Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Worknight Wednesday: Indian Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili

Yep, I am still reveling in the marvel that is Jackfruit.  I really do feel silly not having jumped on this bandwagon sooner.  It is so quick and easy to make, and the results are so impressive.  Kudos, jackfruit.  Kudos.

Indian Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 fresh jalapeño, finely diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chilies (more to taste!)
1 (20 ounce) can jackfruit, packed in water or brine, rinsed and drained
1 cup (235 ml) all natural root beer (not diet!)
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a pot.
Add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add garlic and sauté an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add in jalapeño, chili powder, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and crushed red chilies.  Stir to combine.
Add in jackfruit and toss to combine.  Using the edge of your spoon or spatula to break up the jackfruit as it cooks.  Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add in root beer, tomatoes, and pumpkin.  Stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, constantly stirring, until jackfruit is stringy and tender.  About 10 minutes.
Serve garnished with non dairy sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two for Tuesday: Soyrizo!

I do love me some Soyrizo.  And I know it's processed, and I know it's full of fat and salt and all of that stuff that is bad for me, but if I can get my newly vegetarian husband to crave something and actually ask me to buy it, then I know this is some tasty stuff.

I have been squeezing the brown lumpy goodness out of it's fake intestine tube casing for years, even before I was vegan, because let's face it, real chorizo sausage has some pretty gross and scary stuff in it.  And this stuff is really easy to use too.  One of my favorite ways to make it is in a breakfast burrito.   The other is a funky little appetizer I like to make that I call a Meximosa.

Soyrizo and Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burritos
Make up a bunch of these to bring to your next morning tailgate party, like I did with these ones (See original post here).

1 block (1 pound) extra or super firm tofu, drianed and pressed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tube (about 6 ounces) of store bought Soyrizo
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese (I used Daiya Pepperjack)
5 to 6 burrito size tortillas

parchment paper, optional
aluminum foil, optional

Into a bowl, crumble tofu. Mix in turmeric, black salt (if using) and paprika. Set aside.
In a frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant.
Add in Soyrizo and stir. Heat all the way through, stirring constantly.
Add in tofu mixture, and heat all the way through.
Stir in sour cream and cheese. Mix together until melted and well combined.
Remove from heat.
Heat tortillas until soft and pliable. Divide filling amongst the tortillas and roll up.
If eating now, serve while hot. If saving for later, wrap each burrito in a square of parchment and then in a square of aluminum foil, then refrigerate until ready to heat up.


A spin on baked samosas!  These are super easy to make, and awesome to bring to parties or pot lucks.

For the crust:
Simply, a flour salt and water dough (+/- 2 cups ap flour, +/-1 cup water and a pinch of salt), rolled out thin and cut into squares.

For the filling:
1 package of Soyrizo 
1 tub of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 350.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Mash together soyrizo and cream cheese in a bowl.
Put a pretty big dollop of filling in each one and pinched them together at the top. 
Bake, for about 20 minutes.
Half way through baking, brush them with olive oil. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giveaway Winners! (I can't wait to get cookin'!)

It was so hard to choose what to make, so I picked two!  Brunch and dinner!  Now I just have to find the right gas connector to get cooking.  (Which sounds a lot easier than it actually is.)  Stay tuned for a post featuring these two great meals cooked up on my new grill.  My tummy is rumbling just thinking about it!

And to the two winners...PLEASE send me an email at joni AT justthefood DOT com with your mailing address and which book you would like, so I can send it out right away!  

Thanks to everyone for playing, there are lots of good ideas in there!

UPDATE: I finally found the right part to connect the gas, so now I just need to get her all seasoned up and I will be ready to cook!  I did get one good pancake tonight, but more seasoning is definitely necessary to get her all nice and naturally non stick just like a cast iron skillet!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Freedom Fridays: Phoney Baloneys and a Cry for Help

Today I finally got myself over to Phoney Baloney's!  It's hidden away in the backside of a strip mall, but definitely worth the hunt.  The fine folks who took and made my order were super friendly and the food was ready really quickly.  Because of the location (inside of a gym) I ordered mine to go and could hardly wait to get to my car and open up my lunch.

