08 December 2009


Ok, I admit it. I watch Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I avoided it for a season or two but when they went to New Mexico on several shows, I had to watch. I love New Mexico and the food there.

A few shows ago, Guy Fieri was at some joint that makes hash out of all sorts of things. I didn't really care much except that one of the hashes they were making seemed to be a kitchen sink sort of recipe. They tossed in all sorts of things including broccoli rabe and something called colcannon.

The word colcannon was vaguely familiar. I knew it was Irish, but didn't know what went into the dish. The traditional version includes pork, mashed potatoes, and cabbage with onions. Obviously, the pork was out in a vegan version, but the combination sounded nice in my head.

As we wait for the first major snow storm of the season, it seemed like a perfect day to develop a colcannon recipe of my own.

My version uses store-bought cole slaw mix and the entire thing can cook in one skillet and a steamer pot. If you need the pork flavor, you can add Bacon Salt in place of the chipotle powder or paprika that I use in the recipe.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and formed into patties the next day. Fry them in a skillet with a little olive oil until heated through and the outside is brown - delicious!

4-6 servings

4 medium potatoes, peeled and in a 1 1/2 inch chop
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 large onions, sliced
1/2 tsp thyme
3 c cole slaw mix
1/4 c Earth Balance 'butter'
1/4 c soy or almond milk
1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder OR smoked Spanish paprika
freshly ground black pepper
Daiya cheese to garnish, as desired

Bring your pot of water to boil and place the potatoes and garlic cloves in a steamer basket. Steam about 18 minutes or until a fork enters the potatoes easily

While that steams, heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a 12 inch skillet, add the onions, 1 tsp of salt and the thyme, and saute slowly until they carmelize

When the potatoes are ready, remove the steamer basket with the veggies and dump into a food mill. Mill potatoes and garlic using the large holes into a large mixing bowl.

Add 1 Tbs salt to the steamer water and bring back to the boil.

Add the cole slaw mix to the boiling steamer water and cook about 6 minutes. Drain well.

Add the onions and cole slaw to the mixing bowl with the Earth Balance, soy milk, chipotle powder and black pepper. Mix as little as possible to combine. Taste for salt and add as needed.

Serve with Daiya cheese sprinkled on top.

01 December 2009

Broccoli Rabe Wraps

The weatherperson said the temperature was heading down well below freezing the other day, so I did my final harvest of broccoli rabe. I left a few of the side shoots from earlier harvests growing, and they produced very attractive yellow flowers.

Either the weatherperson was wrong, or broccoli rabe doesn't mind really cold weather, because the shoots I left are still going strong and today, there was even a honey bee crawling amongst the flowers.

Due to the success and ease of growing my own broccoli rabe, I expect to plant much more of it next year. And I can't eat an entire crop using only one recipe, can I? Well, I probably could since it is one of my all-time favorite recipes (see our Oct 28, 2009 posting) but I probably SHOULDN'T eat it all the same way.

So, I pulled out The Flavor Bible and took a look to see what they suggested with broccoli rabe. There were a few interesting ideas, but not anything I was likely to have on hand, so I decided to do a variation of the classic recipe for it - sauteing it with garlic and olive oil. Then I realised I had no rice or pasta to eat it with, so then it changed to a tofu-broccoli rabe scramble that can be eaten as a wrap.

This is very different from a normal wrap filling, but blanching the broccoli rabe tends to reduce some of the bitterness.If you aren't worried about the bitterness, skip the blanching and just cook the broccoli rabe longer when it is added to the mixture in the skillet.

Chile flakes and some heat are an integral part of this dish, in my opinion. If you don't like any heat at all, skip the chiles and instead chop a roasted red bell pepper and add it at the end of the dish, along with the broccoli rabe.

Broccoli Rabe & Daiya Wraps
makes about 6 wraps

1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 Tbs olive oil
1 15oz block of tofu
1 chopped dried red chile (or 1 tsp chile flakes), to taste
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground turmeric, optional
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 c Daiya cheese, divided use

6 tortillas

Bring a pot of water to boil.
Remove tofu from the package, wrap in several layers of paper towels, and set aside.
Add 2 Tbs salt to the boiling water
Add broccoli rabe and simmer 5-6 minutes
Remove broccoli rabe to an ice bath to cool

Heat 12 inch non-stick skillet on low-medium heat
Add olive oil
When oil is shimmering, add the chile flakes and onion and cook until translucent.
Add garlic and stir quickly while it cooks about 1 minute
Add turmeric and soy sauce and stir
Squish the tofu through your hands int the skillet to make it look vaguely 'scrambled'.
Add oregano and salt and 1/4 c water
Chop broccoli rabe into about 1 inch pieces.
Add broccoli rabe to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes until it is all heated through and the water has evaporated.
Heat tortillas and spread with about 1/3c of broccoli rabe mixture.
Sprinkle with Daiya cheese.
Roll the tortilla and drizzle with a few dorps of your favorite hot sauce, if desired.

20 November 2009

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Daiya Cheese

I enjoy watching the Food Network quite a bit. Although it is a vast wasteland for vegetarians and vegans, some of the ideas can be converted. It does give one pause though, or should, when one of the most venerated cooks on TV is best known for laughingly adding a stick of butter or more, to every dish she makes. Is that really funny?

One of the most annoying things of nearly EVERY show is at least one reference to how 'bacon makes everything better'.

Yeah, well, maybe not for the pig.

On some of their competition shows, you just know, as soon as a contestant mentions 'vegetarian', 'organic', holistic' or 'vegan', they are going down in flames. Quickly...

During the series of Food Network Thanksgiving shows, one of the pig mad chefs made a Brussels sprout casserole of some sort. All I remember of it was that it had bacon in it. But it did put me in the mood for Brussels sprouts, and surprise, the store had them on sale the very next day.

Lately, I have been obsessed with using Teese creamy cheddar to make mac & cheese. I demand that the Brussels sprouts MUST comply to my current cheesy madness. So, I thought, gratin topped with some of the Daiya Italian Shreds that I had just bought (5 pound worth...) might work well on a cool November night. They certainly did not disappoint.

I use smoked Spanish paprika and some chile de arbol powder for some smoke and heat. You could substitute some chipotle powder for those if that's what you already have on hand. I also add Bacon Salt directly over the sprouts to boost that 'bacon flavor', but it really isn't needed unless you are looking for a faux bacon hit, or maybe serving non-vegans.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Daiya Cheese
Serves 3-4 (see note below)

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and washed
1 Tbs + 1 tsp salt (divided)
1 Tbs Earth Balance 'Butter' or olive oil
1 Tbs all purpose flour
1 c soy or almond milk, slightly warmed
1/2 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp chile de arbol powder (or add some Tabasco)
1 tsp Dijon whole grain mustard
1/2c Daiya Italian shreds
1 tsp Bacon Salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
If your bakeware can do it, put the baking dish in the oven to get hot. I use a cazuela that is pretty much non-stick. If you need to do so, lightly oil your pan or spray it with cooking spray.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil with 1 Tbs salt.

Boil sprouts for about 7 minutes or until starting to get tender.

Shock the sprouts in an ice bath and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs Earth Balance in a small pan.

Add the flour and whisk for a minute until.

Gradually add the soy milk while whisking to incorporate it all.

Add 1 tsp salt, paprika, and mustard and stir well.

Turn off heat.

Dry the sprouts and cut in half from top to bottom.

Carefully remove hot dish from oven and CAREFULLY lay sprouts cut face down into the dish and them evenly distribute what is left.

If using, sprinkle the Bacon Salt over the sprouts.

Pour bechamel evenly over the sprouts.

Top with Daiya shreds.

Bake about 20-25 minutes until the Daiya starts browning and it is bubbly around the edges.

Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Note - use about 6-8 ounces of sprouts per person you need to serve as a main dish, half that for a side dish. For each person, use about 1/2c bechamel sauce and 1/2 tsp of mustard, 1/4 c of Daiya.

14 November 2009

Spicy Orange Broccoli & Tofu

This is an updated version of our Spicy Broccoli & Orange Tofu recipe of March 17, 2009. This newer version is much closer to a 'restaurant version' and still very simple to make. I've tried a dozen versions of this dish, because I love it, but I've never had a recipe for it that was nearly as good as this one.

The original restaurant versions of this dish used small pieces of deep fried chicken tossed with red chiles in a spicy-sweet orange flavored sauce with an otherworldly color to it, and served with florets of steamed broccoli.

