Posts Tagged grilling

VeganMoFo: Tempeh Ribs

I sadly don’t have time this week to cook the things I had planned to cook for my last theme, which was supposed to be using long forgotten pantry ingredients.  So, instead I will bring you posts that have been patiently waiting their turn to be written.

A few weeks ago Dave and I had some friends over to watch the NFL games on Sunday.  Dave was going to smoke some ribs for everyone else and I had a package of tempeh in the fridge.  I wondered what would happen if I smoked the tempeh in the same manner, so I gave it a shot.

I prepared my tempeh pretty much exactly like their meat counterpart.  First, I slathered the tempeh with mustard, which helps the spices stick and forms a sort of coating.  Then, I liberally sprinkled on a spice mix that Dave had made with paprika, onion, garlic, sugar, and probably a few other things.  I smoked the tempeh for just under an hour, flipping it halfway through, then I basted it in a makeshift barbecue sauce which I think included ketchup, apple cider vinegar, vegetarian worcestershire, cayenne and possibly some maple syrup, and cooked for another half hour or so.

(As far as the actual technique of smoking goes, I haven’t a clue.  Dave is in charge of the grills and fires at our house.)

Mmm, meaty!  It almost looks kind of like “real” ribs, right?

The tempeh had a nice crust from the mustard and spices, and was sticky sweet from the barbecue sauce.  It was neither moist nor dry on the inside, and if I make it like this again and aren’t being totally lazy I’d probably steam the tempeh first.  It would have also been nice to have some extra barbecue sauce for dipping because, while the outside was very flavorful, the insides were just plain tempeh.

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Tasty Tailgating

We didn’t do anything grand or fun for the Fourth of July this year, but we did go to an A’s game that weekend.  Weekend games are for tailgating!

In a patriotic bid, Dave made Philly cheesesteaks for the boys, so I made my version with portobello and a vegan cheese slice.  The cheese wasn’t my favorite brand for slices (Tofutti) and didn’t melt at all, but this was still a very tasty sandwich.

I had two lovely CSA tomatoes waiting to be used, so I whipped up a chickpea tuna salad and stuffed ‘em.

Stuffed tomato with grilled corn; patriotic plate and napkin presumably left over from last year.

Last weekend we had a biiiiig tailgate.  Normally it’s just the four of us – myself, Dave and two friends.  This time we were expecting a sister, a friend of Dave’s, his wife, their two friends and their four collective children.  Then, as we were cooking, another friend of Dave’s called to see if we were there.  He was on the way with his pre-bachelor party group, and we ended up having at least twenty five people!  Luckily, we had plenty of food.

Dave’s friend’s wife has celiac disease, so we wanted to make everything gluten free.  In discussing with Dave what we could and couldn’t make, I mentioned that corn tortillas are usually gluten free, so we went with Mexican food.

We started with chips and salsa made from a Rick Bayless recipe.

Dave made carne asada tacos for everyone else, so I grilled up some portobello.  Topped with salsa and cilantro, with a spot of guac on the side.

I wanted a substantial side dish as well, to avoid eating a bajillion tortilla chips, so I made this Mexican Bean and Rice Salad.  I was skeptical that the recipe didn’t include any oil, but the salad didn’t really need it.  If I made it again though, I would use less onion.  I’m just not big into lots of raw onion.

Since we were expecting a crowd, I wanted to make a dessert, and I do love the challenge of vegan, gluten free baking.  These White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies were adapted from this recipe.  I substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour plus 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum for the flour, and used kosher white chocolate chips that I picked up at Food Fight in June.  The first batch spread too much in the oven, so I mixed in 2 Tablespoons of chickpea flour which seemed to do the trick.  The recipe says it should make three dozen, but I ended up with about sixty cookies!

I’m off to Portland for Vida Vegan Con tomorrow!  I will be attempting to live blog throughout the entire event, so check back here regularly for updates!

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Award Winning Grilling

In mid-July, our friends Matt and Amber hosted the third annual grill-off. They added a veggie category this year, which was basically an open category for anything vegetarian. I rejoined with Dave and our friend Tom to form our team Grilly D. Williams and compete for the glory. The boys took care of the meat categories, and I made four entries – two veggies, a sandwich and a dessert for the open category.

