Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bistro Asparagus Twists from American Vegan Kitchen, & Primal Strips vegan jerky

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This will be a quick post, but I couldn't keep these puff pastry-wrapped asparagus twists to myself.  They're from American Vegan Kitchen, by Tamasin Noyes.  Tami does the Vegan Appetite blog, which never fails to feature awesome vegan goodies.  The cookbook is exceptionally well done, and delivers on it's promise of "delicious comfort food from Blue Plate Specials to homestyle favorites."  I've also made the sweet garklicky ribz, and a fabulous non-meatloaf from this book.

This asparagus recipe is fairly simple, but looks and tastes totally elegant.  Asparagus spears are blanched and then wrapped in strips of puff pastry brushed with mustard, and baked.  There's a good dipping sauce to go with these too. 

I've become a big fan of Primal Strips vegan jerky, since the nice folks at Primal Spirit Foods sent me a sample pack a couple weeks ago.  There are six flavors - my favorites are the teryaki and mesquite lime, though they're all really good.  Some are seitan-based, some soy, and the "Hot and Spicy" version is made with shiitake mushrooms, which is really creative.  I was a big jerky fan in my younger days, so this is one more food I'm no longer denied, though I've long since lost the idea that eating vegan means "denial" in any way.  These are great, and have been my staple afternoon snack since I received them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Feijoada (E.A.T. World: Brazil)

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 Feijoada is Brazil's take on one of the world's great food pairs - rice and beans.  In it's traditional form, feijoada (pronounced fay-zwah-duh) usually contains meat, and judging by recipes online, lots of it.  Since vegans know a thing or two about rice and beans, there are lots of recipes out there for vegan or vegetarian feijoada.  I based this on a recipe in American Wholefoods Cuisine, my go-to old school veggie cookbook.

Everything here is pretty straight forward - long grain brown rice is cooked in water and tomato juice, along with a dried chili pepper and bay leaf.  Black beans are seasoned with onion and garlic, and another couple of dried chilis.  The greens are collards, also simply prepared and seasoned with a little salt and some chopped onions.

I was surprised by the great flavor the orange slices added, mixed with the rice and beans.  Plus, they just look pretty as a garnish.  At the bottom left is a spicy onion salsa, made by blanching sliced onions in boiling water for a few minutes, and marinating the drained onions in fresh lime juice and hot pepper sauce.

One of the classic Brazilian flavors I didn't incorporate here, but would like to try, is farofa, which is coarse ground, roasted cassava or manioc flour.  This post from SHIFT Vegan has a nice pic of feijoada with farofa.  If you want more Brazilian food, don't miss The Crafty Kook's trip to Brazil from earlier this winter!

I don't bake nearly often enough, so when I do I like to share it here :)  I was cleaning my fridge this afternoon, and found black cherries and some cranberries in the freezer, so made this pie from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  Yum.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ancho Chili Enchiladas & French Meadow Bread Pressed Sandwiches

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 Every time I make my own enchilada sauce with dried chilis, I wonder why I ever buy the canned stuff.  Making your own is cheaper, it's really easy, and the results are always worth the extra effort.  This was made with dried ancho chili peppers, seeded and soaked in hot water, and blended with roasted garlic, Mexican oregano, and ground cumin seeds and cloves.  Apple cider vinegar and salt are mixed in at the end - as usual, my chili sauce is based on recipe from Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen.

For these enchiladas, I covered the corn tortillas with ancho sauce, then fried them for a few seconds on each side in a lightly oiled pan.  Speed is of the essence - fry the tortillas before they get soggy from the sauce, and carefully remove them from the pan after just a moment of frying on either side.  It's a little messy, but I love how the chili sauce gets seared into the tortillas.  These are stuffed with roasted chayote, & sauteed spinach and mushrooms.  The cheesy looking bits are a provolone "uncheese" recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, by Joanne Stepaniak.
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Here's a couple of sandwiches, made with spelt bread from French Meadow Bakery, thanks to some promotional coupons they sent me.  There aren't a lot of French Meadow products at stores here in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but I really like this spelt bread - I'll have to try their rye too, which I also found.  Since they're made without preservatives, they're in the freezer section.  This bread includes exactly three ingredients: organic spelt flour, water, and salt.  I've long since gotten tired of reading the long list of fine print ingredients on most supermarket breads, so I appreciate what they're doing here.

I used my Foreman grill for some pressed sandwiches, which makes this one of my fave kitchen gadgets.  Elvis inspires the sandwich at top, with peanut butter and sliced bananas, and a bit of agave nectar to make it gooey and sweet. 
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This is my spelt bread panini, stuffed with roasted red pepper, sliced avocado, more of that provolone "uncheese", and a simple pesto of Italian parsley, spinach, garlic, and walnuts.  Tasty stuff.  The French Meadow slices are on the small side, making for nice little snack size sandwiches.