January 25, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Tempeh Marinara and Kale

Spaghetti squash is the cat's meow. If you haven't tried it before, prepare yourself for amazement! For less than $5 you can feed a wealth of friends with this gorgeous spaghetti-posing vegetable. Simply roast the squash, scoop out the insides with a fork, and voila! I served it up with a pile of red sauce and a handful of kale chips.

To prepare the squash, slice it in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the halves face-down on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at  400 for 30 minutes or until tender. Let the squash cool while preparing your sauce. Once the sauce is ready, scrape out the squash with a fork. It will naturally release in long spaghetti-like strips.

1 small yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 or whole package tempeh (cubed)
1/2 tsp. oregeno
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. basil
1 can tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes (optional)
1/4 tsp. sugar
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon juice

In a medium skillet, fry the onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the spices and tempeh and saute for 7 minutes or until the tempeh has browned. Next add the sauce, salt and pepper and let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust as necessary and finish with a squeeze of juice

Perfect for kiddos and for those of us trying to cut back on our gluten intake!


January 22, 2011

Roasted Root Wrap

With the temperature dipping below twenty degrees today, I decided to finally start eating like it's really winter. Root vegetables are delicious, high in vitamins, and are available year-round. Roasting them brings out all their specific flavors and warms up your chilly kitchen. This sandwich features a thick layer of garlic hummus, field greens, roasted veggies (carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, onions, and garlic) and some slices of fresh avocado all on a toasted whole wheat pita. The meal was rounded out with a side of quinoa and fresh rosemary.

1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (quartered)
2-3 carrots (chopped)
2-3 parsnips (peeled & chopped)
1 turnip (peeled & chopped)
3-4 beets (peeled & chopped)
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. fresh rosemary (chopped)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
lots of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 and go to town chopping everything up. If you don't have access to organic root vegetables, make sure to peel everything. Throw everything on a large baking sheet. Mix together the oil, salt, cumin, brown sugar, and peppers. Pour the mixture over the veggies and stir everything well. Place the sheet in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender. Serve over rice or couscous or on a sandwich or wrap.


January 17, 2011

Four Peaks Hearth Bread

Here is my recipe for hearth bread. I posted it in October, but am always making alterations to it. The kosher grocery by my apt. sells these gorgeous heavy-duty paper bags filled with extra-high gluten flour in 5, 7, and 10 pound quantities. I was so impressed by the lightness of this loaf and its nice, crunchy crumb. Perfect for sandwiches and potlucks!

3 1/2 cups high-gluten flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. yeast
1-2 cups warm water
1 tsp. agave nectar

Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast. Stir together 1 cup of the warm water and the agave and add them to dry ingredients. Stir and knead the dough until it is springy and add more water or flour as you see fit. You want the dough to come together in a ball and still be a little sticky. Knead for ten minutes. Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with a plastic bag and place it in a warm place for an hour and a half. Punch the dough to deflate and shape it into a tight ball. Wrap the dough in a floured towel and let rest for another 20 minutes. At this point, pre-heat the oven to 475 and place a low dish filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. After 30 minutes, make an X-shaped slash on the top of the bread and place in the oven. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked. I usually spritz the oven with cool water every 10 minutes or so to ensure a nice crumb.


January 13, 2011

Thursday Lunch Special

Sometimes you just want a proper lunch. After a brisk walk down Bedford and a peek into our slim pocketbooks, K and I decided to whip up a lunch special of our own! The meal featured a cup of Creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup served with K's famous Spinach-Mushroom Quiche in a whole wheat crust. I made some seedy baguettes and we served it up with two small glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon. At this pace, we might as well just start a restaurant out of our teensy apartment! Keep your eyes (and tastebuds) peeled for it!

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

2 Tbs. olive oil or earth balance
2 shallots (chopped)
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger (minced) 1 tsp. dried sage
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
4-6 cups organic carrots (chopped)
2-3 small-medium potatoes (chopped)
4-6 cups vegetable bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon brand)
heap of freshly ground black pepper

In a large soup pot, heat up your margarine or oil. Add the shallots and onions and saute for 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, sage, and crushed red pepper. Fry spices for a few minutes being careful not to burn. Next add everything else. Make sure that you have enough bouillon to cover all the veggies. Turn the heat to medium and cover the pot. Let everything stew until the veggies are softened. Remove the bay leaf and puree in a blender or food processor. Return to the soup pot and taste. Consider adding a splash of orange juice, lemon juice, black pepper, or parsley.

Trying to stay warm!

