Tag Archives: corn

Native American Buffet

native american food buffet

The Red Herring recently hosted a buffet featuring vegetarian Native American foods. Of course I forgot the camera, as I’ve been doing a lot lately, so I took this grainy iPod Touch picture. Foods may be tastier than they appear.

From left: wild rice and spinach casserole, spicy seitan strips, succotash, cornbread, squash, black beans, and frybread with tempeh filling. All delicious, and all for a mere $7 ($5 for students and kids).

We learned something too, about the Three Sister: corn, beans, and squash. According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. (from The Three Sisters Garden)

The Three Sisters are also an important part of a balanced diet, and complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates. Beans are rich in protein, balancing the lack of necessary amino acids found in corn. Finally, squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.

Veggie Burgers and Pretz-A-Bagels

I have had mixed experiences with store-bought veggie burgers. Some are tasty, and some try too hard to be meat-like. My favorites are those which have interesting flavors, such as the Gardenburger Original (cheese, rice, and mushrooms), the Morningstar Tomato Basil Pizza Burger (self-explanatory, soy-based), or the Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger (mostly beans and corn). All of these contain cheese and/or eggs, and many other vegetarian burgers contain dairy and egg ingredients.

Why not try to make veggie burgers at home? There are a ton of recipes to be found on the web using easy-to-find ingredients. I picked up The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, an excellent book that’s a virtual world tour in burger form. It’s a complete celebration of the burger, offering plenty of recipes, including buns, condiments, sides, and even homemade bacon bits. Most ingredients are easy to find in supermarkets.

I’ve made other veggie burgers before with great success, and I love that they freeze well for later. Just separate them with waxed paper or parchment, and pop them into a bag or plastic container.

Tonight’s high-energy cooking session produced two patties. First, a Millet and Black Bean Burger recipe from Terry Walters’ book “Clean Food”, spotted last week on the No Meat Athlete blog. These were very good on their own, or eaten in a wrap. I topped mine with cilantro lime mayo, onions, and salsa.

millet black bean burgers

I had to add some extra water and lime salsa to make the mixture stick together, and as the last patties were assembled there seemed to be too much corn left that didn’t stick in the patty. I would use less corn next time.

The Bacon Cheeseburger patties come from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet. I didn’t have maple syrup, so I used some unrefined sugar (less than called for) and water. Next time I would eliminate the sugar entirely, and cut back on the peanut butter. They’re a little too “peanutty” for me. We’ll see how they reheat. My barbecue sauce may also have been too sweet. Overall, these are very good, and definitely have a “cheesy” flavor from the nutritional yeast.

bacon cheeseburgers

And they’re really not burned, I swear! I just like them very crispy. I plan to take one or more of these to work, along with these new bun-like things I discovered: Mini Pretz-A-Bagels! They’re like a bagel on the inside, with a chewy, caramelized texture of a soft pretzel on the outside. Lance likes them for sandwiches in his lunch. I like them dipped in hummus.

Pretz-A-Bagel

Quick Polenta with Black Beans and Mole

polenta with black beans and mole

Today’s lunch is brought to you by the secret word: drool.

Here we have a few slices of prepared polenta and black beans, topped with Doña Maria Mole. This prepared mole comes as a sauce that you can use right out of a little square Tetra-Pak, about the size of a juice box. It’s convenient for our family, because I can serve the omni-people their chicken with mole, and save some sauce for topping my veg protein of choice. (I should try it with tempeh.) It all comes together in under 5 minutes, minus cooking the Mexican Rice on the side (which takes about 25 minutes).

I packed up two lunch portions in these Pyrex “frozen dinner”-sized containers. They’re about the same size as one of those overpriced meals you buy out of the freezer. I’ve eaten my share of Healthy Choice, and they never compared to my own leftovers. I’m trying to phase out plastic containers and use more glass for reheating. These containers come with plastic lids which do an adequate job of sealing, except for really juicy foods. When I’m concerned about leakage, I seal the container with plastic wrap under the lid.

