Thursday, May 18, 2017

Black Bean Brownies (from Veganuary)


This is the kind of recipe that you avoid for many months. You may see it cross your Facebook page, or you may read about it on a strange vegetarian blog (like this one), or you may even see it at your workplace coffee station. But you avoid. You can’t quite seem to bring the dreaded black bean concoction to your lips.

Because I was the brave one in the room and tried these, you may follow my lead and tamp down your fear! What’s it gonna cost you? A can of beans.



Warning: these brownies are not very sweet, which in my opinion is a bonus.

Warning: these brownies are totally and completely chocolatey

Warning: these brownies are moist, chewy, dense, rich, satisfying, ‘healthy’, and cheap to make

Warning: these brownies could become your new favorite thing

Here’s what you need:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ avocado
1 C brown sugar
3 T cocoa powder
½ C walnuts – divided
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 T coconut oil (plus more for greasing the muffin tin)
Large pinch of salt
2/3 C dark chocolate chips (plus more for garnish)

Here’s what you do:
Prepare a muffin tin by greasing it with coconut oil. This will help the brownies come out perfectly.

Place beans, avocado, sugar, cocoa, half the walnuts (1/4 C), baking soda, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt in a food processor and mix very well.

Melt the 2/3 C chocolate chips in a double boiler until soft (don’t scorch them) and add the chocolate to the bean mixture.  Mix well.

Evenly distribute the batter into prepared muffin tins.

Garnish with more chocolate and the remaining ¼ C walnuts.

Bake 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool them completely in the fridge before removing. Remove them carefully because they are soft in the middle.

Delicious!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers


My best poppers to date! Lots of jalapenos, split and cleaned of seeds and most veins. 1 tub Tofutti cream cheese. 6 slices vegan bacon, cooked and chopped in tiny pieces (I recommend Lifelight brand). 1/3 C vegan nacho cheese (mine came from the freezer....probably Isa Chandra's recipe).

Stuff. Roll in panko bread crumbs and nutritional yeast. Bake for about 20-30 minutes.

I love them!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cauliflower Cashew Soup


I learned a new technique for increasing the flavor profile of vegetables. I really didn’t think it would make much difference in the end product, after all, how much flavor can you squeeze out of a cauliflower? But amazingly, it actually did increase the depth of flavor.

The trick is allowing the veg to steam in their own juice in a covered pot before adding the broth. They must not get brown at all, so a tempered heat is required. The technique is called ‘a l’etoufffee’ which means ‘braised ‘in French.

Remember when we all started roasting our veggies and now we wouldn’t be caught dead boiling them? Well, this is the new ‘roasting.’

This recipe comes from bonappetit.com.

Here’s what you need:
¼ C olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 t dried thyme
Salt, pepper
½ C dry white wine
1 large head cauliflower, cut in small florets
¼ t cayenne pepper
¾ C raw cashews
6 C light colored vegetable stock
Lemon juice to garnish


Here’s what you do:
Warm the oil in a large soup pot. Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaves and cook on medium low heat. Don’t allow anything to brown. Add the wine and allow to simmer a bit. Add the cauliflower, cayenne, cashews, salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook tenderly until all the veg is soft….maybe about 20-25 minutes. Reduce heat if things are browning up at all.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is falling apart. Discard bay leaves. Cool. Whirl in a high speed blender. Serve with lemons or add lemon juice at the end.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cauliflower Meat Crumbles


I must truly be vegan because I am posting another recipe for cauliflower meat crumbles. And I don't even care.

This is a great recipe and these little crumbles can be used in the same way you would use meat from cows. Spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, pizza toppings, and Mexican. I used half of the crumbles recently in tacos and the rest went in the freezer. Take your time and bake them nice and long and slow. You really want to dry them out so they separate and get a little chewy. The house smelled fantastic when this was baking.

Good luck! Go vegan! Eat your crumbles! Leave the cows alone! :)

Cauliflower Meat Crumbles
Here's what you need:
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed, washed, cut in florets
2 C raw walnuts
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 t liquid chipotle sauce
1/2 t chili powder
1 t liquid smoke
1/2 t salt
2 T soy sauce

Here's what you do:
Crunch the walnuts and cauliflower in a food processor till pretty small. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Plop it in a bowl and continue mixing with your hands if you need to.

