Saturday, April 20, 2013

Full British Brekkie

Some people HATE tomato beans (or baked beans, as they call it here in the U.S.), especially when they think about putting it on buttered toast, but~ I always say, hate AFTER you've tried it.

I don't remember when I became an anglophile, I think it began way back when my sister and I started listening to the Spice Girls (yes, a mildly embarassing adolescent memory, but still).  I became infatuated with the accents, then moved on to the culture, literature, etc.  So when friends introduced me to the food, I was elated.  I was warned, however, that British food is traditionally very bland and boring.
Well, I am happy to report that I love traditional British food: Cornish Pasties, Yorkshire Pudding, traditional sunday roasts with parsnip bakes, banoffee pie, Custard, really good British Tea (which really isn't British), and the full English breakfast.
Traditionally the English breakfast consists of bangers (sausages), bacon (British bacon is more like Canadian bacon, less fatty and meatier, cut thick and not smoke cured I found), eggs, grilled/pan fried tomatoes and mushrooms, beans, and either potatoes and/or toast.  It really is a FULL breakfast.  Sometimes it includes blood pudding, if you like that or not.
As a vegan, I have definitely missed this meaty breakfast, so I've adapted it (as many other vegans have done before me) to fit my dietary needs.  Feel free to mix and match, but this is how I've done it today.

Toast (gluten free bread/biscuit if you are allergic)
Earth Balance "butter"
baked beans
tempeh sausage crumbles (or any quick breakfast meat to your liking)
tofu scramble (optional, to replace eggs)
tomatoes, quartered and grilled quickly, just until tomato is heated through and golden on each side

Homemade Tomato Beans
(adapted from Tammy Credicott)

*I like saucy beans, so that's how I've adapted this recipe.  If you don't like that much, halve the recipe after the onions.
2 cans of white, pinto or kidney beans (I sometimes use up whatever beans I have on hand), 1 can drained only
1/2 onion, diced small
2/3 c ketchup
4 Tbsp soy sauce OR tamari OR Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses (if you don't like molasses, just substitute for maple syrup)
4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp chili powder (optional, I didn't use any)
salt and pepper to taste

1.  sautee onions in a pot with some oil on medium heat until transluscent.
2.  add all ingredients in and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 10-20 minutes.

When everything is fried up and ready to be consumed, you toast your bread, butter it, then smother it over with the beans.  mmm~ yummy goodness!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Random Salad with My Mom's Barbeque Sauce

I've been studying all day, and haven't had the motivation (or the time) to go to the store to restock the bare shelves.  Every week, I try to only go to the store once (or make all the trips in 1 go), and eat whatever I have for that week.  By today, I had some salad greens, a couple of tomatoes, a grapefruit and a small squash. I did have some left over chimichurri tempeh from the week's meals, and a block of tofu.  This had to last me for the rest of the weekend.  Four meals with this?  So, after polishing off some of it for lunch today, I decided to get creative.  I first pressed the extra firm tofu to remove more moisture, and then sliced them into thick slabs of tofu steaks, and marinated them in my mom's barbeque sauce.  Then, I took half of a grapefruit and threw slices and chunks onto a bed of greens and sprinkled some dried cranberries atop.  I made sure I had all the juice from the grapefruit on the greens as well (because I don't use dressing on my salads).  Then, I sprinkled a light dust of cinnamon, topped it all off with grilled BBQ tofu, and voila! a dinner to satisfy the vegan gourmet palate.  For more texture, add a sprinkle of either crisp noodles or your favorite seed (like pumpkin or sunflower) and it will be divine.

Mom's BBQ Sawce

your favorite vegan BBQ sauce (I used Wegman's Organic)
Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
several cloves of garlic, minced

1.  This recipe is simple: 3 parts BBQ sauce to 1 part red pepper paste.  (if you like it spicier, make it 2:1).  Add in the minced garlic, give it a good stir, and you're laughin'!

*what's great about this sauce is that the sugar in the BBQ sauce carmelizes when you grill it, so remember, that's what you want!
**Remember, if you're going to make the tofu, to press it before hand so that you get a meatier tofu texture.  You can try this on tempeh or whatever other vegan meat you like.

