An Egg-cellent Vegan Secret

Food

I have been meat and poultry free for 6 years, and gave up fish about 5 years ago. I have never gone truly vegan, although I lessen the amount of animal byproducts as much as I can. To some people, that makes me “just as bad as a meateater” and to some people, what I do makes some sort of difference. I feel comfortable with where I am at, but recognize that at some point I may feel compelled to cut out the occasional egg, whole milk ice cream that’s given to me, or honey.

I replace eggs and dairy often. One thing that cannot really be replaced is that real egg taste- the one that tastes good but smells like dog farts. This taste is notable in hardboiled and deviled eggs.

One day, the geniuses over at Lagusta’s Luscious,  who always surprise my tastebuds with vegan delicacies that really don’t need the word “vegan” as a qualifier (“This is an amazing chocolate/macaron!” is all that needs to be said, not really “This is an amazing VEGAN chocolate/macaron!” because no one is going to have one of their treats and say “This is pretty great for a VEGAN treat!”), posted a recipe for Vegan Deviled Eggs. 

Yes, you read that right. That picture at the top of this post? You’ll notice the egg looks a little funny. Bubbly. That’s probably because I whisked too hard. But there are no animal products in that egg. Here, have a closer look:

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You can follow the link to their recipe, but the crowning jewel in this recipe is an indian salt called “Kala Namak.”

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Kala Namak has sulphur in it, which makes it stink, and taste, like eggs. And true enough, those deviled eggs tasted spot on. I chopped some up and made egg salad out of them, and that was amazing too.

This morning, I made myself a tofu scramble for breakfast, and used Kala Namak instead of salt. Sure enough, it tasted just like scrambled eggs!

I bought my salt from The Spice Lab @ Amazon. If you are vegan, vegetarian looking to be more vegan, or just someone who enjoys culinary creativity, grab some salt, hold your nose, and get going! I make a lot of Vegan Frittatas in the spring and summer and I suspect this will work its way into the recipes.

Super Springy Green Soup

Food

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I never got the appeal of pea soup. Maybe it was because I first saw Linda Blair do her pea soup thing before I was going to grade school for a full day, but it never appealed to me. It was chalky and didn’t taste good. I had a good friend who loved it, especially with ham in it,  and one day, 3 or 4 years ago, I decided to try to make a pea soup that I could not only stomach, but enjoy. Then I read something, a recipe unrelated to pureed soups, where someone swapped out peas with edamame. It occurred to me that edamame might make a pea soup bright. I am no recipe genius, but for a long time I was single, overworked, and made a lot of meals that were thrown together with things on hand that would last. It was in this vein that this springy soup was born. Now that the weather is getting better, I decided to find it, to hopefully soon make it, and, hell, why not share it.

SUPER SPRINGY GREEN SOUP

INGREDIENTS

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1 16 oz package frozen peas
3 cups chopped onions
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup carrots chopped into 1-inch rounds
1/4 cup shelled edamame
1/4 cup chopped dill
1 lemon
pinch salt
5 slices hickory smoked tofurky, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Run hot water over bag of peas for 2 minutes, set aside.

Chop onions, and sautee for a few minutes in the bottom of a heavy pot, using a little bit of spray-oil. Do not brown.

Add broth, stir, and cover, bringing to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes covered.

Add carrot rounds and cook for another 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, pull out carrot pieces and put aside. Onions should be mushy at this point. if not, cook a little more.

Remove from heat. Add peas, stir, and cover for 3 minutes. It is important that the pot be on a cold burner at this point, to keep the peas bright green.

pour into blender, in small batches if needed, and blend. You don’t want it to be perfectly smooth, it benefits from a little texture.

pour back into pot. Add the juice of one lemon. More if you want. Add the chopped dill, shelled edamame, and carrots. Stir. Add salt to taste.

Serve with a sprig of dill and 1 chopped slice of tofurkey added at the last minute. You may also put a dollup of non-dairy (or dairy, if you don’t care) sour cream for extra taste and calories.

Serving Size: makes 5 1-cup servings

Number of Servings: 5

Totally Inauthentic Delicious Tagine

Food

Recently, I had an amazing 9-course dinner, at Dirt Candy. One of the courses was a tomato fennel moroccan dish, served in the tiniest little ceramic tagine. The most memorable thing about this dish was the really flavorful broth. I decided there was no way I could recreate the dish, but I decided to make my own, focusing on a really rich tomatoey broth.

