Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harvest Butternut Squash Stuffing and Seitan Roulade En Croute

Thanks to everyone who came out to Tanaka Farms on Saturday for the Plant Powered OC Vegan Holiday Cooking Demo and Talk. It was a great turnout and we had a super fun time!

A couple of notes about the following recipes. THEY ARE FLEXIBLE! Don't like pecans? Use walnuts. Don't like yellow onions? Use red ones. Don't like cranberries? Use raisins. Don't like wild rice stuffing? No worries, use your favorite stuffing recipe instead. Don't want to put the puff pastry on? Don't! It's all about making food that YOU like. Not me. So have fun with it.

Harvest Butternut Squash and Wild Rice 
Stuffing with Cranberries
Whether you serve this up as a side dish or use it to stuff your holiday roast, this wild rice dressing is full of holiday flavor.

2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
5 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 pound cubed butternut squash (about 3 cups)
2 cups diced white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 ounces chopped kale (about 2 cups tightly packed)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare the rice in a rice cooker using vegetable broth instead of water.
If you do not have a rice cooker, bring veggie broth to a boil in a pot with a tight fitting lid.
Stir in the wild rice. Return to a low simmer, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until broth has been absorbed.
While rice is cooking, heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a large pan or deep pot with a lid. Add in butternut squash, onions and garlic. Toss to combine.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until squash is fork tender and onions are translucent and fragrant.
In a large bowl (or in the pan if you have enough room) add cooked rice, cranberries, pecans, kale, cinnamon, salt and pepper to the butternut squash and toss to combine.

Stuffed Seitan Roulade
This center of plate roast is sure to have your guests bellies full of holiday flavor.

2 cups vital wheat gluten
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup refined coconut or olive oil
4 cups Harvest Butternut Squash Stuffing

In a mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
Add water and oil and knead for 5 minutes until an elastic dough is formed.
Lightly cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Roll or press dough into a large rectangle. Use a rimmed baking sheet as your guide.
Spread stuffing evenly on top of the dough leaving about a one inch border on all sides.
Roll up tightly and place seam side down on a large sheet of aluminum foil.
Wrap tightly in foil. Place seam side down on a baking sheet and bake for 90 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before unwrapping.
Slice and serve.

Seitan En Croute
Time to take it to the next level! Add a beautiful crust to this roast guaranteeing this will be a center of the table showstopper at your next holiday get together. (You can use this en croute technique on any seitan roast!)

1 prepared Seitan Roulade
1 package (2 sheets) vegan puff pastry
3 tablespoons melted vegan butter

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Lay roast in center of baking sheet.
Carefully stretch one sheet of puff pastry over the entire roast, tucking in the edges under the roast. Cut the remaining sheet into strips and arrange in a basket weave lattice over the top, tucking the ends under the roast.
Brush the entire top with melted butter.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky.
Remove from oven and serve.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Texas Hold 'Ems (BBQ Pecans and Ranch Salad Tacos) from Vegans Go Nuts!

Photo Credit: Susan and Ryan Asato of BigTentVegan.com
Over the last few weeks I have been cooking up a storm. Nope, not at home. But for people interested in learning how to cook vegan! Nothing warms my heart more than teaching people how to cook without animal products and then hearing them afterwards telling me how much they loved the food. Its the best feeling in the world.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sponsoring the Food Demo Stage at SoCal VegFest. Eleven vegan chefs from Southern California teaching thousands (You read that right...over a thousand people attended these demos over the weekend!) of vegans, vegetarians, and open minded omnivores the art of plant-based and vegan cooking. People from all walks of life attended and taught. We had chefs teaching all spectrums of animal-free cooking. From the oil-free crowd, to the superfood crowd, to the super fancy schmancy crowd, to the easy home cooking crowd. It was glorious.

My demo was last (not because I am full of myself, but because I had to make sure all of the other chefs were taken care of before I could worry about myself. And I expected a very small crowd at the end of the day on day two of the festival. I was sure that people would be tired and head home by then. But I was wrong! I had a full house! There was even a couple who drove all the way down from Bakersfield (!!!) to attend my demo. I almost broke down in tears. So, thank you to all of those who came out. I had a blast. And I apologize for looking a mess. It was a long weekend, and I was all but too tuckered out to worry about whether or not my hair and make-up looked okay before I took the stage. Lol.

Yesterday, I taught a similar class to a smaller group at the California Vegetarian Food Festival. About 40 to 50 attendees. But only 3 or 4 people raised their hands when I asked how many people in attendance were already vegan. I live for these crowds. The non-vegan crowds. The people who are seriously considering making a compassionate lifestyle change. After class was over I had many people come up to me to tell me how much they liked the food and how much they enjoyed my class. Many of them telling me how easy I made it look. I had to kindly explain that what I did in front of them WAS easy. I just did it in front of them with basic home cook equipment, using fairly "normal" ingredients. This way of cooking can be done by ANYONE. Just follow (even if loosely) the recipe.

