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Thursday, November 27, 2014

ONE-POT VEGAN PASTALAYA (JAMBALAYA'S COUSIN)

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Here's a quick, tasty family meal for a quick blog post!  I love the idea of one-pot pasta dishes (see here) and when I heard about Pastalaya, a modern Cajun/New Orleans dish similar to the rice-based Jambalaya, but using pasta instead, I was intrigued and had it on my list to "veganize".  It's spicy and super-flavorful (even better the next day!) and can be a full meal.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S ONE-POT PASTALAYA
Serves 4
Some recipes I've seen use rotini pasta in this type of dish.  I used some organic Garofalo brand "casarecce" pasta that I had in the house, but it took longer than it should have to cook, so, the next time I make it I'll use linguine, tagliatelle or fettucine, broken in half. 

2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 Field Roast Chipotle vegan sausage, thinly sliced (or use vegan chorizo, or a vegan Italian sausage and add some Cajun seasoning
2 cups reconstituted SoyCurls or other vegan chicken sub, or chopped vegan cutlets
6 medium mushrooms, quartered (Oyster mushrooms would be nice, but I just used white mushrooms)
Variation: If you have access to some vegan "shrimp" or "prawns", by all means add them, too!
1 green pepper (1/2 of it chopped, 1/2 of it sliced)
1 red pepper (1/2 of it chopped, 1/2 of it sliced)
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (hot variety, if you like it spicy)
1/2 tsp. EACH dried thyme leaves, oregano and basil
2 cups vegan broth
1 cup water
1 cup chopped, drained canned tomatoes
12 ounces dried pasta (I would use linguine, tagliatelle or fettucine, broken in half)
4 large green onions, chopped




In a large heavy skillet, heat the sesame oil over high heat.  Add the vegan sausage and chicken sub and stir over high heat until they are lightly-browned.  Remove them to a dish and return the pan to the heat.

Add the mushrooms and the SLICED red and green pepper to the pan and sauté over high heat, adding a squirt of water now and them to keep it moving.  When the vegetables begin to wilt a bit, remove them from the pan.


Add the chopped onions, celery, peppers and garlic to the pan and stir-fry over medium -high heat, adding a squirt of water at intervals to keep them from sticking, until they are softened and  starting to brown.  If they seem to be taking too long, you can cover the pan and steam them a bit.


Add the browned sausage and chicken sub to the pan, along with the paprika, thyme, oregano and basil and toss together.


Scoop the mixture into cooking pot, along with the mushroom/sliced pepper mixture.


Stir in the broth, water, tomatoes and pasta.

Before the Pasta is cooked
Bring to a low boil, cover and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.  If the dish is too liquidy, uncover at the end and cook it down until it is "sauce-y".

After the pasta is cooked 

Serve each  portion sprinkled with some of the green onions.



Enjoy!


Monday, November 17, 2014

BLAST FROM THE PAST: GF & SOY-FREE (OR NOT!) VEGAN SELTZER WAFFLES WITH CRISPY SWEET POTATOES & LIGHT CHIK'N GRAVY

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Back in November 2011I was a bit obsessed with waffles. While revising my Vegan Seltzer Waffles (made with club soda, which makes them nice and light), I decided to also develop a gluten-free and soy-free version, so we were eating waffles for breakfast and dinner quite a lot. Finally satisfied with both my gluten-free version and my wheat version (probably to my husband’s great relief!), I began working on a vegan version of “chicken waffles,” a popular, but very high-fat, restaurant dish. It has always intrigued me, but I was never satisfied with my attempts at recreating a lower-fat vegan version. Until I came up with the following recipe that was originally published on a So Delicious coconut milk blog and I'm reproducing here, in a revised (and slightly corrected) format. 

There are two different versions of this dish—the Southern one, which consists of fried chicken pieces on a waffle with hot syrup poured over the whole she-bang (and now sometimes further “enhanced” with bacon, for good measure); and the Pennsylvania Dutch version, which is a waffle topped with strips of boiled chicken and a chicken gravy.

The Southern one sounded a bit over-the-top to me, but I liked the idea of gravy on a waffle (I do love gravy). The very first attempt I made was pretty delicious—I combined the Southern and Northern versions and topped our waffles with some President’s Choice “Meatless Breaded Chicken Strips” (a Canadian product made by Gardein®, similar to their “CrispyTenders”) and a light vegan gravy. Mmmmm-good! (I’m sure that crispy coated tofu strips would be good, too.) The gravy was also delicious with Butler SoyCurls®, reconstituted in a vegan “chicken” broth and lightly browned—a more Northern-style version that would also work with a light seitan or any of the new commercial vegan “chicken” strips and similar products.

