Guest Post! Fortinbras’ Quick and Easy Spinach Sauté

Ole Fortinbras surprised me by sending me a guest post! First I’ll let you hear from him in his own words, then I’ll tell you how to veganize it (which is very easy, he just added some parmesan cheese at the end that I’ll be swapping out). So without further ado, heeeere’s Fort:

Hello all you fantastic I Eat Food folks. Since I’ve moved to California and returned to school, I have zero time to cook and zero money, so fast, cheap and filling is the name of the game. This recipe is something I eat a few times a week because it fits the bill, and it is just so delicious. Also, the aromatics are gonna make your home smell great.

When putting this together I throttle way back on the salt because the Parmesan cheese has a pretty high salt content.

Quick and Easy Spinach Sauté

Ingredients:

Baby Spinach uncooked – 3 big hand fulls (about 6 cups)
1/4 of large onion chopped
Garlic – 6 cloves chopped
10 Cherry Tomatoes – chopped
1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

Seasoning:
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried rosemary
salt
pepper
olive oil

Chop up your garlic, onions and cherry tomatoes. (Keep these separate because you will be adding them individually).

Heat a sauté pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat (you want your cooking surface to be hot enough to cook the onions and the garlic down but not so hot that it might fry the garlic).

When pan is hot toss in the onions and the garlic with a little bit of salt and pepper. As soon as the onions begin to become translucent reduce the heat to medium low (you want your onions to still have a bit of firmness).

Add in the basil, oregano, rosemary toss that around a few times and then add in the tomatoes.

After adding in the tomatoes and after mixing it all up real good, toss in your spinach and continue to incorporate the ingredients and reduce the spinach.

Toss it all about until the spinach wilts a bit (not overly reduced in volume) and then turn off the heat. Let the heat of the pan continue to reduce the spinach.

Now toss in the Parmesan cheese and stir it all about.

Now put it all into a bowl and eat it up because it tastes and smells so dang good and you are hungry.

Greetings and happy eatings from Sunny California!

Okay, Renae back at the helm. I made this tonight and it was really good. I followed Fort’s instructions exactly, other than the cheese, and using less oil (‘Bras – did you REALLY use 1/4 cup?!).

Here are my ingredients:

Sauteing the onions and garlic:

Adding the herbs and tomatoes:

And the spinach:

Okay, about that parmesan cheese. There are a number of ways you can handle this:

  1. You can just omit it – really, this is good enough that the cheese is superfluous.
  2. You can buy commercial vegan parmesan (although I never do this).
  3. You can just add a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  4. You can add some Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix
  5. You can omit Fort’s seasonings and sprinkle some dukkah on it – I intend to try this next time.
  6. You can make a vegan parmesan. The simplest version is just equal parts nutritional yeast and sesame seeds or nuts, plus a little salt. But what I did this time was:

Vegan Parm
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp white miso
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder and blend for several seconds.

I just used a tablespoon or so. This will keep in the fridge for a while.

I served this with some sprouted quinoa that I made using sun-dried tomato soaking water that I saved a few days ago, with a touch of bouillon. Wow, that was inspired – the quinoa was fantastic and went very well with the spinach.

So, thanks to Fortinbras for taking time from his very, very, very, very busy life to share this recipe! Here is Fort’s current favorite picture of us.

If I try to make a post without kittens, I get comments demanding kitten action. Fort was in fact here the weekend we got the kittens but he isn’t in any of the pictures I took, and then he went and abandoned me for L.A., so you will have to settle for the only picture I can find of Fort and Tigger. It’s about a gazillion years old, but I remember taking it. Tigger was being unruly and Fortinbras was trying to tell him a thing or two. Tigger wasn’t listening. There were a bunch of people in my apartment at the time, which just goes to show you that Tigger always had to be right in the middle of things. Boy, do I miss him. And I miss Fort, too.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

Ever since Kylie mentioned her spaghetti bolognese in passing the other day, I’ve been thinking about making a vegan version, and when I wanted something pretty hearty for dinner tonight, I decided to try it. I’ve never actually had real spaghetti bolognese, which is a pretty meat-tastic meal, and this in no way approaches tasting like real meat, however, it was made in the spirit of a thick, rich spaghetti sauce, and was easy, tasty, and just what I wanted for dinner.

