Monthly Archives: January 2011

29 Jan. 2011 Red Pepper – Carrot Soup

Adapted from Prag, E. “We Love Soup” Vegetarian Times. (February 2010) Issue 374, Vol. 36, No. 3. Page 34.

Carrot Red-Pepper Soup

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.

My Comments: In my school, we have been teaching our students to “eat a rainbow” — here’s a beautiful, colorful soup for a cold winter night, although I’ll try it again in the summer and eat it chilled.  I did take the time to slow-roast my own red peppers. Full of beta-carotene and lycopene, this soup promotes heart health.


2 large red bell peppers (1 lb) plus slices for optional garnish
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced (2 cups)
2 large carrots, sliced (1/2 lb)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place bell peppers on baking sheet and roast 1 hour or until skin is wrinkles and blackened all over, turning peppers occasionally. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to steam. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off the blackened peel and remove the seeds.

2. Heat oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder and bay leaf and stir for 10 seconds. Add onion, carrots, garlic and salt. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is translucent.

3. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

4. Transfer carrot mixture to blender (or, if you prefer use a hand blender in the pot), add bell peppers and puree until smooth. Stir in lemon juice.

5. Garnish using bell pepper slices.

6 servings. Weight Watcher Points = 3 points (!).

28 Jan. 2011 Malaysian Tropical Curry with Lemongrass and Shallots

Adapted from “Malaysian Tropical Curry with Lemongrass and Shallots“. Vegetarian Times. (July 2009). p 38.  Downloaded from the web on Feb. 10, 2010.

My Comments: Is there anything better than fresh pineapple? I don’t think so. This week when I originally purchased the supplies for this meal, I bought the pineapple and promptly ate it for dessert — which meant this meal got put off until I could negotiate the snowdrifts (yet another 10 inch storm 2 days ago – uncle!) and return to my local food market.  I used flash-frozen mango for this recipe – I think if the mangoes are ripe, I’d prefer fresh, however finding perfectly ripe fruit is often a challenge here in New England. On the other hand, Lemongrass is fairly common in this area due to the many Southeast Asian families (and cooks) living here.


1 TBSP vegetable oil
4 shallots, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
3 stalks lemongrass, minced (1/3 cup)
1 TBSP cumin seeds, lightly crushed
2 cups diced jicama
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced (1 cup)
1 cup diced (fresh) papaya
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
3 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
1 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP agave or honey
2 tsp chile-garlic sauce
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Malaysian Curry

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.


1. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.

2. Add shallots, lemongrass, and cumin. Stir fry for 2 minutes.

3. Add jicama and bell pepper. Stir fry for 3 minutes.

4. Stir in papaya, pineapple, soy sauce, lemon juice, agave nectar (or honey), and chile garlic sauce. Stir fry 1 minute.

5. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4. Weight Watcher points: 4 points.

27 Jan. 2011 Eggplant Parmigiana

Adapted from Weight Watchers International. “Eggplant Parmigiana.” Downloaded from the web on January 27, 2011.

My Comment: I’ve made this recipe from Weight Watchers (subscription) several times. Not only is it delish the night it’s cooked, but it makes great leftovers. Honestly, I’d eat it cold! I dislike powdered garlic, so I used a clove, well minced. Also, I just purchase plain bread crumbs (or if you have stale bread, toast it and pulverize it) and add some basil and oregano – voila! Italian seasoned crumbs without all the preservatives. Also, don’t bother with the shaker can on “Parmesan” cheese — a hunk of cheese and a box grater is much more economical and tastes better too.

Tonight’s photographs were taken with Adrien’s new Nikon D300S camera.  Cool!

Eggplant baking

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.


1 spray of cooking spray
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs, Italian style
1 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning (basically basil + oregano + salt + pepper)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or use a well-minced clove of fresh garlic)
1 medium eggplant, raw
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 c part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in medium-size bowl and set aside.

3. Remove the skin from the eggplant, trim off the ends and slice eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.

4. Dip eggplant first into egg whites and then into bread crumb mixture. Bake eggplant on a non-stick cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes, flipping over once.

