Friday, November 30, 2012

German Sausage Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Although my ancestors hail from Germany, I never thought about trying to make German inspired food until we began fermenting our own sour kraut. Now I can't stop thinking of ways to cook with kraut. This may not be a pretty pizza (I had to add the red onions to keep if from looking too beige), but it's delicious and it goes great with a German Lager.

1 pizza crust, store bought or home made
2 vegan beer brats, sliced into half inch thick rounds (I use Tofurkey brand)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
Sea salt
2-3 Tbsp. whole grain or German or Dijon mustard
3/4 c. home fermented sour kraut, or a good store bought brand
1/2 a small red onion, cut into thin rings

1) Preheat the oven according to the directions for the crust you are using. Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and brown the sliced sausage, cooking for about 3 min. per side.

2) Set the sausages aside and add a little more olive oil to the pan along with the sliced yellow or brown onions and a pinch of sea salt. Give them a toss to coat with the oil and then let them sit for about 5-7 minutes until they start to brown. Once they begin to brown give them another toss and let them sit for another 5 minutes until they start to get evenly browned. Once they are mostly caramelized, stir them frequently to finish them off and then add the mustard and stir to incorporate. Spread the caramelized onions over the pizza crust.

3) Sprinkle the sour kraut over the onions and then arrange the red onion slices and vegan beer brats over the kraut.

4) Bake the pizza according to the directions for the crust you are using. Serve with a German lager beer, if desired.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BPA in Food Packaging

I sometimes like to use canned beans or tomatoes for their convenience, but I have been avoiding doing so as much as possible over the last few years since learning that there is BPA (a well-known endocrine disruptor) in the lining of most cans. Eden Organic brand produces BPA free cans for most of their canned beans so I have been using that brand, but I was still concerned about tomatoes. Today I was researching to see if foods canned in Europe might have BPA free packaging and I found this great link so I thought I would share: - Cans Without BPA

Panzanella 2

I already posted one recipe for Panzanella, an Italian style salad featuring day old bread. This one is more traditional using mainly onion, basil and tomato but with a little arugula thrown in for some green.

1 tomato, with it's juice, diced
1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
5 leaves of fresh basil, minced
2 large hand fulls of baby arugula
2-3 c. cubed day old bread, multigrain is nice
Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
A few drizzles of balsamic or red wine vinegar
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper to taste

1) Chop the vegetables and then toss them in a large bowl with the cubed bread.

2) Drizzle the dressing ingredients over the salad, there is no need to mix them together in a separate bowl, and then add the salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad again and serve.

This makes 2 large servings or 4 side servings.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Niter Kibbeh

Ah yes, a classic Turkish-Ethiopian recipe. This soup is one that I've adapted over the years from a recipe that I found in and old cookbook I have: "More With Less - A Mennonite Community Cookbook." If you aren't familiar with the More With Less cookbooks (they have a couple of different versions now), they're great compilations put together by Mennonite missionaries from all over the world. The cookbooks are not vegetarian, although there are a lot of vegetarian recipes in them (since most of the rest of the world seems to know what's up). What I love about them is that they use mostly whole foods, and they are done with the idea that healthy and wholesome food should be affordable to everyone. Plus, since they're put together by missionaries you get recipes from all over the world. Yay!

So this soup is good. But then I had some extra Niter Kibbeh, an Ethiopian spiced butter that I use in my Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew Recipe, and I decided to give it a try in this soup. Even better! So the paprika, mint, and parsley are the Turkish part and were part of the original recipe. The niter kibbeh is the Ethiopian part that I threw in along with some zucchini and a little extra tomato.

2 small yellow or white onions, diced
1/4 c. Niter Kibbeh
1 heaping cup of red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 6 oz. can tomato paste 
1 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika (or whatever kind you have)
1 tsp. dried mint
1 heaping tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
8 c. vegetable broth
2 medium zucchinis, diced

1) Melt the niter kibbeh in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and let them saute until they're soft, about 5-7 minutes.

