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The first day of school is only eleven days away. It will mark the end of what seems to be an endless summer. The munchkin and I really need to meet some people. We are starting to get bored and that can only lead to trouble.

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

We have been living in Bluffton, SC for almost two months and so far we have been unimpressed with the food scene here and in Hilton Head Island. At first we were kind of disappointed, but then decided that we should just cook more at home. However, last week we took a day trip to Charleston and were pretty happy to eat some good food and enjoy some drinks while the munchkin played at Play Garden. (Drop-in childcare is the best! I’m baffled at why every city doesn’t have this, it’s genius.)

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

On the way there we stopped by the Carolina Cider Company. Their store is located on the side of the highway between Savannah and Charleston. It is an unadorned white house with a couple of signs advertising cider and free samples. We almost drove right past it! Its shelves are lined with jams, jellies, preserves, pickles and relishes. There are also homemade pies and sweet cherry, peach, and muscadine cider. We happily enjoyed a cold glass of cider on the porch. It was a welcome rest from driving.

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

We didn’t get to see much of Charleston. Since we only had couple of hours to ourselves we were not looking to do the tourist thing, we just wanted to eat.  We had appetizers at The Macintosh, drinks at the The Cocktail Club, and even more drinks at The Gin Joint. I have to say that I’m really enjoying this whole cocktail resurgence movement. Classic cocktails made with fresh ingredients are making a comeback, goodbye sour mix, hello handcrafted bitters, soda, and vermouth. We had some pretty great cocktails, but I especially enjoyed the butcher plate at Macintosh. The silky foie gras parfait, the glistening lardo, and the rich pork rillette paired perfectly with the homemade pickles and coarse mustard.

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

We were pleasantly surprised at what Charleston had to offer. All of the bartenders and servers we spoke to were very knowledgeable and professional. You could tell they had a real passion and respect for the craft. We are definitely going back! Inspired by our visit the hubby recreated a 100 yr. old punch recipe at home and I made charred okra and grits.

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

These creamy southern vegan grits are topped with a spicy charred okra, tomato, onion, garlic, and corn sauté. No dairy needed!

The Recipe: Southern Vegan Grits

Charred okra, sautéed with corn, tomato, green bell pepper, garlic, and onion top a plate of creamy grits. This dish is inspired by the classic shrimp and grits. Enjoy!

4.15 from 7 votes
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Southern Vegan Grits

Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Grits, white or yellow, coarse grind
  • 4 + 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. Okra, cut into ½ in. pieces
  • 1 Onion, yellow, diced
  • 1 Ear of corn, cut into kernels
  • 3 Garlic, cloves, minced
  • 1 Green bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 Tomato, large, diced
  • 1/4 cup Green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • To taste Salt kosher
  • To Taste Black pepper ground

Preparation

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil. Add the grits in gradually while stirring constantly.
  2. Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Stir constantly every five minutes to prevent grits from sticking.
  3. Cook for 20 to 25 min. or until grits are tender. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  4. While the grits are cooking, set a large sauté pan to high heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil.
  5. When the pan is hot, add the okra and cook for 5 – 6 minutes. Shake the pan every two minutes to let the okra brown evenly. Remove the okra from the pan and set aside.
  6. Using the same pan, turn heat down to low and add the onion and sweat for 2 -3 min. until translucent.
  7. Add corn and ¼ cup of vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 5 min. or until corn is tender and the liquid is close to evaporating.
  8. Add garlic and green bell peppers. Cook for 2 min. then add tomatoes, green onion, and red pepper flakes.
  9. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the tomatoes have begun to soften. Add okra back into the pan. Season with salt and pepper and serve over grits.

Chef's Notes

The okra is cooked at a high heat to prevent it from getting slimy. Make sure your pan is hot!

 

 

This recipe for vegan red lentil dahl has been adapted from an amazing book by Rebecca Katz called The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen. It is the perfect combination of sour, sweet, and salty. It is one of those dishes that bring true comfort.

We are already half way through lent and I haven’t told you guys that the hubby and I decided to do the plant-based diet thing again. Just to recap, we’ve given up all animal products for 40 days. Not having cheese in my life has been hard, but manageable. Seriously though, this time around it has been much easier. The challenge, however, remains the same. Coming up with a variety of dished has been difficult, especially when you don’t have items like bacon, cheese, or eggs in your fridge.

 

This recipe for vegan red lentil dahl has been adapted from an amazing book by Rebecca Katz called The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.

There are some great blogs and books out there with many, many recipes. I don’t know if it’s just me, but they all seem to be very similar. How many versions of veggie burgers can you make? They all seem to revolve around the same recipes, lentil loaf, quinoa (lots of quinoa), chili, marinated tofu, and of course some dish involving chickpeas. If you have any vegan or plant-based blogs to suggest I’m all ears. Instead we’ve been eating a lot of Korean, Indian, Thai or Chinese food.

This recipe for vegan red lentil dahl has been adapted from an amazing book by Rebecca Katz called The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.

I’m planning on doing some research on cuisines around the world that were once plant heavy or remain so. Hopefully then I’ll be able to come up with recipes that are not poor versions of meat dishes, and let the vegetables and grains be the centerpiece. We’ll see how it goes.

This recipe for vegan red lentil dahl has been adapted from an amazing book by Rebecca Katz called The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.

This recipe for vegan red lentil dahl has been adapted from an amazing book by Rebecca Katz called The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.

The Recipe: Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

This recipe for lentil dahl is one of my favorites. You can serve it with basmati rice, a salad, and some kind of flatbread.

This recipe for vegan red lentil dahl has been adapted from an amazing book by Rebecca Katz called The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin, seeds
  • 3/4 tsp. Mustard seed
  • 1/2 Onion, yellow, diced small .
  • 1/2 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, minced
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric, ground
  • 1 tsp. Cumin, ground
  • 1/2 can (7 oz.) Diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup Red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1/2 Cinnamon, stick
  • 1 tsp. Lime juice, fresh
  • Mint or Cilantro finely chopped 1/

Preparation

  1. Set a large pot to medium heat and add oil. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and saute until they begin to pop, then quickly add onion, ginger, turmeric, ground cumin, and a pinch of salt. Saute until onion begins to soften, about 3 min.
  2. Add the tomatoes and saute for 2 more minutes. Pour in ½ cup of broth and reduce by half.
  3. Add the red lentils and stir, then add remaining broth, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boíl, then turn heat down to a simmer, cover and let cook for 30 min. or until tender.
  4. Add salt and let simmer for another 5 min. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour in lime juice.
  5. In a blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Adjust consistency according to preference with more broth.
  6. Return soup to pot and reheat. Serve with chopped cilantro.

Chef's Notes

To leave this soup a bit chunky, using a hand held blender, pulse several times to puree the soup slightly.

Recipe adapted from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz