Friday, December 25, 2009

Season's Eatings!

Merry Christmas to my bloggernaughts. If you are reading this today, step away from your computer and enjoy your family, friends, furry friends and come back later. If that isn't your thing, go cook something :) I'm working a 12 hour shift today, so I have an excuse to be sitting at the computer. LOL.

I wasn't overly optimistic about getting any cooking done today, but we had a little mini-harvest last night and I felt compelled to use it in something today. Here is the take from the garden late last Eve. Arugula and more radishes. It frosted the night before last before we could cover the garden. I'm hoping most stuff will make it. The tomatoes and beans are toast.

I got up a bit early this morning and prepped my goodies so I could throw a nice lunch together for me and my co-worker today. I bring you Christmas Pasta (to be re-named later when I'm feeling a bit more creative).

Makes 2 large portions

1/4 lb dried spaghetti/fettuccini/angel hair
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cippollini onions
2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dry white wine and drink the rest of the bottle.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Penzey's)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
8 sun dried tomatoes (not in oil) rehydrated, julienned
1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
2 cups loosely packed arugula
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (for garnish)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (measured after chopping, for garnish)
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Cook pasta according to package direction (al dente). Run under cold water to cool. Toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Pasta can be prepared a day or two ahead of time and stored in a tightly covered bowl in the fridge.

Heat oil in very large saute pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onions and saute until just starting to soften. Add vinegar and wine and reduce slightly. Add dried seasonings and saute for about 1 more minute. Add sun dried tomatoes and red peppers. Saute for about 3-5 minutes until peppers just start to soften. Add arugula and saute for another minute until it just starts to wilt. Add cooled pasta and cook until just heated through. Make sure to toss so that all of the ingredients are well combined. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Dish out onto two plates. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes if desired.

I hope that all of you have a love filled Christmas. Keep the kitchen fires burning!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blog Cooking Challenges - Weeks 1-4

Allychristine from the PPK posted a challenge to keep all of us foodies inspired to try new dishes. Each week we make recipes from a particular blog. As a food blogger myself, I love the idea of supporting a fellow blogger and promoting their sites. Food blogging takes a lot of time and inspiration. There are some great blogs out there and I've posted some links here. I hope this post encourages you to check some more of them out!

Week One - The PPK Blog - I have to admit, I didn't make anything this week, but there was a reason. I have been testing for Isa for 3+ years. I'm still testing now, so I figured I'd give myself a week off from this challenge. I can tell you that I have made the Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles more times than I care to admit. Try 'em they are easy, delicious and impressive.

Week Two - Vegan Dad - Vegan Dad has been posting kid friendly and more fancy pants fare for the more mature palate. He also has a cookbook of his most popular recipes that you can buy online. I had been eye-balling his Tofu Makhani recipe for some time. I'm embarrassed to say I had never made any Indian dishes before...although I had Indian spices in my massive spice collection. I really liked this recipe. But I have to admit, I had to add some hot chile to up the heat factor for us. It's an excellent dish and pretty easy to make!

Week Three - Fat Free Vegan - After the holidays I was craving something lighter and chock full of vegetables. This recipe for Stir Fried Tofu and Vegetables with Miso Sauce filled the bill! It was so fresh, colorful and tasty. I went back for seconds. One nice thing about stir fry dishes is the fact that you really can sub whatever vegetables you have on hand, which I did here.

Week Four - Bittersweet - This is the blog of Hannah Kaminsky, author of My Sweet Vegan. She was just 18 when she published her book of sweet treats! I decided to try a couple of her savory recipes rather then the sweet ones. I was very intrigued by her Healing Squash Soup. I am always trying to find ways to incorporate ginger with all of its healing properties into our diet. This soup is chock full of ginger. So much so, that it gives it a firey quality on the tounge. Not for the folks with a bland palate.

The second recipe I tried was her Forbidden Seed Bread. I did sub sunflower seeds for the pepita, because Fred snacked on the last of the pepitas I had. Not his fault. I usually tell him what I need for recipes and he is great about making sure not to eat the ingredients I need. This bread was a fun departure from your traditional loaves. It uses cooked forbidden black rice. It leant a really nice texture and moisture content to the bread. I will make this one again!!!

The challenge goes for 11 weeks, so I will be posting more from my friends in blogland in the upcoming weeks! If you get a chance, please check out their blogs. They put their heart, soul, and lots of time into them!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FNF - Chicken Seitan and Bean Sopapillas

Take that GUY! This is my vegan take on a dish I saw on this episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The recipe is loosely based on a dish served at Salsa Brava in Flagstaff. I've had a chance to go there, but will have to visit next time I'm in Flag. Don't be scared by all of the recipes and steps. You can make the enchilada sauce, the cilantro cream, the seitan, and the beans a day or two before, so assembly is quick the day you put it together. I hope you decide to try this one. It is a real show stopper!

Frying up.

The finished giant sized masterpiece.

How does one go about making such a monstrous dish? The recipe(s) are below.

