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 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!

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!

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


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

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.