Saturday, December 26, 2015
The great thing about this stew is its simplicity and versatility. You can put just about any vegetable you have on hand into this and not go wrong. No lentils? No problem. The potatoes will give it enough heft. It's simple enough to throw together quickly on a weeknight after work, as well.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large celery stalk, diced
3 yellow potatoes, diced
1 cup of red or brown lentils
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp rosemary, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 cup crushed tomatoes
5 cups veggie or no-beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon brand)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute them until they are soft, about 3 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and a little pepper.
Add the oregano, thyme and rosemary. Stir again and add the potatoes and the lentils. Give it another stir and then add the tomatoes and broth. Season with a little more salt and pepper
Bring the broth to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and put the lid on. Cook it for 20 minutes or so, until the lentils are tender.
Remove the lid and taste it for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Add the spinach and stir it into the soup. Once it's wilted, ladle up a few bowls and enjoy.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
It seems to spread further and further every year. Around October, the powers that be unleash upon us a flood of pumpkin-flavored products that we just can't resist. I've been jaded about the constant pumkification of everything in the store for a long time now, but I'm giving up. There's no fighting it, folks. Let go and let gourd.
Sorry, that was bad. All I'm saying is that, if you've ever heard me rant against the wall-to-wall pumpkin assault that hits us every fall, you'll find this recipe more than a little hypocritical. Yes, you're right. I've given in. These homemade pop tarts aren't just pumpkin. They're pumpkin spice, which makes them really trendy. But they're also really good, and that's what matters to me. You can call me a sellout, just remember that it's rude to talk with your mouth full.
One thing to remember: even though these are called pop tarts, do not cook them in the toaster. First, I'm not totally sure they'll fit. Second, the frosting doesn't have the chemicals in it to hold it all together. If you toast them on their sides, the frosting will slide right down into the toaster and onto the heating elements. A toaster oven would be fine, but not a toaster.
For the dough:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp. evaporated cane sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp. Earth Balance, cubed and kept cold
2-3 tbsp. soy or almond milk
1 Ener-G or flax egg, mixed
For the filling:
1/2 cup raw canned pumpkin (plain, not spiced)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
For the frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. soy or almond milk
1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the dough: combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold cubed Earth Balance and pulse it all together 10-12 times, until it has a sandy consistency. Mix the egg replacer and milk together in a bowl and pour into the chute of the food processor while it's running. The dough should come together pretty quickly. If it's leaving behind a lot of dry ingredients, pour a little more milk in and let it run for a bit to see if that does the trick.
Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and work it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and work each half into a flat disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Make the filling: Combine the pumpkin, sugar and spice in a bowl. Taste for sweetness and adjust if necessary.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap it and put it back on the floured surface. Roll the first one out into roughly a 9x13 rectangle. I had to cut some of the rounded edges off an end and reattach them in other places that came up short. Do whatever works to get you there, but it doesn't have to be totally perfect.
Using a pastry cutter, cut a horizontal line down the middle, then four vertical lines, roughly 3-inches apart.
Spread a tablespoon or so of the filling around on the bottom-half rectangles, leaving a little edge of dough around on each one.
Wet your finger with a little water and run it around the edge that you left around the filling.
Put the top rectangle of the dough on top of the bottom one, lining up the edges so there's no overlap. Using a fork, press down around the edges to make a sealed border. Use the fork to poke some holes across the surface of the pop tart.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pop tarts on it. Bake them for about 25 minutes. Once they're done, let them cool on a rack.
Combine all the frosting ingredients in a small bowl. Once the pop tarts have totally cooled, spread the frosting on and let it sit. The frosting will firm up after about 5 minutes.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
I never had chicken and waffles together growing up. I hadn't even heard of the concept until I moved to the west coast. Growing up in Missouri, the best fried chicken on the planet was my grandma's. We'd go visit on a Sunday every couple of months and she'd make a huge spread of down-home cooking: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, insanely good gravy, green beans and cinnamon rolls. If I'd asked her, "do you have any waffles?" she probably would've bopped me on the head with a wooden spoon.
