Sunday, November 30, 2008

Samiches, Samiches...Butternut Squash Style

A fond way to say farewell to fall and to all of its gourdes. Serve these samiches with a side of Alfredo and a glass of white, dry wine. Saviong Blanc or a dry Riesling

1 Butternut Squash
1 Loaf of Ciabatta Bread
Swiss Cheese

Preparation: Butternut Squash
1. Slice butternut squash in half.
2. Remove seeds
3. Place on cookie sheet with the meat side down
4. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the cookie sheet
5. Bake for 45 minutes at 400F

Preparation: Sammy Time!
1. Slice ciabatta bread into size of samich you want
2. Slice the amount of Swiss cheese you desire. I like to use 2 thick chunks one on each half of the samich.
3. Toast the ciabatta with the cheese until cheese is melted.
4. Scoop out the cooked squash from it's skin and place a thick layer on one side of each samich.
5. Eat and be happy

Griffin Says: You Can Eat the Seeds!
That's right. It's one of my favorite snacks from the kitchen...toasted butternut squash seeds. They cook-up just like pumpkin seeds and add a little extra fun to this simple dish.
1. Slice the butternut squash in half
2. Remove the seeds and the seed pulp
3. Place on a cookie sheet (with the pulp)
4. Sprinkle with salt (curry powder adds a little something extra)
5. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until seeds are slightly browned and pulp is no longer moist.
6. Eat as a snack while you wait for the butternut squash to cook, or serve as a side to the samich.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gramma Samiches- a Thanksgiving Tradition

Special Thanksgiving Treat!

My husband's Great Grandmother used to make this tasty comfort food when family would come over. After her passing her family decided to honor her each Thanksgiving by serving her famous treat. below you will find our recipe for Gramma Anne's Samiches.

Sour Dough Bread (12 Pieces)
2 Cups Sour Cream
1 Cup of Cheddar Cheese
1 8 oz can Pitted Black Olives
4 Green Onions Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 TSP Paprika

Chop the green onions and set aside. Mince the garlic and set aside. Grate the cheddar cheese. In a large mixing bowl combine the sour cream and the grated cheese. Stir well. Once combined, add the black olives, chopped green onions, garlic, and paprika. Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated. Spread 1 TBS of the mixture onto each piece of bread. Place the samwhiches onto a non-greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 375 F for 10-15 minutes, checking often. They are finished when the topping begins to brown. Serve as a snack or as part of your main meal.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Chicken" A-La-King

1/4 Cup Butter (Salted Works Best)
1/3 Cup White Flour
1 TBS Dry Sherry
1/2 a large Yellow Onion chopped (About 1 cup)
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup of Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Soy Milk
1 1/2 Cup Mushrooms (Regular or Shitaki work best)
1 Green Pepper Chopped & Seeded
1/2 Cup Frozen Green Peas
2 Freshly chopped carrots
1 Bag of Morning Star Starter Meals, "Chicken"
1 TSP Garlic Powder
1/8 TSP Nutmeg
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

In a frying pan melt the butter. Once the butter is melted add the flour slowly and stir it in until it is combined with the butter. Add the chopped onion and simmer for one minute. Add the Dry Sherry and the minced garlic, mushrooms and cook for 2-5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and soy milk and cook for 5 minutes. Stir constantly. Add the green pepper, frozen peas, chopped carrot and cook for 2-5 minutes. Add the morning star chicken, garlic powder and nutmeg. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve: Over rice, pasta, or toast a few pieces of sour dough bread and spoon the a-la-king on top.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lois the Pie Queen

Two Sundays ago I had a hankering for a down to earth, home-style, grits-loving, brunch. I hadn't had grits in years! I know they aren't rocket science to make, but there is just something about getting a nice batch of grits all steamy and fresh from a diner with a side of fruit and a pot of Joe that just keeps flowing. Scrumptious!

I looked all around my town and there was just nothing that would offer me the warm your soul food I was craving. So I asked a friend for some suggestions and she produced an encyclopedia of brunch places in and around the East Bay. So many options! Of course, my issue always revolves around what is a veggie-lovin' girl in a meat-loving world going to do? The brunch options for a vegetarian are often sad and just don't cover that ravenous brunch craving. Typically a vegetarian opts to go for a greasy spoon and just neglectes to recognize that there just might be some bacon grease atop her side order of hash browns. Or we vegetarians congregate in those places that smell of wheat grass and grow spouts on the window sill.

