Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mexican Tempeh Hash

"I deal with tempeh by yielding to it."
~ Mark Twain

This Sunday brunch came about because I bought a bag of avocados (all of which ripened overnight), and needed to use up the last two before they passed their peak of creamy, fatty, green perfection. It's basically an adaptation of the tempeh hash I've been making for ages, with the ingredients and spices switched up to make it a more avocado-appropriate vehicle. Serve with extra hot sauce over plain, soft polenta or garlicky grits for a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that will keep you going all day.

Mexican Tempeh Hash
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 red onion, diced
~ 1 green bell pepper, diced
~ 1 yellow summer squash, diced
~ 1 8 oz. package tempeh, cubed
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder
~ 1/2 tsp. white pepper
~ 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
~ 2 potatoes, baked and diced (I did mine in the microwave)
~ 1 15 oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I like Frank's)
~ 1 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
~ 2 avocados, diced and sprinkled with salt and lime juice

~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat for about three minutes.
~ Add the bell pepper and squash and cook about 5 minutes more, until the vegetables are getting a bit brown.
~ Add the tempeh, garlic, and seasonings, and cook 5 minutes more, stirring constantly and adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent sticking.
~ Add the potatoes, drained tomatoes, and hot sauce; stir to combine and continue cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often.
~ Mix in the cilantro and serve hot over grits or polenta, garnished with cubed avocado.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Banana Blueberry Pancake Squares

Loosely inspired by a recipe my friend Nicole posted on Facebook (along with the suggestion it be veganized), this happy hybrid of blueberry pancakes and banana bread is like breakfast, dessert, and afternoon tea wrapped up in one sweet, summery package. And this recipe has several advantages over traditional pancakes in that it requires no standing at the stove, pouring, or flipping; it also eliminates the phenomenon of the "failed" first pancake. (NB that the latter doesn't count as a "fail" in our house because that first one usually goes to Lucy; people without dogs may see things differently!) Serve warm or at room temperature; syrup optional.

Banana Blueberry Pancake Squares
~ 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
~ 1.5 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt (I used Amande)
~ 1/4 cup maple syrup
~ 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
~ 2.5 cups all purpose flour
~ 1 tbsp. baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, baking soda
~ 1 cup fresh blueberries

~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and coat a 9 x 13" brownie/baking pan with cooking spray.
~ In a large bowl, combine the bananas, yogurt, maple syrup, melted margarine, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
~ In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the blueberries and stir to coat.
~ Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly, and spread the batter evenly in your greased baking pan.
~ Bake in the center of the oven at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Ovens vary wildly; mine tends to be slow.)
~ Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before slicing into squares and serving.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Quinoa, Avocado, and Black Bean Salad

This substantial salad is really a meal all by itself; the combination of quinoa, beans, several types of veggies, and the creamy awesomeness and healthy fat of avocados provides pretty much everything you could need or want for lunch or dinner. That said, it also makes a great side dish for summery things like veggie burgers, tacos, or kebabs, and would be a perfect contribution to a cookout or potluck. It looks like a few steps, but they can all be done simultaneously (just make the dressing and sauté the corn/bean mixture while the quinoa steams and the other vegetables roast), and in fact the finished product hit the dinner table about an hour after the idea first occurred to me. Summer's not over yet, so get in there and make some salad!

Quinoa, Avocado, and Black Bean Salad
~ 3 tsp. coconut oil, divided
~ 1 1/2 cups quinoa (golden or red; your call)
~ 2 3/4 cups no chicken broth
~ 1 red bell pepper, diced
~ 1 large or 2 small zucchini, sliced into quarter moons (I like one green and one yellow)
~ 1 medium sized red onion, diced
~ 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
~ 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
~ 3-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff here)
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, chili powder
~ 2 ripe avocados, diced
~ 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
~ 1 cup chopped, fresh cilantro (haters can substitute fresh parsley)

~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 1 tsp. of coconut oil and briefly sauté the quinoa over medium high heat for a couple of minutes, until it gives off a mildly toasty smell. Add the broth, cover the pot, and raise heat to high until the mixture just comes to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until all the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Set aside.
~ While the quinoa is cooking, arrange the zucchini and bell pepper on the prepared baking sheet and hit them with a sprinkle of salt and another shot of cooking spray. Roast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.
~ Melt the remaining 2 tsp. coconut oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the corn kernels and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.
~ Stir in the black beans and continue cooking another minute or so, just until the beans are warmed through. Remove from heat and set aside.
~ In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Gently add the diced avocado and tomatoes and stir to coat.
~ In a large bowl, combine the quinoa with the cooked vegetables and the bean mixture. Add the dressing with the avocados and tomatoes and the fresh, chopped cilantro. Mix thoroughly and allow to stand at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors blend. (NB this salad is equally good served room temperature or cold.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Green Beans and Garlic

Today is Lammas Day, and so by rights I should really be posting about bread. Unfortunately I haven't been baking much lately, so you'll have to make do with this link to my longstanding go-to loaf, and a recipe for roasted vegetables. 

In truth, today's offering is so nonsensically simple that it almost doesn't qualify as a "recipe" at all, but it's also too good not to share. The combination of the browned potatoes and garlic with the still-crispy beans makes a perfect side dish, while the addition of roasted chickpeas turns the whole business into an über-easy entree that repays minimal effort with maximum rustic charm. And while we're on the subject of rusticity - if you're feeling ambitious, a freshly baked loaf of crusty bread never comes amiss, and is always worthy of celebration!

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Green Beans and Garlic
~ 3 lbs. baby potatoes, quartered
~ 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, marjoram, smoked paprika
~ A few grinds black pepper
~ 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
~ 20 peeled garlic cloves (you can cut them in half if they're huge)
~ 1 batch roasted chickpeas (optional, but awesome)

~ Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ Arrange the potatoes and garlic cloves on the baking sheet, add the olive oil, salt, marjoram, paprika, and black pepper and stir to coat thoroughly. (I do this with my hands; it makes sure everything gets coated and has the added bonus of that whole moisturizing thing!)
~ Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Add the green beans and garlic, mix thoroughly, and roast another 15-20 minutes. 
~ Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.
~ NB: if including the chickpeas, simply coat another baking sheet with cooking spray, drain and pat dry one 15 oz. can of chickpeas, arrange them on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at the for 15 minutes, until crisp and slightly browned. Add them to the finished dish just before serving for added crunch and protein.