Posts Tagged Veganomicon

VCON On A Budget

When we got back from Vegas last month I had a serious need to curtail my spending until we got paid again.  But I also needed to eat.  So I poked around Veganomicon to see if I could find some recipes that made good use of what I already had in the house.

First, a CSA delivery from which many ingredients came.

red pepper, blueberries, apricots, peaches, Russian Banana potatoes, red onions, carrots and pattypan squash

green peppers, corn, basil, broccoli and lettuce

The first recipe I chose to make was Spaghetti & Beanballs, which I have been wanting to try forever.

I already had whole wheat fettuccine and a jar of sauce in the pantry (thought the fettuccine was actually spaghetti, but it doesn’t make much difference to me), so all I had to buy was a few ingredients for the beanballs.  The recipe calls for a 20 oz. can of beans, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen, so I bought two 15 oz. cans and intended to increase the recipe accordingly.  Except then I forgot and added the normal amounts of everything but the beans, only remembering when I was mostly done forming the balls.  I briefly considered mushing all the balls together and adding the missing components, but I just wasn’t up for it so I crossed my fingers and threw ’em in the oven.  I was really worried they wouldn’t hold together very well since the amount of vital wheat gluten was lower than it should’ve been, but in the end they ended up holding together fine, if maybe just a little more squishy than normal.  I really liked the flavor of these little guys, and I’m sure next time when I make them correctly I’ll love the texture too.

The next cheap-ish meal I chose was the Roasted Portobello Salad.  Portobellos were actually on sale!

I left off the avocado that the recipe calls for because it was like $3 an avocado, and I was trying to keep the fat content down anyway.  I chose some spinach to go along with the lettuce I already had, and I really liked the combination of the juicy portobello, red onion and chickpeas.  Overall, though, I wasn’t a huge fan of this salad.  Something in it was much too vinegar-y and tangy for me, and I’m normally okay with a lot of vinegar.  I’m thinking it was the dressing.  I also thought the salad could use something crunchy, so I sprinkled sunflower seeds on the leftovers and that helped.

To go with the salad, I made the Lemony Roasted Potatoes.  Not a winner either!  The potatoes were undercooked, even with 10 extra minutes cooking time, and the sauce didn’t thicken up like it was supposed to.  I also thought the dish was too oily.  I’ve seen rave reviews for both these recipes, so I don’t know if I was in some sort of cooking funk that day or if they just weren’t right for me, but either way I probably won’t make either of these again.  The beanballs though, they are great!

Comments (5)

Special Stromboli & Caesar Salad

First, my most recent CSA delivery.

romaine lettuce, fennel, kale, artichokes, pea shoots & collards

purple potatoes, carrots, apples, radicchio, tangelos & red onions

Fennel again!  Ugh.  While it is an interesting challenge to find ways to use all the fennel, I think I’ll be happy when it’s no longer fennel season.

When Cyn mentioned in a comment that fennel was good on pizza, I tucked that info away for the next time I got fennel.  I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how I could go from what would be pretty good pizza to a fancy “wow” meal.  This stromboli took longer to make than I normally like to spend on dinner.  I wanted to coax some complex flavors from the ingredients, and in the end the results were worth the extra time.

Roasted Portobello & Fennel Stromboli with Caramelized Onion Sauce, Pea Shoots & Balsamic Reduction

pizza dough for one pizza (I used the VWAV recipe)
3 small red onions, or 1 large, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, or 1 large, shaved
2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup balsamic vinegar
pea shoots or other tender, bite-sized greens

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a wide skillet. Add sliced onions and turn heat to low. Cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring often, until onions are browned and caramelized.

Meanwhile, line a baking pan with foil. Add the shaved fennel, portobello, 2 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp kosher salt, and stir to combine. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes. When vegetables are cooked, remove them from the oven and increase the temperature to 450 F.

When onions are cooked, transfer them to a bowl. Place the almonds in the food processor and process into fine crumbs. Pour almond meal into the pan used to cook the onions, and toast over medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.

Put the onions in the food processor with the 1/4 cup water, and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the almond meal in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine (it will sizzle), and stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the onion puree, maple syrup, nutritional yeast and salt and stir to combine. Cook just until heated through.

