Wednesday, April 4, 2012

CURRY CAULIFLOWER SOUP

It is an overcast day here, and I have some cauliflower in the refrigerator. I need something easy, filling, and interesting. So, out comes the Crockpot and the curry! I have some fresh bread rising as I type this. I am always surprised that my kids like curry, but I guess it makes sense. Curry leaves a sweet spice on your tongue well after it has been consumed.

Ingredients:
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups refrigerated coconut milk
2 cups water
1 med. head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 med. sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 package of extra firm silken tofu (Mori Nu)
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:
Place everything except the tofu and cilantro in the Crockpot, stir, and cook on low for 8 hours. Puree in batches with the tofu, and serve with cilantro on top. Don’t forget about the freshly baked bread!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

SWEET POTATO CURRY


At the end of the week, I am at my most creative. Mostly from necessity. That’s when the cupboards are bare and I have just have my staples and a mish mash of stragglers hanging about in my refrigerator. That’s when curries abound in my house. I love a good curry, and so do the kids - it is a little sweet, and not at all spicy. Sweet potatoes seem to beg for it as well. Pair it with some lentils and kale, and you have yourself a balanced meal with a complete protein and a lot of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention that it just plain tastes yummy!

Ingredients:
14 oz. can light coconut milk
½ cup dried lentils
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. curry powder

Directions:
Combine coconut milk and lentils in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add sweet potato and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add kale and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle curry and salt over top of kale mixture and continue cooking over low heat until the lentils are ready. When the lentils are ready, pour the lentil and coconut mixture into the frying pan with the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Remove from heat and serve.

ENCHILADA-DEE-DAS

I had some eggplant, tofu and wrinkly cherry tomatoes in the kitchen. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, make enchiladas, of course! Even without the cheese, these were absolutely addictive. My kids gobbled theirs down and my husband finished off the batch! So, I guess it was a winner.

Ingredients:
1 box silken tofu (Mori Nu)
1 bunch cilantro
1 ripe avocado
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
1 tsp. lime juice
½ tsp. salt
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 bag of Quorn chick’n strips
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup frozen corn
8 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
12 whole wheat tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place the eggplant strips on the sheet. Spray the tops with the non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until starting to brown a little on the edges. Chop into small cubes. Spray a 8”x11” casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a blender, add tofu, cilantro, avocado, garlic, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and chick’n strips. Cook until chick’n strips start to brown and the onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add cumin and paprika, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add eggplant and spinach and cook until the spinach just starts to wilt, about 2 more minutes. Add green chilies, tomatoes and corn and stir until just combined. Remove from heat. Spoon mixture into tortillas, roll and line up in casserole dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the tops and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with the tofu cilantro mixture.

BREAKFAST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I refer to these as breakfast cookies because my children occasionally ask for cookies for breakfast. I guess this isn’t so unusual. But, I usually acquiesce – and I don’t feel bad about (which is probably the unusual part). The reason? Well, these are packed with fruits and veggies, so I don’t feel so badly about throwing some chocolate chips their way too. Here is my best attempt to put together a healthy version of a beloved favorite.

Ingredients:
2 Tbs. flaxseed meal
4 Tbs. water
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 apple cored
1 carrot
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 small beet, peeled and cubed
2 tsp. maple extract
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 cup Earth Balance (butter substitute)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Place flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes. In a blender, combine the flaxseed meal mixture, spinach, apple, carrot, sweet potato, beet, maple extract and maple syrup and puree until smooth. In a mixer, cream butter and sugars until creamy. Pour in fruit and vegetable mixture from the blender and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add to mixer and blend thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop heaping tablespoons full of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until done (lightly touch the tops and if they aren't completely soft, they are done - don't let them get too brown). Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks until cool enough to eat. They don’t look exactly like the chocolate chip cookies to which you have likely become accustomed; however, they look a lot better than a bowl of veggies for breakfast!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

GREEN GARLICKY STICKS

In keeping with our belated St. Patrick’s Day meal theme, I decided that nothing goes better with fresh green pasta (topped with fresh green spinach pesto) than fresh green garlic bread. These are lovely and tasty.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups very hot water
1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
2 ½ tsp. active yeast
Garlic salt for dusting
 
Directions:
Pour hot water and spinach in a blender and puree. Pour spinach mixture and olive oil into a bread machine. Top with the flour. In one corner, pour in the sugar. In the opposite corner, pour in the salt. Dig a small well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast. Set the machine on “dough” setting. Start. (Mine takes 1 hour 50 minutes). When the timer goes off, let sit in the bread machine for 15 minutes. Take out and divide dough into 12 sections. On a lightly floured surface, gently form each ball into long sticks. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS KEY – spray the loaves with water every 3 minutes until done. After the first spray, lightly sprinkle the sticks with garlic salt. KEEP SPRAYING EVERY 3 MINUTES. Remove from oven. Spray one last time. Serve warm (though they are great cool as well).

INCREDIBLE (as in Hulk) DOUGHNUTS

We decided to make some cream-filled green doughnuts for dessert at our St. Patrick’s Day dinner celebration. The spinach only adds color and vitamins; it doesn’t change the doughnutty flavor.

Ingredients:
Doughnuts:
2 Tbs. flaxseed meal
4 Tbs. water
1 cup refrigerated coconut milk (heated 1 minute in microwave)
¼ cup hot water
2 Tbs. Earth Balance (butter substitute), melted
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
5 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbs. vital wheat gluten
3 tsp. instant active dry yeast
 
Filling:
½ cup water
1 Tbs. + 2 tsp. agar agar flakes
14 oz. canned coconut milk (not light)
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla powder
½ tsp. lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 banana
 
Directions:
Make the filling first (it takes a few hours to set in the fridge – I like to make it the night before). Soak agar agar in the water for 15 minutes. Put remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until incorporated. Pour agar agar into small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, stir constantly for 3 minutes. Immediately add mixture to the blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a Tupperware container and chill in the refrigerator until set. When ready to use, whisk it briefly. To make the doughnuts, combine flaxseed meal with 4 Tbs. water and let sit for 10 minutes. Puree spinach with ¼ cup hot water, warm milk and flaxseed meal mixture. Place all of the liquids in the bread pan of bread machine (except the filling), top with flour. In one corner, pour in the sugar; in the other corner, pour in the salt. Sprinkle on the nutmeg and gluten. Dig a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast. Set on the “dough” setting (mine takes 1 hour 50 minutes). When done, roll the dough out approximately 1/3” thick on a lightly-floured surface. Using a floured drinking glass cut out the doughnuts and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the doughnuts and let rise for an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the bottoms of the doughnuts are just golden. Remove from oven and let the doughnuts cool for 5 or more minutes before piping the filling into the doughnuts through the sides. When the doughnuts are cool, dust the tops with powdered sugar and serve.

SPINACH PESTO

What better to go with our green pasta than green pesto? This is a super easy, super yummy, super green recipe. You can store the portions you don’t use in the refrigerator (just add a little extra olive oil to the top to keep the top from discoloring), and topped freshly cooked pasta whenever you are in the mood for a quick, healthy, delicious dinner.

Ingredients:
4 cups lightly packed spinach leaves (4 oz.)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
Pinch of black pepper
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2/3 cup olive oil
 
Directions:
If you haven’t toasted the pine nuts, place them on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 6 minutes. Place spinach, lemon juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the pine nuts and pulse a few more times. With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Spoon desired amount over freshly cooked pasta or on crostinis.

Friday, March 23, 2012

LUNCHBOX SWEET POTATO CAKES


Do you ever want a peanut butter sandwich, but without the mess? Do you like pancakes, but want to eat them with your hands? Want to get some fiber without all the hassle? This recipe takes a whole new twist on sweet potatoes, pancakes, and peanut butter sandwiches. This is a super easy recipe (I bet you never considered just pureeing uncooked sweet potato), and each serving has over 10 grams of protein. Make a batch of these, throw them in the freezer and take them out for future lunchbox snacks. If you want to reheat them, just throw them in the toaster. Voila!

Ingredients:
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 apple, cored
¼ cup peanut butter
2 cups milk or almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. canola oil
¼ cup honey
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
In a blender, mix sweet potato, apple, peanut butter, coconut milk, vanilla, and canola oil. Puree until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour ½ cup portions onto a greased pan, smooth out, and cook on medium heat until golden brown on both sides (you know it's time to flip when you start to see little bubbles form on the tops). Serve warm.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

BUTTER (that's right, butter for us vegans)

I really like the Earth Balance butter substitute. It tastes great, it fries great, it bakes great. No complaints about the product itself, other than I simply cannot get enough of it! I want more! But, sadly, I cannot afford more. Will I let a little issue of cost get me down? Nay! I will just make it myself and save gads of money! I found this recipe on the fantastic interwebs, made a few tiny tweaks and thought I should pass it along. It is unbelievably simple and, I swear, it TASTES LIKE BUTTER! If this can be done, think about the possibilities! Cheese, anyone?!

Ingredients:
¼ cup + 2 tsp. soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
 ¼ + 1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup + 2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. refined coconut oil (put in microwave for 30 seconds and only 30 seconds)
1 Tbs. canola oil
2 ¼ tsp. soy lecithin granules
 ¼ tsp. xanthan gum

Directions:
Whisk together the milk, vinegar and salt in a small cup, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Place all ingredients in a blender, and mix on high for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify for about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. Makes 1 cup.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HOMEMADE PASTA NOODLES

We are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a bit late with our friends. We are going to have an entirely green dinner, including green spaghetti with green sauce. I got this nifty pasta maker from the thrift store today (still in the box and never been used), and thought that I would put it to the test. When I looked up recipes online, they all called for eggs and specialty flours. Given that I have neither in my house, I thought I would figure this out on my own. My children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mixing ingredients. If I don’t give them something to mix, they will find stuff to mix on their own (which always involves an enormous mess on my kitchen floor). This was a good task for them. Simple ingredients, simple process, and they got to crank the heck out of the machine. We added some natural green food coloring to make it festive (though I know it looks very unappetizing in the picture below, it appeals to most young boys – my daughter requested pink noodles for next time).

Ingredients:
1 Tbs. flaxseed meal
4 Tbs. water
4 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. salt
1 cup flour

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine flaxseed meal and 2 Tbs. water and let sit for 10 minutes. In a standing mixer combine flour and salt. Add flaxseed meal mixture and mix. Gradually add remaining 2 Tbs. water and oil. When well mixed, knead by hand for about 5 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes. With a pasta machine, follow the instructions, and roll dough out to desired thinness, and then use the pasta machine to cut into strips of desired width. Boil as you would regular noodles.


Monday, March 19, 2012

GREEN JUICE

If you ask my daughter what she wants to drink, nine times out of ten it is “Green Juice.” Not chocolate milk, not orange juice. No, it’s Green Juice. This is a complete meal in a glass, and I feel good about giving it to her.

Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
1 block silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
2 bananas
1 apple, cored (no need to peel)
¼ cup protein powder
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup orange juice
1 avocado (if you have it on hand, if not, it won’t taste much different)

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

“FISH” STICKS

There are a few steps in this recipe, but it makes a big batch (3 dozen sticks) – enough to freeze for a few dinners. I really wanted to make fish sticks for the kids because they love them. They have had the real thing and aren’t going to be fooled by tofu sticks. It has to have the flavor and texture of fish. I think this is about as close to the real thing as a vegan can get. If you don’t have dulce or can’t find it, just use some nori sheets (used for rolling up sushi) and grind them up – this is what gives the sticks their briny/fishy flavor. These are an absolute delight to look at and to eat – perfect for small hands and picky moms.

Ingredients:
“Fish Meat”:
1 cup white beans
2 cups water
¼ cup sesame oil
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. dulse, ground (ground seaweed)
2 tsp. dried onion, minced
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Old Bay
1 cup finely shredded potato
2 ¾ cup vital wheat gluten

Topping:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups Italian seasoned Panko crumbs
2 cups refrigerated coconut milk (unflavored)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Tear aluminum foil sheets (6” x 6” squares). Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Get steamer ready and have water boiling. Put everything in a blender, except the wheat gluten and the potato, and puree until smooth. Pour into wheat gluten, add potatoes, and stir until well incorporated. Using about 2 Tbs. of the mixture, make small “sticks”, about 2 ½” x ½”, and wrap in aluminum foil like a tootsie roll. Steam them in batches for 30 minutes. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the nutritional yeast with the bread crumbs. Remove foil from the sticks. Coat the sticks in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess flour. Dip the floured sticks in the milk and then into the bread crumb mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the sticks. Place the breaded sticks on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray the sticks with non-stick cooking spray (I use olive oil spray). Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. For vegan tartar sauce, I usually just mix some vegenaise, dill pickle relish and a splash of lemon juice. Enjoy!

Yield: 36 sticks

Saturday, March 17, 2012

CORNED “BEEF” AND CABBAGE

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. The day of corned beef and cabbage. Why should we be deprived just because of a little vegetarianism? This boozey dish lets you eat, drink and be merry – all in one plate.

Ingredients:
2 bags of “beef tips” by Gardein
1 onion, coarsely chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbs. molasses
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. pepper
¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 medium head of cabbage , cut into wedges
1 apple, sliced
1 bottle of Guinness beer (mmmm…)

Directions:
In a small dish, combine the vinegar, sugar, molasses, mustard, pepper and caraway seeds. Dump the beef tips in a Crockpot. Add the onions. Pour the vinegar mixture over the top of the beef tips. Add the cabbage and apples. Pour the Guinness over everything. Cook on low for 5-7 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes.

CHERRY CREAM CREPES

I always thought that crepes were difficult to make, so I haven’t made them in years. But, they are surprisingly easy. This recipe requires refrigeration overnight, so you will have to plan a bit, but it’s worth it. These are sinfully delicious treats. If you are feeling fancy, try these little numbers for breakfast or dessert. Don’t let the three separate components scare you; this is really a simple dish to make and assemble.

Ingredients:
½ cup + 2 Tbs. soy milk
½ cup water
¼ cup melted Earth’s Balance (butter substitute) + more for cooking the crepes
¼ cup + 1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 package of silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
1 can coconut milk
1 banana
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
16 oz. frozen cherries (Bing are the best)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
 
Directions:
Combine ½ cup soy milk, water, Earth’s Balance, 1 Tbs. sugar, maple syrup, flour and salt. Mix well and refrigerate overnight. The next day, add 2 Tbs. soy milk and mix well. Heat a tiny bit of Earth Balance in a frying pan. Pour 3 Tbs. of the batter into the pan and swirl around until it makes as big of a circle as you can get. Let cook over medium high heat until the edges just start to brown and then flip. Cook for a minute or so longer. Repeat until you have used up the batch. While the crepes are cooking, place the cherries, remaining sugar and cornstarch into a small sauce pan and cook over medium low heat until bubbly. Lower heat to simmer. In a blender, combine the tofu, coconut milk, banana and confectioner’s sugar. Mix well. To assemble, spoon 2 Tbs. of the tofu mixture onto the crepe, add the cherry mixture, and roll up. I drizzled the tops with the remaining tofu mixture and chocolate syrup.

Monday, March 12, 2012

MARCH MADNESS (well, for a vegan anyway)

As you can tell by my recent posts, I am on a quest to make the best vegan sandwiches (or, sammies as they are called in this house) – and I mean thee best (thee as in biblical terms and the way I like to refer to “the” when I am being especially emphatic). This means you will see recipes for the lunchmeat, marinades and sauces, hoagie rolls and even mayo. I am feeling like the vegan Martha Stewart as of late. The very first episode of her show that I saw was on making the best BLT – she bought the bread from a fancy pants bakery and had it delivered from somewhere that required an airplane (probably France or Italy – I cannot recall). She went to the farm and selected the pig from whose buttocks the bacon would be removed. She plucked the lettuce and tomato from her own garden. And, she made the mayo herself. The mayo part really stuck with me. The fact that you could make all of your own ingredients, including the condiments, really resonated with me, and made me want to constantly explore ways to be more self-sufficient and cost-effective in the kitchen. My goal here is to make stuff that my family will eat, that are healthier versions of what you could otherwise buy in the store without the unnecessary preservatives and other undesirables (and hopefully, better versions of those things), and save money in the process. My efforts this last month bring me back to that first Martha episode I saw. Even if you don’t elect to make your own bread, meat and condiments, at least you now know that being vegan doesn’t mean that you can’t do those things.

VEGAN MAYONNAISE

Why can’t mayo be vegan? Why does the vegan stuff have to be so darned expensive? I don’t know about where you are, but here in my town, the vegan mayo is $9 a bottle! That’s right! And, that’s too darned much for this mayo lover who liberally slathers the stuff on everything and makes aiolis like nobody’s business. So, I decided I needed to do it myself. Now, I intend to save a bazillion dollars, buy half a bazillion lotto tickets, win the lottery and be set. Who would have thought that it would all start with making my own mayo?!

