Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

Well, the snow -- which took up residence on our mountaintop on October 1, 2000 -- is finally melting into muddy messes all over the place.

There are wild turkeys in the woods behind the house, and one sat under a tree by the living room windows so long the other night that we thought he was dead. We were frightened, because we have no clue how to give first aid to a wild turkey. Eventually, he went home. But we hear them at dusk, and we have seen them, marching across the neighbors' pastures, proud and loud. We also had a skunk outside for a couple of nights, and Eloise the resident doe and her children are coming more often. Her fawns are pretty big now. All of these visitors make Lorelei, my German Shepherd, absolutely nuts. She is a year old now, and beginning to take the job as guard dog very seriously. She loves the cats and looks out for them.

The 'possums have been with us all winter and we expect the raccoons any time now. We have seen two mice in the woods. I am afraid of them, but my mother thinks that they are cute.

In other news, we have recently had some news that two of our friends have been diagnosed with diabetes, and this month we are going to dedicate this column to them.

We have done much research for this, of course, but as I am not a dietician, I remind you that you should not eat any foods that have not been approved by your physician. Please check first. I think of you readers out there as family members who come to my table once a month, and I don't want to feed any of you anything that might not agree.

In the meantime, Teresa and Mariann, these recipes are for you!

Bagels with Tomato Spread

  • 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 4 tomatoes, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Two 3-ounce (90 g) bagels, split

The day before serving, place the ricotta cheese in a fine sieve set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate to drain. Finely mince the soaked tomatoes and mix with scallion, parsley, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, combine the drained ricotta and sun-dried tomato mixture. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and have a spreader handy for serving. Lightly toast the bagels: cut into quarters, and arrange in a basket.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: Overnight, plus about 20 minutes

Orange and Chocolate Chip Bread

  • 3 cups reduced-calorie all-purpose baking mix
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • Granulated sugar substitute to equal 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 X 5 X 2-3/4-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Place the baking mix in medium bowl. Combine the milk, orange juice, egg, orange peel, sugar substitute and vanilla; add all at once to the baking mix. Beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Stir in small chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into prepared pan. Bake 40 to 56 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap; store overnight before slicing.

  • Yields: 1 loaf
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Roasted Garlic Bread

  • 12 whole garlic bulbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 loaf Italian bread (Be sure to count the carbohydrates of the bread)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the bottom off each garlic bulb and place bulb on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Seal and place in a shallow roasting pan. Repeat procedure until all of the garlic bulbs are wrapped in foil. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until garlic is very soft. (Garlic can be roasted up to 5 days ahead; serve cold or reheated.)

When ready to serve, unwrap and arrange garlic bulbs, cut side up, among the breads. (Leftover garlic cloves can be stored in the fridge in self-sealing plastic bags for use another time.)

  • Yields: 1 loaf
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Sticky Buns

  • 1 packet dry Butter Buds Mix
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 package (7.5 ounces) refrigerated biscuits

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray an 8-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the Butter Buds, water, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Arrange the biscuits in a single layer on top of the nuts.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until well browned. Immediately invert onto a serving plate. Be careful with this one, and be sure to check with your physician.

  • Yields: One pan of sticky buns
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Chick Pea Soup

  • 4 ounces dried chick peas -- soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pint vegetable stock

Bring the chick peas to a boil in plenty of unsalted water. Boil fast for 10 minutes, drain. Place in a non-stick pan with the vegetables and cook gently for a few minutes. Stir in the spices and ginger and lastly add the stock. Season. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the chick peas are cooked.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Bean and Vegetable Pie

  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, diced
  • 8 ounces mung beans, cooked
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon yeast extract
  • ½ pint vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons skim milk or soya milk
  • ½ ounce sunflower seeds

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes. Add the cooked mung beans, cayenne pepper, marjoram, sage, tomato purée, yeast extract and stock. Cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until cooked. Drain and mash with the milk. Put the bean mixture into the base of a large casserole dish and top with the mashed potato. Sprinkle over the sunflower seeds and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, until top is golden browned.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Tasty Crumble

  • 2 teaspoons olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon wholemeal flour
  • ½ pint vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can butter beans
  • 1 (8 ounce) can kidney beans
  • 2 ounces jumbo oats
  • 2 ounces 100% wholemeal flour
  • 1 ounce hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1½ ounces low fat spread

Heat the oil over a moderate heat in a large frying pan and fry the onion, mushrooms carrots and cauliflower. Cover and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Sprinkle on the rosemary and flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour on the stock bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the seasoning, butter beans and kidney beans. Put the mixture into a casserole or ovenproof dish.

For the topping, mix together the oats, flour, hazelnuts and low fat spread. Sprinkle on top of the vegetables. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Fruit Salad

  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple cubes in natural juice
  • 2 ounces dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 fluid ounces sugar free ginger ale

Place the fruits in a bowl, add the lemon juice and mix well. Pour over the ginger ale and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes