Archive for the Category ◊ Veganized! ◊

03 Oct 2013 Butternut Squash : Little Pieces of Heaven

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No one ever makes this recipe when I suggest it to them, EVER.   The recipe is just so…, so, …odd.  Mere mortals can’t put the ingredients together in their head and have any idea about how GOOD butternut squash tastes when cooked like this.  For years I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to promote this recipe. I have submitted this recipe to two community cookbooks, and no one ever called to say how wonderful the recipe was, so I know no one tried it. My family loves this, of course.  These little pieces of heaven never make it to the table to be served with any meal.  We just crowd around the pan and eat it hot from the oven, elbowing out anyone who gets in our way.  I guess I could promote this recipe as our “Family’s Favorite  Secret Recipe”, one that we are now sharing with the world.  That might be more of a selling point than “No one ever makes this recipe when I suggest it to them, EVER”!

Anyway, I thought I found this recipe, a long, long time ago, in Jeffrey Steingarten’s book, The Man Who Ate Everything, but looking through the index now on Amazon I don’t see any mention of it in the index, or in the index of his other book, It Must Have Been Something I Ate. Now I am stumped, but I am still going to credit him for the recipe because I am pretty sure that’s where I found it, at least I think I am sure… I would have liked to have dreamed this up myself!  I would like to think I have a palate creative enough to roast some squash pieces, then sprinkle them with a little red wine vinegar and dried mint resulting in these Little Pieces of Heaven (really, they are just that) but I am fairly certain it didn’t happen that way…

Butternut Squash : Little Pieces of Heaven

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter (or an extra tablespoon olive oil)
  • a pinch of Kosher or other coarse salt (if you only have table salt, that’s fine too)
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 2-3 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar or Raspberry Vinegar
  • a pinch of Dried Mint
  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put rimmed baking sheet in oven to preheat, too.
  2. Peel and seed the squash.  Cut squash into bite sized pieces. (I like to slice the squash into rounds, or half circles, and then cut those larger slices into triangular shaped wedges.)
  3. Put the squash pieces into a large Ziploc bag or a bowl.  Add olive oil and optional melted butter and toss well.
  4. Remove hot tray from oven.  Pour oil coated squash pieces onto the hot tray and immediately place in hot oven.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.  Check.  If the undersides of most of the pieces are slightly browned, remove tray from oven and turn pieces over.  (I do this one at a time with a fork.)  If the undersides are not yet browned.  Continue to bake for another 2-5 minutes, then remove from oven and turn pieces over.
  6. Return pan to hot oven.  Bake for another 7-12 minutes.  When the second sides are slightly browned and the squash looks cooked, remove pan from oven. You need those chewy browned edges for this dish to be spectacular.  If you are not getting them, broil the squash for a bit! (But don’t overcook the squash…) With this step, remember that cooking is an art, not a science.  You might have to adjust baking times/method to fit the strengths/weaknesses of your oven, the age of your particular squash and the size of the pieces you cut.
  7. After removing the pan from the oven, immediately sprinkle hot squash with vinegar (I put my thumb over the bottle top of the vinegar, and then shake a bit of vinegar onto the squash)–not too much–then sprinkle with coarse salt, a bit of black pepper and a sprinkling of dried mint.  Eat (or remove to a serving plate and then eat)

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Oh, look what came out of my garden, ten butternut squash from 2 plants! The missing squash is in the picture above 🙂  I’m quite pleased with my bounty.  BTW, if you still have tomatoes left, be sure to make my Fresh Tomato Lasagna as a final farewell to your Summer garden.

02 Aug 2013 Beans!

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I am so excited about this recipe!  It’s a paradigm shift recipe!  It’s not a recipe in the true sense of the word, it’s more of a road map to a particular destination.   A road map allows for more flexibility than a recipe, a road map allows the cook to make adjustments based upon personal preferences, taste, time, and what’s in the pantry.  I think most people have a road map for a few good dishes.  I have a road map for spaghetti sauce, chicken soup, stir-fry and hamburgers.  You might have a road map for meatloaf, burritos and rice bowls.  Most people have road maps for sandwiches and salads. A road map means there are guidelines, easy ones, usually ones that can be memorized, and that can always be adapted as the situation requires.