First, I hung out with these guys.

And fueled myself up with veggies and Sanctuary dressing while waiting for my categories to come up.

First entry:

Grilled Asparagus Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

1 bunch asparagus
large handful fresh basil, torn into pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 Tbs white miso
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
18-20 button or cremini mushrooms

1. Grill the asparagus over medium-high heat until slightly charred and crisp-tender. Allow to cool then chop into pieces, reserving the tips for garnish.
2. Place the asparagus pieces, basil, garlic, pine nuts, miso, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running. It is okay if some texture remains in the pesto.
3. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and wrap them in foil in a single layer. Grill over medium-high heat until tender.
4. Allow the mushrooms to cool enough to handle, then stuff with the pesto. You can spoon the pesto in the mushrooms, pipe it with a piping bag, or cut the corner off a ziploc bag and use that to pipe. Garnish with the asparagus tips.

Second entry:

Grilled Italian Stuffed Zucchini

4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 small leek, white and light green parts only, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 – 2 Tbs EACH fresh minced thyme, oregano, sage and parsley
2 tsp capers
2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 medium tomatoes, diced small
salt
freshly ground black pepper
tofu ricotta, for example the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance

1. Mix the herbs together in a small bowl.
2. Place the sliced leek, garlic, capers, 3/4 of the herb mixture, the red wine vinegar, 2 tsp of the olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small grill-safe container such as an aluminum pan. Grill over medium high heat, off the heat, until leeks are softened, stirring often.
3. Meanwhile, brush the zucchini halves lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill the zucchini flat side down until charred and slightly tender, turning the zucchini to create grill marks. Take the leek mixture and zucchinis off the grill and allow to cool.
4. Using a melon baller, scoop out the insides of the zucchinis, reserving the flesh and leaving at least an eighth-inch shell.
5. Chop about two thirds of the zucchini flesh into small pieces and reserve the rest for another use. Mix the chopped zucchini with the leek mixture, diced tomato and breadcrumbs. Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.
6. Mix the remaining herbs with the tofu ricotta.
7. Spoon the leek mixture into the zucchini shells, packing it down slightly. Top each zucchini with some tofu ricotta.
8. Carefully place the zucchinis back on the grill to warm through and cook the bottoms slightly. Serve warm.

Servings: 8

Third entry:

Hoisin Grilled Eggplant Bahn Mi

1 large or 2 medium eggplants, skin on, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
salt
1/2 cup vegetarian hoisin sauce
2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp peanut oil
loaf French bread or four bread rolls
vegan mayonnaise
lettuce
thinly sliced cucumber
cilantro sprigs

1. Place a colander over a bowl. Add the eggplant slices, salting each layer well. Allow to drain for 30 minutes then rinse and pat dry.
2. Lightly oil the eggplant slices with olive or canola oil, and grill over medium high heat until softened and slightly charred.
3. While the eggplant is cooking, mix together the hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, tamari and peanut oil in a medium bowl.
4. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice into the sauce and shake off the excess. Place the eggplant back on the grill for a few more minutes.
5. If there is any remaining sauce, add a little to the eggplant and toss to coat.
6. To assemble, spread some mayonnaise on each side of the bread. Place the eggplant on the rolls then top with cucumber, lettuce, and cilantro sprigs.

Servings: 4

Fourth entry:

Grilled pound cake with pineapple, rum sauce and coconut whipped cream. This is more of a collection of deliciousness than a recipe. I started with the Vanilla Yogurt Pound Cake from Veganomicon, brushing both sides with melted Earth Balance and grilling. The cake was topped with grilled pineapple and rum sauce veganized from this recipe. For the coconut whipped cream, I refrigerated a can of coconut milk and scooped the solid cream from the top, then mixed it with a bit of vanilla extract, powdered sugar and xantham gum. The cream was very thick, which worked well to keep it from melting too much when it was placed on the hot cake and pineapple.
I felt really good about the dishes I submitted, but the competition is stiff among our friends! Plus, the judges aren’t necessarily used to eating vegetarian food, so I never know what to expect. But, I won a few prizes! My eggplant bahn mi placed third in the burgers and sandwiches category, and my dessert placed second in the open category. Dave placed with a number of his entries, and Grilly D. Williams won as the best team overall. Plus, my dessert was picked as a judges favorite!

