Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Edible (Buckwheat) Vegan Brains

I finally found some clear pics of the table/food from my vegan cult movie party. Since it's almost Halloween, I thought these would be fun to share.

One of my favorite dishes I made for the party was edible brains. 

I cooked buckwheat noodles (rinse them under cold water) then tossed them in a marinade (soy sauce, sesame oil, hot chili oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, finally chopped scallions, garlic, ginger, etc).* Then I put the noodles into a brain jello-mold (spray light coat of oil for easy removal). I let this chill in the fridge for several hours. The brain popped out and held its shape. It looked pretty disgustingly real.

*For marinade, I typically use around 1 tablespoon agave, 2 teaspoons of chili sauce, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, a few shakes of hot chili oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tsp garlic powder, a few shakes of sesame seeds and a couple of scallions finely chopped. This is really approximate, as I usually make my marinades from scratch and just throw stuff in a bowl and taste as I go.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Soul Soup

I LOVE soul food. The other day I was craving soup AND soul food. I put together a list of ingredients that I thought would satisfy my hunger and the result was spicy, yummy and full of soul. This was about a week ago, so I'm going to try to remember exactly what I did. 

First I roasted some garlic as I prepared the rest. 

In a large soup pot: 
-Saute 1 small sweet onion (cut into chunks) w/ some olive oil
Once the onions start to become translucent add: 
- Two or three hot pepper (remove seeds, cut in half)
-Add a couple of cups of chopped greens (I used a combo of mustard and collard. TIP: Trader Joe's sells a mixture of these greens already cut and washed)
Once  the greens are soft remove from heat. 

In a food processor blend the following: 
- 1/2 can of black-eyed peas (put the rest aside)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
-A teaspoon or so of tamari
-The contents from the soup pot
-Ground pepper to taste
-Cayenne pepper to taste
-Paprika to taste
-Cajun spice-blend to taste

Put the blended ingredients into the soup pot, add the following on medium heat: 
-The remaining black-eyed peas
-One can of black beans (no need to drain them)
- One can of vegetable broth
- 1/2 bag of frozen sweet corn
-2 to 3 bulbs of roasted garlic (Remove the garlic from the bulbs and either add chunks of garlic or mush the pieces first. If you don't want chunks of garlic in your soup, you can add the garlic in the blending phase.)

Adjust spice, pepper and salt to taste. This soup is packed with spice and garlic. If that's not your thing, either cut down or eliminate those ingredients. 

Cook until thoroughly heated. 

NOTE: I've made several variations of this soup. Here is a version with a clear broth, red beans, potatoes, corn and collard greens. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tempeh Enchilasagna

I enjoy eating enchiladas, but making them can be really time consuming. I came up with a fast way to enjoy the flavors of an enchilada, but baked like a lasagna. This version is super simple and doesn't take very long to prep. 

Heat oven to 350 - 375 degrees

Here's what you'll need: 

~ 1 large, deep skillet
~ 1 large baking pan (rectangular, lasagna type)
~1 large can of vegan enchilada sauce 
~ 1 pack of small corn tortillas
~ 1 pack of tempeh (crumble or chop into little pieces)
~ 1 sweet onion (chopped)
~ 1 red bell-pepper (chopped)
~ (optional) 1 to 3 fresh hot peppers to taste (I like to use 1 red, yellow and orange to add more color)
~1/3 bag of frozen sweet corn
~ 1 can of black beans (remove liquid)
~ 1/2 block vegan cheddar cheese (shredded)

In your skillet, saute (with a little oil):

~ 1st: add onions (you want these to get soft and brown)

~ 2nd: as the onions are getting soft add the tempeh, red pepper, hot peppers and frozen corn

~ 3rd: To give it flavor you can use all or some of these: taco seasoning, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, chipotle sauce, cayenne pepper, habanero powder, black pepper, crushed or roasted garlic, salsa

~ 4th: add black beans - stir thoroughly and remove from heat. 

In your baking dish:

~1st: Pour in a little less than 1/4 a can of enchilada sauce. You want just enough sauce to coat the pan with a small layer of sauce.

~2nd: Make a layer with the corn tortillas. No need to overlap, just rip them into 1/2 or 1/4 pieces to allow full coverage. 

~3rd: Pour in 1/2 the contents from skillet, making a nice layer. 

~4th: Make another layer of tortillas.

~5th: Pour a layer of enchilada sauce, covering the tortillas. Use around a 1/4 to 1/3 of can. 

~6th: Add another layer of the skillet contents. If you want the enchiladas really cheesy, add a layer of shredded vegan cheddar cheese.

~7th: Add another layer of the tortillas, cover with the remaining sauce and add shredded cheese. 

Bake around 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your oven). 

TIPS: Serve topped with a dollop of vegan sour cream and guacamole. It tastes great with a side salad topped with salsa, guacamole and a few blue corn chips.