January 11, 2011

Snow Day Sundae

If you think it's snowy where you are, you should see the streets of Brooklyn! I decided to celebrate the downfall with this delicious sundae. Lucky for me, the Real Kosher grocery is right across the street and carries many vegan delicacies!

Happily snowed in (for the night),

January 9, 2011

Pumpkin Challah

If you were someone who thought that egg-free challah was impossible, now's the time to breathe a big sigh of relief. VegNews let me in on the secret of getting a rich, eggy texture by using yams or sweet potatoes. I used pumpkin and was completely satisfied with the result. You can top the loaf with poppy or sesame seeds and coarse, kosher sea salt. This recipe yields two loaves or one very giant party-sized loaf.

1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or homemade)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 Tbs. agave nectar
2 Tbs. active dry yeast
1  tsp. salt
1 Tbs. canola oil
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups high gluten flour

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, hot water, and agave nectar. Wait until mixture is warm but not too hot. Add the yeast. Use  a whisk to mix the yeast thoroughly into the wet ingredients. Wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Add  the oil, salt and flour, one cup at a time alternating between AP and HG.  Continue to add flour until the dough resembles a soft ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes until elastic. Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for 2 hours or until doubled.

Once the dough has risen, remove and shape into 3-6 ropes. Braid the dough and let it sit for another 20 minutes while your oven preheats to 350 degrees. Place the risen braid on a baking sheet lined  with parchment paper. Mix together 2 Tbs. agave nectar with 1/4 cup hot water and brush on loaf. Sprinkle with seeds and salt. Let bake for 30-45 minutes or until slightly browned. Once out of the oven, smother with earth balance and enjoy!

Bread-lovers, rejoice!

January 7, 2011

Pizza Party

There is really nothing better than a good old-fashioned pizza party. After the dough had risen, a few friends came over and we busted out the 2 liter of soda and got to dressing up four gorgeous veggie pizzas. For toppings we used green peppers, roasted garlic, sauteed mushrooms, carmelized onions, fresh tomatoes, green olives, and artichokes. Thinly sliced soy cheese melted beautifully atop both the baked and the fried pizzas. My friend, and resident pizza-expert, JA, taught me how to stretch dough out for perfect pizzas. I used to just spread the dough out in a kind of messy flurry but now I am trying to learn the patient art of working the dough with my fists and pointer fingers. I've included a recipe for dough which you can try out. It's easy and you can even do it in a food processor if you have one of those gleaming giant ones.

dough ingredients
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp agave nectar
2 cups warm water
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water, and agave nectar. Let sit in a warm place near your radiator for 5 minutes. Once yeast is frothy, add the salt and flour one cup at a time. Let the dough rise for two hours. Don't rush it. You can make 3-5 pizzas out of this dough depending on what size you are going for. Divide the dough and roll into 3-5 balls. Let rest for another 20 minutes. Prepare your toppings. Make sure to cook all of your toppings beforehand if you are going to cook the pizzas over the stove. Press the dough out from the center of the circle and pick up the dough, stretching it with your fists and pointer fingers. It doesn't have to look perfect, just focus on a thin crust with a thicker exterior ring.

Bake in an oven preheated to 450 or 500. Bake till crust is crispy and toppings are lightly browned.


January 2, 2011

Soy-Free Chocolate Bundt Cake

Happy holidays, folks. I hope you all had a very merry time with those closest to you, taking walks, watching football and (most importantly) eating delicious food. Knowing my Christmas day was to be spent traveling from one city to another, I baked this classic bundt cake that is holds itself together through TSA checkpoints and high altitude and dry, western air. My dear friend, EJ, introduced me to this delicious recipe by Isa, and here it is modified a tad and presented to you. Add dried cherries, fresh blueberries or chocolate chips and enjoy any time of the year!

1 1/2 cups strong, black coffee
2/3 cup dutch pressed cocoa powder (splurge, it's worth it!)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Go to your neighborhood's coffee shop and buy a large cup of your favorite roast. Slurp a bit while walking home and pour the rest in a small saucepan over medium heat. Preheat your oven to 325. Once coffee is hot, add the cocoa and stir with a whisk until combined. Remove from heat. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, oil, applesauce, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is no longer lumpy. Add the extracts. Next, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a whisk. Mix the wet ingredients together and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over-mix! Bake in a greased-up bundt pan for 50 or so minutes or until a knife comes out just a bit sticky.

After 15 minutes of cooling, flip the cake onto a plate and dust with powdered sugar or icing. I usually make a sloppy ganache frosting and then cover the whole thing in slivered almonds. To make a ganache, heat 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips on the stove with a splash of soymilk and whisk until smooth.

Here's to the new year!