November 30, 2010

Holland-Style Split Pea Soup

I love this time of the eating year: when we start cooking out of our pantries and when the Ball jars filled with lentils, peas, beans, and grains finally get re-opened and savory  (and incredibly cheap) dishes emerge. My dear friend, RW, was a real master of these foods, so this recipe is dedicated to him. We all know that split pea soup will never win the "most photogenic food of the year" award, so bear with me. This dish is hearty, and according to my friend, TS, the flavor comes pretty close to Erwtensoep, a traditional Dutch split pea soup. Add a dash of liquid smoke for an extra-meaty flavor. Perfect with a couple slices of toasty bread and makes enough to feed 6 or more hungry mouths.

3 cups dry split peas
9-10 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
2 cups minced onion
5 cloves garlic (minced)
3 stalks celery (chopped finely)
2 carrots (chopped finely)
1 potato (diced)
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine

In a large soup pot (or cauldron)  heat up the salt, water, split peas, bay leaves, and mustard. Let these ingredients simmer for 20 minutes. Now add all of the other ingredients except the vinegar and wine. Let this mixture simmer for another 40 minutes. Add the vinegar, wine and fresh ground pepper and make adjustments to taste. Top with diced tomatoes, yogurt, olive oil, and herbs.


November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

Well, here you have it folks, Thanksgiving dinner. I was sad to be away from my usual crowd of favorite omnivores but we scrapped together a few friendly faces and made the table warm this year with casseroles, pies, and gravy boats. The stuffing was perfect, thanks to a gift of Field Roast sausages from AT. This year was the first time in a while that I have been able to enjoy Green Bean Casserole and I was so enthusiastic about all the available dairy-free ingredients to be found in Brooklyn. Friends brought spicy hominy and a delicious cranberry sauce made with oranges, pears, and cinnamon. I made Isa's Pumpkin Pie Brownies for the first time and they were by far the winning dish of the evening. Why don't we eat these dishes year round? I think I am going to add Mushroom Gravy to my list of regulars. I am (at least kind of) from the South.

Sausage Stuffing

1 large yellow onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
3 carrots (chopped)
3 ribs of celery (chopped finely)
1 red pepper (chopped)
2-3 spicy Field Roast sausages (chopped)
12 oz. cremini mushrooms (chopped)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. earth balance
stale bread (I used 3  multi-grain baguettes and 1 white baguette)
4 Tbs. fresh parsley
2-3 cups vegetable broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350. Grab a large frying pan and heat the oil and margarine over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. You know what to do next- add the garlic, thyme and sage, carrots, celery, red pepper and mushrooms. While all that is sauteing, toast your loaves of bread in the oven until they are crunchy. Break the bread up into medium-sized chunks. Once your vegetables are cooked, add a heap of fresh ground pepper and parsley. Next, use your hands to mix some bread and veggies together in a large casserole dish. Add the veggie broth one cup at a time while adding the rest of the bread and vegetables. The mixture will keep absorbing the liquid and sinking. Trust me, it will all fit in the end! Cover with foil or a lid and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, removing the cover at the end of the baking time to crisp up the top layer of bread.

As I mentioned earlier, these pumpkin brownies were a hit at dinner. Though you can't taste it, there is pumpkin puree in the brownie layer which makes it very light and perfect. I was so impressed by the consistency that I may start using pumpkin as my egg replacer in brownies from now till eternity. We all know that Isa Chandra is a genius, and this recipe proved the point again. I went with less sugar because I used semi-sweet chocolate, added walnuts, and used a tall round cake pan. Otherwise, the recipe is true-to-form. Find it on the ever-so-glorious PostPunkKitchen website.

Does this look familiar? It is the same pie I posted a few weeks ago along with the Pumpkin Pie recipe in the Pie Time post. AT, LN and I made four dutch apple pies on Wednesday with the oil and soymilk crust. You can't have Thanksgiving without pies, and I think this one is becoming my signature.

Wishing you happy holidays, wherever and however you spend them. Try some of these recipes in December. Even your meat-loving aunts and uncles will be impressed.


November 19, 2010

Friday Flapjacks

Good morning! It's another day on the apartment-hunt, so I decided to make pancakes. Pancakes are the official power-for-the-journey food and can truly start an otherwise daunting and unpromising day on an uphill slant. The other thing I love about pancakes is that the ingredients are (almost) always available in your pantry.

1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup soymilk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. maple syrup or 1 Tbs. agave
1 Tbs. vegetable oil

Mix the soy milk with the vinegar. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Mix together all of the wet ingredients and add slowly to the dry, making sure not to over-mix. Now heat your skillet for about 3 minutes. Add a dab of margarine and once it's melted, drop the batter onto the hot skillet. Flip and enjoy.

I dressed the stack up with a pile of spiced apples. Just cut up some apples and fry them in a saucepan over medium heat with margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Throw in a pinch of nutmeg or cloves if you like.

Happy Weekend,

November 18, 2010

Open-Face Sweet Potato Tacos with Tempeh, Beans, and Greens

These sweet potato black bean tacos are a fall go-to recipe for any protein-seeking, flavor-loving vegan. You can find variations on the concept at many veg. restaurants like The Chicago Diner. Here's my take on the traditional - double corn tortillas with spiced sweet potato base, black beans, sauteed greens, onions, and tempeh topped with fresh salsa. Many thanks to LRW for introducing me to the wonders of sweet potato tacos.

 Sweet Potato Base
2 sweet potatoes, baked and peeled
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
pinch salt
fresh ground pepper
(Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes with the spices.)

