Archive for the 'Vegetables' Category

Stir-fried Lettuce

Stir-fried Lettuce

Have you ever tried cooked lettuce?


You’re probably thinking, no way, it’ll be like when the lettuce leaf on a hamburger gets all warm and limp. Yeah, I don’t like that on my burger either. But what I’m talking about is cooking lettuce on purpose. Stir frying lettuce Chinese style.

While the cooking brings out the sweetness, the lettuce ribs retains some of its crispness. In Chinese cooking, there’s hardly any food that’s raw.

I have to admit as a kid I thought it was strange when my mom cooked up lettuce but it’s actually quite good. Back then, only iceberg lettuce from the supermarket was available. Nowadays, I use romaine from the farmer’s market.

I usually make it one of two ways, either with fermented bean curd (Chinese cheese) or a simple sauce. Either method is super quick and easy. And if you have a lot of lettuce that needs to be eaten up, it’s a great way to go as it cooks down quite a bit.

Stir-Fried Lettuce

1 medium head romaine lettuce
1/2 teaspoon oil
1 green garlic or garlic clove, minced
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Salt to taste

1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Cut the lettuce into approximately 2-inch lengths. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat a wok on high, when hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a few seconds. Add the lettuce and cook until it begins to wilt about a minute or so. Stir in the sauce and salt to taste and continue cooking for another 30 seconds until the leaves are just wilted. Serve immediately.

Fermented Bean Curd Variation
1 to 2 cubes fermented bean curd
1/2 teaspoon oil

In a small bowl, mash the fermented bean curd cubes in a bit of water and set aside.

Heat a wok on high, when hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the lettuce and cook until it begins to wilt about a minute or so, then add the fermented bean curd water mixture, stir to mix thoroughly and cook for another 30 seconds until the leaves are just wilted. Serve immediately.

Other Greens
Stir-fried Yu Choy Sum
Stir-fried Amaranth with Garlic
Sautéed Spinach

Spring Garlic Has Sprung

Spring Garlic

For as long as I’ve been a herbivore (and it’s been a long time), I’m still discovering vegetables that are new to me. The variety and variations in the plant kingdom is simply astounding. Oh sure, I have my favorites that I eat on a regular basis, but I also like to try out new vegetables whenever I stumble across them at the farmer’s market.

My newest such “discovery” is spring garlic also known as green garlic, which is just younger garlic with the stalk still attached. It looks a bit like an overgrown scallion. Although the ones pictured above seem to be slightly older, I had other spring garlic with more slender bulbs. You can eat the whole thing, it has a milder, sweeter garlic taste.

Stir-fried Kale with Spring Garlic

To get the full flavor of the spring garlic, I just go with a simple and quick stir-fry of kale with the spring garlic so that the freshness of the ingredients shines through. Other green vegetables would work too. You can also use it in recipes that call for regular garlic. It’s fun to experiment in different dishes but they have a short season. Get them while you can.

Vegan Green Beans and Bacon

Vegan Green Beans and Bacon

I wasn’t planning on bringing home a giant bag of freshly-picked-in-peak-season green beans from the farmer’s market. But after being offered a sample (raw no less), I just had to get a bag. I had no choice really, if they’re this good raw, they must be extra good cooked.

Whenever I buy green beans, I take the time to pick out the most tender, bright green and skinniest ones. Occasionally, I get the odd look for being so picky, usually from other customers who just shove handfuls into a bag without any regard to what they’re grabbing.

Having been taught by my mom at a young age how to pick out produce, I wouldn’t dare bring home and serve any old, tough, or blemished green beans. Even today, if I grocery shop for my parents, I would not hear the end of it if I brought over subpar produce. Fortunately, at this particular vendor, every bean was a near perfect specimen (you could just tell they were proud of them, it’s probably why they were offering green bean samples).

So what should I make with my bountiful loot? With super fresh ingredients, I like to go with something simple so the taste shines through. But not so simple that it’s boring. Having finally procured Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan the other day, I was itching to try it out in a dish. Hence, vegan green beans with bacon.

Upton’s is definitely the best veggie bacon available today. Its ingredients list simple and non-scary: vital wheat gluten, soy sauce, whole wheat flour, natural hickory smoke concentrate, paprika, sea salt and onion. Of course it doesn’t really taste like bacon nor is it crispy like bacon. But it added a wonderful smokiness and saltiness to the subtlety sweet, crisp green beans. If you’re not into bacon seitan, you can always use sun-dried tomatoes instead.

Vegan Green Beans and Bacon
Serves 2 as a side dish

1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
2-3 strips of vegan bacon (such as Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the green beans. Cook until just crisp-tender about 1 to 2 minutes or so depending on the size of the beans. If they’re slender like French green beans, they’ll take less time than thicker beans. Drain and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add a little oil and pan-fry the vegan bacon to crispy. Transfer the bacon slices to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. If necessary, add a little more oil to the skillet to cook the shallots until golden.

Toss in the green beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir-fry until the beans are hot. Transfer to a serving dish. Cut the bacon strips into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the green beans. Serve immediately.

Flavored Homemade Baked Potato Chips

Flavored Homemade Baked Potato Chips

As a huge fan of Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Flavor Puffs, I just had to do something with the flavored seasoning powder found at the bottom of an empty bag. Some sort of snacky food. Chips. Baked potato chips with rosemary and aged white cheddar flavor.

Hot out of the oven, I dropped the chips into the empty bag, shook it up and pour the chips out. I’m tickled pink to find a use for that powder. Next time though, I’ll try sprinkling it on top instead and see how that works out.

Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Puffs

Have you tried a bag of the puffs lately? They seem to be puffier than the ones that I reviewed back in April. Or is that just my imagination? Doesn’t seem possible but I like them even more now.

Are you sad-faced because you just can’t find the puffs anywhere near you? No puffs, no powder. Then, how about a different flavor? Baked spicy potato chips with cilantro, jalapeño and lime.

Flavored Homemade Baked Potato Chips

Flavored Homemade Baked Potato Chips
Serves 1 to 2

1 russet potato
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Chili powder to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro, chopped
Jalapeño, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Thinly slice the potato crosswise into about 3/8 inch thick slices. I hand-cut mine but if you have a mandoline, you can probably get them thinner and more even and consistent. If you do make your slices thinner, you may need to adjust the cooking time and/or temperature so the chips don’t get burnt towards the end of the cooking time.

Place the potato slices in a bowl. Add the olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Spread the potatoes out on a baking pan in a single layer. Bake about 8 – 12 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the potato slices. Sprinkle with the cilantro and jalapeño and squeeze lime juice over the top. Serve immediately.

For the Aged White Cheddar and Rosemary Flavored Potato Chips
Omit the chili powder and add crushed dried rosemary to taste. Bake until done, and instead of the garnishes, add the flavored powder from an empty bag of Earth Balance Puffs to the chips.

Related Posts
Spicy Baked Potato Chips
Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Baked Matcha Fries

Baked Matcha Fries

There is nothing wrong with your screen. Do not bother to adjust the color. You are in fact viewing Baked Matcha Fries, the color you see is the actual color of the fries [end Twilight Zone theme music].

I thought the fries would come out as a bright green color instead of a muted green shade. I’ve seen beautiful green colored Matcha Fries on one of my favorite blogs, Modern Vegetarian (sadly, the author has move on to other things and no longer updates the blog). The original recipe calls for fries tossed in matcha powder and then toasted in a oven toaster.

For mine, I started from scratch and tossed the cut potatoes in matcha powder before baking them in the oven and that’s the color they came out.

I’ve tried another batch, this time adding the matcha powder at the very end to the cooked fries coming out of the oven. Same dreary green color. But I liked the taste of the baked-in matcha powder much better.

I can only conclude that the muted green shade is the result of the particular green tea powder that I was using – some random brand from the Asian supermarket. Perhaps I should just rename them to Ghoulish Green Fries in celebration of Halloween?

Baked Matcha Fries

1 large or 2 small Russet potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
Salt to taste
Minced fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the potato into 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch french fry shape. Place the potato strips in a bowl. Add the olive oil, green tea powder and salt to taste and mix well. Spread the potatoes out on a baking pan in a single layer. Bake about 10-12 minutes on one side, flip over and bake another 10-12 minutes until crisp and browned. Garnish with the parsley if using. Serve immediately with ranch dressing.

Ranch Dressing
Makes a little over 1/3 cup

1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup 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
Amy’s Spicy Chili Fries

Sauteed Baby Beet Greens

Sauteed Baby Beet Greens

Did you know you can eat beet greens? Yeah, those greens on top of beets. I had no idea. Apparently, you can also eat carrot tops. I haven’t tried that yet but the beet greens are delicious. The taste is similar to spinach; I actually like the beet greens better, as it’s a little bit sweeter.

