Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘beans’

Different Salads

I suppose a staple of the Vegan diet is salads.

All shapes, sizes and colours.

To be honest, you can pretty much chop up anything, put on a little dressing and call it a “salad” these days!  And why not?

One of my favorite meals, Vegan or not, is what I call my “Mediterranean plates” where I just make a bunch of flavorful piles of stuff that go nicely together.


Here’s tonight’s group:

First I got started with a nice batch of roasted yams and roasted cauliflower.

Get them started.

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Then I went to a white bean and kale with lemon salad:

In a glass or ceramic bowl add:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon ( but zest it first and put aside)
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 large handful of chopped green kale ( hard stems out)

Mix the kale down into the lemon juice and cover well and let sit in the acid until it gets a little wilted.

Then drain and rinse a can of white kidney beans and add to the bowl.

Then add:

  • 1 tbsp dried or fresh chopped sage
  • a splash of olive oil
  • a pinch more salt and some fresh cracked pepper.

Mix thoroughly, top with the lemon zest and set aside to rest while you perform your other duties.

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Next we have a nice Cous Cous salad.

Again, in a glass or ceramic bowl ( but preferably with a seal-able lid) start with your dressing on the bottom.   I just used more lemon juice, a little olive oil and some fresh herbs.

Then to the bowl I added some left over grilled vegetables, peppers, asparagus, Portobello mushrooms, zucchini.   If you don’t have any grilled veg and don’t feel like making any, raw ones would work just fine too but try and keep them of the more delicate nature, not hard things like raw carrots.

Toss these in the dressing.

Meanwhile and this is just something I do for added flavour, but by no means essential……

I like to dry toast the couscous in the bottom of a heavy pot or fry pan till they get just a little bit brownish.

Then toss the DRY couscous in with the vegs and dressing and toss them in well.

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Then pour boiling water over the whole thing ( amount according to couscous directions) and then seal the bowl with a lid or place a plate on top and let stand for about 10 minutes.

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Then I whipped up a nice little Tahini sauce to pour over things:

  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • salt & pepper
  • water as needed

Stir this all up in a bowl adding water as needed to get to the consistency you are looking for.  Tahini tends to cease up when you mix it with other things, so you may have to keep adding water for a bit.


So now with our yams and cauliflower roasted.

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Our couscous absorbed and fluffed.

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Our beans and kale marinated.

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We are ready to put it all together!

Maybe drop a few spinach leaves or mixed greens on the bottom to “green ” it up a little and then pile on the good stuff!   And drizzle with a bit of tahini sauce!

Yummy Vegan Salad night!!

Or anytime really!   In fact this combo cold the next day made a great work lunch!

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Oh and …….note use of home-made bun now as toasted garlic bread!!!



Vegan Mexican Night

Sunday’s are often “Mexican Night” at our house.

Nice way to wrap up the weekend with something flavourful, easy and satisfying!

So this week it was “vegan version” of what we usually have.

In one pot we have a batch of my “Super Easy Spicy Rice which is already vegan without any adjustments required.

Then in another pot I made up a batch of what would normally be the recipe for my “Pulled Chicken only without the chick of course.  Instead, just near the end I added a package of “Yves Italian Veggie Ground Round“.


Now just as an aside here and forgive me “real vegans” if I am crossing the line with you, but I’m not really sure that I get these “fake meat” products that you all seem to enjoy so much.

So if you are a Vegan for pollitical / ethical reasons then why eat something that seems like the stuff you are trying to stay away from?  

And if it is for health reasons……..then…… can’t honestly make me believe  that some factory processed “meatless” product is that much better for me than say some slices of balony being produced at the factory next door?

If you have been following this blog for any amount of time, you will know that my number one philosphy is that I am a champion of REAL FOOD.  And I’m afraid that I can’t pronounce many of the ingredients in this product.  So how exactly is it better for me?


And then rouned it up with some nice fresh black bean and pineapple salsa.

And to tie it all together, I made some home made torillas, according to the recipe on the back of the Mesa flour package.

And then of course a little dollop of Good ol Guacomole“,

and there we have it, Sunday night Mexican – Vegan Version!