Waffles and Gravy made with vegan "Crispy Tenders"
But I couldn’t use any of those products in a gluten-free and soy-free version of the dish, so I was racking my brains for something delicious that would be suitable and satisfying. For three days or more I mulled it over. Finally, the light bulb went off in my head—crispy oven-“fried” slices of sweet potatoes or yams; suitably Southern and full of flavor—just the ticket!

For the gravy, I started out with a milky Southern biscuit gravy recipe that I had developed a few years ago, but it seemed too heavy for this recipe. I revised it, substituting some “chickeny” vegan broth for some of the non-dairy milk and adding some herbs and green onions. I used a white-rice-based GF flour mix (you can use a commercial one with similar ingredients,if you prefer) instead of the wheat flour for the thickener, and it made for an exceptionally silky texture—just what I was hoping for.

I used Original So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage for the "milk" in the waffles, the gravy, and as part of the coating for Crispy Sweet Potato Slices. It provided just the right amount of richness and flavor, without excessive fat. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

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This dish may seem complex at first, but as you'll see, with all three components, you'll be creating a stupendously delicious dairy-free (and gluten-free!) meal—or you can enjoy the waffles, crispy sweet potatoes, or chik'n gravy served with your favorite accompaniments. And since most of the recipes can be made well ahead of time, this hearty meal will be a snap to put together when it's time to serve!

BRYANNA'S VEGAN SELTZER WAFFLES WITH CRISPY SWEET POTATOES AND LIGHT CHIK'N GRAVY (GLUTEN-FREE AND SOY FREE—OR NOT!)
Serves 4

For convenience, make the waffles and the gravy ahead of time, and reheat just before serving. If you and your guests have big appetites, use 2 waffles per serving. If not, use one each. It’s a filling and satisfying dish. We like this for supper, but it makes a great brunch dish, as well.

COMPONENT RECIPES:
1.) 4 to 8 Bryanna’s Gluten-Free Vegan Seltzer Waffles (see recipe below)

2.) 1 recipe Bryanna's Light Vegan Southern-Style Chik'n Gravy (see recipe below)

3.) Crispy Sweet Potatoes/Yams (see recipe below)

PUTTING THE COMPONENTS TOGETHER AFTER YOU'VE MADE ALL 3:
While the sweet potato/yam slices bake, you can gently reheat the Chik’n Gravy, either in a saucepan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-proof pitcher in the microwave at no more than 50% power. 

Place the already-made waffles on racks on top of baking sheets. Place them in the oven at the same time you turn the yam/sweet potato slices over to crisp the second side. Watch the waffles so that they do not brown. You just want to heat them up and crisp them a bit.

For each serving, place a waffle (or 2) on a heated plate, top each serving with 5 or 6 hot Crispy Sweet Potato/Yam slices, and drizzle with the hot gravy. Serve immediately.


                                                                 COMPONENT #1:
BRYANNA'S GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE (OR NOT: SEE NOTE) SELTZER WAFFLES 

(Serves: 4-8 Yield: Eight 7-Inch Waffles)

Note: If you don't want or need to make these gluten-free, you can use my original recipe for wheat-based Seltzer Waffles.

I use a regular non-stick waffle iron, not the Belgian type that makes thicker waffles. I have the Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron. These waffles can be made ahead of time and crisped and heated in the oven ahead of time, if you wish.

Dry Mix:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour (or starch)
1/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (known as besan in South Asian grocery stores)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon organic granulated sugar, or other sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Mix:
Flax Seed "Glop": 
1/2 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage + 2 tablespoons golden flax seeds (if using ground flax seed, use 1/4 cup)
Additional Wet Ingredients:
7/8 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Seltzer water: 1 1/4 cups (10 oz) club soda
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

NOTE: If you are going to eat the waffles immediately after cooking, adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 250º F. Set a wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and place the baking sheet in oven. If they are to be eaten later, simply have some cake racks ready on your counter.

To make:
Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together in large bowl to combine.

In a blender, whiz together the 1/2 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage and flax seeds until the mixture is fluffy, white and "gloppy" like lightly beaten egg whites. (See photo below.)


Add the Additional Wet Ingredients and blend briefly to mix well. Turn the blender off, remove the container from the machine and, with a slim spatula, gently stir in the club soda.

Immediately make a well in center of Dry Mix ingredients and pour in the combined Wet Mix and club soda. Using a small spatula, gently stir until just combined. The batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.

