Friday, August 27, 2010

Voila, Veganized!

Cajun-fried Tempeh with Grits n' Greens

For a while after I went vegan, it was hard for me to watch some cooking shows or read some food magazines anymore because of the amount of meat and dairy usually involved in the recipes. These recipes seemed off-limits in a way.

Then I realized just how freaking easy it is to veganize just about ANYTHING, as I'm sure many others have too. That's why, when I glimpsed the cover of this month's Food & Wine magazine ("American Classics Updated: 50 Best Recipes from the New South"), I had a very good feeling about the next week in my kitchen.

My first veganization? A combo of two recipes. Adapted their classic shrimp n' grits, then nabbed their spice-roasted shrimp and transformed it into spice-fried tempeh. Lordy lordy, do I love me a classic Southern brunch! Check it.

Spice-fried Tempeh with Grits n' Greens
adapted from Food & Wine magazine, serves 2

[Cajun-fried Tempeh]
1/2 pound tempeh
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 cup safflower oil

Cut tempeh into strips and boil for 10 minutes in well-salted water. Drain and cool while in a paper or plastic bag, you combine all the spices. Drop the tempeh into the bag and shake vigorously, so that the tempeh gets coated. Let it sit for a few minutes while heating the oil in a frying pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile...

[Grits n' Greens]
2 2/3 cups water
2/3 cup quick-cooking grits
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then gradually add the grits and a big pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the grits are thick, about 7 minutes. Season with s&p, stir in the nooch and spinach. Top with fried tempeh and serve immediately!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sippin' on private stock

Hand-Crank Juicer

I am so ready to embark on Natalia Rose's Detox for Women. My mom surprised me with a rebounder (a miraculous mini-trampoline that is Rose's preferred method of exercise) delivered directly to my front door here in Gainesville. The thing is just amazing. It fits under my bed until I feel like bouncing, at which point I simply slide it out, secure the legs, put on some Beyonce and go to town. It's a convenient stress-reliever, as the weather can be fair or not and it doesn't matter a bit.

Anyway, the other apparatus it is suggested you have for the detox is a juicer. Breakfast every morning is supposed to be something called a green lemonade, involving a whole head of romaine or celery, some kale, one or two apples, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Well, I haven't tried that combo yet, but since receiving my Tribest Z-Star hand-crank juicer in the mail, I have tried a few combos, like the beet-carrot-garlic juice pictured and some carrot-papaya juice that I'm considering henceforth referring to as Carotene Attacks!

Ohhh my goodness, I love juice. There is definitely a lot of sugar, though entirely unprocessed, in fruit juice, so I'll be cutting out the fruits except for a few once the cleanse starts. I think the carrots alone will be enough sweetness for me. While I'm in experiment mode, what are some of your favorite fruit/veggie combos for juices?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3 (courses) for 1

When I have the time, I really enjoy drawing out a meal as long as possible. It just feels better when I take a special moment to enjoy each bite, and after too, when I'm not overstuffed or still hungry with an empty plate. In my experience, there are two sure-fire ways to extend one's mealtime. First, eat with friends. The more talking you're doing in between bites, the slower you're eating! Second, serve multiple courses. Some might feel this latter tip only works when the former is also in use, but I think it's fun to make fancy meals just for myself.

Vegan Antipasti

I made a three-course dinner for one this past weekend. As a small antipasto, I was a bit daring and decided to splash some avocado chunks and capers with balsamic vinegar before cracking some fresh salt and pepper over top. Extra simple, but a nice blend of sweet and salty flavors with the creaminess of the avocado.

Creamy Elbows with Peas and Walnuts

Next, enjoyed one of the most comforting dishes I know with some classy French flare:

Creamy Elbow Pasta with Peas and Walnuts
serves 4, great for leftovers

1 box elbow pasta (I used GF quinoa pasta), prepared according to package directions
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 shallot, minced
2 cups frozen green peas
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
s&p to taste

Make pasta, drain and set aside while the shallots saute gently in a large skillet with the Earth Balance. Once the shallots begin to soften, add the peas, rosemary and walnuts. Continue sauteing over medium heat.

Once the flavors have melded a bit, add the almond milk and nooch and stir until they form a creamy sauce. Taste for s&p. Toss pasta and sauce in a large bowl and serve warm.

Dessert was a hunk of my new favorite chocolate bar, ALTER ECO's Dark Twist Chocolate. It's very dark and rich, with little slivers of crystallized orange in every bite. UGHH YUM, I wish I had some right now. I highly recommend it. And cooking for oneself every now and then. Celebrate yourself! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sweet Relief

My goodness, it's been a while! The end of July was a crazy time: moving out of the old place, moving into the (AWESOME) new one, finishing up the last math class I will ever take (HOORAY!), starting muh new job... But now I'm all settled in, done with my math final and ready to get back in the kitchen. Today, want to share one of the first meals I cooked up in the new space.

Deconstructed Pierogis

I'm calling this a deconstructed pierogi. My roommate and I are working at the same camp, so when we were both exhausted and hungry at the end of one day this week, I decided to speed up the process of producing this comforting Polish staple by baking some Hasselback potatoes and stuffing them with alternating layers of vegan sour cream and beet-apple compote. Served with carmelized cabbage. OMG, so good! My recommendation is to use your favorite Hasselback recipe along with THIS tender, sweet thang:

Beet-Apple Compote
makes about 1 cup

2 medium-sized beets, finely grated
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 lemon's juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until well-combined and rather fragrant.