Monday, February 13, 2012

February Exchange

Ethiopian style beets and my set of spices
When you go vegan you often need to find new restaurants. American food is so often meat based that it is easy to find oneself in a restaurant of another region or culture. This month's exchange definitely had a ethnic food trend.

Ethiopian food is by far my favorite group of ethnic food. In an effort to not get it every night, as I am tempted to do, I am learning to cook Ethiopian food. Included are a couple of the most useful links I've found below.

This month we exchanged:
Veggie Lentil Soup
Red Lentil Thai Chili
Pesto Pizza (made with this pesto)
Dessert Hummus (That's right-dessert!)
Ethiopian Yellow Split Peas, Lentils, and Beets: made with a vegan version of Niter Kibbeh (using Earth Balance) and a Berbere spice mix.
Chana Masala
Quinoa Burgers

Friday, February 10, 2012

Managing Large Batches

Nietzsche approves of the size of this measuring cup.
Cooking for 6 families can feel daunting and could be a barrier for enjoying freezer exchange groups. Here are some tips that I have found useful:
  • Copy and paste the text of a recipe into something you can edit--covert all units up to six meals worth at one time rather than having to think about it as you go shopping or while cooking. 
  • Shop for ingredients on a different day then you plan on cooking.
  • If a recipe contains lots of directions that begin with things like "In a separate bowl..." you may want to rethink the recipe. 
  • You do not have to do a one dish meal. Include a side dish, muffins or a dessert. My vote is generally for a dessert. 
  • You don't even have to do all aspects of a meal in one day. Split it up as is convenient. Cut and chop veggies the night before. Cook muffins one night and the main dish the next.
  • Or, take the opposite route, and plan a day to do everything. In my case this means letting hubs know he's on baby duty for an afternoon.
  • Large slowcookers are your friend.
  • It probably would not hurt to invest a large cooking pot, bowl, slowcooker or measuring cup.
  • Label containers that you are freezing in before you place food in them. 
So, what did I miss? Any other suggestions from your experience?