Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chili-Lime Tofu...Tempeh Larb...Sweet Potato and Leek Gratin = YUM!!!

I have had a successful cooking weekend so far! That always makes me delightfully happy! I tried several new recipes and all of them turned out yummy.

This tofu dish was so easy and once I threw it together, I had my doubts as to whether or not it would really have any flavor. The ingredient list was short and the method was extremely easy and fast. The result? WOW!! It was soooo yummy! My hubby loved it and my 2yr old gobbled it down. Truth be told, there were no leftovers! As we near our 1yr anniversary of going vegan, it is so funny to look at our plates now and contrast them to what they looked like a year ago! My husband is still amazed that he enjoys tofu so much and said last night "I can't believe we eat tofu!" I used Central Soy Smoked Tofu in this - perfection! Such a refreshing dish. I made a few changes to recipe - it called for scallions which I didn't have so I used dried onion flakes; it called for cayenne but I used smoked paprika so my kiddos could eat it; and it called for red peppers which my family doesn't like so I left those out.

Chili Lime Corn with Smoked Tofu (adapted from 500 Vegan Recipes)
1 lb corn (frozen, canned, or fresh)
6 oz extra firm smoked tofu, cut into small cubes
1 fresh lime, thinly sliced
1 T minced dried onions
2 T lime juice
2 T oil
1 t smoked paprika

Tempeh is one of those proteins that I have been on the fence about. I have tried it several ways and though a couple of them have been ok, I haven't been crazy about tempeh. I have recently found so many recipe that look good that use tempeh so I decided to give these fermented beans a try again. Glad that I did! This Tempeh Larb (I know, doesnt' sound appetizing!)was really good. Perfect fare for a hot summer day. The recipe actually calls for iceberg lettuce leaves to make wraps but I got a free bag of iceberg salad so I made this into a salad instead. It was cool, refreshing, another perfect summer meal. I must say, the tempeh was delicious. It was so nutty and yummy. Needless to say, I think tempeh might just find a little more space on our menu!

Tempeh Larb
2 8oz packages of tempeh
2 t minced fresh ginger
¼ cup canola or peanut oil
16 iceberg lettuce leaves

Larb Sauce
½ cup fresh lime juice
3 T soy sauce
1 ½ t sugar
1 onion, sliced
½ cup cilantro chopped
½ t red pepper flakes
2 t minced fresh ginger

Larb: Steam tempeh for 20 min in steamer. Cool and cut into quarters. Pulse tempeh in food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add ginger and pulse. Heat oil in skillet. Add tempeh and cook 8-10 min or until brown and dry.
Larb Sauce: Combine lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Add tempeh, onion, cilantro, pepper flakes, ginger and toss to combine. Fill each lettuce leaf with tempeh.

This recipe just looked so yummy. And, in fact, it was incredibly yummy. Of course most gratins are covered with dairy-laden sauces and cheese - this one was so yummy, sweet and had a melt-in-your-mouth component that was delightful. I have several recipes using leeks on my menu but I only bought one bunch, so I used 1 leek and 1 vidalia onion in this - just added to the sweet goodness of the dish.

Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin (adapted from Everything Vegan)
1 ½ T olive oil, divided
2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and sliced
3minced cloves garlic
3T fresh rosemary
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup veg broth
3 T breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 450. Heat 1T oil in skillet. Add leeks, garlic and 1 ½ T rosemary. Saute until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange 1/3 of sweet potato in 10in round dish coated with cooking spray. Spread half of leek mixture on top. Arrange another 1/3 sweet potato and top with remaining leeks. Follow with remaining sweet potatoes. Drizzle broth over dish. Cover with foil and bake 35 min. Stir together breadcrumbs, remaining oil and rosemary. Remove foil. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered 15 min more or until browned.

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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.