Sunday, October 26, 2008
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. enerG egg replacer
2 tbsp. vegan margarine (softened if refrigerated)
enough water to make a firm, pliable dough - 1 1/2 cups or so
1 tbsp. canola oil
3 medium red potatoes, in one inch cubes
2 stalks celery, diced
6 to 8 cups water
2 tbsp. vegan chicken broth powder, or your favorite veggie stock
1 tbsp. dried dill
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (optional - leave out if you like a clear, not creamy, soup)
salt and pepper to taste
Oyster crackers or saltines to serve
* The egg replacer is optional - I just tried it to see how the texture was - dumplings hold up find without it.
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry dumpling ingredients, and fold the soft margarine into the dry mix. Add a cup of water, and stir to combine - the dough will still be pretty dry. Continue adding water, a few spoonfuls at a time, until the dough is dry enough to work with in your hands. If it becomes too moist, dust with more flour and continue kneading for a few minutes. The dough is pretty forgiving, and if it is a little low on moisture, that will only result in a firmer dumpling - no big deal. I just work it until it’s not sticky and I can cut off sections that hold together completely and are dry enough to work with. Cover the dough until you’re ready to make dumplings.
2. Heat oil in a soup pot, and saute diced celery for about 2 minutes. Add about six cups of water and broth powder or stock, bring to a boil, and add potatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook potatoes until they just begin to soften. While the potatoes are cooking, start cutting up the dumplings. This is the only tricky part of this soup - if the potatoes are pretty soft by the time you add the dumplings, the potatoes might become a little mushy by the time the dumplings are done cooking. This varies by type of potato too - just something to keep in mind.
3. I find that the easiest way to make dumplings is to break off tennis ball-sized pieces of dough, roll them into long cylinders - about ¾ inch wide - and snip off dumplings with a scissors or very sharp knife. You can snip them directly into the simmering soup - this way they don’t get stuck together in a bowl, and they tend to keep from sticking in the soup if they are added one by one.
4. Keep the soup at a steady simmer, and continue cooking until about 5 minutes after the last dumplings have been added. Sprinkle in about a half tbsp. of dried dill. If using sour cream, add it just before turning off heat. Stir until it is “melted” and incorporated into the soup. Season with salt and pepper. I like to sprinkle a little more dill into the serving bowls, and eat it with saltines or oyster crackers.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I might try some chili-ginger or chili-garlic paste to can or freeze, or just freeze them as they are. Either way, I won't need to buy chilis for a long time. Finally, a response to a question from Ali about any tricks for growing tomatoes up here. I grew my plants in a freshly tilled garden plot, so I suppose the soil was pretty rich and full of nutrients. All I added was some peat moss - one bale in a plot about 10' by 5' - in the spring, since Red River valley soil tends to be pretty dense - I tried to make it looser and easier to work. After that, all I did was pull weeds and water late at night or early in the morning in the couple of dry stretches this summer. The plants were in full sunlight after mid-morning each day. I didn't use any other fertilizer or pesticides, though there are lots of organic and homemade techniques out there.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I know you've seen tomatoes before, but I'm proud of these. Check this out - with only three plants, I've picked over 230 tomatoes this summer. That's counting a few golf ball sized green ones lately, but a nice return on my investment of 4 bucks or so. I'm not a numbers-oriented person at all, but I thought it would be fun to keep track of the production in the garden. Here's some glowing jars of stewed tomatoes.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Molotes are made by encasing a filling with a corn masa dough. A molote has a specific shape - sort of an elongated football - which distinguishes it from the array of other stuffed corn masa foods in Mexican cooking. I used a mixture of lentils and walnuts (inspired by the walnut taco filling on the My Vegan Spoons blog -thanks!), seasoned with lime, cumin, ancho chili powder, and roasted garlic, for the filling. After a quick spin in the food processor, the mix makes an awesome taco/enchilada/whatever filling. The molotes are fried in a whole lot of canola oil, until golden brown on all sides. The ultra-spicy sauce is the perfect counterpoint to the rich, warm flavors of the fried corn dough and lentil-walnut filling. The combo was topped with a sprinkle of fresh lime juice and some shredded cilantro.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
1 medium-large eggplant
Eggplant marinade ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1. Cut the eggplant vertically in 1/2 inch slices. Combine the marinade ingredients, and pour over eggplant slices in a baking dish or ziploc bag. Let sit for at least an hour, or overnight, tossing the pieces around a couple times to make sure everything gets seasoned.
2. I grilled the eggplant for around 10 minutes, shifting halfway through to get some nice grill marks. The outsides were just a little crispy, and the interior was tender and creamy.
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tbsp. pine nuts
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup canned quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1. Use a food processor or blender to grind up everything but the artichokes. I mixed the artichokes in next. Top the eggplant slices with the pesto (preferably at room temperature) and sprinkle with lightly toasted pine nuts or more walnut bits.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
4 lbs. roasted tomatoes
1 roasted medium-large eggplant
2 cups diced basil leaves
1 medium white onion, roasted
1 bulb garlic, roasted
I allowed the roasted ingredients to cool before blending in a food processor to something thick but not completely pureed. Bringing the roasted and chopped vegetables to a simmer on the stovetop, I started working on additional flavors. Seasoning included dry oregano, 2 or 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, a liberal sprinkle of salt, some black pepper, and a spoonful of balsamic vinegar. I played around with these until I had something I really liked, so these quantities are rough guesses. I added the basil leaves at the very end of the simmering and seasoning on the stove top, to avoid overcooking them.
Canning is much easier than I used to think, but I recommend you follow the directions on whatever canning materials you're using, or find a reliable online source. If you've never tried canning before, I can't recommend it enough. It feels great to take food processing into your own hands, and the results are almost always better than what you'll find on grocery store shelves, which tend to be overly salty and loaded with an alphabet soup of chemicals and preservatives. Canning is time-consuming, but I enjoy my fall canning nights. The warm, steamy kitchen feels pretty good when the temperature drops outside. It is all worth it when I pop open those garden flavors in January to use on pasta or pizza.
7 spring roll wrappers
4 medium-sized apples
1/2 cup walnut bits
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. lemon juice
vegan margarine (Earth Balance, as always)
1 tsp. cornstarch, mixed with a half cup of water
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Peel, core, and dice the apples to quarter inch cubes. Mix apple with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.
2. Place one spring roll wrapper on a clean work surface. Cut in half from top to bottom with a non-serrated knife, to avoid tearing. Place a heaping spoonful of apple mix about a half inch from the bottom center of each spring roll half. Lightly coat the bottom edge of the wrapper with the corn starch-water mixture - I just dab a finger - and fold the wrapper bottom over the apple mixture from bottom left to the right side. This will form a little triangle, with the bottom edge affixed to the lower right edge - I hope this is making sense, but I'm doing my best. Seal the edge by lightly pressing along the seam. Fold the triangle up, keeping the right edge even. To finish the turnover triangle, you should be able to fold the apple-filled envelope from bottom right to the top left edge of the wrapper. Moisten the top and top left edges with the starch-water mix, and gently press to seal. You should half a neat little triangular turnover, without apple spilling out the sides. Trust me, this will make more sense in actual practice, but I hope my directions are helpful.
3. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Brush turnovers lightly with melted margarine, and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. I found they're best served crisp and warm out of the oven.
All the cool kids are ahead of me again and have this on their blogs. Sounds good, and I guess the general idea is to blog as much as possible about vegan munchies throughout October. Vegan bloggers of the world, UNITE! (I'm slamming my desktop Mussolini-Schrute style...I need one of those webcams).