Friday, September 12, 2014

Chipotle-lime chick'n quesadillas.

My pal Amy (@theveganrunnergirl) is hosting another online cooking night on Instagram. With tonight's theme being Mexican cuisine, I finally decided on quesadillas. I remember quesadillas sucking badly enough as a 9 year old girl. I would get plain cheese with a big dollop of sour cream and dried out green onions spewed on top. The late 90's were brutal for a plethora of reasons and restaurant style quesadillas were one of them. Years later, meat alternatives improved, and years after that, Winnipeg hauled in Daiya. Good show, Winnipeg. These are filled with marinated chick'n, red onion, mango, corn and dairy free cheese, and served with a side of chipotle sour cream.

For the quesadillas

4 8" tortillas

1 cup meat alternative -- I used Yves meatless chick'n strips
1 small red onion, slivered
1/2 cup mango (about half of one fresh mango)
1/4 cup organic corn
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tbsp chopped chipotle pepper
1 tbsp taco seasoning 

6 green chilli peppers

For the dip
1 tbsp chopped chipotle peppers + adobo sauce

First thing's first, chop your chick'n and sliver you red onion. Add in your corn and mango, and your marinade. Let marinade while you prep your press or frying pan (I lightly oiled my press), your dip, and chop those peppers with gloves on - don't be a hero.

In a pan, lightly sauté your filling until a bit crisp and the onions are cooked to your liking. Add in a teaspoon of oil if you like beforehand. 

Lay your tortilla down on a flat surface, throw on some cheese, your filling, green chilli peppers, and a bit more cheese.

Stick in the press (or in a frying pan!) for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted to your liking.

Top with additional chilli peppers, seeds in, if you have something to prove.

Serve alongside chipotle sour cream.

Check out everyone's entries on Instagram by searching #thevegancookingclub, and look forward to more cooking club nights every few weeks.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cheesy polenta fries.

Bulk Barn, the Holy Grail for vegan Canucks. Provider of maple flakes for certain Yankees, Lara bars, every flour and alternative known to mankind, and everything in between. I wish they had these as an alternative at restaurants, but I also wish I understood how baby corn worked. These fries set you back about $2 and make a whole heap. I got 72 fries out of the batch, I'd say this serves 5-6.

For the fries;

4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup non dairy butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
optional herbs and spices - chili powder, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, cinnamon, red chili flakes, etc.

2 tbsp coconut oil

Bring the 4 1/2 cups water to a boil along with the salt. Whisk in all the cornmeal and quickly stir to take care of any lumps and cover to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Stir in non dairy butter, pepper and nutritional yeast.

Transfer to a 12x16 inch non stick baking sheet. It'll look a bit lumpy.

Grab a sheet of parchment paper to lay on top of the mixture. Using a rolling pin, or another baking sheet, and apply pressure to flatten the mixture. 

Let cool in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

While the oven is preheating, melt the coconut oil in a small dish. Dunk a bunched-up ball of cling wrap to spread the oil across a baking sheet.

Using a pizza cutter or a long thin knife, divide the now-firm mixture into ~72 strips (divide into 4, then each quadrant into 18, or 9x2) so that each fry about resembles the size of a French fry. Click here for a sad, quick illustration.

Transfer HALF of these into the oiled baking sheet - I arrange mine 9 across by 4 down.

Bake for 20 minutes, flip the fries, then bake for another 20 - totalling 40 minutes. Try one fry, and if the insides are a bit soft for you, bake for another 5.

For the dipping sauce;
1 part Sriracha
3 parts vegan mayo
-- I used 2 tbsp vegan mayo, 2 tsp sriracha and mixed well.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegan borscht.

For those of you that have $10, an hour, and a major interest in cable knit cardigans. I've been peeling beets since I was a little girl, and even before the ventral floor of my nail bed developed, I was eating borscht. For decades, my grandmother has always put a big ole pig ankle in her borscht for a multitude of reasons. Though, now that I've got a soup pot the size of a 6 year old, I can now forego some of the more traditional Mennonite methods. For some of you, soup making is a walk in the park. For those of you that work best with a recipe, try this out and adapt it as you like along the way.

Yields 6 quarts / 24 cups / 12 servings

~6 medium-sized beets, enough to yield 8 cups
5 carrots
4 large red potatoes
4 medium-sized onions
~3 quarts vegetable brother or water for the stock pot
fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

optional - tofutti sour cream and/or vinegar

Firstly, you need to boil your beets. Chop the beet tops and bottoms off so you're left with just the actual beet. Reserve the beet leaves for a salad, stew, or turn them into chips (much like you would whilst making kale chips). Boil the beets, skin-on, until tender. Once tender, you can peel off the skin wearing gloves, and dice.

Peel your onions, potatoes and carrots and chop into quarter-sized chunks. 

