Monday, March 19, 2012

Beer Battered Tempeh Fish

When I saw this recipe while browsing through a magazine while in line at the grocery store, I knew I wanted to make it. Trouble is, I didn't buy the magazine that day and when I remembered to pick it up, it was sold out. I tried unsuccessfully to find it online, and most of my vegan friends didn't have a copy. Lo and behold, one random day I was enjoying a photo album online of vegan dishes of a new friend, and there it was! I hurriedly copied the recipe, thanked her profusely, and made a run to the grocery store.

Beer Battered Tempeh Fish

2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt, divided
1/2 t. cayenne pepper, divided
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. black pepper
1 1/2 bottles vegan organic pale ale, chilled
2 packages tempeh, sliced into 1/2” strips
1/4 c. malt vinegar
2 T. agave nectar
3 c. oil (I used peanut oil, because I was out of olive oil)
1/2 c. arrowroot powder

Whisk together flour, baking powder, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper. Whisk in beer until the batter is smooth and refrigerate 15 minutes. Steam tempeh for 7 minutes and cool slightly. Soak the tempeh in the malt vinegar, agave, and the remaining 1/4 t. cayenne and 1/2 t. salt.
Dredge the tempeh in the arrowroot, then dip into batter, and fry in the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When brown on one side, turn pieces over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Tangy Tartar Sauce

1 1/2 c. vegan mayonnaise
1 T. pickle relish
4 green olives, finely chopped
2 t. minced dry onion
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Whisk & refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Watch the frying closely, because as you can see in the picture, some of my pieces were darker brown than I would have preferred. My kids loved it, but personally I like tofu more than tempeh, so want to try this again using sliced tofu instead. The flavor was good, however. Also, I thought the batter was a little thick, so more beer or water might help thin it some. You want a good coating, so you don't want it too thin.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bean Dip for Grownups

One of the dishes we like to whip up often is the nachos from The Engine 2 Diet. It's quick and versatile and even my meat eaters scarf it. But, me, I like to switch things up a bit from time to time, so when I came across this recipe, I thought I'd give it a go.

Bean Dip for Grownups

2 cans pinto beans, drained
4 oz. can milk green chilies, chopped
3 T. olive oil
2 t. parsley
2 T. lime juice
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
2 cans vegetarian refried beans
8 oz. jar salsa (I prefer mild)
Tortilla chips

In a bowl combine the pinto beans, green chilies, olive oil and spices. Stir well, but gently. Heat the refried beans in a pot until warm. Spread the refried beans on a platter, top with the pinto bean mixture. Encircle the beans with the salsa. If you want to be showy, encircle the salsa with the tortilla chips. Now dig in!

This was surprisingly good. I was a little concerned that all the beans would overwhelm any other flavors, but they didn't. I think this recipe also lends itself to variations, like using black beans or some chopped green onions. At any rate, I had no leftovers.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Noodles with Spicy Sauce

So I've had these noodles sitting around for awhile, and finally decided to use them. Interestingly, they had NO cooking instructions on them and the writing was all in a language I couldn't read, so I best guessed it. I figured between five and ten minutes would do the trick.

I worked on the rest of the dish and when I went to dump the noodles into the colander to drain, they were missing! What I had instead was a gelatinous goo.

Emergency trip to the grocery store for more noodles allowed me to find another package of these same mystery noodles (and again NO cooking instructions), but I voted against buying them. Instead I bought spaghetti and returned with a resolve to learn more about those pretty clear noodles.

Turns out they were cellophane noodles, and most instructions seem to suggest not boiling them at all, but rather pouring hot water over them. Lesson learned.

Noodles with Spicy Sauce

Spaghetti noodles (or pasta of your choice, but make sure you know how to cook them!)
1 c. peanut butter
6 T. tamari or soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
4 t. lime juice
2 t. brown sugar
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 c. water
Two cans of mixed or stir-fry vegetables. drained
Chopped roasted peanuts

Cook the noodles according to package directions. In a pot, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and the water, until smooth. Add more water if needed to make the sauce saucy. Heat the sauce over low heat, stirring often. Add the drained vegetables to the sauce and mix in well. Serve the sauce over the drained noodles and sprinkle liberally with the peanuts.

One word of caution: check the ingredients on the peanuts. Seriously. We made the sad discovery recently that some dry roasted peanuts list gelatin as an ingredient. Really? Gelatin? In a jar of peanuts? This seems to be a problem with Planters, but the store brands tend to list only peanuts and oil and salt as their ingredients. I haven't checked other brands, but wanted to issue that warning.

Enjoy! Oh, and have tissues handy. This stuff will clear up your sinuses!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rosemary Stew

Someone offered me a couple of rosemary bushes awhile back. The poor things didn't survive the transplant, but before they passed I harvested as much of it as I could. I love the smell every time I open the container I put it all in.

Rosemary Stew

Olive oil
One onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 t. rosemary
One small head of cabbage, shredded
2 cans white beans, drained
4 c. vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch over over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots and rosemary in the olive oil. Cover and stir occasionally until the vegetables have softened a little. Add the cabbage, beans, broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until all of the veggies are fork soft.

Serve with some good bread and butter and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Better Ramens

Every college student knows about ramen noodles, and often have found numerous ways to jazz them up a bit. They are inexpensive and simple to make, and while I wouldn't recommend a steady diet of them, they have their uses.

Better Ramens

4 packages ramen noodles, broken up
A handful of green onions, chopped
One can (14 oz) bean sprouts
Toasted sesame oil
1 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
6 T. rice wine vinegar
Seasoning packets from ramens
1 T. soy sauce

Add the noodles to boiling water and cook for one minute. Add chopped onions and bean sprouts to a colander, and drain the noodles on top of them. Dump the colander contents into a big bowl. Heat a little of the sesame oil in a small frying pan and add the nuts and seeds. Stir, stir, stir until they look just a little browned, then add them on top of the noodles. Add the vinegar, 2 T. sesame oil, ramen seasoning and soy sauce to the noodle/nut mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Cover and let stand for the flavors to blend about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

One word of caution - not all ramens are vegan! Be sure to closely read the ingredients before you buy to make sure you don't get something objectionable.

I had no leftovers. My hubby and youngest went back for thirds.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Mom's Irish Stew

When I was a kid, my mom had the best recipes ever. Well, except for those rare times she would cook liver. One of her recipes was what she called Irish Stew. Now, I've looked up Irish stew recipes and none of them ever look like hers. So how her's came to be called Irish Stew, I will never understand. But I don't care. I loved it.

Which is why it was important to me to find a way to veganize it. My first attempt was using seitan, but I didn't like it as much. Enter Gardein Homestyle Beefless Tips and I've got a winner!

My Mom's Irish Stew - Veganized!

One package Gardein Homestyle Beefless Tips
Potatoes (the amount is your choice) cut into bite sized cubes
One can tomato sauce

Place everything into a pressure cooker and stir well to coat, attach the lid and turn the temp to high. When the little top knob begins to rock, turn the temp down until the knob is rocking gently. Let cook about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and do a quick release of pressure. Make sure the steam is aimed AWAY from you!

I like to eat mine with a good loaf of bread and butter.

Ah, childhood memories!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Loaded Chili

If you live in Texas, you know there seems to be a great deal of debate as to whether or not chili should contain beans. If you are vegan, this is a no brainer. OF COURSE it contains beans! LOL!

Loaded Chili

Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
One onion, chopped
One jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
2 c. broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
3 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 T. oregano
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. each salt and pepper
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 c. frozen corn
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, saute garlic, onion and jalapeno in the olive oil, until softened. Add the sweet potato, broccoli and spices and stir until everything is well coated with the spices. Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and let simmer about 30 minutes. When the sweet potatoes are fork soft it is ready to eat.

Good and spicy and delicious! While you might wonder at the addition of things like sweet potatoes and broccoli to chili, trust me, you'll like it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Burgers, Potato Salad and Cole Slaw

I had this very clever idea that I would try to theme my meals this year. Ha! It's March and I've still not done any such thing. Ah well, it was a nice thought. But, wait! The year is still young and I can still shoot for the Overachiever Award! Yes!

Okay, not bloody likely, but there are still those things I can do. For instance, I am thinking the summer is a good time to introduce one weekend day devoted to trying out new burger, potato salad and cole slaw recipes. I mean, after all, I do have several to choose from.

Recently, my father-in-law was coming over to help my hubby with our garage door. For some inexplicable reason, it decided to literally fold up on itself one day while I was lowering it (via automatic controls, I should point out!) Every time my fil visits (which is usually, I hate to say, because we need his opinion and expertise on something), I like to feed him. He has his favorites that I make, and I like to make them, but this  particular day hubby got it in his head to throw something on the grill.

Lightbulb moment! Hadn't I been planning to try out different burger, potato salad and cole slaw recipes? Why, yes, I had! So, I did.

Cowboy Burgers

One package Boca Original Vegan Burgers (okay, I cheated on this part!)
Olive oil
3 onions, thinly sliced into rings
3 T. A1 Steak Sauce
Sliced tomatoes
Hamburger buns

Grill the burgers.

Heat some oil in a skillet and saute the onion slices about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes, again stirring frequently. Stir the steak sauce into the onions.

Layer the bun with a burger patty, topped with the onion mixture and a slice of tomato. We also slathered one half of the bun with some vegan mayonnaise.

Patriot's Potato Salad

6 c. chopped cooked potatoes
1 c. celery slices
1/4 c. green onion slices
1/2 c. chopped dill pickle
1 c. vegan mayonnaise
1 T. yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix lightly until well coated. Chill.

Marinated Cole Slaw

One head of cabbage, shredded
One green bell pepper, chopped
1 c. vegan mayonnaise
8 stalks of celery, chopped
One onion, chopped

To this mix in:

1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. vinegar
1 t. salt
2 t. sugar
Black pepper
1/8 t. hot sauce

Toss well, cover and refrigerate overnight.

So, my first little themed meal for the year was a success! The addition of the steak-sauced onions to the burgers was mm, mm, good and the two salads got rave reviews! I may not be sure how the rest of my themed ideas will work out, but I'm pretty sure the burger, potato salad and cole slaw one will continue. Now if only summer would get here...wait a minute, what am I saying! Summer's are unbearable here! At least the food will be good!

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