What’s funny is that I spent the most amount of time testing and prepping for my veggie entries, and they didn’t even place. My sandwich and dessert entry were more thrown together, and they both placed. Just goes to show that you should always trust your cooking instincts!

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Tailgate Cookies

In mid-November, Dave, myself and twelve friends went to see the Niners play the St. Louis Rams.  It was a big operation, getting fourteen people, tailgating equipment and enough food and beer over to Candlestick Park.  Everyone chipped in a little, and we had a great tailgate.  And, the Niners actually won the game!  Anyone who has been following along knows this season hasn’t been great for the Niners, so it was nice to see a win in person.

I wanted to make a special dessert, and after remembering my plethora of cookie cutters, decided on sugar cookies.  I used the recipe from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar.

It took hours and hours to bake and frost the cookies, and it was totally worth it.  The dough was easy to work with, considering how temperamental sugar cookies can be.  Firm yet buttery soft, nobody would suspect these cookies were vegan.  After the game when we reconvened in the parking lot, people asked for more!

We didn’t just eat dessert…

Dave grilled meaty tacos for everyone else, so I had some of my own with taco-seasoned portobello, onion, cilantro, pickled jalapeno, avocado salsa and salsa roja.  Our friend Tom made the salsas, along with the super-garlicky potatoes.  Also on the plate is curtido and refried black beans, made by me, and pinto beans prepared by our friend Teresa.  This was an extremely yummy, flavorful meal.

This is my favorite picture from the tailgate – Dave’s cousin Alex was trying to take a picture of his brother Daniel and his wife, and walking right in the way, this was my reaction when he yelled at me.

More pictures from the game:

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Big Kahuna Grill-Off

For the second summer in a row, our friends Matt and Amber hosted a grilling competition in their back yard.  We formed teams and entered dishes into the categories above to be judged and ranked.  The friendly competition is obviously very meat-centric, so last year I just hung out and helped the judges, since they had to be quarantined from the competitors.  This year though, I figured “Why not enter something just for fun?”.  So, I did.

I entertained the idea of entering a few categories, but for simplicity’s sake, and since three of us were sharing only two grills, I went with a sandwich.  I marinated a portobello in champagne vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and maple syrup then grilled it.  I served the mushroom on toasted herb focaccia with lettuce and homemade red pepper aioli.  The sandwich was VERY tangy, but that’s how I like it, so I was pleased with how it turned out.  I didn’t place in the top three, but I snuck a peak at the judge’s scores afterwards and saw that I came in fourth out of six entries!  The judges were all meat-eating dudes, so I was pretty happy that I at least didn’t come in last.

Despite trying to keep our area tidy, it resembled an explosion toward the end of the day.  The boys entered at least one item in every category, and with turn-in times only 45 minutes apart, it was a little hectic.

Here’s Dave grilling pineapple for his al pastor tacos.  Both he and our teammate Tom won a prize or two, including a Judge’s Favorite each.  It was a fun day, and I’m looking forward to participating again next year!

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Hello Fall!

Fall is quite possibly my favorite season.  I’ve been getting pumped up for Fall, but it hadn’t yet felt like Fall.  Until today.  It’s been hot lately here, thanks to our “Indian Summer“, but the air was crisp and cool today.

Every year when gourds appear in stores, I am compelled to buy a variety just to have around the house.  Here’s my collection so far.

Also, this:

Brussels on the stem!

It’s been a good day.  I took care of a bunch of nagging errands, shopped at my favorite grocery store, and now I’m watching college football and playoff baseball.  To take advantage of the weather, we grilled for dinner.

Balsamic portobello, fingerling potatoes and amazing baby yellow zucchini with garlic.  The texture of the zucchini was like buttah.  After dinner we were both feeling like dessert, so I made the fastest thing I could think of.

