Posts Tagged vegan

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: Full of Falafel

The kitchen floor desperately needs a sweeping, the cook needs a shower, but by golly, I’m getting the picnic food made.

So, the day before my weekly excuse to try out new recipes (read: D&D), the boyfriend planned a picnic with me and one of our other gamer friends.  As awesome as that is, the food I had planned for the next day wasn’t exactly a snap, so around four pm, I went into Turbo Mode and whipped up a Middle Eastern spread to make my mom proud.  (They’re not her recipes, but she’s the one who introduced me to them growing up, so I credit her.)  This and the next two posts cover those specific recipes.

For anyone who’s not familiar with falafel, they’re immensely tasty chickpea croquettes that are normally served shoved into a pita with some sauce or salad.  There are a number of pre-made falafel kits out there, and I may have actually used one once – the memory is fuzzy.  These are a bit more work than just shaking out a mix and adding oil, but I really hope they’re worth it!

Recipe from Allrecipes, because I don’t have my mom’s.  I think hers have an egg in them, while these are vegan.  I did bake them rather than frying them, both because I’m scared of deep-frying and for healthfulness reasons.  Also, I fudged the proportions because of the amount of chickpeas in my pantry.  The original recipe makes about 24; this makes 35, and I will be shocked if they all get eaten tomorrow…wait.  On second thought, between the DM, the cleric, the fighter, and visiting nibblers, no I won’t.  🙂

On an unrelated note, I’ve been getting into drinking (store-brand) seltzer rather than soda and have actually grown to like the taste.  Tonight, though, Safeway was all out, so I came home with a bottle of diet tonic water instead.  Blech.  Needs a crapton of lime juice before I will consider this even mildly palatable.  Still, it’s better than brandy.  Slainte!

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Baked Falafel

  1. Drain, rinse, and empty three fifteen-ounce cans of chickpeas into a bowl.  Mash the ever-loving hell out of them with a potato masher.  Try not to wake up sleeping roommate in the basement.
  2. (Realize that you’ve had Pandora on for the past hour and were singing along to “Barrett’s Privateers.”  Reason that, if roommate is still asleep from that, the potato masher will make no difference.)
  3. Add chopped onion to taste.  The original recipe called for two small onions for this much chickpea mash; I substituted one large  shallot and one medium one.  I like my croquettes a little less onion-y than most.
  4. Add four minced cloves of garlic, AFTER figuring out where you put the bag you just peeled not four hours ago.  Question wisdom of housecleaning-type behavior.
  5. Add generous shakes (about two tablespoons each) of dried parsley, cumin, and cilantro.  Upon encountering cilantro after ten-minute hunt, pause to dream of the day when you and only you will organize your kitchen.
  6. Add teaspoon or so of turmeric and teaspoon of baking powder.
  7. Add two cups of “fine” bread crumbs; I used panko, because that’s what was around.  Stir the whole mess together.
  8. CAREFULLY.  Pause to clean spilled breadcrumbs from counter.
  9. Add drizzle of water and sprinkle of pepper, then move to table for assembly.
  10. Squish mixture into little balls and lay out on baking sheet.  I wound up with thirty-five, slightly uneven balls.
  11. (Panic for a moment and check the ingredients on your breadcrumbs.  Reassure yourself that there are no eggs.  Continue.)
  12. Slide tray into fridge overnight (if you’re planning ahead) and go take a shower.
  13. The next morning: preheat oven to 375.  Bake tahini for about 15 minutes; remove from oven, flip balls over, and bake for another 15.  Serve with delicious things!  🙂

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Achievement Unlocked: Made Vegan Roll Eyes With Joy

This morning’s farmer’s market foray yielded shallots, usually an impractical purchase, but at three bucks a box, too good to pass up.  I flashed back to a Smitten Kitchen post in which Ms. Perelman called herself “the girl who cried…cook!”.  That resonates, really, but for me, it’s not “Cook!” so much as “Eat!”.  I’m not sure anybody remembers most of what I cook, but I have a feeling that the vegan friend won’t forget these.

Caramelized shallots.  If you’re not big on onions, I’d skip these, but if you enjoy the flavor, these are eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head good.  Here goes!

