Ridiculous Grilled Cheeze Time with ClassyVegan!

The build…

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Daiya cheddar slices, Tofurky roast beef, tomato, and avocado on white bread grilled with Earth Balance Buttery Spread.

The result…

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Nom nom nommable.

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Truffle flavored Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Black Lava Salt

Jewel yam slices with truffle oil on plate with crab cakes and lettuce

The above photo was our dinner tonight: vegan crab cakes (from the brand Sophie’s Kitchen, really tasty), roasted red pepper remoulade, and –the recipe I’m going to share with you tonight– roasted Japanese Sweet Potato slices flavored with truffle oil and black lava salt.

Before anyone raises the question as to whether or not (good) truffles are vegan due to their being harvested almost exclusively using dogs or pigs, I have to tell you that almost all truffle oil has never had a truffle anywhere near it. The vast majority of truffle oil is flavored synthetically. So no debate needed!

While this plate looks fancy, it’s actually a quick, simple dinner. It all came together in under an hour. And most of that hour I spent on the internet looking at other Vegan MoFo posts.

This is mostly due to the fact that the crab cakes were pre made. All I did was brown them on both sides. The remoulade I made is still “in development.” Which is code for “I don’t actually know what I did, but it was awesome.” Which is the reason the only recipe I’m going to share is the side dish.

What the food hole had labeled as “Jewel Yams” (hence my instagram teaser yesterday) are actually Japanese Sweet Potatoes. They have a ruby red skin and creamy, white flesh.  Their flavor isn’t as pronounced as the bright orange sweet potatoes common around Thanksgiving. Rather, the Japanese sweet potato has a more delicate flavor with a slight sweetness. And in this case, that made an amazing canvas for truffle oil.

This recipe uses two ingredients that aren’t always readily available, truffle oil and black lava salt. Black lava salt is really just used as a contrasting garnish here. You can finish the dish with whatever salt you have and it will taste the same. You could even sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top and get a very similar visual effect. If you can’t get your hands on truffle oil, however, that’s another story. You can try any other infused oil –like garlic or rosemary– but, obviously, you won’t get that truffle flavor without it. Experiment, let me know if there are other flavored oils that work well here. Continue reading

Tom Food Tuesdays: Succotash

Bowl of succotash topped with avocado fan

The inspiration for this is one of my former co-workers who used to eat beans and corn most days for lunch. This is a way to preserve that simplicity but turn it into something awesome.

Succotash is delicious and one of the easiest things in the world to make. Don’t believe anyone who says that it should be a side dish. It is totally awesome enough to be an entrée.

(Of course, Katie hates simple dishes and totally lost her shit while I was cooking this.)

Editor’s Note: No I did not. I merely expressed concern that perhaps he was doing food wrong.

Succotash takes 10-15 minutes, uses only a single pan, and you probably have everything you need already.

At the most basic level you just need:

  • 1 can black beans – rinse them first, this is very important.
  • An equal amount of corn either caned for frozen is fine. – I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s fire-roasted corn.
  • 1 jar of salsa. (16oz)

You can lots of other things if you have them:Pan full of succotash

  • Fresh Onion, Mushrooms, and/or bell pepper – dice these and saute them in the pot first so that they can brown before you add anything else.
  • A diced tomato
  • Garlic or Garlic powder
  • A cup of frozen lima beans, peas or shelled edamame – Lima beans are traditional but I prefer peas.
  • And surprisingly Bacos (which are totally vegan, BTW!) – These need to go in towards the beginning.

Just throw everything into the pan, heat until the salsa is bubbling. Season with Bacon Salt and Pepper to taste. Once it’s heated, serve in a bowl with Guacamole or Avocado.

Editor’s Note: Grrrrrrr.

The finished version pictured up top has a tomato, garlic, peas, and avocado.

Hot Spinach Dip

Aww yeah…

Hot Spinach Dip

It’s my Veganniversary today! YAY!!!! Tom and I are celebrating, but not until tonight. So, I thought I’d get a post in today since I was late with yesterday’s.

This is the Hot Spinach Dip I mentioned in my previous post. About a week ago, Tom asked me to make him some spinach dip because he was sad he couldn’t eat any of the packaged ones at the food hole (that’s his hand in the photo). So I made this one up. No idea how close it is to non-vegan spinach dip, but I can tell you that it is freakin’ tasty. We were snacking on it while we were cooking everything else yesterday.

Unfortunately, it does rely heavily on specialty vegan products and dairy product alternatives. Sorry to those of you who don’t have easy access to this stuff. Continue reading

Sunday Dinner: Updated Diner Classics

Open Face Hot Seitan Sandwich, Smashed potatoes, and broccolini

I decided that picking a theme for Sunday Dinner Posts would make my life a little easier. This week I wend with Updated (and veganized) Diner Classics.