Sauteed Baby Beet Greens

These baby beet greens look like miniature swiss chard, which is a close relative, belonging to the same family. The stems are so tender, you can eat the whole thing. They’re also highly nutritious, rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins A, B6, C, E and K.

Sautéed Baby Beet Greens
Serves 2 as part of a meal

6 ounces baby beet greens
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Wash the beet greens in several changes of water. Drain and set aside.

Heat a wok or sauté pan to hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the garlic and sauté for several seconds. Add the beet greens and season with salt. Sauté the greens until wilted and tender. Plate and serve.

Related Posts
Stir-fried Yu Choy Sum
Stir-fried Amaranth with Garlic
Sauteed Spinach

VeganMoFo: Tuscan Kale Chips

VeganMoFo: Tuscan Kale Chips

Hang onto your seats for a full blast of vegan culinary delights for the month of October. I took the plunge and sign up for VeganMoFo (Vegan Month of Food). This year it’s being hosted by kittee over at Cake Maker to the Stars.

For my inaugural post, I’m going with my new favorite way to eat kale. Crispy, crunchy kale chips! I’m sure you’ve seen it all over the internet by now. And for good reason – it taste good and it’s good for you. A great snack that’s perfect for those salty crunchie munchies.

Super easy to make. There’s quite a few kale chip recipes floating around but I like going with the long strips instead of the small chip size pieces. They’re just more fun to eat. The recipe I used is from Bon Appétit.

So with snack in hand, I’m now all set to peruse the many mouth-watering posts that’s sure to come on this first day of VeganMoFo.

vegan mofo logo

Baked Tempura From The 30 Minute Vegan

Baked Tempura From The 30 Minute Vegan

I can’t get over how many vegan cookbooks are out nowadays. I remember back in the day, there was hardly any at all. My latest read, fresh from the publisher is The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. Their thing is quick, healthy, delicious, vegan recipes cooked in 30 minutes or so. Let’s see if that holds up with me in the kitchen.

As I’m flipping through the cookbook, Batter-Baked Tempura jumps out. I love tempura! But not so much the fried part. So this is perfect, something I always wanted to try making at home and I don’t have to deal with the mess of frying. I’m now properly motivated. On to the cooking.

For my veggies, I went with trumpet mushrooms, green beans, yellow squash, onion, zucchini and carrot. And I used panko bread crumbs instead of regular crumbs. It took me exactly 30 minutes to get the veggies cut, battered, breaded and into the oven and then another 20 minutes to cook.

Baked Tempura From The 30 Minute Vegan

They didn’t come out looking exactly like tempura from a restaurant, still they were quite tasty. There’s not a super thick all-over coating but enough stuck on for a surprisingly good crunch and a bit of a nutty taste. There’s also a stronger veggie taste as you’re not eating a mouthful of batter.

I’m positive I can get the time down with a little practice. Next time I’m going to bread the veggies one at a time instead of all together in the bowl, for better crumb coverage. It really is a great, healthy and delicious alternative to the fried version.

Batter-Baked Tempura
Serves 4 to 6

2 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch slices or 1 cup cremini mushrooms, halved
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings
1 cup zucchini, cut into rounds or 4-inch spears
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing (optional)
Soy sauce for dipping

3 tablespoons ground flax meal
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking tray or cookie sheet. Prepare the vegetables and set aside.
2. Prepare the batter: Blend the flax meal, water, and baking powder for about 10 seconds. Pour the batter into a deep bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a separate deep bowl.
3. Toss the mushrooms around in the batter with a spoon or your hands. Remove them one by one, quickly shaking off the excess batter, and place them in the bread crumbs. When they are all in, swirl the bowl around a bit and use your hands to get them coated in crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking tray and repeat the process with the broccoli, onion, and zucchini.
4. If you desire crunchier veggies, use a pastry brush to lightly coat oil on the tops of the vegetables. Use a dabbing motion rather than a stroke so as not to brush away the batter (you may even wish to drizzle the oil instead). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Excerpted from the book The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray, published by Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2009.

Related Links
To learn more about the authors, click here. For your own copy of The 30-Minute Vegan, visit your local bookstore or Amazon.

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