Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thanksgiving Leftovers: A slice of Thanksgiving

I don’t know if I made it very clear that I love Thanksgiving. Now that the big meal is over I keep having all these flashes of different things I could make with the core ingredients. As I side note, I think it is really weird that the internet at the papers are filled with “what to do with all this leftover turkey” I mean, how hard is it? It is roasted poultry, just cook anything? Since becoming vegan I realized that the turkey is not the flavor if Thanksgiving. The key, really, is the mix of gravy, potatoes and cranberries together that is so unique and representative of the meal. And stuffing. Oh I love stuffing. I love it and I am not afraid to admit it.

So I was thinking about eating the potatoes, roasted, for dinner (we had already had the leftover seitan for lunch) I wanted to slice them thin and utilize Brussels sprouts and then I starting thinking how nice it would be if they were roasted together on a pizza. When I thought of making a gravy as the base a lightbulb went off and I went to the kitchen to work on the pizza. First I used I made the dough using a standard recipe and adding chopped sage and rosemary into the crust. Next, I started to caramelize a sweet onion and sliced and prepared the rest of my toppings: potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pearl onions, garlic, pecans, and green beans. When the onion was finally done I added a dash of celery seeds and pinch of sage and then set it aside while I made a roux in the same pan with a little earth balance and flour. I added about a half a cup of stock, added the onions back in, and threw the whole mix in the food processor to blend it into a paste. I smoothed it out over the crust, topped it with the vegetables and put the whole shebang in the oven for about 20 minutes. When it came out, I topped it with dollops of leftover cranberry sauce and then enjoyed it to an extent that I can not convey to you. It was all the wonder of the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich but toasty, roasty, and better.

I was worried that the pizza was going to suffer from the absence of the stuffing element but I think the crust and the celery seeds in the gravy perfectly melded into the correct flavors and even a similar texture.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. It is a holiday that involves cooking, eating, being with your loved ones and being thankful for what you have got instead of buying something else. What could be better than that?

I started cooking yesterday by making a stock to carry through the rest of the meals and it worked really well. The stock started with all the vegetable odds and ends in the freezer bag and garlic and then I baked the seitan in it. While the seitan was in the oven I simultaneously roasted celery, parsnips, carrots, leeks, onions, and garlic and then when the seitan came out I used the leftover stock from that and added the roasted vegetables. Soon the stock was so rich and tasty that I couldn’t believe it. I added some soy sauce, a bay leaf, and some apple cider vinegar and at that point I could have just eaten the stock, but instead it was time to put the stuffed roulade back in the oven with the vegetables and some of the stock. The rest I saved to make the gravy which I made using a method from gourmet magazine.

All you do is roast a head of garlic, take it out of the peel and puree it with a fork, Make a roux: whisk together a tablespoon or so of earth balance and sprinkle in flour until you have a paste. Add the garlic puree and then incorporate as much stock as you like, if it gets to thin just sprinkle in more flour. I also added in kitchen bouquet gravy magic because I love it, it really rounds out the gravy and gives it some depth, salt and pepper and it was good enough to eat directly from the pot. It made me really happy to make this gravy because it is exactly how I used to make gravy except using roasted garlic instead of animal fat. I have to say that it was much better! It was so flavorful and you can make it any time.

The roulade turned out perfect, I must thank Emilie from the conscious kitchen for her fabulous recipe. (Note: That site is sadly down now but the video and recipe is still up) I was a little worried because during the first cooking I didn’t wrap it up well enough and it stated to look like it would fall apart, but after stuffing it and wrapping it the second time it worked perfect. The wild rice and fig stuffing was really good. I added sage, apple cider vineger, and used oat flour and it all came together so well. The Roulade was so yummy, I want to make it again except that it took forever and didn’t yield enough leftovers! I guess I will have to wait to enjoy it again next Thanksgiving.

and so I roasted fingerling potatoes in olive oil and then topped them with earth balance with chopped garlic. Instead of making Mashed Potatoes I decided (for the second year in a row) to opt out and make roasted potatoes. I had an epiphany that the thing that I always overeat on Thanksgiving that pushes me over the edge is the mashed potatoes. They are mostly just take up room that could be better utilized by alcohol. So now I make the multi-colored potato you have to chew, ahh, the healthy choice! They were so perfect.

The Brussels Sprout were my favorite part of the meal though I think. The recipe was from the Voluptuous Vegan except that I used miso instead of Dijon. Basically you brown pearl onions and the sprouts in olive oil and then add a mix of maple syrup, miso, and water. After that, you cover and cook for a few more minutes until it turns into a glaze and finally add in the pecans. They were delectable. I ADORE Brussels sprouts and these were next level.I also made cranberry sauce from the Voluptuous Vegan which was less of a success. The idea of cranberries, dates, and balsamic with sugar sounded great on paper but the recipe called for a whopping one and one fourth cups of sugar. My instincts told me that this was way too much sugar and I hope to some day learn to follow my instincts because the cranberries were good, but way too sweet.

