This time of year, I often start craving green pork chile. This year, that craving started about a month ago, leading in to the Camden Chili cookoff; thankfully, Tammy showed up with some green pork chile, and it was lovely (I snagged two samples). But, given all of the eating we do this time of year, I was hesitant to buy a great big chunk of pork, so I set out to make a vegan version that would be every bit as good.
And I have to say, I did just that last night.
This new cookbook is only $2.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon (paperback is $13.38). Click the image above to check this one out!
The author contacted me right before launch and asked if I would be willing to test drive and do a review of his new book. I had a busy week or so ahead of me, as final projects were coming in for my last (and I do mean LAST) round of classes. A few days of Instant Pot meals was a great way to make sure our eating stayed on track and that I didn't really have an excuse for not getting something hearty and healthy on the table.
I realized last week that even though I tend to bake probably once a week, I haven't really shared baked goods here. I had to visit the office last week, so before I took off for Michigan, I made a batch of muffins. The idea was that I'd take one for the road, and Dani would have some here at the house while I was gone. I did eat one before I left, and thankfully I put 1/2 of the batch in the freezer because they got forgotten. It's not that they weren't good; we were just crazy busy!
I adapted this recipe, which I had made as a loaf before. I will definitely make these again, and so I everyone can have them, I made these gluten-free!
Makes 12 muffins
Mix the dry. Add the wet. Stir it just until mixed. Load up your muffin tin. Baker for 35 minutes or so (they should pass the toothpick test).
So, we just got back from our most recent pilgrimage to New Orleans. We visited some old stand bys like Palace Cafe and Muriels, but we tried some new places this time, too. The first dinner we had was at Lost Love Lounge, which is in the Bywater or the Marigny depending on who is telling you were it is. They have a kitchen in the back, and I had remembered reading about it in the Underground New Orleans book we bought a couple of years ago. And it was super close to the B&B we were staying at, so within an hour of touch down we were there for drinks and dinner.
One of us ordered their vegetarian Pho, as it was raining, and the other ordered the Fried Tamarind Tofu. Both were great, as were the kimchi dumplings we had as a starter. We left determined to make the tofu dish at home (OK, I left determined to make it and D left determined to try it out when I did).
I've lightened this up considerably, as the original is batter dipped and fried. Dani declared it better than the restaurant version because my version is heavier on the tamarind.
Tofu Tamarind Noodle Bowl
Serves four--inspired by Lost Love Lounge, NOLA
I love pearl onions, red wine, and mushrooms together. I've often made seitan bourguignon, but last Sunday I decided to go with the green French lentils I had left instead of resorting to a meat analogue. I was not disappointed.
Lentil & Mushroom Bourguignon
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted (I used French green, but regular brown would be fine, just not as firm)
Put these in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Cook these, covered, with a bay leaf for about 20-25 minutes.
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine (I used an old vine cab, but use what you've got as long as it's not too sweet)
1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (use broth cubes or powder if you don't have stock)
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste (optional, but adds depth)
3/4 pound (1.5 boxes) of baby bello or button mushrooms, sliced
1 bag of pearl onions
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
Saute the onion, celery, and carrots together for about five minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until they have a bit of color and some of the liquid is released (about five minutes). Add the garlic, thyme, and the cooked lentils (the water should be mostly cooked out, so just dump them in the pan. The juice adds flavor here). Take the bay leaf out so you don't have to search for it later.
Make a "hole" in the center of the pan by pushing the vegetables to the sides of the pan. Put in the tomato paste and stir it around, breaking it up and getting some heat to it. Stir in the wine (NOTE: if you have a gas stove, turn the heat off unless you want to run the risk of a flare up. Add wine and then turn the pan back on). Cook for a minute or two to reduce the wine a bit, then add the stock and pearl onions. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes or so, giving the pearl onions time to soak up some sauce and everything to come together. Taste for seasoning after 30 minutes and adjust as necessary.
Normally, I would serve this over mashed potatoes, but I've recently developed a love of the Hasselback potato. Pouring the chunky stew over the potato ensures that it gets in those crannies and you want a knife to cut chunks of potatoes off as you eat. This provides a more substantial feel to the meal, and the crispy bits on the potato add some interest (plus you saved calories from the fat and plant-based milk that you would put in your mash. To cook the potatoes, I just prepped them and rubbed with a tiny bit of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and shoved them in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes or so.
My neighbor Stacy gave me a challenge--to make one of her favorite soups healthier. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the recipe, and perhaps even more skeptical that a vegan version would be good, but I wound up with a recipe that I think will become a regular meal around here. I'll let her post a comment here about whether it was successful for her, as I just dropped off a taster.
The original recipe went like this:
2 cans of butter beans
1 lb. bulk sausage (cooked and drained)
1 can of diced tomatoes with their juice
1 can of cream of celery soup
1/4 cup of milk
a couple of handfuls of kale
So, two challenges here--the sausage and the cream of celery soup. I believe that pretty much anything savory needs onion and garlic (I could never be a Hare Krishna). So, my solution to the cream of celery was to roast together celery, onions, and garlic and then puree that. The sausage is swapped out with well-seasoned TVP. Here's the redo:
Stacy's Veganized Butter Bean Soup
2 cans of butter beans, drain and rinse
1 can of diced tomatoes and their juice
1 1/2-2 cups of unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond)
1 1/2 cups of frozen chopped kale, thawed
Combine in a baking dish:
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
3 stalks of celery, cut in chunks
1 medium onion, rough chop (you can see the size in the picture above)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced in big chunks
Salt and pepper
Toss and roast at 425 for 30 minutes or until fairly soft and starting to show some color. Puree in a food processor or blender.
In a heat proof bowl stir together the dry ingredients below, then add the hot water. Let sit until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork. This and the puree can be made the night before or on a weekend so you can pull them out and throw the soup together quickly.
1 cup of TVP
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 t. smoked bittersweet or sweet paprika
1 Tablespoon of no-chicken broth powder
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of ground sage
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, well crushed
a few dashes of liquid smoke
1 cup of boiling water
When you are ready to get cooking, put the TVP "sausage" in a nonstick skillet with a bit of oil, just to keep things moving. Once that's heated up a bit, throw in the celery puree, stirring it to distribute it. Add your beans and kale, the tomatoes, and almond milk. I actually just refilled the tomato can with almond milk (hence my inexact measure above).
Heat through. Stacy recommended crusty bread and hot sauce, and I second those recommendations.
The fat could be cut more if you dry roast the vegetables (no oil) but I didn't want to completely cut the fat, as I was already making a gamble with the TVP.
I have a bag of dried cannellini beans so my next batch will probably swap out three cups of those. I would imagine that Cranberry/Borlotti beans would be awesome in here, too.
I hope more folks will ask for recipe renovations! I had great fun with this one, and Dani and I were thanking Stacy for the idea with every bite.
I love eggplant, so I often just buy it with no clear plan. That's what happened last week, and I wasn't in the mood for Eggplant Parmesan or Roasted Eggplant Pizza, so I was not sure what I was going to do with it. Pair an eggplant with my current obsession with Almond Milk Béchamel, and a vegan version of Moussaka made sense.
Apparently, there are a lot of varieties of this dish, and sometimes the variations are based on the locality. So, since I don't really care for nutmeg in my béchamel, I didn't use it. Feel free to if that's your thing. This version is sort of a marriage of my mom's zucchini lasagne and a moussaka and all made vegan.
Grilled Eggplant Moussaka
1 cup of dry TVP (texturized vegetable protein), or 4 servings of veggie crumbles thawed (Morningstar, Gimme Lean, etc)
1 teaspoon of bittersweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 cup of boiling water
Stir together and let sit until the TVP absorbs the water
Brown one diced onion and two (2) minced garlic cloves in a nonstick skillet. Add the seasoned, reconstituted TVP and cook together for a few minutes. To this, add two (2) Tablespoons of tomato paste ad two (2) Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Finally, add one can (14 ounces) of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted if you can get them). Taste for seasoning.
To prepare the eggplant, I simply rubbed the slices of one regular Italian eggplant with olive oil and salt and pepper and then grilled them on my grill pan. If you don't have a grill or grill pan, you could simply brown the eggplant in a skillet to get some sear on it ad cook it through.