Heat your waffle iron, spray with oil from a pump sprayer (or rub with a little coconut oil), and bake each waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions (for a 7-inch round waffle I used 1/2 cup batter). In my Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron, I cook them on the #4 setting until the steam stops pouring from the iron, which takes about 4 minutes.



Transfer the waffles to a rack in warm oven and hold them for up to 10 minutes before serving. Or if they are to be reheated later in the day, place them on cake racks on the counter to cool. To reheat the cooled waffles, place them on racks on top of baking sheets in a 350º F oven for a few minutes, until hot and crisp. Any leftover waffles can be frozen in zipper-lock bags to use as toaster waffles.

***********


COMPONENT #2:
BRYANNA'S LIGHT SOUTHERN-STYLE CHIK'N GRAVY
(soy-free and gluten-free...or not!)
Servings: 6, Yield 3 cups


1/3 cup white GF flour mix (recipe here, or use a commercial version with similar ingredients)
(OR if you don't need to make them GF, use unbleached white flour, but the white-rice-based GF flour mix makes a really silky-textured gravy!)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon "chicken-style" vegetarian broth powder or paste
(Use a GF and/or SF version, if necessary—here’s 
my homemade GF & SF broth powder, but you will need to use 1 tablespoon instead of 1/2 tablespoon.)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage (not powdered)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place the flour, nutritional yeast and salt in a 2-qt. microwave-proof bowl or pitcher and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, soy sauce, broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs.

Cook in the microwave on High for 2 minutes. Whisk the mixture well. Microwave again for 2 minutes, or until thickened (microwave once more if necessary). Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot.



If making on the stovetop, toast the flour, yeast and salt lightly in a DRY heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do not brown the flour. Off the heat, whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, and soy sauce, making sure that there are no lumps. Whisk in the broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs. Stir over high heat just until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir for several minutes, until thickened. Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot. 

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COMPONENT #3
CRISPY SWEET POTATOES/YAMS 
(Note: the measurements for the following ingredients are approximate)

1 lb. sweet potato (orange-flesh) or yam (white or yellow flesh)
1/2 cup + 1/2 tablespoon white GF flour mix (Or you can use wheat flour instead, if you like.) 
1/2 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, Original
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (homemade recipe here)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
olive oil in a pump sprayer bottle

Preheat your oven to 500ºF.

Cut the sweet potato/yam into 4 equal quarters, slicing it in half horizontally and then slicing the halves again in half lengthwise. You can peel the sweet potato/yam first, or remove the peel after cooking—it’s up to you.

I microwave the sweet potato/yam (without any water) in a covered microwave-safe casserole for about 7 minutes. You can also steam them. Just make sure that you remove them from the heat source when they are just barely cooked—you can stick a fork in the center, but the flesh is still firm.

Let them cool. (If you have not peeled them already, run some cold water over the skin side and the peel should come off easily. If it doesn’t, use a paring knife.) Slice the quarters lengthwise into about 3/8-inch-thick slices.


Assemble 3 shallow bowls (such as soup bowls) and place the 1/2 cup white GF flour mix in one; the So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage mixed with the Cajun seasoning and the 1/2 tablespoon white GF flour mix, in the second bowl; and the brown rice flour in the third.

Have ready a large baking sheet (dark baking sheets brown foods better), sprayed with oil from a pump spray bottle. Coat each slice of sweet potato/yam first with the white GF flour mix, then the So Delicious® mixture, and then the brown rice flour. Lay each coated slice on the prepared pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden and crispy. Turn the slices over and bake for another 4-5 minutes, or until the bottoms are also golden and crispy.

****************

PUTTING THE COMPONENTS TOGETHER AFTER YOU'VE MADE ALL 3:
While the sweet potato/yam slices bake, you can gently reheat the Chik’n Gravy, either in a saucepan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-proof pitcher in the microwave at no more than 50% power. 

Place the already-made waffles on racks on top of baking sheets. Place them in the oven at the same time you turn the yam/sweet potato slices over to crisp the second side. Watch the waffles so that they do not brown. You just want to heat them up and crisp them a bit.

For each serving, place a waffle (or 2) on a heated plate, top each serving with 5 or 6 hot crispy sweet potato/yam slices, and drizzle with the hot gravy. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!



Friday, November 14, 2014

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR (& BLENDTEC GIVEAWAY!) FOR JULIE HASSON'S YUMMY NEW BOOK "VEGAN CASSEROLES": TRUFFLED CAULIFLOWER MAC & BUMBLEBERRY COBBLER!

