Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vegan lentil walnut porcini meatballs

The other day I came across the recipe for vegetarian meatballs from the Meatball Shop in Manhattan. Vegetarian is nice, vegan is better. So, I added my own tweaks and twists to the meatball recipe and made it vegan. And still very tasty.


Preparation of lentils:

  • 1/2 cup beluga/French lentils
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves

Wash and rinse the lentils and chickpeas, and place in a pot with the water, the bay leaf and garlic. Bring to a boll, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours  on low (simmer only for 30 min if you soaked the lentils and chickpeas for 12h). There is likely little water left, but if there is then drain it. It should make about 2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils.

Lentil walnut porcini meatballs:

  • 2 cups cooked beluga and red lentils and chickpeas
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2  red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, microplaned
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 TB red pepper spread (avjar, or Trader Joes red pepper paste)
  • 1 oz dried shitake mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water, drained and chopped
  • 1 oz dried porcini mushroom, reconstituted in hot water, drained and chopped
  • 2 TB BBQ sauce
  • 4 TB ground flax seed, 1/4 cup of water (mix to make 2 flax eggs)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4  cup bread crumbs
  • 3 TB finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a  large baking sheet with some olive oil so that the meatballs won’t stick. Set aside. 

Prepare the flax eggs by combining the ground flax seeds with hot water, and set aside. The mix will gel.

Add the olive oil to a frying pan and sauté the onions, chopped carrots, minced garlic, thyme and reconstituted mushrooms over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 min. Add the tomato paste and red pepper paste and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, until all the ingredients are mixed well and the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and let cool in the food processor for about 5 min.

Add about 75% of the cooked, and slightly cooled lentils/chickpeas to the vegetables in the food processor, and chop coarsely until all the ingredients are well combined. (It will be quite mushy, that makes the lentil balls even more sticky and hold together). Add the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the flax egg, regular bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, chopped walnuts, BBQ sauce and the salt to the pureed mix as well as the non-pureed cooked lentil mix. Mix with a spatula until thoroughly incorporated. Let sit for about 10 min (for the bread crumbs to soak up the liquid and bind the meatballs).

Use a small ice cream scoop and scoop out ping pong ball sized meatballs. Place the lentil balls in the prepared baking sheet, allowing 1/4 inch of space between the balls and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.

Roast at 400F for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.


Monday, January 23, 2012

The cold and the warm

We are in the deep freeze here for 2 weeks already, temperatures in the low teens, and now a handful of snow. The good about the snow is that it allows for a whee bit of rigorous outdoor exercise again such as gliding through the sunny, cold woods on skis and still feeling warm. Warm is good.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunburst salad in the middle of winter

It is continuing to be cold, very very cold and even some snow on the way. The woodstove is fired up day and night to keep us warm, and anything reminding me remotely of summer and warmth is welcomed. The grocery store had a delivery of beautifully looking strawberries from Florida that had the wonderful aroma of just ripe strawberries, an aroma so good that it convinced me to buy them out of season (for Maine, at least)  but at least national and east coast (all depends on the scope of local, right?). They were a great addition to the sunburst salad the other day, rounded out with mixed lettuce, orange bell pepper, goat cheese and toasted pine nuts with balsamic vinaigrette.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Farmers Market

Today was one of the Saturdays when the winter farmers market takes place. Yes, we are in Maine, it is freezing cold and we have an outdoor winter farmers market. We are really serious about farmers market. As expected there was not much offered with regard to vegetables in the dead of winter, but goat cheese, fresh free range eggs, fish from the coast, milk as well as vegan cupcakes were available. Everyone was buddled up. A stand with hot coffee would have made a killing!

Black bread

101cookbooks is one of the first blogs I’ve ever read, and it is still one of my favorite ones. Heidi posted a recipe of a black bread in the last few days, and as bread enthusiast I planned to try it. The ingredients sounded esoteric for bread (cocoa? espresso? molasses?) but it could really work for a dark rye bread, which I love. Since I am rather busy and  have little time to babysit a bread right now, I made it using the breadmachine. My breadmachine makes 1-1 1/2 pound loaves so I halved of the ingredients. Verdict? It is delicious!!

Find the original recipe here!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Busy Beaver

Hey there! How is your new year going so far? Resolutions, plans, a clean canvas? Busy? When I walked along the river yesterday I saw the handywork of some really busy beavers…



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Green Garbanzo Beans

There was a time when garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) were mostly of the white variety. Then came the black garbanzo beans, which are really more  brown. Rumor has it real black indeed exist. But searching for my beloved petite frozen brussels sprouts at WholeFoods brought about a new variety: frozen green chickpeas.

Green chickpeas are basically young chickpeas that -- when left to mature on the plant -- turn into the blonde variety that is dried. They are like edamame, and they do taste like peas rather than regular chickpeas. Nevertheless, off to trying them out, although I cringed at the cash register at the steep price tag ($4.69 for a small bag), but then what is not expensive at Whole Paycheck.

Green garbanzo beans are basically raw garbanzo beans and do not take very long to cook. I put them in the microwave for about 3min with some water and they were ready to go. WF conveniently offers a few recipes for green chickpeas such as green hummus and chickpea guacamole,  but I think I will eat them as a salad ingredient.

green_garbanzo WF_green_garbanzo