2) As the onions saute, measure out your spices, rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer, and dice the zucchini. Once the onions are soft add the tomato paste and stir it around in the pot to melt it. Then add the lentils and spices and toss them together with the tomato paste and onions.

3) Add the broth and the bay leaf and stir it around to make sure the tomato paste is fully dissolved. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 20 minutes.  Make sure to stir it about every 5 minutes or so because red lentils love to stick to the bottom of the pan.

4) After 20 minutes add the zucchini and let it simmer for another 10-20 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes or so, until the lentils are fully soft and the zucchini is crisp-tender.

This makes about 8 large servings and goes well with pita bread.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Indian Chickpea Salad

I was making another recipe and had some odds and ends leftover so I thought, "Why not try tossing this stuff in a salad and see how it turns out?" Not to brag, but WOW - I think this is the most delicious salad I've ever invented. Next time I'm going to double the recipe.

This is kind of like hummus but without blending it. The flavors will blend and get better if you make it a day ahead of time. This is great on its own for lunch or served with any Indian or Middle Eastern meal. It would also be good stuffed into a pita with some lettuce and tomato. If you use canned beans, keep in mind that Eden Organic brand does not have BPAs in the lining of their cans.

For the Dressing:
1/4 c. tahini
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Water to thin out if necessary

For the Salad:
2 c. cooked chick peas (aka: garbanzo beans), or a 15 oz. can rinsed and drained
1/4 c. peas, thawed by running under hot water in colander
1/2 a small red onion, diced
1 c. cauliflower florets or leftover Cauliflower Subji (it's so good with the subji)
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, minced

1) To prepare the dressing place all of the ingredients in a blender and bend until smooth (or use a hand held blender)

2) Place all of the salad ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss with the dressing.

This serves about 4 depending on what else is served along with, I take that back, it's so good it only serves 2.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cauliflower Subji

 In Indian cuisine subji is a spiced vegetable dish. Subji can be saucy or dry, this dish is a dry subji. The only thing I don't love about Indian food is how complicated it can be to cook authentic Indian cuisine. To me the work is worth it, but I thought that maybe everyone doesn't want to hunt down specialty Indian grocery stores and spend hours in the kitchen crushing spices and following dozens of steps for a recipe. This dish is very simple and quite good, even my husband who claims he doesn't like cauliflower likes it. I am listing several of the spices as optional just to make the recipe as simple as possible - you need the curry powder but for the optional spices just use the ones you already have and leave out the ones you don't have. If you decide you want to cook more Indian food at home then you can go out an purchase more spices, but don't do it just for this recipe.

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (if you want it to be lower fat, replace some of the oil with vegetable broth)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric (optional)
1/4 tsp. garam masala (optional)
1/4 tsp. cumin (optional)
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wash the cauliflower and cut it into florets.

2) In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil and spices and set aside.

3) Place the cauliflower in a baking dish and toss with the oil and spice mixture to evenly coat.

4) Cook the cauliflower for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then remove the baking dish and use a wooden spoon to toss the cauliflower pieces around. Bake for another 10 minutes or until tender.

This makes 4 servings.

Cauliflower Subji topped with Miso Lemon Tahini Sauce

Monday, November 19, 2012

Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

These are delicious and healthy. You can use the yellow sweet potatoes or orange yams. My favorite way to serve these is with Mango Chutney Barbeque Sauce for dipping. The recipe is for 1 sweet potato, so if you want to make more just add more spices. You should use one large baking sheet per potato to make sure they won't be crowded, otherwise they'll turn out mushy rather than crispy.

This batch was made with 2 large yams.
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and sliced into thin fries (try to get one that's short and fat)
Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. corriander

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil it and set it aside.

2) Peel the sweet potato, slice it into thin slabs, and then cut the slabs into thin fries.

3) Place the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and toss with a little olive oil and the spices, making sure to distribute the spices and oil evenly on the fries.