Bring a big pot of water (6 quart stock pot) to a boil with your water/vegetable brother. Add in all vegetables BUT the beets, and when the vegetables are almost cooked, add the beets in. Stir in more water as needed. Because you're boiling potatoes, you may sometimes get a bit of foam gathering up top - just remove with a serving spoon or paper towel. Let simmer for about half an hour, and add in the dill before serving.

Optional - Top with sour cream, dill, and stir in vinegar

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Adaptable recipes gone good.

Excuse the dank-ass iPhone photo, as this pizza is long gone, even though I pulled it out of the oven under 16 hours ago.

Short and sweet, this is a quick post to show you the versatility of the tomato-basil hand pie dough recipe from just a few days ago. I baked this at 400F for 13 minutes until the bottom of the crust was golden brown. No muss, no fuss.

For the toppings, I chose baby eggplant, mango, jalapeno, mushrooms, Field Roast apple-maple linksDaiya provolone slices which I julienned before popping in the oven.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pumpkin carob muffins with fresh ginger.

Caucasian female 20-somethings: REJOICE. Pumpkin spice everything is back in your life. You don't know why salted sweets are a thing but hey, if that's what floating everyone else's top-knot, it must be great. Literally.

Ingredients I
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup carob chips

Ingredients II
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
3/4 cup sugar in the raw
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp vanilla-nut extract

Preheat your oven to 400F

In a small bowl, whisk together Ingredients I. I include the carob chips in my dry mix because in doing so, it'll prevent the chips from sinking to the bottom while baking.

In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together remaining ingredients. Stir in your dry mix until evenly incorporated. The batter will be a quite thick.

Spray your muffin tins (either two mini muffin tins, or one 12x muffin tin) and, with a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, fill your tins up to the top.

For mini muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes.
For muffins, bake for 18-20 minutes.

One-pan mexican quinoa.

Gone are the days of my hopes for a Chipotle to open up shop in Winnipeg, and really, I should know better. Instead, grab a 12" pan, and hold your breath while you frightfully remove that avocado pit with a dull-ass knife. The directions are painfully simple, and this only takes about 20 minutes to cook up.. did I just waste some internet?

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1-19 oz can diced tomatoes
1-14 oz can black beans
1 small can of corn
Diced jalapenos, pickled or fresh
3 tsp taco seasoning or to taste (I make my own and jar it) 

1 avocado

(Optional - sour cream, cashew cream, cilantro, etc. to top)

In your pan, heat up the oil and add your garlic. Then. Add everything else in, except for the avocado. Bring to a gentle boil, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the quinoa is finished.

Really, that's that. Top with your avocado and anything else you fancy.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tomato-basil hand pies.

My pal Amy (@theveganrunnergirl) just started a monthly vegan cooking club which I'm super stoked to be a part of. Today was the day we posted our tomato based goods, while hashtagging #thevegancookingclub. I went to Bulk Barn, nectar of thy gods, to get my usual supply of sundried tomatoes for some biscuits I was thinking up. But they quit selling them. God, that blows goats. I have proof. Anyhow, I decided to whip out the $2 pocket-pie press from my recent trip to America and give it a go. The results were solid, I don't look forward to the sleepless nights to follow the god-forsaken day that press bites the bullet. Until then, I'll be utilizing this thing regularly.

I'm using tomatoes and basil, both fresh from my garden. Oh, by the way, I garden. Don't get me wrong, the walls were gyrating thanks to DRI this whole while, and I spent a little while in a few dumpsters just last week.. but nothing beats garden fresh herbs and vegetables.

Yields: 5

Ingredients I
2 1/2 cups white flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp canola oil
~1 cup warm water

Ingredients II
Tomato paste
Basil, roughly chopped or pulled apart
Olives, pitted and quartered
Himalayan pink salt
Freshly ground pepper
--optional, other fillings of your choice 

Preheat oven to 400F.

For the dough, whisk together all dry ingredients, then add in your wet ingredients. Roughly mix with a fork, then get those hands in there. The dough should be a little sticky, but not so much it sticks ruthlessly to your hands. If that's the case, add a little more flour. Add your ball of flour to a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. Ensure the dough remains a little sticky or it won't stick together nicely when you press the edges together.

I Pam'd the press, after learning the tough way it's for the best. Add your ingredients into the press, being mindful of the edges. Add your seasonings on top, the tomato paste doesn't have the high sodium content like premade pizza sauces. The edges best stay clean so the guts don't spew out during pressing and baking. I pressed the edges together, and used my finger to push away the excess dough, which I added back to my dough ball.

Bake at 400F for approximately 12 minutes. The pies are ready when you tap on the tops with a utensil and they sound a little "hollow", and the bottoms will be browned nicely. Let stand for 5 minutes before gorging.