Posts Tagged sauce

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.

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VeganMoFo: Thanksgiving 2010

We originally invited four friends over for Thanksgiving but only one could make it, so we had a small, relaxed gathering.  We set the table up behind the couch for easy football watching during dinner – excellent.

Our appetizer was Pepper Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese, balsamic roasted figs, and crackers.  The cheese log was AWESOME.  I super heart it.  The recipe is C’est La Vegan’s adaptation of the Vegetarian Times recipe, and I really appreciated the extra commentary and directions that she provided.  I was worried that my cheese wasn’t going to hold together because it didn’t drain off much liquid and felt soft coming out of the oven, but it held together well enough to transfer to the platter, and the consistency was perfectly spreadable.  I would highly recommend giving this a try if you like tangy, spreadable, delicious vegan cheese.  The recipe seems lengthy, but it doesn’t have to be; I soaked the cashews while at work the day before, blended it that night and let it sit overnight, then baked it in the morning.

The figs were tossed with a bit of balsamic, olive oil and salt and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes.  They weren’t a huge hit with Dave or our guest, but I liked them well enough.

I also put out a bowl of sweet ‘n spicy mixed nuts, which I over baked a little.  Oops…

I wanted to serve soup and salad, and kept the servings small so that we wouldn’t fill up before the main event.

Chestnut & Celeriac Soup with Sherry-Cider Reduction.  As I said in the recipe post, I put a bit too much reduction on the soup – It really only needs a small drizzle.

Chopped Salad with “Honey”-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  I planned to make this for Thanksgiving ever since it went over so well at our Showcase dinner.  I substituted agave for the honey, and left out the apples and avocado.  I can see how it would be even better with avocado.  Neither of the guys ate their entire salad, but they both said they liked it, which is really impressive for a salad containing both raw kale and brussels sprouts.

There was so much food, we used every surface.  Dave did make a turkey with gravy and non-vegan stuffing, but other than that, everything was vegan!

He also made a vegan oyster mushroom stuffing, which was really nice because it was one less dish I had to worry about.  And as a bonus, it was really good!  Earth Balance, onion, celery, oyster mushrooms, fresh sage, thyme and rosemary, stale bread cubes, and unchicken broth.

Mound of mashed potatoes with Earth Balance, truffle salt and almond milk.

Green Bean Casserole, topped with French’s fried green beans as opposed to freshly fried onions, at Dave’s request.  While I do like my version with homemade crispy onions, I also have to admit that the French’s onions are quite excellent for this purpose.

Orange-Cranberry Sauce.  I wasn’t going to make any cranberry sauce this year because it’s not our favorite part of the meal, but my CSA sent me a package of fresh cranberries the week before, so what choice did I have?  I set out to make a mold, but it didn’t set up enough, so I called it a smooth sauce.  No recipe – I just cooked the cranberries with the juice of two oranges and zest of one, adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of agave nectar.  They simmered just until soft, then I blended the mixture and returned it to the pot, adding a few Tablespoons of agar flakes and some maple syrup.  It tasted nice, but I was sad when the mold didn’t hold its shape.

My entree was the Nut Roast Extraordinaire that I froze a few weeks ago, on the plate with corn and Our Veggie Kitchen’s Turkey Gravy.  The gravy actually did kinda taste like turkey!  Granted, it’s been a long time since I had turkey.  While it wasn’t my favorite gravy ever, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a vegan turkey gravy.

All together.

Dessert was Pumpkin Pie from the Mission:  Impossible Pies e-book, served with Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Vanilla Ice Cream.  Dave wanted a store-bought pie and was suspicious when he heard that our pie wasn’t going to have any crust, but in the end he admitted that this version was good too.  He certainly didn’t complain while we ate the leftovers!

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VeganMoFo: Squashes, Pumpkins and Other Things Autumnal

Welcome to Vegan Month of Food!  If you missed my last post with my plans for VeganMoFo 2010, check it out.  I’m starting out by catching up on some stuff that’s been going on recently.  To get into the spirit of Fall, I’ve been eating as many Autumnal flavors as possible!