4) Place the fries evenly about on the prepared baking sheet. Bake them for 15 minutes and then toss them with a spatula. Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until they are starting to become crispy and just starting to blacken at the very edges, be careful not to burn them.

 Use one sweet potato or yam for 1-2 people, and one tray per yam.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mango Chutney Barbeque Sauce

I got the idea to use mango chutney in barbeque sauce from a garden burger cookbook I have. The original recipe used liquid smoke to get a smokey flavor, but I don't like liquid smoke so I use chipotle chile powder instead. You could also try replacing the chipotle chile powder with smoked paprika or a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. I also added some vegan worchestershire sauce to mine and a few other goodies. This is my favorite condiment to serve with sweet potato fries.

1c. ketchup
1/4 c. mango chutney (I like hot, but you could use mild)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. chile powder
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
A small drizzle of pure maple syrup
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. vegan worchestershire sauce (I use Wizzard brand)
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1) Place all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil as you whisk everything together.

2) Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 20-25 min. Make sure to give it a stir and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan every 5 minutes or so.

3) Let it cool a bit and the puree with an immersion blender or in a blender. Transfer to a glass container or jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.

This makes about 1 1/2 c. of barbeque sauce.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rosemary Potato Bisque

There are many reasons I consider myself lucky to be married to my husband, Micah. He doesn't mind rubbing my back, but can't stand having his own back rubbed. He's really smart and funny and good looking. And in the food related category he is an award winning home brewer and he bakes excellent bread. But I'm not just saying all of this to be braggy about my husband. The point is, he baked a perfect loaf of whole wheat rosemary sourdough bread and I just had to come up with a delicious soup to dip it in. This soup is subtly flavored and made from simple ingredients that we almost always have on hand.

By the way, I looked up what bisque means and while it can be a rich soup made with sea food, I am using the thick soup of pureed vegetables version.

7 cloves of garlic, pressed
Extra virgin olive oil
3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
1 brown onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 russet potatoes, diced (peeled or not, whatever you want)
1 Tbsp. paprika (try different kinds - hot, sweet, smoked)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 c vegetable broth
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (just leave them in tact, you will remove them later)
1 c. plain non-dairy milk such as soy or almond

1) Heat a decent amount of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, maybe about 1-2 Tbsp. You could use less, but the garlic infuses the oil & distributes throughout the whole soup via the oil and that's why I use a little more than usual for this soup. Add the crushed garlic and saute for about 1 minute to infuse the oil.

2) Add the leeks and onions and continue to saute for 5-7 minutes more until they are softened.

3) Add the potatoes and seasonings and toss it around to coat the potatoes in the paprika (this helps the paprika not clump when you add the liquid).

4) Add the broth and the rosemary sprigs, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

5) Remove the soup from the heat, take out the rosemary sprigs, let it cool a bit, and then add the non-dairy milk and puree with an immersion blender or in a blender. Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.

Micah's Sourdough Loaf
This makes about 6 servings and is perfect with sour dough bread.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pasta Salad

I like to have things like this around to pack in lunches or have for little snacks. Add whatever vegetables you and your family like - tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, olives, artichoke hearts, thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, beans, cooked lentils, sunflower seeds, fresh parsley sun dried get the picture.

!Warning: This is delicious.

1 lb. spiral pasta shapes (I like the tri-colored ones)
1 recipe Simple Vinaigrette (with a little vegan pesto stirred in, if desired)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (or 1 shallot)
1 c. broccoli, cut into very small pieces (or cauliflower)
 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1/2 c. sliced kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil

1) Cook the pasta according to package directions.

2) As the pasta cooks make the vinagrette in a small bowl, and chop the vegetables and place them in a large bowl.

3) When the pasta is done drain it and rinse with cold water.

4) Toss the pasta and vinagrette with the vegetables in a large bowl and chill for about 1 hour before serving.

This makes about 6-8 servings (depending on how much you eat in one serving).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fancy Italian Hoagie

I love huge sandwiches that can be sliced and shared amongst several people. The leftovers of this sandwich are perfect to take to lunch the next day. A lot of times when I crave a certain type of food I realize that what I like is usually the sauce and seasonings and not necessarily the specific ingredients. I used to make this with mozzerella cheese, but I honestly don't miss the cheese at all. However, you could add vegan cheese if you feel the need.

1 large loaf of crusty bread (whole grain or multigrain are both nice)
About 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
About 4 c. mushrooms, sliced (baby bella, button, portabella, etc.)
Sea salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. vegan pesto
1/2 c. sundried tomatoes (dry or oil packed and sliced into thin strips)
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
About 10 leaves of fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
About 2-3 c. baby arugula

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 3 minutes and then add the oregano and a little sea salt and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2) Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise and place face up on a baking tray (lined with foil or parchment paper to aid in clean up, if desired). Spread the pesto evenly over both sides of the bread

3) Add the following ingredients, in the order listed, to the bottom half of the loaf: sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions. Keep the sandwich open and place in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

4) Remove the sandwich from the oven, place the basil and arugula on top of the vegetables and place the top half on the sandwich to close it.

5) If desired, tightly wrap the sandwich in a kitchen towel and place a baking sheet over the sandwich and weight it down with something heavy, like cans or a cast iron skillet, for about 20 minutes. This will help the sandwich hold together. However, you could slice and serve immediately.

Weighted with a baking tray and boxes of broth.
This makes 4-6 servings depending on what else is being served.

Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Arugula

Pizza has pretty much been my favorite food since I was about 5 years old, so it was one of the only things that was difficult for me to give up when I switched to a vegan diet. In fact, pizza is the reason I stayed "vegetarian" for so long rather than just eating an all vegan diet. Vegan cheese, as far as I'm concerned, cannot really be compared to dairy cheese and with a few exceptions vegan cheese kinda bums me out. Being the pizza snob that I am, I think that these caramelized onion pizzas I keep coming up with can satisfy vegan and non-vegan pizza lovers alike without pretending to have cheese on them.

1 pizza crust, store bought or homemade
About 1/4 c. vegan pesto (optional but very good)
2 yellow or white onions, halved and thinly sliced and caramelized in a little extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (optional)
4 c. various mushrooms, sliced (crimini, button, shiitake, portabello, etc.)
1/2 tsp. oregano
3-4 c. baby arugula

1) Preheat the oven according to the instructions for the crust you are using. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil (maybe 2-3 tsp.) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the onion slices and a pinch of sea salt. Toss the onions to coat them in the oil and then let them sit for about 5-7 minutes until they start to brown. Give them another toss and let them sit for about 5 more minutes. Once they really start to evenly brown add the garlic if you're using it and turn the heat down to medium and stir them frequently until they are fully caramelized. Then spread a little vegan pesto over the crust and place the onions evenly over the crust.

2) Return the saute pan to the stove and add a little more olive oil if necessary (but it's probably not necessary) and begin to saute the mushrooms. Once they are softened add a pinch of sea salt and the oregano and toss the mushrooms around to coat with the salt and herbs and then place the mushrooms evenly atop the onions.

3) Bake the pizza according to the directions for the crust you are using. Once you remove the pizza from the oven immediately place the baby arugula on top so that it gets a little wilted from the heat of the freshly baked pizza.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler

I am not a baker. Traditionally I do not like to bake, my baked goods have never really turned out that well and I really don't like to eat baked goods that much. However, once I discovered vegan baking a lot of that changed. I still don't really care for baked goods or sweets myself. But I love baking vegan treats for other people. I have no idea why, but whenever I bake a vegan recipe it turns out great even though the things I used to bake in the past using dairy or eggs never worked out for me. Yay! This recipe is the only baked good recipe I have ever made up myself. I made it up for when company comes over because we don't eat dessert and so I'm usually at a loss for what to make when I'm suddenly faced with the need to prepare a dessert. This is quick and easy and it goes really well with that Coconut Bliss ice cream made out of coconut milk (which costs a million dollars but none of us should be eating ice cream every night anyways, so eating better ice cream less often is probably a good thing).

1 12-16 oz. bag of frozen blueberries (kept frozen until just before using)
1 1/4 c. unrefined sugar (Trader Joes has a good price on this)
1 1/2 c. spelt flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1/2 c. non-hydrogenated margerine, such as earth balance buttery spread, melted in a small pan over the stove (it will curdle if you microwave it)
3/4 c. any plain nut milk (almond, soy, etc.)
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly coat a 9 x 12 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl combine 1 c. of unrefined sugar with the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt and clove. Whisk well to combine.

3) In a large bowl beat together the melted buttery spread, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract until mixed well. Gradually add the flour mixture a little at a time (in about 3 batches) and mixed until smooth.

4) Remove the frozen blueberries from the freezer and place them in a medium bowl along with the other 1/4 c. of unrefined sugar and stir to coat the blueberries in the sugar (some sugar will remain at the bottom of the bowl and that's fine).

5) Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Then evenly dump the blueberries over the batter without pressing them down or stirring.

6) Bake until the top is golden brown and the center of the cobbler does not jiggle if you shake the pan a little, 35-40 minutes. Let it cool a bit before serving.

This makes at least 12 servings and could be made with raspberries or peaches or strawberries instead of blueberries.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Garlic Soup

I'm not going to make any magical health claims about this soup. All I will say is that my husband was starting to get a bad cold, complete with a sinus infection, so I made this soup up for him. The morning after eating it he was fully recovered. Oh, and it tastes really good.

6-7 c. vegetable broth
1 head of garlic, peeled & minced
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 bulbs of fennel, fronds cut off, tough outer layer removed and quartered
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
15 oz. can tomato sauce or 3 tomatoes blitzed in a blender or diced with their juices
1/4 c. dry vermouth, white wine or vodka (optional)
Sea salt to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

1) Place the broth in a large soup pot, place it over a high flame and bring to a boil.

2) As the liquid comes to a boil add the herbs and chop and add the garlic, onion and fennel. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 1 hour.

3) After 1 hour add the tomato, vermouth, sea salt and cayenne and let it simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

4) Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a bit. Then strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl making sure to press down on the solids to extract all of the liquid. Scrape the underside of the strainer to make sure all of the soup stuck to the bottom gets into the bowl.

5) Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. Reheat the soup and serve.

This makes 2-3 servings.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thai Pizza

This pizza unites two of my favorite foods: pizza and Thai food.

1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp. Asian hot sauce such as Sriracha or chile garlic paste, or Thai curry paste (red or yellow)
1/3 c. all natural peanutbutter

1/2 cake of tofu (8 oz.), sliced into thin small rectangles
1/2 a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
6 crimini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Vegan cheese
2 large or 4 small scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. (large handful) cilantro, minced

1) To prepare the sauce, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven according to the directions for the crust you are using.

2) To prepare the tofu, rinse it off and pat dry. Using only 1/2 of the cake (most are 16 oz., so you need 8 oz), slice it cross wise into thin rectangles. Lay the rectangles in a stack and then cut them in half lengthwise, and then into smaller rectangles cross wise. (In other words, get the tofu sliced into small, thin rectangles). Heat a little oil in a saute pan over medium high heat, and fry the tofu until browned on both sides - this will take about 5 minutes for the first side and 3 minutes for the second side. Set the tofu on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside when it's done frying.

3) To assemble the pizza, spread the sauce evenly over the crust. Place the peppers, mushrooms and onions evenly over the sauce. Sprinkle vegan cheese over the vegetables and then scatter the thinly sliced scallions over the cheese.

4) Bake the pizza according to the directions for the crust you are using. When it is done baking sprinkle the cilantro over the top and serve.