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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday is Asian-fun day.

The spring rolls from Saturday night were so good I decided to try some again, but this time stuffed with fresh tofu and veggies from the Asian market and coupled with roasted bok choy and brussel sprouts. First I halved the brussels and the bok choy, tossed them in evoo and salt and pepper and roasted them for about 30 minutes (little more for the brussels, little less for the bok choy) and when finished tossed them in lemon juice and garlic and a little more oil. The stuffing for the spring rolls was fresh tofu in tiny cubes and julienned carrots and cucumber and green onion, all stir fried in Hoison sauce. I added fresh grated green papaya and bean sprouts and spinach leaves to the rolls. We dipped them in a thick, slightly spicy peanut sauce (and also I had a nice sweet and sour sauce on hand to alternate with).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday Night's Dinner

Last night we had a Mexican fiesta, complete with a frozen margarita. I layered spicy refried beans with a taco-seasoned boca crumble bake with onions and peppers, and topped it with my favorite nacho cheeze sauce. I baked that in a round, glass Pyrex for about 20 minutes and then topped it with shredded iceberg and served it with a simple, fresh guacamole and some chipotle cream. We ate it in big scoopfuls on chili lime chips from Garden of Eaten.

Thank god all of the cupcakes are finally gone.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday Night's Dinner

We started with chewy, fresh spring rolls stuffed with lettuce, avocado, and spicy tempeh (a Vegan Dad-ish take off), dipped in the classic sweet hot chili sauce. I also made a baked version of corn fritters that turned out pretty great. While I was cooking them I roasted peppers and onions for our main dish.

For the main course I attemped a traditional Vietnamese dish that is somewhat of an omlette, but the batter is rice flour and coconut milk. Unfortunately I think my attempts to make one giant and deep omlette went awry and the best thing about the finished product was the spicy mayo I made to go on top. I think I'll stick to spring rolls when I'm craving Vietnamese.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A little empanada, is better than nada...

Empanadas are all the fun of a hot pocket (look, it's a meal, in a pocket, and I'm holding it in my hand!) without the trans fat and other sketchy crap they stuff in those things.

Okay, you'll need to find vegan empanada wrappers (or make your own dough, there is a great recipe here), which I happen to have found at my local crazy store (which is what I call this low-budget grocery owned by a Haitian couple who apparently have a thing for random international foods).

So, thaw the wrappers while you're making your filling.

The beauty of the filling is that you can use whatever the heck you want, though I personally find this super easy and really tasty:

You'll need:
1 medium or large onion
1 green or red pepper
1 package of soy crumbles (like Boca) or 8oz. homemade seitan crumbled and pre-cooked in a skillet for about 20 minutes
1 T olive oil
1 T taco or fajita seasoning
cayenne pepper to taste (1/8 t or so)
Soy cheese (I use Teese and I love it so), grated

Dice your onion and put the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until translucent (5 to 7 minutes), add the pepper and saute another 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and cayenne and saute until fragrant (about a minute), add soy crumbles and cook until heated through (about 5 minutes).
When the mixture is done create a work station to stuff and seal your empanadas. You will fill each wrapper in the center with 1-2 T of the mixture and a little grated cheese (less than a T). Then fold the wrapper in half, and press the edges together with a fork. Slice a little v-shape in the top center of the empanada so the insides can steam and breathe while they cook (and so your empanadas don't explode!)

All of your finished empanadas will need to go on a greased baking sheet. Bake the empanadas at 350 for about 20 minutes, check on them half way and rotate your baking sheet. When the dough is golden and the insides start to bubble, they are done!

Now, the other thing they have in common with a hot pocket is that the insides are molten-lava-lose-your-tongues-top-layer hot when they come out of the oven. So let them stand at least 10 minutes. Seriously. Do not bite into one right out of the oven. I know it's hard, but your mouth will thank you.

In that ten minutes you can make a yummy dipping sauce like guacamole or the following, which is super tasty, chipotle cream!

Chipotle Cream

You'll need:
2 chipotles in adobo
2 t of the sauce from the can (or more if you want the sauce spicy)
1/3 box of firm silken tofu (6-9 ounces)
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 t salt
2 cloves of garlic, pressed

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor until very creamy and uniform. Add more adobo sauce from the chipotles in adobo can if you want the dip spicier.