On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a large rectangle. Spread the onion sauce all over the crust, leaving a 1-inch border along the long ends. Sprinkle the fennel and portobello mixture evenly over the crust. Starting from one long end, roll the crust up tightly. Pinch the crust together to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet, seam side down.

Bake the stromboli for 17-18 minutes, until the crust is brown and crispy on the outside.

As soon as the stromboli goes in the oven, put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced into a syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

When the stromboli is cooked, slice it, top with pea shoots and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Serves 4.

Note:  This keeps well overnight.  Just reheat the stromboli in the microwave or toaster, and heat up the balsamic syrup to loosen it up.

As soon as I saw that I had romaine lettuce, I knew I wanted to make the Caesar Salad from Veganomicon.  It’s so, so good and I just happened to have bought a big bottle of capers a few weeks ago.

I LOVE this dressing.  I used store-bought croutons and threw in radicchio, just to use it up.  What a great salad.  I also ate it as a “chicken” caesar salad wrap, in a multigrain tortilla with some cut up soy nuggets.

To go with my salad, I cut the purple potatoes into wedges and roasted them.  While these were good, I think I preferred the first time I ate purple potatoes, when I had them mashed with gravy.

Comments (16)

CSA Dinners

Another glorious CSA delivery, more glorious meals.

broccoli, collards, brussels sprouts, fennel, celery, baby bok choy & leaf lettuce

beets, a yellow onion, apples, oranges & radicchio

I was supposed to get romanesco, and I was really excited because I’ve never had it before, but they ran out and gave me broccoli instead.  Which is fine, because I like broccoli and I was going to use the romanesco to replace broccoli in a recipe anyway.

This is the Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole from The Uncheese Cookbook.  It is super tasty and super easy to make.  You pretty much mix together five things in a casserole dish and stick it in the oven.  Although if you want to use brown rice instead of white you should precook it a bit first, which I kind of knew beforehand but tried to get away with it anyway.

I served the casserole with shredded raw beets over leaf lettuce.  The beets were dressed with orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and agave nectar.

I’m still not a huge fan of radicchio, but I’m finding I like it cooked and paired with something sweet.  I was happy to find this recipe for Sausages with Caramelized Red Onions & Radicchio.  I envisioned making it with homemade seitan sausages, but that just wasn’t in the cards for a weeknight meal.

I halved the recipe but followed it almost exactly, subbing Earth Balance for butter and Tofurkey Italian Sausages for sausage  I also added a bit of sesame parmesan.  This dish was very tasty, but the caramelized onions were so good and sweet that they overshadowed the other ingredients.  Which meant I couldn’t taste the radicchio, so I guess it was okay.

The sausages were served atop polenta with beet greens.  The polenta was jut okay.  It’s the first time I’ve made polenta not from a recipe, so hopefully I’ll be better at flavoring it next time.

I used the bok choy, as per usual, in a stirfry.  A fancy, tasty stirfry based on a recipe.  I loosely followed the Curried Udon Stirfry from Veganomicon, and the sauce totally made the stirfry.

I am definitely interested in making the recipe as is sometime.  I was nervous about the roux not working, but it worked perfectly.

Some friends moved into a new house a few weeks ago, and they are now lucky enough to have a lemon tree, flowers, herbs, and among other things, a kaffir lime bush.  With kaffir lime leaves!  They smelled so good that I felt the need to steal some and make green curry.  So I did.

I used this recipe from Food Network, subbing extra firm tofu for the chicken.  I added steamed broccoli, cauliflower & sweet potatoes, and just a bit of sugar toward the end of cooking.  And I couldn’t find Thai basil, so regular basil was a fine stand in.  It doesn’t look like a green curry, but the sauce is under there somewhere, I promise.  The only change I would make next time is to not add the extra 3/4 cup of liquid with the coconut milk, as the sauce wasn’t as thick as I would’ve liked.

And because a new CSA delivery came today, a clean-out-the-fridge stew for dinner tonight.

Ingredients:  onion, leek, carrot, celery, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaf, liquid smoke, cooking wine, tomatoes, black eyed peas, lentils, collards and wild rice blend.  Perfect except that I added a wee bit too much liquid smoke.

