Archive for the 'Vegetables' Category

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

Garnishes
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.

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Spicy Baked Potato Chips
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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.

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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

Batter
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. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

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.

Vegetables Baked In Parchment

Vegetables Baked in Parchment

Happy New Year!

I got one more package to open, and it’s a tasty one – vegetables baked with herbs in a parchment packet.

The fancy culinary term for cooking in parchment is en papillote in French or al cartoccio in Italian. It’s a cooking technique where food is sealed in a packet (foil can be also used instead of parchment) and baked.

It’s a nice, healthy, flavorful way to cook. It’s also my feeble attempt to eat a little healthier in the new year. Plus it’s super easy to clean-up, a bonus for those who are lazy inclined, like me.

Vegetables Baked In Parchment
Serves 2 as part of a meal

2 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 baby sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 medium red potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1 small leek, white part only, cut into quarters, lengthwise
4 whole garlic cloves, skins left on
2 fresh rosemary branches
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 fresh thyme sprig
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets of about 12″ x 15″ parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Evenly divide the vegetables between the pieces of parchment paper, placing onto one side of the parchment. Fold the other side over and then roll the edges tightly together to seal the packet.

Bake on a baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, opening the packets at the table.

Roasted Vegetables With Crispy Rice Cake

Roasted Vegetables With Crispy Rice Cake

Lately I’ve been roasting a lot of vegetables, basically whatever I find at the farmer’s market. It’s simple, delicious and super easy. With this method, there’s only one bowl and one baking pan that needs to be cleaned up. As usual, the lazy part of me is extremely pleased about that.

Roasted Vegetables with Crispy Rice Cake

1. Pick up whatever veggies of choice. I like to go with baby red potatoes, carrots, trumpet mushrooms, zucchini and even a couple of garlic cloves. Slice or cut them up to be around the same size.

2. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried rosemary. You can also go with just basic salt and pepper or add whatever herbs you like. Add enough olive oil to coat and not stick to the pan.

3. Spread out the veggies on the baking pan. Since I’m using veggies that are done cooking at different times, I like to separate out the mushrooms to one end so I can easily take them off and let the rest continue cooking.

4. Stick the pan in a 425 degrees oven, after 15 minutes or so, turn everything over. At this point, the veggies will have shrunk a bit so there’s more room on the pan.

5. Instead of heating up leftover rice in the microwave, I thought it would be tasty and crispy to just stick it in the oven too. After all, it’s already on. I just shaped the rice into a patty, plopped it down on the pan and seasoned it (I had leftover short-grain rice which sticks together and holds its shape by itself).

6. Ten minutes later, the mushrooms should be done and maybe the carrots if they’re thinly sliced, take those off and anything else that looks done. Flip the rest over including the rice cake.

7. And in another ten minutes, everything else should be done. Stick a fork in a potato to make sure. That’s it, a tasty autumn dinner is now ready to eat.

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