Archive for the 'Appetizers' Category

Mummy Carrot Dogs

Mummy Carrot Dog

One mummy, two mummies, three mummies, four…

Ate mummies and now there’s no more.

This was suppose to be the summer of carrot hot dogs but those warm, supposedly carefree days zoomed on by without even a second thought. Still intrigued by the idea of a whole carrot instead of a processed soy hot dog, Halloween offered another chance. But instead of a hot dog in a bun, it’s mummy carrot dogs.

Mummy Carrot Dog

Cooking and then marinating the carrots turns them hotdog-like. For the wrapping, I once again used the homemade no-yeast dough from Super Easy DIY Pockets. Some mummy dog recipes call for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Original) which is accidentally vegan, but I prefer to go less processed whenever possible. Plus it’s not that much more effort to make your own dough.

Mummy Carrot Dogs
Makes 6 pieces

Carrot Hot Dogs
2-3 carrots, about the width of a hot dog

Marinade
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Peel the carrots and cut into 3-inch segments, round off the ends using the peeler. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the carrots until al dente, it should still have a tiny bit of a snap. Drain and place in cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix well. Add the carrots and place in the fridge to marinate for 6 hours or so.

Wrapping Dough
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the water, in a bowl and mix until it looks like coarse meal. Add a little bit of water at a time, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball (I added less than a 1/4 cup of water).

Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the work surface and rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick and roll out the ball of dough into a long thin strip. Cut into approximately 1/4 inch high strips and wrap a section around the body of the carrot hot dog. And another section around the top of the head. Gently press the seam to make it stay. Place seam side down on a well-oiled baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, flipping them over halfway through. Add a couple dots of yellow mustard for the eyes. Serve with your choice of condiments.

Related Posts
Halloween Zombie Pizza Pockets
Seitan in a Blanket

Strawberry Spring Rolls with Brown Rice Paper Wrappers

Strawberry Spring Rolls with Brown Rice Paper Wrappers

Before the last of the strawberries disappear from the farmers’ market for the year, I made light and refreshing spring rolls. Sure, the calendar says fall but it still feels like summer around here in California.

And instead of white, it’s brown rice spring roll wrappers. They’re from a local company, Star Anise Foods. I happened upon them one day at a nearby Whole Foods (they’re also available on Amazon if you can’t find them near you). I had no idea there was even such a thing.

Brown Rice Spring Roll Wrappers

They have more of a nuttier taste and are slightly chewier than their white rice counterparts. Pricier too at $3.79 but I like the ingredients list of just brown rice, cassava, water, organic green tea and salt. The company also makes brown rice pho noodles which I’m excited to try next.

Strawberry Spring Rolls with Brown Rice Paper Wrappers
Makes 4 rolls

Filling
4 medium-sized fresh strawberries, sliced
2 heads baby romaine lettuce, shredded
1 small carrot, julienned
Several slices of baked tofu (optional)
Handful of fresh bean sprouts
Fresh mint, chiffonade
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Fresh cilantro, chopped

4 brown rice paper sheets
Hoisin sauce
Chili garlic sauce

Fill a large bowl with cold water and dip one rice paper sheet into the water for a few seconds or so. Place the rice paper sheet on a flat work surface.

In the center, spread a bit of each of the filling ingredients, adding more or less of each item as desired. Fold in the sides of the rice paper sheet over the filling and firmly roll up. Gently press the seam to seal. Place seam side down on a serving plate. If you’re making more than a few rolls, cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out while you’re working.

For the dipping sauce, combine a spoonful of the hoisin sauce with a bit of the chili garlic sauce to desired spiciness. Thin with a little water if the sauce appears to be too thick.

Slice each roll in half and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

This post also contains an Amazon link, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on the link and make a purchase of anything.

Related Posts
Vegan Ginger Chicken Spring Rolls
Peachy Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Shanghai Siu Mai

Shanghai Siu Mai

Rummaging through the fridge, I see plenty of leftover sticky rice and a package of wonton wrappers. Hey, I can make Shanghai Siu Mai, a steamed dumpling with a sticky rice filling. It’s similar to the more familiar Cantonese version that usually has a meaty filling.