I’m all caught up on posting!  Finally.  I may try to go back to more singular posts, as opposed to throwing five meals together in one.  Or I’ll get way behind again.  We shall see.

Comments (17)

Millennium & Greens Two Ways

When my parents were planning their visit to San Francisco, my mom asked me if there were any restaurants I’d like to go to.  I immediately thought of Millennium.  I’ve wanted to eat a meal there ever since I first heard about the restaurant, and our visit confirmed everything great that I’ve heard.

I was shy about taking pictures of our meal and didn’t use flash, so the pictures are almost unidentifiable.  My mom had the excellent idea of asking for a menu though, so I know exactly what was in each dish.

For appetizers we shared the Black Eyed Pea Fritters and the Sesame Crusted Oyster Mushrooms.

The fritters came with aji chile coconut cream and jicama-apple-pomegranate salsa, and I thought they were kind of like a take on falafel and tahini sauce.  The cold, crunchy salsa was great with the soft, hot inside of the fritters.  Our waitress described the mushrooms, which came with lemongrass-grapefruit-chile sambal and watermelon radish relish, as vegan calamari, and I have to say it was an accurate description.  We debated which appetizer each of us liked best, and I think the table was split in half.

I knew which entree I wanted almost right away, the one that seemed the most original:  Seared Nettle Polenta Cake.

I’d heard of nettle tea, but didn’t know for sure that nettles were edible.  Edible they were!  The polenta cake came with sage & Meyer lemon tofu “cheese”, seared rapini, chanternay carrots & artichokes, mushroom & fennel sugo, fried capers and pine nut bread crumbs.  To be perfectly honest, not all of these components were easily identifiable to me, but they came together perfectly.  The tofu “cheese” gave a distinct tang to what was otherwise an earthy dish, and the fried capers and pine nut bread crumbs provided good crunch.

Ah, that’s a better picture.  Mom got the Chimichurri Grilled Portobello Mushroom, which came with sunchoke & root vegetable hash, saffron scented IPA & French lentil brodo, escarole with caramelized onion & roasted apples and smoky orange-almond romesco sauce.  She said she was sold at “portobello”.

Dad ordered the Winter Tamale – a roasted pumpkin, pinto bean & caramelized onion filling, chocolate-almond mole, sauteed winter greens, cabbage & avocado salad and carrot-habanero sauce.

BF got the Black Chanterelle Mushrooms En Papillote, which may not have been a great choice for him since he doesn’t like to touch his food.  As our waitress explained, En Papillote means “in paper”.  Don’t worry, he successfully opened the package with a knife and fork.  This dish included borlotti bean & leek confit with exotic mushrooms, barley risotto, creamy sherried root vegetable ragu and seared winter chicories.  He chose this for the mushrooms and barley, and I think he got more beans than he bargained for.

The picture of dessert is the worst of them all, and I don’t have the exact description, but I can tell you that it was a spiced ginger baby bundt cake that came with ice cream, the flavor of which I don’t recall.  I do recall that it was very, very tasty.

Summary:  Go to Millennium if you get the chance.  It’s just as good as you expect.  I will definitely be going back as often as possible.

Oh, and since mom likes taking pictures of me, here I am at the Saturday morning Ferry Building Farmers’ Market holding a daikon radish sample for mom, since she had never seen them before.

My CSA has not been stingy with the greens lately, so I’ve been trying to find different ways to prepare them.  Here’s the CSA delivery:

leeks, fennel, bok choy, chard, kale & collards

carrots, red onions, navel oranges and two kinds of pear

The CSA newsletter came with a recipe for Creamed Greens that looked really good, and so I tried veganizing it with the chard.  It didn’t turn out exactly as “creamed” as I expected, but it did taste really, really good, so I’m renaming it.

This is even better than it looks, I promise.

Creamy Greens

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 large onion, diced
1 large bunch chard or kale, washed and cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons, stems chopped
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer or milk
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (I used the sesame parmesan from Uncheese Cookbook)
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and chopped stems, and saute on medium heat until translucent. Add greens to skillet and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted. Turn heat to lowest setting and add creamer or milk. Stir for two to three minutes, the sauce will thickenn slightly. Add vegan parmesan, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened to your liking. Add salt & pepper to taste, and serve.

