VEGGIE HOT POT

I make this simple veggie hot pot almost every week and use up whatever veggies I need to. It’s so clean and simple and yet exquisite because the taste of the veggies is elevated in this simple broth.

Serves 4

1-inch ginger root, peeled

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup Mirin (Japanese cooking wine, which you can find in the Asian section of a good grocery store).

1/2 cup veggie broth

1 onion, peeled

1 head of broccoli

1/2 green cabbage

1 small bunch of watercress, trimmed

4 medium carrots

1 cluster of trumpet or Enoki mushrooms

1 cup sugar snap or snow peas

1/2 bunch asparagus

8-ounce block of firm tofu, cubed

A handful of Sesame seeds

Tamari for seasoning.

Ideally, you need a large heavy-bottomed enamel pan or dutch oven. Place the ginger, garlic, mirin and broth in the pan. Place the whole onion in the center and arrange the veggies and tofu all around it. Simmer for 12-15 minutes.

While the pot is simmering, cook Buckwheat noodles according to packet directions. Although I prefer Asian noodles with this dish, it also works well with brown rice.

When the pot is ready, place the noodles or rice in each bowl and top with veggies. Spoon over the broth and sprinkle with sesame seeds and Tamari.

 

 

 

VEGAN SPANAKOPITA

I love the traditional spinach & feta Greek pie, but I wanted to have a go at making a vegan version, where I wouldn’t be using a couple of sticks of butter for the phyllo. I also love to substitute firm tofu for the feta as the textures are pretty similar. Preparing phyllo pastry can always be a bit fiddly, but this is sooooooo worth the effort. I made this pie, which serves 6 for the 3 of us (husband, daughter & I,) and there was a tiny square left. Also think about it.. a 10 year old eating spinach and chard?? (this pie is packed with it but fully disguised because of all the good flavors).

You can use any mushrooms, but because I spotted some lovely Shitake mushrooms at the market, I grabbed them as they have so many health benefits. As you can see from the photo, I barely had any light left to take the photo ( I always rely on natural daylight,) the sun was almost gone from the end of my yard, so I held up the plate in the last few golden rays – still you get the idea!

Vegan Mushroom & Chard Spanakopita

 

2 tbsp grapeseed or olive  oil

2 large brown onions, chopped

2 cups Shitake or brown mushrooms, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped (seems like a lot but you need the flavor)

1tbsp fresh Oregano or 1tsp of dried

1 bunch of Swiss Chard, stalks & spines removed

1 bag of baby spinach

1 14oz container extra firm tofu, drained

Grated zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

Black pepper

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 box phyllo pastry dough

Olive oil for brushing the phyllo

 

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the onions, mushrooms, garlic and herbs. Turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the onions are soft.

Steam and drain the greens together, and when they are cool, make sure you squeeze out any excess water and chop them well.

In a large bowl, mash the tofu, add the onion mixture and the greens, combining everything really well. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, olives, black pepper and salt.

Grease a 3 ¼ quart baking dish.

Unroll the phyllo sheets carefully. Try pulling the first sheet off and add it to bottom of dish, brush with olive oil and then add the next sheet – continue up to 5 sheets.  Many of my sheets came apart and I made a total mess  - however, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have perfectly smooth/unbroken sheets – I PROMISE Add the filling. Finally, lay another 8 greased phyllo sheets on top of the pie.

Place in the oven for 60 minutes or until golden brown.