Let's face it: the thing people look for in fried chicken is a crispy coating, or skin. It's gross when you really stop to think about what it is, but it's true. Chick'n seitan doesn't have a skin, so it needs some help to get the texture and feel of fried chicken. The key is to coat it twice, with a rest period in between. Keeping it in the fridge for a bit in between coatings helps it set up and bind with the surface of the seitan. It also gives the second coating something to hold onto. The "skin" on this is really satisfying, but the seitan itself is also quite juicy and flavorful.
The waffles are a little more on the savory side than the breakfast-y sweet side. If you prefer them sweeter, simply increase the brown sugar to 1/4 cup or so. Try it this way first, though. The sweet potato does plenty on its own, I think.
This is a long post and it's seems a bit complicated, but it really isn't. Just time things out correctly and you'll do fine. I've put things in an order so that everything gets done efficiently. Note that the seitan should be prepared at least 3-4 hours before you plan to fry it up.
For the seitan:
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup garbanzo flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups chick'n or veggie broth (I use Better Than Bouillon)
2 tbsp olive oil
For the coating:
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp spicy brown mustartd
1/4 cup Sriracha
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp white pepper
For the waffles:
6 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 can of coconut milk (don't use light coconut milk)
2 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer, whisked with 6 tbsp of warm water
1 1/4 cup sweet potato puree
NOTE: You'll need to prepare the seitan, using the steps below, at least 3 hours before you plan to make the chick'n, in order to optimize and firm up its texture. I usually make mine the day before.
Make the seitan: Whisk the broth and oil together in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, making a well in the center. Pour the liquid ingredients into the well and stir it all with a rubber spatula until it's all incorporated.
With clean hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2-3 minutes. This is really important, so keep going, no matter how tired your hand gets. You'll be able to feel the consistency change as you knead. This is how the gluten develops and will contribute to that "meaty" texture you're looking for. After a couple of minutes, let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then knead it again for 30 seconds.
Move the dough to a cutting board and cut into 4 equal portions. Flatten them out a bit with your hands. It won't look like much, but you'll be able to make much more than 4 pieces of chick'n when you cook it later.
Tear off four pieces of foil and place each individual cutlet just below the center of the foil. Then fold the bottom half over it, followed by the top half and, finally, the sides. They should be little envelopes like this:
Prepare a steamer basket or colander over a pot of water and get it boiling. Place the foil packets into the steamer basket and cover. Steam them for 30 minutes, stopping halfway through to switch them around if they're on top of each other.
Make the chick'n: In a medium bowl, combine the dry coating ingredients and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and vinegar until it starts to thicken. Let stand for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Unwrap the seitan packets and set them on a cutting board. You'll notice they're quite a bit thicker than before and a bit bigger too. Slice them into smaller pieces as you see fit. I generally did two or three pieces out of a single slab of seitan. If they seem a little wet still, wrap them in a paper towel to get the excess moisture out.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have it nearby. Dip the pieces in the flour mixture, then the liquid mixture and then again into the flour mixture, then put them on the baking sheet. Repeat with each piece, ensuring that they're getting completely covered.
Put the pieces into the fridge and let them set up for 30 minutes or so. Do not discard the coating ingredients because you'll be using them again! Meanwhile pour 2-3 inches of oil into a heavy-bottom pot and then prepare your waffle batter.
Make the waffle batter: In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger and brown sugar. In a stand mixer or a bowl with a hand mixer, combine the Earth Balance, egg replacer, sweet potato and coconut milk. Add the flour mixture and incorporate. The batter should be pretty stiff. If it feels too stiff, loosen it up a bit with a small amount of soy milk. Be sparing, though. Batter that's thin and pourable will lead to limp waffles.
Set it aside for when you're ready to make the waffles. First, it's time to get frying!
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and start heating the oil to 375 degrees. Take the sheet pan out of the fridge and repeat the steps with the coating (flour dip, liquid dip, then flour dip again).
Test your oil with a bit of the coating. If it starts sizzling, the oil is ready. Working in batches, gently drop the chick'n pieces into the oil. Do 2-3 at a time, being sure not to overcrowd the pot.
