Tag Archives: vegan

Vegan Chili Verde

This is one of my favorite cook book recipes. I’ve been recently mulling over my distaste for the way most cookbooks are set up. I find reading through the list of ingredients and directions for dummies to be tedious, boring, and uninspiring. The majority of cook books are made for the lowest common denominator, which is fine for when I want to learn how to cook something that I’ve never cooked before. That is when I turn to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I’ve learned a lot about the basics of cooking from reading his book.

I think the problem boils down to this: when an author writes in his or her introduction that he/she is passionate about cooking, food, and states that they show their soul through the cooking and then write the most soulless, scientific sounding recipes then I just don’t believe them. I find it disingenuous. Give me some character, heart, and explain to me how you feel as you cook. If you are not a gifted writer, then have someone else do the writing for you and you provide the recipes.

I’m veering wildly off-topic here. Back to what I cooked this weekend. This weekend we finally made our move back to Santa Cruz from the Silicon Valley. We had a housewarming party on Saturday, the day after we moved in. Andrew and I are amazingly efficient movers; we had our entire house set up and everything unpacked by mid-Saturday morning. That was with our movers being an hour and a half late on Friday and with me having to make multiple trips over the winding mountain highway in between Santa Cruz and the bay area.

I knew that I wanted to make the chili verde from the Veganomicon. I purchased the Veganomicon when I had my foray into veganism. I still enjoy vegan cooking. It’s something completely different than recipes that rely upon meat, dairy, and eggs. It’s a challenge and it’s interesting. The Veganomicon for me is the vegan cookbook to purchase. It’s easy enough to follow if you’re a beginner while still maintaining a level of variation and interest. They give fun, pithy explanations of each dish before starting in on the recipe which makes it enjoyable to read. Some of the recipes are damn good, such as the manzana chili verde, chickpea cutlets, and vanilla pound cake, while others suck incredibly (the mustard sauce is one of the most heinous things I’ve ever put in my mouth).

This recipe is based off of and inspired by the Manzana Chili Verde found on page 171 of the Veganomicon by Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz. These are also the same ladies who brought you Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  They know what they’re doing. I forsake traditional recipe writing here. If you want to know exact ingredients and cooking times please refer to that cookbook. The result is a tangy, spicy, filling concoction that is great as a tip or as a meatless dinner.

1. First wash the following produce: one pound of baby yukon gold potatoes (I used “gold potatoes” whatever the hell those are because Safeway didn’t have baby Yukons), two Granny Smith apples, two poblano peppers (my recipe deviates here and I ended up having to use two green bell peppers. Use green bell peppers if you’re not a fan of the spicy.), and three jalapeño peppers. Set aside the apples and peppers for now.

Wash and roughly chop potatoes

2. Set yourself to work on roughly chopping your potatoes. Then put them in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil. You want them to boil for about twenty minutes at this point. Use this time to peel and chop your onion (I accidentally used two onions and this was perfectly fine) and chop the peppers. Roughly chop them. It doesn’t matter honestly because you’re going to be putting this through a food processor eventually. Leave the seeds in the jalapeño peppers if you want it to be spicy.

Peel and roughly chop the onion

Wash and chop the peppers. You want it in smaller pieces than this picture shows. 

3. Once your potatoes are tender enough to stick a fork easily in them take them off the heat and drain them. Now get some oil cooking on medium high and then add your peppers and onion. Cook for about ten minutes. While these are cooking, chop your garlic (I used an entire head. Use as much as you like. Exact measurements DO NOT MATTER), and get the cumin (I did not use cumin), chili powder (I used chili powder and the original recipe does not), a teaspoon of oregano,  and 2 cups of vegetable broth ready. Chop the apples into bite sized pieces. Prepare your tomatillos.

Note: To prepare tomatillos you need to remove the papery skins on the outside. Tomatillos are like little green apple and tomato hybrids. They can also be rather sticky. Remove the papery skins and then wash. Chop into small pieces.

Cook the onions and peppers on medium high in olive oil for about ten minutes.

Onions and peppers after 10 minutes

4. When the peppers and onions have reached a soft translucency, add the garlic, tomatillos and spices. Cook for about another minute then add the vegetable broth and apples. Cover and simmer for twenty minutes. I forgot to warn at the beginning of this that this is a rather time consuming recipe, but completely worth it.

Add tomatillos

Add apples and vegetable broth. Cook for another 20 minutes.

