Tag Archives: cholent

Cholent

0041So, we’re coming up on Passover in about another month and while I don’t feel like going into all the customs and laws that the Jewish people must observe, I will tell you i found a pretty decent recipe full of yummy stuff to eat that does not contain chametz or kitniyot. That is, wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, rice, corn, or peanuts. It does have beans but you can just as easily leave those out and sub in more lentils or potatoes.

Essentially, Passover is when the Jewish people commemorate being “passed over” by God when He went on the warpath about Pharaoh being a dick to the Jews. The tenth plaque was death to all firstborn sons but if they had the blood of a spring lamb over their door, they got “passed over,” get it, smarty? When they left Egypt, they were obviously in a hurry and didn’t have time to let their bread rise, thus they remember this with the eating of unleavened bread, or Matzoh.

For more information on Passover, please visit Judaism 101. Passover starts April 9 this year, lasts about a week, and makes all the Jews I know fairly cranky because they pretty much starve the whole time. So fire up your Haggadah, stir the crap out of your charoset, and lets get ready to observe!

This recipe was taken from Veganomicon. I have made it several times and I’m pretty sure I even already put in on this blog, but it’s worth repeating. My kids love it, what more do you need to know? It’s cheap, easy, and feeds about 47 people. She has hers made with fake meat, but if you plan on serving this to others, leave it out. Fake meat gives people the willies who don’t eat it frequently, and I know plenty of vegetarians who won’t touch meat substitutes. Also, cholent is a traditional Jewish (beef) stew made for the Sabbath, so that makes it even more Jew-friendly.

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Cholent

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, cut into a medium sized dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp tarragon

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp salt

several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup red wine  or vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup lentils

1 cup peeled, diced carrots

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, diced

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce(make sure yours doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it!)

3 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

1 15 oz. can light red kidney beans(or just cut up enough extra carrots and potatoes to equal a cans worth of beans and add them when you add the other carrots and potatoes)

Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the oil until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, tarragon, caraway, salt, and pepper. Saute about two or three more minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the red wine/vegetable stock. Add the bay leaves, lentil, carrots, potatoes, tomato sauce and water. Mix together, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add peas and beans and heat through, about 5 more minutes. Done. I really hope I don’t have to tell you to not eat the bay leaves, but just in case, there it is.

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Coming up in my next post, an honest review of this plastic bag/ pastry bag drier!

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Affordable Veganism

First off, my husband has been hard at work making this giant Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. I wish I could get him to put that much of himself into dishes or laundry, but oh well. A giant robot is the next best thing, right? On to the food…

I’m going to warn you up front that this is a loooooong winded blog but I think you’ll find the info interesting if you stick around to read it all.

I have been working on a feature for this blog titled- you guessed it- affordable veganism. My point is to simply let others know that you do NOT have to spend two hundred dollars a week at your local health food store in order to make this lifestyle choice.

Your first purchase as a vegan will undoubtedly be about four or five cookbooks, like mine was. I have some that I can suggest, but I would also like to suggest others that I do not have, but have researched and my sources tell me they are fabulous. Vegan Planet is awesome and has recipes for stuff like tofu sour cream and little things that you don’t want to have to spend all your money on. Veganomicon is kind of like the bible in that I reference it about 9 times a day and I am always quoting it. It has a few casseroles and one pot dishes that you can switch up a bit to suit your tastes, and they aren’t horribly expensive to make. Eat, Drink and Be Vegan is good, but some of the recipes can get a little pricey or weird. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World is great for sweet treats but you’re going to have to buy things like non-hydrogentated shortening and vegan margarine to make the frostings. The good news is, you only need a quarter cup of each so they will last you a while, but sticker shock may keep you away from them. Don’t let it. Oh, and Smart Balance makes a vegan margarine that is sold at your local chain. Good times!!!

Ah, unfrosted poptarts. The lazy vegan’s best friend for about a month until you get sick of the same three flavors.They are always on sale at my Jewel for like five dollars for three boxes.

My Jewel also carries it’s own line of organic crap so yay me. This soy milk pictured was $2.50 per half gallon. It sounds like a lot when cow’s milk is three bucks for a whole gallon but whatever. It’s cheaper than Silk. Also, this oatmeal (vegan) pictured is two for three dollars right now, so stock up.

I would go on Amazon.com for your cook books. While normally I would suggest giving your money to the authors of these books, we are doing this on a budget, right? And the point is to not exploit, harm, or kill any living being because of the food we eat so we’re not going to worry too much about lining the authors pockets at this point. Although, I guess technically they are living beings as well, but let’s not go there right now. However, if you can afford it, go right ahead. You only make it possible for them to write more wonderful cook books in the future so it is definitely good karma, or feng shui, or whatever.

In the front of most of these books is a “pantry” section where they tell you what you should always keep on hand. Some of the staples include coconut milk, canned pumpkin, etc as well as things you’ll REALLY need like canned tomatoes, beans, pasta, etc. I’m here to tell you scrap the coconut milk and canned pumpkin for now.

One of the cheapest, easiest things I make at least four nights a week is simply this- pasta, veggies, and beans. If tofu was on sale that week, i toss it in there, too. Of course, make sure your pasta is vegan, some of them use eggs. Go to your produce section and buy whatever is on sale this week- zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, escarole, tomatoes, eggplant (although, this can be a little tricky to cook with if you aren’t experienced in cooking), broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc. You can even be super cheap and go to the freezer section and buy frozen. It doesn’t really matter. This also works when certain things are not in season.

