Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

VPS – BBQ Soy Curls, Tempeh Bacon, Roasted Garlic, Sundried Tomatoes

January 11, 2010

VPS - BBQ Soy Curls, Tempeh Bacon, Roasted Garlic, Sundried Tomatoes

So, this blog has pretty much become a vegan pizza blog and I apologize for that. The holidays are always crazy, add that to the fact that I started a new job (and ended a long-running one) and I’m sure you’ll forgive me. I hope to resume real cooking again in the next few weeks.

Anyway, my wife has been feeling under the weather so we’ve had a lot of soups and mushy foods lately. She is feeling much better today so we decided to resume our weekly tradition. That also meant that I didn’t want to experiment too much. But, then I realized I was out of tomato sauce!

No fear, some roasted garlic (and oil) came to the rescue. On top of that some well-placed sundried tomatoes and BBQ-soaked soy curls. I then poured the soaking liquid on top of it all – a little thinner than I wanted but it ended up working just fine. Top that all with Daiya and some chopped tempeh bacon and you have yet another delicious vegan pizza.

Thanksgiving – Celery Root and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Beets and Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom Gravy

December 26, 2009

Thanksgiving - Celery Root and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Beets and Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom Gravy

Better late than never, eh?

I’m a few weeks behind with this one (amongst others), but I figured it was time to get it up.

My Thanksgiving tradition involves a few essential pieces: 1) a different flavored mashed potato every year and 2) everything is organic – all the way down to the olive oil used to make roux. It certainly does not make it a cheap meal, but it’s once a year, so I go for broke ($5/pound for organic brussels sprouts!).

After the success of the celery root mashed potatoes a few weeks prior, I knew I’d have to give them a shot in primetime. I added some cilantro to them to give them a nice, fresh flavor – along with some roasted garlic.

For the vegetables, I normally make steamed broccoli (which I made, but is not seen here), but I wanted something a bit more. I had what I thought was a great combination – beets and brussels sprouts. I didn’t expect, however, to see that combination on a dozen other blogs. I tossed mine with maple syrup, dijon mustard (homemade), olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them on 450 until the brussels were crisp on the outer leaves.

For the gravy, I sauteed baby portabella mushrooms, removed them from the pan and sauteed green peppers and onions until they stuck to the pan. Deglazed with some balsamic vinegar and added whole wheat flour to make my roux. A little vegetable Better Than Bouillon (the No Chicken wasn’t organic, so I went with the vegetable) with water and a quick puree using the good ol’ immersion blender. I then added my reserved mushrooms back to the gravy and began to season. You can find Poultry Seasoning all over the place this time of year and that’s what I used.

And there you have it – Thanksgiving dinner.

Mango Salsa, Hummus

August 5, 2009

Mango Salsa, Hummus

For years, I’ve been telling my wife I’d make her mango salsa. And for years I’ve put it off. So, I wasn’t surprised when a mango ended up in our basket at the farmer’s market, whether I was conscious of it or not. But there it was when we got home and I was left without choice. Fruit salsas are a great summer treat and are really easy to prepare.

I diced up the mango and added some chopped cilantro, sugar, salt and a very tiny amount of cumin (very tiny). I finished it with a quick splash of Simpy Orange with Mango Juice to give it the necessary consistency. Let the flavors marinate for a few hours or overnight (or several days in my case as I ran out of time) and you’re good to. Enjoy with your favorite chip, rice or chicken subsitute.

For months I’ve been meaning to make hummus. I bought the dried beans, but they sat in my pantry forever. Until I decided to just do it. So I soaked the beans overnight and boiled them until tender. Puree in the food processor with tahini, roasted garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper. It took me a while to find the right consistency, so I kept adding varying amounts of tahini and olive oil until it looked right (well, actually, a little looser than what you’re expecting as it will set up a bit when refrigerated). The only problem? I oversalted it. A lot.

So a few days later, I put it all back in the food processor with more soaked and boiled beans and it came out much, much better. Frankly, and not to boast, I like it better than most of the of ones you can buy in the store. The other problem? I made too much. Like a half gallon, which is a lot of hummus for two people. But, it can be frozen with very good results. So I put it in smaller containers and froze it so I can pull it out as needed.

Marinara is so easy, you’ll never buy it again

May 9, 2009

I love pasta with marinara sauce. It’s a staple for most vegetarians because it’s filling, easy and cheap. But, most people buy their marinara sauce already made. I did that for a while and then realized how easy it would be make my own, so I started saving my leftover jars and set about making my own sauce.

There are three basic ingredients to marinara sauce: tomatoes, basil, garlic. It doesn’t really matter how you add them (fresh, dried, canned, frozen, roasted, etc..), just that they’re all there.

Basil

Roma Tomatoes

Below is how I make mine.