5. Place a layer of eggplant on the bottom of prepared baking dish, then add 1/3 of the tomato sauce and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers in the same order. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling – about 10 minutes more.

6. Slice into 4 pieces and serve.

Weight Watcher Point 4

25 Jan 2011 Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach & Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from Weight Watchers. “Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes“.  Downloaded from the web on March 5, 2010.

My Comments: Because of the interesting combination of flavors, I am fascinated by African cooking. The blending of peanut butter with garlic, cloves, and ginger make this a delicious stew.  Because I didn’t have cayenne on hand, I substituted red pepper flakes.  According to the Weight Watcher site (available by subscription), a serving size is 1 2/3 cups and is just 4 points.

Senegalese Peanut Sweet Potato & Spinach Stew

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.


1 spray of cooking spray
2 medium onions roughly chopped
1 medium green pepper, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 pound sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBSP ginger root, fresh and minced
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes)
4 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
6 TBSP creamy peanut butter
8 cups spinach leaves (stemmed and chopped)


1. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, cook, stirring often until softened (about 3 minutes).

2. Stir in the sweet potato, carrot and garlic; cook for 1 minute stirring often. Add the ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne Cook for 30 seconds.

3. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth.

4. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly; stirring once in a while until the sweet potatoes are tender – about 30 minutes.

5. Add the spinach, cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Serves 6.

Weight Watcher also warns to keep the heat low as the soup simmers so the peanut butter doesn’t break (separate).

Weight Watchers Points 4.

24 Jan 2011 Layered Vegetable Enchiladas

Adapted from Whole Foods Markets. “Layered vegetable enchiladas.” Downloaded from the web on Jan. 21, 2011.

My comment:  This one is on the high-end of Weight Watcher points – 9 – but after a long day at work and virtually no points expended, I deserved it!  One of the posts on Whole Foods recipe site, suggested using refried black beans and because it saves me some time on a school night I am in favor of that.  Just added the cilantro and lime to already smushed up beans (they also came with some jalapenos mixed in – sweet!).


2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen bell pepper strips, thawed
3 TBSP lime juice, divided PLUS lime wedges for garnish
1 1/2 TBSP salt-free chili powder, divided (skip if you are using canned refried beans)
1 (15 oz) can of no-salt-added pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained (skip, if you are using canned refried beans)
4 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 (15 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
8 oz. frozen leafy greens, thawed
8 corn tortillas
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (optional)

Layered Vegetable Enchilada

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.



1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. In large pot combine corn, 2 TBSP lime juice, 1 TBSP chili powder, tomatoes and greens. Cook over medium high heat until liquid is almost evaporated (about 10 minutes)

3. FOR PEOPLE MAKING THEIR OWN BEAN MIX: in large bowl, mash beans with 2 TBSP cilantro and remaining chili powder plus 1 TBSP lime juice.

AND FOR COOKS USING REFRIED BEANS: Add lime juice and chili powder (only if you’d like) to the can of refried beans.

4. Arrange 4 tortillas on a large parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread bean mixture evenly on tortillas. Top each with 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture and some cheese (if using). Top with remaining tortillas, vegetables and cheese and bake until hot throughout and cheese is melted – about 15 minutes.

5. Transfer to plates and garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges. Serves 4.

Weight Watcher Points = 9

20 Jan. 2011 Kale Lasagna Diavolo

Adapted from Asbell, R. “One food five ways: Kale“. Vegetarian Times. (January/February 2011). Issue 382, Vol. 37, No. 2. p 79.

My Comments: In college, I was known as the person who knew how to make lasagna — when we got together with friends, that was the dish I always made for our group dinners. In those days, the lasagna was full of ground beef, pork, sausages and the cheeses were made of whole milk.  While I still keep the structure of that particular stand-by recipe, I’ve adapted it to our current eating habits: usually filled with spinach and less cheese! Still good.

I’m always on the look out for some new twist to a familiar dish so when I spotted this recipe in Vegetarian Times, I knew immediately that we were going to give it a try.  I don’t economize when using canned tomato products – not a big fan of the stem or blossom ends thrown into the chopped tomatoes.  I usually try to use Muir Glen – worth the extra money.


