Tag Archives: leftovers

First Time Trying Polenta!

25 Aug

My tastebuds no longer find polenta shrouded in mystery. I’ve seen polenta in so many vegetarian recipes, but have had yet to try it and experiment with it. At its most basic, polenta is just corn grits that is boiled until a thick paste and can pretty much take the form of whatever dish you’re thinking of (sweet or savory!) I just picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill corn grits, googled for some general advice/ideas on what to do with polenta and pretty much just made it to see if I would even like it. This really isn’t a recipe or specific dish per se because I just wanted to use up some veggies I had sitting around. And the avocado was staring deep into my soul, beckoning me to devour it. So it goes. I am loving all the roma tomatoes I keep picking from our garden! They are small, sweet and beefy and I seem to be eating them with every meal. Yay lycopene! Overall, I really enjoyed the polenta! It was creamy and I can see it having much potential to develop into any sort of dish. I baked my polenta because I wasn’t too in the mood for mush! This went well with some roasted veggies on the side.

Basic Polenta

  • 1 cup corn grits / meal/ polenta stuff
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk of choice (I used almond)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Spices of choice (i.e. onion powder, garlic, chili powder, sage, rosemary…depends on the dish you’re looking to make!)
  • 1 cup of shredded vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Tbsp of favorite sweetener (this was an afterthought to the dish–just a hint of sweetness would make this even better)
Bring liquids to a boil in a large pot. Slowly whisk in corn grits and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until thick, being sure to avoid lumps. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. The polenta can be eaten this way or fried in a pan for a few minutes, spread into a thin layer on a greased baking sheet and cooked for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once during that time. There are also many other ways to prepare polenta! Just do some googling and experimenting. Leftover polenta is awesome. I think I will be slicing some of mine up and grilling it! Yum.

First week of fall semester has been conquered! Just 14 more…eeek! I really think I’m going to enjoy my “Religious Movements of the US” class. I am constantly fascinated by the objective study of religions, their ideologies and effects on society and truly get sucked in by learning about cultural taboos, similarities between all religions and their historical background, whether rooted in fact or fiction. This can be a touchy subject for many people, but I love this sort of controversy and seeing what it stems from. Thank you, anthropology! 🙂 My professor for the course is definitely a button-pusher–from the moment she made her grand entrance into the classroom, she’s been dropping f-bombs, pushing boundaries and forcing us to think about our own beliefs. I really feel I learn the most from eccentric, critical professors that force your to think outside the box. Classes such as this one make me feel like the amount of money I’m putting toward my education is worth it. 🙂 But now, it’s late and I have to get up early! Goodnight moon!

Leftover Surprise

26 Jul

It’s always fun to take whatever you have in the fridge, throw it in a blender and hope for the best. Quite the adventure! I had some leftover mashed potatoes from the pierogies last night and a crap load of vegetables just on the brink of the point of no return. Since I have yet to get a food processor (definitely would have made this a bit easier), I used our trusty, ridiculously powerful VitaMix to create a mash of vegetables: broccoli, red bell pepper & zucchini. I came up with a sort of hybrid vegetable fritter/potato pancake thing. Super easy and quick to make using any vegetables sitting around in the fridge. I don’t have any sort of real measurements, mostly just winging it!

These were great complemented with some ketchup and hot sauce! And a side of iced chai tea... 🙂

Potato/Vegetable Fritter Pancake (Pancatter? Fritcake?)

  • Leftover mashed potatoes (These had chives, garlic powder, almond milk and some Earth balance buttah)
  • A variety of hearty vegetables (In this case, I had zucchini, broccoli and red bell peppers)
  • Garlic!
  • A tablespoon or two of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Place all the vegetables (except the potatoes) in your food processor or blender. Blend until you get desired consistency (if ya like chunks, go for it). This should be kind of a thick paste.

Dump vegetable paste in with the mashed potatoes and mix until it becomes an even thicker paste! How exciting. Add any more spices you like to the mix. Next, add the flour and baking powder. Mix with your hands (more fun) until you are able to make them into patties that don’t completely fall apart on you. They shouldn’t be super sticky, but somewhat moist. If too wet and falling apart, slowly work more flour in until they stick.

