Posts Tagged my recipes

VeganMoFo: Raw Chai-Spiced Alfredo Sauce

A few weeks ago I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner.    I had some sweet potatoes and not much else, so I was going to bake them and eat ’em with whatever else I could find.  Then for some reason I decided I would try them as raw sweet potato noodles with a tasty sauce, and this meal was born.  I had a hunch that chai spices would go well with the raw alfredo, and I was right.

Raw Chai-Spiced Alfredo Sauce

Use the base recipe for a plain alfredo sauce, or add the extra spices for an unexpected yet tasty flavor combination.

1/2 cup cashews, soaked at least 1 hour and drained
2 tsp tahini
2 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp white miso
1 Tbs chopped onion
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp tamari or nama shoyu
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp each ground white pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and ginger
dash each allspice, cloves and five spice or star anise
garnish:  nutmeg & black pepper

1. Place the first ten ingredients (cashews through water) in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  If you want a plain alfredo sauce, stop here and serve garnished with nutmeg and black pepper.
2. Add the remaining ingredients (white pepper through five spice or star anise) and blend to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve garnished with nutmeg and black pepper.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Amount Per Serving (for 2 servings)
Calories 297.09
Calories From Fat (60%) 179.6
% Daily Value
Total Fat 21.38g 33%
Saturated Fat 3.82g 19%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 204.49mg 9%
Potassium 243.34mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 19.42g 6%
Fiber 4.46g 18%
Sugar 2.27g
Protein 12.13g 24%

If you’re going to try raw sweet potato noodles I would recommend cutting them really thin using a spiralizer or mandolin.  I cut mine by hand and they were a little too thick.

Comments (3)

VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Chervil

So, the funny thing about choosing chervil from the Flavor Bible is that I couldn’t find chervil anywhere, fresh or dried.  Apparently chervil is quite fragile and hard to stock.  Regardless, I forged ahead with my idea.

Chervil, page 113, is a key ingredient of fines herbes, along with chives, parsley and tarragon.  Other flavor matches are leeks, lemon juice and peas, and I served my dinner along with one more match, potatoes.  My original intent was to stuff the herbs inside the tofu, but my tofu slices were pretty thin, so I put the herbs on the outside instead.

Fines Herbes & Dijon Crusted Tofu with Braised Leeks & Pea Puree

The balance of flavors in this dish is great; the leeks are soft and sweet, the tofu is chewy and herbaceous, and the pea puree is salty, tangy and smooth.  Even with multiple strong flavors going on, the delicate fresh herbs shine through.  I had truffled mashed potatoes on the side, but crispy roasted potatoes would be a nice texture contrast too.

14 oz extra firm tofu, patted dry and cut into four slices lengthwise
2 Tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp vegetable broth or water
2 Tbs each fresh chervil, tarragon, parsley and chives, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
6 medium leeks
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1 cup white wine
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
Pea Puree:
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp white miso
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs vegetable broth or water

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and heat a wide pan over medium-high heat.
2. Trim most of the green parts off of the leeks and discard, leaving the white and light green parts.  Trim the root ends, leaving enough so that the leeks hold together.  Cut each leek in half lengthwise then rinse to remove any dirt, separating the layers.  Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the dijon mustard, vegetable broth, herbs, salt and pepper, and mix well.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil.  Spread some of the mustard mixture thinly on a slice of tofu, then sprinkle with 1 Tbs of panko and pat the breadcrumbs into the mustard.  Place the tofu on the baking sheet breadcrumbs down, and repeat with the rest of the tofu.  Aim to use about half of the mustard mixture on the bottoms of the tofu.
5. Spread the rest of the mustard mixture on the tops of the tofu and sprinkle 1 Tbs of panko on each piece.  Pat the breadcrumbs into the mustard.  Once all of the tofu pieces have been topped with breadcrumbs, spray with oil.
6. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, melt the Earth Balance in the hot pan.  Add the leeks cut side up and cook for a few minutes, until browned.  Flip the leeks and continue to cook for a few minutes.
8. Add the wine to the pan (it will hiss), then drizzle the agave nectar over the leeks and sprinkle in the lemon zest and salt.  Shake the pan to combine.
9. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, and braise the leeks for 30 minutes, until a sharp knife is easily inserted near the roots.  Most of the liquid should have evaporated.
10. While the tofu and leeks are cooking, prepare the pea puree.  Place all puree ingredients (peas through vegetable broth) in a food processor and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
11. If the tofu is not browned on top after baking 30 minutes, place it under the broiler, watching very carefully, for a minute or two, just until browned.
12. To serve, lay three leeks on each plate.  Place a piece of tofu on top of the leeks, then a dollop of pea puree on the tofu.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 357.89
Calories From Fat (24%) 86.22
% Daily Value
Total Fat 9.67g 15%
Saturated Fat 1.86g 9%
Cholesterol 0.06mg <1%
Sodium 756.94mg 32%
Potassium 402.26mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 42.68g 14%
Fiber 6.28g 25%
Sugar 11.79g
Protein 16.49g 33%