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Caramelized Shallots

  1. Peel your shallots, however many you happen to have (about a pint box, in this case).  Just as you finish peeling them, leave to go to a yard sale.  The shallots will wait.
  2. When you get back, melt six tablespoons of margarine (if you want these to be truly vegan) in a skillet.
  3. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. Add three tablespoons of sugar and three tablespoons of red wine vinegar.  (If out of red wine vinegar, add most of three tablespoons of vinegar and drizzle in a bit of red wine.)
  5. Add shallots and cook until starting to brown, about ten minutes.
  6. Scrape shallots and sauce into baking dish.  Bake for somewhere between fifteen and thirty minutes, depending on size of shallots and attentiveness of cook.
  7. Remove dish and place shallots into smaller serving dish.  Watch vegan friend enjoy them.  😀

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Achievement Unlocked: Crispy Roasted Chickpea Snacks

More party food!  The easiest possible party food, really.  Four ingredients, one of which comes out of a can.  Make at least a double recipe, or you’ll regret it.  That is all.  🙂

Not quite all.  I originally found the recipe at Steamy Kitchen, but so many people have posted this recipe that I’m sure you could find a tasty one anywhere.  Okay, I’m done.  NOW go make these.  😀

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Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  If making all party food at same time, leave oven heated to 400.
  2. Open two cans of chickpeas and drain into colander.  Rinse.  Thoroughly.  Bounce around a bit to make sure it’s thorough.
  3. Line rimmed cookie sheet with paper towels.  Pour chickpeas onto towels and spread into single layer.  Pat dry with another paper towel.  Roll around with top paper towel to loosen skins.  Discard skins and paper towels once chickpeas are mostly dry.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for somewhere between 30 and 50 minutes or until crispy and almost almond-brown.  Outside will be  crispy, inside will be fluffy and delicious.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and spices of choice (current example: onion powder and a little dash of chili powder).  Toss to coat, and serve.  Watch them be crunched up in an hour.  Grin.

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Achievement Unlocked: Vaguely Healthy Cabbage Thing

To offset the previous entry’s small wads of spicy fat, I borrowed another recipe from Steamy Kitchen.  Do you ever look at a recipe and think, “That looks disgustingly healthy, how could that possibly be good”?  Is that just me?  Maybe that’s the reason I need to lose a few pounds…hm.

Anyway!  Cabbage, white beans, potatoes, onions, thyme, and olive oil combine in a large skillet to become…slightly less healthy-tasting than they look, I promise.  In a mixed-dining audience of at least twenty over the course of the night, it’s hard to know which recipes are going to be hits, and which will be next week’s leftovers.  This actually got vacuumed up better than the chili, which shocked me.  It also inspired me to memorialize the recipe here so that I don’t forget it for next month…especially if that head of cabbage is still sitting in my fridge.  It keeps forever, after all.  No reason to get rid of it.

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White Beans And Cabbage

  1. Dice about a cup of red potatoes.  Strive for the size of frozen peas; don’t stress if not all of the bits end up that size.
  2. Roughly chop half an onion (use the other half from, or for, the sausage balls, depending on the order in which you cook).
  3. Thinly shred (not, like, coleslaw thin) about three cups of cabbage.
  4. Open and drain a can of white beans; rinse them in your colander.
  5. Splash some olive oil in your skillet and add your potatoes.  Saute until potatoes start to brown (and, no doubt, are sticking to your skillet).  Add onion and keep sauteing.
  6. Add white beans and continue sauteing.  Look for beans to get slightly brown.  Add a generous sprinkle of dried thyme.
  7. Scatter cabbage in skillet and continue tossing about.  Wait for cabbage to wilt; realize it’s not wilting.  Pour a generous cup of water in the skillet to loosen things up.  Stir until water has boiled away, less of mixture is sticking to pot, and thyme is aromatic.
  8. Remove from heat and bring to table.  Scatter a few leaves of fresh rosemary, because you need *something* to do with that stuff, after all.  Serve and watch in surprise as it all gets eaten!

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Achievement Unlocked: Tortillas! And Soup! But Mostly Tortillas

Bread.  It’s my weakness.  Maybe it’s because I mix everything by hand, maybe I’m too casual about kneading (guilty), maybe the temperature control in our house is poor at best and it’s too cold for yeast (my pet theory).  In any case, sometimes it’s edible, and sometimes it’s a brick.  Tortillas, though, take no yeast, so they were as good a recipe as any for me to get back into breadmaking.

I also started making my peace with cast iron through this recipe.  I’m a little scared of pans that get SO HOT and stay SO HOT for SO LONG.  Also, the cleaning and seasoning and DO NOT TOUCH WITH SOAP EVER thing.  But I lack a griddle, so I heated up my housemate’s skillet and went to work.  Quite well, incidentally.

I made the tortillas for the express purpose of cutting them into strips and serving with soup, but the first half of the recipe is perfect for normal tortilla-eating occasions.  (I also didn’t get the shape quite right, but that hardly mattered once they were sliced up.)