It was the perfect thanksgiving meal you couldn’t ask for anything more, so thanks to everyone for the recipes and cooking tips! And thanks to everyone in the office who donated money since we were able to save three turkeys!

Thanksgiving is also McPuppenstein’s favorite holiday because there are always leftovers. He is not, however, allowed to eat from the table which  I guess is rather specist.

I am also thankful that there is still some pumpkin pie

Frito Pie sans fritos and pie

I wanted to make Frito Pie so once I had the chili going I ran to the store to grab some Fritos, alas I once again went to Sun Harvest the worst health food store in town, and once again they didn’t have what I needed, in this case fritos. But the last two times I have gone I tried to get bulk syrup and they were out, tempeh was out, brussel sprouts were out and they stopped making my favorite wrap in the to go section. It is really annoying to have to go all the way up to the co-op to get simple ingredients. I guess I should be thankful that I live in a place that has vegan food at all. Thank you Austin!

This dish turned out totally frakking spectacular. If you are going to be home alone on Thanksgiving or you are non-American or anti-American you should make it because, really it was one of the best combinations I have ever eaten and you will have leftover chili. And it feels like you are eating food that is really bad for you but (except for the chips) it is actually a very healthy meal. I made the tempeh chili from the ppk and it is my new all time favorite chili, although I did add some allspice, some nutmeg, ancho chili powder and a touch of cinnamon. To make the frito pie you just put fritos (or tortialls chips) at the bottom of a bowl top with the chili, cilantro, finely diced red onions and avocado. Or you can do it Texas-ghetto style and just pour the chili into the frito bag along with the toppings and go about your day, chili in hand.

Speaking of Thanksgiving I am super stoked to make a bunch of food when I get off work tonight. My game plan is

Seitan Roulade with Fig and Wild Rice stuffing from the conscious kitchen

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Garlic Gravy from Gourmet

Cranberry Sauce with Dates and Oranges from Gourmet

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with pecans and peal onions

Pumpkin Pie both from the Voluptous Vegan

Stay tuned for the pictures tomorrow!

This meal is brought to you by the planet Earth

Sunday morning was a race against time to get to Whole Foods before they stopped selling breakfast tacos. If you know me at all then you know that I love the Whole Foods taco. It takes vegan breakfast tacos to a whole new level with a wide range of choices and terrific tortillas. At my office it is common practice that if you are more than 15 minutes late you must stop at Whole Foods to get tacos. Anyway, on Sunday I was speeding there because although Dan and I have shared a multitude of breakfast tacos together he had never tried the Whole Foods version because we usually don’t venture downtown early enough on the weekend (and by early I mean before noon). At 11:35 I was just finishing up my yoga session when I looked at the clock and realized that I was going to have to book-it. Luckily, there was zero traffic on Sunday morning and I shot right up to 6th and Lamar only to be foiled by the seemingly thousands of people in the Whole Foods parking lot. It was total chaos! There was excited holiday shoppers mixed with large groups of tourists and organic moms with their organic babies in PVC-free strollers all slowly walking or rather ambling around seemingly with no particular goal. I finally made it to the counter and bought my tacos with seconds to spare and all was well with the world.

While I was at Whole Foods, I stopped in the bulk section to pick up some chocolate chips (damn you Isa and you fantastic cookies) and I checked to see if they had Puy Lentils which neither the co-op or the health food store by my house carry. Success! They did so I bought a bag and brought them home fueld with a desire to finally create one of the recipes that I had felt just out of grasp merely one day earlier. Of course, I didn’t have anything specific in mind so I started thumbing through the Voluptuous Vegan and came across a lentil recipe that claimed to be phenomenal. The technique is that you cook the lentils with a bouquet garni of fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary and when it is done you push half the lentils through a strainer to remove the hulls and fibrous materials. Then you saute that with some red pepper flakes and garlic and add it back to the other lentils. It was very flavorful but still missing an assertive component so I decided to roast some mushrooms in the oven with balsamic, soy sauce, and garlic. I made some pasta a covered it in the lentils and the mushrooms, a side of nice ass greens and a wonderful ridiculously healthy meal was created. I think the only other really earthy ingredient that I could have added would have been chestnuts… or truffle oil… or maybe some Bulgar instead of the pasta…

Rasteady

I was about to fluff up mine pillow and call it a nite, when… “put yr shoes on, Sister Nancy’s playing down the street!”

…fire ‘pon the mic courtesy of the original DanceHall Queen!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was a kid I used to sing a song about chocolate chip cookies. So imagine this tune being screamed by a bunch of 7-year-olds.

