Monday, November 22, 2010

sweet potato biscuits

clearly i love biscuits. never one to resist testing out a new twist on my beloved bread product i was excited to do a test run of these guys just in time for thanksgiving. i am happy to say that they passed the test and come thursday i will be whipping up another batch (or two). the main reason i wanted to test these before the big day is because the recipe calls for gluten-free flour. i wasn't sure if there was a reason for it or just so that the biscuits are gluten-free. so i decided to test run with regular all purpose flour...nothing against gluten free but if i don't have to buy special flour i don't want to. good news gluten lovers, these turned out great! they are delicious on their own with just a hint of sweetness. however, keeping with our friday night breakfast theme we used these to make sausage egg* biscuits.

i made minor changes to make these vegan and also i would say that the nuts are optional. if you have them, sure, toss them in but i don't think i'd miss them if they weren't there. i plan to leave them out on thanksgiving. if you want to see the original recipe it's here, below is my version (and with instructions for us non-microwave, non-(large) food processor having folks). oh also, the original recipe claims 16 biscuits from this recipe...those would be 16 small biscuits, i got 10 using my 3 inch biscuit cutter.
happy thanksgiving everyone!

sweet potato biscuits
(from bon appetit, november 2010)
1 large red-skinned sweet potato (yam; about 1 1/4 pounds), pierced with fork
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour plus additional
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup almond milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to curdle
1/4 cup maple syrup (i ran out and used 1/2 maple 1/2 agave)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted , chopped (optional)

preheat oven to 425°F. line baking sheet with parchment.

first you need to bake your potato. when the oven is hot put the potato in until cooked all the way through (about an hour depending on the size of your potato). when it's done take it out and cut it in half and scoop out 1 cup of the flesh. mash it well and let cool

in a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal and baking powder. cut in the margarine until you have a coarse meal. add the potato, milk mixture and syrup and mix until combined (i would recommend using your hands for that bit) add nuts (if using) and mix again.

sprinkle dough with flour. pat dough so that it's about and inch thick and cut into biscuits. transfer to baking sheet. bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

*SO amazingly yummy. we used tempeh sausage crumbles from vegan with a vengence and omelet rounds from vegan brunch.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

tempeh taco lettuce wraps

i was on the train home the other day trying to think of what to make for dinner. the first thing i thought was "tacos!" because i could eat them every day. but i knew that if i went home and kris asked what i want to make and i said "tacos!" he would say "of course you do..." and i don't want to be that predictable. so to keep some mystery about myself and also get my taco fix i went for a slight twist with taco lettuce wraps. in the past my lettuce wraps have consisted of mostly asian inspired innards so this was a nice twist on them too. you could make any taco-y fillings you like but i went with tempeh, potatoes, carmelized red onions and avocado. this was the first time in a long time that i made tacos and didn't end up feeling stuffed so hooray for lettuce! here's how it went (all seasonings are to taste).

tempeh taco lettuce wraps
for the potatoes:
cut potatoes into small, bite sized pieces. place in a baking dish and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder. cook at 375 until tender (20 minutes?). these were a success on their own because kris said they "look so professional! like diner potatoes!" and we all know that diner potatoes are among the best potatoes.

for the tempeh:
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 serrano chili, finely chopped
1 package tempeh
hot sauce
dried oregano
salt and pepper
olive oil

heat oil in a pan and add the chopped tomatoes (seeds, juice and all) and serrano. crumble the tempeh into the pan as well. add hot sauce and spices to taste and cook it all up until the tomatoes break down and the tempeh is heated through and coated with all the spices.

to assemble place a bit of tempeh and potatoes in a butter lettuce leaf, top with onions and chopped avocado. enjoy!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

indian chickpea stew

whenever kris is out of town, instead of smartly cooking for one, i do the total opposite and cook for 8*. it happens every time. during his most recent weekend trip my vat on the stove contained indian chickpea stew from the cafe flora cookbook. the stew is exactly what you would imagine hearty chickpeas and vegetables in a spicy tomato broth**. it's comfort food that comes together (relatively) quickly and easily and you can freeze the leftovers and reheat when you're feeling lazy.