Next, go to your canned goods aisle and buy canned, chopped tomatoes. They come in all flavors now including olive oil with oregano, basil, garlic, and/or parsley, so half the work is done for you. Then you scootch down a few feet and pick out cannellini beans or garbanzos or navies and presto. Dinner is done for a couple days. This makes a huge pot of goodies. This picture above is of some spices and herbs that my Jewel carries for a dollar a bottle. They taste just as good as McCormick only without the price that makes you feel like your being violated in some way. Only thing is, it’s back by the dog food. I know, right?? And this giant bottle of pre-chopped garlic was like five bucks when i bought it a few months back. When I’m cooking for other people, I use the real peel and chop stuff, but when it’s just us…there you go. Anthony Bourdain says if you are too cheap and lazy to buy and chop your own garlic then you don’t deserve to eat it, but I disagree. I still love him, though.

Last week at my local Jewel, this hummus was buy one get one free. I bought a box of wheat thins (also on sale AND vegan) and baby carrots and my snack time was taken care of. This seasoned tofu was BOGO, too. The Italian stuff I’m using for tonight’s pasta dish. The Asian stuff went for yesterdays lunch with broccoli and carrots and white rice.

It’s all about looking through your paper and finding what’s on sale and making it work for you. Pre-sliced apples were buy one get one free also. I would never buy those things otherwise.

Each one of the canned goods I have pictured was right around a dollar. I am somewhat health conscious so I make sure my kids and I all get our veggies in, as well as our fruits, and mass amounts of protein in bean form, usually.

I do recommend picking out one or two of the meals from one of your books so that you can keep your family NOT bored with your food. I could eat the pasta stuff all year long with all the different combos of veggies and beans and it wouldn’t bother me. My kids, however, are a little more fickle. They get that from their dad.

This stuff is leek and bean cassolet with biscuits from Veganomicon. Next we have matzo ball soup from Vegan With a Vengeance. Tasty, but a pain in the ass to make. Then we have cholent, also from Veganomicon. My kids loved this stuff!!!

Next week, I’m going to make something a little more pricey. It has sun dried tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and some other stuff. Oh, and seitan, which i made myself last week and ate with my pasta but discovered that having a gluten intolerance means that eating

something made from gluten is a bad idea. Duh. Eating the pasta is bad enough but that only gives me minimal amounts of pain and torture. So, I’m going to use tempeh from now on.

And here’s one last picture of my little peanut. You know, doctors do everything they can in the emergency room to save lives so that they can say just that- “We did everything we could possibly do.” I don’t have much of a chance to make a difference in the world so I’m going to do it in a way so that I can say to my children some day, “I did everything I could possibly do.”

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Cinco de Mayo!

Well, that was yesterday, but still.

My best friend came over to see if i wanted to go out and get a drink. I said, “Why go out when I’ve got a perfectly good Margarita right here!” In cupcake form, of course. The recipe is from-where else- Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Someday soon i might read a different cupcake book, but don’t bet the farm that it’s going to be THAT soon.

So the recipe called for a quarter cup of lime juice with another 3 tablespoons for the frosting, but i only had one lime so i had to make it work. I grated off all the peel i could, then juiced the holy hell out of that poor little lime. I got barely a quarter cup. I used most of it, and the zest, in the cupcake batter, then added whatever was left to the frosting. Can i just tell you how lime-like these things tasted? And that was with barely half of the lime juice that i should have used so imagine how puckered my face would have looked biting into one made from the full amount!!

The recipe also called for two tablespoons of tequila. In all fairness, she does state to let them rest for a couple of hours so that the flavors may develop. I anxiously waited…about an hour and a half. I could wait no longer. At least one of those cupcakes needed to get in my belly. Now. They were delicious, as i already said and with enough lime to cure the rickets of any Brit, but i couldn’t really taste the booze. Maybe i didn’t let them sit long enough? Who knows. I hate tequila anyway. I think it tastes…brown. So I guess I’m glad my cupcakes didn’t taste brown. If i were any more of a boozehound, though, i might have been disappointed at the lack of tequila flavor, but as it is, I’m okay with it.

I also made cholent from Veganomicon. I guess it’s a traditional Jewish meal, veganized. Or as my visiting friend called it, Jew Stew. “Is it made from real Jews?” She says. (Not offensive at all, right?) apparently she’d heard of it before. Very funny. The only things i did different to the recipe were A) i did not add caraway seeds. They were too expensive at Jewel. I’m in the process of getting all my herbs and spices online and in bulk but until then, you’re not going to see these little guys in my food and B)I did not deglaze with wine, i used veggie broth. I have used wine in my cooking before and my kids think it makes stuff taste funny. Since they will be eating two-thirds of what i make, i must comply with their wishes. I guess that’s good, though, right?

We all loved it. It really was delicious, even without the seeds. I added some leftover tvp i had in the freezer from when i bought it for Carmen and she was supposed to learn how to stir-fry. Turns out she’s a lazy vegetarian. “I don’t wanna do all that work,” she said. Yeah, me either. But i did.

Well , i sort of did. This stew is not that difficult to make. I’m a huge fan of being able to throw things in a pot, let ‘em simmer and then get to eating an hour later or so. It needed salt, but that’s because i don’t put it in anything i make. All my food is bland and i get to hear about it daily. Whatevs.

See you tomorrow for some more news on baking and eating!

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