 Random Salad
(makes 2 very large portions or 4 side salad portions)

a VERY large handful of your favorite (or left over) salad greens (I used organic field greens)
half a grapefruit, sliced and roughly torn with fingers (remember to save juices!)
some dried cranberries (optional)
some pepitas or pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp or so of a light dusting of cinnamon over salad

1.  layer salad together, top with BBQ tofu, and done!

The Recipe I Forgot: Mango Salsa!

Oooh man.  Once you've tried this baby, you'll not want to go back to regular salsa again.  It's SO good!  I grew up on mangos, living in California.  My dad would cut them up for us, and my sister and I would fight over who got to gnaw on the meat around the seed (because that was the fun part!). :)  We lived off of Mexican food too, although it started with Taco Bell, and as we got older (and wiser) we were introduced to REAL Mexican cuisine.  So, I don't know why it never crossed my noggin to mix the two.
Fast forward 20+ years and at a work party, my co-worker brings in his belatedly promised Mango Salsa.  Skeptically, I grab a chip, dip, and then gasp.  "OH MY GOSH THIS IS AMAZING!!!!"  Then, began to stuff my face.... trying to leave some for the rest of the crowd (to my dismay).  I stalked him and got this recipe.  He was very gracious to allow me to share it on my blog.  I made it, then forgot, and now, I am sharing it with you!  So make it and let me know how much you love it!!!!

Mango Salsa
(courtesy of Jonathan Dann)

*TIP: when cutting any veggies into a mix, try and get all the veggies the same size.  That way the flavors and textures are complimentary.

1 well ripe mango (or 2 champagne mangoes), diced
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp sweet, yellow, orange, and/or red pepper, diced
1-2 Tbsp red onion, minced
1-2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seeded for milder salsa; for spicier, use a habanero/scotch bonnet pepper)
1-2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
zest from 1 lime
1 fresh garlic clove, minced

optional additives:
-more diced tomatoes for color and size
-salt and pepper to taste

1.  mix and eat!

I dare you to try not to eat the whole serving in one sitting!  I assume this would be lovely with salad, with chimichurri-ed tofu/tempeh (or meat, for your meat loving friends), with tostones, with ANY latin cuisine, really.  Get creative!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Banana Ice Cream

So~ I love ice cream.  Who doesn't?  But my recent health problems have kept me from being able to eat the delicious vegan coconut ice cream I've come to love (SHOUT OUT TO Luna & Larry's Ginger Caramel!), so I've had to sit with a sad face until I saw Banana Soft Serve mentioned on ohsheglows' blog.  Why didn't I think of that!  So when the munchies hit tonight, I definitely put my vitamix to good use and did the following.  You can adjust the recipe to what you like, but remember: get CREATIVE!
For example: Mocha Ice cream (a shot of cold espresso with cocoa powder) or Jamoca Almond (mocha ice cream with almond butter or crushed almonds mixed in), or how about Pistachio flavor!  Below is the most basic, classic recipe: Chocolate!

Chocolate Banana Soft Serve
adapted/inspired by ohsheglows

2 frozen bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional, *if allergic, make sure extract is gluten free)
1/4 c cocoa powder (raw cocoa powder if you're trying to go as raw as possible)
1+ Tbsp maple syrup (more if you like sweet ice cream)
1/4+ c non dairy milk (to help it along, the measurement will depend on how dry or stiff the mix looks)

1.  Blend everything in the processor.   You are going to have to scrape down the sides a couple times to help it along the way.

and voila!

add in ideas:
peanut butter/almond butter
cocao nibs (i totally added a whole bunch in for that added crunch)
fruit (if you're a choco and fruit kind of person)
maple cream
cookie bits/cookie dough

the options are endless!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ultimate Pickle: Korean Kimchi

Okay friends,
Here's the moment of truth:  like pickles?  check.  like spicy?  check.  like good bacteria? (think yogurt) check.  Then here's the the superfood side dish for you: KIMCHI!!!

It isn't easy to find vegan friendly kimchi from stores because traditional recipes call for fish sauce, oysters, and salted shrimp brine.  Some also have been using MSG (ewwwwww!).  I was not happy to find that my favorite Kimchi brand was not vegan friendly.  So~ like the determined korean I am, I decided to make my own.

Ladies and Gents, get ready to challenge your taste buds to the best spicy/sweet/tart condiment to everything you'll eat for now and ever more!