Check it after 2 or 3 minutes. If it's lightly golden, carefully flip it with a pair of tongs.
Keep a baking sheet lined with paper towels handy. As the chick'n pieces are done, remove them and let them drain on the paper towels. They should be golden and crispy, like this:
Finish the waffles: Heat up your waffle iron and spray it well with cooking spray. Place a little more than 1/3 cup of batter in the center of the waffle iron. Again, it should be thick enough that you have to spread it around a little with the spatula. Close the waffle iron and let it do its thing.
Put a couple of pieces of chick'n on the plate, along with a finished waffle and a nub of Earth Balance. Serve with some warm maple syrup.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
I love that there's a plum tree in our front yard. That said, these plums are not from that tree. Our neighbors also have a plum tree and they actually pick the plums and put them to use. I just like watching the squirrels run off with ours. Seriously, it's the cutest thing. Sometimes, I find a pit and some plum skins on our front steps. I'm glad our little furry friends have somewhere they can get a good meal.
This is how I justify using the neighbor's plums for this cake instead of our own. He went to the trouble of picking, washing and delivering them. How could I say no? It turned out that it was the perfect amount to make a cake with, so why not?
This cake is really pretty, but also easy to make. It takes a little time, but isn't very complicated. It looks complicated, which is perfect if you're having people over for dinner and want to impress them with dessert. Just don't eat the whole cake yourself in one sitting. All those plums could get a little...intense, if you know what I mean.
If you've never cut plums, don't worry. They're super easy. The trick is to cut them lengthwise, so when the pit comes out, it looks pretty. You can see in this picture that I was doing fine with that, but got distracted while cutting one and cut it the wrong way. That one definitely sticks out in this grouping and isn't nearly as pretty:
If you do this once or twice, don't sweat it. There's an inner layer of plum slices, so just put them in there. No one will ever know.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance, softened
2/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed with 4 tbsp warm water (Bob's Red Mill brand works, too)
3/4 cup dairy-free sour cream (I used Tofutti's Sour Supreme)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp brown sugar
12 ripe plums, halved and pitted
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and ensure that a rack is in the lower third of the oven.
First, prepare your cake pan. Use a 9-inch cake round or a springform pan. Grease it up with some Earth Balance and cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom. Once it's in place, grease it up as well. Toss in a small handful of flour and roll the pan around to coat the bottom and sides. Discard any that's left over. Make sure you grease the bottom of the pan before the parchment goes in so it stays in place when you put the batter into the pan.
In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the Earth Balance and sugar for 2-3 minutes. Mix in the egg replacer, sour cream and vanilla, letting it run until the whole mixture is smooth.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture a bit at a time until it's all well combined. The batter will be thicker than a normal cake batter, but that's what we're looking for.
You definitely can't pour it, so you'll need to spread half of it in the bottom of the pan. It won't seem like much, but that's okay. Just make sure there's an even layer around the bottom and that you can't see the bottom of the pan.
Place half of the plum halves, cut-side down, onto the batter, pressing them down a bit.
Spread the other half of the batter over those plums, covering them completely. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and then place the rest of the plum halves, cut-side up, into the batter, pressing them down slightly.
Put the cake into the oven and bake for 50 minutes or so, until a cake tester comes cleanly out of the middle. Test it a few times to make sure you're not hitting one of those hidden plums.
You can serve this with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top or, if you're feeling extra fancy, some non-dairy whipped cream. It's totally great plain, as well.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Have you heard the news? Doug is now the manager at Vegan Haven here in Seattle! It's a non-profit, all-vegan grocery store that supports Pig's Peace Sanctuary. I've talked about this place before because it has pretty much everything you can think of, plus a ton of other stuff you'd never think of. So, from time-to-time, I'll be posting recipes featuring ingredients you can find at Vegan Haven, but maybe weren't quite sure what to do with.
One such ingredient is Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini. Gardein makes a ton of great stuff and is pretty widely available. Most of the things they make are already flavored and just ready to prepare (barbecue wings, teriyaki beef tips, meatballs, etc.), but the Chick'n Scallopini is sort of a blank canvas. That can be a double-edged sword for people, because sometimes the canvas can be a little too blank. I use it in chick'n pot pies and things like that. It works well with other flavors, but by itself, it needs a little "oomph" I've talked to more than a few who say they're intrigued by it, but they're just not sure what they can do with it. Here's a straightforward, easy and delicious way to prepare it that's perfect for summer.
