Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mac and Cheese - Make Mine Vegan

Over at Blog Appetit, my main blog, I posted 2 mac and cheese salads and one hot, baked macaroni and cheese recipe (with some surprise veggies included).  I give suggestions for making all three recipes vegan.  You can see the recipes and suggestions here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Some like it hot. Some like it cold (or perhaps room temperature). These lentil recipes are very obliging and can be served warm or room temperature. I am enamoured with lentils lately and decided to try two new recipes - one by a friend, another by a talented cookbook author and blogger.

Sweet and Sour Lentils is a favorite recipe of the Rosenthal family of Oakland. They even served it at their daughter’s bat mitzvah. Middle Eastern Rice and Lentil Pilaf is an unconventional approach to mujadara from Michael Natkin’s “Herbivoracious” (Harvard Common Press), a new vegetarian cookbook full of vibrant photos and recipes.

Recipes are used with permission (from Lori Rosenthal and Natkin's publisher's pr rep) and have been adapted for style and space as well as to reflect my experience making them.

Sweet and Sour Lentils
Serves 6-8
¼ cup soy sauce
1 bay leaf
3 Tbs. onion powder (granulated onion)
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup honey or to taste
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. powdered ginger
4 cups water
3 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
¼ cup chopped parsley

Put soy sauce, bay leaf, onion powder, oil, honey, vinegar, allspice, ginger and water in 4-qt. pot. Mix. Add lentils. Bring to a boil. Stir. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, adding water if necessary until lentils are tender but not mushy. Turn heat off and leave pot covered for 15 minutes. Uncover, remove bay leaf and stir. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature garnished with parsley. (Note: Use the brown or green "supermarket" style lentils. Vegans who don't eat honey can substitute agave nectar for the honey.)

Middle Eastern Rice and Lentil Pilaf
From “Herbivoracious” by Michael Natkin
Serves 6

¼ cup vegetable oil
3 lbs. white onions, sliced moderately thin
2 tsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup white wine, dry vermouth or water
6 cups cooked long-grain white or brown rice, warm (see note)
3 cups cooked lentils, warm (see note)
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt

Heat oil in very large skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and 2 tsp. kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally until very soft, about 45 minutes. Turn up heat to medium high and continue cooking about 20 minutes more, stirring often, until deeply browned and sweet. Pour in wine and stir to scrape up bits at bottom of pan. Mix half the onions with the rice, lentils, cinnamon, cumin, 1 tsp. kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings (see note below). Form a mound of rice and lentils on platter, top with remaining onions, parsley, a grind of pepper and a few grains of the sea salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Note: Cook the rice and lentils while the onions are cooking. Use regular brown or green lentils, not red lentils or the small, dark green French lentils. For three cups of cooked lentils, combine 2 cups of water with 1 cup of dried lentils. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender but not falling apart. Drain excess liquid. Natkin notes his recipe makes a milder, earthier mujadara, but he encourages experimentation. For a more assertive taste, try doubling the cumin and cinnamon and or adding ¼ tsp. of red pepper flakes.)

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form in the j.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lentil Soup Can Fix the World

Okay, so maybe I'm being a little melodramatic - but truly a good lentil soup does have restorative powers, and this recipe, by nutritionist Mary Louise Zernicke, is a truly good lentil soup.

You can read more about Mary Louise, her tips for senior nutrition and the good work Meals on Wheels does on my Blog Appetit post here.

Below is her recipe for lentil soup.  Enjoy.

Mary Louise Zernicke’s Lentil Soup
Serves 4-6

1 cup dried, brown lentils
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups diced onion
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 cup (about 2 stalks) chopped celery, including leaves
1 cup sliced carrots
4 cups vegetable broth or stock
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put lentils in a bowl, cover with water and allow to sit overnight. Over medium heat, heat oil in a large soup pot and cook onions. Add garlic and celery. Once celery begins to soften, add carrots, vegetable broth, tomatoes with liquid and bay leaf. Drain lentils. Add lentils to soup. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are cooked through. Remove bay leaf. Stir in vinegar and add salt and pepper as desired.
A version of this article appeared in the j. weekly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Vegan Manifeasto

A friend posted this on my Facebook wall and I thought it was perfect.  I'd credit the originator, but that's lost in the mists of time (or at least Facebook time).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Oakland Veg Week Experience - With Recipe and Restaurant Ideas

I've been really remiss in posting, especially since this past week was Oakland Veg Week. I took the pledge and immediately broke it last Sunday, the first day, when I sampled a great Filipino soup (I'm going to try to veganize it for us) at a cooking lesson.  But I've been true to my pledge since then.

Here are a few of the dishes I ate this last week -- note - these are not recipes, just kind of lists of ingredients/technique for you to consider:

1. sliced Field Roast chipolte sausage sauteed with red bell pepper, poblano chili, new potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and celery.

