Sunday, July 19, 2009

Black Bean and Portabello Margarita Tamales

So in my internet wanderings I saw someone mention that they had made tamales and I stopped reading and put my own thinking cap on. So I know that I need masa flour which has some protein but I want to add some more. So my first thought is black beans, plus why not some mushrooms that I have in the fridge. I'll make my own sauce to go on top when they are done. Then as I was putting things together I thought... I've already got lime juice in with the beans, I've deglazed my pan with tequila, all I need now is a little triple-sec and like some kind of Hogwarts magic, I have these wonderful things. (Yield is 6 fairly substantial tamales and a bunch of sauce)

2 medium to large onions cut into 8 wedges each
5-6 cloves of garlic diced
2 portabello mushrooms
1 can of black beans drained
1/2 tsp cumin (twice) (plus a couple of shakes)
1 tsp chili powder
Bragg's Liquid Aminos
4 drops liquid smoke
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 can diced tomatoes and chilis
2 cups Corn Masa mix
2 cups of water
Triple Sec
Parchment paper

Take two portabello tops, cut off the end of the step, put them fin side up on a baking sheet that has been sprayed. Put a couple dashes of Bragg's liquid aminos into each and then lightly sprinkle with cumin. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Put all the onions in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat with a little oil or cooking spray and let carmelize (this takes a little time). Stir occasionally. Once they start to get lightly brown add the garlic.

While the onions and garlic are going, drain your can of black beans into a medium bowl and add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt and liquid smoke.

Once the garlic starts to look lightly brown pour enough tequila into the pan to deglaze it. Then you're going to put 1/2 of the onions/garlic into the food processor and the other 1/2 onto the cutting board. Once they cool down cut into larger than dice size pieces and add to the beans in the bowl. Once the mushrooms are done, dice them into 1/2" pieces and add to the bowl.

Take the onion/garlic mixture in the food processor, add 1 can of tomatoes and chilies and pulse until the big chunks are gone. Then put that into a sauce pan with 1/2 tsp of cumin and 2 small cans to tomato sauce. Some might find this too spicy. In that case I'd say use stewed tomatoes in place of the tomatoes and chilies and then add chili powder to taste. Let this simmer until dinner is ready.

Add 1 Tbsp of Triple Sec to the Bean bowl. In a separate bowl add the 2 cups of Corn Masa Mix along with 2 cups of water. Stir well. Once combined into a thin paste type mixture stir it into the contents of the bean bowl. I then took 3 pieces of parchment paper roughly 10" long off the roll and cut them in half giving me 6 pieces of paper roughly 10" long and maybe 5-6 wide. Spray each of these with cooking spray, and place healthy amount of the filling onto the center of one of the pieces of paper. Pull one long side over the filling and tightly roll it. Put the seam on the bottom and bring the ends under, pushing the filling back into the middle. Repeat with the other 5.

Your oven should still be on from the mushrooms. Place the tamales on a baking sheet for 45 minutes. Carefully open to serve (they will be very hot and steamy!).

Cover with a ladle or two of sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

White bean and sage dip

No picture on this one... sorry. We were invited to a gathering today and needed something to bring. The standard hummus made an appearance as did this one.

One can of cannellini beans drained
3-4 cloves of garlic (or most of a head of garlic if roasted)
5-7 fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3 dashes of Bragg's Liquid Aminos
A couple of grinds of fresh black pepper
3-4 TBSP of Lemon juice

Throw the garlic in the food processor with 1 TBSP of your lemon juice. Pulse until diced very small. Then throw everything in the food processor along with the next two TBSP of your lemon juice. Pulse until creamy. If it needs more liquid, add the next bit of lemon juice. You can then adjust for taste. I don't like the sage to overpower everything else, but here is your chance to modify for what you like.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shallot, Shitake, Sherry Risotto with Avocado and Spinach

1 Shallot, sliced into rings and the rings quartered
1 container of shitake mushrooms thinly sliced
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups Arborio Rice
16 slices of Roasted Tomatoes (see previous recipe)
8 cups of vegetable stock (you could use water, but you'll have far less flavor)
1 avocado
Baby Spinach (part of a bag)

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add the shallot and cook until slightly browned. Add the shitake and cook until it is lightly browned as well. Add the sherry to deglaze and yummify the shallots and shitake.

To this add the 2 cups of rice. Stir gently until the rice starts to get a little translucent. Add your first 1/2 cup of broth. Continue to gently stir. As the broth is absorbed, add the next 1/2 cup.

After you have used 4 cups of broth, add in the roasted tomato pieces and continue.

While all this is going on, take your avocado, cut it in half, remove the pit. Then make a number of thin slices of avocado.

Take your plates out and put a light bed of baby spinach on each.

Top the spinach with a healthy helping of the risotto and then 4 slices of avocado. I also added on additional slice of roasted tomato in the middle for the look.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes

I am so in love with these that they need their own post. Roma Tomatoes, what to do with them. I mean they aren't as tasty as beefstakes or the like, but I have found the perfect thing to do with them.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take some Roma Tomatoes, cut the stem end off and then cut the Romas into thirds lengthwise.

Lightly oil or spray a baking sheet and then lay out the roma slices. A thin layer of olive oil (or cooking spray) and then place a little bit of sea salt on each slice.

Then finish each slice with a couple of pieces of frech diced basil. Place the whole thing in the oven and let it sit there for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven, let cool and then store or just eat them warm from the oven.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Broccoli Rabe

No picture on this one, I forgot while it was still in the pan. I made some broccoli rabe about a week ago and it was quite bitter. I like bitter greens but these were almost inedible. Tonight's were soooooooo much better!

Thanks to The Joy of Cooking tonight's vegetable side (with leftover Beans and Rice) was much better.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling. While that is happening cut the ends from the Rabe and then cut into roughly 1 inch long sections. Then dice 4 large cloves of garlic and start to sautee them in a little olive oil.

Throw the Rabe into the boiling water and then add some crushed red pepper flakes to the garlic and oil. 3 minutes later take the Rabe out of the water, draining as much water as possible and then throw it into the garlic/pepper/oil (beware of splatter from the water and oil). Toss for a minute or so and then plate.

You get a nice flavor from the greens along with the toasted garlic and a bit of zip from the red pepper flakes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

BBQ Bean & Wheat nuggets with Corn and a Spinach and Roasted Almond & Tomato salad

Tonight's dinner was made over the last two days, but only because I had time yesterday to get things started. The BBQ sauce is the one previously mentioned. The nuggets are adapted from a recipe in the Veganomicon (buy this book!). I made one batch of nuggets using chickpeas and another using great northern beans. The great northern batch was a little wetter before cooking but that could also be from my tendency to not be a stickler about accurately measuring things.

So.. the nuggets - take one can of beans drained and put it into a bowl with 2 TBSP of oil (I'm not sure how they would turn out without the oil). Mash the beans into a paste. Once done, add 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (heaping), 1/2 cup bread crumbs (heaping) and 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth plus another TBSP or so. To this add some dried thyme, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. I'd say 1/2 TSP each or so (again I don't really measure I just kind of do it by sight). Mix together and knead for 3-4 minutes. Then pull them into small nugget size pieces and put onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes at 375 and then flip and cook for another 10. You can also make these into larger filet size pieces. Tonight I'm going to reheat mine at 350 with a coating of the BBQ sauce.

The salad - simple baby spinach into a bowl, topped with some roasted tomatoes and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar (non-vegans might want to add some goat cheese crumbles). The tomatoes are made by taking roma tomatoes, slicing off the end and then slicing lengthwise into three pieces. Place all the slices on a baking sheet, brush with a light amount of olive oil and then top with fresh diced basil and a light sprinking of sea salt. Bake in the oven for 2 hours at 350. Ten minutes before you're going to serve, throw some sliced almonds into a pan and put them in the oven. Take the warm slices of tomato and place them on top of the spinach sprinkle on some toasted almond slices and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

BBQ Sauce

This is a picture of the simmering cauldron of BBQ sauce that I have on the stove currently. This will be used for tomorrow nights dinner but I want it to thicken up a bit and to concentrate the flavors.