1 tsp oil oil (plus oil or spray for the pan)
1 8-0z bunch of kale, stems removed (Whole Foods makes a good frozen Kale which is what I used here)
1 15-0z pkg. fat free ricotta cheese
4 oz chevre or soft goat cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups prepared tomato puree (Muir Glen recommended)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 no-cook lasagna noodles (or do it the hard way: use 6 regular noodles and cook them)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Kale Lasagna Diavolo

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.


1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Coat 8-inch square baking pan (I used an enamel oval baker – no big deal) with oil.

2. IF YOU USE THE FROZEN KALE YOU CAN SKIP THIS PART:. Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Thoroughly wring out kale, then chop. Season with salt and pepper if desired, set aside.

IF USING FROZEN KALE:  thaw the kale in a strainer under cold water. Squeeze it dry, toss it in a bowl with salt and pepper if desired.

3. Mash together the ricotta and chevre in bowl. Set aside.

4. Heat 1 tsp oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomato puree and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened.

5.  Assemble:  Spread about 1/4 cup sauce in prepared baking dish. Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Top with half of the cheese mixture, half of the Kale, and 1/3 cup sauce. Top with 2 more noodles, remaining cheese, and remaining kale. Top with the remaining 2 noodles and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake 40 minutes or until cheese has melted and lasagna is bubbly.

Serves 8. Weight Watcher points = 5.

18 Jan 2011 Goat Cheese and Asparagus Crustless Quiche

Adapted from Solan, M (recipes by M. M. Chappell). “Feel Good Foods”. Vegetarian Times. Issue 382, Vol. 37, No. 2. p. 88.

My Comments: While this can be created with good quality frozen asparagus, I admit I saw some fresh stalks from South America and indulged myself. They looked better than they tasted (oh what were you thinking, Amy?), but because the asparagus is not standing alone, taste wasn’t a huge issue.  I didn’t have shallots so I substituted scallions.  Also, I cut the recipe so that it served just 2.


1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (reserve tips for a garnish)
1 tsp olive oil
2 large shallots
2 cloves garlic, peeled
5 oz goat cheese
2 large eggs
5 large egg whites


Crustless Asparagus Quice

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.

1. Coat 4 ramekins or a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Toss asparagus in oil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper as desired. Place ramekins in oven and preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Meanshile place shallots and garlic in bowl of food processor and process until finely minced. Add goat cheese and process until creamy. Then add eggs and egg whites and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

3. Pour egg mixture over asparagus in remekins once oven is preheated, stirring to evenly distribute vegetables.

4. Bake 15 minutes or until tops are light brown and a tester (toothpick) inserted in center comes out clean. Garnish with asparagus tips.

Makes 4 servings. Weight Watcher Points = 5 points.

16 Jan 2011 Green Rice Casserole

Adapted from Ford, M.W., Hillyard, S., and Koock, M.F. The Deaf Smith country cookbook. (1973). New York: Collier (division of MacMillan). p 150.

Green Rice Casserole

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson Photography

My Comment:  Long ago, Adrien and I read and ate from Vegetarian classics like Diet for a Small Planet, The Vegetarian Epicure, and this classic cookbook. This tidbit either proves that we were ahead of our time or that we are truly old hippies. You be the judge.

I’m not altogether certain if Deaf Smith is still in print, but it does seem to be something you can get somehow from Amazon.

Green Rice Casserole was always a favorite of ours and all these many years later, the cookbook falls open to the exact page without much effort!

I made some changes in ingredients as noted… still good and makes a nice batch of comfort food for these frigid New England January days.


3 TBSP unrefined sesame oil (now I use about 1 TBSP and it’s canola oil!)
1 onion minced (large chunks preferred in my house)
1 clove garlic minced

1/2 cup FRESH chopped parsley (don’t bother with that freeze dried stuff)
1 cup grated sharp cheese (grate your own on a box grater and save money — and it tastes fresher to me)
2 eggs beaten
2 cups milk (we use non-dairy in this house — I used almond and rice milk without a problem)
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups cooked brown rice (more fiber, but if you have leftover white rice, it doesn’t hurt the dish)


1. Heat a small skillet. Add the oil, onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes (or until soft).

2. Mix the parsley, cheese, eggs, milk and salt with the cooked rice. I’ve always mixed up the parsley, egg, milk and salt in a 4-cup measuring cup to facilitate this. And, if you don’t like doing dishes (and plan ahead on the size of the pan you use for the rice), all of this can be done in the same pot in which you’ve cooked the rice.