The béchamel is basically the same as in my Seitan Divan. I toasted two (2) Tablespoons of flour in my skillet, added one (1) Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and then whisked in 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk. I then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. I will confess I also did some nutritional yeast for the savory almost cheese like flavor, but if you don't care for Nooch, feel free to leave it out. This would be where you put in the nutmeg if you want to use it. Cook until creamy.
To assemble, lightly grease or spray a casserole dish and put in enough of the TVP sauce mix to cover the bottom, then a layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, and so on until you're out of both. I wound up with two layers of eggplant and three layers of sauce. Top with the béchamel ad bake at 375 for 30 minutes or util bubbly. You can brown the béchamel under the broiler, I suspect, if you want more browning and blistering.
Notes: This could be easily made gluten-free by simply swapping out the flour in the béchamel with a gluten free flour. Also, I used balsamic vinegar here to avoid using wine just because I didn't have a bottle open and didn't want to open one, but feel free to swap out some red wine for the vinegar. I often use balsamic in place for red wine in tomato sauces.
There are likely folks who will say you cannot have a real Pho with no meat involved at all. And, when those folks make me Pho, I eat it as they made it :) Even when they lie to me and tell me that their balls in their Pho are not testicles when they so obviously are (remember that trip to Rock and Bowl in Springfield, Reneé?). Van Lang's beef ball Pho is at least a bit less frightening, as the balls are sliced.
I'm guessing you understand that I don't have a problem with Pho that has no meat. Here in town, Lulu's Noodle Shop is good, as is Vietnam Cafe over on Rainbow (I am pretty sure their broth is meaty). So, if you don't want to make your own, head to a local joint and see what you get. But don't be surprised if you wind up with a surprise or two in the bowl.
One of the things I love about Vietnamese food (and Thai and Korean food, really) is the way that each bowl or plate is a marriage of contradictions: sweet, savory, hot, cooked, raw, smoky, salty, tart--it's all in there.
Angel's Vegan Pho
Adapted from Cooking Light's Turkey Pho
Serves 4-6 people (how brothy your bowls are is key).
8 cups vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy (Tamari if you're gluten free)
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
1 3 inch piece of cinnamon stick
Several slices of ginger root (I use a good amount of ginger)
In a tea ball or a muslin tea bag put:
5-6 whole cloves
4 star anise (I have used anise seed and even fennel seed here. The licorice notes are what you want).
Simmer all of that together for about 30 minutes. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning if necessary. Take out the chunky bits (the cinnamon stick, ginger, and tea ball).
Rice noodles are customary. I usually buy wider Pho noodles, but this is what they had where I shopped last. My preferred brand is Three Ladies, but these were good. I don't follow instructions here. Instead, I boil them for about 7 minutes, rather than doing the hot water soak method. I cook 2 ounces per person, and I cook the noodles right before serving. In other words, if there are only two people having a bowl, I cook four ounces, regardless of the fact I have enough broth for more than two folks. Then, noodles are cooked for leftovers. Rice noodles tend to get too soft if you cook, chill and reheat. But, you just do what's best for you.
In addition to the broth and noodles, one other non-negotiable thing for me is charred onions in my Pho. You can grill the char on, but I like to slice the onions in slices and leave them intact, putting them into a scorching hot iron skillet until they are charred on both sides. Once that's done, I move them to my cutting board and slice the rounds in half, separating the strands. I throw them in the mix of whatever stir fried vegetables I'm using in my bowl. The version above has some red, yellow, and green bell pepper strips stir fried with some chopped Napa cabbage with ginger and garlic. In addition, when I reheated my broth and veggies today, I threw in a couple of handfuls of mustard greens.
Anything you like could go in here, including proteins like tofu, seitan, soy curls, or even edamame. Mushrooms are great.
I also like to put my chili paste in the bottom of my bowl, so when I pour the broth in, I get a good mix. I put a little extra soy here, as well.
As important as the heat, though, are the garnishes. Here, we've got thinly sliced cucumber, torn mint and cilantro, and julienned carrot up top. This gets "dressed" liberally with fresh lime juice. You're going to want both chopsticks and spoon here, unless you're with family and can just pick up the bowl.
Every time I make Pho, it's a little different from the last version. Have fun with it by swapping out the vegetables you use.
The above bowl of sunshine above is one of our favorite soups around here. In fact, we recently both said that we may even, if we had to, choose this soup over gumbo (gasp!). Thankfully, we don't have to choose.
