Thursday, October 30, 2008

VeganMoFo: Potatoes and Seitan with Couscous

This dish made me realize I should make couscous way more often. Super quick and easy! However, couscous is not the star here; I loved the potatoes. They are quickly boiled using a technique from The Grit cookbook, then sauteed with seitan, broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, and chili powder. Top it off with a spoon of salsa, and you are ready for supper.

Potatoes and Seitan with Couscous
1 pound potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 handful sliced mushrooms
1 8 ounce package seitan, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup whole wheat couscous
salsa, optional condiment

Place potatoes in a saucepan and add cold water until covered by an inch. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 6 minutes, or until tender when tested with a knife. Drain.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet. Saute potatoes, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, and seitan for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, cook couscous according to package directions.

Add garlic, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste to potato mixture. Saute about 1 minute more. Test vegetables to make sure they are done to your liking.

Serve potato mixture atop couscous. Top with salsa, optional.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VeganMoFo: Spicy Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup

This soup is stick-to-your-ribs satisfying. Butternut squash and peanut butter are the main ingredients, with an habanero pepper for heat and orange bell pepper just in case there aren't enough orange ingredients already. I used frozen butternut squash cubes, and a rather thick, local natural peanut butter. We thought it was just right, but you might cut the habanero by half if you prefer a milder version.

Spicy Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 10 ounce packages frozen butternut squash cubes, slightly defrosted
1 large onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 habanero pepper, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
4 cups vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute squash, onion, and bell pepper for about 5 minutes. Add habanero, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander and saute about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, broth, and tomato paste, increase heat, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add fresh cilantro. Add salt to taste.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

VeganMoFo:Tofu in Spicy Red Curry Coconut Sauce

My honey recently hinted around that there's been a dearth of Thai-inspired dishes on our table of late. I believe he shook the Sriracha bottle while looking both endearing and hopeful. In the aftermath of Halloween party preparation, we finally got around to having something for dinner beyond carry out or Boca chik'n patties. This dish said to us, welcome back to a home cooked meal! It's simple to put together, just needing some chopping and a little time for the rice to cook. The jasmine rice soaked up the crimson coconut sauce for a consistency similar to risotto. Yeah, baby. The baby 'bellas and red pepper strips lent some substance, and the cilantro added fragrance and a beautiful green accent. This dish sent me into repetitive mode. Do you ever get this way? Me: "This is soooo good." A little later, me again: "That was really good." And later still, "Man, that was good." Obviously, a keeper recipe.

Tofu in Spicy Red Curry Coconut Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 package extra firm tofu
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 cups sliced baby 'bella mushrooms
1 cup sliced scallions
1 heaping Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon vegan red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14 ounce can light coconut milk
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
1 cup jasmine rice, cooked according to package
Sriracha and salt, to taste

Press the tofu for about 20 minutes, then cut into small cubes.

Cook the jasmine rice according to package.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute mushrooms and bell pepper until they become tender, 8 minutes or so. Add scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add Bragg's, red curry paste, coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add cilantro. Serve over jasmine rice with Sriracha and salt to taste.

Monday, October 27, 2008

VeganMoFo: Kale

A simple note today on a simple dish- kale. The recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance calls for a quick saute in olive oil with garlic slices. This has become one of my favorite vegetables, and I'd never cooked it before becoming vegan. I love the dark color and texture it retains after cooking. If you have a little extra time, you can stir in some tahini dressing (also in Vegan with a Vengeance) but it is delicious without as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

VeganMoFo: More Vegan Food in St. Louis

These pretty carrot cake cupcakes are from Local Harvest Grocery on Morganford near Arsenal in St. Louis City. I had popped in to pick up some coffee, mainly, and Maddie mentioned that the cupcakes in the baked goods display were vegan! Well all righty then. These were moist and delicious, full of carrot flecks and an occasional dark chocolate chip. The frosting had the tangy taste that typical cream cheese frosting has. If you're vegan, let Maddie know the next time you shop there, and she'll keep you posted about the vegan options when you stop by. She can place special orders even for products they don't stock such as tempeh bacon. The store carries vegan products such as Desert Essence face wash as well. Truly, the store is an asset to the City.

