Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vegan Macaroni Salad

Shout outs to some of my favorite products: @tofuttibrand and @earth_balance !!

What's better than cold elbow macaroni drenched in a sweet, tangy, mayonnaise dressing...?!  EASY, A vegan version!

1 lb dry elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup red onion, minced (Soak in cool water for 5 minutes and drain for a less harsh onion taste)

1 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan mayo, I like the olive oil one
1 TBSP yellow mustard, add more to taste
1 TBSP vegan sugar
3 TBSP cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl combine the macaroni, celery, and onion.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, and sour cream. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Store covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. 

Could it be any easier!?  Serve it up with you favorite @gardein BBQ/grillin picks, vegan summer has never tasted so good!


Friday, May 18, 2012

No Crab Rangoon

I had never had crab Rangoon until I moved to Kentucky for college.  It was a staple at every Chinese restaurant in our small college town.  Upon trying it, it became a staple on my plate!  Something about a fried wonton filled with cream cheese, green onion and crab meat was just the ultimate palate pleaser!

Now what's a vegan girl to do when she wants to have Chinese food?  None of the local Chinese take out places (P.F. Chang's not included) do not offer vegan options... let alone a vegan crab rangoon.... so off I went to find a way to make it myself.  I've seen some vegan restaurants that use carrots in place of crab and I've seen oyster mushrooms in place of many kinds of seafood.  I decided carrots wouldn't be as substantial as the mushrooms.  As for the wonton wrappers... MOST Asian wonton wrappers contain egg.  Check that labels!  Some "Gyoza" wrappers don't contain egg, you can use those if you want to save some effort.  If not, I've included a wonton wrapper recipe below.  Enjoy!

VEGAN WONTON WRAPPERS
(makes about 18-20 wrappers)

1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup hot water

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and hot water.  Process into a smooth dough.  When a dough ball has formed, dust it with flour and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside for at least an hour.

Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for about 2 minutes.  Roll into a log, about 1-inch in diameter.  Cut the log crosswise into 1-inch pieces.  Flatten the pieces of dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Using a rolling pin to roll each piece into a very thin, round wrapper, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.  Repeat with remaining dough.  If not using right away, stack each wrapper between pieces of plastic wrap, then wrap them together.  Properly stored the wrappers will keep in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for about 3 months.


NO CRAB RANGOON

1 TBSP canola oil, plus more for frying
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup minced green onions, divided
8 oz oyster mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
Splash of Tabasco sauce
4 oz vegan cream cheese
16-20 vegan wonton wrappers (homemade, see above, or store bought)
2 nori sheets, cut into 1-2 inch squares

In a small skillet, heat 1 TBSP of oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and half of the green onions and cook until softened, about 45 seconds.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Add the soy sauce and Tabasco, and remove from heat and transfer into a medium bowl.  Stir in cream cheese and remaining green onions until well blended.  Set aside to cool.

Arrange the wonton wrappers on your work surface.  Place a piece of the nori on top of each wonton wrapper and top with a small teaspoonful of the filling mixture.  Fold the wontons over to make a semicircle and seal the edges with a bit of water.  Repeat until all of the filling mixture is used up.

In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the wontons in batches and cook turning gently until crisp and golden brown.  Keep the cooked wontons warm while you fry the rest.  Serve warm. (with sweet and sour sauce or duck sauce like the Asian restaurants do!)

Miso Soup

Miso soup is one of my favorie soups.  There's just something about the salty-ness of the broth and the freshness of the scallions that makes my heart pitter-patter.  I've always had problems trying to figure out how to make it taste like the soup you get at my favorite sushi place.  Part of the problem is that most restaurant miso soups contain bonito... (fish) But, I think I have finally mastered the taste while making it vegan. It's SOUP-er (haha) easy to make and only takes a few minutes.  It's one of my favorite, go to dinners, for that reason.  This recipe makes 4 servings but can be easily doubled or halved to meet your needs!

5 cups water
2 TBSP soy sauce, adjust to taste.  (I've found 2 is perfect for me)
4 white mushrooms, lightly rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 TBSP mellow white miso paste
6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small dice, optional if you're not a fan of tofu

In a large soup pot, bring the water and soy sauce to a boil.  Add the mushrooms and green onions.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to soften the veggies.

Place about 1/2 cup of the hot soup into a small bowl and add the miso paste, blending well.  Stir the blended miso back into the pot and simmer for 2 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL! 

Add tofu if using and adjust seasonings, adding a little more miso paste or soy sauce if needed, and serve.


(I've also used this as a base for "wonton"/dumpling soup, subbing the tofu for my dumplings) 



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tapenade

Tapenade is one of the easiest things to make.  All you really need is olives and capers.  Serve it with pita chips, crackers, or spread it on crusty bread slices or bread rounds for a vegan muffaletta! For people who eat dairy, top this with some feta cheese (or a vegan version)  It's something that will keep for quite a while in the fridge as it's "packed" in olive oil.  

