Saturday, May 21, 2011

Garbage Day Creations

Greek Vegetable Pie
   In these interesting economic times I am trying to use up food as a way to stretch our budget.  No matter what the price of an item, if it ends up in the garbage that is wasted money.  In an effort to reduce waste I have taken to meal planning.  I started reading up on "Once a Month Cooking" and love the idea of not having to scramble at the last minute for dinner.  However, I find cooking for the whole month to be a bit intimidating.  I try to map out dinner for the week.  That way we use what we have before heading to the store to buy more and toss the fresh veggies that lay in the bottom of the crisper or get pushed to the back of the shelf.
   This recipe, like soup,  is a great way to use up what's in the fridge before garbage day.  We usually have leftover brown rice.  Since it takes a while to make we tend to cook large batches.  My husband freezes them in steamer bags for later use.  The recipe originated from the Moosewood Vegetarian cookbook, but I spilled egg on it and had to work from memory.  Needless to say I have taken artistic license. I recommend checking out their version.  It called for leeks and for some reason I was fresh out.  The recipe calls for asparagus and we had it leftover from dinner so in it went.
   I have served this dish for holiday brunch, dinner and lunch and breakfast leftovers.  I like it hot or cold and it would be nice for a picnic.  It's become one of my favorite dishes both for it's versatility and taste. This week I made it with broccoli, green pepper and fresh spinach before they headed to the trash.  I didn't have any cheese on hand and it turned out fine. I sauteed up the vegetables and popped it in the oven at 8am and had dinner ready to go on a busy weekday.  I just love not having to make dinner at dinnertime.

Greek Vegetable Pie
from: The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health: More Than 200 New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup Greek olives
1/2 cup nuts (I use pumpkin seeds)

Pulse in food processor and press into 9 inch oiled pie plate.

Saute 7 cups vegetables.  Asparagus, spinach, leeks, broccoli, red peppers, etc.
Add 3/4 cup cheese
1/3 cup dill
3 eggs beaten
Pour all ingredients into crust.
Top with 1/4 cup cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until set and golden.  Serve with salad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hummus is Yummus

Homemade Hummus
   I don't know about you, but I enjoy a good hummus.  Unlike my misadventures in falafel making the hummus recipe turned out quite well.  I omitted the tahini due to allergies and served it with raw vegetables, Greek olives and the ill-fated falafel.  It's a great way to get more carrots and broccoli into my diet.
    Chickpeas are a good source of protein. It's actually pretty simple to make and doesn't take a lot of exotic ingredients. I used a food processor instead of a blender. I recommend this recipe for a weekday meal, snack time, a party or company meal or anyone with kids around who like to dip. 

from Eat Cheap, but Eat Well by Charles Mattocks

1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup lemon juice (or juice of 2 medium lemons)
3 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and cumin to a blender. Process until the mixture is smooth, adding a little water if the hummus is too thick. Transfer to a small serving dish and drizzle a little olive oil on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.  This makes 2 cups of hummus.