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Kinda Calzone

I guess to answer my own question of where do people even FIND my blog, I have recently signed up on some site that sends me all kinds of other blogs to read.

I found this one (click here) particularly intriguing, mostly because it was in Swedish!!

It is so interesting how it doesn’t really mater where you are from, people who like food, like food and like to talk about it!

While checking out this particular blog I found a recipe for something called Piroger and thought maybe it might be some sort of Swedish perogi.

Well it wasn’t, but it was a pastry type item filled with a delectable filling……so close enough

I was thrilled to find out that there  is a “translate” button.  I’m not sure if that is something built-in to that particular blogging software or just an internet thing…….but how great!!   So I clicked “translate” and I was in business!

I have to admit that some of the word choices or the sequence in which they are used are a little wonky but at least it gives you a good idea.  So please, I encourage you to not be afraid when you see foreign language food blogs!  You just might find some treasures!!


So I thought I’d give the Piroger a go.    In English they seem to be “Patties with turkey, thyme and paprika” which I admit isn’t quite as exotic but still a nice idea.

I didn’t happen to have any of the ingredients for the filling, but I really liked the idea of baking something tasty inside a bread like bun.

So I started by making up a batch of her dough and letting it sit for 30 minutes, as directed.

Then instead of the turkey filling, I made up a batch of my old favorite Nelson’s Beans and then let them cool right down to room temperature and then added about 3/4 of a cup of parmesan cheese just to thicken them up.


What ever you decide to use as a filling and that’s what really excited me about this because I can see using all kinds of different things!  But whatever it is, make sure you make it with a think consistency.   You really don’t want to be putting anything too runny or oozy because it will just be too hard to keep inside the dough!


So with my Piroger dough and my Nelson’s beans, I started to assemble my nice little patties.   I did add some salami into some of them because the Chef still likes his meat.

Then, as directed, let them rise for about another 30 minutes, then into a 450 degree oven until they get nice and toasty looking.


Serve as you wish.


What excites me about these it that they seem a perfect solution to my on going “work lunch” dilemma.   A nice little pocket of goodness that will taste great hot or at room temperature.

Thank you Praline in Sweden!

To the new garden

I’ll admit that I haven’t been to the blog too much lately.

But I have a very good reason. ( Other than the fact that my WordPress was broken!!)

The Chef and I have moved to a new place and it has been one thing after another stopping us from getting on with it.

So I haven’t been doing much cooking and I haven’t been doing much gardening and I certainly haven’t been doing much blogging!

But I am looking forward to this being a full weekend of no outside responsibilities, so I can concentrate on getting things in order, so we can start “living our life”!


But have a LOOK at the new kitchen! Coarse this is before we moved all our stuff into it!! I will update you when it is settled!

The New Kitchen

And this is the new patio, again, before we moved in!

But how are the plants in my garden doing you ask?

Chick HERE if you want to catch up on the trials and tribulations of my balcony garden!

Well, when we got back from the Oregon trip, the birds had really had their way with things!

They apparently got a taste for beet greens and so they didn’t make it.

beaten beets

And then they went for the cabbage!

Tormented cabbage

But since we’ve moved, the new deck is pest free so any of those who made the move are faring quite well.

The crazy arugula just keeps on growing! We cut it and eat it and it just grows back! Marvelous!

Active arugula


Do you remember my ONE tomato? Well this is him!! All grown up and red. I must eat him soon!

Original tomato

And look, now he has all kinds of friends! Didn’t I predict that? That come October I’d have all kinds of tomato!!


And these are the cabbage now, since being bird free and able to grow in peace. They still don’t seem to be turning into a nice cabbage ball that I am accustom to at the market, but they are at least decorative!!


And last but not least, the most pleasant surprise!


It took forever for them to even sprout! And now the little plants are growing all kinds of beans!!


But it is October now and even though it has been sometimes warmer than in the dead of summer lately, I think it might be time to wind things down for this season.

Laurelhurst Market Restaurant and Butcher Shop

We figured on our last night in Portland, we would go big or go home!  Wait…we were going home! 

You know what I mean!  It was our last night so we wanted to make sure we made it worth our while!

And now that our Cuban Sandwich and fries had worn off, it was time to get back to some serious eating!

