Category Archives: recipe

Veganmofo: Chipotle rubbed acorn squash tacos with refried beans & mango salsa

 

I had half a day where I was thinking that I would do an all taco theme for veganmofo and with 30 tacos in 30 days. Then one of my twitter friends suggested breakfast, lunch and dinner of all tacos, as in 90 tacos for 30 days. Kind of like super size me but with tacos. I’ll have to think about it more for next year but I still have tacos on my mind. Actually, I always have tacos on my mind. Like, if I was Willie Nelson, and I was singing this song I would be singing about tacos. Yesterday I talked about being a coffee snob and I’m kind of the opposite when it comes to tacos. I’ll eat any taco any time any where. From Mexican street style to Vietnamese to TexMex, breakfast tacos, jackfruit brisket tacos, dessert tacos, tater tot tacos, al pastor tacos, and raw tacos, I want to try them all.

A while back I came across a recipe for cauliflower chipotle tacos. Normally, I probably would have cruised right by such a recipes but since it came from the kitchen of one of my favorite vegan cookbook authors Terry Hope Romero I pinned it and waited for the perfect time. My plan last night was to use an acorn squash instead of cauliflower since that is what I had and then make baked chimichurri tofu to go with. I got the food processor out and then grabbed the parsley and then realized it was cilantro. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me in my life, probably about one billion. I ran over to the Mexican meat market to pick some up parsley and they only had cilantro too. So I changed my plan, picked up a mango, and instead made refried beans and mango salsa.

After spending 10 minutes breaking down the acorn squash with a cleaver I finally got to the actual business to making the tacos and they came together really easily and fast. After taking a quick photo I finally got to try them and WOW these tacos were amazing. The spice rub would have been a little intense if the squash had been on it’s own but mixed with the garlicky refried beans, the sweet and spicy mango salsa, and the luscious creamy avocado they together formed a perfect taco. Highly recommended.

Vegan Arroz Verde

My general approach to working with non vegan recipes is this:

Step 1: Substitute animal products with vegan alternatives or omit

Step 2: Add kale or another leafy green.

The way I see it, you can never have too many leafy green vegetables in your life. In fact, when people ask me any sort of nutritional question my go to answer is, “I think Kale has a lot of _____”. In my mind vegetables make anything healthy and although it isn’t entirely true or even close to whole story it works for me. I love them.  I think this is the first time I added Kale to rice, though, and it worked amazingly!

This recipe is based on one I saw on Chow that was adapted from Diana Kennedy’s arroz verde from her book The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. Diana Kennedy is definitely one of my heros, if you are interested in cooking Mexican food or just knowing more about it I recommend all of her books. They have so much information and description of all of these techniques that most non-Mexicans know little about.

Vegan Arroz Verde

3 roasted hatch peppers, stems, seeds, and membranes removed, coarsely chopped (any other pepper, like poblanos or serranos will work some will be spicy and some won’t so choose accordingly)
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
1 cup of coarsely chopped Kale (about 1/2 bunch)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons earth balance
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 lime

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender, pulse the peppers, scallions, kale, cilantro, and salt with the water

Heat oil and earth balance in your rice pot (ie one with a lid). When the earth balance starts to liquefy , add the rice. Sauté, stirring occasionally for ~ 3 minutes.

Add blended ingredients to the pan and mix well. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in vegetable broth.

Return mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until liquid is completely absorbed and rice is tender, about 14 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and squeeze lime juice over rice. Fluff up and Enjoy!

We had the rice with the fabulous refried beans, avocado, and verde salsa. They were the best rice and beans tacos I can remember having! They would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Gracias Madre inspired Frijoles Refritos (vegan refried beans)

Over the summer I went to San Fransisco and had the best refried beans of my life at an all vegan Mexican restaurant called Gracias Madre. It was confusing to my sense of Texas pride to be bettered by California (of all places). It was even more confusing to discover I had developed Texas pride but I guess if you live here long enough it seeps in.