This is autumn millet, tempeh, roasted brussels sprouts and toasted pepitas.  I don’t know if I can adequately express my love for roasted brussels sprouts.  I could eat at least three times the amount pictured here in one sitting.  Love!  For the millet, I was inspired by Lilveggiepatch’s Autumn Millet.  I’ve never been a huge fan of millet, because I had never figured out how to cook it correctly, and now I think I’ve found the formula.  Some people say to use 2 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out underdone and crunchy, and some people say to use 3 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out wet and squishy.  So, I compromised and used 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup millet and the texture was perfectly light and fluffy.  I also toasted the millet very well in a dry pan before adding the water, which I think is key.  The tempeh was simmered then quickly marinated in orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, cumin and coriander.  The toasted pepitas totally sealed the deal on this dinner.

When I first saw the frittata recipe from the VeganizeIt! column in the May/June issue of VegNews, I knew I would love it.  The description promised an eggy texture and taste from chickpea flour and kala namak, and while it didn’t seem extremely eggy to me, I did like it a lot.

I served the frittata with roasted pumpkin, cooked in coconut oil and spiced with garam masala and coriander.  I used leek in the frittata instead of the onion which was called for, just because I had a leek in the fridge.  I also reduced the amount of margarine from 1/4 cup to 2 Tbs, because I just didn’t see the need for that much margarine.  The frittata didn’t feel low fat even with the reduced amount, and I was particularly happy with the calorie count – under 150 calories for 1/6 of the whole pie!

I bought a block of Galaxy Vegan Cheddar to try out on some chili, and when I came across (never home) maker’s Smoked Pumpkin Chili I thought it would pair perfectly.  Verdict on the cheese:  It’s…okay.  It’s not better or worse than Daiya or Teese, just different, and I guess I would buy it again if I needed some cheese and it was available.  It did shred very easily, so that’s a plus.

Verdict on the chili:  Delicious!  The pumpkin puree made the broth wonderfully thick, and the smoked paprika gave it a great smoky flavor.  I added a few dashes of cayenne pepper, because my chili has to be spicy.  My only complaint is that the recipe didn’t include any actual chili powder, which to me is an essential ingredient.  I hope to make this soup again sooner than later, and I will probably add a tablespoon of chili powder when I do.

The latest East Bay Vegan Bakesale was last Saturday, and while I didn’t have time to bake for it, I made sure to stop buy and pick up a few goodies.  This is a pumpkin whoopie pie and a sweet potato muffin, and they were both fantastic.  I also bought a mini-banana muffin and scarfed it too quickly to photograph.  There were also brownies, giant cinnamon rolls, cookies, cupcakes and all sorts of other goodies on display, and I used my amazing skills of self-control to not buy it all.  Or, I was broke at the end of the month.  One of those…

For dinner tonight, I baked up a spaghetti squash then tossed the flesh with Vegan Dad’s Alfredo Sauce and some steamed spinach.  I’ve had some major let-downs in the alfredo department since going vegan, but this sauce did not disappoint!  I again reduced the amount of margarine called for, because I just can’t justify putting 1/2 cup of Earth Balance in something that I’ll be eating all by myself.  I can see how the sauce would be more rich with the full amount, but I don’t think it really suffered for taking out some of the fat.  I also reduced the amount of onion powder a bit, and added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, because everything needs nutritional yeast.  On the side, I had some roasted beets and radishes.  Beets and radishes play surprisingly well together.

I’m so excited to read all of the upcoming VeganMoFo posts from bloggers around the world.  There are over 500 blogs signed up!  A full list will be posted here within a few days:

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Homework #2

For my second homework assignment at Bauman College, I was to turn in recipes for a complete meal – appetizer, soup, salad, entree with sauce and vegetable side dish.  This was a lot for me to handle at the time, so for the side dish I wrote out a recipe for simple roasted beets.  Everything else was from scratch!

