Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I have really been enjoying recipes from the Conscious Cook - there really are some fabulous concoctions in this book! As I have mentioned previously, however, the recipes are quite detailed and require multiple steps thus making them rather time-consuming - but boy are they tasty! In the recipe for Paella, I have again modified and simplified the recipe. Turned out fabulously! I made it for lunch today - wanted to make something really yummy for my parents who had just arrived from Florida following a very LONG airport/airplane adventure that put them back into KC about 15 hours late! We all quite enjoyed this. I made a yummy salad with sweet poppy seed dressing and served it all with crusty french bread sprinkled with garlic salt.
Of course following our delicious lunch, I wanted to make a special dessert for my very exhausted parents! So, where did I turn? Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar of course! Love that book! The Cowboy cookies were the pefect blend of oatmeal, chocolate chips, coconut and pecans baked to a fabulous brown perfection! My hubby's going to love these!! My brother-in-law on the other hand would hate these cookies (seriously, how can you not like nuts or coconut?!). Another delicious day in this vegan household - woohoo!!

Tossed Salad with Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup grapes, washed and cut in half
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 cup vegan croutons
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage

Toss all salad ingredients together and drizzle dressing over the mixture. Toss to coat.

Poppy Seed Dressing (My Favorite Recipes - modified a bit)
2 T white vinegar
1 T yellow mustard
1/3 cup honey (ok, so I know that's not vegan but honey is not something I stay clear of - sorry! You can substitute agave if you would rather)
2/3 cup canola oil
1 T minced dried onions
1 t salt
3 t poppy seeds
Combine all ingredients and shake til combined.

Paella (Conscious Cook - under the recipe name Paella with sausage, nori-dusted oyster mushrooms and wine-braised artichoke hearts)
For the Rice:
4 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T fresh minced parsley
2 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 t salt
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups rice (called for med-grain but all I had was long grain and it turned out great)
4 cups faux chicken broth
pinch of saffron threads
1/2 t fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil. Add onion and garlic until cooked and translucent. Add tomatoes and parsley. Add a spinkle of water. Cook until veggies resemble chunky jam. Add rice and cook for 2 min. Add broth, pepper, salt and saffron. Stir to combine and bring to boil. Cook uncovered for 10 min without stirring. Lower the heat to simmer and continue cooking uncovered for 15 min (I had to add another 1/2 cup or so of water and cook a bit longer as mine wasn't done at this point). Set aside or place heat on lowest setting to keep warm.
In a separate skillet, heat 2 T olive oil and cook peppers for 3-4 min or until just browned but still crispy. Add to rice mixture and stir to combine.

For the Toppings:
2 T olive oil
3 Field Roast sausages, sliced (I used chipotle)
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 sheet nori seaweed, toasted and ground
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1/2 cup faux chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

Heat 1 T olive oil in skillet and cook sausage until lightly browned. Set aside in bowl. Add 1 T oil back to pan and add mushrooms and aritchoke hearts. Sprinkle with toasted ground nori (I didn't want to use my coffee grinder for this and thus had a hard time crumbling it with my hands but managed sort of!). Cook about 3 min. Add lemon juice and broth and peas. Cook until liquid is reduced to half. Pour into rice mixture and stir to incorporate.

Cowboy Cookies (Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
1 T ground flax seeds
1 t pure vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together oats, flour, soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine oil, sugars, milk, flax, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture. Slowly add coconut, chocolate chips and pecans until well incorporated. Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 min or until lightly browned. (My cookies stayed quite plump rather than flattening but they were delish! A bit crispy on the outside and very moist and chewy on the inside!

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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.