Archive for the ‘Oil’ Category

When I was a kid, my mom never shared her favorite treat of microwaved mushrooms with butter.  Consequently, I grew up believing that mushrooms are valuable, delicious, and coveted.  Luckily, my husband doesn’t share this view.   He lets me buy mushrooms with (near) impunity and I can eat them all!  I love all varieties of mushrooms and their musky, hearty flavor.  I love the slight chewiness and juiciness of mushrooms.  I love mushrooms so much that I should probably give them up during fasts.  But, only when I’ve reached a higher spiritual level.

In the mean time I want to share my own delicious mushroom pasta concoction with you.  I realize that this might be utterly disgusting to some people.  But some others of you I hope might enjoy it.

*You can toast your walnuts before starting in a dry skillet or quickly toast them in the oven at 300 or in the toaster oven.  Or, if a good walnut flavor isn’t important, you may add them at Step 3.

*If after you add the walnuts, the mix looks dry you can add more olive oil.

Mushroom Black Olive Delight

1/2 pound shell pasta, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved

1 1/2 cup of chopped white mushrooms, Portabellas, or Baby Bellas

1 can of chopped or sliced black olives, drained

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped finely

1/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon (or more) Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon butter substitute

SALT to taste

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2.  Cook pasta in salted water, drain, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Step 2. Heat oil and butter substitute in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Gently saute onions until fragrant.  Stir in mushrooms.   Cook, covered, until mushrooms start to lose moisture.  Remove lid, continue to cook until mushrooms begin to darken.

Step 3. If you have not toasted your walnuts add them now to cook them.  Cook nuts 3 minutes to develop flavor.  Stir in olives, quinoa, and parsley until warm.

Step 4.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of cooking liquid to the sauce, stirring until it reaches desired consistency.  The starch will help to thicken the sauce so it sticks to the noodles.  Stir in pasta.  Serve.


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Indian cooking is great for the Fast because most of it is already vegan or pretty darn close.  The key to flavors is lots of spices and time.

In this recipe, the essential ingredient is the fenugreek leaves.  I could not find them in our grocery store so I had to order them online.

The finished curry should be slightly thick like a good gravy.  It shouldn’t be runny.  You can mash some beans at the end to thicken the sauce.

You can also make this recipe in the Instant-pot.  To do that: soak the beans over night, make the curry, add the beans, and cook on high pressure for 25-30 minutes, let the pressure down naturally, add the fenugreek leaves, simmer gently, serve


1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight with 1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion (1-1/2 cups) chopped

2-3 tomatoes (1 cup) chopped

3 garlic cloves pasted or grated on a microplane

1 inch of ginger pasted or grated on a microplane

1 green chile (optional) pasted or grated on a microplan

1 teaspoon ground coriander (or roasted and ground fresh coriander seed)

1/4 teaspoon red chile powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves)

2 tablespoons oil

1 1/2 cups of reserved bean cooking water or plain water

**Family size should double this recipe

  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. Rinse soaked beans and cook 1 hour on the stove top or until tender, or 40-45 minutes under high pressure Instant pot.  Reserve cooking liquid.
  3. Make the curry: Heat oil in the pot and gently saute onions until they are lightly brown or even to caramelization
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, and green chile past and saute on low until fragrant (a very short time)
  5. Add the tomatoes and saute until soft, 2-3 minutes
  6. Add all spices, turmeric, red chile, coriander, garam masala, stirring constantly
  7. Add the beans, stirring
  8. Add 1 1/2 cups of bean cooking liquid (the start helps the sauce thicken) or plain water, stir
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened
  11. Add the fenugreek leaves, stir and simmer briefly
  12. Serve over rice

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This is a quick soup with good flavor, loads of veggies, and a good reason to eat tortilla chips.

Chips and beans complement eachother!

Mexican Vegetable Soup with Tortilla Chips

2 Tbsp oil (or water for sauteeing onions)

1 onion, chopped finely (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2/-3 tsp chili powder

1 carrot, sliced

1-2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

1 waxy potato, diced (if you use a russet or other type it will fall apart in the soup- I used a red skin with good results)

1 1/2 cups diced fresh or 1 can tomatoes

1 zuchinni, diced (or skip this and add more green beans for protein)

1/4 small cabbage shredded (no more than 2 cups)

4 cups vegetable broth or water

1 corn cob, kernels cut off, or 1 cup frozen corn

about 10 green beans, trimmed and cut into bites

salt and pepper

4-6 Tbsp cilantro chopped

tortilla chips

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened, then sprinkle in the cumin and chili powders.  Stir in the carrot, potato, tomatoes, zucchini, and cabbage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring teh mixture occasionally.

Step 3. Pour in the bouillon.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender.

Step 4. Add extra water if necessary, then stir in the corn, canned beans, and green beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the green beans are tender.  Sason with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the tortilla chips may be salty.

Step 5. Sprinkle each portion with cilantro, salsa, and a handful of chips.

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My goal for lent was to post a new recipe each day.  Between travel and beloved house guests I haven’t been faithful.  To make up for it, today, I will post two recipes that we enjoyed over the last two days.  I apologize.  I didn’t take pictures.  They were beautiful dishes, and tasty, which is why I don’t have leftovers to show you.