I ordered up a Grown Up Grilled Cheese. A unique blend of apples, onions & pepperjack melted between fig butter lined whole wheat sourdough - $5.95

Grown up grilled cheese!
The Grown Up Grilled Cheese from Phoney Baloney's in Irvine

It was amazing. The bread was toasty and grilled to perfection and all of the gooey insides were a perfect contrast to the crisp thinly sliced apples. And the fig butter was so good in there! This was a great sandwich. It really was. Now that I know where it is and how it happens to be on the way home from work, I know I will be stopping by there way more often.

And now for the cry for help...

I have started compiling recipes for my next cookbook.  And I need testers!  This will be a pretty quick round, as my manuscript will be due February 1, 2013.  I know that sounds like ages away, but it is only a few months from now.  Here's what I am looking for:  Anyone who is willing to test recipes that are whole foods based.  Everything from scratch.  NO store The majority of these recipes will be made from ingredients that can be found at any well stocked grocery or farmer's market. There will be a few specialty ingredients, most of which can be found at any Asian or international grocer.  Anyone interested will need to have a Google account so I can give you access to the super secret testing blog.  And you must like cilantro.  Cilantro haters need not apply.*

The theme?  California Vegan Fusion: California cuisine is a style highly influenced not only by fresh, local ingredients, but also by an amazing amount of cultural diversity. From our pizzas to our mashed potatoes, you’d be hard pressed to find a dish that hasn’t been touched by some sort of ethnic twist. Just check out the burgeoning Mexican Asian fusion food scene in Los Angeles which has taken diners by storm. From ChaCha Chili, to Don Chow Tacos, to Kogi’s Korean BBQ Burritos. But why stop there? Out West, we like to take risks with our foods: Fresh takes on traditional favorites and lighter versions of traditionally heavy classics.

If interested, please send me an email at joni AT justthefood DOT com.  I will get back to you all by the end of next week with further instructions!  As of now I have received enough testers.  I will post again should I need more!  Thanks everyone, you guys rock!

*My husband is a cilantro hater.  I just don't get you people!  But seriously, you can still apply.  Just secretly do so, and then subtly do not test the cilantro heavy recipes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Worknight Wednesday: Leftovers, a New Grill, and a Giveaway!

I am not cooking tonight.  I shall feast on leftovers, because this girl is pooped out.  I started working this morning at 5 am and after I got off work at 2, I drove an hour to return a flat top grill I bought myself (an early birthday present?) last week.  This is not the first time I have returned it.  I returned it once already, because the flat top warped and flipped out within minutes of me turning it on.  This time I returned it for the same reason.  That thing was just junk.  Expensive junk, but junk nonetheless.  All is well, because check out what I got instead!

Vegan Taco Party anyone?  
I cannot begin to convey the excitement I am feeling about this thing of beauty.  My head is swirling with new recipe ideas.  What should I make first?  Leave a comment telling me what you think I should make on this bad boy, and I will pick one of your ideas to make on Saturday afternoon!  And the person who comes up with the idea that inspires me most, will receive a copy of any of my books!

(Please leave a comment below.  I will choose one winner on Saturday at 1pm Pacific Standard Time.  YES!  I will ship internationally.)

Contest now over...Congrats to COCONUTANDBERRIES and Dawn from VEGAN FAZOOL!  Please send me your mailing address and which book you'd like to receive!

Two for Tuesday: Macaroni

I love macaroni.  I love it hot and I love it cold.  Here are two of my favorite macaroni recipes, and neither one of them is mac and cheese!  (Though I really love that, too.)

Buffalo Mac Salad: cold AND hot

Buffalo Mac Salad (From The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, page 100)
Maybe I've been working in a deli for too long, but it seems I can always be counted on to be the one who whips up a kick ass macaroni salad to bring to any get together.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mash-Up Monday: Vegan Mofo and Blog Action Day

Today is a different kind of Mash-Up Monday.  Instead of mashing up two different foods, I am mashing up two different blog events.  Vegan Mofo and Blog Action Day.  This year's theme for Blog Action Day is the "Power of WE" and it couldn't have been a better topic for me this year.  This year I am all about the power of WE.  And just who is WE?  Technically, it's all of us, and what amazing things WE can accomplish when WE work together.

And to mix it up with Vegan Mofo, the Vegan Month of Food, I am going to tell you about how the power of WE pulled off a pretty vegan amazing event on Saturday night.  And for the purposes of this post WE are the FNA Foundation (Joni, Kristen, Carrie, Jennifer, Elizabeth), Danna, Wade (and the rest of the amazing folks at The Prospector in Long Beach), Exene Cervenka (Squee!) and the uber cool Petunia and the Vipers, Mike Hack and the generous team at Whole Foods Market, Tustin, and of course all of our friends, family, and new faces that came out to support this, our first ever, pop-up vegan food shack.

L-R: Elizabeth, Joni, Carrie, Kristen
So, what was the power of WE?  The girls and I who formed the FNA Foundation (which stands for Food-N-Art) wanted to give back to the communities that have given us so much.  None of us have enough scratch to just be giving it away, so WE decided that WE would donate our time and talents to putting together events that would raise awareness of healthful eating through fundraisers in which 100% of the proceeds would be donated to various charities throughout the community.  Each of us has our own talents to share, from marketing and graphic design, to art and fashion design, to cooking, blogging, painting, spinning fire, musicians, the list goes on and on!

Last Saturday WE all got together and chopped, cooked, boiled, steamed, baked, dipped, mixed and served up some pretty awesome vegan food to a crowd of folks out for a great night of drinks and music.  That's right kids...WE set up a vegan venue right outside of a steakhouse!  And, man was it well received by carnivores and herbivores alike!   So, WE got to do so much good!  WE got to expose lots of people to yummy vegan food.  WE got to spread the word about our foundation.  WE got to raise a bunch of money for the Whole Kids Foundation.  But most of all, WE got to have a great time with our friends, doing good deeds, and spreading the good vibes!

L-R: Me, Exene Cervenka and Carrie

What else can WE do to spread the vegan love?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Worknight Wednesday: I have way too much food!

On this busiest of Worknight Wednesdays, I am simply going to rifle through the fridge and eat whatever I have left in there.  And in doing so I am once again reminded of my cousin Leah's Great Grocery Experiment.  It seems that I always reference this during MoFo, so why should this year be any different.  There is so much food in my fridge.  There is so much food in this house!  Way too much for me and my husband.  Way too much.  And as I ponder what to make of this (I know, such a first world problem!) I will also cuddle up on the couch, under a blanket, with my handsome little man, for the first time in ages, since it is finally starting to feel like fall!

Too much food!
Way too much food in this fridge!

I just realized there are not enough gratuitous pictures of this guy on my blog!  His name is Michael.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two for Tuesday: TVP

A Word About TVP
"TVP, textured vegetable protein. What the heck is it? Your new best friend, thats what it is.  TVP is actually a brand name for hydrolized vegetable protein, which you see on ingredients lists for many foods. It is produced from soy flour after the soybean oil has been extracted, then cooked under pressure, extruded and dried.  Why is it your new best friend? Because it is the easiest meat substitute to use, it is super low in fat, super high in protein and fiber and can be used anywhere that a recipe calls for ground beef with very little effort. Oh, and it tastes great too.  Okay, on its own, it tastes kinda gross, but when spiced properly, damn.  To use TVP, it must be reconstituted.  The standard for reconstituting TVP is 1 cup granules to 7/8 cup boiling water.  BORING!  I always suggest adding a little something to the mix.  Even if its just adding a veggie bouillon cube to the water.  I usually use veggie stock to reconstitute my TVP, and sometimes I will add a little Bragg or Tamari too, depending on the recipe.  TVP makes great veggie burgers, meetballs, tacos and meetloaf, and tastes great added to sauces and chilis.  It really is the easiest way to make fake meat.  It is sold in many forms from small granules, to cutlet sized chunks.   And I will admit, that the larger chunks kind of freak me out, so for the purposes of this book, buy the small granules. And once again, if you can find it in the bulk bins, get it there, way cheaper." --originally published on page 59 in Cozy Inside, 2007

That was five years ago.  And for the most part, I pretty much stand by that statement.  The only things I would change are:
  • The larger chunks no longer freak me out (Hello, Soy Curls?)
  • There are lots of brands that make or distribute TVP now.
  • I no longer use words like "meetballs" or "meetloaf"  (or "cheeze" or "creem")
And since we already traveling back in time to the good old days of Cozy Inside, here are two recipes from the book using TVP as an ingredient.  (I reprinted these here in almost their exact form as they appear in the book.  It's so funny to see the difference in my writing style over the years.)