Comments (12)

VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Rosemary

My Flavor Bible ingredient for today is rosemary, from page 293.  I’m not the biggest rosemary fan (I’d rather have thyme or cilantro any day), but I will easily admit that fresh rosemary has its place in the world.  The flavor matches I picked out were apples, baked goods and cream cheese.  You got it – I made a baked good with rosemary, apples and cream cheese.

I’m not sure why I chose scones, but I think the biscuity texture went really well with the apples and rosemary, kind of skirting the line between a sweet treat and a savory bread.  These were a little bit of work to put together, but worth it, in my opinion.  The cream cheese is a special surprise on the inside; if you don’t want to bother, just skip that step!

I used some spelt flour in combination with all purpose because I thought the nutty flavor would go well with the rest of the ingredients.  I was worried about overworking the dough, as can happen with scones, but the consistency turned out great.  They’re soft and a bit crumbly but not heavy or too moist, and you get sweetness from the apples without adding very much sugar to the mix.  The rosemary turns into a background flavor, lacing an herbiness throughout.  One of these babies was hefty enough to stand in as my dinner one night, along with a banana and some carrot pickles.

Cream Cheese-Stuffed Spelt, Apple and Rosemary Scones

2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Tbs minced fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Earth Balance, cold
6-8 Tbs soy creamer
4 Tbs vegan cream cheese

1. Heat a small pot over medium heat.  Add the apples, rosemary and a pinch of salt and saute 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened.  Add a splash of water if the pan gets too dry.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F.
3. Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in the Earth Balance using a pastry cutter until there are no large pieces and the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in 6 Tbs creamer, just until the flour mixture is moistened.  Add more soy creamer by the tablespoonful, if needed, just until the mixture comes together.  It is okay if there is a little unincorporated flour as long as the mixture holds when pressed together.
4. Gently fold in the apple mixture.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll in the flour to coat.  With floured hands, knead gently 8times.  Add more flour to prevent sticking as needed.
6. Pat the dough into a 1/2 inch-thick circle.  Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter dipped in flour to cut as many circles as possible.  Move six of the circles to an parchment-lined baking sheet, and place a rounded teaspoonful of cream cheese on each circle.  Gather the dough scraps together, pat to 1/2 inch-thick, and cut more circles.  You want to have 12 total.  Place six rounds on top of the rounds on the baking sheet and press lightly around the edges to seal.
7. If the dough gets warm while you’re working with it, place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to chill.
8. Brush the top of each scone with soy creamer and press a small rosemary sprig on top.
9. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the scones are turning golden and the tops don’t give in to the touch.  Immediately remove from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.  Serve warm.

Yields:  6 scones

Amount Per Serving
Calories 299.81
Calories From Fat (40%) 118.43
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.06g 20%
Saturated Fat 3.89g 19%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 555.5mg 23%
Potassium 145.35mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 42.63g 14%
Fiber 3.9g 16%
Sugar 14.18g
Protein 4.68g 9%

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Scandinavian

When I flipped open the Flavor Bible for my third selection, I was surprised to see Scandinavian cuisine.  I know I like the Norway ride at Epcot, but I don’t know a thing about Scandinavian cuisine.  And, I wouldn’t say I know any more about it having made this recipe!

