Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tempeh Bacon Breakfast Sandwich

Whole grain English muffin, toasted, with tomato, mashed avocado, tempeh bacon, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. MD made breakfast for us and it was a delicious start to a holiday weekend. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Smoky Burritos

This burrito recipe combines unique flavors and fresh produce in a dish that is simple comfort food. The smoky, slightly sweet filling is spiked with a beer of your choice and plenty of heat from an habanero pepper. I almost used my favorite Mexican beer, Negra Modelo, but decided to savor the good stuff with dinner and added a light domestic beer to the burrito filling. This was delicious served with crunchy shoots, Tofutti sour cream, and local Hacienda salsa. MD suggests an addition of fresh cilantro to garnish next time!

Smoky Burritos

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large portobello mushroom, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
corn kernels from 2 medium cobs
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large yellow tomato, pureed
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 12 ounce beer
whole wheat tortillas
garnish such as Tofutti sour cream, pea shoots, salsa, and cilantro

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, habanero, and corn and saute for about 1 minute. Add beans, Liquid Smoke, black pepper, salt, and cumin and saute for a couple of minutes. Add pureed tomato, molasses, and beer. Simmer rapidly for about 15 minutes until sauce is reduced. Spread the bean and vegetable mixture on warmed tortillas and top with garnish of your choice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cannellini Spread with Sundried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

You might have noticed that I'm a big fan of bean spreads. I love them for greeting guests with a little nibble to accompany a cocktail, for making sandwiches at lunch, or for snacking with whole grain crackers anytime of day. Bean spreads are filling, nutritious, and as decadent as you want. And you can easily alter ingredients for your own creative twist. This week's bean spread features fresh basil while I still have a huge plant of it in my backyard. I enjoyed this on a piece of whole wheat toast, garnished with some dark green pea shoots, and also right out of the refrigerator scooped up with Fritos. Here's the recipe:

Cannellini Spread with Sundried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 marinated dried tomato halves, coarsely chopped
2 small cloves garlic
a handful of fresh basil
1 Tablespoon tahini
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste

Combine in a food processor, pulsing until smooth.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Black-Eyed Peas, Potatoes, and Bamboo Shoots

A few weeks ago, we finally had dinner at Everest Cafe and Bar, and I've been thinking about trying this dish at home ever since. Everest features Nepalese, Indian, and Korean food, and practically every Nepalese dish is vegan! We started with a sampler of appetizers including vegetables mo-mo ( Tibetan-style dumplings stuffed with a seasoned vegetable mixture) and some crispy breaded zucchini. The appetizers came with two sauces for dipping. I'm STILL talking about those zucchini slices! For one of our main dishes, we ordered the Tama Bodi Tarkari, which is a juicy dish of black-eyed peas, potatoes, bamboo shoots, and tomato sauce served over steamed rice.

A little searching on the internet uncovered this recipe for the black-eyed pea dish, and after a trip to Penzeys for fenugreek and brown mustard seeds, I was set to cook. This dish has the delightful aroma of cilantro and citrus, with sweet undertones of fenugreek. It's quite spicy, so if you prefer milder food, make sure to decrease the cayenne pepper. We ate this on a bed of jasmine rice. I'll definitely be back for the delicious food and friendly service at Everest, as well as inspiration for new recipes to try in my kitchen!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tempeh Salad with Grapes and Pecans

I say tempeh salad with "PEA-kanz", although I reckon some might say "puh-KAHNZ". Southern accent or no, this was a hit in our house! It requires just a few ingredients, inspired by this Whole Foods recipe, but the vegan version is much nicer to chickens. The agave nectar in the dressing and grapes add a little sweet flavor, and we ate this atop a bed of cute pea shoots from Local Harvest Grocery. This came together in a snap with The Meat Purveyors as my soundtrack. The band was on my mind since they reunited for a couple of shows in Kansas this week and I'm not there! Oh well, if you couldn't be there either, you might enjoy this little gem from YouTube featuring one of their songs.

Tempeh Salad with Grapes and Pecans
16 ounces tempeh, crumbled into small pieces
2 Tablespoons canola oil
4 teaspoons tamari
1/2 cup Vegenaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup organic seedless red grapes
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup pecan halves
pea shoots

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the tempeh crumbles for 7-10 minutes, until quite brown. Transfer to a bowl, add tamari, stir and let cool to room temperature. Make the dressing by combining the Vegenaise through salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Toast the pecan halves for a few minutes in a skillet until fragrant, then coarsely chop.
Combine cooled tempeh, dressing, grapes, celery, and pecans. Serve over pea shoots or leafy greens.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bowtie Pasta with Olives, Artichokes, and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Tonight was a "raid the pantry for something tasty" night. While this time of year is perfect for fresh produce in the Midwest, this meal is a delicious option if you're out of tomatoes or for the Winter when you're relying on canned veggies. But let's not think about Winter yet. Sorry I brought it up.

