rants & recipes

Archive for the ‘stew’ Category

Perfect Weather for Curry

Posted by trktos on 7-October-2009


As I thought about what to cook for dinner tonight (and resisted the temptation to suggest we just finish off our bread from last night, maybe followed with a cup of cocoa!), I started thinking about another common food idea that I don’t understand – people who rarely cook and/or “can’t” cook. And especially, new vegetarians/vegans, or would-be new v’s, who have no idea how to “cook vegetarian”. As far as cooking goes, I can’t imagine it gets much easier – nothing has to be cooked to a certain temperature (although I do try to limit my consumption of raw potatoes!), I don’t have to keep track of which cutting board is for what (one of those binary choices I’d probably always get wrong) … most of our meals are simply “vegetables, a grain, and a protein” – the protein, incidentally, we often refer to as ‘meat’. I insist ‘meat’ is a perfectly good word and refuse to surrender it to meaning solely the body parts of dead animals. (Although, I would try to avoid such confusing use in unfamiliar company.)

I try to temper my disbelief by trying to imagine what I’d do if I decided to try to cook, say, a whole chicken. I would be lost, not to mention very sad with a dead bird in my kitchen. Indeed, I stopped eating meat before I learned how to cook … so that would be my excuse for burying hypothetical chicken in the backyard and frying up some tofu.

And, of people (both vegans and non) who do cook regularly, I suppose there are two types – those who must have a recipe and those who are willing to just throw stuff together, experiment and make all sorts of adjustments. I am probably a member of both camps, but for meals, I tend to experiment and only occasionally go by a standard recipe. I don’t bake enough to feel as comfortable doing that with, say, a cake. Unless cutting out/replacing eggs and dairy from non-vegan recipes count.

Anyway, I’d be curious to hear how other people cook. How often they cook, how often they try new recipes for meals, if they just throw stuff together, etc?

So, anyway … tonight’s dinner, I decided for curry. Kind of chilly outside, perfect weather for something hot and a little spicy. A while back, I made some soup that I thought of as “Clean Out the ‘Fridge” soup because I used all the vegetables in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten. Along the same lines, this could be “Clean Out the ‘Fridge” curry. I based it roughly on this recipe, with the following ingredient additions:

  • 5 medium potatoes, diced
  • ~ 1 1/4 cups red lentils (because they cook faster)
  • some spinach that needed to be included in something (maybe 2 cups, non-packed)
  • 6-8 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
  • maybe only 1 cup coconut milk (the amount I had left-over, from something, in the freezer)

Anyway, a good exercise in modifying a “recipe” to use what you have and what you need to use, rather than strictly sticking to a recipe, ingredient for ingredient. A good exercise and a good dinner. (With leftovers, too! =)


Posted in 0: Recipes, beans, curry, eggplant, grains, starches, lentil, main dish, potato, spices, flavors, spicy, stew, VeganMoFo, vegetables | Comments Off on Perfect Weather for Curry

Quick Vegan Chili

Posted by trktos on 12-September-2009


  • 6 large cloves of garlic, minced (yes, really, 6!)
  • ~2 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp cocoa or 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 3 14 or 15-ounce cans of beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups TVP or 1 block of tofu, frozen, thawed, pressed and diced or a 4th can of beans or a similar amount of Soy Curls (just find some more vegan protein, ok? =)
  • 3 – 4 1/2 cups water (depending on your protein (more for the dehydrated stuff) and how thick you want your chili)
  • Optionally, use 1/2 cup strong coffee for 1/2 cup of the water
  • 2-3 tbsp corn meal


  1. In a large stock pot, sauté garlic in oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a dry, non-stick skillet,  toast spices over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant. (Optional.)
  3. Add tomatoes and spices to garlic.
  4. Rinse out tomato can, adding water to the pot.
  5. Add your protein and beans.
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. (Cooking times may vary depending on your beans, and protein.)
  7. Add soy sauce about half-way through simmering time.
  8. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in corn meal.
  9. Serve with crackers or pasta for chili-mac.


  • I’ve started to use dried beans in this chili. 1/3  to 1/2 cup of dried beans, when cooked, is equal to a can of beans. So I would use approximately 1 1/2 cups dried beans for this recipe.
  • I also like lentils as one of my beans – a good 5 hour soak in warm water, and lentils will cook in 20-30 minutes. Put them in early. (Sometimes, if using canned beans, I don’t put them in for the whole cooking time because they are already cooked.)
  • Do most people add cream cheese or sour cream to their chili? I add a dollop of whatever Tofutti we have in the ‘fridge.
  • This is a combination of Bryanna Clark Grogan’s 30 Minute Chili and VegNew’s Chocolate Chili, with my own adjustments.

Posted in 0: Recipes, beans, main dish, stew, tomatoes | Comments Off on Quick Vegan Chili

Eggplant and Barley Stew

Posted by trktos on 21-February-2009


  • 2 American eggplants, diced, salted, rinsed, squeezed and rinsed again (whew!)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4+ cloves garlic, minced
  • approx. 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry pearled barley
  • 2/3 cup dried lentils
  • approx. 6 white mushrooms, diced
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • approx. 1 oz dry soy curls, reconstituted, heated with some oil, soy sauce, garlic and onion powder (could use more, this is just the amount I had as left-overs) (optional)


  • Soak barely and lentils for a couple of hours to reduce cooking time.
  • Rinse and place barley and lentils in stock pot, barely cover with water and cook on medium-high until done (keep a watch on the water level). Turn off heat.
  • Strir/steam fry onions, carrots, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes in a generous amount of olive oil (I used a generous amount of oil in this recipe as it was originally going to be a curry … I then realized I didn’t have any coconut milk).
  • Add mushrooms and continue to cook until veggies are done. Add veggies to stock-pot with lentils and barely.
  • Stir-fry eggplant in some olive oil until done. Add to stock pot.
  • Add canned tomatoes to stock pot.
  • Add warmed soy curls (along with their oil and soy sauce) to stock pot. (if using)
  • Turn stock pot back on, to medium-high heat. Add a little water as needed. Allow all the ingredients to cook together for a few minutes (watching that barely – it sticks!!).


  • I cooked all the veggies separately to reduce the amount of water I’d need, if I threw everything into a pot at once.
  • Serve with pasta.

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Hearty Barley Lentil Tomato Stew

Posted by trktos on 14-December-2008


  • 1 onion
  • 3+ cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 carrots
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 Chinese eggplants
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • 28 ounce can pear strip tomatoes
  • ~ 1 tbsp Better Than Bullion Vegetable Bouillon
  • ~ 2 tsp marmite
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • dash nutritional yeast
  • dried parsley
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup lentils
  • dash oregano
  • water
  • olive oil
  • 2 Rapunzel vegetable cubes


  1. Rinse and soak barley and lentils about 6 hours before cooking.
  2. Wash, dice all other vegetables, chop up tomatoes.
  3. Add grains, vegetables,  tomatoes and olive oil to pot, nearly cover with water.
  4. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and add salt, pepper, marmite, bouillons.
  5. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Make thick paste from flour, yeast, parsley, oregano and a little water. Stir into soup/stew, cook until thickened.
  7. Stir this stew occasionally … more often if you’re making this fairly thick – barley will try to stick to the pot bottom!
  8. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the lentils and barley are done to taste.

Posted in 0: Recipes, barley, beans, grains, starches, lentil, main dish, stew, tomatoes, vegetables | Comments Off on Hearty Barley Lentil Tomato Stew