Monday, August 1, 2011

Vegan Crab Cakes and Wedge Salad

This picture and presentation is terrible! I will be making these again soon and will post a better picture next time!



It has been quite awhile since I last posted. Honestly, I lost some passion for cooking. I became bored with the food I was making and needed a hiatus to regain some perspective. That perspective finally came while I was visiting my family last week in North Carolina. My brother and sister-in-law took me out to dinner to a tapas restaurant called Humble Pie (http://humblepierestaurant.com/menu/small-plates/) where we ordered about 9 or 10 tapas plates (my bro is a big guy!). Immediately after chowing down and devouring said plates, my sister-in-law said to me, "So, are you inspired now?" And I was. This dish comes from that inspiration. This is my rendition of vegan crab cakes. I hope you enjoy!


Crab Cakes
Makes 10 cakes


8 ounces of tempeh
1 cup of water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp Vegenaise
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 cup panko breadcrumbs + more for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
oil for pan-frying


Remoulade 
Makes enough for 10 cakes


4 tbsp Vegenaise
2 tbsp whole grain mustard or stone-ground mustard
2 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp capers (optional)


Crumble the tempeh into a saucepan. Add the water, soy sauce, olive oil and bay leaves. The tempeh will not be fully submerged and that is fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil 12-15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.


Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion and celery and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes before adding it to the tempeh mixture.


Transfer contents of saucepan with tempeh mixture to a mixing bowl, remove the bay leaves and mash with a fork (I tried a potato masher-it does not quite do the job). Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the sauteed veggie mixture and stir thoroughly. Add the Vegenaise, hot sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.


Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet (cast iron is great in this capacity) over medium-high heat. Pour some panko breadcrumbs into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup of batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3-inch patties. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel to drain excess oil. Prepare the second batch of cakes and in the meantime compose the remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.


Wedge Salad
Serves 4


1 head iceburg lettuce, cut into quarters, stem removed
1 recipe Homemade Ranch Dressing, recipe follows
3 strips tempeh bacon (I use Lightlife), cut into bits


Saute tempeh bacon in a skillet over medium heat until heated through and a little crispy. Assemble salad with dressing and tempeh bacon.


Ranch Dressing
Makes 1 cup


1 cup Vegenaise
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt or 1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Use an unsweetened milk substitute to thin out the dressing or serve as is. You will never buy store bought ranch again!












Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lemon Lavender Sugar Cookies


Lemon Lavender Cookies
makes 24 cookies


3 tbsp soy milk
juice of one small lemon
zest of one small lemon
1 c sugar
1/2 c earth balance (or other vegan margarine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lavender
1 1/3 c flour
For rolling
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp lavender
Mix together the soy milk, lemon juice and lemon zest and set aside to let thicken.  
Meanwhile, cream together the sugar and margarine with a fork or an electric mixer if you have one. Once the mixture is even, add the vanilla extract and soy milk concoction and continue to mix. 
In a large bowl sift the flour, baking soda, lavender and salt. Grind the whole lavender before adding to he mixture. I do this with a coffee grinder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and work until the dough is even and slightly firm. Place the dough in the the refrigerator for a few minutes before rolling into balls and whenever the dough is not being used.
Grind the whole lavender before mixing with the remaining sugar.  Mix the ground lavender and sugar on a large plate for rolling the cookies in.
Spoon small, even amounts of the dough into your hands and roll into a ball, then roll evenly in the lavender sugar and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Repeat for 6 cookies per pan, then press the dough flat with your hand, the bottom of a glass, or the back of a fork.
Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should no longer look fluffy but make sure to get them out before they brown too much around the edges. Let the cookies rest for a minute on the pan before placing on a cooling rack.



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Library Luncheon





I had the amazing opportunity of catering a small luncheon for our local library. I made a delicious and light pasta salad, an organic mixed green salad, a sandwich tray with three different types of sandwiches and a platter of vegan chocolate chip cookies. Thank you Montrose Library!


Pasta Salad
Serves 8

2 packages of Hodgson's Mill tri-color rotini
2 crowns broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 yellow pepper, small dice
1orange pepper, small dice
1 can black olives, drained


Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Make the pasta according to package direction.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the broccoli florets, diced bell peppers and olives and toss. In a small bowl whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients.  Coat and toss the salad until the salad is fully coated with the vinaigrette.  Can be made one day ahead.  If making one day ahead you can reserve a little bit of the dressing as the pasta will soak up a lot of the dressing.  Toss with the remaining dressing right before you are ready to serve.  