Siu mai is probably one of the easier dim sum items to make although it does take time to make the rice filling but it’s not hard especially with a fuzzy logic rice cooker. For some, the hardest part will be sourcing vegan dumpling wrappers. Your best bet is at an Asian supermarket. Failing that, there’s recipes online to make your own vegan wonton wrappers.

Shanghai Siu Mai

1 package wonton wrappers (not potsticker wrappers as they’re too thick)
Sticky rice
Frozen green peas for garnish

Make the sticky rice filling and let cool.

To make a dumpling, place about one tablespoon of the filling in the center of a wrapper. Form a circle with your finger and thumb, place the wrapper on top of the circle and push the wrapper down into the circle. Squeeze the sides gently to make the dumpling. Place green peas on top.

Prepare a steamer by lining it with parchment paper. Arrange the dumplings so none are touching. Cover and steam until wrappers are cooked, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately with chili paste and soy sauce.

Sticky Rice Filling
1 1/2 cups glutinous rice also known as sweet rice (use the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker)
1/2 cup jasmine rice
4 dried mushrooms, soaked and diced
1 medium carrot, diced
3 ounces baked tofu
2 medium green onions, diced
3 sprigs of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons vegetarian oyster sauce

Cooking directions is for use with a fuzzy logic rice cooker with a 5.5 cups capacity. Using the inner pot of the rice cooker, rinse the rice in several changes of water until the water is clear. Add enough water to cook the sweet rice as indicated on the inner pot. Let the rice soak in the water for 2 hours before cooking. Cook the rice according to the rice cooker directions.

Combine the soy sauce and oyster sauce and set aside.

Heat a wok to hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the mushrooms and carrot and stir fry for a few minutes. If it appears dry, add a little bit of water. Add the tofu and green onions and stir fry to combine. Add the sauce and cilantro and mix well.

Divide the savory mixture and rice in half to make it more manageable to combine. Place 1/2 of the mixture in the rice and 1/2 of the rice in the mixture. Mix together the two halves until everything is evenly distributed. It’s easiest to do when the rice is hot. Once cooled, it’ll be much harder.

Related Dim Sum Posts
Taro Root Cake
Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf
Mock Chicken
Stuffed Tofu Puffs

Taro Root Cake

Taro Root Cake

Happy Chinese New Year! To celebrate, I made taro root cake. It’s not a sweet, baked kind of cake. It’s a savory, steamed, smooth cake – a dim sum type of dish. Served in Chinese restaurants, it usually has some sort of meat. A packaged veggie version can be found at the Asian supermarket, but it’s quite plain.

This homemade version is packed with flavorful bits of veggie meat, mushrooms and vegetables amidst the creamy taro and rice flour. If you never tried taro root cake before, the texture is like the wide rice noodles used in chow fun, but softer and shaped in a thick block.

Taro Root Cake

It’s not the quickest thing to make but it’s also not very hard. To prevent itchy hands when handling raw taro root, be sure to wear latex gloves. It contains calcium oxalate, a skin irritant that’s neutralized by cooking.

Along the same line, Mom always said to make sure the taro root comes to a full boil before lifting the pot lid, otherwise when you eat the taro, your throat will be itchy. I have no idea if that’s true or just an old wives’ tale. I have no intention of finding out.

Taro Root Cake
Makes 4 mini loafs

1 pound taro root, peeled and cut into 3/4″ dice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked and diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup veggie meat, such as vegetarian ham or sausage
2 pieces preserved salted turnip, diced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup brown rice flour or regular rice flour (not glutinous rice flour)
1 cup water
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar

Optional Garnishes
1 green onion, chopped
2 cilantro sprigs, chopped
Chili sauce

Place the taro root in a pot and just cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Add the 1 teaspoon salt and reduce to low heat. Cook covered until tender about 10 – 15 minutes. Drain and mashed half of the taro, leaving the other half as pieces. Set aside.

Heat a wok to hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the veggie meat, salted turnips, and the mushrooms. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, then add in the green onions. Stir to mix in and set aside.

Stir together the rice flour and 1 cup of water in a large bowl until well mixed. Add the 3/4 cup boiling water, potato starch and salt, stir until blended and then stir in the taro and mushroom mixture, soy sauce, oil and sugar. Mix well.

Ladle into four greased mini loaf pans or one 8″ round pie pan. (The steamer must be large enough so that the pan doesn’t touch the sides. I had to use multiple pans as my steamer pot was not very large.)

Steam over medium-high heat for 30 minutes or so until the cake is set and firm. While steaming check the water level, if necessary, replenish with boiling water.

Let cool before unmolding and slicing into pieces. The taro cake pieces can be served steamed or pan-fried in a bit of oil until golden brown. Top with any of the garnishes.

Related Dim Sum Posts
Sticky Rice Bowl
Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf
Mock Chicken
Stuffed Tofu Puffs with Chili Garlic Sauce

Animal Style Taters

Animal Style Taters

On a regular basis, I drive by an In-N-Out Burger. Each time, I think of their legendary secret menu (although nowadays, it’s not so secret, just Google it and all is revealed). But for those not in the know, it’s a way of customizing their limited menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and drinks using their special lingo for various options.

One such option is “Animal Style Fries” – extra spread, grilled onions and cheese atop of french fries. For fun, I made a vegan version using tater tots instead of fries, melted Daiya cheddar cheese, whisked up a little sauce of Thousand Island dressing with vegan mayo, ketchup and sweet relish and topped it all off with caramelized onions.

So good! Never actually had the real deal, I’ve only gotten plain fries at In-N-Out, but I can see why Animal Style is so popular. Next time I’m having a veggie burger, I’m going to forget the sprouts. I’m having it Animal Style.

Vegan Ginger Chicken Spring Rolls

Vegan Ginger Chicken Spring Roll

In for a review is another Vegetarian Plus item, this time it’s Vegan Ginger Chicken. Not content with just serving it atop of a starch, I made spring rolls.

The lightness of the lettuce along with the refreshing flavors of mint, basil and cilantro contrasts nicely with the savory chewiness of the ginger chicken pieces. Made from soybean fiber and protein, the texture and taste of the mock meat is very similar to what you would find in a Chinese restaurant, but now available in the frozen food section.

Vegetarian Plus Vegan Ginger Chicken

In this hot weather, I’ve been making spring rolls on demand for a no sweat lunch, kinda like a rolled up salad.

Just wash and spin dry several heads of baby lettuce, and store in the fridge until ready to use. (I’ve found if I don’t have already cleaned lettuce, I’m too lazy to make just a couple of spring rolls. But if it’s ready to go, then it doesn’t seem like that much work to make; it’s just assembly. Weird, huh?)

And instead of the usual rice noodles, I went with the super-easy-to-use, just-rinse-and-go kelp noodles. Then, it’s just a matter of heating up the veggie chicken and rolling it all up. Easy peasy, summer breezy.

Vegan Ginger Chicken Spring Roll

Vegan Ginger Chicken Spring Rolls
Makes 4 rolls

Filling
1 package Vegetarian Plus Vegan Ginger Chicken
1 package kelp noodles, rinse before using
2 heads baby romaine lettuce, shredded
1 small carrot, julienned
1 green onion, thinly chopped
Fresh mint, chiffonade
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Fresh cilantro, chopped

4 eight inch round rice paper sheets
Hoisin sauce (homemade or store-bought)
Sriracha or chili garlic sauce

Defrost the package of Vegan Ginger Chicken and heat up on the stove top as directed on the box. Cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces and set next to the other prepared ingredients.

Fill a large bowl with cold water and dip one rice paper sheet into the water for about 15 seconds or so. Place the rice paper sheet on a flat work surface.

In the center, spread a bit of each of the filling ingredients, adding more or less of each item as desired. Fold in the sides of the rice paper sheet over the filling and firmly roll up. Gently press the seam to seal. Place seam side down on a serving plate. If you’re making more than a few rolls, cover with a damp towel to keep them from drying out while you’re working.