(not easy to get a good picture of a jar of pickled carrots)

In living up to the nature of Flavor Bible Week, I just put some of the flavor matches together and came up with a recipe.  Four of the flavors listed were cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and juniper berries, and to me they just screamed “Pickle something!”.

Sweet & Spicy Scandinavian-ish Quick Pickled Carrots

These carrots were even more tasty than I expected!  They are a bit sweet and very tangy, and there is an strong underlying flavor of spice without any of the spices overpowering another.  They are best straight out of the brine, with a little still clinging to the carrots.

Equipment needed:  quart-sized mason jar or heat-proof bowl.

1 lb carrots, peeled & cut into sticks no more than 1/2-inch wide
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
4 juniper berries
clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1. Place the carrot sticks in the jar or heat-proof bowl.
2. Bring all other ingredients (water through garlic) to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. Carefully and slowly pour the brine over the carrots, and allow to cool to room temperature.  Seal the jar or cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
4. Eat within a month.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 57.4
Calories From Fat (3%) 1.65
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.23g <1%
Saturated Fat 0.04g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 913.33mg 38%
Potassium 216.5mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 15.08g 5%
Fiber 2.58g 10%
Sugar 8.94g
Protein 0.63g 1%

Comments (7)

VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Mushrooms

My second ingredient for Flavor Bible Week is mushrooms, specifically shiitakes, from page 228.  The flavor matches that jumped out at me were bacon, celery root, lemongrass, onion and soy sauce.  Another flavor match listed was soup, so that is what I made.

If you’ve never cooked with celery root (aka celeriac), give it a try!  Once you get past the nubby exterior it’s easy to work with.  Celery root lives up to its name; it tastes like celery but feels like a root vegetable.

Celeriac & Caramelized Onion Soup with Lemon grass and Shiitake Bacon

The lemon grass and onion highlight the creamy celeriac soup, while the shiitake bacon is the real star.  This recipe gives you enough mushrooms to have a piece with almost every bite.  The shiitake bacon method is borrowed from the Bauman College cookbook.

1 Tbs olive oil
large sweet onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 lbs celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
stalk lemon grass, smashed and cut into 6-inch pieces
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
dash salt, or more to taste
dash ground white pepper
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thinly
1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbs tamari

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, stir to coat, and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until caramelized and slightly browned.  Watch to make sure the onions don’t burn or get too dry.
3. Turn up the heat to medium high.  Add the garlic and poultry seasoning and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
4. Add the celeriac, vegetable broth or water and lemon grass.  Cover, turn the heat up and bring to a boil.
5. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer 20 minutes, covered, until celeriac is easily pierced by a fork.
6. Meanwhile, combine the shiitakes, coconut oil, smoked paprika and tamari.  Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping the mushrooms once after 15 minutes.  If smaller pieces start to burn, remove them to a plate as needed.
7. Remove the lemon grass pieces from the pot.  Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches if necessary.  Add the almond milk, salt and white pepper and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
8. Divide the soup among four bowls and top with the mushrooms.  Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 288.88
Calories From Fat (26%) 75.72
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.7g 13%
Saturated Fat 3.72g 19%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 526.39mg 22%
Potassium 1281.21mg 37%
Total Carbohydrates 50.92g 17%
Fiber 8.48g 34%
Sugar 8.52g
Protein 7.64g 15%

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All-In-One Scramble

My breakfasts are pretty typical, whatever I’m in the mood for and can throw together in a few minutes – cereal, overnight oats, smoothies, grits or frozen waffles if I’m feeling indulgent.  Every once in a while I get the itch to make a hearty breakfast dish that I can easily reheat throughout the week, and I usually turn to tofu scramble.  Scrambles are good in a wrap or served alongside an English muffin, but this time I wanted to put everything into one pan for an even easier breakfast.  This skillet dish has plenty of protein, a little fat, veggies and carby satisfaction from some potato.