Obviously, a vegan or vegetarian version is not going to use chicken. In this version, we use baked tofu, but if you can't find that, you can use a 14 ounce block of drained, pressed extra firm tofu instead. Baked tofu is already pressed and dense and ready to go.

Another option would be to soak about a cup of Butlers Soy Curls in either chicken flavored or beef flavored vegan stock, and stir fry the soy curls.

I also cook the broccoli in the same pan as the sauce and tofu. It might be more authentic to steam the broccoli separately and add them together at the end, but I just toss it all together to eat anyway. And this way, I save washing another pan...

Spicy Orange Broccoli & Tofu
serves 4


1 1/2 Tbs oil
1-8 small dried red peppers (to taste)
8 ounces baked tofu, chopped into 1/3 inch squares
2 cups orange juice
zest from oranges (if using fresh squeezed juice)
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
2-3 Tbs raw sugar
1 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
2 crowns broccoli, in florets
2 carrots in coins
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbs cold water

cooked brown rice


Heat a 12 inch saucepan over medium heat.

Add oil to hot pan.

Add the tofu and red chile peppers and saute until the tofu is browned.

Remove tofu and chiles to a plate.

Add orange juice, zest, if using, pomegranate molasses, mirin, 2 Tbs of the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce to the pan and boil over high heat to reduce.

If you want a spicier dish the red chile peppers back to the pan now.

When sauce is reduced to about 1/3 in about 10 minutes, check for sugar and salt. If you need to, add a little more soy sauce, or the other Tbs of raw sugar and stir them in until they are dissolved. Add the chile peppers back now if you haven't already done so.

Add the broccoli florets and carrot coins.

Saute, still over high heat, until broccoli is tender but still slightly crisp.

Add the cornstarch slurry and stir rapidly while sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and serve over plenty of hot rice.

10 November 2009

Split Pea & Wild Rice Stew

We've had a few days of warm weather and it was easy to forget that it was November and we really weren't meant to be wearing shorts... So, mother nature decided to bring us back to reality this morning with some cooler weather. What better day to make a hearty, filling vegan stew?

Split Pea with Wild Rice

1/3 c chicos, prepared (see below) (optional)
2 Tbs canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 small or 2 large carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 c wood parched wild rice, rinsed
1 c split peas, rinsed and sorted
1 tsp hickory powder
2 tsp Massels or other vegan stock powder
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
1 1/2 c cooked lentils (optional - about 1 can)
2 tsp Bacon Salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
5 c total water

In a large Dutch oven, saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the carrots and saute for about a minute. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.

Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Simmer covered for 25 minutes up to 40 minutes until rice is cooked and the split peas have the texture that you like them to have.

Taste for salt and add more if it's needed.

Serve with croutons or vegan parmesan cheese. I used Calbee's Sugarsnap Pea Crisps (those things are addictive...) and crusty bread slices. Only the plain 'original' snaps are vegan.

Need more heat? For this dish, I recommend 1/2 - 1 tsp Aji Amarillo chile powder for some heat and a citrusy taste. Or add 1/2 - 1 tsp chile de arbol powder for pure heat.

Wood parched wild rice. My favorite wood parched wild rice is from Farm Next Door . The rice used this particular night was 'standard grade' from KC's Best Wild Rice

Note Preparing chicos. Chicos are corn kernels dried by smoking in NM. To prepare, soak them overnight in clean water. Pressure cook them for about 40 minutes, using the soaking water. If you don't have a pressure cooker, simmer them in a pot for about an hour using the soaking water. Use all the cooking liquid as part of total water called for in the recipe.

28 October 2009

Broccoli Rabe & Daiya Cheese with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Broccoli Rabe is probably my favorite vegetable. When I was living in Manhattan, I saw an article in the NY Times with a recipe for it, but I never cooked it. I did, however, clip the recipe and save it. The description of the slightly bitter greens and the strange small floret reminiscent of broccoli me intrigued.

A while later when I was staying in Hoboken, NJ, the section where I lived was an Italian section of town and every store store I shopped in carried beautiful broccoli rabe, fresh Italian bread from a coal oven, and home made mozzarella. One day, when I had time to cook, I picked up a bunch of broccoli rabe and made a recipe similar to the one below. I also had gorgeous fingerling potatoes, so they went into the oven as well, and my favorite dinner was created...

The NY Times recipe wasn't vegan, and Daiya cheese hadn't even been a gleam in the inventor's eye back then. I don't even have the recipe any longer but I salute whichever chef published it for me to see.

I don't need the recipe anyway, because every time I eat broccoli rabe, I eat it exactly the same way - sauteed with garlic chips and fingerling potatoes in herbes de provence. The only change I've made in 10 years is that I switched from 'real' parmesan cheese when I went vegan. I doubt I have any other recipe that I haven't 'improved' in ten years of usage. To my mind, this dish is absolutely perfect.

No one sells broccoli rabe where I live now. So, this year I grew my own, and this dish pictured is my first harvest!

Broccoli Rabe & Daiya Cheese with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
(serves 4 or more as side dishes)

2 pounds small fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 tsp herbes de provence
2 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 bunch broccoli rabe
8-10 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced thin
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
1/2 c Daiya Italian shreds (or vegan parmesan substitute)

Preheat oven to 350F (175C)

Toss fingerling potatoes with 1 Tbs olive oil, 2 tsp herbes de provence and 1 tsp kosher salt. Put on a baking tray in a single layer and bake. These will bake approximately 30 minutes while you do the next few steps.

Blanch and shock the broccoli rabe in boiling salted water. Set aside. Blanch - Submerge the rinsed broccoli rabe in boiling water for 2 minutes then move immediately to an ice water bath

Heat a 10-12 (25-30cm) inch skillet on medium low heat with 1 Tbs olive oil and fry the garlic slices until they are slightly browned Watch them closely, as they go from brown to burnt very quickly

Remove garlic slices to a small plate covered with a paper towel.

Chop the cooled broccoli rabe into 1 inch pieces.

Add the broccoli rabe to the skillet with the garlic oil in it and saute for 2 minutes with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp of red chile flakes (or to your taste).

Add 1/2c water and steam the broccoli rabe until it is cooked to your preference - about 10 minutes. You can add a little extra water as needed. Make sure all the water is boiled off or drained before combining with the garlic and cheese.

When the broccoli rabe is done, remove to a small baking dish. Top with 1/2 c Daiya cheese, then the garlic chips.

When the potatoes feel nearly ready, add the broccoli rabe to the oven for the last 10-15 minutes of baking time.

Serve and enjoy!

Broccoli Rabe ready for the oven:

23 October 2009

Creamy Cheddar Mac & Cheese (Vegan)

Who doesn't like mac & cheese? Cheese is often one of the last things a vegan will give up. Pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese... how can you live without them?

Luckily, there are some decent cheese alternatives on the market now. This recipe uses Teese Creamy Cheddar from the Chicago Soy Dairy to make a simple yet delicious mac & cheese. This product comes in a flexible plastic tube and feels very gooey and strange in the packaging. But it is meant for melting, and melt it does.

Both Tae and I have made this for non-vegans and every one of them loved it. Make plenty if you want leftovers. Yes, this is really that good, especially if you add some broccoli and chopped roasted red bell pepper to it. And, in my mind, the leftovers are even better.

Depending on how you like your mac & cheese, you may want to increase the bechamel sauce to 3 cups. Altered instructions for that are at the end of the recipe.

Creamy Cheddar Mac & Cheese (Vegan)
preheat oven to 350F (175 - 180C)

12 oz (by weight) dry elbow pasta (about 350g)
salted cooking water

2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs olive or canola oil
2c lukewarm soy or almond milk
1 tsp salt

1 10 oz tube Teese Creamy Cheddar
1 Tbs Earth Balance

bread crumbs - optional
broccoli florets - optional
roasted red bell pepper, chopped - optional
frozen peas - optional (do not require advance cooking)

If using the broccoli (or cauliflower, etc), dump the broccoli florets into the pasta water when it boils, prior to cooking the pasta. Boil one minute, remove to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. The water will be slightly green but will not color the pasta.

Boil the pasta in well salted water for as little as possible to make it edible. Reserve 1/2 c cooking water. Drain pasta and return to the pot.

