Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday night: Brussel Sausage Pasta

Last night I "helped" Isabelle and Patrick put their den back together after having painted the floor last weekend. They did all the heavy lifting and I fed the workers with this brussel sprout and faux sausage pasta, which I actually veganized myself from a traditional omni recipe that used pancetta as the meat.

1/2 to 3/4 lb brussel sprouts, stems removed and halved
1/2 lb faux sausage (i was lazy so I used Gimme Lean sausage style)
3/4 lb bowtie or rotini pasta (Davinci is my fave)
2-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
5-10 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 t of dried)
lots of fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 T ev olive oil
soy parma to top it off
roasted, chopped hazelnuts for garnish (though really i ended up using an overflowing 1/4 cup of these so the dish was quite nutty, and quite delicious)

1. Heat your oven to 425
2. toss brussels in oil and salt and papper, place face down on a heavy baking sheet, roast for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown on top and easily pierced with a fork
3. cook pasta via directions on box, drain being sure to reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid
4. brown sausage in a non-stick pan while pasta cooks being sure to chop it up as it browns, add thyme and pressed garlic 1 minute before it's done cooking
5. place drained pasta and reserved starchy water back in pasta pot, throw in cooked sausage crumbles (with the thyme and garlic - scrape the pan so you don't leave any goodness behind!), add roasted brussels, season with lots of black pepper and salt.
6. serve with soy parma and roasted hazelnuts on top (to roast your own see below), garnish with a drizzle of olive oil if it's too dry for you.

Roasting hazelnuts:
Buy a bag of hazelnuts in the shell, crack those bad boys open, put the nuts in a bowl as you work. Spread your shelled nuts out on a nice baking sheet and roast at 400 or 425 degrees (this can vary based on what else you have in the oven, just check them sooner at hotter temps) until they are light to medium brown and being to smell...well roasted. This will generally take 8 or 10 minutes. When they start to brown check them every minute or so, you don't want burnt nuts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Split Pea Yumminess.

I am so into soups. Which is funny, being that in my pre-vegan life I did not consider myself a soup person at all. Of course, me loving soups is just one a million things that has changed about since I veganized my life. So, here is a super easy split pea recipe if you have a slow cooker:

2 16 oz bags of vegan dried green split peas
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 or 3 large carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
Optional: 1 recipe of vegan ham (see my previous post)
1 T dried parsley
1 t garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic, my preference)
1 t onion powder
1 t dried thyme
other spices you love!
8 cups veggie broth

Layer all of the ingredients you see above (IN THAT ORDER!) in your slow cooker. Don't mix it, I know it seems a bit mad, but trust me. Set that baby on high and cook it for four hours. You won't need to stir until the final hour, at which time a few mix-ups will be good. If you want to leave it overnight or all day while you're at work, just set your slow cooker on low and it should take about 8 hours to break down and taste great.


Fake meats, I love them. I can't help it. I actually was not into pork or red meat when I wasn't vegan, but something about fake meats really appeals to me. Go figure.

This ham (or sHam as I like to call it), is best for cubing up and throwing in soups I think. It's smokey and sweet. Adapted from Just the Food.

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or another oil will do)
2 T cup brown sugar
2 T cup nutritional yeast
1 T tomato paste
1 t liquid smoke
1 t dark soy sauce (I like to use the mushroom kind from the asian grocery store)
black pepper to taste (which I usually take to mean 1/2 t or so of each)

Set oven at 325.

Throw everything into a medium-sized bowl, stir it all together until uniform. If you are used to making fake meats, this one is pretty wet. That is a-ok. Roll the mixture up like a log in heavy-duty aluminum foil. I put mine on a cookie sheet (it usually leaks), seam side down, and bake for about and hour until it is firm.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chick-un wings and French Onion Soup

Tonight we had delicious chicken wings with golden fries. Yum and yum. Not healthy, but healing. I was feeling like some comfort food. My exciting thing to report however, which has a recipe to go with it, is French Onion Soup! oh my....

I read yesterday that a great way to caramelize onions without the fuss the smell and the labor is to throw a bunch of sliced onions in your crock pot and set it on your porch over low heat all night. Well, one would have to plug in said crock pot for it to work, but thankfully I realized it when I woke up and the onions got going while I was at work. When I came home I made the soup below and it was so delicious I can't even explain it. I thought nothing would top my butternut bisque experience, but boy has it.

Okay, so slice up 4 huge or 6 normal sweet onions (thin) and toss them in your crock pot (I lined mine with parchment to keep it clean-ish) with a tablespoon or two of oil (though it will work without it). Set the crock pot on low and put it outside if you can (the smell is pretty pungent). When the onions are all brown and broken down (8 to 10 hours later) you're ready to get going:

Remove the parchment if you had it in there:

8 cups water
4 tablespoons of vegan chicken or vegan beef broth (I have the later which is preferable)
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce (like mushroom soy sauce)
1 cup burgundy cooking wine

Pour in everything but the wine and stir it around and heat it through (you can turn the crock pot up to high at this point). Taste the broth and make sure it's salty enough for you, if not another teaspoon of soy sauce or 1/2 t of salt should do it.

Add the wine and cook on high for twenty minutes.