(I can’t take credit for the idea of combining tofu and tempeh.  I was inspired after reading Vegan Crunk’s review of Blissful Bites, which included a Curry Chickenless Salad made of both tofu and tempeh.)

All-In-One Scramble

If you don’t have kala namak, regular salt is fine.  Kala namak provides an eggy flavor.

8 oz tempeh, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbs coconut oil
medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
medium russet potato, shredded and patted dry
bunch kale, rinsed but not dried, stemmed and torn into small pieces
large carrot, shredded
14 oz firm tofu, patted dry and torn or cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
3/4 tsp kala namak (black salt)
a few dashes black pepper
2 1/2 oz shredded vegan cheddar, such as Vegan Gourmet (optional)

1. Steam the tempeh and mushrooms for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a wide pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and onions and saute for five minutes, until translucent and slightly browned.
3. Add the garlic, thyme and parsley and saute 30 seconds.
4. Add the potatoes, mix well and cook for 3 minutes.  Stir, scraping up the bottom, then cook for 3 more minutes.
5. Turn the heat up to medium-high.  Add the kale and carrots and stir.  If the kale was fairly dry, add a splash of water.  Cover and cook 5 minutes.
6. Add the tofu and mix, scraping up the bottom of the pan.  Cook for a few minutes, until the tofu is heated through.  Turn the heat down to medium.
7. Mix together all remaining ingredients other than the cheese (nutritional yeast through black pepper).  Add this mixture and the cheese to the pan and mix well. Heat until the cheese is melty.  Taste for seasoning and serve hot.

Servings: 4-5

Nutrition Facts for 5 servings

Calories 348.78
Calories From Fat (40%) 138.78
Total Fat 16.27g 25%
Saturated Fat 4.44g 22%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 175.15mg 7%
Potassium 968.55mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 32.08g 11%
Fiber 7.27g 29%
Sugar 3.06g
Protein 25.75g 52%

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Pot Likker

Lately, my blog hasn’t quite lived up to its name.  It’s been more like Vegan Stuff I Ate That Other People Made Outside My Home.  So here’s something I actually made, complete with a recipe!

Way back in February when I went to see Isa’s demo at the Ferry Building farmers market, I made a point to stop by Rancho Gordo’s booth.  Rancho Gordo sells lots of great stuff including beans, corn, chiles and rice, but I only had eyes for the beans.  I must’ve looked perplexed by the selection, because the guy working the booth offered some suggestions.  He highly recommended the Snowcap Beans, and mentioned that they’re good in pot likker.  Needless to say I bought them, and then had to find out exactly what pot likker is!

Pot likker (or liquor) is essentially the liquid left behind after cooking greens.  Here’s a very concise wikipedia description, and a much longer article that I did not read entirely but you might find interesting.  Because it’s a scrappy southern dish the traditional versions involve some sort of pork product or meat broth, so I set about making a vegan version.  I wanted mine to be a full meal in a bowl, with potatoes, turnips and seitan ham.  I couldn’t find a seitan ham recipe that seemed perfect, so I made up my own, based on the seitan recipe in Veganomicon.  The flavor of the seitan is perfect but the texture is a little soft, so if you have a tip for nice, firm seitan use it, and let me know!

Pot Likker

I used Rancho Gordo’s Snowcap beans, but any dry or fresh field peas or lima beans should work.  If the beans are very dry or old the cooking time may need to be increased.