We ended up going to a place called “The Laurelhurst Market Restaurant and Butcher Shop“.

Which is right on the edge of a unique Portland neighbourhood by the same name of Laurelhurst.

What is really interesting about this resto / Brasserie is that as you enter, it also has a full service Butcher Shop.  So you know your product is fresh!!

We opted to sit on the patio, to squeeze out those last hours of our summer vacation!  I was so pleased and surprised to see apples and pears growing right along side the fence!  Talk about “local produce”!!


We started with “Fleur de Lis Breads — with Housemade Ricotta and Olive Oil

This cheese spread was SO wonderful.  It was creamy delicious and had a hint of lemon!  SO good!!


I ordered “Steak & Greens — Piedmontese Bavette, Local Salad Greens, Ancho Chili Romesco, Jacobsen’s Oregon Salt


The Chef got “Grilled Brandt Flat Iron — Sauteed Chard, Cipollini Onion Jam, Madre Terra Olive Oil


And then we shared a couple of sides “Mac & Cheese with Tim’s Chip Crust” and “White beans with ham hock and pickled vegetables“.


It was all a wonderful treat!  So much so that we were too full for dessert!

And I thought it was so cute how the check came on a little chopping block!  Nice touch!


And so that is it for our little Oregon vacation.  By no means do I recommend eating like we did these last few days,  all the time, but sometimes you have to let ourself enjoy life just a little.  Sure we’ll be back to our brown rice and kale when we get home.

Eating is one of the true pleasures in life, so please do it well.

Tuesday night type pasta

Are you ever on your way home from work or whatever and just can’t bear to stop at the store because you are tired or don’t want to deal with all the people in way?

You come home and are determined to “make do” with whatever you can find in the pantry?

Well here is a suggestion.

I took out the large skillet, chopped up an onion and tossed it in.  I realize I really do cook with a lot of onions, but there is nothing wrong with that, they are very good for the blood!

What next?

I dug in the fridge for a bit…….

Okay, I got it.  Here we go:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5-6 cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper ( seeded and sliced in slightly larger than usual bits)

Stir those up till they are well acquainted then add:

  • 1 or more tbsp poultry spice ( or just plain dried sage)
  • 1 can rinsed white kidney or pinto beans

Stir those in well.

Then I added some of my  “Pulled Chicken”  left over from taco night.    But if you didn’t just happen to have that, you could add a can of tuna or just leave it completely vegetarian / vegan.

Meanwhile, boil up a pot of your favorite pasta.  Tonight I used linguini……cause that’swhat I had.

Once the pasta is done, toss it in with the veg and beans.  Make sure you save a bit of the pasta water and add that too, just to help make it a little saucy.

Toss those and then add some salt and pepper.

Then I added, which is totally up to you, some lemon zest and the juice of said lemon just to zinger up a little!

Had I had any baby spinach or arugula, I would have totally added a bit of that just before serving too….but I didn’t.

Plate it up and add some parma cheese…….if that’s your thing.

Does the trick for a Tuesday night!

And on a further note, it makes a great lunch for work the next day!  Eat at room temperature with a squirt or two of lemon just before you eat it!

Left overs salad

I think sometimes people get hung up on what food is supposed to “look like”.

As in they think that there are some kind of rules about what something is, just because you call it something.

Example, salad.

When you say “salad” what immediately comes to mind?  Some kind of lettuce, few chopped carrots or cucumbers, maybe some sliced radish for colour……..

Or maybe you go to chunky potato salad with the obligatory cup of mayonnaise?

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of those, but sometimes it is okay to get out of the box.

Came home and needed something to eat.  What to do?

Well, I had some slightly old baguette so I chopped that up into bite size squares and tossed it with some chopped garlic, chopped rosemary and some olive oil.   Then on to a tray and into the oven to crisp up.

What next?

I had a romaine lettuce so I washed it and chopped it up and dried it well.

In the bottom of the bowl that I tossed the croutons in, there was some of the oil, garlic and rosemary left, so I used the same bowl and made a little dressing.

Mostly, it was a Caesar dressing only minus the raw egg and anchovy:

  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp Keen’s hot mustard ( or Dijon)
  • a few shots of Worcestershire sauce
  • juice of half a lemon
  • a couple of twirls of olive oil
  • salt & pepper

whisk that up at the bottom of the bowl.