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Check out the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a BlendTec 725 Designer Blender! Five runners up will receive a copy of Vegan Casseroles. (USA addresses only-- sorry about that!)


Fabulous new book by the gorgeous and talented Julie Hasson!  A must for every vegan household!


I do not pay this compliment loosely!  I have many vegan cookbooks (and non-vegan, too) and love the odd recipe in just about each of them.  But very few of them have so many "possibles" flagged that will no doubt be made many times, because they are so simple to make and mouth-watering-ly tempting, and I am confident that the recipe will turn out as advertised. I know Julie and I'm very familiar with her work.  She is a perfectionist and you can be sure that her recipes will not only work, but taste wonderful!

I made two of Julie's casseroles for a casual dinner with two friends.  Both casseroles (and a veggie dish of my own) were done and ready to serve within 1 1/2 hours of starting, with time to get changed, and I had not even previewed the recipes or assembled all the ingredients beforehand.  


I heartily recommend "Vegan Casseroles: Pasta Bakes, Gratins, Pot Pies, and More", even if you aren't a vegan! (It would make a great holiday gift.) Besides the tempting recipes, Julie has shared many handy tips and ideas, gluten-free variations, and basic recipes that you can use in your own creations, such as gravies, sauces, salsas, cheesey things, homemade "Bakin' Bits", Smoky Soy Curls, and my favorite, Buttery Crumb Topping (recipe below) which is so tasty and crunchy!


It was difficult to choose the two dishes for this blog tour post from the list I was given, but, in the end, I think I made excellent choices because my guests were not shy about seconds and even thirds! I had all of the ingredients in my pantry or refrigerator for these dishes, even the truffle oil, a gift from a friend-- a fact which also helped me decide what to make.


Julie is graciously sharing these recipes from her new book, so, without further ado, here are the recipes I made (with some of my own photos) -- I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!




TRUFFLED CAULIFLOWER MAC
Serves 4
Reprinted with permission from VEGAN CASSEROLES © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Sometimes you can never have enough truffle–or macaroni. This dish is for those times. It has a very rich flavor, with a creamy truffle sauce, steamed cauliflower, and a panko topping. If you happen to have a fresh truffle, you can go crazy and shave a few ultra-thin slices into the sauce before baking.

8 ounces dried macaroni noodles (Note from Bryanna: I didn’t have any macaroni, so I used bowtie pasta/farfalle)
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 recipe Almost Alfredo Sauce (recipe follows), using the truffle variation
Truffle salt or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Double recipe Crumb Topping (recipe follows)
Truffle oil, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease 9 x 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until tender. When the pasta is about 2 minutes away from being done, add the cauliflower to the boiling pasta water. You want the cauliflower to be just fork-tender and the noodles to be al dente. Drain the pasta and cauliflower well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the prepared sauce to the cooked macaroni and cauliflower, mixing until the pasta is coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the macaroni into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the casserole.



Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned, and the casserole is heated through. Remove from the oven, drizzle the top of the casserole with a little additional truffle oil, if desired, and serve.


Variation: To make a straight truffle mac casserole, simply omit the cauliflower.

Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free macaroni, such as brown rice macaroni, as well as gluten-free breadcrumbs in the topping.

ALMOST ALFREDO SAUCE
Makes about 3 cups

21/2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained (Note from Bryanna: Since I was doing last-minute cooking, I soaked them for 10 minutes in boiling water—worked fine, even in a regular blender.)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons oat flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
11/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon granulated onion

In the jar of a blender, combine the soymilk, water, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, oat flour, cornstarch, salt, and granulated onion. Blend the mixture at high speed until completely smooth and no bits of nuts remain. If you don’t have a big blender, blend the mixture in two batches.
Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking continuously. Once mixture comes to a simmer, reduce heat slightly and cook, whisking continuously until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Tip: Use a good-tasting unsweetened soymilk for this sauce, as the flavor really comes through. 
Tip:
If you're using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews, and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.

Variations:
To make a truffle sauce, to the blender jar add 1 to 3 tablespoons truffle oil to taste and reduce the granulated onion to 1/2 teaspoon. Add a few sprinkles of freshly grated nutmeg.

To make a white wine sauce, replace 3/4 cup of the soymilk with an equal amount of white wine.

To make this sauce lower in fat, reduce the cashews to 1/3 cup.

Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free oat flour.

