24 June 2012

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Walnuts

Ladies and gents! It's that time of year again. I can finally find brussels sprouts in my market again. I rejoice every single time summer hits and I can find fresh sprouts. I absolutely LOATHE the frozen sprouts you can buy at the grocery store. In general, I don't use frozen veggies except peas and sometimes corn. All the others taste like they've been frozen, and I just can't roll with it.

So, today, the fella went to visit his family for a bit, and I was left in solitude to read books and snuggle my pup. You see, she just had to have dental work done (as many aging chihuahuas must do), and she's feeling a bit mopey, thus she needed her mama to spoil and snuggle her all afternoon. When dinner time came around, I wasn't feeling like making a huge or elaborate meal as I sometimes feel the need to do on my days off. I popped open my fridge and instantly zeroed in on the sprouts. They were calling my name. I couldn't refuse the buggers. I'm an addict. I just needed one more hit of sprouts. Judge me if you must.

In the past, I've always roasted my sprouts in the oven, but I was feeling a smidge creative and decided to try pan-searing them in my cast iron skillet. Jackpot! You still get the crispy, caramelized bits, but you cook the brussel sprouts quicker. You can't beat that. This was my dinner. A plate of brussels with garlic and walnuts and a side of fresh tomato with olive oil and Thai basil. I have a happy tummy.

Here's what I did:
  1. While trimming my sprouts, I heated a cast iron skillet over medium heat. After heating it for about 5 minutes, I added about 1 tsp of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add the brussels (about 1/2 lb. with the end trimmed and top layers of leaves removed). Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. I added a little kosher salt here.
  2. Once the carmelization starts on the sprouts, add in about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Stir and cook about 2 minutes. 
  3. Now add in 1 minced garlic clove. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. The end.

15 June 2012

Vegan Curry Empanadas

I had a brain explosion a few days ago and decided that I needed to attempt something mind-bendingly tasty. This is the result. Handheld curried goodness. I baked mine because I hate frying and at least pretended that it was healthier. Then I remembered how much fat is in the empanada dough. Oh well, dears, you should make this anyway! It tastes like heaven in a pie-like crust. Make this shit already.

Makes at least 6 empandas depending on the size and how full you fill them. I made 6 that were cut about 6 inches in diameter before folding. The dough makes enough for several more, but I stopped at 6.

Empanada dough:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup fat (I used 5 TB shortening and 3 TB vegan butter)
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup ice water
  1. Combine all ingredients except the water in your food processor and pulse until it looks like pebbles. Then add the water 1/4 cup at a time, pulsing until the dough just holds together. It took me 3/4 cup, but your flour may be drier and need just a smidge more. 
  2. Once you get to that point, I gently smooshed the dough together and cut it into 2 balls.Touch it as little as possible. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Flour your counter and roll each ball out to 1/4 inch thickness. I used a 6-7 inch diameter bowl, flipped it upside-down and cut around it with a knife. 
  4. Fill them up, then seal the edges by pushing the edge together like this:
  5. Press the edges together Then fold it over like so:
  6. I lined my baking sheet with a piece of parchment and sprinkled it with a little flour for good measure. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while you're assembling the empanadas. I melted a tiny bit of vegan butter with a dash of curry powder and brushed it on each of the empanadas before baking. Cook about 20 minutes in the middle of the oven, then turn on the broiler for about 3 minutes to brown up the top a bit. The end result should look something like this:

I know you need to know what I did to make the filling, so here it goes!

Okay. So, you need some stuff.

  • 3 small red potatoes, diced quite small
  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets, cut about the same size as the taters
  • 2 large white mushrooms, chopped small
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • about 6 ounces faux ground beef (I used LightLife Smart Ground Original)
  • curry powder
  • turmeric
  • coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TB soy sauce 
  • 1-2 TB oil or vegan butter
What you should do with it all:
  1. Boil some water. Add the potatoes and cauliflower until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet with the butter/oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the vegan beef, onions, and garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes, then add the cauliflower, peas, mushrooms and potatoes, and the rest of the spices and soy sauce. Add the spices until you're satisfied with the flavor. I think I cooked mine about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you roll out your empanada dough. It should look like this: 
Okay. So, these are pretty time consuming. I'll give you that. But, they are SOOO worth the effort.