5. After the twenty or so minutes are up, carefully ladle your mixture into a food processor. If you have a large food processor good for you it will get done quicker. If you have an immersion blender well then you’re just super awesome and lucky aren’t you. Use that. If you don’t have either, but you have a food mill then use that, but be careful no matter because this shit is hot and can possibly burn you. Go through the entire batch and food process, blend, or mill until it reaches a rough smoothness.

Chili verde after its been in the food processor and the beans/potatoes are added. 

6. Add potatoes and two cans of beans (the original recipe calls for one can of beans but I found that meager). Simmer until heated through. I actually served mine at room temperature with tortilla chips and that was delicious.

People enjoying the manzana chili verde. 

Baked Beans and Hummus

The last time I made baked beans was a semi-disaster. I ended up losing a portion of beans when getting into Andrew’s car. This portion of beans was scalding hot and landed in my crotch. As you can imagine, boiling hot beans in your groin area is really uncomfortable. These beans tasted great and they were an awesome addition to last year’s Super Bowl festivities.

I decided to try making baked beans again. This time around I made the Veganomicon’s Cheater Baked Beans. These were a lot easier and less time consuming than the other beans I made last year. They, however, are lacking a depth of flavor that were in the Super Bowl crotch burner beans. I really think that dried beans end up tasting a lot better than canned beans and some addition of a smokey flavor is necessary for great tasting baked beans (be this from a ham hock, bacon, or hickory smoke flavoring).

The Cheater Baked Beans

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced as small as you can (I left this out because someone else in my house used my onion *cough cough* Andrew).
  • 3 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce (I used no salt added)
  • 1/2 cup light molasses (I used dark because that’s what I had in my cupboard)
  • 2 tsp. mustard (they call for mustard powder, but I did not have mustard powder nor did I care to buy any)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 15 oz. cans small white beans (I used navy beans)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Or be like me and put it at 375 and then change it later because you never read recipes carefully.

2. Preheat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Saute your onion if someone didn’t steal it in the olive oil for about ten minutes. You want them to be a little browned and caramelized. Add the garlic and saute for one more minute. Add the tomato sauce, molasses, mustard, salt, allspice, and bay leaf and cook for about five minutes.

3. Then pour this into an oven safe dish. Or maybe you have one of those oven safe dishes that can be put on the stove top. I never experiment with this because things can go badly. Cover the dish and transfer it into the oven. Cook for thirty minutes, then stir, put the lid back on and then cook for thirty more minutes.

This left me with fairly runny baked beans. I like less sauce and more bean. It also has a strong tomato flavor and I’m not a big tomato person. However, it did taste nice with my bagel this morning for breakfast.

Hummus


My hummus contains one can of chickpeas and then I add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Then I process it in the food processor until well blended. It’s not that complicated and I never measure. I prefer the consistency of hummus done in a blender, but my blender is devilishly difficult to clean so I used the food processor this time.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These are not Reese’s. They definitely are not Reese’s. I wouldn’t say they are better than Reese’s and I wouldn’t say they are worse. I would say they are a completely different beast.

I wanted to make something for my friend Maddy’s chocolate party. I decided to make the chocolate peanut butter cups from Alicia Silverstone’s cookbook The Kind Diet. I really was looking forward to these and how tasty they were going to be and relatively not as bad for you. Well, I got around to making them on Friday and encountered trials and tribulations.

First, I forgot about half the ingredients. I didn’t have earth balance or graham crackers. I figured hey I can do without these. I didn’t use maple sugar, I used refined white sugar because that is what I had on hand. I did however use the grain sweetened chocolate chips. They taste different than regular chocolate chips, very different. They are not as bad as some carob chips that I’ve gotten and they are vegan.

Then in the middle of heating my peanut butter I dropped molten hot peanut butter on my foot and burned my foot. It was incredibly painful and now I have a blister on the top of my foot. Maybe I shouldn’t cook barefoot.

What I ended up with was tasty, but the peanut butter didn’t set because I didn’t add the graham crackers to it. It was overall a little too sweet for my taste and not enough contrast with sweet and salty. I added chopped nuts and salt to the top to give it a little more of that contrast. I also didn’t have paper candy wrappers or cupcake liners so they had to be scooped out of the muffin tins with a spoon. They were tasty though.

Penne “Risotto” with Garlic and Green Beans

Yesterday I worked until six and had to drive back home over Highway 17. It was around seven when I got home in Santa Clara and I was exhausted, sweaty, and hungry. I did not want to cook. However, Andrew was waiting for me to make dinner and I had planned what I was going to make already. I made a penne pasta dish with green beans in a garlic lemon sauce.

