Girls on Food

Comfort Food

Luck of the Irish: Bonnie’s Colcannon

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

I was trying to decide what Irish dish to make.  Luckily, I had a sack of potatoes (like a good Irish girl!), half a cabbage, and an onion.

IMG_2229 (1)

Hmmmm!

colcannon me text

Colcannon, of course!

So, get your green on and try this super easy dish.  The full recipe is at the end of the post.

Simply peel, chop, and boil 1½ lbs of russet potatoes in salted water.

IMG_2231

While that’s cooking, chop 3/4 cup onion and 2 cups green cabbage.

IMG_2235

Saute onions and cabbage in 1½ T butter for 5 minutes.  Add in 1/2 tsp salt.

IMG_2237

When potatoes are easily pierced with a fork – they’re done.  Save about 1 cup of the potato water.

IMG_2240

 

Drain potatoes.  Pour in 2 T melted butter and mash until smooth.  Add in reserved potato water, as needed, to achieve a creamy texture.

IMG_2242

Stir in the cabbage/onion mixture.  Add in another 1/2 tsp salt.

IMG_2246

You’ve now made colcannon!!!

IMG_2276

Slainte!!!

COLCANNON – makes 6 cups

  • 1½ lbs russet potatoes, skinned
  • 3½ T butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp salt, divided

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Cut peeled potatoes into pieces so they cook faster. Add to boiling water and cook until easily pierced with a fork. Reserve 1 cup of the potato water, then drain potatoes. Return potatoes to the empty pot.

While potatoes are boiling, melt 1½ T of the butter in a saucepan. Add in onions and cabbage, and sauté until softened – about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt and set aside.

Melt the remaining 2 T butter and add to the hot, drained potatoes. Mash, using a potato masher or food mill. Pour in the cabbage mixture (heat, if it’s gone cold) and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Add the reserved potato water, as needed, to achieve a creamy texture.

NOTE: Much as I love my food processor, DON’T use it to mash the potatoes – they’ll turn out like paste.

To bring leftover colcannon back to life as leftovers, add a bit of the reserved potato water (or, just plain water or milk if you threw it out) and microwave.

Be sure and check out my blog at VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

 

Jillian’s Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

eggplant parmesan casserole

Eggplants are my spirit animal ✨? I mean wait… but you get what I’m saying, right? Eggplants are my jam right now, not literally but maybe eggplant jam is an actual thing to look into ?

I’ve liked eggplant for a while now, but it wasn’t until I lived in Beijing and discovered a dish with white rice, potatoes, and eggplant smothered in a delicious sauce that I realized Hey, eggplants are super cool and a good meat substitute. I should eat them more often. Enter this saucy (literally) recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Hearty brown rice, garlic sauteed eggplant slices, savory tomato sauce, and melted vegan cheese all in the form of a comforting and satisfying casserole.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled
  • a thick slice of yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • oil (extra virgin olive or coconut)
  • tomato sauce
  • vegan cheese of choice (shreds or slices both work)
  • seasonings (S&P, garlic powder, nutritional yeast)
  • water

Pretty easy, right?

Be sure to soak your brown rice for a few hours or overnight to help soften and ease the cooking process. Drain and rinse. Add to 2 cups of boiling water and turn down to low. If the rice absorbs the water quickly, add more as needed.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet with a thin layer of coconut or olive oil. Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick slices and place into pan. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder onto each slice and saute on medium heat until cooked. Because the eggplant absorbs liquids so quickly, add water as needed (or oil or chickpea broth). Repeat until all the slices are sauteed.

Saute diced onion & garlic in a small pan with some oil until translucent and brown. Add about 8 oz of tomato sauce to the onion and garlic. I use plain, organic tomato sauce that comes in a glass bottle from HEB. I recommend staying away from cans due to the high levels of BPA. Turn down to low heat and add seasonings. Remove from heat when the sauce is warm.

Season the brown rice with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Evenly apply a few drizzles of oil to the bottom of a casserole dish to avoid any food sticking. Spread a layer of brown rice down, then the sauteed eggplant, the sauce, and finally a layer of vegan cheese. Put in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, or about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

vegan eggplant parmesan

So filling by itself, but would be great paired with a salad or a side dish of steamed broccoli or some other green veggie. This is a healthier version of lasagna, but if you don’t want to use brown rice as the base, you can easily find a gluten free lasagna pasta and use that. You can also add other veggies based on your preference. If you want to get real fancy, you can coat the eggplant in gluten free bread crumbs and top the dish with vegan parmesan for a more authentic eggplant parm.