So here it is, a guideline for a pot of beans, in the crockpot no less!  Crockpot cooking is great for summer, the kitchen doesn’t get heated up, and a pot of beans pairs well with almost everything that can be BBQ’d.  In the winter months, a bowl of beans with some cornbread or tortillas is almost the definition of comfort food. Another plus, crockpot cooking is fuss free, so toss everything in the pot and then go sit in the sun or shovel snow.

Many thanks to Mark Bittman of the New York Times for this road map. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

BTW…, for years I have been looking for a good baked beans recipe, so that’s what I make with this recipe:  meaty, slightly sweet Boston-style beans.  YUM! They go with everything and I have  a serious love for leftover beans on toast (I’m English).  My son mastered this recipe in one take and he makes killer spicy teriyaki beans with chicken.  I can see others going for more of a Mexican style bean. What sort of beans do you like? Make them!

The House Special Beans

  • 1 lb of dried beans, any kind, I like small white and pinquitos but black, pintos, garbanzos, kidney, or a combination of different kinds of beans can also be used.  Don’t have a full pound of beans?  Add in some split peas or lentils to make up the difference.  Remember these are dried beans (about $1.25 for a pound bag) we are not using canned beans here (and there is no need to soak the beans first).
  • 4 cups of liquid, any kind.  Find a mixture that appeals to you. I start with a bottle of beer, then I add in about 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a squirt of mustard, using molasses instead of maple syrup and brown sugar would be good too. If my Dad were here I’d stir in 1/4 cup of bourbon. Then I add water, broth (any kind), or cold coffee to make the 4 cups (too much coffee will make the beans a bit bitter, so stick to less than 1 cup of cold coffee).  My son adds BBQ sauce, sriracha, honey, teriyaki or soy sauce along with beer and coffee.  Don’t like beer?  Use some leftover wine. Don’t drink at all, stick to broth and water.   Health nut?  Stir in carrot juice and some of that green liquid you’re so fond of !
  • Seasonings, any kind.  Start with a healthy amount of salt and pepper, then add in what appeals to you.  I add in 2 t. salt, 1 t. black pepper, 1 t. cumin, 2 t. chili powder, minced garlic, and 2 bay leaves.  Other options include oregano, basil, coriander, red pepper, curry powder, ginger, paprika, liquid smoke, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…
  • 1 lb meat, any kind, a bit more or a bit less is fine.  I like beef, and I buy something on sale, beef shanks, top sirloin, stew meat, steak, anything.  Throw in a pork chop or two, or some ground meat (brown it first and drain off the fat), chicken (with or without the bones, but boneless chicken does tend to get a bit overcooked), sausage, ham, cooked bacon…, or go for a combo.  Sausage and chicken? Beef and bacon? Or leave out the meat all together if  you’d rather.
  • 2 lbs finely minced or grated veggies, any kind.  I always add diced onion, grated carrots, and minced celery.  Then I might add some shredded zucchini, turnip, cabbage, spinach or kale, whatever I have on hand. Throw in some potatoes. Lots of folk like bell peppers, dice some up and throw them in.  Leeks are yummy. A few diced jalapenos would spice things up. Even canned pumpkin works. The only veggie I don’t add is tomatoes. I heard once that tomatoes interfere with the cooking process of dried beans, so I leave them out (I also don’t use tomato juice as a liquid, but I do stir in a bit of ketchup, and have had no problem with that).