This soup has a nice flavor, the herbs are the primary flavor so don’t skimp on them.

Beans and Greens Soup (about 4 quarts)

1 cup of dried beans (or half a bag) soaked at least 6 hours

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

2 carrots, sliced thinly

5 cups water

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

4 1/2 ounces leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard or a mix) depending on the variety this would be a few packed cups

salt and pepper (you’ll need a lot to taste)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Drain the beans and put in the pot, add enouch cold water to bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse.

Step 3. Heat oil in the pot, then add onion and cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened.  Add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 4. add the water, beans, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaf.  When the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat.   Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/4 horus, or until the beans are tender.  Season to taste.

Step 5. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer 2 cups to the blender, blend until smooth and combine with the soup.

Step 6. Cut the grens crosswise into thin ribbons, a handful at a time.  Spinach needs less time to cook than kale or mustard, so cook them for a shorter time.  Cook greens uncovered for a maximum of 10 minutes or until all greens are tender.

Step 7. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  The beans will soak up most of the flavor so you may need to add more salt or herbs.  Serve.

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Fasting Chocolate Cake

Most fasting baked goods lack luster.  This chocolate cake is a big  exception!  Sometimes I make this on nonfasting days when I am short on eggs and milk.  The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda give the cake its height.  Add the vinegar last and pour directly into the pan for best results.  You may never go back to boxed cakes again.

A tablespoon of instant coffee is a tasty addition.  Also, if you want this cake to have some protein you can use substitute 1/2 cup of oat flour (grind a 1/2 cup of oatmeal very fine) for a half cup of wheat flour and throw in some walnuts.

UPDATE: This is the most popular post on the blog.  If you’d like to make this cake without oil you may substitute mashed banana, avocado, applesauce (or a mix) of those three for the oil.  However, if you do you’ll need to grease your pan or at least line it with parchment.


Fasting Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

6 Tbsp cocoa

2 cups water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp vinegar

Step 1. Lord,  bless my work.

Step 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl add dry ingredients, stirring to combine.  Add wet ingredients in order of appearance, stirring to combine.

Step 3. Pour directly into an UNGREASED 9×13 pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Step 4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to decorate.

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Too much sunshine for a good picture.

My junior year of college I went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to South Carolina.  It was an incredible trip.  Beside the chance to serve others we had a lot of fun.  With good friends I built a shed, badly.  How bad?  Bad enough to get a facepalm from the volunteer leader.

Also, had my first experience with  “no see ums” .  Wow, talk about itchy.  The highlight might have been the fish fry and religious revival.  The revival was just okay- but the cornbread at that revival changed my life.  The bread was perfect.  It was sweet, salty, rich, not too crumbly, and moist.

This recipe is about as close to that memorable cornbread as we’ll get in Lent.

A cup of soy milk is called for but you can substitute water.  On the recommendation of my friend E. F. , whom I consider an expert, I substituted water and 1 tablespoon oil for the milk.

Quinoa (keen-wa) is optional in this recipe.  Adding the quinoa makes the cornbread protein and iron rich.

I don’t recommend these for muffins.  Without eggs and milk the batter sticks to the paper.  Also, because I used home milled cornmeal from white popcorn mine isn’t beautiful.  Your bread will be a gorgeous yellow.  Try this bread with Black Bean Chili, South American Red Bean Soup, and Bean Enchiladas with “Cheese Sauce”.

Quinoa Corn Bread 6 generous servings

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup corn kernels (creamed corn is a good option for moisture and sweetness)

1 cup soy milk, other non dairy milk, or water +1 tbsp oil

3-4 Tbsps maple syrup

1 cup cooked  quinoa

1/4 cup vegetable oil
Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously oil a 6×10 inch baking dish, medium iron skillet, or pie plate.  If using a skillet or metal pan you can preheat them to make a good crisp crust on the bottom of the bread.

Step 3. To a large bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt, stir to combine.

Step 4. To a medium bowl, add the soy milk, maple syrup, corn kernels, quinoa, and canola oil.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture, and stir with a few quick strokes just until batter forms.  This is a very wet batter and not thick.

Step 5. Transfer the batter to the hot baking pan or hot skillet.  Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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What?! More beans and rice?!  Yes.  I wish I could do more, but, it’s lent.  But hey, today was Sunday of the cross so we’re almost there.

This is a different version of beans and rice that you will really like.  The red wine vinegar and bay leaf surprise your palate.  I usually take a picture of the dish before we sit down to eat.  This time I didn’t and I am sorry.  The beans and rice were too delicious and there wasn’t anything left to photograph.  If you make this dish, I will happily feature your photo here.


Black Beans and Rice

2 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups long grain rice

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 large green or red pepper, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 15-ounce cans of black beans, undrained (or two cups of cooked dry beans plus 1/2 c water)

1 cup vegetable broth

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 cup sliced green onions (garnish, optional)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with 1 tsp of the salt and 1 1/2 tsps of the olive oil.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the rice, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until rice is tender.

Step 3. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion, green or red pepper, and garlic until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 4. Add the beans, broth, vinegar, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin, and remaining salt.    Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes; remove the bay leaves.  Spoon the beans over the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.  Serve warm.

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