3. Add the sauteed onions and garlic.

4. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish (which I usually oil to help with the clean up). Bake at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes or until firm.

Serves 6.  Weight Watchers points = 4.

15 Jan. 2011 Vadouvan-spiced Red Lentil Soup

Adapted from Solan, M and (recipes by) Mary Margaret Chappell. “Feel good foods.” Vegetarian Times: January/February 2011. Issue 382, Vol. 37, No. 2. p. 88.

My Comments: Adrien and I love soup! We try to plan a soup meal at least once a week — and this one looked really

Vadouvan spiced Red Lentil Soup

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.

flavorful.  I did not buy the Vadouvan spice (a French-Indian spice blend) as I already own a very large (and quickly expiring) jar of Garam Masala.  Hopefully I can find the Vadouvan in the bulk spice aisle of Whole Foods because it sounds intriguing! To clean the leeks easily, take a page out of Jacques Pepin’s techniques: cut up the leeks, drop them in a bowl of water and wait for the grit to float out of the leeks to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop the leeks out of the water carefully and the grit should all be gone.

If you enjoy Vegetarian cooking, Vegetarian Times is an excellent source of really great, well-put together recipes.  More about Feel Good Foods on their website at


1 TBSP olive oil
1 large leek (use both the white and pale green parts, quartered and chopped)
2 cloves a garlic, minced
1 tsp vadouvan spice powder (I used Garam Masala)
1 15-0z. can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 cup quinoa (or substitute more lentils here)
2 springs of thyme  (It was the middle of winter in New England so I used about 1 tsp dry)
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP lemon juice
OPTIONAL: Fresh parsley for garnish


1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leek and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until soft.

2. Stir in garlic and spice power (Garam Masala). Next add tomatoes, lentils, quinoa, thyme, bay leaf and 6 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper (if you wish), cover and bring the soup to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils become soft.

4. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley just before serving.

Serves 4.

Weight Water Points = 5.

13 Jan 2011 Stir-fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Tofu & Bok Choy

Adapted from Ashton, A. “A cook’s guide to mushrooms“. Vegetarian Times. February, 2010: Issue 374, Vol. 36 #3. p. 60.

My comment: Stir fries are a great, quick meal.  While this one uses a chile sauce (Sriracha), my family likes things very hot — so using a technique borrowed from Szechwan cooking (stir frying whole dried red chile peppers in the oil as it heats) makes the heat-factor just about right.  Be sure to prep all of the ingredient ahead of time – and also remember to heat the wok before adding oil.

Stirfry 13 Jan 11

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson


1 tsp cornstarch
2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce (prefer Tamari soy)
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp Thai chile sauce (Sriracha)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Sesame oil
3 Tbsp canola oil (divided)
1 14-oz. package of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into to cubes
1 lb bok choy, cut into 1 1/2 in pieces (I used baby bok choy)
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms


If you are making rice, start the rice about 20 minutes before the stir fry.

1. Whisk together cornstarch and 1 tsp of water in small prep bowl. Whisk in the soy sauce, ginger, chile sauce, garlic and sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in wok over medium high heat. Stir fry tofu for 7 minutes or until golden brown; remove tofu from wok.

3. Add a second Tbsp of oil to the wok and stir fry bok choy for about 4 minutes. Remove from wok.

4. Add final Tbsp of oil to the wok. Stir fry the mushrooms for about 2 minutes or until tender. Return tofu and bok choy to the wok for reheating. Now stir in the soy sauce mixture and continue to stir fry for about a minute or until everything is hot.

Serve over rice or on its own. Makes 4 servings.

Weight Watchers Points = 7 points

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