But the St. Louis surprises don't end there. I recently noted that I knew of only two local restaurants that use the word "vegan" on their menus. I'll gladly eat my words now, with a side of marinated tofu please. Thanks to Ruby Red Vegan, I found OR Juice and Smoothie. This non-vegan establishment uses the word vegan 16 times on the menu. Not to mention that they have a sign beside the cash register that encourages, "If you are vegan, tell us before you order." How accommodating is that?

OR Juice and Smoothie is located in Richmond Heights in the mall with the Schnucks grocery store, right beside a Pub and Grill. The furnishings are pretty basic, so to me this is a place for carry out. In fact, they encourage calling your order in ahead, so you can pick it up quickly and conveniently. And the vegan options are plentiful! I can't recall seeing tempeh on a menu since The Sunshine Inn was in business! Okay, I'm rambling a little from excitement. Let me try to pull myself together. In the vegan wrap category, options are the tofu, portobello, or tempeh wrap. As for rolls, you may choose from vegan spring rolls, nori rolls, and sushi. There are three vegan salad options and three vegan sandwich options. Wait, there's more. There's a vegan rice bowl and vegan pizza. Vegan soups, count them, three.

I ordered the marinated tofu wrap and lentil and squash soup to go. Ruby Red Vegan had raved about the vegan burger. That sounded really good, but I'd had several recently, plus I had a little drive to get home and thought that a tofu wrap might keep better. So while I'm waiting for my order, what does a friendly customer advise me to try next time? The vegan burger. And she's not even vegan. So next time, this is a must.

My wrap was delicious. The tofu was crispy on the outside as if it had been fried as well as marinated, but what do I know. The wrap was stuffed with a reddish brown rice, tomato, lettuce, onion, hummus, and, I think, vinaigrette. I considered saving half for later, but quickly decided that was foolishness and finished it off. Excellent!

The pureed soup was a little sweet and savory too with minced fresh ginger. It had that pretty golden color that's so perfect for soup in October. This has been a great week for vegan discoveries in St. Louis. I'm taking tomorrow off to prep for our Halloween party, so I'll be back on Monday for more VeganMoFo!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

VeganMoFo: Refried Black Beans

I call these slacker refried beans, due to how quick and easy they are to make. But slack in the flavor department they do not. They are soo smoky, spicy, and good! I make them exactly according to the Vegetarian Times recipe. The chipotle chile powder is a must, and the broth lends depth and a creamy texture. Wrap these up in a whole wheat tortilla with rice and guacamole for a restaurant-quality burrito. Or eat them as is with any Mexican meal, since they taste so good they can stand alone.

You might wonder what the beans are sitting on. We've collected various cheesy costume prizes for our Halloween party, including skull-emblazoned whoopee cushions. Considering the "musical fruit" reputation of beans, I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

VeganMoFo: Soyrizo and Zucchini Tacos, Bayless Style

We would like to have dinner with the Obamas. I can see us now, chatting about what to name their future adopted shelter dog, social issues, and Rick Bayless's delicious food. Yep, NPR says they enjoy dining at one of Rick Bayless's restaurants in Chicago. While we haven't dined there, we do love the recipes in Mexican Everyday, and the NPR feature caused me to fix these quick and flavorful tacos from that cookbook. The book isn't vegan, but Bayless includes many vegetarian/veganizable variations, and even a new vegan cook like me finds the recipes easily adaptable. And the photos are gorgeous. This recipe is one of our favorites, involving soyrizo instead of chorizo, and mushrooms and zucchini in a chipotle-spiked crushed tomato sauce. Ever get stuck on a single recipe in a cookbook? Seems like I almost always make this one from Mexican Everyday. But I haven't regretted branching out, since the Creamy Avocado Dressing is amazing too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

VeganMoFo: Garlicky Penne with Baby Spinach (and Garlic)

Not a typo in the name of this dish, more like a heads up. This is some more garlicky penne. Just what I wanted for watching all my favorite vampire movies. 30 Days of Night, anyone? I love the line, "Mr. and Mrs. Sheriff. So sweet. So helpless against what is coming." Ultra creepy.

