Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tempeh & Seitan with Onions & Peppers

Back in my college (and pre-vegan) days I'd often cook a simple meal of sausage with onions and peppers. We got a nice bell pepper from our CSA this past weekend and still had some sweet onions from last weekend. Plus we had some locally made tempeh and a little seitan left over from the previous night so that got me thinking about something similar last night. This is sort of a general idea rather than a recipe but here's what I did:

Cook bell pepper strips in a cast iron skillet in plenty of olive oil for a few minutes, then add sliced onions and some coarse sea salt. Next add chopped seitan and tempeh, then cover, reduce heat and cook for several minutes. Add paprika and fresh ground pepper and continue cooking and stirring occasionally until everything is getting a bit brown. Finally, add a tablespoon or so of soy sauce and a bit of liquid smoke and give it a quick stir. We had ours with mashed potatoes and it was scrumptious.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Simple Salads

This is probably already making the rounds on blogs and in forums but in case you've yet to see it, I thought I'd get up a quick post about this Mark Bittman article, 101 Simple Salads for the Season. The first third or so of the list is vegan and there are a number of good ideas there I want to try. Tonight we made numbers 1 and 3 on the list and both were outstanding. For #1, we used nectarines from our CSA instead of peaches or watermelon, cherry tomatoes, Thai basil, orange champagne vinegar and olive oil. You might think mixing nectarines with tomatoes is odd but I thought it interesting that I didn't notice a strong nectarine taste, it just made the tomatoes taste sweeter.
We also made the simple cucumber salad with red onion (both also from the CSA), and a whole grain yellow mustard instead of Dijon. Very yummy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What to do with rhubarb

One thing about joining a CSA is that at some point you're likely to get something you haven't had before or that you aren't quite sure what to do with. Rhubarb was both of those for me. That's right, I was a rhubarb virgin. But the first time we got rhubarb in our CSA share, a stroke of good fortune arrived around the same time in the form of a Penzey's spice catalog. In this catalog was a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch submitted by someone named Iona Keppler. It was fabulous and I hope she and Penzey's don't mind if I share the recipe here (veganized by using Earth Balance margarine instead of butter):

1 c. flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. Earth Balance, melted
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. diced rhubarb
2 c. strawberries, sliced
1 c. water
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, Earth Balance and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix until crumbly. Press half this mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Cover with the rhubarb and strawberries. In a small saucepan, heat the water, cornstarch and vanilla over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick. Pour over the rhubarb and strawberries, top with the remaining crumb mixture and bake for 1 hour.

The next time we got rhubarb I wanted to do something else with it so I started poking around my cookbook collection. I found a recipe for basic stewed rhubarb in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and adapted it thusly:

1 lb. rhubarb, diced
1/4 c. agave
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
insides of 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

Simply cook all of this in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until rhubarb gets soft. This would be great over vanilla ice cream, or you can do what we did and store it in the fridge, then have a bit in your breakfast oatmeal each day for a few days.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Product Review: Curry Love

We love curries and we're also all about convenience these days so we were thrilled to have a chance to review these new simmer sauces from Curry Love. They're vegan and organic and come in three varieties: banana ginger, red Thai, and yellow Thai. The general idea is to sauté some veggies, pour in the sauce and simmer for a few minutes. The Curry Love folks offer a wealth of recipes on their web site but alas, only one of them is vegan. At any rate, we've been getting a lot of great fresh vegetables from our CSA and we're always in a hurry so we mostly kept it simple. First up we tried the yellow Thai curry with cauliflower, zucchini and seitan. I sautéed the veggies and seitan in a little oil for a few minutes then added the curry sauce, covered the pot and simmered until the veggies were tender. The result was a very quick meal that tasted like it took a lot longer to prepare.

Next up we tried the red Thai curry, opting to do something similar and have it with broccoli and seitan. This was my favorite of the lot, with a variety of subtle flavors and a nice little kick.

Finally, we had the banana ginger curry using just a slew of veggies (some from the CSA and some not): yellow squash, kale, carrots, red bell pepper and onions. Plus pineapple - always good in a curry I think. (Fresh pineapple would've been best but I opted for the convenience of canned.)

Overall we definitely enjoyed our Curry Love experience. We especially appreciated the convenience. It's great to see new products like this come out that are specifically labeled as vegan (though more vegan recipes on their web site wouldn't hurt).