Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Almost Homemade Vegan Dinners

Tonight, central Massachusetts is experiencing a brief respite between massive snowstorms.  I am in a hotel room about a mile away from my office so that I could minimize my driving time.  My Hyundai Accent is a great little car, but it's not a snow plow, and I'm hoping that by the time my workday is over tomorrow, a lot of the 2 feet plus of snow will be fallen and pushed out of the way so that I can get home without too much trouble.

Needless to say, these are the times when being vegan can be really difficult.  I didn't know the extent of the snow we were getting until this morning, and when I saw that it could be in the 25 inches range, I threw together a suitcase hoping I would be able to spend the night closer to work.  (I'm only about a 20 minute drive away on a normal day, but that has stretched into over an hour when we get snow like this.)  I also threw two days worth of breakfast and lunch into a bag (English muffins with Smart Bacon and vegan "egg" for brekky sandwiches, a tofu "egg" salad sandwich, an apple, and some leftover pizza--yes, sad food, I know--I was in a big hurry), and grabbed a few dollars worth of quarters for vending machines in case of emergency.  Tonight, I got capellini pomodoro from Olive Garden right next to my hotel.  Vegan?  Yes.  Blog-worthy?  No.  But at least I got a hot meal and a big (dry) salad.  Plus John talked me into bringing my laptop so I can post a couple of the things I've been sitting on for a while.

Both of these meals are homemade except for one convenient ingredient each.  In both cases, it was something I had sitting around for a night when I was short on time but still wanted to make sure I got something healthful and veggie-packed.

Vegan Chorizo Potato Hash

5 medium potatoes (Yukon golds are good in this), uniformly diced, peeled if not organic
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium to large green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (button or cremini)
1/2 tomato, diced
1 package soy chorizo (sold at Trader Joe's and other well-stocked supermarkets)

Parboil potatoes in a large saucepan over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until slightly yielding but still holding shape.  In a large skillet or wok over medium heat, saute onions and peppers in small amount of water until onions are beginning to soften.  Add drained potatoes and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add mushrooms and continue to stir fry until potatoes and mushrooms are beginning to brown.    Add chorizo and continue to stir fry.  When chorizo is heated through, add tomatoes and stir fry for several minutes until tomatoes begin to lose shape.  At this point, onions and pepper should be tender crisp, potatoes cooked through, mushrooms browned and chorizo starting to brown.  Makes about 5 servings.

It's not the most attractive meal, but it's tasty and filling, and it's one of the first vegan meals I ever thought up.  John is a "meat" and potatoes kind of guy, so it's something he really enjoys and always wants an extra serving of.  Interestingly, the package of soyrizo I used this time had a similar recipe printed right on the package.  

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 jar of vegan curry simmer sauce (I used Trader Joe's brand, but Seeds of Change makes a few truly excellent varieties as well)
Cooked brown rice

Saute onions and peppers in water over medium heat until slightly softened.  Add cauliflower, chickpeas, and simmer sauce.  Mix well and lower heat to low.  Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower has softened to tender crisp.  If mixture becomes too thick, add water and stir.  Once cauliflower reaches desired texture, serve mixture over cooked brown rice.  Makes 4-5 servings.

John & I both love Indian food, and I got an Indian vegan cookbook for Christmas, but I haven't had a chance to really get involved with it yet.  Right now, with the amount of snow we have on the ground, even the simplest trip to the grocery store takes more than twice as long as it should  Maybe when all this snow finally subsides I'll be able to get to one of the nearby Indian groceries and pick up a few ingredients to experiment with.  For the time being though, with how busy I have been, and how little I care to leave the house, this will definitely do!


  1. 25 inches? Yowzers! Sounds like you made do pretty well, though. I was just talking to my mom about how we used to get snowed in (in Missouri) without electricity for days. We'd put our food outside to keep it cold and once Mom had just made a huge batch of carrot cookies before the electricity went off. So I just remember eating a whole lot of carrot cookies.

  2. This winter is insane! I can't believe you even went to work!! oy..

    I am so happy because an Indian Grocery store is opening up two blocks away from my house!

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  4. You were very resourceful, planning ahead to that extent! (And you should win an Employee of the Year award for your dedication - tell your boss I said so!)

    So how much snow did you end up with? And did you make it home by the next night?

    Both your meals look delicious and warming-from-the-inside-out. What vegan Indian cookbook did you get for Christmas? I've had my eye on one called, "Spicy Vegan" for a while now, but never can find any reviews on it.

  5. Hey, Georgia, your town made the Big Leagues!

    Weather.com's list of US cities that have endured snowfalls 3 feet or more above their seasonal average so far this season

    Er.... congratulations???

  6. Hey, Georgia, I'm beginning to fear you're stuck in a snowdrift or something! Everything okay?

  7. Haha, sorry Laloo, I haven't been trying to ignore anyone. I've been a bad blogger! Just so busy it's been hard to get on the blog for a few minutes. (Right now, I'm commenting from work....shhhhh, don't tell anyone.)

    I wouldn't have gone to work that day if I'd had a choice! But it was my turn, so I pulled the short straw this time. I'll be at home next time, thank goodness. I'm so not surprised to find out we made the snowed under list :) It was good to get a full snowfall total though, so I'm glad you shared that! More is on the way tonight, but not too much. And today it's supposed to get up to 38 degrees! Break out the bathing suits!

    Melody, in the town next to me, we have at least 2 Indian grocery stores. We also have a number of other ethnic stores here in Worcester, because we are fortunate to have such a diverse community. But silly me just ends up going to Trader Joe's & Stop & Shop instead of taking advantage of these small international shops. I really have to get better with this; I'm sure I'd save some money too.

    I got "The Indian Vegan Kitchen" by Madhu Gadia. I actually brought it today to read during my breakfast break. One of my funny quirks is that I read cookbooks like I read regular books. Can't help it; I love them and I love to flag different recipes I'm interested in so I can throw them into a meal plan someday.

  8. Hey, Georgia, good to see you again and to hear all's well! Sorry you had to work during the last "snowrdeal"™ but am glad you made it through and can sit out the next one.

    I've heard good things about Madhu Gadia and look forward to reading future blog posts about the dishes you create from her cookbook. I know quite a few people who enjoy reading cookbooks like you do! :-)

    We're having several days of winter storms, blizzard conditions off and on, and plummeting temps, but it's supposed to be much nicer by the end of the week. I'm still just fine with cozy, actually. Probably the only person in the US who isn't ready for spring yet. (There, I said it!) I'm still having fun working my way through Nava Atlas' Winter soups in my own newest cookbook! :-)

  9. I can't think of a much better way to cope with winter than making a lot of soup, so I think you're on the right track! I don't end up making too much because John doesn't like soup much and I don't like to have too many leftovers sitting around for just me.