I've got a few versions of this, all of which are yummy it just depends on your taste and what you have on hand!  The first version is one from a cookbook I got from my grandmommy for my birthday.  

1/4 cup capers
1 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 olive oil

Combine everything but the olive oil in a food processor.  When the olives are finely chopped, add the olive oil with the machine running and blend into a smooth paste.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

My version is slightly different and I think... A lot more olive-y/salty :-)  I use the olive bar at Whole Foods for this recipe.  Although technically it's not tapenade as it does not have capers in it (caper is tapeno in Proven├žal) but you can add capers I just didn't have any on hand.

1-lb PITTED Greek Olive mix
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
pinch dried thyme
2 TBSP lemon juice

Combine EVERYTHING in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.  NOM NOM!

I like eating tapenade on baked potatoes with vegan sour cream, chopped cucumbers, and some chopped tomatoes.  Or just scooping with pita chips.

What's Coming... GRADUATION PARTIES

Graduations are happening all over the country right now, which means it's time for graduation parties. And for me, graduation parties mean lots of snackable foods, a variety of ages, and a variety of dietary needs.  

The BF's sister graduated yesterday so her graduation party is upon us... Luckily not until late June, but I volunteered to help make some yummies for the party.  Naturally, everything I make will be vegan (so I know I have something to eat at the party!) but on top of that there's family coming that are gluten-free, (pre-, I think) diabetic, dairy-free and nut-free.  So, first it's always good to label what everything is with a little placard to denote any allergens that are in the food!  Also, try out the recipes before the big day so you know how long it takes to prepare them and so you can taste test them first to make any changes and so you're putting out quality food!  I'm going to try to create a few things that will work for anyone, including the carnivores! I'm really excited!!

Here's a few things that I'm looking forward to trying!
  • Tapenade- a salty, dip/spread made from olives and capers (GF)
  • Mango-Avocado Spring Rolls- fresh, perfect for summer NOT FRIED! (GF)
  • Vegetable Sushi Rolls- during the summer these keep better than the fishy kind! (GF)
  • Taco Bites- not only are these a super cute idea, one batch makes 3 dozen pieces
  • Steamed Vegetable Dumplings- these can be served warm or for a party keep 'em cool
  • Not-Crab Rangoon- So yummy! You won't believe there is no crab!
Hope some of these appeal to you too!  Recipes are coming :-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vegan Philly Cheesesteaks

First a quick shout out to @daiyacheese --Thank you for the wedges and the slices, they are pure Heaven!

Okay,  vegan Philly Cheesesteaks.... You're welcome :-) 

I'm on this tempeh kick.. I just recently had the tempeh bacon and pretty much fell in love with the TLT (or vegan BLT) so I bought a frozen slab of tempeh and was feeling really creative tonight. This is how this cheesesteak came to be. 

When I was going to school in Kentucky (before I became vegan) there was this restaurant that was across the street from my dorm called Penn Station.  They made amazing cheesesteaks.  Like WHOA.  They truly mastered that sandwich.  The meat was so thinly sliced, the mushrooms (an extra I loved) perfectly sauteed, the onions still a little crunchy, cheese evenly melted, and to top it all off, they added a secret spice mix that enhanced every piece of the sub.  If anyone out there happens to know what this spice mix is, please, I'm begging you, share the wealth! :-)



Here's what I did:

8 oz of tempeh, divided into 2 portions
2 cups of vegan beef broth

1/2 medium onion, sliced
4 baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
Earth Balance or Canola Oil
Daiya Provalone slices or melted daiya Jack wedge
2 hearty hoagie rolls, toasted
Condiments of your choosing

First, simmer the tempeh in the vegan beef broth for approximately 30 min. (This imparts a "beefy" flavor in the tempeh.)  Remove from the broth and slice thinly. SAVE THE BROTH!!!

In a large pan (or griddle would work great too), heat some Earth Balance or oil on medium high heat.  Add onion slices and mushrooms cooking until the mushrooms have almost cooked down and the onions are still tender.  

Adding a little more oil or Earth Balance and the tempeh and cook until the edges start to crisp up.  Put the veggies on top of the tempeh slices and top with daiya cheese slice**.  Add a little bit of the vegan beef broth to the pan and cover with a lid for 10 seconds, to create steam for the cheese to melt.

Transfer to a nice toasty hoagie roll with any other condiments you might like.  Ketchup or Vegenaise and Spicy Mustard are what I've tried.  
 
**If opting for the melted Jack daiya, hold off on this step.  Once you've transferred your tempeh and veggies to the roll, top with the melty goodness.  It's like getting a cheesesteak wid whiz.


OM NOM NOM!
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