Sunday, January 16, 2011

Simple Moroccan Stew and Ian Made Dinner

It is so wonderful to sleep in on Saturday too bad every day of the week can’t be this way. I feel much better when I wake up when my body thinks it has had enough sleep.

I let Dan sleep in while I worked on my last post. He got extra rest and I got to finish my post while not taking any time away from him. It worked out well for both of us.

For breakfast Dan has his usual oatmeal with frozen wild blueberries, cinnamon, powdered ginger, ground flaxseeds, and walnuts. When Dan was half way through eating his oatmeal I realized that I forgot to use the soy milk in his oatmeal in place of water. Clearly I wasn’t thinking this morning. ;-) Sometimes I think I will never be a morning person.

After writing the post about eating a healthy breakfast earlier I was craving savory oatmeal. Normally I make myself the same thing I give Dan just because it is easier. Saturday I decided to make something just for me. If you like savory foods you should try savory oatmeal. I prefer it to sweet though Dan thinks the sweet is much better. My oatmeal this morning contained: oats and water, nutritional yeast, cumin, oregano, grated garlic, chopped broccoli (I used frozen), ground flaxseeds, salsa and raw pumpkin seeds.

For the late lunch with my parents I decided to use the garbanzos that I cooked on Thursday as the base for a stew. Since Dan and my parents both love my Moroccan chickpea stew I made a variation of that today. In the version I made on Saturday I omitted the olive oil and substituted a regular lemon for the preserved lemon to cut back on the salt in the dish. I also added sweet paprika, saffron and fresh ginger to taste. Then I finished the dish with fresh cilantro.

If you want to make a Moroccan style dish of your own here is a list of the flavors that are traditional to the cooking of that country:

• Almonds
• Chickpeas
• Cilantro
• Cinnamon
• Coriander
• Couscous
• Cumin
• Eggplant
• Fruit
• Ginger
• Harissa
• Lemon
• Mint
• Olive
• Onions
• Saffron
• Tomato

We decided to serve this over brown rice in place of couscous for a couple reasons. First we haven’t made brown rice in a while and we try to vary our grains and beans. Second though couscous is traditional brown rice is healthier. Couscous is tiny pasta which means it is flour and water and sometimes oil. Also since it is so tiny is difficult to cook al dente, and al dente pasta has a lower GI than more thoroughly cooked pasta. Today since I decided to make rice and hour and half before the meal I did take the time to soak the rice for an hour to reduce the phytic acid before I cooked it. Soaking the rice also makes it cook more quickly so be sure to check it ten minutes before you normally would expect it to be ready.

To accompany the stew at lunch I made side salads with:  mesclun, salsa, carrot, cucumber and red bell peppers.  I topped the salad with a little of the cheeze I made on Friday. For my parents I also added a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil since that is a texture they would be expecting.

Since we hadn’t been out for dinner in a few days it was time to visit Ian and the gang. Knowing that Ian prefers advance notice that we would be in for dinner on Saturday I made reservations on Thursday.  That gave Ian and Will time to think of something just for us. They really are too sweet to us and we love them for it. As usual when we give Ian notice he had no idea what we were eating. I love the suspense of eating that way and since we have never been picky eaters it works well for us.

Our course we had a table set up in Aimee’s section (one half of “the kids”). She had our white tea waiting for us when we got there. This time she made a blend of herbal and white tea that had a nice floral and fruity background.

We started our meal with a deconstructed guacamole. There was shaved avocado, the tomato seeds (I love that part), cilantro, and red onion.

The guacamole was served with jalapeno chips which were really good. Dan and I wiped out the guacamole and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Need there was a course of roasted green onions that cooked on very high heat and were then covered so they would steam. They were dressed with a roasted pepper, hazelnut, smoked paprika, garlic and habanero sauce and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Since this dish contained all things I loved I was in heaven.

The last dish was veggies in a tempura batter with a soy dipping sauce. The veggies were: sliced portabella mushroom caps, broccoli, sweet potato rounds and avocado wedges. The avocado was shockingly good, creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside and they held there shape which really surprised me.  The dipping sauce was very nice and the vinegar it contained help to cut through the fat in your mouth. This was definitely something I wouldn't make at home but that is what is fun about out to eat.  It takes us out of our comfort zone which is almost always a good thing.

