Friday, January 20, 2012

Vegetarian Foodie Friday

My friend Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite! Used to host Vegetarian Foodie Fridays every week, when she was blogging regularly.  One of my biggest disappointments since I started blogging was the day she announced she was going to stop writing on her blog.  It still exists, and is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for a wealth of information on breastfeeding, even if Mel doesn't blog on a regular basis anymore.

I miss her Foodie Fridays.  She is a vegetarian and posted a wonderful array of vegetarian recipes and ideas, which inspired me many times.  We are not vegetarians in the Vose house, but it is healthy and ecological to eat less meat, so new vegetarian recipes are always welcome.  I own two vegetarian cookbooks; one by John Lennon of all people, and the other by someone named Linda Fraser.  I bought them when I was just starting to teach myself to cook, because cooking meat seemed very daunting.  And gross.  (I was a vegetarian from age 13 to age 23, so meat has not always been my friend per se).  And risky!  You could kill your whole family with one error!  I was a bit silly.  BUT the vegetarian cookbooks have come in very handy over the years, and I dip into them when I'm feeling veggie-ish.

Tonight was a veggie-ish night.  We had Tomato, Lentil and Onion soup, homemade foccacia bread, and artichoke dip.  Sometimes my combos are kind of funny: roast chicken with greek salad, or pizza and veggie sticks or something.  The artichoke dip was really one of those last minute things that you make because it looks good and you can't get it out of your head.  I needed to use up the artichokes anyways.

Without further ado~Tomato Lentil and Onion soup!  (by Linda Fraser)

2 tsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3/4 cup split red lentils
2 large tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (I used a jar of canned tomatoes)
3 3/4 cups (900mL) vegetable stock
2 tsp dried 'herbes de Provence'~I googled that and came up with dill, parsley, and other green dried herbs, and a dash of allspice.  The dill is a really nice compliment to the tomatoes.
salt and pepper
This is my actual pot.  YUMMY.
chopped parsley, to garnish (I used dried and it was fine)

1. Heat oil in a large pot.  Add onion and celery and cook for 5 minute, stirring occasionally.  Add the lentils and cook for 1 minute.
2. Stir in tomatoes, stock, dried herbs, salt and pepper.  Cover, bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. When lentils are cooked and tender, set soup aside to cool slightly.
4. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth (I used my new, Christmas immersion blender and it was AWESOME!).  Season with salt and pepper, return to saucepan and reheat until piping hot.  Garnish with chopped parsley (we also garnish with croutons, because croutons are the new ketchup and my kids will eat any soup as long as it has croutons on it).

My foccacca bread recipe is to die for, and it's from and is called Michael's Foccacia Bread.  Nobody has ever disliked this recipe, to my knowledge.  =)

1 Tbsp honey
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp dry yeast
1 Tbsp kosher salt (I'm no expert but I've been told kosher salt is less salty?  If you use regular salt, use less)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
5 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (I grew rosemary in my garden last summer, dried some in my oven, and kept it in a jam jar.  LEST YOU THINK I'm a gardening diva; I did the same with parsley and wound up with a jam jar full of mold.  Bwahahahahahaha.... Anyways, the dried stuff works just fine.  Don't break the bank for fresh stuff)
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (this varies for me; I don't often have enough money for fresh parm, so I use what I have on hand.  Tonight it was a combo of Kraft grated dried parmesan and shredded mozzerella.  Tasted good!  Looked amazing!  We have the Costco sized dried parm in our fridge all the time because it is similar to croutons: the kids will eat anything if you disguise it under parmesan cheese.  Also, I use lots of Deceptively Delicious recipes and she uses dried parm in her recipes, too.  Breaded chicken strips?  Combine dried breadcrumbs with dried parm and you've got yourself an amazingly popular chicken strip.... True story!)
1 Tbsp kosher salt (see above on using less if non kosher salt)

  1. Dissolve honey in the warm water in a large bowl, then sprinkle yeast over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to foam. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, onions, and 5 cups of flour until the dough comes together. Knead on a well floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F (215 degrees C).
  3. Place dough onto oiled baking sheet, and flatten to cover the whole sheet evenly. Use the tips of your fingers to make indentations all over the dough spaced about 1 inch apart. Drizzle the focaccia with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon of kosher salt over the top. Let rise for 10 minutes
  4. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes until golden brown.

I cut and pasted that last bit.  I hope you will forgive me.  This is what the end product looks like, and it takes less than an hour:

I will be accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for this bread someday, I know it.

The dip was from a jar, where someone gifts you a jar of dried spices and you add sour cream, cheese, and artichokes and make the most amazing dip to dazzle all your friends with your culinary genius, you know?  So I don't really have the recipe, other than to say "Buy a jar of artichoke dip spices and follow the instructions on the label."  It was amazing, the kids wouldn't touch it, but it wasn't very photogenic so I'm not going to share a picture of it.  Sorry.

I hope you enjoyed this version of Vegetarian Foodie Friday!  We gobbled it up, croutons and all.  Oh, and our croutons are the big Costco sized bag of chock full of everything bad for you croutons.  I have made my own before but I have one word for you: FOUR KIDS. 
I guess that's two.



Melodie said...

I still go into my Foodie Friday posts to look up something someone posted to it that I have a faint recollection of. I think that I keep my blog up asa a resource for myself sometimes more than others! You are so sweet for mentioning me (and making me feel like blogging again!) Your soup looks super yummy. I love the delicious relationship between lentils and tomatos. One day I will be brave enough to try to make bread again. I am still bread-maker-phobic. Your foccacia bread is very tempting though!

melissa said...

That soup looks outstanding! Even in the tropics, I love a good soup, especially of the pureed variety. Will have to give it a try one day soon!

nancy said...

Made both the soup and bread - yummy! Dad loved it too. Would substitute dill and allspice for the herbs provincial next time. Forgot the parsley and croutons, which I would have enjoyed.
thanks for sharing these great recipes!