Sunday, June 30, 2019

Southwestern Tempeh Rice Salad

Once upon a time...2010 to be exact, I started creating recipes for what I had hoped would be my very first vegan cookbook of the southwestern variety. I had a group of amazing testers (to whom I owe a big apology and hopefully someday a free cookbook) and was moving right along on creating some spicy, fun and flavorful dishes (almost 100 recipes!). Unfortunately I got distracted, busy, unmotivated, WHO REALLY KNOWS. Bottom line is I am very sad I did not finish the book. Someday it could become a reality. I'm truly hoping it will. In the mean time, there are some noteworthy recipes that have been collecting virtual dust for years. I thought I would give you a little sneak peak. 

It's hotter than hades here again...HELLO SUMMER! So I often get very unmotivated during the week to go anywhere near heat sources. I'm always looking for make-ahead cold dishes for the week days. This one fits the bill. 

I love this recipe for good reason. It is freaking delicious. But more than that, the black beans and tempeh provide lots of protein. The combination of peppers has the spice hitting all over your tastebuds. The rice fills you upon with healthy dose of fiber. 

Warning: this recipe while pretty easy to make, does take some time. To save time you can cook the rice a couple of days ahead of time. You can buy pre-roasted peppers as well. You can buy ranch, but the home made version is really easy and really good! But I get time crunches, so again, feel free to sub away as you need.

Southwestern Tempeh Rice Salad

This makes a good amount so it is great for a potluck or large gathering.

Makes 8 servings

1 cups brown long grain rice (measured before cooking)
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 fresh jalepeno roasted and peeled
1 fresh anaheim chili roasted and peeled
1 red bell pepper roasted and peeled

1-8 oz pkg tempeh
1 t canola oil
1/8 t coriander
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t hot chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 C Vegan Ranch (I used homemade) or Chipotle Ranch (see recipe below)
1 chipotle in adobo sauce (optional, depending on how hot you like it)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 bunch cilantoro chopped
3 green onions sliced thin (both white and green parts)
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t hot chili powder
1/4 t ground coriander
3/4 t salt
black peper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

Prepare your rice (this can be done ahead of time). In a medium saucepan bring rice water and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 35-40 minutes until water is absorbed. Turn off heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and let cool completely.

Now would be a good time to roast those peppers. When they cool, peel and dice them.

Blend the ranch and chipotles until smooth. (eliminate this step if you are using Chipotle Ranch)

To prepare your tempeh:

Dice tempeh into 1 inch cubes. Boil or steam tempeh for 15 minutes. Drain. After draining, in a 10 inch sauté pan, saute the tempeh and spices in oil for about 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

In the mean time get yourself a very large bowl. Crumble tempeh into bowl. Mix together remaining ingredients except for the cherry tomatoes until well mixed. Gently mix in cherry tomatoes. Salt and pepper further to taste if needed.

This is best if it sits overnight. It lends itself very well to variations. Like a little less heat? Sub more roasted red peppers. Don't like tomatoes? Forget about 'em. Like it with more fire? Add more jalapeños or chipotles. 

Please leave me a comment if you decide to make it. Love to get some feedback!

Chipotle Ranch

Makes about 1 cup

1/2 cup  plus 2 tablespoons vegan mayonaise (I like Veganaise brand)
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot will work)
2 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo sauce), leave seeds intact

Blend all ingredients in blender of food processor. Let chill for at least 4 hours before using. Can store refrigerated for up to  2 weeks.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Tofu, Broccoli and Sweet Potato Yellow Curry

My sister and I decided that we would embark on one month of clean eating this month. No sugar, no alcohol, minimally processed, no dairy, no white flour, no white rice and no bread or pasta. To be clear, this is NOT a New Year's resolution as I personally find those to be silly fodder and a great way to set people up for failure. What motivated us was not the start of a new year, but a desire to improve our energy levels and reduce the environmental stress on our bodies.

My sister will be the first to admit she is lazy when it comes to her diet and cooking. She would rather not eat at all than to be committed to the kitchen. This is very interesting to me as she always cooked for her kids growing up. Thankfully I am more than willing to take on the kitchen in all its glory. It has been a very long time since I have been motivated and excited to be in the kitchen, so this challenge has been good for my spirit as well as my body. I'll stop waxing philosophic and get to what you came here for...the food.

I love curry. I love making it myself even more. This gives me the freedom to add the veggies I love the most and leave out all the stuff that I usually pull out (think bamboo shoots). I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe and found elements from different recipes that sounded good, but just not quite what I was looking for in a curry. I'm not afraid of healthy fats. If you are, this might not be the recipe for you. It is full of colorful veggies and lots of flavor. This recipe is not as saucy as a lot of curries I've experienced in my culinary travels. This was by design as I wanted a version that could hold up on its own with or without rice. I went for no rice myself.  Feel free to sub your favorite veggies, but I recommend leaving the sweet potatoes as they add a beautiful creaminess to the texture.

Tofu, Broccoli and Sweet Potato Yellow Curry

4 Servings

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
3 tablespoons coconut oil, separated (more if needed)
12 oz package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1-2 tablespoons non-GMO corn starch or arrowroot powder
1 medium yellow or brown onion, diced
5 cloves minced garlic separated
3 tablespoons hot yellow curry powder (use milder if you aren't a fan of heat)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 - 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
pinch cayenne pepper
1 can coconut milk (you can use light if you are fat conscious)
1/2 cup rich vegetable broth
2 heads broccoli, cut into bit sized florets
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped (optional)
Sriracha or sambal olek (chili sauce) to taste

Preheat oven to 350. On a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet toss diced sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Bake until softened but not mushy (check at about 15 minutes cook longer if needed). When they are done, remove from oven and set aside.

While the sweet potatoes are baking, pat the cubed tofu dry. Toss in corn starch to lightly coat. In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Saute the tofu cubes until golden brown (turning half way through to brown evenly). You may have to do this in two  batches and add more oil depending on the size of your pan. Gently transfer tofu to a paper towel lined plate. 

In the same skillet melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add onions and saute until they are softened and slightly translucent. Add 1/2 of the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add dry spices and saute until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds). Pour in coconut milk and vegetable broth. Reduce heat to a low simmer. 

In another large skillet, saute the broccoli and peppers until they are al dente and bright in color, about 7 minutes. Add remaining garlic and saute for about 1 more minute being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat. 

Add the tofu and the sweet potatoes to the onion/coconut milk mixture and heat through, about 3 minutes. Stir liquid mixture into the broccoli/pepper mixture and stir until combined. Cook slightly longer until all ingredients are heated (maybe another 3 minutes). Stir in cilantro if using. Ladle into 4 bowls on its own or over brown basmati rice. Season to taste with Sriracha (optional).

I hope you enjoy my foray into the world of curry. If you try the recipe, please leave a comment to let me know how it came out and how you liked it. Thanks for reading.