While boiling pasta, make 2c bechamel using the next 4 ingredients. Start by melting the oil in a saucepan. Sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk together. Cook for a minute then gradually whisk in the warm milk. Go at a moderate speed to eliminate lumps. After the milk is in, gradually bring nearly to the boil on a medium heat. Watch carefully so it doesn't boil over.

When the milk bechamel reaches boiling, remove from the heat, add the Teese in chunks and stir to melt. Taste and add 1 tsp of salt if needed.

In the pasta pot, mix pasta and sauce well. Add veggies if using.

If it looks too thick to you, add some or all of the reserved cooking liquid and stir it in.

Dot with 1 Tbs of Earth Balance, and scatter lightly with bread crumbs, if desired.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Spread into the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake 30 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered if desired.

Note If you are used to more sauce, try increasing the amounts in the bechamel to these:

3 Tbs flour
3 Tbs olive or canola oil
3c lukewarm soy or almond milk
1 1/2 tsp salt

22 October 2009

Vegan Bread Pudding - Quick & Easy

The summer has seen a lot of canning, juicing and jam making. One of my interesting discoveries was Pomona's Universal Pectin. Unlike most pectin, which requires a large amount of sugar to set, Pomona's uses a calcium water to set the pectin, virtually freeing you completely from sugar and allowing any sweetener you wish, in any amount. It's amazing and works great. I'll never go back to normal pectin.

While looking at some of the Pomona recipes on their web site, I noticed that they had a recipe for setting milk directly into a pudding using Pomona pectin. I emailed for more info, and then decided this might be a simple way to make non-dairy bread pudding. Normal bread pudding sets a custard made of dairy and egg, but using Pomona's neither of those are required.

This bread pudding is not only incredibly simple, it tastes great. I used banana because that's what was on hand, but you could use raisins, sauteed apples, blueberries (my next attempt) or whatever you wish. The amount of sweetener is also completely variable. You could also dot the top of the pudding with more Earth Balance is you wanted a richer taste and browner top. Or leave out the sugar and make a savory bread pudding. Technically, you don't even need the bread in this... So, experimentation is the order of the day.

Vegan Bread Pudding

2 c soy or almond milk
3/4 c raw sugar - divided
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground wattleseed (optional)
1 banana - mashed
3 c dried torn (vegan) bread
1 tsp Pomona Pectin calcium water
1 tsp Pomona pectin
1/4 c Earth Balance vegan 'butter'

Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray
Mix the Pomona pectin in a small dish with half the sugar and set aside
Add the soy milk to a saucepan and add the calcium water
Slowly bring the soy milk almost to a boil.
Add the sugar without the pectin and stir til dissolved
Add the sugar-pectin combination and whisk to get pectin dissolved evenly without lumps.
Add Earth Balance and stir briefly to start it melting
Remove from heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl - mash the banana
Add vanilla and spices to the banana and mix.
Add the soy milk mixture to the bowl and whisk together.
Add the bread pieces and mix well.
Scrape bread mixture into your prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes.

Serve with Soyatoo 'whipped cream' on top.

Note - the bread pudding will set up even without baking. The baking is not to cook the custard liquid but to brown the bread tips on top.

Pomona's Universal Pectin can be ordered directly from the manufacturer at www.pomonapectin.com

For a variation, you can leave out the banana and mix in 1/2 - 2/3 cup frozen blueberries right before baking.

revised 26-10-09

20 October 2009

Hatch Chile and Teese Enchiladas

The local store had fresh Hatch chiles today, which is a rare event here. They normally get some around the Hatch Chile Festival, no one buys them, and they mostly go bad. Last year I bought all they had left and canned them.

As any chile lover knows, no matter what kind of chile you like, Hatch probably does them best. There is a wide range of chiles grown in the area but the long green ones are what are normally sold fresh as Hatch chiles.

So, Hatch chiles on the counter and I have a new Teese product called 'nacho sauce' to try. Delicious black beans cooked in the fridge (sourced from Rancho Gordo - fantastic black beans called midnight black). Leftover corn tortillas in the fridge. Sounds like a plan.

Teese is a vegan cheese substitute made in Chicago. Vegan 'cheeses' conjure up all sorts of controversy. Does it melt, is it stringy, does it taste like play-do or cheese, and on and on and on. Every brand seems to have fans and detractors. I find the Teese fake mozzarella very good on pizzas and lasagna, etc. The regular cheddar is ok. The creamy cheddar one makes great mac & cheese, and this is my first try at the nacho sauce cheese. Teese comes in a plastic tube like bulk sausage and has a strange texture straight from the tube. It is shiny like plastic and slightly rubbery. But it actually ends up being pretty good when it is used in cooking or on grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.

Teese creamy cheddar and nacho sauces are very soft in their tube. They exude a little water, so be careful when opening it as the water will squirt on you if you press too hard while cutting it open. You can make a bechamel sauce and melt the Teese into that and use that as your cheese sauce. But the nacho sauce flavor is fine on its own. I opened it and used my fingers to squish it around over the enchiladas. Squish is the best description I can give you. When it is melted, you can smooth it around a little with a spoon if it didn't flow around well enough.

Hatch Chile and Teese Enchiladas

1 1/2 c chopped mild Hatch chiles
1 c black beans
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp NM mild chile powder
10 corn tortillas
1 10 oz tube Teese nacho sauce

Preheat oven to 350-375F

Spray cooking spray on a dish about 7 x 10 inches or so, like a small lasagna dish.

Blister and peel your chiles. You'll probably need 8-12 chiles depending on their size. Blister them until the skin is black. Toss them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 15-30 minutes, then remove the blackened skin and seeds. Chop the chiles.

I use the gas burners on the stove but you can also do it under the broiler. If the chiles you have are HOT, then do it outside on the grill. Blistering hot peppers inside can be a painful experience. I love chiles and eat them daily, but I still fear airborne capsaicin. It will hurt your eyes, make you cough and is hard to ventilate out the windows.

Using heat proof tongs, char your tortillas a little.

Again, I just lay them down on top of a burning gas flame and turn them after 15 seconds or so. You can also heat them in a cast iron skillet, a comal, outside on the grill or inside on a grill pan. You want them to turn soft and get a little black char on them

Combine the chiles, beans, garlic powder, salt and chile powder in a bowl and mix well.

Fill each tortilla with a couple of spoons of filling, roll them up and put them seam down into the dish.

Squish the Teese over the top evenly.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes covered. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes until it is bubbly.

Serve with jalapenos, vegan sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or hot sauce.

Note: These are even better as leftovers. They can easily be re-heated in the microwave

19 September 2009

Delicata Squash & Greens

Tae emailed today asking what to do with an abundance of silverbeet (Swiss chard) that she had scored. I suggested using it as in this recipe, but, she couldn't get the delicata squash. So, I made it myself with the arugula/spinach mix that I had on hand.

This delicious dish can be made start-to-finish in 10 minutes.

Delicata Squash & Greens

Serves 4 as a side

2 delicata squash
8 oz arugula and/or baby spinach, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red chile flakes (optional)
2 tsp vinegar (optional)
2-3 Tbs vegan parmesan cheese substitute

Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place halves, cut side down, in a glass dish with 1/4 c water. Cover with plastic wrap and poke several holes to allow steam to escape.

Microwave squash about 6 minutes per pound of squash

While squash cooks - heat a 12 inch skillet.

Add olive oil.

Add red chile flakes and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the garlic and stir 15 seconds.

Add the greens and quickly stir into oil and cook to the level of done-ness you prefer.

Add the vinegar, if desired, and toss.

When squash is done, plate each squash, cut side up. Fill each with greens, and top with cheese substitute.

This dish is best salted at the table, preferably with a nice finishing salt such as Maldon's.

08 August 2009

Sarson Saag

Most summers, I can't wait until Saturday to hit the local Farmers Market. This year, though, we've been going to the Amish produce auctions ourselves and by Saturday, the last thing I want to see is more produce... But this week everyone is away, it's miserably hot, and I had nothing else to do, so off I went.

Although there was nothing there I really needed, I was talking to the organic farmer there and felt a bit guilty. Normally I buy a fair bit from him and this year I've likely spent less than $2 total, so I went ahead and bought some mustard greens and a cucumber from guilt.