This pasta would make Van Helsing, Buffy, or any other vampire slayer proud. Garlic has got your back three different ways. With garlic simmered in vegetable broth, sauteed with crushed red pepper flakes, and minced raw with fresh rosemary, vampires don't stand a chance. Just make sure your sweetie eats a big bowl of this penne too, lest he or she feel somewhat overwhelmed by your garlicky aroma.

Garlicky Penne with Baby Spinach (and Garlic)
Adapted from Epicurious

1 1/2 medium heads of garlic, cloves peeled
2 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup roasted bell peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
10 ounces baby spinach
8-9 ounces whole wheat penne (depending on the vegetable to pasta ratio you prefer)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ( or less if you prefer it milder)
15 ounce can garbanzos, rinsed and drained
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
toasted pinenuts to garnish, optional

Put aside 6 cloves of garlic. Put remaining cloves and the vegetable broth in a covered pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain garlic in a sieve, saving the broth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the garlic broth for this recipe, and store the rest of the broth in the refrigerator for another use.

Blend cooked garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of reserved broth, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender.

Mince the rosemary with 2 cloves of the garlic. Combine with 1 teaspoon of salt. Put in a large bowl with the spinach.

Cook the whole wheat penne according to the package. Drain.

To make the sauce, mince the remaining 4 cloves garlic. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and saute garlic with the crushed red pepper flakes for a minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for about 3 more minutes. Add garbanzos and garlic puree from the blender. Bring to a simmer. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Add penne, sauce, and balsamic vinegar to large bowl with spinach and rosemary-garlic mixture. Stir to combine. The hot, slightly wet penne will wilt the baby spinach just a little, but leave it still somewhat fresh.

Friday, October 17, 2008

VeganMoFo: Mokabe's Vegan Burger

To find a restaurant menu in St. Louis that states the word "vegan" is rare. By rare, I mean two (that I know of). At this point, any LA, Portland, and Manhattan vegan readers are shaking their heads in pity and amazement, I know.

One such cutting-edge establishment is Mokabe's, in nearby South City on Grand and Arsenal. Mokabe's has a delicious vegan burger, frequently a vegan soup of the day, and various veganizable sandwiches. They also offer a Sunday brunch with vegan options. I'm an eat-weekend-breakfast-at-home kind of woman, so most often I find myself at Mokabe's for lunch. It's close to work for MD and me, so we meet there every week or two.

This week we ordered the vegan burger with oven baked "fries." The burger is surprisingly delicious considering its simplicity. There aren't a lot of fancy toppings, just red onion slices, dill chips, and the usual condiments on the side. But the burger itself is crispy and smoky, with none of the mushiness that you sometimes find in a veggie burger. It also won the Best Burger (Non-Beef Division) in the Riverfront Times 2008 Best Of Edition. And the fries are the best baked ones I've had. I truly don't miss the deep frying, which is high praise since french fries are my favorite food.

The other progressive restaurant that dares to use the "v" word on the menu is Shangri-La Diner. Both restaurants have a funky, laid back atmosphere. Whenever we join friends at Shangri-La, we all leave happier than we came, and not just because our bellies are full of good food. The place has good vibes, "upbeat" as the site says, largely due to Patrice, the enthusiastic and gregarious owner. I recently had her new Fall special, the seitan gyro, and loved it. I hope to go back during lunch so I can get a picture to post and will talk a little more about the awesome Shangri-La.

Otherwise, I hear from Alanna of A Veggie Venture that we'll have a new vegan cafe, Vegadeli, in St. Louis very soon! The website looks great. Location, not so great for me, but I'll be there to support another St. Louis business that is spunky, bold, and smart enough to offer vegan food.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

VeganMoFo: Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Cooler temperatures are on the way for St. Louis, so it's the time of year when I like to make a batch of soup or chili every week. I came home from the Humane Society happy and tired last Sunday after a morning of walking the dogs, and this soup really hit the spot. The recipe has a delicious tomato broth base, very hydrating and flavorful. The lentils and chickpeas add substance, with an unexpected twist from the cinnamon and ginger. The yellow bell pepper chunks provide little bursts of color. This soup was so tasty, but next time I'll increase the spices for even more flavor.