Overall dinner was really good but far more fat than we are accustomed to ingesting. However, it was very easy going down. I was surprised that my stomach didn’t bother me afterwards. Other than being a little a gurgly my stomach held up much better than I expected. I liked the deconstructed guac the best. Shaving the avocado made it easy to put a thin slice on each chip as you layered on the toppings. I should have taken a picture of a chip with all the toppings but I was too busy talking and eating.   Sorry. ;-)

Ian left early Saturday since it was a slow night due to the big football game so we didn’t get a chance to see him. However Will did a great job making everything for us and even came out and chatted for a while like Ian usually does. We found out that we are both big Jose Andres fans. He is planning to make a trek to the MiniBar soon so we talked about that for a while. Dan and I loved going to the MiniBar. Forgoing regular trips to the MiniBar may just be the toughest part of being vegan for us. Yes it really is that amazing and they can adapt the menu to make it vegetarian if that is something you are interested in.

When we go to dinner we like to take our time and not be rushed. Those of you who know us know that I am not exaggerating. We arrived at the restaurant at 6:45 and were leaving which Aimee around 11. Dan and I go out to eat as much to see everyone at the restaurant as we do for the food.

We were talking to Aimee at the end of the night and made plans to take a day and go to DC and hit the museums next week before her and Michael head back to school later this month. That will be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to it.

As we were leaving I was standing next to “Shorty” who I swear is getting taller every day I see him, I don’t even come up to his chest. I asked him how tall he was as I was looking up at him and he told me 6’7” which sounds right to me. I started calling him “Shorty” to distinguish him for another Michael that worked at the restaurant and it stuck. Michael and Dan both love technology and have been swapping things on thumb drives lately. I assume it was guy stuff that I wouldn't understand.

While we were at dinner I got a text from our friend Deirdre that she was at the ER. Thankfully they gave her meds and an inhaler and cut her loose. She seems to have some sort of infection in her lungs. She is the second person we know that this has happened to this winter. Is there something going around, have you heard about anything?

Happy Thoughts:

Saturday was a good day but a bit stressful. However I have lots of things to be grateful for, here is my list today:

• I was thrilled to hear that Deirdre was being released so quickly from the ER. Since she is the type of girl that doesn’t go to the doctor unless she has a dangling appendage her being at the ER scared the shit out of me. We were texting this morning and she sounds a bit better than I expected.

• I am thankful to have Ian and the gang so close by. As I have said many times before this is our version of “Cheers” and we love to go and hang out and chat with everyone. We also are very grateful that they are kind enough to not only cater to our dietary needs but that they go out of their way to make things for us that are not on the menu.

• It was great that the predicted snow Saturday evening didn’t materialize. Sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for frozen precipitation.

• I was also pleased that my parents ate another vegan meal and even remarked that they liked the stew. It is too bad I can’t get them to eat more healthy meals but I am happy for the small amount of progress that I have made.

• It is also great to have leftovers for Dan’s lunch tomorrow since he loves my Moroccan flavored food.

• Dan and I had a nice day together and I am always thankful for those. I love spending time with him we always enjoy each other’s company.

• The felines were little love muffins yesterday, very cuddly and adorable. I am grateful to have three precious little fur children in the family. Both Dan and I adore all three of the cats even our mischievous little man Binky.

Signing out:

We started our morning with a Whole Foods run for kale. As you may have imagined a few other things happened to leap into our cart but they always do that.  That store has the most gorgeous produce it is hard to resist piling it into the cart.

Today I am making mushroom ragu for the late lunch with my folks. This is another one of Dan’s favorite meals so he is looking forward to it. I have dried mushrooms soaking now to give the ragu a little chewiness.

I will chat with you guys again tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a great weekend and that you are staying warm. It was cold and a little breezy this morning when we left for Whole Foods.


  1. Everything that you got at that restaurant looked so good! I really love tempura and would love to have tried that avocado tempura! I just had a horrible dinner experience last night at a Mexican restaurant near our house. I ordered the navajo, because I just love navajo fry bread. I don't get to have it often, so when I see it on the menu I always order it! Well, I ordered my meal as usual with no sour cream or cheese. When she asked if I wanted ground beef or chicken I said neither. She just stood there kind of with eyes glazed over. I could tell that she didn't understand my order for some reason. So I said, so basically itll be the fry bread with beans, lettuce, guacamole and tomatoes. No dairy or meat. So she went to put my order in and I assumed that she understood. She came out with a salad with that crunchy shell like they have at taco bell with beans, lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole inside. I was irritated because it wasn't what I ordered but I told my husband it was fine and ate it any way. I hate making a fuss or ever sending back orders. The ONLY time I will is if there is meat in them. I wish I wasn't such a wuss. Haha. Anyway, I am glad that your friend is out of the hospital! That is great news! Have a good Sunday!

  2. Carissa,

    We like to go out to eat and let the guys send out what they have dreamed up for us. Like most chefs the guys can't wrap their heads about the concept of no oil. Since we don't go out that often we can adapt. ;-)

    I am so sorry you had a bad experience last night at dinner. I guess next time you need to be more specific if that is possible. I don't typically send things back either. I guess it is because I worked my way through grad school as a server so I know how tough the job can be.

    We were thrilled that Deirdre was in and out of the ER. She is always so stubborn and such a tough girl we were very worried since she thought she was sick enough to go to the ER.

    I hope you have a great Sunday too!


  3. i loved that list of foods and spices for Moroccan food!

    Carrisa, stuff like thats happened to me before, just order it on the side the next ime they come fry bread vegan? it always looks so good:)

    you have to ask him how he did the tempura! every recipe i have seen has egg!
    the shaved avocado is such a good idea. great pictures

    "...unless she has a dangling appendage..." haha that really made me LOL:)

  4. The food at that restaurant sure looked good.I really wish there were vegan restaurants in Hamilton, Ontario.
    By the way, I was wondering what you thought about the use of pressure cookers?
    In regards to your friend, in Canada the flu has arrived early and has the H3N2 virus, which is reported to be 6 times higher this year in Ontario. So, I'm not sure what it is doing in your neck of the woods. But respiratory infections can be prevalent at this time of year, closed homes and work places with poor air quality easily contributes to infections.
    Although many people bristle at getting innoculations, I get mine every year. As a registered nurse(not practicing now)I've watched many people die over the years due to the complications of the flu. Pneumonia being a major one. I've only had the flu once in over 10 years, then it was only mild because the strain hadn't been included in the vaccination.
    I've been craving savory meals lately. I saw a show about how Ramon noodles are so popular in Japan.
    So I came up with a Breakfast Ramon soup, with lots of spinach. Pretty good, hits the spot, especially with Soba noodles.
    Still working on the recipe. I'll probably post soon.
    I now think more out of the box. Thanks!!

  5. Sleeping in always feels like such a treat but it can be soooo good for the body and soul. So glad to hear your friend made it out of the ER quickly - nothing too serious?! And I'm just not even going to comment on dinner. not fair. I guess I just need to open up my own place ;-)

  6. I've never commented on your blog before, but I love the recipes that you post and all the nutritional information! I'm wondering if you have a recipe for marinated mushrooms? I see you eat them a lot, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen a recipe for them. Any recipe that I look up has so much olive oil. :( Dr. Fuhrman says they have great anti-cancer properties!

    Thanks for your great blog!


  7. Hi Ali,
    All this time I've been thinking that you used water to make your oatmeal but the soymilk is a great idea to make it creamy. I'm going to try that tomorrow morning. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Sarah, pretty sure you are going to make her day with that comment.

  9. Your Moroccan stew is beautiful! I love the dish it's in too.

  10. Michelle,

    Somehow I knew you would love the food and spice list by culture. I will try to do more of that going forward.

    I will ask about the tempura but I am fairly sure it was flour, soda water and baking powder. But I will double check and let you know.

    Deirdre is not one to run to the doctor ever. When she texted from the ER I knew it was bad.


  11. Carin,

    I like my pressure cooker. What specifically did you want to know?

    Working in health care for a long time I have gotten the flu shot for years. I think it is critical if you are an at risk group or around people that are. The two people that I know that have had respiratory infections this year were both in good health and in their early 30's. Neither of them seem to have had the flu. It is very odd to me.

    Your breakfast soup sounds good. I love miso soup for breakfast but don't make it often. My Japanese girlfriend makes it for herself every morning and swear by it.

    talk to you later,

  12. Heather,

    Sleeping in always feels so good. I think that means we are both sleep deprived. ;-)

    Deirdre is home but still feels like hell. The doc told her it would be a while (weeks) before she is 100%. Very scary since she is only 32 and in good health generally.

    Sorry about the dinner thing. Maybe you should open your own place. ;-)


  13. Sarah,

    I do make my own marinated mushrooms but I never measure so I haven't posted the recipe yet. I need to make more this week or next. When I do I will measure so I can post the recipe, which doesn't have any oil BTW. ;-)

    Glad you like the blog. Thank you for letting me know,

  14. Jill,

    I do use water when I make oatmeal. I used soymilk this morning for Dan's to add extra calories. He has dropped 4 pounds since he has been exercising everyday which I am trying to put back on him. My oatmeal will continue to be made with water. However if you are trying to add calories the soy milk works well in oatmeal.

    talk to you later,

  15. Mel,

    Thanks the Moroccan chickpea stew is a family favorite. :-) The dish is from Deruta, Italy. I have a passion for Italian pottery.


  16. flour, soda water and baking powder.

    i have to try this! so do you think the tempura at Japanese places have egg in them? did he do his eggless for you guys or is that really the traditional way to do it? (getting overly excited here)

  17. Michelle,

    Sorry, I am not an expert on Japanese cooking so I am not sure how tempura is traditionally made. I will ask my friend from Tokyo and see what she has to say and will let you know.

    talk to you later,


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