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.
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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.
The biggest thing that I've been working on with the clean up of our diet is adding more raw elements to our meals. I made some of these summer rolls (minus the tofu) for the neighborhood block party last month with a spicy peanut sauce, and when I was at Price Chopper the other day I picked up another bag of rice sticks, I knew it was time to make a meal of it and post some tips.
These can really be done with whatever you like, but here's what you're looking at in the photos as the filling:
The key for me is the paper for rolling. Having a standard order of ingredients helps, as well. I use room temperature water, and only soak these until they are pliable. I then put the wrapper down on a clean dish towel and start filling. I start with the herbs, then the noodles, and finally the vegetables and top with the tofu. The idea is that the herbs and the tofu sort of sandwich the fillings, making it easier to roll. I first fold in the sides, then start rolling the filling up. If it doesn't look like the ends will stick, you can wet your finger and use that to moisten the finishing flap. Set aside and keep rolling!
I got about 16 rolls out of a mixing bowl of vegetables and the noodles. I wound up with a ziplock bag of vegetables left over, which went in our black-eyed pea falafel wraps last night for dinner (based on Crescent Dragonwagon's New South Falafel from The Passionate Vegetarian).
These are great with a peanut sauce, or with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili paste. I had leftover miso marinade, and we loved it so much that I made a jar to keep in the refrigerator for using with the leftovers. These will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but note that the rice paper will start to disintegrate a bit. We had these for dinner on Saturday, luck on Sunday, and polished off the last ones yesterday as a snack.
You can, of course, put shrimp in these, as well as grilled vegetables or whatever else you want or happen to have around. I have skipped the noodles before and used only vegetables, as well. I'm sure that substituting some marinated, grilled, thinly sliced portobello strips would sub in well for Thai beef salad. (Yes, I'll do that in my next summer roll post).
A couple of years ago, Dani and I made the trek to Atlanta from Little Rock so she could take the clinical skills part of STEP 2. I lived in Auburn, AL for five years and in all those years I never made it to the DeKalb County Farmers' Market.
I was so missing out.
We saw something on PBS about how the Market helps non-native folks learn English and gives them a job while they learn. That's pretty cool, if you ask me.
One of our finds there (there were so many! If you are ever driving through stop and have lunch there where you can pick and choose from their huge hot and cold bars) was the Pigeon Pea. I bought a package and we've been hooked ever since. Pigeon Peas (AKA gandule, gunga, no-eye pea, and toor dal) are round, firm, and fragrant. Here's what I did with them last night.
Pigeon Peas and Coconut Rice
1 cup of Pigeon Peas, rinsed and picked over*
3 cups of vegetable stock
5 green onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder
2-3 Tablespoons of "no-chicken" broth powder
1 cup of coconut milk (see my tutorials for how I make my own. You can use canned).
1-2 minced jalapeno or serrano peppers**
Put your peas and vegetable broth in your pressure cooker. I let mine cook for 30 minutes at pressure. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking broth. In your pressure cooker, throw in the drained peas, the rice, spices, and onions & garlic. Add the coconut milk to the reserved broth and add that in to the cooker. I then cooked it all together using the brown rice setting (which is pressure for about 25 minutes).
*I used my magical pressure cooker. If you are cooking this on the stovetop, soak the peas overnight or use the hot-soak method. Drain the soaking water, and cook the peas until tender and then drain them reserving the liquid and proceed, adding them to your rice pot before cooking. The measurements for everything should work on the stove.
** I had some diced hot Hatch chiles I needed to use, so that's what went in my batch. If you don't like heat, you could get a can of chopped green chiles and use those. The heat level is up to you.
I served this with one of my favorite ways to use kale: Massaged Kale Salad with Mango. I only used 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of a lemon for two bunches of kale from the farmer's market (and no sweetener beyond the mango juice I squeezed from the skins). I also put in two mangoes. I got it a bit salty, but it worked well with the Pigeon Peas.
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).
I used to make green chile stew and red posole with pork butt. I then later used Butler soy curls, which I do love, as a meat stand in or pinto beans, but a few months ago I had some black beans in the freezer and I decided that this is my new favorite. It's sort of a combination of my pork heavy green chile stew and my posole. It's a great way to use up leftover tomatillo sauce. If you don't have that hiding out in your fridge or freezer, you could use canned green enchilada sauce or a good bottled green tomatillo salsa, I reckon.
Serves at least 4-6
3 Poblano peppers, diced
1-2 Jalapenos, diced (seeded)
5-6 cloves garlic
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked bittersweet paprika (optional, chili powder is fine, but just not smokey)
3 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (2 cans)
3 cups posole (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 cups tomatillo sauce (homemade or canned/jarred) I used homemade, but Herdez brand is good, and you could get two small cans of that. Use what you like.
Fixin's: This soup is awesome with some cilantro and shredded cabbage on top, as well as with a slice of lime. Corn chips (I oven baked some tortillas dusted with salt, pepper, and chili powder for about 12 minutes at 425) are excellent crumbled up in the soup, and of course, avocado is always welcome to the party. Other fun add ins to the bowl include sliced radishes, and if you're in the mood for cheese, go for it.
Process (stove top):
Heat a large soup pot with a bit of oil (you can certainly broth-fry the veggies if you can't have oil). Add the onion, peppers, garlic and seasoning and saute a few minutes until the onion is starting to soften and the pot is fragrant. Throw in the hominy and beans, stir, then add the liquids and bring to a simmer. Let the flavors marry by simmering, covered, for at least 45 minutes.
Notes: I did the whole dish in about an hour from dried beans to finished soup using my pressure cooker. The black beans went in for 30 minutes, they were drained and set aside. Using the brown function, I sauteed the vegetables and then combined everything and put the pressure back on for 30 minutes on the soup setting. If you haven't considered a GoWise or Fagor all in one (see my "Kitchen Love" page for the one I have), I recommend it. I have yet to use the slow cooker function, but I've made this and Pigeon Peas and Coconut Rice this week in my wonder pot.
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.
One of the biggest challenges for me as a plant-based eater is lunch. On days where there are leftovers from the night before, lunch is usually the leftovers as i always cook for four, even though there are just two of us. I'm a pretty left-over friendly person the first time, and when something is really good, I welcome the opportunity to eat it the next day.
But I digress.
Sandwiches and wraps can be especially hard for the newly vegan or veganish. After all, we tend to think of sandwich meat and sandwich slices of cheese--everything is sliced to go on the sandwich to the point that the meat and dairy industry have shaped their foods to fit on a slice of bread. So, it can take some invention to figure out how to do sandwiches that are not animal centric. If you're ovo-lacto and eat eggs and/or cheese, it is not quite as difficult. But even then, how many variations on grilled cheese can you eat?
Enter today's lunch. This recipe is inspired by Giada De Laurentis' Tuna and White Bean salad, which I used to make fairly often when I still ate fish. Here, the artichoke hearts stand in for the tuna. I was working from memory here, which is why I didn't do the full 1/3 cup of capers.
Artichoke and White Bean Salad
Serves 4 (mileage may vary); approximately 1 cup per serving
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts in brine
1 can of white kidney beans
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (substitute 1/4 t. ground cumin in that's what you have)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced celery (the leaves are nice to leave in)
Parsley (I had dried, so I put in a heaping Tablespoon)
Zest and juice of one large lemon
1 Tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of capers (optional, but I love capers. Sliced green olives would be good here, too, if you are into that kind of thing)
Drain and rinse the white beans. Put them in a bowl. Drain the liquid from the artichoke hearts and add the hearts to the bowl. I like to paste the garlic, salt, and cumin seed together. To do this, simply mince all of it together, then take the flat side of your knife and press the mix between the blade and your cutting board. This helps break up the garlic and the flavor of the salt and cumin gets in the garlic juice which means better distribution in the bowl. Add that to the bowl, and then add all of the other ingredients. Stir, taste, and add more salt and fresh ground black pepper if you like.
I scooped a cup of this onto a flat out bread and went to town. Note that tomatoes are optional and I would not recommend you stir them into the salad for storage because they get wimpy and water things down.
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.