The last six months have overwhelmed me with clinical, wellness, and food service rotations of my dietetic internship, leaving me little time for the testing of new recipes. I’ve survived these hectic months with dishes whose recipes are well-known to my repertoire: vegan chili, kale and white bean soup, refried beans with brown rice and spicy kale, etc.
Since early February I have on a temporary hiatus from supervised practice, and with this more open schedule has come time to explore new recipes and create new dishes. On a visit to Nevada last month, my dear music educator friend and I found comfort from the cold in this shepherd’s pie. Last week I ventured out of my soup/stew comfort zone into the world of casseroles with Fat Free Vegan’s broccoli rice casserole and a vegan lasagna. Having grown up in a household where any lasagna other than that of my Italian aunt’s recipe was considered sacrilegious, I never dreamed that vegan lasagna could come close to meeting my standards. A classmate’s referral to this recipe found me skeptical at best; all I needed was one bite to be convinced that delicious vegan lasagna is possible!
My renewed excitement for being in the kitchen, trying new recipes and exploring new cuisines is right on time for National Nutrition Month®. This year’s theme is “Eat right, your way, every day.” According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website, the theme “encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices.”
The hectic nature of my student lifestyle, preference for fresh, local food and culturally influenced foods and family health history are all factors that contribute to the food choices that I make on a daily basis. As an advocate of a plant-based diet, friends, family members, and acquaintances frequently ask me, “What is it that you eat?!” Throughout this month, I will be posting my meals on Facebook and Twitter and occasionally posting on Hunting & Bargaining to provide an example of how I eat right, my (plant-based) way, each & every day.
This morning, I wasn’t feeling like eating my usual oatmeal for breakfast, so I indulged in 2 freezer gluten-free waffles with my favorite local Krema peanut butter and 100% pure http://inside-the-hive.com/post/39658056454/cinnamon-roll-4-way syrup. Feeling inspired by this weekend’s trip to visit my blogger friend and our Sunday brunch of curry scrambled tofu, eggplant bacon, and baked grapefruit, I decided to try baking my own citrus! This morning, orange halves.
I absolutely love Constant Comment – black tea with orange and spice – and these baked oranges reminded me of this well-loved hot beverage. I followed Becca’s instructions for the baked grapefruits, except I did not cut along the orange sections (mistake) and I sprinkled the halves with cinnamon and ground cloves.
This afternoon for lunch, I munched on celery sticks and Baba Ghanoush while my newest creation bubbled away in the oven. I roughly based my recipe off of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s tamale shepherd pie and Prevention RD’s chickpea pot pie with cornbread crust. The outcome was fantastic.
MexiPotpie with Cornbread Topping
HUNT AND GATHER:
For the filling:
1/2 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1/2 cup frozen corn
8 oz mushrooms (preferably cremini), thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp hot sauce of your choice (I used Tabasco Smoked Chipotle)
3 cups cooked black beans (About 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
For the topping:
3/4 yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tbsp baking powder
1.5 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Several turns freshly ground black pepper
1 serrano pepper, finely diced
1 cup almond milk
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or other vegetable oil (canola, safflower, vegetable oil)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Heat pan over high heat until water sprinkled over hot pan sizzles. Add onions, sautéing 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add peppers, sautéing 2-3 minutes longer until onions are beginning to caramelize. Add minced garlic. If vegetables are sticking to pan, add slight amounts of water or vegetable stock to help keep them from sticking.
Add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to release their moisture. At this point, add canned diced tomatoes, corn, wine (if using), and spices. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add hot sauce and beans, remove from heat. Set aside.
To prepare cornbread topping: Combine dry ingredients (flours, ground flax, baking powder, sugar, salt, black pepper) in one bowl and almond milk, oil, and diced serrano in another bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine.
Transfers vegetable & black bean mixture to a large casserole dish. Forget about the non-stick cooking spray – you don’t need it! Top with large spoonfuls of cornbread mixture. Bake at 400 F for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cornbread topping is golden brown.
Enjoy while waiting for yet another Ohio snowstorm. [Is it really March?]