Mediterranean-Style Eggplant with a Vegan Twist

My mother-in-law makes delicious eggplant sauce. She bakes the eggplant whole, making sure to blacken the bottom to impart a smoky flavor. She blends it with lemon, salt, pepper, sour cream and a little mayonnaise. It’s very good.

My husband won’t eat even a little mayonnaise, nor will he eat sour cream. So, on New Year’s Eve, I baked an eggplant on a cast iron skillet (50 minutes in a 350 degree oven did the trick). Whirled it, skin and all, in the food processor. Scooped it into a bowl and added one-third a container of Tofutti (plant based) sour cream. That’s it. Only those two ingredients. The sour cream and eggplant were tasty enough, on their own. I served it with toasted sourdough, Greek olives and baby spring mix salad.

This Vegan version worked for both me and hubby. If you want to try my mother-in-law’s version, you can find it in my cookbook, “Poor Jonny’s.” Happy New Year!!!

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

 

 

 

 

On a Cold Day, It’s Easy to Make Soup and Dumplings

Take a couple of bags of mixed frozen vegetables and throw them into a large pot. Throw in a handful of dried barley and a handful of dried black-eyed peas. Chop an onion and several stalks of celery and a handful of your favorite greens and throw them in. Pour enough water in to keep it from getting thick. ( The beans and barley will swell tremendously.) Pour a little olive oil in for flavor and shake some soy sauce into the pot too. Add your favorite soup seasoning. I used the following dried spices: paprika, parsley, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, black pepper and sweet basil. Get the soup boiling moderately for five minutes and then turn it down. Once the vegetables have cooked, turn it way down. The heat will merge the spices with the ingredients and a simmer is enough to cook the black eyed peas and barley. Once that’s accomplished, let the pot sit on the stove on the lowest setting. Just keep it warm. Four hours later, warm it back up again and drop teaspoons of dumplings into the soup. Here’s the dumpling recipe:
In a small bowl, sift 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine 2 slightly beaten eggs with 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

Slowly mix the flour mixture with the egg, water and spices.CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

Add teaspoons of this mixture into your hot soup. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.

Before serving the soup, do a taste check to see if it needs more soy sauce. Enjoy!

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook and Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acornsAvailable here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Cooking: Salvaging Burnt Beans… LOL

I swear, there are some personality types that never seem to learn. They get distracted and let the beans burn. Because, let’s face it, beans take forever to cook and I mean, who worries about whether you’re going to burn fifty cents worth of beans? I mean… really. My kids are grown and live miles away, but I still worry about them but a pot of beans?

On the other hand, as a vegetarian, beans and legumes are a crucial part of my diet. And I believe they give me stamina. But here’s the deal, you put them on the stove and you forget about them. Yes, I could have set the timer but I didn’t. And when I was upstairs typing away, I heard weird noises coming from down below. Was it the wood stove or was it the rain on the roof? Not a thought to the pot of beans on the kitchen stove, I forgot about those long ago. I didn’t even remember I was cooking them, until I heard the crackling noises of the water being all boiled out and the beans burning. So I dashed down stairs and just like my mother taught me, I picked up the pot (with hot pads) and I stuck the pot in water that was in the sink and I quickly added cold water to the pot. It did the trick. I saved them. And it wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor even the third time I’ve salvaged burnt beans. So I thought it was a valuable bit of kitchen trivia that should be shared.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available herehttp://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

Vegetarianism… the Protein Problem

It’s a complete flip of lifestyle when one becomes a vegetarian. At times, it seems the only protein source available is soy, which gets a bad rap even though new research is debunking some of the myths. Stay tuned, we’ve not heard the final word on soy. So other than soy, how can we obtain the protein we need without overloading on beans and carbs? Nuts. Put nuts in your food. For instance, I’m baking banana nut bread today. I’ll put enough walnuts in it to provide a good dose of protein, enabling me to relax about getting enough protein at dinner; brown rice and vegetables should suffice. If we aren’t completely satisfied, an evening snack of peanut butter on toast with a hot cup of anything will hit the spot. It’s not always easy being a vegetarian but if you incorporate a lot of nuts into your diet, it will make your goal more attainable. Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

How Much Purple Cabbage Can Two People Eat Anyway?

Enough purple cabbage already… but it is so good for you. The cabbage family are reputed to fight cancer. What’s a girl to do? Let two or three cabbage go to seed and then throw them all about your garden, there will be so many you will then “weed” them when they are tiny and use them in salad or soup. Let a few grow into cabbage heads, even if they only make small heads, they’re great for stir fry or minced into salad. Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Poor Jonny's Cover

What Is Allspice? It’s Not A Combination of Spices

I always thought that Allspice was a combination of spices. There is a spice called Five Spice but that is something different. Allspice is the berry from the Myrtaceous tree. This tree grows in the West Indies. The spice is a little pungent but very aromatic.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Poor Jonny’s Tortillas

Jonny’s Tortillas

1 & ½ cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup rye flour

1 Tbs sesame seeds

1 Tbs carob powder for flavor

Use water to make dough thick enough to roll out or pat onto a dry cast iron skillet. Heat thoroughly, turn and heat other side thoroughly cooking tortilla completely. Pile tortillas as you make them and keep them covered to stay warm. Top with honey when ready to serve.  Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609