Mini Muffaletta Sandwiches 
1 loaf of ciabatta bread
1 recipe tapenade
1 recipe roasted red peppers
1 small jar artichoke hearts in water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
12 fresh basil leaves

Tapenade
1 can black olives
1 jar green olives
1 clove garlic
1/2 red bell pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chunky. 

Roasted Red Peppers
2 red bell peppers

Roast peppers on gas stove over medium high heat, charring on all sides. Place in a  bowl and cover, let steam for approximately 10 minutes. Remove skins and seeds and slice.

To assemble:

Cut ciabatta bread in half. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on each side of the bread. Spread the tapenade over the bottom of the bread. Layer with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and basil. Cover with the top half of the bread, press gently, slice and serve. 


Chickpea Smash
Makes about 5 or 6 pitas worth

    1 15-ounce can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed 
    3 stalks of celery, washed, roughly chopped 
    1/2 medium yellow onion, cubed 
    1/4 cup Vegenaise
    2 tbsp dried Dill (or fresh) 
    S&P to taste 
    Put the first three ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3-5 seconds. If you do not have a food processor, dice the onion and celery and smash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher. Scoop mixture into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff it into pitas with sprouts and lettuce, grill it on bread or try it wrapped up in a lettuce or collard green leaf.

California BLT

2 slices sourdough bread
1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 tbsp Vegenaise
a handful of fresh cilantro
4 slices Smart Bacon
1 leaf lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 an avocado, sliced

Butter the outside of sourdough bread. Grill the bread butter side down and the bacon. Assemble sandwich and serve. 




Shepherd's Pie

Picture courtesy of Karina Allrich at Gluten-Free Goddess


Shannon loves holidays...like LOVES them! I wanted to make something spectacularly Irish and delicious so I made vegan shepherd's pie, butter braised cabbage and homemade Irish soda bread. I adapted this recipe from the Gluten-Free Goddess's site with a few tweaks here and there. http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2011/02/gluten-free-shepherds-pie-two-ways.html 
I love, love, love her site and she has copious amounts of vegan recipes, too, which makes me very happy! Karina's food is always delicious and her pictures are amazing. My pictures for this dish turned out horribly so these are her beautiful pictures. 

Filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup zucchini, sliced into half-moons
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered

1/2 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons Italian style herbs (blend of oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, parsley)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the onion and garlic. Add the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli. Stir and cook lightly until fork tender, roughly ten minutes. If you prefer your veggies crisper, cook only until tender-crisp. Add peas and season with sea salt and ground pepper; set aside.

Gravy
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or rice flour if you want to make it gluten-free)
1 and 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, warmed
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons GF nutritional yeast (or use some gluten-free bouillon if you prefer)
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat; stir in the rice flour to make a paste. Stir and cook for half a minute. Slowly add in the warm non-dairy milk, and keep stirring. Add the vegan butter, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. When it begins to thicken remove from heat and taste test. It should taste mild and creamy. The herbs in the veggies will add rosemary-sage flavor.


Mashed Potatoes
3 cups peeled, diced red potatoes

2 tbs Earth Balance butter
Sea salt
Vegetable broth and/or non-dairy milk, as needed

Boil the potatoes in a pot until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Mash with a potato masher; add a splash of vegetable broth or non-dairy milk, the butter and season with sea salt, to taste. Stir till smooth and creamy, adding a little more broth or milk until the potatoes are fluffy and smooth. Set aside.



To assemble:


Pour the gravy over the filling mixture and gently mix until the veggies are coated with gravy.

Spoon the filling into the ramekins. Top with a big spoonful of mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle with non-dairy shredded cheese, if you like.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (to catch any bubbling-over drips) and bake in the center of a hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes. I tented my ramekins with foil for the first half of baking time to keep the mashed potatoes moist. Then I removed the foil and let the the topping brown a bit.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four single serving 10-oz ramekins with vegan buttery spread (I used Earth Balance). Set aside.




Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chipotle, Corn and Black Bean Stew


The last three recipes I have posted have been Mexican fare. I am not really sure how that worked out as such as my cooking has been largely sporadic over the past few weeks. I guess these are the dishes I remembered to take pictures of! After not posting for so long, we have sat down to eat a meal and halfway through it dawns on me that I did not take pictures. Wah wah wah. Anyhow, this recipe is adapted from Vegan With a Vengeance therefore I think I can post it because I have tinkered with it quite a bit.