Spicy 3 Bean TVP Chili and Sweet Skillet Cornbread

Spicy 3 Bean TVP Chili
Originally appeared in Cozy Inside, page 30
Nothing warms my belly like a big bowl of spicy chili.  Add a big ol’ piece of sweet skillet cornbread, smothered in Earth Balance and I am a happy, happy girl.  This chili is so full of flavor that there is absolutely no reason why the omnivores in your life won’t also love this meal.  

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 whole head, or 8 to 10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (15 oz) cans of diced tomatoes with the juice (No salt added)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons hot chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup TVP granules
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

Put oil in a large pot. On medium-high heat, add onions and garlic. Heat until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add all cans, stir well. Add spices, stir well. Add TVP granules, stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring every once in a while.  Top with a dollop of easy nondairy sour creem.

Yield: 8 servings

Old Fashioned Meetloaf

Old Fashioned Meetloaf
Originally appeared in Cozy Inside page 49
The first time i made this, the smells wafting through the kitchen made my mouth water and my heart go pitter-pat.  When it was done, and I took my first bite, i actually said, out loud, “Oh my f#@!, This is one of the best things iIve ever put in my mouth!”

3 cups TVP granules
2 ½ cups vegetable broth, or water
2 tablespoons Bragg, Tamari or Soy sauce
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus extra pepper to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 cup ketchup, plus extra ketchup for basting
1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Reconstitute TVP granules in veggie broth & Bragg by mixing it together in a large microwave safe bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 6 minutes.  Set aside.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.  

Mix all ingredients into the reconstituted TVP, except the extra ketchup and pepper.  Mix well.  Use your hands and knead the mixture together.  Make sure everything is well incorporated.  At this point you can proceed, as is, or take half of the mixture and place it in the food processor and process until it is the consistency of paste.  Then mix the two portions back together, very well, with your hands.  The point of this step is to get your meatloaf to stick together better when you slice it.  TVP is crumbly and when you slice your loaf, if you want perfect slices, use this method.  If you don’t mind crumbly meetloaf, you can skip this step.  It tastes the same either way and I have done it both ways with great results.

Press the “dough” into a well oiled loaf pan very tightly.  As tightly as you can pack it in.  Seriously.  Push hard.  Harder.  Okay, now bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove and brush a thin layer of ketchup onto the top.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, let stand about 10 minutes and turn onto a serving dish.  Serve with garlic smashed potatoes (page 35) and of course garnish with, you guessed it, more ketchup!

Makes: 2 small loaves, depending on the size of your loaf pan

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mash-Up Monday: Indian Food, Mexican Food, and Burgers

Indian food, Mexican food and burgers?  Why not?  Now, you might not know this about me, but I fancy myself a bit of a burger snob.  Veggie burgers of course!  I even wrote a little book about it.  This is a recipe from that book.

Masa Masala Burger patty before cooking (from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet)
Masa Masala Burgers
Two of my favorite ethnic foods are Indian and Mexican. I took a bit of a risk to try and combine the two, but here goes! These are soy and wheat free as a bonus. I like them served on a bed of greens or Basmati rice with Tangy Tahini Sauce (below), or any of your favorite creamy dressings.

1 cup (114 g) masa harina flour, like Maseca™
1 cup (198 g) fully cooked lentils
2/3 cup (160 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Additional oil for frying (optional)

This couldn't be easier. Mix all ingredients together and form into patties.
Pan fry in oil (or you can use a little non stick spray on a hot skillet) and fry 3 to 5 minutes per side.
You can bake these, but they tend to dry out a bit, so, make sure to use a foil tent and maybe even brush a little extra olive oil on them before baking.
Bake at 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) for about 10 minutes per side.

Yield: 4 burgers

Masa Masala Burgers, fully cooked topped with Tangy Tahini Sauce

Tangy Tahini Sauce
This wheat free (can be soy free too, depending on what kind of yogurt you use!) tangy sauce works well as a spread for the Masa Masala Burgers. It also works well as a salad dressing and dip for veggies.

1 container (6 ounces, 170 g) of plain nondairy yogurt
3 tablespoons (48 g) tahini paste
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, or whisk together very well.
Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Yield: 1 cup (235 ml)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Vegan Food Gifts Giveaway Winners!