BUTTERY CRUMB TOPPING
Makes about 1/2 cup, enough to top an 8 or 9-inch casserole

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, margarine, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tip: You can substitute olive oil for the margarine, if desired.

Variation: For an herbed garlic-flavored-topping, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. For a richer topping, increase the melted margarine to 3 tablespoons.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. My favorite brand is Ian’s, which is also egg-free and dairy-free.




Printable Recipe


BUMBLEBERRY COBBLER
Serves 4 to 6
Reprinted with permission from VEGAN CASSEROLES © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

In my book, you can never have enough berry dessert recipes. Ever! This is another perfect berry dessert to add to your dessert rotation, no matter the season. One of the coolest things about this cobbler is that even though the berries go on the top, the batter below bakes up into a cake-like topping over them. I adapted this recipe from my pie book, The Complete Book of Pies.

4 cups (1 pound) fresh or frozen mixed berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries (unthawed if frozen) (Note from Bryanna: I used a combo of frozen local raspberries and blueberries.)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/3 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the berries with 1/4 cup of the sugar.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Add the soymilk, melted margarine, and vanilla, whisking to combine.


The two components of this cobbler-- so easy to throw together!
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Scoop the berries evenly on top of the batter (don’t stir, as the batter will rise to the top as it bakes).



Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes, or until the top crust is nicely browned and looks cooked through and the berries have formed a thick sauce. If it looks like there are a few spots where the batter isn’t cooked all the way through, which you can confirm by lightly touching the spots with your finger, continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until fully cooked through. Let the cobbler cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.


My cobbler doesn't look as pretty as the photo in the book, but it sure was delicious!
Gluten-Free: Substitute a mix of 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup superfine brown rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour.


BLENDTEC GIVEAWAY!

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Enjoy!


Monday, November 3, 2014

VEGAN "SCALOPPINE", MY FALL-BACK QUICK MEAL, THIS TIME "AL LIMONE"

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Vegan Scaloppine al Limone ( made with "Breast of Tofu")with Chanterelle Mushrooms on a bed of Orzo, with roasted asparagus

Scaloppine is the term used for very thin Italian-style cutlets (or "scallops" or "medallions"), quickly prepared with a savory sauce.  My vegan version of this Italian favorite is made with thin seitan cutlets, commercial vegan cutlets, or my Breast of Tofu Crispy Slices, which I usually have marinating in my refrgerator for quick meals.
     
Scaloppine are sauced in a number of ways, and no doubt you will make up a few of your own once you get the hang of it.  (This is one of the most successful vegetarian dishes to serve to omnivores, by the way.) You are limited only by your taste, your pantry and your imagination.

This type of dish is actually one of my favorite "fall back" dishes for occasions when I have to make a really quick meal (start-to-finish in 20 minutes or less).  My husband likes orzo, so I usually put some on to cook first. (I cook it like rice-- 1 cup orzo to 2 cups salted water or broth; add herbs if you like.)  It takes about 20 minutes to cook.  Crusty bread is a ready-made and traditional accompaniment, too.  Add a salad or some quick-cooked greens. Quick as it is, it's good enough for company-- really!

The Method: I brown and crisp the "B of T"(Breast of Tofu) or the cutlets and set them aside, and then make a quick sauce with some wine (sherry, vermouth, Marsala, port, white or red wine) and broth and whatever 
interesting ingredients I have around. That could include bell peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, fresh or canned tomatoes, onions, leeks, a variety of herbs, both dried and fresh, 
miso (my vegan equivalent of anchovies or anchovy paste, which is often used as an umami flavoring agent in Italian cooking), a tiny bit of chopped vegan "bacon" or "ham", unsweetened vegan creamer, ... even fruits like sliced apples or pears.  

In this recipe, lemon is the primary flavoring and chanterelle mushrooms (which we can pick on our local walks at this time of the year) take the starring roll in this version of the dish.  Whatever you use in your recipe, follow the same method of cooking as in this recipe and it's hard to go wrong!
   




BRYANNA'S VEGAN SCALOPPINE AL LIMONE 
(WITH CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS)
 Serves 4
This is adapted from a recipe in my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen".  If you prefer, use 4  commercial or homemade vegan cutlets, floured or breaded and crisped  in a little olive oil, instead of the tofu.