Pyrex lunch containers

And… check out my new To-Go Ware utensil set! It’s made from bamboo, and includes chopsticks and a fabric carrying case (not pictured). It fits in my small purse, so it can go to restaurants, or wherever I eat my packed lunches. The sets retail for $12.95 each at the manufacturer’s web site, but Common Ground Food Co-Op has them for only $9.99.

 

Corn Blinis with Dill Cream

corn blinis with dill cream
Kelley gave me a huge amount of dill, which didn’t even make a dent in her backyard supply. I have yellow flowering heads, green seedy heads, and a lot of fronds. Our refrigerator smells like pickles. Look for a super-easy refrigerator dill pickle post later this week.

I made these corn blinis for breakfast. The recipe is heavily adapted from The Complete Encyclopedia of Vegetables and Vegetarian Cooking. At 500+ extra-large pages, this hefty volume has an extensive catalog of vegetable varieties, storage, and preparation. I’ve owned it for years and haven’t cooked much from it, but it has a lot of good ideas.

The dill cream recipe is approximate. Feel free to season with more black pepper, more or less dill, or add some crushed or roasted garlic to taste. The key components are the sour cream and dill.

Corn Blinis with Dill Cream

Ingredients:
2 tbsp ground flax seeds (I used golden, but the dark variety would work)
4 tbsp water
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 C fresh sweet corn kernels; or frozen corn, thawed
canola or olive oil, for the griddle

For the dill cream:
1/2 C vegan sour cream (Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream is good)
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh scallions
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat a griddle pan or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium high heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the flax seeds and water together. Let stand until it forms a thick gel.

Combine soy or almond milk with lemon juice and let stand while you measure the dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well. Stir in flax mixture, milk mixture, and corn kernels. Stir until just combined, so that no dry ingredients remain. Do not overmix.

Brush the griddle or frying pan with a little bit of oil. Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle. Cook until holes appear on the top and the mixture begins to set around the sides. Flip the blinis and cook briefly on the other side. Keep warm in a low oven until all are cooked.

To make the dill cream:
Blend the sour cream with the dill, scallions, salt, and pepper.

Serve blinis warm, topped with dill cream.

Makes about 9 3-inch blinis.

Vegan Meetup Group: Salads in the Park

refreshing white teaLinda and Rob hosted the Champaign-Urbana Vegan Meetup Group last night at Davidson Park next to their home. It was a nice setting with enjoyable company, an abundance of great food, and slacklining.

I had about 30 seconds to snap some pictures from the time the dishes were unveiled until the feasting commenced. As usual, several dishes showed up later after we had filled our plates, so my apologies to those whose dishes did not get photographed. My favorite not pictured here was a zucchini bread topped with vegan cheese, made by Amelia.

Linda brewed some fragrant white tea in a nifty jar. White tea is great on ice. I think it would taste great over some chunks of frozen fruit.

channa masala and rice

Linda and Rob also made channa masala, with black tea, and no tomatoes. Interesting, and some of the best channa masala I’ve ever had.

tempeh saladThis is a tempeh/garbanzo bean “mock chicken-or-the-egg” salad from Kathryn, a long-time vegetarian, now vegan. She has forgotten what chicken or tuna salad is supposed to taste like. I don’t think that matters, it just tastes like good food to me.

slaw with daikon radishes Dana made a slaw with kohlrabi and daikon radishes. Way to use that CSA produce, Dana. She also brought the sought-after peanut butter cups, which proved too elusive for me to photograph. Or maybe I was too busy eating one.

broccoli salad with grapesI was too full to try this broccoli salad with grapes. It looks like there’s broccoli, celery, carrots, and grapes in here, with a vegan mayonnaise dressing. I see this salad all the time with raisins, but this grape idea has potential.

corn frittersKatie whipped up some delicious gluten-free corn fritters, with a top-notch presentation! I think the black bean spread on the right is also hers. The ceramic bowl containing it is adorable, with its little pocket for the spreader. Aww! Don’t you think these would make a great savory breakfast?

confetti ramen salad with hemp oil dressing closeup

I contributed a Confetti Ramen Slaw with Hemp Dressing.

Other offerings included Jason’s green beans with chili sauce, bread from Pekara, and delicious dessert bars from Robin, which turned out to be strawberry chickpea blondies, I think. (I may have found the recipe.)