The winners for THIS giveaway are:

Please send me an email with your snail mail address so that I can send you your book straight away!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Freedom Fridays: Beyond Meat

Today I had the awesome opportunity to try out the new Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips.  Oh man!  These things are certainly going to give Gardein a run for their money...and I love me some Gardein.

Beyond Meat is so realistic.  You will definitely do a double take, "Is this really vegan?"  (Photo courtesy of the Beyond Meat website) 
The main difference is the absence of gluten.  I don't have a gluten intolerance, but the flavor of gluten is prominent...not that it's necessarily a bad just is.  Beyond Meat doesn't have that.  Like Gardein, it is very realistic.  I am going to go ahead and say it.  It is even more realistic than it's competition.  And if you gave up meat because meat grossed you out...this is going to gross you out too.  But if you gave up meat because you just don't think it's right to eat an animal, but you liked it in your pregan days, or you are still on the fence about this whole vegan thing...then you will really love this stuff.
Beyond Meat plant based chicken (Photo courtesy of the Beyond Meat Website)
Lucky for me, it is now available in the Prepared Foods department of my Local Whole Foods market as well as the new vegan sandwich shop Phoney Baloney's in Irvine!  And they are currently working towards a nationwide presence.  If there is a place near you that has it, you should definitely try it.  I know I am going to have some fun with it over the next few weeks.  I promise to report back.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Forks Over Knives the Cookbook

I received a copy of this cookbook for review directly from the publisher.  What a fun surprise!  I love new cookbooks, especially vegan ones, and especially ones that might not have piqued my interest otherwise.  

This is one of those cookbooks that follows some pretty extreme "plant based" rules.  I follow enough rules, just being vegan.  I thank goodness everyday that I don't have a wheat, nut, or soy allergy! 

But there are lots of different reasons for going vegan.  And one of those reasons is for health, whether that be curing disease or losing weight.  More power to 'em.  That's just not me.  I've played around with vegetarianism for ethical reasons since high school.  (I even did an oral report with a friend about animal experimentation and exploitation which included a 'zine style handout for the class, and The Smith's "Meat is Murder" playing in the background as the soundtrack, in my 9th grade English class.)  And have been a full fledged ethical vegan for, I think, about 9 years now.

But back to this book.  It is not written for the ethical vegan.  In fact the word "vegan" doesn't appear anywhere on the cover!  This book's target audience is the person looking to "lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and prevent (or even reverse!) chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes."  It says so right on the back cover.  And all of this can be done if you follow a "plant based" diet.  That being said, I am all for anything that gets people to stop eating living creatures.  So, there's that.

Now on to the premise of the recipes.  This book falls into the SOS category;  No added Salt, no added Oil, no added Sugar.  If you follow this blog, or even know me a little bit, you know, this is not how I regularly cook, and not how I regularly eat.  I've tried it.  I came up with a recipe here and there on my own (I am a cookbook author after all!) and I even try to incorporate at least one SOS meal or dish every day.  And, full disclosure here, I work for Whole Foods Market, and we provide not only a ton of information on eating this way, via the Health Starts Here program, but we also cook and serve a lot of food this way.  Just tonight, we hosted a buffet serving only SOS foods.  I have attended several workshops lead by the amazing and talented Derek Sarno, and I really can appreciate the challenge of coming up with tasty foods that meet these criteria.   I've even attended a workshop by Dr. Joel Furhman himself.  So, I am quite well versed in the science behind it, as well as the rules and techniques for eating and cooking this way.  Yet again, I digress...

Forks Over Knives the Cookbook is well written, and packed full of recipes.  Over 300 of them!  So there is certainly value in this heavy tome.  And as I read the book (in the bubble bath as I do with every new cookbook) I did bookmark a few recipes I probably will put into regular rotation at my house.  The Cauliflower Bechamel looks amazing, and Cuban Style Black Beans with Cilantro Rice will certainly become a quick favorite around here. And if you are looking for a cookbook that will help you to eat this way, you won't go wrong here.  The food presented here is pretty, and colorful, and full of veggies, grains, and beans.  It is a very good cookbook.  Del Sroufe did a fantastic job at providing a wide variety of clean recipes made with simple ingredients, with lots of options for every meal of the day. And lucky for us, the entire dessert chapter was written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, so we know those are good!  There was a printing snaffoo which led to typos in about 30 of the recipes, but thankfully, the publisher's have already released the corrected version in ebook form, and the link to the errata page is here.