14 June 2012

Vegan Potato Salad Goodness

I don't have an exact recipe for this potato salad, but I'll give you the ingredients and let you pick your own measurements. Just keep adding shit til it tastes good to you. I didn't know what I was doing at all...I just kept adding flavors til it was tasty. I highly suggest that you let it set and combine flavors in the fridge for an hour. The dill has time to develop and get extra tasty. Dig it.

What I used:
  • Vegenaise vegan mayo
  • red potatoes (diced and boiled until fork tender)
  • yellow mustard
  • fresh dill
  • finely diced red onion
  • a tiny bit of fresh lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar (optional-- we like it with just a teeny tiny bit of sweetness to balance the tang of the lemon and mustard)
Mix all the ingredients together and taste as you go. Add more as needed. Too tangy? Add sugar. Too sweet? Add more mustard and mayo. Cover and pop in the fridge for an hour or so. Eat the shit outta this tato salad.

08 June 2012

Asparagus Alfredo Pizza

Yeah, so I'm not good at shredding my own Daiya Jack from the block. Tastes stellar, though!

I absolutely cannot take any claim to coming up with this genius concoction. I stole it from my pal and food soulmate, Veggpanda. She gets the credit all the way. I will, however, take full credit for pestering her until she posted it on her blog. You can thank me anytime.

You might think, "But, Chickpea, I cannot fathom asparagus on a pizza." To which I will reply that I didn't either. What intrigued me even more is the use of lemon on a pizza. But, my fellow vegan piggies, it worked like peanut butter and jelly. I ate the whole damn pizza. Oops! I did make a few small changes from the original recipe. Those changes consist primarily of using more garlic, adding some finely chopped red onion and using my homemade herbed pizza crust. Oh, and then slathering a little garlic butter onto the crust once it came out of the oven. It might not be healthy, but damn it tastes fucking killer. For Veggpanda's original recipe, click here. The homemade pizza crust makes two 8-inch pizza crusts or one rather large one. The sauce recipe below is ample for the 2 smaller-sized pizzas.

I made the alfredo sauce while I was waiting for the pizza dough to rise for about 30 minutes.

Sauce Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup vegan cream (I used MimicCreme I found online at VeganEssentials.com)
  • 3TB vegan buttah
  • 2 TB nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 TB all-purpose flour
  • 2-4 TB vegan parmesan (I used Parmela, which uses cashews and almonds)
  • 2 huge cloves of garlic, minced.
  • salt and pepper to your liking
Making the sauce:
  1.  Heat a small saucepan over med-low heat. Once hot, add the butter and the garlic. Cook about  5-8 minutes letting the oils from the garlic warm and spread into the butter. 
  2. Now turn your heat to medium and add in the cream, whisking to combine the butter and the cream. Let it cook a few minutes this way, then whisk in the flour, nutritional yeast and parmesan until there are no lumps.
  3. Whisk regularly making sure to scrape the bottom or else the flour may burn to the bottom of the pan. I cooked mine until it came to a very gentle boil, and then removed it from the heat. It thickened up a bit more after coming off of the heat. Now set it aside while your pizza dough finishes rising. 
Pizza Ingredients:
  • dough (homemade is my favorite, but you do your own thing)
  • Daiya jack cheese, shredded from the block
  • asparagus, which I marinated for 30 minutes in fresh lemon juice and a smidge of olive oil.
  • onions 
  • alfredo sauce
Pizza, or dough with cheese and sauce and possibly other ingredients
  1.  Preheat your oven to about 420 degrees F.
  2. Lightly flour your baking sheet (or use parchment paper as my pizza rarely sticks to it)
  3. Slather on lots of alfredo sauce.
  4. Sprinkle with the cheese and onions. 
  5. Top with the asparagus spears. 
  6. Squeeze a tiny bit more lemon juice onto the asparagus.
  7. Bake until you can't wait any longer. The crusts should be golden and the cheese fully melted. 
  8. Top with a little melted butter mixed with some garlic salt. Brush onto the crust.
  9. PIG OUT!

06 June 2012

Not-That-Wordless Wednesday

Due to my completely over-extended schedule this week, I haven't had any time to blog. Here's a few shots of what I've been up to:

Gardein Beefless burgers, waffle fries, homemade coleslaw and pickled beets.

Kickass (not-yet-cooked) pizza inspired by my food soulmate, Veggpanda.

Garden started.

More gardening.