Enjoy this lasanga/casserole/eggplant parmesan hybrid! ?

Jillian ?

eggplant parmesan casserole

Bonnie’s Sweet Potato Soup – Without The Cream!

 

sweet potato soup text

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup WITHOUT the cream? What?  How can this be?

Oh – it be!  Thanks to your handy-dandy blender.

We’ve just finished trudging along Weight-Gain Road – that period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Parties, Potlucks, and homemade goodie plates! Stop the madness!!! It’s time to prepare ourselves for a guilt-free Valentine’s Day, not to mention swimsuit season.

Soup is one of my favorite diet tricks. Besides warming the cockles of my heart, it fills me up without a lot of calories. Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is one of my favorites.

bonnie & yam soup text

Which brings me back to the blender. (See how I did that?  I returned us seamlessly to the beginning of the blog.) Did you know if you purée soup in a blender it gets creamy, even if there’s no cream in it? It makes you feel like you’re indulging in something decadent.

NOTE: As far as the coconut milk goes, you can use either canned or powdered (See photo below).  Canned is more accessible in my town, but I prefer the powdered, so I just order it online. If you use the canned, you’ll need to decrease the amount of vegetable stock since there’s water in it already. By using the powdered, I can play around with how much coconut goes into the soup. Also, I can make half the recipe and don’t have to worry about what to do with the remaining half. Plus the powder takes up less cupboard space. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter as far as taste is concerned which you choose.

IMG_0989

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The sweet potatoes need to be cubed for faster cooking (about 1″ squares). This is important: no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, DON’T stack the sweet potato slices to cube them. They’re very hard and very slippery. If you do, the top slice is liable to slide under pressure, yielding a nasty cut on your finger. Resist the urge; one slice at a time!

sweet pot slicing

FINAL NOTE (I promise!): I always peel my sweet potatoes.  But, since this soup is blended, you can try not peeling, if you like, to benefit from the nutrients in the skin.

sweet pot peel

SWEET POTATO SOUP – makes 10 cups

  • 9 cups sweet potatoes or yams, peeled & chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1½ tsp dried cumin
  • 1½ tsp dried coriander
  • 1/3 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk powder (or 1  14 oz can)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 2¼ cups if using canned coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • few twists of pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • optional:  toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and sauté the onions about 5 minutes – until they begin to brown.

onions sauteing

Add the cumin, coriander, ginger, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir for another minute to bring out the flavors.

sweet pot soup spices

Pour in the sweet potatoes, coconut powder, and vegetable stock. If you’d like to make your own stock (which I ALWAYS do), you can find my recipe by clicking on VEGETABLE STOCK. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender – about 20-30 minutes.

sweet pot soup add yams

Let the soup cool down a bit and REMOVE THE BAY LEAF (Notice the caps – this is important!).

sweet pot soup remove bay leaf

Pour into your blender (in batches, if need be) and purée. Serve either hot or cold.

sweet pot soup pureeing

Toasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty topping – and they’re visually appealing.

IMG_9682

Be sure and check out my blog:  VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

An NYC Cozy Day Classic: Samantha’s Ode to Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

tomato soupWinter on the East Coast isn’t all “Winter Wonderland” and “Do you want to build a snowman?” type situations. You’re lucky if the temperature reaches a high of 30 degrees, and your digits don’t completely freeze off while walking from your house to the train/bus. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. However, a thought that warms my heart is my favorite comfort food during the frigid winter months. It’s fairly simple, both in method of preparation as well as any sort plate presentation pizzazz. However, it’s a classic meal that you don’t have to be a foodie to make or love. It’s easy and inexpensive to make.

grilled cheese

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is an affinity pairing. The pieces of toast are porous and somewhat crunchy, but so perfect to dunk and absorb the tomato soup, be it freshly made or even Campbell’s. The cheese is melted and smooth, like a layer of liquid gold, and is a beautiful contrast to the acidity of the soup. Is there even a more perfect way to spend a wintery day off than at home in your favorite sweats, Netflix, and this? When it’s too cold to go outside, just plug in your Panini Press (or a George Foreman grill, if you lack an entire kitchen of culinary gadgets) and warm up with a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. The chills will instantly melt away after one bite…unless of course, you’re into freezing, that is.

grilled chz soup