It was 96F today and not cooling off by dinner, so I wanted to make a pressure cooker dish with the greens. I looked up the times online and saw a recipe for something called Sarson ka Sag, which is an Indian dish. Before I was vegan, I loved saag paneer made with spinach and paneer, but had never heard of 'sarson'. As I looked at more and more sarson saag recipes, it became clear that every Indian mother and grandmother had their own version of this dish, so I figured I'd do my own variation with what I had in the house and using all the other recipes as inspiration. Many of the recipes supplement the mustard greens with another green, so I thought it would be a good time to use up some frozen spinach in the freezer as well.

Amazingly enough, it was excellent, and was the first dish I've had in months where I've actually allowed myself to have a small second serving. It is meant to be eaten with naan bread, but I had already pressure cooked some brown rice for part of the dog's dinner, and decided to eat it on that instead. Next time I make it, I'll brown some cubes of tofu to add more texture to it, and give me a visual replacement for the old paneer I used to eat.

My pressure cooker requires at least 1 c of liquid to pressurize, so my cooked greens ended up with more liquid than I wanted, After I blended it up. it was tossed into a skillet on low heat to simmer a while to reduce the liquid.

Using fresh turmeric and fresh ginger makes a big difference in the quality of the flavors. Fresh turmeric might be difficult to find but it is totally unlike dried turmeric. I order my fresh turmeric online here and keep it frozen until I need some. Then, I scrape the skin off with a knife and use a microplane to grate it while still frozen. Turmeric stains everything, though, so use gloves.

Sarson Saag

1 bunch of fresh mustard greens, cleaned and torn into pieces
1 10 oz box of frozen spinach
2 Tbs canola oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 pinch of asafoetida (optional, see not below)
1 tsp ground yellow mustard (or black mustard seeds)
1 Tbs cumin seed
1 Tbs coriander seed
1/2 Tbs red pepper flakes (like you put on pizza)
1 finger fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp dried ground turmeric)
1 finger fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c water with a vegetable boullion cube dissolved in it
1 tsp sea salt
1 medium tomato, diced

Get all the ingredients ready before starting.

Put the pressure cooker on 'brown' and wait until it is hot.

Add the oil and onion and cook for a minute until the onion starts turning clear.

Add the dry spices and cook for one minute.

Add the 3 fresh spices and cook for another minute.

Add the water and all the greens. Pressure cook for 5 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.

Release pressure according to your manufacturers recommendations.

Dump the mixture into a large blender, add salt, and blend until well blended but not a soup. Note- blending hot liquids can cause the top of the blender to blow off violently. Either allow the mixture to cool, or, if you know how, remove the middle cap in the lid, cover it with at least 4 layers of dish cloth, and carefully blend with your hand on top.

If the mixture is very liquid, add to a skillet and simmer for 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced.

Mix in the diced tomato and serve.

Note: asafoetida is a resiny, stinky spice used in Indian cooking. It smells terrible raw, but adds a subtle flavor when it's cooked that cannot be replicated with anything else. You can find it in good spice store and online but its not likely your local supermarket will have it. When you use it, use it sparingly and keep it wrapped in several levels of plastic bags to avoid smelling up the other spices you have. One small container will probably last you for decades.

06 August 2009

Gluten Free Summer Pasta Bonanza

I love Top Chef. Although most of the contestants can be pretty annoying, there is also so much creativity and passion there that it is great fun to watch. During the summer doldrums, Bravo is showing Top Chef Masters which is like a quick elimination series of fairly well-known chefs. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't want to go up against Michael Chiarello, Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller. (I'd gladly go against Art Smith as long as he couldn't serve fried chicken...)

This week's episode had the chefs catering a lunch for Zooey Deschanel. Apparently she is not only an actress, but also a singer in a band and had just returned from a tour. She is both vegan and gluten-free, and the chefs had to work around that to develop their dishes. They seemed to equate this with being in one of Dante's circles of hell...

Most of the dishes looked pretty good, and the vegans seemed to enjoy them. But, for once, this is one challenge where I think I could've placed, even if not won, the competition. The chefs had $300 for about 15 people. Instead of $20 a plate, I wanted mine to be less than $5.

I used baby zucchini, small patty pan squash and eggplant for my main veggies. You can obviously use whatever you like or have on hand. The final touch is some grated Cheezly Mature White Cheddar vegan 'cheese' which is gluten free. If you do not have a gluten restriction, Cheezly cheese with artificial bacon bits is a terrific topper for this dish. Sheese also makes an amazingly good blue cheese alternative that would be great on this dish but you'd need to check if it is gluten-free.

Quinoa linguine should be available in most health food stores or organic markets. I got mine online from Barry Farms.

Gluten Free Summer Pasta Bonanza

1 large red bell pepper
2-3 sweet banana peppers
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 handful of cherry tomatoes per serving
Sliced veggies, about 1 1/2 cups per person: eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, etc
1 medium onion, sliced thick
2-3 cloves of garlic peeled
4 oz quinoa linguine per serving
olive oil
1 oz Cheezly Mature White Cheddar 'cheese' grated
1 - 2 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, tarragon, etc)

Light your grill and preheat it. Start the water boiling for the pasta.
When the grill is ready, lightly coat your vegetables with oil and grill until they have grill marks and are tender. The tomatoes should be tossed in a grill-proof pan with oil and the garlic and grilled in the pan to catch all their juices.

Remove the veggies to a chopping board.
Peel the peppers and discard the tough skins and seeds.

Add pasta to the water and cook about 6-7 minutes, and drain.

Meanwhile, add the tomato, sweet banana peppers, garlic, onion and half the red bell pepper to a blender. Add 1 Tbs of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt and blend until it is fairly smooth.

Chop the grilled veggies into chunks or strips.

Drain pasta and toss in a bowl with some of the tomato-pepper sauce.

Place the coated pasta on the serving platter and top with the veggies. Sprinkle with the grated vegan cheese, if desired. Toss the chopped herbs over the top and serve.

19 July 2009

Baked Burrito with Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa

Baked Burrito with Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa

1.5 pounds small red potatoes
1 Tbs oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp hickory smoke powder
1/4 c chopped onion
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
2-3 mild chiles, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 15oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, partially drained
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp agave or honey

2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano (preferable Mexican oregano)
8 flour tortillas
1 c shredded cheese (optional; vegans should use vegan 'cheese' or omit)
optional: 1 recipe tomatillo guacamole (see our 21 June 2009 blog for recipe)

Preheat oven to 375F.
1) Wash red potatoes and cut into chunks about 1/4 inch each.
2) Preheat cast iron skillet on medium-low heat
3) Toss potato chunks with half the oil. Add the other half of the oil to the skillet.
4) Cook potatoes in skillet, turning once when browned on one side.
5) While potatoes cook, toss the ingredients from onion through honey/ agave in a small bowl. Set aside.
6) When potatoes are cooked, toss with sea salt and hickory powder. Set aside.
7) In a bowl, toss potatoes and beans with cumin and oregano
8) Heat tortillas in microwave in a pile between paper towels, about 1 minute
9) Spray a cookie sheet with canola cooking spray
10) Lay out a tortilla and add about 1/2 cup of the bean mixture. Fold over sides, then fold under ends. Place seam side down on cookie sheet. Repeat until all tortillas are used.
11) Sprinkle burritos with shredded cheese, if desired.
12) Spray burritos with canola cooking spray.
13) Bake burritos about 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is well melted.
14) If using cheese: Place about 1/4 c salsa on the plate and serve burrito over it. Drizzle with tomatillo guacamole, if desired.
If NOT using cheese: drizzle the tomato salsa over the top and serve.

Serve with tomatillo guacamole and chips on the side.

25 June 2009

Zucchini - Tomato Gratin

The latest issue of Vegetarian Times had a Zucchini - Tomato Gratin recipe, and as luck would have it, I had baby zucchini and tomato sitting on the counter tonight. The VT recipe seemed a bit predictable to me, so I have changed it up, and you can do most of it outside on the grill if you want.

I'm confident that anyone who tries this recipe will add it to their regular rotation. The fresh tarragon and oregano bring a bright and unexpected pop of flavor that you are bound to enjoy.

Zucchini - Tomato Gratin

3-4 medium tomatoes, in 1/4 inch slices
4-5 small zucchini, thinly sliced (1/8 in or so)

2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs Earth Balance butter substitute
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbs chopped fresh French tarragon
2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano leaves

8 oz of your favorite melting cheese or cheese substitut, grated I normally use Teese when I want a substitute mozzarella cheese

1) Drape tomato in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it drain for about 45 minutes. In the sink or a sheet tray, of course...