We are halfway through the Vegan Month of Food! If you are coming a little late to the party and wonder what in the world VeganMoFo is, bloggers are writing about vegan food every weekday for the month of October. Here's my intro post for VeganMoFo which links to the PPK's listing of participants. Check them out for plenty of great vegan food inspiration.

Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Adapted from Food and Wine

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup lentils
6 1/2 cups water
15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large pot, saute onions, bell pepper, and celery in olive oil over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent them from browning too much. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and lentils. Stir to mix. Add water and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Add chickpeas and cook for about 5 minutes. Add cilantro and serve.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

VeganMoFo: An Interlude for a Meme

A little break from cooking for a meme! Lindsay of Cooking for a Vegan Lover tagged me for the "What's in your vegan freezer?" meme. This involves posting a photo of your freezer contents, listing them, and tagging more vegan bloggers.

Before revealing the inside of my freezer, I want to share the newspaper clipping I keep on the outside.

Yes, it says "Advice for a Happy Marriage: Listen to your wife, do as she says." I didn't make this up. It's hard science.

Now for the inside.

We have: seitan, tempeh, tempeh bacon, soyrizo, vegan ravioli, vegan meatballs, Boca vegan burgers and crumbles, pie crust, puff pastry, butternut squash, chili mole, bread crumbs, dog treats, corn, peas, and habaneros. You caught me right after I stocked up on meatballs for our upcoming Halloween party! Those were SO popular last year that I've increased the amount for this year.

So that's the story of my freezer. If you would like to play along as well, consider yourself tagged. And the photo at the top is from my visit to the very cool Niki exhibit this summer at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I had to put something pretty at the top, certainly not my freezer!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

VeganMoFo: Rosemary Nuts

The bar at King Louie's used to be one of our favorite haunts for cocktails. So cozy with exposed brick walls, amber lighting, and an ornate wooden bar. The bartender was a friendly guy who reminded us a little of Elvis Costello. The cocktails were gigantic, but, most importantly, dry and not diluted with floating ice crystals. The bar also served salty, sweet nuts seasoned with fresh rosemary, which led me to try this recipe when I spotted it in The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook.

I recently re-visited the recipe as a vegan, and substituting Earth Balance Buttery Sticks rather than butter worked just fine. The fragrant rosemary is combined with brown sugar, salt, and melted "buttery" Earth Balance, then stirred with four types of toasted nuts. The pecans and pinenuts are a must! These nuts add a little something special to happy hour, and make a wonderful gift at the holidays or for any occasion.

By the way, repairs are in process for our ceiling. Thanks everyone for the good thoughts!

Monday, October 13, 2008

VeganMoFo: Penne with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Save this pasta for one of those days. You know the kind. The kind when salad just won't do. Maybe you had a flat tire or got slammed with a project due "ASAP" at work. Maybe, like us, you had a 3-foot chunk of plaster crash down from your ceiling, leaving a gaping hole exposing house guts and plaster dust coating everything! This kind of day calls for a meal in a bowl, that can be eaten on the couch in front of The Daily Show if you so choose.

This chunky sauce pairs well with a sturdy pasta, such as whole wheat penne. It's full of vegetables including zucchini, poblano pepper, and carrots, with the addition of tender cannellini beans. It's filling and all the vegetables fortify you to deal with life's hassles. And many things seem more manageable after a big bowl of pasta.

Penne with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Sunset

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, no salt added
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 poblano, chopped (veins, seeds, and stem discarded)
10 baby carrots, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
15 ounces cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
8 ounces whole wheat penne
hot salt, nutritional yeast to season, optional

In a medium pot or skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and oregano and simmer for about 15 minutes.

In a skillet (that has a lid), heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, poblano, carrots, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes. Stir once during this time. Add tomato sauce and cannellini beans and simmer about 10 minutes. Add water to thin sauce, as needed, but the sauce will be quite thick.