Polenta Crostini with White Beans & Arugula Pesto

1 18 oz tube organic prepared polenta
olive oil spray
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups arugula, packed
2 Tbs parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed
extra parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut polenta into 12 slices.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or brush with olive oil.  Place the polenta slices on the baking sheet, spray or brush the tops with olive oil and season lightly with sea salt and pepper.  Bake the polenta slices for 20 minutes, flipping and seasoning again after 10 minutes.  Broil for a few minutes if desired to brown the polenta.
3. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan frequently, just until fragrant and lightly browned.  Remove from the heat.
4. Place the arugula, parsley, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a food processor.  Process until finely chopped.
5. Drizzle the olive oil slowly into the food processor while running, until the pesto achieves a paste-like texture.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
6. Place the white beans in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the pesto, stir and cook just until heated through.
7. To serve, place three polenta crostini on a plate.  Top each round with a spoonful of the bean mixture, and garnish each crostini with a parsley leaf.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 370.18
Calories From Fat (39%) 143.5
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.6g 26%
Saturated Fat 1.9g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 515.85mg 21%
Potassium 547.36mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 43.78g 15%
Fiber 7.85g 31%
Sugar 2.07g
Protein 13.82g 28%

Acorn Squash & Caramelized Onion Soup with Wild Rice

1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups water
3 Tbs high heat sunflower oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 acorn squash, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp coriander
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch ground red pepper
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the wild rice and water in a pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45-50 minutes until rice is tender.
3. Heat 1 Tbs of the sunflower oil in a large pot.  Turn heat to low, add onions and stir to coat.  Cook for 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, until caramelized.
4. Meanwhile, coat the squash, carrot and garlic cloves with 2 Tbs sunflower oil and place in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
5. Put half of the roasted vegetables, all of the onions and half of the broth in the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture into the pot used to cook the onions.
6. Put the rest of the vegetables and broth, the spices and a generous pinch of salt in the blender and blend until smooth.  Add to the soup in the pot.  Cook the soup over low heat until heated through, stirring often.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Spoon wild rice into the center and garnish with paprika.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 231.68
Calories From Fat (41%) 94.3
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.69g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.17g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 23.95mg <1%
Potassium 584.61mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 32.29g 11%
Fiber 4.13g 17%
Sugar 2.83g
Protein 4.55g 9%

Broccoli & Apple Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar, divided
1 bunch broccoli (3-4 stalks), cut into florets and stalks saved for another purpose
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1/4 cup tahini
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs tamari
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the sliced red onion in a small bowl and add 1 Tbs of the apple cider vinegar.  Add water to cover, stir and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready.  Submerge the broccoli florets into the boiling water for 90 seconds.  Drain the broccoli and plunge into the ice water.  Once cool, drain the broccoli again.
3. Whisk the remaining ingredients (including 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar) in a small bowl.  The dressing will be thick.
4. Drain the sliced onion.  Place the broccoli, onion and apple in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.  The dressing will thin out when mixed with the water remaining on the broccoli.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 132.84
Calories From Fat (47%) 63.05
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.54g 12%
Saturated Fat 1.06g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 400.03mg 17%
Potassium 347.51mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 14.33g 5%
Fiber 2.57g 10%
Sugar 3.78g
Protein 5.55g 11%

Braised Tempeh with Garlic-Peppercorn Smashed Potatoes & Orange-Vanilla-Fennel Sauce

1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bulb fennel, quartered, cored and sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 lb tempeh
1 orange, supremed, juices reserved
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs nutritional yeast

Garlic-Peppercorn Smashed Potatoes:
4 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp peppercorns, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
sea salt

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large, wide skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the fennel and saute for 4 minutes, stirring often.  The onions should be starting to brown slightly.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.
2. While the vegetables are cooking, slice the tempeh in half so that you have two thinner pieces of the same size.  Cut these halves into four rectangles, then those rectangles into triangles so that you have 16 pieces.
3. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up all of the vegetables.  Add the remaining 3 cups of broth and 1/2 tsp salt, turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.
4. Add the tempeh to the pan, submerging in the liquid as much as possible.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. With a slotted spoon, remove the tempeh to a plate and keep warm.
6. Transfer the broth/vegetable mixture to a blender and add the orange segments and juice and vanilla extract.  Place a towel over the top of the blender and hold with one hand.  Blend until smooth.
7. Carefully remove the top of the blender, as steam will escape.  Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel if necessary, then pour the mixture back into the pan.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced to a saucy consistency.  Remove from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
8. To make the smashed potatoes, place the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and add a generous pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil at medium-high heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain.  In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and peppercorns, swirl the oil to combine and cook for 1 minute, shaking and swirling the pan often.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the oil mixture, almond milk, nutritional yeast and a pinch of sea salt to the potatoes and mash, leaving the potatoes slightly chunky.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
9. To serve, mound the potatoes in the center of each plate.  Spoon the sauce around the potatoes, lean four pieces of tempeh up against the potatoes and garnish with fennel fronds.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 512.86
Calories From Fat (32%) 161.99
% Daily Value
Total Fat 19.12g 29%
Saturated Fat 5.91g 30%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 311.11mg 13%
Potassium 1748.73mg 50%
Total Carbohydrates 63.3g 21%
Fiber 9.38g 38%
Sugar 6.03g
Protein 29.72g 59%