For the dipping sauce, combine a spoonful of the hoisin sauce with a bit of the sriracha to desired spiciness. Thin with a little water if the sauce appears to be too thick.

Slice each roll in half and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Disclosure: I received the product free of charge from the company to review. The opinions and experience with the product expressed herein are my own. There was no pay to say.

Related Posts
Kung Pao Tacos
Peachy Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Crispy Baked Spicy Pumpkin Wontons

Crispy Baked Spicy Pumpkin Wontons

Sadly, I haven’t always been kind to pumpkins. Quickly dismissed as something to be decorated and displayed, while other squashes make the cut and are happily cooked and eaten.

That all changed last year when I tried pumpkin curry for the first time at a Thai restaurant. I had an epiphany; pumpkin is yummy in a savory dish. No longer shunned, I grabbed a couple cans from Trader Joe’s mountain of canned organic pumpkin puree before they’re all gone (15 oz can for $1.99).

Baked wontons are easy and quick to assemble, especially using the canned pumpkin. The basic triangle shape provides a large surface area for the wontons to get nice and crispy in the oven.

For the savory filling, I went with Asian-inspired flavors and Sriracha sauce for its fiery kick. Serve with ranch dressing, but it’s also good without any dip at all.

Crispy Baked Spicy Pumpkin Wontons
Makes about 24 wontons

24 wonton wrappers
1/2 of a 15 oz can pumpkin puree
3/4″ piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 green onion stalk, finely chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Sriracha hot chili sauce to taste
Olive oil
1 package Tofutti cream cheese non-hydrogenated plain

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a dark colored baking pan with oil (a darker pan helps to brown the wontons).

In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, ginger, green onion and soy sauce. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and Sriracha sauce (start with a teaspoon of the Sriracha and keep adding until desired spiciness. I’ve gone up to a tablespoon). Mix well.

Place about a 1/4 teaspoon dab of cream cheese in the center of the wonton wrapper, add 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin filling. Do not overfill, the wonton will puff up a bit in baking. Wet the edges on two sides and fold to form a triangle. Press firmly down to seal the edges.

Place the folded wontons on the prepared baking sheet and lightly brush with oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes on each side until brown and crispy.

Serve with ranch dressing if desired.

Ranch Dressing
Makes a little over 1/3 cup

1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Chill until ready to use.

Related Post
Cream Cheese Wontons

Peachy Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Peachy Vietnamese Summer Rolls

At most supermarkets, peaches and nectarines are labeled either yellow or white. But at the farmers market, local vendor Kashiwase Farms has all sorts of different peaches and nectarines. Practically from A to Z – Aortic Rose, Honey Royale, Snow King, White Lady, Zee Lady, to name just a few – I never even knew there was so many varieties.

My latest favorite is the Honey Kist nectarine – sweet with a bit of a mango taste. Combined with the flavors of fresh basil, mint and cilantro, crisp bean sprouts, baby romaine lettuce and served with a spicy dipping sauce, it’s a taste of summer in a roll.

Peachy Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Makes 4 rolls

Filling
1 medium Honey Kist yellow nectarine, or other variety, chopped
2 heads baby romaine lettuce, shredded
1 small carrot, julienned
1 green onion, thinly chopped
Handful of fresh bean sprouts
Fresh mint, chiffonade
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Fresh cilantro, chopped

4 eight inch round rice paper sheets
Hoisin sauce
Chili garlic sauce

Fill a large bowl with cold water and dip one rice paper sheet into the water for a minute or so until soft. Place the rice paper sheet on a flat work surface.

In the center, spread a bit of each of the filling ingredients, adding more or less of each item as desired. Fold in the sides of the rice paper sheet over the filling and firmly roll up. Gently press the seam to seal. Place seam side down on a serving plate. If you’re making more than a few rolls, cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out while you’re working.

For the dipping sauce, combine a spoonful of the hoisin sauce with a bit of the chili garlic sauce to desired spiciness. Thin with a little water if the sauce appears to be too thick.

Slice each roll in half and serve with the dipping sauce.

Next Page »