Bowtie Pasta with Olives, Artichokes, and Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Inspired by Vegan Planet
Makes a huge pot full!

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large jalapeno pepper, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 14.5 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or red of choice)
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
8 Queen-sized green olives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound whole wheat bowtie pasta
1/4 cup pinenuts
fresh basil to garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute onion for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for a minute or so. Don't let the garlic burn! Add the tomato paste and combine. Add the tomatoes through salt and pepper and simmer to thicken while you make the pasta (about 20 minutes or so).

Cook the pasta. While it cooks, toast the pinenuts in a skillet. Only for a few minutes because they burn quickly. Drain the pasta when done, and combine in a large pot with the sauce. Check for seasoning. Garnish each serving with toasted pinenuts and fresh basil.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vegetable Stew

This stew features so many chunky, colorful vegetables. It's a change of pace from tomato-based soups, using vermouth and vegetable broth instead with just a touch of fire roasted tomatoes. I especially like the recipe for featuring kale, which doesn't go all limp with cooking. I made this up Sunday and it will give us filling, healthy lunches during the week.

Vegetable Stew
adapted from Vegetarian Times

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 large potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups dry vermouth
2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves rinsed well
14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons cold water
1 Tablespoon tamari
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 cups vegetable broth

Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Saute onion, carrots, and bell pepper for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and potatoes and cook about 5 minutes. Add vermouth and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add kale and cook 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Mix cornstarch in a cup with cold water to dissolve. Add this and remaining ingredients to the pot. Simmer until the potatoes are done.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sweet Potato Bites with Chipotle Black Bean Spread

Browsing through Vegetarian Appetizers, a recipe for a red potato appetizer caught my eye. The potato slices serve as the base for whatever topping you choose. With sweet potatoes in my pantry, I decided a creamy black bean spread would complement them nicely. The black bean spread turned out addictive. I had to stop myself from eating half the batch with a spoon straight from the bowl! Otherwise, I would have had lonely sweet potato bites with no topping. I sprinkled the end result with a little cilantro, and MD pronounced this "good stuff". I think this could be even better if the potatoes were a little crispy, but I'm not sure how crispy they can get by roasting. If you have any tips, please weigh in with a comment.

Sweet Potato Bites with Chipotle Black Bean Spread
Serves 3-4 with spread leftover

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
2 Tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the potatoes, oil, and seasonings in a bowl. Put on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, blot lightly to remove excess oil, and let cool a little.

Chipotle Black Bean Spread:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large garlic clove, cut into chunks
1 Tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

Puree until fluffy in a food processor.

Top sweet potatoes with a little black bean spread and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Cocktail

Some people love the Olympics for the competition, the drama, or the hot bodies visual spectacle. Me? I'm here for the cocktail. The Olympics just got way more interesting when I noticed that a cocktail exists by the same name. The recipe is easy enough to find on the 'net, but I wasn't able to find any history on its origin. The drink calls for brandy, triple sec, and oj. I had apricot brandy on hand instead of regular brandy, so that's what I used.

How'd it turn out? This is no medal winner in my book. I give it a score of 2 on a scale of 1-10. The drink was too sweet for my taste, which might be unfair since I used apricot brandy but I don't think I'd like it either way. However, if you like a sweet drink and brandy, and love a cocktail in theme like I do, the recipe is below!

Olympic Cocktail
Serves 1

3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce orange juice
3/4 ounce triple sec

Shake over ice in cocktail shaker and serve in an up glass.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sassy Corn Salad

The two ears of corn in my fridge gave me the chance to re-create a side dish I enjoyed a while back at El Scorcho. It reminded me of the flavors in pico de gallo, but with corn as the main ingredient rather than tomatoes. I have no idea whether this is how El Scorcho makes their version, but this turned out pretty tasty. Fresh, tangy, and a little spicy, this could be served as a salsa with chips too.

Sassy Corn Salad
Serves 2

corn kernels from 2 ears corn, about 2 cups
1/2 large jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
about 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 scallion, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and allow to marinate for about 15 minutes. Serve at room temp or chilled.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Unconventional Vegan Taco Salad

I'm back after a little break to hang out with my parents visiting from South Carolina. We took advantage of the mild, sunny weather to catch a Cardinals game, the highlight (for me) of which was Billy Bob Thornton throwing out the first pitch! Another day we took in the Niki exhibit at the MO Botanical Garden. Forgot to take my camera, so I'll be back for sure. I'll work on getting back on track with more frequent posts this week. And now, back to our regularly scheduled vegan food programming...