I start with some kind of aromatic just to bulk up the recipe and give it a sweet flavor. This time it was Florida-grown bell peppers and red onions. They don’t need to be cut up any special way, just so long as they have enough surface area to get some color on the outside. I began by sauteeing all of the peppers and onions until they had released all of their water and it had evaporated out. Once it evaporates everything will begin to stick to the pan – this is a good thing, but you have to be careful.

Aromatics

Keep caramelizing as long as you have patience and time to make sure they don’t burn, at which point I like to add some tomato paste. The paste gives the whole sauce a bit more body while providing something else to caramelize. As soon as it begins it burn (or you run out of patience) I add a liberal amount of balsamic vinegar. This is not something that a lot of people do – opting for adding it at the end – but I like to add more than normal and allow it to reduce to concentrate the flavor.

Goodbye BPA

Sidenote: I used up the last of my canned tomato products. I used to make all of my marinara sauce with canned organic tomatoes, but will all of the evidence suggesting just how bad Bisphenol A is for you, I’ve recently switched to fresh only and I have no intention of switching back.

Sauteed with Paste

At this point, you can add everything else you want in one step. I added my basil, stirred to wilt, added my roma tomatoes and topped it with several heaping spoonfuls of roasted garlic. Stir everything to incorporate and let it simmer for a while. As it simmers, the tomatoes will release a lot of water, essentially poaching everything and enhancing the natural sugars in the tomatoes. At some point – and you’ll know when – you need to blend everything to your desired consistency. You can do this with a blender, food processor or my favorite: an immersion blender.

Add Basil

Everything Ready To Be Blended

I used to spend a long time chopping, dicing and chiffonading everything in my sauce. And then I got an immersion blender. Now I can make two gallons of sauce in about thirty minutes and it comes out every bit of good as before – sometimes better. If you want a little more texture you can reserve the sauteed onions and peppers or fresh tomatoes to add them after you blend.

Once everything is blended and seasoned (usually just salt, black pepper and maybe some dried Italian seasonings) let it simmer for fifteen minutes and turn off. You’re ready to go – see, I told you it was easy.

The seals on my jar are starting to give up on me as well as starting to rust on the inside, so I no longer try to seal them. Instead, I cool down the marinara sauce and put it in the sanitized (through the dishwasher) jars with a piece of plastic wrap and lid on top. I then put them in the freezer and pull them out the day before I plan on using it.

Roasted Garlic

April 25, 2009

I use roasted garlic (and its oil) in so many dishes, I figured I’d write about how easy it is to make.

The worst part about roasting (or any other kind of) garlic is peeling it, right? Well, I just buy the peeled stuff at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. Saves a ton of time and aggravation. Do not, however, buy that minced, chopped, etc. garlic in water (or oil – it’s lying to you). It lacks flavor and won’t do what you want it to most time. Just buy the peeled stuff, even if it’s the small container you can grab at the grocery store.

For me, I usually buy between one and five pounds, depending on how much I still have at home and when I plan to go back the Farmer’s Market. This trip I only grabbed one pound, knowing I had some back at home.

Anyway, I take the garlic and trim the little “nubs” off. I used to just go ahead and leave them on, but I bit down on one really hard once and vowed never to do that again. This is the most time-consuming step, only because you can’t do anything simultaneously. Save the jar the garlic came in.

Trimmed Garlic

Once all of the garlic is trimmed, put it in a pot and cover in oil.

In The Pot

Not toss in oil. Not drizzle oil over it. Cover the garlic in oil. Any oil will work, but you want a neutral flavor such as soybean or even olive. I like to use half extra virgin olive oil and half soybean. I used to use all extra virgin olive but when it goes in the fridge it solidifies too much.

Covered In Oil

Then put it on the stove, uncovered, on the lowest possible setting your stove top will allow. And then try and make it lower. The lower the temperature, the slower it will cook and the better the flavor of both the garlic and the oil.

Super Low Gas

Eventually, the oil will begin to bubble like the garlic is frying – this is OK, do not be alarmed, but do keep a close eye on the garlic after this step. There’s a fine line between roasted garlic and burnt garlic and it only takes one time to learn the difference. A very disgusting lesson at that.

When the garlic gets to a satisfactory level (depending on your tastes and usage can be from anywhere from “just soft” to “really, really caramelized”) take it off the heat. You can let it cool down at room temperature if you want or you can throw it in the fridge. Either way it should get cooled down to room temperature or cooler. When it does, add all of it back into the jar the garlic came in – oil and all.

Roasted Garlic

Now you’ve got roasted garlic and roasted garlic oil. The oil is great for sauteeing, salad dressing, marinating and any other use you have for oil. The garlic is great for sauteeing, salad dressing, marinated and any other use you have for flavor.