I used the same technique that I used for the Israeli couscous risotto that I made the other day. This time around I used the multi-grain, gluten free pasta that Andrew had in the cupboard. The rest of our pasta is whole wheat and I can’t stand whole wheat pasta. I find the texture of whole wheat pasta to be tough and gritty. The result of the dish was a creamy, tender pasta with a well balanced sauce and crisp green beans (crisp=undercooked in this case :)). Andrew was impressed with how quick it was to make and how easy. I could tell he was a little lukewarm on how the sauce came out creamy.

Penne Risotto with Garlic and Green Beans

  • multi-grain, gluten free penne pasta
  • two tablespoons minced garlic
  • large handful of green beans
  • salt, pepper, and onion powder
  • vegetable broth
  • lemon juice

1. Prep your green beans by washing them, trimming the vine end off, and chopping them into small, equal sizes.

2. Heat a skillet with olive oil on medium high. Add garlic and pasta. Toast the pasta and brown the garlic. Looking back I would also add the green beans at this point. Add a small amount of vegetable broth and stir until liquid thickens, bubbles, and reduces. Then add more liquid and continue this process until the pasta is cooked.

Coconut Toasted Rice with BBQ Black Eyed Peas

Most of the time food around my kitchen is not fancy. The fancy stuff I cook is for when people come over for dinner or when I really want to try a complicated recipe. For the most part, I’m happy with beans and rice, a poached egg, ramen, or oatmeal. Today wasn’t much different. I have a twenty something pound bag of white rice in cupboard that I’m trying to make use of. I don’t really like white rice. I find it bland, boring, and not very nutritious. However, I have it, it was free, and it doesn’t take long to cook. I also had a can of black eyed peas in my cupboard. So I came up with the idea of cooking black eyed peas with white rice.

White rice. Boring. I decided to vamp up my white rice by cooking it in some light coconut milk. Yes, coconut milk is high in saturated fat, but it’s a good saturated fat and I’m eating the light kind. What came out was incredibly fragrant, a little toasted, and much tastier than plain white rice.

Toasted Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (you can use full fat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1. Bring coconut milk, salt, and rice to boil. Once the mixture is boiling, stir a bit, lower the temperature to low, and cover. Cook for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Rice should be fluffy with some sticking to the bottom of the pan to get crunchy and toasted (this was a complete accident on my part).

BBQ Black Eyed Peas

  • 1 15 oz. can black eyed peas
  • 2 tbsps. BBQ sauce (homemade or prepared)
  • black pepper
  • red chili pepper flakes

1. Rinse black eyed peas before adding to skillet. Do not rinse completely. The bean juice from the can will make a nice sauce. Add black pepper, red pepper flakes, and BBQ sauce . Stir and cook until heated.

Do not add salt when cooking the black eyed peas. Most canned bean products already contain a considerable amount of salt as does BBQ sauce.

Chickpea Curry

I’m not sure if anyone has realized yet but I love chickpeas. Andrew also loves them so we cook them a lot. He is really trying to reduce his meat intake and one way of doing that is bulking up on other proteins. Chickpeas are one of my favorite beans to eat. One of my favorite things to eat them in is curry. There is a curry place very close to where Andrew used to live in Santa Clara that served amazing channa masala. Now their channa masala was not vegan and this one is!

This post celebrates the first time I have made rice correctly without a rice cooker. I am very proud of myself.

Chickpea Curry (Channa Masala)

  • 1 15 oz. can cooked chickpeas
  • 1 pkg. Chicken Tikka Masala mix (I know this is cheating)
  • 1/3 cup lite coconut milk (the mix called for heavy cream, but I wanted to make it vegan and Andrew hates dairy)
  • cooked rice

I made my curry with white rice, but next time I think I will do brown rice. It has more flavor than white rice. I do however have twenty pounds of white rice sitting in my cupboard.

1. In a pot bring water, spice packet, and coconut milk to boil. Then add chickpeas and cook until heated through.

We served this with Andrew’s asparagus with olive oil and lemon juice.

Carrot Curry Soup with Chickpeas

I apologize for the lack of a photo. I had a photo all set up to take and it looked delicious and when I go to take the photo I realized I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. It was at home in Santa Cruz in my computer not at my new place in Santa Clara. I will share the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, washed, and chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 tbsps. curry powder
  • cayenne
  • salt
  • vegetable stock
  • olive oil

1. Wash and chop carrots into small pieces. Do not peel your carrots. Peeling causes you to lose nutritional value plus its extra work. Just make sure you wash your vegetables well. Put in a small soup pot. Cover with vegetable broth until carrots are covered. Cook on medium high until carrots are tender. Add curry powder, cayenne, and salt. The amount depends on your taste buds. Do not overcook your carrots because you lose nutritional value. They do not have to be completely cooked through since you are going to be putting this soup in the blender.

2. While the carrots are cooking, heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium. Add chickpeas to skillet with curry powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook until heated through and the spices have darkened a bit in color. Take off the heat so they do not burn.

3. Be careful with this next step, you do not want to burn yourself. Pour soup into blender. Add coconut milk. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour into bowl and add chickpeas on top. This will make about four servings.

The end result was a spicy, creamy, carrot soup with the wonderful added flavor and texture of the pan fried chickpeas. I love chickpeas.

Recipe Reviews: The Veganomicon

I’ve been slowly working my way through some of the recipes in the Veganomicon that interest me. I think they have a lot of great recipes. It is an informative book and the descriptions before each recipe are cute and humorous. My main issue with the recipes are the fact that they do not take into account the time that prep work takes. My carrots, peppers, onions, garlic do not always come magically sliced, minced or chopped. Since I am not a professional cook and have very limited machinery, slicing onions take forever and I’m very sensitive to the sulphur (which means that I cry like a little girl whose just lost their favorite doll). I’ve been mostly satisfied with the recipes in the book, but they are time consuming. Very time consuming.

This last weekend I decided to throw a BBQ to celebrate being accepted into my credential program at San Jose State. I wanted to make one vegetarian dish and Andrew was going to bbq some meat. I ate red meat for the first time in a couple months, but more on that later. I decided to make the Manzana Chili Verde and Skillet Corn Bread. I adapted the corn bread to be made in a piece of bakeware and with spelt flour. I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of white flour that I use.

I’m not going to write the recipe for the Manzana Chili Verde since it’s incredibly long, but I will note that the recipe says 1 hour to make. This is ridiculously underestimated. You would have to be Speedy Gonzalez or Flash Gordon to make this recipe in an hour. It took me at least an hour and a half, probably closer to two hours. The prep work took me forever since I’m a slow cutter. The recipe does not include the prep time for cutting all the vegetables. Also, I had to extra beans to make this hearty enough to be a chili. We ended up using it more like a dip than eating it out of a bowl. It was very tasty, but I don’t think I would make it again.

I will give the recipe for the cornbread since I made some adaptions. I really enjoy the way it came out. It has a heavy corn taste and a very dense moist texture from the spelt flour. The only critique I have of the recipe is that it also took much longer than it said in the book. The book says that it needs to cook for 30-32 minutes. Mine nearly took forty-five minutes. I find that this is a trend in this book. Either my oven is screwed up or the authors of this book have a super oven.

Skillet Corn Bread (Basic Corn Bread)

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (recipe uses soy)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup spelt flour (original recipe uses all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a square baking pan with spray oil or whichever type of grease you like.

2. Combing the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle as you prepare everything else. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the milk mixture adn oil. Use a spoon to mix together until just combined; some small lumps are okay, but try to get rid of large lumps.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-32 minutes. Now, mine took much longer than this. Keep checking with a sharp knife or toothpick to see if ti comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before serving.

Today I some of my leftover cornbread with a third of a can of black beans, some mozzarella cheese, and tapatio sauce. It made for a tasty, delicious lunch.

Chickpea Cutlets and Vegetables

Last weekend I got the Veganomicon at Urban Outfitters for less than ten dollars. This book runs retail at around thirty dollars, so I was stoked to find it for so cheap. The binding and cover was a little damaged and there was some strange purple ink going on inside the book, but I don’t care: it’s a cookbook, it will get banged up around the kitchen.

It’s been inspiring to read all the recipes. One of the recipes that I was most interested in when I first saw the book was the chickpea cutlet recipe. One of the most difficult things about being vegetarian/vegan is finding meat substitutes. I’m sure that the need to have something meaty wears off as time goes by but I’ve only been doing this for a couple months so that desire is still there. I’ve tried tofu, seitan, TVP, and tempeh. I only like tofu and tempeh fried which isn’t the best thing for you. Plus unfermented soy is not good for the digestive system. I only like TVP when it comes pre-packaged as ground beef, but when I make it tastes like salty corn flakes: disgusting. Seitan is good but it takes a while to make and that much gluten is not good for your digestive tract. The chickpea cutlet is a mixture of mashed chickpeas, vital wheat gluten (what makes your seitan and the stuff that makes your bread chewy), bread crumbs, etc. I liked the idea of getting good protein from beans and the chewiness of wheat gluten.