What's with the name of this dish? Describing something as both vegan and unconventional might seem redundant. But "taco salad" doesn't capture what's going on here, with ingredients such as sunflower shoots and sugar snap peas. I was inspired by this Cooking Light recipe, but took a left turn based on vegetables I had on hand. The vegan sour cream provides a creamy base for the dressing, and all the fresh vegetables just seem so darn healthy you'll be quite pleased with yourself. MD gave this one a definite thumbs up.

Unconventional Vegan Taco Salad
Serves 2-3

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup Tofutti sour cream
juice from 1/2 lime
2 Tablespoons chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (about 2 ears) fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup sunflower shoots
1/3 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
tortilla chips

Prepare dressing by stirring dressing ingredients in a bowl. Combine salad ingredients, except tortilla chips, in another bowl. Add dressing a little at a time until you reach the desired amount. Combine gently. Crumble tortilla chips on each serving.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Coconut Zucchini

This pretty dish gives you another way to prepare zucchini from your summer harvest. The color is rather fluorescent, thanks to the turmeric, but the taste is subtle and mostly of citrus. This would be a great side to add a shot of color to a buffet.

Coconut Zucchini
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

5 cups cubed zucchini
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
ground cayenne pepper, a couple of shakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons canola oil
2 scallions, chopped
juice from 1 lime
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lite coconut milk
salt to taste

Saute zucchini, garlic, cayenne, and turmeric in a skillet in oil on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add scallions, lime juice, cilantro, and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low heat for about 12 minutes, until zucchini is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent from sticking. Salt to taste and serve hot.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Avocado Salad in Tomato Bowls

Now that I've had several sliced tomato, tempeh bacon, sprouts, and avocado sandwiches this summer, I've had enough of a fix to think about other uses for delicious local tomatoes. How about edible tomato bowls? We scooped the avocado salad up with chips for an appetizer, but these would also make a festive Tex Mex side dish.

Avocado Salad in Tomato Bowls
Serves 2

2 large tomatoes
2 Tablespoons minced onion
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
1 avocado, cubed
a few shakes of hot sauce
a few pinches of garlic powder
salt to taste

Remove the core from each tomato. Slice a thin slice off each tomato bottom so the tomatoes will sit upright. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and dice to use in avocado salad. Remove the insides of the tomatoes, leaving hollow bowls. Dice the tomato pieces removed from the bowls for the avocado salad. Combine the diced tomatoes and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon the avocado salad into the tomato bowls.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Orange Tomatoes, and Green Beans

This pasta salad features cherry tomatoes, green beans, corn, and marinated tofu in a balsamic vinaigrette. These orange tomatoes are from Local Harvest Grocery, and their sweet flavor pairs perfectly with the agave nectar in the vinaigrette. The recipe is based loosely on this one from Cooking Light, with my modifications indicated below.

Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Orange Tomatoes, and Green Beans
About 8 servings

1 container extra-firm tofu, sliced into 3 planks
8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup corn kernels
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
fresh basil to garnish

4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Press the three slices of tofu for about 30 minutes. Here's what I mean by pressing the tofu.
Put all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake to combine.
After the tofu is pressed, cut into bite-sized cubes and marinate in half the dressing for about 15 minutes.
Saute the tofu cubes in a teaspoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes in a skillet on moderately high heat. Turn frequently. Pat with a clean towel to remove any excess oil. Set cubes aside.
Cook the pasta for about 5 minutes. Add the green beans and corn to the pasta and cook until done, about 4 more minutes. Put the pasta mixture into a strainer, rinse with cold water, and drain.
Put pasta mixture, tomatoes, and tofu in a large bowl. Dress with some of the remaining dressing. You probably won't need the entire amount. Check for seasoning and garnish with torn fresh basil leaves.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Raw Corn and Cashew Chowder

Corn kernels are everywhere. Stuck to my tank top, my kitchen floor, my laptop. Probably sprinkled on Scout too. Those suckers flew around like crazy when I cut them from the cobs! Of course, after spraying myself and everything in sight with corn, I found this tip on A Veggie Venture for the problem. I should have consulted Alanna's blog first!

Was making the soup messy? Slightly. Was the mess worthwhile? Definitely! This is Ani Phyo's recipe from Food and Wine. It's another no cook delicious summer dish. The soup turns out creamy and garlicky, with a touch of decadence from the fruity olive oil. I have another neighborhood Supper Club coming up, and this dish is in the running for my contribution. The theme is beach/island food, so this is slightly off theme, but people eat corn at the beach, right? And it will travel well, does not need to be kept warm, and is a full-proof recipe with a knock-out flavor. Everything I could want in a summery potluck dish.

Raw Corn and Cashew Chowder
Serves 4

2 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
cilantro, freshly ground black pepper, and minced jalapeno to garnish, optional

Put corn kernels, water, cashews, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Garnish with chopped cilantro and black pepper. Next time I'll also add fresh, minced jalapeno to garnish.


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