2 Tbs canola oil
1 recipe Ham-ish Seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces (recipe follows)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb dry beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 bunch collard greens, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch turnips (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch dice, greens cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 cups water
1/2 cup dry vermouth
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce, to serve (optional)

1. Place the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the seitan and saute until browned, about 8-9 minutes.  Transfer seitan to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and saute about 6 minutes, until the onions are tender.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (beans through vermouth), and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until beans and potatoes are tender.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot, topped with hot sauce.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 434.84
Calories From Fat (13%) 57.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.53g 10%
Saturated Fat 0.71g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 384.95mg 16%
Potassium 1606.2mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 63.54g 21%
Fiber 13.8g 55%
Sugar 6.1g
Protein 29.3g 59%

Ham-ish Seitan

1 cup vital wheat gluten
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs chickpea flour
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs olive oil
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

Cooking Liquid
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

1. In a large bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour and black pepper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, olive oil and liquid smoke.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon, until completely combined.
4. Knead for 3 minutes, then let rest a few minutes.
5. While the dough is resting, combine the cooking liquid ingredients (vegetable broth through liquid smoke) in a large pot.
6. Cut the dough into three pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball and flatten a little.
7. Put the seitan pieces in the cooking liquid.  Cover and bring to a boil.
8. As soon as the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer.  Partially uncover the pot to vent, and simmer for one hour.
9. Turn the heat off and let the seitan come to room temperature in the liquid.

Servings: 6
Yield: about 1 lb

Amount Per Serving
Calories 139.8
Calories From Fat (19%) 26.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.07g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.38g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 462.45mg 19%
Potassium 119.96mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 10.65g 4%
Fiber 1.9g 8%
Sugar 2.96g
Protein 18.64g 37%

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Vegan Scallops

I usually like to post in chronological order, but I was so pleased with how this meal turned out that I had to share it now!

When I received king trumpet mushrooms from my CSA, I knew right away what I wanted to try to do with them.  I had seen scallops made from mushrooms around the internet before but couldn’t find a recipe, so I made up my own.  I’m really happy with how they look…kind of like real scallops?  I googled seared scallops to get a picture of what I should be going for, and I think I came pretty close.  I wasn’t enamored with the flavor of the mushrooms on their own, but when I ate one with a bit of the lemony sauteed spinach, it came to life flavor-wise.  The lemon is essential!

Vegan Scallops

The nonstick skillet and high heat are important to get a proper sear.  Be sure not to overcrowd the pan.

1/2 lb king trumpet mushrooms, stems about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
1 cup vegetable broth or water, plus more as needed
2 Tbs vegetarian fish sauce
1 Tbs agave nectar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges

1. Slice off the ends of the mushroom stems, then slice the stems into pieces about 1 1/2-inches long.  Save the caps for another purpose.
2. In a shallow container large enough to hold all of the mushrooms, whisk together the vegetable broth, vegetarian fish sauce and agave nectar.  Add the mushrooms, and add more broth if needed, just to cover the mushrooms.  Place another dish on top to keep the mushrooms submerged.  Place in the refrigerator and marinate at least 8 hours.
3. Drain the mushrooms and pat them as dry as possible.  Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat.
4. Season a few mushrooms lightly with salt and pepper on both cut sides.  Place in the skillet, cut side down, and don’t move them for at least 1 minute.  Check the mushrooms; they should be well-seared and pretty brown.  If not, continue to let them cook until brown.  Flip the mushrooms and sear the other sides.  Remove to a plate and repeat until all mushrooms are cooked.
5. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Servings: 3
Yield: 15-16 scallops

Note:  I listed a recipe for vegetarian fish sauce in this post, or there’s a recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that would probably work too.

My marinating vessel – two bread pans.

Don’t do like I did and season all the mushrooms at once!  The salt draws out moisture and makes it more difficult to get a good sear.

The Flavor Bible says that scallops go well with cauliflower and spinach, and so that is what I made for side dishes.  The spinach was sauteed very simply with shallots, garlic, and lemon juice and zest.  The cauliflower gratin was based on this recipe, and was very easy and tasty.  The only changes I made were to use almond milk and shredded Follow Your Heart cheddar.  A cheesy gratin based on a roux might taste more fatty and satisfying, but this low-fat version was a nice light addition to the meal.

On a side note, I added a new page for my budding chef business here.  Check it out!

