21 February 2015

Vegan lentil loaf

I've been messing around with different variables in my meatless loaves this winter.  The ones with eggs definitely hold their shape better when sliced.  But I use tahini and gelled flax seeds in the vegan one, and it works pretty well.  This one here has pulverized mushrooms, celery, carrots, breadcrumbs, red lentils, sauteed onions, ground flax, tahini, and thyme.  Parchment paper is a must if you want to have any hope of getting it out of the pan.  Top with ketchup and broil for old-timey feel.  More to come after I get it plated!

Zucchini Spaghetti Alfredo

We try to do a 3 day raw food cleanse from PuraVegan once a month.  This is one of the dinners that is usually a part of it.  I really like it.  Kurt not so much.  Anyway, I finally bought a spiralizer so I could make it myself.  The alfredo sauce is sooo easy to make it is ridiculous.  You can have this on the table in ten mins if you are a fast spiraler.  

For the spaghetti:
One large serving = 3 small winter sized zucchini / 1 big summer one would also work

For the sauce:
2 1/2 cups cashews
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon thyme spice
1 teaspoon sea salt
Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth.  Toss with "noodles" and top at will.  I had a lonely mushroom so I tossed that in.  Some parsley and black pepper would be great too.

Vegan Gumbo

My sister-in-law's dad is from New Orleans, and always makes gumbo for Christmas Eve.  I volunteered to make the veg version for the other half of the family this year.  I had a bit of a crisis the night before as I was unable to find any decent okra.  Props to my friend and neighbor, Jim, who saw my plea on FB as he was walking down the produce aisle at WF and hooked me up!  Thanks to PostPunkKitchen for the recipe.  It was yummy and hearty hearty!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium sized onion, diced large
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping cup sweet red peppers, diced large (or one red bell pepper)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
8 springs fresh thyme (plus extra for garnish)
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth at room temperature
2 cups okra (about 10 oz) sliced 1/4 inch thick or so
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Rice for serving - provided by the cajun!
First we’re going to make a roux, but it has a little less fat than a traditional roux, which means it doesn’t get as goopy. If you’d like a more traditional roux, just add 3 more tablespoons of vegetable oil. Okay, so, let’s proceed.
Preheat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. The wider the pot the better, so that you have lots of surface area to make your roux.
Add the oil and sprinkle in the flour. Use a wooden spatula to toss the flour in the oil, and stir pretty consistently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the flour is clumpy and toasty.
Add the onion and salt, and toss to coat the onions completely in the flour mixture. As the onions release moisture, they will coat more and more. Cook this way for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so.
Add the peppers and tomatoes and cook down for about 10 more minutes. If using cherry tomatoes, place a cover on the pot to get them to cook faster and release moisture. As the tomatoes break down, the mixture should become thick and pasty.
Season with fresh black pepper, add bay leaves, smoked paprika and thyme and mix well.
Stream in the 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Add the okra and beans, then turn the heat up and cover to bring to a boil. Stir occasionally.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is nicely thickened and the okra is tender. If it’s too thick, thin with up to 1/2 cup vegetable broth. If it’s not as thick as you like, just cook it a bit longer.
Add the lemon juice, and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems (if you can see them) then serve in a big, wide bowl, topped with a scoop of rice and garnished with fresh thyme.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Believe me, I tried to find a way to avoid the superbowl, especially this year since my city is being held hostage by a billionaire team owner.  But my cool new neighbors were having a low key party, which meant there would be people there who would converse with me and not be glued to the tv like my husband, so I decided to get in the spirit of things and make buffalo cauliflower bites.

These were good, but I can't remember where I got the recipe!  Honestly I think my previous incarnations were crispier, so I would just google the one that fits your needs.  Some are vegan, some have butter, some have eggs etc.  The one bit of advice I would give is to under-cook them if you can.  Mushy cauliflower is not what you want in this case.  And boy, that Franks sauce is really hot.  See if you can get a mild or medium.  For real.


No cream creamy cauliflower soup

I was watching my favorite show, America's Test Kitchen, and they made this.  It's a lot of work, but it is also really interesting how they figured out how to cook the cauliflower in 3 different stages.  I have noticed that as a trend in food these days.  You might get a beet salad with some raw, some pickled, and some roasted.  It really does the vegetable justice I think.  Here is the recipe copied directly from the ATK site, which I followed to the letter, because they do trial after trial and don't present a recipe until it is PERFECT, so why change a thing?!


  • 1 head cauliflower (2 pounds)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. 1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
    2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
    3. Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 cups water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
    4. While soup simmers, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
    5. Process soup in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter, and chives and seasoning with pepper to taste.

Hot sauce

My friend Mike was gifted this pile of peppers and passed them onto me hoping I could make better use of them.  I didn't really know what I would do with them either, but then the obvious struck me! I have a few friends who regularly delve into the world of hot sauce making, and I have always contributed peppers I've grown to the cause, one such year I had a jalapeño plant that wouldn't quit!  I harvested about a hundred in one day that summer.  This year I didn't grow any peppers, but it is the year I made hot sauce! Go figure. 
I decided I probably had enough of each color to make separate red and green sauces.  Here is the green in production.  This is more of a quick recipe where everything goes into the blender at once and bob's your uncle.
One recipe called for a purée of boiled carrots onions and garlic.  I wasn't sure which one I was going to add it to, but I decided on red in the end, as it would have destroyed the green color. 
My other recipe called for a fermentation, which is always of excitement for me.  They say to leave it to ferment as long as you like, tasting it each day until the flavour is just right.  I waited about a week, and then I was sick of waiting, so I blasted it in the vitamix with just a little of the carrot mixture, which in itself was pretty spicy because I boiled them inthe same water I used to blanch the peppers. 
When we moved into this house over 10 years ago, I was way into HP steak sauce on scrambled eggs.  My inner hoarder convinced me I needed to save all the empty bottles and they have sat in the basement ever since.  Until now!  I had way more of the red sauce, so I put that in the hoarded bottles, and bought the bottles for the green, which came with a little dripper thingy that I had to remove to get any sauce out of it.  I brought these to our Christmas Eve gumbo party and they were a big hit!  More on the vegan gumbo here.