Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables that I don’t eat every often. This time of year, the fresh artichokes are really delicious and wonderfully large, very stuffable. And the stuffing part isn’t set in stone – I usually use a chicken stew but I made one of my curried vegetable pies yesterday and thought, when I saw a beautiful big artichoke in the store this morning, that the leftovers would be great stuffing for that artichoke! So this one is vegan but any type of stew, preferably a creamed stew, will work as filling.

Serves 4. Prepare 2 large artichokes:

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the stem and cut off the very bottom, like cutting off the bottom of a carrot or onion. The stem of the artichoke is quite edible, tastes just like the heart. Then cut the stem off at the base of the artichoke so that it will sit flat in the pot. Some people cut off the top half of the artichoke but I don’t bother, a few spines on the ends don’t bother me but feel free. Place the artichokes and stems in a steamer over water and cook until the leave are falling away from the center. Remove from the steamer and let cool (trust me you don’t want to do the next step when the artichokes are boiling hot!).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When the artichokes are cooled, fold back the leaves and remove the tiny center leaves to reveal the choke. Using a spoon, remove the choke trying not to break the outer leaves from the middle (but it’s okay if this happens, just lean the sections of the artichoke on the outside of the baking dish or against each other). It’s best to use a greased baking dish that is about the size of the artichoke, so for the 2 artichokes, 2 dishes are needed.

Dice the tender parts of the stems and add to the filling. For 2 jumbo artichokes, use about 4 cups of stew. SEE: Creamy Chicken Stew with Asparagus (leaving out the asparagus of course), Curried Vegetable Pie, Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie, etc. Top with seasoned bread crumbs – 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs tossed with olive oil (or melted vegan butter or avocado oil) and herbs. Or if like me you have leftover curried vegetable pie, use the remaining crust as the topping (or cut out rounds of pie crust).

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about a half hour if the stew is cold, less if it’s already hot. And if topped with a raw pie crust, bake for about 40 minutes.

Curried Trout

I try to eat more fish but somehow it doesn’t always seem to happen. I found some fresh trout at the store yesterday and wondered about different ways to cook it. This is the one I found; of course, those of you who’ve been following me for awhile know my addiction to curry! I wondered since I’d never thought about curry and fish prior to finding a recipe but decided to give it a try. And it is delicious! Adds a spicy flavor to the fish which is quite tasty and baked in the oven keeps it nice and moist. I used trout but I’m pretty sure any milder fish will work. I also bought some flounder that I put in the freezer, maybe I’ll try currying it next week. Very easy and cooks in about a half hour depending on the thickness of your fillet.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish large enough to hold the fish.

Dry with a paper towel:

2-4 fish fillets (1 – 2 pounds of fish)

Place in the baking dish, skin side down. Whisk in a small bowl:

1 1/2 – 3 tablespoons vegan margarine (butter if you can have it) or avocado oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

If cooking 2 fillets, use the smaller amount, 4 fillets use the larger. If margarine (or butter) is used, spread evenly on the fillets. If oil is used, pour evenly across the fillets. Bake 15-20 minutes for thinner fillets and 30-35 minutes for thicker ones. Serve on a bed of rice or lentil pilaf with a tossed salad.

I cooked my fillets for 30 minutes.

Curried Popcorn

If you’ve only ever had microwave popcorn, you really don’t know how good popcorn can be. It’s very easy to make on the stovetop once you know the rules:

  1. Start your pan (a deep-sided pan with a lid, preferable glass so you can see the popcorn) on high heat
  2. Add oil and let it come to a shimmer
  3. Add popcorn and seasonings, like curry
  4. Cover with lid if clear, if not leave uncovered
  5. When you see the popcorn start to sizzle, turn the heat down to medium low and cover
  6. Shake the pan occasionally and leave the cover at an angle so the steam can escape
  7. When there’s 3-4 seconds between pops, turn off the heat but don’t move the pan from the burner
  8. Let it sit for several minutes
  9. Remove the lid, add salt and put it in a bowl

It’s really that simple. In my 12″ high-sided skillet, I use:

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/3-1/2 cup popcorn

1 teaspoon curry powder

To keep the curry powder from burning too much, add the popcorn before the curry. If you’ll be buttering your popcorn after it’s popped (not a good idea because liquid really makes popcorn soggy), don’t use as much oil in the beginning. I use avocado because of it takes a high heat before smoking and has a mild flavor but any oil will work.