Start with 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1 small can of tomato sauce. Put this in a mid-size sauce pan and bring this up to a medium heat.

To this you're going to add a medium to largish onion diced, 4-5 large cloves of garlic also diced.

Then you're going to add some chili powder - I didn't measure mine but I'd guess maybe around a TBSP. I then added a TSP or so of cumin. Then add 2 TBSP of Steak Sauce. I would have added Worcestershire sauce instead of the steak sauce but I didn't have any without anchovies.
Then add 1/2 TSP or so of ground cinnamon and 1/2 TSP or so of ground nutmeg.

Add in a light sprinkling of sea salt and a healthy dose of cracked pepper and bring it all to a boil.

Once boiling, lower to a healthy simmer.

I let it simmer for about 30 minutes and then added 2 TBSP of maple syrup. Another 30 minutes and I then added a little less than 1/4 cup of brown sugar. This then simmered for another hour or so.

Take the mixture and pour it into a food processor or blender and process to turn the onion and garlic pieces into tiny bits of yummy goodness. I then put it all back in the pot and let it simmer some more. Later it will go in the fridge for tomorrow nights dinner.

The sauce has a light tangy sweetness with a slight lingering zip.

Beans and Rice

Yesterday I made Beans and Rice for our guests. I didn't get a picture of it right when I made it, but like many foods it tastes even better a day later and reheated. This is a picture from today.

To make this, start with a package of fake bacon (whatever brand you like). I guess you could use Bacos, but I find them just a little too plastic.
Chop the fakon (fakon = fake bacon) into 1" wide pieces and put into a heavy bottom large pot with a little bit of oil. Cook until crisp and then remove from the pot. Into the pot goes two stalks of celery diced. After a couple of minutes add two onions also diced. Give those a couple of minutes to start to soften and then add 4-5 cloves of diced garlic along with a diced red pepper, diced yellow pepper and a diced green pepper. Let all that start to cook and soften up.

Around this time you're going to want to add some cajun seasoning (whatever kind you like - I find Tony Chachere waaaay too salty). Also add two bay leaves and then cover the pot and let all the flavors mingle together.

While that is happening, cook up 3 cups of rice (I like a nice Basmati). For those who are new to cooking, this means bringing 6 cups of water to a boil, adding 3 cups of rice, waiting for it to hit a boil again, then lowering it to a simmer and leave covered for about 20 minutes.

To the veggies, add two cans of drained kidney beans and throw the cooked fakon back into the pot. This all then starts to blend together nicely. Lower the heat to a simmer and let sit until the rice is done.

Once the rice is cooked, add the rice to the veggie/bean mixture. Then give a very healthy squirt of ketchup and stir it all together. The amount of ketchup is one of those personal things, I like the rice and beans to have a nice pink color. Now is a good time to taste the dish and see if it needs additional seasoning.

This is a good time to serve the food to your guests, just warn them not to eat the bay leaves if they find them in their bowl.

Friday, July 3, 2009

An afternoon with friends

We're having friends over today and my goal was to not spend the afternoon in the kitchen working on food. So... I've prepped most of the food for the day in advance. Nothing really fancy but some good simple food.

For the appetizer type things I have three different kinds of hummus/bean dip.

Black Bean dip - 1 can black beans, juice of one lime, zest of one lemon, 4 cloves of garlic diced, a healthy amount of cumin and a couple of dashes of Bragg's Liquid Aminos - run that through the food processor until smooth.

Hummus - 1 can of chick peas, 1 head of garlic roasted, juice of 1 lemon, 2 TBSP of dill, 1-2 TBSP of Tahini and a couple of dashes of Bragg's Liquid Aminos - run that through the food processor until smooth.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus - Same as the regular Hummus, just with the addition of a red pepper that I roasted in the oven this morning with the two heads of garlic.

I've got a crockpot of Veggie chili going right now (pigeon peas, chick peas, morningstar crumbles, bag of frozen corn, yellow and red peppers, two onions, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin (2-3 TBSP), chili powder (2-3 TBSP) and a large can of tomato sauce. More seasoning may be needed based upon taste.

Later I'll be making some beans and rice along with some chickpea nuggets