Well, Lois the Pie Queen changed my world! It is no high class restaurant, but it's no greasy spoon neither. They offer what every person craves for a traditional down-home style brunch: Eggs, hash browns, homemade biscuits and jam, and GRITS! Oh, and their sweet potato pie is to die for. The selection is slim for vegetarians on the main menu, but they are conscious of their cooking and will take care of you kindly. They have a variety of side dishes and they are happy to combine anything together. The coffee is endless. You will think you have consumed some of the coffee, yet your cup will amazingly always be filled to the brim. Be prepared to be called "Honey," "Sweetie" and "Darlin" by your server and all others working there. It will truly make your day. It can get pretty busy in the morning. Expect to wait a few minutes for a table, but they will get you a place much more quickly than you would guess. A good thing to remeber is they only accept cash, so if you are going with a group, make sure to bring smaller bills. Enjoy your time and make sure to get some of their sweet potato pie!

Lois The Pie Queen
851 60th St
Oakland, CA 94609

Mon-Fri- 8:00 AM- 2:00 PM
Sat-Sun- 7:00 AM -3:00 PM

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pumpkin Curried Soup

1/3 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
1 TSP Minced Garlic (or 2 Cloves)
1/4 cup Peanut or Sunflower Oil to saute the garlic and onion
1/4 cup white wine (anything will work great except chardonnay and dessert wines)
1/2 to 1 TBS Curry Powder
2 TBS Olive Oil (Extra Virgin works well)
1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin (or about 1/2 can of pumpkin)
1/4 TSP Nutmeg
1/8 TSP Ground Cloves
14 TSP Ground Ginger
1/4 Cayenne Powder or 1 Fresh Cayenne Pepper
1/8 TSP Agave Nectar (granulated sugar works well too)
2 Cups Veggie Broth
1/2 Bay Leaf (Use a full if Bay Leaf is dried)
1 1/2 Cups Soy Milk
1 TBSP Corn Starch
2 TBSP Sour Cream (or Heavy Cream or Soy Cream)
Salt to Taste

I have made this soup with canned pumpkin, which works well. Be sure to purchase just the 100% canned pumpkin, not the "pie filling." You can also make this soup using a fresh pie pumpkin see the note from Griffin Bird at the end of this recipe. To prepare the soup you will need a large pot, one cutting board, and a sharp chopping knife. Be prepared to welcome the Thanksgiving season with this soup into your home!

1. Mince the garlic, dice the onion or chop into small 1 inch squares. Pour the peanut or sunflower oil into your pot. Add the onions first and saute for a few minutes then add the garlic just before the onion is tender. Saute for a few minutes together.
2. Add the pumpkin, nutmeg, curry, cloves, ginger, and cayenne pepper cook for one minute.
3. On the side mix the vegetable broth and the water together. Add the broth and half of a bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove the Bay Leaf
6. Stir in 1 Cup of the Soy Milk and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Keep the heat low so as not to curdle the milk.
7. In a separate bowl stir in the remaining soy milk and the corn starch. Make sure the corn starch dissolves completely before adding to your soup.
8. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbling.

Serve: Ladle your soup into bowls. Swirl in a spoonful of sour cream, or as desired. Garnish with cilantro or chives, or both.

I served this soup as a precursor to Thanksgiving dinner two years ago and it was a huge hit! It is ready quickly and is a great as a starter entree, or served with sour dough toast for a warming autumn dinner.

Griffin Bird Says: To make this delicious soup with a fresh pumpkin, purchase a fresh pie pumpkin from your local food market. chop the fresh pie pumpkin in half. Place it face down on a cookie sheet and add 1/4 cup water to the pan. Preheat oven to 400 F' and cook for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before scooping innards for the soup. Use the remaining fresh pumpkin for a pumpkin pie, or pumpkin cookies!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nutty Tacos

Nutty Taco Meat:

1 Cup Walnuts
1 Cup Almonds (soaked)
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (non-pre-cooked-optional)
2 cloves garlic Fresh Garlic
1/2 TBS Cumin Powder
1/2 TBS Turmeric
1 TSP Onion Powder
11/2 cups water
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Cilantro
Salt to Taste
1/3 cup Peanut or Sunflower Oil

Soak almonds in water overnight to soften. Chop the cloves of garlic until minced. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to skillet. Saute garlic until golden. To make nutty mixture place walnuts, soaked almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and spices and 1 cup of water into a blender or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is combined and the nuts have all been reduced to a paste. Add the remaining olive oil, cooked garlic, and 1/2 cup of water and cilantro and pulse until the cilantro and liquid is absorbed into a paste. Add salt to taste. Pour 1/3 cup oil (peanut or sunflower oil works best) into a frying pan. Scoop the "meat" into the pan and cook on medium heat until the "meat" is darkened and crispy on the edges. Serve with your favorite tortillas and taco fixings, or throw onto a bed of lettuce, a little grated cheddar cheese, canned black olives, and your choice of salsa for a satisfying taco salad.