When you first see it, you can't imagine that it turns into 'meat'....but it does! 

Cook it on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees, for about 60-75 minutes. Stir after 30 minutes and every 15 minutes after that. The crumbles should be brown and dry. Use as you please! The crumbles do not need to be seasoned in any way .... use them as is. Delicious!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Amazing, but True -- Chicken Style Seasoning



How to create a chicken flavor without harming chickens.

Blend until very fine. Use in all kinds of stuff.

1 C nutritional yeast
2 heaping T onion powder
1 T salt (or more to taste)
2 T dried basil
2 heaping T dried parsley
1 T sugar
4 t T garlic powder
½ t celery seed
½ t cayenne powder




Amazing, but True -- Vegan Cream of Chicken Soup
1 pound firm tofu
2 t vegan chicken base / seasoning
2-3 t curry
1 ½ t onion powder
1 ½ t garlic powder
½ t turmeric
¼ C milk or water

Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils



This has happened to me more than once: I make a great vegan meal and decide to take it to a church potluck, you know, with the idea of impressing everyone and glowing in the aftermath of a whole slew of folks turning from their meat-eating-ways.

My Lentil Bolognese (HERE is the recipe) is worthy of a gold star and accolades from all camps, yet it does not translate well to a crock pot full of cooked rigatoni. There is no oil or fat in it, so it really doesn’t stay nice and loose and hearty. At that potluck, my crockpot was filled with a blob of sticky pasta with a strange scattering of lentils. Seriously embarrassing.

For another potluck I made the Forks Over Knives “Smoky Little Devils” (HERE is that recipe) which are tiny red potatoes, filled with a spicy hummus: reminiscent of deviled eggs. That potluck found my offering to be way too heavy on the turmeric (which can be bitter if you’re not used to it).  One friend asked me, “Is that turmeric in there?” ….meaning, “My GOSH, that’s a lot of turmeric!” Alas, my platter of little devils sat basically untouched….except by me. (I do recall everyone else eating buckets full of chickens' legs and I believe there were also pork ribs there too ….. sigh….. a poorly made smoky devil stands no chance against those….)

Last week, I brought a crockpot full of this terrific rice dish, sure that I’d be the talk of the luncheon…..but I was too lazy to leave the house for brown rice and I used white rice instead….. which simply created a weird crockpot full of rice and lentils. Blah.

You will have to trust me when I say that I am a great cook and I can tell a cruddy recipe from a good one. This one’s good…. I just HIGHLY recommend that you use brown rice!

Here’s what you need:
½ onion, chopped
1 T veg oil
1 C uncooked BROWN rice
2 T tomato paste
2 ½ C water
¼ t cinnamon
¼ C dry brown lentils
1 t salt
½ C golden raisins
½ C slivered almonds, toasted

Here’s what you do:
Saute the onion in the oil.  Add the rice and stir a bit in the oil. Mix the tomato paste in the water and smooth it out. Add it to the rice along with the cinnamon and lentils. Bring to boil, lower to simmer, cover and cook about 20 minutes.
Stir in the salt, raisins, and almonds. May add a bit more water if it seems dry. Pour into a greased casserole. The mixture should be a bit watery.  Cover and bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.





Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cauliflower Pea Curry


 I recently took one of those ‘personality profile’ self-exams – you know the ones. After answering questions like “Would you rather chair a 20-person committee for the rededication of the town park or stuff envelopes in the back room?”,  you are given a score. That score places you on a personality spectrum, ranging from the daring extrovert to the quietest and most introverted church mouse.

Guess what? I am a quiet and introverted church mouse. SURPRISE! One of the qualifiers for my personality type is “likes to write poetry” and the very week I took the personality test, I had written a poem.

Another qualifier was the word ‘silent.’ Whoa. SILENT. That’s pretty quiet.
My co-workers all agreed with the results of my profile, saying stuff like, “Yes, Tracy, you are silent.” Again, whoa.  Am I so transparent?  

The world around me is chatty, and daring, and extroverted. Me? I’m happy sitting on the couch writing poetry 😊 .


Here’s a spicy recipe to excite even the quietest and most introverted of us. Take a plain cauliflower and give it some personality.