Full disclosure: I don’t know what the fuck I am doing when it comes to moroccan food. Its been awhile since i have had it. The only thing i really had in mind was beans and preserved lemons and maybe some turmeric and sausage. I basically wandered through the store and just put whatever I felt like in my basket. It actually ended up coming out really great.

Many of the ingredients in this are VERY salty- resulting in a salty dish. If you can find low sodium tomato juice, it will help in that respect.

I am not a food photographer. Once I cook it, I want to eat it, which means quick iPhone photos.

Lisa’s Inauthentic Tagine (serves 8-10.)

For the Tagine
2 C. White Wine
3 C. Tomato Juice
2 sweet onions, sliced thinly
2 Bulbs Fennel, sliced thinly.  Fronds and tops reserved and chopped roughly.
3 T chopped, preserved lemon (or 1 T. lemon zest and 1 t. salt, but preserved lemon is better.)
1 Pinch saffron (optional)
3 t. turmeric
2 t. Crushed red pepper
1 bag (14 oz) frozen artichoke hearts
8 oz cooked fava beans (or garbanzos)
4 vegan sausages, cut into discs
1 package tempeh, cubed and previously braised in broth, wine, or tomato juice.
1 C pitted kalamata olives
4 T olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
For the couscous
1 C whole wheat couscous
1/2 c tomato juice
1 T vegan butter (or olive oil)
1/2 cup water
large pinch salt
Saute one onion in half of the olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add the roughly-chopped fennel tops and fronds and stir. Add white wine and tomato juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, toss the solids, and put aside.
Saute the other onion in the rest of the olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped tomato, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add all of the other ingredients, plus around a cup of the broth you put aside. cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the rest of the broth and stir. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Taste; depending on your taste you may want to add more preserved lemon. If you didn’t use preserved lemon, you may wish to add salt at this point, but if you used it, its probably plenty salty at this time.
While the tagine is simmering, prepare couscous: bring  water, tomato juice, and butter/oil to a boil. Remove from heat, and add salt and couscous. Mix thoroughly and cover for 5-10 minutes.
To serve, put 1/4 cup cooked couscous at the bottom of a bowl, and add tagine on top.

Fungus Frenzy

Food, Uncategorized

Mushrooms are an amazing thing. I loved them the moment I first had a button mushroom cooked in butter, with a little garlic. I loved them raw, and eraser-like, in my salad. I loved them microwaved in a cup of water, pickled in salt or vinegar, raw and whole and probably covered in cow feces. I loved them stuffed, thrown into a vat of molten soondobu, sliced thinly like ceviche. Any way, I love them.

Not everyone loves mushrooms. There are a lot of people who downright hate them.  I have to believe those folks have never had a properly prepared mushroom. The tastes are so varied and complex and meaty.

A wonderful winter meal, showcasing shrooms, follows- it is my very favorite for the cold winter months. Mushroom and Wild Rice Stoup, with wild mushroom flatbreads.

MUSHROOM AND WILD RICE “STOUP”

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The first day, this hearty winter meal will present as a soup. Overnight though, it will soak up most of its liquid and resemble a very thick stew. It tastes very brown, very hearty, and very warming, perfect for a cold winter night.

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Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Makes about 10 servings

1 cup wild rice

1 large diced onion

5 celery stalks, diced

1 lb Shiitake Mushrooms

1/2 lb Crimini Mushrooms

8 oz chopped Seitan

2 Cups Baby Kale

3 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 Tablespoons Flour

1.5 Cups White Wine

2 Bay Leaves

4 cups “Unchicken” stock (plain veggie stock is ok too.)

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

1 Cup lite coconut milk

1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar

2 teaspoons Salt

2 Tablespoons oil

Begin by boiling a pot of water. When it comes to a boil, add 1 t. salt and all of the wild rice. Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes, until the rice splits open. Drain and set aside when done.