Overall, this “meal” was much too large for me – I split it into two evenings.  I thought the recipes turned out really well though.

Before school started, I had decided that I would leave my camera at home and not bother trying to get pictures of stuff that we cooked there.  Lucky for us, one of my classmates has been documenting everything, so I though I’d share some of the dishes we made during the second module.

Soups class – Curried Red Lentil Stew

Mexican Chilled Avocado Soup with Sweet Corn Salsa

Tempeh and Wild Mushroom Stew

Sauces class, an array of sauces!  I worked on an adobo sauce.

During salads class I made this Mixed Green Salad with Smoky Shiitakes and Raw Ranch Dressing.  It was really flippin’ good.

Appetizers and Garnishes class – Polenta and Wild Mushroom Crostini with Balsamic Reduction

Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

Tempeh Meatball Skewers with Barbecue Glaze.  It was harder to get them to stick together without gluten flour, but they worked!

Greens and Vegetables class – This was a really good Steamed Baby Artichoke Salad with Spiralized Beets and Herb Dressing.

Each week two people worked on an improvisational dish.  My partner and I made this “yin and yang” soup when we were given a butternut squash and celeriac to work with.

More to come soon!

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Clean-Out-The-Fridge Stirfry with Sweet & Sour Peanut Sauce

I don’t want to buy any more food until the farmers market tomorrow, so today I mulled over the assortment of stray veggies in the fridge.  I had an idea for a sauce that I thought could pull together the eggplant, carrot, celery, kale and basil, and it worked out nicely.

First I dragged out the crinkle cutter and got all fancy.


I served the stirfry over white rice (was out of brown) and topped it with the peanut sauce, basil and toasted peanuts.  Be careful if you try to toast peanuts, people!  They burn quickly.


Granted, the flavor combo of this meal was interesting.  I probably wouldn’t make it again unless faced with the same ingredients.  The whole point was to coat everything in the sauce, which was really tasty.

Sweet & Sour Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup peanut butter
3 Tbs peach or apricot jam
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce
2 Tbs water

Whisk together all ingredients.

Makes 2-3 servings.


I almost forgot!  Most of the blogosphere has done the “share 5 things about yourself” taggy thing, so I figure I’ll tell you fine readers a bit about me.  My one passion other than food is music.  I was the highest ranking officer in the high school band (nerd alert!) and I have a bachelor’s degree in music performance.  I’ve sang and played in a few punk and ska bands – trumpet, guitar, bass and even a little drumming.  I took a year of drum lessons in college as my “minor” instrument and that was pretty awesome.  I even performed a four mallet marimba solo in front of the whole percussion studio!

In the past couple years I haven’t done much musically.  I’m the kind of writer that music has to “come to”.  I can’t just sit down and write.  So when it’s not coming, I’m not writing.  It also doesn’t help me musically that I’m in a happy relationship, I’m much more prolific when sad and lonely.  Although that’s a trade I’m willing to take.  I’m technically still in a band, but two members live down in Tampa and have busy adult jobs so we don’t get together very often.

Today while walking home from the bus stop I was reading Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, a part about how artists are inspired and how each piece of work regardless of the subject is a representation of the artist themself.  Being Palahniuk, the inspirations were pain and disease and other weird stuff, but it got me to thinking that I’d like to get creative and put out a representation of myself.  I then decided to try to compose a piece for piano, which is not my standard medium.  I took many years of piano lessons as a child, but am currently a very mediocre player at best.  I stopped reading and just walked for a moment, and a tune popped into my head, so when I got home I sat down, worked out the chords and notated it.  I worked on it a bit more after dinner, and took a picture to commemorate how nice it is to be creative.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with this piece if I finish it, but for now it’s good to have a new project.


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