Oh, and I made you some soup.

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Vegan Tortilla Soup With Homemade Tortilla Strips

  1. Chop ALL OF THE THINGS.  Two bell peppers (I used yellow and green).  Two fresh tomatoes.  One small onion; you could certainly use more, but this is what I had.  Three green onions.  Three cloves of garlic (slice these).
  2. Pile ALL OF THE THINGS into a pot.  Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Open ALL OF THE CANS.  One of corn, one of black beans, and one of diced tomatoes.  Drain corn, then add all to pot.
  4. Add three cups of veggie stock, two cinnamon sticks, and generous dashes of cumin, oregano, and whatever other spices strike your fancy.  I would normally add cayenne, but the boyfriend’s spice tolerance isn’t back up to snuff yet after mouth surgery.  My “other spices” included lemon pepper and fresh cilantro.
  5. Cut half a lemon into quarters and add those to the pot, because, why not?  (This step only recommended if you have half a lemon sitting around, as I did.)
  6. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for…a while.  The soup is forgiving.
  7. While that’s happening, preheat oven to 400.  Mix 3/4 cup of cornmeal with 1 1/4 cup white flour.  Add 1/4 cup oil-of-choice and enough water to make a workable, but not terribly stiff, dough.  (I didn’t measure the water; I added it in splashes from a glass.)
  8. Add flavorings of choice.  For me, this was a little salt and the juice of one lime.  Given the chance, I put lime in most everything.
  9. Divide into lemon-sized balls and roll thin.  Apologize to the sorceror for getting flour on his character sheet.
  10. Heat cast-iron pan on medium-high; test by tossing droplets of water at hot surface, then jumping back when they spit.  Cook tortillas until brown spots appear on both sides.  Stack on plate and repeat with rest of tortillas.
  11. (Realize that you stacked all the dough on top of each other and some of it melted together.  Go re-roll-out half your tortillas, grumbling optional.)
  12. When tortillas are finished, let cool and check on soup.  Add more cilantro.
  13. Slice warm awkwardly-shaped tortillas into strips (between turns of hacking at an otyugh) and toss into bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flavorings; for me, this was more salt and some garlic powder.
  14. Lay strips on ungreased baking sheets and bake for somewhere between 6 and 9 minutes.  (Mine took closer to nine; perhaps thinner tortillas would have taken less time.)
  15. Remove strips from oven, pile onto plate, and place on serving table.  Remove soup from heat, fish out lemon quarters and cinnamon sticks, and carry to table.  Serve with plenty of lime!

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Achievement Unlocked: Ridiculous Vegan Brownies

Sorry for the delay, folks (all two of you who read this), but I promise I’m back in action!

Any of you who game with friends regularly, D&D or otherwise, will agree that one of the best parts of any game session is the snacking part.  Since our D&D group meets at my house, it’s the least I can do to provide things to nibble while our cleric is trying to kill herself with fire traps and the fighter is trying to remember how his belt levels up his weapon.  Me, I’m playing a gnome barbarian tank.  When things need to be hit, I hit them.  When they don’t, I dart over to the stove and check whatever’s going on there.

The cleric is a vegan, the sorceror a vegetarian, so I try to concentrate my efforts in that direction.  Dessert-making for them, though, is something I’d never really tried before.  I stumbled upon a recipe for brownies without any eggs or butter, courtesy of AllRecipes!  Here’s how I arrived at the delicious dark bricks that resulted.

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Vegan Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Measure Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder; discover about nine tablespoons in container.  Pour into bowl and decide to one-and-a-half recipe.
  3. Add three cups sugar (I’m sure this could be dialed back, but they were delicious), a teaspoon and a half of baking powder, a dash of salt, a glug of vanilla (that’s how I measure), and a cup and a half of water.
  4. Realize you’re out of unbleached regular flour.  Call the cleric and semi-desperately request a flour delivery; explain that it’s either that or whole-wheat brownies.
  5. When cleric arrives, add three cups flour.  Stir.
  6. Add one-and-a-half cups of vegetable oil…except, don’t do this.  This was a monstrously large puddle of oil, and no more than half actually got stirred into the mix; the rest was just floating on top.  Add 3/4 cup of oil, at best.
  7. Stir until combined and pour into ungreased baking pan.
  8. Bake for thirty minutes; check and realize top is still not set.  Return to game.  When cleric reminds you somewhere around ten minutes later to check the oven, do so; brownies should be set.  Leave to cool for a couple minutes, slice, and enjoy!

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