Have a skillet ready on medium heat sprayed lightly with canola oil. Form the fritterthings into balls then flatten in your hands. They turn out with a nicer consistency the thinner you make them! Let cook in pan for a few minutes each side or until they are brown and smelling amazing. EAT.


  • Mine held together pretty well, but if you find yours falling apart too much, Vegetarians can add an egg to the mix and Vegans can use water + flax seed blended together to bind the mix a little better.
  • Shredded carrots would add a bit of sweetness and great color
  • Might be interesting grilled…
  • Used minced garlic instead of powdered
  • Onions would give a flavor boost
  • Try adding some jalapenos and cheddar cheese! Mmm spicy!
  • Cholula (hot sauce), ketchup, and sour cream pair well with these

Hearty, easy breakfast, my favorite. Looks like it’s going to be another hot one today. Hopefully the air conditioning at the library won’t be on the fritz again! It was 84 in there yesterday! I’m surprised the books didn’t melt.

To the library I go!

Pierogi? Pyrogi? Pierógi? Yum.

26 Jul

Potato, chive and vegan cheddar-filled pierogies! They're kind of ugly, but tasty 🙂

I was feeling a bit daring and adventurous tonight, so I tried my hand at homemade pierogies! Simply put, they are like little potato-filled pasta pillows. I love pasta and I love potatoes, so this just seemed so right. They didn’t turn out exactly as I planned, but it was my first attempt, so I will improve on them next time! I tweaked the recipe from here and just kind of played with the filling to see what would taste good. I boiled some taters, mashed them, added some almond milk, Earth Balance buttah, and salt/pepper to taste. My first batch’s filling was some taters and some garlicky wilted spinach I threw together in a pan. Tasty! The second/third batches had a nub of Follow Your Heart Cheddar cheese, potato, and some chives.

Vegan Pierogi Dough

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup canola or olive oil (i used a garlic-infused olive oil)
  • Dash of salt & pepper
A mixer or bread machine makes this a lot easier, but it’s definitely do-able by hand!
– Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl, and knead until smooth (it will still be kind of sticky).
– Let the dough rest in the bowl (covered with a towel) for 30 minutes. (Not completely necessary, but if you find your dough too springy and hard to work with, let it rest a bit longer).
– Separate the dough into 2 parts. (Or, in my case, many little parts because i had to run it all through the pasta maker…)
– Roll one half of the dough until about 1/8″ thick. (1/8″ thick? I can’t eyeball that. Just don’t roll too thin, otherwise they will fall apart! Believe me, it happened.)
– Cut circles with a cookie cutter (Use a cup/mug/glass/whatever you have/eyeball it).
– Add a teaspoon or so of filling (depending on how big your circles are. Don’t put too much, or they will be hard to close.)
– Fold the circles in half over the filling, and pinch closed. You can also press the edges with a fork to make sure they are sealed really well. (If your dough starts getting dry, keep a bowl of water nearby and use to seal the edges).
-Lather, rinse, repeat.
– At this point you can freeze the pierogi for later, or you can cook them. (Great for a quick meal later in the week!)
– To cook, (do them in batches small enough to fit in your frying pan), boil them for a few minutes, just until they float, and then fry in oil or butter, until brown on either side. (Eh, not a fan of the frying part, though I’m sure it’s delicious. I just browned them a bit with some canola oil spray, minced garlic and scallions).

Notes for the future:

  • Add more garlic!! (maybe add some to the dough)
  • Make a simple, white (and garlicky) sauce to bring it all together. Dill would be a good flavor with this as well!
  • Make them all at once, rather then in batches…it gets tedious…

This was a really fun and super flexible dish to make, especially if you’re not all about keeping with the traditional preparation of pierogies. This could easily turn into a simple method of making some half-moon raviolis with butternut squash filling, or really, any filling! Get creative. Creative is tasty.

I just checked out this great Indian cookbook that has “Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People”. It’s approach is un-intimidating and thorough in its descriptions. It also lists some Indian markets where many of the strange and delicious sounding ingredients can be picked up. I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes! Aloo gobi, mmmmm…