While the rice is cooking, heat up the oil on medium-high, and cook the onions and celery for 5 minutes.  When the onions are translucent and soft, add the rest of the salt and the mushrooms and turn down the heat to medium. Cook for a full 20 minutes, allowing the mushrooms to slowly turn brown, and for brown goo to begin to collect at the bottom of the pan. Stir mixture occasionally.

Once the full 20 minutes is up, add the seitan and stir for 2 minutes. Add Garlic and Oregano and stir for another minute.  Next, sprinkle in the flour and cook until the veggies are covered in flour and the flour begins to look sticky, another 2 minutes or so.

Turn the heat back up and add in the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan carefully; all of that beatiful brown created by the mushrooms needs to mix with the wine. Cook for another 3-5 minutes so that the wine reduces.

Add the bayleaf and stock, and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add in the coconut milk and the rosemary, and then the wild rice. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir in the baby kale a minute or two before you take it off of the heat. Add the cider vinegar at the very end to brighten it up.

WILD MUSHROOM FLATBREADS

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These little flatbreads were total improv. The key is slowly cooking the mushrooms in the beginning; it adds an earthy “Brown” flavor that complements, but can also easily stand alone from, the brightness of the pesto.

Ingredients

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Makes 10 servings

14 oz whole wheat pizza dough

3 T pesto

6 oz mixed wild mushrooms

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 C Baby Kale

Salt, Pepper

1 t olive oil

Heat the oil in a pan on medium. Cook mushrooms with salt, slowly stirring for 15 minutes.

While mushrooms are cooking, divide dough into 10 equal pieces and spread out in oval shapes on a lightly sprayed pan. Preheat oven to 450, or whatever temperature your dough states.

if you leave the dough to rest, you can go back in a few minutes and usually stretch it a little more.

spread 1 t. of pesto on each piece of dough. Distribute the cooked mushrooms on top of the pesto, and top with a few thin slices of pepper, then top each flatbread with the baby kale.

Cook in oven until dough is cooked and edges are browned.

(Vegan) Beef Goulash with Whole Wheat Spätzle

Food

 

Once upon a time, many years ago, I worked my first real job in an German/Austrian Restaurant in the middle of the most rural part of New Jersey. You would think that something like that wouldn’t last, but it thrived for many, many years before and after my time there, perhaps because of his relationship with local hunters, or perhaps just because the food was good and homey.

I made desserts and salads and cold appetizers. I am friends, to this day, with a guy I met there whom I used to get in shrimp vein fights with (we’d devein the shrimp and then wipe it on each other, ew.) I started a 5+ year relationship with a man I met here, also still a friend, who I awkwardly watched the boss tell to “Give me the WEINER! I need the WEINER! (As in, WEINER Schnitzel.) I think of the old boss every time I make a cake, especially one with booze in it, and I learned that the best way to decorate desserts is with edible flowers. I learned that tiny strawberries reminded me of my dog, and that a really good way to tease your friend is to rub shrimp veins into his arm hair (but you’ll get paid back 2-fold.) I learned that sauerbraten gravy is a mysterious, wonderful concoction.

I learned that in a restaurant like this, meat is king. At the time, I still ate meat, but I can’t think of anything, besides the salad, that had any green in it.

One of the things on the menu that wasn’t made of meat, was a weird little pasta called Spatzle. Teeny tiny blobs of pasta, that we served with the sauerbraten- or was it the weiner? I can’t remember. It was mostly bland, but slightly nutmeggy, and sucked up the sauces wonderfully.

Spatzle is not only an Austrian thing, its also made in Hungarian cooking. When I decided I was going to take on Beef Goulash, I knew I was going to have to incorporate Spatzle into it too. And I’d have to do more research; I can “wing” veganizing a meal, until there’s eggy dough involved. I didn’t want to waste my time, or my money, or make a mess that produced no results, so I had to do a little research before beginning my spatzle dough.

I served this with a side of baby kale with little lemon, oil, and mustard, and some rice flower hot sauce crusted brussels sprouts. recipes below.

I was really scared making the goulash.  I was combining a few (meaty) recipes and altering some things, and I thought I made a big mistake using so much wine. Some recipes had all wine and some had some broth and I wanted a bold, hearty flavor so, I went all wine. At one point I checked the broth as it was cooking (and had been cooking for awhile) and it tasted like dirty wine. Be patient, this will go away. Also, a cup of paprika sounds deadly (like, how many times have you ever used more than a tablespoon of paprika?) but I promise you, in the end it will not disappoint. The vinegar at the end balances everything out. IF you think at the end its missing something, add an extra little bit of vinegar.

