Monday, September 13, 2010

Carmelized Leek and Spaghetti Squash Polenta with White Sauce

My sister makes polenta a lot and I always enjoy it but I have never made it before. This recipe looked really tasty so I gave it a go. Very yummy! The polenta is very flavorful and the white sauce was a perfect addition. I almost made it without the sauce as I think the Vegan Yum Yum creamy sauces often taste very much the same and I didn't figure it would add a lot. I was wrong - the sauce was fabulous! This recipe is a bit time-consuming but worth it. I served it with Lemon Walnut Green Beans and Roasted Carrots and Onions (which look dreadful in the picture! I roasted the onions and carrots with a little olive oil, coarse sea salt and pepper and bake at 425 until the onions are very crispy. So even though they look terrible, they are delicious!)

Carmelized Leek and Spaghetti Squash Polenta with White Sauce (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 T olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 small spaghetti squash
3 cups water
1 vegetable boullion cube
1 cup cornmeal
½ t red pepper flakes
¼ t salt

White Sauce
¼ cup vegan butter
2 T flour
1 T tahini
1 T lemon juice
1 t stone-ground mustard
2 T nutritional yeast
1 cup soy milk
½ t salt
pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil. Add leeks and cook until golden and tender. Set aside. Meanwhile, place about ½ in of water in a baking dish. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place squash face-down in baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 min. Remove from oven, cut each half in half again , scrape flesh from skin and place in a bowl. Squeeze out excess moisture with a paper towel. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add boullion cube to 3 cups of water and bring to boil. Add the cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking thoroughly. Continue to whisk. Add leeks, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 min. Add squash to polenta and stir. Mix well and cook for another 5 min. Scrape polenta into an 8x8 baking dish and cover. Refrigerate for about an hour. Cut into quarters. Take each square and cut it in half diagonally. I cut each diagonal again to yield thinner pieces. Pan fry or bake the polenta pieces and keep warm. I pan-fried mine but would try baking next time as it was kind of a pain and I don’t think it added much other than fat!

To make the white sauce, melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour to form smooth paste. Add remaining ingredients except soy milk. Stir. Slowly add soy milk until smooth and thick.

Serve polenta topped with sauce.

Lemon Walnut Green Beans (Source: Supermarket Vegan)
1 lb. Fresh green beans
1 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 T chopped walnuts
½ t coarse sea salt
¼ t dried rosemary
¼ t lemon pepper (I left this out because I didn’t have any)

Steam green beans until crisp-tender – about 5 min. Drain. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add green beans and remaining ingredients. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Serve.


  1. I've made 2 vegan yum yum recipes this week, which left my kitchen in a major disaster both times. I don't mind if I have the time, but I'm not the one usually doing the dishes thanks to Nate. The recipes are delicious, but usually take 4 pots minimum. I made the cauliflower casserole this week, Nate's request. He liked it alot. I'm still not sold on tofu ricotta. This polenta looks delicious! I'll have to try it :) I'm so impressed with the detail in all her recipes!

  2. I agree - her recipes usually require a great deal of work and lots of mess! We liked the cauliflower dish also - Frank really enjoyed it. But, yes, lots of details in her recipes that are a bit much sometimes. For the most part, I love her stuff, just wish it were simpler!! This is a must-try. It was fabulous!


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.