Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eggplants for a dollar, bagels for free (practically)!

A couple of days ago while perusing the Italian Market eggplants were going for a buck. Who wouldn't get one..tell me that? Now that I had this eggplant I had to do something with it for dinner and being from Minnesota we love to throw things in a casserole dish and make the infamous "hot-dish"... so this is what happened... Please, Enjoy!
Creamy Pesto Eggplant Bake
The sauce is the key to this recipe. You may want to double the recipe just so you have extra to spread on sammies or use as a dip.
The Sauce:
-3 tbsp. Earth balance
-4 cloves garlic
-3/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
-1/2 cup water
-1 tbsp. fresh mint
-dash o' salt
-1/2 cup pesto
The Dish:
-1 eggplant cut into 1/4 in. round slices
-1 yellow onion
-2 tbsp. maple syrup
-1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
-1 ripe tomato thinly (1/8 in.) sliced
In a sauce pan saute the garlic in the earth balance on low heat for about 5 or so minutes. Once it starts to get cooking, throw in the mint and leave on a low heat mixing every couple of minutes for about 10 minutes. In the meantime slice the yellow onion and place in a frying pan with a tad of olive oil and saute until tender. Drizzle on the maple syrup and saute for a good 5 minutes.
Add the water and nutritional yeast to the sauce pan with garlic mint, turn up the heat and stir constantly for about 2 minutes. When it starts to thicken add the pesto and continue stirring. Once it it mixed thoroughly turn off heat and set aside. (add salt to taste)
Oil a large casserole dish and begin layering the ingredients in this order:
caramelized onion
After the second layering of e, c, and m, layer the thin tomatoes on top and pour on the sauce evenly.
Put in the oven at 350 uncovered for about 20 minutes take out and serve over a bed of rice or orzo.
Never again will you have to pay 89 cents for a bagel at wholefoods or even more at a coffee shop. It is possible to bake your own bagels and incredible bagels at that. My friend Lauren, from veganroyale just picked up Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new book Vegan Brunch . While at her house I was flipping through checking things out and I happened to come across her recipe for da da da da BAGELS! I thought it couldn't be done, I don't know why but bagels just went on the list with croissants on things that I would never be able to bake and therefore must buy. WRONG! They are super easy, and Lauren and I came to the conclusion that to bake a dozen costs under $2.50. So check it out! Do the math and bake some bagels!
-3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 packet dry active yeast (1/4 ounce)
-1 1/2 cups water (plus a dash)
-4 cups flour
-2 tbsp. vital wheat gluten
-2 tsp. salt
Mix the dry active yeast with 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 1/2 cup warm water, mix until all is dissolved and set aside. In a large bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients (including the leftover sugar). Add the water and mix together, the dough shouldn't be wet and it shouldn't be dry, Isa uses the word, "tacky". Knead for 10 minutes and place in an oiled bowl with a moist towel over it for one hour. After an hour the dough shouldn't have risen that much but should be nice and springy. Roll it out onto a dry surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Ball each piece and fold dough into the center with your thumbs until its smooth and even and eventually poke a hole in the center about the size of a half dollar.
Boil a large pot of water. When the water is at a rapid boil bring down to a simmer and place 3 bagels in at a time. They should pop up to the surface in a couple of seconds, but if they don't, just give them a little poke. You want to keep them in the water for about a minute on each side. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and here comes the fun part... dip them in whatever toppings you want!!! Yesterday we made Everything, Onion, Pumpkin Flax and Plain. Today I added Sesame to the mix.
Once all the bagels have been boiled and dipped place them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper and bake at 425 for 15-20mns, you'll know they are done when they are golden brown on the top. The hardest part is waiting for 30 mns after you take them out of the oven to dig in, but trust me as with many things in life, its worth the wait. THANK YOU ISA!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three Buffalo Babies (recipes that is...)

Why has Buffalo Wild Wings become a mass chain of resturaunts throughout the country and is always crowded?? Because people love Buffalo Wings, most importantly Buffalo Sauce. The mixture of hot with that coooool blue cheese or ranch dressing dance a sweet tango on the tongue. So what do the non chicken or even non fast food chain members do?? Sure we can order buffalo wings, or buffalo seitan at really any resturant/pub (buffalo seitan is the latest rage throughout the philly area for vegan items) but unfortunately I can't drop 10-15 bones every time I get that h0t/cool hankering. So, here it is, a magical team of hot thick buffalo sauced items with cool basil aioli to calm my craves. On the roster we have... Banging Buffalo Almond Dip, Buffalo Burgers, and of coarse Buffalo Wings. As always, Please Enjoy.
Almond Buffalo Dip
Craving buffalo but not in the mood to boil seitan for hours or prepare burgers... this works as an awesome dip that requires no cooling agent...just some chips!
-1 cup soaked ground almonds
-1/4 cup ground cashews
-1 tbsp. lemon juice
-dash of salt
-1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
-2 cloves of garlic
Throw into a food processor and SHAM-WOW!! You've got it!
Buffalo Sauce
All right, this is where the magic happens. This is the sauce you want to use to baste your burgers and slother your seitan.
-1/2 can crushed Tomatoes (roughly 14 oz.)
-1/2 cup Earth Balance
-1 cup Franks
-2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
-4 tsp. Cayenne (I end up using more, but I enjoy my wings very spicy!!)
-4 tbsp. brown sugar
-1/4 cup of flour
-dash (or dashes) or your favorite chili/hot sauce (Marie Sharps extra habenaro, my personal choice, thank you Rus Meyers)
-dash of red pepper flakes
In a sauce pan melt the butter and add the crushed tomotoes, franks, acv, cayenne, brown sugar and stir on medium heat until it starts bubbling. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of flour and mix well until it dissolves and thickens up your sauce. Then mix in the rest of ingredients, hot sauce and red pepper flakes until your happy with the spice level. Cook for a couple minutes on medium heat constantly stirring. Take off heat and drape it over your desired buffalo likings... (I think tonight I'm going to try buffalo pizza...)
To use with Burgers - preheat over 400
John bought these really weird fake meat squares at the asian market that I was sick of looking at. So these burgers are made out of those, but if you don't feel like trying fake frozen meat at your local asian market, I would just go ahead and use tofu.
-8 squares "fake meat" (I'll ask john and get back to you later on what they actually are)
-2 slices of bread
-2 tbsp. nutrional yeast
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 of a lemon, juiced
-2 cloves o' garlic
-1/8 tsp. coriander
-1/8 tsp. salt
Put all ingredients into a food processor and wait until they're nice and mushy! Then form them into patties, place on baking sheet, and bake in oven on 400 for about 5 minutes, take them out and slather on the sauce and bake for another 15 minutes, flip them, slather, and repeat! Garnish with Basil Aioli (recipe below) and any other desired burger fixings.
For faux chicken buffalo wings its soooo easy you won't stop making them (or at least I haven't for the past 2 days...). I used Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's Simple Seitan recipe from their book Veganomicon.

