Archive | January, 2011

Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Plantains

30 Jan

Let these shine as is, don’t gussy them up too many with spices.

Serves 8

3 medium yams or sweet potatoes (about 3#), peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
3 moderately ripe plantains, peeled, cut in one inch chunks
2 Tbsp Earth Balance or coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
(1/2 tsp chili powder)
(1/4 tsp ginger)

-In a pot with a steamer tray, add water to just above the bottom of the steamer tray and bring to simmer.
-Put the sweet potatoes at the bottom of the tray and the plantains on the top.
-Steam for 30-40 minutes, until very soft.
-Drain well and place in mixer bowl with EB/coconut milk and salt.
-Cream on medium-high speed until mostly smooth.
-Season to taste, adding spices sparingly.


Baked Jollof Brown Rice

30 Jan

There are many variations, but it seems to be a staple throughout most of Africa. Fairly similar to Spanish rice (in fact, to make Spanish rice, you could use the same recipe, just omit the bell peppers and/or carrots, sub oregano for thyme and cumin for tumeric). As with most African recipes, it is traditionally spicy, but I have omitted the spice for the sake of my children.

This was a big hit with the kids. It was a pretty big hit with me, too. It was super flavorful, healthy, and once it was in the oven it took space off the stove and countertop (this was my first attempt at baking rice, so that was quite novel). I had reduced the water from the various recipes that I had adapted it from, but it was still a bit mushy, so I will reduce it a bit further next time.

Makes about 10 cups, enough for 4-6 as a main dish or 6-8 as a side dish
1 Tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
(spicy to preferences – scotch bonnet chilis are traditional, or cayenne)
2 c uncooked brown rice (I used a long grain Jasmine variety)
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 1/3 c 3 c un-chicken or veggie broth (I used Harvest Vegetarian Chicken Flavor Bullion that I got from My Thanh)
1 c frozen peas

-Preheat the oven to 375′.
-In a dutch oven on the stovetop, heat the oil.
-Saute the onions and peppers for 5 minutes to soften.
-Add the carrots and garlic and sautee another minute.
-Stir in the salt and spices, then tomato paste and then brown rice and saute for another 3 minutes, until rice begins to brown and absorb some tomato color.
-Add in the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
-Turn off heat, put the lid on, and slide the pot into the oven. Bake for 1 hour.
-Turn off the oven and wait ten minutes before removing from the oven.
– Fluff with a fork, stir in the peas and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Sweet & Smokey Molasses Greens

27 Jan

Excellent flavor combination with a huge calcium content to boot.

1/2-1 Tbsp oil
1 bunch greens (such as collards or kale), washed and cut
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Heat the oil in your pan or pot. Add the greens and start to saute. While those are starting, stir together the molasses, vinegar, salt and liquid smoke until combined. Add to greens and continue to saute/cook (sometimes I do this covered and sometimes uncovered) to your liking.


27 Jan

Pretty much Julie Hasson’s recipe, just modified a bit for the spices I use. Here for posterity. I’ve tried making the sausages with mashed tofu/beans (a la Vegan Dad or Isa), but they just come out chewy. Stick with the chickpea flour!

Makes about 8 sausages
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 T dehydrated chopped onion
1 1/2 T whole fennel seeds
1 T granulated garlic
1 T paprika
2 t ground pepper
1 1/2 t Goya Adobo red-top
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp allspice

Wet Mix
2 1/4 cold water
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl or measuring cup. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Get water going in a pot with steamer tray. Divide into eight pieces and shape each into a vague log on tinfoil. Roll up like tightly and twist the ends (like a tootsie roll). Steam for 45 minutes, let cool and unroll.

Tastes best when made ahead, allowed to refrigerate and firm up, then pan fried whole or in pieces.

easy peanut sauce

27 Jan

This makes a small enough amount to make a quick dip for lunches, or pour on some noodles. Multiply as necessary.

Makes about 1/2 cup (tripled measurements below)
3 Tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar or agave nectar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted/dark sesame oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 Tbsp warm/hot water (start with less or use less for thicker sauce)
(1/4 tsp+ chili garlic paste)
see directions below.

Roughly tripled from above – Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar, honey or agave nectar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted/dark sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup warm/hot water (start with less or use less for thicker sauce)
(3/4 tsp+ chili garlic paste)

Put all ingredients but water and chili paste in a jar or bowl. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing with a fork until smooth, until you get your desired thickness. Add chili garlic paste until desired spiciness.

banana bread #2

15 Jan

I veganized this recipe. I chose that recipe because I liked that it used minimal, very basic ingredients – there was no addition of even vanilla or spices. The overall loaf was pretty perfect – beautiful flecks of banana showcasing a great banana flavor.

The other recipe I have focuses on agave nectar & a generally healthier version. This one really gets back to basics. Sometimes we get caught up adding spices and what not a little frivolously. It’s nice to step back from all that on occasion.

1/2 c Earth Balance margarine
3/4 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer + 1/4 c water (could try 2 T ground flax seed = 1/4 c water)
6 mashed overripe bananas (about 2 1/3 c)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour (AP or King Arthur White Whole Wheat)
(3/4- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease/spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
-In your mixer bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in egg replacer and mashed bananas until well blended but still some good banana lumps. Stir baking soda, salt and flour in until just combined. Fold in the nuts if using. Spread batter into prepared loaf pan.
-Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean(ish. the banana chunks kind of make it not totally clean, but you shouldn’t have doughy bits on the toothpick). Let bread cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting and slicing if you possibly can.

Sweet & Spicy Mandarin-Cashew Compote

4 Jan

Perfect with greens, broccoli, rice, tofu – anything really. I threw this together and it evolved into a compote/chutney, which was not my original intention. It was so yummy!

The below measurements are rough guesses, since I was throwing things in, so I can try and recreate it in the future.

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp hot chili oil
1/2 cup raw cashews, loosely chopped
1 smallish can of mandarin oranges, drained and rinsed slightly
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar

heat the oil in a pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the chili oil. You may want to have a fan on, it got a little smokey. Add the cashews and toss until lightly toasted. Add the remaining ingredients, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the oranges have disintegrated and the mixture becomes a sauce.