Chipotle, Corn and Black Bean Stew
Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes (20 minutes inactive)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
3 chipotle peppers, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 + cups of water
1-2 russet potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed or homemade
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed and torn into pieces
1 lime, juice and zest of
1 tsp salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper

In a stockpot, saute the onions in the oil over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute 1 minute more. Add the chipotles, tomatoes, and water, stir. Add the potatoes and carrots, bring to a low boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Uncover, add the corn and beans. Thin with more water if needed. Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Serve.



Black Bean Enchiladas with Warm Salsa Verde



Long time no post...holy hectic life, Batman! I know, I know, I totally fell off the radar there for awhile. What has it been, like three weeks since I posted? Sheesh-time flies. Rest assured, I am alive and kicking. As will be your taste buds after taking a bite of these delicious enchiladas (like my segue there?!). If you are not familiar with tomatillos, they look like small green tomatoes in a papery husk. They are a bit on the sour side with a hint of citrus flavor which adds a nice bright note to this dish. This dish incorporates 4 of the 7 "Latin Powerfoods": garlic, cilantro, avocado and tomatillos. Each of these four powerfoods have amazing health benefits. Garlic is a natural immune-booster and anti-microbial; cilantro is a detoxifying herbal plant; avocado has healthy monounsaturated oil; tomatillos have more nutrients than regular tomatoes and high in antioxidants. 



Enchiladas

8 soft corn tortillas
1 recipe Black Bean Filling
1 recipe Warm Salsa Verde

Black Bean Filling

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained but not rinsed or 30-ounces homemade black beans
1 tsp ground cumin
Coarse salt to taste

Warm Salsa Verde 

12 tomatillos, husked and halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small white onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
14-ounces vegetable stock
1 tsp ground cumin
Coarse salt to taste
1 ripe avocado
Chopped fresh oregano leaves from1 or 2 stems, optional

To make Enchiladas: Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil, and heat in oven at 275F until fillings and sauce are ready.

To make Black Bean Filling: Heat oil in large skillet, and add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add beans, and mash with back of a fork. Stir in cumin and season with salt. Reduce heat to low until enchiladas are assembled.



To make Warm Salsa Verde: Place tomatillos in a food processor, and pulse to a coarsely ground paste. Heat oil in large skillet, and add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and add ground tomatillos. Simmer tomatillos with onion for 5 minutes. Add stock and seasonings.



Halve avocado with skin on by cutting in and down to the pit all around avocado. Separate avocado halves, and scoop out pit with a large spoon. Scoop flesh out of skins and into pot. Mash with back of a fork. Stir avocado into sauce to thicken it. Return sauce to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low until enchiladas are assembled.

Preheat broiler.

Scoop some sauce onto bottom of a casserole dish or shallow serving platter. To make an enchilada, place 1 to 2 scoops of filling down center of a tortilla, and roll. Place filled tortillas seam side down into sauce on platter or casserole. Line up tortillas, one next to another, and top with remaining sauce. Serve immediately with Warm Salsa Verde.



Shown above topped with homemade cilantro-lime-avocado sour cream and avocado slices.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Polenta-Stuffed Poblano Peppers


I, for one, am happy to see asparagus back in the super market produce selection. Thank you California! The best place to buy asparagus is from your local farmer's market, however, it is not quite time in Colorado to be picking asparagus as there are still inches of unmelted snow covering our land. I am looking forward to April and May when we get the freshest, local asparagus. Did you know that asparagus is a member of the lily family? It is also a natural diuretic and loaded with a myriad of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and K, folate and potassium. Folate...that sounds familiar. Oh yeah, folate, the B vitamin that naturally occurs in food that doctors are always telling pregnant women they need a supplement for (which is actually folic acid). Rest assured, folate is a naturally occurring vitamin in leafy green vegetables (go figure, right?), fruits (especially citrus fruits), and dried beans and peas. In fact, the folate in prenatal vitamins is actually folic acid, a synthetic form of folate...so you are not actually getting folate in those prenatals, you are getting a denatured form of folate. Best to get your nutrients from whole foods...real, living, food. Educate, educate, educate yourself about the best forms of food to put into your body. It if comes in a box, plastic, has more than 5 ingredients in it or comes in a pill form, put it back on the shelf!