The chickpea cutlets were simple to make and they came out amazing. I was completely surprised by how chewy, savory, and “meaty” they were. I even made some at my boyfriend’s parent’s house and they tried them and enjoyed them. They’re definitely big meat eaters and they enjoyed the meatiness of the cutlet. Andrew also liked them which is saying a lot since he’s a super picky eater. I was very pleased with the results.

One thing I do not recommend is re-heating these babies. They came out tasting like those frozen vegetarian fake meat products. It was gross, I couldn’t finish eating it. However, when they are fresh they are fantastic and would definitely impress veggies and meat eaters across the board. They however, are not for those who have to be gluten free unfortunately. Sorry guys, my body is fine with the gluten.

Chickpea Cutlets

Adapted from the Veganomicon

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (The original recipe says cooked, but I buy canned organic chickpeas)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (the original recipe called for 2 cloves of garlic pressed, but I buy pre-minced garlic to save time)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (this is my addition)

Note: The original recipe also called for 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage, and 1/2 lemon zest, but I did not have these things on hand. I also made this recipe with 1/4 cup water instead of vegetable broth and Italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of plain bread crumbs. I am eventually going to try this with different seasonings and types of beans.

1. Pre-heat an oven to 375° F. In a mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with oil until no whole chickpeas are left. The first time I did this I used a food processor for this step. It goes much quicker and you come up with a less chunky “batter”. However, the second time I made it I just used my hands and a fork and it came out fine. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed.

2. Divide dough into four equal pieces. Knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each into rectangle. Mine were not perfectly rectangular. Meat is not perfectly rectangular so why should other sources of protein come in funky shapes? I don’t like meat shapes.  Once they are shaped stretch them so they are about 1/2 inch thick.

3. Brush each side of cutlet with olive oil. Then place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for twenty minutes then flip them over and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Serve with a sauce of your choice.

V.E.S.P.A. Cake

Unfortunately this is not a cake in the shape of one of those cute Italian hipster scooters. No, this is something as equally hipster, but not as cute. In fact, it came out rather ugly, but very tasty and moist, especially for a vegan baked good. Vegan baked goods tend to be dry due to the lack of eggs, but this was very dense and moist.

Why is it named V.E.S.P.A. cake then? Well, it’s an adaption of the Vanilla Yogurt Pound Cake from the Veganomicon. I never seem to be able to follow a recipe exactly. I always need to change something a little bit to make it my own or I’m lacking an ingredient, or maybe I just like being deviant. V stands for Vanilla & Vegan, E stands for Extract & Eggless,  S stands for Spelt, P stands for Pound Cake, and A stands for Almond Milk and Almond Extract. It is definitely not as pretty as the one from the Veganomicon because I used spelt flour, but I bet its just as tasty.

Here it is the V.E.S.P.A. Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup blended silken tofu (blend before measuring)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (the original recipe called for soy milk)
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 sunflower oil (original recipe called for canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (original recipe called for 1/2 tsp. orange extract and 1/2 tsp. lemon extract, but I wanted to do almond)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (original recipe called for 2 cups all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup whole grain spelt  flour
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (I used kosher)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325º F. Lightly grease and flour a loaf pan. Blend tofu.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soy yogurt, tofu, almond milk, sugar, oil, and extracts. Using the whisk attachment on the mixer, mix until everything is smooth (about two minutes). I still had some chunks of tofu, but I don’t think this mattered too much in the end.

3. Sift in the flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine, and then beat for about two minutes or until batter is very thick. Do not overmix.

4. Pour battered into prepared loaf pan. Baking for 60-65 minutes, until a sharp knife comes out clean. In the Veganomicon they recommend not opening the oven for the first forty-five minutes. I opened the oven just to make sure my bakeware wasn’t going to explode (I couldn’t see if the ceramic I was using was ovenproof, so I wanted to check this) and everything turned out fine. But do err on the side of caution always.

5. Remove from the oven and and let cool in the pan for about ten minutes. Run a knife or spatula along the sides to loosen the cake. I flipped mine over onto a silicone baking mat to cool off. You could gently lift it out of the pan and put onto a wire rack to cool, but I do not own a wire rack and I am not good at being gentle with my baked goods. Once it is cool slice it and enjoy.