Ingredients:
½ cup plain soy milk
1 ¼ cup grape seed oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. dry mustard powder
½ tsp. salt

Directions:
Put the milk in a blender and run on high. While running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Once it starts to thicken, turn off the blender. My blender starts heating the contents if I run it for too long (if the mixture starts to get warm, it will break down the oil and it won’t thicken). If you want to make more, you should do it in batches, as it doesn’t work as well when you do it all at once. Pour or scoop the contents from the blender into a bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients. It will thicken up more as you whisk it. Refrigerate. Aioli, here I come!

MAC N’CHEESE (ANOTHER ONE)

I have been on an odd mission as of late – meat (substitutes, of course), bread, cheese…. Hmmm… Well, here’s another number to add to the list. My children (and all children, I presume) love macaroni and cheese. I like things that are easy to prepare, but I don’t like using the box stuff. Oh, the conundrum. Well, all is resolved, and we are happily on our journey once again.

Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk (don’t worry, you won’t taste it)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
4 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp. turmeric
Pinch white pepper
Box of elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

Directions:
Put all ingredients (except for the pasta, of course) in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour over cooked macaroni noodles. Serve. I topped ours with sautéed kale. The kids ate it right up and asked for seconds. Did you hear that? I said it – they asked for seconds. That’s right.

FONDUE FOR THE FANCY PANTS, OR CHEESE SAUCE FOR THE JEANS-WEARER

We went to a lunch truck convention, of sorts, yesterday. One of the trucks was serving French fries with a fondue dripping from each fat fry. Taunting. Mocking. You know, the usual cheese stuff. As my large muscle-bound husband was practically reduced to tears, I decided that I wasn’t going to take this crap lying down. No siree, Bob! I am going to make my own darned vegan fondue. And, it’s going to be awesome. So take that, you lunch truck cheese. You ain’t got nothing on a vegan with something to prove!

Ingredients:
12 oz. extra firm tofu (that’s all I had on hand when I undertook this revengish matter; silken would be preferable)
2 small potatoes (about 1 cup), cooked until soft (I took two 2” potatoes, washed them, poked them with a fork a few times and put in the microwave for 2 minutes each)
½ cup white wine (I used the cheap cooking wine crap)
4 Tbs. nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. Earth Balance (butter substitute), melted
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. refrigerated coconut milk (unflavored/unsweetened)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. lemon juice
Pinch white pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you use the potatoes as soon as they come out of the microwave, the sauce will be warm. Otherwise, just heat it in a small sauce pan on the stove over low heat until warm and starting to bubble. Add coconut milk to thin it out as needed.

TROPICAL SYLLABUB

I wanted to make this after saying “Syllabub” to myself a few times. It just sounds so cute that it deserves to be made. Syllabub is an English dessert made with lots of cream. Lots and lots of cream. So, who says a vegan can’t have it too? Here is a healthier and refreshing take on some English numminess. I’m sure our neighbors across the pond didn’t have coconut milk, seaweed and thyme in mind when they came up with this little number. But, it’s super easy and super good; I think they would be pleased. Syllabub, anyone? Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub, Syllabub… Isn’t that fun?!

Ingredients:
½ cup water
1 Tbs. + 2 tsp. agar agar flakes
14 oz. canned light coconut milk
2 Tbs. lemon juice
4 Tbs. honey
3 mangos, peeled and pitted
1 Tbs. lemon thyme, use only the leaves (no stems)
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
 
Directions:
Soak agar agar for 15 minutes. Put coconut milk, lemon juice and honey into a blender and blend until incorporated. Pour agar agar into small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, stir constantly for 3 minutes. Immediately add mixture to the blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a Tupperware container and chill in the refrigerator until set (a few hours). Before serving, put back into blender and mix. Put 2 of the mangos into a blender and puree until smooth. Finely chop the remaining mango, pour ¾ of the chopped mango in a bowl and mix with the pureed mango and lemon thyme. Spoon mango mixture into 4 decorative glasses. Dollup cream on the tops. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ chopped mango on the tops, and sprinkle lemon zest on the tops. Serve.

BBQ LUNCHMEAT

I never loved meat so much when I was a carnivore. However, now I am on a meat mission (substitute meat, that is). This recipe is not my recipe – I found one on the magical interwebs and made some modifications. Paired with the BBQ sauce, you will think you have died and gone to a Sourthern BBQ shack. Enjoy, my substitute meat lovers!