Harira recipes are all of the internet, of course, and in many cookbooks (there's a vegetarian version in Crescent Dragonwagon's Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread book, for instance, which I recently picked up in Lawrence when Beck and I went shopping there. Some recipes use noodles, others use rice, some have lamb, some have chicken. My version here is based on Emeril Lagasse's found here. All of the recipes that I've found, though, have some similarities--chickpeas and lentils in a gorgeous tomato and ginger laced broth. Want to learn more? Check out About.com's Moroccan Food page or Wikipedia's entry.
My goals here were to make this faster and less processed than my usual. I started making this with seitan chunks (the Seitanic Log O'greatness worked well, as it has cinnamon in it and the flavors worked well here), then progressed to Butler's Soy Curls. One of my food goals this year, though, is to use fewer analogues and we'd been saying forever that we thought just upping the bean levels would do the trick--and it did.
If you read some of the history, you'll find that there are a multitude of variations here. For instance, I've swapped out different types of lentils. Any lentils in your cupboard will do. I used green ones in this version as they hold up better and I wanted there to be plenty of variation in the textures. If you have meat or a meat substitute in here and the texture is more varied already, plain old brown ones work, as would yellow and red lentils.
If you don't have a pressure cooker (thanks, Joe!), you want to plan a bit ahead and watch the salt level in the beans as they cook (salty liquids make it hard to get your beans tender, but the pressure cooker helps counteract that). I'd follow Emeril's soaking instructions if you don't have the pressure cooker or hot soak the chickpeas first by bringing them to a boil for 2 minutes, turning off the heat and covering them and letting them sit for an hour. Drain and proceed as if you had soaked overnight.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's recipe.
Toss the following in your pressure cooker:
1 cup diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
3 ribs of celery diced
5 ounces chickpeas
5 ounces lentils
28 ounces diced tomatoes with their juice (canned)
2 teaspoons ground ginger root
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground pepper
6 cups of water or vegetable stock (I used my non-chicken broth from this magic recipe)
1/2 cup brown jasmine rice
I set my cooker for 40 minutes, which was just about perfect. I did a quick release on the pressure, as we were hungry! When you are ready to serve, taste it, adding any spices you need, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon to the pot.
Fresh parsley (I had some gremolata in the freezer that I used) Dried parsley stirred in works, too, in a pinch.
Approximately 6 servings.
I'm not certain when we started having Crescent Dragonwagon's Black Eyed Pea Falafel for New Years Day, but it was some years back. We both love falafel and these patties are the perfect combination of greens, peas, rice, and cornbread. Above, you see them on top of raw mustard greens, tomatoes, pickles and some raw cucumber, all on top of a Flat Out flatbread.
This recipe comes from The Passionate Vegetarian, which I got somewhat by accident. Years ago, I was a member of a cookbook club, the kind where they send you a postcard and you forget to send it back and then they send you a book. My officemate at the time, Dr. L, had a copy and told me I definitely wanted to keep this one. And, boy, was she right. I've since talked both sisters, Crochet Renee and Debbie, into getting their own copies. I think that this is one of those cookbooks that everyone should have in their arsenal, especially if they are transitioning from a SAD (standard American diet) to plant-based eating. Click below to order your own copy or to check out a sample.
The falafel above is one of the most frequent recipes I make from this, but I've sampled many. Some of my favorites include crepes Mornay with broccoli and mushrooms, tempeh Tejas with a sweet-hot jalapeño glaze, Dr. Feelgood's chocolate cake, and potato-crusted summertime skillet. The book is huge, so there's likely to be something in there for you. Even if you aren't in the mood to cook, Crescent is a story-teller, so the book is a fun read, as well as being fun to cook from. I've had my copy for probably close to fifteen years, and I still have slips of paper sticking out where I've marked recipes to try. Every time I get in a cooking rut and am not sure what I want to tackle, I get this out and start browsing.
Not ready to invest in the book? Check out CDW's Deep Feast site, where she lists links to many of her recipes folks have blogged about. She's been featured in tons of publications, so you might have even read or made a recipe by her from Relish and not known it!
Angel lives in Camden, Arkansas where she writes stuff and sometimes sends it out to other people to read. She used to grade papers, but not anymore. Check out her main site to see what she's up to lately.