I ran out of hand outs and promised to post this for those who attended. Sorry for the delay to the folks who attended October 30. Below you will find a few recipes. The BBQ Pecans, the Almond Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, The Chopped Salad, and for those who attended SoCal VegFest, the Spicy Peppercorn Ranch Coleslaw using my easy tofu mayo technique. The Texas Hold 'Ems recipe is straight from the pages of Vegans Go Nuts! by me and Celine Steen. Please feel free to share this recipe, just make sure to give credit (and linkbacks) to myself and Celine when you do.

If there is one thing Texas is known for, it's BBQ. And tacos. But Texas is also known for it's pecans! You don't always need a "meat" substitute. Sometimes it's fun to enjoy things for what they are...like these pecans.

Smothered and simmered in a sassy barbecue sauce then stuffed into a hand-hold. Think pita, wrapped up in a tortilla, piled into a French roll, or, of course, as tacos! These pecans work perfectly along with the tangy almond buttermilk ranch chopped salad.

As written this recipe makes a bunch. But it holds well in the fridge, and if you make a big batch of the pecans, you can definitely use them in all sorts of ways in addition to the ways mentioned above. Add them to a salad, use them in a bowl with brown rice and kale, mix them into beans and rice, put 'em on top of tortilla chips with some queso for bbq nachos, or simply feel free to cut the recipe in half.

BBQ Pecans
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 cup (160 g) diced red onion
2 tablespoons (30 g) minced garlic
1 1/2 cups (366 g) tomato sauce
1 cup (235 ml) pineapple juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) sriracha sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons (44 g) molasses
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 cups (396 g) pecans, soaked and drained*
salt and pepper to taste
*the recipe will work out just fine if you don't soak your pecans, but soaking them makes them even chewier

Add olive oil to the bottom of a pan and heat over medium heat.
Add diced onions and sauté until fragrant and translucent, and edges are browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Add garlic and continue to sauté 2 to 3 more minutes.
Add in remaining ingredients except pecans, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer, add in pecans, stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, returning to stir halfway through.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

YIELD: 5 ½ cups (8 servings)

Almond Buttermilk Ranch
This ranch is tangy and packs the perfect punch of flavor to pair with the sassy bbq pecans. If you like things a bit spicy, try adding a bit of sriracha, or any of your favorite hot sauces to the blend.

3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) mild flavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 g) dijon mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried dill, or 1 tablespoon (4 g) fresh
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Add almond milk, lemon juice, and vinegar to your blender (If you have an immersion blender this works perfectly here) and let sit for a few minutes. It will curdle and become like buttermilk.

Add in remaining ingredients and blend until combined and thickened.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

YIELD: 1 ½ cups

Chopped Salad
I like the way this chopped salad works with this recipe because you get the cool tangy dressing and the crunch of the raw onions and crisp romaine lettuce that just plays so nicely with those chewy, sassy, and just a tad spicy BBQ Pecans.

1 pound (454 g) romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces*
1 medium red onion (about 6 ounces, or 170 g) peeled and finely diced
1 bunch (2 ounces, or 56 g) cilantro, chopped
1 recipe Almond Buttermilk Ranch
*This recipe also works really well with cabbage as a coleslaw (as shown in the photo), simply sub out the same amount of lettuce with a shredded coleslaw mix.

In a large mixing bowl toss together romaine or coleslaw mix, onion, and cilantro.
Toss with dressing. If preparing in advance, do not toss with dressing until ready to serve if using Romaine. If using coleslaw mix feel free to mix it ahead of time as coleslaw always tastes better once the dressing has softened the cabbage just a bit.

Assemble Your Tacos
Nothing is sadder than taking a bite of what looks like an awesome taco, only to find out no one bothered to cook the tortilla. Listen up! Corn tortillas are only par-baked when they are packaged. They still need to be grilled or toasted before eating. So…don’t forget to cook those tortillas!

Corn Tortillas, toasted or grilled
Almond Buttermilk Ranch Chopped Salad
BBQ Pecans
Wedge of Lime
Hot sauce, optional

Layer on chopped salad then top with BBQ Pecans.
Serve with a wedge of lime and add hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!

Easy Tofu Mayo and Spicy Peppercorn Ranch Coleslaw
This technique for whipping up a delicious thick and creamy mayo is quick and easy and uses ingredients readily available at most grocery stores. This mayo can be used as a base for many different dressings by simple adding in other spices and flavorings.

1 package (12 ounces) soft silken tofu
3/4 (180 ml) mild flavored vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (5 to 15 ml) agave, optional (The more you use, the more it will taste like Miracle Whip, lol)

Add all ingredients into the cup of your immersion blender and whip until thick, creamy and silky smooth. That's it! So easy. Soooo good.

To turn it into the Spicy Peppercorn Ranch Dressing add in the following to the mix before blending:
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) sriracha, or your favorite hot sauce, to taste1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper. Then stir in 1 teaspoon dried dill (or one tablespoon fresh)

Use this dressing in place of the Almond Buttermilk Ranch posted above and use the cabbage method instead of the lettuce.