I tried making Cubed Daikon Kimchi and the traditional Cabbage Kimchi.  The spicy mixture for the Daikon and Cabbage Kimchi is 1 kind that can be used in both (which makes life easy). :)  It's easier if you make the two different kimchis (or 1 very large batch) all at once.  If you want to only make 1 kind, then double the napa cabbage or double the daikon.

these recipes are adapted from Maangchi's Kimchi Recipe

Utensils needed:
2 large airtight plastic or glass containers
(like large pickle jars)
mandolin (if you have one, otherwise sharpen your knive skills)
3 large bowls (or large pots)
measuring cups

**do NOT wear white while attempting this recipe!!!

Cabbage Kimchi

1 napa cabbage head, cut into longitudinal quarters (length wise, the long ways)
1 c of course kosher salt

1.  make sure the cabbage is washed well (cabbages can carry dirt very well), making sure to wash between the leaves.  drain well.
2.  in a wide, large bowl/pot, throw generous amounts of salt in between each leaf.  NOTE:  this is a very important process, so do NOT skimp on the leaves and the salt.  let all the cabbage sit for 2 hours, then turn the cabbage over so the salt seeps into the leaves and removes the moisture for another 2 hours.
3.  when the cabbage has wilted after 4-5 hours, rinse the cabbage well in cold water for 2-3 washes.  rinse well.  drain, and set aside.

Daikon Kimchi

1 12-18 inch long, 6 inch wide Chinese radish/daikon (can be attained from an Asian market)
1/2 c fine salt

1.  scrub the daikon very well.  cut off the head and the tail and cube the daikon into 1 inch cubes.  don't worry if the cubes aren't uniform.
2.  in a wide, large bowl, sprinkle salt over the cubes and mix the salt through.  let it sit for 2-4 hours, mixing half way through.
3.  rinse well in cold water and drain.

Spicy Paste/Mix/Porridge!

1-8x10 in. sheet of kelp (dashima)
1/2 c dark miso (if you have gluten allergies, make sure the miso is gluten free)
1/2 c sweet rice flour
2-4 c of korean red pepper flakes (gochu garu)
2 c diced asian chives (buchu)
2 bulbs of garlic, minced (about 1 c)
1 c finely diced onion
1 bunch of green onions, diced thinly
2 carrots, thinly shredded
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
2 c shredded daikon/radish (mu)
1 c shredded asian pear
1/2 c grated asian pear (like apple sauce)

1.  An hour before the cabbage and radish are done wilting, begin the vegan stock.  Place 5 cups of water in a pot and add kelp.  Let it steep slowly for 15-30 minutes simmering, then add the miso.  Let it boil until the miso is completely dissolved.  Remove the kelp and add the sweet rice flour, stirring it in until a paste forms.  Turn off heat and let it cool a bit.
2.  In a bowl, pour the paste in and begin adding the other ingredients one at a time.
**NOTE about the pepper flakes:  I mixed in 2 cups because I'm a horrible Korean and am a weakling when it comes to spice, but if you're a spicy food guru, mix in the full 4 cups.**
Mix well until everything is a spicy, colorful paste/porridge.

Now the fun begins!

3.  Prepare the jars/containers right next to you so you can transfer the ready cabbage and radishes without staining things.
Put 1 of the quartered cabbages in the spicy paste bowl and begin spreading the mixture in between each layer.  Make sure to get right into the "roots" of the leaves.  When all the leaves are done, turn over, and gently squeeze and wrap the large leaves around the inside of the cabbage.  If the paste seeps out, don't worry about it.  Repeat with the remaining cabbages.  Stack the wrapped cabbages in the container tightly.
About half of the spicy paste should be left over.
4.  Mix all the daikon cubes into the remaining paste, and mix well.  Pour the daikon mix into another container.

Let the kimchis sit for a couple of days before trying, although eating the fresh kimchi is good too!  But when the flavors seep into the veggies, it's even better.  The kimchi should last in your fridge for a couple of weeks, even months, but remember that cabbage kimchi will get very "ripe", which means the fermentation/sourness is very strong, the older it is.  If you have difficulty eating very sour kimchi, then make sure to consume sooner.  Otherwise Kimchi stew or Kimchi pancakes are perfect dishes to use up very "ripe" kimchi.