Tofu and millet patties

December 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm (C (1 star, edible), Grains, The Vegan Gourmet, Tofu)

I wanted to use up some leftover millet, and decided to try a variation on the tofu patties in The Vegan Gourmet.  I figured I’d try out one more recipe before passing it on.  The recipe calls for bulgur rather than millet, but I figured the two grains are similar enough, and the substitution should work okay.

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Two vegetarian cookbooks bite the dust

December 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm (Cookbook reviews, Crescent Dragonwagon, The Vegan Gourmet)

I am a collector of cookbooks, but a principled one.  I believe that a cookbook that is not cooked from is a cookbook whose purpose is unfulfilled.  If I don’t cook from a cookbook, then I shouldn’t own it.  I also believe in finishing cookbooks.  My ultimate goal is to finish every cookbook I own, where “finishing” means making every recipe that appeals to me.  (In other words, I can skip the recipes for eggplant parmigiana and blue cheese and artichoke ravioli.)  I try not to buy too many cookbooks, as I always feel guilty about all the cookbooks I already own that go untouched.  Still, sometimes my principles lapse a little and I buy myself a new present.  Other times, friends or family give me new cookbooks.  It’s two of these gifted cookbooks that I’ve been holding onto for years that finally bit the dust.

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Smoothies and “Milkshakes”

January 21, 2007 at 7:35 am (Beverage, breakfast, Derek's faves, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Soymilk, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated, Website / blog)

When I was growing up my mom called any thick beverage made with fruit juice a “smoothie” and anything made with soymilk a “milkshake.” Derek, however, insists that milkshakes must include cow’s milk and ice cream. Whatever you call them, there are a million variations out there, and I’m on a quest to find my favorite combinations. So far I’ve only taken a few steps. But don’t worry, give me time. I’ll get there eventually! Read the rest of this entry »

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Couscous salad with dried tomato vinaigrette

December 31, 2006 at 6:27 am (C (1 star, edible), Grains, The Vegan Gourmet)

I bought whole wheat couscous ages ago, but I never used it because… I never cook with couscous. Trying to clean out my pantry for my move I dug up this couscous salad from the Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Minday Toomay. I needed a potluck recipe and it seemed promising.

The dressing

  • 1/3 cup minced dried tomato
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 Tbs. mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

The salad

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced
  • 2 cups dried couscous
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  1. Roast the bell pepper.
  2. Mince the dried tomatoes. If they are too dry to mince, soak them in hot water 15-30 minutes. Drain the tomatoes well then mince them.
  3. Well ahead of time, make the dressing so the flavors can blend. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and cayenne. Place the mustard and cumin seeds in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds begin to pop. stir the hot seeds into the oil mixture (they will sizzle). Add the dried tomato and cilantro. Stir, cover, and seet aside at room temperature for up to several hours, until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of water in a covered saucepan until boiling. Stir in the couscous, salt, and garlic. Immediately cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer couscous to a serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the roasted red pepper to the bowl. Grate the cucumber into the bowl and add the onion. Toss together the vegetables and couscous. Stir the dressing vigorously and add to the salad. Toss to distribute everything.
  5. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

My Notes:

I didn’t have cucumber so julienned some radishes instead. This salad was actually quite similar to the Southwestern Quinoa Salad I’ve posted to this blog, but despite their similarities, I didn’t think this recipe is as good. I found the flavors to be a little harsher, and it seemed a tad greasy. Also, I missed both the nuts and the beans. My friend enjoyed it though, and I took it to a potluck and it all got taken–of course I don’t know if it was actually eaten.

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Hominy and Tomatillo Stew

December 31, 2006 at 2:19 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, soup, The Vegan Gourmet)

It’s hard to find vegetarian recipes that call for hominy and tomatillos. Most are simply a version of posole, which I have never had. I decided to try this posole recipe from the Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Minday Toomay, which also includes sorrel, another rare ingredient in vegetarian cookbooks.

  • 1/2 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos (about 10-12)
  • 1 cup firmly packed chopped sorrel
  • 3.5 cups homemade vegetable stock
  • 2 medium serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3 cups white hominy (one 28 ounce can, drained)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Topping additions:

  • minced white onion
  • diced avocado tossed with lemon juice
  • chopped raw or pickled jalepenos
  • dried oregano
  • lime wedges for squeezing into the soup
  • diced fresh tomatoes
  • minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • shredded lettuce
  1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Seeds will turn golden brown and pop in the pan. Imeediately transfer to a bowl to cool. When cool, grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor to a fine meal consistency. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the tomatillos. Place the tomatillos in a small saucepan with 1 cup water, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Tomatillos will be very soft. Drain the tomatillos and transfer them to a blender. Add the sorrel, 1 cup of the vegetable stock, the chiles, and garlic and puree thoroughly.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy, deep pan over medium-high heat. Pour the tomatillo puree into the pan through a wire-mesh strainer, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to force the mixture through the mesh. The tomatillos seeds will remain in the strainer; discard them. Cook the puree for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ground pumpkin seeds, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the remaining 2.5 cups stock, hominy, and salt to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings and place them in bowls or plates to serve alongsize the posole. When the soup is done, ladle into bowls and serve hot. Diners may add whatever combinations of toppings they like.

This recipe makes 4 main dish servings, or 6-8 appetizer portions.

My Notes:

This is a very interesting soup. Grainy and green and rich. Very unusual. It actually tasted Spanish rather than Mexican. I wonder if pozole has spanish influences? I unfortunately couldn’t find any sorrel so used chard instead. I also used canned tomatillos, so skipped the cooking step, although I did strain the pureed tomatillos. It’s odd that they call for the tomatillos to be peeled–I assume they mean that the husks not the peels should be removed. Both my canned tomatillos and hominy were already salted, so I didn’t add any salt. Still the soup was extremely salty. I guess using canned tomatillos was a bad idea, unless I can find some with less salt. When I went to add the last 2.5 cups of stock the soup looked so thin that I decided to hold off. I reduced the soup quite a bit but never needed to add the stock, not sure why.

I served the soup with avocado and cilantro, both of which were a nice addition, and lime, which contributed a pleasing acidity.

Update Aug 2007: I made this soup again, using fresh tomatillos this time. I still couldn’t find sorrel so subbed beet greens, and I didn’t have serranos so substituted one jalepeno, with the seeds. It was very spicy! Not unbearable but definitely noticeable. I ended up adding all the broth, but it wasn’t too watery. I left out the salt, but shouldn’t have, because we had to salt it at the table. This time I skipped the avocado aond I topped the soup with halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes, which were quite pretty. I served this soup to guests, and gave very small portions due to the spiciness, but everyone went back for seconds except me. I still find it a bit odd tasting–interesting and unusual, but I just don’t have the inclination to eat much of it. Derek, on the other hand, finished the remaining two bowls for lunch the next day.

Rating: B

Derek: A-

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Sesame sweet potato saute with hijiki

December 27, 2006 at 1:28 pm (Japanese, Root vegetables, Starches, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet 2nd edition.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup dried hijiki seaweed (about 1/3 ounce)
  • 1 tsp. raw sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 2 green onions, minced
  1. Rinse the hijiki briefly under cold running water, then place it in 2 cups of warm water and soak for 30 minutes.  Lift the hijiki from the water, rinse it again, and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned and aromatic.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.  Heat the oils together over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet or wok with a tight-fitting lid.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of sweet potato, add the sweet potato strips to the pan along with the salt and cayenne, and stir.  Saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Add the hijiki and continue to saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and mirnin with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.  Add the mixture to the pan and immediately cover.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid is gone and the sweet potates are fork-tender, about 2-3 minute.  Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve hot, sprinkled evenly with the green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

My notes:

I liked the combination of the sweet potatoes and hijiki, but my sweet potatoes were undercooked. I don’t know if I cut them too thick, or if they just need to steam longer.  Also, I would have liked more toasted sesame seeds.

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Cannellini beans in mint marinade

December 27, 2006 at 1:14 pm (Beans, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet, expanded 2nd edition.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained

Mix the marinade together, toss in the beans, and allow to marinate at room temperature for several hours.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes 10 appetizer size servings.

My notes:

I thought this recipe made way too much dressing for the amount of beans.  It was too strong tasting for me, although the basic flavor was pleasant.  Derek liked it a lot.

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Tempeh Stir-Fry with Ginger and Lemon (B-)

August 24, 2006 at 8:04 am (C (1 star, edible), Cruciferous rich, East and SE Asia, Miso, Tempeh, The Vegan Gourmet, Vegetable dishes)

My friend gave me this tempeh recipe from 15-Minute Vegetarian by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.

Tempeh Stir-Fry with Ginger and Lemon

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. light-colored miso
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (button mushrooms also okay if you can’t find crimini)
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
8 oz. soy tempeh, cubed
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained

In a medium bowl, whisk the conrstarch into 1 cup water. Add the lemon juice, honey, miso, soy sauce, and ginger, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir and saute for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms, broccoli, tempeh, and water chestnuts. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Each will have: 285 calories, 9 g fat, 16 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol.

My friend’s notes
I had to double the honey because it was so lemony, and I also substituted snow peas for water chestnuts (just because I wanted to). It came out pretty well, but not stellar.

My notes

I made a similar looking stirfry years ago from the same authors but from the cookbook The Vegan Gourmet that had what seems like 3 times as many ingredients. I never made it again because it was a lot of work but I remember it after all these years because it was probably the best stirfy I’ve ever made (I’m not so good at stir-frying). This one looks similar but more manageable. I wonder if it will be as good?

Okay, I tried it and thought it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as excellent as I remembered from my version of the recipe, however, so I dug out my cookbook to see what was different in the “gourmet” version, and the biggest differences I noticed was that the 15-minute version used 3 Tbs. brown rice syrup rather than the 2 Tbs. honey (a sweetener) and mirin (which is also sweet). I enjoyed the lemon flavor, but found it a bit overpowering. It needed something to counter balance it. Derek suggested fish paste or anchovies to give it some depth, but I don’t eat either of those… Derek picked out all the tempeh cuz it was his favorite, and I preferred the vegetables, so we made a good team! Anyhow, I’m not sure if I’ll make it again, but I’ll enjoy it for lunch today 🙂

Update Dec 2006: I tried the original version again.  It’s the recipe above except another Tbs. of canola oil, only 4 ounces of tempeh, only 2 cups mushrooms, a 1/2 pound snow peas, 2 Tbs. mirin, and 3 Tbs. brown rice syrup (I used 2 Tbs. honey).  The consistency of the sauce was very good but it was too sweet, and just not that great.  Derek and I had it for lunch but threw out the leftovers.

Rating: B-

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Tempeh Rancheros (B-)

August 24, 2006 at 7:57 am (breakfast, C (1 star, edible), Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh, The Vegan Gourmet)

This recipe is from 15-Minute Vegetarian by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.Tempeh Rancheros

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
2 Tbsp. diced pickled jalapeno pepper
2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. pure chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Several grinds black pepper
12 oz. soy tempeh, cut into 1/2 x 3-inch strips
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and cook 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and nestle the tempeh pieces into the sauce. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Just before serving time, wrap the tortillas in a tea towel and heat in a microwave oven until steaming hot, about 1 minute (alternatively, you may toast the tortillas one at a time in a hot, dry skillet or over a gas flame, turning frequently).

Serve the tempeh in shallow bowls with a generous helping of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and nestle folded tortillas in each bowl.

Yield: 4 servings
Each will have: 401 calories; 16 g fat; 21 g protein; 44 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber; 3 mg cholesterol.

My notes:

I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly, since I had all green pepper and no red pepper, and fresh tomatoes rather than canned, but other than that I was pretty close.

Although it was a very pretty dish, with red and yellow tomatoes, green peppers, purple onions, and brown tempeh, the flavors didn’t excite me. The tempeh flavor was very strong, and I typically prefer tempeh when the flavor is more muted. This tasted pretty much like raw tempeh with the other flavors added–it didn’t combine to one new flavor. The veggie, cumin, chili combo was okay, but not exciting to me. I think Derek would have liked it though, since it was a relatively strong flavor combo which he tends to like more than me.

On corn tortillas and topped with salsa, more fresh tomato, and a bit of melted cheddar cheese this dish was reasonably tasty, but by itself I don’t think I would make it again. I preferred my bean rancheros that I posted last week to this dish.

This recipe actually reminds me of a dish I made from the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley for a mediterranean style tempeh with tomatoes and olives, that I also didn’t like that much (nor did Derek for that matter).

My favorite tempeh dishes all require baking it in the oven, but I’d love to find a quick stovetop recipe that I really enjoyed. Any suggestions?

Update: I added some Pace Picante Sauce then took the leftovers to work with some corn tortillas and a tomato and thoroughly enjoyed my tacos. Mostly I tasted the crispy corn and the fresh tomatoes, but the tempeh texture was pleasant. Occasionally I got a whiff of something very familiar, but I couldn’t place it–maybe chiliquiles?

Rating: B-

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