Several years ago someone gave me Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor for my birthday. At first glance, I wasn’t very inspired by the recipes, which seemed pretty basic for a lifelong vegetarian. I made one underwhelming recipe and put it on the shelf, where it sat for the last few years. But lately, I’ve been trying to revisit old forgotten cookbooks instead of turning to the internet every time I want to find a new recipe. So I rescued Love Real Food from the bottom of the pile and started looking through it with a more receptive spirit. I was able to find several recipe I could try making, even if none of them seemed particularly original. This recipe for carrot cake breakfast cookies was my first attempt at a dessert recipe from the cookbook, but my second attempt at a carrot cake cookie. I embarked hoping this try would be more successful than my first disappointing version.
I was a bit skeptical of this recipe, since it contained neither eggs nor an ingredient that I consider an egg substitute (like apple sauce). Despite my misgivings, I followed the recipe to the letter (except for leaving out the raisins). This was a super simple recipe. I wasn’t sure whether to melt the coconut oil or not, but I followed my instincts I used it in its solid form. The recipe says to use a hand mixer to cream it with the maple syrup, which worked well. Using the solid coconut oil ended up working well, but the first batch of cookies didn’t spread out at all. For the second batch I smooshed down the dough balls and they came out perfect.
I was super impressed with these. The mixture of spices, maple syrup, and coconut oil made for a sweet and savory effect that leaves a great taste in your mouth. Without the raisins I wasn’t sure the cookies would be sweet enough; they only have 1/2 cup of sweetener. But the sweetness level was just right for me. Plus they’re pretty low calorie (less than 70 calories each by my calculation!). My only complain with these cookies was that they’re a bit crumbly (they’re basically carrot granola clumps). They came apart a bit when I took them off the baking sheet. With the second batch I let them cool for a minute or two before moving them off the sheet, which helped with the crumbling. I might try adding a single egg to these to help them stick together better, but otherwise I thought they were perfect.
I’ve recently reintroduced canned chickpeas into my diet. I’ve been so excited to be eating beans again, even in this limited form. I needed to use up cabbage and dill from my garden that I picked before the cold front. I found this recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea, Cabbage, and Dill Soup on page 313 Madhur Jefrey’s World of East Vegetarian Cooking. The recipe is super simple and I further simplified by using canned goods.
I made quite a few adjustments. I used canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes. The original recipe calls for you to cook pre-soaked chickpeas for 1 hour and then cook all the veggies with the chickpeas for another hour and a half. Instead, I just cooked everything together for 45 minutes. I thought the potatoes were a little too soft. Next time I’d cook for 30 minutes. I left out the onion. Since I didn’t have flavor from the onion, I used vegetable broth instead of water. Instead of a whole tomato and 2 tsp of tomato paste, I used about a can of chopped stewed tomatoes. Here’s my version:
2 can chickpeas
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 medium sized boiling potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can stewed chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill, firmly packed
2 cups cabbage, cut into 1 inch squares
1.5 -2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a large pot.
Bring to a boil, then turn to low and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes
Adjust salt and add pepper to taste
For something so simple, this was really flavorful and yummy, this was super easy. A really good weeknight recipe on a cold night. Ian liked it a lot too. The dill didn’t really stand out the way I thought it would though. I think next time I’d reserve 1/3 of the dill and add at the end, to see how that affects the flavor.
In college I lived in an apartment with my two best friends. We cooked a lot. One of my roommates, Ellen, shared this recipe for her mother’s favorite Cuban black beans with me. The recipe came from one of her mother’s cookbooks. Creamy, sour, and a tad sweet, it quickly became one of my favorites as well. But I never got a copy of the recipe from Ellen and for years afterwards I couldn’t make it. Finally, recently I got a photo of the recipe from Ellen and went about making it once again. It didn’t disappoint.
Below is the version I make. I have greatly reduced the oil (the original recipe calls for 2 cups!) and also left out the pimentos, which are called for in the original recipe but which I never have around. I’ve also changed the steps around a bit and shortened cooking times to simplify things.
Be aware! This recipe make 12-16 servings. If you don’t want that much beans, consider halving the recipe. However, it does freeze well.
2 1/4 cups dry black beans, cooked (or 3 cans) (keep the liquid)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups green bell pepper, chopped
3 cups yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup white vinegar
Blend bell pepper and onions in a food processor until they are finely ground
Heat the oil in a large stockpot
Once oil is hot, add the pepper onion mixture and sauté it for 8 minutes.
While the mixture is sautéing, blend 1 cup of the beans in the food processor
Add the whole and blended beans, sugar, and salt to the pot, gently stir
Simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally