Sunday, January 27, 2013

Creamy Spinach Soup

My mom came into town this week to hang out with the boys and I and celebrate her Birthday a few days late. I got some good "Mom therapy" (much needed I might add), enjoyed a delightful winter lunch, and allowed her to do our Spanish lesson for the day (since she is fluent and I am very rusty at best!). I love to try new things when my mom is around because she not only shares (well actually she's the one who instilled a love for cooking in a very young age I might add) my love of cooking but she also is always up for trying new things (we were the family growing up with the mom that tried dishes from all over the world on a regular basis - boring was not in her cooking vocabulary!) and is encouraging and supportive whether the dish is fabulous or not! During this particular visit, I had 2 recipes pulled out and she voted for the spinach soup which I really wanted to try but just wasn't sure if I could veganize it successfully. Thankfully, she made an excellent choice and this soup was killer!! Wow on the yum factor. I served it with crusty rolls and salad for a complete and filling cold day delight!

Creamy Spinach Soup

4 cups no-chicken broth
1 T oil 1 onion, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 t salt
1 t cracked fresh pepper
1/4 t ground nutmeg

White sauce:
6 T vegan butter
6 T flour
1 cup unsweetened soy milk

8 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

Heat oil in large stockpot. Add onion and carrot and cook about 5 minutes or until starting to brown. Add broth, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer on low-medium. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the flour. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly to avoid clumping until smooth and thick. Cook about 3-5 minutes until bubbly and thick. Whisk thickened white sauce into soup pot until mixed well. Add spinach and cook additional 3-4 minutes or until spinach is just starting to wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each bowl with a few toasted almonds.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

 I am working on trying to fix it! I found a recipe in an old cooking magazine the other day and it looked quite tasty but it was definitely not vegan...just vegetarian. I am always on the lookout for a good vegan meatball recipe and once I veganized this one, it claimed a place in my "keep and use again" recipe folder!

Walnut Meetballs
Egg replacer for 3 eggs (I used 4 1/2 t EnerG egg replacer and 6 T water mixed together)
 1 T dried minced onion
3 T fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 t poultry seasoning
3/4 t garlic powder
 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 cups finely crushed saltine crackers (make sure they are free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup!)
3/4 cup ground walnuts (I gave them a good whirl in my food processor until they were finely ground)
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Trader Joes' new vegan cheese)

In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients (egg replacer through salt). Add crackers, walnuts and vegan cheese. Use your hands to mix well. Shape mixture into 1 inch balls and place in a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 min or until lightly browned on the outside. Serve with barbeque sauce, atop spaghetti and marinara, inside a sandwich...the possibilities are endless!! See below recipe :-) I love Chinese food! One of my favorite Chinese dishes is low mein but I find it a very difficult meal to replicate and end up with a result resembling a good restaurant version. I managed to come up with a pretty delicious replica this week and served it with the leftover Walnut Meetballs dunked in a sweet and tangy sauce!

Vegan Lo Mein
8 oz thin spaghetti (I used half white pasta and half whole wheat pasta), cooked to al dente
2 T soy sauce
4 T oil, divided
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 T ume plum vinegar or rice vinegar
1 T black bean paste
1/2 cup no-chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 t sugar
1 T cornstarch
5 green onion stalks, washed and chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups sliced cabbage
1 cup cut green beans

Heat 2 T oil in large skillet. Add onions, green beans and carrots and cook 4-5 minutes. Add cabbage and cook additional 1-2 minutes. In a small dish, combine 2 T oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, black bean paste, broth, sugar, and cornstarch. Pour into pan and cook until just thickened. Remove from heat and toss with pasta.
Tangy Asian Sauce (drizzled over Walnut Meetballs in the picture)
1/2-1 t crushed red peppers (depending on spice preference)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 T chopped cilantro
2 T soy sauce
1 T finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup terriyaki sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup no-chicken broth or vegetable broth

 Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until thick, bubbly and heated through - about 10 minutes. Serve over rice, veggies, or Walnut Meetballs!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Since I have been out of the mode of taking pictures of my culinary adventures in recent months, I thought I would start my re-entrance into the blogging world with the introduction of some delightful new cookbooks I've been enjoying!
Thought the Happy Herbivore is not exactly new and I have owned it for several months now, I don't think I have ever highlighted it in my blog, nor posted any recipes from it. It is a fabulous book filled with very healthy recipes, containing very little or no fat. Though in my opinion no fat usually means no flavor, Lindsay Nixon has crafted some delicious recipes that fit into the "little fat, lots of flavor category". My absolute favorite recipe from her cookbook is for No Chicken Broth Powder (pictured below)...kinda funny to be my favorite recipe in the whole book but I have to admit it is! This broth powder is sooooo yummy, totally healthy and very versatile. I use it in everything from soups to sauces to gravies...everything! As my mom would say, "Yummola!"
Chloe's Kitchen is one of those books that you check out at the library and instantly decide you must buy it for your own bookshelf! I love this cookbook and have tried so many fabulous recipes out of it. Chloe has created the best Broccoli Soup recipe known to the vegan world (the whole world for that my opinion!), a delicious vegan Whipped Cream made from coconut cream (truly amazing), and the perfect Mac and Cheese recipe I have ever made (a favorite for our entire family!)! I have only tried one recipe I didn't like and really, it was my own fault. I like eggplant on occasion, cooked in only a couple ways...I tried her Miso Eggplant and unfortunately it was not one of those ways I like it! Otherwise, I haven't met a Chloe recipe I haven't enjoyed wholeheartedly!

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm almost embarassed to post something after my 8 month hiatus! As much as I hated to, I had to put my blogging fun aside for a while since it just didn't fit into my busy schedule of homeschooling 2 energetic boys and keeping up with the rest of my mom/wife responsibilities. I am longing for enough time to get my blog up and running once again...we will see if I can manage! Here's to hoping I can hop back into the blogosphere and provide you all with some delicious new vegan delights in the coming weeks!!

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack
I was going to try a recipe for herbed scalloped potatoes and at last minute decided to do something fast and easy. I made up the recipe and it was yummola! I layered sliced russet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Then I baked them at 425 fr about 45 minutes. They were crisp and very flavorful!

My thrown-together salad today - after discovering I had no leftovers for lunch!

Tamale Fixings

Tamale Fixings
Plain pintos (for Keith), pintos, corn and onions; corn, jalepenos and Daiya; mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and chard

Making these was a bit time-consuming but kinda fun! They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped - the outer tamale part (not the filling) just wasn't as flavorful as tamales I have had in restaurants. I have another recipe I will try for the dough next time. Tamales are one of my favorite foods so I won't give up on this one!

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes
I modified one of my favorite pancake recipes to make it vegan and then I added blueberries. Turned out quite yummy. Soymilk sours and thickens well - very similar to buttermilk. I have been really impressed with it's ability to substitute for real buttermilk.

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

Egg replacement for 1 egg
1 1/4 cups soured soy milk (put 2 T vinegar into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal 1 1/4 cups)
2 T canola oil
1 cup flour (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat or whole wheat pastry - it really takes away from the fluffiness of these pancakes)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blueberries, optional

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Heat griddle pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Sprinkle blueberries on pancakes after ladling onto griddle. Cook just until golden on both sides.

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein
Overall, this was fabulous! However, I don't think the seitan added much so I would just leave it out next time. The lo mein also needed about double the sauce so I would simply do that next time for added flavor. This was especially spicy and yummy with some Sriracha drizzled on top. I made our favorite veg egg rolls to go with this and it was truly a Chinese treat!!

Veggie Seitan Lo Mein

I really did my own thing for this recipe so I am just going to outline the instructions and include the sauce recipe. I heated oil in a large skillet and added 3 minced cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of half-moon cut onions (I was out of green onions but next time I would use green onions as I like them a lot in Chinese food) and about 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots. After about 5-6 minutes, I added about 1/4 lb of whole green beans. I cooked these veggies until tender. Meanwhile, I cooked a 16oz package of chow mein noodles. Once the veggie mixture was cooked, I poured the sauce on the veggies, heated through and tossed with the noodles. Next time I would double the amount of sauce and have adjusted amounts below to reflect double recipe.

Sauce (Source:Adaptable Feast)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine (I used 3 T rice vinegar and 1 t sugar as I didn't have any rice wine)
3 t sugar
4 T black bean garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients and toss with above mixture.

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth
Pretty yummy. I found that steaming the wontons worked much better than the recipe suggestion to boil them. The broth was very mild and a bit too mellow for us. Still pretty yummy though. I added extra veggies to the wontons and scallion to the broth. The seasoning in the wonton filling was quite tasty!

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)

(As usual, I modified several things so it's not exactly the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum!)

1 cup chopped broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 T oil
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 t hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 t hot Chinese mustard
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
4 cups water ( I think this might have been more flavorful had I used vegetable broth or faux chicken broth???)
6 slices fresh ginger
1 T mirin (I used a splash of cooking wine as I didn't have mirin)
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
16 wonton skins

For filling: Heat oil in skillet and add broccoli, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add chili sauce, mustard, 1 t soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make wontons, take one skin and place in diamond shape. Fill with 1-2 t filling. Fold in half to make a triangle and moisten edges with water and pinch sides to seal. Set triangle in front of you with point up and take the 2 side points and bring them together in front to cross. Set aside and prepare remaining wontons. When finished, place wontons in a steamer basket and steam over pot of boiling water until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine remaining ingredients (except wontons) and simmer 10-15 min.

Place 3-4 wontons in bowl and ladle broth over wontons. Serve.