Ingredients:
1 cup white beans
2 cups water
¼ cup canola oil
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. ground fennel
1 tsp. sage
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminoes
2 ¾ cup vital wheat gluten
BBQ sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:
Place everything except the wheat gluten and BBQ sauce in the blender and blend until smooth. Add wet ingredients to wheat gluten and mix thoroughly. Divide mixture in half and roll each ball up into a tube that is about 2 ½” in diameter. Place in water bath and cook for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, slice thinly and pour BBQ sauce over it. I usually throw it into baggies and put it into the freezer for a quick meal. But, if you can’t wait until then, go ahead and chow down!

BBQ SAUCE

Now that I have been on my meat rampage, it only makes sense to throw some BBQ sauce into the mix. For a perfect sammie (see prior posts for a friendly reminder of my affinity for the sammie), marinade the prepared lunchmeat in this BBQ sauce, and serve on freshly made hoagie rolls, and topped with some fresh slaw. Oh dear. I think I know what I’m asking for on my birthday!

Ingredients:
¾ cup ketchup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. yellow mustard
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Few dashes of hot sauce

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Makes you wonder why you never made your own BBQ sauce, doesn’t it?!

BEST HOAGIE ROLLS – EVER!

If you read my previous entry, you will know that I like me some sammies. Let me reiterate: I LOVE me some sammies, but nothing compared to my husband’s affinity for the entree! However, if they aren’t served on the perfect hoagie roll, you might as well forget it. My husband loves these rolls made only in Philadelphia. Slightly crusty on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. We can’t get them here, though. So, we have been gettin’ by… But, I am here to tell you that I am not going to just merely “get by” any more! I am going to have those slightly-crusty-on-the-outside-but-soft-and-chewy-on-the-inside rolls, darned it! Sorry to have gotten in such an uproar, but if you like your sammies like I do, then you know my urgency. Well, it was worth the effort because these lovely pillows of dough are simply sublime. Sammie lovers rejoice!

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups very hot water
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
2 ½ tsp. active yeast
Corn meal flour for dusting

Directions:
Pour hot water and olive oil into a bread machine. Top with the flour. In one corner, pour in the sugar. In the opposite corner, pour in the salt. Dig a small well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast. Set the machine on “dough” setting. Start. (Mine takes 1 hour 50 minutes). When the timer goes off, let sit in the bread machine for 15 minutes. Take out and divide dough into 6 sections. On a lightly floured surface, gently form each ball into separate loaves – don’t work the dough too much; the small imperfections will cook out. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a loaf pan with water in the oven (the moisture is key for the slightly crusty, but not too crusty crust). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS KEY – spray the loaves with water every 3 minutes until done. After the first spray, sprinkle the corn meal flour on the tops. KEEP SPRAYING EVERY 3 MINUTES. Remove from oven. Look at them. Smell their awesomeness. Feel the weightless pieces of joy in your hands. Then, let cool and slather with your sammie condiments. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HOT DOG!

I have been on a mission to make my own substitute meat. Thanks for joining me on this strange journey. These dogs turned out just great (if I do say so myself)! I made a batch, put them in the freezer, and pulled a few out for dinner. I just cooked them in a frying pan with a touch of oil. It made for a nice crispy skin. Who would have thought that hot dogs would once again be a healthy option?! Hot Dog, I am so excited!

Ingredients:
3 tsp. fennel seed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1 can pinto beans, drained
2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. Bragg’s Liquid Aminoes
4 tsp. garlic, minced
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
 
Directions:
Get a steamer ready. I use my rise maker, which has a steamer basket in it. Get the water boiling. In a grinder (I use my coffee bean grinder), mix all of the herbs, spices and sugar. Grind until a fine powder. In a blender, combine all ingredients, except for the wheat gluten. Pulse 3-4 times. You still want some small chunks of the beans. In a bowl, combine the wheat gluten and the blender mix. Stir until well-incorporated. Don’t be afraid to use your hands. Separate into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a 5” cylinder and wrap in a sheet of aluminum foil (twist the foil at the ends). Steam for 40 minutes. Now, you have your dogs ready to use. You can cook them in a frying pan, throw them on the BBQ, whatever. You can thank me later.

Yield: 12 hot dogs