Comments (16)

VeganMoFo: The Dregs of My Fridge

And so we come to the end of VeganMoFo 2010!  I didn’t meet my goal of blogging every weekday, but I did write make-up posts on the weekends when I missed, so I am still declaring my goal met.  I’ve really enjoyed reading lots of the other MoFo posts.  Sadly, I barely had enough time to keep up with the blogs that I already read, and I didn’t have much time to check out new blogs.  I’ll be reading through all the other blogs now that things are slowing down.

My themed weeks were really fun – Other Bloggers’ Recipes Week, Vegetarian Times Week, and Flavor Bible Week.  I don’t cook from recipes as often as I like, nor do I force myself to work with ingredients I’m not used to, so it really took me outside my comfort zone.  The unfortunate side effect was that I mostly ignored my CSA deliveries in November, letting the fruits and veggies wither away.  Here are the contents of the latest box.

napa cabbage, broccolini, kohlrabi, lettuce and spinach

pears, cranberries, carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, radishes, beets and radicchio

So, while MoFo was fun, I’m looking forward to going back to using my CSA deliveries well, going to the farmer’s market, and bringing my grocery budget back into a normal range.  Tonight I used some of the sad vegetables to make dinner.

While it doesn’t photograph well, this casserole has everything I want in a one-dish dinner:  protein, green veggies, complex carbs, healthy fats, creamy and crunchy textures, and a good calorie count.  I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, but as I kept eating the flavors totally grew on me.  This casserole may not be for you if you don’t like cabbage, tempeh and sweet potatoes because, well, that’s what it’s made from!

Creamy Cabbage & Tempeh Casserole with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 Tbs cashew butter
1 Tbs white miso
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp vinegar
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs canola oil
medium leek, light green part only, halved, rinsed and sliced
large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
medium head green cabbage, shredded
8 oz package tempeh, crumbled
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Place 1 cup of the milk in a measuring glass or small bowl.  Add the cashew butter, miso, Dijon mustard, vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  (If using water instead of vegetable broth, add a pinch more salt.)  Whisk together – It’s okay if there are a few small lumps of cashew butter left.
3. Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the leek, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are starting to soften.
4. Add the cabbage and increase the heat a bit.  Continue to cook for 5 minutes, until most of the cabbage is wilted.  Stir frequently so that the cabbage doesn’t brown too much.
5. Add the tempeh, chickpea flour and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring very well to fully incorporate the flour.
6. Re-whisk the milk mixture and add to the pot, stirring well.  The mixture will be absorbed quickly.
7. Add the vegetable broth or water and mix well.  Continue to cook and stir until there is little liquid at the bottom of the pan.
8. Transfer the mixture to a 9 X 9 baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, place the sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
10. Drain the sweet potatoes and return to the pot, adding the remaining 1/4 cup milk and a pinch of salt.  Mash well.
11. Uncover the baking dish and carefully spread the sweet potatoes over the top, trying not to disturb the cabbage mixture.  Grind some black pepper over the sweet potatoes.  Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
12. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  To serve, cut each portion with a knife then transfer to plate with a spatula.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 431.67
Calories From Fat (33%) 144.56
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.93g 26%
Saturated Fat 2.73g 14%
Cholesterol 0.62mg <1%
Sodium 910.7mg 38%
Potassium 1240.32mg 35%
Total Carbohydrates 53.99g 18%
Fiber 12.42g 50%
Sugar 13.32g
Protein 22.88g 46%

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Chestnuts

I think after planning, cooking, eating and cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner I was just not in the mood to write about food for a day or two.  So, I’m back for the fourth installment of Flavor Bible Week – chestnuts!

I do not believe that I had ever had a chestnut in my life until this week.  I really didn’t know what they were or how to prepare them, so I did a lot of research online to make sure I was treating them correctly.  I had been seeing a lot of chestnut bisques online recently, so I thought a soup would go over well.  I wanted to make the soup uber-delicious in order to use it for a Thanksgiving starter, and the good news is that it turned out really well.  I was inspired by this recipe, as well as the recipe in the Millennium Cookbook, and ended up using eleven flavor matches:  apple cider, bay leaf, “butter”, celery root, “milk”, nutmeg, onions, pepper, sherry, sugar and thyme.  In perusing the flavor matches, I noticed that chestnuts could go with a lot of savory flavors, or a lot of sweet, so I decided on a savory soup with a sweet topping.