The whole meal there was fantastic but the beans were magical, they were so creamy and nuanced. I couldn’t figure out how they made them. I tried several different recipes but they always ended up either a little pasty or not as nearly flavorful. I researched a little further and found these instructions from a Mexican restaurant that suggested roasting the garlic, not using olive oil, and a really long simmering time and those all seemed like great tips. For some reason, a lot of recipes, including this one, just have you simmer the beans and then mash them but my experience is that better flavor is created through frying them after the beans are done. I also decided to add some nut milk because I thought that might be the difference with the Gracias Madre beans. I don’t know if this is what they do at all, but we were swooning over these beans in the same way we were at Gracias Madre so I am naming them after that! I think you could easily do the first step in the crock pot, I’ll have to try it and let ya’ll know

Gracias Madre inspired Frijoles Refritos

2 cups of dried pinto (or black) beans
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (not olive oil)
1 whole roasted garlic bulb
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1 Tsp Epazote
1 can of RoTel
1 onion, chopped
almond or hemp milk

 

Sort the beans and pick out any rocks and give them a rinse with cold water. Put them in a pot with 8 cups of water, the bay leaf, and the epazote and bring to a simmer. Simmer for the next two hours stirring and adding more hot water as needed so that the water level stays above the beans. Make sure the beans don’t get stuck on the bottom by keeping the temp really low and stirring.
Meanwhile roast the garlic
Once the beans are soft add the oil, salt, rotel, and garlic. Simmer as before for another hour at least. The longer they cook the better they will taste and you can’t over cook them because they are just going to get mashed up anyway.
Here we left the beans in the fridge over night because something came up but you could proceed with cooking them now or wait until the next day to finish for a quick dinner.
Strain out any excess water from the beans. Some water is fine but if you still have a couple inches over the beans you might want to pour it out or else it will take longer to cook off. Brown an onion in a large cast iron skillet and then add the bean mixture. After some of the water has evaporated mash the beans with a potato masher. Add some almond milk and stir adding more until you reach your desired consistency. Cook over low heat, stirring, for at least 5 minutes adding more milk if necessary and then enjoy with every Mexican dish you make!

 

 

Mexican Lime Noodle Soup

This is the perfect soup if you are not feeling well just remember to never feed your mogwai after midnight. Speaking of the rules, I wonder if feeding a mogwai soup is the same as getting them wet? It is all  so complicated!

Gremlins was the first movie that I remember seeing in the theater and I bet I have been eating noodle soup just as long. It was one of the first things I learned to make but it wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I learned about adding cilantro and lime and making it “Mexican” noodle soup. What a difference two humble ingredients thrown it at the very end of the soup making process can bring. The lime adds a lovely full quality to the broth and the cilantro adds lots of flavor while adding to the healing properties on an already curative soup. If you never liked “unchicken” soup try this one because, I promise, you won’t miss the bird.

Mexican Lime Noodle Soup

2 onions

3 stalks celery
3 carrots
5 cloves garlic
8 cups water
teaspoon veggie broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1 package of noodles
1 cup of crumbled soy curls (or TVP)
1/2 cup cilantro
1 TBSP lime
chives

 

 

 

Chop top 4 ingredients, saute until browned about 20 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook a half hour. Add the noodles & soy curls, when they are just about done add the rest along with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Roasted Tomato Hatch Salsa

I made the best salsa in the world. The thing is, when it is Hatch season, everything is so much better than the rest of the year. It is the magic the season I guess. This summer I haven’t had any time to do much cooking so I have been just making a ton of refried beans and greens and then just eating simple tacos all week. For a meal like that to be exciting salsa is really the key but the other day I didn’t have any cilantro so I couldn’t make the standard pico. I did have a bunch of Hatch peppers and some local tomatoes so I roasted them both and threw them in the blender with some Cuban oregano. If you live in Austin and have trouble growing things I highly recommend Cuban oregano mine sits in full sun all year and grows like crazy. Even if I forget to water it when it is 110! Even if it stay out in hail storms! It is like the postman of the herb world. And it is really pretty. This salsa was such a hit I am going to make it every week until the peppers are gone again. 

Roasted Tomato & Hatch Salsa

~6 Hatch Peppers

4 big tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

juice from 3 key limes

1 Tablespoon of Cuban Oregano

1 teaspoon of Agave

1 teaspoon of salt

Turn on the broiler and roast the peppers on a baking sheet turning until they get all blistered. Put the peppers in a paper bag to loosen up. Put the tomatoes under the broiler unil the get charred. Slip all those babies out of their charred skins. Put the pepper and the tomatoe guts in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and pulse until you have salsa. Enjoy on everything.

If you are looking for other vegan Hatch recipes check out this Corn & Kale Chowder or the Hatch Green Chile Pot Pie. They were both fabulous!

Golden Beets with Beans & Greens

Beets are in the Amaranth family and related to swiss chard, spinach, and sugar beets. The red ones are fun if you want to make Klingon Gagh or a stew but overall the golden variety is a lot easier to work with because you don’t have to worry about beet juice staining everything. I love buying beets because I feel like I am really getting my money’s worth since I can often stretch a bunch over several meals. The beet greens are the added bonus. They are easy enough to cook with a little garlic and olive oil but I was inspired by a post on the ppk to use oranges and sesame oil as well. I wanted to make something very healthy and filling so I added some quinoa, edamame, and peanuts. It was terrific and quick!