Easy Curried Pumpkin (or sweet potato) Soup

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you already know how much I love curry! If I could, I would put curry in everything. Pumpkin soup has always been a favorite so I’m surprised I never thought to put curry in it. But today, here it is. And an easy, quick, very warming soup. Just perfect for these subzero days here in Minnesota. Makes 4 -6 servings.

In a high sided skillet or a large saucepan, heat over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

Cook until onion is translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned. Add:

1-2 teaspoons madras curry powder (I used 1 1/2 and it was almost too spicy for me)

Stir and let cook on low heat until you can smell the curry, about a minute. Add:

2 tablespoons all purpose gluten-free flour

Stir in and let the flour cook for a minute. Slowly stir in:

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or if preferred chicken or turkey)

Cook for a minute and then add:

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or just a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice)

Combine and leave on the burner until the soup is thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Optional: Garnish with chopped scallions or chives.

Simple Curry Sauce (dairy-free, gluten-free)

This is a very easy sauce to make using a curry powder; I prefer the Madras curry powder. If you’re adventurous and want to make your own curry powder, there are a number of recipes and videos on-line (YouTube especially) which show the process.

In a small sauce pan, heat

2 tablespoons oil

then add

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of curry, depending on your taste and cook for approximately 30 seconds until you can smell the curry. 

Add 2 tablespoons all purpose gluten-free flour.  Whisk and cook for several minutes. 

Whisk in 3/4 to 1 cup (the amount of milk depends on how thick you want your sauce) of your favorite milk (coconut milk works great here but rice, hemp, almond also work fine).

Curried Vegetable Pie (dairy free, gluten free, soy free, vegan)

I LOVE curry! It’s one of my very favorite dishes so when I saw a recipe in the Trader Joe Fearless Flyer for Spicy Pumpkin Curry Pot Pie, I had to adapt it. Since I didn’t put any pumpkin in my pie, I’ve renamed the recipe to fit the actual ingredients. Since it contains beans, you could serve it as a side dish or an entree.

Like many of my recipes, this one can be adapted to suit your family’s tastes. For example, I used butternut squash but any winter squash, including pumpkin, could be substituted. Also, I love white kidney beans so I used those but feel free to substitute another bean, such as garbanzo; instead of parsnips, you could use carrots, and instead of the chopped dates, feel free to use dried cranberries, raisins, currents, etc. Whatever your choices, remember that curry loves sweet foods!

You’ll need for the vegetables:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion (I used sweet onions)

2 medium parsnips, cut into medium sized pieces

1 cup butternut squash, cut into medium sized pieces

1 bunch rainbow chard cut into shreds (feel free to use any chard or kale)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

16 oz can of beans, drained

1/3 cup chopped dates (or other dried fruit)

For the sauce, you’ll need:

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup gluten free flour mix

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon curry paste (depending on your taste)

And for the pie, you’ll need:

1 9″ pie gluten-free pie crust (I use Wholly Gluten Free even though it has a small amount of sugar in it but feel free to use whatever pie crust your family likes, just remember, don’t put a cold pie crust on top of hot mixture or hot mixture into a cold uncooked pie crust) (or see my recipe for gluten-free pie crust)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, add the 3 tablespoons of oil, heat then saute the onion and parsnips (or carrots) for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Add the chard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes or until vegetables are softened but still hold together. Remove from heat.

