Friday, February 25, 2011

Tempeh Helper - Just like Mom's

As a child, I remember with great fondness the casserole combos my mom would make so often for our family's dinner. And why not, everyone knows that One-Dish meals are a mom's best friend.  One casserole that came into our weekly rotation quite often was Mac & Cheese, a pound of ground beef and a box of frozen spinach, all tossed together with some shredded cheese melted on top, a kind of "knock-off" Hamburger Helper.

Now, the dish below happened entirely by accident; the result of combining several random recipes all into one.  The outcome: a delicious dish of comfort food that unintentionally pays tribute to the homey casserole from my childhood!

Here's how it's done...  Let's go back

I have tried the Tempeh Helper from the PPK blog:

Tempeh Helper - PPK Blog

This was delicious, and truly mimicked the Hamburger Helper from a box (circa early 80s), which was a steadfast staple of my childhood.  One thing I also remember is picking all the meat out, and wishing just once, mom would make it with just the noodles and veggies, and forget the lumps of ground meat.

SO...  I had an entire batch of Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh that I was just dying to crumble into something, AND a fresh batch of homemade "Mac & Cheese" powder from this lovely blog: Our Veggie Kitchen.  Great stuff... Try it out.  It's pretty fantastic!

I cut the directions for the Mac & Cheese four (4) servings in HALF, to make the perfect portion for my casserole.  To make sure the cheese sauce is extra smooth, I pureed the powder with the liquid in my blender before boiling and adding the noodles.  When noodles are cooked, stir in 1 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed, and 4 triangles of Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh, crumbled. Toss in a small handful (or two) of shredded Daiya cheddar, and you're good to go. ^_^

Seitan Helper (My Mom's Style)!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food Network Feast, Vegan Style

This Saturday, my friend Kathy and I took our inspiration from Food Network, and made the following:

Fresh Radishes and Cucumbers with Sea Salt, served on Toast with Herb Spread
Veganized from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten:

2 bunches radishes, with the pretty green tops intact
2 cucumbers, sliced
Sea salt
Herbed Butter Earth Balance
1 French baguette, sliced diagonally, and lightly toasted
1 "Take and Bake" whole grain loaf, from Dave's Marketplace

For the Herb Spread:

1 stick Earth Balance, at room temperature
Chopped chives
Chopped fresh parsley leaves
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
pinch of sugar

Arrange the radishes and cucumbers on a bed of sea salt.
Spread the butter on slices of toasted bread and arrange on a platter.
Serve at room temperature.

Now, I have never eaten radishes before. Sure, I've had the occasional wafer-thin sliced radish amidst iceberg lettuce in salad bars, but never like this.  Fresh and crunchy, with just a hint of bite. And, the herbed spread was the perfect topping for the crusty bread.  And tasted even better on toast the next day!

Kathy and I try to get together and cook once a week.  And although she is a meat and potatoes kinda gal, she has embraced this weekly vegan cooking adventure with open arms.  Deciding what to make isn't usually hard, as we are both foodies at heart, and LOVE to cook.  Some weeks I have an idea, and some weeks she does.  This week we both did, and they both happened to be inspired from Food Network shows that we had watched recently.

Here is my contribution, adapted and veganized from Rachel Ray's Week in a Day:

Ceci Sauce over Pasta

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Fresno red chile pepper, finely chopped (with seeds)!
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped **No rosemary on hand, so I used some Bavarian Seasoning from Penzey's, which contains rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chicken vegetable stock
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 pound whole wheat or whole grain penne
Pecorino cheese, My Vegan Parmesan
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for serving


Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet, add the onions, garlic, chile, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and cook to soften, 7 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, add about 2/3 of the chickpeas to a food processor, then quick-pulse into fine bits.
Add the finely chopped chickpeas and remaining whole chickpeas to the pan and heat through. Stir in the stock and tomatoes.
Break up the whole tomatoes and simmer the sauce.  I simmered mine for about 30-40 mintues.
Add a handful of vegam parmesan, to taste
Bring water to boil for pasta, salt the water and cook to al dente.
Reserve a cup of starchy pasta water just before draining.
Drain the pasta and place back in the hot pot and toss with the sauce and as much starchy water as you need to combine, I didn't need very much at all.
Add chopped parsley and extra vegan parm.

And the final product:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh

Cookbook Challenge Week 2 - Veganomicon

Now, if you know anything about me at all, you know I'm a hot sauce fiend.  I have been meaning to try this recipe for some time now...  A.  because it's hot sauce  B. because it's GLAZED.  anything glazed is okay in my book
Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh - Veganomicon

So, here it is:  Triangles of steamed tempeh, marinated in a tangy, spicy liquid, then grilled to perfection.  I used my super-cool non-stick grill pan! (aren't the grill marks nice)?

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz (VEGANOMICON)


8 ounce package of tempeh
1/2 cup wine (whatever kind you've got on hand, just nothing sweet, or use vegetable broth and a touch of wine vinegar)
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
  2. Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.
  3. Cut the tempeh in half width wise then cut each of those squares diagonally to form 4 large triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and steam for 10 minutes.
  4. Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.
  5. Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat. Brush lightly with olive oil
  6. Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.
Now, for a chili-head such as myself, one would think this would be my dream recipe.  But, alas, it was not.  I fear I am loosing my taste for whole pieces tempeh, and that makes me very sad.  I am, however, still a HUGE fan of crumbled tempeh (IE Better-Than-Tuna Salad sandwiches)!! 

Let's crumble these triangles up, and make something spicy!!  (All is never lost... Crazy Casserole to follow...)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Strawberry Shortcakes for the Day of V

Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Cashew Cream

When asked to make Strawberry Shortcake for Valentine's Day, my first response was: "STRAWBERRIES?!? in FEBRUARY??" ummm...ok.. I'll see what I can do

So I hit up my smoothie reserve in the freezer: One bag of whole organic strawberries from Trader Joe's, and began my quest for the perfect recipe.  And I found it: Vegan with a Vengeance, you never disappoint me.

Now, instead of serving the strawberries and cream over biscuits, or pound cake, this recipe uses scones.  I can honestly say, I have never really been a huge fan of scones.  The ones I've had in the past have been rather dry, crumbly and lifeless.

Until I made these... and now my relationship with scones has been changed forever.

From Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar (plus an extra for sprinkling on top)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup soy creamer (I used SILK French Vanilla)
3/4 rice or soy or almond milk plus 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Add cider vinegar to the milk and let sit while you mix the dry ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Add the oil, soy cream, and milk with vinegar.
Mix until just combined; the dough should be clumpy and not sticky.
Even if there is still a light dusting of flour, that's okay.
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto the greased cookie sheet and pat the tops just a little bit to round them out; sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

Unbaked Scones - sprinkled with raw sugar

Bake 12-15 minutes until slightly browned on the bottom and firm on the top.
Mine were done at 12 minutes on the DOT.

Scones sprinkled with Raw Sugar

For the Strawberry Goodness:
(cut in half because I only had 1 lb of strawberries)
1lb sliced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
Cover and let chill for an hours or so, the strawberries will develop a sauce all of their own!

Vanilla Cashew Cream
1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
1/4 coconut milk (I used So Delicious Vanilla)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Drain cashews and blend with coconut milk and sugar until smooth, 3-4 minutes.
Stream in maple syrup and oil and blend until well combined and silky smooth.
Chill for several hours, or overnight.

To assemble:
TWO scones, top with strawberries and juice, dollop or two of cream , and a few more strawberries.
Dig in and taste the wonder!

Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Cashew Cream

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Pineapple Banana-Oat Smoothie

    Pineapple Banana-Oat Smoothie

    A delicious glass of tropical sunshine! Pineapple and banana are one of my favorite smoothie combinations.  And in this recipe, the oats and flax seed add a nice thickness as well as added nutrition. Oats have a higher level of soluble fiber than other grains. Some other benefits of adding oats to your smoothie is the fact that they lower cholesterol, and are soothing to the digestive process. I like to blend the oats and flax in my liquid first, just to make sure they are pureed well. Then add your fruit...

    1 banana, ripe
    1/2 cup pineapple chunk, frozen 
    1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
    1/4 cup old fashioned oats
    2 teaspoons flax seeds 
    2 teaspoons agave nectar

    DIRECTIONS:                        Prep Time: 5 mins           Total Time: 5 mins
    1.  Blend oats, flax seeds, almond milk and agave for a two to three minutes on high, just to really blend the oats and the seeds.
    2.  Add fruit and blend until smooth.

    Pineapple Banana-Oat Smoothie