Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vegan Citrus-Soy Winter Root Vegetable Stir Fry!

It seems like this is going to be an everlasting winter.  Even though we still have at least one more month of winter, I am sure glad it will be March in a few days!  If I hear or read the words "February Freeze" one more time, I may lose my marbles!

With all this wintry weather talk, I figured I should take advantage of the abundance of root vegetables! While of course you have many root vegetables to choose from, I chose to go with purple fingerling potatoes, celery root, parsnips, turnips, carrots and lotus root.  All of these are fairly easy to find at most grocery stores, except for maybe the lotus root.  I found this crunchy, starchy root veg already sliced and packaged at my favorite Asian Market here in Chicago.

Unlike the typical stir fry that just uses a bit of oil and soy sauce, I wanted to spruce things up a bit.  By adding in fresh orange juice, orange zest and a touch of agave nectar creates a slightly sweet and beautifully bright flavor, making it a perfect match to the hearty root veggies!

Vegan Citrus-Soy Winter Root Vegetable Stir Fry!       

Ingredients:  (yields 4 servings)

1 celery root, peeled and cut into cubes
1 turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
2-3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
8 slices of lotus root
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 scallions, chopped (green part only)
1/4 c tamari or soy sauce
1 orange, juiced
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp chili oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
handful of pea shoot for garnish (optional)


After all your prep is done,  whisk together tamari or soy sauce, orange juice and zest, and the agave nectar.  Set aside.

Heat oil on medium-high in a wok or large saute pan.  Add in minced garlic and ginger and saute for about 1-2 minutes.  Add in all the root vegetables, except for the lotus root and saute for about 6-8 minutes, or until you can cut the vegetables easily.  You may need to add in a splash or two of water during this process.  Add in lotus root and stir in the citrus soy, stirring frequently.  Add more soy sauce or orange juice if necessary!  Toss in sesame seeds and serve!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Vegan Sweet Potato and Edamame Gyoza

What do you get when you mix pureed sweet potatoes, chopped edamame and some Asian spices folded in wonton wrappers and cooked to perfection?  Um, you get perfection!  If some restaurant out there does not carry some sort of variation of these gyozas, they need to do some menu changes!

Appetizers are always my favorite.  That, or tapas.  Mainly because I never want to order an entree.  I prefer enjoying an array of bites to taste and share.  It makes it a more intimate setting to share with loved ones.  Dim sum is the perfect way to create that setting.

The perfect way to cook these are to steam them or quickly pan fry them, then add water, cover and steam.  I chose the ladder option because I prefer the slightly crisp texture they get from pan frying.

Sweet Potato and Edamame Gyoza

Ingredients: (makes roughly 20-25 dumplings)
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 tbsp evoo
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic chili sauce
20-25 wonton wrappers
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 flax seed egg, mixed with 3 tbsp water (or  your choice of vegan egg replacer)

Heat oven to 400.  Peel your sweet potato first, then with a fork, poke a few holes around the sweet potato.  Lightly brush with evoo and lightly salt.  Cover with foil and bake for about 45-50 minutes.   

In the meantime, boil water and cook edamame for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a cutting board.  Chop edamame into small pieces and set aside.  With a small saute pan, heat evoo and saute garlic and ginger for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add to the chopped edamame.

Once the sweet potato is done baking, cut into a few pieces and transfer to a blender.  Add in sesame oil, tamari and chili sauce and blend until smooth.  Mix the chopped edamame to the sweet potato mixture.

Mix together your flax seed egg with water and place out the wonton wrappers on a lightly floured surface.  With a brush, brush the sides of the wonton wrapper with the "egg".  Spoon in about 1 tbsp of the mixture into each wonton and and seal tightly with fingers.

In a large saute pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat and saute wontons for 2 minutes on each sides.  Then add in 2-3 tbsp of water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.  The final result should look shiny.

Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Low(er) Carb Arancini....Vegan Cauliflower Arancini!

Yes, this is what you want to eat tonight!  Trust me!  Sure, I have already done a more traditional style vegan arancini, but this one has ditched the rice for a more healthy approach to the indulgent, Italian comfort food.

If you have followed my blog in the past, this is not the first time I have used grated cauliflower in place of rice.  I think manipulated vegetables and fruits to resemble other items is one of my favorite things to do.  Not only does this make your menu a bit healthier, but it also has your creative juices flowing.

So here's the thing with making your own arancini;  You can really add in whatever you want to the center of the "rice" ball!  When you cut it open, there is a nice, little tasty surprise waiting for your taste buds.  Some of my favorite fillings are arugula pesto, vegan cheese, or a sundried tomato pesto. 

Vegan Cauliflower Arancini

1 head cauliflower
1 garlic clove, minced
s+p to taste
1 tbsp milled flax seed, mixed with 3 tbsp water (or your choice of egg replacer)
vegan mozzarella cheese (optional)
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp evoo

Preheat oven to 400.
With a cheese grater, grate your cauliflower into "rice kernels".  In a saute pan, heat evoo over med-high and saute garlic and grated cauliflower for about 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
Whisk together the flax egg mixture in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together panko crumbs, oregano and basil. With your hands, form a small ball with the cauliflower rice, roll into the flax egg mixture and then roll in the panko crumbs.  With your finger, create a hole through each ball and add in vegan cheese and pesto (or whatever filling you desire).  Place arancini balls on a baking sheet, and bake for roughly 20 minutes.  Serve with your favorite tomato sauce.