I believe each and every vegan has a right to eat the way they want to.  If you choose to eat without added sugar, oil, or salt, go for it.  Just don't berate me, or tell me I'm unhealthy, because I enjoy a bit of Daiya on my vegan grilled cheese.  I believe that food is not only fuel, but also a source of great pleasure.  Want a vegan cookie?  Have one!  Like some Vegenaise on your white bread Tofurkey sandwich?  By all means!  As long as it is vegan, and doesn't hurt anyone or anything, than I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Work Night Wednesdays: Barbecue Pulled "Pork" Sandwiches

This is freakily realistic.  I can't believe I haven't jumped on the whole "jackfruit as meat" bandwagon sooner!

Barbecue Pulled "Pork" Sandwich
Although this takes an hour to make on the stovetop, it only requires one pot, and most of the time is cook time.  You can alternately cook this in your slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours.

1/4 cup mild flavored vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
2 cans (16 ounces each) Jackfruit in brine or water (not syrup!)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce, store bought or homemade
4 to 6 sandwich rolls, toasted
Coleslaw, optional

Heat oil over medium high heat in a pot with a tight fitting lid.
Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant.
Drain and rinse jackfruit.  Cut into bite sized chunks.
Add jackfruit and liquid smoke to the pot and toss to combine.
Add barbecue sauce, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, returning every 10 to 15 minutes to stir and prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.  If needed, add a bit of water to prevent scorching.
As you stir, smash any large chunks of jackfruit into stringy bits.
Remove from heat.
Place coleslaw, if using, on the bottom half of the sandwich and then pile on the pulled "pork."

Yield: 4 to 6 sandwiches, depending on the serving size.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two for Tuesday: Avocados and Limes

A rich, buttery, soft, ripe avocado is one of my favorite foods.  Sometimes I just cut one open, sprinkle on a little Spike, and have it for lunch.  Other times I use them in the most traditional of ways: Guacamole, sliced on sandwiches or burgers, and in salads.  But every once in a while I get a wild hair up my behind and I use avocados for all sorts of other things: Chocolate pudding, pies, ice cream, and deep fried in tacos (a la Seabirds!) My two new favorite ways to use them?  Avocado Lime Mashed Potatoes and Avocado Coconut Lime Tartlets.

Avocado Coconut Lime Tart in Shortbread Crust
It is a great time to share these recipes with you.  Why?  Because in just under two weeks, on Saturday October 13, which just happens to be my birthday, my sister Kristen, and my dear friend Carrie, will be hosting the first of many of our charity fundraisers for the FNA Foundation.  (Pronounced. "Effin' Aye!") which stands for the Food 'N' Art Foundation, in which we strive for better living through food and art.  I am super excited about our inaugural event, as it is in the coolest spot, and the two recipes I am featuring on today's post are going to be offered on our menu that night, along with 6 other delicious options.

Here are the awesome details of the event:

Date: Saturday, October 13th
Time: 10:00pm (until 2 am or we sell out!)
Where: The Prospector in Long Beach
2400 East 7th Street
Long Beach, CA 90804
Entertainment: Exene Cervenka Presents: Petunia and the Vipers with full performances by Phil Alvin of the Blasters and Exene Cervenka of X. Music starts at 10pm.  There is a separate cover charge to get into the bar to see the show, and plenty of yummy drinks inside.

We are going to be set up outside, and you will be able to choose any three items from our menu for only $5!

100% of the proceeds from every delicious bite we sell will be donated to the Whole Kids Foundation  whose mission is, "To improve children's nutrition and wellness with the goal of ending the childhood obesity epidemic. Through partnerships with innovative organizations, schools and educators we work to provide children access to healthier choices. We aim to help children reach their full potential through the strength of a healthy body. Whole Kids Foundation is focusing its efforts in three areas: School Garden Grants, Salad Bars in Schools, Nutrition Education & Inspiration for Teachers."

I mean, seriously, what better way to raise money for a good cause, then to eat yummy vegan foods made by some very dedicated ladies?  But I know that not many of the readers of this blog live anywhere near Long Beach, California, so I have set up a Causes account so that you can still give to the cause!  Consider it a birthday present to me...ha!