i made a few tiny adjustments to the recipe: instead of 1 pound of potatoes i did half a pound and a zuccini. i also only added 1 teaspoon of salt instead of 2 and didn't feel like i needed to add any more later. you might want to but better to check it out first than have chickpea salty stew. oh and it also says to use a 3-quart or larger saucepan....go for larger, my 3-quart was full to the brim which made stirring in the greens difficult. and speaking of greens i added way more than 3 cups. maybe that's why the pot was so full......hmmmm. anyway, below is the recipes as it is in the book.

the cookbook recommends serving this with a side of green beans, asparagus or snow peas. i served it over rice.

indian chickpea stew

(from cafe flora cookbook)
15 oz. can canned chickpeas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 large onion, thinly sliced in crescents
1 (2 to 3 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno chili, finely diced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
1 pound small red potatoes
3 cups roughly chopped greens (i used kale)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

heat the oil in a saucepan, add the mustard and cumin seeds and saute over medium heat until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop.

add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. then add the ginger and jalapeno and saute for 2 minutes more.

stir in the tomatoes and their juice, turmeric, salt and water. bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

while the sauce simmers, drop the potatoes into a small pot of boiling water to cover. cook them, covered, until they are barely tender, about 20 minutes. drain the potatoes and cut them in half. you cook the potatoes separately so they don't fall apart in the stew.

add the chickpeas, potatoes and greens to the tomato mixture. simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are hot, 3 to 5 minutes. if you find the stew is getting thicker than you like, add more water to keep it saucy. just before serving, add the herbs, and season to taste with salt.

*the recipe claims 4-6 servings but seriously. i had one dinner. two lunches. and two full tupperwares in the freezer. i'll give you 6-8 but i'm still leaning towards 8.
**i notice that this picture does not look saucy at all but trust me, sauce is there.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

noochy pepita crusted tofu

this was a tofu concoction that turned out to be quite successful. these pan fried slabs of 'fu taste nice and light and make a great meal with a veggie side (like, say, roasted asparagus!). the pepita coating not only tastes great but it's a bit more filling (nuts and seeds are sneaky like that) than plain old breadcrumbs.

a bonus of this meal is that we realized trader joe's "high protein" tofu is the best tofu there is. it's super firm and absolutely perfect for frying up like this or in a stir fry or anywhere where you would want firm tofu. plus, like everything at trader joe's, it's cheap.

pepita crusted tofu

pepitas, roasted
smoked paprika
unsweetened almond milk
nutritional yeast (you know, nooch)

this is a no measuring, wing-it kind of recipe. here's what you're gonna do:

put a bunch of pepitas in a food processor with smoked paprika, salt and pepper (don't be shy with the spices, i wish i'd added more than i did). grind it up until you have pepita crumbs. place this in a shallow bowl.

in another shallow bowl, mix together the almond milk and a bunch of nooch so that you have a thick, kind of gloppy product.

dredge the tofu slabs first in the milk/nooch and then in the pepitas.

heat a lightly oiled pan over medium high and add the tofu. cook until browned on each side.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

fall pasta

this pasta involves butternut squash and also sage so i'm dubbing it fall pasta. it doesn't look like fall around here and doesn't really feel like fall so i've got to get my autumn fix where i can, thanks for pulling through squash.

so besides squash and sage this pasta also includes shallots and spinach. i roasted both the squash and the shallots to bring out their sweetness and then countered that with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. when the ingredients are this delicious they don't need a lot of dressing up. here's what i did....

fall pasta

pasta (we used tri-colored rotini)
1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch-ish cubes*
several shallots, halved or quartered (i only had 3 small ones but i wish i had more)
1 bunch spinach, chopped
handful of fresh sage, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

cook the pasta according to package instructions, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

toss the squash pieces and shallots with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft.

once the pasta is cooked drain and add the spinach, sage and the 1/2 cup cooking water. toss until the spinach is wilted. add the roasted squash and shallots and toss. add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

*you will want to use your biggest, sharpest knife for this. and while you are cutting up your squash with your big sharp knife you will constantly say "man! i LOVE this knife!"...or maybe that's just me.