Seitanic red and white bean jambalaya

September 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm (Beans, B_minus (2.5 stars), Caribbean, Grains, Isa C. Moskowitz, Seitan)

This is actually the second recipe I tried from Veganomicon.  (I’m blogging in reverse order today.)  It’s a mix of veggies (the cajun holy trinity–onions, celery, and bell pepper), rice, kidney beans, seitan, tomato sauce, and spices. Read the rest of this entry »

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Black bean and yam stew with sofrito

December 10, 2010 at 10:51 am (AMA, Beans, B_minus (2.5 stars), Caribbean, Root vegetables, Starches, Winter recipes)

Derek liked the Jamaican bean dish from AMA so much I decided to try another bean recipe from the same cookbook.  This one looked somewhat similar to my black bean and sweet potato burritos, but much easier to put together. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jamaican Rice and Beans with Thyme

October 11, 2010 at 10:28 am (AMA, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Caribbean, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Starches, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

Derek and I both really like this dish, based on a recipe from the AMA Family Health cookbook. The appearance isn’t great, and the texture is hard to get right, but the flavor is excellent. The kidney beans and rice are seasoned with a lot of garlic, thyme, and scallions, as well as a little allspice and coconut milk, plus one scotch bonnet (aka habanero) pepper. I don’t make it all that often these days since it’s inherently spicy, and Alma can’t handle the spice. But once she’s more spice tolerant I think it will return to our regular rotation. Other than prepping the fresh thyme, it’s a pretty fast and easy recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jerk Seitan

July 28, 2007 at 9:18 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Caribbean, Isa C. Moskowitz, Seitan)

After the disaster of the jerk tempeh from Some Like it Hot, I was both excited and nervous about trying another jerk recipe. This recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance was quite different in technique though, so I decided to give it a shot. I’m trying to make all the seitan recipes from vegan with a vengeance.

I don’t have the energy to post the recipe right now, so I’ll just post my comments. I’ll come back and post the details if I make it again.

The sauce is interesting–you basically put all the ingredients into the food processor and blend it into kind of a watery paste. The sauce was pretty good tasting, fresh, and full of caribbean flavors. The recipe calls for you to saute some green peppers, then add the seitan cutlets and fry them for another 10 minutes or so, then add the sauce. This seems odd, since the peppers are getting totally overcooked while the seitan browns. I’d either take the peppers out before adding the seitan, or add them at the end when the seitan is almost done. The sauce is pretty powerful stuff–I liked it, but found that I didn’t really want to eat the seitan cutlets on their own–too strong tasting. I liked it okay on a sandwich, but I feel like I didn’t quite find the right combination of foods to eat this recipe with. Isa suggests serving it with sweet potatoes and greens I think, which sounds pretty good.

Derek’s comment, solicited with difficulty: “That’s some tasty shit. I’d have it again.”

Rating: B
Derek: B+

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Pantry/freezer vegetarian gumbo

February 11, 2007 at 7:57 am (Caribbean, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

It’s hard to get fresh okra in the North, even in the summer. But I love okra so sometimes just give in and buy sliced frozen okra. It’s too wet to make fried okra with it, but it works really well for any kind of stew. Making a stew out of frozen okra is actually super easy and amazingly tasty, and requires no fresh ingredients (although they can be added if you have them, of course).

The “recipe”

I usually just throw one bag of frozen okra (a pound? 3 cups?) in a pot with a 14-ounce can of diced or whole Muir Glen tomatoes (wtih all the juice). I add spices and let it stew for a bit until warm. The spices vary–sometimes cayenne, or paprika, or cumin, or the Turkish seasoning from Penzey’s. I usually don’t add salt as the tomatoes are salty enough. Sometimes I’ll add some onion or garlic to the pot as well, or throw in some frozen corn kernels or diced bell peppers or some lima beans (if I’m feeling adventurous–lima beans kind of scare me).

Last night I added some gumbo file and a heaping spoon of old bay seasoning, which a friend gave me. Both Derek and I really enjoyed it–he said it tasted like gumbo, but since I’ve never had gumbo I can’t really comment.

I’ve followed recipes for vegetarian gumbo from a number of cookbooks, and I’ve always found them really bland. This simple recipe is way better than any gumbo recipe I’ve tried!

You could make this dish with fresh okra as well, but I never do, because it seems like a waste. I usually save my fresh okra for “fried” okra or that great Pakistani dish from Madhur Jaffrey.