Directions:

  1. Put the dried beans in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  2. Get out a 4-cup measure.  Combine your liquids.  When you have 4 cups, pour it over the beans in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  3. On top of the beans and liquid, add the meat.  I add the meat as is, then remove the fat and bones, and shred the meat after cooking.  You can do the same, or you can add cubes of boneless, skinless meat.
  4. Sprinkle desired seasonings on top of the meat.  (If you add bay leaves, count them so you know how many to remove before serving!)
  5. Finely mince, dice, or shred the veggies.  Add the veggies on top of the meat. (The liquid will not cover the veggies, yet).
  6. With a spatula or a spoon, press on the ingredients to lightly pack.
  7. Put the lid on the slow cooker, plug it in, turn on high, and go out and play! If you are around, check the beans after a few hours.  If the beans look dry add a bit more water, stock, beer, or wine (don’t stir, just pour it on top).
  8. Let beans cook for 6-8 hours.  Turn off.
  9. After the beans have cooled for a bit, taste them.  Needs more salt?  More maple syrup? More heat? Add it now.  If you added large hunks of meat with bones, remove bones and shred the meat. Remove the bay leaves, if you used them.
  10. If you want to add in extras, do it now.  You could stir in some diced tomatoes now, if you’d like, they won’t do any harm at this point (let cook for an additional 30 minutes or so).  Sometimes I stir cooked bacon at this point.  You could stir in frozen corn, if you’d like. Adding chopped parsley, cilantro, or green onion makes the beans look pretty and brightens them up a bit for a pretty presentation.
  11. Remember, beans seem to taste better the day after they are made, so don’t be afraid of letting them rest in the refrigerator for a bit.

Soooo, do you have the road map memorized?  1 lb beans, 1 lb meat, 2 lbs veggies, 1 qt (4 cups) liquid. Seasonings. Crock-pot. High. 6-8 hours, while you go out and play 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Go ahead now, make some beans! Let me know what you used and how they turn out 🙂 I can’t stop my son from making these beans! We’re drowning in beans…, but we’re not broke! Beans we can afford 🙂

23 Sep 2010 Veganized! Hoisin Chick’n Lettuce Wraps

These taste a lot like the lettuce wraps at the Yard House and they are super easy and fast to make. After tasting this, I felt it needed a little heat to contrast with the cool, crispness of the lettuce so I added a pinch of red pepper flakes while I was sauteing the veggies. I also opted to include some diced red bell pepper because I had some in the fridge and, well, because they’re pretty… I’ve made this with both the Gardein Chick’n and store-bought teriyaki flavored tofu and both are equally delicious!

Hoisin Chick’n Lettuce Wraps

2 cups diced, cooked Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (or one pkg. of four cutlets)
2 tablespoons oil (1 for sautéing chick’n, and 1 for cooking vegetables)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped is fine
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms
¼ cup diced green onion
8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and diced
½ cup Hoisin sauce
1/8 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce (check the label for anchovies, Lee & Perrins has anchovies, the generic store brands usually don’t)
2 tablespoons regular rice vinegar (NOT seasoned)
½ cup minced cilantro
1 head of iceberg or butter lettuce

Brown the Gardein Chick’n, in a skillet with a smidge of oil according to package directions. Remove from skillet to cool, then dice into ½” pieces. Meanwhile, chop celery, green onions, bell pepper mushrooms and water chestnuts.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet, add ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté until veggies start to soften, about three minutes. Add diced chick’n, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire and rice vinegar to veggie mixture. Stir to combine and sauté for an additional minute or two until everything is saucy and heated through. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and place in a medium sized serving bowl.

Make lettuce cups by carefully pulling off individual leaves of lettuce. Be careful of how big you make your cups; think appetizer size, not soft taco size. The larger I made these, the more difficulty I had eating them without dropping filling on my shirt! Place lettuce cups around the bowl of Hoisin Chick’n and serve with a slotted spoon.

This is a great vegan addition to your buffet table and if you use the Gardein Chick’n, no one will know it’s not the real thing 🙂 . Double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.

Thank you, Polly, for the inspiration!