In the meantime take some slices of crusty bread and toast them and shred some vegan mozzarella.

Then pour a cup or two of your soup into an oven-safe soup bowl or dish. Top with a few slices of toasted bread, top that with shredded vegan mozza. Broil that baby on high for 5 to 7 minutes (or until your cheese is getting brown at the edges).

Serve and warn everyone not to burn the shit out of their mouths. Delish!

Last night: seitan roll up and smashed potatoes

Last night I attempted to make a faux meat roulade. It was pretty interesting, and took way longer than I thought, but ultimately it was tasty. And it was even better today in a lunch sandwich. In order to do so you make a vital wheat gluten dough and roll it out on a cookie sheet and then you make a veggie cheezy filling and smear that on top. Then you roll that bad boy up, wrap it in heavy duty foil and bake the neck out of it.

To go with it I made my potato standby - which is a bunch of potato chunks boiled and then smashed up with other stuff. I can actually write a recipe for the potatoes however:

Chop up (into small squares) two large potatoes. Put them in a large non-stick skillet and then cover them (just barely) with water. Bring the water to a boil and let the potatoes cook (watching the water level) for about 15 minutes (or until you are able to smash them up with a fork). Drain, rinse and put them into a big bowl.

I usually add chopped green onion and some fresh spinach to my potatoes, but any greens would be good and make this side dish healthier.

Before you add the veggies, put 1 t of salt and tons of fresh ground black pepper in there along with some dairy substitute. I usually put in 1 T of earth balance spread and 1 T of veganaise. I mix this all up, smashing the potatoes really well, before i put in the spinach and the onions. Then I make sure the veggies get heated through as I whip the potatoes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday Yuba.

Yuba is maybe one of the oddest things I've ever cooked. I'd read about it here, and then went on to learn about it here (those are coincidentally two of the dozen or so vegan food blogs I keep up with). My curiosity piqued, I headed out to the Asian market for more fresh tofu and to find me some yuba. I had to ask, but then was promptly and politely led to not only dried sheets or yuba, but fresh, frozen yuba. I bought both, can't hurt to try both I figured.

I immediately rehydrated a bit of the dried yuba (10 min in a bowl of hot water), then marinated it some chipotle spiked veggie broth, and cooked it until almost crispy (which took a long time) in my trusty cast iron skillet. It was pretty good, but I wanted it crispier for sure.

So on to dinner, I was not done yuba-experimenting. I cooked off a thawed frozen sheet (which, by the by, was seriously a 2 foot round single sheet of the stuff, it was crazy) in white wine and soy sauce for a loooooong time. And then cooked mustard greens (from my garden!) and cremini mushrooms in the same broth (but with ginger and garlic added to it) for a while (until cooked through), piled the yuba back on, spritzed it with some oil and broiled it for probably 15 minutes. The junk just would not get crispy. I think I may be doing something wrong with this yuba. But, I served it anyway with roasted baby bok choy (done simply with some oil and roasted garlic pepper, my new favorite) and when my black rice would NOT cook (terrible turn out, not even CLOSE to cooked after following the directions to the letter), I threw some fresh udon noodles in hot water for 30 seconds and tossed them in my now regionally famous spicy peanut stir-fry sauce (the "region" being my house). I will put the peanut stir-fry sauce recipe below because I've made it enough times to know it and I've honed it from my few favorites. This makes, probably less than a cup, but it's a good coating for two big servings of udon or other pasta. I'd double this for an actual stir fry or a main dish (like a ton of veggies over rice or something).

Erin's Spicy Peanut Spectacular:
1/4 cup almond milk (any non-dairy milk will do probably)
1/4 water (more if you want it thinner once you heat it through on the stove)
3 T peanut butter (I use the smooth, no-stir, but you could use natural, just blend the mix more)
1 t chili garlic sauce (like this)
1 T ground/grated ginger (this stuff is a life saver - see second product down)
1 T molasses
1 T agave (or maple syrup or other sugar sub)
2 t soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
2 t white vinegar
fresh grated black pepper (to taste)
you could also throw in an extra clove of fresh garlic if you're a garlic lover

Toss everything listed in a good blender or food processor and process it for at least a couple of minutes or until completely smooth and light tan in color.

Simmer this over medium low in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan whisking pretty often (more as it starts to thicken) for 6 to 8 minutes. When the consistency is to your liking, dump over anything and it will make it taste better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday Night's Dinner

Last night was a mixed bag. I tried a South Carolina spicy mustard bbq sauce that was a bit too vinegar-y for me and as luck would have it, I'd run out agave, maple syrup AND sugar all within the previous day or so. Thus, nothing to balance it out, so I kind of had to mix in some other things, let it simmer a long time, and hope in the roasting it would go okay over tofu triangles (mmmm, fresh tofu from the Asian grocery again) and roasted onions and squash. It actually did okay, as in was edible, but I wouldn't make the sauce again.

The side dishes were my two new fave green veggies: baby bok choy and brussel sprouts. It's possible this was too much green for one evening, but we love both, so that's ok. I roasted them too and then tossed them in a lemon pepper-esque dressing that would have been good had I not been so overzealous with my lemon squeezing.

So, lessons learned and new recipes tried.