Red Chili Sauce
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
Total Time: 25 minutes

3-4 ounces dried Chile de Arbol chiles (come in a pkg in the mexican food aisle) or other dried chiles
2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth (or 1/2 broth and 1/2 water if your broth is strongly flavored like Pacific)


In a large sauce pan or a kettle bring 1 quart of water to boil. Have ready a medium sized glass or metal heat-resistant bowl.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. While skilled is heating slice open dried chiles, remove stems and seeds and open chilies so that they can be easily flattened when pressed with a spatula. Place chilies in heated skillet, pressing and stirring frequently to toast, a little less than a minute. Watch carefully to prevent chilies from burning. Remove skillet from heat and place chilies in a heat resistant bowl. Pour boiling water over chilies and set aside for 10 minutes, allowing chilies to soften. Drain water from chilies.

In a large sauce pan combine oil and onion and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent about 5-7 minutes. Add chopped garlic and stir frequently until sizzling and fragrant for about 1 minute. Stir in oregano and cumin, then pour in softened chilies, tomato sauce and vegetable stock. Either use an immersion blender or pour into a blender jar and puree mixture to create a smooth sauce. Return to the sauce pan if the blender jar is used.

Bring pureed mixture to a simmer over medium heat and stir frequently, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.



Polenta-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Serves 4
Total Time: 35 minutes

4 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/2 cup instant polenta (non-instant will work just as well)
1/2 package of frozen or fresh corn
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup Daiya cheese (optional)
4 scallions, sliced

Heat broiler. On a rimmed broiler-proof baking sheet, place the pappers cut-side down. Broil until tender and charred, turning the peppers halfway through, 5 to 8 minutes.Spread half the chili sauce in a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Arrange the peppers in the dish, cut-side up.

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes (if you are using non-instant polenta, this will take about a half hour so account for time while preparing other parts of the dish). Stir in the corn, black beans, cheese, and all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions.

Divide the polenta among the peppers. Top with the remaining sauce and bake until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions before serving.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chili with Jalapeno Cornbread


"Really? You are posting a chili recipe? Everyone knows how to make chili!" Ok, that is enough from the peanut gallery. Yes, I know, chili, how boring-it is like posting a salad. This, however, is what we had for dinner tonight, and my goal is to post all dinners made sans repeats. So, a chili recipe it is! And what is so wrong with trying new ways to make chili anyway...sheesh!

Chili
Serves 2-3
Total Time: 2 hours, almost all of it inactive

1 15 ounce can Muir Glen diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can Tri-Bean Blend, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel Original
1 cup Spicy V8
1 1/4 tsp dark chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 small jalapeno, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Put first set of ingredients in a crock pot on low temp setting. Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add all ingredients and saute for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add to crock pot. Cover with lid and cook approximately 2 hours.

Serve with homemade cornbread muffins. I bought a package of Bob's Red Mill Cornbread Mix, nixed the eggs using egg replacer, and added jalapeno and corn. It is delicious with butter and agave.

Buffalo Tofu with Chipotle Coleslaw


I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite veggie restaurants in Denver. This is Shannon and my  best friend, Melissa's, favorite sandwich to get at the restaurant. Crispy breaded tofu covered in classic buffalo sauce on a locally made bun with chipotle coleslaw equals heaven. Seriously, this sandwich is amazing!


Chipotle Coleslaw
Serves 3-4

2 cups purple cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
3/4 cup to 1 cup Vegenaise (depending on how mayonnaise-y you like your slaw)
1-2 tbsp dried chipotle powder (more or less for spiciness)
a pinch of sea salt

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate while preparing tofu. This gives your slaw time to mellow and increase in deliciousness.



Buffalo Tofu
Serves 3-4
Total Time: 30 minutes + time to marinate

Oil, butter or cooking spray (whatever your preferred fat is)
1 tub extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup buffalo sauce or Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/2 cup extra fine breadcrumbs

Slice tofu lengthwise into 3 or 4 slabs. Marinate tofu in buffalo sauce for 30 minutes (this is to enhance the buffalo flavor. If you do not have this kind of time, just dip the tofu in the sauce. In a medium frying pan on medium heat, heat oil or butter. Add tofu slices and fry on each side for approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove tofu from pan and dredge in breadcrumbs. Add a little more butter or oil to pan, return tofu to pan, increasing heat to medium-high. Fry tofu on both sides for approximately 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Turn heat off. Gently pour remaining sauce/marinade over tofu slices. Place on a lightly toasted bun and top with chipotle coleslaw. We like to eat the coleslaw as a side, too!

