Tag Archives: greens

Irish Sausages & planning a party

It has been busy days at the Smurf house. Although it is IDEAL hammock weather I have been as busy as…. someone that isn’t me…. with all sorts of activities. I have also been planning for my birthday extravaganza that is going down really soon. I have friends coming in from all over the country and we are going to camp out so I have been trying to figure out what I should make for ~20 people over several days.

Since nothing says Texas like a bowl of red I thought I could make frito pie one night but I was completely stumped for the second night. Then it dawned on me that what kind of Serbian-American vegan would I be without making sausages! They are the only thing that makes sense, I can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them on the grill and I have a million different recipes that I have tried. I liked the Korean dog I had at TaKorea and then I LOVED the Thai sausage taco I made a couple of weeks ago so I could just do it in dog form. And then I thought I could make Irish sausages and top them with caramelized onions and mushroom gravy. What do you think? Maybe I should call them something Irish though like O’sausages or Lil’ laddies, luckily there is till time to think more about that.

These sausages are kind of riffing on a tester recipe and they turned out fab. We cooked them with collard greens and garlic and ate it with some noochy grits. It was a fantastic quick meal.Irish Sausages (makes 8 )

1 cup cooked lentils
2 cups broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ginger, cayenne, and pepper
Tear off 8 pieces of foil. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with your hand and knead a little bit. It will probably be pretty moist but you want everything sticking together. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and then wrap in foil twisting the ends like a tootsie roll.

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!


Posna Zeljanica Pita – Serbian Vegan Spinach Pie

My mom’s mom, my Baba makes the best cheese pita in the world. This is an undisputed fact, it is known among everyone whoever tried it. If you have ever had burek or gibanica it is like that. The recipe calls for half a dozen eggs, a pound of brick cheese, cream cheese, and a stick of butter. My mom more often would make the spinach version, like spanakopita, when I was a kid called Zeljanica which I preferred, probably because it is fun to say (zel E on it za). It was definitely the first dish that I can recall eating my greens and liking them. It was also one of the first things that I learned to make and when I went away to school I liked to make it for potlucks because it is so delicious and easy to make and the recipe makes more than just a few people *should* eat.

After I went vegan I sadly realized I would never eat it again since there was just too much to substitute. Plus, the eggs make it puff up and I didn’t want a bunch of green muck which happened to me once before when I didn’t have the recipe right. A few weeks ago Chicago Soy Dairy sent me some mozzarella Teese and it eventually got me thinking that now I had the perfect cheese element wrapped up in front of me! I could easily replace the cream cheese with tofutti cream cheese and olive oil replaced the butter (I didn’t want to use melted earth balance but I think it would be great). The only problem was the cottage cheese and egg so I replaced both with big tofu crumbles marinated for a couple of minutes in salt and lemon juice and some pine nuts. I also thought that I would have more texture using Swiss Chard, spinach’s sturdier cousin. Then since it is spring time I added a giant leek.  I really couldn’t believe how well it all turned out, I still can’t. It is just perfect, even better than I had hoped. The teese worked perfect, there is no weird taste and it is decidedly rich. I don’t want to say “you won’t believe it is vegan” but dammit, I have to!  I am also excited because I have my go to potluck dish back!

The Zeljanica also works great as an easter dish, especially if you want to serve it to your Serbian Orthodox friends for American easter since they will still be fasting for another week. You can also sing along with them to this video or enjoy 3 X Love and everyone can have a laugh. You could also serve it for your equinox festival, to celebrate the opening of the first public library (in 1833, in Peterborough, NH), your 4/20 throwdown, Buddha’s birthday or for brunch. It is a dish that will work for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, appetizer, or feast. Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter.

Zeljanica

1 lbs extra firm tofu
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
10 oz Mozzarella Teese, grated
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn
8 oz plain toffuti cream cheese
1 large leek, white part cleaned and chopped in skinny half moons
Box of Filo Dough, defrosted*
olive oil or melted earth balance
*the fresher the filo dough the better it will work. If you have a greek store you can usually find it there in the refrigerated section as opposed to the freezer. Otherwise, get the frozen kind and let it completely thaw in the fridge for a day before you use it. Don’t try any other method (trust me) it doesn’t work you have to wait.
Crumble the tofu into a bowl with your hands squeezing the water out as you go. You want pretty big chunks, like tablespoon size. Next, add the salt and lemon juice and mix together and let marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Add the Teese, the chard, the leek and the toffuti to the bowl and mix everything together with your hands until everything is incorporated but not blended.
Next, Preheat the oven to 375 and assemble your workstation. You want everything at hand because once you get the filo out of the packaging it dries quickly. Get a baking sheet out and oil the bottom and put about a third of a cup of oil in a bowl with a pastry brush. Get a towel slightly dampened with no wet spots, you don’t the filo to get wet because it will stick together so make sure that your damp towel is not that damp! Open the filo and unfurl it and place it under the towel.Carefully peel off the first layer of filo. Usually the first layer doesn’t come off well so I end up putting it to the side. Don’t worry about messing it up because you have more dough in the box than you will need and the bottom layers don’t have to be perfect. Lay the first sheet down on the oiled pan, cover the remaining filo back up with the towel and oil the top of the first layer of dough. The oil works like mortar sealing everything together. You can patch pieces together and seal holes with any excess you have moved to the side. When you are done get the next piece out and repeat the process until you have 6 layers down. Then spread the filling out over the dough. Top with pine nuts and then, using the same process add 6 more layers to the top. . You can also use the filo in alternative ways with this filling although this is the easiest. Sometimes I do something decorative on the very top with the leftover filo, just use a lot of oil. I have spelled things out, tried to make flowers, and made a thicker crust around the edge. Or you can top with asparagus pieces and they will roast right on top and then when it is done you can cut it into little squares if you want to be fancy. Once it is assembled you can also refrigerate for a day or two and bake it the day you need it. Another fun thing to do is fold it into triangles and deep fry.

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. The edges will be the first thing to burn so keep an eye on them after 20 minutes. After it has cooled you can cut it into pieces to serve cold or you can keep it whole and warm it up back in the oven if you are not serving immediately. Enjoy!


Swiss Chard & Pine Nut Couscous with Sicilian Olives

I have been trying to get my kitchen organized and it is a lot harder than I thought it would be which is making cooking really challenging. When it comes to food I am definitely a horder. I have every bean every grain and practically every spice I have ever heard of. I don’t know how it all started but I have been a horder since I was a little kid, you would think I was raised during the depression or something. For example, olives have always been my favorite food and I usually keep a back up jar but if I don’t have one I keep a lone emergency olive in the jar until I replenish my supply. That’s right folks it is no lie; at any time you can open my refrigerator and you are guaranteed to find at least one olive. And if there is one olive and you eat it…. well let’s just say you won’t make that mistake again.

I also have had an unlabeled bag of an unknown grain since I moved in to the last house. Mr. Smurf was trying to convince me that if I haven’t used it in 5 years I was never going to use and it was time to throw it out. Instead, it came to the new house and now with many more years of cooking experience I immediately identified it as couscous and decided it was time to make magic happen. First, I was going to toast some coriander and make kind of a Greek-style dish but then I couldn’t find the coriander anywhere so the old standbys of garlic and Italian seemed to be the perfect solution.

This dish turned out to be everything I had hoped: fast, easy, healthy and we were able to make gigantic portions and save some for lunch this week. I was going to use mushrooms too but they weren’t any good so if you try this add them in before the chard leaves if you have them around. And if you don’t love olives you might want to try raisins or another dried fruit instead.

Swiss Chard & Pine Nut Couscous with Sicilian Olives

1 medium yellow onion, cut into half moons

1 bunch of Swiss Chard, stalks chopped and separated from the leaves
1 Tablespoon of pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, rehydrated with water reserved
1 cup (or so) of vegetable stock
2 cups couscous
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup Sicilian marinated olives chopped

Saute the onions in a cast iron skillet for a couple of minutes and then add the chard stems. Once they are all starting to brown shove everything to the side of the pan and toast the pine nuts over the hot spot. Make sure they don’t go from golden to burned, it can happen rather quickly and then move them to the side of the pan. Add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds, mix everything together and then add the chard leaves. Once the chard leaves cook down (like a minute) add the sundried tomatoes and their re-hydrating water, and about a cup of stock depending how much reserved water you have. Add the couscous and mix everything together. You don’t need to have the whole mess under water but you need enough that nothing is going to burn while you reduce the heat, put the lid on, and cook for about 10 minutes. Check on it and stir things up once or twice. Add the olives & lemon juice and enjoy!

Teriyaki Vegetables

We are on an extremely tight budget this month because I am saving for a trip and I had already given up on eating real vegetables this month. Ok, I was still going to eat vegetables but only the cheapest, starchiest kind. I was a little worried I would get scurvy or gout or rickets but now my troubles are over because my partner volunteered at the farm and I cam home to a fridge full of farm fresh organic vegetables. I am so happy!  Mr. Smurf got us beets, kohlrabi, peppers, eggplants, jalapenos, salad greens, rainbow chard, basil, and tomatoes. Yes, TOMATOES in November. Life is great sometimes. Not only did I not have to grocery shop but I have the best veggies money can’t buy, including so many lovely greens!

I have been really busy and came home late and had to get dinner done before Top Chef started so I made one of the world’s quickest laziest dishes, Teriyaki Vegetables. Teriyaki is a sweet Japanese sauce usually made out of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar but I have used apple cider which is a healthier trick I learned in the Voluptuous Vegan.  This dish has a laziness factor of 3, (1 being you are too lazy to eat and 2 being you will only eat something that is already made and just needs heating). It is a meal you can cook in about 10 minutes and use any vegetables you have on hand. We ate it over Chinese noodles.

Teriyaki Vegetables

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 cups apple cider
2 tsp cornstartch
~1.5 cups carrots, cut into half inch pieces
~1 cup kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
~1 cup mushrooms
~ 2 cups of the kohlrabi and carrot greens
1 cup of edamame
2 scallions chopped

First cook your rice or start water for your noodles. Then mix together the soy sauce, mirin and 1.5 cups of apple cider in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and kohlrabi reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes covered. Mix the cornstartch and remaining half cup of cider in a small container. Add the edamame and the greens to the skillet and cook covered another 2 or3 minutes, until the edamame is cooked through. Add the cornstarch mix and stir. Add in the scallions, remove from heat and enjoy over rice or noodles.

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!

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

Vegan Nuoc Cham (Vegetarian Fish Sauce)

One thing that can make eating out at Southeast Asian restaurants challenging for vegans is that they use fish sauce in almost everything. Luckily, the Vietnamese often do Buddhist fasts and so they have come up with some great ways to get around the prevalent use of fish sauce. In some specialty markets you can find veg fish sauce which I often call for in recipes that I post. But you can always use more soy sauce too and sometimes I use Oyster (mushroom) sauce as well.  If you want to make your own fish sauce, here is a recipe from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia which is one of my favorite cookbooks. It isn’t at all fishy but it adds some complexity to Thai recipes and a little bit of that Southeast Asian flair.

Mix

3 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine (or rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon lemongrass, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bird chili (or other hot little pepper or Sriracha)
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

The key, of course, is to have really good soy sauce. Usually I have several different kinds that I get when I go to the giant Asian Super Market a couple times a year. I like to have both light and dark and I often use both in the same recipe. It doesn’t hurt to try different kinds!

In truly lazy style  I recently boiled some soba noodles, added some bok choi, drained and poured the whole recipe of fish sauce into a pot and mixed it with the noodles and greens and a little bit of oil. It was good enough to eat, cheaper than take out, and even healthier. Looking at those noodles is making me so hungry

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!

Corn & Kale Hatch Pepper Chowder

People in Thailand eat more chile peppers than anyone else in the world. I read that our region of North America is starting to gain on them. The town of Hatch in New Mexico makes probably the best chile peppers in the world and we get them here in Austin. For a brief period of the year, right as school is starting again, you can smell it in the air; roasting chile peppers. I made a corn chowder over the weekend with the hatch peppers and then yesterday I made an even better one. Not only was it tastier, but it is healthier since I added kale to what is normally not an extremely nutritious meal. I love chowder. It kills me that I can’t get it in restaurants. At whole foods I often check all of their 33 soups and the two vegan ones are never chowder and there is just no reason for that. Chowder is really easy to veganize, just substitute rice milk for the dairy and add some mashed potatoes.  This soup is great, if you want to make it with another kind of roasted pepper that would work but it might not be as magical.

Corn & Kale Hatch Pepper Chowder

4 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
2 cups of vegetable broth

5 shallots, chopped
1 rib of celery
1 poblano
2 cloves of garlic
5 leaves of kale
4 roasted Hatch peppers (maybe less if your peppers are really hot or you don’t like spicy things)
2 cups of corn
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup of rice milk
juice from 1/2 of a lemon

Cook the potatoes in the vegetable broth until they are starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes in the microwave or on the stove top. When they are done mash about half of them with a potato masher. In the meantime start sautéing the shallots, chop the rest of the ingredients in order and add them to the pot as you finish chopping. First add the celery, then the poblano and the garlic. Once the shallots have started to brown add the kale, the hatch peppers, and the corn. Once the kale is wilted add the potato mixture, the rice milk,  the sage and the salt. Let the whole mixture cook covered for about 20 minutes. Add the lemon and additional milk or broth if you want it a little thinner and check for seasoning. Now you have awesome soup that you can eat with some crusty bread if that’s how you roll. Enjoy!