Sweets, Sweets and more Sweets!

It’s been far too long since I’ve been motivated enough to blog a few recipes. I spent a good three weeks working on various volunteer vegan chef projects, including catering an Earth Day Event for 200 here in Colorado, of course working on my long time gig as head chef for Chomp, and feeding a small tribe of 20, all gluten free and vegan, for three days during an amazing festival Beltania, also in my home state of Colorado. Upon the winding down of all these events my motivation hit bottom; hence the lack of delicious recipes in this here blog!

First of all I’ve promised to post recipes for gluten free cherry almond cookies, as well as some of the tempeh bacon shenanigans an amazing chef named Kayla and I got into a couple months back, and last but not least – my Aunt Darleen would like the recipe for the oatmeal blueberry cookies I sent her during the past holiday season. I don’t have pictures for the latter, but I should have some images for a few of these sweet treat recipes! Continue reading

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Bean “Sausages”!

This recipe will change your life! I promise! I cannot believe how incredibly easy, filling, inexpensive and delicious these are! The variations could be endless! This dish is from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (there is nothing this woman cannot do, I swear). I am sometimes uncomfortable with posting full recipes, unaltered by myself, from cookbooks because of how amazing these cookbooks are – I hope to encourage a few folks to pick this one up. Vegan Brunch has recipes for bagels, tempeh “crabcakes”, vegan omelets, frittatas, quiche, and so on and so on. It’s on my top 5 cookbooks of all time list, for sure!!

Okay, down to delicious business! (This recipe makes four big sausages that are incredibly filling!)

Ingredients

1/2 cup navy beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup vegetable broth (I used my bouillon, I always do)

1 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TBSPs soy sauce

1 tsp liquid smoke

2 garlic cloves, grated (with a microplane, or very finely minced)

1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (sadly this is not gluten free)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (nootch!)

1 TBSP + 1 tsp dry rubbed sage (not that powdered crap)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Fresh black pepper

1/2 finely chopped dried cherries

The Method

Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready and bring water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.

Have ready four sheets of tinfoil. In a large bowl, mash the beans until no whole beans are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed, then mix with a fork. (I kneaded mine for a couple strokes). Divide dough into four even parts (an easy way to do this: split the dough in half and then into quarters). Place one part of dough into tinfoil and mold into about a 5-inch log. Wrap dough in tinfoil, like a Tootsie Roll.  Don’t worry too much about shaping it; it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.

Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes. That’s it! You can unwrap and enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Isa likes them sliced and sauteed in olive oil for a few minutes, or grilled whole and then sliced.

Tempeh Pot Roast!!

I get so excited about how delicious some of these dishes are, that I have to use extra exclamations so you know I mean business. It’s just the way it is, folks. So this recipe will make you feel like a bad ass vegan chef! It’s delicious and simple and easily changed up with any fresh herbs or spices you like. You can change up the potatoes in this dish or the carrots for parsnips, turnips, other potatoes or root vegetables. I have also used a couple different types of tempeh when making this dish in the past, and they all tasted amazing! For the vegan wine in this recipe be sure to check http://www.barnivore.com to make sure your wine isn’t filtered with isinglass or anything else nasty and unnecessary!  Without further ado, here’s a great recipe you should try!

Ingredients:

2 8 oz packages tempeh, any flavor, cut in half
4-6 yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1 lb bag baby carrots
1 lb mix of portabella and button mushrooms roughly chopped, stems saved for later on (I’ve used cremini, baby bells and shiitake before with good results!)
1 large onion of choice, 1/2 of it sliced and 1/2 of it diced
1 carton vegetable stock (32 oz) – or two vegetarian bouillon cubes in four cups of water
Balsamic vinegar
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Vegan Red Wine (I have used sweet white wines and dry white wines before with great results!)
Thyme (I prefer fresh, myself)
Rosemary (Also, fresh is tastiest!)
Any other seasonings of your choice, including bay leaf, marjoram, etc.
1/4 cup Nutritional yeast

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Pour half of the carton of stock (or two cups vegetable broth if using bouillon or homemade) in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, about 1/4 cup vegan wine (more or less depending on tastes), diced onion, cleaned stems, and a few tablespoons balsamic vinegar, a pinch of rosemary and thyme and any other seasonings you enjoy.  Place over heat and bring to a boil. When boil starts reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer on low the entire time you prepare and cook everything else.

In a skillet or frying pan place the tempeh with a TBSP or two of Bragg’s liquid Aminos and balsamic vinegar and cook until browned on both sides.

In a roasting pan -or- 4 quart plus crock pot, layer (follow each layer with a sprinkling of spices especially if using crock pot) first the potatoes, then the carrots, tempeh, mushrooms, and onion slices. Pour the other half of the stock over the vegetables and cover pan. Place in oven and cook checking after 45 minutes. When done the potatoes should pierce easily with a fork. If using a crock pot set on high 4 hours, but check after 2.

Gravy:
When roast is done, remove cover of sauce pan and skim out the mushroom stems, taste and season accordingly. In a dish, mix 1/4 cup flour with enough water to make a thick liquid. Pour one half into pan while stirring constantly.  Bring heat up to medium and stir until mixture reaches, and boils for one minute. If gravy isn’t thick enough, add the rest of the flour mixture and boil again.

Tempeh seared with balsamic and Bragg’s.

Gravy simmering away.

I just thought this picture was pretty.

Before Oven.

After Oven.

Delicious End Result! Enjoy!

Citrus Tofu

This following recipe was the entree for our February Chomp! which was a celebration of Chinese New Year that we called “Year of the Vegan”. Although we’ve been putting on these dinners for nearly a year, we’ve never really featured tofu as an entree ingredient. (Well, maybe; there was all that scrambled tofu at our ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ Chomp last summer). Excitingly enough I was able to get some local, GMO-free bulk tofu through my job at Watercourse Foods. I brought home about 30 pounds and froze it immediately. I thawed the soybean curd in question and proceeded to press out excess water by utilizing plates, baking sheets, books, cans and many handtowels. I wrapped the cut tofu in the towels, placed plates and flat surfaces on top and piled on the cans and books. After a good 30 – 45 minutes I unwrapped the tofu and gave an extra little press between my hands over my kitchen sink to really ensure excess moisture was minimal.

Onto the Citrus Tofu recipe, itself!!

Ingredients:

This should serve 4 – 6 people.

1 pound firm tofu (non GMO/organic and local if you can!!)

1 cup fresh orange juice (I used juice purchased at a store in conjunction with fresh oranges I squeezed myself, I also zested about 6 – 8 oranges, and added the zest to the marinade)

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce (Tamari for Gluten Free Goodness, non GMO/Organic if you can!)

1/4 cup canola oil

4 tsp. dark sesame oil (for Chomp I used a toasted sesame oil, I like the little smokey nuttiness the toasted oil adds)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBSP fresh ginger root, minced

2 green onions, cut into 1″ strips

1/4 cup. fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Optional Spiciness: Add 1 or 2 fresh red chili peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips

Method:

So I froze my tofu, thawed, and pressed it. Prior to pressing it I cut it into slabs by placing my block of tofu onto it’s short side and slicing into square wedges. If you wanted to do triangle little tofu slabs, cut the tofu block into 4 thin square wedges, then diagonally for triangles. For tonight’s dinner, I had cut my blocks into thicker wedges, then pressed them, then cubed them.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, oils, garlic and ginger.

Separate the tofu pieces and arrange in a baking dish in a single layer. Cover your tofu with the marinade and sprinkle the onion, cilantro, and chili, if using. Cover and marinade anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Pour off some of the marinade, so the tofu is covered halfway. Bake 40 – 45 minutes, without turning, until the tofu is golden and most of the marinade is absorbed.

I love the flavors in this one, I feel like every ingredient of the marinade stands out within the tofu!

Queso Dip!

Just a quick note for anyone who has not had the late night munchies; a bag of chips, some cheddar-style Daiya and salsa are an amazing trio of items! Usually I layer salsa and Daiya on the chips and bake them at 350ºF for 5 – 10 minutes. This time, however, I heated up the Daiya and salsa on the stove top and created this blissful concoction:

Queso Dip!! Delicious!

Vegan Cheese!

I’ve made about four different vegan cheeses regularly and with success. I decided to broaden my horizons today, and try making a vegan cheese that was nut and soy free (and gluten free, actually)! I made a mozzarella-type cheese that didn’t quite end up as successfully as I had hoped. While delicious, the end result is not slice-able; and quite honestly, nothing like mozzarella. So while interesting, allergen free and tasty – this does not actually resemble the intended finished product nor actually taste like it. However, if you’re looking for a brie-texture vegan cheese, with a taste more like an onion-y cheddar – than here you go!!

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1/2 cup nutritional yeast (nooch!)

1/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats

1/4 cup tahini

4 TBSP arrowroot powder or cornstarch

4 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 TBSP onion granules

1 tsp salt

The Method:

Process all ingredients in a blender for several minutes until very smooth. (I used my food processor for the same result)

Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick and smooth.

Pack into a lightly oiled, 3 Cup rectangular mold and cool. For round slices – pack into a small straight sided cylindrical container. Cool, cover and chill overnight. To serve, turn out of the mold and slice carefully.

(Variation: Smokey! Add (to taste and as blending) either 1/2 TBSP hickory smoked nutritional yeast, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp hickory salt or 1/4 tsp liquid smoke)

I think I needed more arrowroot powder in mine, and while it did set for 10 hours, I think we’ll see if it firms up overnight. Either way here are some pics of the vegan mozzarella/provolone type cheese!


Lentil Loaf!

For our last Chomp! Vegan Community Dinner we had a lentil loaf as our entree. The dish we served up that night was actually a co-creation of myself and one of our chefs, Trey. We had spent a whole day taking the best parts of our two separate lentil loaf recipes and created the “superloaf”. Since we actually didn’t write anything down I do not have that recipe to share, however my original recipe is pretty amazing!! This is awesome as a centerpiece to any meal, and I have it on good authority that even my non Veg friends dig this dish!

Ingredients:

2 Cups Thickly Stewed Lentils

1/2 Onion, Minced

2 Garlice Cloved, Minced

1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro (you can sub celery leaves if you’re not a cilantro fan)

1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, Diced

1 Cup Chopped Nuts Of Your Choice (I’ve used almonds, hazelnuts, walnut and cashews – so far the hazelnuts were the best!)

1/4 Cup Marinara Sauce

1 Cup Bread Crumbs

1 Cup Vegan Mozzarella Shreds (such as Daiya – I have omitted this part of the recipe before but added an “eggs” worth of egg replacer such as Ener G or flax seed)

1 Egg Substitute – such as 1 TBSP flax with 3 TBSP water frothed up, or 1 1/2 tsp Ener G with 2 TBSP water frothed up (whisked or combined really well)

The Method:

Mix it all together really well and place in a lightly oiled loaf pan and bake at 375° F for 45 minutes or until a bread knife inserted into the center comes out fairly clean. You can serve this with brown gravy, or use a little extra marinara sauce and brush on the top of the loaf during the last 10 – 15 minutes of baking time. Sometimes, while living in Colorado, I have had to extend cooking time to almost a half hour longer.

With all the nuts and lentils this is really high in protein. You could cut back on the lentils a bit and add a half cup of cooked quinoa for more protein. You could use a food processor and combine all the ingredients for a more smooth loaf, as well. You could add a couple TBSP’s of nutritional yeast, too, for more flavor. The possibilities are endless with a basic lentil loaf recipe, please enjoy!