Tag Archives: vegan

Ever Wanted

Navratan Korma

Navratan Korma

Every now and then I tend to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to blog challenges, and this week’s r/52weeksofcooking is a prime example.  The theme this week was Indian which is a cuisine I’m familiar with and have done a few times in the past.  However I wanted to try something different so instead of my standard tomato based curry I decided to attempt a yogurt based dish, and then go the extra step in making it vegan.  I researched a variety of different dishes before finally deciding on Navratan Korma which translates to Nine Gems Curry.  For my nine gems I settled on: peas, green beans, Indian Eggplant, green bell pepper, tofu (or paneer), Indian red chilies, shallots, cashews, and carrots.  I debated about using cauliflower or broccoli but it’s still too early in the season for them and couldn’t find any at the local market.  Needless to say this is a very (very!!!) prep-heavy dish with lots of cleaning and cutting.

I started prep work with the tofu in order to give it time to press before moving on to the eggplant, for similar reasons, and then all the remaining vegetables.  To figure out the right spices I looked at a variety of online recipes before finally settling on the below combination.  For a more traditional dish use paneer in place of tofu, just keep it mind it will cook a lot faster than tofu and might require additional vegetable oil in order to brown.

Ever Wanted

Serves: serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon seeds
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor powder (mango powder)
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tsp ginger, shredded
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 lb of tofu, well pressed and drained (can also sub paneer)
  • 4 Indian eggplants, sliced and salted
  • 1 cup spring peas
  • 1 cup green beans, tipped and halved
  • 1/4 lb carrots, cut in to 2inch pieces
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 Indian red chilis, diced and seeded (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (plain or original - can also used canned version)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used So Delicious Coconut - but Almond or Dairy would work as well)
  • 1/4 cup cashews (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute dish over medium heat. Once hot add the seeds, spices, garlic, scallions, and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes or until cumin seeds start to split stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  2. Add the tofu and cook for 10 minutes, turning regularly so tofu browns on all sides. Add the remaining vegetables and stir well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once to prevent sticking.
  3. Remove lid and add the coconut milk and yogurt. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Serve hot over coconut (or regular rice) or with fesh Naan topping the dish with cashews (optional)
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/04/ever-wanted.html

I served the cashews only on top of mine since I couldn’t find a bag that was marked in such a way to indicate it was 100% peanut free.  This dish might have taken a while to get started but it’s incredibly quick to come together and delicious – making all the cutting worth it!  I also have a feeling this dish would work well in a slow cooker and look forward to testing that theory shortly.

Note: I’m submitting this to the So Delicious Dairy Free Recipe Contest

Secret Is

Sloppy Joeys

Sloppy Joey

Time for the April installment of the Secret Recipe Club!!!! This month I was assigned the incredible Ilona’s Kitchen blog which is packed to the brim with delicious treats – both sweet and savory!  As always I had a hard time finding the perfect recipe, something that would be different than the normal and showcase the delicious recipes on her blog.  After much debate I decided to go with one of her two (!!!) recipes for Sloppy Joe’s,  figuring if they were such a hit with her munchkin they would also go over well with my husband.  In honor of the vegan twist on this recipe I’m renaming them Sloppy Joey’s, and my Joey seems to have no issue sharing his name with this incredible dinner!  Other than the vegan twist most of the recipe is as you will find it on Ilona’s Kitchen, as long as your overlook my avoidance of celery in this dish in favor of more peppers.

Secret Is

serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the tofu to the skillet, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks until all the tofu is a deep golden almost brown color, about 10 minutes minutes.
  3. Stir tomato sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce into tofu mixture in skillet. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Season the mixture with more salt and pepper, as desired. Spoon onto buns (or fresh bread!), and serve immediately.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/04/secret_is.html

These came together in record time, the only trick was finding a vegetarian friendly Worcestershire sauce.  In the end I wound up making my own using this guide from the incredible Martha Stewart.  I have to say this homemade version was far better than any I had before, and used the extra sauce as a topping for the mashed potatoes that I served with my Sloppy Joey’s .  Thanks Ilona’s Kitchen for an incredible dinner idea!



Leaving is worse

Vegetarian Gumbo

Good evening!  It is once again time for another International Incident Party hosted by the lovely jeroxie :-D I was thrilled when I saw this month’s theme of GUMBO.  I have been trying to be more adventurous in my cooking and cajun/creole dishes most certainly fall in that category.  I have attempted etouffe and jumbalaya in the past, but in both of those cases my dish was more in the spirit of.  This time I set out to do something as traditional as possible, minus the andouille sausage of course.  I was orginally hoping to make my own vegetarian sausage but realized that was way out of my skill level, so had to settle with doing everything else from scratch and using tofurkey sausage.  However I didn’t want to go heavy on the soy based products so I decided to add some beans, figuring they would add the right texture/taste to the dish.  I am rather impressed with what I came up with, even more so in the fact that this dish is also vegan!

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (16oz) black or red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp Cajun Seasonings (I used Emeril’s Essence)
  • 1 lb tofurkey sausage

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted whisk in the flour, allow to cook until the mixture has turned a very rich brown color, darker than peanut butter for the best results.
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the olive oil.  Add the garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, until the garlic begins to turn golden and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Once the flour mixture has turned brown stir in the water and vegetable stock, then add the tomatoes, beans, and cooked vegetable.  Cover and simmer for 30minutes.  Add the seasonings, recover and cook an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile dry brown the sausage in a small pan.  Cut into bit size pieces and add to the gumbo.  Allow the mixture to simmer for a final 30minutes.  Serve over brown rice!

I think this dish might be one of the few dishes were celery is acceptable, normally I leave that out but since I was resolved to be as traditional as possible I sucked it up and kept it in.  I’m sure most locals would still turn their noses up at my vegan gumbo but it is insanely dishes and really is a rib sticking dish.

History Repeating

Curried Chickpea Stew
curriedChicPeaSoup
This past weekend, Joe and I ventured down to my old college for my 5th College Reunion.  I had an amazing time seeing friends from college and it was great seeing how far some of them have come, both in their personal and professional lives.  While the path I’m on is not the one I planned out while I was in college I am glad it’s the path I’m on, even if I don’t use my degree every day.  I also think that many of the experiences I had in college are what allow me to succeed at the job that I do, there isn’t much of a difference between dealing with crazy frat boy and crazy gov’t people.  I’ve also grown appreciative of all the research I did for my Biology degree, very useful for hunting down recipes and for planning various events.  I guess this all goes to show that while things don’t always go to plan they do eventually work out one way or another.
This recipe also falls into the category of eventually working out and has gone thru many evolutions.  The first time I tried doing something with chickpeas and curry was after suffering a horrible allergy attack from eating Chana Masala.  I wanted to find something with that taste but without all the lemon.  This essentially became the base for my chickpea stew, however I always knew that it was missing something.  Fast forward many years later and I found a recipe for something called Captain Stew.  I married the two recipes and this was the end result, YUMMY!
Ingredients:
1 tbsp veg. oil
2 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp Garam Marsala
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups carrot, diced
2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup veg. stock
1 1/2 cups water
Directions:
1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the oil and fully coat the pan.  Add the onions, and cook 5 minutes then add the Garam Marsala along with the garlic.  Stir well. 
2.  Add the water, stock, carrots, chickpeas, and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for 20minutes.  Serve in bowls and top with greek yogurt (optional).  This can also be served over brown rice or with some crusty bread.

Need to be a Little Crazy

Pasta e Fagioli

pastafijoule
For some reason this April has been nothing short of INSANE!  I started a new job last week and the film festival at the USHMM has also started up again.  I was also fortunate enough to spend this past weekend in NYC (2nd Top Chef restaurant) and will also be out of town the next two weekends with other fun things.  There is also a very good chance that in the next 24hrs Joe will be an Uncle…did I mention this month has been insane?!? I have still been cooking like crazy and have some great quick and easy spring time recipes that I can’t wait to share with everyone.
During crazy insane times like these I rely on quick easy recipes that involve very little prep and very little active cooking times.  Meals like these are essential on crazy nights, and the best part about this recipe is that is has everything in it for a full meal.  Just add some polenta or some crusty bread and you have a quick weekday night feast!
Ingredients:
2 tbsp EVOO
1 onion, diced
1/2 lb baby carrots, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can cannelloni bean
2 cups low salt veg. broth
1 cup small pasta, uncooked

Directions
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook 3 minutes, then add the parsley, garlic, and carrots. Cook 5 minutes.
2. Add the beans and stock and bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and add the pasta.  Cook, simmering, for 15minutes or until pasta is tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve!


Joe likes to top his with some fresh cheese, be it Mozzarella or Parmesan while I prefer to just add some crusty bread.  Hopefully things will start to slow down soon and I can start posting more regularly.  There is an IIP party this week so I will have a delicious Cake Pop recipe to share on Saturday night.  I have this theory that with all the running around I have been doing any Cake Pops that I eat while recipe testing won’t count.  I mean, that’s how it works right???