One-Pot Campfire Pasta

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This recipe comes to you by way of the great outdoors! Recently my love and I headed out into the Oregon wilderness for a weekend of adventure near Umpqua Hot Springs. Given that we were camping in a site that had no running water, we packed a big jug with us, and the ingredients for a yummy, filling pasta that wouldn’t take too much juice.

I have a confession to make: I am a vegan who doesn’t like beans. I think their texture is a big mood killer in terms of yummy cuisine. That being said, I’m slowly but surely developing a fairly stubborn soy allergy, so using TVP wasn’t an option this time around, and I needed to restore my energy after a day of hiking. If you’re into a more traditionally meaty pasta instead of our white beaned friend here, feel free to sub TVP for the beanies, and soak in broth or water to prep them up according to package instructions.

The campfire adds a delicious, smoky flavor to this pasta that simply can’t be beat. It’s the perfect meal for a ravenous trio of hikers on a rainless day. I usually will prep the herb/spice mix before leaving so I don’t have to bring all my precious herbs and spices into the forest. Equipment-wise you’ll need a knife, cutting board, spatula, very very very good oven mit, and fire-safe cookware (I use my cast iron skillet). A measuring cup helps, but I have a perfectly 8oz camping mug that works for me.

Disclaimer: You will get ashes in your food, and most people say don’t eat those. Use your best judgment. It’s very easy to burn yourself cooking over a fire, so please be super safe!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: super varies depending on the hotness of your fire, anywhere from 15-30 minutes

Total time: your guess is as good as mine, but at least you probably don’t have anywhere to be in the middle of the woods, haha

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 12oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp high smoking point oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dry pasta. Somethin’ thick ‘n chunky works best, like penne or bowtie (I used bowtie)
  • 4 cups of water, divided (I filled my camping mug with water and added water a mug at a time to the pot)
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1 jar of your favorite red sauce (I like Newman’s Own sockarooni purrrrsonally)

Instructions

  1. Get a campfire going, and lay your cooking rack over the fire. Some recipes call for the fire to already be at low embers, but I’ve cooked this over a medium flame on a fresh fire and had no issues.
  2. Place your cast iron skillet over the fire to preheat, and add your cooking oil, using your spatula to spread it around to coat the pan. It shouldn’t take long to get hot.
  3. Once it heats up, add your mushrooms and herb mix. Spread out in the pan so they can brown. It’s pretty common for the fire to heat up one part of the skillet more than others, so shift things around as needed so that everyone gets cooked fairly evenly:Mushrooms over the fire
  4. Once your mushrooms are looking a little brown, add your pasta, and two cups of water. It should come to a boil pretty fast. Shift your pasta around in the pan so that it gets a good coverage of boiling water. Continue to cook until almost all of the water is gone, careful to leave enough so that it doesn’t stick.
  5. Taste-test your pasta. If it’s not soft enough, add more water a half cup at a time until everybody’s al dente. This process could take a little while, and depending on the size of your cast iron, you may want to add more or less water so that your pasta can get what it needs. Once it’s all done and the water has cooked off nearly all the way, it should look a bit like this:36188222_10160405105175063_8140440825382305792_n
  6. Add your red sauce and beans, and heat to the desired temperature, careful not to overheat and cause sticking or burning. Once it’s all warmed up, remove the pasta from the fire, and enjoy.

Happy camping!

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

 

This recipe comes to you by way of a weekend that’s cloudier than it should’ve been. Here in Portland we were supposed to have sunshine all weekend and instead we have been CALLOUSLY ROBBED OF JOY.

Anyhoo, what to do when you wake up on a cloudy Saturday? Make some delicious sweet potato pancakes. The most important element of this recipe is patience. Giving the apple cider vinegar and soy milk a moment to react guarantees a rich, fluffy, moist pancake. Rushing the recipe or throwing everything together in a bowl makes a flat, sticky hockey puck (learned that one the hard way).

On the left, we have Jeffy’s amazing photo of their pancakes topped with apple butter and pumpkin seeds. On the right, I went with the classic maple syrup and Myoko’s cultured vegan butter. These pancakes end up a rich stack of yummy, filling goodness, flooding your Saturday morning kitchen with the pleasant aromas of Fall. I hope you enjoy them!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Makes 5 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw sweet potato, shredded or diced small
  • 1 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. First we want to get our sweet potato nice and smushy. Heat a cup or so of water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato and cover, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is soft, about 7 minutes. You can also do this in a steamer basket over the water, unless you can’t find yours because you’re too hungover (hi).
  2. While the sweet potato cooks, get out two mixing bowls, one for your wet ingredients and one for your dry. In your wet ingredients bowl, add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar, and stir to combine. Let sit for a minute or two to react into a nice buttermilk.
  3. In your dry ingredients bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, whisking together until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
  4. Once your sweet potato is all cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Smash with a fork or blend in a blender until lightly pureed. When I’m using shreds, I like to leave a little texture to give the pancakes some tooth, but you do you.
  5. Add the sweet potato to the dry ingredients bowl and mix until it forms a loose, clumpy dough. Add the vanilla extract to the wet ingredients, give one last thorough mix, and pour into the dry.
  6. Very lightly mix everything together with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined, careful not to over-mix. This will give your pancakes a moist and fluffy texture.
  7. Let the batter rest while you preheat your skillet or griddle. I personally cook these on medium heat on a stovetop one at a time, using a third of a cup of batter for each pancake. These can get sticky pretty easily, so I make sure to re-oil the pan between each pancake so they don’t cling. I put them between two dinner plates on the counter to keep them warm until everything is done.
  8. Serve with syrup and vegan butter, or apple butter and pepitas like my partner and I did, shown above. These would also be great with toasted or candied pecans or walnuts, apple slices, or apple sauce. The sky’s the limit!