Simple Seitan

-1 cup vital wheat gluten flour

-3 tbsp. nutrional yeast

-1/2 cup cold vegetable broth

-1/4 cup soy sauce

-1 tbsp. olive oil

-2 cloves garlic (which my garlic loving self hasn't been putting in... )

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, wet in a small one. Combine the two and stir with a wooden spoon until they are mixed and its clumpy. Start kneading the dough for about 3 mintues or until it becomes elastic. At this point in time, I go ahead and seperate the dough into little tiny "wing" sized pieces.

In a large stock pot bring about 8 cups of water (and if you want you can do 1/2 h20, 1/2 veggie broth with a little soy sauce, but i don't go through that trouble since I'm already coating them in sauce, they're more than flavorful) to a boil with your little seitan wings in it. Right when it starts boiling you want to turn it down to a simmer and let sit for about 45-1 hr. with the lid partially on to let steam out. Drain and let sit for a couple of minutes. Throw them into a big bowl and sprinkle about a tbsp. of flour over them and toss, then drench them with sauce, mixing them around so the entire surface area is covered. Put them in a 400 degree preheated oven on baking sheets lined with tin foil for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with the Basil/Arugula Aoili.

Basil / Arugula Cooling Dip
This works. It totally works as the partner in crime with the hot buffalo sauce. Now, last night I made it with Arugula and the other night I made it with Basil, choose your poison.
-2 handfuls arugula/basil
-3 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 cup walnuts
-1/3 cup almonds
-1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
-3 tbsp. veganaise
-Juice from 1 lemon
-3 gloves garlic
-dash of salt
Yes, as with a lot of the recipes I post on this, put into a food processor, combine until smooth and creamy and watch this amazing duo start popping up in your dreams.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You won't even know it's Faking Fettuccine

Cream. Just that word sends shivers down my spine. There was a point in time when my blood could've been made of that very substance. My coffee would be the color of skin (which is pretty pale) there would be so much cream in it. While waiting for my meals at diners I would down the little half n' halfs in the dish on the table. So, yes, you could say I miss the stuff. This recipe beautifully mocks the real thick smooth creamy Alfredo sauce we've all craved at one point in our lives. I got this 'pie in my inbox from my recipe of the week, I didn't follow exactly leaving this and replacing that, so I'll give you my final product which was AWESOME! Also, I doubled the recipe which worked great when feeding a large group and since it was so delectable there was plenty for seconds and yes, even thirds! This is a great recipe to use if you are cooking for a large group who unfortunately aren't vegan... trust me they'll love it!! As always, enjoy.
Blanched almonds work wonderfully to add thickness and a soft nutty flavor. To blanch the almonds just throw them in a frying pan and cover with water. Turn on medium heat with a lid and cook until water has disappeared.
Fettuccine AlVegan

-1 tbsp. olive oil

-1 small yellow onion

-1 tbsp. white wine

-1/3 cup blanched almonds

-6 oz. soft tofu

-salt to taste

-dash of cayenne, basil, or any italianish seasons to your liking... I can foresee rosemary tasting great!

-1 lb. fettuccine noodles

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Chop the onion and add. Cook until tender (not browned) about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the wine and set aside. While the onions start cooking, start your noodles.

Finely ground the blanched almonds in a food processor. Add the onion mixture and blend until smooth. Add the tofu and continue to blend. Add the spices/seasonings/salt and slowly add the soy milk until you've reached a consistency you're happy with (I ended up using less soy milk than the recipe indicates...).

Throw the finished blended creamy sauce into a sauce pan on medium/low heat and cook for while. This is a good point while its warming up to taste and add whatever you think its missing... i.e. more salt, garlic pow, etc...

When the noodles are done, drain, put in a nice big serving bowl, drench them with the alvegan sauce and toss! Va-la!

I went ahead and served garlic bread with this dish... a given. Purchase a baguette, cut in half. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil, chopped garlic, and salt. Bake at 350 for about 7-10 mns.