To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in the bottom of a saucepan and add the curry powder (remember not to burn the curry, just toast it so have your heat on medium). Add the flour and whisk in; it should absorb all the oil. Let simmer on low for several minutes to cook the flour. Add the non-dairy milk (any milk except soy which will not thicken); coconut milk would be wonderful if you can eat coconut. Whisk constantly until thickened; if too thick (should be the consistency of watery mash potatoes), add a little more milk. Once completed, pour over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Grease a 9″ round casserole dish and then add the vegetable mixture.

If you are using a frozen pie crust, prebake per directions. Many frozen crusts will not come out of the pan until pre-baked (like the Wholly Gluten Free crust I use). That works well since then we’re putting a hot crust on hot mixture. Once pre-baked, flip it on top of the vegetable mixture. Bake in the oven until crust is done and mixture is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.

HINT: If you’d like to add some crunch to this dish, add some seeds, I used pumpkin.

Spicy Lentil Vegetable Soup

(dairy free, gluten free, vegan, soy free) Makes approximately 8-10 servings

Lentil are very versatile, allowing cooks to be imaginative in using them. They seem to like being pairs with a wide variety of other foods and spices. Lentils were not something we had growing up, don’t know which parent didn’t like them but my mother never cooked us lentil soup even though both parents loved pea soup. In this recipe, I’ve paired my favorite vegetable soup with lentils. There are various other ingredients you can use in this recipe, depending on what your family likes. Here’s the basics along with some variations. You’ll need:

1 3/4 cups (an 8 oz package) of lentils, no specific type, I used a mixture of green, black and brown

6 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc., I used a combination of water and vegetable stock)

1 cup sliced carrots

1 large onion diced

3-6 stalks of celery diced for approximately 1 cup

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup sweet potato diced

1/2 cup regular potato diced

1 teaspoon curry powder (or 2 tablespoon curry paste)

1 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)

1 cup frozen peas

1 medium turnip peeled and diced

Add the oil to the bottom of a heated Dutch oven. Add the curry powder and heat for about 15 seconds or until you can smell the curry, but be careful not to burn it. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, celery, potatoes, and turnip. Once the onion is translucent, add the lentils and the liquid. You can also add the tomatoes at this point along with the peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until lentils are tender (if you’re using sprouted lentils, they don’t take as long as regular lentils). If you use curry paste rather than powder, add it here. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until you have the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper). Serve.

Variations: Don’t want vegan – use chicken or turkey stock instead of the vegetable stock. You can also add some cooked sausage (either bulk or links cut into slices) or diced ham before serving.

If you don’t like potatoes, leave them out and add 1/2 cup quinoa when you add the lentils. This will also up the protein!

Don’t like curry? Leave it out and use 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon thyme instead. Or, you can add 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons turmeric. Add either of these when you add the lentils.

Want it more tomatoie? Stir in 1 small jar of tomato paste before you use the blender.

Don’t have an immersion blender? Cool the soup in the frig for about an hour and then blend in a standard blender. You might want to leave a couple of cups whole for texture.

Spoodles (sweet potato noodles) with vegetables (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan)

Here’s another recipe to help us use up all those fresh vegetables we have during these summer months.  And again, its one you can adapt to your vegetable overload.  The only thing you may want to get from the store are the spoodles or coodles (carrot noodles). Either work great in this recipe.  I like it plain but you could easily add a curry sauce or if you can use soy, a hoisin-based sauce.  Makes 4 serving.

Dice:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, medium sized
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup pea pods or 1 cup green peas, or 1 cup green beans

Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and when the oil is hot, add the diced vegetables.  If you are planning to add a sauce, use less oil.  Saute over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Add the pea pods, peas or green beans and 1 pound of spoodles or coodles.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 15 minutes for sweet potato and 20 minutes for carrot noodles.

Simple curry-sauce:

In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil then add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of curry, depending on your taste and cook for approximately 30 seconds until you can smell the curry.  Add 2 tablespoons of all purpose gluten-free flour.  Whisk and cook for several minutes.  Whisk in 1/2 to 1 cup (the amount of milk depends on how thick you want your sauce) of your favorite milk (coconut milk works great here but rice, hemp, almond also work fine).