Enjoy Your Food!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Easy Pea-sy Vegan Chicken Pot Pie

Just a week ago I was denying the fact that summer was coming to an end. I was determined to enjoy the most sunshine and blue skies possible. I love summer. It's my favorite season. I love tank tops and sundresses, the feeling the sunshine on my shoulders, and wearing less make-up so my freckles can shine through.

Then it happened. Yesterday, as I was on my lunch break, it happened. A drop of rain hit my windshield. Then another. And another! And just like that, my brain went into fall mode. "Must. Have. Comfort. Food." I began daydreaming of what I could make for dinner that would satisfy my urge to create in the kitchen, and also satisfy my husband's 12-year-old-I-only-eat-yummy-foods palate. Not to mention, I wouldn't be home until about 6pm, and it needed to be on the table by 8pm or it would be a no-go.

As soon as I got off work, I called him. "Hey! What do you think about pot pie for dinner?" And he immediately said, "Mmmmm." And I knew what he was thinking. Maybe I could swing by Fox Coffee House and pick up a whole Vegan Pot Pie on my way home from work. And it's true, they have AMAZING vegan Pot Pie, and if you call in advance, you can pick up a whole one to go. But I wanted to cook! To turn on the oven. I mean it's under 80 degrees (if only by a few) and that means it's time to get cozy in the kitchen, right?

To my surprise, Dan offered up an amazing idea. "Buy everything in cans...even the potatoes...so you won't be cooking all night." Boom. Brilliant. Mad at myself for not thinking of it first. So I stopped by the market on the way home and picked up a few things. I went to Ralphs (Kroger in other parts of the country) and found everything I needed. Isn't it so great that options like Morningstar Farms Vegan Chicken Strips are available at main stream grocery stores now?

Enough chit-chat. Let's get to cookin'!

Easy Pea-sy Vegan Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe can be made in parts...if you don't have the time to do it all at once. You can make the filling ahead of time, then assemble and bake the pot pies the next day. Just as a side note, you can also use this filling all on its own as a hearty stew. A big bowl of this, while curled up in the corner of the couch, under a snuggly blanket just might be my idea of heaven.

*For this recipe I used 5-inch pie tins. You can use whatever size you want. You can even make one huge casserole sized pot-pie. The directions are still the same, you will just have a different yield depending on the size baking dish you use. The cook times given here are based on 5-inch pies. Larger pies may require slighly longer cook times. Just look for that puff pastry to be golden brown and crispy, then you will know it's done!

I am also trying to cut back a little bit on food spending, so I was happy to report that this recipe, which makes enough for eight 5-inch pot pies*, rolled in at a total cost of right around $25, or about $3.15 per pie. And believe me when I tell you each pie is definitely big enough for a meal!

2 (10-ounce) packages of vegan puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms is accidentally vegan!), thawed according to package directions
3 ounces vegan butter (about 1/3 cup) or oil
3 ounces all-purpose flour (just under 3/4 cup)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 (15-ounce) cans white potatoes, rinsed and cubed
1 (15-ounce) can green peas, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can carrots, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
1 (10-ounce) package of Morningstar Farm's Meal Starters Chick'n Strips (or any other of your favorite vegan chicken substitutes...and to be honest, you could totally leave this out and it would still be fucking delicious.)
additional melted butter for brushing

To Make the Gravy
While your puff pastry is thawing, you can make the gravy and filling.
In a large pot (if you don't have a large pot, you can use a smaller one, just know that you will need to transfer the gravy to a larger bowl once you add in the fillings) add butter or oil and heat over medium heat.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir vigorously until all of the flour is absorbed into the butter or oil and forms a thick golden paste. Continue to cook, constantly stirring, and turning until it is dry and kind of looks like play-doh. About 5 minutes.
Slowly stir in the vegetable broth and continue to stir. Stir in the parsley and pepper and continue to cook until thickened.
Remove from heat.

To Make the Filling
If your pot is large enough, you can dump all the ingredients (potatoes, peas, carrots, corn and Chik'n) right into the pot and stir. If not, pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl and carefully pour the gravy into the bowl, then stir to combine.

Assemble Your Pot Pies
You will need two layers of puff pastry for each pot pie. One for the bottom, to line your dish, and one for the top to create a buttery flaky crust.
Line each of your pie tins, baking dishes, or ramekins with puff pastry dough, using your fingers to shape it and press it into place. Luckily, puff pastry is quite forgiving and you don't have to be too gentle with it. If you tear it, don't worry, just make a patch with another small piece and you will be good to go.
Ladle in the filling until the dish is full. It can be really full! Pile it in there so you don't end up with wimpy pot pies!
Next place another layer of dough on top and pinch together the edges to seal. I use the tines of a fork to do this.
Poke a venting slit in the top.
Brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake to Golden Perfection
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C, or Gas Mark 5).
Place your pot pies on a baking sheet...just in case some of that filling does decide to spill over.
Bake for 15 minutes, then crank up the heat to 400 F (204 C, or Gas Mark 6) and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
Remove from oven and allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 (5-inch) pot pies

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni