Posts tagged ‘Vegan’

August 8, 2013

Broiled Blackened Tofu

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Why hello old friends. Over the past 3 months, I spent the largest majority of my time finishing up a French masters diploma. The title and the topic are irrelevant (because they are completely food unrelated, let’s be honest.) but the most important thing to know is that I finished it, quite successfully.

But up until the defense, I admit that my blogging habits were incredibly sub par. I cooked, and I cooked and I cooked. I had to take breaks from cooking in order to write the thesis. But the process of uploading and writing seemed too ambitious at that point in time.

Me voilà (here I am again) back at my computer, sorting through the photos I managed to snap regardless of my non-blogging ways. I shall now go through with you the 10 outstanding (as in “not settled or resolved”) recipes in a sort of Back to the Future type way. Only after these 10 recipes will I come back to speed and let you know what is going on now.

Sound complicated? Hang on tight, I promise it will all be alright!

Broiled Blackened Tofu

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(adapted from Appetite for Reduction, serves 4)

What you’ll need:

Spice Blend:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • black pepper – to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced

The rest:

  • 1 block tofu or about 14 ounces, pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Now what?

  1. Mix together spices on a dinner plate
  2. After pressing the tofu, cut it into slices of your liking !
  3. Adjust broiler so the baking sheet is about 6 inches from the top of the oven.
  4. Pre-heat oven to broil.
  5. Spray or lightly grease baking sheet. Poke holes in your tofu with a fork to allow the flavors to enter!
  6. Put the olive oil & soy sauce on a separate plate.
  7. Dip tofu in the oil and cover both sides then dredge/dip each piece into the “spice blend plate” pressing down & covering both sides.
  8. Place the tofu on a baking pan and broil for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. You will know it is ready when the tofu is blackened in certain spots.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Bon app !

June 15, 2013

Mechouîa | A guest post by the Beard

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Since we’ve been waiting for Spring for at least nine months now, and since this wonderful lady has been playing hard to get, I decided I’d bring Spring in our home on this St Barnaby. The best way to do so is to go back to the atmosphere of my lovely youth and taste what my all my Tunisian friends were so lucky to find on their table at dinner time: mechouîa, or literally “grilled pepper salad.” (pronounced may-shoe-uh)

Before I get on to ”mechouîng,” there is a little something you should know while reading these lines. In fact, the Guide and I recently relocated to a bigger and better-looking 150 year-old French building in which we’ve settled in a very bourgeois apartment. We’d post pictures, but I’m sure our roommate Aristide (our black cat, in fact) would sue us for copyright infringement 🙂 In any case, the good news is that the Guide and I noticed we spend most of our time together in our brand new kitchen! I just noticed how living has been made easier by just adapting to wiser eating habits. Not that I had bad eating habits before, but I am French… and I still can’t find a single article online that would prove me right in saying that one can take care of their figure by just shoving down 1.5 kilograms of cheese every day. So my cheese intake depends now on my bribing skills… et c’est pas plus mal!

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Our friend Christophe (the market gardener) is depressed, because the weather is so ugly that he can’t grow anything and business has therefore been horrible, to say the least. So to cheer him up, we bought 3 times the amount of food we usually get on a Saturday morning. And I ended up with 4 lbs. of banana peppers… and so what? I just thought about how the smell of roasted peppers freshly taken out of the oven could put a smile of the Guide’s face when she gets home. The smell of Summer, with a refreshing taste of happiness on the table. And a possibility for me to bribe the Guide into allowing me to go get a fresh mozzarella di Bufala Campana

Mechouîa salad

(adapted from omafaim)

Serves 4-6

What you’ll need:

  • 4.5 pounds of fresh banana peppers
  • 6 red tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

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Now what?

  • Turn on the radio, and start singing along the tunes from back in the 1970s.
  • Place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven. They must turn almost black, so that you can peel the skin off more easily. Half way through the broiling process, place the three (unpeeled) garlic cloves amidst the peppers, so that the smell of garlic spreads to the broiling veggies. Once they’re well cooked, let them cool down in a large bowl, and make sure you cover it with a lid.
  • While the peppers cook, bring water to a boil. Slash the top of each of the 6 tomatoes and place them in the boiling water. Remove after 15 minutes and let them cool down.
  • Bring another pan to a boil, and pour yourself a nice cup of jasmine tea. It helps with your singing. Change the radio and turn to the hits from the eighties.
  • Once everything has cooled down, start peeling the peppers and tomatoes and take the seeds out. Quick tip: don’t use a knife to peel the peppers, just open its lengthways with your hands and use your fingers to remove the pepper flesh on a cutting board. The peppers need to be long and ropy (just like the tomatoes, which you will cut with a knife, obviously).
  • Drain the peppers and tomatoes in a colander in the sink for at least two or three hours. Too much juice would turn the mechouîa into a mushy soup.
  • Once it has drained, mix the preparation with the garlic paste (after you press it out of the skin) and the juice of one lemon, as well as 2 teaspoons of cumin and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I tend to add a bit of black pepper (Malabar, preferably) and a pinch of coarse sawlt.
  • Place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Finish your cup of jasmine tea and imaging what the Guide’s smile will be like, craving your mozza-ball.

Bon app!

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June 4, 2013

Mac and Trees | macaroni et trees

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New home – new life – new kitchen – new, new, new.

Embracing the new that comes in the form of a transatlantic housewarming gift. A box filled with sentimental value : grandma’s hot plate, American themed dish towels, words of Magic, and a cook book that I have been eyeing for months, without permitting myself to buy it. Appetite For Reduction. Vegan Healthy Eating. Don’t mind if I do.

When you move in together, a lot changes. Good changes, cha cha cha changes like David Bowie asserts. One of my favorite changes? Cooking for two. First it starts at the market on Saturday morning. Then it is cooking together. Eating together. At a table, with place mats, and a fruit basket in the middle of it. Entrée, plat, dessert. Coffee. Dishes. Vaccuum. Lights out. Repeat.

One of the first recipes from Appetite for Reduction, though not the first meal in our new home, this Mac and Trees dish (or mac and feeze : fake cheese as the Beard calls it) was a taste of American home. In a new French home. Well in a new Franco-American home.

This “Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce” is for all of my nutritional yeast lovers out there (I’m singin to you MB). Easy really does define it well though. I didn’t even mind using up the last bit of my hoard of nutritional yeast. If the Amazon Gods shall allow it, I will have to ship some more my way.

First you whip up your cheeze sauzzz while 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta is boiling. Sometimes you do terrible OZ to gram conversion and double the amount, completey forsaking your attempt to reintegrate portion control into your life. Tant pis. (Oh well.) Serve with red wine and then remember how little portion control exists in France when baguettes are so easily consumed in one sitting.

Mac & Trees | Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce

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(adapted from Appetite for Reduction)

Makes 6 servings of Mac & Trees and 2 cups of Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons broth powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Now what?

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the mustard and beat with a fork to get out all of the lumps and bumps. Bring to a boil in a pot on the stove, stirring frequently on a medium heat. Once it has started boiling, reduce the heat and let it bubble, thicken and cook for about 5 minutes. I stirred constantly to avoid clumpage. It will soon become thick, smooth and cheeze-like. Once removed from the heat, add in the mustard and salt to taste.
  2. In the last five minutes of your macaroni boil, add 1 pound of chopped broccoli to the pot. Once finshed cooking, drain the pastaroccoli, add fresh washed spinach (like I did), smother with fake cheeze (feeze) sauce and serve along a hunk of pan fried tofu.
  3. Respond to adorable questions like “what does the Mac stand for again?” from your perfectly bilingual beard.
  4. Bon app!
February 11, 2013

Veganism Day 4 to 9: We’re like two burgers….

The Beard is here today, bringing you a brief and beautiful update.

Very often you do things that you like alone. Because no one likes them like you do. And sometimes you do things you don’t like, alone. Such as shoveling snow off your front door, ironing your most wrinkled shirts before a presentation, or anything else that leaves you enough time to do what you don’t like doing and think about it excessively. There’s one thing I hate doing, and this is smiling to someone I have fed but won’t return even a ‘Thank you!’ because that someone believes that the dish I offered lacked of character or style. Of course, this individual thinks of meat, knowing that the food that was shared is a sort of pre-game only. That the thankless person in question will grab real food on his way home –a kebab, for sure. Well, while this type of situation has happened to me a lot in the past, I had time to think about it excessively. And find remedies.

The remedy is, as I’ve previously mentioned, the Guide. How is it that I feel that my shoes now fit me so perfectly? How is it that seeing the meat stalls at the farmers’ market doesn’t bother me anymore? And that I don’t mind shoveling snow off my front door, that I wear neatly-ironed shirts lately, that… ? There’s something about body and mind. They make the connections we, as human beings, can’t force. V-E days (Vegan Emancipation… because I am still a Cold War historian after all) see my body thanking my mind for the careful turn it has decided to undertake. Little by little, you replace the need with the necessary, and the necessary with the essential. You don’t lack of anything, you discover how you can make it even better. Life. So you heap up the veggies on the bun. Are you craving a crunchy steak?: let it cook a little longer, resting on its heated pan, ready to offer you the right dose of iron. Reminder: you don’t like ironing, but you build up. Build up. Build up. Go grocery shopping together, spend your Saturdays, build something together. Share: our friends L, A, K, and E jumped into a sea of veganism (and wine) and went home smiling, I heard. Veganism is like that: altruistic. Listen, discover and build up on what you’ve learned. And eventually end up side by side, like two healthy bodies who don’t even bother thinking about any ‘I’ anymore. Have they ever existed? My body doesn’t remember. We’re like two burgers, side by side, feeling good as day 12 is about to start, wondering how better things could ever be. The Guide and the Beard. More will come. I’ll keep you posted…