Then add the Romain lettuce and toss with the dressing.   Then add a few handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

But is that it?  No no no……let’s see what we have in the fridge??

Well, how about some left over roasted cauliflower?  Why not?

I just tossed it into a saute pan for a couple of minutes to take the extreme cold off of it and mellow the flavour a bit.

What else do we have?  Oh, here is some left over South West salad, let’s toss that in too!

All right then, I think we are in business!

We have the lettuce tossed in dressing with cheese, then cauliflower and then the bean salad.  Last but not least, the croutons and toss well and serve!

Perfect any night “Salad”!

What have you got in YOUR fridge that you can call salad?

“Left Overs” salad

Nelson’s Beans – revisited

A while back I shared a recipe with you.

A recipe for something I called “Nelson’s Beans”.    ( click here )

I told a story about how when I was visiting my cousin in California, his son was visiting from Scotland and made “Nelson’s Beans”.

I always assumed that Nelson was a Scotland guy…….but I learned when we were there visiting over the holidays that  in fact he is actually a California guy.

This makes WAY more sense now.   I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Scottish cuisine, but “spicy stuff” isn’t really the first thing you think of.

I just wanted to clear that up.

We had a good batch of them for dinner last night, with a little salad, a little hummus and pita makes a great little Vegan dinner.

Nelson’s Beans

Nelson’s beans

Not really sure what the story is with these.  I don’t really know why these are called “Nelson’s beans” other than the fact that I think a guy named Nelson provided my cousin in Scotland with the recipe.  My cousin,  in turn came to visit his parents in California where I too happened to be visiting at the time.   He made Nelson’s beans, they were great, and I’ve been making them ever since!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 – 2 onions sliced  (if you can slice them in full circles it would be great, but halves are fine)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 2 cans pinto beans (rinsed)
  • 2 small or one larger can of tomato paste
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of “Mrs Dash” – this is from the original recipe

But instead I used:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili flakes ( more if you like)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • salt & pepper

Start by heating a large skillet with oil, then add onions and cook till translucent.  When the onions have had a good head start, add in the garlic.    Then add the spices, either Mrs. Dash or your own combo, mix well.   Add the splash of vinegar and brown sugar, then the tomato paste with the same amount of water at the tomato paste can(s).  I just use the can and swish it out a bit.

Stir well and let this get nearly to the boil then add the beans.  You don’t want to add them too early so they don’t get too mashed up.  Stir them in and then let them simmer till heated through.

These can be eaten immediately with some nice crusty bread or as a side dish.   They taste even better the next day.

Or even better………cold, right out of the pan when you come home after an evening of “merry-making”!!

"Nelson's" beans


Tips – seaweed


Photo courtesy of  ( click here )

Did you know?

When making beans from scratch, as in from dried hard things not opening the can by your self, if you add some seaweed to the cooking water it will help make the beans less ” gas-producing” when you eat them! And adds a bunch of nutrients to boot!

Tumeric is also helpful with this problem and is good for lowered bad cholesterol so it is doing double duty!

Just thought you should know.

Legume Pate

This is an easy and tasty one.

You could use it for a pre-dinner appy for guests, or an afternoon snack.  But what I really like it for is as a sandwich filling.  And it’s chock full of nutrients!

Pull out the food processor and then add:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • a handful of fresh parsley and or cilantro
  • 1/2 medium onion

Give those a good whiz up first so they are well chopped before adding the rest.  Then add:

  • 1 can (540 ml) pinto or white kidney beans ( rinsed)
  • juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp of poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Whirl all this up and then when nice and creamy, transfer to a bowl.

Actually you could stop right here and have a perfectly nice bean dip.

But to make what we’re trying to make……keep going.

Add to bean mixture:

  • 1 cup of green lentils ( canned or fresh cooked)

Mix throughly but keeping the lentils whole, so don’t try and squish them in.  Keeping them whole adds a nice texture.

Then push the mixture firmly into a ramekin or serving dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving so it will firm up nicely.

Then you are ready to go.  Serve with your favorite cracker type items and maybe some olives on the side.




Legume Pate with home made crackers

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