I didn’t want to go with the typical burger and fries approach. Firstly, because I haven’t figured out how to make a good homemade veggie burger, and secondly because that’s far too common. I wanted something from the “entree” section of a diner menu, not the “burgers and sandwiches” section. In search of inspiration, I went to the website for Mel’s Drive In, a totally not vegan but very popular diner here in SF (I think there might be a couple veg/vegan things on their menu, but I’ve never been in to check). Sifting through dozens of menu items, I finally came across “Open Face Hot Beef Sandwiches” and I knew that that was the ticket.

My friend Elias came over to help cook and together, Tom, Elias, and I updated the typical side dishes to the Open Face Sandwich. Here’s what we came up with…

The Sunday Dinner Menu:Tablescape with dinner plate and wine bottle

  • Appetizer: Hot Spinach Dip (Recipe and photos in the next post)
  • Open Face Hot Seitan Sandwiches with mushroom gravy
  • Roasted Smashed Potatoes
  • Ginger Garlic Broccolini
  • Wine Pairing: The Velvet Devil Merlot ’11 (Charles Smith Wines)
  • Blueberry pie (See previous Saturday Sweets post)

Continue reading

Tom Food Tuesdays: Soyrizo, Quinoa, and Kale Burritos with Bacon Salt

Kale and Soyrizo Burritos before being wrapped up

In contrast to Katie, who’s blog might be described as “the habits of highly effective chefs”, my posts will be more along the lines of “quick cheats for lazy goof offs”. They will largely consist things I make from ingredients that happen to be available, using pre-seasoned ingredients or, incorporating leftovers from one dish into another. As such it doesn’t make a lot of sense to follow like a recipe and buy ingredients to create something I describe here, as this is antithesis to my technique.

Today we had Kale that needed to be eaten. It’s best not to let it sit around too long. By far the simplest tasty way to make kale is to simply steam it and repeatedly coat it in Bacon Salt. The hickory flavor tastes great, completely vegan and has much less sodium than normal salt. On Kale you really can’t add too much of it. I like to coat it fully three times during cooking.

The other major ingredient is Soyrizo, which is one of my favorite foods. I always keep some around and use it frequently. Everything else was what was available, and could also be cooked in the one pan. The quinoa and could have just have easily been rice and beans or the recipe could have been served over leftover noodles instead of wrapped in tortillas.

While I don’t frequently make grains  –they take a while to cook and require a dedicated pot– when I do, I make a lot because they preserve well and are versatile enough to get used quickly.

Soyrizo, Quinoa, and Kale Burritos with Bacon Salt

Ingredients

Tom watching kale cook

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 of a 12-ounce package of Soyrizo (or 6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup leftover cooked quinoa
  • 1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 2 large tortillas
  • vegetable oil
  • Bacon Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Salsa, guacamole, and/or non-dairy sour cream to finish

Method

Heat a 12-inch skillet to medium heat, add 2-3 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add mushroom and onion and season with some Bacon Salt. Cook until onion is translucent. Thoroughly wash kale and add to pan wet. The extra moisture will help it steam. Season with Bacon Salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until kale is fully wilted and season twice more with bacon salt, once during cooking and once more when the kale is fully cooked.  Season to taste with black pepper. Remove from pan on to a plate and cover.

Reheat the skillet to medium heat. Add 2-3 teaspoons of vegetable oil and the Soyrizo. Cook for three to four minutes while breaking up with a spatula. Add the quinoa and cook for five to seven more minutes until thoroughly cooked. Add the Liquid Aminos and stir well. Remove this to the same plate as the kale.

Wipe out the skillet and warm two burrito size tortillas in the pan. Once warm, remove tortillas to separate plates and spoon the Soyrizo and Kale mixtures into the tortillas. Top with your favorite salsa, guacamole, and or non-dairy sour cream and roll up like burritos.

Tom holding Soyrizo

Editor’s Note: I’ve been nervous about submitting to my partner’s cooking once a week for a month. But this wasn’t all that bad. There are some slight changes I would make, as I don’t always agree with Tom’s methods, but overall, it was relatively tasty. I do recommend it with some sort of sour cream substitute. I feel it needs a bit of acid to balance the Bacon Salt. And I have to apologize for the photos. Tom cooks far too fast for me to take pictures of him with my phone camera. So I will have to switch to my SLR for the next Tom Food post. Inconvenient for me, as my phone uploads my photos to a server automatically, but the quality will be much higher. –KateB