Serve with carrot and celery sticks with homemade ranch dressing and a green salad...and extra napkins! YUM!




Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sloppy Joe's


Sloppy Joe's are definitely on my top ten list of favorite meals. I never liked Sloppy Joe's before I became vegan. I guess a bun full of ground meat and ketchup just was not appealing to me. Enter Boca Crumbles and homemade Sloppy Joe sauce. Guaranteed this sammich will win over even the staunchest carnivore. Just do not tell them it is vegan until after they have devoured the entire thing and have sauce dripping down their chins.

Sloppy Joe's
Serves 4
Total Time: 30 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Boca Crumbles

3 tbsp chile powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp yellow mustard powder
8 ounces tomato sauce

2-3 tbsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute for about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add crumbles and cook for approximately 7-10 minutes. Mix in chile powder, oregano and mustard powder. Add tomato sauce and mix until incorporated. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. Add maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

I like to top mine with avocado slices. Serve with a green salad.

Mushroom Reubens


These used to be a mainstay at our house until we laid off of mushrooms for awhile. These are so rich in flavor and delicous. From the sauerkraut to the homemade thousand island to the marianted mushrooms, this is a sandwich you will not be able to put down until the last bite is gone! This is one messy sandwich so make sure you have plenty of napkins. We could each barely finish our whole sandwich-we usually split one, but we thought we could each eat our own...we were wrong!

Reubens
Serves 2
Total Time: 30 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 portobello mushroom, gills removed
1/2 cup sauerkraut
4 slices rye bread

Heat oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent and fragrant. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with a little salt. Let the mushrooms cook down and brown, approximately 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover the portobello mushroom in a marinade (I use a little balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and spices) and bake it or saute it for about 10 minutes until it is soft. I just put mine in a toaster oven on bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Remove and cut into a large dices.

Divide the sauerkraut between two pieces of bread. Place all 4 slices of bread in the toaster oven and toast for about 7 minutes until bread is slightly brown.

Thousand Island
Makes enough for 2 sammiches


3/4 cup Vegenaise
3 tbsp ketchup
2 dill pickles, roughly chopped


Mix all of the ingredients together. Spread evenly between the two sammiches. Top with the mushroom mixture and serve.

We served our reubens with Veganomicon's Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Moussaka


The first time I had ever heard of Moussaka was in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding where she was talking about being a swarthy 8 year old and bringing weird food to school. A girl asked her what she was eating and she said "moussaka." The girl then replied "moose-caca? hahahaha!" Oh kids...I remember being silly like that. Where did my innocence go? This was last night's dinner-Veganomicon's Moussaka. I never quite follow recipes to the T and it always works out in my favor. This dish calls for bread crumbs and an extra layer of veggies which I did not have. Weird because I bought the exact amounts of veggies the recipe called for. I marked in my book that I actually need double in order to make it two layers. There is something about opening my cookbooks and seeing food splatters and crossed out measurements with my own next to them. I dig it.

Again, I do not think I can post the recipe without the authors' permission, but I am sure you can find it online somewhere. Try www.theppk.com.

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Marinated Cucumbers, Bok Choy & Edamame


I love this dinner: spicy peanut noodles, marinated cucumbers, edamame and bok choy. Yum! It is nice and light, which I love. My favorite are the cucumbers-they are just so crisp and yummy and somehow taste amazing with tamari, rice wine vinegar and dark sesame oil.



Spicy Peanut Noodles
Serves 2-4

1/2 package of pasta

3/4 cup all natural peanut butter
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp hot chili oil + 1 tbsp of the red pepper flakes at the bottom
1/4 tsp dark sesame oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients together in a mixing bowl. When pasta is done, drain and add to peanut sauce.