Chicken Seitan and Bean Stuffed Sopapillas

Makes 4 giant servings.

1 recipe sopapilla dough
1 recipe marinated chicken seitan
1 recipe refried beans
1 cup vegan cheddar (preferably Daiya)
1 recipe pasilla/ancho enchilada sauce
1 recipe chipotle cream
Oil heated to 375 for deep frying

Pre-heat oven to 500.

It is very important to have all of your ingredients set out and ready for assembly before you roll out the dough. Otherwise you run the risk of letting the dough get too wet and warm to puff up properly.

Prepare the refried beans and let them cool to room temperature. If already made and refrigerated, bring to room temperature.

Sear the marinated seitan steaks until they are brown and slightly crispy. Cool enough to be able to dice small.

Bring enchilada sauce to room temperature.

Divide sopapilla dough into 4 equal sized balls. Roll one out to about 6 inch round. Working quickly so the dough does not get wet, layer with cheese, chicken, then beans. Fold over to make 1/2 circle. Drop into hot oil immediately. Make sure to keep sopapilla submerged with heat proof tongs. Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Transfer to cookie sheet. Repeat 3 more times with remaining dough balls.

Once all of the sopapillas are crispy and brown ladle enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melty and bubbly. Drizzle with Cilantro Cream. Serve with extra enchilada sauce on the side. This one should be served immediately or you will lose the crunchy texture of the sopapilla.

For the sopapilla dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water

Mix all of the ingredients together to form a tacky but not wet dough. Let sit for 2 hours.

Marinated Chicken Seitan

1/2 pound of your favorite chicken seitan cutlets, steaks, or roast cut into steaks about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup lemon lime soda
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tequila
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

In a shallow dish (I used and 8 x 8 cake pan) mix all of the marinade ingredients. Add seitan making sure there is one layer and the marinade covers most of it. If it doesn't, you'll need to turn it over 1/2 way through the marinading. Marinade for at least two hours.

Holy Frijoles Refried Beans
Makes 2 cups

1 large clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced small
2 teaspoons annato infused oil
1 tablespoon chopped green chiles (hatch preferably)
1/2 teaspoon epazone or mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 - 15 oz can pinto beans with liquid

Heat oil in small sauce pan. Saute garlic until it is golden brown being careful not to burn it. Add onions and chiles and saute for about 5 minutes until onions are softened. Add dried spices and saute for 2 more minutes until fragrant. Add beans. Saute for 20 minutes until beans have thickened and only a small amount of liquid remains. Cool to room temperature. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Pasilla/Ancho Enchilada Sauce
Makes approximately 3 cups

4 large dried pasilla/ancho chilis
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon chili powder
28 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes

Rehydrate chilis in boiling water for 15-20 minutes until soft. Once rehydrated remove stem and seeds. Roughly chop.

In medium saucepan heat oil. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add onions and saute until slightly soft. About 5 minutes. Add dried spices and saute for about 2 more minutes. Add pasillas and saute for 2 more minutes, adding a small amount of tomatoes if it gets too dry. Add entire can of tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor blend until sauce is fairly smooth making sure there are no chunks of pasilla remaining. Saute for 10 more minutes. Can be stored for 2-3 days.

Cilantro Cream

1/2 cup non-dairy vegan sour cream
2 teaspoons unsweetened soy cream (Preferably Wildwood Brand, it has the least amount of sugar)
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (measured after chopping)

In a small bowl mix all ingredients. Let sit for at least 1/2 hour to let flavors meld. Can store up to 1 day in the refrigerator.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Food Network Friday - Beef and Horseradish Sauce Sandwich

For this week's Food Network Friday Challenge I converted this Ina Garten Recipe. With the holidays approaching, it was nice to have a fairly easy conversion this week. Once the seitan is made, this is a snap to throw together. I used Tami Noyes' Beefy Seitan Recipe that will be in her upcoming American Vegan Kitchen cookbook as the base. The rest was pretty straight forward.

"Beef" and Horseradish Sauce Sandwiches.

Makes 2 hearty sized sandwiches.

4 oz Beefy Seitan
1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper

Sauce ingredients

1/2 cup vegannaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons stoneground mustard
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon Toffutti non-hydrogenated sour cream

Sandwich ingredients

4 slices whole grain sandwich bread
1 cup arugula
1 tomato sliced thin
1/2 tablespoon softened Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 500.Mix 1/2 tablespoon EB with 1 teaspoon dijon. Coat seitan roast with mixture. Coat with pepper and salt lightly. Bake seitan for 15-20 minutes until outside gets a nice crust on it. Remove from oven.

While seitan is cooking mix together sauce ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Can keep in refrigerator for several days.

To assemble sammies thinly slice hot seitan. On one slice of bread spread the horsey sauce. Top with thinly sliced hot seitan, 1/2 cup arugula and a few slices of tomato. Butter top slice of bread and put on top (butter side down). Slice in half and serve.