Spaghetti Bolognese

[I didn’t take an ingredients photo because I wasn’t sure I was going to post it.]

1 cup TVP crumbles (textured vegetable protein)
1/2 cup bulgur
2 cups water
2-4 vegan “beef” bouillon cubes (enough to make 2 cups worth of double-strength broth)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 14-oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp Marmite
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup non-dairy milk

I didn’t take a picture of this step, but bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then whisk in the bouillon cubes, making a double-strength broth. Add the TVP and bulgur, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat some olive oil in the saucepan and add the onions and celery, cooking until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the Marmite and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.

Add the TVP/bulgur mixture and the rest of the ingredients. If it seems too dry, add a bit of water, broth, or wine.

Simmer, partially covered, for at least half an hour or until thickened.

Serve over spaghetti …

… to your very silly husband.

I also made soup but it was kind of boring and Mark advised it was not blog-worthy. But you can look at it anyway:

Fortinbras was here last night, with his friend from “back home” in Louisiana, Nikki. He made a curry for us (in a mere four hours!) and I took a gazillion photos, so now he’s got to write up a post for you. Y’all might have to help me nag him considering it took him 4 months to make his Christmas cookie post. Here’s a preview:

(Nikki brought me that apron as a gift, isn’t she sweet?!)


Brachtune: not as into being picked up and flung around as Tigger used to be…
Me and Nikki: drinking way too much champers…

What happens to me when I set Fortinbras loose in my kitchen:

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Easter "ham"

I foodically (what? it’s a perfectly cromulent word!) celebrated two holidays today! I made matzo ball soup for Passover lunch. I should have taken a photo, but I made it exactly as Isa directs in Vegan with a Vengeance. I’d never had it before, but it was good.

Then I was a day early, but I found myself in the mood to experiment with making seitan ham again, so I tried to make an Easter ham. It was a last-minute, throw-it-together sort of thing and I didn’t take photos, didn’t write it down, and didn’t think it would turn out well. However, it ended up being the closest I’ve gotten to a hammy taste, so I’m going to record approximately what I did. I’ll try to tighten the recipe up later and report back to you. Oddly, I think the breakthrough thing was an accident. When I went to add the liquid smoke to the pot, I thought for some reason it had the sort of cap on it that limits you to a few drops at a time and I rather rambunctiously dumped it in before realizing it had no such thing, and I added much more than I would ever have thought of using. I thought at first I had probably ruined the broth but I tasted it and it wasn’t bad, so I figured I’d try it. I think the smoky flavor is what made it taste more like ham to me. I have no idea how much I ended up pouring in there but I guessed two tablespoons below. It could well have been three or even four, though.

Seitan Ham

Simmering broth
7 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Seitan
1/3 cup soy flour
2 1/3 cups vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp smoked paprika (use sweet paprika or omit if you don’t have smoked)
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup ketchup

Bring all of the broth ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. In a large bowl, mix together the soy flour, vital wheat gluten, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the water and ketchup. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and knead with your hands until all of ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Cut the resulting seitan mass into 6 pieces; shape each into a ball then flatten with your palm and place in the simmering broth. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for an hour. Remove with a slotted spoon and pan fry or bake. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days in some of the broth.

I did manage to get a picture of the ham floating in the broth:

I don’t know that ham is often pan fried. I think it is ordinarily baked. But I was anxious to get the meal on the table so I just browned it a bit in my cast iron skillet.

I served it with some broccoli and cheeze sauce, corn, and some yeasted bread, because for me, Passover was over.

Tomorrow I may bake the leftovers for my “real” Easter dinner. If I do, I’ll let you know the results.

Mark really liked the ham. Although I asked him if he thought it tasted at all hammy and he said it tasted more like horse. I asked him when he’d ever eaten horse meat and he said once when he was young he said he was hungry enough to eat a horse and a genie appeared and granted him his wish and a horse appeared so he cooked it and ate it. And I said I didn’t believe that story because he doesn’t know how to cook. And so he said he microwaved it. And I asked how did he have a microwave big enough to fit a horse and he said it was a tiny show pony. I still think he might be lying though.

And another thing. When Peter Reinhart’s new cookbook comes out, don’t be afraid to make the cheese bread! I can’t share the recipe, but I made it using a mixture Follow Your Heart nacho and Cheezly mozzarella and it was AWESOME!

Also, my mom reminded me to tell you how Brachtune got her name. I know you’re probably sitting up at nights wondering. I didn’t name her. When I was in college, I rescued her from some neighbors who had her for a while, and because they were irresponsible college boys, no longer wanted her and were going to take her to the pound. They informed me her name was “Brocktoon” and said that it had something to do with Mr Belvedere, which I never fully understood. Although it was not my initial plan – I already had two cats – I ended up keeping her and as I had never seen her nonsensical name in writing, I had to make up a spelling, so I made the spelling Brachtune, figuring it looked vaguely German. People would often ask me what it meant and I’d have to say vaguely, “uh, Mr Belvedere?” One night, however, I had a party which an old friend of mine from high school I hadn’t seen in a long time attended. He asked the name of my cat and when I told him, he laughed and said, “oh from the Saturday Night Live skit with Tom Hanks! That’s hilarious!” Not only did he know what Brachtune was, he had a video tape of the very episode! Two nights later I was at his house watching The Guy Who Plays Mr. Belvedere Fan Club! And it all suddenly made sense.

It’s on the Best of Tom Hanks SNL DVD, by the way, if you ever have a chance to watch it. It IS funny.

Also, since it is Easter, I will share with you a strange factor about my life. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS MAKING ME DRESS UP LIKE A BUNNY. I DON’T KNOW WHY.

It started when I was very young. This is me and my godmother. I’m what, a month old?

Late-breaking addition from my mom:
I was then a bunny on what my mother said was my first Halloween, but as I was born on October 19, this was either technically my second Halloween or I was a very early walker:

I guess she meant my first Halloween dressing up. I guess I went as an infant for my first Halloween.

Then when I worked in the grocery store in high school, THEY made me dress up like the Easter bunny and walk around terrorizing small children. (There’s a sign for ham behind me, ugh!)

After a time, I just gave in. When a friend of mine asked me to be a bridesmaid, I insisted on hopping down the aisle wearing bunny ears. She vetoed that idea but I did get away with wearing them at the reception.

And this…I can’t even explain this. (Yes, that’s Fortinbras.)

Speaking of Fortinbras, wow, I had no idea you guys were going to want to start a Fort Fan Club! I shouldn’t be surprised as he is pretty awesome. He’s excited to make another post, possibly even next weekend, so keep your fingers crossed. We may have to nag him about it, though. You saw how long it took him to make his Christmas post. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite pictures of us. We’re in New Orleans for Halloween:

I’m also fond of this one …

… though this one is a bit more typical:

Man, you want more pictures of Fortinbras? That’s a dangerous request. I have more pictures of him than I do of Tigger. I have more pictures of Fortinbras than I do all other subjects put together! But I think instead of digging up old photos, we should just implore ole Fort to make more guest appearances! He’s not vegan, but he’s always been extremely supportive of me, and in fact, he veganized ALL of the holiday foods he made to give away to friends and family just because he was baking them at my house.

And now I’m going to go celebrate my third holiday of the day: it’s Godless Saturday. I figure, since Jesus died yesterday and he’s not to be resurrected until tomorrow, we can all sin with impunity today! And with that, I’m going to go get another beer.

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