for my tastes, just everyone else’s), so I was pleasantly surprised when my wife enjoyed this rice so much.

I hate waiting 45 minutes+ for brown rice to cook so I tried to shorten it by soaking the rice overnight. Unfortunately, I spilled some of the water in the fridge so I didn’t have a good grasp on how much to use to heat it up and ended up overcooking it a bit. It was still good, just a bit mushy. Moral of the story? Soaking overnight totally works and I’ve used it since to reduce my cooking time by as much as 25 minutes!

The sweet potatoes were sliced lengthwise on a bias and sauteed in a really hot pan with some salt and pepper. Same with the bok choy to get that nice crisp, almost-burnt flavor and look. Just a reminder: really hot pans + plus oil = fire hazard, so be careful and have an extinguisher handy.

As I was putting the plate together I felt it needed something else so my wife suggested the last blood orange. I dismissed it initially but then had a change of heart and it turned out to great. The tartness of the blood orange was a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the potato and the spice of the cumin – an excellent choice that I will use again in the future.

Eating vegan on Carnival Cruise Lines

April 21, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of joining a good friend on his wedding cruise. It was my second cruise as a vegan, but first with Carnival so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Vegans are like Boy Scouts – we always come prepared. And prepared I was with Silk, peanut butter, bagels and plenty of Clif Bars (side note: Chocolate Chip has overtaken Peanut Butter as my favorite), but I didn’t need much of it. I started each day with some Silk and and a Clif bar, but only dug into the bagels and peanut butter out of obligation and needing the space for all of the souvenirs.

My first cruise as a vegan was my honeymoon. We ventured to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Lines. It took a few days to get the system of obtaining a vegan meal down, but once we did I was pleasantly surprised by how accommodating they were – and Carnival was no different.

I tried to take as many pictures as I could, but in such a social atmosphere I regularly neglected to take my camera out of my pocket until we got up to leave the table. I also thought I would easily remember each night’s menu, but a few weeks removed (and many hours at work) have left my memory a bit foggy, but I’ll try to do my best.

Each night there is at least one vegetarian option for appetizer and entree – but rarely vegan.

Pumpkin, Squash and Cheddar Pot Pie

The first night’s menu had marinated fruit for an appetizer, which I happily ordered. The problem? It had some creamy-looking stuff holding some of the presentation together. I nervously ate around it as it was rather tasty.

The entree option was a Pumpkin, Squash and Cheddar Pot Pie – a no go for me, but my wife ordered it and enjoyed it. It was even close to being able to veganize, so I ordered the steamed vegetables and steamed rice – which were good, if a little bland.

Steamed Vegetables and Rice

Dessert was more fruit (a trend I won’t continue with anymore pictures – you’ll also have to forgive my phone camera as I forgot my point-and-shoot in the cabin).

Fruit Plate

The second night was similarly unveganizable (new word), so I opted for more of the vegetables and rice. Our server, G, laughed and took my menu, knowing what I wanted for dessert without asking.

The third night had potential – stuffed peppers. We asked if it was possible to get them without cheese – it wasn’t. It was this third night that our server decided to speak up and say that if we wanted anything special we should talk to the maitre d’. They couldn’t do anything for tonight, but would fix me up for tomorrow so I settled for some more marinated fruit, steamed vegetables and rice.

Marinated Fruit

The fourth night was my first taste of what they can do for vegans. They have one chef in the kitchen who is solely responsible for special dietary needs – vegan, low sodium, kosher, etc. Had I known that earlier, I would have made him earn his money a little more. He had prepared the menu item – black bean enchiladas – but made them without cheese. They were rather tasty, if a little on the small side.

Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas

I also had a nice arugula and spinach salad with (mediocre) watermelon and blueberries.

Arugula, Spinach, Watermelon, Blueberries

The final night was Indian fare – something I don’t care for so I asked them for some pasta and marinara, which I got. The sauce was really good – a lot of olive oil and what was the consistency of what I imagine crushed and strained tomatoes would be. I asked for seconds on this one and got it in no time.

The appetizer that night was marinated tomatoes and green beans, which was bland.

Marinated Tomatoes and Green Beans

I may have messed up which days were which on the appetizer side of things, but the entrees are right.

In addition to the sit-down dinner restaurant, they also had a buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was very little vegan fare on the buffet, but they did have an excellent salad bar (greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, green olives, black olives, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, carrots and a lot more) that hit that spot everyday for lunch (red wine vinegar and olive oil for dressing).

Overall, I didn’t go hungry and once we got the system down it was a breeze to eat vegan the entire trip. I should have known better and said something on the first night (my waiter could have said something after my second night of rice and vegetables, but…).

Dessert was the biggest disappointed, but it’s not like I expected them to have non-dairy ice cream or eggless cake available. They did have their staple warm chocolate melting cake available every night which my wife fell in love with. One of the things you could do was a tour of the kitchen – something I was very interested in – but the biggest surprise was they gave us a copy of the warm chocolate cake recipe.

I’ve recently veganized it to deliciously-decadent results. Pics and recipe to come. At some point.

(Multigrain) Risotto is not very photogenic

March 12, 2009

Multigrain Risotto

See, I told you!

It also wasn’t too great. Certainly not bad, but not my finest hour.

You see, I had all of these miscellaneous grains in small quantities that I needed to use, including some Arborio Rice. The entire dish consisted of the following: Arborio Rice, Long Grain Brown Rice, Israeli Cous Cous, Split Chick Peas, Orzo, Bulghur Wheat and Red Quinoa.

They key to a creamy vegan Risotto? A sprinkling of Parma! and a spoonful of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. I know, it seems so simple in hindsight, right?

To finish it off, I used some Tarragon Pesto right at the end. A few months ago we were given a large bunch of fresh Tarragon from a home garden. Not entirely sure what I would do with all of it, I made some Tarragon Pesto. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve used it and I was kind of underwhelmed by the flavor. Even drizzling some more over the top of my Risotto didn’t evoke the kind of flavor I was hoping for.

Dinner also included Whole Wheat Bread from the night before (I’m trying to bake two night’s worth so I’m not waiting two hours for dinner each night) and a salad. The salad was certainly the highlight of the meal, featuring Organic Baby Romaine, D’Anjou Pear, Golden Raisins, Fried Onions, Sliced Almonds Vine-Ripened Tomato and Italian Dressing. We picked up a few more Bosc Pears to eat over the next few days, but I’m not sure if they’ll make it into another salad or not.

Salad