Thursday, April 4, 2013

Zucchini Pasta...Vegan Chick-un Enchiladas...Zesty Tofu Wrap

I've made some pretty fun things this week...trying lots of new recipes. I've seen recipes in several places that use zucchini or yellow squash "ribbons" in place of pasta and I have been wanting to try it. I have been looking through Brendan Brazier's cookbook "Thrive" and this recipe was in it (except it used yellow squash, not zucchini but I had zucchini!). It turned out pretty yummy.

Summer Squash Fettuccini with Lemon Pepper Cream From Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier, p. 226
4-5 medium long yellow summer squash
1 tsp + 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
2/3 cup cashews, soaked in water 1-2 hours
3/4 cup water
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp or more ground pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil (I used canola)
1 leek, thinly sliced (I used an onion)

Trim the ends of the squash. Using a hand-held vegetable peeler, carefully strip the squash, layer by layer, into noodle-like pieces and gather into a colander. Toss squash strips with 1 tsp of sea salt and place the colander over a large bowl to catch excess moisture. Let rest for 15-20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and press water out using a clean kitchen towel. Place the soaked, soft cashews in a blender with the water, lemon zest, vinegar, freshly ground pepper, and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt. Blend for several minutes on high until a very smooth cream has formed. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the leeks. Cook until softened, reduce heat to low and add the blended cream to the pan. Stirring constantly add squash to the pan and heat through. Serve immediately garnished with freshly cracked black pepper. When I made my April menu, I went through my binder of recipes that consists of all the recipes I have torn out of magazines, newspapers etc. There are so many recipes in that binder that I frequently forget to go through it and pull out new recipes to try. I found several to try for April, some of which were recipes I had made in my pre-vegan days that I wanted to veganize. The recipe for these Chicken Enchiladas was one of them. I remember them being very delicious and I hoped I would be able to create a yummy vegan version. Thankfully I was successful!

Vegan Chick-un Enchiladas
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 t garlic powder
1 8 oz package vegan chickun tenders (I used Trader Joes Crispy Chickun)
1 can chipotle diced tomatoes with chiles or 1 cup salsa
4 oz vegan cream cheese
2 T chopped cilantro
2 t cumin
1 t salt
1 1/2 cups white or pinto beans, cooked and drained
8 flour tortillas In a skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onions until soft. Add garlic powder, salt, cumin, cilantro and 1/4 cup tomatoes or salsa. Add beans and stir to combine. Add cream cheese and stir to combine thoroughly until all is incorporated. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, cook chickun tenders according to package instructions. Chop cooked chickun into small pieces and add to bean mixture. Spoon filling evenly into 8 flour tortillas, roll and place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray (seam down). When all enchiladas have been filled, top with remaining salsa. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min or until tortillas are lightly browned. These were delish! I served them with corn and kale salad and a broccoli salad for a fabulous lunch!

Zesty Tofu Wraps with Olive Tapenade (recipe adapted from Cooking Light April 2002)

1/2 cup green olives
1/4 cup black olives
1 t grated lemon rind
1 t oil

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1 lb tofu, drained and pressed
1 large onion, sliced
 3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T cider vinegar
1 T honey or agave
1 t rosemary
1 t oil
2 t spicy brown mustard
1/4 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
4 flour tortillas
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried

To prepare tapenade, add all ingredients to food processor and pulse to mince. Do not puree. Set aside. To prepare wraps, combine 2 cups boiling water to the sun dried tomatoes. Let stand 30 min. Drain and chop. Set aside. Cut tofu into slices. Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray. Add onion and cook until soft. Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Remove from heat and set aside. In the same pan, add the tofu and 1 t oil. Cook until browned on both sides (flipping slices in the middle of cooking). In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, cider vinegar, honey or agave, rosemary, mustard, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Pour over the browned tofu and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. To build the wraps, take a tortilla and layer it with 2 T of tapenade, 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, 1/3 cup onions, 1/2 cup spinach and 3-4 slices of tofu. Fold and enjoy!

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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.