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lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lazy Hummus

Herbivores love hummus.  Well, most of us do anyway. 
It is a versatile food that goes well as an appetizer with pretty much any type of meal or on a sandwich with some fresh veggies to be the meal. 
The best I’ve ever had is at a restaurant in Lansdale called The Oasis, but there are few places that I know of that serve bad hummus.
Store-bought hummus is usually passable, but seldom great. However, it will always do in a pinch.
For years I have been telling myself that I would try to make some at home and beat the stuff from the supermarket. 
Many vegetarians I know have done it and espouse the ease of the process; so I finally caved and gave it a shot.
The recipes I found were a variety of complexities, and many seemed like they would be great, but I settled on a combination of a few of the easier methods I read. 
You can use either a food processor or a blender to do the work.
If using a blender, you might want to make this recipe in halves and then combine later. 
I used my food processor, which has a pretty big bowl on it, so I was able to fit two cans of chickpeas with ease.
Add in the liquid from the can; a few tablespoons at first and save it to add more if it’s looking a little thick.
Put in the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt and paprika.
Pulse the mixture slowly at first, then for longer as the ingredients start to mix.
It only takes a minute or two, but then take off the lid and check the hummus for consistency.  If it seems too dry, add more of the liquid reserved from the cans. If you go too far the other way and it is too runny, add more chickpeas. 
Hummus will taste better if it is a little wet rather than too dry. 
The whole concoction should go in the fridge for a while to allow the flavors to settle throughout. 
You can serve with sliced veggies and pita bread for dipping.
Hummus is also a great spread on a vegetable sandwich or as the main part of the sandwich. My favorite way is a simple pile of lettuce, hummus, tomato slices and cucumber on a good, hearty dark wheat bread or wrapped up in a pita.
Being my first batch ever, I was very happy with the results and the ease of it all. The time span from can opener to placing it in the fridge was less than fifteen minutes. The results were better than the plastic tub from the grocery store, but not near the awesomeness that comes from The Oasis.  
We will have to see how I do in round two.

2-15oz cans of garbanzo beans (drained, but reserve the liquid)
4-6 tablespoons of liquid from the can
6 tablespoons of tahini
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of paprika

Monday, April 26, 2010

First experiments in making homemade hummus.

I just tried making hummus for the first time, and it was super easy.

Food processor, chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini.  You have hummus. 
Anyone out there have some advice on improving, but still keeping it really simple?  Add-ins, spices, methods to improve?

Thanks, I'll be writing up the recipe i used really soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pasta with tomatoes and zucchini

I'm gonna have to try this one soon. It seems really easy and delicious.  
This comes from Whole Foods' Web site:


6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/2 pound whole wheat fusilli
2 zucchini or yellow squash, grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes on a large parchment-lined sheet tray, cut-sides up. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Scatter 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil evenly over top. Roast until juicy and bubbling, about 20 minutes; set aside. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fusilli and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add zucchini, lemon juice, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta onto four plates, top with tomatoes and serve.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pineapple stuffing

So I’m a little late for Easter, but every year my family has ham for this and many other holidays where the whole clan meet and I’m the only vegetarian.
Side dishes are the entire meal for many people in my situation, so the sides need to step it up a bit.
This is a simple way to dress up stuffing you buy dried in the bag from your local supermarket.
Many of my favorite dishes are doctored versions of basic dishes, which means little real effort, but with some creativity, you get a dish that tastes way better than the company who made it intended.
Start out by preparing the stuffing as the bag instructs. This usually involves boiling water, melting butter and mixing in the dried stuffing straight out of the bag. Some brands call for chopped onions or celery mixed in as well.
After you have the prepared stuffing, making it more festive is really quite easy and it makes the boring bagged stuffing into something way better.
Sprinkle a little of the brown sugar on the bottom of a casserole dish. Spoon in the stuffing and mix in the pineapple chunks.
Stir in a little more brown sugar while you are mixing in the fruit.
Top it all with a few pats of butter and a coating of brown sugar. Sprinkle a little juice from the can over the top of it all.
Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes at around 350.
More time or a higher temp will give you a crispier top to the stuffing, if you’re in to that kind of thing (which I am).
Lining the bottom of the pan with butter before you spread the brown sugar and using more sugar will give you a nice crust on the bottom which almost makes it more dessert like.
This side dish is great for the vegetarians, and it is vegan friendly if you use a brand of stuffing that is dairy free and use all vegetable based margarine.
Serving it at a family dinner with my carnivore kin also works great because they love it as a side dish with their ham. The brown sugar and pineapple compliment the meat nicely, but more importantly for me, tastes great on its own.

1 bag of stuffing mix, plus whatever is needed to prepare according to package
1 extra stick of margarine or butter
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained save a little juice
Brown sugar to taste

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Uncle Jack Mac

Every kid loves mac and cheese.
Even the grown kids like me.
OK, especially grown kids like me.
The difficult part of finding a great mac and cheese recipe is sifting through the millions out there that are good enough, but often fall short of great.
For me, a great mac and cheese recipe is almost as easy as the stuff from the box, and tastes like you spent a whole day sweating in the kitchen.
This one combines a few different recipes I’ve used in the past into something that takes only about 15 minutes of prep time and about a half-hour of baking.
The obvious first step is to boil your pasta. Then turn on your oven to about 350 degrees.
While that is boiling, melt about a half-stick of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, stir in the flour one tablespoon at a time to thicken it into a gravy-like consistency.
Stir in the milk, whisking as you go to get the mixture smooth.
Let this warm for a few minutes.
Once the milk is hot, stir in the shredded cheese. I’m using Monterey Jack cheese for this one, but it’s easy to substitute a different type of cheese. Thicker shreds of cheese will melt, but finely shredded cheese will do it more quickly.
The mild flavor of the Jack cheese goes well with a bit of a zestier ingredient tossed in, which is why a lot of people like the pepper jack cheeses, and why I mix a couple of healthy shakes of Cajun seasoning into the sauce as the cheese melts.
Once the cheese is melted, you’ll get a pretty thin sauce that may seem too runny for mac and cheese, but be patient. The sauce thickens while baking.
Mix the cooked pasta and the cheese sauce into a casserole dish and stir it well.
Once all the pasta is covered in the cheese sauce, sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of it spreading evenly.
Use the remaining butter in pats distributed around the top so that all of the bread crumbs are at least near some butter. The butter will melt in the oven and make a nice, crunchy brown crust on top.
I like to serve it with some veggies to pretend like I’m eating healthy in this meal. Often, much like the child I truly am, those veggies get mixed into the macaroni on the plate so it all becomes an unhealthily delicious blend.

1 box of pasta
2-3 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 cups of milk
1 stick of butter
2-3 Tbs of flour
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Cajun seasoning (if you don’t have the prepared Cajun mix, use some chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic all to taste)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hot and Sour cucumbers

This recipe is not as simple as most of the dishes I have offered up so far, but it’s pretty easy for how fancy it sounds.
It has a little asian flair with some simple ingredients.
The key to the recipe is preparation.
Measure out your ingredients first before you start even heating up your skillet. 
Cut the cucumbers in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. 
Slice these into long strips and then cut the strips into quarters.
Once the cucumber pieces are cut and the ingredients are measured, heat the skillet on high. After it is hot, pour in the oil and evenly coat the pan.
Turn the heat down to low and toss in the garlic clove and the peppers.
Heat the peppers and garlic until the peppers turn dark.
Crank the heat back up to high and add the cucumbers.  Stir them quickly as they will cook fast in this oil.
Do this for about 30 seconds then add the soy sauce, honey and salt.
Keep over the heat for only a few seconds while stirring constantly. 
Pour the contents of the pan into a dish and let the cucumbers marinate in the sauce. Once they have cooled, cover the dish and put it in the fridge.
Chill the dish until the whole concoction for about 30 minutes or so.
Stir a few times during the cooling to allow the marinade to cover evenly.
After they are completely chilled, put just the cucumbers in another dish without the marinade and sprinkle the vinegar over them and toss. 
Serve cold.

1 pound of cucumbers
3 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
1 clove of garlic
2-4 dried chili peppers
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt