Friday, March 30, 2012

Mac and Cheese with Hot Dogs and Broccoli

I always loved mac and cheese when my father would add hot dogs to it. I also always loved cheese and broccoli. I decided to merge all these things. This is what I got. If you're not a fan of broccoli (which you should be) then just omit it and carry on. Your dinner won't be nearly as healthy though.

Also, thank goodness for Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the Post Punk Kitchen for coming up with this cheezy sauce. So good! 

Mac and Cheese with Hot Dogs and Broccoli
1 lb cooked whole wheat fusilli (or whatever kind of pasta you like best for mac and cheese)
3 Field Roast Frankfurters, sliced
1 cup cheddar Daiya 
2 broccoli crowns, chopped 
2 cups stale white bread, diced and pulsed through food processor
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 recipe for Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce from the PPK 

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prepare Cheezy Sauce according to directions on the Post Punk Kitchen's website (the recipe is at the bottom of the page). 

While the sauce is simmering, heat one tablespoon oil in saucepan. Add the broccoli, and cook until bright green. Remove from heat. 

In a 9x13 rectangular baking dish, combine the sauce, broccoli, sliced hot dogs, Daiya, and cheezy sauce. Add most of the pasta and stir to combine. *I believe I had about 1 1/2 cups cooked pasta left over, because I felt like if I added the entire amount there would be too much pasta for the broccoli, hot dogs, and cheese. Reserve for another use.*

Toss the bread crumbs with the remaining olive oil and spread across the top of the casserole.  

Bake until the bread crumbs are browned and the casserole is heated through. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Taco Salad

Here's a vegan taco salad recipe that is not necessarily great for you, but is loads better than its meatgrease-laden alter ego. You know, the 2,000 calorie taco salad described in that Budweiser commercial years ago. This one is probably 1,500 calories. Just kidding, it's probably not that bad! However, it is chockfull of protein, and because it's made with tempeh you need not fear the presence of any suspicious, processed faux ground beef. It has minimal cholesterol and saturated fat. Actually, has a good amount of veggies too. 

You can substitute romaine lettuce for the spinach if you like, but for heaven's sakes please don't use iceberg. Nutritious=not iceberg lettuce. Also, it would be pretty delicious with pinto beans rather than black beans as well! 

Taco Salad

makes 4 servings

For the Tempeh Mixture

2 packages tempeh (1 lb or 16 ounces), finely diced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 teaspoons red chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup light colored beer 
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn

Put tempeh in a microwave-safe container, cover with water, and microwave for about 10 minutes, until water has boiled for a few minutes. Drain, and return tempeh to container. Add garlic, lime juice, shoyu, 2 tablespoons oil, red chile, and cumin. Mix to combine. Pour beer over mixture and stir. Marinate for an hour.

Heat remaining oil in a large pan. Add marinated tempeh and saute until browned, mashing with spatula to achieve a texture similar to ground beef. Add beans and heat through. Add corn and saute until all ingredients are warmed.

For the Guacamole

2 avocados, peeled
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Mash all ingredients together.

For the Relish

2 large tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1/2 cup jarred sliced jalapenos, drained
3 diced scallions
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

For the Sour "Cream"

1 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Soak the cashews in water overnight or boil and cool. Place in blender with the rest of ingredients and blend until smooth.

To serve

1 bag of corn chips 
1 cup cheddar Daiya
6 cups spinach
1 8 oz jar salsa 

Place desired amount of chips on individual plates. Sprinkle with Daiya and place in oven. Heat oven to 200ºF. Turn oven off, conserve energy! You just want chips warmed and cheese melted.

Once the tempeh-bean-corn mixture is ready, remove plates from oven. Place 1 1/2 cups spinach on each plate and distribute the tempeh mixture evenly on top of the spinach. Top each with relish, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kicking Off Spring with Hot Dogs, Coleslaw and Brewskies

Sorry it has been so long since my last post! I had the opportunity to go to the loon conference in NH last week. I presented on my research project and got to listen to some interesting talks and talk to interesting people! 

The only downside was the $15 vegan pasta dish I decided to take a risk on. It was terrible. I literally paid $15 for penne and boiled, frozen vegetables. Fifteen. To say I felt ripped off is putting it mildly, and made me realize two things. One, I will not eat at a restaurant if I feel I'm going to be gipped by their vegetarian option. I will forever carry PB&J's in my purse just in case. Friends, I will patiently sit with you while you eat your food, but I'm not going to pay someone for something I don't want, namely food that has no nutritional value and tastes like cardboard. Second, it made me remember that most people don't really understand what vegans eat. Whoever came up with this menu could have easily googled "vegan pasta" and come up with any number of inspirations for dinners that would have actually tasted good. But clearly, the veggie offering was an afterthought. God forbid that you might actually take pride in the vegetarian options  put on your menu. Sure, you started a restaurant, and I am aware that most people don't like vegetarians and especially vegans, so maybe you put these things on the menu in revenge, or simply because you think people become veg*n because they don't care about taste like the rest of the world, but it is actually YOUR menu. You should take pride and try to excel in all the things you put on it.

To be fair, I am a picky eater, but sheesh!

Anyways, now that I'm back, and the weather has warmed up, I'm ready to start posting some seasonable recipes. Yesterday, March 18, was a balmy, sunny day in Boston. If I remember correctly, last year at this time, there was still snow on the ground, lakes still frozen, and I was still wearing a peacoat everywhere. But yesterday, I sat on my porch in a tank top, I listened to Bob Marley, drank homebrew, and ate hot dogs and coleslaw. This is an anomaly for sure, and as I write this Arizona is getting buried under snow. Global warming (climate change.... ahemmm..) is a bitch folks!

Well actually, I'd say that global warming is doing nothing but good for New England. It hit 80 degrees in Nashua, NH yesterday! And actually, I'm pretty sure that my friends in the southwest are thoroughly enjoying their snow. It's been a good trade. If it weren't for the complaints from the polar bears and those annoying unseasonable tornadoes rearing their ugly heads, things would be downright peachy. 

It's like the Postal Service song:

"Again last night I had that strange dream 
 Where everything was exactly how it seemed 
Concerns about the world getting warmer 
People thought they were just being rewarded 
For treating others as they'd like to be treated 
For obeying stop signs and curing diseases 
For mailing letters with the address of the sender 
Now we can swim any day in November" 
Ah, if only everything were as simple as hot dogs and coleslaw.

Especially when you have these hot dogs. Why? Because they are so much better for you than regular hot dogs, without sacrificing the taste! 

For comparison one Hebrew National All Beef Frank has 150 calories, 14 grams fat (6g saturated), 8 percent of your cholesterol, and only 6g protein. One Field Roast Frankfurter has 190 calories, 9g fat (1.5g saturated), no cholesterol, and 21g protein. So while the veggie verson has 40 more calories, it has WAY less "bad stuff" like cholesterol and saturated fat, and way more protein than a regular hot dog. 

I love these because they actually taste meaty and have great texture. When you bite into them they even look like real hot dogs!! I also like them because they are made from seitan, which is something that I make in my own kitchen every week. There's nothing sketchy on their ingredient list like you may find with Morningstar products (by sketchy I mean un-pronouncable and mysterious chemicals)

Just grill them up and put them in a bun! Serve them with coleslaw (recipe below)!

Oh, and beer also makes a good addition! While we got to enjoy our Vanilla Bean Stout homebrew, I didn't have a chance to take a picture of it before it was all gone. Unfortunate but true. 

Creamy Vegan Coleslaw
To be entirely honest, I wasn't really measuring anything when I made this, so you may have to adjust the seasonings to your taste.

4 cups shredded cabbage
2 diced carrots (I totally spaced on this but you should put this in!)
3/4 cup Vegenaise
1 scallion, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons mustard powder
3 teaspoons dried dill
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Mix everything in a bowl!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Beef" Stew to Warm Your Bones

This winter has been so strange here in Boston. On October 1st we had a nasty snow storm. After least year's winter, when the city literally ran out of space to put the snow (you can't just push it into the ocean because of all the pollutants it picks up in the street), everyone took this to be a terrible omen.

But then came November, December, January, February and nothing happened. There may have been one little storm that left about three inches but was gone the next day. There was lots of rain. There was a day in the 60's. But come March 1st we get dumped on. It snowed for nearly 30 hours straight. Good thing the temperature was high enough to keep some of it from sticking, but we still got some significant snowage. While it has mostly melted in the city, there is still about five inches covering the countryside.

It has been grey out for the last three days and I'm thinking that it may be my last chance to make "warm you from the inside out" food. Something that, in the words of Isa Chandra Moskowitz "gives a warm and flavorful fork you to winter."

March is here Old Man Winter, and I just want you to know that we've now got the upper hand! Your demise is looming just right around the corner.

So here it is, this vegan "Beef" Stew. What's the best thing about it? Well, its hard to say. There's a lot of things that are good about it.
  • It's way healthy for you. Little saturated fat, no cholesterol.
  • Lots of veggies.
  • Lots of protein.
  • Tender "meat."
  • No tough, terrible strings of animal flesh stuck between your teeth. 
  • You do not have to simmer Gardein for an hour and a half to make it edible like you would for tough pieces of cow. This means your stew is ready to go in under an hour.
  • You don't have to trim fat off of muscle, and then chop it up. Gardein comes ready for the pan. And your hands, knife, cutting board, etc. are not bloody or potentially dangerous.
  • My recipe makes a ton.
  • Beefless. It's what's for dinner.

And just a note about Worcestershire Sauce. Traditionally it's not vegan. It has anchovies in it. Annie's Naturals makes an organic, vegan version! Yay! It's by the steak sauce in natural foods stores. 

"Beef" Stew
2 packages Gardein "Beefless Tips" (Find it in the frozen section)
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2 yellow onions, cut in half and sliced into half moons
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
3 cups potatoes, skins on (better for you!) and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, quartered
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 1/2 teaspoons marjoram (you can sub oregano if you don't have this)
3/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons shoyu (you can use soy sauce)
4 cups water (may be more or less depending)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Ciabatta or other crusty bread, to serve
Beer, such as Sam Adams Alpine Spring, to serve

Let the Beefless Tips thaw while you chop the veggies. Then heat 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance in a VERY large pot.

Add the Beefless Tips and saute until browned on all sides. 

If there is enough oil in the bottom of the pan, add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. If there is not enough, add the remaining tablespoon Earth Balance, and then add the veggies. Saute until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have lost their water. Add the potatoes and stir. Continue to saute until the water/oil at the bottom of the pan has been used up. Add the mustard, paprika, thyme, marjoram, and basil. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Meanwhile whisk together the wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.  Add mixture to the pot to deglaze. Scrape the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the wine is reduced by half. 

Add water to the pot until the vegetables and Gardein are just covered (you want to add enough water that your stew has as much broth as you would like in it). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Once the veggies are all thoroughly cooked, use a liquid measuring cup to remove about 1/2 cup broth. Add the flour to this broth and whisk until evenly incorporated. Return the flour/broth mixture to the pot, and stir. The sauce should thicken. If after thickening, there is not enough broth left, add a bit more water, until desired consistency is achieved. Add the peas and heat through.

Remove stew from heat, stir in chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm bread and chilled beer!