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Jicama Salad

February 11, 2007 at 7:38 am (Caribbean, Mexican & S. American, Quick weeknight recipe, restaurant inspired, Salads, unrated)

We had a jicama salad at Frontera Grill yesterday for brunch. It was made of long fat rectangles of jicama, small squares of pineapple, and long juliennes of cucumber, with the peel on. The produce was dusted with a slightly spicy chili powder, and they served it with lime wedges. Both Derek and I enjoyed it–a nice refreshing appetizer. Derek especially liked the cucumber. I thought the three flavors (jicama, pineapple, and cukes) didn’t really meld together–they each kept their separate identity, without really complementing each other. But the three separate identities were so yummy who cares! I tried making it with some Indian chile powder I bought (nothing like Mexican chile powder) and it was delicious. Definitely a keeper. Sorry but I didn’t record amounts. Next time.

Update: I just improvised a jicama salad and it didn’t turn out so well. I use long fat pieces like at Frontera, which were good. But I added an avocado and a grapefruit. The avocado pieces turned to mush when I stirred it and the grapefruit pieces kind of fell apart, and left the whole thing sitting in a huge pool of liquid. The pink grapefruit and greenish avocado left the whole thing looking kind of putrid green color. I added 1/2 jalepeno, and some lime juice, and a bit of honey, chili powder, and salt, then drained all the liquid out. It look a little more appetizing, but definitely not something I’d try this way again.

Update 2: I tried another Frontera Grill version except I didn’t have pineapple so subbed in mandarin oranges. Derek said he liked it better than the pineapple, but I thought it was not quite as good. Just a touch of salt, chili powder, and lime juice worked well–much better than the soggy mush I ended up with last time.

Update March 2010:  I made this with daikon radish instead of jicama.  The radish isn’t quite as sweet as the jicama but it’s a reasonable substitute.  I julienned the cucumber and daikon, and used my “french fry cut” blade for the pineapple  Next time I would use the french fry cut for all the veggies, but certainly for the cucumber.  I made the salad the day before and by the next day the salad was drowning in a sea of liquid.  Maybe if I had cut the cucumber into bigger pieces it wouldn’t have been so bad, but I think it’s probably best to not cut the cucumber until you’re ready to eat, and maybe the pineapple too.

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Jerk Tempeh

August 24, 2006 at 8:09 am (Caribbean, F (0 stars, inedible), Other, Tempeh)

Derek loves jerk seasoning, so I was excited when I found a recipe for jerk tempeh in the cookbook Some Like it Hot by Robin Robertson, a vegetarian cookbook for people who love spicy, hot food. But the recipe didn’t work out so well.

It called for boiling the tempeh for ten minutes, then sauteeing with oil for 10 minutes, then adding the spices. But the oil was absorbed into the tempeh after just a few minutes. By the time I finally added the jerk seasoning the pan was totally hot and the tempeh dry, and the seasoning didn’t stick, just fell to the bottom and sort of burnt. But Derek still liked it once I added okra and tomatoes to save it. He said he could taste the jerk seasoning, but I couldn’t. I’m going to have to try it again with a better technique next time. I’d love a better recipe for Jerk Tempeh. Anyone have one?

Rating: D

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Caribbean Vegetable Stew from Moosewood (B-)

March 30, 2006 at 3:17 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Caribbean, Cruciferous rich, Moosewood)

This was another recipe recommended by a friend from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. The notes are from my friend.

2 cups chopped onion
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
3 cups chopped cabbage (I use more like 5 cups and the recipe absorbs it)
1 fresh chile minced (fresh jalepeno for me)
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cups water
3 cups diced sweet potatoes
2 cups chopped tomato (I use the no salt added canned diced tomatoes from Contadina)
2 cups okra (fresh or frozen is fine)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. fesh cilantro

Saute the onions in the oil about 4-5 minutes. Add the cabbage and chile, saute about 8 more minutes. Add the ginger and water, cover the pan, bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and salt, Simmer until potatoes are barely tender. Add tomatoes, okra, and lime juice. Simmer about 15 minutes more. Add cilantro and remove the pan from the heat.

Yields 4 serving (1 cup each). I serve this with brown basmati rice.

My Notes I thought the recipe was quite bland. I added a number of spices (cumin, allspice, garlic, etc.) to perk the flavors up. Then it wasn’t bad, but mostly just because I like those vegetables. However, I found the cabbage a little soggy. Derek, on the other hand, liked this dish a lot. He ate it happily for dinner, and with relish for lunch the next day, his appreciation for the dish clearly overriding his dislike of leftovers. Why do we never like the same things???

I made this again, for Derek, and he would barely touch it.  I added spices again, so that wasn’t it. Urgh.  I knew it wasn’t our cup of tea.  Why did he like it so much the first time? 

Rating: B-Derek: B+

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