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Double Double Drive-Thru Burgers

Serves 8

(adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen, but taken from another great vegan reference and Boston College friend, Veega)

What you’ll need:

Burgers:

  • 8 oz. package tempeh or 1 cup cooked brown rice (we used brown rice because tempeh is nowhere to be found in Strasbourg)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz. can lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup soft tofu
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish (we couldn’t find this, but it was delightful nonetheless.)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

Now what?

  1. Sauté garlic and onion in a pan until soft, browned and full of aromas!
  2. Combine garlic, onion, lentils, walnuts, flour and spices in a food processor (or maybe a high powered blender) and pulse until it is all incorporated. The walnuts should be in crumbs. If necessary, remove from the food processor and mix with your hands in order to mix fully.
  3. Heat the canola oil in the same pan used before. From the lentil mixture, form thin patties (we got about 8 out of this). The first time we made these, we made double decker burgers, which were delicious, messy and divine. If not making double decker version, make the patties a bit thicker.
  4. Once the oil is hot, fry the patties in the pan on both sides until browned and crunchy on the outside. Move them onto a plate to collect excess oil.

For the sauce:

  1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients except the dill and the relish in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the dill and the relish. We poured ours into an old ketchup squeeze bottle. The Beard named this sauce “homme-made” (man-made).
  2. To assemble the burgers on vegan buns, we poured sauce onto the bottom bun, smothered it with lettuce, a burger patty, another bottom bun, more sauce, another patty, and then red onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and or pickles (au choix! your choice!) bon app.
February 4, 2013

Veganism Day 3: Chickpea Veggie Burger with Tahini Sauce

Day 2 to 4: Veganism is tasty!

-by The Beard

So here we are, beginning our little journey into veganism. My guide’s aunt –a prominent vegan– used the right words for a better start: ‘do not replace dairy for vegan junk food.’ Yes, because it would be so easy: we’d live off salted peanuts, lots of wasabi chips, potatoes and raw carrots, and fake butter and baguette. And Coke. Well, I already know (thanks to my not-refunded 70 euros visit to the endocrinologist, which is unbelievable here!) that, due to my anarchist regulation of insulin that we call ‘pre-diabetes,’ I am not really allowed to eat French baguette or potatoes, for it turns into sugar once in my blood. Now, I already inquired about Coke. You, the people of the United States, are lucky: Coke is vegan. However, we Europeans, decided that Coke should contain Beta Carotene 10% DG/F. Can this really be… FISH GELATIN?! ‘Yes, Sir.’ So that fresh bottle went down the drain. Problem solved. Forever. In France.

Now, there is one thing I must say is very important: I am thankful for my guide. Because this chickpea and apricot tajine was the lightest and tastiest dinner I had in months! For several reasons. First of all, there are some wonderbarful (huh?) secret ingredients in there: cinnamon and ginger were my favorite. Then, because it came after the wonderful meatballs and gravy pasta my guide’s momma used to cook every Sunday, allowing me in the guide’s childhood memories. After carrying two gigantic bags full of 10 kilos (20 pounds) vegetables for 25 minutes (do Americans have a different time measurements, requiring the use of a converter?!) because I live right in the heart of the city where cars are NOT allowed, I noticed that the tajine had been forgotten in the fridge. The last reason why this dinner was the best in months is because it was delivered to my door at 7 pm, right when I felt hungry again!

I don’t want to spoil the day 3 recipe, but it was just as wonderful. I also cook on my own, but it goes back to more basic things (soups and salads mainly). And I have no camera. I’ll keep you posted…

 

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Chickpea Veggie Burger with Tahini Sauce

(adapted from shape.com, serves 6)

What you’ll need:

For the tahini sauce:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the chickpea burgers:

  • 1 (15.5oz) (400g) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, divided

What now?

  1. For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth. It is a little liquid but it’s perfect for the veggie burgers nonetheless.
  2. For the veggie burgers, combine all of the ingredients except for the breadcrumbs in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure equal food processing.
  4. Mix the combination with the breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
  5. Divide the bean mixture into six equal portions, shaping each into a round patty-like disc. I tried both thicker and thinner patties and both were equally as good.
  6. Heat 2 teaspoons vegan margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Mine were not crispy, crunchy all the way through, but they were still delightful.
  8. Serve in a pita with fresh onion, tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato.

We ate this with an endive salad, roasted Brussels sprouts,(and french fries and a pickle, to be 100% honest).

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(the Beard liked his with ketchup)

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