It’s no secret that I love desserts, and one of my biggest challenges with being vegan is making satisfying desserts. I’ve found that cobblers are an easy way to solve this dilemma. Today I was pleased to find blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries on sale at my grocery store. This Mixed Berry Cobbler with a cornbread topping was the fruit (yes, pun intended) of my labor.
As usual, I don’t have a strict recipe to follow–this one is pretty simple. After rinsing the berries, I tossed them with some sugar (about 1/2 a cup for 24oz of berries) and 1/2 cup flour before turning them out into a greased pan. I topped the berries with vegan cornbread, recipe courtesy of Post Punk Kitchen. Bake the cobbler at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. This cobbler is not too sweet, which is nice. You can add more sugar to the fruit to sweeten it if you’d like (or serve with your favorite frozen treat!)
Tonight’s dinner was another “pantry challenge.” Well, more of a fridge challenge, I guess. I’ve found myself with an abundance of pink lady apples from the CSA, and I’ve been trying to use them in different ways. As someone who loves salty/sweet combinations, I enjoy mixing fruit with savory ingredients. Tonight I made a saute with onions, kale, and apples and served it over quinoa. Seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and a little chile sauce, it was the perfect salty, sweet and spicy combination. I also love using the ingredients I have on hand to find new dishes. This one will definitely enter our regular rotation.
As Southerners, our family tradition is eating greens and black-eyed peas for New Year’s to bring us luck and good fortune. Dating back to the Civil War, this tradition originates from General Sherman leaving the black-eyed peas untouched in the fields as he marched across the Southeast destroying, leaving destruction in his wake. Considered a crop for livestock, Sherman’s men didn’t deem the black-eyed pea worthy to plunder. The peas provided a steady food source for the surviving Confederate Soldiers and Southern citizens.
Today, most of us eat a version of Hoppin’ John, a dish made with salted pork and black-eyed peas. Variations can include adding greens and tomatoes to make a flavorful, savory stew. Here’s the recipe for my vegan version of Hoppin’ John. I make mine in a crock pot, but you can use the stove top as well. I’m not a big one for measuring spices in the kitchen, so when it comes to seasoning, add and taste along the way. You can adjust the liquid based on how thick you like your stew. I hope you and your family have a wonderful, lucky 2015!
Vegan Hoppin’ John
2 cups dried black-eyed peas (either parboiled or soaked overnight)
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
3-4 cups water
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Cajun seasoning of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours, then turn to low once the black-eyed peas soften. About 30 minutes prior to eating, add the greens of your choice. Swiss Chard, kale, and collards all work well. If using the stove top, cook on medium-low for about 1-2 hours until the peas are tender. Serve with your favorite hot sauce if you like it spicy!
One of my favorite things to do is be creative in the kitchen and find new ways to use familiar ingredients. I also love a good challenge. When it’s been a few days since we’ve been to the grocery store, I like the obstacle of a few, seemingly incompatible ingredients and attempting to make a good meal. Last night was just such a night. Here’s what I had to work with:
1 rollout pie crust
After a quick chop, saute with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and sherry, I filled the pie crust for a veggie galette. It turned out pretty good.
Folks often ask if it’s difficult to stick to a vegan diet, and it is at times, especially when the quick and easy solution takes me away from my goal to eat healthy. What I enjoy is the creativity I’ve discovered in my cooking. Yes, my diet is limited, but the possibilities for good meals aren’t.