Friday, November 21, 2014

Vegan Lemongrass Infused Soba Noodle Soup

Who doesn't like a big bowl of delicious noodles in a "creamy" vegan lemongrass scented broth?  It is light yet comforting and aromatic.

I love lemongrass, especially in tom yum soup or tom kha gai.  Those are some of my favorite Thai soups out there!  Not only does it have a fresh citrus like flavor but has many medicinal properties and is great for your health!  The health benefits go on from helping with laryngitis to fever reducing to alleviating muscle spasms to stomach and muscle pains/spasms to an antidepressant....just to name a few.

I actually found chopped up, frozed lemongrass in a Vietnamese market, so I have been using it quite often!  It is also great to just use to make a simple tea! 

Ok now that you have your fun lemongrass facts, grab your soba and some vegetables and lets get cooking!

Vegan Lemongrass Infused Soba Noodle Soup
1 package soba noodles
4 c vegetable broth
2 c coconut milk
2 heaping spoons of chopped lemongrass, or 2 stalks of lemongrass
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 chopped enoki mushrooms, or mushrooms of your choice
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 c tightly packed baby spinach
1-2 carrots, peeled into thin slices
1/4 c mirin (optional)
salt to taste
2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
In a large pot, heat sesame or peanut oil over medium heat, add in minced ginger and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add in vegetable broth, coconut milk and lemongrass and bring to boil.  Cover, turn to low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.  When you are ready to cook the noodles, remove lid and bring back to a boil.  Cook the noodles according to package, adding in all remaining vegetables and spices in the last minute (you do not want your greens to turn brown!)  Serve immediately!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Citrus-Soy Marinated King Oyster "Scallops" with Forbidden Black rice Stir Fry

I've been waiting some time to  make this recipe, or just really any recipe that emulates regular scallops.  Finally, I headed back to China and voila...the first thing my eyes zoomed in on were the king oyster mushrooms.

It is crazy how much these really emulate scallops and I will definitely be making the faux scallops again, playing around with another recipe.  Once cooked, the texture and touch was so similar to the real thing!  A fun and kitchy little idea that will make your taste buds dance and put a smile on your face.
The black forbidden rice is simple amazing.  I actually prefer forbidden rice over any other kind of rice.  The texture is a bit more firm and tastes slightly nutty. Not only does it taste better to me, but it is the most nutritious of all kinds of rice!  It has the highest amount of protein and double the amount of fiber.  Time to swap out brown rice for the forbidden kind!  Visually, it makes a sexy statement as well!

Citrus-Soy Marinated King Oyster "Scallops" with Forbidden Black rice Stir Fry
for the scallops:
1 large king oyster mushroom, sliced about 1/2 - 3/4 in thick
1/3 c soy sauce
1/2 orange, juiced
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp evoo
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, agave nectar and sriracha together.  Marinate the mushrooms in this sauce for about 10 minutes.  Save the reserved liquid for reducing and using as garnish at the end.
Heat evoo in a saute pan over medium.  Place each "scallop" in the pan and saute each side for about 2-3 minutes.  Poke with finger to assure doneness .  The should feel firm yet tender. 
for the forbidden rice stir fry:
1 c forbidden black rice
2 c water or vegetable broth
2 carrots, shredded
5 brussel sprounds, shredded
3 scallions, chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
In a pot, bring water or broth to a boil, add in rice, cover and let rice cook for about 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Once the rice is done, set aside.  In a wok, heat the sesame oil on medium, add in garlic and ginger and shredded carrots and brussel sprouds and toss for about 3-5 minutes.  Add in the rice and scallions and toss for another minute or two. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Best Vegan "Beef" Stew!

It's just mid November and it snowed in the city today.  So, clearly it is unseasonably cold for this time.  And, it is going to get down to the single digits on Monday as well.  Now comes the time when I want to move to Florida.  I swear we talk about it every year when it starts to get cold!  Maybe we need to strike gold and have two homes!

So on a night like this, who wouldn't want a hearty, comforting bowl of vegan beef stew???  Even better, we can enjoy the leftovers cuddling on the couch, watching Sunday football all day.  Sounds pretty good to me! 

So our last trip to the Vietnamese grocer, Ryan noticed some chunks of tvp beef.  We usually buy the tvp chicken, but this is the first time I have seen a soy beef product in this manner!  The specific product we bought was Verisoy Vegan Beef Slice.  Just like other tvp products, you have to rehydrate the product in broth or liquid for about 10-15 minutes. 

What to know about these products is that proper seasoning is crucial, otherwise the product could be a bit off-putting.  For this recipe, I used a vegan beef broth, vegan Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to rehydrate the product.  Then, quickly tossed it with a vegan steak sauce before adding it to the stew.  This turned out to taste great!

The Best Vegan "Beef" Stew

for the tvp:
2 c vegan beef tvp
2 c vegan beef broth, or broth of choice
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp vegan steak sauce

for the stew
2 tbsp evoo
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 white or russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c red wine
2 tbsp flour
reserve liquid from tvp
2 tbsp steak sauce
2 tbsp corn starch
2 bay leaves

for the beef tvp:
Bring broth with Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce sauce to a boil.  Stir in tvp beef slices, turn off heat and let soak for about 10-15 minutes.  Strain, reserving the remaining liquid for the stew.  In a bowl, toss the tvp beef slices with your vegan steak sauce.  Set aside.

for the stew:
In a large pot, heat evoo over med-high and saute onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.  Stir in you tomato paste and continue to stir.  Add in flour, stir for an additional minute or so, then add in red wine and let reduce by half.  Pour in broth and reserve liquid from the tvp.  Bring to boil, add in remaining ingredients and the tvp beef strips.  Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Serve with rice or noodles when ready to serve.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's another Smash Up!.....Vegan Carrot-Coconut Curry with Vegan Baked Pakoras

I just got a new laptop yesterday so I am still trying to get used to this thing.  I am so used to my Apple laptop and have no clue what all this new Windows stuff is.  I want my Apple back :(
And, I keep striking the wrong keys because this keypad is so much larger.  So I guess that is my excuse if there are typos and just plain weird stuff going on in this post.

I have so many recipes that I have yet to post.  There is a long list on my refrigerator of what I still need to write about...if I wait any longer, I am going to forget them!  But, I am so excited about what I prepared this evening, I am going to put them on a longer post, to talk about this Indian-Thai smash up recipe!

If you aren't familiar with pakoras, they are originally from India but are also becoming popular in Southeast Asia.  Typically they are a fried snack using gram flour.  I used a different method, replacing the gram flour with rice flour or chickpea flour and baking them instead of frying. 

I chose to make the pakoras into an entrée by involving them into a carrot coconut curry.  Both have the curry aspect, but the lime in the curry adds a nice acidic element to the dish and cuts through the richness of both the soup and the pakoras.  I am not sure if a carrot coconut curry exists, but if you have never tried it or seen it, it is absolutely spectacular.  And, if you would like, top with vegan raita sauce.  This brings a nice refreshing and cooling aspect to the dish!

Vegan Carrot-Coconut Curry with Vegan Baked Pakoras
Ingredients/Directions for the Carrot-Coconut Curry:
5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of light coconut milk
3-4 c vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp evoo

Heat evoo on med-high and saute carrots, onions, garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes.  Add in broth and coconut milk and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add soup back to pot and heat when ready to serve.

Ingredients/Directions for the Vegan Pakoras:

1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
2 carrots, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1/2 c broccoli, chopped
1 c chickpea flour
3/4 c water
1/2 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt to taste

Preheat oven 500.
In a bowl, combine chickpea flour and the spices together, mix in water and stir until completely combined. Toss in all your vegetables and stir the batter into the veggies.  With your hands, for about 2 inch balls and place on an oiled baking pan.  Bake 10 minutes, flipping half way through.  Drop these babies in your carrot coconut curry soup or try with vegan raita or a chutney!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Herbed Polenta with Vegan Sausage and Ratatouille

Ryan and I just got back from Green Bay this afternoon and man did we have a great night!  Box suite seats for the Packers vs Bears game.  Great win for Green Bay, tough night for Chicago though.  I kind of felt like royalty though.  While most fans shivered in the cold, all bundled up, we lounged in a suite with free food and beverages.  I mean, who can complain??

Now, lets talk food.  Typically I am not the biggest polenta fan because it just seems pretty bland to me.  But this time, things were much much different!  The polenta was firm with a nice crust to the top of it, and screaming with an Italian herb mixture.

I love Ratatouille....both the dish and the movie!!!  What a cute movie!  Now I want to watch it again!  Anyway, adding your homemade Italian sausage crumbles to the mix, spices things up a bit.  The two really compliment each other!  Also, I prefer to roast the ratatouille...for me, roasted anything is better than sautéed!

Herbed Polenta with Vegan Sausage and Ratatouille 
for the polenta:
1 c corn meal
1 quart vegetable broth (I like to make my own!)
1 small yellow, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. vegan butter
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2-1 tbsp Italian herb
s+p to taste
Preheat oven to 350.  In a pot, heat vegan butter over medium-high heat and saute garlic and onion until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and continuously stir.  Add in Italian herbs and s+p to taste.
Lightly grease a pie pan and transfer polenta mixture into the pie pan.  Place in oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes.  Make sure you stir the mixture every 10 minutes.  Once done, remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes.  To remove the polenta from the pie pan, take a knife and run it around the edges.  Carefully flip it upside down and remove the polenta.  With a round mold, cut into cakes.
for the Vegan Sausage and Ratatouille:
1/2 c tvp
1/2 c vegetable broth or vegan jamon broth (I love that stuff!)
1/2 tbsp chipotle adobo sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
1 eggplant, cut into cubes
1 zucchini cut into quarter pieces
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2-3 tbsp evoo
s+p to taste
Preheat oven 450.  Toss the eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, garlic, evoo and seasoning in a bowl.  Pour into a baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes.  Stir the ratatouille every 10 minutes and add more evoo if need be.  Note that eggplant soaks up a lot of moisture!  Remove from oven when all the veggies are soft and caramelized in the own juices.  Also note that the longer this sits, more flavors develop....yum!
As for the sausage, bring the broth to a boil and mix in tvp.  Turn off heat and let the tvp soak up the liquid for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until completely combined.  Add to ratatouille and serve over your polenta!  Whew!  I know, but it is worth it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Fresh Sage

I don't know what has taken me so long to post this.  I actually made it a few weeks ago.  But, now is the perfect time to go pumpkin crazy, if you haven't already, that is.  We are going to turn orange over here if I keep cooking with pumpkins, squashes and carrots!

Remember you want to buy a cooking pumpkin!  These are much smaller and tastier than those pumpkins that you used for carving!  Trust me, I have made that mistake in the past.  Those carving pumpkins virtually have no taste.  Not meant for cooking!  Also, it is preferred to bake and cook your own pumpkin opposed to using the canned stuff.  There is something off putting about that stuff, unless its in a pie.

Like I have mentioned in other risotto recipes, any risotto takes patience and love.  You want to slowly add the liquid little by little, finessing the risotto consistently for about 20-25 minutes.  You want to do that because it releases the starches in the arborio rice so that it becomes soft and gives you that creamy texture.

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Fresh Sage

1 cooking pumpkin, cut into large pieces
2 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp unsweetened, original almond milk
2 c arborio rice
6-8 c vegetable stock
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c dry white wine
handful of fresh sage, chopped
s+p to taste
Preheat oven 400.   Brush your pumpkin pieces with evoo and lightly season with salt and pepper.   Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet, flesh side up, and bake 30-45 minutes or until a knife can easily cut through the flesh.  Once baked, remove the skin and put the pumpkin, vegan butter and almond milk in a blender and blend until smooth.  Set aside.  

Heat the vegetable stock in a large pot and keep heated with flame on low-medium. 
In the meantime, heat evoo in a large saute pan and add shallots and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add in rice, and again, saute until translucent (about 3-5 minutes).  Add in white wine and continue to stir until absorbed.  Remember you will be continuously stirring throughout this whole process!  Add in 1/2 cup of broth at a time.  Do not add in the next cup until the cup prior is absorbed completely!!  Stir in pumpkin and chopped sage and season with salt and pepper  At the end of the process, your rice should have a beautiful creamy texture but not mushy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sarah's Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes!....Vegan Harvest Apple and Raisin Stuffing!

I have been enjoying this recipe every year for my entire life!  I like to call this my Grammy's recipe, and every time I have it, I remember what a great childhood I had growing up with her.  She was truly a little girl's best friend.  Maybe that is why I have such a great mom as well.  Hope I can carry that torch as well.

Anyway, back to the stuffing....first of all, it is not Thanksgiving without.  Secondly, it screams fall with beautiful juicy apples and plump raisins.  This is also a good chance to use up your parsley in your garden before everything starts to freeze up and die (so sad for me).  And lastly, what is great is that you can make this a day or two ahead of time and then bake that day!  We all know how much cooking there is to do for this holiday.  Why not get ahead of the game and start a day early?

Vegan Harvest Apple and Raisin Stuffing!

1 loaf of bread, torn into pieces and let sit overnight
3 c chopped apples
1 c raisins
1 c chopped onions
1 c chopped celery
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp evoo
1/2-1 c vegetable broth
1/2 c flat leaf parsley 
2 tbsp thyme
3 tsp paprika
s+p to taste

In a saute pan, heat evoo on medium-high and saute onions, garlic and celery and saute for 3-5 minutes or until onions are translucent and set aside.  

Bring water to a boil and boil your raisins for about 5 minutes or until they are nice and plump.  

In a bowl, add in torn bread crumbs, sauteed vegetables, plump raisins, apples and seasoning.  Pour in 1/2 c of vegetable broth to start off with.  With your hands, get in there and mix everything together.  If not moist enough, add in a bit more broth until it is all nice and moist, but not overly wet.

When ready to bake, heat oven 350.  Grease your baking dish or casserole dish and cook for 30 minutes!  I hope my Grammy's recipe gives pleasure to many more families!

Sarah's Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes!.......Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Grapes and Candied Walnuts

Yes, I have posted this in the past, but it is an awesome fun and original side dish for Thanksgiving.  I introduced this to the family's Thanksgiving celebration last year and it was a definite win!  It is a brilliant combination between sweet and savory.  And, a far cry from those overly sweet sweet potato and marshmallow smashup!

My favorite part of this recipe are the roasted balsamic grapes!  The acidity of both the grape itself and the vinegar are a terrific match up to the creamy richness of the sweet potato puree.

So have some fun at the Thanksgiving table this year and check out this favorite!

Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Grapes and Candied Walnuts

sweet potato
1/2 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp unsweetened, original almond milk
1 c grapes
1/4 c chopped walnuts
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
imitation bacon bits (optional)

Heat oven 375.  Lightly brush sweet potato with evoo, season with salt and pepper and wrap in foil.  Bake sweet potato in oven for about 1 hr.
In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the balsamic and agave nectar.  Drizzle over the grapes and walnuts.  With about 30 minutes left on the sweet potato, place grapes in oven as well and roast for about 25 minutes.  Add in walnuts during the last 5 minutes.  Once done, set walnuts and grapes aside.
Remove the skin of the sweet potato and mash or blend in food processor with vegan butter and almond milk.  Season to taste.
Transfer mash to serving bowl and top with roasted grapes and walnuts. 

Sarah's Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes!....Vegan Creamy Dijon Brussels Sprouts!

Like most people, I NEED to have all of my mom's dishes at Thanksgiving.  I have always been the only veggie growing up in my house,  but not always vegan.  Basically what I have done over the last few years, is to take all of my family's recipes, but make them vegan.  I swear, you cannot even tell.  Heck, my dad (a huge carnivore) had no idea these Brussels sprouts were vegan.  It is simple, in all actuality!  Just replace milk and butter with almond milk and vegan Earth Balance.

So here is one of my favorite items for my vegan Thanksgiving meal:

Vegan Creamy Dijon Brussels Sprouts

12 oz Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut an "X" at the stem
4 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c unsweetened, original almond milk
2 tbsp flour
1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 table lemon juice
s+p to taste

Bring water in a pot to a boil and cook Brussels sprouts for about 4-5 minutes or until they are just tender and are bright green.  Do not over cook!  Drain and set aside.
In a large saute pan, make your roux by melting vegan butter over medium heat and mixing in flour.  Stir frequently until slightly browned.  This should take about 3-4 minutes.  Slowly stir in almond milk and cook until reduced and lightly thickened.  Stir in mustard, lemon juice and seasonings.  Mix until combined and toss in Brussels sprouts.  Coat the brussels sprouts and serve!