Okay, okay!  Here are the recipes.

Avocado Lime Mashed Potatoes
You can make these light and fluffy mashed potatoes with or without the added fats.  Either way they are a super yummy spin on a traditional classic!

3 pounds of red and/or golden fingerling potatoes, cut into chunks with the skins left on.
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup nondairy butter, like Earth Balance, optional
1/2 cup nondairy sour cream, like Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, optional
Sea salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender.  Drain and return to the pot.  Add all of the remaining ingredients into the pot and smash until mashed, but some chunks and lumps remain.  If your potatoes are too thick, add in a little unsweetened milk until desired consistency is reached.
Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Yield: 10 cups (10 side servings)

Avocado Coconut Lime Tartlets in Shortbread Crust

For the Shortbread Crust: (From Vegan Food Gifts)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup nondairy butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

For the Coconut Lime filling:
4 ripe avocados
1 (15 ounce) can coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) tub of nondairy cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar*
Zest of 1 lime for the filling and additional zest for garnish
1/2 cup sweetened coconut shreds or flakes

To make the crusts, preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C, or gas mark 3).
Using an electric mixer, cream together the brown sugar and butter.
Add the salt and mix to combine.
Add 2 cups (250 g) of the flour and mix well. The mixture will be crumbly.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding the remaining 1⁄4 cup (31 g) flour as needed to make a soft dough.
Usually I make these by pressing about 1/4 cup of the dough into the bottom of a cupcake tin, then pressing firmly and creating a "bowl" in the top to hold the filling.  Of course you can use mini pie tins, tart pans, ore even one of these dessert cup pans like I did for this batch.  (You can also line muffin tins with papers and press about 1/4 of dough into the bottom.  This option is nice because it leaves lots of room to fill with filling, and also makes them more package-able/portable.)
Bake the tart crusts for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.
Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.
To make the filling, add avocados, coconut cream, lime juice, cream cheese, and vanilla to the bowl of your mixer.  Mix until smooth.  This can take a few minutes.
Add in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time and continue to mix until fully incorporated.  The texture should be silky and thick, like custard.  *If yours is still too runny, you can add more sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.
Sometimes, the mixer can't get me to the really smooth almost whipped consistency that I am after, so I finish the job off with my immersion blender.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a very dry pan, toast coconut flakes until lightly browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Pipe filling into the cooled tart shells.
Sprinkle the top of each tart with lime zest and toasted coconut.
Enjoy any leftover filling with a spoon while curled up on the couch in fuzzy slippers watching reruns of Supernatural.

Yield: 6 to 12 tarts depending on what size you make them.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mash Up Monday: Seaweed and Ranch Dressing

Hello, MoFo!  My, how I have missed you.  I am super excited to kick this year's MoFo off with a funky little recipe I was inspired to create by my friend Katie.  Katie isn't vegan, but she is open minded to vegan cooking and cuisine, plus she's a really talented chef.  She makes a non vegan version of this and, although I never have tasted it, the idea of it sounded super yummy.  The main difference between hers and mine, besides the vegan-ocity, is that hers contains wasabi.  And while a little wasabi here and there is okay, I am not a huge fan.  So I subbed a little prepared horseradish instead.

Nori Garlic Ranch Dressing
Doesn't the nutty seafood-y umami of toasted nori add such a great flavor to dishes?  Ever since going vegan (I think it's about 9 years ago now!) I have been adding seaweed to things to give them that little bit of flavor from the sea.  This is no exception.  The addition of ground up Nori flakes to this slightly kicky ranch is pretty fantastic.  Use it as you would any ranch dressing or dip.  On salads, with crudite,  you can even drizzle it all over your tacos (instead of the recommended Spicy Sushi Sauce.)

12 ounces silken tofu, drained, but not pressed
1/4 cup mild flavored vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave or brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon ground toasted nori flakes (I used 2 sheets of toasted nori, ground in a dry food processor)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Add all ingredients, except water and sesame seeds, to a blender and puree until smooth.
Add water a little bit at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  Less water for a dip, more water four a pourable dressing.
Stir in sesame seeds.
Store in an airtight container in te refrigerator until ready to use.
Should last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Shake before using, as oil and water tend to separate as they stand.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups (48 tablespoons!)

(1 serving=1 tablespoon)

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, and 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