2) While waiting - spread zucchini on a baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well and pat dry.

3) Preheat oven to 375F inside, or light grill outside. Bring the grill temperature to approximately 375F. Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium heat.

4) In the heated non-stick skillet, add 1 tsp of oil and half the Earth Balance. Saute zucchini for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate. You'll likely need to do 2 batches so you don't crowd it, so add the rest of the oil and Earth Balance for the second batch.

5) Using an 8 inch square baking dish or cazuela: layer half the zucchini slices and lightly salt. Add half the tomato slices, half of all the herbs and 1/3 of the cheese (not half). Repeat another layer. Be sure and salt the zucchini layers lightly

6) Sprinkle with all of the remaining grated cheese/cheese substitute.

7) Cover with foil and grill/bake 15 minutes.

8) Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and the cheese is melted.

9) Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.

21 June 2009

Tomatillo Guacamole

One of the best Mexican cookbooks I've ever had is 'A Gringo's Guide to Authentic Mexican Cooking' by a guy named Mad Coyote Joe. Really... The recipes bring the chile laden, clean flavors of New Mexico cooking right back into your mind and taste buds.

This recipe is based on one of his, but with a few additions, and made especially for grilling.

Tomatillo Guacamole

4-5 tomatillos
1/2 Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 jalapeno, stemmed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 t salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 bunch cilantro

1 tsp agave nectar (if needed)
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse off the sticky residue.
Toss them into a grill-safe open pan along with the onion, garlic and chiles.
Drizzle the olive oil over the top and grill on high until tomatillos are browned or collapsed and the jalapeno is soft.
Let the vegetables cool to a little above room temperature.
Dump the veggies and all the juices into a blender or food processor with everything else except the agave and the avocado.
Blend until nearly smooth.
Add the avocado and blend for another minute.
Taste the guacamole. If it is too spicy for you, or the tomatillos are too sour, add the agave and blend again for another 30 seconds.

18 June 2009

Grilled Japanese Eggplant

Years ago, when I was living in Manhattan, a Japanese restaurant opened on the same block that I lived on. I hadn't had much Japanese food then, and rapidly got addicted to it. At the time, my favorite dish was an appetizer of Japanese eggplant with a rich sweet/savory sauce broiled on top.

Here in the Midwest, you don't see a lot of Japanese eggplant except once in a while at the Farmer's Market or at the Asian grocery store in Columbia. So, when I was in Columbia, I picked up a few eggplant for grilling.

It's been too long ago to reconstruct the sauce I used to have in Manhattan, but I developed one with a lot of flavor that can be brushed on right after grilling. It is also great on split zucchini or yellow summer squash.

Grilled Japanese Eggplant

3-4 Japanese eggplant, split in half
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 T canola oil
1 T sesame oil
1 t soy sauce (low sodium)
1 Tbs white miso
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 t grated ginger
1 t agave nectar
1 T hoisin sauce
2 oz Teese Blue Cheese, grated (optional)

Preheat the grill.
Brush the eggplant with the olive oil.
Put eggplant on the grill, cut side down. Leave several minutes without touching to get good grill marks.
While the eggplant is grilling, make the glaze. Add all the remaining ingredients except cheese to a small bowl and whisk.
Turn the eggplant cut side up and brush lightly with the glaze, two or three times.
Cook from the bottom until the eggplant are nearly cooked through.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with grated blue cheese, if desired, and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Note: the easiest way to mince garlic and ginger for a sauce like this is to grate it on your microplane, right into the bowl.

Even the dog loved the yellow squash cooked this way. She ate it with grilled broccoli and chopped tomato, and cried for more...

05 June 2009

Roasted Tomato Flatbread Pizza

Roasted Tomato Flatbread Pizza

Servings: 2 very large, 4 normal

8 oz cherry tomatoes, (grape, pear or cherry tomatoes will work fine)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Flatout Light Original Flatbread (vegans - see note at bottom)
8 oz Teese Vegan Cheese - Mozz
4 oz green chiles, canned or fresh, diced or in strips
2 corn ears, fresh, kernels only
1 tsp sea salt (optional)
1 tsp ground dried chile de arbol powder (optional)

1) Wash and dry cherry tomato. Slice larger ones in half.
2) Toss with olive oil and 1 tsp kosher salt and place into a cazuela or baking pan
3) Preheat oven to 350F with the tomatoes in the oven
4) Roast tomatoes until they pop, around 15 minutes.
5) Lay two flatbreads onto a baking sheet
6) Grate Teese evenly over the crusts
7) Add roasted tomatoes
8) Add diced mild chiles
9) Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes
10) Turn oven to broil and broil crusts until tops are starting to brown.

This makes two very large portions or 4 smaller portions. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, if needed. And, in my opinion, it just isn't finished until you have shaken a little dried ground chile de arbol over the top...

Flatout Light Flatbread Original, does not contain any dairy like some of the other flavors do. However, it is processed in the same plant and probably on the same equipment as the other products that might contain whey. If this matters to you, you might want to look for a substitute flatbread. See the Flatout FAQ for more info here

24 May 2009

Okra 'Gumbo' Fideo Risotto

You either love okra, or you hate it. If you hate it, skip this recipe for sure, because it is all about that slimy, seed-filled sometimes prickly pod called okra...

My original thought was to just make an okra - sweet corn risotto, but that seemed a little too simple and plain. Gumbo with okra in Louisiana is full of rich flavors, and nearly always contains meat as a backbone. To avoid the meat here, we are using Bacon Salt. For a more 'gumbo-like' flavor, add the optional canned tomatoes. If you just need a big fix of okra after a long winter without any at all, leave them out and let the okra flavor dominate.

Adding the fideo adds a little color to the dish. Gumbo has a deep brown color to it from the long-cooked roux. This dish is supposed to be quick and easy, so spending an hour making a roux is out of the question. Toasting the pasta bits and adding them adds a little of that missing brown color, more texture and a slightly nutty taste.

I vaguely remember eating a product called Rice-A-Roni when I was younger, and it, I believe, also used a toasted pasta mixed with rice and a flavor packet. It might still be around for all I know, so this could be a Risotto-A-Roni...

Okra 'Gumbo' Fideo Risotto

2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 c fideo (or vermicelli broken into 1 inch lengths) approx 4 ounces by weight)
2 c water
saffron pinch
1 vegan stock cube
1 c arborio or carnaroli rice
1 15 oz can of diced fire roasted tomato, drained (optional)
2 c frozen sliced or whole okra
2 c frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t Bacon Salt
1/2 tsp togarishi (optional but recommended)

Preheat a 12 inch frying pan on low heat.

Start 2 quarts of water boiling in a saucepan.

Measure 2 cups of water and add the saffron to steep and color the water.

In pressure cooker, use BROWN setting to heat 1 T of olive oil.

Add diced onion and rice to pressure cooker and saute, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent but not browned.

Add 1 Tbs of oil oil to the frying pan. Add the fideo all at once, and cook for a few minutes stirring very frequently until it is toasty brown, but be careful it doesn't burn. Don't leave it or it will burn.

When fideo is brown, remove pan from heat. See below for photo showing fideo uncooked, and then browned

When onion is done in pressure cooker, add the saffron water, optional tomatoes if using, and switch from BROWN to pressure cooker at 10 pounds pressure.

Pressure cook for abut 7 minutes.

Add fideo to boiling water and boil 7 minutes. Drain.

When pressure cooker beeps, release steam, remove lid. Add the okra and corn kernels. Do not stir.

Replace lid and pressure cook for 3 minutes at 10 pounds.

When cooker beeps, release steam and remove lid. Add fideo, salt and Bacon Salt and stir as little as possible to mix. Replace lid and let mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Serve with togarishi to taste over the top.

Makes 8 - 9 cups.

Togarishi is a Japanese spice blend available here as House Shichimi Togarashi Red Pepper as well as any well stocked Asian grocery store. It is a pepper, seaweed, citrus mix with sesame seeds and is excellent on any grain dish.

Fideo - I was able to find it locally, but it is also available at Hot Paella as a Spanish food. Any thin pasta broken into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces will do.

22 May 2009

Kale Potato Vegan Blue Cheese Pizza

Kale Potato Vegan Blue Cheese Pizza

1 dough for 12" pizza crust (see our Dec 16 2008 post)
1 bunch kale
2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 medium yukon gold or Klondike rose potatoes
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese Chive and Herb flavor optional
8 oz Teese Mozzarella, grated
2 oz Sheese Blue Cheese, grated
1 tsp Bacon Salt

Preheat oven to 425F.

Rinse and chop kale, discarding stems.
Add kale to pressure cooker with 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of the sea salt and pressure cook for 8 minutes at 10 pounds.
While kale is cooking, peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.
After kale beeps, release pressure. Add a steamer basket over the kale still in the pot, and lay the potato slices evenly along basket. Note: if you like your kale chewier, remove it before cooking the potatoes but make sure you have sufficient water left for your pressure cooker.
Pressurize to 10 pounds and cook for 10 minutes.

While veggies are cooking roll out the pizza dough and put in the baking pan. Brush the edges lightly with the olive oil. No need to brush the entire crust, just the edges.
If using, spread the Tofutti around evenly in the middle.

When veggies are cooked, remove and cool so you can touch them.
Add a layer of potatoes to the crust and sprinkle with half the Bacon Salt.
Add a layer of kale to the potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining Bacon Salt.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 tsp of sea salt over the top.
Sprinkle the Teese mozzarella evenly over the pizza.
Bake for about 18 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with the Sheese blue cheese, and let pizza rest 2-3 minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 4 generous slices.

21 April 2009

Pig-free Bacon & 'Sausage' Recipes

I remember trying to use TVP (textured vegetable protein) years ago to replace ground beef in recipes. It never was very sucessful and it had a strange texture to it. Recently, though, I've been trying to make some 'sausage' out of it to mix in with my wild rice for breakfast. I have seitan recipes for Italian sausage as well as Mexican style chorizo that I'll post, but the TVP versions are pretty quick and shouldn't pose much of a challenge to anyone to try.

Here are easy tvp recipes for Italian sausage and Mexican chorizo and the simplest fake bacon bits ever...

Easiest Facon Bits Ever

1 c water
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t smoked paprika
1 c TVP
2 t J&Ds Bacon Salt see note below
2 T olive oil

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil.
Add the tvp, stir well, cover and remove from heat.
After 10 minutes, add Bacon Salt, stir the mixture.
Heat a 12" skillet on medium heat
Add the oil and swirl around the pan.
Add the tvp mixture all at once and spread it out.
Saute the tvp for 5-8 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally until you get about 1/3 - 1/2 of it looking browned.
Cool and refrigerate.
Note: J&Ds Bacon Salt is actually a low-salt product. As of this writing, they claim all their products are vegetarian and many are vegan as well. My favorite flavors (so far) have been Applewood and Hickory. But there are other flavors available. You can find the vegan products at Vegan Essentials or all of their products at J&Ds Bacon Salt

Crumbled Italian Sausage

1 T soy sauce
1 T fennel seed, well crushed but leave some pieces
1/8 t thyme
1/8 t cayenne (optional)
1/2 t ground black pepper (up to 1 tsp if you like it)
1/8 t onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 c water
1 c TVP
2-3 T olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a 2qt saucepan except the tvp and oil.
Bring the liquids to a boil.
Add the tvp, stir well, cover and remove from heat.
After 10 minutes, stir the mixture and taste for salt. If you used a low salt soy sauce, it might need a little.
Heat a 12" skillet on medium heat
Add the oil and swirl around the pan.
Add the tvp mixture all at once and spread it out.
Saute the tvp for 5-8 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally until you get about 1/3 - 1/2 of it looking browned.
Cool and refrigerate. Use as cooked sausage.

Note: Althought TVP comes dry, looks like cardboard and lasts forever in the pantry, once you add water to it, it becomes a PHF (potentially hazardous food). That means after you make this 'sausage' you need to store it and treat it as if it WERE real meat. Keep it properly stored for up to a week in the fridge.

Crumbled Mexican Chorizo

2 T white vinegar
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ancho chile powder (see note below)
1/2 t New Mexico Red chile powder (see note below)
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 c water
1 c TVP
2-3 T olive oil

Note on chile powder - you can substitute 1 t of any chile powder you like, such as chipotle. Or you can use 'chili powder' if that's what you have in the pantry

Combine all the ingredients in a 2qt saucepan except the tvp and oil.
Bring the liquids to a boil.
Add the tvp, stir well, cover and remove from heat.
After 10 minutes, stir the mixture and taste for salt.
Heat a 12" skillet on medium heat
Add the oil and swirl around the pan.
Add the tvp mixture all at once and spread it out.
Saute the tvp for 5-8 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally until you get about 1/3 - 1/2 of it looking browned.
Cool and refrigerate. Use as cooked sausage.

Note: Althought TVP comes dry, looks like cardboard and lasts forever in the pantry, once you add water to it, it becomes a PHF (potentially hazardous food). That means after you make this 'sausage' you need to store it and treat it as if it WERE real meat. Keep it properly stored for up to a week in the fridge.

Easy Green Chile Enchiladas

Easy Green Enchiladas

1 can of beans, drained and rinsed - about 1.5 - 2 c
1 can diced potatoes OR 1 1/2 c cooked rice
8-10 anaheim/hatch chiles, blistered, peeled and chopped (or 4 - 4oz cans)
2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
6 ounces of grated vegan cheese, divided
1 T miso paste
1/2 c water divided

8-10 corn tortillas

Heat 1/4 c water in a microwave proof dish to very warm.
Add miso paste to water, mix well.
In a large bowl, mix miso mixture, beans, potato or rice, hot sauce, 1/4 of your chiles, 4 ounces grated cheese. Set aside.
Using a gas flame or in a hot cast iron pan, heat each tortilla until it has some black specks on it.
In a blender, add the remaining chiles and the remaining 1/4 c water. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides.

In a 9 x 12 pan:
Spread a tablespoon or so of sauce on the bottom and smooth around. Take a tortilla, add 2 Tbs of bean mixture, and roll. Continue until you've squashed in as many tortillas as you can.

Drizzle the remaining chile sauce over the top.
Top with the remaining grated cheese.
Bake uncovered in a 375F oven for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas start browning and crisping.

Top with chopped tomato, salsa, vegan sour cream or your favorite topping.

01 April 2009

Kale & Quinoa Lasagna with Leek Bechamel

Sometimes you get an idea that you just KNOW is going to work. I had quinoa, leeks and cooked beans in the fridge, won ton wrappers which had reached their expiry date, and the local store had beautiful kale. A match made in heaven with flavors that really work nicely together.

People rave about couscous and I have never understood it. Sure, it is quick to make, but its pretty bland. And, although treated like a grain, it is actually a pasta with nothing nutritional except carbs. Quinoa, on the other hand, is small, easy to cook and has a somewhat similar texture but is loaded nutrients and has great flavor. It isn't a grain either, though. It is a seed. Since both cook like a grain, look like a grain, and can be used like a grain, most cookbooks just put them in the grain section. If you haven't used quinoa, you should. And if you follow the simple instructions following the main recipe, it will come out perfectly every time.

This was basically a throw-together leftover meal for me, but I do realize that most people aren't going to have the ingredients cooked and waiting in the fridge. So, the cooking instructions for the individual items will follow the main recipe.

Kale & Quinoa Lasagna with Leek Bechamel
Serves 6-8

1 bunch fresh kale
salt to taste
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2-3 c leek&onion broth
3 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs flour
3 c cooked quinoa
3 c cooked beans (approx 2 cans, drained and rinsed if you use canned)
4 oz grated Cheesly or other vegan cheese
1 pack wonton wrappers (See important note following ingredients)

(Note: the wonton wrappers I used were not vegan. Vegans should use a thin vegan pasta )

Preheat oven to 400F.

Wash and coarsely chop the kale. Cook in a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water for about 10 minutes at 10 pounds pressure or until very soft. Add vinegar, lightly salt, toss and set aside to cool slightly.

In a 2 qt saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to cook for about 30-45 seconds. Whisk in the onion broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer briefly until the sauce thickens.

Using a 9x13 lasagna pan or similar dish, spread several Tbs of the bechamel on the bottom, and spread it out.

Put one layer of pasta sheets over the sauce.

Add 1/2 of the quinoa and spread it around. (Note: it is best to keep the quinoa about a half inch from the edge of the pan to keep it from getting too dry and crunchy in the oven)

Add 1/3 of the beans and spread them around evenly.