1 can beans or 1 1/2 cups dry, cooked
1 bay leaf
cayenne pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
(Cook the beans and spices on low heat for about 15 minutes. Add the lime juice at the very end.)

1 medium-sized yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 cups mixed greens
1 pk. tempeh
soy sauce to taste
fresh ground pepper
(Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened. Add the red pepper flakes and the garlic and saute for another 3 minutes. Now add the tempeh with a splash of soy sauce and quickly fry with the onions and garlic. Add the greens and a tablespoon of water. Saute on medium heat until greens are softened.)

Preheat oven to 400. Place one layer of tortillas on an oiled baking sheet. Turn the tortillas in the oil so they get crispy when baked. Now add another layer of tortillas and smear with a layer of the sweet potato base. Next, add the black beans and the tempeh. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-18 minutes or until the tortillas get crispy and the sweet potato lightly browns around the edges. Serve with fresh salsa, hot sauce, cilantro, and avocado.


November 13, 2010

Apple and Rosemary Scones

A visit by friends, swimsuit, called for a brunch of epic proportions. K and I whipped up some tofu scramble with carrots, tomatoes, onions, and garlic and roasted up some herb-y potatoes. I'll spare you all the gory details, but trust me, it was delicious. Thanks to Isa, for posting the mother-of-all-scones recipe on postpunkkitchen. I just added in the rosemary, cinnamon, and apples and tweaked things a bit. Extra thanks to all the tasters for helping make this place feel like a home.

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups soy milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 small tart apples (chopped finely)
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary (chopped finely)
brown sugar (for topping)

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix together the dry ingredients with a whisk. Now cut in the earth balance (margarine) and rosemary with two knives or a pastry cutter. Next, add in the wet ingredients and apples and stir till moistened (don't over-mix!). Drop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Dot the brown sugar with a splash of soy milk and bake for 20 minutes or so.

Happy Brunching,

November 12, 2010

Fire Escape Baked Tofu Sandwich

This sandwich is so hot it'll have you running for the fire escape. It's easy and will provide you with lots of protein-energy and joy. I like to cut the tofu into giant slabs, but you can slice it as you like. Topping recommendations? Roasted garlic, avocado, spinach, red peppers - just use what you've got in your kitchen. We topped the sandwich with hummus, arugula, tomatoes, and sauteed mushrooms and onions. Happy double-post day! Enjoy this one, ladies and gents.

Baked Tofu
3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
2 cm. ginger (finely minced)
1/3 c. soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs. sesame oil or olive oil
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. extra-firm tofu (sliced)

Mix your marinade ingredients together and lay the tofu slabs in the dish. Let the slabs marinate for an hour or so, flipping once or twice. If you're in a crunch, just let the slabs marinate for 10m or so. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes, flipping once.
Top some toasted bread with your favorite toppings and voila!


Balsamic Bed-Stuy Pasta

After another unsuccessful day on the job-hunt, I threw  on a Hank Williams record, and set out to make a quick, extra-spicy, salty, pasta for K and I. The  result was  this, a  brown and red sauce that was tangy and savory atop a heap of skinny linguine. You can reduce the Balsamic Vinegar before hand if you have the  time and want your sauce to be a bit sweeter and milder. I think this sauce would actually work very well as a winter bruschetta, so consider it, folks!

1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
4-5 cloves garlic (roasted and sliced)
1/2 green pepper
1-3 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional) depending on your spice level
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)
2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
1/4 cup olives (mild, green, chopped)
1/2 tsp. rosemary (crushed)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 pinch thyme
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
squeeze of lemon
lots of fresh ground pepper

Start your noodle water and don't forget to salt it. You can use any pasta you like or have around. Saute your onion till soft. Add the green pepper and spices (rosemary, oregano and thyme). Saute till pepper  has  softened. Add the vinegar and stir for about  3 minutes on high. Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and olives and saute for another 10 minutes or so. Finish with ground pepper and a quick squeeze of lemon and serve with a heap of peppery greens.

From the east,

November 7, 2010

Pie Time

Here are two (may I say perfect) pies that have been made in the last week. You should have seen how excited I was that it is finally fall pie-season again. This Apple Pie was made for a Twin Peaks party in Marfa, and the Pumpkin for my family's early mock-Thanksgiving. The only real trick for vegan pie is having a good crust and I'm about to share with you the easiest pie crust recipe in the history of the earth. It doesn't even require Earth Balance. Believe it. Enjoy these with your friends and families and don't tell any of your non-veg. friends that you used tofu (my family couldn't believe it!).

"Dutch" Apple Pie

1 c. sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash salt
6-7 cups tart apples (sliced, half of them peeled)

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. Earth Balance

Preheat to 400. Make your crust (recipe below). Combine the filling ingredients. Fill the crust till you get a monstrous heap. Combine the topping ingredients. I do this with my hands because I don't own a pastry cutter, but I suppose a fork would work too.
Cook at 400 for 45-50 m. or so.

Pumpkin Pie

12 oz. firm silken tofu
2 c. pumpkin (or 1 can pureed pumpkin)
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
dash nutmeg
dash cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat to 350. Prepare crust. Throw the pumpkin and tofu in your food processor and puree. Mix together all of the ingredients.  Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 60 m. or so.

Oil Pie Crust
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. oil
2 Tbs. soy milk

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Mix the wet into the dry with a fork. Now just press the dough into the pie pan. You don't even have to roll it out! Bake the crust at 350 for about 7 minutes before filling and voila! Welcome to pie-land, friend.

Soon I will be celebrating fall from a new city! Until then, enjoy!