Here’s what you need:
2 lbs cauliflower, washed and broken in flowerets
3 T non-diary butter (Earth Balance is the best brand)
½ t dried ginger
½ t salt
½ t turmeric
½ t cayenne
½ t coriander
½ t dried mustard seeds
½ t cumin seeds
¼ t cinnamon
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C water
1 ½ C frozen peas
2 tomatoes, diced
Cilantro

Here’s what you do:
Melt the butter, add all the spices, and stir.  Add the cauliflower and water and stir until coated. Cover and allow the cauliflower to steam until medium tender. Add the peas and cilantro. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook only until they are warmed through.


I served this with Biryani Rice which has the exact flavor profile, so neither this delicious curry or the rice got the attention they deserved. Next time I make this, I’ll serve it with plain rice and perhaps some dahl. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Biryani


The most delicious, flavorful, spice-warm rice you will ever eat. There are many recipes on the internet to choose from, but mine is pretty darn good, so don’t even bother to shop around. You could serve this with a huge salad and grilled mushrooms or tofu and it would be an impressive meal. I served mine with a cauliflower and pea curry which had the same flavor profile as the biryani, so I don’t think the rice  got its well-deserved acclaim. 

I found a recipe for bryani (a typo?)  in “The Vegetarian Epicure” by Anna Thomas, copyright 1972. 1972! The entire cookbook is quite a walk down ‘hippie’ lane, but there are some gems between the pages. I made some modifications and those are reflected below.


Biryani
Here’s what you need:
¼ C non-dairy butter
1 ½ t cumin seeds
1 ½ t mustard seeds
¼ t cayenne pepper
½ t salt
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
¼ t turmeric
¼ t ground ginger
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t ground coriander
1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
1 C sliced green onions
1 C blanched fresh wax beans (yellow beans), cut in 1 inch pieces
1 C chopped  jarred sweet red peppers
1 C chopped fresh tomatoes
4-5 C cooked rice, which has been prepared in vegetable broth
2/3 C roasted cashews, chopped in large pieces (or left whole for a better presentation)
½ C golden raisins



Here’s what you do:
Melt the butter and stir in the spices for a few minutes. Add the vegetables. Stir well and cook until veg is a bit soft. Add the cooked rice, cashews, and raisins. Stir well and pour in a buttered casserole. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for about ½ hour. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Creamy Vegan Asparagus Soup


I hit it out of the asparagus ballpark with this one, folks. You know when asparagus season hits, it hits hard, so take note of this beautiful soup and add it to your pile of asparagus recipes. Not only was the flavor excellent, but the delicate green color was really pretty. Be sure to save the tips of the asparagus for a garnish.

Here’s what you need:
2 bunches fresh asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces, tips reserved
2 T butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
6 C vegetable broth (light in color if possible)
Lemon zest (nice as a garnish, or added in the soup)
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
½ C raw cashews

Here’s what you do:
Sautee the onions in the butter. Add the asparagus (reserve the tips) and the broth. Simmer until the veg is very soft.
Carefully transfer the asparagus mixture to a blender and whirl. You may need to strain it. 
Whirl the cashews in a high-speed blender with about 1 C water to create a cream. Add this to the soup along with the lemon juice.
Drop the asparagus tips in boiling water for a minute or two, just until tender. Use them as a garnish.



Monday, April 10, 2017

Herb and Lemon White Bean Hummus


Are there any original recipes out there at all anymore? What with the internet and the plethora of cookbooks, I can barely imagine an original *anything* any more.

Actually, that's not entirely the case, because I have invented plenty of memorable recipes, many of which appear here on this blog. I do follow many, many recipes to the letter, but sometimes I riff and create and go off in various ways.

Here is a basic white bean hummus from "Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan" by Dreena Burton. I did everything she said....except I added lots of lemon zest (reflected below).

 I kept mine a bit chunky and I think I added too much water at the end, but oh well! It's hummus, not rocket science.

Super delicious. Very light. Not too garlicky which is nice once in a while. Good as a dip or rolled in tortillas. Eat it with a spoon or with veg or crackers or tortilla chips.

Herb and Lemon White Bean Hummus
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 T fresh lemon juice or more to taste
lots of lemon zest
1 T tahini
1 clove garlic
1-2 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 t Dijon
1/2 t sea salt
black pepper to taste
water as needed to thin
fresh herbs: thyme and basil: to taste

Blend it all together. Thin with water. Add herbs.
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