Friday, February 10, 2012

Food Network Friday - The Sandwich King's Reuben Meatball Sliders

This week's Food Network Friday features a relatively new member of the Food Network line up: Jeff Mauro, the Sandwich King. I have a warm spot in my heart for Jeff as he is a fellow Illinoisian. I have to admit, I have yet to see his show, but I loved him on the Next Food Network Star. This week we are setting about veganizing his recipe for Reuben Meatball Sliders. Check out the wrap up over at Vegan Appetite.

I know this one was a really fun one for Tami over at Vegan Appetite as I don't think she has met a reuben she didn't love. I, on the other hand, was never a huge fan of corned beef, pastrami or sauerkraut in my younger years. I do have to admit, I am warming up. 

For this conversion I decided to take a little different tactic. Instead of making a veganesque meatball, I decided to use some marinated, breaded and fried tempeh. I attempted to make some rye slider rolls and they didn't work out. I tried a second batch of whole grain buns and topped them with caraway seeds with much better luck. Because I didn't use a rye type bread, I added some ground caraway seeds to the breading for the tempeh. The rest is pretty simple: buns, tempeh, 1000 Isla dressing and sauerkraut. Bam sliders baby! We chowed 'em down at Superbowl half time with some loaded tots (loaded with Teese cheddar, facon bits, grilled jalapenos and green onions). Yep, calorie overload. Delicious calorie overload.

Loaded Tots!

Tempeh Reuben Sliders

Makes 8 sliders

8 oz package tempeh (I used Westsoy this time because it is more square) cut into 8 squares

For the marinade:

6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1-Tablespoons pickling spice
1-teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon celery seed
1-teaspoon Louisianna Seasoning (not sauce) If not available any cajun spice can be subbed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 oz. vegan lager beer

For the breading:

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon ground caraway (use 1/2 teaspoon if rye bread is used)
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons marinade
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon tapioca or corn starch

1000 Isla Dressing (see recipe below)
1 - 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut (depending on how much you like)
8 slider buns

Enough oil to come up 1/2 inch in frying pan.

Steam cut tempeh for 10 minutes. In a non reactive glass 8 x 8 or similar size baking dish stir together marinade ingredients. Place steamed tempeh in single layer in the pan with marinade. Marinate for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

Heat oil to 350 in heavy bottomed frying pan or iron skillet.

Using two shallow bowls prepare your breading station. In one bowl, stir together panko, rye flour, ground caraway and salt. In second bowl stir together marinade, soy milk and tapioca starch with fork until well combined. Place tempeh (two pieces at a time) in soy milk mixture for about 30 seconds to absorb some of the liquid. Dredge in panko mixture until all sides are coated. Carefully slide into frying pan. Do not crowd pan. Fry until crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat for any remaining tempeh. 

Warm sauerkraut in small saucepan. Slice slider buns. Spray with oil and toast on griddle or saute pan. 

To assemble: Place tempeh on toasted bun bottom. Top with 2 tablespoons or so of sauerkraut and 1 tablespoon 1000 Isla dressing. 

1000 Isla Dressing

Makes about 3/4 cup

1/2 cup Vegannaise or other vegan mayo
2 tablespoons organic catsup
1 tablespoon pimento stuffed green olives, chopped fine
1 teaspoon dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried.

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Let sit for at least an hour before using. Will keep in fridge for about a week or two.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Robin Robertson's 1000 Vegan Recipes - Curried Butternut and Red Lentil Soup with Chard

This week I was craving colorful anti-oxidant full healthy chow. I had gotten some beautiful chard from Horny Toad Farms this week and some sweet little butternut squash. I rifled through my ever expanding cookbook selection and grabbed 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. I know with a volume that big, I was sure to find something perfect for what I was craving. It was a good call.

I love Robin's books and this one is not exception. If you are not a cook book junkie like me, this is a great book to have as it has such a huge variety of recipes. She is the queen of easy and quick vegan deliciousness. The only down side to this book is there aren't any pictures. I haven't made a lot from this one yet, but after this delicious soup, I am wondering why?

Grab a spoon and prepare to feel the glow of colorful veggies and deliciousness.

Curried Butternut and Red Lentil Soup with Chard
from 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (publisher)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon hot or mild curry powder
1 - 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
1 cup red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
5 cups vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chopped stemmed Swiss chard (I used about 5 cups)

In a large soup pot, heal the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, squash and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the ginger and curry powder, then add the tomatoes, lentils, broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the chard. Taste, adjusting seasonings if necessary, and serve.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vine and Dine - World Vegan Feast - Lentil and Rapini Stew with Spicy Vegan Sausage

Vine and Dine has become one of our favorite events. It gives me another excuse to feed my cook book addiction (as it seems the books selected are missing from my growing collection) and it gives Fred the opportunity to talk to his wine folks.

This time around the Dine selection was from a book I just ordered: World Vegan Fest by Bryanna Clark Grogan. It is chock full of recipes from all over the world. I really enjoyed the beginning sections of the book; particularly the section on egg replacers. I know what a lot of them are, but didn't have a good grasp the function of each. This is the first of her books I have gotten. I am just loving all of the yummy looking dishes. It would have been really hard for me to pick what to make first, so it was nice I didn't have to. 

This dish was very rustic and filling. I love cooking with lentils. They are a great low fat protein source and oh so filling. This was a stick to your ribs stew. The tomatoes gave it just the right amount of acidity. I used fresh oregano and basil from our wine barrel herb garden. The subtle flavor of the fresh herbs was a nice complement to the lentils. The sausage I used was actually a Mexican hot link of my own design. The flavors actually worked very nicely in the dish. The rapini ended up being crazy bitter even after blanching. The farmer I bought if from said that once it starts to flower it can get very bitter. Well there were a couple of little flowers on my bunch. We ended up having to pull most of it out. We both thought regular broccoli would be a great option, so we will do that next time. I'm looking forward to trying more recipes from World Vegan Fest!

Lentil and Rapini Stew with Spicy Sausage

Time for Fred!

Our dinner was full of earthy, spicy, acidy, herby, a really good solid hitter, center field stuff that melded together well. There was nothing way out in left or right field that would let me throw a quick short stop in or sub a strong first baseman to offset anything. Tonight our wine had to face the food head on. My choices were maybe a second baseman who could protect his palate (plate) quickly with a strong presence, bold, tannins, fruit forwardness, to make or break a play (meal) and make his stand known. I chose instead to go with an experienced outfielder with long legs, an easy touch with the tannins, able to catch any flavor while on the run, adapt to any hit (taste) while catching a ground ball (herbs) or pop up (spices) and in a single fluid moment throw the ball (taste experience) to home plate.

A 2007 tempranillo, a Sangre de Toro, did just that. It is almost chameleon as every sip adapted to every bite, turning mostly black cherry and soft tannins for us. The rapini was a little bitter but yet our outfielder (our wine) came closer to the plate (it's soft sweetness), did not drop the ball, and was forward enough to get a double play in with the lentils at first. The next batter up was Kim's spicey sausage in which our dark but bright red wine went way back and caught the game ending fly ball with a smile and salutes for everyone.

Make sure to click here for the wrap up of Vine and Dine over at Vegan Appetite!

Kim's Note:

Check out the cute little plastic bull on the bottle! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Agave Sweetened Pickled Beets

I got some beautiful Chioggia beets from Stella at Horny Toad Farms a couple of weeks ago. They are just gorgeous. Look at those rings of goodness. These are pictured right after steaming.

In hind sight I should have left well enough alone, but I had it in my head that I wanted to make Fred some pickled beets. He buys lots of pickled goodies from the farmers' market. It's good stuff, but holy wow is it expensive. So I thought if I could come up with a good recipe, I could save him some hard earned cash.

This recipe is not one to be saved in the pantry as it is not pressure cooked. It is a refrigerated version that will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. I decided to try agave nectar to lower the glycemic hit a bit. Fred gave them his seal of approval...with a caveat that they are a little vinegary. Just warning you ahead of time, these are not sticky sweet beets. I used the Chioggia in the first batch and beautiful rings faded, so I recommend using single colored beets for pickling and save these beauties for steaming.

Agave Sweetened Pickled Beets

Makes about 1 quart

1 1/4 pounds beets, about 3-4 cups after slicing
2 large shallots, halved and sliced thin
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
2/3 cup agave nectar
2 cinnamon sticks

Wash beets. Cut off leaves if still intact. In a steamer, steam beets until soft enough to pierce with a fork easily. Let cool until cool enough to handle. Peel beets and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place sliced beets, sliced shallots and cinnamon sticks in cleaned and sanitized quart canning jar. 

In a saucepan combine vinegars, water and agave nectar. Bring to a boil. Pour liquid into jar. While it is still hot, seal with new clean and sanitized canning lid. Let cool to room temperature. Place in fridge. Let sit for at least three days. They should keep for a few weeks.