Posts Tagged tomato

Achievement Unlocked: Vegan Empanadas

I was going to put something about soy chorizo in the title, but I figured that’d scare people off.  Soyrizo, found right next to the beef stuff in my local Safeway, is…weird.  It actually tastes much the same as the beef stuff, but it looks terrifying and doesn’t brown well.  I have yet to clean the carbonized soy protein off my skillet.  (I’ll get to it.)

In my continuing quest for total-party-friendly D&D food, I was staring blankly into my fridge when I got the idea for a vegan empanada filling.  For anyone who’s not aware, empanadas are another entry in the Pastry Pockets Of Awesome department, usually filled with a mixture of meat, onions, and often olives.  (Note to self: buy olives.)  I switched that around a little and started with kidney beans, onions, and garlic, then added the tube of red soy protein from the bottom of my fridge.  I hacked together a dough recipe from a Terry Hope Romero posted on Yahoo, baking times from Smitten Kitchen, and my own mostly-improvised filling to create the following.  I haven’t tried them yet, as I’m saving them for Sunday; I’ll let you know in the next post how that works out.  🙂

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Vegan Chorizo-and-Bean Empanadas

  1. Make the dough.  In your handy-dandy food processor, place three cups of flour, a quarter-teaspoon of baking powder, and a teaspoon and a half of salt.  Through the chute, add one stick of margarine, cut into small chunks.  Blend until mixture looks sort of crumby.
  2. Add three-quarters of a cup of ice water, a little at a time, while blending.  When dough starts to really stick together, remove from food processor and knead together a little bit.  Flatten into large disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill overnight in fridge.  (If you’re in a hurry, this step can be shortened to a couple of hours.  Don’t cook in a hurry.)
  3. Filling time!  Drain and rinse a can of kidney beans and scrounge around your kitchen for other ideas.  Gather the white ends of some scallions, four cloves of garlic, a tube of soyrizo, a can of tomatoes, and half the contents of your spice cabinet.
  4. Slice the scallions, mince the garlic, and saute them in olive oil.  Pour into a bowl when finished and set aside, for your one roommate who hates onions.
  5. In the same olive oil, cook the kidney beans until they’re kind of mushy, but not falling apart yet.  You can also try cooking the soy chorizo, but honestly, mine just burned a bit and underwent no noticeable state change.  It’ll get cooked in the empanadas, anyway.
  6. Put soy protein and kidney beans in a bowl; add half a can, drained, of petite diced tomatoes.  Mush everything together with either a potato masher or, if you can’t find yours, a fork.
  7. When ready to prepare, remove dough from fridge and knead until most of the random crusty bits have gone away.  Roll out thin, but not so thin as to not hold its shape.  Cut circles with upside-down glass dipped in flour; lay circles on plate or empty part of rolling board.
  8. Spray cookie sheets with oil and preheat oven to 350.  Fill each little circle with a spoon of filling; add onions and garlic after filling the first two or three.  Seal by pressing down the edges of half of the circle onto the edges of the other half.  If having trouble sealing, use a little water.
  9. Bake each sheet of empanadas for 13 minutes.  Pastries will be edging toward golden brown, but not actually brown.  Remove from sheet, place on serving plate, and try not to eat four of them before they cool.  🙂

I’ll also throw in the bonus recipes for the two sauces I served with these delicious pocketfoods.  The green onion slaw comes from Smitten Kitchen by way of Bobby Flay; the chimichurri sauce is from Good Clean Eats.  They’re both delicious, especially the latter; I shall put it on everything and anything henceforth.  😀

Green Onion Dressing

  1. Place one cup chopped green onions, a quarter-cup of red wine vinegar, half a cup of olive oil, and hot peppers of choice in a blender.  The original recipe called for two serranos; I substituted half a habanero.
  2. Blend until smooth.  This makes a rather ugly dressing, so I added three drops of green food coloring to the mixture.  The result is an unnaturally green and very kicky dressing.  It’s awesome.

Chimichurri Sauce

  1. Remove the leaves from about half a large bunch of parsley and drop in a blender or food processor.  You’re looking for about three-quarters of a cup of parsley when it’s chopped.
  2. Slice four cloves of garlic and add to the blender.  Shake in a fair amount of crushed red pepper and a bit of salt.  Pour in three-quarters of a cup of olive or vegetable oil (if you used up all of your olive oil in the last recipe) and a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar.  Blend until saucy.
  3. Serve with empanadas and enjoy.  Then plot to serve with everything else ever.  🙂
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Achievement Unlocked: Epic Tabbouleh

Part of the Middle Eastern picnic spread!  My personal favorite part.  (This and the falafel post were written side-by-side, so apologies for any time-related inconsistencies.)

Tabbouleh, or however you care to spell it, is, in my humble opinion, the universe’s best salad.  And that’s coming from a girl who loves salads.  It’s based on bulghur wheat, which is a pain in the buttocks to find if you don’t live near a Middle Eastern grocer or specialty foods store.  I scored some from a friend who’s trying to go gluten-free.  If you really can’t find it, quinoa is a perfectly acceptable substitute, unless you’re me and you’re kind of picky about your tabbouleh.  I give you fair warning.  🙂

To the soaked wheat, add tomatoes, a whole bunch of chopped parsley, some garlic, lemon juice, and salt.  Let marinate, and try not to eat the whole bowl at once.  After all, when you’re making falafel and your own pita to go with them, might as well savor the treat.  😀

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Tabbouleh

  1. Shop around for bulghur wheat before realizing that your quest is futile in your part of the city.  Score delivery of some from friend – awesome!  Since that little delivery won’t be arriving until tomorrow, prep your salad the night before.
  2. Chop one large cucumber into somewhere between a chop and a dice.  Scoop into salad bowl.  (Seed before chopping if you’re picky, but I’m not.  I like seeds in my cukes and tomatoes.)
  3. Add three large tomatoes, chopped reasonably small.
  4. Throw in about two cups of parsley, chopped.  On the list of “kitchen skills I do not have yet” is chopping big bunches of greenery in any sort of neat manner.  I didn’t worry about it too much.
  5. Realize that your bowl is far too small for this much salad.  Frantically search kitchen for larger bowl.  Realize that you cannot find larger bowl because that’s where your pita dough is rising.  Sigh and go back to making salad.
  6. Add a handful of chopped green onions (about three stalks).  Pause to slice up rest of onions for flash-freezing, because these onions are looking pretty sorry.
  7. (Very quick flash-freezing instructions: spread food to be frozen into single layer on plate.  Stick, uncovered, into freezer for about twenty minutes or until most pieces are solid.  Store in labeled plastic bag in freezer.  This way, you don’t get a whole giant brick of onion.)
  8. Throw in four minced cloves of garlic.  Don’t be shy with the garlic in this salad.  It’s not first date food.
  9. (Take a break to go peel the rest of your household supply of garlic, because apparently this is Tabbouleh And Housecleaning Day.)
  10. Add a couple tablespoons of dried mint, in place of the fresh mint the recipe calls for.  (If you have fresh, throw in about a third of a cup.)
  11. Realize you’re out of friggin’ lemon juice, throw up your hands, stir your salad, cover it, stick it in the fridge, and come back to it later.  Sheesh.
  12. When you return from the store later, add half a cup of lemon juice, stir again, re-cover, and stick back in the fridge.
  13. The next day, soak two cups of bulghur in enough boiling water to cover it.  Stir into your salad, chill long enough to cool the bulghur, and serve.  🙂

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