Marinated Cucumbers
Serves 2-4

1 english cucumber, skin-on, scrubbed, cut into half moons or quarters
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
a few dashes of dark sesame oil
black or white sesame seeds for garnish

Lay out cucumber pieces on a large, flat serving dish. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Pour over cucumbers. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Bok Choy
Serves 2-4

1 tsp peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 baby bok choy, ends trimmed
3 tbsp water or vegetable broth
2-3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
sesame seeds for garnish

Heat peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant. Add bok choy leaves and water or vegetable broth. Cover and steam until wilted approximately 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds, serve.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Baja-Style Tempeh Tacos


We had our friends over for dinner this weekend, and I made Veganomicon's Baja-Style Tempeh Tacos. They are essentially the vegan take on fish tacos. The tempeh is marinated in a chile-beer marinade, then grilled and served on white corn tortillas with cilantro sour cream and slaw. They were pretty delicious. I am not sure if I can post the recipe online without the authors' permission, so if you are interested in the recipe you can get it here: http://www.theppk.com/books/veganomicon-the-ultimate-vegan-cookbook/

It is money well spent! I am sure you can find the recipe online somewhere. In fact, while I was trying to find pictures of this dish (there is not one in the cookbook), I came across a site that posted the recipe.

Sauteed Squashes and Garbanzo Beans with Herbed Couscous



This is one of my favorite dishes to make for lunch. It takes 15 minutes, is light, healthy and full of nutrition.

Sauteed Veggies
Serves 1

1/2 medium zucchini, cut into half moons
1/2 medium squash, cut into half moons
a few thin slices of onion
1/2 cup garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash; sprinkle with a little salt and saute, tossing often, until just tender about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, garlic, and spices and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over herbed couscous.

Herbed Couscous
Serves 1

Cook 1 serving of couscous according to package directions. Before serving, sprinkle in a little thyme, basil and butter. Fluff. 


Pizza Pot Pies


Mmm, pizza in a pot pie, yum! I started making these a few years ago when I saw a show Giada de Laurentiis did. All the veggies and sauce are packed inside and covered with a delicious piece of crust, it just doesn't get any better than that. It is especially delicious served with a side of homemade ranch and Caesar salad. Throw in any veggies, meat and/or cheese substitutes that you like on a regular old pizza and voila, you have a pizza pot pie.

Pizza Pot Pie
Serves 3-4
Special Equipment: 3-4 ramekins or pot pie tins
Total Time: 1 hour, half of it inactive

1 recipe Pizza Dough
1 recipe Marinara Sauce

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup olives, sliced
1/2 cup pineapple

Place veggies and pineapple in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.  


    Marinara Sauce
    Makes about 5 cups
    Total Time: 15-20 minutes

    2 tbsp olive oil (I love olive oil, but if you want to cut the fat, use less)
    3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 28-oz can Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp salt (plus another small pinch or so to taste)

    Preheat saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and garlic, and saute for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
    When marinara sauce is ready, add about two cups of the sauce to the veggie mixture and mix well. Add more sauce if you like it saucier. Fill the ramekins with the mixture. Set aside.

Dough
Total Time: 10 minutes

1 package active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (105° to 115°, no more)
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour or whole wheat flour or a mixture of any or all of them
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little for coating


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt; sift together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the olive oil and yeast mixture into it. Stir until it begins to form a ball, then turn it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead for about 4 or 5 minutes. Your pizza dough should be a smooth, elastic ball. 

From here you can, lightly oil the ball and the inside of a large glass bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. For better crust, punch down the dough, reshape into a ball and let it rise again. You can refrigerate or freeze the dough at this point.

Or you can divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll out the pizza dough and cut circles with a pairing knife that are 1-inch wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin. Brush the top of the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cut a small slit in the top of the pizza dough with a pairing knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.






Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sweet and Sour Tofu


Ever since I came across Lauren Ulm's VeganYumYum blog years ago, I have been making this sweet and sour dish. I used to love sweet and sour chicken when I was a kid. Although, I never really liked the chicken and would only eat the breading around the edges leaving the chicken in the middle intact. Even as a kid I never really like meat...or dairy. Just ask my mom. She used to make me sit at the kitchen table until I finished drinking my milk. Guess who won that battle? Me. I would sit there all night if that is what it took to not have to drink that nasty glass of milk. Yuck! She still tells this story to this day. And it is still entertaining to anyone who listens because they all say they can see me sitting at that table, arms folded, silently biding my time.

Anyhow, back to dinner! I just love this meal. I think it is really the pineapple that I love the most. Shannon loves the tofu and exclaimed tonight that this is her favorite meal. I think I have said this before: she says this about every meal! It never gets old, though. I think it is sweet that she loves my cooking so much. This recipe comes straight from VeganYumYum with some adaptations.