Happy pancaking!

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

SOUP! Soup is delicious. It’s also the name of this very cute cat:

But that’s neither here nor there.

This recipe is brought to you by my new plot at a community garden! Y’all, being real–everything I touch dies. I’m pretty nervous about jumping from “I’ve successfully kept this house plant alive for two months” to “I’m going to grow a whole thing of vegetables,” but whatever, we’re out here doing it. The plot I inherited was overgrown with weeds, some flowers that were infested with ladybugs, and two very large leeks. After clearing everything out, the leeks remained; thus, leek soup!

I ended up having this soup in a mug as a side with some barbecue tofu and broccoli florets. That being said, you could totally eat this alone or with a large wedge of bread.

I’m back to taking photos myself, so these are terrible. Forgive me! And forgive me for falling into the cooking blog habit of typing novels before recipes. No joke, though–this is one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. The toasted flour gives a nutty flavor that perfectly compliments the savory leek and garlic.

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 large leeks, green stems removed, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium-large yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegan sour cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Snag a 2 quart saucepan and bring the two tablespoons of oil to a shivery, smokeless consistency over medium heat. Test that it’s ready to toast the flour with a small pinch. If it sizzles, scatter in a tablespoon of flour and toast, pushing around with a wooden spoon, until golden brown.
  2. Once the flour is ready, add in the leek, and sautee until soft and fragrant, about three minutes. Then, add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
  3. After the garlic and leek are ready, add in the broth, potatoes, and all the herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Once the potatoes are done, taste for flavor. Add salt and pepper as needed. If you’d like a creamier consistency, stir in the sour cream while still hot so it’s evenly disbursed. Enjoy hot, perhaps on the porch.

Happy souping!

Roasted Red Papper Spaghetti

spaghett

 

Long time no see! I was ambitious in starting this blog, hoping I would fill it with weekly recipes, and reality has other plans. WHATEVERRRRR

Anyhoo, this meal comes to you by way of homesickness. After an amazing 12-day vacation in Japan, I woke up this morning jet-lagged and craving something simple and familiar. These approximate measurements appeared out of my half-asleep mind in a hungry reflex, so feel free to adjust them to taste. This spaghetti should taste like simple, delicious home comfort.

On the side of my spaghetti, I added a simple salad of arugula, strawberries, walnuts, and balsamic. But y’all do you.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers, quartered and seeded
  • 1 small package grape tomatoes, cut into halves (probs about 1 1/2-2 cups when it’s all said and done)
  • A dash of olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Angel hair pasta
  • 2-3 leaves fresh basil, torn into pieces

Instructions

  1. Get your oven ready to broil at 500°. Lay your bell pepper cuts inside-down on a baking sheet and toss in the oven. We’ll pull these out when their skin is crisp and bubbling on top (or a little charred, if you prefer that flavor). Since it super varies from pepper to pepper, just keep an eye on these guys ’til they look ready to go.
  2. Heat your olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and all the herbs, salt, and pepper, and stir to coat. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until sizzling and slightly reduced, then turn the heat to low and leave on a simmer.
  3. When the bell peppers are done, pull them from the oven and put them in a blender or food processor. Blend until they look nice and saucy, and add the pepper puree to the pan with the tomatoes, stirring well.
  4. Add the juice of the lemon to the sauce, and all the garlic. Stir thoroughly and let simmer, uncovered, while you cook up your pasta. Once the sauce has simmered 3-4 minutes, give it a taste to see if it needs anything, and add salt or oregano as needed.
  5. While the sauce simmers, heat a pot of salted water over high heat and cook your pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Once it’s done and your sauce is as you like it, add the pasta to the sauce, turn off the heat, and cover for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot, topped with the shredded basil leaves. Bone apple tea!

Buffalo tofu sliders

Look at this amazing picture! Obviously, I didn’t take it–my amazing partner Jeffy did. These buffalo sliders were a little bit of improvisational fun before a Dungeons and Dragons session with my ladies’ D&D group. The tofu ends up crispy and well seasoned, pairing delightfully with the bleu cheese slaw on top. Yum!

You could totally shake up this recipe by baking your tofu, marinating it, or going a little more crazy with the hot sauce. Since I wanted to keep things fairly quick and simple, I opted for something a bit more tame, but the sky’s the limit!

I included pressing the tofu in the prep time because it drives me NUTS when a recipe says it only takes 10 minutes to prep but the ingredients say “1 package tofu drained and pressed” like somehow pressing it isn’t involved in the making of the recipe at all. Definitely not a fun surprise to come across during a last minute meal.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Package of 8 slider buns, of your preference (I grab wheat rolls from our grocery’s bakery and slice them in half)
  • 1 15oz package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2-3 tbs high smoking point cooking oil, for frying

For the slaw:

  • small wedge purple cabbage (enough for about 1/2 cup shredded)
  • 1 medium whole carrot
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Follow Your Heart bleu cheese dressing, or more as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the tofu:

  • 2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the buffalo sauce:

  • 4 tbs Frank’s Red Hot original
  • 2 tbs Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, melted

Instructions

  1. Kick things off by pressing the tofu. In the old days before my tofu press, I wrapped the tofu in a rag and sat it between two plates with something heavy on top. These days, I press it using my tofu press’s instructions for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the tofu is pressing, shred the cabbage, carrot, apple, and celery in a food processor. Transfer the shredded veggies to a bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Add the vinegar, bleu cheese dressing, salt, and pepper to the slaw, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
  4. Combine the corn starch or arrowroot with all the spices in a shallow plate until well mixed. In a separate bowl, combine the Frank’s and melted Earth Balance together to make your buffalo sauce.
  5. Once the tofu is done pressing, stand the block up on its end and slice it in half into two thin slabs. Cut each slab into four equal pieces to make your sandwich patties. Dip each side of the tofu square in the corn starch mixture so that it’s coated nicely in starch and spices.
  6. Preheat a large, heavy-bottom skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat with the 2-3 tbs of oil. To test the oil is ready, sprinkle a pinch of your cornstarch mixture into the pan and look for a nice sizzle with no smoking.
  7. Once the oil is ready, lay your tofu squares in the oil and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, turning only once. You should end up with tofu blocks that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  8. After the tofu is done frying, remove from the heat. Toss each piece lightly in the buffalo sauce, careful not to break apart the tofu. Place the tofu block on your slider, top with slaw, and you’re all done.

Happy slider-making!

Polenta stuffed acorn squash

 

Today’s recipe comes to you by way of procrastination. There’s so much to do besides cooking, and yet here we are!

Don’t let the squishy squashy appearance fool you–this squash is delicate and richly flavorful; I’m just genuinely bad at photographing food.

This is a lovely and light date meal, or lunch for an afternoon at home. Goes well with a slice of toasted baguette or seasoned white beans if you need something a bit more filling.

Recipe

Yields: 2 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half length-wise and seeded
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cooking oil of choice
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1/4 tsp molasses
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup spinach, packed
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. While the oven preheats, drizzle the olive oil over the opened halves of squash, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. When the oven is ready, lay the halves of the squash face down (green side up) in a baking dish. Slide into the oven to bake for about 40 minutes (might take a little longer if you’ve got a big ol’ squash, you just want ’em to be nice and soft)
  3. While the squash cooks, heat up the teaspoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is preheated, add the diced onions and molasses. Scoot your spatula around a bit to coat the onions evenly in molasses and oil, and let cook for five minutes or until slightly browned and translucent.
  4. Reduce the heat on the saucepan to low and cover. Cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until onions are nicely caramelized (yum).
  5. Once the onions are caramelized, add in the garlic and cook ’til fragrant, about two minutes. Set aside the onions and garlic for later, and wipe any excess oil out of your saucepan.
  6. Once your saucepan is wiped down, pour in the vegetable broth to bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the polenta, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, for about four minutes, or until the polenta has absorbed the moisture. Add the onions and garlic back in, and add the spinach. Stir to combine until spinach is nicely wilted. Set aside from heat and cover until the squash is done.
  7. Once the squash is finished, pull it out of the oven and flip the halves over so they’re face up. Fill in the centers of the squash with the polenta mixture. Serve right away ’cause it’s best nice and warm.

Butternut squash curry

Here it is–recipe number one! I whipped this one up tonight using the rest of my butternut squash from my Thanksgiving main event, gnocchi with butternut squash and vegan chevre (recipe to come).

butternutsquashcurry

Forgive the bad picture–I’m still getting the hang of things and ain’t got a fancy camera yet.

Anyhoo, here we go!

Butternut squash curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach, tightly packed
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan or larger, sauté onions on medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until translucent, adding water a tablespoon or so at a time to keep the onions from sticking to the pan.
  2. Add the squash and a bit more water (no more than 1/4 cup) and cover, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until squash is just tender.
  3. Uncover and add the garlic, ginger, curry, turmeric, coriander, and cumin, then continue cooking 1-2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the broth and coconut milk and cover again. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is soft.
  5. Once the squash is tender, stir in the spinach until just wilted. Remove from heat, salt, and serve. I recommend serving over rice with a wedge of lime and a bit of Sriracha or cilantro.

Happy cookin’!