Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sloppy Joes, New Farm style

Sloppy Joes are kind of like margaritas. No, I don't put tequila in my sloppy joes, although that is a thought. With both margs and sloppy joes, I'm always up for trying a new recipe. I've mentioned how much we love VCON's Snobby Joes, a delicious version with lentils and a little maple syrup. Another favorite is this recipe from the New Farm cookbook. It comes together quickly, using TVP and the typical sloppy joe ingredients. Great in a sandwich, or eaten right out of a bowl with Fritos Scoops.

I've slowed down a little on my recipes recently. There's been orientation for dog walking at the Humane Society, Naomi Wolf's talk on our closing society , work, plus getting ready for the Shaw Art Fair. However, I'll be back nearly every day in October for VeganMoFo, starting October 1st! See you then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Antipasto Salad

We squeezed in one more picnic on the last day of summer. The weather was warm yet mild for our street's annual barbecue and potluck. There was a bike parade for neighbor kids, live music (provided by a neighbor's band), and the chance to meet newcomers and visit with old friends. Parade, shmarade you say, what about the food?

The prettiest dish in the picnic spread was a vegan one contributed by a non-vegan! A friend made sunny yellow rice topped with flavorful black beans. The brilliant yellow against the black/purple color was stunning. And he so considerately informed me that it was vegan-friendly.

We contributed this antipasto salad, which turned out to be delicious picnic fare. The dish works well if it's prepared in advance to marinate, and later served at room temperature. The variety of vegetables makes the salad colorful and festive. I'm creating a new "potluck" tag with this recipe, since I'm always looking for dishes that travel well. Hope your last day of summer was a great one too.

Antipasto Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light

16 ounces frozen green beans
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced

Cook green beans according to package directions. I placed mine in a glass container and added 4 tablespoons water. Cover with a lid and microwave for about 8 minutes. Stir a couple of times during cooking. Drain.

Place green beans through artichoke hearts in a large bowl.

Make the dressing by combining remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Or shake them up in a jar. Pour dressing over vegetables. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Check for seasoning. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Poblano Potato Salad with Corn and Tomatoes

Last time I mentioned receiving a bunch of peppers from the garden of friends. In addition to the habaneros, we got poblanos and Holy Mole peppers, which I think are pasillas. I've never cooked with pasilla peppers, but they smelled mild so I figured they would be versatile. I decided to roast and peel them all for a spicy potato salad after seeing this one on Epicurious. This salad was both spicy and sweet, with the corn and tomatoes contributing the latter. I'll definitely make it again. It was a little juicier than I prefer, so the recipe below includes fewer tomatoes and a note to seed them.

Poblano Potato Salad with Corn and Tomatoes
2 small poblanos and 2 pasilla peppers
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup diced tomato, seeds discarded
1/2 cup corn kernels
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 cup Vegenaise
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Broil the peppers on a cookie sheet, turning several times until skin on all sides is blistered and blackened. Put them in a sealed container for at least 10 minutes to steam. Peel the skins, remove veins and seeds, and discard all but the peeled peppers. Chop them and set aside.

In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water and boil until just tender. (Mine boiled for about 8 minutes.) Drain the potatoes.

In a large bowl, gently combine potatoes and remaining ingredients. Place in refrigerator and allow flavors to develop at least 30 minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Freezing Habaneros

Friends were kind enough to share an abundance of beautiful peppers from their garden. So many gorgeous habaneros raised the question of what to do with them. We love spicy food, but this many habaneros was slightly daunting, a "problem" we're all too happy to have. A little research in Hot & Spicy & Meatless revealed that small peppers such as these can be frozen whole.

Wash and dry the peppers. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then put them in a container to store in the freezer. There you go, enjoy home grown habaneros for months to come.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Curried Black-Eyed Pea Soup

With a rainy, windy day on Sunday, soup seemed just right. This is an easy soup to make, featuring a late summer habanero from a friend's garden, black-eyed peas, and some leftover coconut milk from the Five Spice Powder Curry recipe. This spicy soup will warm a body up any chilly day. MD said he'd rate it a "Medium" on a heat scale, and didn't even add Sriracha. No Sriracha? Now that's a compliment.

Curried Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Adapted from Epicurious

1 1/4 cups dried black-eyed peas
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 habanero pepper, minced
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Quick soak the black-eyed peas: Pick out any pebbles and rinse them in a strainer. Put them in large pot and cover with water, about 2 inches above the peas. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

Heat the oil in the large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery for about 4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add garlic, habanero, fenugreek, curry, and cumin. Saute for about 1 minute. Add broth, coconut milk, and black-eyed peas. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until peas are done. Salt and pepper to taste. Puree some of the soup with an immersion blender until the texture you desire. Stir in cilantro.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Five Spice Powder Curry

Give me a new spice, and I can entertain myself for weeks. A bottle of Chinese Five Spice Powder led me to this dish. I picked the spice up a few weeks ago at Penzeys. What is this stuff? The ingredients say China cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger, and cloves. The primary aroma, as you can guess, is of cinnamon. I couldn't wait to try it in a dish!

I veganized the recipe to use seitan and several vegetables that I had on hand. The resulting taste was like nothing I'd had (in a good way). This curry is light on sauce. There's a sweet undertone from the sweet potatoes and coconut milk, and the peanuts add a little crunch. Actually, based on my track record of crunchy rice, MD thought the rice was over-cooked again. But no, I'm getting the rice thing down, he realized the crunch was from peanuts and the rice was just right. He gave this dish his highest rating, that we should make it for friends. I can't wait to try my Five Spice Powder in more dishes. If you have a favorite way to use it, leave a comment to let me know.

Five Spice Powder Curry
Adapted from Food and Wine

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
16 ounces seitan, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1 teaspoon cumin
a couple of shakes of cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 medium sweet potato and 1 small russet potato, peeled and diced
2 baby bok choy, chopped
1 handful vegan dry roasted nuts, chopped
3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 large tomato, cut in bite-sized wedges
Jasmine rice, cooked

In a large skillet (with a lid for later), heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion for about 4 minutes. Add seitan through salt, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir in broth and coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and cover with a lid. Simmer until potatoes are close to done, about 12 minutes. Add bok choy, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, cilantro, and nuts. Cover and let steam for a couple of minutes. Serve over Jasmine rice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tex Mex Burgers

To continue celebrating Summertime food while I can, I've made bean patty burgers a couple of times this week. The first attempt was based on a cooking magazine recipe, and that was a bust, beige and bland.

I'm so glad I turned to Jessy's blog for another try! At Happy Vegan Face, she posts quite a few tasty looking burgers, and this Tex Mex Burger is one of them. This recipe has plenty of Tex Mex flavor, and just the right amount of kick from the Sriracha and cayenne. The burgers also brown up nicely on the outside. I didn't have saltines on hand, so subbed between 1/2 to 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs. I kept nibbling on the leftovers in the skillet after dinner, which shows how tasty these are! I topped mine with cumin ketchup (mix about 1 teaspoon cumin per 2 Tablespoons ketchup), mustard, baby spinach, and dill pickle slices. Check out Jessy's recipe here to whip up your own!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Barbecue Baked Beans

Our long, sunny days are numbered as Fall approaches, so I've been thinking of summery foods that I've yet to make. Barbecue baked beans come to mind, although these are great any time of year. This recipe features my favorite barbecue sauce, Organic Tangy Barbecue Sauce by Whole Foods. The smoky tempeh bacon, onions, and spicy sauce are a delicious combination. Serve with a veggie burger and potato salad for a perfect summery meal.

Barbecue Baked Beans
Adapted from Whole Foods

5 strips smoky tempeh bacon
canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup tangy barbecue sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 Tablespoon mustard
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
2 cans navy beans, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Fry the tempeh bacon strips in canola oil until dark brown and crispy on the edges. Set aside on a clean kitchen towel to soak up excess oil.
Saute the onion in the same skillet for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the ketchup through Liquid Smoke to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
Mince the tempeh bacon while the sauce simmers.
Add beans and bacon to the sauce and combine. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for about 1 hour.

And for local readers, did you make it to Art Outside yet this weekend? The Schlafly beer, live music, and art is still going on today, 12-4. Make sure to visit Amie King's booth, a local jewelry artist and Creative Animal Rescue blogger. I love the earrings I purchased from her last night.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Whiskey Fudge

Vegan dessert can be a perplexing concept for non-vegans. This discussion came up just the other night with a group of friends. While I've shared vegan hot artichoke dip and raw corn and cashew chowder with them, I've been remiss about exposing them to vegan desserts.

This gave me the perfect excuse to make a batch of Celine's Whiskey Fudge. Purely to help out my non-vegan friends the next time they need a recipe, really.

The ingredients are easy to find at your standard grocery store and it's so simple even I could make it. My version has pecans. I imagine most any nut will do. And it's got chocolate and whiskey. What's not to love? So don't be bewildered, make whiskey fudge the next time you want dessert. And check out Celine's witty and beautifully photographed have cake, will travel! blog for plenty more where that came from.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Marinated Baby Portabellas with Spinach

I had the chance to spend part of my Labor Day holiday playing in the kitchen after some inspiration from NPR on making marinades. (Note: the NPR story focuses on marinades for various meat recipes.) According to the story, the basic flavors in a good marinade include salty, sour, sweet, savory, spicy, and oil. It provides a template for experimentation, with examples of each flavor, as well as recommended proportions to get you started. Well, I was too tempted by the prospect of playing mad scientist in the kitchen not to work on my own special sauce.

I tried two marinades, one for baby portabellas and one for baked tofu. The tofu needs a little more work. It was tasty, but not exciting, and I refuse to post a half-lame tofu recipe because people give poor tofu a hard enough time as it is.

The mushrooms were another story! Complex, a little sweet, and tangy. They had us wiping the plates for the last drops of sauce. We enjoyed them warm poured over fresh baby spinach. Next time, I'll tinker with the proportions to decrease the Bragg Liquid Aminos and the vinegar, but below you have the recipe as sampled.

Marinated Baby Portabellas with Spinach
yields 1 1/4 cups marinade

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

10 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, cut into quarters or sixths
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for skillet
baby spinach
red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk marinade ingredients and add mushrooms. Allow to marinate 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the mushrooms into the skillet and saute for about 10 minutes.

For each serving, plate baby spinach, warm mushrooms, and red onion slices. Add extra marinade to the salad as a dressing. Store leftover marinade in the refrigerator.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Creamy Avocado Dressing

This creamy, tart dressing made everything taste better yesterday. First, we snacked on it drizzled across juicy, yellow tomatoes. Later, it made a great dip for Spudmaster chips. But I got really excited about it when we topped some quick vegan nachos with it. This dressing took our nachos to a whole new level and they were the best nachos I've had. In fact, a little batch of this might accompany me the next time we eat at Hacienda Restaurant, that is, until they decide to offer a vegan avocado dressing.

Creamy Avocado Dressing
Adapted from Mexican Everyday

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lime
1 large clove garlic, cut into 2-3 pieces
1/2 jalapeno pepper, de-veined, seeded, and cut into 2-3 pieces
1/2 cup Vegenaise
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 avocado
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Check for seasoning. If you want a thinner consistency, add a little more water. Store in the refrigerator.


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