For the chick'n:
1 package Gardein Chicken Scallopini (or another chicken-style seitan), thawed
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Olive oil, for brushing
For the sauce:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Bee Free Honee or agave
In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, coriander, salt, mustard and cayenne. Working with one at a time, place the thawed scallopini into the spice rub and work the spice into both sides. Once all four are coated, take the remaining spice rub and work it into any spots that aren't covered.
While you can go ahead and grill them like this, I'd recommend doing this ahead of time and setting them in the fridge to take in the flavor of the spice rub.
Get your grill nice and hot. Brush a little olive oil onto the chick'n and put it on the hot grill. Remember, you're not cooking flesh, so there's not need to get it to a certain temperature. You're mainly just looking for a good caramelized sear before turning it over. It should take 3-4 minutes, maybe a little longer depending on the grill.
To make the sauce, combine oil, mustard and honee with a whisk. Serve it alongside or on top of the chick'n alongside some smashed potatoes or grilled corn.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
I love wandering a farmer's market or produce aisle at a well-appointed grocery store and discovering things that I never knew existed or had heard of but never seen. Chayote have been on my list for a while now, having read about them in a magazine a year or so ago. I was perusing the peppers at Central Market the other day and there they were.
A chayote is a type of squash native to Mexico and South America. They don't look like much, but they're quite tasty and very easy to work with. They're also called the "vegetable pear" and you can see why:
These two were smoother than the average chayote, so you get one that's deeply wrinkled, don't worry. This picture makes them look like limes a bit, but the skin of the chayote is much thinner than a lime peel and is also edible. Basically, all you need to do is avoid the center when you're chopping. Two will get you about 4 cups diced up, which is perfect for this recipe.
If you can't find chayote, or if your garden is overrun by summer squash and zucchini that you really should use instead, don't worry. These will be just as good with any squash substitution.
This is a nice change from my other enchilada recipe, which is satisfying but sort of heavy. Good for winter but not for the dog days of summer. This recipe is light and flavorful and really hits the spot. They're a bit of work, but they're worth it.
8 flour tortillas
1 bunch rainbow chard, leaves stripped off stems and rinsed
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 chayote, diced small
2 poblano peppers, sliced in half and seeded
1/2 of a sweet yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (divided)
1 small bunch cilantro
2.5 cups veggie stock
2 tsp cumin
Make the verde sauce: Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water. Put the tomatillos, onion and peppers in and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. The tomatillos will be pale and soft when they're ready.
Use a slotted spoon or spider to fish everything out of the water (don't dump the water out!) and transfer it all over to a blender. Add 2 of the minced garlic cloves and a small handful of the cilantro leaves. Blend until smooth and pour into a small saucepan. Cook for about five minutes on medium heat until it thickens and starts to stick a bit. Stir it often, but carefully as it will be sputtering at you. You can use the lid of the pot to shield yourself a bit. Add the stock and let it simmer for another 20 minutes or so, stirring often.
Make the filling: using the pot of water from the sauce ingredients, blanch the leaves over medium heat for a few minutes, then put them immediately into a bowl of cold water. Drain them well and chop them up.
Next, put the chopped chayotes into the water and boil them for about 10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain them through a colander. In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil and add the remaining minced garlic. Cook for a minute or so, until fragrant, then add the chopped chayotes and chart, stirring it all together to combine. Add the cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and a cup or so of the sauce. Stir it well and remove it from the heat.
Wash out the skillet and return it to the stove over medium heat. Using oil or cooking spray, coat the surface of the pan and cook the tortillas. Put them into the skillet one at a time, letting them cook until they puff up a bit, then flipping them and repeating on the other side. Watch this closely because they can get away from you very quickly. Put the finished tortillas on a plate lined with paper towels.