Hoisin Tofu Filling

18 Sep 2010 Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Orange Marmalade Cookies

This is a tweaked version of a Veganomicon recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cookies. I didn’t care for the seeds too much, in the original recipe, and I thought the raspberry flavor wasn’t quite strong enough. It was kind of a “there’s something fruity about this cookie, but I can’t quite figure out what” kind of thing. Besides, chocolate and orange are one of the best flavor combos around, IMHO, and a personal fave, so I subbed orange marmalade for the jam, added chocolate chips, orange extract, orange flavored cranberries AND managed to cut 1/4 cup of sugar from the original recipe. They have a nice orange flavor, tangy cranberries and gooey chocolate that will invariably end up on your eyebrow, jeans and elbow for some reason. Technically, you could make the dough without the chocolate chips and cranberries and add those in a nice symmetrical pattern when you smoosh the cookies flat before you bake them. Not that I’m the type of person that would DO that kind of thing…, no siree, not me. I have a sister who would do that, but I don’t have time for that kind of silliness… Much.

Chocolate Cranberry Orange Marmalade Cookies

½ cup canola oil
½ cup orange marmalade
¾ cup organic sugar
1 tsp orange extract
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup orange flavored dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease cookie sheet or use parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Assemble your dry ingredients and sift directly into the marmalade mixture, stirring with a fork after every ½ a cup or so. Dump in the chocolate chips and cranberries and use your hands to fully combine all the ingredients. The dough may be a little crumbly and that’s okay, just try to get it as pliable as you can.

Roll the dough into walnut-size balls (or use a cookie scoop) and place them on cookie sheet. Flatten them with your hands into 2 ½” discs. They’ll only need to be a ½” apart since they don’t spread out when baking. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Thanks for visiting my little vegan corner of the web today!

16 Sep 2010 Veganized! Smokehouse Chick’n Sandwiches
 |  Category: Sandwiches, Veganized!  | Tags: , , , ,  | One Comment

Super easy and deliciously smoky, these sandwiches are an all around winner… Even your non-veg peeps will like them!

Smokehouse Chick’n Sandwiches

1 pkg (4 cutlets) Gardein Chick’n Scallopini, prepared per package instructions. Cool then dice.
1/3 – 1/2 cup Vegenaise, to taste
1/3 cup minced shallot (if you don’t have shallots, minced green or red onion will do nicely)
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped smokehouse almonds (chop almonds first, then measure)

In a medium bowl stir together the diced chick’n, Vegenaise, shallot OR onion, tarragon and diced almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on good bread or serve with whole grain crackers!

Makes four to six sandwiches (depending on the size of the bread, how much filling you put in each or how many teenagers are lurking around your kitchen 🙂 ).

This is my vegan version of Polly’s posted recipe: Smoked Chicken Almond Sandwiches.

13 Sep 2010 Veganized! Banana Chocolate Chip Coffeecake

This is a lovely, moist banana cake with a crunchy, cinnamon-y, chocolate chip-y topping. I reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe from 3/4 of a cup to 2/3 cup and eliminated the struesal layer in the center since the topping has both brown sugar and chocolate chips. It’s plenty sweet and I think it may have brought out the banana flavor of the cake a little more. I wasn’t happy with the egg substitution that I used the first time around so I went with the silken tofu in lieu of an egg. It really improved the texture and the crumb of the cake. This is an easy recipe and a great little cake for snacking or breakfast.

Thanks for the inspiration, Polly!

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Coffeecake

For topping:

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

For coffeecake:

2/3 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy margarine, at room temperature (I like Earth Balance)
1/4 cup silken tofu
3 T soy milk + 1/4 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3, large)
1 1/2 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with non-stick spray and mash the bananas in a small bowl. In another bowl stir together chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon and set aside. In your blender (or Magic Bullet) combine the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.  In the large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. I’ve used both a whisk and a mixer for this and either one worked fine. Add the silken tofu to the soy milk mixture in the blender and whirl ’til creamy. Stir the mashed banana and tofu/soy milk mixture into the creamed margarine and sugar. Mix ’til everything is nice and gloppy and then add the flour in 1/2 cup increments. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Pour the batter into a prepared pan and top with the chocolate chip/nut mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine was done after 35 minutes).