While sauce cooks, prepare whole wheat penne according to package directions. Drain.

Add fresh basil to sauce. Combine penne with preferred amount of sauce, and refrigerate remaining sauce. Check for seasonings. Add hot salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast as seasoning, optional.

Friday, October 10, 2008

VeganMoFo: Eyeball Martini

This creepy martini stares back at you with edible eyeballs! A great garnish for Halloween drinks, or pile the eyeballs on a plate for snacking. I can't take credit for the idea, which is all over the internet.

You'll need radishes and small green olives. To prepare an eyeball, slice one end off a radish. Retain the root for an "optic nerve" effect. Peel the red skin to give the appearance of bloodshot veins. Hollow out a little bit of the center, and stuff a small olive in. You might need to trim the end off the olive to help it fit.

Make your 'tini (I like the Quite Dry Martini), and garnish with eyeballs. Here's looking at you!

By the way, for plenty more vegan spookiness, check out River's blog, Wing-It Vegan. She has so many creative recipes with great photos for "Halloweegan." Not to mention that she's another St. Louis area vegan blogger. Watch out St. Louis, we're growing in number!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

VeganMoFo: Guacamole

A graduate school classmate from Mexico taught me to make this guacamole some years ago, and I've made it her way ever since. Guacamole might seem mundane. You can buy it in plastic tubs at most any grocery store. But when party guests time and again exclaim, "My God, this is the best guacamole I've ever eaten!" who can resist making it for them every time?

Now, I'm not one for a lot of kitchen gadgets or limited-use kitchen tools. However, I do like to use certain tools to make guac.

I use a knife, handheld masher, lime juicer, and spoon. Yes, it is possible to juice limes without this green gadget, but after trying it I couldn't go back. You can't beat this tool for squeezing more juice than you'd imagine from a lime quickly and efficiently. We discovered it when making a humongous batch of margaritas for our Supper Club, involving the juice from about 50 limes. (We take our drinks seriously in Supper Club.)

Anyway, I also use a handheld masher for a roughly smashed guacamole texture. The ingredient proportions below aren't precise, but I always use the following components. Give it a try for your next party if you aren't shy about getting compliments!

Oh, one last tip. If you need to make the guacamole in advance, you can retain its bright color by covering the top with plastic wrap that is pressed directly onto the surface of the dip. I hear that avocado-pit-pressed-in-the-middle trick doesn't really do much to retain color.

1 tiny onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 jalapeno, minced (veins and seeds discarded)
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
a dash of garlic powder
hot sauce, about 4 shakes
salt to taste
3 large avocados

Put onion through salt in a medium bowl. Slice each avocado through the middle, rotating around the pit until your knife circles the avocado completely. Check Simply Recipes if I'm not making sense. Once you have the avocado halved, pop out the pit with your knife and scoop the avocado out of the peel with a spoon into the bowl. Mash all ingredients with the handheld masher until the texture meets your satisfaction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

VeganMoFo: Tacos

These tacos feature the taco "meat" from The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook. I've tried a couple of recipes so far from it, this one and the tofu feta. Plenty of other recipes look fun such as Totally Stacked Enchiladas and, of course, the Mad Cowboy (over the top stuffed baked potatoes with vegetables, BBQ sauce, and Ranch dressing!). We enjoyed the taco filling, but I thought it was a little salty and will probably reduce the soy sauce next time. The recipe is very quick to make, and tastes great along with your favorite taco fixin's. We stuffed blue corn taco shells with the "meat", guacamole, onion, tomato, salsa, and shredded baby spinach. Up tomorrow, my favorite guacamole recipe!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

VeganMoFo: Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Green Zebra Tomato Stew with Polenta

This colorful stew features the green zebra tomatoes I mentioned yesterday that just wouldn't ripen. Cute little suckers, but contrary too. So in they went with black beans, poblanos, sweet potatoes, and red bell pepper for a stew served over polenta slices. The orange juice and vegetable broth create a flavorful sauce. Then we seasoned it with Happy Dogs hot sauce, and wow, did the flavors pop! The Happy Dogs added a zip of vinegar and heat, and accentuated the sweet flavor of the broth.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Green Zebra Tomato Stew with Polenta