One more note: I cook on sundays for the house to eat for the whole work week. You can easily halve these recipes.

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hungarian beef goulash

  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 4 medium red bell peppers, Diced
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled and smashed and roughly chopped
  • 3 large Onions, sliced
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 t.  caraway seed
  • 24 ounce, Seitan Cubed
  • 6 large portabella mushrooms, cut in large cubes
  • 6 cup(s), Wine – Table, red
  • 5 Bay leaves
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 4 T. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 T. Corn Starch

directions:

The majority of this preparation is inactive, and can be done either in a dutch oven in the oven, or a slow cooker. Either turn on your slow cooker, or preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven (or a pot if you plan on using a slow cooker later.) Add onions and peppers and stir occasionally, for 15 minutes. In the meantime, brown mushrooms in a pan and set aside.

Add paprika and caraway seeds to the onion mixture, and stir for 3 minutes. Now add wine, carrots, seitan, salt, and mushrooms, mix to combine, and bring to a boil.

Once it boils, cover the dutch oven and place inside the oven (or, transfer to slow cooker) and cook for 3 hours.

Scoop out a half cup of liquids, and mix with corn starch. Mix back into the pot, and add vinegar. Return to stove top and bring to boil, then turn off heat. If using a slow cooker, cook for 5 more minutes instead of returning to stovetop.

Makes 12 servings.

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vegan whole wheat spätzle

  • 1.5 cups almond milk, plain
  • 1.75 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 C. garbanzo/fava bean flour
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Ground nutmeg
  • fresh ground pepper
  • a large pot of boiling water, heavily salted.

directions: 

Mix milk, flours, salt, nutmeg, and pepper together, once combined, mix for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until glue like in consistency. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Boil large pot of heavily salted water. Have a colander nearby. With clean hands and a large slotted spoon (a box grater on its side (the side with the biggest holes)  works ok in a pinch too. Working in batches, push dough through the holes of slotted spoon/box grater into the boiling water. It will fall in in blobs. When the small blobs begin to float, scoop them up with a clean slotted spoon and dump into colander. Continue until dough is all cooked.

Spätzle is ready to go at this point, but if you’d like, you can brown it a little in some oil or cooking spray.

Serves 12.

 

 

Vegan White Bean and Sausage Winter Stew

Food

Winter is coming! It is one of my favorite times to cook. It can be challenging as a vegetarian, because your produce choices are limited, but the heartiness and warmth of a good winter stew is something that cannot be beat. This stew really delivers on that.

Any vegan sausage can be used in this recipe, but I try to stick away with texturized vegetable protein as much as possible- I also find Field Roast brand sausages to be the most sausage-like, with quality ingredients. The mushrooms in this recipe are optional, but really add to the flavor, in my opinion. The Un-chicken broth, as opposed to vegetable or mushroom broth, really makes a difference in this recipe too, although another broth can be used in its place.

 

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ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 8 cups “UN”chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans, rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can Cannellini beans, rinsed
  •  8 links good quality vegan sausage. I used Field Roast Apple and Sage
  •  10 minced leaves fresh basil
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (I used shiitakes.)
  • 2 t. flour
  • 2 T. Olive oil

directions

  1. Sautee garlic in 1/2 T. olive oil.
  2. Add sauteed garlic to broth.
  3. Add white beans to broth and bring to boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Saute mushrooms in 1 T olive oil until browned.
  5. Slice sausages into 8 rounds each and brown in remaining oil.
  6. Remove 1/2 C beans and 1/2 C Broth, and an additional 1/2 C broth, and set aside.
  7. Add Sausage, mushroom, tomatoes, basil, greens, and simmer.
  8. puree 1/2 cup beans and 1/2 cup broth that you set aside. Return to pot.
  9. Add flour to remaning 1/2 cup broth and whisk until smooth. Add slowly to pot, while stirring.
  10. simmer 15 minutes

Number of Servings: 12

Columbian Chicken Soup

Food

 

While many people in the Northeast were getting their french toast ingredients ready for Blizzard 2016 (AKA Jonas, AKA Winter All at once, AKA David Snowie.) I knew exactly what I needed to weather the storm- SOUP! The produce aisle at Whole Foods was wiped out- I managed to find everything I needed, except for the last thing I looked for; Cilantro. Don’t skimp on the cilantro on this one, folks, its super important.