Assemble the enchiladas: Set up a space at the table or on the counter so you can make an assembly line. Start with tortillas on the left, sauce, a plate, filling and then a place to put the finished product (I used a baking dish so I could keep them warm in the oven).
Working individually, dip a tortilla into the verde and lay it flat on the first plate. Place about 1/4 cup of filling just off the center of the tortilla on the side toward you. Tuck and roll the tortilla nice and tight and place it seam-side down on the platter or baking dish.
When you're ready to serve, place two on a plate, top with a little more of the verde sauce and whatever else you like. I used some more cilantro and homemade tofu-based queso fresco.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
We're getting some serious summer here in Seattle. That means it's time to break out the ole' popsicle molds and cool off. I used to love the store-bought popsicles and Otter Pops growing up. The sickly sweet orange and red flavors and even the nonsensical grown-up-gagging flavors like Rockin' Mountain Berry Splash. Come to think of it, I may have had a toothpaste with that name when I was a kid. The commercial probably had a cartoon swirl of Colgate with a toothpaste pompadour and Ray Bans, riding a toothbrush down bright blue rapids off the side of a cliff while playing a sweet lick on an electric guitar. The kids all watch in awe and then enthusiastically brush their teeth because it's just such a cool thing to do. Man the late 80s were out of control.
Where was I? Oh, right. Popsicles. These popsicles are the best of both worlds: fun, sweet and delicious while being made of actual food you can see and pronounce.
1 1/2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2 stalks)
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup, agave or Bee Free Honee
1 tbsp water
1 tsp lime zest
Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized pot and stir until combined. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You won't need a blender for this. While it's cooking, the mixture will break down very nicely. From this:
You won't need one, but if you would rather use a blender to smooth everything out, be my guest.
After 20 minutes, remove the mixture from the heat and let it stand for about 20 more minutes or until it's close to room temperature.
Set out your popsicle molds and pour the mixture into them, filling them to the top. Freeze them for at least 5 hours, or preferably overnight.
Friday, June 5, 2015
This dish is super simple to make. Some people I've talked to feel a little intimidated by cauliflower steaks, but there's nothing to fear. As long as you get the thickness of the steak and the cooking time right, they'll turn out perfectly every time.
The sauce is sort of a cheater version of romesco. I didn't have any almonds or pine nuts on hand, so I just skipped that part and used the rest of the cauliflower to make it creamier. Any sauce will do for this, so if you prefer a true romesco sauce, go for it. Chimichurri or pesto would be great, too.
1 1-2lb. head of cauliflower
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 1/2 cup water
1 red bell pepper, roasted (or 4 segments of jarred roasted red peppers)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Make the steaks: trim the leaves off of the head of cauliflower, stand it up on its stem and slice it right down the middle, making two even halves. Stand one half up, move your knife over about an inch and slice straight down again. Then repeat with the other half. You want to only use the two center-most pieces, as those will give you the biggest steaks. If you're making more than two, you'll need another head of cauliflower. Set the rest of the cauliflower aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof skillet or pot. I used a dutch oven, which isn't ideal, but it gets the job done. Drop one steak and sear it on both sides. Remove it to a plate and do the same with the other. Put both steaks back into the pan in a single layer, cover and put it into the oven for 10 minutes.
Make the sauce: Cut up 3 cups of the remaining cauliflower into florets. In a large saucepan, combine the florets, water and non-dairy milk and a little salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring it to a boil, then turn it down so it'll simmer. Check in around 8 minutes. It should be fork tender by then.
Strain out the cauliflower, reserving a cup of the liquid. Put both into a blender, along with the roasted red peppers and the garlic.
Turn the blender on high and let it go until it's smooth. You may need to add a little more of the simmering liquid if it's not as smooth as you like. It shouldn't be runny, but it shouldn't be a paste, either.
After 10 minutes has passed, check on your steaks. They should be fork tender, but not mushy. They need to be able to retain their shape. If they're an inch thick, 10 minutes ought to do it. They'll have a beautiful color to them.
Check the sauce for seasoning, then pour a generous dollop onto a plate. With the back of a spoon, spread it around and top it with a steak (or two). Garnish it with something green (it stands out against the orange sauce) and serve.