Adapted from Epicurious

2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to pan fry polenta slices
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups orange juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 poblanos, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped green zebra tomatoes (seeds and veins discarded)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tube prepared polenta, sliced into 1/2-inch wide circles
hot sauce to season

Saute onion in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until soft, around 8 minutes. Add ginger, cumin, chili powder and saute about 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, orange juice, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes. Add beans, poblanos, bell pepper, tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for about 10 more minutes, or until the broth thickens and vegetables are tender. Add cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm while you prepare the polenta.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute polenta slices for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve the stew atop polenta slices, seasoned with hot sauce.

Monday, October 6, 2008

VeganMoFo: Green Zebra Tomatoes

Being vegan means discovering new ingredients for many of us. And sometimes these ingredients are as pretty on your counter as they are delicious in a new recipe.

Take these green zebra tomatoes, for example. I spotted them at Local Harvest Grocery and couldn't resist purchasing a few based on appearance alone. They are about the size of an apricot, and have a pale green skin with lime green stripes. Apparently when ripe, the pale part turns yellow. They taste tarter than standard tomatoes, and these were very firm to the touch as well.

I let them sit around a few days to ripen, but finally became impatient and decided to cook them up in a dish rather than waiting to eat them raw after they ripened. It was fun to try a new food with such visual interest. I'll share the recipe tomorrow. For those of you who've already tried these, I'm interested to hear how you prepared them!

Friday, October 3, 2008

VeganMoFo: Chili sin Carne al Mole

Democrats. Republicans. Almost everybody likes chili. And yes, I've resorted to wind-up toys in an attempt to maintain my sense of humor this political season. We stage races for the donkey and elephant, and the donkey kicks butt every time.

This chili from Vegan with a Vengeance combines seitan, pintos, and red bell pepper, smothered in a complex mole sauce. It is totally amazing. I'm in a chili rut because I can't bring myself to make any other version.

I can't resist a close up of the toys. See you Monday for more VeganMoFo!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kalamata Olive Tofu Spread

This recipe started with a loaf of bread. I had a locally baked loaf of rosemary olive bread, and wanted a tofu spread as a base for making fresh vegetable sandwiches. After making the spread, I liked it so much that I thought it would be delicious as part of an appetizer platter as well. You see it here stuffed in cherry tomatoes and waiting to be scooped up with bread slices. The kalamata olive flavor is pronounced but not overpowering, and there's a hint of garlic, of course.

Kalamata Olive Tofu Spread

1 12.3 ounce package organic firm silken tofu
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon tahini
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

Combine all in a food processor. Serve as a sandwich spread or dip.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo Day 1: Tofu Scramble, Gateway to Veganism

October is the Vegan Month of Food, y'all! VeganMoFo bloggers will write, eat, sleep, and breathe vegan food for the month. Check out the Post Punk Kitchen for details so you can follow all the fun.

First up at Show Me Vegan is tofu scramble. This dish holds a special place in my heart. If St. Louis is the Gateway to the West, for me, tofu scramble was the Gateway to Veganism.

When I was considering veganism, I wanted a replacement for our Saturday morning breakfast burrito. The burrito had become a ritual that said to us, "woo-hoo, the weekend's here!" Tofu scramble fit the bill, chock full of vegetables, spices, and perfect for stuffing a burrito.

Pretty much any Saturday, you can find us enjoying the Vegan with a Vengeance tofu scramble recipe. I've mentioned that we like to add baby spinach and soyrizo. It's delicious sprinkled with jalapenos, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, and dressed with salsa or avocado.

I'd love to hear if you also have a recipe that was your "gateway to veganism". Maybe a dish that replaced a non-vegan one that you were attached to for some reason.

Last year's VeganMoFo gave me plenty of tips and motivation for becoming vegan. Time to see what inspiration other VeganMoFo'ers are bringing to the party!


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