Serves 4.

In addition to cooking greens, I’ve been learning to enjoy them raw.  I knew I liked raw kale salad, but had my doubts about the heartier collard green.  I wilted the greens using the same method as kale and dressed ’em as simply as possible, and this was very tasty.  I wouldn’t want to eat raw collards every day or anything, but when you’ve got greens coming out of your ears this is a nice alternative.

Also pictured is a roasted veggie tofu quiche that tasted amazing but didn’t hold together exactly well, so I’ll be making it again soon then posting the recipe.

Raw Collard & Carrot Ribbons

1 bunch collards, washed and cut across into thin strips
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar

In a large bowl, combine collard, olive oil and salt. Massage with your hands until the collard turn a bright green and seem a bit wilted. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Serves 4.

Random baking:  I had a large portion of butternut squash just sitting on the counter, so I cooked it, pureed it, and subbed it for pumpkin in the Pumpkin & Carob Chip Muffins from Vegan Lunchbox.

There must’ve been something off about my batter, because the tops puffed up kind of funny.  They got crispy though, which is nice, and the muffins tasted great.

At one point I had large amounts of leeks piling up in the fridge, so I finally made the White Bean & Leek Cassoulet from Veganomicon.  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since I got the book over a year ago.

I was expecting this to be really amazing based on other internet reviews, and while it was quite comforting and tasty, it left a little to be desired.  Maybe my hopes were too high.  I think maybe I used too many potatoes or cut them too large, because I felt like the starch of the potatoes overshadowed the biscuits.  Also, I didn’t put enough salt in the gravy, and I don’t think the biscuit recipe called for enough salt either.  The gravy was nice, but the overall flavor of the dish was a little “flat”, if that makes sense, so I think when I make it again (and I will), I’ll add some mustard or lemon juice, or something else that will give it some zing.

Next up:  My first experiences with fennel, including the quiche pictured above.

Comments (16)

Snobby Joes & A Hot Toddy

I’ve been wanting to try the Snobby Joes from Veganomicon ever since I got the book last Christmas, and last week I was in the mood.  The idea of using lentils intrigued me.  I like lentils but never eat them as much as I could, so I’m always looking for reasons to use them.

On the side I had plain boiled cabbage, which is my favorite way to eat it.  I also made a cream of mushroom and broccoli stem soup that didn’t turn out so well.  I kept adding a bit of this and a dash of that in attempts to make it taste good and rather than improving the flavor it just became more convoluted.  So I sprinkled some red bell pepper on top, which helped a bit, and got through it.

The Snobby Joe was pretty good.  I liked the texture a lot, and I love any recipe that starts with onion, green pepper and garlic.  I don’t know that I’ll make this recipe again though, because there’s a sloppy joe recipe in Minutemeals Vegetarian that I kind of love.  The only issue is that it’s made with processed meat substitute, which isn’t really that bad, but I’m trying to avoid processed ingredients as much as possible.  Made that way it really does taste like a regular ol’ sloppy joe.  Maybe I’ll try making that recipe with lentils instead of faux meat?  The recipe is more simple, made with tomato paste, ketchup and red wine vinegar.  I don’t think I cared for the maple syrup that sweetens the Snobby Joes.  However, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try it if you think it looks good!

Last week I had a minor head cold and was feeling generally crappy.  I came home from work Friday night and for whatever crazy reason, I thought I would treat my cold with a hot toddy.  Even though I’d never had one in my life.  That’s what they do on tv, right?  A search of the internet yielded many versions, so I stuck with a simple one.  I measured it out and drank it from a sweet Jameson glass that I inherited when my mom cleaned out her kitchen cabinets.  A lot of people find hot toddies repulsive, but I liked it.  Then again, I like whiskey, so…there you go.

Looks harmless, right?

Vegan Hot Toddy

1 1/2 oz whiskey
1 oz agave nectar
1/3 oz lemon juice
3 oz hot cider, tea, water or other hot beverage (I used orange tangerine tea)

Mix and drink.  It’ll cure what ails ya!

Comments (12)

« Newer Posts