Choose whatever vegetables you have on hand or like with stir-fry, they will work in this dish just fine. I used carrots, celery, onion, red pepper and pineapple. Stir-fry in a wok for a few minutes on high heat and mix in with the tofu and sauce.


Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu
Serves Two
1 Tub Extra Firm Tofu, pressed
2 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer + 4 tsp water, mixed
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1/4 Cup Peanut or Canola Oil (or you can dry fry to nix some of the fat)
Sauce
3 1/2 Tbs Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup Water
3 tsp Sugar
1 Tbs Tamari
1 Tbs Ketchup
1 tsp Molasses
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tbs Cornstarch + 2 Tbs water
Slice the tofu into triangles or small cubes. Smaller = better for this recipe, since smaller pieces won’t have a tendency to break when you toss them, and they have a bigger surface area to volume ratio (read: they’ll be crispier).
Toss tofu with the egg replacer/water mixture until coated. Then toss in cornstarch until each piece is coated and dry, adding more cornstarch if needed.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok. 

While oil is heating, mix sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch/water into a small sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens. If you leave the sauce unattended now it will thicken and burn, so keep an eye on it. When thick, turn off heat and set aside.The sauce thickens extremely quickly after adding the cornstarch mixture.
Place tofu in the hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. You don’t want the tofu to be crowded or the pieces will stick to each other, so fry it in batches if needed. Fry for 3-5 minutes until golden on the bottom, then gently turn and brown the other side.
Drain tofu from oil (in the sink like you’d drain pasta, being very careful), and place tofu in a large bowl. Pour sauce on top and gently toss to completely coat. Sauce should be thick and sticky – it shouldn’t pool at the bottom of the bowl.





Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spicy Chik'n Salad with Avocado Ranch


Maybe you are wondering to yourself, "Self, why is she posting a salad?" Well, note to self, this is no ordinary salad. This is a fill-you-up, cannot-stop-thinking-about-how-good-that-was salad. You may even want to have a repeat of it later in the week, who knows! It it just that good. Boca recently veganized all of their Chik'n products. Yay Boca!

Spicy Chik'n Salad
Serves 1 as an entree or 3-4 as a side salad

1 Boca Spicy Chik'n Patty
3 cups of mixed greens (I used romaine and field greens)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 rib of celery, sliced
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
Sprouts

Cook Chik'n Patty according to package directions. Assemble salad. Cut patty into slices or dices. Top salad with patty.

Avocado Ranch
Makes 1 cup

1 cup Vegenaise
1/4 of an avocado, mashed
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt or 1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Use an unsweetened milk substitute to thin out the dressing or serve as is. You will never buy store bought ranch again!

Baked Tofu with Mashed Potatoes and Kale with Carrots



I typically use this meal as a stand-by meal because it can be made from start to finish in about 30-40 minutes, and I usually have most if not all of the ingredients on hand. Super simple and quick to make, delicious, healthy and kid friendly all bundled up into one yummy dinner.


Baked Tofu
Serves 2-4

1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp old bay seasoning
1 tsp egg replacer + 2 tbsp water
1 tub extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into 4 rectangles

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. In a dish, combine breadcrumbs and old bay seasoning, mixing well until incorporated. In a separate dish, mix together egg replacer and water. Dip a piece of tofu into the egg replacer mixture, then into the breadcrumbs, coating the tofu thoroughly. Do this with all four pieces. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Mashed Potatoes
Serves 3-4

4 medium size red skin potatoes, skin-on, diced
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp Earth Balance butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for 15 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain and place back into pot. Add remaining ingredients and mash with a potato masher or mixer.

Gravy
Serves 3-4

3-4 tsp flour
2-3 tsp oil (I used olive oil, but you can use canola or vegetable)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
1/4 cup celery, finely minced
1/4 cup carrot, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Create a roux by combining the flour and oil, mixing until it forms a thick paste. Add more oil and/or flour to get the correct consistency.

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and saute about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add roux to pan and cook until slightly browned. Add vegetable broth and whisk until incorporated. The gravy should begin to thicken. Continue stirring frequently. Add rosemary, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Kale and Carrots
Serves 2-4

1 bunch kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced

Lightly steam kale and carrots for approximately 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce.