Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fettuccine with Zucchini, Roasted Peppers, Almonds, and Mint

(recipe adapted from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay)

Roasted whole red peppers from a jar (the equivalent amound of about 2 large red bell peppers)
1/4 cup slivered raw almonds
1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium)
1 medium white onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried red chili flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 lb. dried fettuccine

Cut the peppers into thin 1-inch strips.  Set aside.

Place the almonds in a single layer in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.  Shake the pan frequently.  Soon the nuts will begin to turn golden brown, emitting a wonderful roasted aroma.  Immediately remove them from the pan and set aside.

Wash and dry the zucchini and cut into 1/4-inch rounds.  Trim off and discard the ends of the onion, peel it, and cut it in half lengthwise.  Place each half cut side down on your work surface and slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In a large pot, bring several quarts of water to a boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute the onion, garlic, and chili flakes for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to turn golden.  Add the zucchini and salt, then saute about 15 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  The vegetables should be nicely browned.  Stir in the mint and bell pepper strips, then add the wine and lemon juice.  Stir and saute about 1 minute.  Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow to stand about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente and drain well.  Toss the hot pasta with the zucchini mixture and almonds in a warmed serving bowl until well combined.  Serve hot.



Braised Turnips with Chives and Parsley

(recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay)

1 lb. turnips
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
Several grinds black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable stock or dry white wine
3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Peel the turnips and chop them into roughly 1/2-inch cubes.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the turnips.  Saute about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are browning nicely.  Stir in the salt and pepper, then add the stock and immediately cover the pan tightly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue to stir and saute until all of the liquid has evaporated and the turnips are tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the chives and parsley, and transfer to a serving dish.  Serve hot or warm.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Okra, Corn, and Tofu Gumbo

(recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay)

1/4 cup unbleached flour
3 cups uncooked long-grain white rice (or brown rice)
Pinch plus 3/4 tsp. salt.
1 lb. fresh okra
2 cans (4oz. each) whole green chiles (or use several (5-6) small fresh chiles)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 medium white onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 lb. firm tofu, diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. filé powder (I omitted this)
2 medium fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Place the flour in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and brown for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  You must keep the flour moving to prevent it from burning.  If the flour begins to blacken (not brown), turn down the heat a little and begin again with fresh flour.  When the flour is uniformly dark tan in color, remove it from the pan and set aside.

Cook the rice according to the package directions

Meanwhile, trim off the stem ends of the okra and slice the pods crosswise into 1-inch pieces.  Set aside in a bowl.  Remove the stems and seeds of the chiles and slice them into long, thin strips.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a stockpot.  Saute the onions, carrots, bell pepper, and celery for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown.

Add the tofu, corn kernels, okra, green chiles, chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and cayenne to the browned vegetable mixture.  Lower the heat to medium.  Stir and saute for 10 minutes, then distribute the browned flour evenly over the vegetables and tofu and stir it in.  Add 3 1/2 cups of hot water, the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, the filé powder, and the tomatoes.  Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve hot over hot rice.

Coconut Snowballs

(recipe from the Bread and Chocolate blog)

1 3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup cashews
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Pulse 1 cup of shredded coconut and coconut oil in a food processor, scraping down the sides, until well combined.  Add the cashews, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Add 1/2 cup shredded coconut.  Pulse again.  Roll into 1-inch balls and coat in the remaining coconut.

Refrigerate for an hour, then serve.

Sweetness and Light Sugarplums

(recipe from PETA)

12 dried Medjool dates, pitted
8 dried apricots
1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds (I used ground cardamom)
1/2 tsp. anise seeds
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/4 cup ground cinnamon or unsweetened cocoa powder

Place the dates and apricots in a food processor and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Add the cardamom seeds, anise seeds, and walnuts and pulse again until just combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Pour the cinnamon or cocoa into a shallow bowl.  Form the date mixture into balls the size of walnuts and roll in the cinnamon or cocoa until completely coated.

Makes about 2 dozen sugarplums and keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fruitcake Bars

(recipe from David Lebovitz)

6 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. packed, light or dark brown sugar
2 cups walnuts, almonds, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and coarsely chopped*
1 cup dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped*
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Use any combination of dried fruits that strikes your fancy.  The dates really do make the recipe, but I've tossed in a scoop of dried sour cherries or cranberries, or candied ginger as well, with great results.  Just stick with the total quantities listed above.

Line an 8-inch square pan across the bottom and up the sides with two sheets of aluminum foil, making a big criss-cross with the sides overhanging.

Preheat the oven to 325F and position the rack in the center of the oven.

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the brown sugar, walnuts, dates, and apricots.  Use your fingers to mix the fruit, and separate any pieces sticking together.

Beat the egg and vanilla in a small bowl, then mix it with the fruit and nut mixture until everything's coated with the batter.  Spread the mixture in the baking pan and press gently to even it out.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top of the bars are golden brown and has pulled away just-slightly from the sides of the pan.  Cool the bars in the pan, then lift out.

To cut the cooled bars, use a heavy sharp knife, such as a bread knife, for ensuring neat, clean slices.

Storage: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

(I used 1 cup dates, 1 cup apricots, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries for my fruit combination.  For nuts, half walnuts, half pecans.  I also used coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar.  These bars are so good!  Not too sweet, like a little energy nugget.)

Warm Sweet Potato, Mushroom, and Spinach Salad

(recipe from Deliciously Ella)

1 large sweet potato
a dozen crimini mushrooms
200g fresh baby spinach
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (discard seeds)
a dozen cherry tomatoes
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
olive oil

Slice the sweet potato into bite-sized cubes and place them on a baking tray.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, paprika, and cinnamon.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350F, until they're deliciously soft.

Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and gently stir fry them with olive oil, salt,  apple cider vinegar, and jalapenos.  This should take about 7 minutes.  Just before the end add the spinach and allow it to wilt.  This is a very quick process, it will only take two or three minutes to become perfectly soft.

Slice the tomatoes into quarters.

Mix everything together and serve.