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    Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs seitan (I usedUpton’s Naturals, 3 packages.)
  • 6 scallions, whole
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 cup cilantro, uncapped
  • 2 small potatoes, cubed
  • 0.50 pound, 1 Pound Cooked Fresh Asparagus
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 Tbsp Capers
  • 4 clove(s), Garlic (1 Clove)
  • 3 ears of corn cut into 4 rounds each
  • 10 cups vegetarian chicken broth
  • 3 cups Baby Organic Kale
  • 1 Cup Baby carrots
  • 2 cup cooked, Farro Grain (Cooked)
  • 5 Tbsp Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk-yogurt
  • 1 Tbs corn starch

Directions

Cook farro according to directions and set aside 2 cups (Cooked) for this recipe. Use the rest elsewhere.

Combine in a large pot Broth, Seitan, Corn, 1/2 cup cilantro, Cumin, 4 scallions, and garlic. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Strain the pot, keeping all liquids and solids. Throw out the cooked cilantro, garlic, and scallions. Return the corn to the pot, and leave the seitan to the side. Now is a good time to shred or chop it if it isn’t already.

Cover and bring broth to a boil. Add potatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add asparagus and carrots and seitan, simmer until the vegetables are tender, another 5 minutes or so. Scoop up a half cup of the broth and set aside. Add kale, then mix reserved broth with corn starch, add back to the pot, stir, and cook a minute longer, then turn off the heat. (if you are not using baby kale, add the kale 2 minutes earlier.)

Chop remaining cilantro and scallions.

To serve, add a small amount of farro to each bowl (less than 1/4 cup.) Ladle solids into bowl (make sure everyone gets 1 corn round, and there will be a couple extras) and then cover with broth.

Garnish with a small dollop of yogurt, scallions and cilantro, and some sliced avocado.

 

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Food

Fall is one of my favorite times to cook. It’s a lot easier to be inspired. Even my partner, who pretty much makes fried rice every time its his turn to cook, can be inspired once the calendar turns to October and there are a few crunchy leaves on the ground.

I can’t take credit for this recipe- its all his. However, I should get points for pulling the ingredients out of him. “It’ll take too long,” he said.

The Furikake is optional, but I put it on EVERYTHING.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

3 lbs Kabocha or some other good cooking pumpkin, cut in halves, seeds scooped, and rubbed generously with olive oil

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 T mild white miso

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 thumb sized knob of ginger, minced

salt, pepper, to taste

Hot peppers (or dried powdered chilis) to tastE

Apple Cider Vinegar

Sesame oil

Roasted Pumpkin seeds

Vegan Furikake (optional) (I get mine at Whole Foods and use it on everything!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375, and place well greased Pumpkin halves face up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes, flip, and roast for 20 more minutes until nice and carmelized.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger. If you are using real hot peppers, add them here as well. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Heat 4 cups broth on the stove, and add onion mix. Scoop pumpkin out of its shell and add to pot.

Add miso to remaining half cup of broth and whisk into a slurry so that there are no lumps. Slowly add to pot. Bring to a boil, and taste for salt, pepper, and heat. If you need more heat, add powdered chili pepper. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Remove pot from stove and let cool a little. With an immersion blender, or a regular blender in batches, puree the mixture until smooth.

Serve with a swirl of sesame oil, a pinch of roasted pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkle of furikake.

Happy Fall!

The Most Delicious Vegan Salad Dressing

Food

IMG_9216 copyThis dressing is super simple and pairs well with raw kale. It also makes a good Caesar substitute.

  • 4 T. Blanched, Slivered Almonds
  • 4 T. Dijon Mustard
  • 4 T. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 t. Garlic Powder
  • 4 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 T. Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 T. Oil
  • 1/2 c. water
  • A couple dashes of pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor or VitaMix. You can also use an immersion blender. Blend until smooth. If you want it extra silky (or your food processor is not that powerful) push through a strainer and discard chunks.)