Microwave cakes!  I used this recipe.  I didn’t feel like mixing up an egg replacer, so I just added a bit of cornstarch to the mix.  With a proper egg replacer, I’m sure they would have risen more.  Either way, they were delicious!

It was much like a pudding cake, warm, dense and chocolaty.  I would totally make this again, and probably will.  I’d be highly interested in a microwave pumpkin cake for one.

Jake has been excited to sit on any blanket that we happen to leave laying around.

Really, that is Jake’s excited face.

Does it feel like Fall where you are?

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And For My Next Post…Here’s a Bunch of Food.

There’s always a bad reason for not blogging, but here’s a good one:  My internet didn’t work for two weeks!  But I’m back now, and what better thing to do than post a whole bunch of random food and get caught up?  Some of this stuff dates from last October.  Eep!  I’ll jump right in.

Ginger Cashew Tofu from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, with fried quinoa

Salad with chickpeas, sauerkraut, crackers and “special sauce” dressing

Whole wheat pasta with cooked beets and beet greens.  Turned the whole thing red!

Pizza burrito!  Leftover pizza toppings wrapped up and served with pizza sauce.

These potatoes were sold as “teeny tiny potatoes” at Trader Joe’s.  How cute!  Roasted whole, with broccoli & tofu scramble.

Roasted Fennel Salad from Veganomicon – test run before Thanksgiving.

Amaranth porridge with apples and pecans

Tempeh Tetrazzini, adapted from a magazine recipe.  Was tasty but dry.

Teriyaki tofu and veggies with red quinoa

This was a total clean-out-the-fridge dinner before I left to visit family for Christmas:  sauteed cabbage and carrots with shredded bleu Sheese and brown rice.  It sounds weird, but it worked well enough.

Shells n’ cheese n’ Tofurkey.  Mom was making mac n’ cheese with leftover ham for the rest of the family, and she made the white sauce with Earth Balance and soy milk so that I could partake too.  I added shredded Follow Your Heart cheese, cooked shells, diced Tofurkey slices that needed to be used up, and some spinach so I could pretend that it was slightly healthy.

“Special Tofu” with peanut sauce and jasmine rice, from Royal Orchid restaurant in Ocala, Florida.  Beautiful and delicious.

Fried rice with red cabbage and baked tofu

Braised red cabbage and carrots

Roasted root veggies with greens and tahini sauce

Tofu scramble and an English muffin to scoop it up

Butternut squash stuffed with rice, kale and vegan sausage, served with mushrooms.  This was super tasty.

When the weather started warming up, we decided to grill twice in one weekend.  For this plate, I bought every vegetable worthy of grilling – baby squashes, radicchio, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic scapes.  We also had some grilled toast and drizzled everything with balsamic reduction.

The next day it was a little more simple – store bought baked tofu, a marinated portobello, brown rice with carrots and hijiki, and steamed veggies with gomasio.

Hot and sour cabbage stir fry with noodles and cilantro

For this tofu scramble, I crisped some diced potatoes first then added the tofu and other ingredients, and finished it with fresh dill.

Savory amaranth with broccoli and pecans

Pasta with parsley pesto, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic-roasted veggies

Crunchy salad with black eyed peas, hemp seeds and spicy apple cider vinegar dressing

Teriyaki tofu bowl with short grain brown rice, raw red cabbage, steamed broccoli, green onion and extra teriyaki sauce

Gardein Crispy Tenders!  I bought these to try when I had a coupon, and I LOVE them.  They’d be good with any sauce, but they were especially good straight out of the oven with warm marinara.  The only problem with these guys is that I could easily eat the whole package at once.

Seasoned mashed fava beans with red bell pepper on Ezekiel toast for breakfast.

Springtime brown rice risotto with fresh peas, aspragus and dill

For a light side to go with the risotto, I dry-roasted some cauliflower that was liberally seasoned with a dry rub mix.

Ahhhhhhh, I feel better having purged my unposted photos a little!  Hope you enjoyed it too.

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