1/2 recipe Breast of Tofu, Crispy Slices, made ahead and set aside (or alternate, see above)
1-2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 cups sliced chanterelle mushrooms (or use any type of mushroom  you have available)
1/2 c. dry white wine (can be dealcoholized) or dry white vermouth
1 c. vegetarian broth (I like Better Than Bouillon Vegan No-Chicken)
grated zest of 1 lemon (preferably organic)
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper

In a heavy non-stick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and rosemary and stir-fry for a minute.  Raise the heat to High and add the mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms exude their liquid and then evaporate most of the liquid. Add the wine and reduce the liquid by half. Add the pre-cooked crispy slices of Breast of Tofu (or alternate) to the pan. Add the broth and lemon zest.  Bubble the sauce over high heat until a nice sauce forms.  Add the lemon juice and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately. In Italy you would probably eat this type of dish with crusty bread, but North Americans might prefer plain rice, orzo or egg-free pasta.

Enjoy!





Monday, October 27, 2014

OAT GROATS W/ CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS & APPLES IN CREAMY WINE SAUCE; ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD W/ VEGAN “BACON” & PECANS

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These dishes made up a fine fall dinner we enjoyed the other night. They are both easy to make, and very tasty and satisfying, as well as nutritious.  Both definitely to be made again!

I recently obtained some organic whole oat groats from a friend who rolls his own oats in a little manual mill every morning for breakfast.  He buys them in a bulk and charged me much less than what I would have paid even in our local bulk store (where they are selling for $6 a pound, can you believe!). If you live in the States you can buy them for a good price from Bob's Red Mill or amazon.com .  In any case, they are a really delightful whole grain and make a nice change from brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa, etc. I decided that they would be a great foil for a creamy melange of local apples and chanterelle mushrooms that we picked in our woods, and I was right.

I also had some Brussels sprouts in the fridge that needed using and some of my homemade Tofu "Bacon" marinating as well, so I made a hearty roasted salad, combining the two with a tasty dressing and some pecans for a scrumptious salad with plenty of protein.

Really a winner of a meal all around!


 Printable Recipe

BRYANNA’S OAT GROATS IN CREAMY WINE SAUCE WITH CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS AND APPLES (GF, can be soy-free)
Serves 4 as a main dish

Toasting the oat groats a bit before simmering them adds more flavor. They take about the same time to cook as brown rice. The GF white bean flour thickens the sauce lightly while adding a little more nutrition.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups 
oat groats 
5 cups light vegan broth, OR water mixed with 1 tsp. sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz. cleaned chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
2 large apples, peeled and thinly-sliced
1/2 cup dry to medium sherry
1 cup vegan “chicken-y” broth (I like Better than Bouillon No-Chicken broth paste)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup vegan creamer of your choice
1 tablespoon white bean flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: chopped fresh parsley or chives to garnish

To cook the oat groats,
in a 2-quart saucepan heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the groats and stir them around for a minute or two to toast them.  Off the heat, add the broth (or water with salt)—and be careful of splattering when you pour the broth into the hot pan.  Use a cooking mitt to hold the pitcher of broth.  Place the pan back on the heat, turn to high and bring to a boil.  When it boils, turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep covered while you make the sauce.
Heat the 2nd tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy (cast iron, hard-anodized or nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced chanterelles and apples and sauté, stir-often, until they have softened and browned a bit. Add the sherry and cook over high heat until it is reduced by about half.  Add the broth and thyme leaves and keep cooking over high heat to cook it down again to about half. Whisk the bean flour into the creamer until smooth and stir it into the pan. Stir until the sauce thickens and take the pan off the heat.
Divide the oat groats between 4 plates and spoon the creamy mixture evenly over the four portions. Serve immediately, sprinkling with chopped parsley or chives. 


BRYANNA’S ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH VEGAN “BACON” AND PECANS
Serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish
The idea for this salad came from a recipe from on it vegan, lower in fat and much, much easier, so I'm going to consider it my own!

12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (from top to stem)
1 large green onion, trimmed and thinly-sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of my homemade Oil Substitute for Salad Dressings
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or you could use dark agave nectar or brown rice syrup)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces vegan “bacon”, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used 10 slices of my homemade Tofu Bacon)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Spread the sliced Brussels sprouts, green onion and garlic on an oiled rimmed baking sheet.  Spray with oil from an oil pump-sprayer and sprinkle with a little salt.  Bake, stirring now and then, until the Brussels sprouts are tender but still a bit crunchy and starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Make the dressing by whisking together the Oil Sub, maple syrup, vinegar, sesame oil and salt.

Mix the roasted sprouts in a serving bowl with the vegan “bacon” pieces, pecans, Dressing, and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.

This can be made ahead, but should be served at room temperature, if possible, so, if you refrigerate it, leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.

Enjoy!