Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fancy Vegan Easter Stacks, Gluten-free Fruit Pie

It saddens me a bit to see how long it has been since I last posted. I have discovered that not everything can take priority in my life and therefore, some things must patiently wait for my attention (ie. this blog!).

I have some fun new recipes to share from recent weeks...

Easter is one of my favorite holidays of the year. By far, it is my favorite Sunday of the year...reflecting on what Jesus did for us never ceases to bring intense joy to my heart. I love to create incredibly special menu items for this day shared with family around a big dinner table and though not everyone is interested to try my vegan creations, it still thrills me when I make something scrumptious!

This year I made fancy Easter stacks that turned out pretty fabulous. They were a bit of work to put together but well-worth the effort in my opinion.

1. First, I marinated a block of drained, pressed, sliced tofu in a lemon dill marinade (recipe here - I only used the Lemon Dill Dressing marinade - eliminated the oil) and then baked the tofu at 400 for about 15-20 min.

2. I then marinated and cooked portobello mushrooms (marinade recipe here - instead of cooking all together in a skillet at first, I marinated the mushrooms in the ingredients overnight and then cooked them in a skillet with the marinade until tender). When cooked, I sliced the portobellos.

3. Next I made a balsamic reduction by simmering 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with 3 T maple syrup until reduced by half.

4. I cut thick slices of tomato.

5. I made an avocado cream sauce by placing a block of extra firm silkin tofu in the blender until smooth. To the tofu I added a ripe, seeded, peeled avocado, 1/2 t dill, a sprinkle of sea salt, a few cracks of fresh pepper, and the juice and zest of 1 lemon and whirred all in the blender until well blended.

6. On a plate I placed several slices of tofu, topped this layer with a couple slices of portobello, followed by a tomato slice, a few drizzles of balsamic reduction and finished it off with a large dollop of avocado cream.

Like I said, a little time-consuming but the end result was delicious!

My sweet and thoughtful family made sure that there were plenty of gluten-free, vegan options for me on the Easter table, including Artichoke Mashed Potatoes made by my sister-in-law (amazing, btw!) and this fresh fruit pie made by my mom. The fruit pie recipe is from the Engine 2 cookbook and can be found here. Don't let the simple list of ingredients fool you! This pie was amazing and there was not a crumb left!

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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.