Golden Beets with Beans & Greens

preheat oven to 400F

bunch of beets, cleaned and greens separated, hard parts discarded.
peanut oil
1 onion cut in half moons
4 cloves garlic
1 cup edamame
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
handful of peanuts
dash of dried red chilies

Cut the beets in half. Place 2 halves on a piece of foil and drizzle on peanut oil, wrap up, and bake in the over 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile saute the onions in oil for a couple minutes, add the garlic and the chopped beet greens and cook about 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and cook for another minute or 2. Add the edamame, the OJ and the water. Cover, and cook about 20 minutes until the quinoa is done. In the meantime toast the peanuts with the chile peppers on the stove in a small pan until slightly brown. When the beets are done, chop one and add it to the quinoa pot. Slice the rest into half moons and arrange them on the bottom of the bowl. Add the sesame oil and soy sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary and scoop a serving on top of the plated beets. Top with peanuts and green onions. Enjoy!


Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts

I love Brussels Sprouts. I think they would be more popular if they were called “petite cabbages” or maybe “tiny green balls”. Maybe then green balls would enter the vegan lexicon and could later be used in other ways like vegan slang for when you think a restaurant is going to have vegan options but really everything has animals in it and you leave unsatisfied. We could say things like “The Salt Lick gave me the worst green balls, my balls were so green you’d think my daddy was a leprechaun”. Well maybe that would be kind of horrible.

I usually eat Brussels Sprouts sliced and roasted but for Thanksgiving it is nice to serve them whole and sauced. This recipe doesn’t have to be exact because it will depend on how many sprouts you have, you can use more or less sprouts if necessary just increase the shallots too. If you are going to be using a whole stalk I would double the recipe for the sauce. If you like your sprouts cut in half you can get a nice sear if you lay them flat on the pan when you add them; just start the shallots first, lay them down and then don’t disturb them for 3-5 minutes. If you want them whole, here is the recipe

Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts

2 shallots, sliced
about 30 Brussels Sprouts, outer leaves and stem trimmed
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon miso
1/2 cup white wine

Heat a skillet on medium high heat with a little bit of cooking oil. Saute the shallots and the Brussels Sprouts until the latter are brown, about five minutes. Separately, whisk together the agave, miso, and wine. Add to the pan, turn the temperature to low and cover. Cook 10 to 12 minutes stirring every now and then until the Brussels are done. Enjoy!

Iraqi Beet Stew with Meatballs

Maybe this dish is evil. It  has been summoning me for weeks. I have copies of  Saveur magazine all over my house because it has lately become the only magazine I subscribe to. Since the food isn’t quite as American & Western Europen as other magazines it is really inspiring to veganize their recipes. They still usually put a big ole’ hunk of meat on the cover which means I try and keep my copies face down but I forgive them because Saveur even mentioned our local Boggy Creek farm as the best farm in the country. They have really amazing food photography. One of the photographers, Penny De Los Santos, is based in Austin and I love looking at the blog of her travels and photography, she is amazing.

It was actually the picture of this meal that really got my attention. I love beets and the stew was already vegan so that would make it really easy. I also liked that the meatballs had a lot of strong flavors which I thought would lead to a better seitan. For the first time I made vegan foil sausages in little balls instead of tubes. It worked phenomenally. I think I liked it better than the regular style. This was one of the best seitans I have ever made. Maybe the best! I want to make them again for an Italian style meal. I am so excited by how the stew turned out as well, usually meals that contain beets have such a strong beet flavor & you really can’t taste much else. That is great if you like beets, I love the beets and greens pasta that I make sometimes, but I have never had a beet stew where the flavors all melded together into something else entirely. This was really an amazing meal and didn’t even take that long to make considering I made the seitan. And it was healthy so I definitely want to make it again. You should too so I am going to write out the recipe. Maybe it will start to summon you.

For the beets

First, Split 6 beets into sixths & start to Cook in 6 cups of water. You can remember this at the 666 step! When the beets are soft you are going to add them to the stew but if you do that early make sure you save the beet stock.

For the Rice

Next steam your rice in a small saucepan or rice cooker I used

1 1⁄2 cups brown basmati rice
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. turmeric

For the Seitan

Next Mix the seitan ingredients, I mash everything together so it is kind of like a paste in a mortar & pestle & add the Vital Wheat Gluten last.

1/2 cup chickpeas
1 cup broth
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 Cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup raisins, sliced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 TBS pine nuts
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
salt &  pepper

Split the dough into 6ths & wrap it in foilPlace the foil balls in a steamer. I put my bamboo steamer on top of the beet pot. The seitan will need to steam for 40 minutes

For the Stew

Make a spice paste in a mortar & pestle or food processor

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
3⁄4 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄8 tsp. cayenne

In another pot heat up some olive oil and saute

1 medium onion, chopped

Once the onion is browned add the spice paste & 1⁄4 cup tomato paste & cook a couple more minutes until brown

Stir in the reserved beet juice, the juice of one lemon, and 2 TBSP sugar; simmer for 5 minutes

Once the meatballs have steamed for 40 minutes unwrap them and carefully place them in the stew potCook about 8 minutes. Skim surface of stew, add reserved beets, and cook for 2 more minutes. To serve, fluff rice with a fork and spoon it into serving bowls along with ladlefuls of the stew and meatballs; season and garnish with parsley. Invite me over and Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup with Masa Dumplings (Frijoles Negros con Chochoyotes)

I saw this recipe on Saveur and thought it sounded really interesting, especially since I already had the ingredients on hand. I have never seen masa dumpling before, all you have to do is roll up the dough and toss it in the soup for the last ten minutes.  I love black bean soup and I also like to put greens in everything that I cook so I was really excited to make it. Overall, I changed some aspects but I still wish I would have done more, it wasn’t the best soup ever. It took what seemed like a lifetime for my beans to cook so by the time I was making the soup I was so hungry.  I think next time I would add a can of diced tomatoes and some agave nectar because it needed a little sweetness. Also my peppers weren’t very hot and I think a couple poblanos would have added a lot to the taste. I also think the dumpling should have had more salt and perhaps been made with the soaking water from the peppers. It was really healthy and made quite a bit so I hope to try it again. Here is how I made it last night.

Simmer until beans are almost done

2 cups dried black beans
4 cups of water
1 tsp epazote
2 bay leaves

Knead for 5 minutes and then let sit for an hour

1 1⁄3 cups white masa harina
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 cup of water

Soak

2 dried chipotle chiles
1 dried ancho chile

once soft remove seeds and stems and Process with

1 white onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

Saute the chile and onion mix for five minutes & add it to the beans.

Add

1 bunch swiss chard
1 tsp adobo sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp of green salsa

Roll bits of masa dough into balls and toss into soup. Cover them all with soup and cook for 10 more minutes. Salt to taste & enjoy

Risotto with Amaranth Greens, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Amaranth is a really interesting plant. It is native to the Americas and was a staple of the Aztecs. When the Spanish came to conquer they wouldn’t let people eat their pagan grain. They did the same thing to the Incas with quinoa. So many atrocities were committed against the people here but not letting them eat the food that grows all around them in favor of the more godly plants seems particularly sadistic. Especially when you consider that amaranth grain, like quinoa, has large amounts of protein and essential amino acids and can grow easily in all sorts of difficult environments. You can also eat the mild leaves which are similar to spinach. It was a vital plant to the region that kept people from starving. They had to grow it in secret.  The Aztecs celebrated Amaranth on the feast of Huauquiltamalcualitztli which I think we should revive as soon as possible. I am always excited for a new celebratory feast.

I got the greens when I worked in at the farm over the weekend. I really wanted to make something Jamaican since that is where this particular strain came from but I couldn’t find half the stuff that I needed to make Callaloo and so I started thumbing through World Vegetarian and I found this risotto recipe that used spinach and sounded very easy.

I am so glad I tried it! We both really liked it and the recipe was very simple and used ingredients that I normally have on hand. The last step was to add Parmesan cheese and butter which I switched to nutritional yeast and earth balance. I was a little worried it would have that noochy taste which wasn’t what I was looking for but it actually came out perfect. It made the risotto really creamy and rich tasting so if you try the recipe be sure to add it in at the end. The raisins got so big while cooking in this dish and I thought they really added a lot of flavor and I upped the cinnamon a little bit too from the original and I thought that was better as well but you might want to start with 1/4 teaspoon. The key to risotto is never stop stirring so make sure you have something to read or entertain you or it can get ruined.

Simmer
4 cups stock
separately Fry in Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
Remove when golden and add
2 large shallots, chopped fine
Once golden add
1 Tablespoon raisins
after 1 minute add
10oz Amaranth, cut into ribbons or other mild green (like Spinach or Chard)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
after a couple minutes add
1 Cup Arborio Rice
fry for another minute and then add a ladle full  of stock. Stir until the liquid is mostly gone and then add another ladle full. Keep repeating this process until the rice is cooked, the stock is gone, and the liquid has been soaked into the rice.

Add
1/4 cup Nooch
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance

Season with salt and Enjoy!