2. finger-sized slices of eggplant and fresh tofu cubes both cooked individually in the cast iron skillet until browned and cooked through.  Then a sauce of miso, soy, apple cider vinegar cooked until bubbly and the eggplant and tofu added back in and stirred until coated.  Over leftover restaurant white rice.

3. sauteed Chinese greens (partially steamed before stir frying) with stir fried fresh shitake mushrooms, onions and lots of garlic in mushroom vegetarian stir fry sauce (kind of a vegetarian oyster sauce) with chunks of wheat gluten.  Over fresh Shanghai style noodles.

4. stew of sweet potatoes, plantains, corn, carrots, onion, garlic etc. in mole sauce (watch for a recipe or use a canned brand that lists out ingredients to make sure there's no lard!) with white hominy corn (I used canned. If you use dried, soak and cook before using). Served over brown rice.

5. I haven't tried this one yet - but I sampled it at Trader Joe's and it was great -- cooked lentils mixed with TJ's Curry Simmer Sauce.  Reminded me of an Ethiopian lentil dish (messer-wot) I had at an Oakland Veg Week event. More on that later.

I also ate out -- a vegan Ruben sandwich at Nature's Express (an all vegan restaurant), a vegan bento box at Coach Sushi, vegan burrito (I get the Aztec veggie, ask for no dairy, specify black beans and add on the guacamole) at The Burrito Shop (multiple locations) and samples from the wonderful Ethiopian restaurant Cafe Colucci at the cooking class I had as part of Oak Veg Week.

Oakland Veg Week is over now, but the site has lots of info and resources including recipes and local restaurants that are veg-friendly.  Check it out here.

Graphic from OaklandVeg.Com

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I made this cake - Coconut Lemon Bundt

This wasn't my recipe, but I took full credit. When I brought this beauty to a party, everyone had a slice and then had two. They could not believe it that it was vegan.  After they found out, some had a third slice, saying it was "good" for them.  Well, it's not exactly health food, but it is tasty.
Thanks Veganomicon for the recipe and inspiration.

My changes? I used soy milk and added a little grated lemon zest to the confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Two New Vegan Recipes on Blog Appetit - Lentil Stuffed Peppers and Near Eastern Bean Stew

Here's the link to vegan goodness at Blog Appetit. Get the recipe for lentil stuffed peppers with tomato paprika sauce AND garlic sauce as well as a white bean Near Eastern Stew with a sweet-tart flavoring from pomegranate molasses. It also features a mint-garlic-breadcrumb topping. Both were developed for Purim, but would be good any time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

North African Vegetable Salads

Here are some vegan recipes I created for my column in the j. weekly.  For more background on the recipes and info on the column, please see the post on Blog Appetit.

Briefly cooking the kale in the Kale Salad and Garlic Salad with Lemon helps tame its assertiveness. The cauliflower salad uses the Tunisian condiment harissa in the dressing. Harissa, a chili-garlic paste, is available in many supermarkets and in specialty stores. If you would like to make your own, here’s my recipe. The white bean dish features radishes and carrots, frequent ingredients in Moroccan salads.

Kale Salad with Garlic
Serve s 4-6

1 large or 2 small bunches of Tuscan kale (also known as dino or black kale)
1-2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp., packed, minced lemon zest
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tomato, chopped into 1/4” pieces

Remove tough bottom stems from kale. You should have about 12 oz. of leaves. Immerse in boiling water. Return to boil. Cover and cook kale for 2 minutes. Kale should be pliable and somewhat tender. Immediately remove from pot, rinse with cold water and drain well. Pat leaves dry with paper towels.
Blotting, rolling and slicing kale
Stack 6-8 leaves. Roll from tip of leaf to stem. Gently squeeze bundle to remove any excess water. Slice into 1/4” strips. Repeat with remainder of kale. Place in large bowl, tossing to untangle kale strips. Dry again with paper towels if there is a lot of moisture.

Combine garlic, juice, zest, oil, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well and toss with kale strips. Garnish with chopped tomato. Serve at room temperature.

Cauliflower Salad with Harissa
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. harissa (Tunisian chili-garlic paste)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt plus additional if needed
1 medium cauliflower
1/2 cup 1/4" chunks of red onion
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
3 tsps., packed, minced lemon zest

Mix juice, harissa, oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside. Core cauliflower and cut into 1 and 1/2” florets. Steam over boiling water for 4-6 minutes until tender but not cooked through. Immediately toss with harissa mixture and red onion. Mix in mint and lemon zest. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

White Bean Salad with Radishes and Carrots
Serves 4-6

1 and 3/4 cups cooked white kidney beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz. can)
1 cup 1/4" cubes of red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and light green part only)
1/4 cup 1/8” pieces of red radish
1 cup 1/4" chunks of carrot
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt plus additional if needed
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. finely chopped parsley

Combine beans, red bell, green onions, radish pieces and carrot chunks. Mix lemon juice, 1/8 tsp. of salt, paprika, cumin, garlic and olive oil. Combine with beans and vegetables. Stir in parsley. Taste, adding more salt if needed. Serve at room temperature.