First, let’s talk about ingredients.  I know celery root, or celeriac, isn’t a widely used ingredient, but I think it should be!  They’re not very pretty…

…but they’re very tasty.  Celery root is kind of like a mild root vegetable with a celery flavor, and would complement anything that celery normally goes with.  Once you peel away the skin and the nubby parts, you’re left with a white, starchy veggie that is easy to prepare.

Now, the chestnuts.  I was actually hoping to find either jarred or dried chestnuts to make my life easier, but lucky me, I could only find fresh.  So, I looked up instructions and roasted them in the oven.

They cooked up okay, but they were a total pain in the butt to peel.  I think maybe if I had made the cuts larger, the skin could have come off more on its own and the peeling would have been easier.  As it was, it took me about three hours to peel while I was watching The Walking Dead.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Not very pretty, but they sure are tasty.

For the sweet topping, I wanted to make a gastrique.  A gastrique is just a fancy word for a wine/vinegar reduction made with fruit and maybe some sugar.  One of the flavor matches for chestnuts is prunes, which I think are an under appreciated ingredient in general, so I set out for a prune gastrique.  The problem turned out to be that the prunes sucked up all the juice, which I really could have anticipated it I thought about it.  If I had a high-speed blender I could’ve turned it into a puree, but my blender aint that strong.  So, I just accepted that the gastrique didn’t work and scraped out the few drops that I could for my first taste:

While the soup isn’t the prettiest color, it tastes awesome.  It’s creamy yet thick, and subtly flavored with the richness of chestnuts and that hint of celery flavor.  The gastrique added that little touch of sweet and sour which set of the soup perfectly.  To serve on Thanksgiving, I made a reduction of the same ingredients without the prunes, and this turned out good as well.  I probably put too much of the reduction on our Thanksgiving portions – it really only needs a small drizzle so you get the sweetness in a few bites, but not in others.  I promise, it tastes much better than it looks!

Chestnut & Celeriac Soup with Sherry-Cider Reduction

If you’re not into the sweet topping, some thinly sliced, crispy fried mushrooms would be a nice alternative.  If you can’t find fresh chestnuts or don’t want to bother peeling them, use about half the amount of dried chestnuts, or a drained jar of chestnuts.  The soup reheats well, so feel free to make it the day before serving, but I would recommend making the reduction just before service.

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch sea salt
2 celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 lb fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 quarts vegetable broth
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
dash ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
pinch sea salt
2 Tbs sugar

1. Melt the Earth Balance in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, leek, garlic and pinch of salt and saute for 12-14 minute, until onions are translucent and leeks are soft.
2. Add the celeriac, chestnuts, bay leaf, thyme and vegetable broth.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 40 minutes, until celeriac is easily pierced with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, make the reduction:  Combine all ingredients (apple cider through sugar) in a small pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the mixture is reduced enough to cling to the bottom of the pot when tilted.  The reduction should drizzle easily off of a spoon.  If you reduce the mixture too much, add a Tablespoon or two of water and stir well to thin.  Remove from the heat when it is the right consistency.
4. Remove soup from the heat and discard bay leaf and thyme sprig.
5. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches if necessary.  Add the milk and blend until completely smooth.
6. Wipe out the pot if needed, and transfer the soup back to the pot.  Add the nutmeg and white pepper and stir.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
7. Gently reheat the soup and serve warm, topped with a small drizzle of the reduction.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 311.2
Calories From Fat (20%) 60.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.79g 10%
Saturated Fat 1.42g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 231.35mg 10%
Potassium 685.05mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 57.17g 19%
Fiber 2.11g 8%
Sugar 6.85g
Protein 5.67g 11%

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