Tag Archives: Swiss Chard

Syrian Split Peas with Chard

A couple of years ago I just go so sick of the holidays, not because they are all are inherently shitty holidays, but just the fact that they are the same thing every year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Serbian Christmas, and Martin Luther King Day all go down exactly how they always have. Well, New Years changes the location quite a bit but you know what I mean; we are still celebrating the same damn holidays every year. Recently Mr. Smurf found out that he is technically Jewish and I thought it would be nice to start celebrating some of the Jewish holidays. And so I got “Olive Trees and Honey“, a book about Jewish cuisine from all over the world, which I have wanted for a while because it gets really positive reviews.

I have quickly fallen in love with this book. Every recipe is a history lesson about a particular tradition, how Jews came to live in a certain place, how cultures mingled, or even how people started to eat a certain type of food. The recipes are all clearly written and, like my other recent favorite, Viva Vegan, the book has many regional adaptations and variations after the recipe. Sometimes the variations are kind of funny, like if you want to make something Hungarian omit the other spices and add paprika. God, those Hungarians must really love their paprika because this seems to be true of every recipe I have ever read in my life. What the hell is going on over there? As someone of Serbian background I also think it is pretty ridiculous that the author always lumps the former Yugoslavia together as “The Balkans”, not really because it isn’t quite accurate but because a certain TV show that I love right now has a bad guy called “The Balkan” so I can’t help but laugh.

The only other issue that I have with the book is that, I would say, 95 percent of the recipes have eggs in them. Sometimes eggs are easy enough to get around, like if one is used as a binder in a dumpling or if they are in a pasta dough. But, other times eggs are impossible or at least very difficult to substitute for. [If you need help veganizing something with eggs check out this post on My Vegetarian Recipes”.] Someone somewhere said if a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs to not even bother veganizing it and many of the recipes call for 6!  Certainly they are not as simple as subbing for meat or cheese or milk.  But I still love the cookbook and I can easily enough make most of the recipes. So far everything has been fantastic.

I recently tried the Syrian Lentils with Chard, it is a fantastic recipe because it is totally lazy cooking but healthy too and very tasty. Also, I finally got to use my Pomegranate Molasses that I bought at least a year ago and immediately forgot what I bought it for so it has been sitting in the pantry ever since. Luckily it keeps forever so if you have been wondering what to do with yours try the recipe! I also switched it from lentils to split peas and cut wayyyy back on the oil.

Syrian Split Peas with Chard

1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups water
2 1/3 cups split peas
1 lbs chard, shredded
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 cups cilantro
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Heat up the oil and toss in the onion and garlic. Once the onion has become translucent add the water, split peas, chard, salt and pepper. Simmer until the peas are tender and the water has mostly evaporated. Add in the cilantro and pomegranate molasses, mix and enjoy!

Pascha Palachinke

Growing up Serbian Orthodox you always celebrate holidays a few weeks after the rest of the country which always made me feel a little important somehow; like my holidays were more authentic then these silly neighbors of mine who would celebrate their holidays on any old day the man told them to. Yes, I was self important even as a child, but you know, Orthodox Lent is really 40 days of veganism and vegans are known as self-important so maybe it was a natural fit. The 40 days is usually finished off with killing a lamb. I didn’t kill any lambs this year for Pascha (Easter) but I did make some vegan crepes (or Palachinke in Serbian) with the finest Spring ingredients. I found green garlic, ramps, baby Swiss chard, and oyster mushrooms at the farmer’s market so I wanted to use them. I was disappointed that another Spring was about to pass by again without me getting to try Fiddlehead Ferns but then I found them at central market! I was so excited. I baked all the vegetables in a 400 oven with earth balance and salt and pepper for about 10 minutes. And they turned out delicious, what a brilliant combination. The ramps were like leeks but different enough to have a flavor all their own. The fiddlheads tasted like asparagus, a curly, snappy version of asparagus.

I used the recipe for the crepes from the voluptuous vegan and it once again proved to be a winner. I also made the baked tofu recipe from the voluptuous vegan and it was really good, creamy and flavorful but fast and easy and so it was a perfect match for these easy crepes.

I had earlier gone to the Texas Food and Wine festival and at a cooking demo I realized that I don’t eat enough parsley. It is the perfect complement to a Spring dish, the flavor is really fresh and just kind of zippy. I did a little epicurious search and found a parsley pesto with toasted pepitas and decided it would be perfect, without the parmesan of course and adding a little citrus. It was delicious! Parsley is one of those foods that I didn’t used to like but now I am finally coming around to it. If you want to move into a new phase with you relationship with parsley I recommend this recipe. The creamy pepitas really added a nice element to the strong parsley and toned it down. I could eat this pesto buy itself or just on bread because it was so good. Maybe I will make it with pasta tonight. The perfect pepita parsley pesto pasta. The whole crepe came together really nicely. Mr. Smurf used at least 4 reallys when he was complementing the final dish. If you find these fiddlehead ferns and the farmer’s market definitely try some.Here is the recipe for the pepita parsley pesto

  • 1/3 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP of Lime

Process the garlic first, then add the pepitas and process a little more. Add the rest of ingredients, process until pesto consistency and add salt and pepper.

This post was brought to you by the letter P and the following sponsers:

VeganMoFo- I already miss summer cooking

In Texas it is hot in the summer. Maybe some of you haven’t ever even really experienced what “hot” can be. The warmest day in Portland is maybe 90 degrees when here in Austin 90 degrees means you wear long sleeves at night! This summer we finally got a grill off Craig’s List and could cook without heating up the whole house although it was still impossible to cook without sweating. Unfortunately, since I was in charge of cooking that meant I was not in charge of the fire which led to this.

I had lot of fun making Susan’s Ribz several different times

The smoked Tempeh from the Veganomicon & Creole Style Black Eyed Peas was really good. Using fresh black-eyed peas is so great. They are just so creamy and delectable.

In Texas there is no type of food more important than BBQ and I feel like as a vegan you can appreciate BBQ sauce more when their isn’t a bunch of fat and gristle in the way

Baked BBQ Tofu with sweet corn and collards

BBQ Black-Eyed Peas wrapped in Collard Greens

and a BBQ Seitan Sandwich from Whole Foods because sometimes it is really nice to go into a freezing cold grocery store and have some vegans cook for you!

We also eat a lot of Mexican inspired Dishes here in Austin. I made these tacos one night when I wanted something quick and easy

And I made Phish Tacos using the fish stick recipe from Vegan Lunch Box (a great recipe) and a Beet & Jicama slaw

And the delicious Pasta De La California with an heirloom tomato Serbain salad. Who would have thought that Avocado could literally be added to any dish and make it better.

Also another Southern style dish. I don’t know how they do it but the tofu at our co-op is so good that you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like it.

Southern Fried Tofu from Wheatsville Co-op with Black Eyed Peas

From this photo essay I have really learned that I need to get some different plates if I am going to be a food blogger! I can’t believe all the things I didn’t cook when I had the chance; I never once made Watermelon Gazpacho or Tomato Pie. I guess I will have to wait for next year. But now we get to move onto the most fun cooking of all HOLIDAY COOKIN!