Monday, October 24, 2011

Savory Autumn Crumble

Today's recipe is some seriously autumnal stuff. It's the brainchild of an October Sunday when, after a weekend of nonstop reading and grading (oh, midterm: exactly WTF is your problem?), I was A. starving, and B. incapable of doing any more work.  The happy result was this crumble, which is like the product of a wholly unsanctified - yet passionate - union between a savory casserole and a dessert: the dish that dare not speak its name!

Savory Autumn Crumble
The Filling
~ 1 cup brown lentils
~ 3 cups vegetable broth
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 tbsp. vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
~ 1 big onion, diced
~ 2 large carrots, diced
~ 2 stalks celery, diced
~ 3 medium potatoes, cubed
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: sage, marjoram, parsley
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, thyme, rosemary
~ Lots of black pepper
~ 10 oz. package mushrooms (about 4 cups sliced)
~ 3 medium apples, cubed
~ 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tsp. Marmite
~ 3/4 cup frozen peas
~ 2-4 tbsp. flour

~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.
~ In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil and add the lentils. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are quite tender. Remove from heat and set aside. (NB the lentils will cook more quickly if you've soaked them for an hour or two beforehand.)
~ In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil and margarine and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
~ Add the potatoes, garlic, and dried seasonings, and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often.
~ Add the mushrooms and apples, stir to combine, and then cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and the vegetables are getting tender.
~ Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, frozen peas, and the lentils with whatever is left of their cooking liquid. Stir to combine, then mix in the flour. (You want enough flour to make a gravy, but not so much that the filling becomes too solid; remember, it still has to bake!)
~ Transfer the filling to your prepared casserole while you make...

The Topping
~ 1.5 cups flour
~ 6 tbsp. cold vegan margarine or shortening
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, sage, black pepper

~ In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, sage, and black pepper.
~ Chop or grate the cold margarine into the flour mixture, then rub the whole mess together with your fingers until it resemble coarse crumbs.
~ Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the filling, then bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is crisp and golden.
~ Allow to cool briefly before serving.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Great Pumpkin Banana Bread

I feel like I'm totally tanking on MoFo this year, but in the current circumstances, it's a wonder we aren't living on toast (yet). This afternoon I had a few over-ripe bananas and a bit of time between a pile of reading and jumping into my car (again) to collect my kid from his school and then drive to mine, so I thought I'd whip up some bread. Here in New England, October=pumpkin, so I tossed in some of that, too, and within an hour: voila! Banana pumpkin bread: quick, easy, and yet completely sincere.

Great Pumpkin Banana Bread
Dry Ingredients
~ 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
~ 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
~ 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
~ 1 tsp. baking soda
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
~ 1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Wet Ingredients
~ 2 very ripe bananas
~ 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
~ 1/4 cup canola oil
~ 1 tsp. vanilla extract

~ Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
~ In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
~ In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, and then stir in the remaining wet ingredients.
~ Add the wet mixture to the dry, and combine thoroughly, being careful not to overmix.
~ Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan, and bake at 350 in the center of the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Ovens vary; mine tends to be a bit slow, so keep an eye on things.)
~ Allow to cool in the pan at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Easy Peasy White Beans with Autumnal Veggies

Actually, it's even easier than it looks. (What? I'm talking about food, for heaven's sake!) Beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, garlic...what more could you need or desire for a delicious, nutritious, easy meal on a busy weeknight? Now take your head out of the gutter and start cooking, why don't you?

Easy Peasy White Beans with Autumnal Veggies
~ 1 large sweet potato (or two small ones)
~ 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 red onion, chopped
~ 2 generous tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, marjoram, tarragon, parsley
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 1/2 cup white wine
~ 1 lb. chopped, frozen spinach
~ 1 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed (I used cannellini)

~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
~ On a baking sheet, coat the sweet potato cubes in a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, tossing once around the middle of the roasting time, until brown and quite tender, but not falling apart. Remove from the oven and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until just starting to brown.
~ Add the garlic, mushrooms, and dried seasonings; cook another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have given off most of their liquid.
~ Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, and cook another minute.
~ Add the spinach, and cook another 5-10 minutes, until you have a thick stew.
~ Stir in the beans and the roasted sweet potato, cook another minute or two until everything is heated through, and taste for seasoning.
~ Serve over rice or couscous.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Super-Fantastic Noochtastic Kale

You know you've been meaning to, anyway, and here is the perfect way to do it! This is my long-established, go-to approach to leafy greens, and while it hardly qualifies as a "recipe," it's so delicious that I figured I'd finally type it up for the Good of Humanity. (It's also MoFo, and I need fodder for blog posts, dammit!) This works well with spinach, collards, chard, or whatever greenery strikes your fancy, but I think that the sturdiness of kale (i.e. "Nature's Wonder Food") is particularly toothsome when coated in garlic and nooch. So no more excuses: get out your wok and get ready for a massive infusion of iron and B vitamins. Whoo-hoo!

Super-Fantastic Noochtastic Kale
~ 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 big bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. kosher salt
~ ⅓-½ cup nutritional yeast (or more, depending on your nooch jones)
~ Healthy shot of hot sauce (optional; I like Frank's)

~ In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so.
~ Add the salt, and begin adding kale in batches, stirring until it just wilts.
~ Continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly (you can add a little water if it starts to stick).
~ Stir in the nutritional yeast and hot sauce (if using) and cook another minute, making sure that all the greens are coated.
~ Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Chicken" Pot Pie

My belief that any foodstuff is better when encased in pastry is well documented; hence my abiding love for the pot pie. There's something wonderfully homey about a ginormous casserole on a chilly evening, and this quintessential comfort food seemed appropriate this week, since the dreaded First F$#%ing Cold of the Season has officially arrived. In fact, as I type this, my heroic partner is bustling about in the kitchen making soup, noochy kale, and - YES! - biscuits, all while delivering medicinal draughts of hot gin and lemonade. (If it's good enough for Dickens, it's good enough for me.)

Anyway, I made this pie on the weekend, and it provided enough food to sustain our hungry household for several days: "indeed, as Mrs. Cratchit said with great delight...they hadn't ate it all at last!" On the whole, this is a go-to recipe for when you're craving a plateful of that "Mummy loves you" feeling - a feeling exacerbated by the addition of mashed potatoes or champ, glazed carrots, and/or sautéed green beans. (Would Mummy lie to you? About food? Exactly.)

"Chicken" Pot Pie
The Filling
~ 3 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 cup raw cashews
~ 1 tbsp. No Chicken bouillon
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 cups chopped onion
~ 1 cup sliced carrots
~ 1/2 cup diced celery
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: sage, marjoram, thyme, parsley
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 3 cups sliced mushrooms
~ 1.5 cups cubed vegan "chicken" (Gardein, TJ's, soy curls, seitan, etc.)
~ 3/4 cup frozen peas

~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit, and coat a 9 x 13" casserole with cooking spray.
~ Combine the soy milk and the bouillon and heat to nearly boiling; add the cashews and soak for at least an hour (the longer the better). When the cashews are nice and soft, puree the mixture in a food processor and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onions, celery, and carrot over medium heat for 5 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, dried seasonings, mushrooms, and seitan, and cook about 5-7 minutes more, stirring frequently to make sure things don't stick.
~ Stir in the pureed cashew mixture and the peas, cook another minute or two, and transfer to your prepared casserole.
~ Set aside to cool while you make...

The Topping
~ 2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1/2 cup cold vegan margarine or shortening (I use a frozen stick of Earth Balance)
~ 8-12 tbsps. ice water

~ Put the flour in a mixing bowl, and cut or grate in the cold margarine or shortening. Mix with your fingers until you get a texture like course crumbs.
~ Add 8 tbsps. of the ice water and mix; add as much additional water as necessary to make a rough, slightly sticky dough.
~ Form the dough into a ball, then turn it out onto a floured board, and use a rolling pin to shape it fit your casserole dish. Carefully transfer the pastry on top of the filling, crimp around the edges to seal, and poke a few holes in the top with a fork.
~ Brush the top with a little plain, unsweetened soy milk, and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
~ Allow to sit briefly before serving.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Risotto with Roasted Squash, Spinach, and Saffron

Happy MoFo, MoFoers (and non-MoFoers)! Sorry to arrive a bit late to the annual party, but things are kind of cuckoo-bananas around here this fall. Even so, I'm going to keep my hand in, and try to post at least once or twice a week (and with all the amazing vegan bloggers participating - over 700 this year! - I'll never be short of inspiration). And so, without further ado...I give you a hearty, filling risotto: just what the doctor ordered on a chilly autumn evening. We happened to have butternut squash on hand, but acorn, pumpkin, or even sweet potato would do as well; it's really the saffron that gives it that certain special something. Since this recipe has an orange vegetable and leafy greens, we had it as a one-pot dinner, but it would also make a nice side dish for a more elaborate meal like a Sunday dinner or - GASP! - Thanksgiving, which is just around the corner.

Risotto with Roasted Squash, Spinach, and Saffron
~ 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes
~ 6 cups strong vegetable broth
~ 1 tsp. saffron threads
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 cups chopped onions
~ 2.5 cups arborio rice
~ 1/2 cup dry white wine
~ 1 8 oz. package fresh baby spinach, chopped (about 4 cups)
~ 2 tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
~ 1/3 cup vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast

~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
~ On a baking sheet, coat the cubed squash in a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, tossing once around the middle of the roasting time, until the squash is brown and quite tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
~ Pour the stock into a pot and place over medium heat. Keep it very hot while you cook the risotto, but be careful to reduce heat if it comes close to a boil.
~ Toast the saffron by placing it in a metal spoon, then set it over a low flame to toast until fragrant. Add the toasted threads to the simmering broth.
~ In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until softened but not browned, about 7-10 minutes. Depending on how salty your stock is, you may or may not want to add a teaspoon of salt at this point.
~ Turn the heat to medium-high, and add the rice. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes, until the grains are coated and giving off a toasty aroma.
~ Add the wine, stirring constantly until it has been absorbed and making sure to scrape up any bits that have stuck to bottom of the pan.
~ Ladle in about a cup of the stock, and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Continue this way until all of the stock has been added and the rice is creamy, but still has a bit of a bite to it.
~ Stir in the roasted squash and the spinach, and cook another minute or two.
~ Add the Earth Balance, the vegan parm or nooch,, and a few grinds of black pepper.
~ Mix thoroughly, remove from heat, and serve immediately.