A dessert, a snack or a treat? Monkeying around with a banana dish.

A new complusion -- a ripe banana mashed in a bowl with fork.  Sprinkle on some finely shredded coconut if desired and sweetner if you like (I like maple syrup). Mash the additions in and pour in 2-3 Tbs. of almond milk. Stir and spoon up. Yum.
(Photo from MS Office Clip Art)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hole Grain Goodness - Homemade Bagels

There is nothing explicitly non-vegan about bagels -- the classic ingredients are flour, yeast, malt, salt and water.

The problem is the trend is to add in everything from cheese to chocolate chips and then these classic East European breads lose their vegan status.  In addition, some recipes change up the dough to add in (horrors) - eggs, milk, margarine and other ingredients to make the bagel softer.

Please check out  the homemade bagel story on my main blog, Blog Appetit, for a good hands-on discussion, great recipe and maybe even some inspiration for making your own.  I ate mine slathered with homemade blueberry bourbon spice jam (thank you Jeanne for leaving me the jar) and non-dairy cream cheese.  If there had been any leftovers, I was planning on having a salt bagel covered with hummus, sliced red onion, cucumber and tomato.  Alas, all the bagels were eaten.  Guess I'll just have to make another batch.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Much Depends on the Sauce

My husband, an eat-alongside vegan (I'll define that later), claims that much of the tastiness of my vegan cooking depends on the sauce.  He claims that if every vegan and wanna be vegan had five or so sauces in their repertoire they would eat very well.

Tonight I made a cauliflower, greens, pepper and tomato gratin with a soy white sauce (with daiya mozzarella shreds) topped with bread crumbs, paprika, nutritional yeast and smoky "bacon" tempeh.  Gary is not much into "goopy" sauces (I prefer to think of them as gooey), but he really liked the dish (as did I) - I served it with whole wheat pasta penne tossed in an olive oil, garlic and fresh pea sauce. 

I was very happy with all the combinations and I'm adding these sauce concepts to my list of "vegan sauces."

I'm sorry I made this on the fly and didn't write down what I did, but here are the basics:

Spicy Cauliflower Gratin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Steam a head of cauliflower florets until just tender. Saute 1 chopped onion, 4 minced garlic cloves until golden, add in 1 chopped jalapeno and 1 red pepper.  Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cumin to taste.  Saute until peppers are softened.  Add in a couple of handfuls of chopped greens (I used a mix of mustard, turnip and collard), sauteed for a few minutes, add a cup of water and stir/steam until greens have softened, add in drained cauliflower, 2 tomatoes cut in 8ths each, Saute until cauliflower and other veggies are cooked through. 

Grease casserole dish. make white sauce following traditional recipe but substituting vegan margarine for butter and unflavored soy milk for milk.  When thickened, add about 1/2 cup non-dairy mozzarella cheese shreds.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put veggies in dish.  Pour sauce evenly over. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and paprika. (Optional, cook smoky tempeh as per package instructions, chop and sprinkle over sauce.) Bake about 20-30 minutes until slightly browned and sauce is bubbly.

Pasta with Garlic and Green Peas

Heat olive oil in deep pot, saute sliced garlic until golden, add cooked pasta, toss.  Add lightly steamed peas, toss and serve.
An eat-alongside vegan is a spouse, friend, partner or other who is not him or herself a vegan but who enjoys vegan food and is supportive of your vegan efforts.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Potatoes, Three - Potato Soup Recipe

I made a warm, nourishing and creamy soup last night.  I used 2 potatoes in the recipe, but I think it would be better with 3. Despite using a whole jalapeno with seeds, the soup was not spicy (at least to me).

Heat 2 tbs oil, saute 1 med onion chopped; 4 chopped garlic cloves; 2 large carrots, thinly sliced; 1 large jalapeno, roughly chopped (I kept the seeds in), and one red bell pepper chopped until onions are softened.  Add 8 cups of vegetable stock (you need a full flavored stock here, do not substitute water). Bring to a simmer. Add 1 bay leaf (whole)  and 3 medium russet (Idaho) potatoes cut into large, bite-sized chunks (I didn't peel, but  you can if you want). Cover, keeping at simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are somewhat tender, add 1-15 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice (fire roasted ones would be nice if you have). Simmer, covered for another 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.  Using a blender (or better yet an immersion blender), puree about half of the mixture so it still has texture but is somewhat creamy.  Return to a simmer.  Add about 2-3 cups chopped greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip, etc). Add 1 cup unflavored, non-dairy milk. (I used soy.) Stir well and cook until greens are tender and soup has the thickness you like. Taste. Season to taste with salt, pepper and smoked paprika and or hot sauce.  Remove bay leaf before serving.