Add another layer of pasta sheets. Spread a few Tbs of bechamel over the pasta.
Layer the kale evenly into the dish.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of sauce over the kale.
Top with another layer of pasta sheets.
Add the remainder of the quinoa and spread evenly.
Add the remaining beans and spread evenly.
Add another layer of pasta sheets.
Pour the remaining bechamel over the top and spread evenly.
Spread the grated cheese evenly over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Let the lasagna stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Basic Quinoa

1 1/2 c quinoa
2 c water
1 stock cube

Put a 2 qt saucepan with lid heating over a medium low flame.
Rinse the quinoa in a bowl of warm water and rub it with your hands. Drain it into a strainer and rinse again. Add the quinoa to the dry saucepan and stir a few minutes until the quinoa is dry and starts smelling toasted. Add the water and stock cube, raise heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat, cover and simmer as low as possible for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let quinoa sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Leek & Onion Broth

Washed green tops from 2-3 leeks
1 yellow onion chopped coarsely
4-5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

Add all ingredients into a pressure cooker with 8 cups of water. Pressure cook for 20-30 minutes. Strain liquid into a saucepan and boil 15-20 minutes until the liquid is reduced to about half (around 2-3 cups). Set aside to cool.

Smoky Beans

1 c Yellow Woman or pinto dried beans, soaked overnight
4 c water
2 tsp Bacon Salt, hickory flavor
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Pressure cook at 10 pounds for about 18 minutes. Release pressure and add sea salt. Stir and set aside. Drain before using for lasagna.

revised 25-10-09

25 March 2009

Brown Rice & Apple Muffins

I enjoy getting and reading the Vegetarian Times and sometimes I use their recipes. Mostly, I use their recipes as a 'jumping off point' to do my own version of their recipes for various reasons. In a 2006 issue, they published a recipe for Apple Oat Muffins. It turned cold today and muffins seemed like a good idea. I glanced at the recipe and saw the ubiquitous 'quick-cooking oats' as a major component.

I have a thing about quick-cooking oats as well as 'instant' oats. The 'manufacturers' of these things take an excellent food, remove whatever they can for convenience, and ruin it. Anyone who has had proper oats would never eat the stuff. So, there is no way I'm going to buy quick-cooking oats to make muffins. I do have some multi-grain cereal flakes, but that would be too easy to substitute.

While perusing recipes, I vaguely remembered seeing a recipe for cornbread that added cooked quinoa to it. So, not having quinoa, but having brown rice, I decided to experiment.

The results were excellent. The brown rice keeps everything very moist and soft.

Brown Rice & Apple Muffins

Servings: 12
Approx 170 calories per muffin

2 c medium apples, peeled and finely diced
1 1/2 c flour, all-purpose
1 c Brown Rice - Cooked
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 c Soy Yogurt - plain unsweetened
1/4 c soy or almond milk
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (see note below)
1 Tbs Flaxseed Meal
3 Tbs water

Preheat oven to 400F
Spray muffin pan with baking spray
In a small saucepan, heat 3 Tbs of water. Add 1 Tbs flaxseed meal and cook 3 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool.

Combine remaining dry ingredients in a bowl. Add diced apple and mix.

Combine remaining wet ingredients in bowl, add flaxmixture and mix.

Add wet to dry and stir until just mixed.

Add batter to muffin pan. (The individual muffin cups will be very full, but do not rise enough to overflow when baked)

Bake for 20 minutes or until centers pop back when pressed

Note: I'm not a big fan of vanilla, so only put 1 1/2 tsp in. If you like the taste, you might increase that to 2 tsps.

19 March 2009

Fham (aka Fake Ham)

I'm one of the possibly 5 people in the world who actually likes tofu. I wouldn't choose it over, say, chocolate, but it's ok. Some of the commercial baked and smoked varieties are downright good. I have not had much luck duplicating the baked flavored and smoked tofu, so when I discovered seitan, it filled me with new hope. Here was a product in the store that, supposedly, I could duplicate at home.

All the seitan recipes I found produced pretty decent seitan by simmering the 'dough' in flavored liquids for an hour. I mostly used the recipe from Veganomicon. A few times, however, the texture wasn't quite right. So, I started simmering the seitan for a while and then baking it for a while. The texture got better, but as I was experimenting, I found this posting on Post Punk Kitchen, called Seitan O' Greatness.

I tried the recipe and, although I didn't particularly like the flavor, I loved the texture. And it was sooooo easy to make. So, I started using the basic concept of baking, but developing my own flavors. A few of them might get posted here, and we'll start with Fake Ham Seitan. Tae insists that I call fake bacon 'facon', so I'm guessing she'll complain unless I call this one:

Fham (aka Fake Ham)

1 1/2 tsp hickory smoke powder (NOT hickory salt)
3/4 c gluten
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp roasted garlic granules (or garlic powder)

3 oz water
1 1/2 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 325F.

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl.
Add wet to dry and mix well until all is damp.
Knead by hand for a minute or two. (I knead 60 times because I find that easier than timing it)
When the 'dough' is firm and not grainy, roll it into a log about 6-8 inches long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.
Wrap in parchment paper. (You can wrap it snugly, but it doesn't need to be tight)
Then wrap again in aluminum foil. (Again, snug is good enough)

Bake on the oven rack for 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven, unwrap and cool on a wire rack.
When totally cool, wrap in plastic and refrigerate

Slice thinly and pan fry for a more bacon-like product.
If you aren't a fan of salty ham, leave out the tsp of salt.
I bought my hickory smoke powder from AmericanSpice.com and was pretty happy with the delivery and the product.

22 February 2009

Easy Green Chile Stew

I love Hatch chiles. I have them canned, in the freezer, made into sauce, crushed and powdered. Having New Mexican food after a lifetime of TexMex really opened my eyes to the idea of the chile as a star ingredient. I already add chiles and hot sauce to nearly everything, but always as an ingredient, not as a star.

That all changed one day last September in Hatch, NM at a restaurant called 'The Pepper Pot'. A simple meal of chile rellenos, one chile with red chile sauce, the other with green, was a revelation. The sauces were very plain, seemingly just chile powder, water, a little thickener (flour and oil maybe?) and possibly a touch of salt. All you tasted was the chile. And it was magnificent.

It was so good, that we left early the next day so I could eat there again before we headed to Santa Fe...

This led me, in a frenzy one very cold and gloomy Missouri winter day, to order a boxed Green Chile Stew mix from my favorite source of powdered chiles. I had very low expectations, but it was actually very good for an 'instant' stew. So, I decided to step it up a little. My stew adds beans and corn to make it a complete meal, and still is pretty quick and easy. The box took 30 minutes to make, you can do this one in a pressure cooker even faster.

Easy Green Chile Stew
(If using canned beans, see instructions following the recipe)
makes 8-10 cups

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
6 c water
1 1/2 c zuni red beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 dried chipotle chiles (or substitute 2 tsp smoked paprika, see note)
6 Tbs green chile powder (see note for source)
2 c diced red or yukon gold potatoes
1 c frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 tsp sea salt

Set pressure cooker to 'brown' setting.
When cooker is warmed, add olive oil
Add onions and saute 2 minutes
Add garlic and saute 1 minute
Add water, beans, chipotle & chile powder
Pressure cook at 10 pounds pressure for 11 minutes
When cooker goes off, release pressure and add diced potato
Pressure cook at 10 pounds for 6 minutes
Release pressure and add corn and salt
Stir well so it doesn't stick on the bottom.
Pressure cook at 10 pounds pressure 1 minute
Release pressure and serve.

The stew can be eaten by itself, or served over brown or wild rice. Garnish with chopped green onions and a dollop of sour cream or vegan sour cream. A little grated Chihuahua, Jack or your favorite vegan cheese over the top of each serving is also excellent.

Using canned beans:
Set pressure cooker to 'brown' setting.
When cooker is warmed, add olive oil
Add onions and saute 2 minutes
Add garlic and saute 1 minute
Add potatoes and chipotle
Add water to cover.
Pressure cook at 10 pounds pressure for 6 minutes
Check potatoes. They should be nearly done. If not, cook a minute longer
When potatoes are nearly finished, add remaining ingredients
Pressure cook at 10 pounds pressure for 1 minute
Release pressure and serve

We get our green chile powder from Chimayo To Go . They ship quickly and have very good prices on bulk chile powders. For real Mexican/New Mexican taste, you'll also want to get chicos and dried epazote from this page

For smoked paprika, this is the best stuff EVER! From The Spice House

21 February 2009

Wild Rice Steamed Buns

Chinese steamed buns have to be one of the best foods on the planet. When I first went vegetarian completely, I had given up everything non-vegetarian I ate for 6 months before I was able to give up steamed roast pork buns for good... The place on Lygon St. in Carlton (Melbourne) where I ate them is no longer there, but I'll never forget those buns.

Making buns takes time but isn't difficult. Most of the time involved is waiting around for the dough to rise, and that doesn't require the presence of the cook. Personally, I get bored kneading dough, so have adapted my recipe to use a bread machine instead. You can do it by hand by kneading the dough and letting the dough rise in a greased bowl instead, but I'll take the easy way out.

Given my recent obsession with wild rice, I decided to make a steamed bun using wild rice. These buns are not intended to be a starter course like most Chinese buns are. These are meant to go with a meal as the bread course.

You can, of course, eat them with soy sauce, fresh grated ginger and even some wasabi to cleanse your sinuses, but they are meant to be eaten as a bread.

From the photos, you'll see that my buns don't end up incredibly white like the ones in the Chinese restaurant. In these particular buns, the sauce bleeds through a little, but even if it didn't, that perfect whiteness would not be there. I don't know how they do that, but I do know these taste great even if they aren't so pretty! I use kamut flour to make the sponge because I feel it adds more flavor. However, it is also more yellowish in color than white, so will definitely affect the color of the finished buns.

Wild Rice Steamed Buns

Ingredient list:

For the sponge:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour I use kamut flour here
1/3 cup warm water

For the dough:

1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (needs 1/4 c more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the filling:

1/4 c dried mushrooms
2 c boiling water
1 tsp salt
1 T butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, minced
1 T flour
3/4 c cooked wild rice
1 1/4 c cooked brown rice

18 - 20 pieces of wax paper approx 3 inches square

Making these steamed buns requires 5 basic steps:
  1. Make sponge

  2. Make dough

  3. Make filling

  4. Form buns

  5. Steam buns

Make the sponge:

In the pan of your breadmaker, add the first 4 ingredients, mix and set aside for 20 minutes.

Make the dough:

After 20 minutes, the sponge will be bubbly. Add the next 5 ingredients (NOT the baking soda).
Turn your breadmaker on the dough cycle, and let it run for 15 minutes or so, scraping down the sides if needed. The dough will be very sticky but will eventually form a smooth ball
Turn the breadmaker off, and let the dough sit for 1 1/2 - 2 hours to rise. It will triple in size at least. Make filling while waiting.

Make filling:

Soak the mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and drain the remaining liquid through a coffee filter into a measuring cup until you have accumulated 3/4 c of liquid.

In a 10 inch skillet, melt the butter.
Chop the soaked mushrooms into very small pieces
Add the mushrooms, garlic and chile to the butter and cook until the garlic is tender.
Sprinkle the flour over the top of the mixture and saute a minute.
Add the reserved mushroom stock, stirring well to mix it all in.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
When the mixture thickens, add the rice, turn off heat and mix well.
Set aside until needed.

When dough is ready:

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface, and then scatter the baking soda over that. Flour your hands and remove the dough from the bread pan.

Knead the dough gently on the board, forming it into a log about 18 inches long.

Cut the log in half, then cut each of those into 8-12 pieces.

For each piece, roll lightly in flour and smooth out with your hands to about a 2-3 inch circle.
Holding the circle in the palm of one hand, add 1 to 1/2 tsp of filling.
Gently pull up the sides around the filling.
Bring all the sides to a point, twist to seal, and place seal down on a piece of waxed paper.
Keep at least an inch or two between buns - they expand.

Let the buns rise for about 20 minutes.

Buns Rising in Steamer Pan

Bring water to boil for your steamer.
Add buns to your steamer, making sure they are at least an inch apart from each other and the side.
Steam 15-20 minutes.
Remove from steamer, peel off wax paper and eat.

After Steaming - Buns Expand

14 February 2009

Fennel Potato Salad with Caramelized Onions

It's not often that we get nice looking fennel bulbs around here so, when we do, I can't resist buying one. Normally, I just slice it and braise it with a little salt and eat it. But when potatoes are also on sale, you gotta make potato salad, right?

Fennel Potato Salad with Caramelized Onions

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 fennel bulb, cleaned and diced, fronds reserved
Reserved fennel fronds
one recipe vinaigrette (follows)
one recipe caramelized onions (follows)
1 chopped jalapeno or serrano chile (optional)
Salt to taste

Steam the diced potato and fennel until a fork easily penetrates the cubes, about 15-20 minutes. Add the potato and fennel to the vinaigrette and stir. Add the caramelized onions, chiles if using, fennel fronds and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or cold.


2 T mustard (dijon or your favorite)
3 T olive oil
2 T cider vinegar
1 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
2 t fennel seed, crushed
2 t coriander seed, crushed
1/2 t cumin seed, crushed
1/4 t basil
1/3 c vegan mayonnaise

In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.

Caramelized Onions

2 medium onions, sliced thinly
2 Tbs olive oil
1 t sea salt

In a 10" skillet, heat the oil. Add the sliced onions and salt and cook over low heat, stirring once in a while, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. If you are having trouble getting the onions golden, add 1/2 t of sugar.


This is excellent warm, somewhat resembling a German Potato Salad, but it also great cold. If you want it to be even more like a German potato salad, crumble up some cooked 'fake bacon' at the end.

09 February 2009

Feeling Your Oats

I'm not sure how it happened, but over the years my concept of oatmeal went from stuff you cook in a pot to instant stuff that looked like cardboard poured out of a paper packet and nuked (microwaved). When I was younger, I bought all raw ingredients and made my own baked granola. And from that I evolved into artificially flavored microwave oatmeal? How did I let that happen? The heavily advertised packets promised a vast array of exotic and comforting flavor sensations, but all ended up strongly flavored and tasting artificial. The more flavors I tried, the less interest I had. Eventually, I stopped eating oatmeal completely.

Tae loves porridge, which is what most of the English speaking world calls oatmeal. I like natural and organic and as close to basics as possible. So, I eventually stumbled on Scottish oats when looking for a healthy, basic product to make for her.

Scottish Oats are stone ground and retain the germ, the oil, and the fiber. The indigestible parts are discarded, and everything else is in there. Although there is probably a microwave recipe for them, they don't take all that long to cook and the difference is amazing. Cooking from scratch takes me about 8 minutes, and most of the time, I'm not involved. I dare you to try this properly cooked Scottish porridge alongside your favorite flavored microwave artificially flavored totally processed oatmeal and do a 'taste test'. You'll be eating Scottish Oats and loving it.

The two variations of oats we normally buy are one of these listed next. Although we prefer the Barry Farms oats, we get oats from whichever vendor we are ordering from next.

Barry Farms (our preferred)
Purcell Mountain Farms

Since my oat-eating daughter is vegan, I'll give the vegan recipe here that I make for her regularly. But you can easily substitute another liquid and another sweetener as you wish.

This recipe makes 1 large serving or enough for two if you are adding fresh fruit and flax meal, and all that healthy sort of thing. We actually use this as 1 serving for a human, plus leftovers for our dog, Juno. We'll eventually talk about the dog, but suffice it to say that she is mainly vegetarian and considers herself a true four footed gourmet. And she LOVES this porridge... When Juno needed ear medicine and hated getting it, a little bit of this oatmeal bribed her into not only allowing the medicine, but had her begging for ear medicine...

Toasting the oats before cooking them adds another dimension of flavor. Don't skip that step.

Scottish Oats

1/4 c Scottish oats
pinch salt
1 c almond milk
1/2 t agave nectar

Heat a 1 qt non-stick saucepan over medium low heat.

Add the oats. Toast the oats for a minute or two until they start smelling nutty.

Add the salt, almond milk and agave.

Raise heat to medium.

Using a large spoon, mix the oats and liquid together. You can whisk it together if you wish to eliminate the lumps.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer for about 6 minutes, stirring regularly. If you like thinner oats, stop sooner, if you like thick oats, cook a few minutes longer. As in risotto, the more you stir, the creamier your oats will be. At the minimum, stir enough to keep the oats from sticking or burning.

These oats make a filling breakfast and taste great. Add fruit, flax, yogurt, whatever to them. But try them and you'll be a convert.