Chocolate Chip Cookies you gotta have more
You can bake ‘um in the oven or buy ‘um at the store
But whatever you do have ‘um waiting at the door
And I’ll love you ’til I die

Last night I was feeling very ill and my wonderful man Dan made me a Shephard’s pie for dinner, then went to the store to buy chocolate chips while I watched the Cosby show, and then made me these mind blowing cookies. This is, yet another reason why I love him.

Tequila Sausage & Cornmeal Crusted Plantain Tacos

I made some tequila sausages based on Isa’s recipe. They came out really good, I love making these sauages, I have been trying to eat less soy so I keep falling back on thinking I need to make seitan even though what I really need to do is eat more vegetables! The problem is that I love making seitan, it is like a science experiment where you get to taste the results. It always leads me to think, next time I will make this or that but really I need to chill out, eat my greens and stop frying everything. I guess that is the problem with being a good cook, you eat all the time!

Despite my complaining I really liked these tacos. We got a fall harvest of tomatoes (take that North!) and I made a simple tomato salsa with them that was really spicy but perfectly complemented the tacos. I also had a plantain that I covered in cornmeal and pan fried. In another pan I sauteed the sausages with a red onion and then, just for good measure, I threw in some broccoli. Broccoli is really becoming one of my favorite things to add to tacos. It is hard to overcook and it really soaks up whatever you are cooking with in a lovely way while still holding up, unlike most of its leafy green friends.

If you already had the sausage made and the salsa ready to go you could easily make this meal in 10 minutes, just chop the onion, sautee it with the sausage & then the broccoli and meanwhile make the plantains.

Tequila Sausage

1/2 Cup Refried Pinto Beans (or cooked pintos mashed)
2/3 Cup Broth
1/3 Cup Tequila
1 TBSP olive oil
7 cloves of garlic
2 tsp fresh sage
1 heaping tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 heaping tsp salt
1 1/4 Cup Vital Wheat Gluetan
1/4 cup almond meal
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Prepare steaming apparatus, I use a pot of water with a bamboo steamer sitting on top. Mix the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together. After everything is incorporated well add the wet to the dry and knead for a minute or two. Lay a piece of foil on the work area. Place 1/2 cup of the mix in the bottom third in the middle of the foil. Roll up into link and then tie off like a tootsie roll. Place the links in the steamer for 30 minutes and then refridgerate.

Makes 4 links

Lard Na (formally Larb Na)

*Note I originally posted this as Larb Na do to some confusion with different cookbooks. Thai girl was nice enough to finally put the matter to rest and tell me what was what.

Over the weekend we went to see Synecdoche, New York at a movie theater in far north Austin. Since we were already up there we also stopped at the giant Asian Grocery Store. They have a ton of vegan stuff, not to mention tons of different kinds of noodles, sauces, rice, produce, and random things. I could spend all day there but we were in a hurry to get to the (very good) movie so I was rushing around throwing canned fake duck and trying to find annetto seeds. It was an intense trip.

The next day I thought about making soup but I was really hungry so I made the old Thai standby, Lard Na. Like Pad See Eww this is a recipe that I can make with nearly any ingredients in about 10 minutes. It is a great recipe that works with any greens that you have on hand, even broccoli. Here is how I made it this time:

1 lbs Rice Noodles
3 TBSP peanut oil
1 lbs tofu, drained and pressed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch of greens (I used Kale and cabbage it was great)
1 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP vegetarian fish sauce (or more soy sauce)
1 TBSP Nama Shoyu (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP miso (or Thai fermented soy bean paste if you have it)
1 TBSP cornstarch mixed with 1 cup of broth (or water)
pepper

First cook the noodles according to the package directions until soft but not over done. Rice Noodles are cooked different depending on how thick the noodle is. Often you can bring water to a boil, take it off the burner, and just soak the noodles until they are soft. The key is to drain them as soon as they are done or they will turn to mush. Make sure all of your ingrdiants are ready to go before you start stir-frying and have plates ready as well.

Start a wok or large saute pan on high heat with 1 TBSP of oil. Stir-fry the cooked noodles for a couple of minutes until they are golden. Be careful to toss the noodles and turn them rather than stirring because you don’t want to break them up. Spread the noodles among the dinner plates. Add the remaining 2 TBSP of oil and garlic and saute for a minute or less. Add the tofu and sear against the side of the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the greens, the sugar, the fish sauce, the shoyu, and the miso and cook until the greens are just starting to wilt. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cover for about 30 seconds. Uncover and stir and cook a couple more minutes to let the gravy thicken if you desire. If you can’t wait then scoop it out, toss on top of the noodles, mix together and Enjoy!